Author Topic: Fringe show review thread - reviews may contain spoilers  (Read 8921 times)

Eccentrica Gallumbits

  • Rock 'n' roll and brew, rock 'n' roll and brew...
Fringe show review thread - reviews may contain spoilers
« on: August 02, 2008, 01:23:51 am »
Ed Byrne at the Assembly Hall on the Mound

It's Fringe time again, and in the words of Ed Byrne, the Fringe box office has been the Terminal Five of the arts world this year (or words to that effect).

Haven't seen Ed Byrne for a few years. The last time I saw him was at the Playhouse and the sound was rubbish. We could hardly hear him, and what we could hear was old stuff we'd heard before in previous shows, so next time he was here I didn't bother. I'm glad I went tonight though

The title of the show was A Different Class and some of it was about class and where he fits into the class structure but most of it was just funny anecdotes. He was saying that he isn't really any particular class in Ireland - not poor and not posh, which basically means that when he was growing up, he didn't have a horse - the only people who have horses are posh rich people (although I think they probably have ponies unless they're really landed gentry) or people who have ten kids in a one-bedroomed flat in a tower block. There was some good stuff about his wedding, which was about spending an entire year arguing with his fianceé about stuff he didn't give a shit about it. And there was the absolute best bit - I didn't know, but apparently Michael Jackson's album Thriller was re=released this year as a 25 year anniversary edition with all the videos on dvd. He was talking about the video and all the zombies and the werewolf and all the scary stuff, and then pointed out that in the entire production of the album, the title track and the Thriller video, nobody, not Quincy Adams, not John Landers, nobody bothered to point out that really it shouldn't have been called Thriller, it should have been called Horror.

7/10 - consistent giggles, only one big laugh
 
My feminist marxist dialectic brings all the boys to the yard.


Eccentrica Gallumbits

  • Rock 'n' roll and brew, rock 'n' roll and brew...
Re: Fringe show review thread - reviews may contain spoilers
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2008, 02:00:51 pm »
Living With Johnny Depp


A one-woman play today with actress Joanne Mitchell. She plays Irish schoolgirl Shania who is completely obsessed with Johnny Depp and screws up her mocks by writing about him in her English exam. She also plays her teacher, the headmistress and her mother, and switches between the four characters instantly.

It was very bizarre. I thought the actress was very good, she managed to create 4 distinct characters and moved between each role very clearly. But, the script was awful, really bad, and for some reason she decided to put audience participation into it. She did a bit about being in McDonalds and made me be the McDonalds worker - all I had to do was stand there and then she told me what to say - "do you want the colouring in sheets?"and I said it and she carried on and I sat down. I like to think I made the part my own though. And someone else had to be her best friend and say one line as well. It added nothing to the show, and really I think it was quite unfair - you expect audience participation when you see a comedian, but you shouldn't have to worry about it at a play.

There were some laughs in it, but really, it was a bizarre and not very good hour. A complete re-write of the script to make it into something funny, coherent and understandable (some of it was quite difficult to follow) would have worked wonders and then we could have appreciated how good the woman was, rather than just coming out thinking "wow, that was bizarre."

4/10.
My feminist marxist dialectic brings all the boys to the yard.


Eccentrica Gallumbits

  • Rock 'n' roll and brew, rock 'n' roll and brew...
Re: Fringe show review thread - reviews may contain spoilers
« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2008, 11:34:23 pm »
Rich Hall as Otis Lee Crenshaw at the Pleasance.

I like Rich Hall. He does very intelligent comedy, pointed but not malicious, and he's always very funny. Otis Lee Crenshaw is a character he does, the premise being that OLC is Rich Hall's Tennessee cousin who's spent his whole life in prison and been married 7 or 8 times, every time to a woman called Brenda. Now he's in a prison country and western band. The band used to be the Black Liars - they were really good, but now it's a different band, just a guitarist and a banjo player, plus OLC on vocals and keyboard. The banjo player and guitarist walked on and immediately started playing Duelling Banjos.

He does a little bit of audience banter, has a comedy chat with a couple of audience members and then makes up country and western songs around the info they gave him. Tonight was a housing officer called Michael from Nottingham, and an IT bloke called Ian from Ayr. He also does other songs, one about Roberta in the KKK, some others, and a fantastic one about whisky and how Scotland invented whisky and America ruined it.

It's very clever and very funny and I enjoyed it very much. 9/10.

 
 
My feminist marxist dialectic brings all the boys to the yard.


Eccentrica Gallumbits

  • Rock 'n' roll and brew, rock 'n' roll and brew...
Re: Fringe show review thread - reviews may contain spoilers
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2008, 06:14:00 pm »
Am I the only one seeing shows this year?  ???

Not Everything Is Significant.

Ben Moor's new one man play.

I've lost count of his Fringe plays. I know I've seen them all, and loved them all, but there are so many now I can't remember them all, which is sort of ironic given the theme of this one.

It's hard to explain. It's about a biographer, and it's narrated by Ben as the biographer and as the biographer's footnote-adder. The biographer finds a diary which details all his movements for the coming year up to 22nd September and finds himself doing what's listed for the dates even if he didn't intend to, and the footnote-adder becomes more and more entwined in it all so the lines between the separate narrations become more and more blurred. There are some very subtle, very funny bits in it, in that Ben way of being clever uses of words and plays on words and just little bits of taking real life just that step further - a drug called Addictin which has no effect on people whatsoever other than making them addicted to it, a theme park called FarmWorld with a tunnel of hens, poodling, which is like dogging only women dress men in sequinned collars and curl their eyelashes etc and a load more I've forgotten - not because it was unmemorable but because there was so much of it.

Some of it reminded me of the recent episodes of Doctor Who - Silence in the Library and Forest of the Dead - the idea about having your future all written down in a diary and whether to look, or how far ahead you should look, although that was more me making associations than the script, I think. There was a lot about memory and immortality, and if you experience something and tell someone else, that perpetuates it, and how we share things and continue things and things continue to exist in memory, and how we continue to exist in our children, and the things that happen to us continue to be remembered after we're gone as long as we've told other people about them.

It was very clever, very complex, very funny, very beautiful and for some reason, I found it very, very moving. 10/10.

My feminist marxist dialectic brings all the boys to the yard.


Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: Fringe show review thread - reviews may contain spoilers
« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2008, 06:21:47 pm »
Am I the only one seeing shows this year?  ???

Possibly, but please keep the reports coming.

We went three years ago. My son chose the Edinburgh Festival because he was a dialysis patient at the time and not far from Bruntsfield there is a dialysis unit aimed specifically at holidaymakers. He would have his dialysis from 8 a.m. to about lunch time and we would go to the shows afterwards.

We saw some superb stuff and other bits and pieces which were a bit iffy. There was a really good 1-woman show called "I miss Communism" which I think was one of the best things we saw. I think my sons thought other stuff was better, but the best things we saw were very good indeed.
Oh, Bach without any doubt. Bach every time for me.

blackpuddinonnabike

Re: Fringe show review thread - reviews may contain spoilers
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2008, 10:05:38 am »
Count Arthur Strong: The Man Behind the Smile
Assembly Rooms

I saw Count Arthur for the first time about 5 years back. I didn't know anything about the character at all, and wound up in a dingy and hot room with both my parents and fearing the worst. What followed was an hour of constant laughing through to tears.

A reasonable gap then to revisit what was possibly the best performer I've seen at the Fringe (I've seen a few performers two years in a row and the second is never as good - there's not enough time for the material to be completely fresh).

This show was a sort of retrospective, looking back at Count Arthur's (sadly fictional) career in television, and was punctuated with footage shown on a big screen with the Count spliced into shows such as Dickson of Dock Green and Ask the Family. In between these Count Arthur was his usual slightly bumbling and cantankerous self.

Having seen the show before, and listened to the radio show, I knew what to expect, and fell immediately into 'getting it', while Mel sat beside me was a bit non-plussed by the whole thing. I have to admit that the last show (on Count Arthur's travels in Egypt) was packed with energy and you felt Steve Delaney (the real man behind the Smile) was thoroughly enjoying what he was doing.

This show, by comparison, fell a little flat in places. Losing the train of thought is a Count Arthur trademark, as is his berating himself and the audience while doing so, and here there just wasn't the comic vitriol seen previously. The best parts were definitely the TV highlights on the big screen, which were just comedy genius - the stage element had its moments, certainly, but too few of them for fans of the previous work, or to convert those who knew nothing beforehand. The added feature of a couple of co-performers didn't really lift this, and it had the feel of a show that had yet to find its feet.

Given this was the second night that's maybe not surprising, but I'm still not sure I'd recommend Count Arthur as strongly as I would have done in the past.

6/10 - not enough comedy gold within the chaff

blackpuddinonnabike

Re: Fringe show review thread - reviews may contain spoilers
« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2008, 10:21:55 am »
Gamarjobat
The Gilded Balloon at Teviot

As ideas go, a couple of Japanese mime artists might not have you rushing for tickets, but Gamarjobat have had good reviews in recent years as Fringe regulars, and the poster with two mohawked guys in Blues Brother style suits screaming at the camera brings to mind the insane brilliance of Japanese game shows.

This year the guys were bringing in a storyline, this being 'Western', but started the show in their suits, performing mime and magic tricks, both deliberately good and deliberately bad. The aim of this seemed to be to get the audience going, with participation the key right from the off. The energy and fitness of these guys was evident from the start, but after the opening 15 minute or so salvo we moved onto the story.

This was silent movie on stage. Everything acted out, and the two protaganists taking on a variety of roles. What is completely without question is the ability of these two performers, effortlessly getting the point across without words, and with no little humour. The story unfolded perfectly, and at times darkly, with one woman exiting quickly with her young child when a character was 'shot' (well, it IS a Western!).

While I could appreciate the ability though, there just seemed a little lacking. Maybe it was just that my expectations of the actual 'type' of show weren't matched, and those first 15 minutes sat slightly at odds with what followed. But having said all of that the comedy they managed to inject, and the way they integrated the audience without making you cringe, added up to a show that was worth seeing.

7/10

Eccentrica Gallumbits

  • Rock 'n' roll and brew, rock 'n' roll and brew...
Re: Fringe show review thread - reviews may contain spoilers
« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2008, 06:15:08 pm »
I went back to see Not Everything Is Significant again today. I think it's the most complex beautiful thing he's ever done. It has humour and sadness and loss and hope and Phillips-head sharks, and I recommend that everyone goes and sees it.
My feminist marxist dialectic brings all the boys to the yard.


Eccentrica Gallumbits

  • Rock 'n' roll and brew, rock 'n' roll and brew...
Re: Fringe show review thread - reviews may contain spoilers
« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2008, 10:12:51 pm »
Danny Bhoy tonight.

Getting Danny Bhoy tickets wasn't as easy as it should have been. I booked them at the beginning of June along with all the others, but because of the monumentally useless box office system, which is not compatible with the system at the Conference Centre (where the show was), the tickets couldn't be printed. When I spoke to someone at the Fringe box office earlier in the week they said I had to take my reference number and details and go to the venue an hour before the show to collect the tickets. Fine. I can do that.

And then this morning I got an email saying I had to go to the Fringe box office and get vouchers there which I could take to the venue and exchange for tickets. So I had to fight my way through the mob this afternoon to get to the box office for my vouchers - which were tickets, just not with proper seat numbers on them. Srsly. Good job I wasn't at work today so I could see the email and get to the Fringe box office.

Anyway, got to the show with half an hour to spare, exchanged the tickets for - well, tickets, and were told the doors wouldn't open for another 15 minutes, which would be 15 minutes before the show was due to start. There were thousands of people there. And they refused to open the doors until 7pm, and then tried to funnel thousands of people past two ticket collectors at the bottom of one set of escalators, while later arrivals were still trying to get their tickets. It took forever to get everyone in and the show was half an hour late starting. Why oh why did they not open the house earlier and let people go in earlier and avoid the chaos and let the show start on time? It's a Friday night in the Fringe - people often have shows booked back to back and a show starting late means people have to leave early or be late for the next show and not get in. Eejits.

Anyway, the show started. It started off with a Danny Bhoy In Association With The Tourist Board of Scotland video clip of him showing all the sights and experiences of a holiday in Scotland. That bit was very, very funny. Then he came on stage and the proper show started.

I like Danny Bhoy. He's funny, and he's very pretty - oh, he's so pretty - and he's engaging and likeable. A couple of years ago I saw him at the Assembly Rooms and one bit made me laugh so hard I stopped breathing and had to find my inhaler. He's never reached those heights since though. It was amusing, I laughed all the way through, but it wasn't really hilarious. I think he's at his best when he's talking about Scotland. He has a way of noticing things about Scotland and Scottish culture and turning them into little comedy gems, and he's not as good when he talks about other things, and there was too much other things tonight. I can't remember most of what it was - there was some funny stuff about hotels always making the beds up so tightly that getting in between the sheets is like being faxed, and a funny story about his mum buying him a goat and then tying it up outside BT headquarters, and an excellent bit about walking on stage to do a gig in Burnley wearing a KKK outfit just after they'd elected a BNP councillor, but the really really funny bits were all in his tourism film clip.

7.5/10 and the .5 is because he's so pretty.
My feminist marxist dialectic brings all the boys to the yard.


Eccentrica Gallumbits

  • Rock 'n' roll and brew, rock 'n' roll and brew...
Re: Fringe show review thread - reviews may contain spoilers
« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2008, 10:43:09 pm »
A Partisan’s Daughter

A Partisan's Daughter is the new Louis de Bernieres book. I really like his books, and I've seen a Fringe adaptation of Captain Corelli's Mandolin several times. Tonight was the man himself performing with Bavarian flautist and keyboard player Ilone Antonius-Jones. He played clarinet, guitar, mandolin, and a variety of other stringed instruments and she played flute, alto flute and keyboards. They played a variety of Greek tunes and tunes from the Balkan states, and some Elgar, and a piece written by Antonius-Jones called The Girl From Belgrade, interspersed with readings from A Partisan's Daughter and gentle banter between the two of them. And, they handed out percussion instruments to the audience - cowbells and maracas and goats' feet and spoons, and we all got to play them whenever we felt like during the tunes.

It was a pleasant way to spend an hour and the excerpts from the book were carefully chosen to make you want to go and buy it! The performance was in well known Edinburgh Italian deli, Valvona & Crolla, and they had copies of the book to buy, and L de B was happy to sign them for us. I wasn't impressed with his chatting skills though. I asked him if he was going to do any more of the Senor Vivo books - I like those best - and he just said "no." I didn't feel I could just walk away so I said oh, I like all the books, but those are my favourites, and he said "I might do another one if I get another idea for one" and I said I like them, and he said "yes people do seem to like those best" and was really very grumpy about it. A simple "I'm glad you like them" would have sufficed. 7.5/10
 
My feminist marxist dialectic brings all the boys to the yard.


blackpuddinonnabike

Re: Fringe show review thread - reviews may contain spoilers
« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2008, 10:59:48 pm »
Charlie Victor Romeo
Udderbelly Barn

Perhaps an odd premise for a piece of theatre, the voice recordings from 6 plane crashes are re-enacted on stage (CVR, or Charlie Victor Romeo, being the term for 'Cockpit Voice Recorder'). The show had great reviews, and was a pre-Fringe pick for the Guradian and Times, as well as already having a great deal of success in the States. Some personal reviews on the Fringe website reckoned this was a bit dull and repetitive.

The people who posted that have the attention spans of gnats (I'm assuming gnats have pretty short attention spans but please note I am in no way an expert...)

There is something remarkably compelling about a simple stage set with a mocked-up cockpit and 2 or 3 people talking in what for a lot of the time might as well be a foreign language, given the technical nature of what they're saying. But it works for one great big reason - it's almost unbearably human. The performances get you right into that frame of mind of wondering what on earth the real people involved must have gone through.

Each of the 6 scenarios are real, and an overhead screen tells you the date, aircraft and what caused the crash. When the scenario is finished this is repeated, with the additional information regarding numbers of fatalities and injuries. A couple of the stories in particular simply have you gripping the seat wondering when the inevitable is going to happen, and one in particular hit the button with so much of the scene being general chatter and banter going on between the crew. The problem, icing, was mentioned a few times, but just as a possible thing to keep an eye on. And it becomes a major problem. Ten seconds later the stage is dark.

8/10

Eccentrica Gallumbits

  • Rock 'n' roll and brew, rock 'n' roll and brew...
Re: Fringe show review thread - reviews may contain spoilers
« Reply #11 on: August 09, 2008, 11:23:08 pm »
That sounds heartbreaking. I don't think I could have sat through it.

I thought I might take a wander round Fringe Sunday tomorrow but the Meadows are like a mud flat just now and the forecast for tomorrow is heavy showers.
My feminist marxist dialectic brings all the boys to the yard.


blackpuddinonnabike

Re: Fringe show review thread - reviews may contain spoilers
« Reply #12 on: August 09, 2008, 11:28:27 pm »
The weather hasn't been too kind recently - and the book festival is underway now as well (yay! lunchtime coffees there are great!). CVR was quite hard viewing at times, and plays on your mind for quite a while after.

And I wanted to strangle the people beside us who on seeing on the screen 'multiple bird strike' before one scenario found this terribly amusing and worthy of giggling, doubling their efforts when the sound effects had those geese calling. They left after that one (number 4 I think). Morons.

Will be heading to Teviot Square for 5 tomorrow to go and see Russell McGilton (Bombay to Beijing by Bicycle) - bumped into him in the queue for CVR as he was handing out his own flyers. Top bloke, and seems to be getting the good reviews now.

Eccentrica Gallumbits

  • Rock 'n' roll and brew, rock 'n' roll and brew...
Re: Fringe show review thread - reviews may contain spoilers
« Reply #13 on: August 10, 2008, 11:35:34 pm »
St Joan by Theatre Alba tonight, in the gardens of Duddingston Kirk Manse.

I've seen several Theatre Alba productions in the same place. It's a beautiful garden with a view across the loch and over to the hills. The shows start at 1930 when it's still daylight and twilight falls and then proper night arrives while the show goes on, and by the time the shows finish at the back of 10, it's full dark. This year, for the first time ever, I did have enough layers with me so I wasn't cold. Next year I'm going to aim for enough layers and insect repellent, as the tiny bits of me poking out were gradually nibbled away by the midgies. I have no head any more, just a bleeding stump on my neck.

Anyway, the production. St Joan, by Bernard Shaw. The blurb in the programme says that the play is complex and brilliant in its depth of study, precariously balanced between the politics of the day, whether within the Church or the Nobility, and that he dwells probably more on the politics than on the spirituality within the piece. Then it goes on to say that Theatre Alba's production, while in no way ignoring the political struggle and intellectual arguments, has placed itself very firmly towards the spiritual aspects of the play.

The play starts with dead Joan speaking to the Dauphin-now-the-king about being burned to death and asking him about what has happened in France after her death, and then moves on to tell of her battle to get the nobility and church to believe that she was doing God's work, her success in battle, the army's refusal to let her lead them to take Paris, then her trial and execution. Anna Guthrie played Joan and she was excellent. I'm not sure that I agree with the programme blurb - I didn't find it a particularly spiritual production. I thought it was feminist, it spoke clearly against the patriarchy of the church and their dismissal of Joan because she was a woman, and I think the politics of and between the nobility and the church were very clear, but the spiritual aspects less so. Joan appeared to be used a  pawn by the nobility, the army and the church in their battles against each other - France not being a united country so much as a series of dukedoms and earldoms etc, various of those dukedoms being held by Englishmen, those Englishmen believing themselves to be superior to France (no change there then) and that God sent them there to rule France because it wasn't capable of ruling itself, Joan disputing that and believing that God sent her to rout the English, the church believing that the only country on earth which matters is the holy Roman empire and that nationalism set nations above the church and was therefore wrong... There was a lot going on, and I think the spiritual aspects, and whether Joan was truly guided by God or just barking mad, were the least of it.

It was an interesting production, well acted - they're a good company - and cleverly staged. It can't be easy to light a production in a garden where the first hour or so is more or less daylight which has turned into proper night by the end. And it managed to hold everyone's attention, even though we were being turned into headless bleeding stumps by the midgies. The one thing which was really off putting was Gilles de Rais, Bluebeard, who was actually wearing a comedy fake blue beard. It was completely unnecessary and made him look half noble, half Muppet. It was the topic of conversation in the queue for the toilets during the interval.

8/10

Cycling home was interesting though - I came through the park rather than the Innocent path. I hadn't realised the road through the park isn't lit (although I was well lit with 2 front lights, 2 back lights, hi-viz vest, hi-viz reflective trouser clips and white pannier with reflective bits on), and it's very narrow - it's not possible for cars to overtake a bike if there is traffic coming the other way; there just isn't space. Didn't stop them trying though. *fear*  :-\

No shows now until Friday, and I'm really looking forward to that - Romeo and Juliet at Roslin Chapel.
 

My feminist marxist dialectic brings all the boys to the yard.


blackpuddinonnabike

Re: Fringe show review thread - reviews may contain spoilers
« Reply #14 on: August 11, 2008, 09:38:56 am »
Bombay to Beijing by Bicycle: Russell McGilton
Gilded Balloon, Balcony

I should probably declare an interest in this to begin with. Before coming over from Oz to do his show Russell had been in touch with me and he's going to be featured in the next citycycling. To this end, last week we had a few pints one evening and chatted about the show and India and cycling in general. Last night I finally got round to seeing his show.

Basically around 10 years ago Russell decided to ride from Bombay to Beijing. It was kinda precipitated by his father dying the year before, and a big newspaper in Australia turning him down for a job, and him saying *%$@ you to it all and getting a publisher to agree to the idea. As long as it was alliterative.

The show is basically a comedic dramatisation of his experiences, but if you're expecting Michael Palin-esque travelogue you're gonna be surprised.

Taking on about 20 different characters that he encounters on the way, from his girlfriend coming to meet him and deciding she wants to ride with him, to the Indian doctor who gives him the 'wonderful' news that he has malaria ("Congratulations!") and everyone in between, this is physical, loud, crude (though toned down apparently as the British audiences didn't take to it in the same way as the Aussie ones do!), and in the small hot room the audience got knackered just watching him leap about stage. One scene (about drinking your own urine to cure malaria) was put in just so Russell could get a drink on stage - there's no time to stop for one otherwise.

Meeting up after the show Russell was happy with how it had gone for the first time. But given he hasn't performed it for over 2 years it has taken a bit of time to get right back into the characters, and chop and change the various tales to suit the audience here.

Everyone seemed to have enjoyed the show, with the most common questions being whether he really was Australian, and if he really had done the cycle. The answers to both are obviously yes, and everything seen on stage actually happened (with remarkably little exaggeration). To top it all off Russell is a really nice bloke.

8/10

Eccentrica Gallumbits

  • Rock 'n' roll and brew, rock 'n' roll and brew...
Re: Fringe show review thread - reviews may contain spoilers
« Reply #15 on: August 11, 2008, 12:17:08 pm »
Did he clarify whether or not there are in fact 9 million bicycles in Beijing?
My feminist marxist dialectic brings all the boys to the yard.


blackpuddinonnabike

Re: Fringe show review thread - reviews may contain spoilers
« Reply #16 on: August 11, 2008, 05:27:48 pm »
He got bored after counting to 8,343,782.

Booked Tim Minchin for Saturday, and seeing Jimmy Carr on Friday. Possibly seeing Stewart Lee tomorrow night, and we were thinking about the Aluminium Show as something a bit more off the wall. Been my busiest Fringe for a while!

Eccentrica Gallumbits

  • Rock 'n' roll and brew, rock 'n' roll and brew...
Re: Fringe show review thread - reviews may contain spoilers
« Reply #17 on: August 11, 2008, 08:41:16 pm »
Punch Jimmy Carr for me.
My feminist marxist dialectic brings all the boys to the yard.


clarion

  • Tyke
Re: Fringe show review thread - reviews may contain spoilers
« Reply #18 on: August 11, 2008, 09:40:00 pm »
+1
Getting there...

blackpuddinonnabike

Re: Fringe show review thread - reviews may contain spoilers
« Reply #19 on: August 12, 2008, 12:14:42 pm »
I really wasn't keen on the guy from the TV stuff I saw, but then watched him doing a stand-up piece late one night, and it sort of clicked. It'll be interesting to see what he's like live.

Booked Otis Lee Crenshaw for a week on Thursday as well.

Eccentrica Gallumbits

  • Rock 'n' roll and brew, rock 'n' roll and brew...
Re: Fringe show review thread - reviews may contain spoilers
« Reply #20 on: August 12, 2008, 01:31:38 pm »
Otis Lee Crenshaw is fab. A week on Thursday I will be on the train to Noocassell where I will spend the night in a Premier Inn before departing these shores for Greece.
My feminist marxist dialectic brings all the boys to the yard.


Eccentrica Gallumbits

  • Rock 'n' roll and brew, rock 'n' roll and brew...
Re: Fringe show review thread - reviews may contain spoilers
« Reply #21 on: August 15, 2008, 11:34:55 pm »
Romeo and Juliet tonight. It's not a play I really like - I find them appallingly emo and just want to slap the pair of them and tell them to pull themselves together. But this was performed in the stunning setting of Rosslyn Chapel, site of the holy grail which we all know is Jesus's wife and not a cup. (Thanks, Dan Brown). Just to fool us, they had fake grails on sale in the gift shop with G for Grail on one side and pentacles on the other.

I've never been to the chapel before and I really want to go back in daylight to have a proper look round. It's very beautiful, in a very old, historic, slightly pagan religious way. The stone is grey and yellow and the carvings - well, the carvings are just everywhere, and so ancient. And very few of the carvings seem to be Christian - some of the ones outside are of people who are probably saints, although it's hard to tell, but the rest are green men, stars, roses etc. It's amazing.

The play was performed in the main body of the kirk, with chairs for the audience set round four sides. There were only 3 people in the cast, 2 blokes and a girl, and they split all the parts between them. One of the blokes was Romeo and Juliet's mother, the girl was Juliet, the nurse, and Mercutio, and the other bloke was Tybalt, Juliet's father, the nurse, the priest and the apothecary. All three of them were excellent. They managed the changes in role by changing costume - they all wore dark trousers, boots and white tops and then put other things over the top to make the changes between characters. All of the performances were excellent, and they did the whole play without missing out the boring nurse comedy banter bits.

They came and went using the back of the church to move from one entrance to another, and to change costume. And they used outside the church as well - the audience had to get up and follow them outside and back in again. I think we went outside three times. They very cleverly used the scaffolding on the church for the balcony scene. There was also a harpist providing music.

This was one of the best things I've seen in years. As much as I'm not keen on the play, the setting was atmospheric, unusual and used very creatively, and the performances of the three cast members were excellent.

9/10.
My feminist marxist dialectic brings all the boys to the yard.


Eccentrica Gallumbits

  • Rock 'n' roll and brew, rock 'n' roll and brew...
Re: Fringe show review thread - reviews may contain spoilers
« Reply #22 on: August 16, 2008, 11:17:38 pm »
Jason Byrne.

The thing about Jason Byrne is, his shows go all over the place and they're completely random. He seems to write a show and will get in some pre-prepared stuff, but it's only about 30% of the show and the rest of it is him reacting to the audience. He's like a pinball, bouncing around in different directions, but always, always funny. There's no point going into what the show was about for a review, because tomorrow night it'll be completely different. So I'll just say that he's very funny and tonight's show included a 6'10" policeman in the audience, a posh 19 year old, West Lothian is synonymous with "the sticks", it's spooky living in the country if you've always lived in a built-up area and Riverdancing with additional trousers and shoes worn on a frame round the neck.

Oh, and he said that one night he had Chris Hoy in the audience and got him up on stage without realising who he was, and a member of the audience shouted out "that's Chris Hoy" and he made him take his trousers down to show him his thighs (described as looking like the New York skyline) before he believed it was really him.

8/10
My feminist marxist dialectic brings all the boys to the yard.


blackpuddinonnabike

Re: Fringe show review thread - reviews may contain spoilers
« Reply #23 on: August 19, 2008, 11:15:05 am »
Jimmy Carr

I'm not quite sure where I stand on Jimmy Carr. I used to hate the sight of him on the television and wuld quickly change channel before I'd have the chance to put my foot through the screen - but then I saw him doa  piece of standup and everything seemed to click. It was only 10 minutes worth, but the gags seemed to work.

The problem is, that's the entire show in a nutshell, stretched out to a little over an hour. Gag after gag after pun after gag after pun. It all gets a little wearing. And while some of the jokes are simply superb, I'm not sure they're worth it for all the ones that don't work. It all seemed at its best when not scripted anyway, with questions invited from the audience. It was only the second night of the run as well, so he just didn't seem completely into his stride.

I was beginning to realise that take all the best gags and you simply have that ten minute stand up from the tv. Granted I didn't get in in the finest of moods after ticketing problems meant we had to turn up an hour early to exchange our tickets for ones with seat numbers. That was easily done, but we definitely didn't need to be there an hour early, and equally annoying was not being allowed to pick them up the day before (I work 5 minutes from the venue).

Overall, as is usual with seeing people from the television, just a bit disappointing.

6.5/10

blackpuddinonnabike

Re: Fringe show review thread - reviews may contain spoilers
« Reply #24 on: August 19, 2008, 11:20:05 am »
Tim Minchin

This man is an unmitigated genius. And after the Fringe he's embarking on a UK-wide tour. GO AND SEE HIM!

Right from the huge bombastic musical start his slightly off-beat humour is in evidence. Anyone who has seen (and liked) John Hegley will feel right at home here. The premise is similar, with music forming the backdrop of the show, with single words stuck on the end of a line making the whole thing come together, but with a bigger and more adult feel than Hegley.

Every number is a new one for this show, and in between Minchin's ramblings on life are engaging and as good as any 'normal' stand-up. Early reviews had played on the 'anti-religion' slant of the show, and apparently people have been leaving, presumably offended. But while there is a definite side of this to the show, it's more couched in his own personal philosophy of this being our one life and how we should use it (or not waste it).

And then there's the nine minute beat poem.

Quite simply the single best thing I've seen at this year's Fringe. Superb.

11/10