A drive across from Glasgow, a quick call in to our B&B, a wander to the Gilded Balloon via a cafe for breakfast (incredibly slow service) and then I was ready to start the first show of the day.
Originally this was due to be Shakespeare For Breakfast but as part of the many tinkerings this had changed to The Big Bite Size Breakfast Show which was due to be the first show for the first three days. An inspired choice it proved to be with a greeting consisting of tea/coffee, croissants and fresh strawberries before settling down for the show. The show itself consisted of six short plays and they were all highly entertaining and very funny. I laughed a lot and this was a perfect start to any fringe day. Highly recommended, plus they are doing a rotating set of plays so I know that on day two and day three I will get a different show.
While I was doing this show, Carole first visited the Gilded Balloon guys and got a pile of tickets printed out for theirs and Underbelly shows. She then went over to the Pleasance Courtyard, where we were due to spend the rest of the day, and met Jess for the first time, I followed shortly afterwards and also said hi before we settled down for the rest of the day doing all the shows in the Cellar. It was to become a running joke through the day as we came out of one show to go back in fifteen minutes later.
First up at the cellar was the Hemline Index, a quirky two hander play with two girls from 1984 and 2014 comparing their lives. It was performed as two intertwining monologues, with loads of overlapping dialogues and costume changes. Very clever and well timed work from clearly gifted performers.
Then we had a children’s show from the same troupe as the first show of the day. This was The Big Bite Size Factory Goes Down The Toilet. A hugely entertaining romp about paper, pee and poo with a sustainability message. We loved it, even though we were the only adults in the room without kids in tow. The adults in the room, were clearly loving it though. Remember – DON’T FLUSH WETWIPES DOWN THE LOO!
Next up a bit more of a serious topic with Normal/Madness a one woman play about the performer’s relationship with her schizo affected disordered mother and her fears over inheriting the condition, and of how it affected her life and her prospects of having children with her bipolar partner. Beautifully done and not without moments of humour.
Next, our first plain stand-up show of the Fringe, Max Dickens: My Groupon Adventure. A thoroughly entertaining tale of how immersing himself in Groupon following a relationship break-up led to him eventually being sold on Groupon himself. From becoming a lord to colonic irrigation, this was funny from start to finish.
Next David Elms: Nurture Boy. We had seen a work in progress of this in Machynlleth in May and it seemed ready then, but it was tweaked and absolutely perfect now. David is the most understated performer going, with soft voice and gentle songs. But every word and pause is beautifully timed. And his switching in and out of character is wonderful. Fantastic show.
And so to Angela Barnes, who we had also met in Machynlleth and were really looking forward to seeing do a full show. Full of fun, and with a lovely narrative arc around her father, this was a fabulous show. Angela is one of the fastest talkers on the circuit and so you get your moneys worth! Lovely lady, lovely comic.
A showcase show next tonight hosted by Sunna Jarman, a highly engaging MC eliciting useless but funny titbits from the front row and beyond. She brought on James Bran, purveyor of a most unusual set, but very surreal and funny. Then Larry Dean, a well know act to us, but one we had not seen since he won Scottish comedian of the Year. Some old stuff, a lot of new stuff, but boy has he taken it up a notch. Brilliant. It is just a shame I cannot fit in his solo show, on the free fringe into the schedule.
Rhys Mathewson was show nine of the day and the room was starting to get a bit hot. Hombre Lobo the show. We have seen Rhys a lot in the South West and have rated him highly for a long time. A show about being a man/wolf, also about a break up and not being old enough to have proper opinions. Rhys is one of the best young comics out there. While there are a few New Zealand cultural references that people didn’t get, I am sure in a few days this will be an even better show than it is now.
And so to John Hastings: Adventure. We loved this show in preview at Machynlleth and have been tipping John for possible best newcomer for ages. Nothing has changed in those opinions, with the show being even tighter now. Immensely enjoyable performer, powerful and engaging.
Final show of the day was AAA Stand-Up Late. Scott Gibson hosted tonight, a broad Glaswegian with a real mickey taking attitude. Then Glenn Moore, a wordsmith and one of the Thunderbards. Some beautiful lines. Finally Danny Deegan from Bury, thoroughly engaging and great material.
Magnificent first day with not a thing we did not enjoy. After a lot of deliberation our show of the day is David Elms.
Day One Me 11 shows, Carole 10. The adventure begins.