Edinburgh 10x10: 2. Sounds intriguing... | Ten shows with unusual premises

Edinburgh 10x10: 2. Sounds intriguing...

Ten shows with unusual premises

We can’t yet vouch for the shows – obviously – but the premises for these ten Fringe shows certainly pique the interest…

1. Tom Houghton

Tom Houghton, pictured, lives in the Tower of London. For real.

His father is General Sir Nick Houghton, who last year stood down as chief of the defence staff – the most senior uniformed military man in the country – and is now Constable of the Tower.

In contrast to his father’s lifetime of service to his country, Tom has spent the last few years dicking around with the Noise Next Door sketch troupe, and this year makes his solo Edinburgh Fringe debut with a comedy show about his life of supreme privilege.

He lives with his dad, next door to the room where Guy Fawkes was tortured: ‘Nobody believes me,’ he says of his unusual address. ‘Try ordering a Domino’s.’

Gilded Balloon Teviot, 17:45

2. Lewis Schaffer

Each day the London-based US comic will read an unopened letter from his mother, sent across the Atlantic before she died alone in New York six years ago. He kept the stash (and previously opened six, apparently to see if they contained any money, but never read them). Now he’ll examine his distant maternal relationship by seeing what she said for the first time – and in front of an audience./p>

Earlier this month blogger John Fleming reported Schaffer telling an audience: ‘When I open the letters, people are going to cry – Moms or people with moms. We all have moms. I thought: People are going to cry and that is going to get me an award. The way you win a comedy award in Edinburgh is by making people cry. Heartfelt… I kind of know why I didn’t open the letters, but I don’t know what’s in the letters. My mother is dead. So I am thinking: How can this be funny? Does it mean I didn’t love my mother? Does it make me a bad person?’

A woman in the audience said: ‘Yes.’

Laughing Horse At The Counting House, 20:30

3. Big Cat Small Flap

It’s observations on the likes of Trump and Brexit from a Giant Talking Cat called Mr Nibbles. What’s not to like about that premise?

Laughing Horse @ The Golf Tavern, 18:15 from August 14th

4. Ray Bradshaw

In what’s believed to be an Edinburgh first, Scottish comic Ray Bradshaw will perform a show in English and sign language simultaneously. He is a child of deaf parents (CODA in the lingo) and he’s fluent in BSL.

The 28-year-old said he decided to do the show after seeing the problems with having a separate signer at comedy shows. First the time delay, second the audience always looking to one side when a naughty word comes up (often at the comedian’s command)

‘It's so difficult to write jokes in two different languages at the same time when the structure is so different,’ he told Glasgow Live earlier this year. ‘Instead of saying "what's your name", you sign "your name what?" So it's all about trying to get the punchlines to land at similar points.’

Gilded Balloon Teviot, 16:00

5. Ari Eldjárn

Bet you’ve never heard an Icelandic comedian before. Ari Eldjárn is the biggest in the land… though we’ll probably just have to take his word for that. Born and raised in Reykjavík, he debuted as a stand up comic in 2009, and had taped numerous TV specials, performed with the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra and opened for Ari Shaffir, Bill Burr and Ed Byrne.

Heroes @ Monkey Barrel 13.40

6. Mark Watson’s Festival Of Bad Ideas

Trust Mark Watson to make this list, as he’s got form when it comes to bringing intriguing ideas to the Fringe. This year, he asked a range of comedians to reveal their bad ideas – the shows they would you like to put on, but never dared. Now, one a night, they attempt these projects, for better for for worse. Apparently there is no such thing as a bad idea. We’ll see.

Pleasance, 22:45, 15th to 27th only

7. Jarlath Regan

Most Fringe shows cost their performers and arm and a leg. Jarlath Regan’s cost him a kidney too. The Irish comic donated the organ to save his brother, who had been living with defective kidneys since youth and had been given less than five years to live without the operation. Now, thanks to Regan’s altruism, that has risen to 20 or years.

The comedian, who hosts the Irishman Abroad podcast, will tell that story, as well as a wider discussion about organ donation. And one of the more painful parts of the whole story? The pun of the title, Organ Freeman.

Just The Tonic @ The Tron, 19:40

8. Vikki Stone

Musical comedian Vikki Stone has written a full orchestral piece, where the concerto ‘soloist’ is a comedian, cracking jokes. It is a spoken word concerto, focusing on comedy, and the first work of its kind.

Concerto For Comedian And Orchestra will be getting a one-off run-out with the National Youth Orchestra Of Scotland Camerata in the Pleasance Grand on August 27.

9. The Elvis Dead

Musical oddness of a different kind, as Black Country comedian Rob Kemp offers a reinterpretation of classic horror movie Evil Dead 2 through the songs of Elvis Presley. It won ‘best show’ at the Leicester Comedy Festival this year, and has the sort of premise that has either ‘cult blockbuster’ or ‘what the hell was he thinking’ written all over it.

Heroes @ Monkey Barrel, midnight

10. Inheritance

This could be straight from the pages of Take A Break. Comedian Ben Clover got asked to marry his friend’s mum so they could dodge inheritance tax. ‘It was weird,’ he says – which is something of an understatement. This is that story.

C Royale, 15:15

Published: 18 Jul 2017

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