Sunday, August 15, 2010

Edinburgh Fringe - pilots and pirates

I saw another two shows yesterday. Two in a day seems to be a good target for me. I can squeeze them in around work fairly reliably. I also haven't seen a television since I got here, so, other than reading, they're my only entertainment. I'm rather enjoying it.

Mission of Flowers

Another one-man show, this one about Bill Lancaster, who was a pilot in the '30s. He dreamed of breaking records, of making it big and being famous, but somehow he never quite got there.

When we meet Bill Lancaster, he has just crashed his plane in the Sahara desert, and we follow him as he tries to stretch out his water supply over seven days. During this time, he tells us the story of his life, his dreams and disappointments, his love affair, his trial for murder.

What makes this play particularly interesting is that it is based on a true story. The text of what Bill writes in his logbook is taken verbatim from the actual log books. This in turn ups the tension surrounding whether Bill lives or dies at the end. I won’t give it away, but I will say it wasn’t what I was expecting.

It’s a very sweet show and I enjoyed it.


I had heard about these guys from a friend, so I dragged another friend along and we went to see them last night. It’s a kind of cabaret comedy show with a very eclectic group of hosts. Two brothers got up and did a rap about Jesus that was hilarious. Then one of the brothers told a story about how he wanted to be a superhero when he was a kid. Then we got a magician with incredible stage presence and some seriously impressive tricks involving cards and ‘mind reading’. I’m not usually a huge fan of magicians, but this guy was very funny and completely endearing. Then one of the brothers came back (not the superhero one) and sang a sad love song. Then there was a rendition of John Lennon’s Imagine with some uncomfortable-making jokes about Hitler. And then they finished up with a medley of pop songs to which they’d re-written the lyrics with a pirate theme.

On the whole, I enjoyed it. I loved all the funny stuff. I thought the serious stuff (the story about wanting to be a superhero and the love song) went on for far too long and got a bit self-indulgent. And while some of the off-colour stuff was fine, for me personally the Hitler stuff went past funny and into uncomfortable.

Still, I’m grateful for all the laughs I can get, and the funny out-weighed the not. Worth a look-see.

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