Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Edinburgh Fringe 2010: The Invisible Dot bonus features

As you might cleverly discern from the slew of reviews I just cross-posted here, I've been at the Edinburgh Fringe this last week, and doing some reviews for British Comedy Guide. It's been a brilliant week, and I like to think that the reviews of some of the excellent shows I have seen will translate into one or two more well-deserved bums on seats. Camden's wonderfully enigmatic and creative Invisible Dot Ltd have several 'regular' shows up there - Jonny Sweet's Let's All Just Have Some Fun (and Learn Something For Once), The Horne Section, John-Luke Roberts Distracts You From A Murder (review to come) and Tim Key's The Slutcracker - but, as tends to be the way, they have also graced the Fringe with one or two 'one-off' bonus features.

Way back on 15th August (it feels a long time ago now...), the Dot staged the inaugural Three-Sided Football Tournament, which does exactly what it says on the tin. Three teams play on a pitch with three nets, with the winner being the team which conceded the fewest goals, rather than scoring the most and you know what, the game works really well. What a joy it was to sit on the Meadows on a Sunday afternoon in the blazing sunshine watching comedy's brightest stars display some serious skills - Thomas Craine dancing past the defence(s), Thom Tuck darting between the opposition, Sara Pascoe a safe pair of hands in goal and David O'Doherty the team's talismanic and vociferous leader. Photo by the love Simone:


Five days later came the long-awaited sequel to the original Invisible Dot Club which took place at Proud Galleries in Camden a good 18 months ago and featured a stellar line-up of Tims Key and Minchin, Kevin Eldon, Daniel Kitson, Pippa Evans, Simon Munnery and Arthur Smith. This time, the club relocated to 'a secret location by the sea', a location that was only revealed to the audience on arrival. In a feat of impressive logistics and organisation, a good 300 people were coached out of Edinburgh and into nearby Portobello, taken on an ultimately superfluous but wonderful walk by the sea and guided into Portobello's Town Hall. Unfortunately, headliner Stewart Lee's set was, if not ruined certainly disrupted by an incredibly rude audience member but Kitson was a brilliant host as ever, Eldon mind-bogglingly clever, Colin Hoult a superlative character comedian, Josie Long delightful, and Key typically hilarious. A unique concept, The Invisible Dot Club By The Sea was ambitious and magical.

On 22nd August it was time for Key to take the centre of a very small stage, at the back of uber-cool record shop Avalanche on Cockburn Street. Being a comic, poet and author is clearly not enough for Tim, and so he has recorded an album with a string quartet (obviously), the 'sneaky launch' for which took place in the store packed with friends, fans and fellow comics. The Tim Key Album Launch may have been short - comprising of one sketch with the ace Alex Horne, and one and a quarter poems (cut short by O'Doherty who cited factual inaccuracy, leading Key to stop in his tracks, screw up the paper on which the poem was written, and move on) - but it was perfectly formed. The album itself is a thing of beauty too.

And throughout all this, indeed throughout the entire month of the Fringe, four inconspicuous red telephone boxes, the physical manifestation of The Invisible Dot Communuications Ltd, stood in various locations around Edinburgh. Those who entered had the chance to pick up the receiver and listen to short stories by the likes of Mark Watson, DBC Pierre and Jack Thorne, for free. Ace.

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