Edinburgh is lovely. It’s a city of beautiful old buildings hosting thousands of people walking around handing out leaflets and performing in the street. It’s not uncommon to see people in full clown make-up queuing for coffee, Sherlock Holmes passing you on the street and a full consortium of drag queens having a cigarette outside a pub.
Of course, I’ve only been to Edinburgh during Fringe season – but I like to imagine that it’s always like this.
I was only up for a few days, but oh – did we pack in a lot.
I came up from Shropshire by myself, but met up with Jane & Nick at the train station. We picked our first show on name alone – Bald Man Sings Rihanna. It was free, it was close – and it’s a good name for a show.
Gary Sansome is ‘Bald Man’, and he delivers stand up in a cozy dark room in a cozy dark bar. His jokes are loosely structured around Rihanna lyrics, and thought-provoking discussions of their meaning. For instance – ‘Shut up and drive’, aimed at uber drivers?
It was a particularly lively crowd, and plenty of audience participation. Probably more than Gary had predicted; I’ve never before in my life seen someone put up their hand during a stand-up show, but one woman did. And it instigated a very funny exchange about the precise meaning of the profession ‘doula’.
It really did work excellently. Gary (Bald Man) was light and funny, and handled his increasingly rowdy audience expertly. It was a comfortable, comical & inoffensive show. A perfect start to the fringe.
The bar ceiling had football shirts as decorations. Interesting.
As a side, Edinburgh is excellent for vegans. Check out this beauty – vegan haggis baked potato.
Courtesy of a little shop of the colourfully-named Cockburn Street.
After Bald Man, we met up with our friend Emily, who had just got in from London. We (lovingly) call her EmWad.
This was her first time at the fringe, and we were so excited to show her all it has to offer – most unfortunately, we took her to:
Gloria Hole Presents: The Clinic.
This was bad. This was crazy bad. We left in rigour mortis – dead from boredom and stiff from anxious tension.
The show would probably have worked quite well if there was a large, drunk audience. As it was, there were eight people, four of whom were ourselves and seven of whom were completely sober. (The one inebriated audience member served as the sole audience participation for the rest of the night. He was on stage more than most of the cast.)
We weren’t the audience that the show wanted, and they had absolutely no back-up plan for the event of sobriety. It was a long hour.
Gloria Hole is a drag queen, and she tells jokes with a number of guest comedians. A feature of the set is ‘solving the problems of the audience’. It was such a weird, uncomfortable atmosphere that no-one wanted to share – set piece dead in the water.
It really wasn’t funny – and Gloria et al were very, very aware of this. They kept saying how much better it usually is, referencing how badly they were doing – and commenting on our lack of laughter. This escalated at the point where one particularly annoying ‘comedian’ denounced our lack of enthusiasm, expostulating: ‘Well, what did you expect?’
I truly wish that I had said, ‘Comedy’.
It was a trainwreck. They offered us all a free ticket if we were to come back another night, but unfortunately none of us were remotely tempted. A truly uncomfortable hour – we all apologised profusely to EmWad.
Still – we were together, and we were in Edinburgh.