The Edinburgh Fringe festival is the mecca for comedians from across the globe, where acts of all levels of experience get to prove how funny they are in front of comedy connoisseurs and fellow funnymen. Here’s a rundown of the comedians, performers, writers and sketch troupes at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe who all learnt their craft at the University of Salford.
Gein’s Family Gift Shop
This zany sketch troupe certainly look a bit odd when they perform their shows clad in school P.E. uniforms but it’s their quick wit, sharp writing and risqué content matter that has seen them receive 5 star reviews at this year’s Fringe. They were also nominated for the ‘Best Newcomer’ award – one of, if not the biggest awards in comedy. One of the troupe’s members, Kiri Pritchard-McLean had this to say;
“We’re elated with the response to our Edinburgh debut so far! We can’t believe that a group formed at Salford University has managed to get a five star review from The Times! We keep pinching ourselves, thinking we’ll wake up! 2014′s been a great year for us and we don’t know what’s next around the corner but whatever happens we’ll be grateful to Salford University as we met there and they offer continued support to us.”Luisa Omielan
Since she graduated from Salford with a first class honours degree in performing arts in 2005, Luisa Omielan has made a name for herself as one to watch on the comedy circuit and she is well on her way to becoming a mainstream success thanks to her extremely funny and intelligent take on modern feminism. In 2012, her show What Would Beyonce Do? was a smash hit at the Edinburgh Fringe and this year she returns with Am I Right Ladies? Both shows received 5 star reviews from the likes of The Guardian, The Times, The Telegraph and Chortle magazine.
The Eradication of Schizophrenia in Western Lapland
This experimental piece of black comedy by the theatre group Ridiculusmus is based on “Open Dialogue”, a unique treatment for schizophrenia that actually has eradicated schizophrenia in Western Lapland. It stars our very own Performance lecturer Richard Talbot (though you may also recognise his alter ego Kurt Zarniko, who could be seen training man-sized mice at the Create Salford festival’s Joke’athon). Interestingly, the stage is divided into two by a wall running through its centre with two interconnected storylines unfolding simultaneously on each side. The audience is split down the middle so each side can only see one half of the play, while still being able to hear the other, creating a hallucinatory effect. At the interval, the audience switches sides and the play starts again. This unique approach has bagged Richard and co a stellar review in The Guardian, TimeOut and The Scotsman.
Billy, The Monster & Me
Billy, The Monster & Me was a hit with kids and adults alike at this year’s Create Salford festival and won the audience-voted ‘Best Production’ award at the previous year’s 24:7 Festival, so it’s no surprise that it’s also gone down at storm at Edinburgh Fringe. The story follows Billy as he embarks on adventure to save his family from a monster, enlisting help from the audience along the way. Among its cast are Performance graduates Christabel Brown, Callum Scott and it was written by Catherine Manford and Sarah Birch, who are also Salford alumni.
Tom Short & Will Hutchby: Only Child Syndrome
Tom Short and Will Hutchby have a few things in common: They are both Performance: Comedy Practices students and they both grew up without siblings. They are also very funny. The pair have decided to put their talents together to create a 2 man stand-up show centred around the trials and tribulations of being an only child. The show was honed in July, when Tom and Will performed a number of dates close to home at the Manchester Fringe Festival and now they’ve taken their side splitting routines to Scotland for the Edinburgh Fringe.
With Edinburgh Fringe acting as a kind of test paper for young actors and comedians, it is likely that you’re likely to see a lot more of this varied group of performers, all of whom learned their crafts on our campus.