“It’s Nothing Like Northumberland Street” – KYEO Hits The Edinburgh Fringe Festival
By Adam Clery on August 25, 2011 in Stage
The story starts like this. Throughout the month of July we found ourselves swimming around in a metaphorical sea of polite rejections and casual rebuffs by people who “would love to, but we’re going to be at the Fringe then”.
Damn and blast, we thought. Our entire operation on its knees thanks to this mysterious comedy quiff. We ought to get ourselves a slice of this crusty cultural pie.
And so we did. Managing to reschedule a Mario Kart tournament, and postponing clipping our toenails, we freed up an entire day to round up as many of the North-East’s comedians, performers, actors, acrobats, writers, directors and improvisers as we could to sample what exactly the region had rolled up the A1 this year.
So what did we get up to? Well, after rolling into town at some ungodly hour we were granted an audience with local stand-up comedian and festival compare Tony Jameson, immediately before he hosted his acclaimed Laughing Penguin showcase. Playing host to a wonderful little selection tray of up and coming comedic talent, (last year’s line-up featured the likes of Gary Delaney and Chris Ramsey) they’ve roped in Sean McLoughlin, Katie Mulgrew and their own ‘new act of the year’ Richard Gadd.
The show itself, tucked away in the Basement room of Espionage, is stand-up in its purest form and is running all the way through the last weekend. Lorra lols as well, so we’d highly recommend it.
Afterwards we headed over to the Surgeons Hall courtyard to see how our old pals from Double Act were getting on. Having spoken to them during their preparations (remember?) we wanted to see how their plans were coming together and we can report that, despite some mixed reviews, it’s been a successful first Fringe for the show. If you want to catch a glimpse of their 70′s comedy drama, there are tickets remaining for their final two shows this Friday and Saturday.
With grumbling stomachs and severe caffeine deficiencies we trotted all the way down to Sweet Venues in Grassmarket. We meandered through the lobby of what appeared to be a posh hotel, like lost children trying to match faces to a poster we’d ripped off the wall. Eventually we happened upon improv comedy duo Matt & Ian who regaled us with tales of parties, illnesses and a complete lack of sleep, all while a man with a chainsaw pranced around behind them.
Despite having only modest ambitions their show ‘Matt & Ian Don’t Know‘ appears to have really struck a chord this year and has even been featured on the Fringe’s ‘best of’ page with their hilarious brand of audience-generated randomness. If this sounds right up your alley then tough, they finished last week. But don’t cry too much, we have it on good authority they’ll be making an appearance at the Tyneside Cinema’s polite rooms on October 7th.
After a quick pit stop for strong back coffees it was over to meet Amelie Soleil of circus and cabaret outfit Frayed Knot. Being a 10 year veteran of the Fringe, Amelie was able to tell us about a lot of the wider implications the festival has on the North-East, as well as letting her point us in the direction of a decent gin and tonic.
Lending herself to a plethora of different shows this year, we were incredibly lucky to catch her in one of the 15 minute windows she would normally reserve for eating or sleeping. She’s still got a ton of performances between now and the end of the festival including Piff The Magic Dragon, Voodoo Revue and the critically acclaimed Vive Le Cabaret. Tell her we said hello.
Naturally, with a trek across the other side of the city now awaiting us, the heavens opened and we were forced to roll up at our next interview looking like something that had crawled out a bin-liner full of clothes Channel 4 had donated to charity. Fortunately, Lee Mattinson and Paula Penman, of the glitteringly gobsmacking stage comedy Donna Disco, were in a charitable mood, and as well as providing us with the sweariest interview of the day they gave us some free badges for our troubles.
Finally, and after we borderline inhaled a few paninis, we caught up with the gang from theatrical group Violet Shock, who’ve brought a unique stage twist to the 1960′s black comedy/musical Little Shop Of Horrors. Bursting with energy and enthusiasm, despite it being nearly 10pm and us being mere moments away from dropping down dead, we chatted about hopes and expectations for their theatrical futures as well as for this, their first ever Fringe.
It’s worth noting that the cast for the show is made up of various college-going drama enthusiasts, and that for a bunch so young, they’ve all clearly got their heads screwed on the right way, which makes us lot feel thoroughly ashamed of the two years we spent egging buses and making fart jokes at their age. The sentiment “catch this lot while you can still afford to” comes across in most of their reviews to date.
So please, if you ever take anything from us, let it be this. Make some sandwiches, pack a bag, and head up to the Fringe this weekend. It’s a bank holiday after all, and regardless of your personal preferences or preciousness over your purse there will be more there for you than you can possibly imagine. Shows from this lot (as well 1000s of others from over 60 countries) are running all weekend and it’s only an hour and a half up the road. Go.
- Interview: Tony Jameson, The Laughing Penguin