Fringe Report is now closed. Fringe Report closed on its 10th anniversary, Thursday 12 July 2012. It remains online as a record of 10 exciting years in the arts. Till July 2013, previously unwritten content is being added to the site from the past 10 years, but we are no longer reviewing new material. You can still write to us on the existing email addresses. Good luck with your shows.
Edinburgh Fringe 8 - 30 August 2004
Edinburgh 04 - The People!
Crystal Clean 2005
She's hot, she's rude, she's gorgeous Crystal Clean. And like chlamydia, she went round EdFringe 04 ...
Crystal Cleanís Fringe Diary brings you the little story, the small man and woman's news. Sheís not one to gossip but...
Itís been a pleasure bringing you all the key gossip from the fringe. Who knows what hot tips Iíll be bringing you in future. Till then, my pretties, itís been delightful. And remember - your Crystal is nothing if not Clean. Mwah. X
Farewell to Edinburgh.
Crystal - Friday 4 September 04
In which Cystal doesnít interfere with Eddie Izzardís breasts; dances with Stephen K Amos; consoles Will Adamsdale, Phil Nichol, and Wil Hodgson; and survives the Perrier Party
Crystalís been party hopping this week in true fringe-bunny style. The So You Think Youíre Funny Party was typically fabulous with free booze flowing. Aussie Nick Sun won the award. From my prime balcony spot I watched the great and the drunk mingling, with Mackenzie Crook; and Christian Slater - surrounded as usual. Danny Bhoy hung shyly on the sidelines Ė so I danced with the far more exuberant Stephen K Amos, feeling rather ungainly opposite his smooth moves.
The Perrier Party was typically sweaty and sticky-floored in a studenty way. Presented by both 2003 winner Demetri Martin and Christian Slater Ė really the man of the moment, stealing Demetri Martinís thunder not slightly. Winner Will Adamsdale - aka Chris John Jackson in Jacksonís Way - was astounded at the award. Who can blame him? - he was up against previous nominee Reginald D Hunter and Sarah Kendall (but bearing in mind a woman hasnít won since Jenny …clair in 1990).
Will Adamsdale gave a very sweet speech and we all assumed that he was partying the night away. But when I ran into him at the sausage-and-mash stall at 4 am, he confided heíd had a nightmare evening manoeuvring his parents around the comic-studded VIP Room. Very rock Ďní roll.
Pink-coiffed Wil Hodgson of The Passion of the Hodgson was overjoyed at winning Best Newcomer. And was he partying the night away in VIP? No. At 4:30 am Crystal found him slumped by a wall outside the venue, clinging to his bouquet of flowers like a life-raft. Funny what a Perrier does to a man.
Pleasance Dispute Latest. An appeasing conclusion has been reached between Pleasance Director Sir Christopher (a knighthood canít be that far away) Richardson and the angry comics. Christopher Richardson offered them a one-night extra show in the 700-seat Pleasance Grand at 23:35 pm, where they took home 110% of the door takings. On the bill were Howard Read, Sarah Kendall, The Dutch Elm Conservatoire, Brendan Burns and Jo Caulfield.
But Crystal hears on the grapevine that it still clashed with Andrew Cloverís usually popular Birthday Party show. And not only was he not included, but his audience was low. Will he be having words of his own with Sir Christopher?
Phil Nichol has been benefiting from one of Crystalís little cheer-up sessions. Sitting in Brookes Bar Ė where else Ė I spotted the usually perky Nichol looking more than glum Ė heíd been punched in the face on stage by an angry audience member. Anyone whoís seen Phil Nicholís stand-up knows that he does rather push the boundaries of audience participation Ė pulling a man on stage and making him sing while trying to kiss him.
Not deserving a punch though. So I gave Phil Nichol a big Crystal hug. I thought a few fun games of Thumb War and a round of Paper, Scissor, Stone might help. None of this worked. I sang him his self-penned song Iím The Only Gay Eskimo - inviting him to join in if he knew the words. He looked less than impressed.
Finally my last Celeb Spot Of The Week comes from Teviotís Library Bar. I was happily playing dares with the naughty (nobleandsilver) boys Ė during which Dara O Briain had been stripped and a gay manís kilted bum had been pinched, when in sauntered Eddie Izzard. No-one took up the dare to twist his nipples. How could you pinch an Izzard nipple? - too irreverent.
Crystal - Friday 4 September 04
Crystal - Wednesday 18 August 04
In which Crystal dresses in a blue furry suit; eavesdrops on angry comedians; dances badly in hot pants; pants hotly at Christian Slater.
Iíve been stepping into a couple of shows as replacement star! One is a kiddies' show - I wear a big blue furry suit. The heckling's better than Late Ďní Live. In a scene on the moon where the characters needed cheese to find a gerbil, but didn't have any, an astute 4-year-old pointed out that the moon was made of cheese. Duh!
There are drawbacks to acting for children. Now when a stand-up closes, instead of clapping furiously and whooping, fag in mouth, pint between my knees, like everyone else, I instinctively wave in an exaggerated fashion and chorus 'Byyyyyeeeee'. People stare.
I was also in (nobleandsilver): a man - as one of Stuart Silverís girly cabaret-style dancers.
It was a short burst of stardom - one day. After that I was no longer required due to symmetry issues. A basic error on my part was not mentioning first that Iím not a very good dancer. When I found myself in a four-some with three pro dancers, I made my second mistake Ė not mentioning that Iím not a very good dancer.
So I found myself in hot pants with Stuart Silverís face stamped across my bosom, striding on stage with Victoria Valenzuela. I stood poised for the music to begin. Then sadly I was overtaken by a fit of body-tourettes and messed up the steps. There are now just two dancers.
But it does mean that I can bring you the inside story - and it isnít pretty. Stu and Kim arenít getting on very well. To be frank, some of their actions have not been very noble!
There's been a bevy of angry comedians at The Pleasance.
The Pleasance had a late entry to the programme - Pick of the Best - in the palatial Pleasance Grand at 21:35 (and 23:35 some nights), boasting 5 top stand-up or sketch acts. All at £11-£13.50 a ticket for 85 minutes: an offer that's hard for punters to ignore.
Acts with their own shows billed at the same time are finding it even harder to ignore. They're suffering a tremendous downturn in sales due to the internal competition.
These comics were so angry that they lobbied for a meeting - first together, then with The Pleasance management - to register their disgust, and demand a solution.
And Crystal was there, ear pressed to the wall in Brookes on Monday 23 August 04. Even with an early-morning children's show to star in, I can't resist the siren-call of gossip.
Angry people I spotted included lovely Big Howard Read (21:20), Andrew Clover (23:00) and Jason Byrne (22:15), whose shows directly clash with the Best show. Later I saw that Jason Byrneís name had been billed on Pick of the Best - but had been mysteriously crossed out.
From what I could overhear, the vote went 12-8 in favour of a boycott of The Pleasance next year. Apparently, Pick of the Best pays an average of £200 per act. Allegedly The Pleasance offered the performers whose shows Pick of the Best clashes with, a remittance payment to compensate for the consequent loss of earnings. But the performers refused the payment on principle.
When I spoke to The Pleasance today, they were unwilling to comment, but said that they were doing all they could to resolve the situation.
But will we see Pick of the Best next year I wonder?
Mark Watson has completed his Overambitious 24 Hour Show on a high note Ė by becoming engaged!
He completed a full 24 hours of solid performance - but sadly, Guinness World Records didn't turn up. It included celebrity guests such as Adam Hills; sending Chinese whispers from the gents; taking the entire audience over to his usual gig, performing all the way. He finished with the proposal, which was accepted on the spot. How romantic!
Celeb Spotting Corner. I have breathed the same air as Christian Slater. (Used to have Smash Hits posters of him in Heathers on my bedroom wall.) Sadly I couldnít speak to him - he was surrounded by sycophants, how crass. So I leant over the bar and looked coquettishly in his direction.
And, heavens be blessed, he turned slightly. His chiselled face rested in his glorious hand. Our eyes met. He smiled at me Ė a warm private smile. I blushed and smiled coyly back.
I was about to signal him to come and join me, when I noticed that between the chiselled face and the glorious hand lay a mobile phone.
Ah well. Another day, another celeb.
Crystal - Tuesday 24 August 04
Crystal - Wednesday 18 August 04
Crystal reviews Edinburgh venue lavatories; drinks Crystale; sees Aaron Barschak's underpants; fantasises about Danny Bhoy; hears about Janey Godley's breasts.
Favourite story this week comes from the Underbelly, where allegedly a reporter from the Daily Mail (nameless, because they like to sue), was reading posters to find exciting new shows.
Having seen a poster for one show repeatedly, but no fliers or information, he popped off to the box office, slightly perplexed, to find out more about the mystery show Loos. After a confused exchange with the box office staff, where he asked for a press pack and reviews, they finally worked out that he was repeatedly seeing signs for the toilets. Sweet!
Actually I think itís high time someone reviewed the venue loos. Most of them are horrendous. So here goes. Nothing is too filthy for Crystal.
Pleasance Courtyard - * is the bane of most ladies' bladders. So rarely are the loos serviceable that signs saying 'In Order' would be far more useful. Not only this but the walls and doors outside are so crammed with posters that you have to take a Harry Potter-esque run at the wall and hope you come out in a loo. They get one star for actually having loos at all.
Pleasance Dome - ***. This loo, on the other hand, is big and usually in working order. It would get four stars, were it not for the scary Hall of Mirrors which greets you. Even Crystalís got to check her face.
Pod Deco - **** comes out with a fabulous four stars for cleanliness and dťcor, as does the Assembly Rooms - **** which gets four and a half really, because Iíve overheard some great gossip there.
Underbelly - nil gets a spectacular no stars, for being truly sordid, nasty, and full of teenagers. So remember to cross your legs when seeing shows there.
Winner is the Co2 Oxygen Bar - *****. The loos is clean, smelling of roses and usually vacant. Like a lot of their shows.
I popped in at the Loaded For Laftaís launch party yesterday hoping for some lovely celebrity spots. Sadly the most I got was a very staying image of Comedy Terrorist Aaron Barschak wandering round the otherwise classy event in his pants. Not even clean ones. And a big wig, which he kept getting tangled in the chicken he was eating.
A worse image followed when I heard that Aaron was getting far too enthusiastic over the Loaded magazine in the gents. Maybe I should have got him to review them.
Spencer Brown put a smile on my face. He decided to make some cash selling the piles of Loaded outside to passers-by at a pound a copy - he made three quid in 3 minutes.
Great party, made lovelier by all the Crystale Crystal drank.
Naughty comic Janey Godley told me about her japes at the private Bound and Gagged party. Once the police had been called at five am, she thought she might let them in on some of the fun. So she hopped on the bonnet of their panda, sober, and showed them her boobs. And apparently thereís photographic evidence.
I was sitting in Brookes, surrounded by ex-boyfriends, when in sauntered the truly delectable Danny Bhoy. I was so excited that I came over all shy. Yes,me. I couldnít go and speak to him - even though he was with the lovely Poofs from Never Mind the Botox (4 Poofs And A Piano).
So if anyone sees Danny Bhoy, please tell him that the lovely who chocked on her drink as he brushed past would like a word. Or a hug. A hug would be fine.
Crystal - Wednesday 18 August 04
Crystal - Friday 13 August 04
Ronnie Corbett meets Crystal's bosom. Clowns lose their way. And Crystal acquires a stalker.
I'm innocently checking emails from my top-secret sources - all of them ready to divulge the sort of information that would cost my lovely editor a lawsuit or two - when up pops a mail from Mr Anonymous.
He claims to be utterly smitten with me for the second fringe running Ė who can blame the poor lad? Ė and wants to reveal his identity. Though how cracked the iron code of my own identity Iíll never know.
My heart is a-flutter. The perfect Mr Crystal in my little inbox.
He'll be tall, blond - and devastatingly handsome. Vanity leads me where I should never tiptoe. I open the link to his site. There's a message for me.
I would like to say to this individual: No I have never seen you following me. But please stop. Yes, I like that coat too. Thanks. As far as I'm aware, your final suggestion is illegal.
C venues had a petite disruption. The whole of the Chambers Street venue was evacuated in a dramatic Mr Sands-style fire drill. It turned out to be dry ice from The Walrus Groupís Broadway-bound And In The End. Bet they were popular.
Poor comic Ewan John has lost his sense of humour. At least - he's lost his new set of jokes. He's sent out a sweet appeal for anyone who might see a yellow piece of A4 essential to his success floating about Edinburgh. He might have left them at the Stand, Cafť Royal, Niddry Street, City Bar, or Underbelly. Anyone seen them?
4-strong Ukrainian troupe Mimirichi were doing a feature on a big red bus for The Guardian, when The Pod lost them completely. The clowns, who don't speak English, were eventually rounded-up into taxis - extremely late for their own show. Aah.
I'm shocked at the amount of acrid reviews. They're getting nastier at a rate to rival rising ticket-prices. Still, it's entertainment. This week's favourite comes from The Herald, who called one young lady a horse-faced Home-Counties hoare. I wonít say who - poor girl's clearly been through enough already.
Celeb spot of the week was the great Ronnie Corbett. Sadly till I saw him in Pleasance Courtyard I thought he was dead. Great knowledge, Crystal.
In the true name of Fringe Bunny-ism, I ran up and told him. I'm not sure what he replied, because his words were muffled by my cleavage. Which is a shame Ė what would you say to someone who'd brought you back from the dead?
Crystal - Friday 13 August 04
Crystal - Tuesday 10 August 04
In which Crystal shares intimate moments in the lavatory with Marcus Brigstocke.
I got very excited this week and showed my childhood recorder to some poofs; been to Late 'n' Live; seen some of the worst theatre ever to hit the fringe; lost Alan Rickman completely.
And melted into a little Crystal puddle at the Fringe Metro Launch Party at City Nightclub. Gosh it was hot. Packed to the rafters with all the exciting people I should have been tailing - but alas I was too sweaty to bother. Every year I come to beloved Edinburgh laden with coats, hats and sensible jumpers - only to find every venue has been converted into a Swedish sauna.
And I can't escape Marcus Brigstocke. Of course, I don't mean the lovely man is stalking me - but he insists on watching me in the loo. Heís in every Ladies I go to. I pop in, settle down - and there's Marcus Brigstocke, stuck on the back of the door, measuring his head - thatís what it looks like to me - and ogling at me while I pee.
Itís been very off-putting indeed, to the point that I cannot go and see his show. I would blush furiously, knowing he's been privy to some very intimate moments.
It's a week that has seen upheaval at yet another venue - this time an ecclesiastical one. A while back, Cowgate Central faced massive controversy over the sacking of Paul Wagner. Paul made wild claims that he would be taking over the Fringe with 20 satellite venues. These led to threatened legal action by performers against venue owner Thomas McAleer.
Then in July, Wigwam Theatre, with 350 performance slots, had to pull out altogether - letting down some of its 24 companies.
Now Greenside Church venue faces huge problems after the 34 staff revolted against owner Michael Slack, after 'personality clashes'.
The venue has now been taken over by the press officer Andrew Nielson - at the tender age of 18. I couldnít have run a race at 18. Or now for that matter. Good luck to the man!
Went to a heat of So You Think Youíre Funny last night. What a yawn-a-thon. Apparently itís the only night itís been that disappointing - but at times even the comedians didnít seem to think they were funny.
The winner ZoŽ Lyons was fantastic, but it wasnít hard to follow one young ladyís 7-minute stand-up about her lady garden! The huge saving grace - apart from super compere Stephen K Amos - was that I found myself sitting in front of two of the fabulous boys from Four Poofs and a Piano.
I was so intoxicated by heady celebrity, that I collared them after the show, gave them both a massive huge (I think Crystal means 'hug' - Ed), and showed them the recorder that was in my handbag - for all nativity play emergencies, donít ask. Hurrah for poofs and their non-threatening flirtatious ways!
Speaking of celebrity, I have had to admit defeat on the Alan Rickman front, as he has left the Fringe fold.
So I am going to have to find a new celeb to stalk. My most exciting find so far, though, has been Henry Luxemburg, of Hollyoaks serial-killer fame, who I found lurking in the Library Bar at Teviot.
Not my most fabulous celebrity spot, but heíll have to do until I can track down Adrian Wenner from Scrubs, so if anyone happens to see him, please tell him to get in touch...
Crystal - Saturday 7 August 04:
Apart from living in the flat share from hell - I would elaborate, but I donít wish to seem too navel-gazing just yet (writes Crystal Clean) - Edinburgh Fringe 2004 has kicked off to a thrilling start.
It's a week where I have been proposed to live on stage, shocked by XXX, disgusted by Late & Live, dated by Little Howard. And very nearly kissed Alan Rickman. Ok, I will soon.
The XXX show from La Ferla dels Baus has been causing quite a stir with its adaptation on the Marquis De Sadeís Philosophy of the Bedroom, controversial enough in itself. But to everyoneís horror, children's Tall Stories' performer Toby Mitchell was dragged out of the audience to have forced fellatio performed on him live on stage! And once the actress could do nothing, shall we say, to raise his spirits, her place was taken by the balding actor!
All were suitably shocked and empathised with a traumatised Mitchell who was unable to perform under such terrifying conditions. It emerges now that Toby was a very convincing plant, and that everything else was achieved with very clever lighting - and realistic prosthetics. They claim it illustrates a valid point, but rather than feeling educated, the general sense from the audience was one of uneasy disgust.
Speaking of disgust, I would like to register mine at the horror that is the pissed up idiotic heckling at Late 'n' Live. We all know why we go, not to see those lovely successful comics doing fabulously, but to see them heckled by equally amusing embittered colleagues, sparking a comedic duel to rival all others.
But on the first night, there was every man's worst nightmare. Thatís right - the Glaswegian hen-do. OK, they may not have been a hen-do per se - but my God they were that scary.
Dan Antopolski managed - just - to keep them at bay, but it took Reginald D Hunterís acid motherf***in wit to finally shut them up. And that was a far, far better thing he did then than he has ever done before. Give the man a medal!
Shows. There's Matt Dyktynski with Pole Dancer - heís half-Polish and dances too - now girls, donít get over-excited. Tom Fountain is a Sex Addict - show title, not personal experience. Jim Jefferies is Porn Idol - hmm. Dirty Fan Male from Leap of Filth is actually about a series of letters sent to Pornographic magazines - nice.
Some frightening flyer images are floating about. Like NobleandSilverís scary sello-taped heads - someone please tell those Blue Peter presenters that sticky-backed plastic should carry a warning.
Even more frightening is the bravely-titled show Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About The Edinburgh Festival But Were Too Drunk To Ask.... This has me biting my fist and ducking at the potential disaster of it all - which is why I hope it does fantastically.
As I'm living the fest on your behalf, I've made it my mission to be in as many shows as I possibly can. Apart from the XXX show - Iím not paid enough for that.
So I've been on a date with six-year-old animated comic Little Howard. Heís the adorable sidekick of Big (and equally adorable) Howard from At Home With The Howards. On this date I had a Girl Sandwich, engaged in some highbrow chit-chat about Power Rangers - and that Little Howard offered to chase me. It's an offer I would have gladly taken up had Big Howard not interrupted. Ah me, another festival fling over.
I went to see The Trap boys in action - and was again ritually dragged on stage. This time to be proposed to by - and subsequently wedded to - Dan Mersh, live on stage. I was a little more reluctant this time - a girl doesnít want a reputation. All very nice at the time, but if Dan starts doing this every day, people might get the impression that heís a complete and utter - what's the word? - bigamist.
There are rumours that the fabulous Gonzo Dog-Doo Bar Band are doing a semi secret one off gig (well, secret until Crystal hears about it!) at the Underbelly on 20 August. It seems popular demand has forced their hands and that the celebs are queuing up to be involved.
Already I can reveal that Lucy Porter is going to be a special guest, as is Phil Nichol, whilst I have heard tell - between you and me - that Kevin Eldon and Tony Slattery are baying to be involved.
Finally, Alan Rickman has been spotted prowling around the courtyard and I have made my best attempts to find the naughty imp but he keeps eluding me. So if any of you see him, or have any information you would like to get off your heaving chests, remember, your friend Crystal Clean is the very soul of discretion:
(c) Crystal Clean 2004
Fringe Report (c) Fringe Report 2004
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