Friday, 18 August 2017

Fringe 2017

We spent this weekend in Edinburgh for our almost annual visit to the Festival Fringe, hence the late post. You can never tell what the weather's going to do in Edinburgh in August - this probably sums it up...
Actually, we only caught a couple of showers over the weekend so didn't do too badly! We're very lucky to have a long suffering friend, Gordon, who puts us up for the weekend, saving us the fortune it would cost to stay in a hotel in Edinburgh during festival season. We headed down on Friday evening, and after dinner at Gordon's we got the bus into town. We got to the Pleasance Courtyard early enough to fit in a couple of drinks (a Sharps Orchard cider, and Stuart Brewing Edinburgh Festival for me) before our first show - Terry Alderton. I'd heard the name but more as a tv  presenter/actor than stand up. The show was aptly called 'All Crazy Now' and started with Terry and his sidekick Johnny Spurling arriving onstage as slightly dodgy rock band The Johns, complete with kilt, Bon Jovi vest and fright wig. Arguably things only got weirder from there! Funny, but don't think I'd feel the need to see him again.
Our first show on Saturday was 12 noon, so after a round of bacon rolls c/o Gordon we headed back into town. No pre show beers at that time of day for us - instead we popped into the square for a coffee, just round the corner from The Stand Comedy club for Tony Law's show, Absurdity for the Common People. I loved these light fittings in the cafe, and the cappuccino was pretty good too!

I'd seen snippets of Tony Law, on Stewart Lee's comedy vehicle, but even that didn't prepare me for a full hour of his bizarre, but funny flights of fancy. I think we all left wondering what had just happened...
A friend from work had told me one of his mates had a free show on over at espionage on Victoria Street, so with half an hour till the show was due to start we decided to chance the 20 minute walk. If I'm honest my main reason for wanting to go to this show is that back in my uni days Espionage night club was the Mission rock club and I was curious to see what they'd done with the old place! It looks a bit smarter than it was back in the day, but the old archways are intact thank goodness! The Show was called Afternoon Tea with Ray Fordyce and Other thoroughly pleasant people and billed as an afternoon of entertainment and comedy Featuring 3 or more acts each day. This type of show can be a bit hit and miss, and I think this was about 50/50.
From there we headed up to the BBC area at George Heriot's School.
They mostly have children's shows on during the day, so after a non alcoholic cocktail at the Secret Garden bar (Fentimans ginger beer with fresh raspberries- lovely!) we made our escape!
We wandered over to Summerhall to see if they had any tickets for Mark Thomas but they only had one left. After a bit more wandering we decided to get an early tea. We walk past the Mosque Kitchen every year at the Fringe but we've never been in there so thought we'd give it a try. Proper home made curry at a decent price means I'll let them off the not exactly 'green' polystyrene bowls...
Lamb curry, cauliflower and rice, plus drink - £7!

As we still had loads of time left before the next show we headed to the Pleasance ticket office and asked for 3 tickets for whatever they had starting in the next half hour or so. This can be a risky strategy, but the gamble paid off! Kwame Adeste is a junior doctor taking a year off to decide whether he wants to be a stand up or a doctor, and his set was slightly predictably filled with tales of working in the NHS. It was an enjoyable show, so it'll be interesting to see what he decides to do at the end of the year. We didn't really want to hang around the Pleasance again so we headed down to the bottom of the Royal Mile and found a quiet pub for a pint - when in Edinburgh, drink an Edinburgh Castle...
Next up was Tom Allen back at the Pleasance. As we arrived at the Pleasance Courtyard one of the buildings was being evacuated as the fire alarm was going off. Luckily, we arrived just before they decided to evacuate the coartyard too, so we were able to get through to Pleasance Beyond without any problems - unlike about half the audience.  Tom Allen likes to greet his audience on the way in, which is lovely, but he may have regretted it on this occasion as it took a good half hour to get everyone in. He took the whole thing in his stride though and put on a great show. 

On Sunday morning it was back to the Stand, for a recording of Sarah Millican's Standard Issue 'In Conversation' podcast, a very funny panel discussion with Val McDermid, Urzila Carson and Hannah Gadsby. As an aside, this was the second of three times we saw Simon Munnery wandering around Edinburgh - might have to go and see his show next year if he's on! The Stand sensibly doesn't allow photos during shows, so I took this before it started...
I should say, before the show we did tick off another Edinburgh 'must do' - coffee and a pastry at Valvona and Crolla. Clive Anderson walked in whilst we were there, which is one of things that just sort of happens when you're in Edinburgh in August!
We spent the rest of the afternoon shopping, then had tea at Wahaca. We had the Mexican banquet, a fab selection of tacos, empanadas, erm etc! Dessert was included, so I had the churros - any excuse!
From there, we met up with Gordon and wandered down Broughton Street for a quick drink in the Cask and Barrel before the last show of the weekend, Alun Cochrane at the Stand 4. Another great show, in a slightly odd venue - the function room of a hotel as far as I could tell!
So a busy weekend, and a successful one too, as far as picking good shows goes. That's not quite it for the Fringe 2017, as went to another show last night, but I'll save that for the next post!


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