Wednesday, 12 August 2015

The Chocolate Ocelot's 2015 Fringe: Day Four

Tuesday 11th August 2015

Jon Ronson: So You've been Publicly Shamed

Assembly Rooms, Princes Street

Went to the excellent Jon Ronson talk on public shaming. They played Uptown Funk before he came on, which made me worry that I'd booked to see entirely the wrong Ronson.

He's so splendidly shuffly and unprepossessing. It feels less like he's putting on a dweeby act to sucker people in, which is the vibe I get from Louis Theroux.

Fascinating stuff about people who said something dumb and then got pilloried online by thousands of strangers, notable Justine Sacco. The democracy of social media turns to mob rule.

There was time for a Q&A at the end, and I'm pleased to say that Ronson's old investigation into the Bilderberg Group, Bohemian Grove and the great stone owl of Moloch came up.

Main thing I took away from this though was that I should not go anywhere near something called 'twitter'. Not even with somebody's else's bargepole.

Kevin McMahon: Quantum Magic

Gilded Ballon, Teviot

A pleasant hour spent in the company of this research scientist turned stage magician. Excellent sleight of hand and misdirection - his card and coin tricks are extremely deft.

The science bits don't always come across so well; perhaps a little dry. Maybe that's just me - it's halfway through our week already and the old brain is starting to calcify. Too many new experiences, not enough RAM.

Nice little bit of 3D specs magic at the end.

I bumped into crime writer Val McDermid as we left the Gilded Balloon. I immediately shook her hand, said I loved the books and especially her radio series on forensics. In retrospect, this may have come over a bit too full-on and I apologise.

She had very cold hands, by the way.

Thrones! The Musical

Assembly George Square Studios

Whistlestop tour through the juggernaut that is the Game of Thrones TV show, brought to us by Baby Wants Candy. A talented cast portrays both rabid GoT fans about to watch the final episode and all the major characters.

Some excellent strong voices and funny songs. I kinda got lost in the 'names of every character you need to know' number, but that's only to be expected.

The white walkers' N-Sync number and Cersei's walk of shame (somewhat reminiscent of a naked Aunty Val in League of Gentlemen) were particular highlights.

Had a particularly fleshy crepe afterwards, and struggled to finish it before its cooling rubbery texture revolted me to my core. When will I learn...

Tom Neenan: The Andromeda Paradox

Pleasance Dome

Having seen his The Haunting at Lopham House (a comic pastiche of MR James and Woman in Black type ghost stories) last year, I really wanted to catch Tom Neenan's one-man parody of classic British sci-fi. And as it mainly spoofs my beloved Quatermass and the Pit, I was so there.

Unassuming scientist with father issues Bernard Andromeda is called to investigate a curious excavation in London's Devils' Crescent tube station. Encountering a plant-loving (no, really loving) German botanist, a loyal female assistant and a cute tiny green thing along the way. He's an excellent physical performer.

My pick of the day for sure. One for my 7TV chums.

Hal Cruttenden: Straight Outta Cruttenden


Not sure what I expected from Hal Cruttenden. I'd heard him doing pleasantly amusing schtick on Radio 4, probably in a lazy quiz-format show where a panel of four comediators are asked a series of open-ended thematic topics and are assigned completely spurious points at the end of each round like anybody cares. But I rant digress.

I rather liked his mixture of straight-camp musings on fatherhood, public school and gangster rap, all delivered with a decidedly cherubic grin. His stance on a particular social media phenomenon (that of annually commemorating a parent's death) is one I heartily endorse.

Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre: Minging Detectives

Gilded Balloon Teviot

Now don't get me wrong: I love the Socks. We've seen them many times. And they went down a storm this evening, one woman sat behind us particularly howling with glee.

But I reckon I've seen the act one time too many now - even with new material about TV detectives this year, it is largely the same basic format (of course it is, it has to be) of a sock puppet Abbott and Costello in squeaky voices.

Or it could simply be that it was my sixth show of the day...

Will Seaward: Spooky Midnight Ghost Stories II

Gilded Balloon Teviot

Midnight. So tired now, so very tired. Why did I agree to a seventh show? Why?

Will Seaward's very good. Avuncular, in a Gelliant Gutfright (look it up) sort of way. Everyone else was hooting and loving his comedy tales of silly spookiness. But I was stuck in the very front row, hallucinating with exhaustion and eyelids drooping heavily, longing for bed.

Maybe he could do a spooky 6pm ghost story show for weaklings like me...


Back to base for shortbread and Secret Wars comics.


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