The Edinburgh Fringe is almost upon us, with a host of TVO favourites set to descend upon the city between 2nd and 26th August. In the build up, we’re bringing you a great show to go and see every weekday – from our regulars to shows beyond the usual confines of Onion Land.
Today’s showcase is something a little bit different, in the form of James Wren & Leon Fleury’s seminal comedy night SPANK! – which returns to London this evening before heading off to the Burgh.
You all know the score by now with The Velvet Onion. Our goal has always been to highlight the small (but expanding) family of comics, actors, musicians and other creatives who have regularly worked together since the days of Ealing Live and those initial Boosh shows. We’ve long since dubbed Alice Lowe – who helped inspire TVO into existence – our fairy godmother, but if this unnamed family were to actually have parentage, then it’s arguably James Wren who is the father figure to the main core.
Wren was, of course, the first person to book The Mighty Boosh for a residency at his now legendary club The Hen & Chickens. Over the years, he’s had a hand in so many projects with TVO regulars, that you only have to mention his name to most of them and watch their eyes gloss over with affection. Quite simply, Wren is a legend in alternative comedy.
TVO got to experience his magic in action for ourselves when he hosted our inaugural live event last year at his short lived club The Vandella. James was keen to inspire us to do great things, and was on hand throughout the whole process without ever telling us how to do it. We instantly fell in love, and hope to work with him again to bring more shows to fruition.
Making things happen is pretty much Wren’s by-line, be it comedy of his own (he’s made feature films on miniscule budgets, and occasionally becomes infamously brilliant 80s pomp character Uxbridge Swain alongside Richard Glover), or hosting great live events. This year, he teamed up with Forgery Club head honcho Bob Pipe, and their regular booking, Phil Whelans, to make the sensational The Day They Came To Suck Out Our Brains, with predictably inventive results.
Edinburgh 2013, however, is all about Spank! – and the legendary comedy night is celebrating its tenth birthday. The evening has played host to almost everyone on TVO’s roster (plus comics as varied as Rhys Derby and Michael Wilmslow) since it started in 2003, with the annual Edinburgh run continuing for the rest of the year sporadically at venues across London. Most recently, it has been housed in the Udderbelly on Southbank, with the likes of Rufus Jones, Alex Kirk and Tony Law on the latest bills.
Up in Scotland, the celebratory event will start each evening at midnight, promising three hours or so of top notch comedy at a time when most of London is getting ready to chuck punters out. It’s stupendously funny stuff for 18s+, and the beauty of it is, you never know who you’ll get… so if you’re heading to Edinburgh, you’ll just have to pop in every night to find out!