This Arthur's Seat Belongs to Lionel Richie

Really Broadway Baby? You want me to review a one-off stand up show in which the venue description literally reads “On Top of Arthur’s Seat” (Venue 354)? Really? I got into criticism because I really like sitting down. Preferably in the dark. But duty calls, and at 1.30pm on August 16th, I discover what physical exertion feels like as I wheeze my way up Edinburgh’s favourite dormant volcano. It’s 14˚ C and the wind is roaring by at 21 km/h. This better be good.

This Arthur’s Seat Belongs to Lionel Ritchie feels like a natural celebration of the festival invasion - absolutely no where is safe.

It is. It really is. It’s quite lovely in fact, once you manage to track down where the event is taking place (deceptively not at the top of Arthur’s Seat, rather a sheltered plateau just below). Luckily, all of the uphill struggle is contained to finding the venue, as the performances themselves are suitably breezy and colourful. Compèred by the inimitable Barry Ferns, he presents a quartet of ten minute sets over a hectic forty or so minutes which sees the acts run up and down the hill as they dart between shows.

Opening is Simon Munnery who brings his usual surrealism to the mountain. Munnery is a unique and valuable voice on the comedy landscape, though he is an odd choice to warm up the audience as the most difficult act of the four to swallow. It may have been that he had to plummet back to earth for his Stand show, but it means his only bit to really land are his observations on the fetishisation of switches in action movies. Joel Dommett takes to the make-shift stage next, and is quick to win over the game audience with his easy charm. His anecdotal material never hits any dizzying highs, but there’s consistency in the laughs as he recounts tales of freak outs on gun ranges, regretful performances as frontman of his emo teen band Korn, and interviews with Geordie Shore cast members gone very very awry. Patrick Monaghan, arguably the peak performance of the afternoon, delivers the loosest set I’ve ever seen, building on the work of the other performers and constructing his set wholly around the unfortunate dog walkers and tourists who happened to be passing by. The escalating madness reaches its natural conclusion in a three-person crowd surf race up the hill, which was won by the baby. Closing is Jay Foreman and his guitar, as he offers up a collection of twee comic ditties, none of which quite match his musical race across every tube stop of the London underground.

The real star of the show is not the comedians, but the location. The backdrop to the varied performances is a stunning view over the capital, encompassing city and coast. This Arthur’s Seat Belongs to Lionel Ritchie feels like a natural celebration of the festival invasion - absolutely no where is safe. If you love the Fringe it’s the perfect excuse to tick something off the Edinburgh bucket list; if not, well, you can walk your dog in peace come September.

Reviews by Joe Christie

Dance Base

Oog

★★★★
The Assembly Rooms

Detention

★★★
Greenside @ Nicolson Square

Untold Wars: A New Verbatim Musical

★★★
Summerhall

A Brief History of Evil

★★★
Summerhall

Project HaHa

★★★★
On Top of Arthurs Seat

This Arthur's Seat Belongs to Lionel Richie

★★★

Performances

Location

The Blurb

This is a show on top of Arthur's Seat. Sounds like too much effort? It is only a 45 minute walk from the Pleasance Courtyard, and is a totally unique (and funny) event at the most spectacular venue in Edinburgh. One of the most memorable shows in Edinburgh! Since 2007 Josie Long, Simon Munnery and Rich Fulcher have played this fun, friendly, spectacular, one of a kind gig. Don't miss it! ***** (ThreeWeeks).