Twelve hours from this moment, Matthew will be at his least pleasurable Fringe experience so far. Three and a half hours ago, he was shivering at a bus stop, stifling a yawn and hoping that he’d read the bus timetable correctly for a Sunday. In under one hour, he will be at one of the best productions of the Fringe, if not beyond. But at this moment, this exact moment, he hears his name called from the box office and basks in the glow of realisation that getting up at 6am and standing in a queue for two hours to secure a return ticket to Daniel Kitson’s It’s Always Right Now, Until It’s Later had all been worth it, and that you really make your own luck.
I won’t bother repeating what critics all over have been saying about this production; it was magical. I loved the staging of hanging light bulbs, the masterful storytelling such as alliteration littering the linguistics (yeah, I won’t bother trying) – everything about it was just about perfect.
Moving on to another one-person show, this time Rosie Wyatt in Bunny, playing an eighteen year old with middle-class background (Guardian parents, applying to university, plays clarinet in orchestra) and real self-esteem issues, as we travel with her (and ink moving backdrops) from leaving school, meeting her boyfriend, to being caught up in a hunt for a kid to beat up. Confident and supremely fragile in equal measure, this was a great performance with no happy ending (or final ending at all).
First taxi of the fringe (was with less organised friends 😉 ) to get to the Stand for Simon Munnery, an hour of top comedy beginning with a French restaurant section where there’s no food in any of the dishes on the menu, breaking for an advert for an oar-lock watch, before coming up with stand up on such topics as Icarus and Sisyphus, or tracking down his great-uncle in shadowy Marylebone (not Paddington!) pubs.
I will remember Vanishing Horizon most for its very inventive stagecraft and use of props – never have so many suitcases seen so many uses – backed up by an intriguing story of someone travelling to South Africa to pick up their grandmother’s ashes, intermingled with vignettes from the history of women in flight – everyone needs to learn to fly in their own way.
Emo Philips doesn’t really need much saying – from his Best Religious Joke Of All Time to watching Avatar, and playing chess with old men in the park (you can work that one out yourself), this was a hilarious hour of comedy.
My last act of the day was another in which I seemed to fail to get at all an act others seemed to enjoy (although I did notice other stony faces sat opposite). Bo Burnham was my 94th Fringe show, and I think this means that I can safely say there were a number of jokes I had already heard (and I don’t think they had been stolen from Bo). His haikus – apart from one which I think might fit in the above “already heard” category – weren’t (and why bother explaining what one is if you’re just going to read something that happens to be seventeen syllables but doesn’t even bother to fit the line metre?), his piano playing was sloppy (frequent mishits of the bass), his raps were put to shame by Baba Brinkman, and I haven’t even got on to the misogyny (and if it was meant to be ironic or self-aware, it failed) – this was actually the first show of all 94 in which this appeared to be present. The best bit was when he quoted Hamlet – so thanks, Shakespeare. It’s sold out, so you can’t go anyway.