A lovely morning (to start a completely sunny and beautiful day) saw me treking off to the Pleasance Courtyard (via Piemaker on Southbridge – a yummy vegan garlic and mushroom pie for me and a steak slice to deliver to Dave just) before going into see Aaand Now For Something Completely Improvised at the Upstairs room. This space has fairly comfy seating and is a good copy of the TARDIS as it seems to be able to absorb huge queues of people with no problem at all.
Dave was supposedly going to see An Audience with Walter J Plinge – Alter Ego as his first show of the day at the Free Sisters but that one seemed to have disappeared off the radar completely and he’d ended up watching Lulo’s Shitting in Narnia – a one woman political show about how there is no chance of her ever owning her own home and currently lives in a camper van. A very good yarn according to Dave.
Anyway – ANFSCI was a piece of comedy theatre with its story plotline partly contributed by the audience – made funny as the title of the piece (and the bit which drove the story most) was given by a small girl in the front row – Zombie Garden Gnomes. The four guys presenting the show did a first class job and it certainly kicked the day off at the PC in great style.
Next up was Night Bus, a two women show using just chairs (as bus seats) to delineate the bus, and gave us several small vignettes with each taking several characters. Not well attended, but with an attentive audience, the ladies presented their show with diligence and humour.
Paul Merton’s My Obsession drew a huge queue of people and the Upstairs was packed out for this half hour show about a successful comedian who has a female stalker who breaks into his hotel room in the middle of the night. Fairly well acted and humorous enough, Merton’s fans seemed happy enough and it was well applauded.
Mid afternoon and our next show was Connected: The Musical. Initially not overly impressed, we came round to this production and its message against bullying and aggression in schools through social media. As someone who works within a secondary school I see students’ fixation with their mobile phones and social media and am aware of occasional flare-ups outside of school re sites such as Facebook etc so I KNOW that this is a relevant subject. Well done to this production company for raising awareness.
Onto The Great Fire of Nostril – a comedy theatre story about conjoined twins, taxidermy and hitmen. Not one of our stand out shows I’m afraid but we may have been having a dip in energy levels.
However, we’d perked up by the time we went back into The Pin – sketch comedy, cleverly written and starting off (and contining) with some original seat-of-the-pants-on-the-fly script writing. Was it all written and then acted, or was it all acted then written? Plenty of audience interaction and japes to be had – and you know a show is billed as good when other comedians are coming in to watch. Naming no names.
Next up ws Iain Stirling – a Scottish comedian, with the story of Everything (the Fringe progamme need a title and he didn’t know, so this covers, quite literally, Everything). Iain has a break-up story (there’s been several of those this Fringe, and I bet it won’t be the last one we hear either), some stuff on Scottish Independence, unemotional fathers and US and Oz airports. He’s worth a listen so go buy a ticket!!
Then yet more stand-up (and Dave’s hundredth show YaYYY) in the form of Carl Donnelly and his show entitled Now That’s What I call Carl Donnelly. Mr Donnelly has also got a break-up story, but has gone on to reinvent himself using laser eye surgery and a sharp haircut (and yes, there was definitely a wee touch of eyeliner going on there as well). Self-effacing comedy, including a very up and down trip to India and a heart opener to his emotionally blocked dad. Another recommendation from us – Carl is a good choice if you have a spare hour at 8.30pm.
Our penultimate show at the Upstairs was the awesome David Trent with Live at the Pleasance Courtyard. Not a full house (why not – people are missing out here!!???). We saw his preview of this in Machynlleth back in May and it’s now very well honed indeed. Unsure at first of the media format, the audience took a wee while to come around but were definitely all having a very good time by halfway in – and they didn’t let up for the rest of the evening. Another must see – so go buy tickets!! 21.45pm.
Last show of the night in the Upstairs was the somewhat difficult It Might Get Ugly. Hosted by Karl Schultz, this featured Dane Baptiste, xxxx and, running in at the last minute from his own gig across the Courtyard, Alfie Brown. The idea behind this gig is that the acts come in, and instead of playing it for laughs, come out with some backstories presented in an honest, upfront way. It doesn’t make for fun times, but for sure it’s interesting.
At this point I decided that enough was enough and took myself home to update this blog – even though I just wanted to sleep – and Dave took himself back to the Cowgate for another episode of Wank the Dog – again featuring Matt Wills, John Pendal, Chris Ashton, Ian Miller and Paul Savage. Best acts John Pendal (rude!) and Chris Ashton.
Dave has just got back and it’s heads down at 2.45am. Yaaawwwnnn.