Thud. A big fat package drops through the letterbox with a bit of a wallop. The Edinburgh Fringe programme has arrived and it is bigger than ever. But are we in it? A moment of anxiety in the Walking Heads office turns to relief. Yes, here it is on page 72, Edinburgh Comedy Tour, nestling happily between Spank and Phil Jupitus.
Phew, we’re on the Fringe website too. So why the anxiety?
Well, our digital production doesn’t fit into conventional Fringe show categories. How do you list a show with no venue, no tickets, no start time and no visible actors? Somehow the very patient team in the Fringe office have found a way, as you can see, but it must have added a fiddly dimension (sorry guys!) to the massive task of gathering and presenting over 2,695 productions. Come August they will sprout like mushrooms (the productions not the Fringe office team) in every church hall, pub, club and spare room across Edinburgh.
Once again comedy dominates the programme, accounting for 36% of this year’s shows. And you can feel it in the sheer weight of paper devoted to 964 sketches, revues and stand-ups – from Aaaaaaaaaaaaargh It’s A Monster Stand up Show (page 32) to You Have Nothing To Fear ( page 137).
In fact for many, comedy IS the Fringe. Which of course is why our two comedians Jamie and Harry created an audio walking tour exploring famous Fringe comedy venues. But as Jamie is blind (really) and Harry is a bit of a liability (definitely) the journey takes some unexpected turns.
It’s hard to believe that Jamie MacDonald and Harry Gooch had not met until roughly a year ago when they began work researching and writing the script to launch Walking Heads during the Fringe. They pretty much tore up our original brief and came up with something truly original and very much better. (Jamie wanted a device to lure the audience from one destination to the next and Harry decided too much history would be dull anyway. The result is outrageously funny and has to be heard to be believed).
This year the pair have teamed up to present a new show, a comedy play about love, lies and language, written by Jamie and starring Harry. Look out for Lingua Frank (it’s in the Fringe programme too, page 292), it’s already making headlines. We saw the preview a month ago and it is very, very funny even if it is rather boringly in a real life venue (the Playhouse) with tickets, a start time and visible actors! Mind you, the great thing about a virtual show is that our stars can be in several places at the same time: live on the stage with Lingua Frank and virtually out there on the streets with Edinburgh Comedy Tour. So you can have the best of both worlds.
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