The Edinburgh Fringe Full Monty (nearly) – Day 6, 10th August 2022

What’s lined up to entertain us in Edinburgh today?

Here’s the schedule for 10th August:

12.10 – Conflict in Court, Hill Street Theatre. From the Edinburgh Fringe website:

Conflict in Court“Come and take part in an immersive courtroom experience where you decide the cases outcome. Listen to the evidence and decide; with a free drink and pie included, Conflict in Court by Liam Rudden is fantastic entertainment. Join the cast as they lay evidence before you, you then get a chance to cross-examine the witnesses and decide for yourself: are they guilty or innocent? This cast bring a gem of a production to life as they get the audience to work out what is fact or fiction. Will you agree with the verdict?”

I’m a great admirer of the writing of Liam Rudden so I am sure he will have created a terrific “Crown Court” for the 21st century! Should be fun.

UPDATE: If you liked Crown Court (if you’re old enough) you’ll love this. A fascinating court case, beautifully realised, full of great interaction – and when the final truth came out the whole audience gasped! Plus you get a free pie and a pint and they were both delicious. Absolutely brilliant – really loved it! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

14.40 – Mary Bourke: The Brutal Truth, The Stand Comedy Club 2.

Mary Bourke“The show contains nothing but jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes..”

Just as well that I’m very familiar with the stand-up brilliance that is Mary Bourke, because that online show description is a bit repetitive 😉

UPDATE: On terrific form, the legendary Ms B talks cancel culture, Britain’s Got Talent as well as giving us a massive trauma dump (her words) that she turns to comedy gold. Peppa Pig also comes in for the treatment she so richly deserves. Absolutely brilliant. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

17.50 – Hey, That’s My Wife! Hill Street Theatre.

Hey Thats My Wife“Hey That’s My Wife! is a comedic spin on the classic works of Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller that follows two advertising executives, Charlie Moore and Roger Sloan, as they navigate a tale as old as time, who’s sleeping with whose wife? Jam-packed with enough cigarettes and scotch to kill 10 horses, this satire of 1950s Americana will have you laughing ‘til you cry. Featuring New York City’s brightest young comics, Joey DeFilippis (The Comedy Shop), Matthew Ferrara (Spiderman: Homecoming), Espi Rivadeneira (BBC Reel), Caroline Hanes (Reductress) and Ryan O’Toole (Jerry Springer).”

This is going to be one of those shows that’s either utterly brilliant or borderline lousy. Let’s hope it’s the former!

UPDATE: Oh dear! Sadly there was nothing borderline about it. I get the idea of a very tongue in cheek 1950s parody where everyone ends up sleeping with everyone else but, ouch, the getting there was painful. Admittedly, the writing wasn’t bad, although, for the record, spreadsheets were born in 1979. Terribly long pauses between the scenes meant that any dramatic or comic tension just petered away. The stagecraft was woeful – a prop that should have been kept hidden under the table was visible from the word go; and there were five people chain smoking throughout the whole show and not an ashtray in sight. I’m afraid this was one of those very few fringe productions that has hardly anything in its favour. ⭐️

20.30 – Bloody Wimmin, The Royal Scots Club.

Bloody Wimmin“It is terribly easy to laugh at passion’. 1984. The women of Greenham Common are convinced the world is walking blindly into nuclear Armageddon. There is solidarity, shared purpose and much argument. Women grapple with their competing personal priorities, establishment rage and their dire living conditions with resilience, camaraderie and humour. Fast forward to 2009: do the rage, passion and flames of protest still burn as brightly? Lucy Kirkwood’s powerful and hilarious commentary on the women’s movement and the culture of protest as told by one of Edinburgh’s most prestigious amateur theatre companies. By arrangement with Nick Hern.”

I remember the Bloody Wimmin of Greenham Common – in fact I knew a few of them! That’s going to make this a very interesting play.

UPDATE: Rather a curious play and production. Some parts were excellent – some scenes were beautifully written and performed. But we really didn’t understand why the Greenham women and the environmental protesters were linked in the first place. It almost made both groups of protesters appear just like professional troublemakers, rather than genuinely espousing a cause in which they strongly believed. It made some very good points though, especially regarding the effect the Greenham protest had on family relationships, and how their sacrifices and hard work are currently taken for granted. ⭐️⭐️⭐️

22.35 – Leicester Square Theatre All-Star Show, The Stand’s New Town Theatre.

Leicester Square All Stars“A night of comedy featuring top acts from the Fringe, curated and programmed by London’s premier comedy venue Leicester Square Theatre. Leicester Square Theatre All-Star Show features comedy legends, award-winning rising stars and the funniest up-and-coming acts you’ve never heard of. Acts will be updated as they are confirmed, see”

This will be a pot luck show – let’s hope they get good guests!

UPDATE: The enjoyment and success of this kind of show depends a lot on the numbers and enthusiasm of the punters attending, and whilst we were quite enthusiastic, there weren’t many of us. That said, it was well hosted by the always funny Jack Gleadow, and top of the bill Alastair Beckett-King was on excellent form. Impossible to give it a star rating because of the variety of guests.

The Edinburgh Fringe One-Weeker 2019 – Funny for a Girl, 17th August 2019

Mary BourkeWe don’t normally do more than four shows on our first day – which means our last show of the day is Funny for a Girl, at the Stand Comedy Club (Stand 1) at 22:00 on Saturday 17th. This is how it’s described on the website: “We’ve selected the funniest women we could find at the Fringe and brought them together for an evening of comedy you’ll never forget! ‘An amazing evening of the most hilarious women I’ve seen in a very long time. When BBC producers say they can’t find any funny women they obviously haven’t been looking hard enough’ (Evening Herald, Dublin). ‘A fascinating range of different comedic styles. Even Christopher Hitchens would find these women funny’ (GQ). ‘Our girls are clean and won’t rush you’ (Watford Gazette).”

The comedy brains behind this show is the brilliant Mary Bourke, whom we’ve seen many times before. Who knows who else will be on the bill, but I’m sure it’ll be a great laugh! Check back around 11.15pm to see my initial feedback as to how much we enjoyed it. By then the next preview blog, for tomorrow morning’s first show, should be available to read too.

Brilliantly funny line up, with Mary Bourke on terrific form, introducing the feisty Mary O’Connell, streetwise comic/poet Sarah Callaghan, and hilarious comedy magician Mary Muden. Great atmosphere, dynamic range of performers, and a packed house enjoying terrific late night comedy. Definitely recommended!

Review – Screaming Blue Murder, Underground at the Derngate, Northampton, 31st May 2019

Screaming Blue MurderTime for yet another Screaming Blue Murder – and the screaming comes from the intense heat of the Underground studio, bad enough in winter but positively radioactive in summer! Nevertheless, that didn’t stun our senses as once again we enjoyed three fabulous acts, two magnificent intervals under the genial guidance of our loving MC, Dan Evans.

Dan EvansThis week Dan had to endure (I mean enjoy) the company of some marketing ladies from Avon – I don’t think his idea of anus lipstick is going to catch on – a few young likely lads in the front row with their deadpan father, and the Melton Mowbray branch of the Leicestershire Wives Society. From little acorns great oaks of mirth grew. I don’t envy his job but Dan was on top form as always.

Mark SimmonsTwo new acts (and one old favourite) for us this week, the first of which was our opener, Mark Simmons. And what a find he is! A quiet, subtle-laddish style but brimming with confidence and with 100% winning material, none of which I’d heard before. The majority of his humour comes from a mixture of pun and wordplay, and he delivered it with such dry originality that Mrs Chrisparkle and I were in hysterics the whole way through. I loved his mini-stories about premature ejaculation at an orgy, and what happened when he brought two girls home; there’s also his one joke that involves the C word, which works brilliantly because the punchline is so mild in comparison with its lead-up; and his discovery that cats in France have their own social media site. A little surreal, but with great connection to the audience, we thought he was terrific and would love to see him again.

Alasdair Beckett-KingNext up, and also new to us, was Alasdair Beckett-King; if you ever wondered what Simba looked like once he’d grown up, look no more. Resplendent with his flowing locks and curls, Mr B-K gives us an insight into the life of a full-on Ginger, with some very funny – and refreshingly clean – material. Switching up the erudite level a notch or two, he has a sequence where he discusses Blake’s Proverbs of Hell, but don’t be put off, his own selection of Proverbs are fresher than anything 18th century. Smart, witty, intelligent humour and he went down really well with the audience.

Mary BourkeOur headline act, and one we have seen many times before, was the endlessly surprising Mary Bourke, whose ability to create new material every time you see her is astounding. She has a wonderfully faux-strict style, like a headmistress who won’t accept any nonsense from you lot but inside has a heart of gold. I loved her take on how you scare people in Crouch End at Hallowe’en, and was delighted to realise she has the same attitude to Peppa Pig as us; indeed, she gives that hideous little hog the same middle name that we do. Unbeatable as always.

And that, sadly, is the end of the Screaming Blue Murders for this season; I think each and every one has been a sell-out which is fantastic news and a testament to just what cracking value and quality it is. Reconvene in September? Really annoyed that I have to miss the first autumn show on 13th September because it’s going to be immense. Book it now whilst tickets are still available!

P. S. I did get a name-check from the stage during the course of the evening, but I’m sure it was meant out of pure affection…. That’s what I’m going to tell myself anyway!

The Edinburgh Fringe 3-Nighter – 20 shows in 70 hours! First show – Funny for a Grrrl

The Edinburgh Fringe. The stuff that dreams are made of. Mrs Chrisparkle and I have promised year after year to visit Edinburgh during the festival, but never made it. Until this year, that is! From Friday 8th until Monday 11th August, we have a massive number of shows to see and I am really looking forward to the challenge.

There’s no way I will have the time to blog each show in the detail that I normally do. So instead, the plan is for me to preview each show in advance, and then blog my instant reaction afterwards to see if it lived up to expectations. Will it work? There’s only one way to find out. So, gentle reader, if you feel inclined, keep visiting back over these three or four days to see what we’ve been up to. There’ll be a fresh blog entry for each show.

Mary BourkeOur first show is Funny for a Grrl at the Stand in the Square, 17:15 on Friday 8th. Each show has a different line-up, and ours should feature Mary Bourke (who we’ve seen three times at the local Screaming Blue Murder comedy club and she’s always terrific) and three others. I’ve been refreshing the Stand Comedy Club page all week but the line-up is still “to be confirmed”. What do I expect? Four very funny female comics, each doing a 15 minute stand-up slot. What do I hope? That you don’t need to have had a few drinks to find them funny – although who says that by 5.15 on our first afternoon in Edinburgh we might not already have had a little something. We’ve got to eat before all these shows, after all. What do I fear? Out of place hecklers, being in the front row and any one of the comics drying up. Check back after 6.15pm to find out how it went! And a preview of the next show we’re going to see should be on the blog by then too.

If you’re in Edinburgh – have fun!

Well it was a great start! In a yurt in the rain, we were entertained by not only Mary Bourke on great form but also three ladies called Jade, Alison and Harriet – I’ll have to check back to get their surnames. It was good fun, punchy and very funny. Definitely recommended!

Review – Screaming Blue Murder, Underground at the Derngate, Northampton, 19th April 2013

Dan EvansYet another very busy night at the Screaming Blue Murder last Friday; as far as bums-on-seats are concerned, this must be their most successful season yet – so congratulations to everyone involved! Our compere was Dan Evans, back on fine form and handling a difficult front row heckler with great aplomb. She didn’t shut up when he was being subtle with her, so he started ridiculing her in front of everyone, and it worked! Dan is still delving deep with new material, and I did like his joke about stalking Doctor Who assistants. I find it more entertaining to hear his new material, but his old joke about “the appearance of space” still has everyone rolling in the aisles though, so who am I to judge?

Ria LinaOur first act was someone new to us, Ria Lina. A girl with a ukelele – suggests a promising start – but unfortunately her first song was just rather tasteless and offensive without being funny, and it got her started on the wrong footing. She did have some good material, but some of it was race-based, and us simple folk in Northampton may not get political jokes but we are remarkably unprejudiced. Her final song about being middle class and not famous was actually really wittily written and structured, but by then the energy had sapped away a bit, so she received polite rather than warm applause.

Marc LuceroSecond up was Marc Lucero, who we have seen before and enjoyed very much, but this time he was on fire. It was largely the same routine as before but his pace and timing were spot on, and the personality behind the gags emerged just perfectly. Some excellent observations about the local fathers creating their own self-help group, and the design fault in a crane system designed to lower you into the bath; and a brilliant final story involving the au pair’s knickers ended his set on a complete high, so that we went into the second interval still howling with laughter.

Mary BourkeThe headline act was Mary Bourke, who we’ve seen twice before in 2010 and 2011 and she always delivers top class comedy. What surprised and delighted me was that this was 95% brand new material – only her (hilarious) observations about mumsnet from previous shows still made an appearance. She had some great material about providing “yoof” with rhymes about dissing their mothers; an excellent suggestion for the title of Amanda Holden’s autobiography, something you won’t find on a “Welcome to Luton” street sign, and much more besides. A most assured performance – and incredibly funny. So we can list this as another great Screaming Blue Murder night, and believe me it is the best value comedy entertainment imaginable!

Review – Screaming Blue Murder, Derngate, Northampton, 24th June 2011

Kevin DewsburyA new compere this week, who it appears stepped in at the last minute, and that’s Kevin Dewsbury. And he was great! Very likeable, a friendly approach, and lots of great material. We particularly liked his observations on how some people speak foreign words as though they were native to that country – something I’m guilty of – and his musings about what it would be like if foreigners did the same back in the UK. Excellent stuff, and I’d like to see his proper act, rather than just compering.

Noel JamesThe rest of the comics were slightly disappointing on just one level – and that is that we have seen them all at Screaming Blue Murder before. The first comic was Noel James, and of the three he was the one who I think had changed his material more than the others. He was very quick hitting and funny, but unfortunately quite a small audience didn’t somehow take to him. He didn’t seem comfortable with the overall lack of laughter and got a bit anxious. We liked him though.

Mary BourkeSecond was Mary Bourke, whose act was most similar to last time, but is so incredibly funny that she was still the best of the night. Her lines about what her parents’ voicemail messages might be like were really funny, and generally she is very dry and self-deprecating. She does a Sudoku during the laughs, which is a nice trick.

Howard ReadLast was Howard Read, one of the very first comics we saw here, and his act is very clever but also very parent-centric. He has a great lullaby song about how scary life is, which is really funny, but his whole act is about coping with young kids, and as I’m not a parent, it slightly missed the mark for me.

Next fortnight is the last one of the SBMs for a while I think, and we’re otherwise engaged that evening anyway. However, there’s plenty more comedy on the horizon!

Review – Screaming Blue Murder, Derngate Northampton, 11th June, 1st July and 15th July

Marlon DavisPlaying catch-up yet again, we’ve been to the comedy club three times in the past few weeks and seen some pretty good acts. On the 11th June the first act was Marlon Davis who gave a very nice routine about living with his dad with some very nice insights. Next was Mary Bourke who had some excellent lines about Jesus’ Facebook statuses, and last was Pierre Hollins, who was also very good. I really should have blogged about this weeks ago as my memory of the night is not great. Two intervals does mean three large glasses of Sauvignon Blanc.

Kent ValentineOn the 1st July, we started with Kent Valentine, an Australian comic who did an excellent routine on walking an empty pram through Central London. It was sufficiently credible to imagine oneself in that situation, so the comedy of cringe kicked in quite a bit.

Next up was Danielle Ward who also had good observations, but I thought allowed too long a gap between money-moments. Enjoyed her bit about going topless for £50.

Paul Sinha At the end we had Paul Sinha who was frankly sensational. Wonderful delivery, constantly funny, brilliant observations, and when he said it was time to finish the reaction of disappointment that it had come to an end was extraordinary – not witnessed that before. Won’t tell you anything about his act as that would spoil it. Can I mark him down as a national-treasure-to-be?

Otiz Cannelloni Last night was very interesting. And very funny on the whole. Otiz Cannelloni has quite an old style act but is genuinely funny so gets away with it. We laughed a lot. Plus he also did one really clever card trick. A touch of magic always goes down well. Chris McCausland doesn’t play on his blindness as much as you might expect and is also genuinely funny. It was Tony Law at the end who came a bit of a cropper as his surreal style carried many along but alienated others, with the result that he got heckled but didn’t really handle it well. Maybe he’s not used to being heckled.

Last one of the season, unfortunately, these nights are always great value entertainment.

Paul Sinha definitely wins My Comic Of The Year, were I to have such an award.