Guest review: Ellen Casey
As a lover of the Fringe, Edinburgh and musicals, this show was made for me. For 55 minutes Emily Jane Kerr, Laura Hyde and James Witt sing and dance their way through Fringe related sketches all about the highs and lows of Edinburgh’s most famous (and crammed) month.
To steal their disclaimer, this was a preview of a Fringe show, and so the performers were sometimes still clutching folders of hastily rewritten materials during songs – honestly, it made the all-singing all-dancing (sometimes quite acrobatically for such a small stage) nature of the show even more impressive.
And when there were little mistakes, as there were bound to be, the performers either smiled through it and kept singing, or perhaps even better, made it funny! One notable example was when a performer flubbed a punchline, and pretended to escort herself off-stage altogether. It was a fun little bit of improvisation (she got a second go, don’t worry) and it raised one of the biggest laughs of the night.
As mentioned above, I love a musical, and this one had some fun tunes, written by Patrick Stockbridge (appropriate name for the writer of a Fringe musical) who also appeared on stage playing the piano and exclaiming giddily whenever he was allowed a costume (fair). The standout songs for me were perhaps influenced by the fact that, while I’ve lived in Edinburgh and will be attending my fourth Fringe this summer, I’ve never performed there.
So, to run down my favourites: Meadows, a sweet-by-comparison song about the crucial role of Edinburgh’s favourite green space (primarily for spewing and getting naked) which gave me a genuine pang and that anybody who has been 20-something in Edinburgh can (probably) relate to; the hilarious Northerner Song bemoaning the hike in booze prices during August (“We’re not in London now!” was the ironic refrain); and of course, Fifty Fifty Chance of Rain, which speaks for itself.
Songs like Stars, however, (about the tyrannical hold reviews have over fringe shows) I just wasn’t the audience for; the funniest bit for me was when one of the star headbands that had been slipping down the performers faces was flung away in irritation. That’s just one song that I could have done without – still a pretty good success rate.
I’ve got to dedicate a whole paragraph to the most important question when reviewing a comedy – was it funny? From strenuous depictions of different performers on the Royal Mile to confrontations over questionable Scottish accents, I laughed hard and often, which is really the biggest compliment I can give.
And though this was a show out of context in some ways, it succeeded in making me incredibly excited for the Fringe, as well as melancholy for Edinburgh (it is the best city in the UK). Honestly, I was looking at train tickets today at work. For a musical tribute to the Fringe and the city that hosts it – that has to be a win.
Seeing as this was just a preview, and it was the sole focus of their last song, I feel that I have to emphasise this – Ed Fringe: The Musical Revue is playing (listen closely) in Venue C Too, off the Royal Mile at 9:25 from the 2nd-27th August.
My verdict? If you fancy a Fringe-focused frolic this August, you know where to go!
Ed Fringe – The Musical Revue previewed at Canal Café Theatre from 8-10 June 2018. It runs at C Too (Edinburgh Festival Fringe) from 2-27 August 2018. Tickets are available online.