Saturday, 10 September 2011

Ten-Year Self-Improvement Challenge. Update Nine.

Initial challenge. Update:

1) I have read 0 books since my last update. I'm only letting myself down. I bought Demitri Marton's Book and I received Tim Key's new book for my birthday, so I hope to have read both of them by my next update. I have read loads of magazines (Grazia and Glamour), but that doesn't count.

2) Um. Nope. Next?

3) Done and done.

4) I've been worrying an awful lot lately and feel like i'm becoming a very anxious person. Must put an end to that and start having small, amusing thoughts again. Stupid brain.

5) I've had fun sending parcels to family back home which always ends up in email exchanges.

6) I've now lost 20 kilos since I went to the doctor in April. Having to buy new clothes has been very expensive.

A thought.

OCD is manifesting itself again. Oh man...

Double Feature: Nightwatchman. There Is A War. The Paintframe. National Theatre.

I feel i'm unable to review these 2 plays. I loved the space. I thought the actors were superb. I liked the sets and lighting and costumes and sound effects.

I had goosebumps throughout There Is A War - Tom Basden's script was amazing; the right mix of light and shade. I enjoyed Nightwatchmen too, but ashamedly I didn't know about the Sri Lankan civil war until i'd seen the play.

Please read here. Thank you.

A thought.

The trendiness of this gig made me feel massively intimidated.

Daniel Kitson And The Post-Fringe Gala Bash. The Union Chapel.

A last minute gig to showcase some of The Invisible Dot and Daniel Kitson's favourite acts from the Edinburgh Fringe. Nick Helm, Colin Hoult, Sheeps, Dan Antopolski, Tony Law and Neil Hamburger made the cut.

Kitson is good at the ol' audience banter - I think he was very proud of the numerous jibes directed at a lady who thought she had the best job; a sex therapist. I also loved how he recalled the mishaps he'd had during the day: "I thought that story would have a few more laughs in it than that".

Nick Helm was funny and scary and adorable and sounded like he'd been eating gravel. Such a talented comic! I'm so pleased his show was nominated for the Foster's Comedy Award - much deserving.

Sheeps' sketches are just wonderful, their Oliver sketch is a fave, but I felt they struggled in the HUGE venue. I think it was mainly to do with microphones.

Tony Law is so funny ("I like to call this "very long build up, tiny little punchline""). I prefer watching a set to a full show - less exhausting. Ha.

It was the first time seeing Neil Hamburger and his shtick wasn't for me. Not a big fan of one liners. Daniel Kitson quipped "I like how angry he makes some people".

For a more conclusive review, look no further than Anna's blog.

A thought.

I like how Scottish people say "soup".

Greenwich Comedy Festival: Tim Minchin. Old Royal Navel College.

For a festival pulling in some huge names, it was extremely unorganised. So many things go wrong with unorganised gigs and these are a few we experienced: an incredibly late start, a seating plan that was all over the place, cables falling down in the middle of the gig, set times that didn't make sense and difficulty exiting the venue. For someone who likes order, I found it hard to enjoy the awesome acts which included Dan Antopolski, Tim Key, Holly Walsh, Tim Minchin and MC, Dan Atkinson.

Dan Antopolski had a long set and seemed a little bit overwhelmed by the size of the audience. Minchin permitted him to use his piano for his final piece; a hidden talent. Walsh and Key made the best of their 10 minutes, but it just wasn't long enough. NOT HAPPY.

To annoy the heckler that shouted "tell us a joke" before Key's "war poetry", Minchin played with the microphone for about 5 minutes before explaining "I thought it would make her [the heckler] angry". I was very pleased that he played 'The Pope Song' and I loved the new stand-up/adaptions of old stand-up (SPOILER ALERT: "she's not even adopted... as if i'd go to Moldova... or bring up someone else's skanky child").

As always, Atkinson was pure brilliance.

A thought.

It was a lovely surprise to see The Wagontales playing next to the bar upon arrival.

Claudia O'Doherty: What Is Soil Erosion?

I've just read a great ThreeWeeks review and I couldn't have put it better myself:

"Are you a soil erosion enthusiast? Well, don't get too excited. "Let's get rill!" Claudia bellows at the audience as we are speedily guided through her 26-part documentary; bizarrely Australian TV execs have failed to see its brilliance. Recalling 'Look Around You', O'Doherty's nonsensical science demonstrations include using rocks as puppets, disintegrating a pudding and downing pints of a mysterious black fluid. Our stained turtleneck wearing host is manically enthusiastic, verging on mentally unstable, but an instantly likeable creation who confidently cruises through her own unique brand of comedy. We may learn nothing about the erosion of soil, but Claudia O'Doherty does a great job of making us giggle".

A thought.

Claudia O'Doherty pulled a Jonny Sweet with this follow-up show. If it works the first time, do it again. And why not, mate?

One Man, Two Guvnors. National Theatre.

My goodness, this show lived up to all the hype! I WANT TO SEE IT AGAIN. Damn it being expensive and so hard to get a ticket. Sterling cast (especially enjoyed James Corden, Oliver Chris and Daniel Rigby), loads of slapstick (loved the dinner scene just before the interval) and a live band in between set changes.

I could go on and on about how glorious it was, but i'd just be writing gushing gibberish. Instead I shall link you to the Guardian review. Oh, I forgot to mention the audience participation! Corden was excellent at interacting with the audience - kudos.

A thought.

Daniel Rigby is so awesome. He deserves all the success in the world.

Camden Fringe. Camden Head. Etcetera Theatre.

James W Smith: Living In Syntax. Well structured and polished show. His influences were very apparent. Thoroughly enjoyed.

Richard Tyrone Jones Has A Big Heart. A story about Richard's struggle with heart failure interspersed with poetry. Wonderful.

Leads and Stern. Average sketches. Not bad.

Iszi Lawrence's Watnot. A work-in-progress show. I think it'll be swell when it's finished; very open and honest.

Rob Deb: A Comic Book Guy. Most of the things that Rob Deb talked about went over my head.

The Pauly Show. I LOVED THIS SHOW. Really silly and a little bit awkward - right up my street. He deserved a much bigger audience.

Luke Toulson: Laid-Back Grouch. It was certainly apparent when watching Luke Toulson, that a comedy master was at work. Ace show. Would've liked more music, though.

Guardian Reader. Definitely not for me. That is all i'm going to say.

Moon Horse vs. The Mars Men Of Jupiter. A silly story with songs and lots of props. Adorable.

The Trap: X. I really did think I was going to enjoy it much more than I actually did. I'm not sure who's to blame...

A thought.

I enjoyed volunteering at the Camden Fringe. I met some very lovely people and saw some great shows.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Edinburgh Fringe 2011. Day Six.

The Choob. The Counting House. This was recommended to me by a friend. She failed to warn me that a man in his underwear might dance over me; it happened... at 12pm... Fringe time. Absurd little "whodunit" character comedy show.

Matthew Crosby: Adventure Party. Matthew Crosby nailed the commentary at The Wrestling and also put on a fine solo show. I also heard he was an amazing judge at Karaoke Circus. Nice one, sir! His chat with a girl in the audience who'd lost her job at Nando's because she "wasn't very good" was very funny.

Eric Lampaert. Pleasance Courtyard. Half an hour of show and half an hour of getting distracted. Plenty of laughs. A few routines which i'd heard a few too many times, though.

Mark Watson. Guilded Balloon. A properly structured show for a first preview, the only thing that was missing were a few more jokes. Rather self-deprecating.

Anyone For Tennis?: Prepare To Be Tuned. Guilded Balloon. This was my penultimate Fringe show and I was rather shattered. Stupid drunk lady behind pissed me off throughout by being incredibly loud (chatting/eating crisps/dropping things/looking through her bag). 'Time of the Month' made me crease - LOVE IT.

Horne Section. Assembly Gardens. There was time for one last spin of the wheel at the end of this show (hadn't happened at the other 2 shows i'd seen) which stopped on Scottish Medley; I can die happy now. Guests included Tim Vine, The Magnets and Paul Foot.

I couldn't breathe due to laughing during Paul Foot's set. Oh my goodness, the funniest thing i'd seen in some time; impulsive comedy is my absolute fave. He was going to conduct the band while he did "an old joke about cake" and then started commenting on how he was going to stand and what his face was going to look like which progressed into a story about a conductor with fruit growing out of his face. I had to do controlled breathing after he shouted "DO IT AGAIN AND FACE THE WRATH OF MY GUAVA!" at Joe Stilgoe for fear of passing out.

Paul Foot, you are my comedy hero!

A thought.

There were 2 things that I hated at the Fringe this year: 1) unnecessary PowerPoint and 2) fake corpsing.

Edinburgh Fringe 2011. Day Five.

Tony Law: Go Mr Tony Go!. The Stand. Hilarious, yet exhausting. I really enjoy Law's running commentary throughout his material. I don't know how he managed to do an hour of high energy comedy each day during the Fringe.

Joanna Neary: Youth Club. The Stand. Adorable! Loads of characters, a few songs and dancing. What's not to like? I would like to be Joanna Neary please.

Footlights: Pretty Little Panic. Pleasance Dome. Slick. Professional. Slightly homoerotic. The sillier the sketches were, the more I enjoyed them. Also, the 4 chaps were very easy on the eye.

David Reed: Shamblehouse. Pleasance Courtyard. "Combining extreme silliness with moments of total poignancy, Reed is utterly captivating, and the audience hang on his every word" - couldn't agree more. David Reed is a highly talented performer and writer and I am a huge fan.

A thought.

I was meant to see Humphrey Ker's award winning show before David Reed, but I am inept and therefore missed out. I think i'm the only one of my friends that haven't seen it. Awful.

Edinburgh Fringe 2011. Day Five.

Tom Bell: Tom Bell Begins. Tron. Warm stuffy rooms and hangovers don't mix well. I liked all the bits, but felt it was too disjointed as a whole. I agree with all the sentiments in this review.

Jigsaw. Pleasance Courtyard. Nat Luurtsema, Thomas Craine and Dan Antopolski join forces to form the brilliant sketch trio, Jigsaw. An hour of strong, tight sketches that were superbly acted. Loved it.

Colin Hoult: Inferno. Pleasance Courtyard. I love Colin Hoult's characters, but I felt they were a bit lost in the large venue that is Pleasance Two. As a theatre piece, I thought it was excellent; as a comedy, not so much.

Henry Paker: Cabin Fever. Pleasance Courtyard. I just adore Henry Paker's slightly bizarre observational material. He's still yet to top his routine about how he starts his day. "HENRY PAKER DOESN'T WAIT FOR TOAST" makes me laugh just thinking about it.

A thought.

I met an online friend in person. She was very nice. Most of my online friends I have met in person have been very nice.

Edinburgh Fringe 2011. Day Four.

Smith & Beckett. Whistlebinkies. Ian Smith is the finest up-and-coming comedian I had the chance to see at the Fringe. My only criticism is that his set was very similar to his Lunchtime Club one from last year.

Hannah Gadsby: Mrs Chuckles. Gilded Balloon. I really dislike the Gilded Balloon, but I very much like Hannah Gasby and her "if she was any more laid back, she'd be horizontal" approach to comedy. A delightful, slow paced, hour of stories about growing up in a small Tasmanian town.

Alex Horne: Seven Years In The Bathroom. Pleasance Dome. What a busy show! Alex Horne fits our entire lives into one hour of stand-up. Fun. Once again, i'd like to state how much I love his vocalised thoughts.

Tim Key: Masterslut. Pleasance Dome. I didn't think it was possible for him to top Slutcracker, but my goodness he did. I salute you, Tim Key. The most structured, beautiful show I have ever had the pleasure of seeing. Brilliant films, awesome props, wonderful poems, excellent banter. Having Daniel Kitson giggling behind me was an added highlight.

Horne Section. Assembly Gardens. The show wasn't as enjoyable from the back of the room... Guests included Boy With Tape On His Face (I adore his Lady In Red routine so much!), Antonio Forcione (TALENT), Fork and Tim Key.

A thought.

Vodka is not my friend. Rachel is.

I drank an awful lot in an attempt to keep up with my lovely friend Rachel (above) and it just couldn't be done. I know I did a lot of rambling, but i'm not entirely sure what I said. Rachel ROFLed down The Royal Mile. Literally. The next day, I experienced my first ever hangover and it was HORRIBLE.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Edinburgh Fringe 2011. Day Three.

The List Operators For Kids Do Compooters. Pleasance Courtyard. My friend Rachel and I enjoyed this, I think, much more than all the children in the audience. Oh, how I wish I could've taken my little sister to see this show! "Hashtag lame".

Jay Foreman: We're Living In The Future. Underbelly. It was a last minute decision to see this after lunch (sushi at Bonsai - YUM). A little bit Tom Basden, but lacking the charm.

The Behemoth. Pleasance Courtyard. Such inventive and original sketches from John-Luke Roberts and Nadia Kamil. I cried into a jar to help make Nadia rise from the dead. Loved the choreographed dance routine instead of blackouts. Ace review from my friend, Anna, here.

Fringe Comedy Academy: Class Of 2011. The Stand. My mate, James Walker, did his second gig ever. HE WAS THE BESTEST. See? So proud.

The Wrestling. Pleasance Courtyard. Holy shit, this gig was off the hook! My first taste of professional wrestling; I watched through my fingers, aghast. Max Olesker and Andrew Maxwell are my new heroes.

A thought.

The biggest, meanest, muscliest looking man I have ever seen fell on me at The Wrestling. I survived.

Edinburgh Fringe 2011. Day Two.

The Lunchtime Club. Tron. I had to rush off before the end as I didn't realise it ran for an hour and a half. John Kearns was my fave and I thought Flin Taylor showed heaps of potential. The line-up wasn't as good as last year.

Seminar. Pleasance Courtyard. Not bad, but I didn't think the idea was original enough.

The Baby Diary. Assembly. Lovely little play about a Christian couple in the lead up to their first baby. Great cast.

John Osborne: John Peel's Shed. Underbelly. A story about John Osborne's love of radio. My favourite show of the festival - I floated out of the venue. Have since booked to see it again in London.

Hot Tub With Kurt & Kristen. Assembly Gardens. Dancers, a singer, guests, solo sets and sketches... there was so much to like about this gig!! The guests included Doctor Brown (comedy genius) and Maeve Higgins (I would like to be her when I grow up).

Tom Rosenthal: Child Of Privilege. Pleasance Courtyard. A polished version of the preview I saw. Solid. Got a little bit distracted by David Mitchell and Victoria Coren who where sat right in front of me.

Robin & Partridge: Worlds Collide. Pleasance Courtyard. I can't, for the life of me, tell you what this show was about. All I do know was that it was bloody enjoyable. There was costumes and puppets and dancing and audience participation. Charlie Partridge and Robin Clyfan are AWESOME.

A thought.

I love it when a show makes my heart flutter.

Edinburgh Fringe 2011. Day One.

It's that time of year again. I swear it gets more expensive.

David Morgan: Triple Theatre. Tron. This was my first time seeing this young comic, but it shan't be my last. I enjoyed the show much more than I thought I would. Loved the Chicago quote in one of his many charming stories.

Sheeps. Pleasance Courtyard. This ended up being my favourite comedy show at this year's Fringe. I belly laughed the whole way through - such talented chaps! LOVE THEM (and their excellent comic timing) SO MUCH.

Sammy J & Randy: Rickett's Lane. Udderbelly Pastures. "So wrong, it's right" kind of humour, of which I am a fan. The only bit I wasn't so keen on was the nightclub scene. Watch Sammy J & Randy perform 'Secrets' here.

Paul Foot's Still Life. Underbelly. My first time seeing Paul Foot at the Fringe; I shall make sure he's a staple from here on in. Foot doesn't take to the stage until halfway into the show, but gets plenty of laughs walking around the audience having a bit of a chat. I found the audience participation towards the end a little bit frustrating.

Comedy Reserve. Pleasance Dome. Hmm. Joe Lycett was bloody amazing and needs his own show! Luke Benson was pretty good.

Horne Section. Assembly Gardens. I booked and scheduled in 1 Horne Section... ended up going to 3 in total. Guests included Ali Cook, Terry Alderton and David O'Doherty.

A thought.

It was apparent the Fringe was taking it's toll on David O'Doherty's voice.