EDINBURGH FRINGE FESTIVAL 2019
Our cast member Simon Lukacs visited Edinburgh Fringe Festival during its 2019 edition and he gives you his top 4 picks…
As well as catching up with friends, doing a little bit of improv, drinking a lot of alcohol and eating far too often at my favourite noodle restaurant (Hi, Red Box), I tried to fit in as many shows as possible.
I managed 23, which I don’t think is that bad!
But like music, film, or any art form – the more you watch, the harder it becomes to see something that blows you away, and while I enjoyed everything I saw this year, here are the ones that I’d really recommend checking out:
Ken Cheng: To All the Racists I’ve Blocked Before
Former BBC New Comedy Award finalist Ken Cheng’s show deals with issues surrounding race with a gentle but assured touch.
More laidback than polemical, but don’t be fooled – there’s a steeliness behind the great gags (a joke about birthday cards is a particular highlight) – as Cheng walks us though some of the subtle and less subtle forms of racism he has to face on a day to day basis
With a couple Edinburghs behind him, Ken is becoming one of the smartest comic voices in the UK
Kiri Pritchard-McLean: Work-in-Progress
Kiri Pritchard-McLean is growing in reputation as one of the best comics in the UK, and not just as a stand-up. As a writer and director of sketch act Gein’s Family Giftshop, she received a nomination for Best Newcomer at the Edinburgh Comedy Awards in 2014. But it is as a stand-up that she is arguably doing her best work.
This year’s show is only a work-in-progress, but it is already in a place that would make many comics with “finished” shows realize that they need to up their game. Touching on weighty topics such as #metoo and pedophilia in an intelligent way but still managing to find well judged, funny things to say and finding surprising humanity within the darkness.
If this is the work-in-progress, I can’t wait to see the finished product.
Garrett Millerick: Smile
There are plenty of angry, bearded, shouty, white men in comedy, but few are in quite the form Garrett Millerick is at the moment.
In his new show, Smile, Garrett is in absolute command of the form, switching from talking about TV shows to why it’s impossible to care about all of life’s big issues with ease, and backed up by f*cking great jokes, a bullet proof persona and an ability to bend the audience to his will.
If he’s not big soon, there is no justice in the world.
Joz Norris is Dead: Long Live Mr. Fruit Salad
Trying to pin down Joz’s style is difficult, and probably counterproductive. He has always melded stand-up, clown, character, storytelling, music, visual gags, props and theatricality in his shows – but one thing that runs through all of them is his ability to be consistently silly and funny.
However, this year’s show sees Joz really kick things up to another level. It’s full of absurdity and consistently ridiculous and funny throughout out (such as a great gag riffing on a mishearing of Chic’s hit song “Le Freak”), but was also unexpectedly, piercingly moving.
Joz talks personally about a difficult year, and how he tries to struggle to make sense not just of the thoughts in his head, but of his creative endeavors and his relationship with them
But he wears this articulate introspection lightly, never leaving the audience in these moments for too long before he busts out another wildly inventive gag.
All in all, I was a bit overwhelmed by it, and I hope it finally sees Joz breakthrough to wider recognition.
If you only could see one show at this year’s Fringe (and why do that to yourself) than I would really implore you to make it this one. But I’d advise to pre-book – word on its greatness is getting around.
And that’s my Edinburgh round-up. Roll on 2020…