Just finished our few days at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. It's a weird mix of sloppy and tight organisation, of corporate and lo-fi, just like many festivals are I suppose. We were forced to use the microsoft online e-booking system even though we were physically there, and the system was really botched up - people all around us (plus us) sitting at computer terminals trying to decipher error messages and wondering whether our money had been taken or not... anyway, onto more pleasant things, here's what we saw:
- Kirsten O'Brien was very friendly and funny about her life as a kids' TV presenter. She wasn't as dirty as I'd been warned, but she did some good swearing.
- Pappy's Fun Club was variable but they had some brilliant moments, especially a really good thing involving Bob Dylan that I won't spoil by describing. I thought one of the men was annoying but they were all friendly folks.
- Toby Mitchell wasn't very funny but was pleasant enough. He had some thoughtful things to say about world peace and a slightly disturbing thing about killing Tony Blair.
- Phil Nicoll was extremely annoying because they wouldn't let us in for being late, nor would they give us a refund, the greedy sods.
- Christophe Fellay played some really fascinating drum stuff, including some interesting stuff using a microphone against the drums, and built up some great improv stuff with drums and loop effects and samples.
- Girl and Dean did a very pleasant and funny sketch show with nice knitted props. I didn't like the sketch about the annoying person but I liked all the other sketches, which is a v good hit rate, and they were very neatly executed.
- Issy Suttie did some good character-based stuff with songs in. Her voice is amazing and her impression of Amy Winehouse down a well is an instant classic, but the ending was a bit sloppy cos it had a pointless tacked-on bit including some attempt at audience conversational stuff which fell flat, on our day at least.
- Chris Cox can most easily be described as doing something Derren Brown-ish, but with a more awkward persona, and I think he relies more heavily on "old-fashioned" magic trickery where once you realise how it's done it's less impressive. He does a good show though.
- Zoe Lyons was brilliant, really friendly and funny standup based loosely on a theme of fears and phobias, but with ad-libbing and a healthy dose of not sticking too rigidly to the theme.
- Cat and no mouse was a kids' show we checked out and it was fun, mostly featuring a cat and a mouse played by humans but with the same kind of struggle for superiority that we know well from Tom & Jerry. It was very well acted and well-put-together, with audience interaction that the children clearly enjoyed, although I thought it was a little bit on the dark side because the mouse lost too often :(
Phew. We also really wanted to see Josie Long but her show was at the same time as one of the others so we didn't manage that, although the Guardian seems to have picked up on her as a person to rave about so maybe she'll be famous soon. Out of that list, what would I particularly recommend? Hmm, my recommendations would be Zoe Lyons, Girl and Dean and Pappy's Fun Club.