This year we milked the Great Yorkshire Fringe for all it was worth. We went to two or three shows a day almost every day of the festival; some were great, some not so much, but I had a great time regardless. “Oh, all the blog posts I shall write!”, I cried with unbridled optimism to no one in particular. “This will surely be the end of my blogging drought! Oh, glorious day!”
Now clearly, I’ve let myself down terribly; I got busy and tired and failed to write a single piece and it’s been like three weeks since the festival ended and I’m kicking myself for letting things slip. And despite the urge to let my feelings for these shows fade into the ether while I frolic about in the (rapidly disappearing) sunshine, some of the comedians and shows I saw were simply too good not to shout about in some way or another. So I give you, sweet reader, the lazy girl’s way of cramming a load of stuff that should have been lots of posts into one much easier post: THE ROUND UP.
So feast your eyeholes on my top picks of the Great Yorkshire Fringe 2018.
Sarah Keyworth: Dark Horse
Pals, Ms Keyworth’s show was not only the very first show I saw on the very first day of the Fringe, but it was without a doubt my very very favourite. Sarah’s show about gender and what it means to be a girl was hilarious, moving (seriously guys I welled up at one point) and devastatingly/delightfully relatable to anyone who’s ever felt at odds with what we’re told makes us women and girls (which, let’s face it, is basically every girl ever). My boy mates loved it too, and I urge everyone lucky enough to be up in Edinburgh this month to go and see her. Also, she told a joke about a moon cup that made my entire year. It doesn’t get better than that.
Joe Sutherland: Toxic
Another stellar show about gender but this time from the other side, Joe Sutherland’s work-in-progress looked at modern masculinity from a fun and fresh perspective. While Joe’s piece wasn’t as polished as Sarah’s (yet – it was still in development so I expect great things of the finished result!), there’s just something about the way he carried himself and delivered his jokes that made the whole thing a good time. As an audience, you want to feel that a comedian has command of the room and Joe delivered that in spades, somehow managing to appeal to every one of the small but (kind of bizarrely) diverse audience despite the modern subject matter. Throw in a bucket full of genuine giggles and you’ve got yourself a show worth seeing.
Last year I was pretty excited to see Showstopper! The Improvised Musical and it didn’t disappoint, so give me an all-female i
mprovised musical with a name based on my most loved and enduring companion and I’m practically breaking down the doors to get in. To make it more exciting, the suggestion that formed the basis of the show belonged to our very own DanMan – that’s my manfriend, for any curious minds – who threw out Silence of the Lambs, the little freak (my suggestion was Nightmare on Elm Street, so you can see why we’re together). What ensued was an hour of genuinely laugh out loud songs and frolics from a group of incredible gals most of whom clearly knew nothing of Silence of the Lambs, which only made the play more hilarious.
It wasn’t as tight or ‘professional’ as Showstopper!, but that only worked in their favour as the moments of corpsing were brilliant and the girls’ silly sense of humour was right up my street. It felt like we were laughing with them for the entire performance, and I was truly impressed with their quick thinking and some great moments of quick wit. All the girls are incredible talents (Ailis Duff’s Hannibal Lector and Emma Read’s ill-fated tailor’s apprentice were particular highlights) and you only have to look at their success to know that they’re something special. I’d say go and see it in Edinburgh if you can – but I doubt you’ll be able to get tickets!
Best of the Rest
Thespianage – Improv is always a risk, but when it’s done well, it’s so worth it. Thespianage take the route of using games of Who’s Line Is It Anyway? ilk, which is the perfect format to spend time on the good bits and hurry along the not-so-successful bits. Luckily, there were good bits a-plenty from this Manchester based troupe; an hour of one-of-a-kind fun!
Burning Duck Comedy Club – Pegged as York’s best ‘alternative’ comedy night, we ended up going twice during the week and weren’t disappointed either time. Saying that, our first visit on the Wednesday was particularly fantastic, with the best compere I’ve ever seen and two comedians we ended up seeing the full shows of later in the week: Struan Logan and Dan Nicholas (also both worth looking up). We’ll be back to one of their regular nights at the Black Swan.