Day 5 began with a trip to the caves for the Big Value Lunchtime show. This started well with Matt Holmes MC whipping up the crowd to be followed by the assured Masud Milas. The energy in the room was to be sucked out by the lacklustre Lovdev Barpaga, who laughed at his own jokes a huge amount more than he actually made the audience laugh. Darren Walsh did a good job after this to get the show back on track and the punters happy.
Next to the Gilded Balloon for Barry Castagnola doing Donny Donkins. This was somewhat spoiled by a bunch of idiots at the back talking non stop among themselves and heckling at will, but the fortunately left before the end and left the rest of us to enjoy a strange but hugely enjoyable character.
Then to Ciao Romana for Short & Curly the excellent sketch duo of Paul F Taylor & Rebecca Shorrocks. They were a highlight of last years fringe and they delivered again, with sublime sillinessand loads of audience interaction. This was over far too quick.
Then to Cabaret Voltaire for Jessica Fostekew and ‘Moving’ a brilliant hour of standup on the free fringe. Jessica is hugely talented and a lovely person and we cannot wait to see her again.
Then to Underbelly for Romesh Ranganathan, he is developing into a real class act and his nomination for best newcomer was well deserved.
Then came ‘The Dark Room’ John Robertson’s homage to text based computer games of the early PC age. John has turned this into a magnificent piece of comedy. We saw it several times at The Hive on the free fringe last year and since then it has gone worldwide winning acclaim wherever it has gone. It was hilarious again, and I ended up with a t-shirt – thanks John! The joy of this is that no-one wins but John as the dungeon master kills everyone off with such hilarity. An absolute triumph again.
We finished the evening with three compilation shows at the Three Sisters. With a fair overlap of acts.
Firstly Laughing Horse Free Selection. With Paul Revill MC’ing the Bob Blackman Appreciation Society, Bronston Jones, Oliver Meech and Nic Coppin. A good selection of acts.
Then Shaggers, hosted by Nic Coppin and featuring acts telling routines based around sex. We had John Hastings, our first sight of Pam Ford in cougar mode making a beeline for Paul from Croydon, the excellent Geoff Northcutt, and Kunt and the Gang. Great show.
Then Shit of the Fringe featuring acts who have at one point got a one star review. Nic Coppin again MC’d, Bronston Jones (again), Kunt and the Gang (again), Matt Hollins and Lee Camp.
We went home to bed very happy again, ready to move accommodation in the morning but unaware of what was going to happen to us in the morning.
Two shows of the day, for pure quality stand up Jessica Fostekew stood out a mile. And for pure zaniness and entertainment ‘The Dark Room’.
Show count – 9
Running total – 53
Acts Seen – 24
Running Total – 113