Day one of the Fringe has been near perfect, yet still overshadowed by the awesome, swelling love I feel for my Edinburgh digs. I want to tell you about the shows I’ve seen, and I will, but first I must tell you how pleasant it is to have a window seat, impeccably placed art, a place for everything and even a squeegee blade in the shower. Until you know the satisfaction of a perfectly squeegeed shower glass, you don’t know satisfaction. It’s a thrill.
As I write this from my reading nook (pictured), all I can think about is how I will carry on living past August without a reading nook.
Outside my gorgeous tenement (don’t get me started on the tenement stairs or my leafy street) Edinburgh weather put on quite a show today, from glorious sun to hot, fat raindrops. While the city was pleasant, day one of poorly-operated umbrellas at eye level was rather testing. I shall try to meditate on it perhaps, rather than spend the rest of my life in prison for manslaughter by retaliatory eye-gouging.
On with the shows…
Pippa Evans: Joy Provision! 1440 Pleasance Courtyard, Cabaret Bar
What a marvellous start to the festival. I didn’t know much about Pippa until I heard her on the Comedian’s Comedian podcast (despite this being her twelfth consecutive Fringe!) and I fell totally in love with her blend of confidence and humility. She’s so natural, just a wonderful warm presence, a joy to be in the room with. Pippa is accompanied by a percussionist and pianist, which I really enjoyed.
The show explores joy, through standup, persona work and fantastically funny original songs. She has extensive musical influences and is perfectly placed for the cabaret bar, with a lovely combination of relatibility and theatricality. She did some lovely audience work, although I was glad not to be on the front row. She’s a charmer, I think you’ll like her.
On a side note, I had one of my worst panic attacks in bloody ages, easily 4 out of 5 stars and very nearly enough to send me galloping from the room. But I talked myself down, so yay me.
Anna Mann in How We Stop the Fascists, 1645 Pleasance Courtyard, Upstairs
I love Colin Hoult. Characthorse was my favourite show of 2013 and I’ve been a big fan of Anna Mann since I saw her in a desperately sweaty room at Mach last year. This year she returns, all her favourite catchphrases in tow, with a mission to end fascism. Colin’s a fantastic storyteller, the structure of each show is just perfect. Anna is supported by an array of characters and, in fairness, he doesn’t need to do much more than whip out his native Nottingham accent to please me. But he does so much more.
More than anything else, Anna Mann is hilarious. I laughed at every line and the room was with her from the off. Each character is so well-observed and executed, every joke totally landed for me.
My only complaint, and I just don’t understand it, is that the room was barely a third full. I know it’s early days, but he’s fucking incredible. He’s my favourite every year and by far the most quoted among my friend group. Rather than possessively cling to him and be the cool one, in the know, I’m sharing this with you – do yourself a favour and get to see him.