Aug 2 – 24 @ 17:50
The Exeter University Theatre Company take us down the rabbit hole into Lewis Carroll’s magical world of nonsense rhyme. This is a fast paced hour as we meet all the favorites from Wonderland, and they’re all bleeding mad! It’s great to hear Lewis Carroll’s words spoken like this. All of the cast seem really into it and as there is so much happening I was impressed by how strongly they held all this together. There were some great bits like the tea party scene and the mad duchess. The hour rushes by, viewers/listeners ensnared by Carroll’s playing with language and the company’s tight perfomance. Enjoyable stuff. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Exteter University Theatre Company – Sweer ECA, Edinburgh College of Art, Lauriston Place, Edinburgh.
Your first day at work can be intimatiding, especially if when your employer is Death! Aye. Anyone familiar with Terry Pratchett and the discworld books will probably know the story of Mort. I specifically went to see this due to some sort of vague teenage melancholia, and was not dissapointed. The company’s ‘Death’ is spot on. Big blue glowing eyes and glowing sycthe, with an echo chamber voice booming throughout the theatre delivering Pratchett’s witty prose with panache. The whole thing had slightly amatuerish feel to it but I think that helped win the audience over to this young cast. They made good use of the space they were in, entering from behind the audience, creating an impression of a larger space. A lot of the laughs come from the wit of Pratchett’s writing, and the way the plot crashes forward assures that only people who already know the story will really know what’s going on. But picking something like a Pratchett play is a safe bet for guaranteeing an audience from an already existing fanbase. Simple straight-forward fun, a nice change. Mort – Paradox Productions – C Venue, Chambers Street, Edinburgh Jul 30 – Aug 25 @ 15:25
Physical theatre and multimedia company Precarious put on a great show. I’ve not seen anything quite like this before, and I’m glad I choose this to begin with. The combination of multimedia and technology is astonishing, the performers appear to interact and merge with projected images from what must be a seriously sophisticated rig. The stage is always in dynamic flux, as the dancers create a frantic energy on stage. The pace is relentless, images, ideas and concepts are all bombarded at the viewer. Not to mention the sound, which had some pretty cool electro beats. The piece is an Orewlian dystopian nightmare, I thought I could pick up refrences to Huxley’s Brave New World too. The piece tackles several themes including the commercialistation of the human body, the power of advertising and the importance of possessions and fame. This is really worth going to see, I was most impressed with the way the stage changed. There was a bit when they were dancing with these huge tables; setting up the stage for the next scene without stage hands and doing backflips too! The Factory – Precarious Theatre Company – Zoo Southside – 117 Nicolson Street, Edinburgh. Aug 1 – 25 @ 20:30
Reg puts a lot of class and thought into his stand up. He has some great observational stuff about the gender differences and he seems to take great delight in trying to shock his audience. There was some guy behind me muttering ‘thats true’ along with some of Reg’s more salient points. It’s one of those comedy gigs where you’re invited to see the world through the comedian’s eyes and hopefully empathise with their perspective. Reg does it quite well, though his bit about his neice is a bit dodgy. The observation that Batman is a ‘republicans wet dream’ and the brilliant rational which goes it into are hilarious. I really enjoyed this. No Country For Grown Men – Reginald D Hunter – Pleasance Courtyard, 60 The Pleasance, Edinburgh. Jul 31 – Aug 14 @ 11:15
Two new comedy stars through their lot in together (‘We were too afraid to do our own shows.’) and perform a fine half hour each of stand-up. I first saw Carl in the meadows bar two years ago and he’s getting better. He’s also decided to start dressing like some sort of gun loving American / uber-geek, he’s got some good material. John Robins was good too, lots of funny stories from his life. Including a sorry story including Reginald Hunter. Sadly, The Predator played little part in this, it was just the sound dude in a mask. Carl Donnelly Vs John Robins Vs Predator – Underbelly’s Baby Belly, The Caves, Niddry St South, off Cowgate. Edinburgh.
Jul 31 – Aug 24 @ 19:20 (except 12th)
Esoterica is a one man show starring Eric Walton, ‘Con-man, Philosopher, Conjuror,’ which takes the audience on an exploration of the human psyche. And it’s quite good, Eric captivates the audience’s attention using his rhetoric. Everybody knows there’s always a catch, it’s how well you are decieved that matters. Despite having to perform in what can only be described as a dank cave, Eric performed some impresssive sleight of hand, con tricks and ‘experiments’. It’s a shame he got his last trick a bit muddled up, but given that it was a complicated memory trick he still managed to pull it back. The fact that venue could have easily been a rapist-torturers dungeon somehow uneasily seemed to enhance the experience. Some impressive stuff here. Esoterica – Fletch Productions – Underbelly’s Baby Belly, The Caves, Niddry St. South Street, off Cowgate. Edinburgh. Jul 31 – Aug 24 @ 21:45
My dear old father recommended this to me, said John Otway was some sort of past legend that should be seen. Famous for his irrerverent personna -and one hit- this was really not that great. It was a sort of nostalgic run down of -the one hit- and some other songs with some meandering anecodotes about the good old days. The tunes were alright, Willy Barret plays some mean guitar. There’s some great little comedy quirks, like playing guitar with a saw; an interesting devolpment into alternative technique. And a wheelie bin that does the distortion (aye). I was a bit bemused and a bit underwhelmed, they sort of seemed to expect this reaction and in fact part of their shtick is that they’re ‘a bit shit’. My dad, bless him, was there too and was even less impressed, decrying John Otway as a ‘shadow of his former self’ and even told him he was dreadful after the gig. Otway took it all in good form; maybe it seemed like business as usual. Other people there seemed to enjoy it more, like members of some strange cult. The press blurb promises a night to remember, just not the quality of those memories. Otway and Barret – John Otway and Willy Willy Barret – clubWest @ Quintcentary Hall, The Royal College of Surgeons, Nicolson Street. Edinburgh.
Aug 3 – 16 @ 21:00
Limmy built his reputation up from his creative assortment of internet playthings on his website, limmy.com. He’s got a great imagination and mixes stand up with multimedia clips and gadgetry to great effect. With audience members shouting out phrases from his site, he must know he’s getting popular. His particular brand of Glaswegian humour is incisive, he’s got good patter like. Really funny. Limmy’s Show – The Stand 3, 28 York Place, Edinburgh.
Jul 31 – Aug 24 @ 16:30 (except on Aug 11th)
BBC comedy presents is one of those late night best-of showcase shows and it features a different pick of comedians every night. Tonight the MC was Russell Kane, a spirited . The rest of the line up included stand up from LLoyd Langford, then sketches from Pappy’s Fun Club, then more comedy from Sarah Milligan then Al Pitcher, who closed the night. Russell Kane enthusiastically roused up the boisterous and crowded Pleasance Dome, which strived to keep up the late night comedy club vibe despite the water pouring in through the ceiling. This weather is murder. Yet the mood of the club could not be dampened and Russell Kane warmed up nicely with some friendly stuff about local characters. He’s doing a show down the Pleasance and is getting great write ups, he might be worth checking out. Next up was sensitive Welshman LLoyd Lanford, another up and coming young comedian who won this years 2008 Chortle Comedy Award. LLoyd delivers laughs aplenty and shows much promise. He’s performing his show Not a lover, Not a fighter at the Smirnoff Underbelly all throughout the festival. Pappy’s Fun Club provided some interesting variety with some mad-cap sketch comedy. At first I wasn’t sure but they soon got the crowd going. The Wise Old Owl versus the internet sketch was my own particular favorite. Their show is called Funergy and it’s on at the Pleasance Courtyard. Sarah Milligan was a suprise, delivering well timed and thought out stand up. She uses a charming mixture of self deprecation and bitter incisiveness. Her show Not Nice is also on at the Pleasance Courtyard. She’s got lots of awards behind her and is like your mates filthy mouthed big sister. Al Pitcher was an Australian comic who was alright, did some sort of standard stuff. He’s performing regularly around the country. There was some good stuff here and the weather didn’t dampen the crowds spirits. This was a sell out show highlighting some bright new gems of the fringe. I’m probably going to check out most of their shows if I can. BBC Comedy Presents… – Pleasance Dome, Potterow, 1 Bistro Square. Edinburgh.
Jul 31 – Aug 25 @ 23:00 (except for Aug 12 and 19)
It’s a shame I saw this guy on the day last week when it was raining so much it drove all but the most die-hard festival goers away. We were left in an -intimate- setting with the good Doktor. Who is one mad bastard. You’ll either love this or hate this, I think he’d be good to see with a larger audience. It might be a bit much for some to take. The Doktor plays his songs dressed only in a pair psychedelic pants, hair and make up like some sort of twisted version of Brandon Lee’s crow that’s been out on the town all night and done some questionable things in alleyways. All his songs are mad rants played on naff toy instruments and an ironing board, part of the fun is the manic way in which he changes the plug in his instruments between songs. There’s also some crazy characters too. His songs are just bizarre, I think it’s fair to say he lacks the sophistication of someone like Tim Minchin or Bill Bailey but he gives it his all and was nice enough to have a wee chat with us after he’d finished. Nice chappie. Badly Ranted Thoughts Via The Magic of Song – Doktor Cocacolamcdonalds – Pleasance Courtyard, 60 The Pleasance, Edinburgh.
Jul 31 – Aug 22 @ 23:00 (except Aug 12)
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