Talent in a Previous Life

Because It's Never Just About the Music

Sunday, August 24, 2003

Perry-hair, C-hair-lotte and Oth-hair things. 

Well, it’s nearly all over, just two more days and normal service will be returned at this site, i.e. it’ll still be unfunny but it won’t have the benefit of vague usefulness, but at least we'll stop running 'hair' puns into the ground. On Tuesday we’ll give you a list of Best/Worst things. About the Fringe that is. Not stuff that Mr Bestworst has been up to. But until then, here’s a list of some of the highlights of the last week.

The big news is that at midnight the winner of this years Perrier award was announced. Despite the fact that the award clearly belonged to Natalie Haynes, it went to Demetri Martin instead. In fact, Natalie wasn’t even nominated. Indeed, it seemed that not being in possession of a Y chromosome made you ineligible for entry for the prize. Don’t get me wrong, Demetri is fantastic and out of the shortlist was certainly a deserving winner. I’m just not totally convinced that the shortlist was all that it could have been. Best Newcomer went to new romantic/electro pop parody Gary Le Strange who is very good, particularly if you have any sort of love for the era whatsoever, and for musical comedy the songs are actually quite good, if slightly obvious musical parodies at times. The show did dip a little bit in the second half, and there’s not really anywhere else for the character to go, but he is well worth checking out if you can. Having said that though, I personally preferred Alex Horne : Making Fish Laugh, which was also nominated. An inventive piece recreating experiments on the ten stimuli which make people laugh. The only real problem with it is that it does rely on having a ‘good’ audience in who are prepared to go along with the flow.

Also seen this week were Charlotte Hatherly and her backing band of boys, also known as Ash, though to be honest they could quite easily have been anyone for the amount of attention I paid to that side of the stage. A good greatest hits set, fantastic version of Envy with some lovely “Ooh-Wooh”’s by Chaz, each one of which simply strengthens it’s position as one of the greatest pop songs ever. The new songs weren’t exactly fantastic though, and support band Stellastar* simply showed that it’s not easy to do what Interpol do.

Comedy wise we caught Mike Daisey – 21 Dog Years: Doing Time at Amazon.com, which was very American and clearly had lots of stuff cut out to fit into the hour long slot. Sarah Kendall, who is Australian and fantastic with a well structured show despite the seeming amateurishness of it at times (and I mean that in a good way), excellent delivery and facial expressions, even if she does look like Ed Byrne on occasion, which is slightly disconcerting. Also on a fantastic tip is Stephen K Amos who I finally managed to see after his free performance of the night of the evacuation, possibly the only show ever that will end on miming to a Five Star song and an audience sing-a-long to Will Smith’s cover of Light My Fire. He normally does the warm-ups for Have I Got News For You and other such shows, skills that were not necessary in the Gilded Balloon Nightclub which is the hottest venue I’ve been in this year. I know it’s a cliché to go on about the heat in venues during the Fringe, but when the staff need to hand out water to the audience, surely someone must realise that something needs to be done?

Another show which deserves a mention is The Father, The Son and Holy Moses which was a piece of Finnish Physical Theatre. I met the people behind it in the pub and they said it was excellent in their unbiased view, so off I went to see it, admittedly with some trepidation and fear, but they were right, it was excellent, starting off in a comedic vein, before moving onto a genuinely surprising and moving ending. The only real downside was that there was far too many occasions where we saw the performers arse, i.e., once.