There is a moment every May when we here at the Mumble put down our glass of pimms on the freshly mown lawn, with the gay flutter of butterflies wafting against one’s skin, pick up our phone to check on messages & shit, open an inbox & see an email from the first Fringe publicist to have finalised their line-up. A week or two later then pops up an invite to the List launch party, where the Soviet-Bloc of Assembly, Gilded Balloon, the Pleasance & the Underbelly all converge on a single place for free booze, fifteen minute highlights & this year’s ‘Bibles’ of those mini-Fringe guides which tell you whats on in chronological order, rather than having to wander the labyrinthine horrors of the main fringe guide.
This year’s event was at Omeara in the Borough, London, on a lovely balmy evening on the last day of May. For everyone there, on waking up the next morning they’d have a terrific hangover, & the lovely welcoming into the bosom of June – just two months to go peeps! Omeara was glitzy, but informal, with a lovely roof terrace & a curvy cellar main area, the latter rather like the Caves in Edinburgh, but with the ability to breathe.
‘Everybody comes! Nobody remembers!’
After Pleasance head honcho Anthony Alderson bounded through his obligatory in-joke laden speech, the six acts hit the stage in quick procession. We had the manic-medleys of Jess Robinson, who at one point took on the persona of Julie Andrews singing ‘All About the Bass.’ Next was Koko Brown’s cunningly sharp spoken word act, then Luisa Omielan’s unbelievably relentless sentences, whose breathless & brilliant delivery is as funny as her material.
I missed the News Revue as I was on the roof terrace drinking the free gin, but I came back downstairs to check the eternally sound idea that is Showstoppers, whose improvised musical japery is a sure-fire winner, as long as you’ve got the right people involved. The cast changes every year, but watching this group’s portrayal of a tumultuous Brexit-driven love story set in Liverpool proved to me they’ve got what it takes to pull off this year’s campaign.
Then SHE came on the stage. I’ve never seen Gingzilla before; a suprisingly sexy, extremely tall drag act, who is just beyond brilliant really. She’s deffo on my review list for August, whether at her ‘Late Night Lip Service’ at the weekends (Gilded Rose: midnight) or at her eponymous Gingzilla all month at the Assembly George Square (8PM). Roll on the Fringe, I’m getting excited now, if a little worried about my curious attraction to a 7 foot drag act…
Damian Beeson Bullen