Another day, another set of shows to see, talk about and hopefully recommend to you.
You may have noticed by now I’ve taken a pattern of at least one free show, a big one, and a paid show which is a bit less known. And today is just like that.
Starting in the early afternoon, Under Dogs are a 2-woman sketch show that moves along at great speed- the sketches (some recurring) are short, sharp-witted and very well acted out. It’s a low-key and minimal affair (different characters are played by accents, not costumes, and props are scarce) but charming for that reason. Both have a great sense of comic timing, and not afraid to mess with the comedy style a little- the last sketch in particular has a complete breakdown of the sketchshow format. A very good set, but the speed does make Under Dogs feel shorter than it probably was- still, worth a look. Under Dogs are on in the Jekyll and Hyde Pub. 7/10.
Next, in a complete contrast, is Appointment With The Wicker Man. Greg Hemphill (of Still Game fame- one of my favourite comedy series of the last 10 years) leads a cast (including Paul Riley, another of the Chewin’ The Fat/Still Game team) through an Acorn Antiques-meets-League Of Gentlemen escapade- why can’t the story of The Wicker Man have a Broadway number? But things get much darker as the lines between reality and fiction begin to blur. Don’t miss it. Appointment With The Wicker Man is on in the Assembly Rooms. 10/10.
Back to the small-scale, a show from the free Fringe. Charmain Hughes’ Charmageddon is a concept show about the end of the world. Armed with her ‘Char-Mayan’ calender and ‘The Diary of Nostra-Chamus’ (keep up), Charmain explains the stages of the end times- will the craft-fair weirdos and the W.I. end up in charge? Possibly. Expect post-apocalyptic parlour games and a ‘what would you do with 4 minutes left?’ Q&A (my answer? Make a chorus line of squirrels. With canes and top hats. Think about it.) Beware- cardigans are involved! Charmaggedon is on at Just The Banshee Labyrinth. 8/10.
Now- the actual reason I wanted to come to the Fringe early in the month. Hardcore legend (and my all-time favourite wrestler- please consult my list about that.) Mick Foley. Coming on stage to rapturous appreciation, and his WWE entrance video, Foley is known as one of, if not THE nicest man in the business of professional wrestling. He’s also known as the guy who generally does very dangerous (although awesome) things in the ring. The theme of the show? Well, there wasn’t one- Foley made the large theatre feel small and intimate, telling stories about his life- politics, the differece between waterboarding and motorboating, and why he’ll always be asked about ‘that match’ (wrestling fans- you know this already. Non-fans, it’s King Of The Ring 1998. Go on Youtube, it gets nasty about 9 minutes in, I believe). Foley appears genuinely comfortable as a stand-up comic, with a good relationship with his audience, and hopefully will be on the circuit for some time. Mick Foley is on at The Assembly Rooms. 10/10 (although for me, he could have come out with the entrance video, burped into the mic and walked back off- it would still get an 8 at least.)
So that’s all for today. I hope that if you’re reading this thinking about shows to see, I’ve helped out. Alternatively, if I’ve just written about you, I hope you like the review as much as I liked seeing it.