Edinburgh Fringe Festival – Day 3

That special kind of weather, not actually raining, but the air is wet, so if you walk in it for more than a few minutes, your glasses will be smeared with damp, your hair will be wet and you will feel like you’re wearing clothes that aren’t quite dry. There’s probably a special Scottish word for it but I call it “wet air.”

Grainne Maguire – What has the news ever done for me?

First show of the day and we very nearly almost didn’t get in to this show. Grainne actually went and fetched chairs for me and another latecomer so we wouldn’t miss the show. Note to selves: arrive earlier for free stuff.

A note on our host. Her name is pronounced “gron-ya.” I know it’s spelt differently to how it’s spelt but that’s an Irish thing. Don’t ask.

The show set up was: introduction by Grainne, followed by four guest comedians all presenting the news story they felt would most appeal to the room. The winning story was about a French park training crows to pick up rubbish. It beat off competition from stories about Boris Johnson having to take diversity training, a person who used to live in a small town in Cornwall getting a bit part in Poldark (“it’s a story about following your dreams”) and a story about sea potatoes beaching themselves (“alien invasion?”).

The Black Dahlia

We got to this venue down a street with lots of prison transport vans parked on it. Ominous. The venue was a small basement with very little legroom. I was OK but husband was cramped.

The play was performed by young students and they tried their best with the LA film noir accents but didn’t always succeed. Some of the actors weren’t great at projecting their voices. But I will allow them leeway for being young and maybe this was their first big performance. It was a ticketed event and nearly full on a Monday so fair play to them, they did well.

Ada Campe and the Psychic Duck

We wouldnt have gone to this show if it wasnt recommended by a friend who knows Ada personally. We didn’t know what to expect but were pleasantly surprised. It’s a show with everything: comedy, magic, song, and storytelling. Worth going to see for Ada’s fantastic headdress alone, let alone the opportunities for audience participation.

Steve McLean Action Figure Archive

Another show we wouldn’t have got to without a personal recommendation from a mutual friend. It turned out Steve has actually been to our house.

On the grounds we knew him (sort of) and he said he wouldn’t pick on us, we chose to sit in the front row. The show was billed as being for geeks and nerds and I think the audience reflected that. I was one of only three or four women there.

But it was funny, we laughed a lot, and some of the toys – sorry – action figures that Steve discussed were humourous, bizarre and worthy of ridicule. How did they ever get away with a action figure character called Fisto?!?

A new political comedy show

We come out of Action Figures and, Oh no it’s still raining. But here is another show starting in 10 mins that will full a nice gap through until dinner time. It was meant to be a satirical show with two presenters taking very opposite views on immigration to highlight the ridiculous arguments being used on both sides of the debate.

But it didn’t… or I just didn’t get it…or it wasn’t… well, in the end it was the first show we didn’t give the recommended medium amount for. Lots of cheap jokes at the expense of Sunderland and Glasgow. Not to say there weren’t some funny moments, but there were a lot of jokes that missed the mark, and didn’t quite work.

Andrew Lawrence: Clean

Another lecture theatre venue in the Edinburgh University grounds. Not the most intimate of venues for a comedy gig (with a desk in front of me I feel like I should be taking notes).

It’s our sixth show of the day but happily we still have some laughs left. Jokes about relationships, children, and the nature of comedy these days. I get the impression from some of the asides I have heard in shows that comedy is not a rich gravy train unless you get some TV deal. Without that big income your relationships and possibly mental health are under pressure.

Observations: let’s hear it for the leafleteers. The unsung heroes of the festival, standing on the street and trying to interest disinterested passers-by in a show. Quite often they are the performers themselves, but sometimes they are just hired hands promising all kinds of things to get rid of their flyers and get bums on seats. (“Before I saw this show I didn’t believe in God; now I believe in several.”)

They have precious few seconds to grab your attention and get you interested in the show they are promoting. They stand out in the rain (and maybe some days, the sun) doing a pretty thankless job. Yes, they are responsible for a lot of litter but that’s because the people they flyer to are too lazy to collect and recycle at the end of the day (like we do).

Health: finally got some groceries last night so a sensible breakfast for me (porridge) and an eight year old’s breakfast for the husband (coco pops). I drank lots of water and had only one alcoholic beverage. Lunch was Japanese and dinner was falafel. Both healthy but we did have chips with the falafel. (But our first chips of the trip!) Not a bad day, diet wise.

Husband thinks he is coming down with a sore throat – the outcome of rapid transits between cool outside temperature and steamingly warm inside venues with no ventilation.

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