So my third successive stint at the Fringe has come to an end and as ever I thoroughly enjoyed my visit. This time it was for just two days, but I was very well entertained for the duration.
First up on the culture trip was a chap called John Osbourne over at the Voodoo Rooms who had a tale to tell about his friends struggle in dealing with her Dad’s dementia.
‘You’re in a Bad Way’ is the description of Polly’s bitter/sweet life and was delivered with engaging charm, well-structured prose and delightful humour. A good 7.5/10 start.
Next up came Gareth Richards mix of comedy, music and song entitled ‘40 years in the wilderness’ staged inside Whistle Binkies. The undoubted highlight was his ditty comparing his friend Dave to a fridge (cold on the inside but warm on the back etc.) accompanied by a tune courtesy of Gareth’s Q Chord instrument.
Apart from that the rest was rather disjointed, the good SWR-ups deserving of a better punchline. We agreed on a 5.5/10 rating.
Our last comedy of the day was delivered by Andrew O’Neill, a case of leaving best until last. ‘We are not in the least afraid of ruins, we carry a new world in our hearts’ over at the Liquid Rooms was a maniacally paced commentary on environmental issues and consumerism bound together by very funny material indeed.
This was sixty-minutes of pure energy, a whirlwind of gags, visuals and eye make-up, plus the most impressive comedy moustache since General Sir Anthony Cecil Hogmanay Melchett in Blackadder Goes Forth.
Andrew has his own comedy theatre in Tufnell Park in London. Well worth a visit on this evidence. 8.5/10.
The final entertainment for day one wasn’t comedy at all but a celebration of Scottish music over at Queen’s Hall. Entitled “Blue Rose Code Presents ‘This Is Caledonian Soul’”, Ross Wilson and friends including Eddi Reader (Fairground Attraction), John Douglas (Trashcan Sinatras), Karen Matheson and Robert Vincent.
A great show featuring Celtic written/performed cover versions and originals including Stuck In The Middle With You, Brothers In Arms and No More I Love Yous. The singing and musicianship were both superb.
Day two started with an unusual entertainment – comedian and ace Boris/Trump impersonator Matt Forde interviewing Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon over at the Teviot Debating Hall.
Sturgeon gave her mainly safe views of Boris, BREXIT, Scottish independence, Corbyn, Farage, Trump etc. An interesting hour, if pretty predictable really.
Next up was undoubtedly the biggest laugh that I had at this year’s Fringe. Pat Cahill: ‘Uncle Len needs a new part for his Hoover’ over at the Monkey Barrel.
If you like Python/Milligan you will love it! Pat had painted himself tangerine and with the help of a ‘70s vacuum cleaner he comically regaled the life and times of his Uncle Len.
Len had a very boring job and simple life, but with an unknown urge for exhibitionism. Cue hilarious songs and antics as Pat brings his uncle and his alter ego Mr Cinnamon Brown to life.
Hilarious – 9/10.
Last up a comic cautionary tale about a childhood friendship with psychic spoon bender Uri Geller. George Rigden, ‘Spooning with Uri’ at the Caves.
I didn’t warm to George and didn’t find the show very funny unfortunately. 5.5/10.
So the Fringe was over for me for another year. As usual there were more hits than misses and I look forward to meeting up with it again soon.