So Edinburgh Fringe is now upon those who are taking part, and although we are not performing there, we are very excited as a third of Descent (ie me…Steph) will be heading up, hoping to pack in as many shows as humanly possible in 3 and a half days. The itinerary is almost complete, after a month of trawling through a hard copy guide, the website, and the mobile app to perfect an itinerary that Keziah and Faye would be immensely proud of.
Although we haven’t had a chance to see many London previews, we would like to mention a number of acts that we think you should consider seeing. As a new writing company along with recommending new work that might appeal to us and our audience, we are also keen to mention shows that involve Descent friends, past and present. We understand how much hard work goes into producing an Edinburgh show and we like to think that every bit of exposure helps, even our modest little blog.
Firstly we want to give a special mention to Tom Rosenthal, our compère extraordinaire. Tom has been with us since the start, treading the boards as an actor in our very first event, before becoming our regular host.
If you fancy a bit of Rosenthal in your itinerary he is heading up to the festival with a new project that – in the words of Tom – he is referring to as a ‘panel show’ It’s not on for the whole run, so do check out the dates.
Tom Rosenthal: Meme, Myself and I
Tired of being tired of panel shows? This show is for you! About the internet, it differs enough from other ones to make it legally viable but not enough to make you feel uncomfortable. Hosted by British Comedy Award nominee Tom Rosenthal, star of Channel 4’s Friday Night Dinner and ITV2’s Plebs, and starring comedians unashamed to be working with him. In association with computers and the zeitgeist. Leicester Mercury Award winner, ‘talented upcoming star’ **** (Time Out). **** (Chortle.co.uk). ***** (SpoonfedBlog.com). **** (List). **** (ThreeWeeks).
We have worked with many other fabulous comedians and comedy shows over the years; here are a few that will be performing at the Fringe:
Tamar Broadbent: All By My Selfie
After acclaimed debut show Almost Epic Tamar is returning to Edinburgh. Join her on a quest of self discovery featuring a tube ride of shame, a trip to Ayia Napa and some seriously dodgy friend requests.
Ivo Graham: Bow Ties and Johnnies
Hold on to your hats. The boy’s moved out of gran’s and he’s back on the prowl. Following last year’s “brilliant debut” (Independent) it’s time for a stonking new hour of “delightful, literate, exquisitely-worded comedy” (Scotsman) from the awkward toff, wannabe lad, So You Think You’re Funny? winner and “one of the best young comedians around” (Time Out).
Nish Kumar: Ruminations on the Nature of Subjectivity
Depending on your opinion, Nish Kumar is either ‘a comedian on the up’ (Times) or ‘a comedian I’ve never heard of’ (You). That’s subjectivity in action. A stand-up comedy show for people who like stand-up comedy shows. As seen on The Alternative Comedy Experience and Live at the Comedy Store. As heard on BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 4 and XFM. **** (Time Out). **** (Scotsman). **** (List). **** (Evening Standard). ‘A highly polished, subtly innovative stand-up … is a talent worth catching up with’ (Guardian).
Cariad Lloyd: Cariad and Louise’s Character Hour
Character comedians Cariad Lloyd (Foster’s Best Newcomer nominee, BBC3’s The Cariad Show, E4’s Cardinal Burns) and Louise Ford (Sky1’s Chickens, BBC2’s It’s Kevin) invite you to meet the bizarre and delightful comedy creations that live inside their heads. Featuring HSBC (Helena Susan Bonham Carter) and Tim Burton; Leonard and Dequann’s Holiday Plan; and Jesus impersonator Alan Lantern and his flute playing wife Diane. An hour of character comedy joy. Free. ‘A pocket dynamo of a comic’ **** (Guardian). ‘Rib-achingly hysterical’ (Metro).
Cariad & Paul: A Two-Player Adventure
A completely spontaneous improv adventure, taking one word from the audience and immersing them in a bespoke world of bizarre scenes and bold characters. International improv veterans Cariad Lloyd (The Cariad Show, BBC3; Edinburgh Comedy Award Best Newcomer nominee) and Paul Foxcroft (Drifters, E4) are ‘the slickest in the business’ (Chortle.co.uk). Join them as they fuse heart-wrenching drama and comedy into a heady mixture of absurdity, tragedy and pure delight. Total sell-out 2013. Book early. ‘An improv gem’ **** (Edfestmag.com). ‘Rivals the best scripted shows … stylish, funny and imaginative’ (Chortle.co.uk).
Ian Smith: Flappable
After a successful debut, award-winning comedian Ian Smith (BBC2’s Popatron, BBC3’s Sweat the Small Stuff) returns with his new show. It’s about silliness and uncertainty … or is it? (It is.) It’ll be a lot of fun. Ian once had a line of dialogue in a BBC2 drama and was denied a spoon on a train – so the show has emotional depth too. ‘Fantastically funny’ (Times). ‘Delightfully offbeat writing, a talent for sure’ (Chortle.co.uk). ‘The hour goes by in a whirlwind of hysterical laughter’ **** (BroadwayBaby.com). ***** (ThreeWeeks). **** (Metro). **** (One4Review.co.uk). **** (TheNewCurrent.co.uk).
Simon Feilder: All The Things I’m Not
What is a Simon Feilder? Award-winning comedian? Sure. ‘Compelling to watch … unashamedly feel-good’ (Chortle.co.uk)? Kisswizard? Campingman? Fightsmith? Let’s find out. His debut solo show features jokes, jingles, a projector, video, sounds, online dating, urinals, fun-size confectionery and one joke about Freud. Do come. Mums welcome. ‘Amiable, eccentric, self-deprecating… Delightfully nutty’ (LA Weekly). http://www.simonfeilder.com @simonfeilder
Rosie Holt: Fall Girl
Sitcom Trials: So You Think You Write Funny? winner Rosie Holt brings her debut show, Fall Girl, to the Edinburgh Fringe. Hayley is desperate. She keeps getting conned. Plus the voice in her head is a girl with a guitar who turns her failings into rhyming couplets. Fall Girl is a musical comedy about getting scammed and getting gumption. Funny, touching and very embarrassing, we watch Hayley fall prey to aggressive charity workers, dodgy businessmen and trashy reality TV producers, with some darn good songs along the way.
WitTank: Old School Secrets
Sketch maestros WitTank invite you into the ostentatiously furnished corridors of The School; a splendidly twisted world, and an unsettling relic of empire, where maniacal masters rub tweedy shoulders with sharp-tongued scoundrels, and mystery and misrule abound. As seen on BBC 3’s Live At The Electric.
Saloon Boys: Frankenstein: UnBolted
The dashing and reckless Last Chance Saloon resurrects Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein to create a frenetic hour of slick, riotous theatre comedy. Follow Victor Frankenstein as he attempts to create the perfect human being. However, his creation doesn’t turn out quite as expected. Will Victor be able to control his Monster or will it break free from his rule and ultimately end up destroying him? With grotesquely twisted pop songs, an assortment of ridiculous characters and a nod to the golden age of classic British comedy, you’re in for an electrifying ride! ‘Excellent sense of comic timing’ (Stage).
Out of my theatre recommendatons I only managed to catch the preview of ‘Frankenstein: Unbolted’, which was hilarious, but we are pretty confident that all of the following are going to be fantastic!
The 3rd Sector (Satire, Comedy)
Inspired by real-life experiences. When employees Marlin and Josh discover their role in a corrupt corporate charity, can they reconcile their choices? This celebrity backed charity wants you to ‘give a piece of yourself’ – literally. But how much is enough? A darkly comic satire examining the ethics of giving when we donate first and ask questions later.
Margaret Thatcher Queen of Soho (Cabaret, Musical Theatre)
She’s back! Britain’s first female prime minister stars in a drag comedy musical extravaganza like no other! On the eve of the vote for Section 28, Maggie gets lost in Soho and accidentally becomes a cabaret superstar, but will she change her mind about the homophobic bill before it’s too late? A camp odyssey about gay rights, the 80s and disco! ‘Glorious camp with political punch’ **** (Times). ‘Funny, glamorous and horrifying’ (Arthur Smith). ***** ‘Comic perfection’ (SoSoGay.co.uk). ‘Absolutely outrageous’ ***** (Everything-Theatre.co.uk). ‘Less than respectful’ (Telegraph). ‘I await the West End transfer?’ (Stage).
The Snow Dog (Childrens, Musical Theatre)
This fun and uplifting show is a poignant and playful exploration of love and loss for children and their families. Full House Theatre fuses music, song, dance and puppetry to create children’s theatre at its spellbinding best. The story follows a young girl’s journey around the world as she discovers her grandfather’s magical past as an arctic explorer. The show also features a real life Siberian Husky! Age guide 6+. ‘Imaginative and ingenious’ (Stage).
Once Upon a Nightmare (Comedy/Family)
Once Upon a Nightmare is a darkly comic adventure fantasy play for all ages from the makers of the hit five-star show Death Ship 666! Andy and Sophie are only ten years old when they are sucked into the magical dream world of Somnia to defeat the Nightmare King. But only one makes it back home to reality. Twenty years later, Sophie is called back to Somnia once more to save her childhood friend from the clutches of a nightmare from which no one can wake.
‘Someone is crapping in your oatmeal. If you’re losing, someone is doing it to you.’ Neil Yaniky, a born loser, strongly suspects his yugly sister Winky to be his metaphorical oatmeal-crapper. Spurred on by self-help mantras, erotic fantasies and dreams of inner peace, Neil returns home to confront his sister. Now is the time for him to win. Fat Git Theatre present Winky: a smart, unique satire on self-help culture by George Saunders, winner of the Folio Prize 2014. ‘The best short story writer in English – not “one of”, not “arguably”, but the best.’ (Time)
The 56 (True life/Verbatim)
On the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough Disaster, FYSA Theatre addresses the forgotten tragedy of the 80s. The 56 examines undocumented testimonials from survivors and witnesses of the Bradford City fire, offering a unique perspective on this contentious event. Reflecting on a day that resulted in 56 deaths, this theatrical experience looks at the victims and those they left behind. ‘The acting and direction behind their productions are absolutely impeccable’ ***** (BroadwayBaby.com). ‘Disarmingly relatable. Their work is an absolute must see!’ ***** (Liberty Belle). ‘Poignant, Rich and Thought Provoking Work’ (Now Then).
Also if you fancy a bit of cabaret special mentions to:
We would like to wish everyone heading up to the Fringe the best of luck, and I hope to see some of you there!
Happy Summer Holidays…