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Frank Sidebottom The Home of the Retrospective


Alas, poor Yorick, I knew him well! Live stage shows in Central Scotland, be they Shakespeare or avant-garde.

Edinburgh Fringe 2018: Welcome to Night Vale @ Summerhall

This live theatrical show is a spin-off of a hugely popular podcast series of the same title. Set in the fictional town of Night Vale, it’s a surreal spoof of old sci-fi, horror and B movies, as well as such iconic shows as The Twilight Zone. The podcast’s main star and narrator, Cecil Baldwin, makes an appearance in the flesh, as do several guest voice actors and musicians. The plot here revolves around a spy known as The Mink who has infiltrated the town, resulting in a local panic ensuring as the authorities desperately attempt to finger this mysterious figure. The story comes complete with an intro and several mock commercial breaks performed by Meg Bashwiner.

I must admit that I’ve never listened to the podcast prior to attending this show. Hence, my impression of it may have been affected by my lack of initiation into its peculiar style of humour. While I enjoyed some moments, there were others where I was left scratching my head. For example, when Cecil announced that the show was going to break for a weather report, a guy walked on stage and played an entirely unrelated guitar song! For another random reason, one of the characters (who specialises in impersonating accents from various fictional countries) is named after old movie star Lee Marvin. Why? I don’t know. Yes, the humour is rather off-the-wall and clearly, something of a taste acquired with time. Things did start to click with me after the first 15 minutes or so but, even then, I did find some of it to be a little too esoterically weird.

That said, I found the concept that the moon was created on Earth in the 19th century and then launched into space (in order to prove that werewolves exist!) to be a wonderfully imaginative idea. If you love the podcast or are just naturally attuned to the wacky and surreal then, by all means, go ahead. If not, then I recommend that you listen to a couple of episodes first before buying a ticket. They have a YouTube channel if you want to check them out.

Watch a video:

(N.B. This is the pilot episode of the Welcome to Night Vale podcast and isn’t representative of the material in the Summerhall Fringe show. Nonetheless, it serves as a taster for what you can expect.)

Rating: ☆☆☆

Tickets are available from the following link:

Edinburgh Fringe 2018 logo

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