Thursday, 8 August 2013

Fringe first impressions:

I did something unheard of this year.  I made it to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe early.  I even saw two shows on their first day!  If you read my Festival post from last year you'll remember that I don't normally get very excited about the hoards of tourists that flock to Edinburgh every summer, or about having approximately four million flyers shoved in my face over the course of an afternoon, but for some reason I'm quite pumped about it all this year.  It might have something to do with working far away from the city centre these days, and also it isn't weeing it down with rain like it did last year (and the year before).  In any case, I thought I'd share my first impressions of the Fringe with you nice and early, so that you can go and enjoy the same brilliant shows I have, if you fancy them!

Source: here
We've Become Mango: Talking Limbo
Southsider (venue 148), West Richmond Street
3rd to 24th August (excluding Wednesdays)

Some of you might remember a past review I posted here of the sketch comedy group, We've Become Mango.  I'm glad to say that the trio are back and stronger than ever for this year's Fringe.  After a remarkably slick preview show in the basement of The Tron pub last month, I was very much looking forward to seeing the Mango family's Fringe offering, and it didn't disappoint.

I hope you like parties, because We've Become Mango are throwing one nearly every day of August at the Southsider on West Richmond Street in your honour.  Greeted by James at the door with a plate of biscuits (apologies if the group have used up all of their biscuit budget by the time you make it to the show and you don't get one) we filed into the intimate back room of the Southsider, sat in the front row and only got mildly picked on.

Marianne, Richard and James kept us entertained with sketches punctuated by party games, throwing in some polished versions of old jokes that I was quite happy to see again among some brand new material.  As long as you can understand Twitter, are comfortable with men breastfeeding and enjoy a few rude jokes, I would recommend that you check We've Become Mango out.  After all, it's FREE to attend, and you can purchase alcohol nearby.  Just don't go with your parents, okay?

Source: here
Scroobius Pip: Words
Pleasance Dome (venue 23), Bristo Square
7th to 26th August (excluding 19th)

First of all, before I get into this review, I just want to let you all know that the Pleasance Dome is not in the Pleasance.  And for all of you shaking your heads in dismay, I live here and I didn't know that.  It doesn't make sense.  So, in case you're visiting for the Fringe (or are just clueless, like me) I thought I'd better share that important piece of information.  Luckily, we had plenty of time to leg it across to Bristo Square where the venue actually is...

Scroobius Pip became well known for his work with DJ and music producer Dan Le Sac, and if you've heard any of their music before, it will probably be Thou Shalt Always Kill, their first single.  I've loved the duo from the minute Craig first played me that song back in 2010, but if you know me, you know that I am all about the lyrics.  You might be surprised that someone with such indie rock leanings would be excited by rap, but it's got so many words.  And, if Scroobius Pip is writing them, they are clever, calculated and meaningful words, too.

I wasn't sure what to expect from Pip's solo spoken word tour, but I knew that it wasn't an experience I should miss.  Clearly, a large number of other people thought so too, as the opening night's show was sold out!  The set list was eclectic, with some older and some newer pieces mixed in together.  Some have since been put to music by Dan Le Sac, whilst some were only ever meant to be spoken word poems.  A number of serious social themes are covered, some of which are deemed 'disturbing' - suicide, self harm, abusive relationships, etc. - but should really be talked about more often.  There is also a lot of swearing.  It's great.  The show was broken up by Scroobius Pip's charming and witty musings about the Festival, Edinburgh and life in general.  I won't spoil anything for you, but his stage entrance was a stroke of genius too, and I hope he does it every night.

Near the end of his set, Pip jokingly warned any reviewers in the audience to concentrate on the funny and heartwarming moments of the night in order to convince others to buy a ticket, but in my opinion it is far easier to make people laugh than to make them feel.  Sobs from around the room during The Magician's Assistant, the lump in my own throat during Angles (it gets me every time) and roars of indignant agreement and understanding during Rat Race - they all made me realise that Scroobius Pip's true talent lies in capturing and articulating raw human emotion.

After the show, Pip stayed behind to sell his own merch and chat to anyone and everyone who wanted to meet him.  Craig and I hogged him for a little while, and he was such a genuinely lovely guy.  I was thrilled to meet one of my lyrical heroes, and if he's one of yours too (or you are just looking for some new ones) then don't miss this show.


  1. I want to go to the Fringe so baddddd! I remember you talking about Weve Become Mango before, but I'm only going if I'll definitely get biscuits.... xxx

    1. You'd love them, even without the biscuits! xxx