Udderbelly, George Square Gardens, Edinburgh
I am really excited about this event; Summer Heights High is a finely crafted piece of observational comedy and I’ve watched it more times than I care to admit.
And it starts well: the crowd is giddy; we are all given Mr G masks; some people are even in costume – and it’s lovely to see that Lou Sanders is our host for the night; we really enjoyed her 2015 Fringe show and are hoping we’ll be able to find the time to make it along to this year’s (What’s That Lady Doing? 20.10 each evening in the Pleasance Dome).
But sadly, the show doesn’t really work. There’s a technical failure (the screen goes blank for a good ten minutes and we lose a section, because there’s no time to rewind). But this isn’t the biggest issue. The real problem is the nature of the programme itself: it doesn’t work as a singalong. There are no full length songs at all, just snippets and odd lines, cleverly giving the impression – when you’re watching the series – of a complete school musical, but simply inadequate for a satisfying communal karaoke.
It’s a shame, but the excitement soon abates and the atmosphere is leaden. Even the appearance of a Celine lookalike, surely designed to wow the punters, fails to dispel the general sense of disappointment. Sanders does her best to keep the audience engaged but she’s fighting a losing battle, and it’s a subdued crowd that leaves the Udderbelly at 1 am.
It’s still a brilliant TV show though.