May 30, 2024

Edinburgh fringe: A few sees and don’t sees for those weighed down by flyers

If the 408 pages of the Edinburgh fringe programme are offering too much choice and the sheer number of flyers you’ve been handed are weighing you down here’s a quick SEE or DON’T SEE guide to help you out.

Voca People – Planet Voca has developed a strange type of fuel. It’s renewable though, so it might catch on here on earth. In Voca People at the Pleasance eight aliens from Planet Voca (via Israel) have landed on earth. Their spaceship has run out of energia and to refill it they don’t need oil or coal or whisky. They need musica. So they sing and dance and make funny noises for an hour as their space ship refuels. Audience members are dragged to the stage and used to help make music by the troupe of white dressed and face painted aliens. Your arms might be put in a funny position, your head rubbed, they might pretend they can read your mind. The singers use their voices to recreate instruments, noises and sometimes words in beat box and a cappella styles. When not harassing the audience they run through sets such as the history of music or film theme tunes. There are only brief snippets of most songs and though vocally cleverly the format becomes repetitive. DON’T SEE

Dead Pony Society – part of the free fringe, and performing on the top of a (sadly) stationary double decker bus. Go for the coat thief sketch, but stay for the poetry reading, a contender for funniest sketch of the fringe. In fact, stay for it all and have a good game of mustard or custard. SEE

Lead Pencil: In Full HB – The blurb claims that this is a ‘sketch show that is literally sketched’. It isn’t. Rather it is a show where some of the props are drawn or painted on cardboard. There are three characters, much dancing between scenes and the normal sketch show issue of how to fill an hour with short, unrelated jokes. Some work – a Twitter/Facebook rivalry brought to life through song is topical and amusing, but many don’t. There’s a high-tempo and an obvious enthusiasm amongst the three performers, but – any artistic comedians out there – the gap in the market for a sketch show that is literally sketched remains. DON’T SEE

My Obsession – Paul Merton and Suki Webster perform a short comedy about an obsessive fan meeting her comedian hero. If you’re wondering how a new playwright had managed to get Paul Merton to star in her half-hour play, Webster went to the trouble of marrying him several years ago. A simple hotel room set, an intimate venue at the Pleasance and an investigation into who is most obsessed and how much we really know performers. Paul Merton makes a believable middle-aged comedian but it confirms the dictum Never meet your heroes. SEE

Lexicon Lady – Your reaction to the phrase double negatives are a no-no will give a good indication whether you’ll enjoy Nadia Brooks’ latest one woman show. Silly puns, alliteration and word play join up with Yorkshire slang and Casio calculator watches. Not to forget the free love hearts. SEE

Too much light makes the baby go blind – There are no silly costumes but otherwise this American show aims for something of the Dadaist cabaret. There might not be any dressing-up, but there is some dressing down – we get to see much of Cecil’s tattooed body and Ryan offers his bottom as the site for an Apollo moon landing. A sketch show set up as a an attempt to perform 30 very-short plays in one hour, it’s horribly raucous, with the audience choosing the next play (every two minutes or so) by yelling out a number. Possible titles change every night but when I visited included This play is not about salt and If we, The Neo-Futurists, dated you, the object of our affection. It’s a show where the audience arrives primed to laugh, with things that wouldn’t raise a smirk in the pub reducing people to hilarity. There are funny sections, and managing to get the whole audience dancing in woad was an achievement, but there’s also a hint of self-satisfaction. Curtain. DON’T SEE

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