Pretending To Be: Cultural Reporter- Live At The Edinburgh Fringe (part I)

Welcome to the first part of a very special blog post- a multi-part daily review of what I’ve seen at the 2012 Edinburgh Fringe.

Long story short, I’ve been coming here for a few years now, and intended to do a show of my own last year. That fell through, so I’ve been waiting, biding time and licking wounds- next year, I’m applying again for a show.

Back to the here and now- the first act on the viewlist is a one-man show: Ten Films With My Dad. Aiden Goatley tells his audience the story of his life,  the generarion gap and communication, all in connection to films. Namely, films he watched with his dad. A flurry of film, TV and product references from the 1970s and 80s let Goatley move between The Greatest Story Ever Told, Jaws, The Sound Of Music…and 7 more. He explains why his dad cried during Escape To Victory, and that there is a Tefal deep-fat fryer in Aliens. Yeah, there is. Only letdown was his reliance on technology occasionally ground the show to a halt as something froze, or didn’t start, but that was bound to happen. He’s on for free at The Voodoo Rooms (7/10)

Next was The Fitzrovia Radio Hour, but beforehand, I decide to do some shameless self-promotion. See, I want to show this blog off to the wider world. So, I made advert cards. The most lo-tech, lo-fi adverts ever to be stuck on walls:

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Seriously, I whored them out in the big leagues:

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So yeah, The Fitzrovia Radio Hour. A 5-man tribute to the golden age of radio plays- the 1940s, in other words. Chipper accents, a rigid class system and racial/gender stereotypes (sadly) abound. Except the FRH are the actors, the sound effects people, the musicians AND make the commercial breaks. As you can probably guess, mayhem is frequent and abundant. Who knew that punching a melon sounds like a pilot being trepanned? I didn’t. And that an evil, possessed bicycle can be recreated using a whisk, a spinning top and a bike bell? But as the show progressed, the whole set went up a gear, until a frenzied ending had to be created “on the spot” (this being a live broadcast to millions of listeners!) Brilliant chaotic stuff. The Fitzrovia Radio Hour are in the Dining Room of the Gilded Baloon Teviot. (9/10)

To round off the day, a freebie- The Sensational Alex Salmond Gastric Band presents Oliver Pissed. A one-man musical, bringing the story of Oliver Twist into modern day, imagining a near-future where The Alcohol Minimum Pricing Bill has been passed, leaving desperation in its wake. Sounds good so far- I expected a Luke Haines-style vision. I was wrong- pop songs reworked to poke fun at the usual political targets. Add a ‘terrorist medley’ to this, and you get the feeling that the premise of the show has been kicked to death by the predictability and staleness of the product. A shame, really. My dad liked it, though, and most of the room seemed to be laughing, so maybe I’m wrong on this. Oliver Pissed is on at The Beehive (my score- 3/10, my dad’s- 7/10)

So that’s all for today- hopefully there should be more tomorrow.

(Dial Tone)

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