Edinburgh Fringe 13th August 2012

The blog has been pretty quiet this week as my girlfriend and my parents have been up. We had a great week and saw tons of shows (mostly good ones) but sadly they all had to get back to work in London...

We saw a couple of really amazing musical comedy acts: Bourgeois and Maurice are a satirical cabaret act sending up everything from paying taxes to looking for love; Johnny and the Baptists are a blues trio who perform hilarious songs on all kinds of edgy topics like giving blood and having racist grandparents. Both these acts are at Underbelly Cowgate for the month.

We saw some really honest and touching new writing in One Hour Only by Sabrina Mahfouz, again at the Underbelly.

Knee Deep in the Assembly Spiegeltent was probably the most heart-stopping live performance I have ever seen. The tension this circus troupe managed to create had the audience right on the edge of their seats for an hour as they used trapezes, hoops, wine bottles, eggs and each other in a series of hideously daring stunts. The humility and sense of calm they give off makes the act all the more impressive; there is no showboating, every deadly maneuver is performed very naturally. At the end of the hour they got a standing ovation from the vast majority of the audience, something you don't often see these days. I would recommend Knee Deep to anyone.

As I'm operating light and sound on The Gambler there are a lot of shows mid-afternoon that I am unable to see. My parents and Ekene went to Coalition in the Pleasance Dome and thoroughly enjoyed that. Ekene also saw two hip hop theatre shows: CountryBoy's Struggle, the story of a young man's journey from Cornwall to London in which performer Maxwell Golden plays all the characters; and the Q Brothers' Othello: The Remix, a retelling of Shakespeare's tragedy in hip hop verse. Ekene loved both shows so I am definitely working on finding time to see those.

Today we managed to catch Winston on the Run and were captivated by Freddie Machin's performance as Winston Churchill. Despite the fact that Beside at the Pleasance Courtyard seems to be a vacuum completely lacking in Oxygen we really enjoyed the show. Machin's Churchill is an endearing optimist with an amusing sense of his own importance and a gift for recounting tales of his exploits (even to an audience of rats apparently after his blood). Winston on the Run was also a bit of an education as I knew very little about Churchill's life before the war.

In the meantime I snuck off to see The Dark Knight Rises this evening in a small local cinema. Can't say I enjoyed it as much as the first two of the trilogy but I was still entertained for two and a half hours. Christian Bale, Morgan Freeman and Michael Cain held it down well considering the script didn't give them as much to work with as the previous instalments. My biggest criticism would probably be that I didn't find Tom Hardy's Bane intimidating at all; his voice sounded a little like it should belong to the bastard lovechild of Stephen Fry and Basil Fawlty... In any case the long stroll back to the flat was very welcome after a busy week!

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