The Girl with the Edinburgh Tattoo

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Archive for the tag “Edinburgh Festival Fringe”

Dharmander Singh

The show’s full title: Dharmander Singh from Bollywood and Birmingham to Berlin and Brexit is clarified pretty early on in the proceedings. Dharmander shares a name with a Bollywood actor; he originally comes from Birmingham (although he doesn’t have to explain that one – the accent rather gives it away); he now lives in Berlin so obviously Brexit will be mentioned.

However as the show isn’t overtly political the Brexit element is quite low in the pecking order. This is a wise move as Dharmander (or Da – as he helpfully invites us to call him) isn’t your hectoring politico type of comedian but rather the kind who invites you into his world and introduces you to all its quirks and oddities. In Dharmander’s case this means a fair amount of culture-class comedy centering on the Berlin psyche – on one hand avante-garde and anything goes – on the other petrified when the ticket-inspectors board the train. Even if life in Germany in general – and Berlin in particular – isn’t a hot topic for you Dharmander’s mega-watt smile and brilliantly energetic style will win you over. And of course there’s the Brummie accent which adds to the cheeky chappie persona and is always good value in the comedy stakes.

Dharmander is also appearing in two other shows for the whole Fringe run. Hopefully he’ll be able to keep those energy levels up!

(review for 4 August)


Juliet Meyers

There’s an old adage that if you want to have a friend in politics – get a dog. You could also stretch that one to Edinburgh Fringe shows – get a dog if you want to experience a noticeable spike in audience numbers. I couldn’t possibly comment but according to Juliet Meyers – ‘co-star’ of This Flipping Rescue Dog Has Ruined My Life – this adage has empirical truth.

Okay – Juliet did have healthy audience numbers yesterday on a typically dreich and disgusting Edinburgh weather afternoon. And that could possibly have had something to do with the other co-star – Homer, the adorable rescue dog. Here’s the irony though – Juliet is a fine comedian and doesn’t actually need a gimmick. But the paradox is – her show is all about Homer the rescue dog so there would be a big dog-shaped hole if he wasn’t there.

Statistics and philosophy aside – let’s talk about the show. Juliet is warm, funny and weaves some cracking material about middle-class pseuds, Mumsnet and everyday casual sexism into the main tale (hmm, I promised I wouldn’t do doggy puns… ) of how Homer came into her life. Homer – for his part – isn’t made to do that much which is a relief for those dreading Britain’s Got Talent – type animal exploitation. He’s just there – and he’s absolutely gorgeous.

Dog existentialism aside – although there is a fair bit of that – this is a very funny and heart-warming show which is definitely worth an hour of your time.

(Review for 4 August)

A Gentle, Shy Antichrist

Can anyone remember when the stereotypical Italian twin obsessions were food and music? Anyone who knows Italians of a younger vintage though will confirm it’s religion and sex. Well… maybe that’s more an Italians on The Fringe thing. And Daniele Fabbri is no exception.

Daniele is a welcome addition to the impressive roster of Italian talent which has graced the Free Fringe in recent years. As for the title – I wouldn’t say particularly shy – he’s a confident performer who was unfazed by the smallish audience (an occupational hazard due to a noon start in a venue off the usual beaten Old Town track). And if the epithet of antichrist conjures up the image of a head-spinning, vomiting demon – you’re going to be disappointed on that count too.

What we do get are tales of a disconnect with his parents, an early obsession with Michael Jackson and the forced purchase of a Papal fanzine. The separate strands being brought together in a neat conclusion.

There are only two more shows left in this very short run so you’ll have to be quick if you want to sample an early lunch of skewered and barbecued Catholic faith with no guilt offered!

(review for 4 August)






Leggoland – Colin Leggo

colin_leggoI suppose the first thing you would ask when you meet someone who’s an amputee is ‘how did it happen?’ And if that person has an exciting and knife-edge type tale of bomb-blasts, shark-attacks or losing-a-limb-in-Afghan – how perfect would that be for a solo show? As it is Colin Leggo‘s story is much more low-key. Diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes ten years ago – Colin lost a toe and lived pretty much in limbo (yes, there are puns about limbs and leg(go)s) until reaching an epiphany of sorts last year when he had a below-the-knee amputation. The limbo period however wasn’t a dark descent into drink, drugs and self pity. Instead Colin busied himself with writing ever more silly ‘exposes’ on how he lost his toe, sending them to Chat and the like. He also created a bit of an online sensation with dubbing Grand Theft Auto into Cornish dialect (Colin’s from that neck of the woods).

So far so irrepressible and admirably getting over adversity then. But there is another aspect to Colin with his dreams of stardom being thwarted at various stages of his life. For example breaking his leg before going on as the Artful Dodger in a school production of Oliver!. (He even has the slightly creaky footage of the production as proof) In fact – Colin muses – it’s always been some kind of leg injury that’s held him back. This is one of the many attempts to pull the show together into some kind of cohesive whole but it’s more like unrelated entries on a CV. So we go from ‘people called Colin and how boring is that name?’ to the aforementioned clips from GTA and the Chat articles reproduced.

People have been a bit cynical of late that a lot of shows on the Fringe follow a similar general pattern of lighthearted to dark to uplifting finale. I guess performers do it because – done well – it works. With Leggoland I was expecting a bit more dark even just to make the uplifting finale a bit more – well – uplifting. Coin is a very sunny bloke and along with the mundane origin of his amputation it’s probably difficult for the piece to venture into the darker reaches – I suspect that’s not the kind of show he wants to make. But he maybe needs to decide whether he wants to take us on a personal journey or give us a PowerPoint presentation.

Pundamental Christian – Richard Wright

2015PUNDAME_7TGreat title – if not entirely accurate. There are precious few puns and Richard Wright isn’t a fundamentalist. He is however a christian and a member (or soldier in?) the Salvation Army. He seemed pleasantly surprised at the reasonable turnout on the day I was there (it’s one of the few non-kids shows with a morning start  – 11am).

Pleasant is a good way to describe Richard. As for his physical appearance he helpfully throws into the mix past observations that he ‘looks like a fat Stewart Lee‘. ‘But Stewart Lee is the fat Stewart Lee!’ he exclaims. Cue (later on) an impression of Mr Lee giving his take on Jesus. These bits – which book-end the show – are probably the most effective along with the routines about nerdy, desperate-to-get-a-girlfriend stuff like buying the most niche comic book in the shop in order to impress the girl behind the counter. It’s a shame though that the middle bit of the show – where Richard concentrates on particular characters from particular parts of the bible – is less effective and personally speaking lost me a bit.

Eager and enthusiastic – as you would expect someone from the Sally Army to be – Richard puts a lot into his show which is a bit like Sunday School for grown-ups (more for the cultural references rather than anything rude).

Review for 11 Aug

Hot Picks of the Free Fringe – Toby Muresianu

For those who may have come late to the Free Fringe – for whatever reason – and now realise that it is indeed the true Fringe you will probably be in a desperate situation right now – so much to catch up with and so little time. Let me help with my must sees.

Toby Muresianu is American Jewish, LA based, part of the Facebook generation – in the literal sense as he was a classmate of Mark Zuckerberg, former software engineer, app designer, atheist, vegetarian. All these topics and more inform his material which is sharp, insightful and intelligent – reminds me a bit of classic Woody Allen with that style of drawing you in on the personal and mundane and ending up talking about the Universe and the meaning of life. Clue is in the title of the show, I guess… His delivery is refreshingly laid-back with quiet confidence which is a nice change from the in-yer-face brashness that many stand-ups feel they have to employ to grab your attention. Imagine an updated Groucho Marx or a Jackie Mason with better diction. Another thing I like is despite having impeccable geek credentials he doesn’t take the easy route of ‘laugh at me cos I’m a nerd’ school of comedy a la Big Bang Theory or ‘let’s laugh at everyone else’ a la Infinite Monkey Cage (god help us!). And you have to admit the guy has balls when he lays into inept rich kids who dabble in the arts (‘I’m a photographer. No, I think you just have a camera…’) when that kind of person will more than likely be sitting in your audience. Toby also comperes the Free Samples show every day at Whistlebinkies at 11am where you can catch part of his act but either way do yourself a favour and see this guy before he becomes huge.

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