Edinburgh Festival 1

Edinburgh Festival 1

I’ve been here about 4 days now and have seen lots of shows. I’m not performing but I’m doing lots of courses and show watching in preparation for next year. Some of the shows I’ve seen are below, I don’t want to turn into a reviewer so I’m only mentioning the good bits of the festival:

The Trinity – A really cool Japanese comedy that made use of masks, acrobatics, juggling and mime all done in a mix of Japanese and gibberish. I got to be the audience volunteer too after a Japanese version of Georgina Bream launched herself onto the front row. I’m now a big fan of Japanese comedy, it’s nice to see something different, and I’m going to try and use bits of it in some shows I’ve got planned.

Pappy’s Fun Club – A sketch group, quite established at the Edinburgh Fringe. I really, really enjoyed this and don’t think there was a single dull moment through the show. Lots of laugh out loud moments and it’s very, very, very silly. Very silly, which I like. They seemed much slicker than previous years too. The script is really funny, one of the few scripts that would still be funny if you just read it and didn’t see it performed.

The Penny Dreadfuls – I’m really glad they’ve managed to move into modern sketch comedy, away from their Victorian narratives, without losing the audience or respect of reviewers. It must have been a really tough choice to leave behind the thing they’ve become well known for. I think they’re some of the best comedy performers on the fringe. They get laughs lots of the times where you can’t quite work out what’s funny, they just make it funny with excellent performance. Lovely show. Lovely chaps too, got to get them back to run a workshop.

Delete The Banjax – A sketch group performing for the first time on the paid fringe after being on the free for a couple of years. First thing you are met by is them dancing to Elvis and welcoming the audience. This feeling continues throughout the show, they are so likeable! You want to hang out with them and drink beer or watch DVDs on a rainy afternoon. They also had the single most funny thing on the fringe – the smoke alarm sketch. So weird but very funny.

Skinny Bitch Jesus Meeting – Oh my god is this free? Yes. Really? Yes. This is one of my favourite shows on the fringe regardless of whether it’s free or not. They’ve come all the way from New York to perform, two girls with deeply dark sense of humour. They are so full on that I can’t help but get carried along. I’m going to watch them again as it goes. They were here last year too, and have a completely different one hour set.

Cannonball Impro – So much fun I’ve seen it twice. I know them all from Hoopla, many of them performed with us in 2009, but actually when you go and watch as an audience member you see them in a whole new light as if you’re seeing them for the first time. And what I see is a load of lovely people being really friendly to an audience and making me laugh. I even know all the games, but they still catch me by surprise, which is lovely. A deranged man in an art gallery scene made me laugh out of my bum, and the second show ending in opera was a favourite. Dylan was awesome directing on both times, especially when he went from formal front of house man to high energy front man in a blink of an eye. I stayed behind after to eavesdrop on the audience and what was awesome was that many of them hadn’t seen any impro before and really enjoyed it. This is what the Free Fringe is all about.

Andrew and the Slides of Chaos – Oh my god is this free? Yes. Really? Yes. I was just talking to another TV friend of mine who has just seen it and he pointed out that we’ve worked on TV programmes with a staff of nearly a hundred and budgets of thousands, and yet Andrew and the Slides of Chaos has higher production values. That’s what happens when talented people are free and empowered to work on what they’re passionate about. It’s awesome.

Abandoman – Rob Broderick coming in and rapping to ‘what’s in your pocket?’ as the audience held aloft random things from their pockets has been my favourite start to a show so far. Need to get him to do another workshop.

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