“ Edinburgh Fringe 2008,31st July - 25th August 2008, Underbelly, Cowgate (Bellydancer) „
The Underbelly's late night comedy extravaganza is a veritable smorgasbord of laughs and styles, provided you have the patience or the drunkenness to sit through the inevitably awful acts that intersect the funny ones. Lasting for approximately four hours in theory (though not always in practice), the show is headlined by a prominent Fringe act that changes each night, supported by six or seven acts of varying degrees of inventiveness and rubbishness, all hoping to draw one or two of the more sober audience members to their own hour-long shows at a later date.
If this show was held outside of the festival, the audience and acts would be noticeably different, presumably something more accessible to the standard Jongleurs comedy club crowd. But as it's the Fringe, and most people come in anticipation of something a little different, the acts at Spank are a satisfying mix of cheap laughs and innovative comedy, though it's understandable that some of the more avant-garde acts won't want to burden audiences with their heavy-going routines at 3am. Unless that's what gets them off, of course.
The event is strictly over-18s, and part of the reason may be the inevitable full-frontal nudity involved, as any fellow performers in attendance are free to promote their own show on stage to the gathered throng, provided they're prepared to strip for it. Once again, the spirit of the Fringe means that girls are safe to do this without fear of being groped (this isn't the demographic of Jim Davidson's audience for example).
'Spank!' is good value for money, tickets costing a mere £10 on a school night and understandably escalating at the weekends, and the venue even hosts a reasonable bar with a dwindling supply of bottles that seems practically generous considering the extortionate prices of other festival venues. Supplied with a hand stamp, audience members needing to drink, smoke or micturate are permitted to wander in and out to the Underbelly itself during the intervals, or just during the terrible acts if they don't mind being rude and making a sort of snobbish statement.
'Spank!' is on at the Underbelly's Belly Dancer, from 31st July to 24th August 2008 from midnight until 4am. Tickets cost £10 - £14.50 (£9 - £13.50 concessions).
STRICTLY NO UNDER 18's ID MAY BE REQUIRED Back again! OH NO! THE late night show of the Fringe returns after the SOLD OUT, packed out, swinging from the rafters success of '04, '05, '06 and '07! Featuring and insanely huge lineup of awesome comedians, sexy DJ's, controlled anarchy and booze. For wild, unabandoned happiness, laughter, drinking, dancing and probably some gratuitous nudity, get your newly reddened butt cheeks down to SPANK!