By Alexander Lawrie
A SCOTS comedy duo has picked up a coveted award which catapulted previous winners The League of Gentlemen to stardom.
John and Gerry Kielty are to be presented with this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival Spirit of the Fringe Award on Sunday.
The Glaswegian brothers’ show, Greyfriars Twisted Tales, was picked ahead of hundreds of other acts as the one show which embodies the energy and driving force of the Fringe Festival.
The musical show which tells the many stories of the famous Edinburgh cemetery has attracted five-star reviews and has been near to a sell out for most of its Fringe run.
Previous winners of the award who then went on to far bigger things include comedy giants Ed Byrne, Ross Noble, Omid Djalili, and The League of Gentlemen.
The award is the only showcase of Fringe talent that encompasses theatre, comedy, dance and music.
John Kielty, 30, said: “We got the call this week to tell us we had won the Spirit of the Fringe Award and we were completely shocked, but obviously delighted.
“There are so many great acts at this year’s festival and to win the award really encourages us for the future.
“The reaction we’ve had from the audience, especially the kids, has been fantastic and we knew we were on to a winner with this show.
“It really has surpassed all our expectations.”
John is a former member of Fame Academy winner David Sneddon’s band The Sham, and co-wrote five tracks on his debut album.
He is also soon to join up with the world-famous Reduced Shakespeare Company as an actor and musical director.
Sneddon, who won the BBC’s television reality show in 2002, is also part of the two brothers’ comedy musical outfit, The Martians.
In 2006, The Martians won the Highland Quest for a New Musical competition with their production, The Sundowe.
The musical which toured the Highlands for over a year was produced by Sir Cameron Mackintosh of Cats and Les Miserables fame.
The heads of BBC Scotland’s comedy and drama departments are reputed to be keen on signing the duo up on extended contracts.
John said: “We’ve had tentative meetings with the BBC, but it’s very early days so we’ll see what happens.
“We’ve got a bottomless pit of comedy material, and the future looks very promising for us.”
The Spirit of the Fringe award first began in 1992 as the Grand Final of comic Melvyn Stutter’s Pick of the Fringe show.
Melvyn, who organises the awards, said: “When I first caught the guys act I was really surprised at how tight and professional they were. The unit of creativity they have going on has enormous potential.
“Their personalities really shine through and the relationship between the actors is excellent. The physical comedy is very funny and to be honest this is without doubt one of the best shows at this years festival.
“All in all, the Greyfriars Twisted Tales show is good old-fashioned, rumbustious theatre that incorporates everything that is great about the Fringe Festival.”
The award has now developed into one of the most respected prizes at the Edinburgh Fringe.