Karen Koren: Henry Naylor collects a Fringe first

Henry Naylor. Pic: Comp

Henry Naylor. Pic: Comp

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NOW we are into the second week of the Festival and it is going full swing. We have been lucky with the weather up until Sunday and then the heavens opened and everyone ran for cover. The city was looking so pretty until then - if only we could control the weather. The Gilded Balloon is quite lucky in that we are in Teviot Row House and the beautiful old building supplies an abundance of shelter from the downpours.

I have seen some brilliant shows and we won a Fringe First for Henry Naylor’s The Collector, which is an extremely moving piece of three brilliantly delivered monologues. It deals with how the American military handle what is going on in Iraq. It is the poignant tale of a young girl who begins with huge hopes only to be let down by the people she originally believed in, and her fiancé, a young pro-western prison translator.

A must see, it has images of Homeland. Written by Naylor, a comedy writer and performer best known for his double act Parsons and Naylor, he has turned to write about some very disturbing issues.

My first week was taken up with the heats of our comedy competition Foster’s So You Think You’re Funny? It was great to see so many strong new comedians, who have only been working as stand-ups for the past year.

The sad thing is that the women were no strong enough this year. There were some good female performers, but not stronger than the boys, which is a shame. I would have liked to see some girls in the final.

On a brighter note, there are four Scottish finalists, which is exciting. I hope at least one of them is in the top three. The final is on Thursday August 21.

Tonight we have two very different benefits. First, Free Gaza, which speaks for itself, with Daniel Kitson and Josie Long.

After this is Not Just A Funny Turn, a benefit for the Stroke Association compered by Stephen K Amos and starring Jason Cook and Tim Vine.