Exactly as it’s name suggests, Best of the Fringe Variety is a grab bag of five quirky and very different acts. Since the line-up changes each night no two shows are the same, but all showcase the same inventiveness, energy and polish.
On Sunday night the show, hosted by the best juggler I’ve ever heard of (Wham Glam Circus Man Idris Stanton), kicked off with the cheeky clowning of Pedro Tochas, world famous street performer and judge of Got Talent Portugal. Next Pierre Ulric, critically-acclaimed illusionist and Fringe veteran, worked the room with some impressive card tricks. Hannah Cryle changed the pace, rocking out with her hilarious, bubbly comedy and hula hoop skills. Balancing out the show, James Phillips performed some dangerous looking acrobatics that had many on tenterhooks. The grand finale, however, was Movin’ Melvin Brown, whose impressive pipes had us out of our seats and dancing.
Although all of the acts had their own flavour and appeal, the one constant was their energy and their demand for that energy to be returned by the audience. Sunday’s audience was a little too sedentary and shy for the artists’ tastes, which resulted in a few quick pointers on when to clap and how loud to cheer. Far from being oppressive, this clapping master class helped bring the audience to life – proving the old adage, you get out what you put in. However, it did result in some sore palms afterwards.
If you want to broaden your usual Fringe selections with something different or make the most of your time at this years festival, I would definitely recommend the Best of the Fringe Variety for value for money and entertainment. And don’t worry, if you are not sure when to clap the artists will tell you.
For show times and to book tickets, see the Fringe guide.