August 7, 2016 Edinburgh Fringe Festival: The weird, the whacky, and the wonderful The Sunday Herald / Saul Sorooshian An aubergine, a naked magician and Jesus Christ on a BMX stroll into a bar … is this the start of a strange joke? Well, yeah, but it is also some of the performers you might find at The Last Drop bar in Edinburgh after a day’s work at this year’s Fringe. The arts festival has some of the best cultural shows in the world but one of the joys is experiencing the absurd, the obscene and the absolutely hilarious. Even if it comes at the cost what boring people call “sanity”. To bring you the oddest and most unique performances at this year’s Fringe, produced by people who turn a shoulder to the mainstream, we have scoured through hundreds of shows to bring you the weird, the whacky, and the wonderful. 2 Become 1 Tickets available from 6th-28th We start off with a time-warp back to 1990s. Is it just me or does it smell like teen spirit in here? Kerrie Thomason, Natasha Granger, Bethany Black and Eliza Hewitt-Jones present a musical comedy show about four slightly mad girls who explore the dying art of speed dating, with a lot of the dates based on their own experiences, while throwing in a satisfying amount of 90s hit songs along the way. Thomason said: “This show is all about Girl Power! We use stereotypical stock characters to show what we believe women are perceived as in the world of dating. As this show is set in a time before we were all glued to our screens with the takeover of tinder, we wanted to show the contrast of dating between modern day and the 90s, when the only way you met someone was face to face, over a Barcadi Breezer.” Circumcision Free from 4th-28th Dave Chawner, 27, is a comedian and mental health campaigner who is set to give us a fresh and modern stand-up comedy show that does much more than just give you the giggles. And don’t let the name fool you, it isn’t an hour long show about uncomfortable and embarrassing medical procedures. Drawing on his own personal experiences, Dave explores the issues of gender and trying to promote an equality between the sexes. Chawner said: “Gone should be the days of masculinity and even femininity. We should focus on an equality of the genders where one person doesn’t have to act one way because of their sex. Comedy is a beautiful way to make difficult points more tangible. So I might present important points amidst phallic jokes”. In other words, be prepared to learn while you laugh. Having a wealth of success under his, erm, belt with similar shows in the past, this is one comic you have to make the effort to see. When asked for one sentence to entice people along Dave simply said: “It’s free, and you get what you pay for.” As comically self-deprecating as a British comedian should be. Oh My Dad: Christ on a Bike Tickets available from 5th-28th (excl. Mondays) Chris Wilson risks the wrath of evangelists, Wesboro Baptists and God himself as he presents the Fringe with a satirical look at the character of Jesus Christ himself in an hour-long show that mixes dance, singing, and comedy. This unique show portrays Jesus as being out of touch with modern-day humanity, having a mere 12 twitter followers to his name. Many of the stories from his life have been misconstrued and lost in translation due to his unfortunate dyslexia. It wasn’t Satan that was evil, it’s Santa. Don’t expect the Jesus Christ that you may be familiar with; this is the immortal 80’s disco messiah who is also a self-proclaimed fitness guru and much more. Chris promises a show that is “very high in energy and very camp”, where audience interaction plays an important role. And make sure your phones are charged and you have your twitter account ready, because one of the two disciples on stage with Jesus has a very important role to play. Emoji Tickets available from 14th-20th The Imperial College Dramatic Society this year brings us the theatrical portrayal of the lives of our favourite visual metaphors, emojis. This play follows Brian the brown shoe emoji, who suddenly becomes as frequently used as the crying with laughter or aubergine emoji. From here we get a look into the world of emojis as, like with many people today, fame is the be all and end all of their existence. Writer and semi-director Oscar Gill said: “As Imperial College is a science-based university, we wanted to do something that played to our strengths. Much of the technical aspects of the set were programmed by those in the play. Emoji’s are very much part of the zeitgeist right now, and it is so interesting to personify what is essentially an abstract visual language. But of course it’s very funny, with puns and inappropriate humour in abundance.” The Naked Magicians Tickets available from 8th-29th (excl. 16th) Planning to organise a hen-do in Edinburgh this month? Are you someone who loves rabbits and burly Australians in equal amount? Are you just a bit drunk? Well we have the perfect show for you. All the way from Down Under come Mike Tyler and Christopher Wayne, The Naked Magicians. Don’t come with granny and the kids, this is definitely the most visually stimulating magic show in the world. Mike told us about the show: “We started the show back in 2014, a year after coming up with the idea. We wanted to attract an audience that wouldn’t normally come to magic shows. It’s a very interactive show, so people shouldn’t come to watch the show, they should be prepared to be part of the show. We performed at the Adelaide Fringe in Australia for three years and people would often come to see the show again. It’s really high energy, a lot like a rock concert. It’s like Magic Mike, but with real magic”. This is guaranteed to be one of the whackiest experiences you could find at the Fringe. So bring your mates, your boyfriends and anyone who uses the aubergine emoji too much. This is going to be a hell of a ride. Strictly Come Trancing Free, from 6th-28th Ben Dali, who you may have seen in TV appearances in Take Me Out, Countdown and The Chase, is the spearhead which is bringing the art of Hypnosis back from relative dormancy and into the modern world. This is your opportunity to go along and be hypnotised by Ben, or to enjoy the spectacle from your seats. Ben Dali told us: “There’s nowhere else in the festival, or even the world, where you can see people translating from English to Wookie, catching live Pokémon or discussing sex in an alien language. Lots of different forms of entertainment rely heavily on audience participation, but hypnosis is unique in that it entirely depends on it. But if I don’t have volunteers I don’t have a show. For me as a performer I’m grateful to everyone who joins in, and find no greater honour than when a stranger demonstrates trust and faith in me.” Absolutely bonkers or mind blowing? That’s up to you to decide. Jules Vern’s Extraordinary Voyages: The Lighthouse at the End of the World Tickets available from 4th-29th (excl. 16th) As well as light-hearted fun and joviality, there is also the opportunity to see some excellent drama at the Fringe. Not Cricket Productions gives us a set of adaptations of Jules Verne’s novels. Along with 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Journey to the Centre of the Earth, they are presenting an adaptation of one of Verne’s lesser-known novels and so provide what will likely be an entirely new experience for those attending. The Lighthouse at the End of the World follows the sole survivor of a Lighthouse that is attacked by brigands, as he and the survivor of a shipwreck race to fire up the light again and bring their adversaries to justice. Alex McLintock, who plays the ill-fated lighthouse survivor, says: “It’s a tense and rare Verne drama with a number of twists and turns. It has been a tough and tiring process but it’s all worth it. Everyone has worked so hard and made something that was worth the huge amount of effort”. This show is a chance to experience something you would rarely see anywhere else. 4D Cinema Tickets available from 5th-28th (excluding Mondays) From the creative mind of Mamoru Iriguchi comes a unique take on visual entertainment. Sporting an impressive mini-cinema that surrounds his face, Mamoru combines the 2D plane of cinema and the 3D plane of theatre to create a truly unique and weirdly mesmerising performance. With the live performance of his face mixed with the pre-recorded cinema, he chose the iconic German actor Dietrich into the show. “Once these elements had been chosen, they were all thrown into the pot and got cooked. I ended up becoming a human cinema cum spiritual medium who calls the spirit of Dietrich from the world of the dead. ‘Life is irreversible. So is death. So seize the moment while you can’ is the key message of this piece, I think.” Sounds like something you’ll never get to see anywhere else. And if for some mad reason none of that peaks your interest, the idea of seeing a man dancing around in a giant DIY cinema hat had should.