Tuesday, 31 July 2012

The Final "List of Things to See" Post Before the Fringe Starts

So we're one day away from the start of the Fringe and soon I'll be able to actually start reviewing shows, rather than just listing stuff I think will be good or mentioning people I have seen in previous years.

But before I get cracking, there's time for one more post about local talent here in Edinburgh!

Outside of August, Edinburgh does have a reasonably good comedy scene. It's nothing compared to the Fringe, obviously, but there are some decent established acts as well as some up and coming guys to look out for.

The experienced guys include Tommy MacKay, the man behind Alex Salmond's Gastric Band, who does some great musical comedy. His act is usually very much based around Scottish politics, so probably more appealing for locals than visitors to Edinburgh. This year he's doing a show called "Oliver Pissed" and it's all about minimum pricing of alcohol. It's a free show!

Scott Agnew has been around for a while - he is doing a specialised type of show called Tales Of The Sauna, which - let's be clear - is all about his experience of gay saunas.... I have seen him do some regular stand up and he's very non-camp and likeable - I guess his subject material is either going to be your thing or it's not! If it is, his show certainly won't be spoiled by his presentation!

Alan Anderson is Scottish Comedy's whisky expert. After calling his show "Whisky Fir Dummies" for several years, he's been harassed by the publishers of the "For Dummies" series of books so its now called "Whisky Fir Dafties". (What a bunch of pricks these people are). Either way, why wouldn't you say no to some free whisky along with your comedy show! And I'm led to believe, although I haven't seen it myself, that it is a very good show.

Finally another very accomplished patriotic comedian. Bruce Fummey is a Fringe veteran, half Scottish, half African, former physics teaching, Burns expert with some outstanding material, great stage presence, charm and story telling ability... and damn it! As I go to insert the link for his show I realise he isn't doing one this year! Ah well, still one to look out for on the circuit.

On to the less experienced acts now... My Friend Chris Bain has been doing material on youtube as Wee Mental Daz for a while, but he's taken a break from that to start doing a mixture of straight stand up and sketch comedy. He stars along side the more experienced Clair Myychael and Anna Devitt in "Charlie Nicholas Bought Me An Ice Cream" which is a mash up of sketch show and straight stand up. He's a naturally gifted stand up and I reckon he'll do even better amongst some experienced comics.

In recent years I've seem local comic Gareth Waugh go from new act competition heat winner to semi-pro and he's starring alongside Chris Conroy (who I've not seen as much of) in Thatcher's Death Party... An interesting title designed to wind up the Daily Mail readers and potentially give them a publicity boost if history manages to catch up with them! Go and see him while he's still free and relatively unknown!

I've not seen much of Matt Winning but I'm a huge fan of Richard Gadd and the pair team up for "This is Awkwarder". If you are looking for straight stand up then this certainly isn't it... But if you want to see something original and surreal then go and see them. There will be awkward moments, pauses lasting a bit too long, times when you're not sure if they are deliberately messing things up or actually messing them up, but it's highly entertaining and wonderfully out-with the norm.

Another bunch young chaps who are growing in confidence are Scot Laird, Liam Cumbers, Dan Petherbridge and Stuart Thompson. Liam and Scot are both improving well. I saw them in a showcase last month and they were both relaxed, with a very good flow and good enough for a recommendation. I've not seen as much at the other two... The show is called "The Kids We Used to Be". I think the theme of growing up is a good place to start in your first Fringe show so they deserve credit for picking a simple theme... Stories of teenage mischief and confusion can be touching as well as funny and the guys easily have enough in them to carry it off.

Finally, I want to give a mention to a very young comic called Gareth Mutch. He's performing in his first Fringe show with Genevieve Cytko and Ray Fordyce called Life, The Universe, Whatever. At 18 he's already impressed me several times. I've heard experienced local comics say they remind him of a young Kevin Bridges (who also started at 17 and brought his Mum and Dad along to his first gig). I would be more inclined to compare him to Lloyd Langford - very cheery, with simple touching anecdotes and a good grasp of observational comedy. He's well supported by Ray Fordyce who has some amazing one-liners. I've only seen Genevieve Cytko in competitions and she looked a tad nervous, but her first full run at the Fringe will hopefully help her overcome that!

So that's the talking over! Fringe time tomorrow and I can't wait! Keep an eye on my Twitter feed as well as the blog!

1 comment:

Peter Michael Rowan said...

Hi Colin! You might like to dip into Acoustic Underground at Kilderkin, midnight - 2am, 4th - 25th (free). I've been putting local and visiting acts on at the Fringe, on and off, for over 10 years. This year there's a whole stack of local music and comedy acts and an assortment of visitors. Listings are on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/events/257789640999144/ and I'll even buy you a pint if you turn up!
Peter Michael Rowan