Thursday, 23 August 2012

Edinburgh Fringe 2012

Yes, as you can see from the earlier posts, its that time again when all at PC Towers head north of Hadrian's Wall to attend the "Edinburgh Fringe Festival". Regular followers of this thread will be aware that this annual visit to the City of Edinburgh, always results in one blog on the acts seen, and the general feel of the event.

So without further ado, here are our 'best of the fest' based on the acts seen by us, and listed under our stars of recommendation: There were no weak shows this year .... we enjoyed them all, although sometimes for different reasons.

However we have to make choices, so there were two we agreed were 5 Star:

Cirque du Charlie Chuck

Charlie Chuck - Edinburgh 2012

Charlie Chuck has been going for years on the northern club circuit and occasionally on TV, but we had never seen him before ..... a smallish crowd sat (some, open mouthed and cringing), while bits of plank flew past their heads, but laughing throughout. Simply brilliant weirdness, although that said, the 'solo drum' act apparently changes little from year to year, just the long suffering assistant.

Bad Musical

Bad Musical - Edinburgh 2012

Its hard to do something so badly that its good, and even harder to be obviously good enough to do it properly in the first place (trust me Big Ken and I have seen a few turkeys to spot one!) .... these three lads managed the trick with some aplomb. Good clean (ish) adult fun, well performed and imagined, even with minimalist props.


Henning Wehn: Henning Knows Bestest

Not really a 4 star, but we had to grade a little, so fans will know that it was as consummate a professional performance as ever ..... and from the same "Bunker" as last year. Probably our last year including him in the itinerary, as he is verging on media mega stardom these days .... but brilliant if you have never seen him live.

The Great Puppet Horn

Take two lads, a political agenda (pro gay marriage, pro green energy, pro socialist, pro immigration, anti Tory, anti coalition, anti catholic church and anti Thatcher .... yes it was 30 yrs ago, but hey socialists can never move on), some cardboard cut-outs, a small backlit screen and a few decent jokes. Surprisingly it works in Edinburgh, but the material would probably struggle in many places (not going to Melbourne with this act), as its all old UK left-wing themes. So not a repeater, and lads, Thatcherism wasn't the root of all evil in the current world, diversify the message and you will have an act you can make money with, but in all fairness we enjoyed the inventiveness, so a good mark.

Phill Jupitus - You're Probably Wondering Why I've Asked You Here...

So here's the thing, Mr Jupitus has been mainly a panel show guest for the last few years .... so he's trying to get back to his 'stand up' roots. So he's at a regular comedy club venue, which means that only about 40% of the crowd can have a seat, and many can't see the stage. Not a good start, when most of the audience wouldn't see 30 again (or even 40).  Nonetheless the format of three fictional dead characters (a Welsh porn star, an English failed actor, and Mr Jupitus himself as his own holographic avatar from the future), answering questions from the crowd, started well. The Welsh porn star from Swansea - acting under the pseudo name of 'Dai Fucking', was strong enough to elicit good questions and funny answers, but it tailed off after the English grand actor didn't keep up a decent string of questions. It was the weakest of the shows, but it may be that on another night the characters were stronger as a set. Could really do with a decent venue though, as he's not cheap, and standing up to see nothing is not good..


And finally in a category entirely on his own ..... and in over a decade of fringe activities I can honestly say that Big Kenny and I have never seen anything like it .... totally a one off.

Doctor Brown - Befrdfgth

Doctor Brown - Befrdfgth 2012

A violent mime act with a whiff of psychosis .... he hit one guy with an umbrella during one foray into the audience, and was standing on people when he raced once more into the audience. Both funny and threatening in almost equal measure, the act was done in almost complete silence apart from some music and the constant low level threat of violence. It was entertaining but very very edgy, and the constant fear of audience participation was also a key to this unease.

Now this guy is also a child entertainer .... god knows what that show is like if this is the 'adult' version, but I can't deny that this was inventive, highly unusual and a highlight of our 'fest' but I have to rank it by itself, and admit I won't go and see him again ..... way too dangerous.


Dr Brown was just announced as winner of the 'Best Of The Fest' aka Foster's Edinburgh Best Comedy Show Award (formerly Perrier award) for 2012.

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