I went to the Edinburgh Fringe for just ten days this year, and running just one show per day meant I actually got to see stuff. Here’s what grabbed me!
Trevor Lock’s Community Circle
There are seats on-stage. The rest are set up traverse-style. You sit, facing the other half of the audience. Trevor chats to you all, and to you specifically (probably). Some people take subjective notes, which are shared. Very little else happens, and it’s an hour of hilarious fun. Also, best bucket speech ever – if you watch the show and give nothing, you are stealing.
Rob Auton: The Hair Show
This year, Rob has moved from the Banshee to Just the Tonic, stepping into this bigger room with awkward charm – which is to say, he does exactly what he does in all his shows, and does so well. An hour of left-field observations about hair all disarmingly delivered, with a sucker-punch of pathos.
Christopher Bliss: Writing Wrongs
Rob Carter’s novelist character steps up a gear – last year was one of my favourite hours, and this new show is even better. Excellent audience work and set-pieces, Christopher is at once incredibly endearing and a touch arrogant as he reads his “novels” to us, and there’s even a subtle bit of tenderness towards the end.
A Super Happy Story (About Feeling Super Sad)
A musical cabaret about depression sounds like classic bad Fringe fodder. In the hands of Silent Uproar, though, it’s a joyful and moving story. The four-performers (three actors and on-stage pianist) tell the story convincingly, with the simple set and costume augmented by cabaret curtain backdrops. One of those rare shows that has you laughing one moment and in tears the next.
Tom Crosbie: You Can’t Polish A Nerd
Tom isn’t a comedian. Or a magician. He is a nerd – which seems to make him a bit of both. Ludicrous feats of mathematics and memory are married with dizzying Rubix Cube dexterity, interspersed with self-deprecating humour and fun facts. Incredibly impressive!
Steve Larkin: Nonce
Running poetry workshops in a prison for murderers and sex offenders doesn’t sound like the basis for a fun show. But Steve Larkin turned this story into a brilliantly thoughtful dark comedy, with inspired characterisation and a huge streak of humanity running through it.
Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons
Communicating in a relationship is difficult sometimes – and even harder when you’re only allowed to use a certain number of words per day. This two-hander about language and silence, power and meaning, is electrifyingly written and performed.
A bunch of comedians play Dungeons and Dragons. That’s about it – and I cried with laughter throughout.