I’ve just returned from five glorious days at the Edinburgh Fringe – it was great to be back at the world’s biggest arts festival after three whole years away, and this time I had a media pass!
My next few posts will cover some of the shows I officially reviewed and some I saw off duty.
As soon as I’d arrived in Edinburgh, unpacked and picked up my bright orange lanyard, the first show I went to see was The Noise Next Door’s Really, Really Good Afternoon Show. I’d been wanting to see the Brighton-based improv group for years and finally got my chance!
For this show, the four man troupe adopt a fairytale theme and start off with the base storyline of a quest. Into this framework, they insert scenes and songs in the form of different improv games based on audience suggestions. (Nerdy bit: this allows the group to create the illusion of longform improv using short term techniques. It’s clever and very effective.)
So we see Moving Scenery, Let’s Hear It, Six Headed Expert (three of the group under a cloak with dinosaur masks on their hands) and other familiar games used to create the story. Audience members are brought onstage to participate in several games – the best instance of this being when three younger members of the audience are armed with toy swords and told to beat the living daylights out of two of the performers (which they do, very enthusiastically). I genuinely cried with laughter.
Noise Next Door look like they love every minute of their show and don’t take it too seriously – they frequently mock each other, the games and the audience, and remind us all that everything is made up on the spot. They prove resourceful too in their use of props and costumes to add to the laughs – one of the performers imitates Kim Kardashian (the subject of a love song) by stuffing six cloaks down his shorts.
It is, indeed, a really really good afternoon show – proof that family friendly comedy can make an audience of adults laugh their heads off, and a very interesting twist on the usual improv format.
Dirty White Boys: Stupid was unfortunately the only sketch show I saw at the Fringe. Fortunately, it was very funny and well worth enduring an hour in the Caves (one of the sweatiest venues I’ve ever encountered at the Fringe) for.
In the show duo Chaz and Jack perform a wide variety of sketches, spoofing everything from builders to the Mafia, occasionally breaking through the fourth wall to fight over roles. There are some gross moments (eating a baguette in a non-sexually suggestive way, for instance), pitch perfect Alan Rickman impressions and a Harry Potter sketch with a brutally dark but hilarious twist at the end. Though my personal favourite was a historical skit with the inventor of sliced bread.
It’s easy to see why Dirty White Boys won Best New Act at the London SketchFest 2016 – I’ve no doubt they will go on to collect more awards and win over more audiences.