The Long Lens blog: Photography with added snaps, art and culture

The photography site for sore eyes. Featuring: Art, photography, performance and theatre. With extra writing because I'm also a writer.

Edinburgh Fringe 2017: preview/review

[Un-edited blog]

This blog is about performance art and stand-up comedy – focused on the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (more commonly known as Edinburgh Fringe).

It lists my favourite shows from the 2016 festival (some of which will be appearing at the same festival in 2017). And it also mentions shows going to the Fringe in 2017 which I have seen and can recommend, or am just desperate to see.

Here goes:

Daniel Kitson
Can’t remember exact name of the show. It was on at, like, 11am in one of the Stand Comedy Club venues. He is not going to Edinburgh this summer but has some giggs in July and September in London and Manchester. Was recommended to me by @Heshams I’d never heard of this bloke. Apparently he refuses to do television and stuff like that. I don’t know why. What I do know is that if you’re in the know, like have any knowledge of stand-up comedy, you’ll know that this guy is basically the funniest comedian working in Britain today. He doesn’t need to go on the telly because he has a huge cult following. He doesn’t even have an agent, he sells his show tickets through his own mailing list, which must be massive because they sell out very quickly. I’m going to see him in Manchester in September. I’m not an outright fan of stand-up comedy but this guy is a sensation. Where 2015 Edinburgh best comedian award winner Sam Simmons bullies and scares his audience, Kitson (who also won the same frequently name changing award years ago) is more gentle and engaging with his audience.

Peter and Bambi Heaven: The Magic Inside
Asher Treleaven and Gypsy Wood play lovers in a spoof magic show. While the idea is almost 1970s throwback, the execution, sheer joy and excitement made this show my outstanding highlight of 2016’s Fringe. I can’t rate the humour, performance or chemistry between this pair highly enough. I won’t do any spoilers. But I will say this is ironic humour maxed out to its limit in full on shiny glitz variety performance. Their website is here. They are at Assembly George Square Gardens in Edinburgh in 2017.

Every Brilliant Thing
Paines Plough are a theatre company of some repute. To be honest, I’d never heard of them so their name means about as much to me as it will to you. However, this show, a one-man performance in the round (in a big tent in the Summerhall venue) was as moving and poignant a performance as you will ever see. Even my hard-faced friend mark shed a tear at the end. The story is about a list a boy made for his mum who was suffering from depression. Doesn’t sound like a lot of laughs, but it’s the intimacy and brilliant delivery which sometimes makes something so memorable it’ll stay with you for years. While Paines Plough are doing a few things at Edinburgh this August, Every Brilliant Thing is at the Roundabout venue at Summerhall again. Get your tickets pretty soon because last year it sold out quickly.

Perhaps best known for her work as the kind of straightwoman in Tourette’s Hero, Jess Mabel Jones showed her acting quality in this solo show at Underbelly in 2016. The performance was every bit as good as the promo photos. I don’t think this show or Jess is in Edinburgh performing this summer.

By Rachael Clerke and the Great White Male. This show (again at Summerhall) had a jolly a nice edgy-as-fuck reputation. Cuncrete – four, ahem, men aggressively performing in a band – was a kind of mesmeric post-punk critique of modern life.

In 2015 I saw a show called Women’s Hour by Sh!t Theatre. It was very good. The kind of self-deprecating angry feminism show which middle-aged men like me can’t get enough of.  The people behind this show are back with DollyWould, which I’ve read such good things about that I’ve already got tickets for. Get yours here. And, yes, Dolly does refer to Dolly Parton, the anti-anti-feminists’ feminist. [Featured image for this blog post in Woman’s Hour in 2015]

Eggs Collective: Get A Round
I think this Manchester-based trio performed this show in a short run in 2015. I’ve never seen it. But I’ve met so many people who have, and have loved it. I’ll be at Summerhall to see them this summer. Tickets here. I’ve actually met this lot a couple of times doing different stuff over the past few years. They are probably the most exciting performance trio working in Britain at the minute, having done some fabulous stuff, including being involved in BBC Performance Live thing (where they will perform this show live).

A Girl and a Gun
This comes very highly recommended. By Me. I wrote about the show here. One of the strongest visual and uncomfortable pieces I’ve ever seen. You’ve basically got Louise Orwin smouldering through 70 minutes while a bloke who has never seen the script is guided through his supporting role which includes one or two moral judgements on his part. I can’t quite remember whether I was more embarrassed about being a voyeur or being a man afterwards. It’s what the best performance theatre always is: massively entertaining and hugely thought provoking. She’s at Summerhall, tickets here. This could be the best show you see in Edinburgh this year.



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