Ed Fringe 2019: Whose Line Is It Anway?, Thrones! The Musical Parody, Harriet Dyer and Scott Gibson
The Fringe is a place where artforms collide: music meets comedy, dance meets circus, stage meets screen. Artists reinterpret, collaborate, recycle. Today, as we step into our favourite TV shows, the secret of the festival’s success is revealed: whatever the medium, nothing unites audiences like a live performance.
Whose Line Is It Anyway?
Whose Line Is It Anyway? is a hit of 80s nostalgia, a welcome blast from the past that transcends the messy political climate and leaves us in the hands of our favourite big kids. This Fringe, we are treated to a lineup of familiar faces – from our original dry-humoured host Clive Anderson to musical extraordinaire Mike McShane, from cockney giant Stephen Frost to the ageless Greg Proops – as well as a fresh-faced Rachel Parris, who you can also catch in the improv spectacular Austentatious. As a game show, this format has its limits: ideas cannot really be developed and consequently each joke is a standalone punchline. But to compare it to narrative-based counterparts is to miss the point; this show played a pioneering role in shaping the improv scene and it’s this zany, quickfire absurdity that first illustrated the sheer potential of freeform comedy to a mainstream audience.
The performers maintain the same cheeky and childish chemistry that sizzled on screen so many years ago, and Parris shines alongside her old-school classmates with lightning reactions and versatile vocals. Though the show is not as revolutionary as it once felt given the ever-expanding improv scene, it’s nonetheless a treat for any fans of Dan Patterson’s charming creation and the comics who give it life.
Whose Line Is It Anyway? is at Underbelly until 26th August 2019. For further information or to book visit the Edinburgh Fringe’s website here.
Thrones! The Musical Parody
When it comes to striking the goldmine that is the millennial appeal, it’s hard to find a safer bet than Game of Thrones. The team behind Baby Wants Candy return to Edinburgh with their hit musical parody, fresh with new material from the conveniently controversial final season. The show frames its premise cleverly by playing on the seemingly indefatigable reference point that is Friends. We open to a familiar apartment and a six-strong cast, one of whom – shock horror – hasn’t seen the show. Cue the group’s quickfire reenactment of the key points from each series in an abridged narrative complete with sex, violence and Tyrion’s perplexing British accent.
It’s a mammoth task to fit so much content into an hour, and the ensemble does an admirable job switching characters and costumes with explosive comic timing. One can’t help but think that the show doesn’t match the splendour of Baby Wants Candy; in many ways, such gifted improvisers are held back by an at-times predictable script. Nonetheless, given the widespread disappointment surrounding the show’s conclusion, it’s worth seeing the production just to watch the alternative ending.
Thrones! The Musical Parody is at Assembly George Square Studios until 25th August 2019. For further information or to book visit the Edinburgh Fringe’s website here.
Harriet Dyer and Scott Gibson: That’s Not a Lizard, That’s My Grandmother
If you’re a little short of money this festival and want to check out the free fringe, there are plenty of pay-what-you-like options that might pop up on your radar. One of them is Harriet Dyer and Scott Gibson’s show, a low-budget, low maintenance production (it’s essentially just the two of them sat on a stage having a chat). It’s a lot like watching the recording of a podcast: unedited, freeform and completely different every time. Indeed, there is no real structure at all save for a guess-the-lie game and a quick quiz at the end. Luckily, the wit of the two comics carries them through on talk alone, their friendship providing a window into their funniest memories.
Gibson commands the room with his confidence, providing a great dynamic alongside Dyer’s more understated, wonderfully quirky sense of humour. The comedian’s life is so strange, and her manner so delightfully dazed that the show veers into dreamlike territory, making it a pleasant way to pass an afternoon. Given the strength of the performers’ unscripted material, it could be well worth checking out both of their solo shows later on in the day.
Harriet Dyer and Scott Gibson: That’s Not a Lizard, That’s My Grandmother is at the Gilded Balloon until 25th August 2019. For further information or to book visit the Edinburgh Fringe’s website here.
Read more reviews from our Ed Fringe 2019 coverage here.
For further information about Edinburgh Fringe 2019 visit the festival website here.
Photo: Prudence Upton