A free Fringe show with a difference, a venue with the best view in Edinburgh. Matthew Fearns has been dragging audiences and equipment up to the top of Arthurs Seat for his show This Arthur’s Seat Belongs to Lionel Richie since 2007 (when he had to change his name to Lionel Richie to get away with the show’s title). This year, instead of performing every day of the fringe rain, hail or shine Matthew is only doing it once, and slightly lower down, rain, hail or shine. The acts who gathered on a flat bit just down from the top of Arthur’s Seat were Phil Kay, Joel Dommett, Eleanor Tiernan, Jonny Awesum and of course host Matthew Fearns/Lionel Richie, who also improvised some pre-show musical mash-ups on the portable speaker system he had lugged up the hill, which then broke just before the first act took to the “stage”.
But before the show was officially allowed to start we all had to enter the venue, via a free standing door frame, also specially lugged up the hill. Then everyone was permitted to go back to their picnics and prepare for a great afternoon. Act one was Joel who sang a couple of songs and shouted a bit of banter. Then we had Phil Kay, who also sang a few songs while wandering through the crowd like a demented minstrel and teasing some of the dogs who had joined the party, before ending his set by skipping merrily over the hill and out of sight (towards the car park) still playing the guitar. Next was Eleanor who did a funny bit of stand-up about the recent Irish referendum and the Scottish referendum as well as a little bit about being single. Finally we had Jonny, who sang a lovely little song (to fool us into thinking he was friendly) before dragging two couples out of the audience to perform a square dance called by him, which was titled ‘Lets all go dogging’. After he had finished, we all had to exit through the door frame, donating a nominal sum for expenses.
This was an excellent hour of fun, with the added bonus of the regular joggers and hikers and dog walkers walking straight through the middle of the stage area ignoring all us tourists and the acts. My one recommendation for next year (and it will return no doubt) is; if you’re an unfit or “tired” comedy lover, try and start the walk up the hill early (or do like the acts and many in the audience did, and drive round to the car park at the back and saunter up the easy side). At a good pace, going up the city facing (or vertical) side will take around half an hour, but it’s a great location for comedy and sightseeing and sending bragging pictures to friends and family.
This show is over for 2015, but look out for it in 2016.