Flanders & Swann “the missing link in comedy history between Noel Coward & Billy Connelly”

Tim FitzHigham tells Broadway Baby why playing one half of Flanders and Swann for the last decade isn’t just nostalgic, it’s unbridled joy.

There’s a love there, that you don’t often feel in comedy audiences – a genuine unbridled love of two people and their songs, that crosses ages, sexes and types.

‘The festival is all about new comedy, it’s about discovering something totally unheard of...’

If there had to be a mantra about the festival other than, ‘the tickets are too expensive’ pre-free fringe or ‘the beer is too expensive’ running theme since smugglers stopped calling at Leith, then the above line would be it.

Why then is there one show that appears to be bucking the trend entirely? In a festival devoted to the art of the new, why are two innocent musical comedy types from the 1950s still as popular this year as the first time they stepped out onto a stage new year’s eve 1956? Or when they first played the Kings Theatre Edinburgh in 1959?

It’s a question I get asked a lot and I’m not really sure I’ve got the definitive answer. Is it because the sight of two men sweating heavily in well tuned dinner jackets is funny? Is it the sound of a well starched keyboard being thumped to within an inch of its tuning? Or is it just that the songs are so utterly joyful and brilliant?

Could it be the huge wealth of new people who have had the burning questions: what is the missing link in comedy history between Noel Coward and Billy Connelly? Who wrote that song my Mum, Dad, Gran or cousin used to sing when I was small? And how can a song about a hippopotamus be that funny and what can you get it to rhyme with?

For me, as the person who has been privileged enough to get to do the songs for nine sell-out years at the Pleasance and loved them since I was small – I’m just thrilled. For me, there’s a love there, that you don’t often feel in comedy audiences – a genuine unbridled love of two people and their songs, that crosses ages, sexes and types. And that’s glorious to be involved in. If you don’t believe me or want to see what the fuss is about – we’re back for year 10 – come along and get involved in the hippo song, the gnu song and so much more. If you’ve read the last sentence and thought, I’ve not heard of those – come and the second you hear the chorus I suspect you’ll say: ‘oh this, I didn’t know what this was, I LOVE this...’. Look forward to seeing you and do say hello at the end...


15th-29th Aug (not 22nd) 2:30pm, Pleasance Courtyard

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