posted 08 August 2003
To quote Rik: "Link to me, you git."
Yesterday saw more festival-type activities. Diving once more into the style of the hundreds of reviews I've read in the last few days while deciding what to see:
- Finding Bin Laden is one of several shows milking eye-catching titles for everything they're worth (my favourite in this vein being I'm Sorry I Ran Over Your Quintuplets). Finding Bin Laden bills itself as "a mixture of photography and drama", but what it actually is is a comedy played with minimal props in front of a big white sheet onto which are being projected pictures taken in Afghanistan. In addition to being quite funny, it also has a point to make -- several, in fact -- which it mainly manages to do without making you feel like you're having morality forced down your throat. No cute people, but you can't have everything. Rating: ***
- Next up was Newsrevue 2003, a much-publicised and well-reviewed sequel to one of last year's most popular shows. It's essentially musical sketch comedy, taking apart current events. It covers the obvious topics: Bush and Blair (over and over), Michael Barrymore, Posh and Becks, the euro, the War on Terrah and John Leslie, although it stayed away from the Dr. Kelly issue, which is probably a sensible move. It was fairly heavy with political opinion, but since I agreed with it, that was no problem. Ed would have loved this show, as it was blatantly run by crazy liberals. It was also very well written, competently sung and really very funny, and generally one of the best things we've seen, helped by being held in a venue that felt like an actual theatre rather than a converted loft/attic/hay-barn/toilet like some others we've seen. Still no cute people though. Rating: ****
- Coming out of NewsRevue we decided we wanted to see some more, and so -- in the manner that's making me love the festival -- it was a matter of choosing which of the several hundred shows still yet to start at 11pm on a Thursday we wanted to see. We settled on the Late Night Laughter Lounge. This turned out to be a mistake, really. Held in a converted toilet (no, really), it started half an hour late and missing its compère. The lady who filled in for him was frightfully nervous, and she wasn't really able to handle the size of the audience, which was, ominously, only about a dozen people, including members of staff and ourselves. The show basically exists so that various stand-up comedians can give small 15-minute sets and then plug their larger shows elsewhere in the city. I can't remember the names of who was on though, so that's rather backfired. There was a fairly funny guy to kick off, followed by a less-funny woman from London, then an absolutely cringe-worthy prop-comedian who looked like Nosferatu and whose act seemed to consist mainly of inflating a large black rubber glove and wearing it on his head as a musical instrument. He repeatedly apologized for his lack of music (apparently the delay was due to his requiring a bit of complicated equipment called a "DI box" which never turned up) but since this seemed to shorten his act I think it was a blessing. The final act was a former Perrier winner who was passably funny but not really putting any effort into it, as he seemed to be under the impression that he was giving a free show (actually mate, tickets were GBP7.50, good thing they were on 2-for-1 or I'd have felt ripped off) and so he tried out lots of new material, most of which wasn't very good. Can you tell I had a good time? And still no cute people. Rating: No stars. Don't see this, it was terrible.