It’s very pleasing, and obviously a sign of the quality round this here festival, that even on my penultimate day I see some absolutely cracking shows. First up was Sex, Lies, and the KKK at the Caves, which is definitely straight up there amongst the really good stand-ups I’ve seen (and I’ve seen quite a few). From talking about his live radio interview with a member of the Ku Klux Klan the night of the 2008 US presidential election (trying to give him enough rope to lynch himself), to wondering why the condom company is called Trojan (once it gets in, it bursts open and lots of little men jump out and run amok?!), this was some very intelligent and thoughtful spiel on prejudice, happiness, and the freedom of love (sorry, I realise that’s a rubbish overview, but I can’t do it justice in words at this time – perhaps there will be a transcript somewhere, I’d certainly like it); a delightful hour.
Cirque de Legume was rather different, but still quite enjoyable, involving such scenes as a stripping onion, chair slapstick, or a barking lettuce after a carrot. The two performers were very adept at emoting, barely using any words bar their well-worn catchphrase, yet carrying currents of underlying subtexts behind the vegetable-based fun. [Insert your own pretentious statements about the role of clowns in society here, I’m a bit tired, can you tell?]
In part due to my feeling a little sorry for the tiny audience for The Bruce Collective, but also because it sounded quite good, I next went to Mike Wozniak and Henry Paker in The Golden Lizard. This was a hilarious romp with librarians (well, one librarian, one alphabetiser as he keeps failing the librarianship exam due to his fear of ladders), scientists (things would be much simpler with only five numbers, yes), and a brilliant way of getting a dead body off stage. That’s before I mention the giant goose, the five states of matter, or the body swapping by the evil mastermind. Chock full of humour.
Given I’ve been to a number of shows in the PBH Free Fringe, I thought I should better pop along to the man himself, Peter Buckley Hill at Canon’s Gait with Under the Stars. A song making us feel sorry for the lonely universe was the main reference to the title, the rest being some gentle stand-up, a bit too much innuendo for my tastes, ending with a song requested by a member of the audience that was nothing more than a pun on her peas = herpes. Oh well.
I have seen some cracking shows at the Gilded Balloon – my pointless graph tells me 14 in fact, from Helen Keen (who I bumped into again today, this time on Nicholson Street so it really is just fate) to Morgan and West, Baba Brinkman to Claudia O’Doherty, Pluck to the Boy with Tape on his Face. Tonight was the third and last night of their 25th anniversary celebration, with Phil Jupitus, Stephen Frost, Sean Hughes and Tim Minchin. I’ll gloss over the first three as whilst they were fine, Tim Minchin was of course in a league of his own, whether it be singing about the pope, the placement of the soul, or monologues on the posters strewn over Edinburgh.
So tomorrow is my final day. I’ll be home in the evening packing and actually seeing the people I’ve been staying with rather than the usual get up after they’ve gone to work, back after they’ve gone to bed, before heading back to Birmingham on the Tuesday. I suppose I should start thinking about how to wrap all this up!