Good, bad and gimps kick off at Edinburgh Fringe

Sat Aug 8, 2009 8:38am EDT
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By Paul Casciato

EDINBURGH (Reuters Life!) - The good, the bad and the gimps of comedy got into full swing on the first night of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival on Friday night.

U.S. stand-up and television star Janeane Garofalo got off to a shaky start with reviewers, earning the ire of Scots by talking trash about their fondness for deep fried Mars bars and alcohol, while ribbing them about the performance of England's cricket team.

"Interrogating cricket-apathetic Scots about The Ashes (a cricket series between England and Australia played in England and Wales this year) might have been the nadir, were it not for her labored Conservative baiting," Scotsman reviewer Jay Richardson wrote.

Elsewhere, rising talents Idiots of Ants put on a hilarious show at the Pleasance that raced through gut-aching sketches involving a bachelorette party -- where four women wake up with hangovers and sex changes -- to a cheerfully morbid song about cannibalism for airline crash survivors stranded on a mountain.

Some of the tiny venues, like Pleasance "Hut" played host to troupes, which may be a bit raw, but can still get teensy audiences rocking in their little seats.

"Late Night Gimp Fight" at the Hut delivered some cringing humor but moments of pure hilarity in a show that reveled in bondage and wrestling gags and was littered with references to popular films. The dinosaur impressions from "Jurassic Park" had the crowd roaring, alongside Hitler as a pop music star.

Outside the traditional venues street buskers, revelers, tourists and office workers out for the end of the week drink mixed along Edinburgh's Royal Mile, creating a raucous party atmosphere under the brooding watch of Edinburgh Castle.

Londoner Laura Copsey and her boyfriend Mike Cranny came for the week and found the festival overwhelming at first, for its bewildering array of shows.   Continued...

<p>Two of the performers from the show 'Mercy Madonna of Malawi' rehearse for their forthcoming Edinburgh Fringe Festival show in Edinburgh, Scotland August 7, 2009. REUTERS/David Moir</p>