12 August 2009

A Century of Critical Success at the Edinburgh Fringe!

Over the past six years I've seen somewhere in the region of ~135 shows which is an incredible amount.  The reason for the title is that as of Monday's review of Rhod Gilbert And The Cat That Looked Like Nicholas Lyndhurst, I have now reviewed 100 shows on PhillG.com!  I still (vaguely) remember my first Fringe show, watching the the Irish comic Colin Murphy on fold out chairs in a room high up in the Pleasance.  Since then I seen so many shows it's hard to keep track, that goodness for my reviews on this website (and of course my older site when it was hosted by wordpress).  I've seen a handful of people four times, all clearly top comics:  Rhod Gilbert (one was in a Best of the Fest show but I saw Award Winning Mince Pie twice); David O' Doherty (inc. last weekend); Paul Sinha (assuming I make it to the show next weekend) and Demetri Martin (although I did go to the same show of consequetive nights, I had to watch his award winning show If I on BBC4).  Phil Nichol stands apart as the only person I will have seen five different shows (although one was his Best Of Album) and I saw both Nearly Gay and Naked Racist twice!

Of course at the other end of the spectrum are those shockingly poor acts that I've actually been moved to walk out on.  There are only a few, but I would walk out of them again and again if I was ever dragged back in there!  Nick Mohammed got 15 minutes before I couldn't take his lack of acting ability and shockingly poor characters.  Prior to that the over-hyped play My Name Is Rachel Corrie, who switched the highly praised actress and the big name behind it, Alan Rickman, clearly was no longer involved, managed to get to the second scene change before we were the envy of the rest of the audience escaping.  I never actually walked out on Des Clarke mostly because I was with a friend and when that show finished we had to make our way home mid-week in the rain.  I said for the shelter not the show.  Dragging up the rear is the woeful Lucy Porter.  Early on in my festivalling days I was convinced by her well produced posters and limited review snippets to give her a chance.  What a mistake!  To this day she is still the standard of ineptitude as a stand up.  She was also my very first walk out (the one honour she does deserve). 

There is actually one review that was never written but has an entry.  It's a good job I didn't write it as it would have moved the 100 position away from Rhod.  The entry for the aforementioned Des Clarke simply says it "will appear in the next few days…".  Why did it not?  I didn't want to waste any more time thinking about such a dreadful act.  Truely one of the worst "comics" I've ever seen.  The following year he teamed up with the only person who could challenge him for that title of "Worst In Show", Lucy Porter.  They are match made in the ninth circle of hell.  Never, ever think of watching either of them.  3 out of 10 for both of them.

To end on a positive there are a lot of talented people I have yet to see and more people breaking out each year.  The future is very bright for the Fringe and Stand Up Comedy in particular.  Only 99 more reviews left until I hit the big two-zero-zero!