The Edinburgh Fringe Full Monty (nearly) – Day 16, 20th August 2022

Another day in Edinburgh heavy on comedy!

Here’s the schedule for 20th August:

12.00 – Joe Wells: I Am Autistic, PBH’s Free Fringe @ Banshee Labyrinth. From the Edinburgh Fringe website:

Joe Wells“Joe is not a “person with comedy”; he’s a comedian. Nor is he a “person with autism”; he’s autistic. His video Having a Brother Who is Not Autistic went viral, with over 2 million views. Support for Frankie Boyle and Alexei Sayle. ‘Some of the most surprising and thought-provoking material coming from any comedian’ (Guardian). As seen on BBC Two’s Ouch! Storytelling Live, BBC Three’s Quickies and Dave’s Comedy Guide to Life. Writer for Have I Got News For You. A show about being proud of your weird brain.”

We first saw Joe Wells at the Fringe a few years ago on the strength of word of mouth and were blown away by his brilliant incisive observations. We never miss a chance to see him! I’m sure this will be as good as ever.

UPDATE: Always one of our favourite comedians, Joe is on fantastic form with a show that gives rise to pretty much non stop laughter, mainly about autism – and yes I know it sounds unlikely. He’s a truly gifted comedian, with a beautifully crafted set, and there’s no better way to start your Fringe day! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

14.45 – Trevor Lock’s New Show, PBH’s Free Fringe @ Bannermans.

Trevor Lock“The UK’s number-one comedian returns to the Fringe with a brand-new show that, as usual, will probably be entirely different each day. ‘Blew me away – an absolute masterclass in comedy performance’ ***** (Scotsman). ‘The most fun you can have without taking your clothes off’ (Mirror).”

Trevor Lock is new to us, so it’s a bit of a punt but he gets good reviews, so here’s hoping!

UPDATE no 1: in a change to the advertised programme, we’re going to see Oleg Denisov, Escaped Artist, instead!

UPDATE no 2: Oleg’s a funny guy, with great material, solid, reliable delivery, and I liked how he looked the Ukrainian conflict head-on, there’s no point trying to deny or ignore it.  Plenty of good jokes that stem from being a foreigner, living overseas, trying to make a living from comedy. He’s also trying to be feminist, which creates more comic delights. Very good indeed. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

16.15 – Richard Stott: Afterparty, Underbelly Bristo Square.

Richard Stott“Richard Stott returns to the Fringe with a brand-new show filled with trademark storytelling and joyously acerbic one liners. The runner-up in Dave’s Jokes of the Fringe 2019 talks about stripping down for a documentary, club nights that turned into afterparties and then into crime scenes, and finally starting to grow up and beginning to like the adult he’s become. All while living with a disability… perhaps. As seen on ITV2’s Stand Up Sketch Show. ‘Definitely one to watch out for’ (BroadwayBaby.com). ‘Thoroughly enjoyable’ (Skinny). ‘Reminiscent of Jonathan Pie’ (ThreeWeeks).”

More comedy, again from someone we don’t know but again they get good reviews. You have to take a risk in Edinburgh!

UPDATE: First of all, I see absolutely no similarity between Jonathan Pie and Richard Stott! A very well structured show, where Richard is coming to terms with being in his mid-30s without being ready to accept it yet. Afterparty becomes a metaphor for those bleak years after the fun of your 20s. Likeable and easy to identify with, Richard has a good attacking style, although some of the material could do with a bit of sharpening up. Nevertheless, very enjoyable! ⭐️⭐️⭐️

18.40 – Pear, Underbelly, Cowgate.

Pear“You have a one in 250 chance of being an identical twin, so for Hugo and Patrick McPherson, they started life by being a bit unusual. And that’s not all: 6’8″, benders of the truth, and standing at 6’7″, these enormous twins now launch their debut show, Pear. A riotous, absurd and hilarious collection of sketch comedy and wacky characters. There was originally cultural commentary; it got cut for time. But it was as brave as much as it is now not in the show. An unapologetically original hour of comedy.”

Fringe favourite Patrick McPherson, whom we’ve already seen once this Fringe, returns with his brother for a series of sketches.

UPDATE: “Are there twins in the audience, oh oh, oh oh, are there any twins in?” 🎵 🎵 I guarantee you’ll be singing that for ages.

Patrick and Hugo do an amazing double act, with a nicely structured, incredibly silly, beautifully funny show, with perfect callbacks and audience interaction. You don’t stop beaming from start to finish! Is there nothing these McPhersons can’t do?! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

21.15 – Adults Only Magic Show, Assembly George Square Studios.

Adults Only Magic Show“Winner of Best Magic Show and Adelaide Fringe Weeklies. Prepare to be wowed out of your seats in this jam-packed, 18+ spectacular! Featuring an array of raucous comedy, mind-bending illusions and a cheeky hint of nudity seen on stages all across the globe! The Penn & Teller of Australia! ***** (GlamAdelaide.com.au). ‘Wildly hilarious, wonderfully confident and wickedly inappropriate!’ ***** (TheatreTravels.org). ‘This duo is a force to be reckoned with!’ ***** (WeekendNotes.co.uk). ‘Magic at its finest and funniest! **** (FringeFeed, FringeWorld.com.au).”

Always up for a bit of naughty magic! This show has been going for some time but we’ve never seen it – first time for everything.

UPDATE: Sam and Justin have put together some amazing magic and framed it within this “adult only” naughty presentation, to the delight of everyone. Very funny, very naughty and very incredible! Not a clue as to how any of it was done. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

23.20 – A Shoddy Detective and the Art of Deception, The Space on North Bridge.

Shoddy Detective“A bumbling detective is called upon to uncover the mystery of a priceless stolen painting, but when he cannot solve it himself he is forced to enlist the help of an old nemesis. Together, the pair must interrogate the many characterful suspects that reside at the manor, in order to catch the conniving culprit and solve the crime of the century. A multi-roling, slapstick comedy bringing the classics of comedy to the 21st century. **** (LondonPubTheatres.com).”

From the comedy whodunit genre – let’s hope it’s more hit than miss!

UPDATE: They may call themselves Shoddy Theatre, but there’s nothing shoddy about this brilliant piece of nonsensical, physical theatre, packed with terrifically ludicrous scenes, hilarious characterisations, knockabout humour and superb stage fighting! Loved every minute of it. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Edinburgh Fringe Full Monty (nearly) – Day 1, 5th August 2022

I’ve been looking forward to this! Our first visit to the Edinburgh Fringe, when we tentatively put our toes in to see how it felt, was a long weekend in August 2014. We loved it. So we went for a week in 2015. And in 2016. And 17. And 18. And 19. And… then Covid happened. No Fringe in 2020, and no Fringe (for us) in 2021. But this is the Brave New World of 2022. If we get through the entire month Covid-free it will be a miracle, but here goes.

Instead of my previous practice of writing a pre-blog for each show we see, this time I’m going to write just one blog a day, previewing the show’s we will see the next day, and then following up with updates as to how good each show was. I’ll update just once a day, at the end of the evening – or maybe the following morning, depending on how knackered we are. It’s gotta be worth a shot – let’s start here!

Here’s the schedule for 5th August:

10.40 – Head Girl, The Space on North Bridge. From the Edinburgh Fringe website:

Head Girl“A coming-of-age story about falling in and out of love with yourself. Head Girl navigates the 21st century and girl boss mentality, whilst still practising self-care seven days a week. Becca is running in the campaign for head girl at school and running herself into the ground, all with a smile on her face. But who is she doing all this work for? A platonic love story that will be full of adoration and careful ambition. ‘Fringe Theatre at its best’ (NorthEastTheatreGuide.co.uk). ‘In awe’ (BBC Radio).”

Performed by the group “Girl Next Door”, this is either going to be a funny and charming introduction to our Fringe Odyssey or a bit of a weak start. I’ll tell you later.

UPDATE: A great start to the day with a very funny and beautifully performed play about 17 year old Becca’s quest to become head girl, even if it means making unacceptable sacrifices to get there. There’s definitely a lesson to be learned here – not to work too hard and to remember the things that are important. Very nice characterisations, I loved the gawky super-enthusiastic Becca and the contrast with her more sophisticated pal and teacher. Great family entertainment which should appeal to anyone who’s ever tried to juggle with a burning ambition! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

12.45 – Colossal, Underbelly Cowgate.

Colossal“’Ferociously funny’ ***** (Scotsman). Following his sold-out, five-star debut show, The Man, Patrick McPherson returns to Edinburgh with Colossal: a one-man comedy play that dives into love stories, morality, and the dance between the two. Colossal weaves sketch comedy, gig theatre and spoken word to tell the comedic and candid story of a man called Dan, his affinity for owls, and his messy recent past. An hour of dynamic theatre, comedy and music, that embraces the spectrum of modern romance, from the first date to the last text, from falling headfirst to falling apart.”

We’ve seen Patrick McPherson twice at the Fringe and he’s been absolutely brilliant. If this isn’t also brilliant, I’ll eat my hat.

UPDATE: I predict another massive word of mouth success for Patrick’s latest creation. Incredibly beautiful writing reminds you of the hip hop rhythms of Hamilton, whilst telling his own very individual story of love and deception. So many brilliant callbacks, so many surprises. Patrick turns his likeable persona inside out and challenges the audience to stick with him. And we sure do.

Technically brilliant too with a terrific sound and lighting plot, which also play their part. A complete winner. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

14.25 – Hannah Fairweather: Just a Normal Girl Who Enjoys Revenge, Just the Tonic at The Caves.

Hannah Fairweather“Award-winning comedian Hannah Fairweather is the Taylor Swift of comedy, joking about those who have previously wronged her. Hannah was 2019 Rising Star New Act of the Year, and semi-finalist in multiple new comedian awards including: BBC New Comedian Award, So You Think You’re Funny, Leicester Square, 2Northdown, Komedia Brighton. She has been heard on Union Jack Radio, BBC Sounds and Radio 4 and has written for The Now Show and Mock The Week. ‘Hannah mixes relaxed, confident stage presence with some killer subversive gags. Absolutely one to watch’ (Joe Lycett).”

I know nothing about Hannah Fairweather but I like the title of the show – so this is hopefully a lucky punt.

UPDATE: Hannah explains why the name of the show isn’t perhaps as appropriate as it could be, as she lists all the people who have done her wrong, but it’s not as straightforward as that! Very enjoyable material with great use of callback – I have the toilet roll messages to prove it (you had to be there). Very likeable and engaging; I missed out on some of her gems because she delivered them so quickly, but that’s probably my ears playing up. ⭐️⭐️⭐️

16.15 – Badgers Can’t Be Friends, Greenside @ Nicolson Square.

Badgers Can't Be Friends“Runner-up for Best Comedy at Standing Ovation Awards 2021. ‘Mrs Kirkham comes up to my classroom at lunch and sees… And sees us… Having a ninja battle’. When Mr. Dennis, a super-teacher, hits back at the education system, he finds himself becoming a not-so-super hero. Who is he fighting for? Will he triumph? And can he find that weird smell in his kitchen? After Southwark Playhouse and King’s Head Theatre, this phenomenon finally lands at Edinburgh. An offbeat comedy with a serious edge. ‘A riveting play with relentless energy… very, very funny’ ***** (LondonPubTheatres.com).”

Another one that’s either a sure-fire hit or disappointing dud, but I’ve got a good feeling about this one – I think there’s more to it than just a quirky title.

UPDATE: The central premise of the play creates a very interesting topic – a man who destroys his life by acting before thinking and makes himself look like a laughing stock. However, the three very hard-working actors can’t disguise that the play itself is rather stodgy, with almost too many ideas in it, and in the end it becomes rather hard work for the audience too. There are some rather surreal sequences that weren’t to my taste. There’s a good play lurking beneath the surface but it didn’t really do it for us. ⭐️⭐️

19.00 – Lew Fitz: Soft Lad, Gilded Balloon Teviot

Lew Fitz Soft Lad“Amused Moose New Comic winner and BBC New Comedy Award-nominated northerner Lew had a breakdown and ran away from home, forever. With explosive comedic energy and a rare vulnerability, he attempts to reconcile his past and face his present. With sell-out previews, catch this rising star whilst you can. As seen on BBC3, heard on BBC Radio 4 and voted Top 5 Jokes of the Fringe (Guardian, Dave TV, Telegraph). ‘As a newcomer he’s ticking lots of boxes’ (Chortle.co.uk). ‘An engaging comic with smart and freshly funny material’ (Kate Copstick, Scotsman).”

Lew Fitz is new to us, but he comes highly recommended, so this is another punt that I’m hopeful will be a good’un.

UPDATE: Lew was keen to point out this was a preview show so no reviews, but I’ve no reason not to write about his very enjoyable hour which includes quite a bit of audience participation – he got me involved writing down his best bon mots as he spoke them – where he takes us on a journey from his childhood in Moss Side, through a sports scholarship in North Carolina, to grown up life in beautiful Croydon. On the way, we investigate greatest fears and an impossibly inappropriate nursery rhyme. He’s a quirky, very likeable guy who puts us all at our ease, and it’s a very funny show! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

21.25 – Ben Clover: Best Newcomer, C Arts C Venues C Piccolo.

Ben Clover Best Newcomer“Veteran stand-up comic Ben Clover returns with his seventh show: Best Newcomer. Ben has many successful Fringe runs under his belt, but this is his first in 2022. This year the award-winning comedian tackles the big themes as well as sweating the small stuff. ‘A delight… Inventive and savvy’ (Chortle.co.uk). ‘Comedy gold’ (Bruce Dessau, Evening Standard). ‘A magnificent performance’ (NottsComedyReview.wordpress.com).”

We saw Ben Clover at the Fringe in 2018 and really enjoyed his show so I have high expectations that this will also be a winner!

UPDATE: And the evening ended with a great show from Ben Clover, who included anti-vaxxers, Prince Andrew and Boris Johnson in his material and it all landed perfectly. The show contained an early contender for best line of the Fringe; I won’t spoil it for you but we’re still chuckling back at the apartment. He delivers his routine with apparently effortless ease, although I’m sure most of it scrupulously hand-crafted. A fantastic show, highly recommended. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Tomorrow’s schedule is already out there on another blog post. But today was a great start!

The Edinburgh Fringe One-Weeker 2019 – The Man, 25th August 2019

The ManFor our last show of the Fringe this year, we’re sneaking an early afternoon show before heading home; and it’s only because we enjoyed last year’s Camels so much that we’ve decided to stay for this one. It’s Patrick McPherson as The Man, at Underbelly Bristo Square, Jersey, at 13:05 on Sunday the 25th. Here’s the blurb: ” The Man is a sketch comedy and one-man performance piece from the side-splittingly funny Patrick McPherson, returning to Edinburgh after 2018’s five-star, Fringe sell-out Camels. Coming off a run in London’s West End, The Man showcases Patrick’s brilliant characters for an hour of brave and thought-provoking comedy. Supporting The Movember Foundation, the show discusses what it means to be “the Man” in today’s society. Mentioned in Edinburgh Evening News’ Ten Shows That Are Wowing Edinburgh Audiences 2018. ‘Inspiringly and intimidatingly well-written’ (Lucy Moss, writer of SIX, the Musical). ‘A rare treat’ ***** (PlaysToSee.com).

He’s got a lot to live up to with the excellence of last year’s show, but I can’t wait to see how he does. Check back around 2.15pm to see how much we enjoyed it. And that – as they say – is a wrap! If you’ve been following our reckless pursuit of entertainment over the past eight days, thanks very much for your loyalty! If not, I can’t blame you.

And what a way to end our Fringe! Beautifully constructed, challengingly hilarious, gut-grippingly emotional. First rate ability to involve the audience but never cruel or alarming! Mr McPherson is a complete star. Can’t wait to see what he does next!

The Edinburgh Fringe One-Weeker 2018 – Camels, 20th August 2018

CamelsNext up is a punt on some new unknown comedy. It’s Camels at Friesian @ Underbelly, Bristo Square, at 13:00 on Monday 20th. Read the blurb: “Camels is a side-splittingly funny five-star sketch comedy, coming to Edinburgh after four sell-out runs in London. Written and performed by occasional best friends Patrick McPherson and Zac Peel, their show is ‘truly hilarious’ (Everything-Theatre.co.uk) and ‘so funny it feels like a work out… just great comedy’ (Savage). With a unique mix of observation and invention, the duo run you through slick, seamless sketches for a non-stop hour of entertainment. These ‘comedic talents that should be watched for the future’ (SpyInTheStalls.com) present their hysterical brand of witty and wonderful comedy. All you have to do is come.”

I’ve booked this at the last minute on the recommendation of a friend – so I hope they know what they’re talking about! Check back around 2.15pm to see whether we have to unfriend him. By then the next preview blog should be available to read too.

Wow, I’d watch a DVD of that! A fantastic selection of daft sketches performed with great style and immaculate timing by two hilarious young comic actors. These guys are going places! Particularly loved the Judas sketch. Ace!