More From Edinburgh

I always enjoy staying in Edinburgh during the Festival Fringe. It means I can see shows later at night than I would otherwise. I enjoyed a couple of fun days at the Fringe and, as I did in my last post, here’s a wee look at what I saw.
Cowgatehead, 14:30 (55mins)
Back in “the day” I was a big fan of the sci-fi TV series Quantum Leap and when I saw this in the programme, I wanted to go and see it. The premise is simple – improvisation group The Maydays improvise an entirely new episode of the now classic sci-fi show with a few simple suggestions from the audience. As with the show itself, the character of Dr Sam Beckett didn’t know who, where our when he was. The difference here is that for the first few minutes of the episode itself, neither did the performer in the role! Now, before I go any further, I do have a bit of a complaint. It is not the fault of the performers but I have to say that the room they were performing in wasn’t the best to see what was happening on stage a lot of the time thanks to an awkwardly placed pillar. That said, today’s episode, called “Dynoplasty” took us back to 1981 and a plastic surgeon for animals. I thought it was a lot of fun, but if you were not a fan of the original show then I will warn you that this show won’t really be for you as there are so many call backs and “inside” gags for Quantum Leap fans. But if you are a fan, make sure you go and see it.
This was an hour in the company of Prof. Richard Wiseman and musical duo The Creative Martyrs who, between them, told the story of Harry Price: Ghost Hunter, Psychic Investigator, Conjurer and Debunker.  And what an entertaining hour it was with Richard telling part of the story and including some excellent magic with the The Creative Martyrs continuing the story with their humorous songs. But there was a lot more to it than just good magic and funny songs. Sadly, at the time of writing this, the show has now finished its run but if Richard ever puts it back on, make a point of going to see it. You won’t regret it!

An hour of magic, comedy and utter nonsense – otherwise known as fun! I had never encountered George Firehorse before but those I was with had seen him at a couple of magic conventions and had told me he was a lot of fun to watch. They weren’t wrong. Some of his pieces were a lot of fun while others were so off the wall they were almost in another room. The show isn’t suitable for children (due to bad language) and George handled the unexpected arrival of a youngster in his show about 10 minutes in with great professionalism and kindness. This is an hour of madcap fun that you’ll either love or hate. If you go with the flow of the show, you’ll end up having a fun time.
I went to see this show last year and had such a great time that a repeat visit was called for, especially since the producers are saying that it will be the last time it is in Edinburgh.  We had a different singer as Jake this year but he was just as good a singer as last year’s and Elwood (the same one from last year) was just as good on the blues harp as the original. His opening to “Flip, Flop and Fly” was brilliant! This show isn’t just for fans of the movies or the albums, they are for fans of great music. I was there with friends who had never seen the original movie (what’s that all about?!?) had a wonderful time, dancing along with the rest of the audience which consisted of people of all ages. If you are in Edinburgh late at night over the coming week or so, make a point of going to see them.
I’ll admit, this wasn’t my choice but I’m glad I went. It was an enjoyable hour using the bible, and the people named within it, as the basis for his show. Paul Savage‘s father is a Baptist preacher (he told us repeatedly, almost as if to justify why he was doing the show) but he made a point of saying that he was not out to preach to us. His ability to keep his audience engaged meant that the audience participation moments in the show worked and the person he chose to stand with him at the microphone could not have been better. An hour that proves that a labour of love can actually work.
This was my second time seeing Danny Buckler performing, for the most part, straight stand up after his last Edinburgh visit 2 years ago and it’s a great way to spend an hour. He had the whole room laughing as he spoke about a whole host of subjects that most people in attendance can relate to including stories about live, love and his heroes and has one of the best sleepover stories I’ve ever heard. I won’t spoilt it by telling you who it involves but it is a cracker! Seriously, miss Danny at your peril!
Take a mentalist, Colin Cloud, a magician, Kevin McMahon, and a comedian, Gavin Oates, together and put them on stage and what do you get? A whole lot of mayhem otherwise known to the world as The Colour Ham. This is a sketch show with a real difference – most of the sketches are brilliant magic routines, a number of which fooled me badly (especially the opening routine!). On the night I saw the show, the boys had to contend with some really difficult audience members who were not willing to go with the fun that they were trying to create on stage, but they handled them with charm and professionalism. They also brought back a TV character that anyone in their 30s or 40s who grew up in Scotland will no doubt remember. The theme tune is still going round my head!
Joke Thieves, the brainchild of comedian Will Mars, was another show that I saw last year and enjoyed so much that I wanted to see it again. Last year, it was a free show and it took me 3 attempts to get in to see it! This time, it is a ticketed show (very reasonably priced too!) making things a lot easier to get in! The premise is very simple – 4 comedians get paired up and then perform twice. First time, they perform their own material but the second time, they perform their partner’s material! This can lead to some fun moments when someone performs their partner’s material funnier than the person who originally performed it or if a performer comes out with a line or 3 that, coming from another performer, could cause a great deal of offence outwith the context of this show. On the night I was there, Jo Caulfield was paired up with Kevin Dewsbury while Prince Abdi was paired with Alex Edelman. It was a great show which, to be honest, will make those of us in the room that night smile at the memories of but is impossible to explain to anyone else. You just need to go and see the show for yourself.
And so ends another Edinburgh Fringe for me. Now I just need to wait for next June for the 2015 Fringe Programme to be released! Only 10 months to go!
Speak soon.
The Cardman 🙂

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