Comedy blog

Kraken up (as in cracking up)

Laugh Out London’s Tom Meek shares his diary of the Edinburgh Fringe 2014

kraken trygve wakenshaw edinburgh fringe


Having finally recovered from the bus journey from London to Edinburgh, day two of the Fringe was looking a lot more feasible than day one. I also bought a two litre bottle of diet Irn Bru so that helped too. When in Rome… drink Irn Bru. As it’s delicious.

I also bought some nice trousers and a cardigan from Shelter in Stockbridge. Some think that either Morningside or the area around the university are the best hubs for quality charity shopping in Edinburgh, but I find it’s worth venturing to Stockbridge to browse its fine selection. You can often find a bargain. And there’s also a local cheesemonger, so your day is pretty much sorted.

Moving on, here is what I saw:

Tom Neenan: The Haunting At Lopham, Pleasance Courtyard, 4.15pm

Tom (formerly one half of the Gentlemen of Leisure) is a regular writer for Radio 4 and it shows in this assured debut effort in which we hear the story of Leopold Clarke and his investigations into the sinister goings-on at Lopham House. Sharing many characteristics with the brilliant Bleak Expectations, this is both a loving homage and modern satire of Victorian writing, with Tom deftly bringing to life the stereotypes and the mystery of such an influence, and keeping the pace with gags that veer from smart to silly with great satisfaction. He can build an atmosphere too, and you’ll be hooked on a plot that involves an unexplained suicide and mysterious musical box.

Will Adamsdale: Borders, Underbelly Cowgate, 6pm

Will surprised everyone pretty much by winning the Perrier Comedy Award for Best Show in 2004. Since then, he’s stayed away from the comedy world, preferring to act or travel or both when acting on a form of transportation, like a train. Borders marks his return after this spell away, and it’s amazing just how much the show lives up to its title. Most acts just use a satisfying pun or pick a meaningless word around deadline day that then bears no real relevance to the actual show. But Will can talk borders. All types of borders. Between countries, between people, between ideas. But mainly between Hackney and Islington. It’s a fascinating show on the writing process and what it means to create a piece of entertainment. And one I’ll contemplate the rest of the Fringe.

Kraken, Underbelly Cowgate, 8.40pm

It’s hard to discuss the work of Trygve Wakenshaw without referencing the brilliance of Dr Brown. Both are mainly silent physical comics who play with the audience and aren’t afraid to get out certain body parts if the show calls for it. And in the same room that Dr Brown dazzled all two years Trygve is similarly spectacular, making the audience believe in unicorns (and their demise) and the healing power of the kiss all through the magical storybook that is his body and his movement. On this particularly show some idiots at the back tried to disrupt proceedings (Lord knows what kind of show they thought they were going to see), but there was no danger of Trygve losing a crowd so enraptured in his talent. He smashed Melbourne earlier this year. He’ll do the same at Edinburgh. Buy your ticket now while you still can.

Tessa Waters: WomanZ, Underbelly Cowgate, 10.10pm

For me, Tessa’s show was the end of another long day of great shows. But for WomanZ and the ecstatic audience, it was the start of a pumped-up night that was only going to get more wild and fun. WomanZ has come down from space to teach us humans how to be sexy, and, most importantly, how to dance. This is a show designed to get you up on your feet and ready to continue pulling shapes the rest of the night. FunZ.

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