The Edinburgh Festival is the world’s biggest arts festival where thousands of artists from all over the world perform on hundreds of stages across Edinburgh. OH and I always try to have at least one day in Edinburgh during the Festival as I love the free shows, which highlight new comedians and musicians. I always keep an eye out on Twitter for recommendations as I have discovered some wonderful acts this way. This year, prior to the Fringe, I had been bantering with a comedian on Twitter. Well, I say bantering, I think what I actually done was bully him into giving me a free ticket for his show, which is on most evenings at the Pleasance Courtyard at 8.30pm. Darren Walsh – Punderbolt (£9). Therefore, this year that became my focus and everything else had to fit around it.
OH and I set off nice and early to the train station and waited patiently for the train to arrive. We both had that sinking feeling as the train drew up next to the platform as we could see it was already packed. With standing room only we pushed ourselves on to the train and leaned against an out-of-order toilet for the hour-long journey. Normally the train ride up the Fife coast and over the Forth Rail Bridge is one of the most scenic and interesting rail routes to be had but today it was difficult to enjoy as, like animals being transported, we were penned in with all notion of maintaining personal space forgotten.
We spilled out on to the platform at Waverley glad to be out of the claustrophobic carriages. From there it obviously didn’t take us long to find out first pub.
As the day wore on we manged to see a few street performers and free acts, Freddy Quine and Benji Waterstones were 2 that stood out. Music in the Tron was also a hit and it was really interesting watching artist Louise Giblin make a plaster cast of a hand. The bronze torso of Dame Kelly Holmes she has sculpted and is on show at Urbane Art Gallery is a must see!
Deciding we should add some food to our diet of cider and ale, OH and I started to argue about where we could eat. I wanted somewhere to sit down whilst OH preferred something from a stall. We then both had the idea of going to The Potting Shed. Unfortunately it was fully booked all evening, which although was disappointing is a good sign so it is still on the list. We then decided to go to Usher’s just round the corner. Although we hadn’t ate there before, it’s a favourite of ours for Craft Beers. We went in, ordered our drinks and sat down and perused the menu. Having made our decisions I ordered at the bar and sat back down. As we had both nearly finished our drinks and there was still no sign of our food I went up to the bar to query it. The barman said he’d check. He returned and asked if it was 2 burgers we had ordered. Nope, lamb curry and chicken with noodles. Oh. Who did you order from? I told him. His face said it all. He left and came back and said the chef hadn’t received the order but if we wanted to wait he would make it as there was no other food orders in. We told him to forget it, annoyed at the poor service. The barman then looked at our drinks and asked us what we had been drinking. I thought he was going to buy us a free round but no, he was asking if we had already paid for our drinks. Even more annoyed and now very hungry, we left Usher’s, which is no longer on the list.
Shortly after that we headed to the Pleasance Courtyard and picked up the tickets for Darren Walsh. The courtyard was buzzing and within 5 minutes of arriving we saw John Hannah, Hal Cruttenden and Carl Donnelly (go on, google them then).
The queue to see Punderbolt was a good laugh as we chatted to others also waiting for the show. It was funnier than some of the shows we had seen earlier! Eventually the doors opened and in we went. The show was puntastic! Darren obviously has a quick wit and had put a lot of effort into the show – preparing photographs, drawing pics, making videos and recording voices. There were visual jokes, audience participation and obviously, puns galore. OH and I laughed (and groaned) from start to finish. One example was when he gave a large photo of an elevator to a woman in the front row because he thought she could do with a lift. OH said it was the best show of the day and he’s hard to please when it comes to comedy.
If plays on words and puns are your thing, then Darren is your man. Be sure to check him out if you’re at the Fringe or if you see him advertised elsewhere for that matter.
Obviously we couldn’t end on a high…the train on the way home was just as packed so, yet again, it was standing room only. It’s a pity that the train operators can’t get their acts together for the month of August. It’s not like they’re taken by surprise with the festival now being in its 68th year.