Edinburgh Fringe – Gail Bishop and the Wild Haired Alchemist

Things I’ve learnt: Very few things start promptly at Edinburgh Fringe. Start and end times are a slightly arbitrary concept. Which you’d think would be good for someone who – in spite of military precision timetabling – is rarely on time for anything. I met my downfall by arriving by the skin of my teeth to the venue and almost* wasn’t allowed in (*this is a lie. They wouldn’t let me in. I waited until the coast was clear, and snuck in. Please don’t send the fringe police after me).

This is the 3rd time I’ve seen Seth Kriebel’s work, and We This Way is an expansion on previous show, The Unbuilt Room. With his bright mechanical voice (think Kryten from Red Dwarf) he takes you on a choose-your-own-adventure in his head, with narration detailing locations, sights, sounds, smells and options “you could get off the train, stretch  your legs and have a look around… or you could open the old man’s suitcase and see what’s so heavy.” There is the novel approach of ‘decision by democracy’, using coloured glowsticks to indicate individual choice, but ultimately it is the wisdom of crowds that determines the route.

From there to the Gilded Balloon for Will Seaward Has A Really Good Go At Alchemy. Boom-voiced, big haired and eccentric to a tee, Will has decided that he doesn’t like being an impoverished comedian, so his latest get-rich-quick scheme involves transmuting base metals into gold. In an hour. Even though he hasn’t done any chemistry since he was 12, and alchemic success has eluded some of the finest minds in science for centuries. But buoyed by a tide of jolliness and unfailing optimism he creates pure comedy gold.

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There are two Game of Thrones-themed shows at the fringe this year: Winter Is Coming. Again. (marred by the actors mostly shouting over each other between songs, denying us any real idea of what’s going on) and the infinitely more slick and successful Thrones! The Musical – with great clarity and witty lyrics, it works well for both those who’ve seen the show and those who haven’t.

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Then back to the circus for Bromance, which blurs the lines between masculinity and vulnerability with pure elegance. Mixing physical strength with balancework and dance, it’s effortlessly cool without being arrogant. Then finishing up with a bit of stand up in the guise of John Robins: Speakeasy, which is essentially a very funny hour of how the internet has turned us all into terrible people and why it’s the worst thing ever invented.

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