Edinburgh Festival Fringe Highlights
August 5 to August 27 2007
Steve Day: Deafy Island Discs
A comic since 1998, Day has starred in several radio plays and often pops up doing a humorous column on Radio 4’s ‘You and Yours’. Hearing-impaired since the age of 18, this year he’s playing and talking about seven records he remembers and misses most. “Come along and hear what he can’t” it says on his flyer. I’d advise you take some tissues.
Liz Bentley: I’ve Only Got Myself to Blame
Road traffic accidents, multiple sclerosis, and abuse don’t usually make comfortable subjects for audiences. But Bentley’s poems and quirky songs, accompanied by ukulele and Casio keyboard, ease us through her accounts of these traumas that she has experienced. A therapist by day, she also describes herself as a “client by night”. Definitely one of the Fringe highlights. Go and see her be a performer at noon.
Chickenshed: As the Mother of a Brown Boy
A mother remembers the life, and untimely death, of her mixed race son and his struggle for identity in a multi-racial society. This innovative dance works by the inclusive theatre company combines physical theatre, live music and multimedia.
Liz Carr and Jane Bostock: Unnatural Comedy Selection
When Darwin wrote ‘Origin of the Species’, he didn’t have the likes of comic Liz Carr (BBC’s Ouch! podcast presenter) in mind. This is an hour long show full of missing links and monkey business from the outspoken wheelchair-using comedian.
Adam Hills: Joymonger
Adam Hills is one of Australia’s most talented comedians, who features material about being an amputee and his prosthetic foot. With his unique style of thoughtful, uplifting comedy Hills has won rave reviews and a legion of fans worldwide. And it’s at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival that Adam has really made his mark, with sell out performances for the past five years. He has been nominated three times for the prestigious Perrier Award.
Shappi Khorsandi: Carry on Shappi
Stand-up comic Shappi Khorsandi is one of the best new female comics on the UK circuit. In the early 80s Shappi became a refugee: “long before it became fashionable”. Following a sell-out run of her one women show Asylum Speaker at last year’s festival, this feisty and effortlessly funny comic handles this year’s subject of pregnancy with a razor sharp wit. Don’t be fooled by those innocent looks.
Tanyalee Davis: Little do they know
At 3’6″ Davis describes herself as the Ferrari of comedy: “low to the ground and kind of racy”. She started doing stand-up-on-a-chair in 1990 and last year was part of the critically acclaimed comedy duo ‘Bravetarts’, also featuring Liz Carr (see above). Since then she’s gone from strength to strength, headlining solo shows throughout the US, Canada and the UK. What she lacks in height she more than makes up in tenacity. She’s a little lady with a lot of BIG laughs.
Krazy Kat Theatre Company: Growing, GrowingGone!
Krazy Kat’s Kinny Gardner and Darren Cheek, plus a watering can, cover the tall tale of Jack and the Beanstalk through Sign Language Arts. The theatre company’s return home to Edinburgh of this popular show marks the theatre’s company’s 25th birthday. This fast-paced romp is directed by deaf director Robbie Jones. It is a storytelling extravaganza featuring fully integrated British Sign Language, magic tricks, transformations, original music, silly puppets, and a rather cross giant! The show is suitable for three- to seven-year-old deaf, hearing-impaired and hearing children. Giants over seven years of age are, of course, very welcome too!
Rhod Gilbert: Who’s Eaten Gilbert’s Grape?
Wales’ funniest export, Rhod Gilbert, is back with, ‘Who’s Eaten Gilbert’s Grape?’.
A Previous Winner of the BBC3 New Comedy Awards, Gilbert’s performance draws on a night in a hotel he spent watching the film ‘What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?’. His show reflects on the parallels between himself and the characters in the movie, where Gilbert Grape, played by Johnny Depp, wrestles with life in a small town growing up with an autistic brother. Unlike many mainstream comedians, Gilbrt’s collection of weird and wonderful shaggy dog stories ensures that he, rather than the audience, is the butt of the jokes.
Amnesty International: Stand up for Freedom
Building on the success of last year’s comedy show, Amnesty is holding a number of Stand Up For Freedom shows. If you can’t get to these in person, their website features a series of Festival vodcasts and podcasts. Check out www.amnesty.org.uk/scotland for exclusive interviews, sketches, backstage gossip, and clips from The Secret Policeman’s Ball, as well as content from world class comedians performing at Amnesty’s Stand Up For Freedom shows throughout the month.
Ones to avoid
I would advise steering clear of Reginald D. Hunter, Brendon Burns and Keith Carter. While skilful performers, their material is offensive to even the most hardened of comedy audiences. I also make it a rule not to go to any of the numerous shows featuring the word ‘musical’, so will be avoiding ‘ASBO! The Musical’ and the two song and dance shows about Tony Blair!
• Mark Drinkwater is a community worker in Southwark, south London. He will be reviewing acts at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe on behalf of Community Care in future issues.This article appeared in the 9 August under the headline “Having a laugh at the Edinburgh Fringe”