Brian Ferguson’s Fringe Diary: Stewart Lee | Fringe First

Stewart Lee. Picture: Gareth Easton

Stewart Lee. Picture: Gareth Easton

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I HAD heard tell of Stewart Lee’s apparent disdain for many of those who buy tickets for his shows these days, as opposed to the “comedy intelligentsia” who have followed him since the late 1980s and early 1990s.

There is something admirably fearless about the way he tried to divide his full house at the Assembly Rooms music hall based on the variable responses to his material.

Lee did, however, seem to unite the room with a host of material ripping into fellow comics Lee Mack, James Corden and Russell Brand.

He reserves particular contempt for Graham Norton, after losing out to his chat show for a Bafta honour, despite their formative period as “attic” boys when they appeared in the same venue at the Pleasance as unknowns.

Fringe First history?

A UNIQUE slice of Fringe history was served up at the Assembly Rooms at the first round of The Scotsman’s Fringe First Awards.

Although The Scotsman theatre critic Joyce McMillan admitted she had not trawled through her entire back catalogue, she was confident enough to announce that all-women theatre company Stellar Quines had performed a groundbreaking hat-trick.

The company has become the first to win a Fringe First Award for each part of a trilogy. Maureen Beattie has now performed in all three of Quebec writer Jennifer Tremblay’s plays in the last few years – and can been seen in them all this month.

By rights Beattie should be in line for another medal after today when she can be seen in back-to-back performances of The List, The Carousel and The Deliverance.

Director Muriel Romanes told the audience at the awards ceremony: “I’ll be the one with the drip.”

Circus act

WITH new venues popping up on the Meadows and in Fountainbridge, acrobats hanging off bridges and the bearded performers from Barbu peering at me from every other poster, there is no doubt circus has swept across the Fringe.

Meanwhile, in Inverleith, Forth Children’s Theatre has got in on the act with their production of Barnum.

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