Karen Koren: It’s Fringe time - let 130 shows begin

Ed Byrne. Pic: Comp
Ed Byrne. Pic: Comp
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FINALLY finished programming The Gilded Balloon for the 2015 Fringe and according to Rowan, my general manager, we have 130 shows, which is something of a record.

As it’s our 30th anniversary, we are celebrating by welcoming back old friends as well as lots of new and interesting productions - 59 of those shows are on sale already and the rest go on sale on May 11.

There is an air of excitement in the office as the brochure and entry deadline put a huge strain on our resources. However, we managed it. Now we just have to sell the tickets and get staff and performers organised for a successful season.

The shows will be announced very shortly. However, there are a couple that I can talk about.

I’m very happy to say that Ed Byrne will be performing for the full run at the Gilded Balloon. Ed started comedy while at university in Glasgow in the early 90s and performed at the Gilded Balloon every year for five years, establishing himself as a strong stand-up comedian.

My two favourite panto stars, Grant Stott and Andy Gray, are both back in Willie and Sebastian, a brand new play written by Rab C Nesbitt creator Ian Pattison. Joining them will be Michele Gallagher, who played Gail Sheridan in Iain Pattison’s very successful play I, Tommy.

Willie and Sebastian is a dark comedy telling the story of real life artists Willie Donaldson and Sebastian Horsley, of their friendship and how the introduction of Willie’s girlfriend Rebecca almost destroyed them.

It’s a fascinating insight into the darker side of two extraordinary characters. This is a huge departure for Grant and Andy. It will not be a show for children but will give their fans an opportunity to see their versatility as actors.

The play will be directed by the brilliant Sam Kane who directed the Fringe First winning play Kiss Me Honey, Honey in 2013. I cannot wait to see this new play on stage!