Anna from the theatre office took a trip to the Edinburgh Fringe for her holiday this year, whilst not as sunny or relaxing as a week in Spain she had an amazing time all the same, this is her talking about some of the amazing shows she saw, with a helpful list for one of our volunteers Sean to take with him to the Fringe next week.
With no idea what to see or where to go I set off for the High Street, or the Mile which is where every performer in the Fringe is frantically promoting their show. It’s a little bit like Tenerife on a night out, but without the free shot with every flyer. Eventually we were handed the Free Fringe guide which proved to become our bible for the stay. Easily set out with each page dedicated to a time we headed for the 16.30 – 17.00 mark and found, Drei, Zwei, Eins mit Flange Krammer – The Description read -Olympic Skiing sensation Flange Krammer brings his hit game show from German television screens to the Edinburgh Fringe. Character comedy from Neil Dagley – Free at Espionage.
Game show comedy seemed like as good a place as any to start the Fringe, Espionage is a night club, but during Fringe time it transforms into a performance venue, I eventually found Flange Krammer down 3 flights of stairs. I laughed out loud several times, not least each time one of Flange’s pun jokes went down he would slide to the left shouting “eeesss smy powder” which I eventually heard as “eat my powder” never the less I belly laughed each time, even when the joke didn’t get the reaction it deserved, Flange would still get a laugh shouting his catch phrase. There were a few technical hitches which went against Neil, but it was only day 4 of the fringe so I’m sure by the time you get there Sean these would have been ironed out. Well worth negotiating your way around the Espionage maze of corridors to find him. My tummy ached with laughter and I wish I had “paper” for the bucket rather then pound coins so I could go home with my own can of Power Horse!
Now when you go to a “free” show at the fringe, it’s free to get in but not free to leave. Each performer stands at the door at the end of the show with a bucket, for the successful shows this can mean performers leaving Edinburgh with more profit then the paid shows say at the Underbelly and Pleasance venues. If you are not enjoying a show then it is more then acceptable to leave before the end, performers even find it helpful – how else are they going to know that you didn’t enjoy it! So if you stay to the end of a show then the least you can do is put some money in the bucket!
I won’t bore you by giving a detailed account of each and every show I went to see, or even tell you about the two bad free shows which I left half way through, or the one paid show which wasn’t quite as improvised as it promised to be – although still funny – just not what it said on the tin.
I will however list the shows which I think you should see if you are lucky enough to go to the Fringe, with a helpful link to the relevant fringe page!
(Title of Show) – @ The Assembly Checkpoint – A cracking musical about 2 friends writing a musical about 2 friends writing a musical to take to a show! Well worth the £12 I think it cost us to go, we wanted to go again but ran out of time!
Hayley Jane Standing – Britains Youngest Grandma – very talented lady from Burnley, don’t let the unfinished venue put you off, we left feeling like we had witnessed the new Catherine Tate – wish I had more money to put in the bucket at the end!
Norris and Parker – All our Friends are Dead – Basically 3 girls lots of cleverly worked character sketches and parody songs. Slightly off from the Cowgate track, but well worth the walk to Ryans Cellar Bar to watch.
Ant Dewson – Now that’s what I call musical comedy – the title of this show doesn’t lie, one man one piano and a very small room (the staff room at the Free sisters). If you like comedy songs you will like this – its as simple as that.
Beasts – A comedy sketch show from a trio of talented guys, I don’t know how long they’ve known each other, but it was like they’ve never not know each other – if that makes sense! I left feeling jealous that I had not thought of some of the sketches myself. If you can only pay to watch two things at the Fringe make it Beasts and Title of Show! you won’t regret it (unless you don’t like musicals or sketch comedy, in which case why are you at the fringe?)
Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans – Wonder & Joy – I have no idea what this was or how to describe it, I just know that I want to go again! My face ached from smiling, my throat hurt from singing, and my thighs hurt from the hand slap game. If you don’t like audience participation, I still think you should go because Sanderson and Pippa will persuade you otherwise with their infectious feel good show, I’m still high from the Joy!
Drei, Zwei, Eins mit Flange Krammer – Very funny character comedy show, which had me laughing out loud all the way through. I recommend you to take some notes for the bucket so that you can have a can of Power Horse!
There are several shows which are taster shows, including The Test tube at Caberet Voltaire, we were lucky enough to see Dane Baptiste the stand up comedian the day we went, I recommend you track him down at a venue while you are there. Also worth a mention is the Caberet Voltaire venue itself, a eclectic quirky venue with a chopper bike on the wall, they do a great pot of tea – but are better known for their cocktails. We also saw Quiz in my Pants here which made us chuckle for an hour with our pot of tea!
I’m sure I have forgotten someone, but these are the shows I remember the most, I don’t call myself a reviewer I’m a Theatre assistant, but I hope this list will prove useful to Sean and to anyone else. Like with all recommendations it is a matter of opinion, don’t shoot the messenger!