In order to prepare for his new Fringe show, Michael has put on 4 gigs, once a month (one of which he couldn’t manage to turn up to) involving himself and his funny friends. He now acknowledges this is a mistake, because compering a show is no way to prepare for an entire hour of new material.
It wasn’t a mistake for the fans though. We have got to see Paul Litchfield, Sarah Parrish, Dab & Tench, Richard Herring, Tony Law (and probably more that I’ve forgotten about), and today was the best line up of all: Caroline Mabey, Bridget Christie and Nick Helm.
The “Die Hard” fans met upstairs and comprised of, among others, myself, Neal, Neale (aka Hitch), Sarah, Sir Bob, Ian and Heather. We had fun. A lot of fun. It was Canada Day. We got stickers. But all good things must come to an end and we trudged downstairs to see the show.
I love sitting at the front at gigs, but have always been wary of Nick Helm. Off stage, he is so lovely. On stage, he is fucking terrifying. But of course, even though we were late downstairs, we found the front row totally empty. Even the second row. Everyone was in the third row and further back. Maybe they were even more scared of Nick than me!
Michael didn’t really have much time to give us a proper preview of his show but did throw in an story of his train journey to Manchester that, even after he was paid cost him £150, which happily ended up with Jamelia falling off a chair, as well as introducing a new slant: Michael’s Indiscretions. Hopefully I will get a chance to see a full preview of his show next week in Kings Cross.
A heavy pregnant Caroline Mabey opened the show with some pretty close to the bone stuff mainly based around her pregnancy. But as she says, the jokes will be out of date in a week or two. But she is someone always worth seeing.
Jason the War Donkey as played by Bridget Christie was on next, kicking his way through Edwin Starr’s “War”. Aw, Jason is such a cutie, and as a donkey comic, touched on subject such as the issue about being related to a more famous donkey, and is that the only reason he gets gigs, to the prevalence of horse comedians these days. Bridget got out of the donkey costume eventually and revealed an inflatable fat suit so she could show us her Edwin Starr dancing when he was rather larger. This was pure physical comedy and totally funny. Unfortunately she was worried this might distract us from the serious points about feminism she was trying to make, and she was right to worry. She slowly deflated herself and carried on…
Nick Helm closed the show with a preview of “This Means War”, and he wasn’t as terrifying as I thought / hoped. He started with a rock number, getting all the audience to punch the air, shouting “Helm Helm Helm” which we did, until he started singing. He berated us for stopping, so we continued. Of course when he split the audience in two to sing different parts this caused even more confusion and fury towards us. He told us to provide the pyrotechnic noises to the punchlines to his jokes, but very quickly spotted the problem, i.e. we had no place to laugh! A new catchphrase was born: “Let’s do it to it” which he soon got annoyed by. A few more songs and poems and a run of about 20 awful jokes and it was all over. Nick Helm is on the cusp of stardom right now, and he will very soon be a household name. And, (keep this secret) off stage he is a lovely, sweet, soft-spoken man.
Afterwards we had a beer upstairs and headed home around 7ish. I headed to a bar in Kings Cross where my good friend and artist Donald was having his leaving do before he goes to Paris for a year and it was nice to see him warble along to some obscure musical numbers form some obscure camp musicals.
Next week, there’s a show in Kings Cross comprising of 18 acts doing full Edinburgh previews. LET’S DO IT TO IT!