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Acclaim for 'In the Bath: Unplugged'

September 2005

Tim's Edinburgh show about the bath project, In the Bath: Unplugged, was a huge success! It won an Editor's Award from ThreeWeeks, and had several great reviews.

ThreeWeeks Editor's Award

From http://www.threeweeks.co.uk/.

ThreeWeeks exists to discover and champion cultural innovation and excellence at the Edinburgh Festival, and that's exactly what these new awards are about. Taking a lead from our team of 75 reviewers, and from other contacts at the Edinburgh Festival, the ThreeWeeks editors - Chris, Caro, Sam and Christabel - have been investigating and experiencing those shows, events and initiatives at the Festival which our leads were most highly rating.

From that, each week we have compiled a list of those events that we felt deserve particular recognition for innovation and / or excellence, and tonight, from that list, we have produced a top ten. These are ten shows, events or initiatives which we feel helped make the 2005 Edinburgh Festival something special, and which we feel should be celebrated for that.

The winners of the 2005 Editors' Awards are as follows:

...

2. Tim FitzHigham for 'In The Bath: Unplugged'

The great thing about the Edinburgh Festival is that performing here is an adventure. From the moment you decide to stage a show at the Fringe there is a journey that you must take - one with many challenges and tedious deadlines, with highs and lows, and, of course, with the constant risk of bankruptcy. Tim FitzHigham, however, decided to take the adventure to new heights, by adding the tricky task of rowing across the English Channel in a bath to the list of requirements for his show. But again, we are not making this award simply for the concept of the show, as fantastic and insane as it may be. This award has been made because Tim has successfully transformed his mad adventure into a compelling piece of comedy story telling that leaves his audience laughing one minute, crying the next. It is a show as remarkable as the adventure it describes.

ThreeWeeks Review

Tim FitzHigham had a mission: to row across the English Channel and back...in a bath! This is an exploration into the absurd, hilarious and inspiring tale of a people's champion. FitzHigham narrates his story with frantic enthusiasm and pace, leaving the enthralled audience hanging on every twist and turn. He makes clever use of language with a delivery that is exciting and unpredictable. This is compelling viewing and one of the most essential pieces of comedy at this year's Festival. If you want to know whether he completed his insane ambition then you will have to find out yourself.

tw rating: 5/5

The Stage Review

From http://www.thestage.co.uk/

If there is a more triumphant, heart-warming and emotional show on the Fringe this year, stand up and prove it - particularly one that is essentially a comedy.

Tim FitzHigham's story of his triumph over adversity in becoming the first person to row a bathtub across the English Channel, around the Kent coast and up to Tower Bridge, is also a story about what it is to be British.

It is about the loveable, posh eccentric. It is about supporting the underdog. It is about ruling the waves in a bath.

It took FitzHigham two years to complete his task, which he began shortly after breaking the world record for rowing down the Thames in a boat made of paper.

The result is a show that tells a story that ended only days before he opened at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe - a story that is told with enthusiasm, incredulity and the right amount of self-deprecation. FitzHigham is a brilliant storyteller in the same insane vein as Dave Gorman. He makes you believe that anything is possible if one puts one' mind to it.

As seems to be the fashion at this year's Fringe, he uses film footage and stills to illustrate his voyage and the final shot of him finally arriving at Tower Bridge after breaking bones and wrecking his body, is incredibly moving.

The Scotsman Review

From http://www.edinburgh-festivals.com/

ROGER COX

TIM FitzHigham looks like a man who has recently been half-killed at sea, probably because he has. I hope he won't mind if I describe him as wild-eyed - there is definitely something of the hunted animal about him, and it's not hard to see why.

On 9 June this year FitzHigham rowed across the English Channel in a bathtub to raise money for Comic Relief. He then rowed from Folkstone to Tower Bridge, an epic journey taking in some of the most treacherous coastal waters to be found anywhere in the British Isles.

In the course of accomplishing this lunatic stunt, he almost drowned, cut his shoulder so badly that it ceased to function and did things to his scrotum that are so distressing I'd really rather not repeat them here. He didn't make it to Tower Bridge until 2 August, so he had to cancel the first few days of his Edinburgh run to recover from his ordeal. He's here now though, and In the Bath: Unplugged tells the story of his oddball odyssey, from his initial training sessions with Matthew Pinsent and the rest of the British men's coxless four, who clearly thought he was insane, to his emotional arrival in central London.

It isn't a flawless comedy show by any means, but it is one of the most moving and compelling tales you'll hear anywhere.

More than that, it's a testament to one man's determination to do something extremely difficult and exceptionally foolish for no other reason than because he thinks he can.

Chortle Review

From http://www.chortle.co.uk/

Rowing the English Channel in just a bathtub almost claimed Tim FitzHigham's life. Producing this show that explains the story of that mission, on the other hand, seems to have almost claimed his sanity. Indeed, he presents this interesting show with a seemingly genuine maniacal glaze, appropriate for someone who has survived such a bold, and stupid, mission.

After completing a charity attempt to cross the Thames in a boat that was 85 per cent paper, FitzHigham last year decided io go one step better and row from Calais to Tower Bridge.

The show is more a description of the obstacles that he faced on this mission rather than any seafaring tales (which, considering that he undertook the task on his own, is unsurprising). It is an occasionally fascinating account of lying French coastguards, money laundering and the rewriting of age-old naval laws.

FitzHigham does not, at first, seem someone eccentric enough to consider this mission a viable idea. The first impression of him is that of an excitable fop, well spoken and polite but still with a cheeky streak that can deconstruct precisely why a man crossing the Channel in a bathtub is traditional comedy inspiration.

He is also as typically English as it is possible to be; I will still be chuckling at the end of the festival when recalling his decision to stop for a game of cricket halfway through his mission.

However, as the audience become more acquainted with him, it becomes clear that there is far more to this assumed public schoolboy than is initially apparent. The flashes of anger aroused when a news reporter mispronounces his name combine with his sleepy eyes and unshaven face to produce a disturbed figure.

The story itself is so ridiculous, that we can only take FitzHigham's word that it is all true. It is all eloquently told and emphatically expressed, but he does not fully elucidate upon some of the more unexpected events, so muddling some of the facts in the audience's mind, which can only make it sound unconvincing.

However, by the end, the story is engaging enough for the audience to truly want FitzHigham to succeed. The only thing we really need worry about is his mental health.