Explore the world-renowned Edinburgh Festival Fringe with Ewan Spence through a mix of reviews, news, and interviews.
The Edinburgh Fringe Archives - James Seager and Les Enfants Terribles (Vaudevillans, 2016)
Everyone at the Fringe is inventive, but one group is very much associated with that in my mind, Les Enfant Terribles. Formed in 2002 by James Seager and Oliver Lansley, they have brought many shows to the Fringe over the years, from psychological World War One horror, through Piratosaurs, to 2016’s vaudevillans;a classic murder caper mixed with a variety show.
James Seager popped into our studio that year to explain it… although that year the studio was a shed next to a double decker bus that had been renovated to be a theatre on wheels. Oh and Lucy Evans joined me from Edinburgh Student Radio Fresh Air FM as well.
The Edinburgh Fringe Archives - Jeff Innocent (Eco-Worrier, 2006)
An artist at heart with a long and varied list of interests, Jeff Innocent went on a stand-up comedy course in 1996 - led by alt-comedy legend Tony Allen - and he’s not stopped since then. Jeff has carved out a place in the UK stand-up scene like no other, as well as working as a writer and actor.
In 2006 he brought the show Eco-worrier to the Edinburgh Fringe - environmentalism remains a strong part of his ethos to this day - and it’s interesting to be reminded of how the path looked some 16 years ago.
So we return to the Stand, with Jeff Innocent, and listen to 2006's Eco-Worrier.
The Edinburgh Fringe Archive - Celia Pacquola (Let Me Know How It All Works Out, 2014)
2014 saw Australian comic Celia Pacquola return to Edinburgh for her fourth Fringe Show. ‘Let Me Know How It All Worked Out’ looked at the world of psychics and their promise of foretelling the future; specifically one who said she would never have children.
(Spoiler… congratulations are in order, Celia and her partner had their first child earlier this year,).
Since the Fringe Pacquola moved frequently between the UK and Australia, with various apeprances, scriptwriting, and starring appearances in a wide range of shows on the circuit, including radio work on Fox FM and Radio 4, TV work on Would I Lie To You, Live At The Apollo, and Have You Been Paying Attention, and staring in Rosehaven, and The Breaker Uppers.
All that was ahead of her in 2014 when she joined me in the podcast studio to talk about her show. It wasn’t the first time she’d been on the Fringe podcast, so the whole ‘tell us about your show’ quickly descended into discussions of synchronised diving, Tom Daley, Pro/Am contest, and a love of Converse trainers.
This week’s trip is back to the Gilded Ballon, back to a time when the future we live in now was quite definitely not going to happen, as Celia Pacquola asks the audience to Let Me Know How It All Works Out,
The Edinburgh Fringe Archive - Shedload Theatre (The Statement of Randolph Carter, 2015)
The world of H P Lovecraft is one that many people have explored, both the horror of the writing and the horror of the man. In 2015 Shedload Theatre looked at the former, in an inventive show called The Statement Of Randolph Carter.
The big moment in the show is the Foley work. The show is presented as a radio play, and that means lots of sound effects performed live. The story is very much classic horror, but the theatre experience is much more visual than you would expect… and thoroughly engaging. There’s also the importance of the entire body of work built on H P Lovecraft’s work - all which is out of copyright and free to perform.
As Shedload Theatre piled into the studio, we did something a little different. Yes there’s an interview in here to find out more about the show… but there’s also a performance from part of the show (a story called The Temple) which they perform live… along with all those foley effects!
And so we head, warily, to Surgeons Hall, to a desk of foley effects and horror, to the Statement Of Randolph Carter.
The Edinburgh Fringe Archive - Sofie Hagen (Bubblewrap, 2015)
Sofie Hagen started their stand-up career in their home country of Denmark, before quickly moving to London to further their career. 2015 brought the debut show to Edinburgh.
Bubblewrap examined issues of depression and mental health, difficult teenage years, and attacking the beauty industry, all with just a dash of Westlie and a perfectly cringe reading of their Westlife Fan Fiction.
It’s fair to say that Hagen nailed the Edinburgh experience, with the ‘Best Newcomer award from the (no longer the Perriers) Edinburgh Comedy Awards, joining previous newcomer awards from Laughing Horse and Chortle.
The Fringe podcast caught up with Sofie early in August. The show was doing well, and audiences were coming in, but the plan for a small and intimate first time in Edinburgh was upstaged with the venue moved to the 500 seater Liquid Rooms rock band stage.
So, let’s take a trip to PBH’s Free Fringe, into the Liquid Rooms, and get ready to enjoy some Bubblewrap…
The Edinburgh Fringe Archive - Little Soldier Productions (The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha, 2014)
The Fringe is not just a recruiting vehicle for Live at the Apollo, there’s more to comedy, more to the fringe, than that. You can have theatrical performances that bring the art of clowning and farce to the stage alongside pathos and examination of the human condition.
In 2014, Little Soldier Productions brought its first production to the Fringe, the aforementioned Don Quixote show, which took massive liberties with the story, twisted reality and fantasy, and ignored any semblance of structure… in other words did a Don Quixote to the classic Don Quixote structure.
And it paid off. At the Fringe, it was awarded The Stage’s Award for Acting Excellence, and since then it has seen over 130 performances in 5 different countries. Little Soldier has gone on online talks, presentations, workshops, and five more shows, including “Nothing Happens (Twice)” which graced the stage at London’s Soho Theatre this summer.
Once the podcast team stumbled over the show, we couldn't wait to get everyone from the show into the studio and on to the podcast. In 2014 we were broadcasting live on community radio as well as publishing the podcast, which meant rather more energy in the room from myself and co-host Dan Lentell from the Edinburgh49 website.
So let’s go back to the Zoo Southside, to the cellar of the Zoo, in 2014, and find a tiny windmill from Little Soldier’s “The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha”.