This year’s Fringe is well underway, and I’ve still only managed to see a handful of shows. A couple of improv comedy gems, a Canadian stand up team, and one gig. If I’m completely honest, I find the Fringe a bit frustrating at times, and a bit overwhelming. I mean, who has the time to wade through the exhaustive Fringe guide when you have two jobs and the attention span of a 6 year old?
This week the lovely Sophie from Sophia Violet Blog came to visit me for the day and soak up some of the atmosphere. I say “soak up”, but we mostly went to Space NK and then sat in the sun at Badger and Co. drinking cocktails garnished with the cutest edible paper. We managed to see one show, and I discovered far too late that I am not into audience participation. The audience isn’t usually funny, folks. I’m a lazy bugger, so make me laugh.
Every shop you set foot in, every bar you order a drink at and every cafe you wander into, during the month of August the pleasantries change from the usual comments about the weather to “Are you enjoying the Fringe?” Everybody from taxi drivers to waiters and the dude in the corner shop will ask you if you’ve managed to see any shows, so I might as well jump on that Fringe bandwagon and cling onto it with my sparse contribution to the Must Sees at #EdFringe2016.
Things I Have Seen
Absolute Improv! (@theSpace on Niddry Street; August 5-6, 8-20, 22-27)
I went to see this on a whim because my friend is in it. The lovely Karen invited me along to see a show her equally lovely partner was involved with, and so I went in blindly to show support. We originally just had tickets to Absolute Improv!, a short form, fast-paced improv show with an awesome cast, and liked it so much that we wandered along to see a long-form improv show with some of the same actors.
We’re Sorry (Laughing Horse@Espionage; August 4-28)
I am a SUCKER for Canadian comedy. I grew up listening to tapes of Bowser and Blue and Katherine Ryan is one of my all-time favourites. I actually dragged my friend to see this just on the basis that Dylan Gott and Evan Desmarais are from my hometown of Toronto. I never usually expect much of Free Fringe shows, but these guys were absolutely hilarious. Think buddy comedy but without the annoying, laddish undertones that’s so common in the genre. Oh, and they got a 14 year old to say swear, which is always good for a few laughs.
Black Diamond Express (@Stramash; August 26 12-3am)
My absolute faves played at Stramash last weekend, and they were just as impressive as always! Just so you know how much I love this band, I once flew home to Toronto when I found out they would be playing a couple of gigs at NXNE in my hometown, they’re that good. They’re talented, ridiculously charismatic, and they have impeccable fashion sense (not to mention an impressive collection of spats and hats).
These guys will be playing one more gig this Fringe next Friday night. If you like energetic, rock-blues and dancing around like a maniac, not to mention a frontman with a breathtakingly beautiful voice AND my very favourite fiddle player, this is a band you just have to go see.
Things I Want to See
The Nine Lives of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (@Assembly George Square Studios; August 4-29)
A theatrical performance of the life of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, probably best known as the author of one of my favourite books of all time “Le Petit Prince”.
Evelyn Mok and Katherine Ferns Present Katherine Ferns and Evelyn Mok! (@Laughing Horse, Cabaret Voltaire; 4-28 August)
An outsider perspective on British culture from a Canadian and a Swede living in the UK, who cover the topics of relationships, feminism, and multiculturalism in their stand-up show.
Katherine Ferns in Faking It (@Laughing Horse, Cabaret Voltaire; 4-28 August)
Learning to laugh about surviving abuse and mental illness, with themes of feminism in some dark stand-up comedy and storytelling.
Blow Off (@Traverse Theatre, 22 August)
“I’m not going to tell you her hair colour. Her skin colour. Whether she has an almond or a heart shaped face. All you need to know, right now, is that she is a person. Walking up a street. A street that you know.” Spoken word and music.
If There’s Not Dancing at the Revolution, I’m Not Coming (@Summerhall, August 3-21. 23-28)
Challenging the treatment of women’s bodies as a spectacle in popular culture through the medium of dance, music any physical theatre.
Pond Wife (@Underbelly; August 4-14, 16-28)
Based on the Hans Christian Andersen (not Disney!) story The Little Mermaid and pop divas from the 90s and 00s.