My disappointment in this year’s Fringe continues apace. Today I again saw nothing but successful, well-crafted and perfectly-performed comedy shows.
WHERE IS THE SHIT???
I can’t take much more of this excellent entertainment!
Alexander Bennett’s Terrifying Smile (I went back a second time to see it properly) delivered exactly what you would expect from an experienced 37-year-old veteran of the Fringe with 20 years in the business. The fact that Alexander is actually still only 24 is extraordinary and makes it a near-certainty he has made a blood pact either with Satan or the Illuminati.
Thom Tuck, following him at the Dragonfly, is also sickeningly skilled beyond his years.
His involvement with The Penny Dreadfuls and the Alternative Comedy Memorial Society must surely mean he is older than Alexander Bennett.
But, then, who could be younger than Alexander Bennett apart from the baby who won one of the increasingly prestigious Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards last year?
Rule No 1 in Edinburgh is Always plug your own event(s) even if you are talking about something else.
In the immortal words of the great Max Bialystock: “Baby, when you got it, flaunt it. Flaunt it!”
Thom Tuck’s shows are sophisticated, intellectually clever. And, this year, he stuck a cigarette in his belly button.
He is – as per the title of his show – An August Institution.
Another tradition in Edinburgh is that Thom will create individual flyers – well, pieces of paper in lieu of flyers – to hand out to promote his show.
Why both Alexander and Thom are not regularly on television in Python-style ensemble shows is beyond our ken.
Likewise unlikely-looking but actual brothers Jollyboat, drawing large queues in the Cowgate with their Why Do Nerds Suddenly Appear? show and delivering crowd-pleasing OTT comic songs and disco/festival type entertainment for the masses of whooping Yoof.
And that is a genuine compliment. Their audience-appeal and audience-control is extraordinary.
In the evening, I saw two other assured performers and audience manipulators in the best sense of the word.
I first blogged about Archie Maddocks in 2013 and now he has, he says in his IlluminArchie show, fallen in love for the first time – with his accidentally racist girlfriend.
Like several good performers in Edinburgh this year – the Siblings sisters, Will Hislop of Giants and Ashley Storrie – Archie comes from a solid bit of showbiz breeding. His father Don Warrington became famous in the TV series Rising Damp and his mother, Mary Maddocks, was in The Rocky Horror Show in London’s West End.
Meanwhile the (I’m sure equally well-bred) Italian comic Alex Martini – one of the pack of talented Italian comics based in London – shared his love of both Britain and (even more surprisingly) British food in an assured English language show Martini Dry – his solo Fringe debut show.
His show is entirely family-friendly and there was a lift in the building but I think the age-restriction on some Fringe shows should be linked not to sexual content and language but to the number of stairs and near-vertical cobbled streets you have to climb to get there. I can only hope the trek to some of these shows is strengthening rather than buggering-up my heart.
While leaping around betwixt venues in Edinburgh, I was having a welcome breather walking through the horizontal Grassmarket when I bumped into comedy font of anecdotes Tony Green, who spends half his year in Edinburgh, half in London and half in the 1980s.
Well, I thought, at least this means I won’t have to talk for the next half hour.
He told me that he would be performing in the Edinburgh Horror Festival later this year – 27th-31st October.
“Will you be performing as Sir Gideon McVein?” I asked.
“I’m to quite sure yet,” Tony told me..
Some might say, as they climb the stone stairs to some third storey venue atop a cobbled hill, that the horror festival is already in full swing.