edinburgh

The Edinburgh Fringe Archives – Matt Parker (Humble Pi, 2019)

Maths and stand-up is a strange formula – but one that clearly has an abundance of puns if you put your mind to it.

One performer who has put their mind to it is Matt Parker. Like many performers at the Fringe, he’s Australian but lives in the United Kingdom. His early days at the Fringe saw him appear in ‘multi bill’ shows, with two other scientists, taking 20 minutes each… before he stepped up to a full solo show.

One of those hours was in 2019, with Humble Pi. Based on the book of the same name, it brought ‘mathematical mistakes and errors’ from history to the stage, with hilarious results… all backed up with proof.
And so lets regress (ahem) back to 2019, back to the Pleasance Dome, and back to, roughly Humble 22 over 7.

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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 – Jess Robinson (Impressive, 2016)

Performing regularly since 2004’s appearance on Dead Ringers, various roles in the audio adventures of Doctor Who from Big Finish, and one of the “we need a voice” actors called on by the Horrible Histories troupe, Jess Robinson has been in the business for well over a decade before making it to the Fringe.

2016 saw impressionist Jess Robinson’s third show at the Edinburgh Fringe. I,pressive opens with a promise of 99 voices in the first 5 minutes before a gentler pace kicked in and a storytelling hour took over… with a bit of help from both a live band and many of those aforementioned 99 voices.

Since then there are more accomplishments, and Robinson has picked up a Gold Medal for ‘Best Entertainment Podcast’ in 2021 with Stars in Your Ears.

But now, back to 2016, back to Impressive, and always remember: The show is finished, don’t try and get tickets.

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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 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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The Edinburgh Fringe Archive – Sofie Hagen (Bubblewrap, 2015)

Sofie Hagen started their stand-up career in their home country of Denmark, before quickly moving to London to further their career. 2015 brought the debut show to Edinburgh.

Bubblewrap examined issues of depression and mental health, difficult teenage years, and attacking the beauty industry, all with just a dash of Westlie and a perfectly cringe reading of their Westlife Fan Fiction.

It’s fair to say that Hagen nailed the Edinburgh experience, with the ‘Best Newcomer award from the (no longer the Perriers) Edinburgh Comedy Awards, joining previous newcomer awards from  Laughing Horse and Chortle.

The Fringe podcast caught up with Sofie early in August. The show was doing well, and audiences were coming in, but the plan for a small and intimate first time in Edinburgh was upstaged with the venue moved to the 500 seater Liquid Rooms rock band stage.

So, let’s take a trip to PBH’s Free Fringe, into the Liquid Rooms, and get ready to enjoy some Bubblewrap…

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The Edinburgh Fringe Archive – Tim Fitzhigham (Flanders And Swann, At The Drop Of A Hippopotamus, 2016)

There are Fringe performers, there are Fringe stalwarts, and then there is Tim FitzHigham

This Gentleman Explorer has spent decades at the Fringe, bringing shows about his madcap activities that he has attempted in the previous twelve months…most notably he was the first person to row across the English Channel in a bathtub, held the British and European record for the longest Washing Line, and was part of an obscure show called “Alex Horne: The Taskmaster” in 2010. I wonder what happened to that?

Anyway, 2016 saw a much calmer FitzHigham in Edinburgh. Although not quite ready to present his latest daredevil moment, he once more joined with Duncan Walsh Atkins to bring their loving tribute to Flanders and Swann to the Fringe for its tenth show.

Part tribute, part let’s do some funny song, part ‘let’s not forget about these titanic comedians’, FitzHigham and Atkins continue to present their showcase of the comedic music from Michael Flanders and Donald Swann at the Fringe,

Tim joined myself, and co-host Paul Levy from FringeReview, in 2016’s Podcast Studio to talk about the show, his love of Flanders and Swann, and their importance to the cultural landscape.

So let’s go back to The Cabaret Bar, to 2016, and enjoy At The Drop Of A Hippopotamus.

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