Gangstaland: Scene 1

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Commencing the Winter Serialisation
Of the Conchordia Folio


SCENE 1: City’s Pad, Leith

 City is racking up a line of coke. The buzzer rings.

City
Who’s that then?

Lily
{intercom}
Babe, its Lily

City
Nice one – come up

City buzzes Lily in, goes to finish the line of coke, then goes to open the door. Enter Lily & Nelson.

City
{upset}
Lily

Lily
There, there honey, whats up

City
Its daddy – he’s broken Larry the Axe’s legs

Lily
So the wedding’s off

City
Of course it is – I’m hobbling down the aisle with no man, for no man – who’s this

Lily
He’s with me

City
Does he have a name?

Nelson
Hello Felicity, I’m Nelson, nice to meet you

City
Ooo –such strong hands – where’ve you been hiding this one, Lily, he’s gorgeous

Lily
We’ve only just met, but its going really well

City
Really… by the way, Nelson, do call me City – you know, some cities never sleep, I can keep going all night, if you know what I mean

Buzzer goes

City
Aw fuck

Lily
Who’s that?

City
I think it’s my dad

Don
{intercom}
Lemme in City, theres a good girl

City
I don’t want to see you

Lily
What ya doing, nobody says no to the Don not even his precious daughter

City
Ya right – sorry dad, do come up

Don
{intercom}
Cheers treacle

City
Fuck’s sake

Lily
I warned you about Larry the Axe, didn’t I – I told you your dad couldn’t stand him

Enter Don with Archie, Charlie & Bulldog


DIAMOND GEEZERS

Don
I’m one of the Diamond boys, I’m one of the diamond geezers
I had a transit full of toys & a bedsit full of freezers
But that was when I was starting out now my disco’s gone upmarket
I’ve got me an Austin Martin & a Kosovan to park it

Archie, Charlie, Bulldog, City & Lily
Oh! Diamond boys, diamond boys,
Don’t you love those diamond geezers
They act real flash & they splash the cash
Like a bunch of Julius Caesars (oi!)

Charlie
What’s that, you can’t pay up
You’re having a laugh, aintcha
The Don will not be happy
Well, Concrete Feet Petes in on Tuesday
If you haven’t clear the debt by then,
Let’s say you want be needing yer speedos

Don
So I turned my toys into drugs & I filled my outhouse with fridges
Then I opened a couple of clubs & I filled my warehouse with ravers
Cos clubs means money & money means power & that’s the power of prayer
I got a condo in the country & a villa in Marbella

Archie, Charlie, Bulldog, City, Lily & Nelson
Oh! Diamond boys, diamond boys,
Don’t you love those diamond geezers
They’re in your face like they own they place
They’re a bunch of Julius Caesars (oi!)

Archie
Three pills for a tenner
You’re having a life, aintcha
I’ve got a wife & three kids to support
Awight, awight, awight
But I’m cutting my own throat here
Here’s my number

Don
Well I’m one one of the diamond boys, men call me a diamond geezer
I might act tough but Im soft in the middle & I melt like a big malteser

All
He might act tough but he’s soft in the middle & he melts like a big malteser

Archie
So whats the meaning of life

Lily
Whats the key to your story

Don
Don’t marry a mental wife, smoke heroin or vote tory
& don’t end up like the Krays, killing guys in a public bar
& every couple of days send some jellied eels to your grandpa

Archie, Charlie, Bulldog, City, Lily & Nelson
Oh! Diamond boys, diamond boys,
Don’t you love those diamond geezers
They act real flash & they splash the cash
Like a bunch of Julius Caesars
Oh! Diamond boys, diamond boys,
Don’t you love those diamond geezers
They’re in your face like they own they place
What a bunch of Julius Caesars (oi!)

 


Don
Why are you ignoring my calls, Felicity, what is the problem

Lily
Don, how could you do what you did to Larry the Axe

Don
I dont give a flying fack wot you fink Lillian, that imbecile was definitely not right for my baby girl

City
I tell you who’s not right – YOU! – you’re not right in the head!

Don
I did not like the way that little toerag was sleazing all over ya – he had hands like an octopus

City
But he’s my fiance

Don
He was your fiance

City
I wish we never moved to Scotland – that’s the third one you’ve nobbled this year…

Don
It’s them Jocks lav, I aint met one yet good enough for my princess – just wait & see, one day a nice English fella’s gonna sweep you off your feet

City
{checks out Nelson}
Maybe… but some of the Scots are alright Dad… Sound geezers

Don
That may be so, but we wont be here long, Felicity, we’re not stoppin… no offence, Charlie

Charlie
None taken

Archie
Dad’s right, sis, as soon as he smoothes it over with the Robson brothers, we’ll be back in the manor before you know it

City
I don’t know why we never went to Marbella

Don
You know very well the Spanish authorities were sniffing abaht all over the gaff looking for taxes – It’s too hot out there at the moment

City
Well, its fucking freezing in Leith – you’ve condemned me to a life of pointelle vests
{optional line for Scottish actress}
& I cannae stop blethering in this daft accent

Lily
Don, come on, I respect you & everything, but can’t you see she’s upset – this is not a good time

Girls cuddle up

Nelson
Maybe you should go, mate

Don
Who the fuck are you?

Lily
This is Nelson, he’s my new boyfriend

Don
Nelson, eh… well I like the cut of your gib, son – I’ve never met anyone with the balls to tell me to fack off before – where ya from kid

Nelson
Peebles

Don
Peebles, where the fuck’s Peebles! Nevemind, they me call the Don, & any friend of Lily’s is a friend of mine, & if you’re a friend of mine you’ll be safe around Leith, alright

Nelson
Very nice to meet you sir

Lily
Don is one of the biggest gangsters
<Don coughs>
I mean one of the biggest businessmen in Edinburgh

Don
That’s right – I was once like you Nelson, a complete fucking scumbag, but now, well, let’s just say I’m socially mobile, so whadda you do

Nelson
What, like working

Don
Yeah

Nelson
I’ve just quit my job actually – I was working in a shitty factory

Don
Do you want to do a job for me?

Nelson
What?

Don
I’ll pay you a decent wdge

Nelson
What does it involve?

Don
Well — basically, one of my business associates has just had an unfortunate mishap with a sledgehammer
(City wails)
Problem is, he was due to run a little errand – all my other boys are tied up at the moment

Nelson
What exactly will I have to do

Don
Its simples, you just fly over to Italy for a couple of days

Nelson
Italy

Don
Yeah, Italy… you fly over there, give someone a package from me, & fly back home, simples

Nelson
I’m not a mule, Don, I’m not running drugs

Don
Nah, nah, nah, nah – its nothing like that, basically I need to be able to hand deliver something – something close to my heart – a token of my sincerity – it’s a traditonal trust motif between businessmen

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Nelson
Well, I suppose that doesn’t sound too bad – & Italy, I’ve always wanted to go Italy

Don
Yeah, a little holiday in the sun, you’ll love it – can you leave this this evening?

Nelson
That’s a bit soon innit

Don
You got a problem with that

Lily
You can’t really say no Nelson

Nelson
I can’t

Archie, Charlie & Bulldog
We wouldn’t advise it

Nelson
Well, in that case, I guess I’m off to Italy, woo-hoo

Don
Good choice, boy, good choice – this is my son, Archie, he’ll sort out the package for ya

Archie
Come with me

Nelson
Right
{to Lily}
Well, I guess I’ll see you later, babe

Lily
You’ll be fine – bring us back a nice handbag or something

Lily & Nelson embrace

City
Nice to meet you hamdsome

Nelson
You too Felicity

Archie
Oi! Bawbag, hurry up

Nelson
Alright, alright, I’m coming

Exit Nelson & Archie

Don
Everyone quiet a minute
{on the phone}
Hello, Mr Vito, is that you, nice one – Listen, I’m sending someone over someone different tonight, look after him will ya – yeah, yeah, he-ll have it – you too Mr Vito –bye, bye, yeah, yeah, ciao, ciao

City
Right, all of you out

Lily
You heard her boys, off you trot

Don
Alright, alright – Charlie!
{Charlie offers City a grand in cash}
This is to say I’m sorry about Larry the Axe… theres a couple of grand there – buy yourself something nice or something

City
I don’t want your dirty drugs money, dad. I want Larry the Axe

Archie
Come on, dad, she’ll calm down later

Don
Alright boys, lets go

Exit the men, Lily comforts an emotional City


THE CONCHORDIA FOLIO

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Interview: Damian Beeson Bullen

 

 

Interview: PLUG IN Girls

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London’s slickest hub of unseen female talent is back

With another hilarious night of comedy


Hello ladies, first things first, where are you both from & where are you at, geographically speaking?
Olivia: I was born and raised in London and now live north-east of London, on the Hertfordshire border. Grace was born in Frimley, Surrey and is now based in Fleet (Hampshire) but spend a lot of time in London.

Hello Grace, can you tell us about your career thus far in the performing arts?
Grace: Hello 🙂 Absolutely! My career thus far has been such an experience. Over the past few years I had a real drive to create my own work and opportunities and I think this has had a big impact on the relationships I’ve made and the jobs I’ve been lucky enough to have. It’s been a mixed bag with regards to the work I have done. It’s been a mixture of musical theatre, plays and screen work which was really my goal from the beginning to float across the platforms – fingers crossed I can continue do this going forward. Did I just jinx that?!

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Grace

Where, when, why & how did you meet Olivia?
Grace: So Olivia and I met totally by chance in an acting workshop back around the summer of 2017. It was in the Statford Circus in East London (which is where we would go for these workshops every weekend) and we met improvising scenes with a small group of other actors. We stayed there for around a year and then decided we wanted to partner up and do our own little mini showcases which now have evolved into Women Aren’t Funny!

Can you tell us about Blue Butterfly Productions?
Olivia: Blue Butterfly Productions is Grace’s first-born child. She set up her production company early last year, because she truly believes in giving people opportunities to create their own work. “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door!” in the words Grace Lewis herself (oh and Milton Berle. But Grace totally said it first). We produce PLUG IN under BBP because it encompasses the exact same values as PLUG IN does.

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Can you tell us about PLUG IN?
Olivia: PLUG IN grew out of a combination of passion for and frustration with our beautiful industry! As actors ourselves, we were in need of a platform where we could perform, invite agents, mingle with other creatives and have a laugh! We noticed that a lot of our female-actor friends felt the exact same way. We were tired of waiting for opportunities, so decided to create some! On our PLUG IN journey, we noticed that a lot of pieces performed by the people on our stage were really funny and the audience were loving it! We decided to trample this ridiculous idea that ‘women aren’t funny’ by growing our event into a full-on comedy night, which proves the exact opposite!

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Olivia

You’ve got three famous comedians (dead or alive) coming round for dinner. Who would they be & what would you cook; starters, mains & dessert?
Olivia: Peter Kay every time. As well as, honestly, a fair few of the performers we’ve had at PLUG IN! I would serve my unbeatable Carrot & Orange Soup (don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it), a delish Cauliflower Steak with spices, pomegranate seeds and all sorts of goodness and would finish off the meal with Chocolate ganache and Pavlova. And now I’m really hungry.

Plug In have started putting on comedy nights called – WOMEN AREN’T FUNNY – how have they been going?
Grace: AWESOME! We literally did NOT expect the night to be so well received and to be honest, its totally down to the pure talent of our performers. We’ve been lucky enough to sell out the past two shows so no pressure on this one hey…! (Did we mention tickets are on sale 😉 ) All jokes aside, there is so much incredible talent in London and we’ve been so lucky to get these women and non-binary performers on our stage!Can you describe your working relationship with Grace in a single sentence?

Olivia: GRACE WORKS SO HARD AND IS REALLY NICE

Can you describe your working relationship with Olivia in a single sentence?
Grace: DIVIDE AND CONQUER.

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With an all-female line-up, do you feel you are bordering the realms of sexual exclusivity, or are men thoroughly welcome to come along?
Olivia: Of course men are beyond welcome!! Our audience has always been a beautifully healthy mix of all genders! We welcome and encourage anyone from anywhere to come along to our event and we have always been lucky enough to have an incredibly supportive and diverse audience. Although we do have only female-identifying and non-binary comedians on our stage, this is purely to help with equality on the comedy scene. So many of our female acts have told us that they’ve performed at countless comedy nights with around 17 comedians, yet they were the only woman. We love that we can offer a different night. But hopefully, soon enough, we won’t have to fight against the bizarre idea that ‘women aren’t funny’ and will be able to sit back and enjoy brilliant comedians without having to specify gender.

You’ve got 20 seconds to sell the show to somebody in the streets of London…
Grace: Picture yourself laughing so hard you’re crying for a solid 90 minutes… You may even pee a little… That’s what we’re serving you up at PLUG IN! Why? Because WOMEN ARE FUNNY! And we will defy the ratio’s of male to female stand ups on stage if its the last thing we do!


WOMEN AREN’T FUNNY

The Albany, 240 Great Portland Street

Thursday, January 9th (19.30)

www.plugingirls.com

An Interview with Cat Alvarado

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Villains of History! Live in Flagstaff!

The Mumble just had to check out the backstory


Hello Cat! Can you tell us about your Latin American heritage?
My mother is from Nicaragua, and I grew up visiting almost every summer to see family. I still have many uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews there who I miss very much! One of my favorite things about my Nicaraguan heritage is that the country have such an amazing history of people trying to take over, and then against all odds regaining freedom again. Unfortunately, it usually leads to another tyrant, but Nicaragua still manages to pull through.

When did you first realise you were funny?
In 6th grade I took a drama class at summer camp, and we did the Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged. Somehow I ended up playing King George in a slow motion football game (for the crown), and the physical comedy & silliness came very naturally to me. Everyone in the class doubled over at my King George, and I new I wanted to make people laugh more somehow. Before I did stand up I did theatre for several years, and I never failed to find my way into funny supporting character roles and I played the heck out of them.

How did you get into stand-up?
In college I had gone away from theatre and majored in Economics, but once I got my first 9 to 5 I quickly realized how much I missed my passion. Luckily, I was friends with someone who ran a comedy show in a pizza shop in town. He was nice enough to give me 5 minutes in front of an audience. I tried it, and was a natural. I knew I needed to keep going, and here I am 5 years later.

What does your mother think of all this comedy malarkey?
She thinks I’ll never meet a husband. “Men don’t like women who are out late at night”. But deep down, I know she’s very proud.

Where do you find the comedy in what is essentially the rather serious situation in Nicaragua?
There’s nothing funny about the people who have been killed while protesting dictatorship. However, there is something funny about how dumb the dictator thinks people are. Dictators will flat out lie and deny everything, even when there’s proof beyond proof. There’s a lot of comedy in the lies. After the initial 25 people were killed in protests (his officers shot at peaceful protesters), he told the press that a small group of right wingers from the US were trying to stage a coupe. Just about the whole country knew that was BS, and they staged a historic march on April 20th with over 1 million people throughout the country to let Ortega know they supported the protesters and that these protesters were not representing some tiny group of US agitators.

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Can you tell us about Villains of History? 
Villains of History is a podcast I created in which I and a guest comedian talk about the life of different horrible people throughout history. That includes dictators, serial killers, cult leaders, and even some US Presidents. I was inspired to do this podcast by how little people know about what is happening and has happened outside of the US. While performing at a college this year, I had a COLLEGE student ask “what’s the cold war?” When Fidel Castro died a few years ago, there were actually people on my facebook who were sad about his death (none of them Cubans). We need more content that gets people to learn their history. As they say, if we don’t learn from it, we are doomed to repeat it.

You’ve got three famous comedians (dead or alive) coming round for dinner. Who would they be & what would you cook; starters, mains & dessert?
Maria Bamford, Jim Gaffigan, and Lewis Black. I would definitely treat them to some Nicaraguan food. Probably a delicious carne asada (flank steak), some steamed yucca, Nicaraguan coleslaw, & fried plantain chips.

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You’re performing at this year’s Big Pine; what are you bringing to the table?
I’m bringing that fire! I’ve got some great jokes, and a super interesting live podcast!

How is a podcast translating into live performance?
Audience members will be able to ask questions at the end. Jamie Kennedy is our guest, which is VERY exciting. He’s probably the biggest guest I’ve had so far, and it’s such a privilege to be working with him for the live show. It’s going to be a great time!

You’ve got 20 seconds to sell the show to somebody in the streets of Flagstaff?
If you like history & true crime, and have a sense of humor, come to the live taping of the Villains of History podcast on Sunday September 22nd at Blendz! It’s going to be super fun! You can check out the podcast ahead of time by finding it on Stitcher, Apple Podcasts & Spotify!


VILLAINS OF HISTORY

BLENDZ, FLAGSTAFF (AZ)

Sunday, September 22nd (14.00)

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Big Pine Comedy

You can also catch Cat’s stand-up at the following times/places:

Wednesday 18: Comedians Under the Influence @ 11:30 pm at Orpheum Theatre

Thursday 19: Calendar Shoot @ 3:30 pm at Green Room / Frequent Delinquents with Lisa Landry @ 10 pm @ Green Room *Industry Showcase*

Friday 20: Headbangers Comedy Ball with Orlando Leyba @ 10 pm @ Green Room

Saturday 21: Lumber Jills with Jackie Fabulous @ 8pm at Green Room (Host)

An Interview with Rob Gee

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Rob Gee is back in Vancouver with a brand new show!


Hello Rob, its been a whole year since we chatted last – where have you been & what have you been up to?
One thing that’s made me hugely happy is being lead artist for a thing called the Comedy Asylum, which is basically comedy shows created and rpeformed by people on the receiving end of mental health treatment. I love it. As someone who worked as a nurse in psychiatry for 12 years, it’s like a breath of fresh air.

How do you find the process of reinventing yourself & your show each year?
I simply write the shows I want to see. If you have an idea that makes you giggle it’s certainly worth knocking up a first draft.

You’re bringing a new show to this year’s Vancouver Fringe, what are you bringing to the table?
It’s the story of an escaped psychiatric patient who befriends a lost six-year old. They go on some adventures together. She’s full of sugar and he think he’s an Egyptian pharaoh.

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Is the show an extended highlights session of your 12 years as a psychiatrist nurse, or is there more to it?
It isn’t that. It’s a story with invented characters and it’s made up. I certainly couldn’t have written it without my particularl background, but that’s true of everything all of us write. When I first wrote this show I performed it to an audience of ex-patients, plus the good people of the Comedy Asylum. It wouldn’t have seen the light of day without them.

What have been the biggest obstacles you overcame while putting your show together?
Procrastination. Actually this one was really easy. It was huge fun to write, and the process of bouncing it around with different people involved a lot of giggling.

What thoughts & emotions do you hope the audience will take away from the show?
Happiness; a life-affirming happiness! I wouldn’t settle for anything less.

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Has your attitude towards the Fringes changed at all in recent years?
Not really. I’ve always felt very much at home within the whole fringe movement. Maybe I’m more of a purist than I used to be: I tend to think fringes that follow the Edinburgh/Adelaide model are closer to trade fairs than fringe festivals.

What is your last minute routine before you go on stage to perform?
I don’t really have one. I use the washroom and look at my phone. Sometimes I have a little dance, if the pre-show’s loud enough.

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What does your perfect day off at the Vancouver Fringe look like?
It’s not raining! And Jem Rolls has bought me a pint.

You have twenty seconds to sell the show to someone you are flyering in the streets of Vancouver – what would you say?
Kevin is an escaped psychiatric patient. Millie is exuberant six-year old. Granny doesn’t stand a chance.


Kevin, King of Egypt

The Revue Stage

Sept 6,7,8,11,12,14 (times vary)

www.robgee.co.uk

Njambi McGrath: Accidental Coconut

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Just the Tonic at Marlin’s Wynd
August 1-23 (16:05)

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Njambi McGrath’s Accidental Coconut is an intelligent, charming and timely piece of stand-up.  In her discussion of the complexities of her Kenyan identity, which has been particularly influenced by the nation’s colonial history, McGrath effortlessly guided the audience through an interesting, if sometimes slightly unfocused, hour of stand-up. A major strength of McGrath’s act was her likeability as a performer, where I found myself almost immediately rooting for her.  For a show that broached several contentious subjects, including popular, contemporary attitudes about immigration, Brexit, and the complexities of Britain as an ex-empire, her stage presence was amiable, and well-suited to a show that was so socially and racially charged.  Encompassing references from the Berlin Conference of the 19th century to Brexit, McGrath’s comic style was a perfect vehicle for communicating an array of complex analyses on British and Kenyan cultures, and showing how the spectre of colonialism continues to haunt African identities today.

In her comic performance, set amid current cries of a by-gone empire, McGrath stylishly refuted a series of aggrandised, honeyed platitudes about historic British power with an enjoyable, resolute confidence.  In dealing with the cliché that the British Empire seized other people’s land through the power of their pleasantries and abundant cups of tea, she eviscerated this by underlining how unutterably merciless the British Empire was in its use of military power, embellishing her historic dramatisations by adorning an overbearingly posh, and very funny, regal accent.  I also found her segments on Brexit interesting, and her comparison between demands for British sovereignty from Brussels that stood in sharp contrast to the less accommodated demands for Kenyan statehood during its time as a colony.  She explored these ideas in a way that not only underlined her own experiences as a Kenyan, but more presciently, her exasperation over how these warped forms of imperial nostalgia continue to permeate contemporary Britain, and the way they continue to disfigure debates over immigration.  The difficulty of projecting these ideas effectively through stand-up comedy can’t be underestimated, so to McGrath’s credit, she maintained a great balancing act between being likeable and funny, yet stimulating at the same time.

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For all of the show’s many strengths however, parts of it felt a little undeveloped, and not particularly well-placed in terms of the show’s overall focus and narrative.  And while McGrath’s immense likeability as a performer meant that the audience largely stayed with her throughout Accidental Coconut, at times I felt like their patience wore a little thin, and couldn’t help but feel some of the crowd started lagging in the final third of the show.  Furthermore, it felt like there was more of an emphasis on ensuring the social, racial and political conclusions of the show landed effectively than making sure the show was funny, or to be more exact, as funny as McGrath’s genuinely strong energy as a performer could have possibly delivered.

This is undeniably a difficulty in stand-up performances that are as charged as McGrath’s show (to borrow from the comic scholar Rebecca Krefting), and to her absolute credit, she delivered whole sections of the show extremely well.  But overall, Accidental Coconut felt like a show caught between comic and non-comic performance, deviating at times between what felt more like a humorous guest lecture at an academic conference than a stand-up show.  Accidental Coconut is a complex comic performance that sets an ambitious and commendable standard for itself in tackling the vitally important racial and socio-political questions which McGrath places at the heart of it, but I feel that until she addresses these deficits, she will continue to do a disservice to herself as an extremely amiable and funny comedian.

James Nixon

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Darius Davies: Persian of Interest

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Just the Tonic at The Tron
Aug 1-25 (14:20)

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The cavalcade of comedians at the Edinburgh Fringe could be forgiven for being a little exhausted as they approached its final days. But having said this, Darius Davies’ Persian of Interest was immediately reassuring, and brilliantly funny. Bombastic, self-deprecating and politically incisive, he was a delight to watch in the intimacy of the Tonic at the Tron. As he took to the stage for his Thursday show, he began by ribbing sections of the audience for their less than enthusiastic applause. Promising a fantastic show – which he certainly delivered – Davies quickly won over these pockets of the audience in no time with an assortment of observational humour and clever social and political analysis.

A major theme of Persian of Interest focused on the increasingly unreliable nature of traditional and online media as a source of reliable information. The opening of his show helped emphasise this, with a prescient, menacing video montage illustrating the United Kingdom and the United States’ lurch towards right-wing nationalism, with snippets of Trump’s inauguration and Brexit. Davies’ montage also cleverly merged these developments with the parallel rise of app-based technologies and the ever increasing reliance on social media to both shape and define our lives. However, on a more ominous level, he highlighted how the use of increasingly sophisticated technology enabled unverified anecdotes and stories to spread quickly and aggressively across the internet without even the feeblest attempts to substantiate it. On a personal level, Davies illustrated the world’s struggle in combating fake news through his recollection of the time he had to throw a 12-pack of heckling Spanish tourists out of one of his shows during the 2017 Fringe, and the scornful, yet hilarious lengths they employed to get back at him on social media through a series of blatantly ridiculous accusations. By showcasing their efforts to the audience, Davies effectively demonstrated how platforms such as Twitter have become as much a reactionary, abusive battering ram against people in the public eye as they are a considered platform for qualified, considered opinion.

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He went on to talk about his struggles with Tinder, and how, after experimenting with creating and using a female Tinder profile, he came to sympathise with women who use the app and the torrent of groin-based photography Tinder introduces them to. It’s a definite highlight of the show, but more pertinently, I felt it underlined the nuances of Davies’ act, and his mixture of a kind of virile, masculine stage persona with moments of well-delivered, subtle progressivism. From his commentaries on social media, it developed into a wider critique of the use of social media by news organisations, and the troubling lack of accuracy and substantiation that goes into elements of their journalism. In possibly the best part of his entire show, Davies enveloped the audience in his tale of how he got revenge on Ryanair’s weighty booking fees through the use of social media, an entertaining vendetta which eventually led to him being welcomed onto BBC News as an unverified witness to a news item he had zero relation to. The majesty of this story lies in its depiction of Davies’ transformation from an aggrieved Ryanair passenger to a morsel of woefully unsubstantiated media fodder on live news, and one accomplished in riveting detail. Furthermore, it provided a prescient take on the vacuity of established, modern-day news institutions, and their struggle to marry the rigours of traditional journalism with an increasing demand to involve their stories in fast-paced, scatty social media reactions and opinions. In a comic tale for the Trump era, Davies elegantly underlined these weaknesses in the modern newsroom to brilliant effect.

An audience’s patience for social and political commentaries within stand-up can often deteriorate quickly, so it’s a real testament to Davies’ act that he was able to skilfully weave funny, observational anecdotes into more serious contemplations regarding the news and modern technology in such an engaging way. I also appreciated how Davies was open to ribbing himself on occasion, such as when he presented a cringe-worthy video of his younger, shirtless self performing a wrestling promo to camera, or in moments when he mocked himself for perhaps being a little too conspiratorial about modern technology. In his fine balance between self-deprecation, accessibility and socio-political exposition, instances like this made his more serious takes on the news and modern technology all the more effective. For the majority of the show, I was really engrossed by Davies’ material and delivery. However, at times I found the use of sound effects slightly jarring, and some of his examples of media malpractice were a little too indefinite to be overly effective. But for a show that tackles both the complexities around the increasing role of technology in our lives and relying on traditional news as a source of information, it makes sense to provide a video element to the show, and for the most part, it works really well. Overall, I thought it was a considered and very funny take on grappling with trying to find truth in a news culture saturated with hyperbolic, and often unsubstantiated spectacle, a light-hearted comic treatment for the fake news era, and I look forward to seeing more of Davies’ work in the future.

James Nixon

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Twonkey’s Ten Year Twitch

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Just the Tonic at The Caves
Aug 1-25 (16:10)

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This is my last comedy review of the decade, of the Tweenies, & so Twonkey’s Ten Year Twitch is a most appropriate choice. Paul Vickers began Twonkey’s Scandinavian saga back in 2010, & more than any other act has marked the progress of the decade. Back in 2010 Obama was president, Boris Johnson was widely derided, Brexit wasn’t relevant & people kinda liked each other, not being constantly bombarded by the elitist & populist control of the media which is sewing division daily in our lives. But one thing that hasn’t changed in that time, well not significantly at any rate, is Mr Twonkey’s sparklingly original cabaret. I’d caught the very first one (I’m a friend of the family) & his second show was included in my personal blog of 2011, which is something of a Hobbit to the Mumble’s Lord of the Rings. Here is the write-up;


Then came the climax of the Beehive session, & PAUL VICKERS surreal show, TWONKEY’S CASTLE. Meeting up with his brother, VICTOR POPE & his mum Anne (see yesterday), we found ourselves right at the front & in the midst of the action. Words cant really describe what goes on in Paul’s mind as he floats from piece to well-written piece, delivering his puppet-peppered comedy with a dead-pan relish. He also sings, & bloody well at that, which gave the show a category of Cabaret. But its not cabaret – you cant really label it. Perhaps Vic Reeves & Des O Connor high on helium gas while Monty Python dance about them naked is kinda close, but its an hysterical ride through a man’s imaganation, & a mind thats growing confident with his material. He’d unleashed Twonkey on the Fringe last year (see you tube below) & where next Mr Vickers… Twonkey’s Space Station?


The beauty of that write-up is that I could just copy & paste it & it will still stand for today – its all a bit like The Fast & the Furious franchise, which just gets better & better. The only difference between then & now is that certain members of the 2019 audience have their favorite puppets & characters – mine is Mr Vines, Twonkey’s dodgy manager figure. I also saw something this year I thought I never would; a family of probable Christian fundamentalists walking out deriding Twonkey with a ‘that is sick‘ jibe. Twonkey is many, many things, but sick is not one of them.

The Wheel never lies… does that ring any bells? Mr Twonkey

Twonkey opens his show with a videolet of Subterranean Homesick Blues, whipping out the posters of ten years at the Fringe one-by-one… in the correct order! This year’s buzziest creation for me was Leonardo de Vinci’s landlady declaring that famous Renaissance artist was “ahead of his time, but behind on his rent,” while the Twonkiest moment – yes I think the Oxford Dictionary can accept that as a new word – would be when he played a mini-accordion while balancing a series of model fish… upon it’s top!

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At all times the audience sat transfixed, mouths slightly ajar, little drops of saliva collecting in the corners of their mouths. We all (more or less) love Twonkey whether its your first visit, or your tenth, & I have seen all ten! So to conclude; Brexit will eventually be a mere memory, & Trump will die in prison, but Mr Twonkey, or at least the Twonkeyism that he invented, will continue to thrive. I got that knowledge straight from the horse’s mouth, actually, for on asking Mr Vickers will he be back for a new decade, he replied, ‘I’m sure I will keep going but in many different forms and in new and exiting ways. I just need to dream it all up again.’

Damian Beeson Bullen

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