17 August 2019

Edinburgh Fringe - Just These Please/Mark Watson

It's been two years since my last Fringe visit (where the hell has the time gone?), and I decided to take things slower this time after running myself ragged watching five shows a day last time. I went on a Tuesday night and came back Thursday night (which didn't give me a lot of time), and I was seeing Florence and the Machine on Wednesday night which limited what I could see late. I'm hoping to go back before the Fringe ends (fingers crossed). 

My first show was Suitable - fast and furious sketch comedy with Just These Please, (at Gilded Balloon Teviot) a talented company which includes three actors/comedians (Phillipa Carson, Georgie Jones and William Sebag-Montefiore) and a funny full-time solicitor (Tom Dickson) thrown in for good measure. I checked out their Youtube channel on the way up to Edinburgh and was instantly hooked (check out their 'When You Order Coffee With An Irish Name' video which has over a million views). When they said that they were going to do twenty-five sketches in fifty minutes, I wished I'd chosen Red Bull instead of plain old water in Sainsbury's. They kicked off the show with a rap opening before launching into quick-fire sketches including body organs reacting to a drunken session, wartime politeness gone mad, milking nuts and the aforementioned Irish coffee sketch (yay).

I particularly enjoyed (and maybe even snorted at) a sketch about Instagrammitis (imagine getting stuck forever in a Boomerang) and realising that I am indeed a Plug Walker - someone who frequents a place for a long time to charge their phone. I'd even done it somewhere that day where I didn't have to buy a coffee! (Thanks guys for my Plug Walker badge which now has pride of place on my Frida Kahlo rebel themed denim jacket).

Just These Please Edinburgh Fringe
Just These Please were suited and booted
There were more clever and though-provoking sketches before they finished strongly with a song about Edinburgh Fringe bus drivers wanting to kill everyone (who can blame them)? I particularly enjoyed the pop/rap music between the sketches and the way they nod at each other when a sketch is over - I was thoroughly entertained, and fell in love with all of them just a little bit.

After the show I had a bit of a wander over to the circus tent, walked out of a show that was pretty crap then headed to Assembly George Square Gardens for Mark Watson's show How You Can Almost Win. I'd seen him at The Arc in Stockton a few years ago and laughed myself silly, so I was looking forward to seeing him live again (doubtful that I would be firing a confetti cannon this time). 

The basis of the show was his stint on Celebrity Island with Bear Grylls in 2017, where celebrities are stranded on a remote uninhibited island for four weeks with limited water, basic tools and training and have to find their own food and shelter. He reflects on the experience with amusing powerpoint slides and unseen footage of him on the island, struggling to keep going (he managed to tough it out but left just before the end after having severe chest pains).

He started off by joking about his history at the Fringe and the demographics of the audience, shocked at the fact that some audience members were born after 2000 (yeah, I struggle with millennials too). He started the actual show about twenty minutes in, but in no way was I bored - he has a way with the audience that's so at ease and has you hanging on to every word. He talks candidly about his divorce, his thoughts on Bear and how society puts these alpha males on a pedestal and how that can be potentially damaging - there's lots of self-deprecating gags but there's also a message here. I snorted a bit over his Powerpoint disclaimer and a slide called Stages of Starvation, and his attempt at All Star Driving School afterwards that bombed. 

Mark Watson Edinburgh Fringe
Mark Watson - in the bath on his laptop like me
It felt like he crammed a lot into an hour and even though it was comedy I resonated a lot about his message regarding how we perceive 'success' and teamwork vs relying solely on your own strength. Hopefully I'll get the chance to see his other work-in-progress show (I Appreciate You Coming To This And Let's Hope For The Best) which is on from August 17th to 25th at The Stand Comedy Club.

For tickets for Just These Please click here

For tickets for Mark Watson click here 

*I received tickets for the shows in exchange for reviews 

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