fringe

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 – 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 – 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 – 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 – 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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