Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Edinburgh Fringe Festival Reviews - Josie Long & Markus Birdman

Josie Long, Pleasance Courtyard.

The thing I need to say about Josie Long is that she is so freaking cute. This much is clear from the beginning. She’s cuter than Pikachu. She’s cuter than a baby that sneezes (without any disgusting snot coming out the nose at the end). She’s cuter than a fluffy kitten licking a sad puppy to comfort him.

She spontaneously breaks into a Mae West voice throughout. And she swears a lot because she loves sailors. Don’t we all, darling?

Her show ‘Romance and Adventure’ is doing well. There was a huge crowd of about 750-1000 people. And it is no surprise. From the time you walk into the room, she is entertaining you- she’s her own warm-up, interacting with the audience, pointing out the stage decorations, and even playing the introductory music through her phone.

Josie's show essentially poses the question- can we burn the rich (but keep all their awesome stuff, because who really doesn’t like champagne and speedboats if they are being honest)?

She went through a massive diatribe about how social injustice is rampant now (I could have told her it is more to do with the Justice League/Superfriends not being on telly anymore, but who listens?). And she’s right. She resurrected the old riot grrrl within me who has been long buried under two decades of middle class concerns including which European beers to buy, how to find a nice pair of Alexander McQueen shoes on eBay, and yes, is there any possibility of being upgraded to first class?

She is all of us people of a certain age. She desperately wants to be friends with the cool lesbian couple down the hallway. She suspects Richard Branson is not as cool as he makes out to be, despite the beard. She begs the audience to start a bloody revolution, and assures us that she’ll back us up (because she’s got good cardio).

But mainly, Josie Long wants us (and herself) to avoid falling into a pit of despair (pay attention, Wesley) despite all the madness going on around us. And she’s right. But it would be impossible to fall into despair being anywhere around her. Go see her. Go see her, and you’ll smile...and kind of want to kick some rich people ass. And at the end of the day, isn't that what life is all about?

Markus Birdman, Stand II

I’ll reluctantly admit that there is a lot I don’t understand about the world. I don’t understand how people can’t park their freaking cars. I don’t understand what is in Cap’n Crunch that tears the roof of your mouth to shreds. And because I have had a few beers, I’ll admit, I really don’t understand String theory.

But what I mainly don’t understand is why Markus Birdman is not up there with some of the really stratospheric comics doing the rounds today. He’s clever. He’s hot. He quotes Ian Dury, for god’s sake.

Birdman’s 2012 Edinburgh show ‘Love, Life and Death’ is a little pearl of a show centred on the insight he has uniquely gained since his unexpected (well, as opposed to expected?) stroke he suffered at the tender age of 41. Yup, he thought it was just a bad hangover. And doesn’t that just say something about how we British drink?

Why yes, it does, Markus.

His style is like someone letting out a kite string- bit by bit, without stopping till the very end. He bears all- the stroke, the testicular cancer scare, the carrot inserted up his unspeakable place by a mentally-imbalanced girl.

The show is punctuated with nostalgia geared toward Generation Xers, but it is still something to which most of us can relate (well, except maybe the carrot). Much of the meat of the middle part is based on his experiences as the son of an English clergyman who is now an atheist. Then he moves on to his rules for life, which include basics like falling in love, not being afraid, and - this is the bit where he quotes Ian Dury - figuring out how you are going to be magnificent in life.

And that’s basically what his attitude is. Magnificent. It is rare that comics assume the audience has intelligence and will follow the jokes each time the penny drops. You leave feeling elevated, uplifted. And that’s a great kind of comedy show to watch. Go see him.


a non a miss said...

My friend told me once that he caught his step dad with a carrot in a very compromising position..still cannot look at carrots the same way.

Barton Fink said...

There goes my plan of making carrot cake today. (Seriously, I have a recipe that uses one pound of grated carrots. The New American Test Kitchen recipe. Darn. Maybe I can just use repression to forget this.)

Frufra said...

Oh, Barton, that recipe sounds wonderful. I'll be googling it for sure! Just scrub those carrots vigorously and you're good to go :-).

Frufra said...

P.S. - both of these comedians sound really good - great review!

Sherry said...

I love these posts. This guy is an awesome writer and making me wish I were in Scotland right. this. minute..
It could also be I am bored at work and wish I were anywhere else but here.

Amanda said...

Thanks you guys for the pos,itive comments! Markus will be happy about the proliferation of carrot usage.

@Sherry- no biggie, but thought I would mention I have no Y chromosomes to speak of. Unless my parents owe me a huge explanation....


Agent**It said...

Amanda, will you be posting any interviews etc via Enty's You Tube, etc? Not sure if it is still there ?This is a fun read , good luck and ENJOY!

dia papaya said...

Wish we could watch some of them. They both look hysterical!

lollydarling said...

Way, way too long and badly-written. Work on making your reviews a succinct paragraph, and use complete sentences.

dooronron said...

Hi, great reviews, am heading there tomorrow!

krk67 said...

Loved the reviews. These guys are totally up my alley and I'd see them in a heartbeat if they were playing a couple of thousand miles west.

jk said...

Thanks---what's Arthur Smith doing this year???


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