Once again it’s Fringe Festival time and as usual it is my pleasant duty to save you wading through the acres of printed programme by bringing you Ralph’s Pick of the Fringe. With everything from Swallows and Amazons through an all-male As You Like It to Bath Community Gospel Choir, there really is something for everyone.
Of course, you will already have got your tickets for the big talking point, Georgie Fame at the Spiegeltent. No? Well hurry! This will be nostalgia with knobs on. But for those craving something more cutting edge, why not try Simon Munnery at the delightful Banglo venue? Munnery’s Edinburgh Fringe appearances are an annual institution. Famous for founding The League Against Tedium, he always comes up with something totally original. This time he will be performing his entire show from behind the audience. Intrigued? You should be!
Simon is one of the offerings in the programme brought to you by Bath Comedy Festival, who, not satisfied with putting Henning Wehn on our map, will be bringing us another evening of Teutonic titters in the person of Christian Schulte-Loh. Like Henning, Herr Loh hales from the supposedly comedy-free zone of Germany. Mark my words, just like Henning, you will see him first in Widcombe and then on every TV and radio comedy slot going!
Down at Bath Riverside, there’s a newly terraced park known as The Scoop. Here you’ll see a whole selection of up and coming street theatre in a zany fete of the Fringiest sort, overseen by Widcombe Rising favourites, the Splott Brothers. I’ll be keeping a beady eye on this one from my balcony overlooking the site. As President of Bath Whingeing Society, I will no doubt be complaining about the noise of people enjoying themselves on what I regard as my lawn.
There’s more city centre street theatre on Bedlam Sunday, plus a weird and wonderful pop-up spa on York Street.
But my top pick? It has to be an evening at The Raven with my old mate Bill Smarme. The self-styled Twerton Elvis never fails to entertain and this year’s offering Going for a Thong promises rubbish prizes, valueless vases and even a talk on tasteless antiques by resident specialist, Jeremy Creve-Coeur. Bill is a bit of an antique himself, more Hallmark than hallmarked, but priceless none the less!