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Archive for the Category "Edinburgh Festival"

Edinburgh: Day 20 Aug 23

With the Fringe cold taking hold, I needed a pick-me-up and fortunately found two.

John Kearns’ Dinner Party is an odd show, in the best way. Not really stand-up; not really sketch. There’s lots of audience interaction (or at least the appearance of audience interaction) as the slightly deranged John Kearns attempts to host a dinner party (you may have guessed that part). The show also features newly-crowned Amused Moose Laugh Off winner Pat Cahill as John’s friend Pat. It’s a strange, funny concoction that reminded me of Simon Munnery – and that’s definitely a good thing.

My other pick-me-up was the always utterly brilliant Karaoke Circus which crashed onto stage at the Pleasance Dome for the first of three nights. Josie Long and Tom Bell singing Pulp; Phill Jupitus as Neil Hannon; Tiernan Douieb pwning the theme from The Wire; and Ed Aczel gloriously destroying …Baby One More Time, amongst others. Song sign-up administration was delegated by host Martin White to Thom Tuck, who refused to let me sign up for every song and insisted on a two song maximum. This makes young Mr Tuck a rapscallion and a blackguard, and those aren’t words I use lightly or without recourse to a dictionary.

The major job for the day was updating my master spreadsheet of shows to see. With only a few more days in Edinburgh, it’s time to recognise that I don’t have the time or money to see everything I’d like. I’ve pared it down to the absolute musts, so you can take it from my remaining blog posts this week that the shows I mention are suitably musty.

What I learnt today: Thomas Tuck is a bad man and should be refused dessert even when he really wants it.

Recommended show: John Kearns’ Dinner Party

Obligatory plug: I’m in Three Man Roast (★★★★ –, 2.35pm weekdays at Finnegan’s Wake on Victoria Street – free entry.

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Edinburgh: Day 19 Aug 22

An early morning (Fringe time) trip to the gym engendered a delightful sheen of sweaty smugness and a calorie deficit that excused a massive Sunday roast.

Our show isn’t on Sundays so I took my last opportunity to catch The 90s in Half an Hour by Marc Burrows. Turns out that I was right and the 1990s were brilliant. But then I was always going to enjoy a show whose audience walk-in music included Suede’s Filmstar and Sleeper’s Inbetweener (a lyric from which was a chapter title in a Paul Cornell Doctor Who book, if I recall).

I have seen the Beta Males performing sketches on several occasions but only ever three of them, so their show The Train Job was my first time experiencing their full complement of four. It was worth it.

Look, I’m not writing reviews. I’m doing a show and it’s weird to review other shows. But the Beta Males were very funny. That is all I’m saying.

The evening saw my return to Tricity Vogue’s Ukulele Cabaret. Tricity was having a day off so the show was ably hosted by accordionist Dan Woods (off of this) and ukuleleist Jo Stephenson (off of this). Together they are doing a musical comedy show at the Royal Botanic Gardens about growing your own vegetables.

I did Dungeons & Dragons and Passenger Announcement, playing most of the right notes and mostly in the right order. I’m still pretty ropey at the singing and strumming at the same time thing but I’m gradually getting better. And if you saw me last night: yes, that’s me getting better.

Discovered once again what a small world the Edinburgh Fringe is when I bumped into a guy I knew from uni who was in the audience and is staying with Jo. We all went for a pint after the show; I still don’t know why Dan spluttered his pint over me when Jo asked if I liked the new Doctor Who.

What I learnt today: Early nights are good. (I may have learnt that already but I’m reminding myself.)

Recommended show: Beta Males: The Train Job

Obligatory plug: I’m in Three Man Roast (★★★★ –, 2.35pm weekdays at Finnegan’s Wake on Victoria Street – free entry.

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Edinburgh: Day 18 Aug 21

My throat’s been getting sorer each morning and I’m increasingly feeling like I’m getting The Fringe Cold. Alternatively, it could just be from performing every day, although it’s not like I’m doing an hour-long show. I mean, I am, but I only speak for about 15 minutes of it.

I’ve failed to go to the gym so far this week so, despite my malady, I dragged myself down to Holyrood Park for a run. I only managed a mile before slinking back home and then heading out for a fried breakfast. This weekend is more than making up for my sensible eating so far this month. Top marks to the pub where we ate, Holyrood 9A: they decided they had taken too long without our food and gave it to us on the house. We hadn’t even complained.

En route to our show, I popped into a barbers’ and got my hair and beard trimmed, along with some firmly-shared tips about how I should have been trimming my beard and moustache. Ahem.

The room was full for Three Man Roast. Sport of some manly variety was on the big screen in the pub but the noise generously kept itself outside and we had a cracking show.

Next stop was the Grassmarket to join Tricity Vogue‘s kazoo choir in a rendition of Blue Moon. Because this is the kind of thing that happens on the Fringe. Someone has already put it up on YouTube:

Such a beautiful noise.

A dash to the other end of the Grassmarket meant I was in time for Tom Webb Fixes 2012. I’ve done Tom’s open mic gigs a number of times and he’s an experienced and charismatic compère. This carried over into his one-man show which is a lovely little creation brimming with ideas, and a fair amount of silliness.

After discovering the difficulty in finding a table in any restaurant in Edinburgh city centre on a Saturday night in August, we booked ahead and grabbed a snack before Thom Tuck Goes Straight to DVD. Another lovely show, delivered with theatrical panache. Despite having seen none of the films referred to in the show (not even those released cinematically), I was particularly tickled by one joke about The Little Mermaid. Unfortunately, this lead to another Me Laughing Too Loudly incident.

Baileys cheesecake with blueberries and ice creamThanks to our reservation, we managed to eat properly afterwards. More than properly. I am, for the second night in a row, absolutely stuffed. The Baileys cheesecake probably wasn’t entirely necessary, but…

And then back to the flat, where I won my first game on apterous. Must… switch… off…

What I learnt today: I should be trimming my beard much more lightly.

Recommended show: Tom Webb Fixes 2012 and Thom Tuck Goes Straight to DVD

Obligatory plug: I’m in Three Man Roast (★★★★ –, 2.35pm weekdays at Finnegan’s Wake on Victoria Street – free entry. Also at Tricity Vogue’s Ukulele Cabaret at 9pm on Sunday 21st at The Three Sisters (that’s free entry too).

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Edinburgh: Day 17 Aug 20

Another day off from seeing shows was quite refreshing.

It was nice catching up with Dave for a while after Three Man Roast, before heading off to the gym. My ankle was giving me a bit a gyp so I pathetically switched from heading to the gym to heading back to the flat – actually to write yesterday’s blog post, but if I start referencing the writing of blog posts in these blog posts, it’ll all get a bit meta, and dangerously Tristram Shandy.

A defining feature of my previous Fringe trips over the last decade has been resorting to all-you-can-eat Chinese buffets (and specifically the now defunct institution on South Bridge) for quick and easy meals. I’m quite glad that I’ve been eating well enough that it’s taken 17 days to reach that point but I did cave last night and stuffed my face with aplomb (shredded and deep fried).

Then I went to bed.

Then I got up and signed up for online Countdown. Well, not Countdown. Apterous. Although some might say it’s a bit like Countdown.

I played a few games. I lost them all but a couple I might’ve won if only for not having got used to the screens for entering my numbers and conundrum answers.

Already I’m concerned that it could be dangerously addictive.

What I learnt today: You can replay old games of Countdown online as if against genuine contestants.

Recommended show: Amused Moose Laugh Off Final 2011

Obligatory plug: I’m in Three Man Roast (★★★★ –, 2.35pm weekdays and Saturday 20th at Finnegan’s Wake on Victoria Street – free entry. Also at Tricity Vogue’s Ukulele Cabaret at 9pm on Sunday 21st at The Three Sisters (that’s free entry too).

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