I’m back in Edinburgh for a few days at the Fringe.
So the headlines on days one and two: our crack review team bring you their thoughts.
Matthew Forde ‘Lets Get The Political Party Started‘
He is a political satirist who thinks the British political scene full of comic possibilities. His take is witty and painful. Ed Milliband is eviscerated as is Andy Burham and Liz Kendall but Jeremy Corbin, apart from being described as comic gold, is left alone. Is he a closet supporter or just praying Corbin wins? As he says, if Cameron resigns as he’s promised before 2020 and Boris, the bookies favourite wins. the idea of Boris v Jeremy couldn’t be scripted. Frightening really.
The Vet: ‘He was epic at accents’ ‘From someone politically naive it was educational’ ‘Great for quoting – eg Nigel Farage saying: Sometimes I think I’m too tolerant‘
Garfunkel (the Vet’s bezzie) ‘even handed – he slated everyone’ ‘What’s wrong with having two kitchens?’
Dillie Keane – ex Fascinating Aida
A cabaret singer on her own, with a mix of old songs, both funny and touching. ‘I wish I’d been a lesbian’ and ‘Autumn Crocus’ were hilarious and poignant respectively. An easy hour but in truth the variety of FA was lost rather in this set.
Garfunkel: ‘She’s definitely a woman’
The Vet: ‘Kinky old bird’ ‘Best song was about ‘Pam’
Garfunkel: ‘Who’s Pam?’
The Vet: ‘The one who left her bra behind.’
Garfunkel: ‘Not the one with the crocuses?’
Pajama Men: two men three musketeers
Two guys in pajamas playing 20 characters as they follow D’Artagnan from his early life to saving the Queen from disgrace – the fat cardinal was an exceptionally rounded characterisation.
The Vet: ‘I never really understood what was happening but captivating’ ‘An improvement on South Park’
Garfunkel: ‘Hilarious: accidents will happen’ ‘So many different characters’ ‘My stitches came out’
The Vet. ‘Did you see Pam?’
Falsetto Scottish Sock Puppet Show and the Minging Detective
One man, two socks, many detectives. If you’re British and over 50 it was very funny, if you’re not it was just two socks doing silly voies…. Lots of memories of cop shows down the years. Probably funnier if we hadn’t already seen four shows in six hours.
The Vet ‘Eh?’ ‘I laughed but I’m not sure why.’ ‘Dad needs to remember his meds.’
Garfunkel. ‘I’ll ask my dad.’
The Vet: ‘He kept asking about Pam. Did you hear him?’
Garfunkel: ‘My dad does that.’
The Vet: ‘Ask about Pam?’
Garfunkel: ‘Forget his meds.’
Bite Sized Breakfast
Five Ten Minute Plays and a croissant and strawberry. These comprised:
A sketch where the audience chose the twists – a nice idea that lacked a follow through.
A red button on a table, guarded by a man – a woman wants to press it so they discuss freedom of action against team work, control against anarchy – too worthy.
A composer loves the cellist who supports his writing and the talented violinist who plays his concerto. He can’t decide who he loves most and we never find out. He’s just a rat. Disappointing.
A doctor examines a patient: his associate joins the examination and we find she and the patient are new lovers – comedy ensues but the jokes are a bit too obvious.
I forget the last play. Still two more rotations to see tomorrow and Friday so maybe it will perk up.
The Vet. ‘I almost sympathised with the rat.’ ‘I liked being able to choose the stories’. ‘The croissant was fresh. I got three strawberries’
Garfunkel. ‘The composer was a rat. Bast***.’ ‘How did you get the extra strawberries?’
The Vet: ‘I asked Pam.’
A young man with an Anglo Indian heritage explores the labels we put on people. Thought provoking and unsettling. We are all victims of stereotyping and hypocrisy. Most telling was a cartoon: a naval boat is alongside a refugee boat full of people heading across the Med from North Africa to Europe. The sailor shouts ‘where are you from?’ The refugees shout back ‘Earth’. As the actor pointed out with some neat references, the current lingua has ‘immigrant’ = bad , ‘migrant’ = good. Loved this even if he stuck a label with ‘caveman’ on my T shirt.
The Vet. ‘Oh god he was so fit’ ‘Dad is a bit of a caveman’
Garfunkel. ‘Gerrof. I lusted first. He sounded good too.’ ‘I think Pam got the label with ‘friend’ on it, though.’
The Vet: ‘Grrrr’
Fully Committed with Marcus Brigstock.
Well known comedian does a one man play about working as the Booker at a top NY restaurant. As this followed on from a very serious hour making us very uncomfortable at the cartoon Indian accents we hear, the plethora of voices and accents he uses grated for a while. That said, this is undoubtedly a tour de force, utterly exhausting to play. The Textiliste gave it a sour lemon but I’d say a nearly ripe mango.
Garfunkel. ‘Soooooo good. The camp as Christmas accents were a delight.’
The Vet. ‘Eh?’ ‘Can we have another strawberry please?’
Me: ‘Nothing about Pam?’
Them; ‘Daaaad! Geofffffff! Perleaseee’
Bedsocks and Secrets
Bloody hell. Ten minutes in and I had experienced the most visceral and uncomfortable ten minutes of theatre in my life. In a room the size of our fridge we watched as two indifferent nursing home staff strip washed an elderly patent suffering with dementia before dressing her and leaving her with the son she no longer recognises. In a touching scene she meets her old self and that old self, a young woman is seen taking the elderly woman’s place for a while. After 20 minutes I was exhausted. Then we followed her son into a car with no wheels where he and a young woman, supposedly about 16 to the son’s 50 plus talk about loneliness, secrets and sex. It makes little, if any, sense. The acting at the outset is exceptional, at the end execrable. For different reasons the whole hour was seat squirmingly uncomfortable.
The Vet: ‘Bloody hell. Don’t let mum choose again’
Garfunkel: ‘I think, all things considered, I preferred Pam.’
Our hand picked team will be back later.