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Aug
2017
Wednesday 23rd
posted by Morning Star in Arts

Tim Wells: Stand Up and Spit


I’M STILL at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, doing a turn in Porky the Poet’s show. Gigs have been fun because the Free Fringe pulls in a good mix of punters — locals, visitors, poets and the curious.

Porky is always affable and brings both wit and edge to the stage. He rightly points out that the most entertaining show of the festival is the run of posh kids’ relationships exploding. It’s high pressure what with the flyering, wemembewing lines, performing and being fabulous. Poor Jonty, poor Araminta.

Definitely not posh, but classy, is Irvine Welsh and Dean Cavanagh’s new play Performers about the casting of real gangsters for Nick Roeg’s 1970 film Performance.

Perry Benson’s understated physical comedy is delightful and brings out the ridiculousness of the situation. Perry’s a solid hand on the helm but young actor George Russo also turns in a pointed performance and Maya Gerber is sharp as the secretary, bona beehive an’ all.

Perry ends the show stripped down to his pants, apparently he has a selection available “according to mood.” It’s a very London script, but the festival is international, innit?

Also classy, and about class as well as Brexit and the Calais Jungle, is Matt Abbott’s Two Little Ducks, in which he questions the brioche left’s blaming of the Brexit vote on the working class. How is it always our fault?

He also poems about his volunteering at the Jungle. He talks from the heart and fl ips between monologue and gig and he’s earnest but not painfully so and discusses ideas with good humour. Good to see him at the bar afterwards chatting to punters about the story and issues of his show. It’s not enough that politics is entertaining.

I’ve thought about Jemima Foxtrot’s Above the Mealy-Mouthed Sea more than any other show. Jemima is always an engaging and hyper performer and her small frame bounces round the stage as fast as her mind ticks.

It starts as a confusing, frenetic jumble of joke, song, poetry and theatre but as the piece unfolds it becomes clear where this knotted tangle comes from and what it is.

Jemima uses a loop pedal to texture words and song, so that at times it’s hard to hear what she’s saying.

Is it bad production for effect? It becomes clear as the story wrapped up in there fl oats free. It got me to thinking about Faulkner’s work and how he weaves a story.

Myself and Porky also put in a support slot for the Lovely Eggs in Galashiels.

That’s an hour out of Edinburgh and I’m so glad we made the effort. The Lovely Eggs are a witty, noisy, down to earth band of proper folk.

We put in our ping pong poetry show, volleying poems between ourselves and no Thai ladies are involved. They’re fun gigs to do as we never know what poems we’ll be reading as we alternately bounce off the piece read by the other. Alternating and alternative.

The Lovely Eggs put in a topdrawer show to an enthusiastic crowd. I even had a conversation with the woman running the bar about Hollie McNish. I recommended Salena Godden who she’d not heard of but promised that she’d thank me once she’d checked her out. I hope by now she has.

We were all delighted with the “fuck it” scarves the Eggs were selling as merch, and quite right too. Ordinary people unite.

The amount of haggis I’ve been eating will probably kick off me gout. I’m heading back to London, Carnival a-come … next for me is the mighty Gladdy Wax sound system.

Reach!




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