The Edinburgh Fringe is the world’s largest arts festival and one that I have always enjoyed, so once the Media Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival had ended, I took the opportunity to stay in the city for a few days of fringe show going. Predictably, it wasn’t long before I’d found a burlesque event – the ‘Boom Boom Club’. Although the venue and audience’s attire made me feel more like I was at a warehouse party circa 1989, than a nightclub circa 1959, there was no questioning the quality of the entertainment, which included burlesque scene stalwarts such as Dusty Limits and Kitty Bang Bang.
Paul Foot, the Brian Eno of surrealist stand-up, was not my cup of tea, in his one man show ‘Kenny Larch is Dead’. To give him his due, he was consummate and had his audience in hysterics, but for me it was the brief moments he went off script that he really shone.
Two Cornish Rappers and a Casiotone was perhaps the most confusing show that I saw at this or any other fringe. Was it music? Was it comedy? Was it a desperate cry for help? I’m not entirely sure and suspect that neither are the two Cornish rappers, or, indeed, the Casiotone. All I do know for sure is that their show is probably best described as two Cornish rappers and a Casiotone. Take a look at this and I think you’ll see what I mean:
Over at PBH’s Free Fringe, Mace and Burton were performing an updated version of their 2011 hit comedy show Rom Com Con, in which they go looking for love using methodologies derived from miscellaneous Rom Coms. The show, which was full to bursting the day I saw it, is, I suspect, destined for big things.
En route to Charles Ross’ ‘One Man Lord of The Rings’, I bumped into Hattie Hayridge and by the time we’d finished chatting, I was running twenty minutes late for the show, so it seemed only fair to return the following night, for his One Man Star Wars Trilogy (he was alternating between the two). The hour long show, which managed to do exactly what it said on the tin, rather impressively, saw Ross recreating the three original Star Wars films, their characters, Foley and special effects, with just a microphone and some basic lighting. Catering to both superfans and casual viewers of these movies is a difficult balancing act to achieve, but one that Ross’ Lucasfilm endorsed show pulls off with humour and great aplomb.
My second favourite show of the festival had to be the Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre Company, a musical comedy sock puppet double act that harks back to the heyday of Morecambe and Wise. Having had some involvement with puppets myself, I have to say that I found their show ‘Boo Lingerie’ both superbly performed and very funny. If you like puppets, you’ll love them.
Pipping the sock puppets at the post for my favourite show though, was the Vocal Orchestra. Put together by legendary beatboxer, Shlomo, this six piece take beatboxing and acapella harmonisation to the next level, as they sing, rap, beatbox, riff and move their way through an eclectic collection of music. Towards the end of the show they asked the audience to pick a decade from the ’60s, ’80s & ’90s, for a ‘greatest hits’ medley. I wonder if you can guess which one I requested (and got)… An hour in their company flew by. I could have, quite happily, watched this show all night.
You can see more of my Edinburgh Fringe Festival photos on Flickr
© 2012, Paul D. All rights reserved.