DarkChat - Reviewing the Edinburgh Fringe since 2008

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DarkChat Q&As

In an effort to make us DarkChatters seem more real we've compiled a few Q&As explaing a little about our reviewers and their relationship with the Fringe Festival.

 

So, let’s start with the oldest DARKCHATTER – David – who has attended 24 festivals & seen a total of 471 shows! Let’s see what he has to say for himself:

Next it's David's long-suffering wife Anne who first followed him up to Edinburgh in 1989:

23 festivals – 395 shows:  

 

What was your 1st Edinburgh show and what can you remember about it?

John Sparkes – 1986 – Gilded Balloon. I remember him being very funny in a small venue with him making eye-contact with the audience which both drew you in and was terrifying at the same time.

(Also as he was popular at the time & it was a Saturday there was a long queue to see though no-one recognised him ( apart from DARKCHAT David) walking into the venue. ( A situation which still occurs) .  

 

Who is your favourite Edinburgh performer and why?

What a hard choice but I will plump for John Hegley  as I have seen him most years he has performed. His shows are consistently funny with his quirky discussions about dogs, potatoes ,  and spectacle wearers as well as his unique attitude to audience participation.

(And yes we will be seeing both Rob Auton & John Hegley this year).

 

What is your favourite Edinburgh show?

I would chose “ Linnaeus”  are 1st show at the Royal Botanic Gardens. It was the perfect Edinburgh show, site specific, involving local performers, was both eductional and dunny with an acceptable amount of audience participation. ( I announced my name was both specific and generic). And we left the grounds with the actor Brian Cox. Perfect!

 

What is your silliest Edinburgh moment?

Getting a taxi 200 yards up the hill to Pleasance to get to see Felicity Ward in time on our 1st Gin themed ladies night.

 

What is your favourite Edinburgh memory?

Walking up Arthur’s Seat at midnight with David,  Ruth & Mike to witness NVA’s Speed Of Light after eating and drinking lots of lovely food and drink at Kalpnas.

 

Sum Up Edinburgh in 5 Words

5 words are not enough.

 

Finally what are your 5 tips for surviving the Edinburgh festival?

Plan ahead.

Check out shows on line before you book

Pre-book to avoid disappointment

Pack Comfortable Shoes

Don’t Forget To Eat  

 

What are you most looking forward to at this year’s festival?

Having fun with like-minded friends.

 

What is your favourite Audience Participation moment?

Of the several times I have invited to dance on stage with performers my favourite was when John Hegley asked all glasses wearers to dance with him to “Brimful Of Asha”.

 

 

 

And now onto Dan McKee obsessive Phil Williams

Q/ What did you expect at your 1st Edinburgh festival?

 

A/ Something better than Dan Mckee to kick off proceedings

 

Q/How did the reality differ from your expectations?

 

A/ It was Dan Mckee-shaped

 

Q/ What is the best thing about the festival?

 

A/ Feeling like you're in a completely different world from reality

 

Q/ What is the worst thing about the festival?

 

A/The price of the beer

 

Q/What was your favourite Edinburgh show?

 

A/ Aneas Faversham Forever

 

Q/ What was your worst Edinburgh show?

 

A/ In spite of Dan Mckee's best efforts, the award has to go to 80s movies flashback. Utter garbage.

 

Q/ Who is your favourite overall perfomer (s)?

 

A/ The Penny Dreadfuls

 

Q/ What is your favourite venue?

 

A/ The venue farthest from the one Dan Mckee is perfoming in

 

Q/ What is your favourite place to eat?

 

A/ The apartment

 

Q/ What is your favourite place to drink?

 

A/ Everywhere (apart from Espionage)

 

Q/ What are you most looking forward to in Edinburgh this year?

 

A/ Having a wee in Scotland

Next it's Dailegs turn in the spotlight

 

Q/ What did you expect at your 1st Edinburgh festival?

 

A/ Not a lot if i'm truthful. I expected comedy but wasn't sure what sort of quality to expect. Only had one big real name to really look forward to and for that I did have apprehensions'.

 

Q/ How did the reality differ from your expectations?

 

A/ Well, where to start? A couple of free shows and lesser known names blowing away the supposed big name (Dylan Moran). A very nice suprising week away with many comedy names I would never have heard of being

brought to my attention.  

 

Q/ What is the best thing about the festival?

 

A/ A toughie, but I suppose the atmosphere. There's a buzz about it that I've never got anywhere else. Everyone out

for a good time, everything happening everywhere you go.  Thats no offence to the shows but it wouldn't be the same seeing these shows elsewhere.

 

Q/What is the worst thing about the festival?

 

A/Going home. If i'm not allowed that then not being able to leave dreadful cheap shows. But thats part of the genius of edinburgh.

 

Q/ What was your favourite Edinburgh show?

 

A/ Barry And Stuart. not truly a funny show but something different that i found spellbinding.

 

Q/ What was your worst Edinburgh show?

 

A/ There's a few contenders, but the awful Terrors of the Black museum wins this. Just because of how seriously they must've taken it to attempt to write something that thought provoking and funny and falling flat on its face.

 

Q/ Who was your favourite overall perfomer (s)?

 

A/ I'd have to say the Penny Dreadfuls win this. Simply for the welsh butchers are still endellibly marked in my mind from two years ago. Might've not been at their best last year but still fantastic performers.

 

Q/ What was your favourite venue?

 

A/Simply because of the sheer quality of shows we seen, The Caves.

 

Q/ What was your favourite place to eat?

 

A/ The Baguette Express

 

Q/ What was your favourite place to drink?

 

A/ The Counting House. Possibly the best glasses we drunk from and fabulous place to watch the football. Though The Beehive had a varied collection of ales. The Jekyll and Hyde would've won if it had more selection in ales.

Because that is just a wonderful themed pub.

 

Q/What will you miss most about Edinburgh this year?

 

A/ Is it a bit too cheesy to write everything? Maybe.  But I suppose it would be regrouping at the end of the

night and discussing the shows we've seen with a glass of wine.  Wonderful times.

 

The one thing I wont miss though, lugging around luggage around the airport and to the flat. But I suppose thats part of edinburgh too. Ahhh so many good memories.

Thirdly (do people say thirdly?) we take a look at DarkChat founding member Carl

 

What was your 1st Edinburgh show and what can you remember about it?

 

I started at the top in 1986 with a Midnight show from Rowan Atkinson at the Assembly Rooms. Written by Rick Curtis and featuring Angus Deayton as his stooge I was mesmerised and quickly hooked by Edinburgh even if I a long late night walk back to my Guest House near the Zoo.

 

 

Who is your favourite Edinburgh performer and why?

 

In recent years we have become hooked on Rob Auton,  a comedy poet who we first saw as replacement for Andrew O’Neill in a show with Marc Burrows. Once we heard his poem “Maroon” we were entranced and have seen all his shows since in the Scottish capital & recently in the Welsh capital as he has now begun to tour.  

 

What is your favourite Edinburgh show?

 

Hmm, tricky but I will plump for “Crocosmia” a wonderfully honest and emotional story from The Little Bulb Theatre company about young siblings growing up following the deaths of their parents. As it was performed in the Apex Hotel on the Royal Mile we took full advantage of their luxurious rest rooms to compose ourselves afterwards.

 

 

What is your silliest Edinburgh moment?

 

Again, where should I start? At the end of our 1st show in 2008 10 of us headed to a bar for drinks, chat and a heated debate about the merits ( or otherwise) of the Comedy Bus we had just disembarked from. Someone suggested that everytime I stood up he should receive a round of applause (for no reason) much to the surprise of the other customers.

 

What is your favourite Edinburgh memory?

 

Being summoned upstairs on our 1st DARKCHAT Monday ( in 2007) to be presented with our own DARKCHAT T-shirts which DARKCHAT Tim had created with our own logo on. Which still is used today.

 

 

Sum Up Edinburgh in 5 Words

 

Everyone Should Experience It Once

 

 

Finally what are your 5 tips for surviving the Edinburgh festival?

 

Pre-book most shows but leave some gaps to add word of mouth shows

 

Pack clothing for all eventualities

 

Have 1 meal at Kalpnas

 

Try to allow yourselves as few hours away from the festival to enjoy some local scenery, eg Arthur’s Seat, Cramond, Holyrood etc

 

If you get involved in a show don’t try to be funny, just follow instructions.

 

 

What are you most looking forward to at this year’s festival?

Taking 9 year old Dylan & Harri (and my wife) to their 1st Escape Room Experience , Agent X Investigates.

 

What is your favourite Audience Participation moment?

Being selected to kiss a Russian lady in “Beating Of The Russian Heart” in 2008. I took my time.

What did you expect at your 1st Edinburgh festival?

 

I expected to stay up late, see lots of comedy, get drunk and have a laugh.

 

How did the reality differ from your expectations?

 

Not by much!

 

What is the best thing about the festival?

 

Staying up late, seeing lots of great shows, getting drunk and having a laugh.

 

What is the worst thing about the festival?

 

There aren't enough hours in the day/week/month to see everything that you'd like.

 

What was your favourite Edinburgh show?

 

Probably Mark Watson's 24 hour Extravaganza to Save The Earth (or something similarly titled.)  It was more than just a show and you really felt part of something special, although there is a chance that this feeling may have been the combination of alcohol, sleep deprivation and eating only food from Greggs for a whole day.

 

For other reasons Deep Cut at the Traverse in 2008 was special.  Having failed to get a ticket I managed to blag one from one of the cast (I recognised him from Welsh TV) who was having a smoke outside the venue, in turn for him checking his e-mail on my laptop.  It helped that the show was superb.  The year I started watching - and enjoying - plays at Edinburgh instead of mostly just comedy.

 

What was your worst Edinburgh show?

 

Kit & The Widow, they lost me during an inappropriate song about killing Americans (or some such misplaced witicism) and it generally went downhill from there.  I've still never forgiven DarkChat Dave for convincing me that going would be a good idea!

 

Who is your favourite overall perfomer (s)?

 

Difficult really to pick out just one but I'm a bit of a Mark Watson fanboy (fanman I suppose, I'm a little old to be described as an anything boy) as I was part of his 24 hour show (as I wore green!) and the next time I went to see him in Cardiff he recognised me (I wore the same top) and he called me 'mate.'

 

What is your favourite venue?

 

Soft spot for The Pleasance as it seems to be the centre of everything that is going on, the Courtyard area is normally buzzing from noon until night and we've seen some great shows there down the years.  It was also where I was on the BBC's Culture Show.

 

What is your favourite place to eat?

 

Can't really say there is one place that sticks out as I tend to eat anywhere and everywhere, grabbing what you can between shows and generally eating things that would make a dietician (or my sister-in-law) shriek with horror.  It's not Greggs though, definitley not.

 

What is your favourite place to drink?

 

The DarkChat flat in the late night/early hours of each day.  Catching up with everyone and finding out what they have been up to, and seeing who falls asleep /passes out first.

 

What are you most looking forward to in Edinburgh this year?

 

Just being there, it's been too long since I've been there and I'll be taking it as hectic as I possibly can in the short time that I'm there, just wish it was longer.