The Edinburgh Fringe One-Weeker 2016 – Lili La Scala: Another F*cking Variety Show, 26th August 2016

LiliOur final show of the day – and only four shows today because we’ve also been catching up with old friends we haven’t seen in decades – is back to the world of burlesque and cabaret with Lili La Scala’s Another F*cking Variety Show. It’s on at Queen Dome @ Pleasance Dome, Potterrow, at 23:00 on Friday 26th. Here’s the blurb: “Mistress of ceremonies Lili La Scala and her most beloved cabaret reprobates entertain you at this rollicking late-night show. With sell-out runs at the Fringe since 2012, guests are treated to the very best on the international cabaret, burlesque and comedy circuit. This cabaret spectacular will warm the heart and boggle the mind; previous guests include comedian Jason Manford, The Boy With Tape On His Face and burlesque starlet Vicky Butterfly to name but a few. Come and feast your eyes upon a veritable variety smorgasbord: comedy, magic, burlesque, music and more.”

Lili La SI do like this review of Miss La Scala: ‘Lili La Scala has the voice of Vera Lynn and the figure of Jessica Rabbit’. I expect the show will be one of those late night, slightly different each night, compilation shows where a variety of performers will come on, do their bit, and then move on. Hopefully we’ll get an excellent selection! Check back around 1am to see if it was a good line-up, and by then the preview blog for Saturday’s first show should be available to read too.

The Edinburgh Fringe One-Weeker 2016 – Margaret Thatcher Queen of Game Shows, 26th August 2016

Margaret Thatcher Queen of SohoWithout a shadow of a doubt, the funniest thing we saw at the Edinburgh Fringe on our first trip two years ago was Margaret Thatcher Queen of Soho. It was so brilliant we went again with friends when he/she returned to the Leicester Square Theatre last year. Now the show is back, in a brand new format: Margaret Thatcher Queen of Game Shows. It’s on at Piccolo @ Assembly George Square Gardens, at 21:00 on Friday 26th. The blurb tells you all you need to know: “Ding-dong the witch is back! Multi award-winning Fringe sensation Margaret Thatcher, Queen of Soho presents the most fabulous game show of all. Fresh from total sell-out Edinburgh Festival Fringe runs in 2014 and 2015, the Iron Lady has now set her sights on light entertainment. Join Maggie as she makes audience members compete for their golden giro cheque. There’ll be songs, games and of course… catchphrases! ‘So much fun Theresa May will probably outlaw it’ (Chortle.co.uk). ***** (Attitude.co.uk). ‘Glorious camp with political punch’ **** (Times). ‘Dame Edna has an unlikely rival’ **** (Telegraph).”

Matt TedfordI predict a riot. Maggie will once again be interpreted by Matt Tedford in his delightfully distinguished and patronising style. The act is a complete hoot and I can already recommend it wholeheartedly to you, even before we’ve seen it! Check back around 10.30 to see if it’s even better than I expected, and by then the preview blog for our next show should be available to read too.

The Edinburgh Fringe One-Weeker 2016 – Knock Knock, Damian Kingsley, 26th August 2016

KnockKnockI very much wanted to see our next show, primarily to cheer the guy on and support his incredible fund-raising for Shelter. It’s Damian Kingsley’s Knock Knock tour, which started back in March and he has travelled up from Cornwall to Edinburgh, gigging virtually every night, with no payment, and all money raised being given to Shelter. He’s on at The Alcove @ The Laughing Horse @ Bar 50, Blackfriars Street, at 15:30 on Friday 26th. This is the website’s brief introduction: “A story about identity and pretentiousness for anyone with a friend or partner who’s become a bit of prick. All donations go to Shelter as part of the penniless tour from Lands’ End. No admission after start.”

Damian KingsleyI don’t know much about Mr Kingsley, so I do hope he’s funny, but above all I admire him for what he has achieved! Check back around 4.45 to see if he’s thoroughly exhausted by now, and by then the preview blog for our next show should be available to read too.

An hour of gentle comedy with emphasis on Mr K’s recent mental and domestic trials and tribulations. His recollections of and gratitude for the things his father has done for him are touching and emotional; and he delivers his material with a lightness of touch that wins you over. Part comedy, part therapy, and it’s all in aid of Shelter. 

The Edinburgh Fringe One-Weeker 2016 – Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally, 26th August 2016

Please excuseFirst show on Friday – and a reasonably last minute change of plan – sounds like a very amusing play indeed. Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally, written by Kevin Armento, and performed by One Year Lease Theatre Company, is on at Pleasance Beyond @ Pleasance Courtyard, 60 Pleasance, at 12:50 on Friday 26th. Here’s the blurb: “Follow an illicit affair between a student and his teacher from the viewpoint of his mobile phone in a breakneck journey from pockets to purses. A daring, sexy, suspenseful and utterly unique coming of age story. One Year Lease Theater Company’s production of Kevin Armento’s new play thrilled audiences in its 2015 world premiere Off Broadway at New York’s 59E59 Theaters. ‘A supple, fast-paced, highly physical production’ (New York Times, Critics Pick). ‘A gleaming portrait of our collective contemporary existence’ (AmericanTheaterWeb.com). ‘Screams of novelty’ (HuffingtonPost.com).”

PEMDASThis show was a big hit off-Broadway last year, and stars Christina Bennett Lind, Danny Bernardy, Sarah-Jane Casey, Nick Flint and Devin McDuffee. Check back around 2.30 to see how it went, and by then the preview blog for our next show should be available to read too.

This looked – as we watched it from our seats – like a good production of an interesting play. Unfortunately they had hired a photographer to very noisily click, click, click their way through the entire performance which totally destroyed it for us. It’s quite a complicated script and if you don’t concentrate, it’s hard to follow – and of course, I was completely unable to follow it because of the distraction. Best lesson I’ve ever seen in how to disrespect an audience. Now to the Fringe Box Office to ask for our money back. In 48 years of theatregoing this will be a new one on me! 

The Edinburgh Fringe One-Weeker 2016 – Spank! 25th August 2016

SpankFor last show on Thursday night it’s back for the second of our three Spankings this year, because, as the saying goes, we love it! It’s at midnight, of course, at Underbelly Cowgate (Belly Dancer) and will be the usual riot of unexpected misbehaviour and gentle teasings.

Abigoliah SchaumaunA reminder of the blurb: “Spank! returns for an incredible 13th year with sexy hosts, awesome comedians and the inevitable gratuitous nudity. With the most exciting comedy and cabaret talent on the Fringe, don’t miss the ‘best wild night out’ (Scotland on Sunday) at the festival! Spank! You love it! ‘This is what the festival should be about’ (List). ‘Legendary party night? Get down there right away!’ (Time Out). Previous acts include Rhys Darby, Jack Whitehall, Katherine Ryan, Josh Widdicombe, Adam Hills and many more! Ages 18+.” Looking forward to seeing our genial hosts again, the incredible Mr James Loveridge and Miss Abigail Schamaun, and I don’t expect to be in bed until very late. Check back very late – or maybe tomorrow morning – to find out just how spanklicious it was, and you can also find out about our first show for Friday.

This was a truly fun-filled Spank, and not just because of the guests! We started off with The Establishment, whom we had seen the day before at The Fainting Couch; then superb Canadian comic Allyson June Smith, making her UK debut Laura Prangley, hilarious Australian David Quirk, Emman Idama, Fraser Geesun and headline act Patrick Monahan. Naked promo was by Ellen who said she did it for fun and to promote good body image; but we later found out it was because her ex was at the same show with a new date! Patrick’s act was like a game show where Ellen (and her friend) got to choose a new date. James Loveridge’s mum and dad were in the audience and his dad was one of the contestants in the game show. You really had to be there! 

The Edinburgh Fringe One-Weeker 2016 – Foil, Arms and Hog: DoomDah, 25th August 2016

Foil Arms HogI’m expecting our next show to be one of the funniest things we will see this year! It’s Foil, Arms and Hog: DoomDah, at White Belly @ Underbelly, 66 Cowgate, at 21:50 on Thursday 25th. Let’s look at the blurb: “Irish comedy, potato, potato, potato, potato, potato, potato, potato, potato, potato, potato, potato, you racist. Ireland’s top comedy trio. Sold out Edfringe 2009-2015. Over four million hits on YouTube. Fringe favourites Foil, Arms and Hog present a delicious blend of bizarre, surreal and hilarious comedy scenes with outrageous characters and unexpected twists. Book early. ***** (Irish Examiner). ***** (Irish Times). ***** (BroadwayBaby.com). ***** (Edinburgh Festivals). ‘These lads are hilarious’ (Jason Byrne). ‘Very funny’ (Rowan Atkinson). ‘An effervescent hour of fast-paced gags, fizzing with energy, invention and great lines’ (Chortle.co.uk). ‘Quite simply, a sensation’ (Edinburgh Festivals).”

DoomdahAlthough they’ve apparently been selling out the Fringe since 2009, I’d never heard of them until an Irish friend came to stay for the weekend a few weeks ago and introduced us to their brilliant comedy videos. Very much looking forward to this one! Check back around 11pm for our instant feedback, and by then the preview blog for our final show of the day should be available to read too.

What can I say about this joyous hour of comedy? The guys are full of fun and present us with several, original, nonsensically funny sketches. More than that – there’s quite a lot of audience participation, so if you sit near the front you may well get picked on. I ended up being: the Ping Pong ball boy, the fourth person in a one man theatrical play, a real live smartphone and Lanyard man! It felt like I was hardly ever off the stage! Fortunately it seemed to go well. I loved it – would happily watch it again! Very funny and highly recommended!

The Edinburgh Fringe One-Weeker 2016 – Another Fine Mess, 25th August 2016

Another Fine MessBreaking our usual rules about only seeing things in Edinburgh that we would not be able to see at home, we’re next off to see Northampton’s own White Cobra Productions’ performance of Another Fine Mess at Space 2 @ The Space on the Mile, 80 High Street, at 19:05 on Thursday 25th. Here’s the blurb: “Laurel and Hardy’s slapstick comedy still makes people laugh nearly 100 years after they made their first film together. Their rib-tickling rendition of The Trail of the Lonesome Pine even got to number 2 in the UK Singles Chart in 1975. Theirs was a partnership – and friendship – that lasted a lifetime. In Another Fine Mess, we meet Stephen and Phil, whose tribute act to the duo includes some of their classic sketches. But as they rehearse in the back room of a pub, a shocking revelation from Phil threatens everything.”

Laurel and HardyWe’ve seen these performers a couple of times now, so I’m looking forward to seeing them again in something new; and this sounds like it should be a lot of fun. Check back around a quarter past eight to see how much we laughed, and by then the preview blog for our next show should be available to read too.

Intriguing little play depicting the real life anguish of three old friends – two of whom form a Laurel and Hardy tribute act – as they come to terms with some bad news… I’ll say no more on the plot front! Richard Jordan and Paul Fowler’s loving interpretation of Laurel and Hardy is delightfully observed with an excellent feel for the relationship between the two and brings back that charming age of vintage comedy. You’ll be singing The Trail of the Lonesome Pine for the rest of the evening! The packed audience gave it a great reception and if you like Laurel and Hardy you’ll love this!