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harming and delightful, The Pin are one of the hottest acts on the sketch scene right now. After a sell out run in 2012, they have returned this year as a duo to set the Fringe on fire once more. I meet Alex and Ben, winners of the Best Sketch Show 2013 at London Sketchfest, to chat about what brought them to the Fringe, how they have found working as a double act and their current position in comedy.

Still only days into the festival The Pin are looking fresh and the festival lifestyle has not quite taken its toll on the boys, “We haven’t been going out that much,” Ben notes, accounting for their calm, collected demeanour, “We’re still sort of relatively new to the whole thing, in previous years we have come up as students where you can physically take a lot more; you don’t care about yourself or your show as much. This year we care about both.” “I still don’t care about myself that much,” Alex laughs, “But the show, that’s the main thing.”

It does indeed seem that this is what matters to The Pin. After working with the Cambridge Footlights during their university days, the boys decided to go it

“We’ve found something that we genuinely love doing on stage” alone and bring The Pin to the festival with the backing of the Pleasance. I ask how this relationship came about to which Ben smiles “Ryan [Taylor, Pleasance Comedy Programmer] found us outside his front door after a lot of knocking. We were furiously emailing Ryan just to get him to consider our yet to be made application. We were doing shows with the Invisible Dot, who helped us get a bit of attention from the Pleasance and so Ryan said he’d come see one, but he missed it which was great as it went terribly,” Ben chuckles, “but then he suggested we do a show at the Pleasance for him which went great. We were only going after a slot but he offered to produce us and it was the start of a very fruitful relationship.” That was last year, and The Pin’s 2012 show was a success propelling them into the limelight with a vengeance. This year, their number has been reduced to two, which has undoubtedly influenced their latest show. “The act is completely

different,” Alex comments, “Last year the show was quite a narrative piece, very intricate and complex whereas this year its just the two of us, much more about our relationship. It’s a bit funnier and a little bit sillier.” Despite Ben noting that this year is almost like the first fringe once more, simply due to the reduction in people on stage, previous experience of the Fringe has given them grounding to develop and grow, “This year is about us growing up quite a bit and trying to find where we can fit into the comedy world,” Ben adds, “We’ve found something that we really like doing, we genuinely love doing on stage.”

“Alex and Ben are taking sketch comedy in an inspiring direction” Finally we turn to the show itself, the increased venue capacity and what the pair are expecting from this year’s Fringe. Playing in the Pleasance Beside, The Pin have increased their capacity by 30 seats this year, something which both Ben and Alex seem keen to exploit whilst still maintaining a sense of closeness with the crowd. “I was actually thinking about this recently,” Ben muses, “if this was a successful fringe would we want to come back to a bigger venue next year? Sometimes it’s nice but it’s also good to

have quite an intimate space. We don’t know really what our limits are. That extra 30 people does create a gear shift in the room when things go well.” This venue was also the place where Ben decided he would write a show with Alex and in which the pair have seen some of their favourite Fringe shows including Tim Key and Johnny Sweet. Instantly likable in person and dynamic on stage Alex and Ben are taking sketch comedy in an inspiring direction. Most importantly they both know that at the heart of things, comedy is about entertainment, enjoyment and making people smile. “You sometimes forget that the point of comedy is making someone laugh,” Ben smiles, “So when you see a friend having a really good time, you know you’re doing the right thing.” With tickets selling fast, catch The Pin whilst you can until the 26th August in the Pleasance Courtyard at 18.15.



his Friday, 9th August, some of the finest names in sketch comedy will perform in the most glitzy sketch extravaganza the Fringe has ever seen: The Joy of Sketch. Curated by the Pleasance and Time Out Live The Joy of Sketch has always been a massive success, pulling in famous faces and contemporary performances to entertain audiences. Previous shows have featured acts including Cardinal Burns, Pappy’ s and The Penny Dreadfuls and this year the line up so far for the first show is bigger and better than ever before.

Image of the day: The Trench returns to the Pleasance after acclaim in 2012


Returning to Edinburgh after three previous sell out runs, McNeil and Pamphilon bring their quirky brand of sketch comedy to the bill. Also

on Friday’s line up are BEASTS, an Englishman, and Irishman and a Welshman who The List heralded as ‘one of the slickest sketch shows’ at the 2012 Fringe. Also on the menu are The Beta Males who have taken the Fringe by storm for years with 4 sell out, five star shows since 2010. This year they will be performing as a five piece for the first time since 2010 as Beta Male Adam Blampied returns to the stage. Dan Cook and Will Franken will also add to tomorrow night’s stunning bill.

developing as an act ever since. With a truly outstanding line up of acts Joy of Sketch will be a celebration of all things a little bit sketchy. Vivacious and vibrant The Joy of Sketch is the only place to catch the best in sketch under one roof. Get your fill of sketch comedy at The Joy of Sketch, Friday 9th August in the Pleasance Courtyard, 22.50

The final dish to be served up at Friday’s feast are Fringe favourites Max and Ivan. The duo have gone from strength to strength over the last few years, establishing their unique brand of narrative sketch comedy in just three years and

BOOK NOW: 0131 556 6550

Edited by Emily Tanner. Photography by Jassy Earl



Guillaume Pigé, star of Little Soldiers and George Mann of The Ballad of the Burning Star give Pleasance Times an insight into their work in silent and spoken word theatre 1. In what ways do you think that wordless physical theatre impacts more than spoken theatre, on the audience? George Mann (Theatre Ad Infinitum, Ballad of the Burning Star): We’re not sure that it necessarily does – we believe the impact of a piece of theatre depends on how good that piece is, whether or not the maker chooses to use words or physical actions, or both, to create their theatre. For us, when we make theatre, we are always asking ourselves, what is the best way to tell this story on stage, what mediums will have the most power. Guillaume Pigé (Theatre Re, Little Soldiers): I think that the impact is different. For me it is different because you can see and feel everything that happens to the characters. If there is a fantastic storm for instance, you don’t just hear someone telling you all about it retrospectively but you can experience it at the same time through the way the mime-actors move. So in a way I find it more direct.

2. Has the success of Translunar Paradise catapulted this genre onto a new level? George Mann: We hope it’s made people realise that wordless theatre is of just as much value as that with text. For

us, text is but one of the tools a theatre maker can use. And there are so many – and they’re all rooted in the body. This is crucial, as it’s the body that engages an audience – even when using text, we try not to forget that it comes from the body: the brain remembering, the mouth, the lips, breathing, vocal chords, muscles, and so on…

of manipulation, cruelty and lies. With moves as smooth as an oiled tank chain and voices as clear as the middleeastern sky after a bombing has ended, this cabaret troop executes a story of victimhood, persecution, aggression and love. A journey into the core of the conflicted Jewish State. 4. What do you most enjoy about performing, particularly, what do you most enjoy in your current shows?

“For us text is but one of the tools a theatre maker can use. There are so many any they’re all rooted in the body” George Mann 3. How would you describe your respective shows, The Little Soldiers and Ballad of the Burning Star? Guillaume Pigé: The Little Soldiers is a “concert” performance of dance and mime theatre. Our story is simple. In an old circus tent, an endless rivalry between two brothers drives them to fight to the death. Within that frame, we wanted to portray a voyage on which the two brothers embark to follow a dream. This voyage takes them through the abyss of their minds where the dream slowly becomes an obsession. George Mann: This year we’re presenting an explosive tale: armed with killer heels and a lethal troop of divas an exiled Israeli wages war on decades

George Mann: It’s risky. It’s never the same. It’s such a challenge. A sweat fest. Keeps you on your toes. And you can’t beat that live exchange occurring between actors and audiences –it’s magic. Guillaume Pigé: I enjoy performing because I like to play. In The Little Soldiers we play characters, puppets, horses, storms, battles, fairies; we play with objects, with each other and with the audience. But more and more I realise that what I enjoy the most is to make others play.

Check out Little Soldiers until the 25 August in the Pleasance Dome at 14.10 and Ballad of the Burning Star until the 26 August also in the Pleasance Dome and at 17.50


ack for the third year running the Pleasance Comedy Podcast brings the laughs of the festival to you wherever you are. Hosted by some of the biggest names around, the Podcast is produced daily and is one of the best ways to find out what’s going on at the Pleasance. Kicking off the 2013 series is a episode entitled ‘Gamblers’ in which Tim FitzHigham chats with Brett Goldstein, Alfie Moore and Stephen Carlin who all tackle issues of vice in their shows this year. Introducing the festival as well as discussing the comics’ sinful shows, the premier podcast contains exclusive comedy clips which will get your Fringe off to a flying start.

The Pleasance Comedy Podcast brings the laughs of the festival to you wherever you are

Next up Tom Wrigglesworth and Terry Alderton, two close friends, share their stories on the air. Tom talks of his grandfather, late night walks around Edinburgh and learning to drive at an early age, whilst Terry takes on Beatles and beverages, the Lottery show and his shift from the mainstream to alternative comedy scene. And in the most recent Podcast of the festival so far Fosters Comedy Award nominees from 2012, James Acaster and David Trent quiz each other on their respective Edinburgh shows. They are joined by Will Franken at the Courtyard who shoots adrenaline into the show with a vengeance. So download, listen and enjoy; with the Pleasance Comedy Podcast you will never be too far from the Fringe. Available Monday-Friday and with special episodes for events such as the Tartan Ribbon and The Wrestling, you can subscribe via iTunes or listen online to individual episodes at www.pleasance.

Image: Little Soldiers


Image: Ballad of the Burning Star, Idil Sukan

@stephenkamos Just seen an amazing play, great one man show. #banksytheroomintheelephant with @garybeadle. Pleasance 1pm. Excellent

@lyngardner Gardening for the Unfulfilled @ThePleasance . Smart writing from Brad Birch, & you get to spend 30 mins in a garden shed. Whats not to like?

@ThePleasance Podcast! With @tomwriggleswort & @TerryAlderton. Touching, Beatley and hilarious. Free at

Pleasance Times Issue 5 - 8/8/2013  
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