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EdFest Reviews, Sunday

Dreams with Advert Breaks

This was picked almost at random from the free fringe guide, entirely because I wanted to spend some time aimlessly wandering and looking for serendipity, rather than Having A Planned Itinerary.

It was a straight white dude doing standup, so yes, I knew the risk I was taking; but it was utterly charming! A deadpan, deconstructed hour of character comedy, with something of the Stewart Lee but much much geekier: "it's ok if you don't laugh at this bit, I'm just trying to whittle my audiences down to people who appreciate the weird niche humour, so that next year I can do a show entirely about dinosaurs and space". The punchline to the anecdote about meeting Where's Wally on his gap year ("I guess he was trying to find himself") amused me much more than anyone else in the room, so maybe I get to be in next year's audience?


Don't Wake the Damp

Another random pick, I happened to find a flyer on the floor on the Royal Mile that caught my eye! This was comedy as well, but couldn't have been more different than the guy I picked before -- this was high octane, high-narrative sci-fi comedy, like 6th Doctor story Paradise Towers crossed with Galaxy Quest. With brilliant special effects entirely in the appropriate medium for 80s neon Brit sci-fi - model shots, rubber monsters, an AI sidekick called B.O.O.B.S. (if I have any criticism to make of this joyful piece of work, it's that they didn't always effectively undercut the misogyny they were mocking).

There was also a hint of Douglas Adams in the mix, as we met the Council Housing Office, and discovered that when we're talking about low-quality social housing with "rising damp", that's meant in the same way as "Cthulhu rises".


Gender Neutral Concubine Pirate

After a slightly rocky start - I wasn't 100% sure if this performer actually ID'd as non-binary, or was mocking the whole concept, when the opening monologue was "I identify as a gender-neutral concubine pirate" - this became one of my highlights of the fringe. Hugely high energy burlesque-y circus-y cabaret, the surrealism (performer appears to eat an entire bunch of grapes in one mouthful, then pee wine) undercut by brief emotional asides about coming out to family as a queer British person of south Asian origin. Mawaan Rizwan - one to watch.


Mister Meredith's Variety Bunker

Another random pick, this turned out to be a piano-led singalong show. Surprisingly powerful and liberating to just.. belt for an hour! The venue was set out with cabaret tables, and I was attending alone, so I got to talk to another random stranger, which was a rare and charming experience, who kept commenting on how amazing my voice was and how I was obviously a *performer* which she could never be. I did drop into Welfare Advisor mode a bit - "what makes you say that?" - but mostly kept it social.


The Fainting Couch

This just happened to be on in the same venue right after the singalong: one of Edinburgh's ever-proliferating cabaret variety shows with a combination of local burlesque talent and people doing short skits to promote their shows. It was a charming enough way to spend a little time, but lacked the political bite that I like in my cabaret. I left when it turned out that the headliners were magicians, because, ehhh.

Originally posted at http://sebastienne.dreamwidth.org/84428.html. comment count unavailablecomments.

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