Edinburgh try-outs

Various chums are bravely heading off to do their Thing in Edinburgh this summer. Next week – 26 July – Fay Roberts is trying out her material at the Hackney Attic in London E8.  Check it out online. More about that when I’ve been.

Last night was the Milton Keynes try-out gig of McNeil and Pamphilon. A goodly number of the usual suspects crammed into Madcap to see their new show. I was blown away. I thought it was clever, brave and taut. And, of course, it was delivered with their customary high energy. I particularly liked the theme/no theme thing with the collanders and string (is that giving too much away?) I wish you all the success in the world with it, guys.

Sharing the evening with McNeil and Pamphilon was Thomas Nelstrop aka The Man With No Name. He has put together, for Edinbugh use, a most intriguing hour of music, impressions and humour set in and at the expense of a Festival in a Field, during which he addresses every aspect of the summer music scene from how to cure a fear of heights with Acid to what Bob Dylan’s songs sounded like before he could write words. A high point for me was the appearance of the drum-playing gorilla from the Cadbury’s advert. In the bar at half-time I asked several people who was the guy we’d just been watching. Nobody knew. Catching sight of him semi-disguised as a black curtain just before the second half I taxed him with the lack of an intro or outro revealing who he is. ‘I play so many different people,’ he said, ‘that who I am isn’t important.’ Yes, Thomas,  it is. So, ladies and gentlemen, that was Thomas Nelstrop. Remember the name!

Writing your own stuff and performing it in front of hard-eyed people with their knees and arms crossed requires the hide of a rhino and the determination of Incy Wincy Spider. It needs heart and soul, self-belief and loadsa money.  Respect, guys.


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