Basil Brush’s Family Fun Show, Underbelly, Bristo Square, Edinburgh ***
Basil Brush: Unleashed, Underbelly, Bristo Square, Edinburgh ***
The young tots of today are also queuing up for selfies with the furry fox puppet sensation, who is packing out two shows a day on his debut visit to the Fringe.
New sidekick Mr Martin – Britain’s Got Talent finalist Martin Cabble-Reid – acts as de facto manager, bouncer and stooge, while Basil himself, defying the usual fox lifespan, is looking fluffy at fifty, even if some of his material is a bit old and smelly.
Basil Brush’s Family Fun Show pumps out a basic diet of silly, scatological humour, repurposed ravey pop songs, magic tricks and set-pieces but is elevated by the sheer enthusiasm of the kids in the audience who respond with alacrity to the anarchy of a pass-the-pie elimination game.
The fox on the box becomes the ginge on the fringe for his adult show later in the day. He is no less an attraction for the grown-ups, who are generally treated as big kids. There is a reprise of the pie flinging and the water pistols, now allegedly filled with alcohol, alongside more meta references to what is going on below that desk.
Basil Brush: Unleashed loosely follows a chat show structure, including a news review with tepid current affairs gags and a couple of guests – on this occasion, comedian Suzi Ruffell, who copped a quick fox snog, and a game Hugh Bonneville via videolink.
Though the gags are lukewarm, there is a childlike joy in the return of the traditional “storytime” reading – from the foxy 50 Shades of Orange saga – and in seeing a blinged-up Basil rocking an Elton John finale at his toy piano.
Family Fun Show until 15 Aug, Basil Brush: Unleashed until 25 Aug