Now, I know that many of you have been oh-so-keen to find out what the Edinburgh Fringe was like this year and what I made of it all, so it’s about time I told you. Apologies for the delay, budlings.
Are you sitting comfortably boys and girls? Jolly good. Then I’ll begin.
Well, it would appear that I have taken to calling groups of people “boys and girls” for starters. I do it with many audiences now it seems. One must surely blame the Huggers show for this, since that is how I refer to our very young attendees. The mums, dads, grannies and grandads can also consider themselves addressed this way at the show. Well, it’s all just silly fun and games after all. Not ‘Funz and Gamez’. Different kind of kids show altogether that. A great one too by all accounts.
Full most days and totally good fun, you have to wonder that at free entry and with many great child-friendly acts, why some parents will go on edfringe.com and twitter to say things along the lines of the show is “pointless” and that their 2-year-old was frightened and crying after the ‘threat of a stick’. We have yet to understand what @Mark8195 was on about when he tweeted that foolishness on the Huggers Kids Show account. Feel free to ask him everybody.
As for pointless? Is fun and laughter with Disney music, magic, games and silly jokes pointless. Really? Only if you are the sort of parent that would rather take their 5-year-old to an ‘immersive theatre’ experience and we all know what to make of that poppycock, don’t we boys and girls?
Verily, ’twas the best run at any festival to date, was Huggers this Edinburgh. So I am rather pleased at how it went. The shows at Gorgie City Farm were equally a joy, if a little bit weird. Any show being watched by sheep on a grassy verge with goats for a backdrop is always going to be slightly disconcerting and heading onto to the Huggers show later in the afternoon and stepping over kiddies sat at the front by the stage with cow and pig shit on your shoes is never the best thing to do. But great and interesting all round. Even seeing and mingling with the pigs that I will be eating in sausage form should I visit the farm upon a November or December Edinburgh visit was amusing, if for all the wrong and twisted reasons.
The managers and volunteers there were very keen and helpful and as such, we hope to do something with them again next year.
The bigger, brasher, naughtier older sister show was again brilliant late night joyfulness. Jam-packed and lively as an electric eel connected to a car battery on the weekends, but for some reason not as full as it has been at the occasional midweek show. Come on people, like David Cameron said, the recession is over and that man always tells the truth! Although, at least at Shaggers, I wasn’t beaten to within an inch of my life with fluffy crocodiles and plastic spoons most days as I was at Huggers. Never ever mess with kids and the song ‘Let It Go’ from the movie ‘Frozen’! That is my message.
Apart from a few drop-outs and massive let-downs (you know who you are), Shaggers was a delight to run and MC again. With Aunty Lilly and the fanny-popping Holly Cronin in attendance for many of the nights, it was always nice to have a friendly face around the venue. Obviously we had the friendly mug (even if not much was going on behind it) of Christian Elderfield for many of the ‘Shuggers’ shows too. While he may have the brain of an excited monkey as well as a fluffy one on his hand and the odd innappropriate comment to often go with both, his enthusiasm was always welcome. Although, let’s face it, who else is going to book him?
Still, a big thank you to him and all the Shuggers for doing what you do best and entertaining people the pandas and the bunnies put before you. Watch this space (and your emails) for details of a Christmas piss-up at a venue yet to be announced. It’s likely to be somewhere in the West End. Of Luton. No, don’t be ridiculous. I may torture myself by residing in this area, but I wouldn’t ask you all to come here.
It was a pleasure to run my Mixed Racist show out again and even though my favourite German (after Armless Tiger Man), Henning Wehn reckons I could and should do it again at next years Fringe, I may put it to festival beddy-byes. There is so much more I would like to add to and edit from it given it has a good underlying relevancy to go with my cheery disposition, so you never know. If the German Comedy Ambassador to the UK says I can do it, who am I to argue? Maybe ‘Mixed Racist 2.0’, or some equally movie-like title?
“I’ll be black”.
We shall see. The reviewers tend to like it more and more as it goes along after all. Ooh, since you’re here, why not have a read of the latest two?
Ok, so Alanta ‘Queen of the Ocean’ Colley clearly didn’t understand where I was coming from with regards to the story of my trying to save a young, drunk, vulnerable girl from the clutches of a sleazy, molesting Ghanaian twice her age out with nefarious intentions. But as plenty of my contemporaries and budlings have acquiesced, many of her ilk will always bring their own agenda to a show. And although she is as wrong as a dolphin up a tree playing a banjo alongside a meerkat and a seahorse singing showtunes (no, I wouldn’t see that show either), we will forgive her for believing it would be better for me to let said intimidated girl get sexually assualted in the promotion of feminism, than defend her honour in the name of being a decent, caring human being.
No one – be they male or be they female – gets raped or beaten up on my watch if it is within my power to stop it. So if people want to believe that I am ‘sexist’ or ‘racist’ because of that, then so be it. All us heroes know that it is both a blessing as well as a curse to be burdened with such magnanimous purpose. But with great power comes great responsibility. Where have I heard that before? Not sure? Either way, I’m having that as my mantra.
Speaking of superheroes (seamless link), the show of the festival for me had to be the all-new, star-spangled, onesie-wearing, Battle of the Superheroes. It’s debut year was full for most shows and a total joy to organise and play. My co-compere Jamie McCarney and I fit together like a hand in a glove, even if he fit in his Batman onesie like an elephant leg in ballet dancers tights. That and he is a DC Comics fan. Fool on the bill!
Not in the brochure owing to it’s late registration, not one flyer handed out and very few posters going up, but a massive success. All who played it, loved it, and it was amazing and heart-warming to see comedians (and even non-comedians) enjoying messing about so much and entering into the spirit of it with the level of enthusiasm and geekiness that the show and it’s nerdy audiences deserved. Ok, so Thor would rather be sitting in a Mosque than talking up his Thunder God self on preview night, but that’s one for Allah and Odin to duke it out over.
Thank you all for treating the show with such respect and love.
Obviously, a Marvel character won the competition, but in The Hulk not necessarily one that many would have tipped from the start. However, victorious Ben Clover and his stunning special effects won over all challengers with the limitless strength that only The Incredible Hulk possesses. Then the CGI green sock puppet with beads for eyes crowd-surfed triumphant around the room. A joyous Fringe moment indeed.
And who would have ever suspected that the mightily-muscled Hulk would sound like an old lady from Yorkshire? Fact truly is stranger than fiction.
And thus, my Edinburgh Fringe, as told in a rather large nutshell here, comes to an end for another 11 months. Yes people, ELEVEN MONTHS! Not a YEAR as many of you speaketh! Doesn’t sound so bad when you take that month off, now does it? No, not at all.
It all started with a pleasant drive up with R.S. Freshpea and a launch party at The Three Sisters, and ended with a closing party at our flat and yet another pleasant drive back with Lilly ‘Pug Mother’ Sach. And let’s not forget the diminutive star of Ray Donovan and Ted 2 turning up the final weekend.
I asked meself as it drew to a close, “If you could go back to when registration was due, would you change anything?”. The answer was largely, “No”. I could’ve organised a few aspects a little better to hit the ground running a little faster and smoother, but all-in-all I can’t complain. A great month indeed. I could’ve had a few less doner rolls and a bit more salad and fruit, but that, like early nights, is cheating! Anyone seen to be doing so should be banished from the Fringe! Or at least dragged out onto the cobblestones and flogged like the sacriligious heathen that they are!
I must also add that again proving my spidery knowledge to a guest friend at said final get together, coupled with the success of the ‘BOTS’ show (that’d be the ‘Battle of the Superheroes’ show, not a live homosexual love-in; that’s next year) has re-invigorated my desire to bring the reboot of my first ever solo show back to The Fringe.
‘Spiders, Man 2’ will be coming soon to a Fringe Festival near you. Maybe as a 10-year anniversary in 2016. Keep an eye on the web….