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Gary Thomas Visited Edinburgh Fringe for the first time this year. Here are reviews of a few of his highlights.

Richard Fry – The ballad of the Unbeatable Hearts
A one-man show at the Edinburgh Fringe, on until 29th August.

The Ballad is a powerful ‘life story’ of John Wayne (not THE John Wayne, of course) but another John Wayne, who got hit by a bus one day and was told off by the nurse (10 times over, after she found his suicide note. The story unfolds as John lie in the hospital bed, recovers fully, and leads a life of extraordinary accomplishments – only later – towards the end - do we discover the real truth.

The story, and Richards telling of it, evoked in me issues of truth and lies about my own issues with disability and being gay. “There are 451 species which have homosexuality in them, only ONE has Homophobia – Who’s the freak now?” is a line that stuck in my head, as a metaphor for the what the whole show was about. The show also did more than touch on mental health issues (disabilities).

I left thinking about that one line in particular, and trying to think about how to do good in the world where others find it impossible.

Alex Horne.. Seven years in the bathroom

Brilliant show by Alex Horne, who traces a whole life of ‘the average man’ (in this case someone called Scott who just happened to work as a comedy reviewer for the Scotsman) with some amazing facts and figures about the life of the average man, with quite a bit of audience participation thrown in. Inspired by his ‘uncle’ dying at the ripe age of 79, (the age the average man lives) facts and figures were reeled off in all sorts of ways, with the aid of a pie chart, charting the life of the ordinary man.

  • Man stays married for 24 years (this should happen automatically)
  • We are employed for four years.
  • We clean for four years (slightly disturbed by both these facts!) and many other gems too numerous to remember.

The prop list for the show alone was more than enough, but made all the more enjoyable by the way in which they were handled and the meaning of them all. 
An Enlightening show, in more ways than one.

The Search for Happiness – Jason Cook.
A show about the 5 steps of happiness, joy, contentment, etc… Jason Cook outlines the basics of happiness, with anecdotes about a big taxi driver, his mother (who dresses up as a Disney Princess to serve tea, because she no longer has any shame) and how he came to write a show about it all. Witty, clever, and it did actually cheer me up…

To read some thoughts on Gary's experience of access at Edinburgh go to his DAO blog