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Frome invades Edinburgh fringe festival!

EDINBURGH Festival Fringe comes to life this month – and Frome favourites will be there to join in with the largest arts festival in the world.

Frome’s Ukelele Club, SATCO and Pip Utton will all be pulling the crowds and hoping to follow in the footsteps of some illustrious names.

Many entertainment legends have begun their careers at the Fringe including Peter Cook, Dudley More, Alan Bennet, Rowan Atkinson, Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie and Emma Thompson. More recent comedy performers to have been ‘discovered’ include Rory Bremner, Fascinating Aïda, Reduced Shakespeare Company, Steve Coogan, Jenny Eclair, The League of Gentlemen, Al Murray and Rich Hall.

Last year’s Festival Fringe spanning 25 days totalled over  40,000 performances of more than 2,500 different shows performed  from 47 countries in 279 venues and more than two million tickets were sold. This year it will be even bigger and the cream of Frome’s comedy talent will be playing its part.

Frome Ukulele Club was conceived after a group  saw  Tricity Vogue’s Ukulele Cabaret at the Edinburgh Festival.  So it is somehow fitting that the club should be travelling back to the festival this year to provide some entertainment of their own.

Fifteen members of the club will be performing at the world famous  Spiegelterrace for a week in August. Every afternoon they will be performing as the Frukes of F.U.C, with an inspired mix of musical styles and the odd comedy moment.

Since the club’s inception it has blossomed into a group that sometimes has more than 25 members all playing, singing – and drinking – on practice evenings at the Cornerhouse.  Members say it is the highlight of the week and there’s no denying that just playing and singing along to this simple instrument makes people very happy. The club has had a busy year performing at many local events, most recently at the Village Pump Festival in Westbury last weekend.

For many years SATCO (Sunday Afternoon Theatre Company) has been entertaining crowds all around Somerset. Originally a drama theatre company, they have evolved in recent years into one of the best known street theatre performance companies. This August, they will be treating Edinburgh Fringe audiences to the world’s only dry land syncro swimming team and climbing the previously un-scaled treacherous north face of the Royal Mile (landslides permitting!)

SATCO will be registered street entertainers at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and will have a licence to perform in the streets during the festival. They have to enter their pass into a ballot at 10.00am each morning that they want to perform and a draw is held for the best pitches and slots.

Pip Utton is well known to Edinburgh Fringe audiences; he is vice-chair of the Edinburgh Fringe Society board, has performed there every year except one for the past 20 years (and is still waiting to become an overnight success). Pip has won the ‘Spirit of the Fringe’ award and been nominated twice for Stage Best Actor. He has been described by the Edinburgh press as a ‘cult’, a ‘legend’, a ‘national treasure’ and a ‘tosser in a wig’. His performances at the Fringe have all gone on to tour the UK and in more than 20 countries around the world. Currently his plays ‘Chaplin’ and ‘Adolf’ are being performed in Turkey in translation.

At last year’s Fringe his show ‘Churchill’ completely sold out and received rave reviews and his two performances of ‘Adolf’ caused enormous controversy. At this year’s Fringe, Pip will be repeating ‘Churchill’ for the whole festival and ‘Adolf’ for just two performances in the prestigious Assembly Rooms in George Street, before both shows tour India later in the year.


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