Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Official Fringe Tally

Our 7 days in Edinburgh are drawing to a close. I'm not sure we've hit all the major highlights of Edinburgh tourism, but we sure did see a lot of shows. The final tally: 33 34 between the two of us (18 19 for JT, 15 for KT).

Manolibera: an Italian group doing sketch comedy using background cartoons drawn with an old-fashioned overhead projector. Light and whimsical and family friendly. This video provides a taste.
Breakfast@Bedlam: a solid morning sketch show with coffee/tea and pastries. Favorite may have been two backpackers trying to outboast each other with tales of their travels and the poor they've helped.
Yianni: a decent standup comic telling his romance woes to mp3 music snips he played by remote control.
Pythonesque: a comical history of the Monty Python group, mixing biographies and their sketches. Fun but not as brilliant as hoped--only 3 out of 5 cocounuts.
Janis: a one-act play depicting the life of Janis Joplin, focusing more on her sexual and drug exploits than her music unfortunately. Didn't like the actress.
Not Spain: a powerful play of a western female journalist interviewing a man caught in the Balkan wars.
Aint that a Kick in the Head: the life and music of Dean Martin, performed by a 6 piece band in an Italian deli! Learned how big a star Dino was.
After the Bomb: Clunker #2, farce about Cold War spies, a crazy professor with a lust for toasters, and an alien planning a world invasion. Actors couldn't even keep a straight face at times.
The Gravediggers: Clunker #1, a well-intentioned but painful comedy about 3 gravediggers in rural Yorkshire, written and acted by 17-18 year olds.
Trapped: a really impressive, professionally choreagraphed dance depicting a totalitarian state. Here's a trailer for the show.
Forgotten Things: odd, one-act play about a suicidal teenage boy, a grandma with dementia, two unattentive parents and a pyschiatrist played by a puppet. Had its moments.
Flhip Flhop: a comedic dance/hip-hop music group. Two painters goof around, making amusing sounds and tunes with their bodies and whatever else is around. Ok, but not great. Here's a trailer for the show.  

Flying Forward: A modern dance performance from a dance troupe in Liverpool.
Why Do All Catherines Call Themselves Kate: A three-character, one-act play by Mwewa Sumbwanyambe, a student at Leeds University. (I got in for free because my name is Kate.)
Trilogy: A nearly three-hour play-slash-performance art piece about what it means to be a young woman today. Involved rather a lot of naked women. Website for the writer's project is here: http://www.makeyourownherstory.org/
Malaje, the Flamenco Circus: An OK performance of music, flamenco, juggling, and acrobatics from a Spanish group.
Out of the Blue: An absolutely phenomenal a cappella group of guys from Oxford.
Tap Kids: Cute musical with very talented young tap dancers -- like High School Musical, but with tap dancing. Here's some video.
Shappi Khorsandi: A hilarious London comedienne from Iran read from her new book, A Beginner's Guide to Acting English, which is largely about her experience of moving from Iran to London as a child, then living through an assassination attempt ordered by the Ayatollah on her outspoken journalist father.
Jazz A Cappella: Another Oxford group, called the Oxford Gargoyles, who sang some standards, some new stuff.

The Last Witch: This was part of the real International Festival (i.e., not Fringe) and was a drama about the last witch burned at the stake in Scotland.
The Military Tatoo: Grand military review that includes bands from around the world, and many hundreds of bagpipes. It was absolutely brilliant, and ended with a spectacular fireworks display. Here's an old video of one of our favorite performances from the Swiss Top Secret Drum Corps.
Borges and I: A really neat performance -- a one-act play/physical theatre centered around the life and works of Argentinean writer Jorge Luis Borges.
Sarah Millican: excellent comedienne who appeals because she's just so normal -- and at times, absolutely filthy, but usually in a clever way, not the cheap-laugh way. Here's a video interview with her.
Axis of Awesome: Hysterical comedy rock band from Australia. Here's their 4-chord song.
Lewis Schaffer: I'm so glad we didn't pay anything to see this comedian. Ugh.
Rebel Cell: two hip-hop artists rapping intelligently about changing a totalitarian system by anarchy or by democracy. (JT wrote about co-star Baba Brinkman earlier this year for work and for this blog, and Baba also performed his Rap Guide to Evolution here at the Fringe (It won an award!). We chatted with him before and after the show -- in his last week of doing two shows a day for 3 weeks. His voice was more than a little worn.)

Phew. Now it's off to the Highlands to be entertained by nothing but the rural countryside.

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