The only really frustrating thing about the Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the fact that you never, ever manage to see every show you fancy or spend enough time with all your crazy, cool international pals.
It’s a frantic scramble, supporting your companies, opening your shows and making sure industry know about them, while also trying to support your pals’ shows, see new stuff, attend the essential parties, network, and socialise.
Every year, as August draws to an end, we’re forced to resign ourselves to the fact that – despite our best, most relentless efforts – there’s a whole catalogue of brilliant work we didn’t manage to fit in.
But rather than crying over spilled milk, we thought we’d give some of the most awesome shows that we did get a chance to see this year a shout-out.
Baby Carla Rumbles
We made great new friends this year in the astoundingly talented Carla Lippis – aka Baby Carla – and her partner in crime, Geoff Crowther. Together they make sweet, sexy music that combines tender whispers and raw emotion with eerie guitar and authentic passion. Imagine a deliciously potent cocktail of David Lynch, Quentin Tarantino, Nancy Sinatra and Dusty Springfield, and you’re getting there. We can’t wait to see Baby Carla rumble again.
This show has to be seen to be believed. Combining anti-drag with stomach-pounding beats, Christeene is a fierce freak of nature with a beautiful message at the core (“fix my dick”). After the show, we described it to a friend as “if the original cast of Mad Max did a cameo in the Walking Dead, as zombies in a punk band having an angry sex orgy. And if that was a really, really good thing.”
Cole is the latest monographic offering from Michael Griffiths, whose previous Edinburgh hits include ‘In Vogue: Songs By Madonna’ and ‘Sweet Dreams (Annie Lennox)’. It’s the show that robbed Alan Cumming of the Helpmann Award for Best Cabaret Performer and it’s easy to see why. Michael’s gentle tribute to the legendary songwriter Cole Porter took us on a trip down memory lane and rekindled our appreciation of many of his masterpieces including Day and Night, Miss Otis Regrets and our enduring favourite, Love for Sale.
After knowing him for six years, we finally got to see a full Tomas Ford show with his epic ode to shit music ‘Craptacular’. Part man, part maniac we couldn’t help fall in love with his electro-clash covers of our guiltiest pleasures from Adele to the Black Eyed Peas.
Dandy Darkly’s Myth Mouth
As bonkers, but deep into a completely different art-form, Dandy Darkly’s ‘Myth Mouth’ was a welcome return of New York’s finest cult sensation. We’re sure this is his best work to date – with impeccable writing, stupefying timing and a multi-layered soundscape composed especially for the piece.
This is one to keep an eye out for… Matt Gilbertson was in town as ambassador for Adelaide, but also got gussied up a few times as his notorious alter ego Hans. Though he’s already massively successful in Oz, he’s never played the UK and spent his time in Edinburgh checking out the lay of the land for his Edfringe debut next year. We’re waiting with baited breath to see what happens.
How to Be a Rock Star
Have children in your life that you like to keep entertained? We’d highly recommend taking them to this show if you get the chance. Tessa Waters is the perfect tutor, mixing boundless enthusiasm with irresistible charm – and making it all look effortless – as she teaches kids and adults alike to bust some lean, mean rock star moves. Her natural charisma was so addictive, it really made us want to go and see Tessa’s show for grown-ups. Next time, Tessa, we promise!
Lucie Pohl: Apohlcalypse Now!
We love Lucie. Ever since we saw her in her first Edinburgh Fringe show ‘Hi Hitler’, back in 2014, we’ve been huge fans of this New York comedian, actor, and storyteller. In ‘Apohlcalypse Now!’, Lucie tells the true story of her experience on a film set in Turkey, playing the lead in supernatural horror ‘Magi’, alongside Steven Baldwin and Michael Madsen. As always, her delivery and comedic timing was impeccable, as she brought her famous co-stars, an unintentionally hilarious director, and a very intense Turkish crew member to life.
Yeti’s Demon Dive Bar
This was a bit of a Fringe highlight for us, as far as non-Civil Disobedience shows go. We’re veteran fans of the delicious EastEnd Cabaret, and good friends with the minds and talent behind that act – so it was hugely exciting to see them bring Yeti’s to Edinburgh for the first time this year. At Yeti’s Demon Dive Bar the laughs came hard and fast, facilitated by a collection of outlandish characters and silly skits that had us crying for mercy, in a good way. That’s right, we were literally in tears of laughter and gasping for air for most of the show. To the point where Joe almost had to get his asthma inhaler out afterwards. How’s that for a five-star review?
And to everyone we didn’t manage to see this time round; sorry pals, but we’ll catch you at the next rodeo.
Barry & Joe xx