Day Four – Edinburgh Festival

Day 4 (2nd August)

Dave went off to the opening gala down at the Pleasance Grand while I got my HM training done (an eight miler needed today!) – so this part of the blog is taken from his notes.

“On entering the audience were greeted by dinosaurs from Dinosaur Zoo. Once the show got underway I found that it was the wonderful John Hastings who was hosting the event and on the line-up were David Trent, Voca People (who had me on stage later showing off my dancing skills :S ) and then Forgotten Voices, Angela Barnes and then the show was closed by This Is Brazil.” – Dave

At the tail end of this I was queuing up in the rain just up the hill outside the Pleasance Courtyard at Above (where we were spending most of the rest of the day) for the I Hate Children Children’s Show, starting to worry as Dave had not arrived and according to the printed schedule I had, his show should have finished at 12 noon and it was now 12.25pm and where the hell was he? A text and an attempted phone call had no results, then another frantic phone call as the show was going in elicited the response that the gala had run late and he was trying to find me. As our queue had already gone in he was having problems – luckily just as they were closing the door he turned up and in we went.

The IHCCS turned out to be a lot of fun with our American host, in white suit, performing scary whip stunts (“we sell these moms and dads”), interactive magic tricks with hankies, ropes, ribbons and sweeties, good scary threats and despite one child who was a livewire to put it mildly, managed to get through the hour without killing anybody. With free bubbly on the way in for parents and magic tricks for sale on the way out, what was not to like?

Outside into the damp again to queue for Backstage in Biscuitland – the autobiographical story of Jess, who suffers from Tourettes Syndrome. Every single performance of this show will be different as Jess cannot guarantee what will happen due to her disability. She presents the show alongside Chopin (another Jess) who has an alternative script in case of Jess having a fit during the show. Chopin also provides prompts if Jess forgets her lines or her vocal and physical tics get her “stuck” so that she cannot resume the story line easily. This is a fantastic show and very hard to describe so I can only recommend that you go and see it for yourself (Pleasance Courtyard “Above” at 13.55pm for an hour).

Next up was I Need a Dr – The Whosical.

The presenters and stars of this show make a feature of the copyright being held by the BBC and so they are handicapped by what they can tell us/show us. Nevertheless there are lots of Dr Who references for all but the most ignorant non-Whoists including K10, the Exterminators and Da Master (a very good rapper!). Our female star had a very good voice and all in all, for the committed Whoist, an hour well spent.

Onwards to The Inheritance Blues – a part drama/part music show around the death and wake of a man whose three sons did not seem to really know him and or each other very well. There were some set characters, the wastrel, the drunk etc, and all the time there was the music, including some very good playing of the saxophone, keyboards and drums.  We were having a bit of a wobble with the pressure of keeping up-to-date witness statements, timings (not much in the way of gaps for food today) and tiredness – the show was good – we weren’t.

A bit of reconsolidation and we’d gotten ourselves mentally regrouped and back into action for The Only Way is Downton, a one man show rewriting the popular tv period drama series, incorporating enough modern references and spoof take-offs to please the non-Downton fans (I think we were the only two!!) and an absolutely fabulous Alan Carr take off at the end.

Wit Tank were next up on our list for the day with Old School Secrets. This show is a run on from last year’s show using similar themes – funny for all that and I particularly liked the lessons to the tunnelling escapee public school boys about how to survive on the “outside” with the plebs  – and who doesn’t keep an Orca in the school pond?

The American Eddie Pepitone was our next act in the venue with his show RIP America; it’s Been Fun. A political leftie, Eddie’s act is all about how his home country is going down the drain and how he feels about that. The room wasn’t full and we saw three people walk out during the show. It wasn’t for us but on looking around, people were enjoying themselves, so subjectivity is key.

After Eddie it was Christ’s turn. To be factual, it was Australian comedian Josh Ladbroke, aka Jesus Christ, who spends most of the show “shackled” to a cross made of “pales of light coloured wood”. This is one of those 50/50 shows where the comedian has the idea and the audience provides most of the content. After being suitably welcomed into the venue by Jesus, who is already “hung”  on his cross, the punters are literally invited to heckle as much as they want so just how good the show is really does depend on the quality of the heckles.

Our second last show of the day (or so we thought at the time), was Rob Deering’s Beat Box. This is a musical quiz show with two teams and tonight’s teams were Ed Gamble and Johnny Awsum versus Gordon Southern and Wendy Wason. We had a member of the audience picked out to keep score and off we went. One very loud heckler kept things moving along comedically and Wendy turned out to be a musical genius helping her team to a big win.

Off we went to a teeny room just down the road to The Counting House for Bring On The Apocalypse. There was no-one flyering outside  but we went upstairs to the bar, got a drink, went up to the roasting hot attic space and waited, and waited, and waited, alongside some fairly loud drunks. By this time it was well after 1.30pm (the show was supposed to start at 1.15am) and we decided enough was enough. We went downstairs – still no-one about, so we called it a day and headed back to the B and B.

Our mutual Show of the Day –  Backstage in Biscuitland, details are written above.



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