So we’ve had longest name on the Fringe, how about strangest? Hovercraft Symphony in Gammon Sharp Minor? Could a show of that name belong to anyone other than Paul Foot. Maybe Noel Fielding but it has been proven he’s not as funny without Julian Barratt. I saw this show over a week ago and I can’t tell you what happened. I remember numerous mountings and colourful cards. It certainly wasn’t a forgettable show, please don’t judge it on my poor memory. It was a joyous occasion, a blur of laughter and abstract punchlines that flashed before my eyes all too quickly.
Back to the apartment for my favourite style of cooking; one pot cooking. Microwaved some rice and throw it in a pot with cooked chicken and tikka masala sauce, it was a perfectly delicious and quick dinner because we only had an hour. Thom knew a lot of people performing at the festival, many new faces that are up and coming in the London and Essex scene. One of which was Ben Clover who performed in an awesome venue: the top deck of a bus, there were fairy lights, it was pretty. It sounds bizarre but, in my mind, Clover was the first conventional stand-up comedian I’d seen so far. He stood up and told jokes. Nothing weird, poetic or musical; it’s good to know its alive and kicking in Edinburgh while other’s try to be the new alternative. Nothing wrong with a bit of observational now and again.
By now, we’d seen comedy and theatre, but there was one genre that still alluded me: sketch comedy. I know what sketch shows are, but on television, they use elaborate costumes and sets I was sceptical about its ability to be done well with so many limitations. Also, which to see! So many groups and double acts, how were we to know who was good and who wasn’t. Will Adamsdale and Paul Foot were both in the Underbelly on Cowgate so in between we hung out in the Underbelly Café. I think it was called the Cow Café, everything was purple and a pun. On that day, there was a chalk board about a showcase of sketch comedy groups hosted by Giraffe! Perfect! We could see four sketch shows all at once in the Cow Café from midnight to 2am! Excellent, let’s talk about sketch baby.
Two of the acts, Giraffe and The Jest, were your standard sketch group. Or what I imagine the standard to having only seen sketches by the likes of Mitchell and Webb, and Walliams and Lucas. A group of funny people making observations but applying their own crazy spin on it, it had the atmosphere of friends having a good time and making each other laughter. It was relaxed and laid back, this was apt as we’d nabbed a sofa and was enjoying the cushions after two days of shift chairs. I was not so relaxed when one of the members of The Jest started shouting in my face, it was nearing one in the morning and I was tired. Then there were The Twins Macabre, sinister and funny in equal measure.
The stand out act for me was a double act called In Cahoots. They were cutting edge and smart, tackling bigger subjects such as race and class. Their fellow acts did not attempt such things, instead sticking the safe options of charity collectors and doctor’s surgeries. That is not meant as an insult, comedy comes in many flavours and there are times when I want silly and identifiable. But I also came to Edinburgh to be challenged, to think and question; annoyingly theatre wasn’t doing such a good job on that front. In Cahoots’ sketch about the North and South divide was bitterly true and genius. It was another late night for me and Thom, but at least this night we managed to get a taxi back to the apartment.