Monday, August 15, 2011

and now for something very similar...

So anyway, I'm not one to walk out of a show unless the circumstances are particularly extreme, but I have to confess I only lasted 10 minutes in a lunchtime play today.
Luckily, I was sitting right next to the exit and was able to discretely leave the room.
It was very painful viewing and the thought of spending an hour of my life watching it to completion was too much for me to bear.
My "go to see other stuff apart from comedy for a change" policy is hitting quite a lot of turbulence.
I'm going to see "King Lear" tomorrow, performed in Mandarin with subtitles.
THAT'S a proper Edinburgh Festival show.
In other news, I've found myself in the front row of comedy gigs in the past few days, not by design, but because these
were the only seats available.
And boy, I've been getting dogs abuse from the performers.
I have to admit, I've not really enjoyed it... quite vitriolic stuff.
And yes, that does make me sound a big hypocrite, I know...although, in fairness, any contact I have with the audience is generally inoffensive, knockabout banter rather than personal abuse.
I've never been a fan of aggressive compering..I can't really be bothered with it anymore.
It's fair enough if someone is being an annoying twat, but other than that it's tedious stuff.
The most recent one was a female questioning my ability to get laid during the Fringe. Outrageous.
I took comfort from the fact that whilst the profile photo on her Twitter page makes her look like a young Kate Bush ; in real life she bears more than a passing resemblance to Bella Emberg, best known for her "Blunder Woman" character, in the "Russ Abbott's Madhouse" tv show.
She was very funny though...see, I'm not bitter or anything like that.
I spent yesterday evening playing drums with legendary Samba/Punk combo "Bloco Vomit". Hugely enjoyable.
And tonight I will be seeing the legend that is Neil Hamburger. Oh yes.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

more Fringe stuff

So anyway, I went to see American comic W. Kamau Bell, good , entertaining, thought-provoking stand-up.
I didn't agree with everything he said, but I don't ever really expect to agree with everything a comedian says.
It's interesting watching an American comedian get to grips with a typical Fringe audience though.
I suspect they're generally quieter than your typical US club audience, and you could see it was taking him a little while to get used to our slightly more passive nature.
Edward Aczel's pre-show music included "South American Getaway" from "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid", so he had me onside well before he made his shambling entry on to the stage.
This is anti-comedy at its most inaccessible, and I love it.
It was a pretty tough gig for him though, as the majority of the audience didn't seem to know what was going on and watched in bemused silence, whereas I was reaching for my inhaler.
I then went to see a play about a comedy double act.
Again, I realised within 30 seconds that I wasn't going to enjoy it.
Of the double act itself, one of the actors was very good, but the other one wasn't.
To successfully portray a top comedy double act, you have to capture the magical chemistry between the two comedians which makes the act work.
There's not a second in this play where you feel that, so the whole piece is torpedoed below the water line.
I've done a fair bit of shit acting in my life, so feel qualified to notice it.
It mainly involves thinking about your next line and when you're going to say it, rather than giving the impression of "listening" and then reacting naturally to your feed line.
I was notorious for this, and it produces that distinctive wooden acting, which we all know and love.
A pity, because I find the dynamics of double-acts fascinating, and was looking forward to this play.
Next it was on to Michael Legge's hilarious one man show on Sir Walter Raleigh.
Top notch stuff, and even though I was familiar with most of the material through reading his blog, he performs with such great gusto that I'm roaring with laughter anyway.
Just before his show I walked past a group of obvious Fringe performers having an impromptu pavement meeting.
I heard one say "Yes, that TOTALLY changes the whole dynamic of the scene."
Now, what I reckon has happened here is that the first few performances of their play have been absolutely disastrous, but they've now agreed that by getting one of the characters to wear a hat in a scene, and also drop one of his lines ; the play will be saved!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

It's that time again...

So anyway, rather than the usual pre-Fringe week of panic and trauma arguing about show format, and fretting about box office sales, I spent a relaxing week in sunny Spain.
I'm now back and am without a show for this year's Fringe...I can't say I'm too bothered about'll be the first time in 6 years, I'll be experiencing the event purely as a punter.
My first day got off to an inauspicious start when I stuck a cotton bud in my ear, compacting wax and rendering me completely deaf in that ear.
I know that medical advice is overwhelmingly in favour of not sticking cotton buds in your ear, but I like it too much, and just accept the risk that this sort of outcome occasionally happens.
It's very disorientating, and seems to affect my balance.
Thanks to Boots almond oil though, I was quickly cured and rejoiced in the restoration of my hearing.
It was like getting out of prison (I imagine)...ear majesty's prison? ha ha ...oh fuck off, I don't care any more.
My first Fringe thing that I noticed was my that upstairs neighbour has failed to let out his flat for the festival ("to let" sign still on window).
This is unprecedented, (that means it's never happened before).
Usually I can hear lots of excitable drama students shouting "OMG" at the top of their voices, as their Fringe experience begins.
It's like seeing sheep high 5 other sheep as they arrive at the abattoir.
Like relaxing in a jacuzzi until the first one star review catastrophically diverts the untreated sewage pipe into it.
I walked down my street and noticed that all the little hotels had the "vacancies" sign up.
Again this is unusual, and I wondered if Fringe visitor numbers are down this year.
I've been having this recurring dream in which I'm in the audience of a comedy club.
A comedian leaps onstage saying "I know what you're thinking...!".
I then stand up and blow his head off with a single shot from a bazooka gun.
I've had this dream analysed by experts, and as a result have been advised to take a short break from the comedy scene.
Cocking a snook at stand-up comedy, I went to see "Ed Reardon : A Writer's Burden" at the Pleasance.
The audience enjoyed it, but it wasn't my cup of tea.
I was expecting something a bit darker, but it was more a Terry Scott style, buffoonery characterisation.
I must try to do a bit more research before I part with my precious cash.
Liam Mullone's show "Down To The Bone" was great, and I'll be surprised if I see a more impressive hour of stand-up this Fringe.
I had an idea of doing a paid ticket show next year and then doing a collection at the end as well, hoping that a reasonable percentage of the audience will forget that they've already paid for this show.
It's the same principal as restaurants having a "gratuity" option on their card machines even though service is already included in the bill.