This year Speaker’s Corner returned to the Scottish capital to join in the fun and festivities at the Edinburgh Fringe Comedy Festival. Debbie and Rhona were able to see some of the weird and wonderful acts that the Fringe has to offer and experienced the electric Edinburgh atmosphere.
Debbie and I met at up at Edinburgh airport, both a little bleary eyed after our early wake up calls, however as we went over our schedule for the next two days we quickly livened up. Our journey to the hotel was pain free and with a few hours to play with we decided to explore the festival venues.
With our maps at the ready we followed the masses towards the Royal Mile; we were met with the sound of bagpipes and crowds of tourists. After a few minutes and lots of pushing and shoving, we came to a unanimous decision that it was already time to escape the mile and seek the quieter route to our venues. Within half an hour we had familiarised ourselves with the Pleasance Courtyard, the Gilded Balloon and Assembly George, we went back to the lovely Parliament House Hotel to check in before the fun and games began.
A long afternoon of shows started at 1.30, Debbie and I then parted ways in order to see as many acts as possible and here are some of the highlights.
Rhona’s Highlights from day one:
Nicholas Parsons at Pleasance Courtyard-I went to see Nicholas at the Cabaret Bar and loved his show, which he presented in the style of a talk show. He had invited three other acts from the festival to join him, bantering with them and keeping the audience entertained throughout the whole show. Nicholas was also great at interacting with the audience; I regretted not sitting in the front row when I saw that he was handing out packets of smarties to the participating audience members!
Joe Lycett at Pleasance Courtyard-I had heard about Joe from a friend who had been to see him last year at the festival and recommended I see him, I was not disappointed! Joe’s witty humour came across in such a casual and comfortable manner on stage, as though he was bantering with a group of his friends and he had the audience in stitches. He had a hilarious conversion with one member of the audience who had decided to go into graphic details of her personal life, setting herself up to be ribbed by Joe. Other parts of Joe’s stand up include his Walrus alter-ego and angry letters he has written to his mobile network T-Mobile. I enjoyed every minute of the show and would go and see Joe again in a second.
Last but not least Charlie Baker at the Guilded Balloon-I had no idea what to expect from Charlie Baker and I hadn’t had time between shows to look him up, this was my last show of the day and I was really hoping for something good. I soon realised that Charlie is a man of many talents, a comedian/musician/singer. His act is a mix of stand up and music, the band performs the biggest-selling UK singles from the last 13 years. I found myself sitting alone in the audience, singing and dancing to the songs and generally having a fabulous time-the songs ranged from Bob the Builder to ‘Where is the Love?’ by the Black Eyed Peas and were sung in a Jazz style. In between each song Charlie does his comedy set, which is genuinely funny and ties in nicely with the musical part of the show. After seeing Charlie, I felt like I had ended my evening on a high-I have already recommended his show to friends and family!
Debbie’s Highlights from day one:
Lucy Porter at the Stand Comedy Club – I really liked Lucy and thought she’d make a great corporate comedian with observational humour. She told lots of funny (but clean) stories about her life and talked about her husband, her kids, her friends, giving her show a more personal feel.
Knee Deep at Assembly George – I was amazed by their acrobatic dancing and ability to explore the boundaries of strength and tenderness. They can use just their bodies – and each other’s bodies - but also props such as a trapeze, ropes, etc as well. I was kept entertained throughout the whole show and it was fun to see a different type of act.
Pat Monahan at the Guilded Balloon – Pat is a really good corporate comedian who starts his show by coming in to music and going around the audience and giving hugs to random audience members! This puts you in a warm and fuzzy mood from the start and this nice feeling continues throughout the show as Pat has a lovely nature about him and just chats to the audience. The atmosphere was really nice and everyone liked him.
Our second day at the festival started off with more exploring of venues, we found this a good way to get to know the area and having made our mistakes on the first day we knew the busy roads to avoid. We walked around for a few hours, passing people in a variety of bizarre outfits to promote their shows. We then stopped off to get some delicious food from a nearby restaurant and went over our schedules for the day, we said goodbye for another few hours and headed off on our separate ways. Here are our highlights from day two.
Rhona’s Highlights from day two:
Eric Lampaert at Laughing Horse @ Counting House- Eric was my first show of the day; I wasn’t too sure about him to begin with. However after the first five minutes I found myself laughing aloud to his jokes, which are mainly focused around the size of his gums...they are huge! I knew I had to leave this show a bit early to make it to my next one in time and as the time approached for me to leave I grew more nervous, having seen the people coming in late receive a torrent of abuse from Eric; I knew I would be next. As I got up subtly, Eric caught me and as expected I received some abuse along with laughter from the audience, however I must point out that although I was left slightly red faced it was all in good humour.
Dan Simonsen at Pleasance Dome-I hadn’t heard of Dan Simonsen before the show and as I walked into a dim room with some loud music I was still none the wiser as to what I was about to see. Dan came onto the stage and made the audience laugh from beginning to end. His Nordic humour is very different from any of the other comedians I saw and he manages to make his breakdown on stage seem completely hilarious. I enjoyed every minute of Dan’s show and would gladly go back to see him again.
Debbie’s Highlights from day two:
Gyles Brandreth at Pleasance Courtyard – This was a great show about the 7 Secrets to Happiness. Gyles is a consummate professional performer who has great stage presence and projection and what I really liked about this show is that it is a personal story and journey. I would definitely recommend festival goers to go and see Gyles in action!
Boy with tape on his face – I had heard a lot about this act as he has a few fans in our office so I was hoping he wouldn’t disappoint, thankfully he didn’t and I thought this show was excellent! It’s amazing how he spends an hour show literally with tape over his mouth and without saying a thing. He uses the audience and props in a very clever and funny way to make the show great.
Ellie Taylor at Laughing Horse @ Counting House – Ellie was the stand-out for me at Edinburgh. I saw her in a very small venue in a pub and I loved her! She had a lovely easy and natural delivery – with hilarious facial expressions and colloquialisms. Ellie also has a great memory and remembers everything about the audience which she then weaves in to her routine. I want to be her friend!!
The end of the Trip
After a fun few days of shows Debbie and I’s Edinburgh trip had sadly come to an end and it was time for us to wave goodbye to the beautiful Scottish capital. We experienced all that the Edinburgh festival has to offer –the comedy, the royal mile, the food, the bagpipes and of course the weather! We recommend you go and see our favourite acts ASAP, before it’s too late!
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