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 smattering of recommendations of great shows to go and see throughout July – from our regulars to acts beyond the usual confines of Onion Land.
Today’s showcase highlights one of our favourite acts just outside the usual remit of TVO – the stupendously silly, furiously filthy Late Night Gimp Fight.
Late Night Gimp Fight
31 July – 25th August
Of all the varying careers open to budding comedians, it takes a certain type of mindset to willingly choose sketch comedy as their forte. Where a stand-up can weave intricate storytelling throughout an hour long narrative, and a character comedian can take that one step further by literally inhabiting another being, sketch artists must stive for eclecticism, and ensure every single character they create doesn’t fall into the trap of being a little too much like the last one.
Thankfully, this is not a problem which phases Late Night Gimp Fight. The work of Paul Biggin, Richard Campbell, Lee Griffiths, David Moon and Matt Ralph has been wowing audiences now since their Fringe debut in 2010, and their Chortle Award the following year helped cement the deal: the cult of The Gimps was rising.
TVO first stumbled upon LNGF collectively many moons ago, on one of those rare instances where the whole team were in the same city and out in force to support a support slot from Rich Fulcher at an under-advertised gig somewhere in the bowels of Kentish Town. Rich was, as always, an utter delight, but LNGF – fresh from that first Edinburgh run – stole the night from the entire bill. Five men in plain costume, one of whom delighted in stripping to his underwear a little too much, created a ramshackle world of fast paced skits and sketches that were simultaneously crude, lewd, silly and downright hilarious.
Fast forward a couple of years and LNGF had a tv taster pilot behind them, and were selling out the Soho Theatre night after night. Watching their fully formed live show, it wasn’t hard to see why. The spirit of that stripped down performance was still there, but bolstered by video screen presentations and props galore. Given a full hour to play with, the boys had backed up the quick crowd-pleaser smut with some truly inventive material which took a more surrealistic direction, and it was this side of their act which stuck with TVO for a long time after the event.
For yes, Late Night Gimp Fight know how to be filthy buggers. If you want comedy with no-holds barred, then they’re going to deliver time after time. But look beyond that surface veneer and there’s a deeply intelligent show which fuses homages to the gents favourite movies, telly and music, with a disection of what makes a sketch-show tick, and some out-there ideas that stand head and shoulders over any other sketch troupe you’ve seen in donkeys years.
That they often appear on bills with TVO regulars should give you some indication of their mindset, and their hardcore following is such that you can almost guarantee every night in Edinburgh will be packed to the rafters. It’s surely only a matter of time before some bright spark in a commissioning office puts Late Night Gimp Fight on the telly, and they’ll be running about in their underwear on stage at the o2 within five years if there’s any justice in the world. Though something tells me that if that happened, they’d still be those same five mates having a laugh in that back-room in Kentish Town, creating some of the funniest comedy you’ll ever see.