Day 18 at the Fringe – 16th August 2014

Oooh, get me – live blogging up at the Pleasance Dome while waiting for Dave to come out of #MyWay in the King Dome.

I started my day nice and late with a 13.20pm show at Bob’s Bookshop, Holyrood Road, so there had been time in the morning for a shower (whoop!), a catch up chat with our angel of a landlady who I hadn’t seen for nearly three days – I had to thank her big time for doing all our laundry – including our ironing (whoop whoop!) and a lovely brunch at veggie cafe: Himalaya Cafe (whoop, whoop, whoop!).

Much later update ( as in 3.05 am  next morning!). 

So my 13.20 pm gig in Bob’s Bookshop was supposed to have been Phil Kay – however at 1.40 pm the queue was still waiting outside – Phil had not yet shown up. The ticketed customers (Bob is the originator of Heroes of the Hive which means you can pre-pay a fiver for a ticket to guarantee your seat, or you can trust to luck and pay something on the way out) had been shown in already and us latecomers were being counted to make sure we could all be accommodated. Eventually we all filed in and found that the lovely Tim Renkow was filling in heroically as Phil had still not arrived. Mind, he was swearing to Bob (the audience were lapping it up, absolutely loving it) like a sailor about it – but who could blame him, he still had his own show to do in the Hive later in the day. 

At last Phil showed up (about half an hour late), guitar slung over his shoulder, gave Tim a hug and a kiss, and promptly took over. He told us he’d missed his morning flight from Bristol Airport and after looking at various other options, trains, buses etc; had settled for a later flight to Edinburgh, which had got slightly delayed. Having got to Auld Reekie, he decided to forego the new trams and grabbed a taxi, so literally had just arrived in town, worrying about his waiting audience. We had stories about his children’s guinea pigs, another about suspected scam drive resurfacers, and an improvised song at the end. 

Afterwards I wandered up towards the PC for a quick use of their “facilities” and then onwards and upwards to the Pleasance Dome where Dave had already started on a day in the King Dome, seeing the controversial Curing Room and #My Way, but not before he’d been to the Greenside venue once more for “Into the Woods”, a Stephen Sondheim musical with assorted fairy tale characters crossing paths in a forest – a very nice start to his day he’d noted. 

He’d ALSO been to The Counting House for the “Scottish Referend…uhm? – a gig by Dave Nelder, a “lighthearted examination of the upcoming referendum. No bias here from a man born in Scotland but with English and Welsh parentage. This gig was thoroughly enjoyed by the early morning crowd”.

So his third show of the day had been in the Pleasance King Dome – The Curing Room, which we’d already been warned was not easy viewing. This story (based on truth) is about seven WW2 Soviet prisoners who are locked up, by the Nazis,  in a empty room in a monastery. They are stripped of clothing, have no supplies, and left alone for many days. Not for the faint of heart, and not on a full stomach. Dave reported it as visceral and bloody – the most intense 90 minutes of theatre ever!

Then he saw a young Pleasance performance of #MyWay – examining social media through the eyes of a young Frank Sinatra tribute act. Another show without very happy outcome, and not so powerful as Connected – The Musical.

After #MyWay, Dave and I were now seeing everything else together in the King Dome, so we’d met up in the central area and trotted back in to see When It Rains – A Canadian theatrical production making very clever use of projection for backdrops to the various scenes. The play itself was quite bleak and covered birth, child and adult death, homelessness and infidelity. So uplifting!! Dave was still in shock from The Curing Room and was feeling emotionally drained – he didn’t need anything else too depressing!

We were then to see “Light”, another production set in the future, where mind implants are used on humans to make sure no-one has any “bad thoughts” To illustrate the implants and action, various coloured lights were used, as were lots of sound effects. Apart from these lights, the whole theatre was blacked out. We were sitting well at the back and to one side, and to be honest, I could only see about 50% of the action. Dave had a slightly better view than I did, and I’m afraid I felt so disconnected from what was going on, and was finding it quite hard work to follow because of my limited view, that I dozed off and missed most of it! Dave did report back to me later – another piece with no real happy ending. Poor Dave – he was really going through it today and I felt we needed something a bit more light hearted to cheer him up!

So, lucky for us then that our next show was Morgan and West with their Parlour Tricks. Morgan and West are a Victorian Magic Act. Dressed appropriately in front of a nice parlour set complete with fireplace above which were hung some very interesting portraits, Morgan and West gave their audience chicanery and fabulously mind bending sleight of hand – but as has been requested by them, I am giving nothing away. You will have to pay your money and go see them for yourself. 7pm at the King Dome, Pleasance Dome. 

Next we saw Shappi Khorsandi. From Iran originally, Shappi came over to the UK as a young girl when her family was forced to flee their homeland after the publication of a satirical poem her father had written. Shappi is a single mum to two children, watches quite a lot of porn (so she claims) and has had problems in the past standing up to injustice. She is a funny lady with a lot to say.

More comedy was to follow – in the shape of Marcel Lucont Is (character act by comedian Alexis Dubus). Marcel’s laid back, but acerbic humour, is an acquired taste but we have grown to love it. He bashes the Brits with biting Gallic disdain, while standing on the stage with an extreme designer stubble, floppy haired, wearing a poloneck under a suit, barefoot and glugging red wine (French we can only suppose), while spouting self righteous poems. ( It’s all marvellously observed and great fun. Best adlib line of the night, when a lady wearing a very sparkly jacket left during the last quarter of his gig, ” I guess she is going off for her second job as a glitter ball now”. The audience roared.

Marcel had run about ten minutes over and we knew that the next show was sold out and that the queue was going to be a very big one – so we weren’t surprised when we were late going into McNeil & Pamphilon Go 8 Bit – an interactive show literally based around old 8 bit video games such as Mario Cart and Streetfighter. The audience get to side with either McNeil or Pamphilon and comedians get paired up with audience members who are chosen when they log in on their phones during the games themselves. There are prizes for fastest fingers to vote on who will win, there are forfeits paid by McN and P when their teams lose and it’s all great slapstick fun.

 Tonight some of the guests were: James Acaster, Cariad Lloyd, David Trent and Stuart Goldsmith. The audience was predominantly male but that’s video gaming for you!  We both enjoyed it tremendously, but once more, because the night was already running behind, and because of the additional time taken to set up the technology, the show had run over half an hour late so Dave’s last show which was scheduled to be “The 1am Apeshit Show” down at the Free Sisters, was totally wiped out. We settled instead for a celebratory Symonds cider in The Moo Bar (formerly the Meadow Bar) to mark Dave’s reaching over 200 shows and then toddled home to bed. 

Running totals so far: Dave 204, Carole 152.







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