Wow the Edinburgh Fringe. A free market choice overload of theatre taking up every inch of town. Pubs, sheds and shops are turned into a stage for unknown starters, rising and established stars. Every year, the world’s biggest arts festival becomes even bigger. This year, 40,254 performances of 2,453 shows take place in 259 venues in 21 days. In addition, the city hosts the ‘real’ theatre festival, a military tattoo, a literary and arts festival. It’s hard not to overdose on culture, or to know what to choose.
So it was good I had my own impresario to navigate me through to some shows worth seeing. She saw 26 of them in seven days; I did ten in three days, from comedy to role play to classic drama. After a while, I started to see a pattern of recurring themes. They are as it were vignettes for the summer of 2010.
The war’s not over Sixty years later, we still mention the War, a lot. Dutch superstar comedian Hans Teeuwen sings ‘I want you Germany’ to an eighties tune. Chris Schulte jokes in I am German that German schoolkids re-experience the war real time in history classes – it lasted 12 years, and it takes 12 years to discuss it. Dan Antopolski makes an off-hand remark that of course he’s Jewish and his daughter shouts ‘Fuck off, you Hitler’ when he tells her what to do.
Gadget nostalgia We seem to long for the cool, simple and analogue gadgets of a while ago. Chris Schulte reminisces about those good old walkman days and the best invention ever – auto-playback…Dan Antopolski’s final rap is a eighties electro hymn to a laser box that measures the distance to your target. Chris Dobrowolski in Poland 3 Iran 2 is seriously upset when his Subbuteo score board is still analogue after the ’78 Argentina World Cup introduced dialogue ones on the field.
Paedophilia Apparently every comic felt that they had to attempt to put in a paedophile joke. Most failed quite badly. Hans Teeuwen however takes the joke to a whole new level by playing a mother lusting over her failure of a son.
Generally my Edinburgh highlight, Hans Teeuwen is not for the faint hearted. He easily transfers his mad twisted staccato sketches from the Dutch to the British stage, standing out as an edgy performer unleashing embarrassment and discomfort. Inevitably, offended people walk out of his show. To one of them, Katherine, he dedicates a song. ‘I like your cunt, Katherine, I like you cunt’. He encourages the male audience to sing along. He then persuades the female audience to sing ‘I like your cock, I like your cock’, until they stop fully embarrassed by what they’re doing.