So – an eleven o’ clock start this morning and we stopped for quick hot breakfast rolls at a cafe on Nicolson Street before bearing right and down to the Pleasance Grand for Dinosaur Zoo, a fab show with a variety of dinosaur puppets ranging from babes in arms to a massive half puppet herbivore that is so huge it doesn’t need to fit on the stage. This is primarily a show for the childen, but there’s enough fun, facts and scary sound effects to keep the adults interested too so take the family along – I’ve recommended this one to our B & B landlady.
After this Dave and I had different schedules – he had altered some shows around to fit in extra ones and was off to keep himself busy at the Free Festival until 6pm when we were meeting up for Voca People back in the Grand. I was having a few hours off, ostensibly to get my long training run done (8 miles around Holyrood Park and Arthur’s Seat in a force 9 wind), and catch up with the blog. Keeping the blog up to date is, aptly for our location, a bit like painting the Forth Bridge. As soon as you get to the end of an update for the previous day, you have pages of notes for the next one. There is no end to it
Anyway – working from Dave’s notes from yesterday he saw: LOLympics at the City Cafe – supposedly hosted by Martin Mor (love that man) and Branston Jones but Martin was ill so it was just Branston in charge. This was a compilation with the excellent Donald Mack representing Jamaica and Michael Lawrence representing the USA. Funniest moment (according to Dave) was when Donald asked the crowd whether anyone had ever had anything stuck up their bum and a young girl said “yes”. It could have been very awkward, but fortunately it was only her dad(‘s shoe!). Apparently the crowd were in an uproar!
Dave then legged it around to Whistlebinkies for another showing from Jen Brister and Wishful Thinking. He reckoned this was much better second time around, and as it was already very good the first time – this is now a MUST SEE SHOW. 1.30pm at Whistlebinkies, 4-6 South Bridge.
After that and still at Whistlebinkies, Dave saw the wonderful Gary Colman in ChUNT. The word according to Dave is that this is an hour of quality stand-up and, having seen Mr Colman several times before (and last year here) I believe him.
Down the road to The Hive then and Candy Gigi. Dave reports this as a totally insane half hour of character comedy – impossible to describe but another MUST SEE.
Last on his list before heading off the the PC (Pleasance Courtyard) to meet me was Tom Goodliffe – Thug Liffe. A white rapper, ex-accountant, all comic. A thoroughly entertaining hour. More Free Fringe gold.
And so, after a fairly restful few hours on my part (except for the eight mile Cardiff half marathon training run – did I mention that? I did? Sorry!!) and an hour or two spent in the Richmond Cafe (www.richmondcafe.net, blogging while feasting on panini, couscous and salad ( I know – something green and healthy!!) we met up outside the Grand at Pleasance for Voca People.
This is a fabulous one hour plus with an eight man group (I think from Spain?). They perform as a group of aliens come to earth who run through a huge cross section of “Earth Musica”. There are no instruments involved in this apart from the singers’ voices and they are truly magnificent. In their totally white suits, close fitting hoods, white faces with red lips, they are extremely unearthly looking indeed. Their performance is engaging, funny and interactive and their voices are fabulous. Go and see it – we thoroughly recommend it. Dave had seen a small part of it at the Pleasance’s opening gala and knew we were in for some good stuff.
Out of the venue, quickly queueing up and in to the same space again for Brasil at 8pm. An hour of energy and music, featuring a lot of footballing tricks, gymastics, dancing, beautiful ladies and very fit looking guys with the necessary carnival costumes at the end – we enjoyed this immensely. Such a very talented company.
The only trouble was that it was running a teeny bit over time and we had only about six minutes to bolt out of the room, dive along and down the road to the back room of The White Horse (266 Canongate, Free Fringe) for the absolutely fantastic Sully O’Sullivan and Nationhood at 9.15pm. A sublime hour where Sully has to decide whether to try and stick with the UK or go back to his native New Zealand. He dissects piece by piece what makes a nation a nation. His concept is presented with style and loads of humour. No punters’ nation was left untouched by his acerbic wit. A comedy diamond – Sully needs no more polishing. Just go and see him.
Last but not least at the Grand, the master of mayhelm (sic) the one man mega myth that is Nick Helm, doing the first night of his Two Night Stand at the Grand. His show was packed out and included many of his songs which we know well enough to sing along. He dragged some poor devil up on stage to lie on a mat while he straddled him and crooned in his ear. We didn’t know whether to feel sorry for him or not when he pulled onto the stage some poor lady who he said looked like his ex girlfriend, only to find that she couldn’t hear him because she had HER HEARING AIDS SWITCHED OFF. Luckily she was very forgiving and it was all smoothed over with some more singing.
The finale was magnificent with Helm coming back on stage after a quick costume change into a black mini kilt complete with sporran and began singing No Survivors and getting his previous “victims” up to wave Scottish, English and Union Jack flags – the crowd were up, arm waving and signing themselves hoarse, myself and Dave included.
Eventually Helm let us out and I took myself back to Minto St and the blog while Dave shot off to the Counting House for yet another late show. More on that to follow.