Sunday, August 20, 2006

Mouse's Fringe Review Part 2 - 'The Mouse Strikes Back'

Saturday 19th
I spent the afternoon watching various street performers in Hunter Square. First up was the Space Cowboy, who I'd also seen at Fringe Sunday. It was exactly the same act, patter and all, but he's so entertaining that I didn't mind. As well as having a very good act, he's got some really nice tattoos and some implants under his skin that I find very interesting.

Next, there was Dave McSavage. His act mostly involved singing songs about random people in the crowd or anyone who was unfortunate to walk past. On a theme that may be familiar to some of you, one song was about how hilly Edinburgh is, and that this is the reason why local women have such muscular thighs! I thought he was really funny, and his show was over far too soon.

A New Zealander calling himself 'Basketball Jones' was the next performer. He was juggling and balancing basketballs (as you may have guessed from the name), ending up by juggling three basketballs while riding a three metre unicycle.

I was going to say 'why do all these performers ride those giant unicycles', but I know why - because they can, and it looks cool, of course.

I was very unimpressed by the next act. They were called 'Acro Buffo', and their show involved a little bit of juggling, some acrobalance, and a lot of rather unfunny clowning. I'm not that fond of clowns at the best of times - I just don't find them entertaining and they're freaky. These two were also wearing slightly grotesque masks, which creeped me out. The whole act gave the impression that they thought they were much funnier and cleverer than I did. A large proportion of the audience drifted away during their performance, and at the end of their act when they asked us to give money if we'd enjoyed the show, I didn't give them anything (and I usually would, even if I thought an act was so-so).
I think that my main problem with them was that if I'm going to spend my time and money on seeing a particular act, then I want the performers to be doing something that I can't do, e.g. fire-eating, swordswallowing, unicycling, juggling more than three items, making up funny songs on the spot, etc. Nothing about this act was at all spectacular or memorable, and I don't think that's good enough.
*aaaaand relax*

The last act that I saw yesterday was a man calling himself 'Silver'. For the rest of the year he does a kind of robot act to music, sprayed all over in silver paint, usually on Princes Street. As he said, he's probably the only Festival street performer who's actually from Edinburgh. The act he did was a combination of playing with the audience and mime done to a soundtrack from his ipod. I generally have very little interest in mime, but he's very good and funny too, so I enjoyed what he did.

Ok, this is going to be a three-part review so the last bit will be written once I've seen the rest of the shows. I've got some photos of the Space Cowboy on his giant 'suicycle' as he calls it, so I'll put them in the next instalment.
See you then.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Mouse's Fringe Review Part 1 - 'Fringe Mouse'

This year, I'm going to more Fringe shows than any other year. I don't know if there's better shows (or better suited to me, anyway) but I've found far more to see this time. I didn't manage to get tickets to Bill Bailey's new show, Steampunk, which was rather disappointing, but we've seen - or have got tickets for - five shows so far.

Saturday 12th
So, we started by going with Boo and Matt to see a play called 'Dark North', about a psychic. It wasn't bad, although it got very hammy in parts. There were points where I was laughing but I wasn't sure whether they meant it to be funny or not, which made me feel a bit awkward. My two favourite parts were at the start, when the psychic came onto the darkened stage area and stubbed his toe on the only piece of scenery they had, and the bit where the psychic got beaten up and Boo went 'Yay!' All in all, it was ok, but I'm glad it only cost £10 for the two of us - if it had cost much more I'd have felt slightly miffed.

Sunday 13th
Today was Fringe Sunday, when there is a large selection of performers from various Fringe shows doing snippets of their shows in the Meadows (a large park-type area). There were tents for comedy, music, cabaret, etc as well as lots of the street performers doing their shows and some stalls. I found the stall run by 'very nice Australians' where Boo bought her ammonite ring. I succumbed to temptation and spent some leftover birthday money on a ring with an iron pyrite ammonite in it. Boo's right, they are very nice Australians.
We watched the Space Cowboy, who did sword-swallowing, and blindfold juggling with sharp/burning things atop a three-metre high unicycle. I was very impressed.
We then saw 'Arizona Jones', supposedly Indiana Jones's cousin... He was climbing up a four and a half metre high pole to balance at the top and crack a burning bullwhip enough to put the flames out. I liked him too. I would really, there was fire involved.
There was also a man called something like Steve Mischief (which is a crap name) who was lying on a bed of nails, and standing on it while juggling. He was fairly impressive.
Chris especially liked a group called the Trans World Orchestra who consisted of one bloke with a drumkit and one with a didgeridoo playing techno-ish music. He went to see them later that night, but there was a lot more guitar and singing, and that made it lose a lot of its appeal for him.

After dinner at Boo's, we all went to see the Nofit State Circus show, ImMortal. I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this. I decided to go based on their float in the Festival Cavalcade, which had a woman doing somersaults in midair, and their name, which made me nearly piss myself laughing when I first saw it.
The show was amazing. There was a storyline, but I wasn't really following it because I was too busy staring at the acrobats and going 'oooooh!' They were doing all kinds of trapeze work, swinging on ropes, bouncing on giant elastic bands... A lot of it was done along with the performer being raised and lowered by another member of the cast acting as a counterbalance. I absolutely loved the whole thing, and I was sorry when the show finished.
On the way out, we got talking to one of the performers, and it was really interesting to find out more about the behind-the-scenes aspect of the show.

Wednesday 16th
Tonight we went to see Adam Hills, one of my favourite comedians. We saw his show two years ago and loved it, so we were very happy to find that he had a new show this year. It was really good - at one point he found a man in the audience who did Scooby Doo impressions (really good ones) and had him doing punchlines etc.

We've got tickets for a few more shows, so there'll be another review after that (Mouse's Fringe Review - The Bitch Is Back! ...or maybe not)