Day Ten at the Fringe – 8th August 2014
First off was an early show that Dave had persuaded me was worth getting up for as he had already seen it once. After a 3am bedtime, this was very hard work but I made the effort and we toddled off in beautiful sunshine to the Greenside Nicolson Square for These Fragments – a three time zone musical drama around two world wars and a Syrian type conflict, all linked together through the mechanism of a tea tin which has been passed down through various generations. This was a fab, and intensely moving production featuring the extremely talented young performers from Dolphin School. A great start to our tenth Fringe day and I had to forgive Dave for denying me some extra kip!
Our venue for the rest of the day was at the Pleasance Courtyard Two (or P2 as the Pleasance Team call it). Snow Dog was to be our first show and well worthy of an hour. With four actors playing the parts of mum, dad, son and daughter, Snow Dog is a husky toy who is bought by the daughter to take to her grandad. He used to be an explorer and she wants to give him the toy as a reminder of his Polar days. Unfortunately things don’t work out quite as planned. The ending was uplifting and there was a nice surprise at the end which the children in the audience especially enjoyed.
When we came out of Snow Dog it was raining quite hard, and in the half hour break we had before our next show we were also treated to some proper crash bang thunder and lightning – luckily there is plenty of canopy cover in the courtyard so we weren’t soaked but it did make queuing up each time a wet affair.
Next up a two man show in The Art of Falling Apart – a lesson in how to avoid wasting your life – and a little insight into mid-life crisis. Excellently done and with some hilarious characterisations. We liked this one a lot.
So, on to Emily Brown and the Thing. No getting away from it – this was primarily a children’s show. We sat well at the back of the packed out room and let it wash over us – both feeling the lack of sleep. The kids were loving it so it was obviously hitting its target audience very well indeed.
The next show was also a difficult one for us – Hot Cat; based on Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Not our thing but the rest of the audience were lapping it up and the company had plenty of enthusiastic applause at the end so if Williams’ stuff is your thing – go and see it. 15.30pm in Pleasance Two.
After that it was into Civil Rogues – a mediaeval bit of fun based around banned Shakespearean plays being put around the time of the English Civil War. We had roundheads and royalists, bawdiness, plenty of the Bard’s one liners thrown in willy nilly, men playing women (playing men), real women playing men (shock, horror, what would Shakespeare say?), and it was quite hard for me, suffering from sleep deprivation, to keep up with it all, but it was very well done and was received enthusiastically by the punters.
And so onto “He had Hairy Hands” – a lovely production by the company Kill the Beast, featuring a large multi media screen backdrop with various well drawn and inventive projections and special effects before which each scene was enacted. We had multiple murders, a were wolf (but who was it?) and lots of red herrings. Dave loved this production voting it one of the best of the day so far.
The day was marching on and soon enough it was ten past eight and time to go into Alex Horne’s Monsieur Butterfly – a very tricky show compiling of Alex constructing a mechanism with pieces relating to parts of his life. I don’t want to go into this too much as that would be a definite spoiler alert but it was great fun and Dave was once more, if not exactly dragged onto the stage, at least made to play a critical part in the action from the safety of his seat.
What can we say about Sarah Kendall’s show Touchdown? It is mostly Sarah’s fault that we are comedy fans, being as it was her who was hosting the Soho Theatre late show we saw on a visit to London one Autumn which we took a punt on several years ago now and it got us hooked. If we hadn’t got caught up in the comedy world we’d probably never have come to Edinburgh for the first and second times and would very likely not be doing a third visit and this record attempt.
Sarah’s show is an engrossing piece of story telling, starting off with a joke told at the tail end of a previous show and leading onto a whole piece from a much younger period in her life. A story of painful first love and misunderstandings, of friendship and favours received and given. It was totally engaging and you could hear a pin drop (in a good way!!) for long periods at a time as her audience engaged with the story. A magic hour – you would be mad to miss this!
My last show of this evening (but not Dave’s) was The Noise Next Door’s Comedy Lock-in, featuring the boys plus Matt Richardson and the magicians Morgan and West. Lots of improv action with suggestions gleaned from the audience; then both sets of guests did short sections of their own shows plus were dragged into more improv (not to mention Matt being singled out for several short “quizzes” with titles and word play around the fact that he presented The X-tra Factor on TV). Fair play to him – he gave it his all and, thanks to some magnificent egg catching in a backwards hoodie near the end, won the audience some cake on exit – so well done Matt!
I was catching up on this blog while Dave is in the Cabaret Bar (Pleasance Courtyard) shoving in an extra late show so update coming below!
UPDATE: Dave reported that the late show comprised Chris Martin (MC), Carl Donnelly, Camilla Clease (6 foot 1 American), Benny Boot, Gareth Richards and Paul Chowdrey – so it sounds like he had a very good time!
PS – just remembered. Note to self; when your hubby buys you a bottle of expensive Old Mout fruit cider (4.50!!!), do not place it on the floor of the front row of venue, tell Dave to be careful not to kick it over (Dave has lots of history here – I was not speaking out of turn), and then literally TWO SECONDS LATER nudge my bag onto it and spill it all over the floor myself, meaning I had to go and bother one of the venue staff to find some mopping up material as I have found a little cider goes a very long way, but only when knocked flying!! Hangs head in shame. 😦