The Sunday was our last, and also busiest day at the Fringe, managing to see six shows: one play, three more improvs shows, a musical, and a film screening.
We started the day with a new play by Shaun Kitchener, Positive, produced by West Avenue Theatre. It tells the story of Benji (Will Marsh) who is HIV positive, and is doing well health-wise compared to other people with it, but is having a hard time getting on with life because of it. It’s quite a good play, surprisingly light-hearted and funny, and it’s good to see a kind of fresh take on the subject of HIV. Usually it’s all very dramatic, and someone always dies. Not that it isn’t a serious matter, and people don’t die from it, but it’s nice for someone to be more positive about it. The acting is good, and it’s fairly well cast, though I do wonder whether Kitchener had intended himself to play the role of the new boyfriend when writing the role, because it didn’t seem to fit that well. But the play is one of the things I was really pleased I went to see.
This was one of the times when we literally ran from one venue to the other, because we only had like 10 minutes or so, but we decided last minute to go see The Oxford Imps, Oxford Uni’s improv group. This was the only improv show that did things quite differently. Rather than just doing an improvised play or TV episode, they did various games, like doing scenes where they have to spontaneously break into rap, or guess things the others are acting out. It’s a little like games they probably play as warm up at drama school. It was fun though, it made a change to the other improvs we were kind-of over-doing.
We kind of went a little improv crazy after seeing Murder She Didn’t Write on the first day, and so we also went to Upstairs Downton, an improv show that spoofs Upstairs Downstairs, and Downton Abbey. It worked a lot like all the other shows, but this time it’s supposedly an improvised episode. Audience members are asked to suggest a name for a 1920s character, decided whether he’s an Upstairs character, or a Downstairs one, and then give them an activity. It was quite funny, and I liked that they had some kind of theme. It wasn’t my favourite improv show though, but if you like the TV shows it parodies (I love Downton), then it’s likely to be your kind of thing.
We also decided to take friend number 2 to see Murder She Didn’t Write, which we saw without him on Friday. It was very different, but still very, very funny, and were definitely my favourite improv group. They were a little less on the ball this time, and made a few mistakes, but it was actually pretty hilarious. None of the improv shows were literally non-stop laughter, but I think I laughed the hardest here.
Improv-athon over, we went to see 1945 Production’s Take It Interns, a musical about five interns at an advertising agency, by Theo Scholefield, Letty Thomas, Harry Zundel, Ronan Shiels, and Ollie Feather. As far as quality of productions went of what we saw at the Fringe, this was pretty good. Not quite ready for the West End or Broadway, but it could get there with more work done on it. It’s a little similar, thematically to Loserville, which was on in the West End a while ago, but actually handles it better. The music was a little generic, but the lyrics were funny. You can listen to a couple of the songs on 1945 Productions’ website. Another show I enjoyed, and was glad I saw.
Film isn’t really what the festival is about at all, and it didn’t seem like the kind of thing to end my Fringe experience with, but a Fringe audience seemed perfect for what would be my first ever viewing of Tommy Wiseau’s The Room, possibly the worst film ever made, but is as funny as it is ridiculously bad. And the fact that it’s become a cult-thing, with people cheering Wiseau and his character Johnny on, and the random things the audience does at certain points, just made it all the more enjoyable. I had heard about spoons throwing before, but I didn’t really get why. I still threw them anyway, when some landed by me. I have since checked on the internet what all the jeering, and throwing and singing and shouting is for, and when it’s supposed to happen. I don’t feel the need or see the point in reviewing The Room properly, because everyone knows how completely rubbish it is as a piece of cinema. As an event though, it’s possibly the most fun I’ve had in a cinema.
And so that was it. Three days, lots of shows, and a great deal of fun. We had intended to see some stand-up on the Monday, the 26th, but most things had actually finished, so we didn’t bother going in search for the one thing that was still on and fitted into the short amount of time I had before my train back to London.
I can definitely see this becoming an annual trip for me.
- Edinburgh Fringe Festival – Day 1 (23rd August 2013) (maahinandfilms.wordpress.com)
- Edinburgh Fringe Festival – Day 2 (24th August 2013) (maahinandfilms.wordpress.com)