Festival Diary: Frankie Boyle goes on the offensive after ‘polite titters’ from audience

Frankie Boyle is back at the Fringe in Edinburgh this month. Picture: Robert Perry
Frankie Boyle is back at the Fringe in Edinburgh this month. Picture: Robert Perry

Frankie Boyle sensed the mid-afternoon audience for his extra show at the Assembly Hall on The Mound might just have been a slightly different demographic than the one which has been packing into the Music Hall at the Assembly Hall.

He took the crowd to task almost immediately for an ever-so-slightly mixed response to a gap about a well-known celebrity being struck down by a “particularly aggressive form of cancer” within a minute of taking to the stage.

Boyle told them: “A lot of people are unnerved by the early mention of cancer. You’ve bought the wrong ticket. This is a cancer-heavy, some would say cancer-themed, sixty minutes.”

Boyle went on the opposite of a charm offensive at the “polite titters” coming from the audience at the start of his show.

He told them: “I’d just point out to you that I already have your money. You might as well unfold your arms and enjoy yourselves. I know it’s Edinburgh, you don’t like enjoying yourselves and you sort of think you’re English, but you’re not. To the English, you’re one above the apes of Gibraltar. Lighten up.”

It’s a long road from Glastonbury to the Fringe but it’s one that is fairly well trodden by performers.

Storyteller and clownish performer Arkem Mark Walton has made regular appearances at Glastonbury’s Rabbit Hole, the highest venue at the festival, described on the official website as a “psychedelic chateau peddling surreal forms of musical endeavour and stupidity.”

Walton’s bag full of costumes and a mystery green potion certainly helped conjure up a pschedelic atmosphere on the Blundabus venue parked next to the Potterrow underpass.

There were plenty of opportunities for the audience to join in with some bizarre chanting and singing, and even take to their feet on the top deck of the Blundabus, even if his encouragement was accompanied by some health and safety advice.

He said: “Take your time when you stand up as the whole bus nearly toppled over the other night.”

Three generations of the one family have been involved in one of the best-kept musical secrets of the Fringe.

Schoolgirl Amelie Christie is one of the stars of Queen of the New Year, which the Kingdom Theatre Company is staging as part of Greenside’s programme. Amelie’s mother Kirsty is also production assistant on the show, which is directed by her grandmother Lorraine.

Deacon Blue gave permission for several of the band’s songs to be used in the show as long as the group's name was not used to publicise Queen of the New Year, which takes its name from one of their best-known hits.

A further clue is hidden away in the press release for the show, which follows the travails of a group of teenagers using a dating app to try to find love, which describes how one misunderstood character is called the Chocolate Girl.

The Kingdom Theatre Company’s shows have become a regular fixture at the Fringe.

Writer John Murray has previously drawn inspiration from John Watt’s classic Fife folk song The Kelty Clippy, Frank Sinatra’s famous concert at Ibrox Stadium during Glasgow’s reign as European Capital of Culture, and the late Bon Scott, the Scottish singer who emigrated to Australia and became AC/DC’s frontman.