We asked the 2015 Malcolm Hardee Award Winner and connoisseur of the ridiculous Michael Brunström, for five shows you can firmly leave your brain at the door and expect the unexpected at the Edinburgh Fringe 2016.
Is ‘alternative comedy’ a ‘thing’? If it is, it’s impossible to define stylistically. When I look at the colossal range of stuff in the Fringe programme, I can’t help but suppose that while some comedians work harder to fulfil the expectations of an audience – often to great effect – others start out from some sort of unpredictable and personal creative impulse, with results that astonish as much as they amuse. Here are five performers who I think exemplify the latter approach.
Kat Bond (half of double act That Pair) performs a magic spell on the character comedy showcase. Using toilet paper, poetry and her formidable stage charisma, she transforms it into something oddly sublime and oddly moving.
SHORT AND CURLY
Watching Short (Rebecca Shorrocks) and Curly (Paul F. Taylor) going berserk with costumes, props, home-made lighting and stage effects, piling gag upon gag with unashamed enthusiasm and generosity, is an exhilarating experience.
Ali Brice’s on-stage alter-ego Eric Meat has the air of a Victorian travelling freak-show manager having a nervous breakdown. He combines physical stunts and baffling characters with such charm and gusto that audiences buy into the weirdness without a second thought.
In ‘Olive Hands: All Hands to the Pump’, Beth Vyse takes a hundred stupid ideas, inflates them to grotesque proportions, then squirts these hilarious nightmares into the audience, reducing them to soggy messes of helpless laughter.
THE ABRIDGED DAPPER ELEVEN HOUR MONOCHROME DREAM SHOW
Strictly for aficionados of the deeply unusual. Is this a comedy show or a performance art installation? Both and neither, but few shows embrace the joy of their own ridiculousness with such pleasing irony. These guys get it.