edfringe

The Edinburgh Fringe Archives – Dominic Holland (Eclipsed, 2017)

Dominic Holland made his name at the Fringe. His first time in Edinburgh, in 1993 he won the Perrier Best Newcomer award, and was later nominated for the full Perrier. He’s made TV appearances, is a regular on the circuit… and was anointed by Bob Monkhouse as “Britain’s funniest not yet famous comedian”.

He’s a stand-up with many highs (and lows). He’s also a father, and in 2017 he brought his show ‘Eclipsed’ to the Free Fringe.

The eclipse in question is by his son Tom Holland. How was Dominic’s journey to where he is today, how did the whole family deal with each other, and how much of a protective father he is to a really talented son.

It’s a different viewpoint on the classic story of rising from humble roots to a hero – literally. With Jokes.

So let’s go back to the Fringe, back to the Voodoo Rooms, and the Free Fringe, to find out the delight of being Eclipsed.

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The Edinburgh Fringe Archives – Rich Batsford (Classically Chilled Piano, 2015)

Popping up for a single week at the Edinburgh Fringe – something that was becoming a more popular option in recent years due to the cost and complexity of the Fringe – Rich Batsford brought his piano to the Festival.

Was this a rock n roll hour of gags and wordplay? No. But it was a master at work. The Fringe is more than stand-up comedy, and our Fringe interviews always try to get the same balance. And this certainly was it – Batsford could capture the room in the same way as any Perrier nominee, could twist his tales with a look, and bring out emotions with a few flickers of fingers over the piano keys, along with

Myself and Nick Awde caught up with Batsford in the podcast studio to talk about Batsford’s show, his approach to music, and the power of a silent moment.

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The Edinburgh Fringe Archives – Lady Carol (Lost and Found, 2014)

Lady Carol, a Fringe stalwart then and now, back on the touring circuit of cabaret and festivals and the like, returned to the Fringe in 2014 with a mandolin and ukulele in tow,

Billed as a show with songs of spirited spite and tales of melancholic mischief, Lost and Found, has 30 songs, and 30 stories, and of course, you can’t get all of that into a single hour. The random nature guaranteed something different for every audience, kept the show fresh for the whole month, but perhaps made it difficult to review as presented…

…but this is a show where the performer, rightly, comes first and comes highly recommended.

In the days before he got a bus, Bob Slayer had a bookshop. That bookshop was a Fringe venue. And in that venue was Lady Carol, so let’s head back to 2014 to be lost and found.

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The Edinburgh Fringe Archives – Carey Marx (Intensive Carey, 2013)

Carey Marx’ Fringe in 2013 is the sort of one-line elevator pitch that Hollywood loves – ‘I had to cancel my show in 2012 because I had a heart attack… let’s talk about that in 2013’.

Marx was already an accomplished storyteller who had that delightful ability to keep the story on the straight and narrow but twist everything else just a little, under the surface, and capture the audience. Intensive Carey – which is still a fabulous pun nearly ten years later – did just that.

The Fringe is also family, and knowing that Carey was absent in 2012 meant that so many people – including myself – were delighted just to have him back. This show, just as many others, started in an incredibly relatable place. So let’s go back to 2013, go back to welcome Carey back to the Gilded Balloon, and experience some Intensive Carey.

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The Edinburgh Fringe Archives – Mike Bubbins (Retrosexual Male, 2017)

It’s Mike Bubbins’ turn to escape the archive. He’s a Welsh comic who has carved out a great little space in the scene as “the comic who does the seventies”. His fringe show forom 2017 is quintessential Bubbins, as he looks back at the seventies, what made it great, and what we can learn from it intoday’s world.

He’s continued that mix of cultural time travel in his 2021 TV series Mamoth, where he plays “Tony Mammoth, a Welsh PE teacher, missing presumed dead in an avalanche in the Alps in 1979 whose body is found and miraculously bought back to life in the modern day.”

But now, we always say we return to the Fringe, and here it’s a return to the Fringe of 2017, to return to the 70s, via The Assembly Rooms, and Mike Bubbins’ Retrosexual Male.

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The Edinburgh Fringe Archives – Ismo Leikola (Observing The Obvious, 2015)

This week I want to head back to 2015. That year the show was broadcast live on Leith FM community radio, as well as being a podcast, with a number of guest hosts joining me – so you’ll hear the voice of WUSB New York’s Emma Backfish – as well as our comedy just… Finland’s Ismo Leikola.

For countless decades, the ‘observational comedy’ routine has been a staple of stand ups… yes we have all seen just how many Cafe Nero’s there are, and how many stamps you need to get a free coffee, but Ismo brought a new angle on this to the Fringe… doing it in his second language.

A laid back Finnish style put me in mind of the razer sharp gentleness of Arnold Brown. Ismo’s skills wasn’t the choice of well-worn topics, is was putting a twist on the resulting points that lifted this show up.

So we return to the Gilded Balloon, we return to the time honoured comedian watching our everyday life, we return to a rather chaotic studio, to Observing the Obvious.

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The Edinburgh Fringe Archives – James Seager and Les Enfants Terribles (Vaudevillans, 2016)

Everyone at the Fringe is inventive, but one group is very much associated with that in my mind, Les Enfant Terribles. Formed in 2002 by James Seager and Oliver Lansley, they have brought many shows to the Fringe over the years, from psychological World War One horror, through Piratosaurs, to 2016’s vaudevillans;a classic murder caper mixed with a variety show.

James Seager popped into our studio that year to explain it… although that year the studio was a shed next to a double decker bus that had been renovated to be a theatre on wheels. Oh and Lucy Evans joined me from Edinburgh Student Radio Fresh Air FM as well.

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The Edinburgh Fringe Archives – Jeff Innocent (Eco-Worrier, 2006)

An artist at heart with a long and varied list of interests, Jeff Innocent went on a stand-up comedy course in 1996 – led by alt-comedy legend Tony Allen – and he’s not stopped since then. Jeff has carved out a place in the UK stand-up scene like no other, as well as working as a writer and actor.

In 2006 he brought the show Eco-worrier to the Edinburgh Fringe – environmentalism remains a strong part of his ethos to this day – and it’s interesting to be reminded of how the path looked some 16 years ago.

So we return to the Stand, with Jeff Innocent, and listen to 2006’s Eco-Worrier.

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The Edinburgh Fringe Archive – Celia Pacquola (Let Me Know How It All Works Out, 2014)

2014 saw Australian comic Celia Pacquola return to Edinburgh for her fourth Fringe Show. ‘Let Me Know How It All Worked Out’ looked at the world of psychics and their promise of foretelling the future; specifically one who said she would never have children.

(Spoiler… congratulations are in order, Celia and her partner had their first child earlier this year,).

Since the Fringe Pacquola moved frequently between the UK Australia, with various apeprances, scriptwriting, and starring appearances in a wide range of shows on the circuit, including radio work on Fox FM and Radio 4, TV work on Would I Lie To You, Live At The Apollo, and Have You Been Paying Attention, and staring in Rosehaven, and The Breaker Uppers.

All that was ahead of her in 2014 when she joined me in the podcast studio to talk about her show. It wasn’t the first time she’d been on the Fringe podcast, so the whole ‘tell us about your show’ quickly descended into discussions of synchronised diving, Tom Daley, Pro/Am contest, and a love of Converse trainers.

This week’s trip is back to the Gilded Ballon, back to a time when the future we live in now was quite definitely not going to happen, as Celia Pacquola asks the audience to Let Me Know How It All Works Out,

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The Edinburgh Fringe Archive – Shedload Theatre (The Statement of Randolph Carter, 2015)

The world of H P Lovecraft is one that many people have explored, both the horror of the writing and the horror of the man. In 2015 Shedload Theatre looked at the former, in an inventive show called The Statement Of Randolph Carter.

The big moment in the show is the Foley work. The show is presented as a radio play, and that means lots of sound effects performed live. The story is very much classic horror, but the theatre experience is much more visual than you would expect… and thoroughly engaging. There’s also the importance of the entire body of work built on H P Lovecraft’s work – all which is out of copyright and free to perform.

As Shedload Theatre piled into the studio, we did something a little different. Yes there’s an interview in here to find out more about the show… but there’s also a performance from part of the show (a story called The Temple) which they perform live… along with all those foley effects!

And so we head, warily, to Surgeons Hall, to a desk of foley effects and horror, to the Statement Of Randolph Carter.

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