Monday, August 20, 2007

Edinburgh Fringe Festival: Day 1

A week ago today I found myself in Edinburgh for its famous Fringe Festival. Here is a brief review of what we saw on day 1.

Footballer's Boyfriend @ Theatre Workshop by Brian Wharton

A camp gay rodeo ride was promised in the booklet, and we certainly faced a long trip across town to see a story about a young man who fell in love with a Premiership footballer in the 1980's and had a roller coaster ride of a relationship with him. Apart from the obvious anachronism (the Premiership started in the 90's) and the fact he was clearly scouse but the footballer played for "City", it was a reasonable start to the trip.

Simon Brodkin: One Man Comedy Club @ Pleasance Courtyard

We missed the second show we wanted to see trying to get back across town, but got in to see this later instead. It does exactly what it says on the tin. He plays (in order) a cockney wideboy compere who goes a bit to far forcing people to down pints and going through people's bags, then a boring political American comedian called Ramirez who spoils our fun taking the mick out of Americans, followed by a scouse footballer whose book title intends to prove to us he was straight (the footballer's boyfriend), followed by Brodkin as himself (he would not have created a character that bland), with the hairiest back in comedy. The guy is actually a great actor and quite funny.

Stephen Kay Amos - More of Me @ Pleasance Coutyard

Quite simply the funniest comedian I saw at the fringe this year. Should be on telly, but as he explained he has to wait until Lenny Henry dies (it's equality: one in, one out). Starts of as a long-haired preacher, which could be related to Brodkin's description of him blacking-up and putting a mop on his head to experience racism, if we were trying to link all the shows together in some weird way. Only down point was him taking the mick out of Birmingham, although to be fair that was because my friend had put us in the firing line after cheering when someone else said he was from there. Spent all night taking the mick out of a posh boy in the second row, who got up and moon-walked for us all at the end. Who says comedy doesn't break down barriers?

Mark Watson's 24 Hour Jamboree to Save the Planet beginning @ the Festival Fringe Office

My friend did not believe that this would actually last 24 hours. I spent at least half an hour trying to convince him it would. It seemed to take forever to start, and then took about an hour-and-a-half for some of us to do a conga from the Festival Fringe Office to the Stand. On the way it was decided that the group would try to get a "celebrity" to come along, the favourite being God-hater Richard Dawkins, who trumped Dom from Dick and Dom, Michelle McManus and some Green MSP. We left after 2 hours at the Stand because they did not have room for all of us. They planned to sing songs, be carried in to a book launch at Waterstones (whichever did not kick them out) and many other wholesome activities. They even gave out a mobile phone number so we could text them to ask them where they were and rejoin the fun.
6/10 (but only because we stayed for 1/12 of the show)

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