Children of the Quorn™

By Ron Bingham

The venue for Children of the Quorn™ is huge. It’s a nightclub floor with seating for around 200 people. There is also a functioning bar at the back of the room. I was impressed at how full it was when the show started, as I thought they may have been a little ambitious for a relatively unknown duo in an afternoon show. Fortunately, Andrew and Ambika rewarded our confidence in them.

Ambika Mod and Andrew Shires perform a series of sketches, in which they play with time and reality, often tricking the audience in subtle and unusual ways. The premise of the show is that they are performing the sketches while waiting for a bell to ring at the side of the stage, which means they have made contact with the spirit world and can start the seance. Some of the sketches deliberately stretch the joke almost to breaking point and they regularly get away with it. I, being a big Tolkien fan, enjoyed the Gollum sketches most of all. The audience were loud and boisterous, both in their enjoyment of the show and partly through their use of the bar.

Smartly written, superbly performed and very entertaining, this surreal, crazy and hilarious show delighted the crowd. I expect they probably will be filling out that massive venue once word gets out about the show.

Children of the Quorn™ is on at Just the Tonic at La Belle Angele until August 25
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/children-of-the-quorn

Anna Nicholson: Get Happy

By Ron Bingham

Get Happy is Anna’s sophomore show at the Fringe. It’s a sort of sequel to last year’s Woman Of The Year, revisiting a number of the characters including the beauty blogger (or is it vlogger now?) from Newcastle, the overly chirpy vicar desperate to beat the rival church down the road, a lovely elderly lady looking for a lover who’s not about to pop his clogs, and a wellness guru who wants us all to be happy.

Anna is a very accomplished character sketch comedy performer. She also indulges in a bit of audience participation (you can’t hide) and luckily for Anna, the audience I was with were very enthusiastic in joining in. She’s very charming and good at making her audience feel positive about taking part. A friendly pianist is also on stage throughout, filling in while she is changing characters and providing accompaniment to Anna’s songs.

Get Happy flows nicely with barely a gap, the jokes are well delivered and they work well with each character.You don’t have to see the previous show (many in today’s audience hadn’t) but you might want to after seeing this (she is performing an encore season of Woman Of The Year at Gilded Balloon at Old Tolbooth Market (https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/anna-nicholson-woman-of-the-year ) until August 18). Well delivered and well received, it garnered a rapturous applause from an almost full house at the end of the hour.

Get Happy is on at Just the Tonic at The Caves until August 25
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/anna-nicholson-get-happy

It Takes Three To Tango

By Ron Bingham

Amaya, Lottie and Will have all come to audition for the part of TV presenter and they haven’t seen each other since “The Big Fight”. Using a series of sketches, montages and dream sequences, they share their sad and sordid backstories, broken romances, unusual obsessions and freakish desires. The big question in the show is whether they can overcome their differences and the horror of “The Big Fight”, and work together.

It Takes Three To Tango is the Fringe debut of talented trio; Lottie Elton (of Perth, Western Australia),Will Owen and Amaya Holman, who all hail from Cambridge Footlights and are sure to make their hallowed society proud. This tightly scripted show sees the enthusiastic cast playing their parts admirably, with many amusing scenes and lots of quality humour.

There is no audience participation required, so you’re safe to sit in the front row. The room is lovely and cool, with comfortable seating.  It Takes Three To Tango should appeal to most people who want to relax with some talented funny performers and enjoy a themed sketch comedy show in the afternoon at the Fringe.

It Takes Three to Tango is on at 2pm at Underbelly, Bristo Square until August 25

Vikki Stone: Songbird

By Ron Bingham

Multi-talented Vikki Stone sings well, plays piano brilliantly and exuberantly, has an excellent stage presence, and is very funny. Songbird is an excellent showcase of her talents and perfect for lovers of music, comedy (especially novelty songs) and pets.

The stage has a tiny (mock) grand piano, concealing Vikki’s keyboard and a few surprise props. Vikki arrives on stage wearing a bright colourful jumpsuit, to sing us songs about her partner, her gran, her best friend in the world, and a couple of wonderfully hilarious novelty songs. Introductions, explanations and stories around each song give context and plenty of laughs. There is a delightful surprise at the end of the show, one that all dog lovers won’t want to miss.

Unfortunately it started nearly 20 minutes late on the day I was there (not Vikki’s fault), which caused a bit of tension in the audience with a number of people hovering near the exit so we could sprint to the next show of the evening. This may have affected the ambiance somewhat, but no one wanted to leave, because she was so entertaining. The good news is that I loved Songbird and got to see all of it. She finished just in time for me to sprint to my next show. Excellent all round.

Song Bird is on at Pleasance Courtyard until August 25
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/vikki-stone-song-bird

Adele Cliff : Undershare

By Ron Bingham

Undershare is definitely a show for lovers of puns, especially those interwoven artfully into a story about love and sharing. Adele Cliff Loves a pun and she puns about love.

Adele is great at the one-liner, but is also a brilliant and hilarious storyteller and  shares with us tales of her past relationships, her parents and her little sister. She weaves the threads of her friends and family into a fascinating story with a surprising conclusion. There is also her boyfriend and his accusation that she does not share.

The problem with being a punmeister is that the jokes almost never result in consistent, huge laughs throughout. It can be difficult to gauge the audience’s feelings until the sustained applause at the end of the show. Using this metric I gauged that this almost full house on day two of Fringe really enjoyed the show as much as I did.

This is a very entertaining and fun hour of anecdotes and jokes by a witty performer. Book a ticket now if you’re a lover of wordplay.

Undershare is on at Just the Tonic at The Tron until August 25
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/adele-cliff-undershare

Stand-Up Philosophy

By Ron Bingham

I hadn’t planned to see this show, but they were still queueing as I was walking into the building and I took a chance. Very interesting concept for a festival show. Our host, Charlie Duncan Saffrey, introduces two guests to give a 20 minute talk (hopefully funny) on the theme of the day and the audience are welcome to debate with the guests after they have finished. Today’s theme was “belief” and our two guests, Alex Farrow and Alex Mason, gave interesting talks which we then argued about.

All quite fun and very interesting. I was amused that both guests had decided to wear all black clothing (apart from one pair of red socks) and had their sleeves rolled up to the elbows. They stood in front of a black background with no spotlight so most of the talk was of a disembodied head and two waving forearms. I’m not sure they had even realised this fascinating visual was going on until I pointed it out to them at the end.

There is a list of each day’s theme outside the venue, so you can come prepared to debate on a particular subject. Apparently the Head of the Philosophy Department of the London School of Economics and Political Science is coming up to give one lecture. Given all the turmoil in British politics in recent times this show should provide some, ahem, lively discussion. 😈

There are some laughs to be had, but mostly, Stand-Up Philosophy is recommended for those wishing to stimulate their intellect in the afternoon or looking for a good argument.

Stand-Up Philosophy is on at Laughing Horse @ The Counting House until August 25
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/stand-up-philosophy-free