Mervyn Stutter’s Pick of the Fringe 20th Anniversary Gala: Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh, 2011
Mervyn Stutter’s Pick of the Fringe (2 shows): Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh, 2012
Mervyn Stutter’s Pick of the Fringe (3 shows): Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh, 2013
Mervyn Sutter’s Pick of the Fringe: Assembly George Square Studios, Edinburgh, 2014
Mervyn Stutter’s Pick of the Fringe (3 shows): Assembly George Square Theatre, Edinburgh, 2015
Mervyn Stutter’s 25th Anniversary Gala: Assembly George Square Theatre, Edinburgh, 2016
Mervyn Stutter’s Pick of the Fringe (3 shows): Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh, 2017
Mervyn Stutter’s Pick of The Fringe (3 shows): Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh, 2018
Mervyn Stutter’s Pick of The Fringe: (4 shows): Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh, 2019
In my mind, what makes any entertainer great is having an extra ability to engage with an audience as soon as they appear on stage. One such entertainer has this in spades. Whilst reading this, unfortunately you may not have heard of Mervyn Stutter but if you attend the Edinburgh Fringe, his yearly showcases are legendary. I first saw Mervyn Stutter’s Pick of the Fringe for the show’s 20th year gala at the Pleasance Theatre in Edinburgh. The gala featured amongst many others the comedian Ed Byrne and singer Camille O’Sullivan. Armed with guitar and wearing trademark pink suit, Stutter walked onto the stage to a packed lunchtime crowd, sang a few comic songs, told a few topical comic stories and got the show under way. The Pick of the Fringe is just that. Stutter’s team research the Edinburgh Fringe to showcase snippets from a number of shows from all the performing arts and puts them into an hour and a half how every day at the Fringe. Once the act has performed, Stutter interviews them and the audience can decide whether to see the full show from the act. Simple really when you think about it. The show has its own Fringe award and Mervyn Stutter’s Pick of the Fringe is made with such love and care for the performing arts that it has been running for years at the Festival and will enter its 26th year in 2017.
Having been lucky enough to attend the Fringe since 2005, I am amazed to only discover the show in 2011. I now regularly see the show two or three times every year in the week that I go to the Festival. For me, the showcase is everything I love about the Fringe: the atmosphere of the Festival, the discovery of a new act and such a welcoming host.
In August 2018, I saw three mid-day showcases and in August 2019 I saw four. Fronted by the Fringe’s greatest compere, in his trademark pink suit, the very genial Stutter bounded onto the stage armed with guitar ready to entertain the lunchtime audience. Stutter gave the audience comic songs and up to the minutes stories and jokes. It would be a terrific show if it just featured the legendary Stutter. However, once the introduction was complete, Stutter introduced excerpts from seven fringe acts that have been researched by his team before chatting to them about their show. What makes this show special is that snippets of theatre productions are included as well as the comedians and singers making a real variety spectacle. Once the show was over, the audience could choose whether to see the full show or not.
In August 2019, Stutter’s Pick of The Fringe had been going for an incredible twenty-nine years at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. That year, I also saw the unique annual Spirit of The Fringe Awards Show – The Mervs – on the last day which featured the best of the talented shows. This formula has worked year after year and always makes my Fringe going experience.
Because of the global pandemic of 2020, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for the first time ever. Instead, Stutter created a YouTube channel which featured songs and interviews with Fringe favourites. To view the channel, please click the following link: https://bit.ly/MervYouTube.
I want to thank Stutter and his team for all the talent they have put on stage over the years and hope to see many more showcases in the years to come.