When the Fringe gives you lemons... | The curse of the duplicate Edinburgh show titles

When the Fringe gives you lemons...

The curse of the duplicate Edinburgh show titles

comedyEdinburgh Fringe shows are registered at the start of the year, making comedians hostages to fate by the time they go on sale.

And with thousands of offerings, some overlap is probably inevitable. So pity Paul McCaffrey, who's called his Lemon – only to belatedly realise that Catherine Bohart picked the same title. 

‘True to form' he moans, given that the show is ‘about how life doesn't always go your way'. Yet at least he's making lemonade, suggesting that the confusion has 'sorted out' his opening five minutes.

Meanwhile, we're guessing that sketch comic George Fouracres' stand-up debut, Gentlemon, is just an unfortunate coincidence.

Further confusion might arise though with veteran mimic Jan Ravens asking audiences Who Do I Think I Am?, while relative newcomer Josh Berry asks Who Does He Think He Is?, symptomatic of the dementia apparently targeting impressionists.

That's because, as a recent spate of 'No Filter' shows has demonstrated, duplicate titles simply reflect the zeitgeist.

However, Brexit appears to be a turn-off, with only two titular mentions in the shows currently on sale, courtesy of Mark Nelson and Dharmander Singh. The blood-soaked Scottish play gets more namechecks.  Amongst the foolhardy mentioning it by name are  Thom Tuck and Tim FitzHigham in a double-header, Shit-Faced Shakespeare: Macbeth and Clive Anderson, presenting Me, Macbeth and I.

Jess Robinson, The Stevenson Twins and a collective of Russian stand-ups are canny enough to only promise you an 'Experience'. But the likes of Aaron McCann (Happy Enough?), Nath Valvo (I’m Happy For You), Martha McBrier (Happiness Bully), Dave Chawner (The Pursuit of Happiness) and Samantha Hannah (How to Find Happiness) are competing for the very well-being of your soul.

Bill and Ted's cinematic revival also seems to be having an effect. Besides Hancock and Hooper's Excellent Adventure, Steve Day is promising Adventures In Dementia, while Isma Almas is presenting Adventures In Adoption. Australian duo Double Denim are keeping some surprises up their stonewashed sleeves with the vaguely titled Adventure Show. But there's bound to be disclosures aplenty in The Brand-New, Full-Throated Adventures of Reginald D Hunter.

Elsewhere, improv troupe Men With Coconuts might reasonably have expected to have kept that high-hanging fruit to themselves. But with Njambi McGrath's Accidental Coconut and Aaron Simmonds's Disabled Coconut, there's a veritable festival mini-bounty – even with about half the Fringe comedy programme still to be announced.

Perhaps more relatable is Mother from Tiff Stevenson, even as Tara Newton-Wordsworth's Motherhood: A Comedy feels the need to stress some joy in maternity. Aditi Mittal: Mother of Invention is staking a bold claim. But she's ultimately outdone by Alison Spittle: Mother of God.

Long before the star ratings are handed out, of course, the Fringe is all about  oneupmanship. And though he might be John Pendal: Monster, he's easily out-hyped by Alice Snedden: Absolute Monster.

Browse our Edinburgh Fringe listings here.

Published: 23 Apr 2019

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