Edinburgh Fringe 09: Tycho Brahe

In the space of two days musicOMH has seen two separate shows that make reference to Tycho Brahe, a sixteenth century astronomer who sported a gold nose after his own was sliced off in a duel.

The first was Lucy Porter’s new show, Fool’s Gold, at the Pleasance Coutyard (20.20). Porter is a charming and engaging performer, warm-spirited with a quick wit, but though she sets up a potentially interesting premise – the history and cultural significance of gold – she just skims it, throwing in a few entertaining facts and one lovely visual gag, even at one point feeding an audience member a piece of gold leaf, but there are very few really strong jokes and a lot of the time she seems to be coasting on her own likeability.

The second show was AL Kennedy’s Words at the Assembly Rooms (16.50). Kennedy is a novelist but she has been performing on the fringe for a few years. Her shows have been classified as stand-up in the past, but this year she’s listed under Theatre, when actually, what Words most closely resembles is in fact a lecture with laughs, an imaginative and ringing hymn to language. She’s not a natural performer like Porter, but there’s a strong sense she’s there because she needs to be, because she loves language so much and needs to communicate this love, that she can’t not to do it. There are some jokes – including a nice one about Wittgenstein – but it’s not ‘hilarious’ as the Fringe programme would have us believe, but it’s oddly uplifting and is fuelled by a love of words and where they can take you.

We would also recommend you see The Petty Concerns of Luke Wright at the Underbelly (18.00), the latest show from former Aisle 16 member and self appointed candidate for Laureate. A fusion of stand up and performance poetry, Petty Concerns is one of his strongest shows to date, very funny but also genuinely self-reflective and questioning.

For more information on this year’s Edinburgh Fringe visit

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