So that’s that: the Fringe is over for another year. No more culture. No more tourists. No more street performers clogging the Royal Mile. No more promoters thrusting fliers in your face. No more 5am drinking. Hey-ho, it was fun while it lasted, and while you may not have too many abiding memories of the Fringe, we do. We’ve got fuck-tons of them, all neatly archived in Ed Uncovered’s dedicated Fringe 2012 section.

But why on earth would you want to trawl through a bunch of reviews about a bunch of shows you’ll never get a chance to see now – most of which were forgettable fluff in the first place? Of course you wouldn’t, but I’ll be damned if all the work I put in to reviewing the fuckers is going to waste. That’s why I’ve curated this Best of the Fringe blog: to cram all the best lines from EU’s Fringe coverage into one easily-digestible article. I refuse to allow a single one of my jokes to go to waste – which is why you’re compelled to laugh loudly as you read along. Please justify my existence otherwise I might have to cry and write a blog about it.

Confession Time

As you’re skimming these Fringe soundbites, there’s also a game to be played by those of you who’ve been following along closely this month. You see, I have a confession to make: of the 25 Fringe shows reviewed by Ed Uncovered, three of them were covered in absentia. That’s right – I didn’t actually make it along to see the bastards. Don’t get me wrong, I had good intentions, but trying to cram in sleep, work and fapping while attending and reviewing 25 shows takes its toll; there were bound to be casualties.

Nevertheless, I was contractually obliged to review every single show on my schedule. The solution? In one instance I got a mate to review the show on my behalf – before rewriting their review and injecting it with lulz. As for the other two shows, I was forced to simply make up the reviews, which is not to say they were complete fiction – third party reviews and audience comments provided the facts, though the reviews themselves were still written from scratch.

From the selection below, see if you can work out which three reviews were guesstimated. Answers are provided at the end.

Bonus question: Which four reviews contain gratuitous use of the word ‘vajazzle’?

 Short of proposing a riot on Facebook, this is the closest you’ll get to seeing the wrong side of a prison door.” – A Woman Inside.


This is a show that revels in ineptitude and wallows in its own incompetence; it’s willfully silly and deliberately unfocused.  Self-aware, sardonic, self-referential and fourth wall-obliterating as this may be, would it be asking too much for the cast to stay in character for long enough to actually do their jobs?” – Quantum Battlestar Deep.


For 60 lightning-fast minutes the show provides ‘total entertainment’ – a phrase which may sound like it’s destined for a Sky commercial, but which can be taken as an unfettered compliment for now.” – Jigsaw: Gettin’ Jiggy.


Romeo & Juliet is a panacea for all mankind’s ills; it is the Elastoplast whose magical healing properties can banish the pain of skinned knees and broken hearts. Problems in the Middle East? Get the UN to fund a joint Israeli-Palestinian production of R & J. If this ‘contemporary production’ – complete with star-crossed lovers from opposing sides of the Gaza Strip – fails to win hearts and minds, there truly is no hope for humanity.” – Romeo & Juliet.


 There is something truly bizarre – and mildly terrifying – about the spectacle of a teenager stood in front of a pre-teen audience, awkwardly attempting adult comedy. Is this Comedy Club 4 Kids or Comedy Club of Kids? And more to the point, where’s the comedy? Quite what the eight-year-olds make of the routine about the provenance of frozen pizza is anyone’s guess.” – Comedy Club 4 Kids.


Sons of Anarchy, gathering storm, navigating by starlight, campfire tales, broken mirrors, tales retold, Americana, melancholy, true grit, the smell of rain, pine needles, empty promises, Marlboro red, smoky eyes, winter mornings, casual encounters with random strangers, autumnal leaves, the Mississippi.”– Dustbowl Blues with a Glasgow Kick.


If you’ve seen one drag show, you’ve seen every drag show, and thus you’ve certainly seen this drag show. If you’ve never seen a drag show, it’s probably because you’ve no inclination to see a drag show, in which case you’re not going to drag yourself along to this drag show. And if you’re wondering why this review consists of little more than gratuitous use of the words drag and show, it’s because I can’t think of much else to write about this drab drag show.” – Jonny Woo, reviewed by a drag-hating EU.


Hecklers, wiseguys and drunken fools must all be negotiated with consummate skill, or when that fails with bluster and profanity.” – Shappi Khorsandi.


One week into the Fringe, and nursing a bank balance that’s lower than my Facebook shares, I’m forced to witness Brian Kellock Trio – sober. As first world problems go, this is on a par with stepping into the shower without one’s shampoo.” – Brian Kellock Trio.


Our puppet cast includes Hughie McDhui, who hails from Drumnadrochit, Mairi Glengarry and nasty uncle Naggie McCraggie. Then we have the star of the show, a bunnet-wearing Nessie who eats thistles and extols the merits of Irn-Bru. Short of The Krankies being carried on stage by Sean Connery, this show could scarcely be more shortbread tin Scottish.” – Nessie the Loch Ness Monster.


Let’s not lose sight of the reason why Edinburgh Festival exists. It’s here to facilitate industrial-scale consumption of alcohol, weed and cocaine in order to induce casual sex with strangers. Nothing more, nothing less.” – Fringe Preview.


She’s not cringeworthy or offensive; she’s just not very good at improvising, in the same way that a substandard reviewer might struggle to improvise a suitable metaphor with which to finish this sentence, causing it to end on a whimper.” – Shappi Khorsandi.


One man’s Skrillex is another’s alien communique; one woman’s James Blunt is another’s vapid coffee table garbage.” – Dustbowl Blues with a Glasgow Kick.


When a musician is referred to as ‘a national treasure’, one’s first impulse is to run a mile. Is there a more devalued phrase in the English language?” – Richard Thompson.


As anyone who’s dined at a christian soup kitchen will attest, there’s no such thing as a free lunch – you always end up paying for it in the form of God. Hey, that cabbage soup has to be subsidised somehow.” – Whisky for Dafties.


Tempting as it would be to launch into an impassioned diatribe about society’s need to brainwash kids into believing that handsome princes and rushed marriage are the sole route to happiness, I’ll refrain.” – The Red Bus Puppet Shows.


With such lines as “We should deffo banter” and “I was just sick in my mouth”, Shakespeare for Breakfast may not be one for the purists. For the rest of us, however, it’s a quest to count the number of cultural references that can be crammed in before Juliet chugs down an Innocent smoothie and expires.”– Shakespeare for Breakfast.


I guess it’s easy to mix up the Disney princesses, what with their identical demands for handsome princes and a life of domestic servitude.” – Cinderella: The Musical.


 US Beef ain’t baloney, but neither is it rump steak…I left unsure whether I was expected to embrace veganism or hit up Burger King for a Bacon Double Whopper. In the end I did neither, electing instead to go home and pen a disappointed review.” – US Beef.


 Ever since the dawn of the Toy Story dynasty, us grown-ups have been spoiled when it comes to children’s entertainment. No longer must we sit wearily, finger-tapping and text messaging while our progeny chortle their way through some fatuous fairy tale in which everyone lives happily ever after.” – Nessie the Loch Ness Monster.


 In 2012, we’re so far removed from the horrors of WWII that a Fringe theatre company could unfurl a swastika above the castle before annexing Leith and no one would bat an eyelid. Hell, if they could make the trams run on time they’d be welcomed as liberators.” – Naked Dictators.


I don’t mind that I took an hour out of my morning and a note out of my wallet to taxi across town in vain; I’m clearly not bothered about it, which is why I haven’t mentioned this fact in my review.” – Spotlites Drama Workshops for Kids.


 The comedian finds a third gear, and then a fourth and then we’re flying, with dick jokes being liberally tossed at the audience and vajazzle quips tripping off the tongue. They’re good, too. David Whitney doesn’t do bog-standard knob jokes. His are so good, you’d tell them to your own mother.” – David Whitney, Struggling To Evolve.


This probably isn’t the most engrossing review you’ll ever read; neither is it likely to be the most boring. Like McLoughlin’s stand-up, it’s OK; nothing more, nothing less. Thankfully, in just 20 words’ time, it will all be over and then we need never speak of Danny McLoughlin again. I’m not lying.” – Danny McLoughlin.


 To tackle Homer’s sprawling masterpiece while giving a nod to Western colonialism, slavery, war-torn refugees and immigration is a bold effort, and one that ought to be applauded, if only plaudits were dispensed for ambition and gutsiness alone. Unfortunately, this is the Fringe, where stars are awarded on the basis of entertainment value rather than the number of dactylic hexametric lines that can be shoe-horned into a single production.” – Anon(ymous).


 Bodily fluids appear to be the default topic for all comedians who are forced to think on their feet. With children’s comedy, this inevitably involves jokes about pees and poops; with adult comedy, other fluids are also permitted.” – James Campbell‘s Comedy 4 Kids.


 ‘Locals’ is just a polite term for ‘alcoholics’, and in Scotland, a nation with more than its fair share of locals, there’s no better place to learn about whisky than down the pub.” – Whisky for Dafties.


Street Cries is a paean to broken Britain, a celebration of the vacuous and the visceral. It’s bleak, it’s sardonic, and it’s sharper than a box of discarded syringes…The play depicts a nation in which every town centre looks the same. It depicts high-rises where the lifts have been broken for so long that even the Out of Order signs are out of order.” – Street Cries.


If I have to endure another Fringe performance featuring comedy lyrics sung over a series of rapidly-interchangeable C and G chords, I’ll scream – and then compose a scathing review.” – Mervyn Stutter‘s Pick of the Fringe.


When you start to think about it, kids’ comedy seems less like a lark for stand-ups tired of drunken hecklers, and more akin to tight-roping across the Niagara Falls while suing for peace in the Middle East.” – James Campbell‘s Comedy 4 Kids.


According to the programme notes, this musical comedy was unscripted, having been formed on the basis of set improvisations. Like the cleavage in a fräulein’s corset, it shows.” – Naked Dictators.


 By the end of the play, Buck is still working at the plant, but has now turned vegan, because as we all know, the US slaughterhouse trade is run by quiche-eating liberals.” – US Beef.


It’s a wonder there’s not a Shakespeare theatre app available yet; shake once to determine the play you’ll be demolishing this season. Shake twice to learn the regional accent you’ll be adopting. And if you don’t like Scouse, shake a third time to roll again.” – Shakespeare for Breakfast.


 Our hero is transformed into a hoodie-clad freshman who appears to have woken up stoned after an epic frat party and is now struggling to find his way back to the dorm. This is less Homer’s Odyssey and more Dude, Where’s My Car? For the next hour, Anon bellows and bumbles about stage, stopping to fill his belly with candy, crisps or curry whenever he gets the munchies. That Penny should fail to recognise her son when they’re eventually reunited should come as no surprise – he’s probably put on 160lbs.” – Anon(ymous).


 Low notes rumble through the venue as the double bass is plucked deftly. At the side of the stage, James Grant’s shimmering guitarwork ascends heavenward, mingling with the dulcet tones of the Gaelic songstress. Overhead the chandelier coruscates as it deflects the mellifluous sounds that are dissipating into the ornate plasterwork.” – Ed Uncovered, attempting to get all poetic and shit while reviewing Karen Matheson.



So kids, did you manage to solve the super-tricky questions that were posed at the outset? 100 internets to whoever can answer the following teasers. Click on the tabs below to reveal the answers. (Insert your own drum roll if you can be arsed.)

Which four reviews featured gratuitous use of the word 'vajazzle'?

Shakespeare for Breakfast, Brian Kellock Trio, Street Cries and David Whitney.

Which review was a rewrite of a review that a mate composed for me?

Which two shows were reviewed in absentia?

Dustbowl Blues with a Glasgow Kick and Richard Thompson. TBH, I feel a bit guilty about missing the latter one especially – not least because it was featured on Richard Thompson’s website and has been read by hundreds of his devout fans. Shhh…

Finally, my personal highlight of the Fringe? It has to be Mickey Melillo’s butthurt in response to a poor review he received. So delicious.

When you’re subjected to a bad review, the best thing you can do is ignore it and move on. Act all butthurt and some smart-ass blogger’s bound to draw attention to it. After all, this is the internet, where the madder you get, the harder the world laughs.” – Butthurt Much? The Streisand Effect Strikes Again.

We’re quite fond of our boxes at EU, so here – have a pretty blue one. This one’s to tell you that although there’ll be no Fringe reviews during September, we’ve plenty of interdasting blogs lined up for you – like the following choice cuts: