The Big Bite-Size Breakfast Show is in its 15th year (2005 was its debut), making it something of an Edinburgh Festival Fringe institution. It has made the move to the slightly larger venue of Pleasance Forth this year along with continuing company members Billy Knowelden, Claira Watson Parr, Thomas Willshire & Rosie Edwards, joined by Tom McCarron in his first Bite-Size outing.
As usual, there is a croissant, strawberry & cuppa (tea or coffee) available on arrival, as well as three different ‘menus’ of plays to see. I’d hoped to make it to all of them, but even at 10.30am scheduling is pretty tough! In the end I plumped for menu 3, which consisted of the following five plays:
- Some Assembly Required (Tom Hartwell) – a young couple are having a look around a “very nice” house, but they find that it comes with strings attached…
- Noir Man (Ken Levine) – “The Big Sleep is his favourite film, if only he could figure out the plot!”
- Two’s Tales (J.P Cooper) – three pairs of people go about their day-to-day lives, but when something extraordinary threatens the status quo they have to reassess their priorities.
- Stag Do (Thomas Willshire) -” Chaps! Chaps! Chaps!” A crash course in stag dos for the unlikeliest of ‘lads’.
- Hitwomen of Highbury (Ophelia Reid) – should you be living in fear of the Women’s Institute..?
Though there are a few shows competing for your attention at that time of the day, you simply have to make time for a Bite-Size show while you’re in Edinburgh. Obviously the free breakfast is a powerful incentive, but the chance to see a variety of pieces of new writing is something that shouldn’t be passed up – and as it veers mostly towards the comedy side, it does an excellent job of waking you up quickly!
Noir Man is an excellent parody piece that gets more ridiculous by the minute, and has a fun, unexpected ending. Another favourite for me was Stag Do, transforming what is usually the ultimate lads night out into something a little quirkier and unexpected – with a great opportunity for visual gags with some interesting props… The whole show starts strongly with Some Assembly Required, full of farcical twists & turns as well as some terrific one-liners.
I have no doubt that the other two menus are of as high a quality, so if you can’t make it to see this specific set of plays then do try and go to one of the others.
My verdict? You can’t go wrong with a Bite-Size start to the day – another great selection of short plays to get your laughing gear around.
The Big Bite-Size Breakfast Show runs at Pleasance Courtyard (Forth) until 26 August 2019. Tickets are available online or from the box office.