Working exclusively from Dave’s notes for the first five shows today ( I wasn’t due to start till 2pm, but more of that later) I will try to cover what he saw in some sort of coherent form.
According to what Dave gave me notewise and also what he told me he had a lovely time at Breakfast Baps with Witty Chaps at the Free Sisters (9am so an early start but you get fed so don’t knock it!). They are a young sketch troup who are very promising indeed and Dave reckoned this was a good start to what was going to be a very long day.
Next up at the same venue Dave had Lexicon Lady which he has noted as “wordplay and poetry – light and whimsical”. I, meantime was busy under the canopy in the Free Sisters Courtyard working from notes, blogging day three with a nice hot cup of tea (it was sunny but a bit bloody blowy down the Cowgate) and keeping an eye out for a pre-arranged appointment with the Beeb!
After Lexicon Lady – and a quick bit of filming with myself and Mark Watson from Edinburgh NIghts (Friday 8th August, BBC2 at 10pm) – Dave was off into the Free Sisters’ Yurt to see The Princess Pirate which he has noted as “totally crammed and very hot, but the kids (who were all in the younger age bracket) totally enjoyed it”. Dave’s not enjoying being a middle aged child free male watching some of the children’s shows on his own – it definitely seems a bit weird and he’s happier if I’m accompanying him, but each show adds to the count so he is just trying carry on regardless.
I was off to amuse myself for a couple of hours. I first moseyed up to the Royal Mile to admire the wonders thereto. Dancing nuns, street acts, flyerers seemingly frozen in mid flyering, pipers, a lady lying down on a camp bed and flyering at the same time (we had a conversation, with me squatting down beside her, about sleepwalking. Only in Edinburgh!
I then toddled down to the White Horse on the Canongate for some lovely squash and carrot soup, with a granary roll and butter and a nice cup of Scottish Blend tea. My first show wasn’t due to start till 2pm remember so I had LOADS of time.
Meanwhile Dave had dived along the Cowgate to the Pleasance Courtyard Attic (where we were spending most of the rest of the day) for …And This Is My Friend Mr Laurel. Reading Dave’s notes he had: ” a monologue from Jeffrey Holland based on a visit to Oliver Hardy when bedbound towards the end of his life. Reflections of the Double Acts career and personal life – very moving”.
Dave was then into another monologue with a setting around Princess Diana’s death.”Powerful and beautifully done”.
While Dave was seeing this (start time 13.50pm) I had rocked up to The Hive (Bunka) on Niddrie Street to see Ali Brice’s Eric Meat Wants To Go Shopping; start time 2pm. I bought a pint of diet something or other (2 quid – so fairly reasonable) at the bar and waited to be ushered in. Unfortunately it was just me and one young couple who were waiting. Ali apologised profusely and said that as much of the show was based around audience interaction, it could be a bit awkward and embarrassing with just the three of us so he was pulling the show. He said it had been really busy over the weekend but it just wasn’t going to work today. Fair enough I thought and, gulping my diet something or other down quick, took myself off up the road to the Pleasance Courtyard via Piemaker (vegan choices on the pie list – Piemaker, you are FAB! http://www.thepiemaker.co.uk ) to deliver a steak bake to Dave and a Morroccan something or other to me before our first mutal show of the day – Catriona Knox’s Thinks She’s Hard Enough (Pleasance Courtyard Attic – 3.15pm)
We first saw Catriona Knox last year at the Fringe and she was such a delight Dave had booked her again as a must see. Once more Catriona did not fail to deliver the goods. One middle aged male punter had been chosen to be the repeated fall guy for several of her sketches and, fair play to him, he worked his given roles manfully (despite being cast overall as a 16yr old work experience candidate waiting for his GCSE results). I loved her very right wing “austerity cook” and the finger painting scene especially was inspired. Great stuff Catriona, and a lovely lady to boot.
Next up in the same room was Rachel Parris and her Live in Vegas Show. We were looking forward to this as we had really enjoyed her show last year. However, we are agreed that it wasn’t as strong as last year’s. The country and western character was well observed and also the Felice persona but possibly the songs didn’t have quite the same zing as 2013.
We had already seen a preview for Toby at Machynlleth in May so we knew roughly what we were getting with our next Attic offering. The show is now much more polished and they had so much more space to move around than in the tiny stage in Mach. It’s hard to pick out where the improvements have been made as everything is flowing along so nicely, but the girls were definitely a million times more confident in their delivery and the audience were loving it.
Three male stand-up shows in a row now. We started with Stuart Goldsmith and his Extra Life. Stuart was tugging at every female audience members’ ovaries with his claims to be broody and wanting children of his own. He might have put a few ladies off however by also claiming that he just wants to be a dad, but possibly not a husband as well – mums are superfluous!! I hope his girlfriend doesn’t find out about this! There’s lots of other material too – his supermarket self service robots are innovative and thanks for the shoplifting tips!
Onto a revelation – Alex Edelman. Twenty-five years old, American and Jewish, (this comes up a lot in his act – I’m not being racist), Alex is a naturally good writer and a wonderful young comic. Other comedians a lot older/experienced than him must be sick when they see his talent and completely disingenuous delivery – there seem to be no nerves, no hesitance. His show is based around a Millennial Test that he took – and the results. Is he a man of his time? Go see his show in the Attic (8.15pm) and find out!! Not to be missed.
The last in our three was the very nice man (or not if you believe the construct and title of his show) Tom Price. With the physical look of a young (and more alive version of) Rick Mayall about him – Tom tried to convince us that he was nasty, and then tried to convince us that he was going to change. How he does that is the meat of the show so I’m not going to give things away – but is it all as it seems?? Go see for yourself and see what you think!
The last show at the Attic was more sketch in the form of Geins Family Giftshop (volume 1), a gem of alternative comedy featuring two lads and a lady. With fast sketches, a lot of movement, using few props and lighting changes, this trio kept us highly entertained for the entire hour. There’s rudeness revelant for the lateness of the hour (including a chess game with a different get out of checkmate!) feminism and horror and it was all fabulous.
So to our last planned show of the day. The Just The Tonic Comedy Club’s Midnight Show at the far end of the Cowgate from the Pleasance Courtyard. We were of course relying on the GFG finishing on time, which it had at 11.45pm but it was still a fairly hard breathing march/jog down the hill and along to be at the JTT by midnight. Most entertaining was watching Bob Slayer risking life and limb on a busy junction, chasing us up the road from his Bookshop to find out where we were off to and what number show we were at.
We didn’t know what our line-up for the JTT show was going to be, but we seemed to be in safe hands with booker/MC Darrell Martin saying there had been a few hiccups but that everything was fine. We had Eddie Brimson, naughty Londoner, Vince Attar (musical, beatboxing, Three Billy Goats Gruff), Rich Wilson (great and true observations about Ikea!!) and a punmeister Darren Walsh. Now, as PHHH blog readers will know – I am not a pun lover. Mr Vine’s material normally makes me want to fill my ears with boiling hot wax so I don’t have to listen to anymore of it, but Darren also has some great visual comedy (that man knows how to take an invisible horse punch!!) and, on speaking to him afterwards he literally made me snort with laughter so I have to give him some brownie points.
More brownie points also to Dave who, by this time, had attended thirteen shows and still had more than a mile to walk home with me to our B and B on Minto Street. I had been the lightweight today on just eight! (should have been nine if not for my 2pm cancellation.)
And so to bed – with me on a full day off for Day 6 (to visit family over near Loch Lomond) so it will be down to some very good notes or Dave himself to blog!