The Fringe, Day I
(well, obviously, the fringe has been going for more than one day. but this is my first day of three. so there.)
After a *very* leisurely start -
consisting of lounging around the flat, then heading into town and supping a pint at a nicely hidden pub I know that's just off the mile, tiny, but still not overflowing with tourists, and lastly strolling gently to the venue to discover (as I predicted) a big, long queue already formed forty-five minutes before opening)
- first up was The Odd Couple, starring Alan Davies and Bill Bailey. I wasn't so keen on seeing this: I think both leads are marvellous, and will go see either at all opportunties, but I want to see them doing their *own* material. But D wanted to see it, so okay.
I knew nothing about the play (or the film) going in, so the first surprise was that there were more cast members. Turns out to be set in fifties New York, and it hasn't dated well. The third act of four was pure farce (which I loathe); the other three were partially farce. The acting wasn't great - mostly SPEAKING VERY LOUDLY, instead. I wonder if this is the side-effect of being a comedian first, a TV actor second, and a stage actor somewhere further down the list. Plus, the footing wasn't great, because they kept slipping on the accents, which were dropping all over the place.
I recall one *witty* line. The remaining funny lines/actions were not so much telegraphed as predictable. I was thinking, "now the scene will have contain *that* joke," and it did.
Overall review: "I'm glad it's finished."
Into Starbuck's, for evil capitalist caffeine and stodgy muffin - need the boost for later - and dissection, then back strolled over to The Standing Order for evening meal. This particular pub is a Weatherspoons, and being an ex-bank, has very high ceilings and numerous rooms, so we could eat in a smoke-free environment. While there, we had a very nice conversation with some US visitors who were over for the festivities, sitting on the table next to us (how nice? Well, when I said they could have one of the chairs we weren't using, they asked if I wanted a drink. *That* nice). We gave them info on local haunts for local music, etc.
Out to the Assembly Rooms to join the queue for Chris Addison. Or, to be precise, to form the queue. We were first by five seconds. And once again, the people in the queue behind us were nice US visitors with whom we had a good chat. Quite a long one, too, because they were late letting us into the venue, by fifteen minutes. Disconcerting, because we had a whole ten minutes between the end of Addison and the start of the next show.
Addison was, frankly, utterly wonderful. Very, very funny, and clever with it, too. And not too bad to look at, either. If you squint, there's some John Cusack in there. I kept thinking it was like watching glitterboy1
's caffeine intake.
Sad that it ended, but as soon as it did, we ran out of the exit, round to the front of the building, and joined the moving-inwards queue for the Antonio Forcione Quartet (actually a Quintet this evening, with a double-bass player).
If anyone's heard me banging on about Forcione before, you can skip this paragraph. He's one of the best guitar players in the world (so says D, who knows a lot more about this stuff than me). I've seen him with Boothby (once), solo (once) and with the Quartet (once), so there weren't going to be many surprises here.
First half was... okay. Nice enough music to listen to, but I think the percussionist is just messing around on one of the numbers, which seems to consist of as many weird noise-makers as possible. In fact, last time, I think he used one of those cow noise-makers kids have. You know, the ones you turn upside down and they go "moooo..."
Second half, from when Forcione played Touch Wood solo, was much, much better. More mucking around, more upbeat (discernable) tunes, and, for an encore, a group performance of the second half of Acoustic Revenge.
So, overall, pretty good.
Into Milnes Bar for discussion and beer, then back to the Assembly rooms to queue for the Best Of The Fest, the final show of the evening. This is always a pot-luck show, so could go either way. We got:
- M.C.: Lucy Porter: tiny, funny, and utterly filthy. Particularly since her presentation is so "cute little girl".
- (missed name): camp guy who sounds like Tony Blair. Also very funny.
- Andrew Maxwell: amusing, not necessarily funny. And, quite frankly, scary.
- (missed name): fat Canadian guy whose routine was all about being fat. Not hugely impressed.
- Tommy Tiernan: Didn't really warm to him at all. I know he's supposed to be great, but he started out as if he wasn't sure what he was doing (may be affected, but wasn't amusing), and when he did get going, didn't particularly grab me.
So, overall, a good evening with Addison being the highlight by a long way. Favorite line: "In came this scally kid. You know scallies? They were before chavs. In fact, the House of Scally was overthrown by the House of Chav in the great ASBO Wars of 2003."
Another four today. More later... Current Mood: Tired, but happy