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ISSUE 14: 26TH AUGUST 2013


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he cobbles were polished, the totem pole was hoisted, the doors were opened and with it began a brand new 2013 Pleasance programme. Packed full of ground breaking theatre and rib-tickling comics, the national media were treated to the cream of the crop in the Grand for the Pleasance press launch, compered by the affable Joe Lycett. Physical Theatre company, Gecko, kicked off the show with an extract from their haunting production, Missing, before Colin Hoult’s character comedy delighted the audience. Danish theatre company, Neander, promptly lit up the stage with their high octane production, BLAM, which saw the monotony of the office 9-5 reimagined as an action-packed exhilarating thriller. Director of the Pleasance, Anthony Alderson, heralded the start of the new year with a speech that described the Pleasance’s role as key within the intricate and fragile jigsaw that is the Fringe Festival. Slightly Fat Features followed with a flavour of their carnival-esque cabaret show before firebrand, Nick Helm, rounded off proceedings with a rambunctious performance that whetted the press’ appetite.




eginning a little later in the run than many, Scroobius Pip was an instant hit at this year’s Fringe with his spoken word show Words. Despite performing at a festival saturated with comedy and theatre Scroobius has attracted a sell out crowd on each night of his run, filling out the Ace Dome and demonstrating that poetry can definitely mean a great night out. Another big name to begin a very limited run over this week was 22 year old Bo Burnham. Bo soared to fame through his YouTube videos when he was just teenager, went on to win the Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Award Panel Prize in 2010 and this year performed 10 nights in the Grand with his show What. Finally this second week at the Pleasance saw the Joy of Sketch return to showcase the best in sketch comedy at the festival. Acts to feature on week two’s Joy of Sketch included dynamic duo McNeil and Pamphilon, Beta Males and Foster’s Award Nominees 2013; Max and Ivan.


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eek three at the Pleasance saw the return of the wrestling, a testosterone-fuelled contest that saw comedians ditch their microphones for spandex suits and took on pro wrestlers in the ring, pitting wits against brawn. The evening of pandemonium began with Nick Helm whipping the baying crowd into a frenzy before Thom Tuck and Dan Cook took to the ring to flex both their comedic and actual muscles. The bruising encounter saw Cook triumph before Dan ‘The Hammer’ Head saw off Tom ‘Explosenthal’ Rosenthal in a fierce grudge match. The evening concluded with victory for Ardal O’Hanlon’s team over Tim Vine’s Team Punishment, rounding off an evening of comedy, athleticism and sheer bloody madness. Away from the rambunctiousness of The Wrestling, The Tartan Ribbon Comedy Benefit, in aid of Waverley Care, both delighted audiences and reinforced the Pleasance’s continued support for the charity that helps those with HIV and Hep C. Master of Ceremonies, Stuart Goldsmith, was joined by The Boy With Tape on His Face, Tim Vine, Mat Ricardo, and a host of others, as the evening concluded with Pleasance Director, Anthony Alderson, presenting a cheque for £44,264 to Waverley Care.





number of work in progress shows have featured on the programme in the last week at the Pleasance allowing some of the biggest names in comedy to try out new material in comfortable surroundings. The Comedy Reserve alumnus Jack Whitehall played two sold out nights of new material last weekend whilst Simon Amstell and Tim Key have also been trying out new work in the last week of the festival. Acclaimed company Belarus Free Theatre brought their provocative and experimental show Trash Cuisine to the Grand this week. The show deals with themes of capital punishment and received exceptional reviews when it was premiered in London. Alongside their performance of Trash Cuisine the company organised a protest in the Grassmarket to raise further awareness of the issues their play discusses. Nominations for each of the major Fringe awards were announced this week and the Pleasance dominated the lists once more. Five out of the seven nominated for the Foster’s Comedy Award have had shows at the Pleasance this year whilst Credible Likeable Superstar Rolemodel and Gardening: for the Unfulfilled and Alienated have been awarded Scotsman Fringe Firsts. Theatre Ad Infinitum’s Ballad of the Burning Star was victorious in the Stage Awards and has additionally been awarded a Broadway Baby Bobby. Due to phenomenal demand over the course of the month, there were more than 25 extra shows, including David O’Doherty who took over The Grand for two nights.



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Edited by Jonathan Bucks & Emily Tanner. Photography by Jassy Earl



s always the Pleasance has come up trumps during awards season with nominations for all of the major fringe awards and a number of well deserved victories. Five out of the seven acts nominated for the Fosters Edinburgh Comedy Award performed at the Pleasance this year meaning that the venue dominated the shortlist once again with Nick Helm, James Acaster, Max and Ivan, Seann Walsh and Carl Donnelly whilst this year’s best newcomer John Kearns performed at last year’s Comedy Reserve proving the Pleasance knows who will be the next big thing year on year. Four Pleasance shows were nominated for the Total Theatre Awards this year. Ballad of the Burning Star, an

acclaimed piece of physical theatre from Theatre Ad Infinitum, the makers of last year’s Translunar Paradise, and Bryony Kimmings Credible Likable Superstar Rolemodel were nominated in the category for Innovation, Experimentation and Playing with Form whilst Idiot Child’s I Could’ve Been Better competed in the category for Show by an Emerging Company or Artist. Finally Tangram battled it out with Visual and Physical Theatre as the final nomination this year. Taking home Fringe Firsts after debuting work at the Pleasance this year were Bryony Kimmings’ Credible Likeable Superstar Rolemodel and Undeb Theatre’s Gardening for the Unfulfilled and Alienated. Kimmings’ Credible Likeable

featured Bryony alongside her nine year old niece Taylor as the pair tackled the modern role models for pre-teens who seem to purvey unsuitable and unachievable ideas of what a woman should be. The show received high praise from its first performance and has had numerous four and five star reviews throughout its run at the Fringe. Meanwhile Undeb Theatre’s Gardening for the Unfulfilled and Alienated took site specific theatre to a new level. Based in a garden shed beside the Grand with a capacity of just two, Gardening has been an intimate and unique experience which has been a real highlight of the festival.

THE FINAL WORD As the festival comes to a close Pleasance Times eavesdropped on a few conversations to find out what have been the highlights of the Pleasance this year

“Bo , Burnham e d an Th Tim Key ere all gw st Wrestlin omedy ju C . g in d stand outstan straight t u o b a isn’t up”

“Bryony Kimming s’ Credible Likeable , The Veil and Gec ko’s Missing were all festival highligh ts”

s se, Pres Holly Clo e Offic

“I really enjoyed Th It was su e Pearl. and clev ch a sweet er play a nd very inventiv e”. Caitlin W all, Fron t of House t eam

Cat Ger rard, audienc e membe r “The h wit Boy is Face I h And e on Tap cellent. twice”! it ex was t to see o g t of even Fron , s i v a Da eam Fion ouse t H

Image of the day: Bowled over: living up to their name The Pin have delighted audiences this Fringe with their show

ONTO PLEASANCE LONDON The Pleasance’s 29th year at the festival has been filled with fantastic fringe moments, brilliant new comedy, ground breaking works of theatre and some exceptional shows. As we close the doors on the Pleasance’s second decade we look forward to opening them again in Edinbrugh next year as the venue celebrates its 30th year. Until then you can get your fill of the Pleasance at our permanent base in Islington North London. Over the Autumn/Winter season we have loads on to keep you entertained including Adam Kay and Enemies, David Elm and Adam Hess double bill and in theatre NIE North, North, North, Fascinating Aida and family Christmas show Peter Pan Goes Wrong by Mischief Theatre, the makers of fringe sell out The Play That Goes Wrong. Plenty more is on offer at the Pleasance Islington over the year to keep fans of theatre and comedy entertained until Edinburgh 2014. Check out our website www.pleasance. for full lisitings PODCAST

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@MairiDrum Great night at the pleasance. @RonJichardson was on his way to completion

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@ThePleasance That’s 3 out of the last 4 years an ex member of the Pleasance Comedy Reserve has won newcomer at the @ComedyAwards




STOP PRESS: TARTAN RIBBON COMEDY BENEFIT LINE UP! The Boy With Tape On His Face David O’Doherty Tim Vine

Image of the day: Backstage at the tech rehersal as Scroobius Pip prepares for this debut Fringe show, Words


croobius Pip does not seem like a star of the UK hip hop and electronic scene. He is understated, grateful and truly humble as he talks about his show, Words, the reception it has so far received, his work in the music world and love of comedy, and does not for one moment seem anything but a normal guy, albeit an incredibly talented one.

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“Being around comedians and pretending I’m meant to be here is great”

A spoken word performance at a festival best known for comedy and theatre may seem like a slightly odd fit and something many performers wouldn’t initially consider doing. “When I toured it in December,” Pip begins as I ask what made him bring a spoken word show to the Fringe this year, I wanted to play in rock venues to show people you can have a good night out at a spoken word gig (in fact, Pip comments that one of the reasons he chose the Ace Dome was because it has a bar) and Tim Key and Brett Goldstein caught it and suggested I bring it up the Fringe this year. Just to have them think I could do something at the Fringe was great as I’m a massive fan of them both.” The good time ethic Pip sees as key to his work was there at the birth of Words when he

premiered the show during the Saturday night headline spot at Latitude Festival last year. Initially expecting an audience of two or three hundred people he arrived onstage to find a 4000 strong crowd Pip was overwhelmed with the show’s initial reception . “It was the Saturday night headline slot,” he almost shakes his head in slight disbelief, “You would except people to want to go out and go dancing but they’d had to stand everyone up as there were about 4000 people in the tent. And they stayed there, and listened to the whole thing and it meant the world to me. It was so overwhelming, such a wonderful reaction.” Known also for his work in music, something which may well have drawn the impressive Latitude crowd, often with Dans Le Sac, Pip notes he often forgets people know him foremost for this and ask if he’ll be doing “any of the songs” in his set. “Well,” he smiles, “I think yeah, but the delivery won’t be the same and the inflections too, some of ‘the songs’ will be there but it will be different.” Scroobius Pip has always engaged with society in his work. Whilst many poets and spoken word artists can be concerned with introspective subjects life Pip’s work constantly strives to connect to the wider society. “I do this partly because I’m a fan of hip hop,” he begins, “Along with spoken word it’s always the quickest to respond to things. A great example is the Treyvon Martin case, where artists reacted to the ‘stand your ground law’ in America during the trial, It’s such an instant response.”


Hal Cruttenden

Although Pip mentioned he was a comedy nerd at the beginning of our conversation, I was still surprised by his knowledge and response

Slightly Fat Features

“It was so overwhelming, such a wonderful reaction” when I asked what he’s most excited to see at the Fringe this year. As we talked of ex-rapper Doc Brown, Doctor Brown and his silent comedy, Tom Rosenthal and many others Pip is keen to catch, Pip is constantly enthused and passionate about something he clearly loves. “Being around the comedians and pretending I’m meant to be to be here is great. Chris Ramsey came along to the show last night and it was great to chat and hang out after. It’s not a comedy show but there are some light-hearted moments, and having people like Brett and Tim previously credit my work is amazing. The main focus is me trying to play it cool around these comedians without being all ‘you know who I am!’”


Scroobius Pip has words a plenty to share. You can catch his show Words until 26th August in the Pleasance Dome at 21.40.

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@lickle_pickle Back at the beautiful Pleasance Dome for our second to last show... Mr @scroobiuspipyo :D #edfringe

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Pleasance Times issue 14