It’s not every Fringe brochure that addresses you as “comrade” and tells you it wants to remove the “limitations imposed upon the mind by the desires instilled through capitalism”. Nor is it every Fringe venue that lets you pay what you want. And certainly, when promised “enter to find unity, joy and inner well-being,” you have to hand it to Just The Tonic – they do a nice line in propaganda. Fortunately, they also do a nice line in comedy across four venues – The Caves, The Tron, The Mash House and The Community Project – and The Wee Review found good times to be had across all four of them last year.
Physical comedy duo The Kagools were just about our favourite show of last Fringe, with three of our editors agreeing it was five-star buffoonery for all ages. “Hard to imagine another show quite as much fun,” was reviewer Kevin Wight’s verdict. It will be interesting to see what they bring to this new hour at The Caves, having also gone down a storm in Australia. Kevin also rated sketch duo Revan and Fennell at C Venues last year, praising them for their “fast-paced multimedia-savvy” debut, Fan Club, which transfers this year to The Caves.
Defiantly the oldest gigging comedian on the circuit, America’s Lynn Ruth Miller didn’t even try stand-up til she was in the 70s, yet she’s now a Fringe fixture, dispensing wisdom along with comic observations from her life. As she showed us in interview last year, she doesn’t mince her words, and in this year’s show tells us (warns us?) slightly menacingly, This Is Your Future.
Fans of post-Peepshow sitcom Flat TV might be interested in Naz Osmanoglu’s show Exposure. Fun irrelevant fact: he’s part of the former ruling dynasty of the Ottoman Empire, don’t you know? Meanwhile, John van der Put, the man behind the dragon – that’s the lugubrious Piff the Magic Dragon who was such a hit on America’s Got Talent as well as at the Fringe – sheds his scales for a new work in progress show at the Mash House.
Louise Reay is back at Just The Tonic with another show in Chinese, predicting the future in Que Sera, … , well we don’t have the symbols on the keyboard to give you the second bit. And if an English speaker performing in a foreign language doesn’t get you, how about a non-English speaker performing in English? Germany’s Comedy Foreign Minister and BBC favourite Henning Wehn takes to the Caves with his show Westphalia Is Not An Option.
Lewis Schaffer returns to the Community Project with the show which got him some of the best reviews he has ever had. You Are Beautiful was an “uncomfortable, but strangely enlightening hour” last year. The ultimately uplifting vibe of the show is clear from the title, although not everyone felt safe in their seats throughout. Equally discomfiting might be Comedy In The Dark. Having your senses heightened might be good or bad, depending on what the performer has in store. Previous performers include Kevin Bridges and Jon Richardson.
No knowing what the surreal and unpredictable Paul Foot might get up to with the lights out, so it’s best they’re kept on for his Game of Dangers which may, or may not be some sort of game show, but which definitely runs for four nights at the end of the Fringe, alongside his latest at Underbelly, ‘Tis A Pity She’s A Piglet.
With 130 shows in total, it can sometimes pay to take a chance. Undoubtedly, more gems will emerge from the programme and we’ll be trying to unearth them as August rolls on.