It’s the third week of the Edinburgh Fringe, and this week, I crammed 4 shows into one day. Was it quality or quantity that won over? Let’s find out…
We’ll do this in chronological order because, well, that’s how things happen in reality.
The first of the shows I saw on Friday 18th August was at The Nightcap – an amazing looking venue that I had no idea existed until I stepped foot in it, but it’s somewhere I’ll be seeking out after The Fringe is done and dusted for this year.
Steve Hili’s “Burning Love to the Ground (And Lasagne)” was the reason for popping in, and a damn good one at that. First of all we got a bonus 5 minute story from a Maltese comedian who’s second name escapes me no matter how much I try and google it. His first name was Joseph and he told a great tale about pulling a poetry based con on the European Union as a 12 year old, which was fantastic.
Steve was the main event though, and delivered in spades. The material was great with plenty of audience interaction, some sound cues, photographs and yes, free lasagne on offer – plus more that I don’t want to reveal without spoiling his show, but it’s pretty sweet, let me tell you.
The material is only half the story, his energy is infectious, dragging you along on his journey from small child to a Wayne Rooney loving, lasagne eating adult. An excellent way to kick off the day and recommended viewing to all.
From a very polished and well thought out show, to the exact opposite – but also one of the best shows I’ve seen at The Fringe yet – it was off to Cabaret Voltaire (in a room described as “somewhere we broke into and they haven’t found us yet”) to see John Hastings and his “Anything Can Be A Podcast” off the cuff musings.
Genuinely a show I would go and see any time I had the chance, every show promises to be entirely different – I can’t imagine that Andy the non-owl owning, well dressed, former Navy man who loves the Silmarillion is in the crowd at every show, for example.
Improvised shows can be a bit hit and miss, but this one was all hit. Hastings has a great delivery that comes across as effortless as he switches from one train of thought to the next with consummate ease, and never dials back the outrage or incredulity at everything from falcons on planes to theatre directors and everything in between.
This is seriously one of the most fun and exciting shows I’ve seen, as I don’t think even John himself knows what direction it’s going in from one moment to the next – as such, I’d say that this is a MUST SEE show for anyone. Sharp, topical, and packed with laughs from start to finish, get yourself along to this one.
I then wandered off to get some food before the next show – at Espionage for Lily Lovett and “Lovett Lovett, I’m Lovin’ It Like That” – and I’ll tip my hat right now, I am so not the target audience for this as I’m not really up on reality TV and the trials and tribulations of the Kardashians and such like, but the material was good enough that I never felt too lost.
Lovett’s impressions seemed spot on as far as I can tell – and the jokes were sharp enough to keep me engaged for the entire show – even the pitch at the end for the bucket was presented in an entertaining way as part of the show – and I think if you are on the cusp of modern celebs, then this would be right up your street.
From there, I moved on to Just The Tonic at the Caves, in the Up The Road part of this sprawling venue for Michelle Christine’s “50% Canadian, 100% Crazy, Let’s Laugh” show. A packed crowd were treated to the sight of Michelle in full Mountie costume explaining how you go from the solar energy industry to performing stand up at the Fringe.
While I did enjoy the show, I just got the feeling there was something perhaps missing that it didn’t really connect properly with me. It perhaps just felt like a series of stories that didn’t really gel together to form a cohesive tale overall, but your mileage may vary. It’s just a small niggle – as I said, I did enjoy the show and several of the jokes were legitimately hilarious.
So, overall – a good day out and packing in 4 shows and still making the last train home via the quickest pint I’ve ever downed in The Halfway House means that this Fringe day is classed a success for me. One week to go, one more visit… the planning starts now!