Wednesday, 6 August 2014

The Chocolate Ocelot's 2014 Fringe - Day Four

Hump day! No, that's not rude. I mean we're already halfway through our week here. Boo and very much hiss.

Herself wants us to go out for breakfast this morning, so again with the highly compressed summary of the day's events.

By crikey I'm tired. I thank Allfather Odin's wisdom that I decided to forego fashionable footwear for the comfortable sporting trainer whilst here. But even so, me pods are aching something frightful so they are.

Once Upon A Nightmare
Box Step Productions
The Counting House (you have no idea how many times I've fatally mistyped one of those words this week)

Excellent stuff from last year's Death Ship 666 people, telling the story of what happens to the young heroes of a children's adventure after they return from misty magic land Somnia. Like TV's Once Upon A Time with dollops of Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore, this is a child friendly adventure with gags for all, lightning costume changes (I'm thinking of Wendy to Amastris particularly) and a terrifying comic relief in the form of Sackface (who sounded distressingly like Old Greg from the Mighty Boosh). A good musical number in the middle and jolly good fun all round.

Bum, that was too long - better slim these down....

10 Films With My Dad
Adrian Goatley I think
Somewhere over by Princes Street

Forgive me, Adrian Goatley I think, I wimped out of the trek across town for your show, though I'm sure it was excellent. The mind was willing but the flesh, oh the feeble flesh.

Instead, we had lunch in a frightfully hot Turkish cafe opposite the BBC festival place that we've never been arsed to visit and then CJ and I went to Forbidden Planet. I bought issues 2, 4 and 5 of Marvel's Original Sin event. The mind was weak too.

The Haunting of Lopham House
Tom Neenan
A bunker under the Pleasance

Well performed one-man ghost story spoofing The Woman In Black and various MR James efforts. Tom Neenan works his clever wordplay into nearly every line of a tale about a chap investigating strange deaths and spooky phenomena in and around the titular house in 1910 Norfolk (I think). The sound effects genuinely made me jump. Splendid stuff.

Knightmare Live: Level 2
The Knightmare Live guys

Hurrah for Knightmare Live! The return of Tregard of Dunshelm, Lord Fear, Binki the goblin and the rest. Granitas (or Olgarth) seems to have got an upgrade this year, and the dragon (spoilers!) was so good it got a massive whoop of applause. Again mixing actual Knightmare-style TV gameplay with a plot steered by the two excellent leads Paul Flannery and Tom Bell with great chemistry, they and we revel in the near panto-like atmosphere, as we cheer satchels and being in a room. My handy dandy Fringe map in its lovely cardboard bogroll tube make a guest appearance as a prop (photo to follow), which affords me the excuse to nip backstage afterward and say hello to Tom Bell. Lovely chaps.

This Shit Just Got Reel
The Clootie Dumplings
The Frooty Goose

And entertaining hour of combined filthy comedy and highland dance from the lively performers of the Clootie Dumplings, students at the Strathclyde College of Proctology. I especially enjoyed their Gay Gordons whilst carrying out a routine prostate examination. A show that will haunt me for some time.

Extreme Humans
The Lazy Susans
Pleasance That (a portakabin round the side)

Quickfire sketches from two very talented performers, this show fills a gap in our schedule left by the much-missed Dog Eared Collective. Interleaved character situations and running gags that call back to each other, suggesting a shared universe. Excellent quick costume changes (and moustache drawing) and well observed characters in performers of such youth. Would love to see more of them and pray that they achieve success without being fed into the production line of BBC3 comedy.

The Dark Room
John Robertson
Underbelly, oh stinky crowded Underbelly

Totally different format to everything else we've seen, John Robertson blacks out the room and moves about us as a disembodied face, as one by one, members of the audience take their chances in the Dark Room. Based on the old text adventures of the 80s and 90s, the player is presented with limited choices which lead either to nowhere, verbal abuse or Death. Or all three. By the end of the show, we are all chanting along with the opening lines of the game, You awake to find yourself in a dark room. Nostalgic and crowd-pleasing. A cult exercise in futility.

Marcel Lucont Is
Alexis Dubus
Pleasance Dome (that big student union building with the comedy muriel inside in previous years)

Accomplished observations and mild arrogance from France's most laid back raconteur. I genuinely felt my blood pressure lower during the performance. Which is a good thing, I mean. Marcel takes his time, makes us enjoy the pauses and the silence, and methodically works his way through a glass or two of wine as he treats us to poetry and extracts from his autobiography Moi. A bit of Q and A at the end which is a bit of a gamble as it depends on just the right Qs to A, but a most polished show. Make sure you don't get stuck behind Americans with large heads like we did.

Licence To Laugh
Joe Bain, Various
The White horse down the bottom of the Royal Mile

A very late show for us, as we catch up with CJ to see him headlining a stand-up showcase hour hosted by Joe Bain. Herself and I must first apologise to Joe again for accidentally accepting an invitation to take part in one of his earlier shows - oh the perils of a Facebook invite. The show is a mixed bag of monsters, to quote the 1975 Dr Who Monster Book, with highlights for me being a young chap called Rodders, who had quite a way about him, and Mr CJ himself, making the deaf swearing/Alan Bennett/sexual harassment comedy subgenre his very own :)

And so to bed, after dragging a hyper CJ past the comedy bus in the Three Sisters courtyard, where he fancied squeezing in a 1:30am slot. Herself suggested that the two cop cars that had just pulled up outside did not bode well for the quality of the audience.

8 shows tomorrow. Feck.


Anonymous said...

Lord Fear here. So glad you enjoyed Knightmare Live Level 2. And thanks for the lend of the map

The Chocolate Ocelot said...

Hello Lord Fear. Thanks for the thanks and good luck with the rest of the run. I look forward to Knightmare Live Level 3: The Vengeance of Pickle next year.