The Girl with the Edinburgh Tattoo

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Archive for the tag “silly”

Joz Norris: Hello, Goodbye

Man in a box with only head visible inviting audience to come in and sit down. Now that’s what I call absurdist silly comedy.

What follows is a quick visual introduction to the man via family album photos spilling out of the box fax-machine like. The last one is of an elderly gent. The man breaks free of the box – changes his clothes with donations from the audience. A balloon with a drawn-on face and Princess Merida auburn wig takes the man’s place in the box. The elderly gent is the grandfather; the balloon is the girlfriend and the man is Joz Norris.

There is a story involving all three with much stopping and starting, false jeopardy and going off at tangents. The story itself is not so much shaggy dog but woolly mammoth and tangents include stopping off at the Beatrix Potter museum; allowing a tiny man hand-puppet to try stand-up and getting audience ideas for a – very structured – improvisation. But somewhere within all the mayhem there’s a fragile little tale of love and loss.

There’s quite a bit of absurdist silly comedy out there – especially on The Fringe – and if it’s done with a lack of conviction you’re going to be sussed. What joy then that Joz Norris seems like the real deal. Bags of energy with a madcap style reminiscent of a young Jim Carrey – his interplay with the audience is genuine and warm. In fact – you can almost feel everyone relax as we realise Joz is a nice guy whose main aim is to give us forty-five fun-packed minutes (many shows have the intention but can’t deliver).

By the end the fragile little story – more or less – is told and Joz hands back the borrowed shirt now covered in sweat. The owner could be keeping it as a souvenir in anticipation of Joz Norris making it big. Who knows? It could very well happen.

(Review for 21 Aug)

Joz Norris: Hello, Goodbye

Punel Show

There’s always going to be potential for a very diverse – and possibly sparse – audience when performers decide to slip in an extra show  when it’s meant to be their day off. The two extremes are: the super keen Twitter users only too glad to hot-foot it along to a Free Fringe hot-ticket and those who haven’t heard of the performers and have wandered in by chance.

Out of the seven audience members I think two of us were in the first category; two in the second; two open to debate and one was Darren Walsh’s mum-in-law. There was another couple at the start but they were definitely in the second category and made a hilariously inept phone-assisted escape when they decided after five minutes it wasn’t for them. (I’m not sure what they expected – the name of the show pretty much tells you everything you need to know. It’s a panel show with puns)

Also did they not know they were in the company of punning royalty with Darren Walsh and Mark Simmons as hosts? Those of us who know and appreciate their work (and use Twitter) were a bit stunned by this point. Great comedy, packed houses so far in the run, seven people in the audience today – really? I think the hosts were stunned as well but they were far too professional to call off or give us a stripped back show. I can’t be sure what happens on other days but I can’t imagine having any more fun than we did.

I don’t know if it’s a bit silly to try and describe the set-up of an essentially silly show but here goes. Darren and Mark are team captains each with one panel member in the shape of a guest comedian. On the day there was Fraser Geesin (quite grumpy but I think that’s his comedy persona) and the excellent and completely bonkers  Trevor Feelgood (I believe he’s a resident panel member so that’s a treat on its own). There are rehearsed puns, there are ad-libbed puns and much general silliness. The fun and games extends to the whole audience but as we were seven this was probably inevitable. It was a bit like being at the best family get-together – if you’re lucky enough to have some top-notch comedians in your family.

Of course it will be different each day and you may have to fight to get in. But I’m sure you’ll have a gloriously fun time – I know the seven of us did!

(Review for 16 Aug)



Olaf Falafel and the Cheese of Truth

‘So what’s this guy like, then?’ asked the Edinburgh woman of a certain age standing behind me in the queue for Olaf Falafel the other day.

‘Well, he’s a bit surreal,’ I replied.

‘What’s that, then?’

‘Erm… you know Vic and Bob?’ (blank) Or maybe – Monty Python.’ (still blank)

‘Ach well, I’ll give him a go.’

I can’t be too snooty as I’m an Edinburgh woman of a certain age myself but she was definitely a Fringe virgin. I was going to say I had seen Mr Falafel last year in Expect the Unexporcupine but thought I’d be wasting my time trying to pitch that one to her. I will however explain to you, dear reader. Expect the Unexporcupine was one of my unexpected top Fringe hits of last year. It featured Olaf along with Michael Stranney but not in a double act type of way. Instead it was a bit shambolic (I’m still not sure whether intentionally or not) and perplexed sections of the audience but if you stuck with it – it was comedy gold.

This year Olaf is all on his own and the act has tightened up considerably. There is a Powerpoint-type presentation all the way through. But before you start to groan – the material is blissfully wedded to the visuals and not just randomly tacked on to pad out the show. The reason the visuals are so good is because Olaf is a bit of a Vine video maestro who’s had over 75 million hits. But in typical deprecating style he compares this to sperm count and… I won’t spoil the punchline to this one of his (many) brilliant jokes.

There’s silliness aplenty but it’s never puerile thanks to Olaf’s lugubrious Nordic cool and bone-dry delivery. And he never gets flustered even when the video clips stall momentarily – such is his laid-back professionalism.  Oh – and there would have been no point in trying to compare him to anyone else – the guy’s unique.

So did my Edinburgh sister last to the end and thank me for the recommendation? I don’t know – it was hard to pick her out in the sea of joyous faces packing out the City Cafe downstairs room. They’re all in on the secret now – do yourself a favour and make sure you are too.

(Review for 6 Aug)



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