Sunday, 20 April 2014
Well it's our final show of the Melbourne Comedy Festival tonight and tomorrow we'll be boarding the plane back to england. But what a month it's been. Let's bring you up to speed with what we've been up to.
We've played mini golf against Tim vine, gone to a water park, eaten kangaroo, graced the cover of a newspaper, made a cameo in the wrestling, had chinese massages, been to victoria market, and got very very drunk.
all in all, we've had a brilliant month and feel very lucky to have been part of it.
there are a few thank yous we'd like to throw out: to susan the festival director for inviting us out here, to rebecca & alana in the office for sorting everything behind the scenes, to rosie our ever-positive company manager, mary & the press team for their help, to matt britten for teching us so expertly and jeff at the venue for running our sound. we are very grateful to you all!
Melbourne is a great city, and we've ticked off almost everthing on our list of things to do while we're here - the only items we missed were a trip to Sydney as we ran out of time, and a tour of the 'Neighbours' set, much to david's disappointment. Ah well, Next time!
when we get back to the uk we have a week off, then we're in Brighton on Friday 2nd May, then on another plane to Estonia for a gig on 7th then back in London for the first of three huge 'Best Of' shows at the Udderbelly on the South Bank on Friday 9th. All details of our upcoming gigs are on our live dates page, so take a look if you fancy some live gimp action.
But that's all from down under. We have our last show to look forward to tonight, the farewell party afterwards, then tomorrow we'll be dismantling our crash test dummy, packing up all those wigs and dresses, stowing our gimp masks in our suitcases and heading home.
Melbourne, you've been beautiful.
Thursday, 17 April 2014
Today Richard (the face gimp) hit the big 3−0.
i know, we thought he was older too.
we had ourselves a little lie-in then made our way to st kilda for some brunch and a cheeky bottle of bubbly for the birthday boy.
ahh. look at him.
that's why they call him the face.
then we hit the beach as the weather was glorious and it's probably our last chance to top up our sunburns and ensure we don't return to london as pasty as we left.
we played some frisbee, losing it a further two times in the water. we scoured the sea for a good half hour before giving up hope of ever finding it again and went back to our towels dejected, when a stranger came up and said he'd found it! david then made things really awkward by suggesting he go to the indian ocean, as they need guys like him out there at the moment.
yeah. still very much too soon for mh370 references.
after the beach we went to luna park and took our lives in our hands on this bad boy:
with our stomachs in tatters, our lungs full of sea air and our chests almost certainly burnt we headed back home. a beautiful sunset accompanied the tram journey and when we got to our station we picked up an MX paper (the equivalent of london's evening standard) to see we were on the front cover!
i think richard would agree, that's not a bad way to celebrate your birthday.
just off to do the show now then i'm sure we'll finish him off in style at the bar afterwards.
Tuesday, 8 April 2014
yesterday was our second day off so we crossed off another thing on our 'must do while in australia' list, by driving the great ocean road. we got up early and hired ourselves a nice big 4x4 and headed for the coast.
the road begins about an hour and a half outside Melbourne and takes in some stunning views, beaches, cliffs, forests and seaside towns along the way.
for our first stop we found a beach and played frisbee until we lost it in the sea. the jury's still out on whose fault this was but when i tell you that richard lost every single game we played... you'll get some idea about who was to blame.
there were some great views along the way, but plenty of long and winding roads on the edges of cliffs meant paul - who isn't the greatest passenger at the best of times - got increasingly car sick.
luckily for him we're a very sympathetic group so we stopped off at the side of the road so he could get some air... right after lee had secured this photo of him at his lowest ebb, that is.
eventually he got over it and we ploughed on until stopping for lunch at apollo bay where we had fresh fish & chips and a wander around.
after lunch we drove for another hour or so until we reached probably the highlight of the trip, the twelve apostles. these are giant limestone rocks that stand in the ocean just off the coast and we got there just as the sun was going down which made for a pretty awesome view.
from there we pushed on to port campbell in honour of richard, found a quiet beach where we bought another frisbee and paul (who'd brought swimming trunks) and lee (who hadn't) got in the sea and crashed around in the waves like giddy children. it was quite a site to behold. especially given lee's choice of underwear.
having had our fill of sea air and coastal views and having by now lost a second frisbee we called it a day and drove back home. three hours later we were back in melbourne, so we grabbed a pizza and having spent far too much time in each other's company we called it a day.
now that's how you do a day off.
Sunday, 6 April 2014
we're almost half way through our time here in melbourne and yesterday we received a lovely gift from home from the amazing people at soho theatre, who were instrumental in getting us out here.
the show is going well and the reaction of the audiences has been great as has the response on twitter.
this week we've been busy packing our days with as many ridiculous activities as we can.
yesterday we went to our first aussie rules football game at the etihad stadium to see the richmond tigers play the western bulldogs.
we didn't know what to expect but it ended up being an epic game. there are 4 x half-hour quarters, with breaks in between so you're there for over three hours. the bulldogs (who dave, matt & paul were supporting) were pummelling the tigers so that by half time they had a 37 point lead. at that point richard and lee took their support for the tigers to the next level, by purchasing these none too fetching hats.
now i don't know whether the tigers knew what these two new but blindly loyal fans in the crowd had done, but it seemed to inspire the most almighty comeback.
the tigers scored goal after goal, until they were only four points behind with five minutes to go. and then the impossible happened... they scored another 6-pointer and took the lead!
at this point matt, dave and paul knew what needed to be done... and it wasn't to buy a hat. they stood in unison and yelled at their team to show some heart, to remember themselves, to fight like the bulldogs they were.
they answered the call.
with almost the final kick of the game the bulldogs scored and retook the lead before the final whistle blew on the unbelievable scoreline of 100 - 98.
another remarkable subtext to the match was beforehand richard (without knowing a single thing about aussie rules, or sport in general) had nonchalantly predicted the score would be 100 - 100. and by god he was almost right.
today saw the return of the hot weather and the first bit of sun for a few days. so naturally we all got up and went out... to play laser quest in a dark room.
either we're all dangerously out of shape or we were much fitter than we remember when we last played laser quest, aged fourteen, because after ten minutes of running around shooting each other we were sweating and panting like we'd just finished a marathon. it was ridiculous.
but then again, nothing about it made sense. richard even won a game.
who knows what next week's fun will bring. . . ?
Thursday, 3 April 2014
after a few days of fun in the sun yesterday was back to the grindstone for the gimps. previews are done so tickets become full price and now the business of really trying to sell the show begins. we have done some bits of press already like the interview with beat magazine we mentioned yesterday, which is now live here ...and not for the faint-hearted. last week we also filmed some sketches for the age online. one of them is up now so take a look:
we got our blue peter on in the afternoon and made some large signs out of our flyers and posters to make more of an impact when we're out flyering. hopefully these will do the trick:
otherwise the only alternative is to place flyers around richard and make his dance like a gimp. literally.
i'm pretty sure that was having the opposite of the desired effect.
Wednesday, 2 April 2014
Yesterday we were picked up bright and early (well, 10am) and taken to richmond for an interview with beat magazine. it was... how shall we put this... unconventional.
when we arrived the presenter was dressed in a onesie and a pig mask.
by the end he was wrestling paul while richard and matt commentated.
after a fun if surreal half hour we were finished and with a blisteringly hot day ahead of us before we needed to be out flyering we decided to head to st kilda beach. when it comes to the sun, the gimps have very contrasting approaches to sun cream. richard and paul lather it on as if the slightest glimpse of sunlight hitting their skin will cause them to crumble instantly to dust. matt applies only what he can reach himself so he doesn't have to ask anyone for help, and david and lee approach the sun with utter disdain, blindly refusing to wear any sun cream whatsoever.
these approaches have varying results.
richard and paul remain paler than sheets.
matt sports an intriguing array of tan stains on his back where he wasn't able to reach with the lotion.
david burns but stubbornly denies that he's burnt, insisting that red is in fact an early shade of brown.
and lee ends up like this:
look at those legs.
it meant that a combination of suffocating heat, sunburn, costume changes and those damn laundry bags we start in caused us to each lose about a stone in sweat over the course of last night's show.
we're off now to lie down in a vat of aloe vera.
Tuesday, 1 April 2014
One of the differences between Melbourne Comedy Festival and the Edinburgh Fringe is here you get a day off each week. So in melbourne we have every Monday off. You can see the logic as there's less of a comedy-going audience on a Monday night and it gives the acts, particularly the international ones, an opportunity to explore the city and a break from doing their shows.
for us this meant a trip to the zoo and then miniature golf, for what better way is there to experience a new city than through its caged animals and novelty sports?
it was a scorching hot day which whilst enjoyable for us, unfortunately meant that almost all the animals were either asleep or hiding in the shade.
we even saw a rabbit that we thought was asleep, but it turned out it was dead. it was food for the tigers, who couldn't even be arsed to come out and eat it.
so feeling slightly deflated we headed off for a spirit lifting game of miniature golf. eighteen holes of pure putting perfection followed. david didn't make par on a single hole, paul refused to take off his backpack for the entire round and as the sun set on the back nine lee ruthlessly sunk birdie after birdie much to the annoyance of matt who was about the only person taking it seriously. lee returned to the clubhouse the champion by one shot but i think we were all in agreement that the real winner was golf.
we got a round of beers and ordered a taxi to take us back into town for dinner. fifteen minutes went by and the taxi hadn't arrived so we thought we'd get another round of drinks in. forty five minutes later there was still no taxi, so we went and asked about its whereabouts. apparently one had arrived and then left (it hadn't) and they would send another one asap, so we got another round in and waited.
two hours later the taxi still hadn't shown up. the sun had set, dinner time and come and gone and david had pissed himself twice. there was a toilet, but by now we had gone feral. we were in the middle of nowhere and were starting to think we were the unwitting cast of a horror film, just drinking in the dark and waiting for our certain death.
two hours and forty five minutes after we ordered it, the taxi arrived. spirits broken anew we filed in and collapsed in the back. david pissed himself once more for good measure and paul quietly sobbed.
we arrived at mrs parmas at half nine and ate melbourne's signature dish: a chicken parma. whilst undeniably tasty it is probably the stodgiest meal you could imagine which meant we couldn't go to sleep when we got back to the hotel, and instead were forced to stay up and watch gangster squad- which might be the most disappointing film ever made.
so, what started as a lovely day off by the end had descended into something of a soul-crushing disappointment. the good news is we're really looking forward to doing the show again tonight, mainly to bury the memory of last night.
let's hope for a better day off next week.
Saturday, 29 March 2014
Well we're two shows into our run at the Melbourne comedy festival and we are loving it.
it's like starting again as no one knows us out here, so it's rather like doing the edinburgh fringe for the first time, albeit in a room big enough for our fifth year. This means we're doing everything we can to help promote the show, including flyering with gimps on a lead which is going down really well probably because australians are slightly more friendly and less terrifying (and terrified) towards gimps flyering than people in edinburgh.
we're very reliant on word of mouth while we're out here so anything like press interviews, recommendations from local comedians, mixed bill comedy shows and flyering is all really useful in getting the gimp fight name out there.
yesterday we got up early to film some sketches for the age online. we filmed three sketches around town, including our 'wrestler dad' skit which meant that the people of melbourne were treated to the sight of richard half naked shouting like hulk hogan in federation square (one of the most public areas you could find) first thing in the morning. it's a sight nobody should have to encounter, as you can see.
still, it was good fun and if nothing else gave some questionable photo opportinities for the passing school children.
since we got here we've been on the go most days so we haven't really had any proper meals together, just grabbed stuff while we're out. so yesterday we decided to put this right and go for a proper group meal before the show. despite the best intentions... this was a decision we would come to regret.
We've been recommended a load of restaurants by food guru sharky and in yesterday's meaty everest he didn't disappoint. the big boy bbq on hardware lane specialises in slow cooked meat. we're talking beef bristket, fried chicken, pulled pork... and ribs. so. many. ribs. we filed up to the counter optimistically ordering sharing platters of meat... each. we should have noted the surprise in the guy behind the counter's eyes as we ordered. he even threw us a lifeline, asking if these were to share. "share? no!" we arrogantly scoffed as we sat down and awaited our fate.
this was the first to arrive.
for size context, that's a human hand.
and that's for one person.
beef brisket piled high, chicken wings, two stacks of pastrami, a tub of chilli, chips... and some token gherkins.
all lathered in kansas style bbq sauce.
it was epic.
as you can imagine, despite going feral and attacking our challenge like starving hyenas we hardly even got close to finishing our platters. this was the before shot. you don't want to see after...
i don't know if you've ever experienced being drunk on meat. but we begin our show hunched over hidden inside some laundry bags while the audience come in. you can only imagine how hot, sweaty, and full we were and to be bent over in a confined space while going through that. it wasn't pretty. i am still full now, a day later.
still, i have to confess it was worth it as the food was incredible. we'll definitely be back, but maybe to order slightly less and perhaps a bit less close to showtime.
Thursday, 27 March 2014
Well... We're here. In Melbourne. in Australia.
we still can't quite believe we're here to tell thr truth. anyway, let me bring you up to speed with the story so far...
On sunday morning we set off from london for the 22 hour journey. now as you may know, the gimps aren't very good travellers. matt and paul spend 99% of any journey soleley trying to annoy richard, lee sleeps like a narcoleptic and david has a massive fear of flying. so it's always a joyous experience when we travel as a group. this time we survived remarkably well though... david took enough valium that he doesn't remember anything after going through security, lee managed to stay awake enough to eat at least two meals on the plane, and matt watched frozen. twice.
we arrived monday night local time, got to the hotel, dumped our stuff and with our body clocks not knowing which way was up, headed out for some food. within a few blocks we'd seen a dubiously named restaurant called "sushi burger" and more hearteningly, a nando's. unfortunately it was closed so we found a little fast food joint with this enticingly sick challenge in the window...
then we had our first "pot" (that's aussie for 'small beer'- we're learnng the lingo) and headed to bed.
the next day with the score at gimps 1 - jetlag 0 we got up and out to explore melbourne. it's like a slightly more chilled out new york in look and feel, and the good news is it's hot. too hot for these pasty english mugs, as paul keeps reminding us before lathering himself in sunscreen before we go anywhere. he put some one before we went out last night. it was 11pm.
we had a good look round the city, bought some sunglasses, hit up "target" (the local primark equivalent) to pick up some props and costumes, had our first of many excellent flat white coffees, then attemped a big shop. we'd been out for nine hours by this stage and were -it's fair to say- hot and bothered and with patience not in abundance we hit the shopping equivalent of rush hour. it wasn't pretty. the trolley was broken, we didn't know what we wanted and after about an hour of crying we left with a packet of rice crispies and some grated cheese. i think we'll look for internet shopping for next week...
yesterday was much more labour intensive. jet lag equalised in the night and we had a full day technical rehearsal. this meant we got to see our venue for the first time. the space is great, if a little intimidatingly large for a group performing in this country for the first time! no matter how long we're given for tech rehearsals, something always manages to conspire against us so that we barely get one run of the show in, and yesterday was no different. fortunately we have tech heroes in the form of matt britten (he's head of tech at the pleasance in edinburgh, fact fans) who managed to wrestle a disobedient lighting desk into action, and a lovely sound expert called jeff who's sorting our mics. so we stumbled through an attempted run at the end of the day and will be crossing our fingers it all works for our first show tonight.
on our way out of the venue we spotted this hilariously positioned poster. let's hope our first review is less harsh...
tonight's our first show. so if you're in melbourne, or know anyone that is, we'd really love you to send them down to Trades hall, 9.45pm. we promise our australian debut will be worth the wait...
Sunday, 12 January 2014
Happy new year folks!
sorry we've been a bit slack with the blog, but in our defence the end of the year was pretty busy for us. we should say thank you to everyone who came to our soho theatre run, it was really good fun and reminded us how much we loved doing the 2013 show. we even performed it at eleven in the morning to an audience of mums and babies. seriously. thanks to the two steves, mark and everyone at soho for having us again. oh, and thanks to richard for not quitting the group even after we put wasabi in his hamburger on the last night.
but looking forward. . . we have news!
the first and probably most exciting bit of news is that we're going to australia!
we've been invited to perform for a month at the melbourne comedy festival at the end of march with a whole host of other brilliant acts, and we're just a little bit ecstatic about it. except david, who has a crippling fear of flying. but australia's not far, is it?
Next up: live dates. this year we won't be taking a new show to edinburgh, but instead we'll be touring around the place with what we hope will be our most impressive show: a best of the last five years' material. we'll be visiting brighton, ireland, london (three dates in the udderbelly on the south bank), tring, edinburgh (for one weekend), the usual festivals and - fingers crossed - hopefully a uk tour at the end of this year. we'll add anything to the live dates page when it's confirmed.
so there's plenty of gimp action to be looking forward to in 2014. hope to see you at a gig very soon.
Friday, 30 August 2013
well that was that. another edinburgh fringe done. and what a fringe it was.
we really enjoyed it this year. we'd probably all admit we were a little nervous about going up again after last year's experience of bringing up a show so big and reliant on technology, that didn't perhaps receive the critical acclaim of our previous shows. so it was a risk going back this year. but one that definitely paid off.
the show was so much fun to do. it was lighter than our previous stuff, certainly much more varied and dare i say it, more mature in parts. of course it still included some memorably 'lngf' type material that our audiences have come to know and love but it was much more silly than it was dark, which made it more fun to do. we'd also have to reluctantly admit that having richard back this year was also a big boost for us both on stage (just look at that face) and off (mainly the wrestling). we were all much more relaxed on stage than we ever have been and i think it showed.
audiences sizes were much better this year than last year too. it proved our decision to drop our venue size from 260 to 190 and make all tickets £10 this year was the right one. we were full every weekend and about two thirds full during the week, a comparative improvement on last year and a real morale booster.
we were trying as much as possible not to read the reviews this year. inevitably a few slipped through the net if they were particularly good (or bad!) but we promised to not let it affect our view of the show or our confidence because regardless of what anyone thought, we were all hugely proud of this year's show and that, combined with the audiences' reactions (which were overwhelmingly positive) was all that mattered. now that it's been a few days since we finished and we've had a chance to digest the reviews, they look like this. . .
we can be happy with that i think. the range shows that we appear to still be as divisive as ever, which doesn't bother us as the middle ground has never appealed. it's a shame that kate copstick at the scotsman didn't enjoy it as she's always been a fan, but i think this year's show just wasn't filthy or dark enough for her taste, which is fair enough. three five stars, including the one from chortle which is no mean feat, and an average of just under four stars is a pretty good result.
we decided before coming up to edinburgh that we wouldn't be doing a new show at the fringe next year. that was a tough but ultimately liberating decision which meant we could throw everything into this year and is partly why we enjoyed it so much, knowing that in a sense the pressure was off. we're not retiring, far from it. you ain't getting rid of the gimps just yet. but after five years of taking a new show to edinburgh it feels like it might be time for a change in the way we approach the next twelve months, which is very exciting. our plans include some dates overseas, a run at soho theatre, and possibly a tour. nothing confirmed yet, but watch this space. . .
finally, we'd like to end with a few thankyous.
first up to jim and dan who teched out show for the month. you guys were stars. to steve our director for all his help and support and generally making us better... not for the pickled eggs though. to chris our agent for his help and amy, laura, callum and the street team at phil mcintyre for their hard work. to four screws loose, one of our favourite sketch groups and four of the nicest people in comedy. if you saw us this year you'll know their cameo made for a brilliant moment in the show, and we will forever be grateful for them giving up their time and throwing themselves into it. thanks guys. if you saw the show you'll know we owe a debt of gratitude to sir christopher biggins for his appearance. he was hilarious and an absolute gentlemen for lending himself to the show. let's hope we haven't seen his final appearance as a gimp-master! finally, a huge thankyou to everyone who bought a ticket to see us this year. we literally couldn't have done it without you.
and that's it. we had a blast.
now that we have this blog running on our new website we'll be keeping it updated as the weeks go on. so stay tuned for the latest news and pictures of what we're up to and more importantly, what we've done to richard.
that's all for now. cheers,
Monday, 26 August 2013
so that's it. edinburgh fringe 2013... done.
we'll post a proper roundup blog in the next couple of days about our thoughts on the month, the ups and downs, the reviews, and some thank you's once we've got home and had some sleep. and maybe a vegetable.
but before that we'll quickly share with you what happened at our final show. it definitely ended on a high with a full house and a brilliantly executed last night trick on richard.
those of you who saw the show will know there's a memorbale sketch in which richard has to eat a happy meal on stage. hamburger, small fries and a milkshake. but not last night...
no, yesterday i snuck off to mcdonals earlier in the afternoon to buy a big mac meal with large fries. five minutes before the show lee distracted rich while i swapped the contents of his happy meal for my considerably larger (and, it turns out, harder to eat) treats. the rest of us were like kids on christmas morning, giddy with anticipation while we waited for the sketch to arrive. and boy was it worth it.
i'd never seen a man drown in burger before last night. he never stood a chance. he realised as soon as he opened the happy meal what had happened (to our delight) but couldn't do anything about it other than try and stuff the whole thing in his mouth. it was like a snake dislocating its jaw before devouring a rat. incredible scenes.
i'm not sure the audience quite appreciated the magnitude of what was happening, and it's fair to say we were probably enjoying the experience a bit more than they were, but still... totally worth it. in the end he had to admit defeat as the contents of the burger, pieces of chip and dollops of milkshake littered the floor.
cheers beth o'brien for snapping the moment from the audience.
gotta love last night japes.
Saturday, 24 August 2013
Well yesterday we had a lovely ∗∗∗∗∗ review from chortle which you can read here. we were trying not to read reviews this year, or not worry about them at least, but i think chortle is the one that most comedians would secretly admit to caring about. not only are they the uk's leading comedy website, they're respected reviewers and read by our peers. So it was lovely that they enjoyed it so much, and really articulated exactly how we feel about this year's show. (except maybe the unicorns bit!)
last night we went for a celebratory curry after the show and then came back and played computer games until 4am. oh yes, the days of insanity workouts are long gone...
we're into the final weekend now which means the show is selling out (probably helped by the review) and we only have two more shows to go! we're also doing the final fast fringe today and the final spanktacular tonight in the udderbelly, which should be an absolute riot.
there's no denying it's been a long month but it has been great fun, can't believe there's only two more shows to go!
Wednesday, 21 August 2013
just a quick congratulations to all the comedy awards nominees. we're particularly delighted for james acaster who we share an agent with, and personally for john kearns, whose show is by far my favourite thing i've seen this year. thoroughly well deserved.
Tuesday, 20 August 2013
So we're into the final week of this year's fringe. we're in the 'last shows' stage; last night was our final monday performance, tonight's our final tuesday show, and so on. it's about summoning up the last of your energy and pushing through to the final weekend, which is always fun.
it'll be strange for us to actually be around for the last weekend at the fringe, as we're not doing reading and leeds festivals this year. for the last two years the final weekend has been a blur of very early starts, taxis, planes and hire cars in a race against time to get to and from reading and then leeds the next day, and be back in time for our show on both nights. but as we're not doing them this year, we'll be around to celebrate the final shows and send them off in style this weekend... and with any luck we'll return to reading and leeds next year. fingers crossed.
there's a bit of a dip in audience numbers for the first half of this week, i think we had our smallest audience last night (about seventy people) but they were a very lovely crowd nontheless. numbers should pick up from midweek onwards as the tv festival brings in more punters to the city and then the final weekend is usually nice and full. but for the next couple of nights we probably won't be full so if you know anyone in town who would enjoy some gimp action, do send them our way. and if you're a pleasance pass holder you'll almost certainly get in too.
finally, it's a welcome return to our fan art feature. file this one under 'alternative uses for a flyer'...
it's a frog. thanks Sarah De'Ath.
Monday, 19 August 2013
Saturday, 17 August 2013
So, it was an interesting show for me last night.
We had a full house; a rowdy, up for it crowd (always our favourites) and even the obligatory Friday night Stag do who had the decency not to mimic the stag do we had one night last year who decided to stumble out halfway through the show, invade the stage and piss all over the stairway leading outside. So all in all it had the makings for a cracking show.
And it was by all accounts cracking. Until we got to Spiderman. for those of you who've seen the show, you'll know what this scene entails. for those who haven't I won't spoil the surprise, suffice to say that it involves me climbing through the audience dressed as Spiderman. However last night one girl was so overcome with hysterics/fear as I climbed towards her that as I put my foot down on the back of her seat she sprang to her feet, vacating her seat in the process.
Now we all know how theatre seats work. You pull them down and sit on them and when you get up they spring back. So imagine my horror when this poor girl stood up and the chair snapped shut with my foot plunging down into the gap between the seat and the backrest, my other foot over the back of the chair, leaving me straddled helpless like the oh-too-ironic fly caught in the proverbial web. Again, if any of you know exactly what the scene entails, you can imagine how precarious my situation was. My entire lower leg was pinned in the chair mechanism. I know I seem like a tough guy, but it was agony. Not helped by the guy in the seat behind who (in an attempt to help, to be fair) tried pushing the seat down again, only further crushing my battered shin and Adonis-like calf muscle. In the end it took three audience members to help me out of the seat and I limped through the rest of the show on autopilot, I'm only half ashamed to say!
oh well. let's hope i have better luck tonight.
in other news, i Saw an all female version of Titus Andronicus yesterday at the Bedlam Theatre at 7.30, well worth a watch if you need a Shakespearian fix.
Til next time!
Friday, 16 August 2013
we were on the front cover of the times in scotland yesterday. "horribly good fun" is quite a good quote actually.
we're doing the joy of sketch after our show tonight at the pleasance courtyard with the pin, birthday girls and sad faces which should be a lot of fun.
Thursday, 15 August 2013
we're feeling a little worse for wear today. we hosted spank again last night, and had a very drunk audience to contend with. Most of them were fine, but there were a bunch of students who had no idea where they were or what they were doing, and rather than laugh they would bang an empty jug of beer on their table. sort of like monkeys with a toy.
anyway, they were eventually removed by security and we survived the gig intact by drinking our way through it and once again, lee got his little boy out. if in doubt...
after spank we hit the pleasance's legendary half way party where cassetteboy was dj-ing and it ended up being a rather late night, so we're feeling it today.
in other news, if you've seen the show this year you'll know we feature these large cardboard gimp masks, some of which go missing after the show. I spotted this one for example in a pub off nicolson street. still, all publicity is good publicity i suppose...
And finally we got a lovely five star review from three weeks which you can read here.
Wednesday, 14 August 2013
We've made it past the half way point!
in honour of this, and the fact i don't have much time to do a proper blog today, why not read a quick article we wrote for the british comedy guide about how not to lose your mind at the fringe.
it's essential reading for surviving the month we'd say.
Tuesday, 13 August 2013
Last night saw a Fringe ambition fulfilled for us as we hosted one of our all time favourite gigs; Spank at the Underbelly. James and Leon who started Spank are old friends and this year are stepping back after ten years of hosting duties to let some acts try and fill their shoes.
We were very honoured to be asked as Spank is not only a Fringe institution, it's a gig we've without exception loved doing and more importantly it's just a f∗∗∗ing good night. It's late, it's loud, it's rowdy and it usually involves nudity. It's basically our perfect gig.
I remember when we first did Spank in our maiden year at the fringe we were absolutely shitting ourselves and the ten minutes of material that we rattled through like rabbits in headlights passed by in a blur, but actually went really well. Since then we've gigged at Spank and Spanktacular loads of times and last night's hosting was the icing on the cake. and i think we managed not to f∗ck it up.
The lineup was great which helped, and the crowd were really up for it. there was a slightly fraught ten minutes or so towards the end when hannibal, who was headlining, hadn't turned up yet and all the other acts had been on. But we jumped in with ten minutes or material and as it was spank... we did our 'strip' sketch. if in doubt... get your cock out. that's basically our motto.
but we really enjoyed our first hosting experience and learned a lot. We're doing it again tomorrow night and saturday so if you fancy coming down, it really is a great night, we'll see you there!
Sunday, 11 August 2013
Lee's just about recovered from his Parkour trauma the other night you'll be pleased to hear.
Since then we've done a couple more nice sold out shows and I've had a few tactical early nights as I try and stave off the dreaded fringe flu, I can feel a sore throat coming on so it's lots of honey and lemon and fisherman's friends for me. Hard core.
Over the last couple of days we've seen some great Gimp fan art on twitter, so I thought I'd share the best ones with you here:
Friday, 9 August 2013
it's happened. every fringe there is one night out that defines the month; that involves either some epic success, failure, alcohol related incident... or all three.
last night was that night.
the evening didn't get off to a great start as we had a very 'difficult' show, shall we say. there were a number of technical and sound problems that threw us and the show suffered a bit as a result, so we were feeling a bit down afterwards and in need of some sorrow drowning.
we started with a few drinks in the pleasance dome before heading over to the three sisters for another gig we were doing at a quarter to one. or so we thought. when we arrived we found out they'd muddled the dates up and we weren't doing the gig until next week. so our spirits raised by the new prospect of a night's uninterrupted drinking ahead meant we headed back to the dome.
now if you know edinburgh, you'll know there's a little underpass on the way to the pleasance dome with two slight sloped walls either side. it looks like this:
obviously, after a few drinks it becomes so much more than an underpass. it becomes a mini parkour playground as you run up the sloped walls giggling like a little child at how much more fun it actually is than it really should be.
and that's when it happened.
lee launched himself up one of the walls with just a bit too much pace and enthusiasm, and not quite enough spatial awareness and smacked the top of his head on the cement ceiling.
we all laughed hysterically, naturally, while lee stumbled around clutching his head and trying to laugh it off. it was only a minute later when he took his hand off his head and saw it had blood on it that our laughter turned to concern (for a minute or so) and we realised he'd actually done some damage to his noggin.
apologies if anyone's squeamish but this was what his head looked like (of course we took photos before seeking medical help- we've got a blog to maintain)...
so we found a first aider in the Pleasance (embarrasingly he's also a colleague of lee's at soho theatre) who checked he wasn't concussed and took him off to clean up the wound.
when lee returned fifteen minutes later it was clear they had literally added insult to injury and dressed the poor guy up like whistler's mother...
the only suitable dressing they had for a head injury was to fashion an arm sling into a rather fetching bonnet to keep the pressure on the wound and more importantly, make lee look ridiculous for the rest of the night.
after all that we decided that we definitely needed another stiff drink so we headed to abattoir bar and then the assembly loft bar and crawled home at gone five this morning.
so you can guess how fresh we felt when we went for lunch just now with our agents and all their other acts... not our finest hour.
the good news is lee's fine and (after a nap) we'll all be raring to go again tonight. we just may lay off the parkour for a while....
Thursday, 8 August 2013The Gimps had an unusually productive day today. We were up before ten which is unheard of at the fringe. Richard and Lee had even got up to do their insanity workout at 9.30.
We took delivery of our brand new T'shirts, which look like this...
Then headed out to see some shows. Matt and I saw some phsyical theatre: Gecko's Missing which was very impressive, then we all saw the Young Pleasance's excellent show Rites. Such a well performed show, they're a very talented cast and they really are well worth seeing each year.
We followed that with Boss of it All at Assembly Roxy which was utterly brilliant.
Then we headed home to eat our own bodyweights in Pasta (why? why always before a show? why??) before heading out for a bit of flyering and then the show.
Wednesday, 7 August 2013
Tuesday, 6 August 2013
Enjoy it here.
Monday, 5 August 2013
'Sup, gimp fans?
Five days into the Fringe and the air in Gimp Towers is thick with tension. And the damp from Rich's room after he left his skylight open during a thunderstorm. But mainly tension.
You see, it all began this morning. Lee and Rich, in an attempt to get buff this Festival, completed their first Insanity Workout, with Matt and I filming the whole thing (soon to be available for your viewing pleasure on our video blog). Once the spectacle of watching two very out of shape men attempting squat thrusts and suicide jumps had worn off, Rich decided to call it a day and hit the shower.
And that's where it all kicked off.
You see, a few days ago, Matt noticed the lock on our bathroom door is essentially there for show, meaning any kind of privacy goes out of the window (well, it would do if our bathroom had a window). This led to him and our now London bound technician Dan developing a process they like to call 'delousing'. And guess who was their first appointed victim?
That's right. Yours bloody truly.
I'd like to point out at this juncture that we gimps are, despite impressions, a fairly cleanly bunch, and therefore never been struck down with any kind of lice (well, apart from that time in Galway...) However, once I'd finished my shower, Matt decided to find the oldest, dirtiest broom he could find in our utility room and brush me down with it. Whilst I was still showering. Dan then thought it would be a great idea to start throwing sugar over me, to "prevent reinfection" as he called it. Needless to say another shower was needed.
But the fun didn't stop there, oh no. The delousing process began again. In total I had four showers that morning.
Which bring me to this morning. When Matt and Lee went too far. And decided to film the delousing process on Richard for the video blog. Now Richard, as evidenced in his defence of the aforementioned WWE Wrestling title, has the patience of a saint. However, the prospect of his delousing being made horrifyingly public in the name of fun pushed him over the edge. The air turned blue. And tense. And damp.
So Lee, in an attempt to further wind up poor old Rich, has taken a vow of silence. And guess who's having to pass messages between the two parties? You guessed it. I hope they can resolve their differences before the show tonight...
Speaking of the show, last night went well, a few microphone mishaps notwithstanding, and we had a lovely crowd in - cheers gang! Also we got our first review; four stars from Broadway Baby, which you can read here.
That's all from me. I'd better go and mediate.
Sunday, 4 August 2013
We all got out and about yesterday to see some shows, which was good as it's great to see friends in other shows but also to not be thinking about your own one for a change.
Saturday, 3 August 2013
Friday, 2 August 2013
It's amazing how quickly we've slipped back into our Fringe routine. The late nights in Brooke's bar... the visits to Scotmid at 3am... walking upstairs to find the gimps doing this to Richard...
Thursday, 1 August 2013
We're back and my have we been busy...
First up - We've been locked away in rehearsal rooms for the last month getting our new Edinburgh Fringe show ready. We're now in Edinburgh and had our first preview last night and the good news is the show is pretty much there. Normally after the first preview we have a crippling panic as we discover there are way too many technical elements, we can't make any costume changes or simply that we've created a terrible show. Fortunately we had none of those freak-outs last night as the show went alright. It can definitely be better, tighter and will naturally improve as we get used to running it in a new space, but fundamentally the show is there. Which is good news!
Secondly - We've got a brand spanking new Website! Our tech team have been working really hard over the last few months to come up with a much more fun, friendly and funny new website for everyone to get a sense of what we're about and they've done a great job. We'll be updating it much more from now on, adding videos, blogs and bits of content for all you gimp fans to enjoy.
Next up - We've written a Blog for the mighty Huffington Post about why we're doing Edinburgh again. Have a read of it here. We've also written an article for The Stage about trying to bring a bit of Fringe Spirit back, which we'll share as soon as it's published.
So that's the most important news out of the way. We'll be blogging as usual every day over the Fringe, so stay tuned for tales of fire-alarm interrupted tech runs, hosting Spank! and the fact that our flat only includes two forks and one frying pan to cook with.
Friday, 7 September 2012
has it really been almost two weeks since the end of the fringe?
it feels like recovery has only just begun...
it's been nice to get away and have some time to reflect on the month-long blur or beer, battered food and box office reports that was august. it was a strange one this year, for a number of reasons. the well documented lower audience numbers, particularly during the first half of the festival were something that we didn't expect, despite people's warnings about the effect of the olympics. in truth, i don't think the blame lies solely at the door of what was happening in stratford but more likely, it was a combination of various factors which this year finally came to a head.
the fringe has been expanding year on year, but has now arrived at a point where that seemingly indefinite increase in the number of shows means there is just too much choice for audience members. there is simply no way all those seats can be filled. the fringe society were quick to point out that sales were -according to early reports- only down 1% this year. but when you consider the number of shows rose by 6% and the booking lines were open earlier than ever -some as early as january- you begin to realise that perhaps looking at the reasons why audience numbers were lower rather than simply defending this year's sales may be a more helpful tactic.
ticket prices are another area that has slowly crept up and up each year until for the first time i think they actually became an obstacle for punters who didn't want to pay that much, and fair enough. when i first came to the fringe in 2001 ticket prices were generally £7, with concessions at £5.50. that was the way the fringe was positioned, as a fresher, rawer and ultimately cheaper alternative to professional theatres. this year some household names were charging £18.50 a ticket for their fringe shows and it would be very hypocritical not to point out that our own prices had been set this year for up to £14 (£12.50 concessions) at weekends. when you consider that you can see a play at the national theatre in london for a tenner... it does put the current fringe ticket prices in quite an alarming context. as richard herring points out in his insightful piece on ticket sales, we are after all in a recession and the fringe is "open to the same market forces as the rest of life".
so what is to be done? well, there have already been a few good opinion pieces on what could happen, and the steps that might need to be taken next year both by the fringe society, and by acts and their management companies if indeed the bubble has begun to burst. the overall message is that change is definitely necessary in one form or another. kate copstick has some excellent ideas in her article that should be seriously considered and steve bennett, editor of the comedy website chortle has some very good advice in his reflection on this year's situation.
for us gimps, it was a strange year as well and the need to change things for the future was felt as keenly by us by the end of the month. by creating a show that had such high production values and reliance on technical effects we left ourselves with a lot or work to do technically and comedically to make a show that met our previous standards, which left ourselves wide open to criticism if it didn't.
in some areas i think we all agree we didn't quite hit the mark. there were areas where the technical side let us down- like the computer going down on a few nights. other areas where we simply ran out of time to make all the videos or 'gimp stings' between sketches so their quality suffered, and in some areas we were concentrating so hard on getting the production looking right that we didn't quite nail the sketches or come up with the right punchlines. however there were many, many parts of this show that we are hugely proud of and feel like they are as good as anything we've done up till now, even if the entire hour might not have maintained that level.
the reviews weren't bad at all, in fact they were mostly very balanced (with one exception which made us laugh out loud it was so subjective) they just all seemed to agree that it could have been better. the hardest thing about reading a critical review of something you've done is when you agree with it. and we agreed with a lot of what had been said.
the funny thing was the audience reaction never changed throughout the month. the feedback that we almost unanimously received was that this year's was our best show. whether we agree with that or not, it is genuinely lovely that people thought that and that they keep coming back each year. we're very lucky to have such a loyal and enthusiastic fan base and we're very grateful for it.
it doesn't diminish however, the feeling that looking ahead a change is necessary. a change in the way we work, the way we approach putting a show together, perhaps a change in the type of show we make, and certainly a change in the way we would go about doing the fringe, if we were to do it next year.
but rather than feeling downhearted, i'm actually perhaps more excited than ever about what we might do next. you learn immeasurably more from the stuff that doesn't work than the stuff that does, and the idea of doing things differently, reinventing, starting from scratch is a very exciting one. plus, there were so many inspiring shows this year when you look at the likes of tony law, pappy's, doctor brown etc, you realise actually you don't have to adhere to people's expectations, if you work hard enough at creating the show that you -first and foremost- are happy with, and is the best it can be, then you can do something really special.
right. so that's the next twelve months sorted...