art festival, comedy review, edinburgh, edinburgh fringe, frankie boyle, fringe 2017, fringe reviews, late 'n' live, latenight comedy, leeds tealights, review, show reviews, sketch revue, stand up comedy, the warwick revue
Slash Theatre: The Room in the Elephant
(14.15, Heroes @The Hive)
To the credit of the three performers, they’d already been handed a poor turnout of about five people and still persevered through the whole show. Unfortunately, the show itself was quite a tough watch. It was clear that a lot of thought had been put into homing in the metaphysical concept of the show being about itself: three characters in a room trying to come up with a show. However, there is only so many times you can rely on “so I’ll be saying these very words in the play right now… and those words.. and those ones.” When it looked like this bit was only the opening of the show, it was okay; then I realised that was the show. Whilst I appreciate the efforts that this group put into selling us this angle, this show needed more to it. When your show is essentially like a version of The Muppet Show where it’s only the in-between backstage sections, only set three-months before when the show hasn’t even been written yet, it’s really difficult to hold an audience’s attention for an entire hour. Occasionally they had more abstract moments to evoke the absurdist genre they were labelled with, but even they didn’t sit well with the rest of the show.
The jokes themselves never really clicked with the near-silent audience either, with one of the often-repeated lines being “I just think the audience will just find this bit really boring:” I’m not saying it was, it’s just that putting those words into the audience’s heads isn’t the greatest thing to do in any show. There was one woman enjoying herself behind us, but when it was revealed she was a plant the whole time to pay-off a joke at the end, I’m afraid that was the final nail in the coffin for me.
The Warwick Revue Presents: Night Shift
(17.15, Black Market)
Like our previous show, this one had a small, though slightly larger, turnout. Yet, it deserved far more; precisely why people shouldn’t be afraid of trying the Free Fringe. As you’ll see below, we saw three sketch revues in a row. This free one was on-par with the two paid ones and quite possibly contained the cleverest writing. Whilst they are evidently still feeling the waters with what does and doesn’t work – I mean I can’t relate to that at all – the show we got just kept getting stronger and stronger as it went on. There were some true moments of brilliance peppered across the show, which I will not ruin, and all of the sketches were very different and diverse. One of my favourite sketches may have not even been one that gets you roaring with laughter, but the discipline behind the sheer speed of the performances had both myself and Alex in awe.
Please do not overlook The Warwick Revue.
Leeds Tealights: Fix Us
(18.35, Just the Tonic @The Caves)
In terms of performance, this was the strongest sketch revue I saw. Immediately displaying an electric sense of confidence, The Tealights were evidently very well-versed in working a Fringe audience. The sketch-writing was strong, but the execution was the real star. For sketch comedy, it is well-known that have to be able to convincingly pull off a variety of characters and that was certainly no issue for these guys. One sketch got laughs purely out of the excellence of the accents, and that’s not in a bad way at all. For me, it was inspiring to see this group of truly comedically gifted performers in-action. Excellent show and, thanks to one sketch, I now know what sort of service I expect in Subway.
Bristol Revunions: Glass
(19.55, Just the Tonic @The Caves)
Another solid sketch show, with plenty of creative and wonderfully bizarre ideas throughout – the best probably being the Monopoly sketch which I won’t spoil. The only critique I’d have of this show is the murder-mystery arc used to hold the show together, which sometimes left me waiting for the next sketch to start. However, this issue is minor at best and I really enjoyed this revue as well.
One thing I did notice with all three sketch revues was their similarity in structure. Whilst there needs to be a main ‘tentpole’ sketch that can be returned to throughout the show, as I learnt myself the hard way, all three went for playing themselves in the same ‘behind-the-scenes’ Muppet-type premise. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with it; just something I picked up on.
Frankie Boyle: Prometheus Volume 1
Going into the venue, it was strange to walk into such a large theatre for a show at the Fringe. Whilst this may have meant the show didn’t have the same intimacy as others we’ve seen had, there wasn’t much quarrel that this particular show needed one; it’s Frankie Boyle. A man who certainly lived up to the reputation he’s built, we were provided with an hour of gloriously explicit and specific filth, which Boyle managed to apply pretty much everything he spoke about. Observation, satire, Scotland, the Royals; nothing was safe from the tyranny of those unbeatable and unforgiving similes and tangents that he is so well-known for.
However, as ashamed as I am to say it, the moment that really exposed what force of nature was on the stage came about when one unknowing idiot attempted to heckle. The moment you heard the words “what about Brexit?” sound with illy-prepared drunken English confidence, you saw the lion turn and lurch towards the prey that had just fallen into his den. The inaudible slurs of the man were like that of a pathetic little scavenger scrambling against the side, desperately trying to claw their way out. It was no good: the almighty predator tore them apart and left them to rot.. outside because the guy got kicked out in the end.
Once again, Frankie Boyle puts class into the unclassy.
Late ‘n’ Live
(1.00, Gilded Balloon Teviot)
Now, whilst level of professionalism that a Frankie Boyle-type is something to behold at, it’s Late ‘n’ Live where the truly raw stand-up comedy comes in. Now, I am aware that this notorious early-morning drinks-fest.. has allegedly become ‘tamer’ over the years.. apparently that’s a thing. However, as a first-time audience member, it would appear that the event’s reputation is now attracting some really great rising talent. Perhaps the time of night, atmosphere and cocktails we’d had before helped a bit, but I laughed at every act that came on.
Yet, it was definitely compere John Hastings who owned the show, who held the whole audience of people under alcohol or worse (yes, they were there) so seamlessly. A true off-the-cuff comedian, practically all his material came off of audience interaction. Also, I’d recommend checking out Larry Dean’s solo show, which will most likely be anything close to gold if his L’n’L set was anything to go by.
More tomorrow, which will have reviews for Thursday 10th and Friday 11th (though, we did only see one show on the Friday!