Day 22 at the Fringe – 20th August 2014

I am getting quite used to running down from Newington to the Pleasance Courtyard – a quick yomp can get me from Minto Street via West Richmond Street, taking about fifteen minutes (it’s about a mile). If I have to stop via the Pound Shop for water/IrnBru and Greggs for something cheap to stop Dave (and myself) dying from starvation, then it’s a few minutes longer, but not much. There’s no time to eat from our B and B’s well stocked breakfast fridge; we eat on the run and in queues. We sleep when we can and we have learned to time our loo breaks to the minute – the lives of the record attempt show watcher and his logistical support minion are tough ones. 

Dave, with his usual dogged diligence, was up at 9 am, washed and down to Maggie’s Chamber at the Free Sisters for two “free” shows before I had even graced the PC’s cobbles for our first communal gig.

He had seen Oxford Imps in http://edinburghfestival.list.co.uk/event/409893-the-oxford-imps-present-the-curious-case-of-the-improvised-musical/ which of course is run off the audience suggestions. Dave’s suggestion was: I’ve got a brand new Cornish pasty but it doesn’t go with Cornish cream”. Well done Dave – it sounds like that might have been a challenge! In any case he said the gig is very good so go and see it!

Next up in the same room was Biff, Bash, Bosh with a kids’ show, again very good! https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/biff-bash-bosh-free so another recommendation!

I’d gone via Greggs to the PC and met Dave outside Bunker Two where I handed him some grub (a steak bake and a ham and cheese baguette if you are interested). Bunker Two was our venue for the rest of the day. First up to see together was a very good, thought provoking and eye opening show from Pure Theatre Productions. 3rd Sector looks at charity corruption, misrepresentation and misuse of funds. A cheerful subject you might (not) think, but it was all done very well – and I heard one of the cast say that the figures they used in the production were true (three people die EVERY DAY while waiting for an organ transplant). Go and see this.

Out of the space, loo breaks,  and in again to Kate, an Icelandic wartime drama based around an Icelandic family and their relationships both in business and personally with the British soldiers who were occupying the island during that time. An entertaining hour.

Lizzie Bates: Reprobates was our next show at the PCB2. She is a character comedy act and had several interesting alter egos. It’s quite interactive and Dave was dragged up into the space and made to don boxing gloves and attempt a few jabs. Other people were also involved, much to their embarrassment. The crowd were loving it.

Tom Neenan – The Haunting of Lopham House was up next and Dave thought this an excellent piece of comedy drama which had plenty of wordplay. I enjoyed the bit I saw of it; unfortunately I was sat behind a largish man who was mainly obscuring my view of the stage, and despite Dave moving over a bit and me craning my neck (which got painful) I really didn’t feel involved and eventually dozed off in my wee corner of the warm room. The sleep deprivation we are both suffering is making it easy to switch off – no reflection on the excellent shows at all.

Another quick changeover in the room and then it was Dane Baptiste’s turn with his first ever Fringe Show, Citizen Dane. This was a lovely hour and no mistake. Dane has been nominated for the Fosters Best Newcomer award – the judges were in the house. Dane gave us stories about his upbringing, dancing and acrobatics plus some good call backs. I thought the show well written and confidently delivered – another good gig!

The room was serving us well so far and then it was time for Chris Turner, Pretty Fly. He’s a white Hip-Hop fan, with some groan worthy and some giggle worthy puns, a contender for the Tim Vine Newcomer’s Cup! Then he gave us improv as well! Go see him – Dave – the wordplay lover, was all over it. Just set your pun filter to very low and pay attention or you’ll miss some!

Next the phenomenon that is Luke McQueen, another master of making his audience feel nervous and/or awkward. If you are a virgin to the Fringe, and like your comedy a bit vanilla, I suggest you cut your Festival teeth elsewhere before daring to enter Luke’s space. But if you like something interactive – where you might even get to START the show – then go along, just be prepared to get involved. Both Dave and I got roped in, much to Jess Fostekew (who was in the audience) and her friend’s amusement. I like to think we gave back as good as we got and I know Dave certainly did! Honestly – just go and see it. 

Pierre Novellie is Mighty Peter was the next gig in the space and very enjoyable he was too. Pierre is a nice guy and tells us of his life since coming over to the UK (from South Africa) when he was seven. He now knows most of the “rules” for living in Britain. It’s an hour of quality stand-up so this is another one not to be missed. 

At this point of the evening I was taking off to the South Sider at the top of West Richmond Street to see Cerys Nelmes’ Pic ‘N’ Mix – a comedian compilation which has different comics every night at 10.45 pm on the Free Fringe. Tonight’s line-up was: Cerys hosting, the lovely Laura Lexx as opener, then James Brown (who we saw what seems like ages ago now on our first day [!!!] as part of AAA stand-up at the Cellar) doing haikus. Next it was the fab Paul McCaffery and then closing we had Nicola Wilkinson (who Dave had also seen as part of another show during this Fringe). The room was quite busy and we were all having a lovely time. Adam Money was also in the audience, but not performing tonight – he told me later he’s doing Sat (23rd Aug) so it’s worth your while to get down there, not just on Saturday but ANY night! 

Dave, meanwhile,  was away down to the Cowgate to try and pick up another show. He succeeded in seeing “Andy Fields is a Giddy Manchild” on top of the bus at the Free Sisters. Andy is a comic stand-up who we have seen down in Exeter before – a good ‘un! Dave then nipped into  Spank at the Underbelly to catch Ivo Graham’s set and say hello to Amy Howerska (and give her the picture of our hen who is named after her!). Then he shot down to the Just the Tonic’s Midnight Show at the Community Project at Cowgatehead just in time to catch Matt Richardson’s set and where Danny McLoughlin was MCing.

Enough for tonight – I’m having a nice late start tomorrow, meeting Dave at Cabaret Voltaire, but not till 2.35pm! “What will you be doing until then Carole?” I hear you ask. “Getting my a*se out of bed for a 6 mile run, then possibly a little bit of present shopping.” is my answer.

Night all.

Carole.

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