Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Review: Lady Carol: Tomorrow is My Turn

It definitely is the lovely Lady Carol's turn this year, see my review.

Review: Showstopper! The Improvised Musical

Time Out blog update: 5* to Showstopper, which was brilliant for the second year running! Especially Ruth Bratt on the left.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Review: Doctor Faustus x 4

Yours truely watched four productions of Doctor Faustus at the fringe (well, one was Faust), sorting the wheat from the chaff so you didn't have to. The result is in The Scotsman.

Review: Greg Behrendt

The guy who wrote He's Just Not That Into You is a stand-up comic? 'No!' I hear you cry, but yes, so it is. And I saw him in the flesh. Check out my Time Out review to see if he's any good.

Review: Andrew Maxwell - The Lamp

Andrew Maxwell has been known to divide opinion - in my Time Out review I thought he knew exactly what he was doing, and did it brilliantly.

Review: Comedy Bitch

Despite the gory poster, Comedy Bitch bring quality, polished new sketch comedy at the fringe. Here's my Time Out review.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

100 followers and a plug for a dance show starting today

Hurrah, after only recently joining I have 100 followers on Twitter! How very exciting. It's a great thing - those of you not on it, do it. I said I'd give my 100th follower a little space on my blog so here it is:

stephenclapp is one half of the dance duo Dance Now DC whose performances are driven by a strong sense of social responsibility.

He'd like me to write about the Booking Dance Festival on the huge stage at Venue 150, 12-16 Aug 15.30.

It's only on for one week starting today, and features 7 diverse US dance companies.

The pictures look beautiful and really varied! Check out more here.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Sammy J: 1999

Sammy J gets personal in his new show, 1999. See my Time Out review!

Monday, 10 August 2009

Richard Herring: Hitler Moustache

Hold onto your moustaches, here's my Time Out review of Richard Herring's brand new Edinburgh show (yes, that one with all the Guardian controversy)

Herring's show is brilliant, though perhaps less inventive than I thought, having discovered this Vanity Fair article from 2007. Uncanny similarities, great idea though!

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Rob Rouse: My Family...and the Dog that Scared Jesus

Read my Time Out review #2, of Rob Rouse: My family... and the Dog that Scared Jesus.

Friday, 7 August 2009

Paul Zerdin: Spongefest

My first Time Out review, of the multitalented Mr Zerdin and his assorted sponges, is online for your delectation.

Honourable mentions

Corinne Furness at the lovely WhatsOnStage has mentioned me as an Edinburgh blog of the week for my Get that in your belly post.

Extra momentum to keep blogging through the madness two jobs at the festival!

Thanks WhatsOnStage!

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Get that in your belly

Tonight's Underbelly press launch took over the Udderbelly (or for the more literally-minded, the big purple cow).Do we ever consider her, this purple beast who sleeps upside-down among us? She has needs, and wants; her belly too must be filled.

Perhaps we can imagine tonight’s acts as food inside her majestic stomachs... what would be her dish of choice?

Udderbelly's dinner menu
Denise van Outen - A carrot cake with lashings of icing and tiny marzipan carrots; surprisingly tasty but a little over the top.

Pythonesque - An English muffin that might be going a tad stale. Though they state a desire to to avoid purely imitating Cleese's cult sketch troop, it's unclear how they'll manage to break away from the inevitable comparisons. Reworking rather than repeating Python may be a challenge to maintain for a full length show, even with the readymade following.

Tom Tom Crew - A huge juicy steak (and chips); a meaty treat to be savoured. The chips are the impressive acrobatics, but the main attraction (the steak - work with my food metaphors here) is Peeping Tom's astounding beat boxing.

Carl Donnelly - A chunky soup; you're uncertain at first if you should use a spoon or a fork. But it turns out to be pretty hearty (one of those Covent Garden fresh ones perhaps) with a satifying aftertaste - Donnelly apologised for ending on "talking" rather than a joke, thereby creating a joke to end on and... you get the picture.

Comedy Bitch - Avocado and fish fingers (I witnessed someone eat this curious combination yesterday.) Two pretty different sketches, the strongest being the 'Mime School.' Like the avo-fingers combo, with the addition of a few more things in their full length show they should serve up a quirky treat.

Pete Firman - A lovely cupcake that you reach for... but wait, it's gone! Oh no, there it is, inexplicably balancing on the tip of someone's nose as part of one of Firman's seriously palatable magic tricks. The cherry on top is that he's funny, too.

Frisky and Mannish - A fabulous cherry pie, tangy and delicious as they waft their saucy but often refreshingly subtle take on pop songs under our noses.

The Dark Party - Slightly inexplicable as the final act, like cauliflower cheese for dessert. And like cauliflower cheese on its own, these three sombre clowns have an act that is solid, but their endurance and physical theatre needed more substance to be served up singularly, let alone last.

Udderbelly's big dinner decision
So what should we recommend to our big purple dinner from the menu?

For mains there’s really no other choice but steak (Tom Tom Crew), followed by cherry pie (Frisky and Mannish) or perhaps a cupcake (Pete Firman)... if it isn’t magiced away under her nose.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Come, hear this amazing secret truth ...

Sad news Fringegoers, the eccentric and altogether brilliant Mr Tim FitzHigham's solo show has been cancelled. It would without doubt have been one of the maddest things on this year's Fringe.

My foraging as to why this is hasn't yet produced any results, so as far as I know we can still see him singing this year in Flanders and Swann: A Brand GNew AfterGNoon and more than likely with Andrew Maxwell's troop the Full Mooners (I'm not sure how it would function without Tim, being, as he is, the Concierge of the Moon.)

The mechanics of a FitzHigham show are threefold:

1) Tim embarks on some sort of low-energy activity. The selection criteria tends to involve the activity being impossible, painful or just plain inconprehensible (more of a quest, then, really.) Past adventures have included trying to get a Knighthood in Spain, investigating the Karma Sutra and breaking the record distance for rowing in a paper boat.

2) Tim (often only just) recovers from said task.

3) Tim surfaces in Edinburgh and tells the story of said task, to comic effect.

The show that is not to be was called Last Queen of Scotland, and promised "an incredible discovery about Bonnie Prince Charlie and the last true Queen of Scotland." Having seen Tim's show The Bard's Fool last year, it's highly likely he has discovered some historical titbit that will make us see The Young Pretender with new eyes, and reveal that he was in fact not a prince at all, but a young cabin boy called Terence (it always seems to come back to the sea after Tim's trip across the channel in a bathtub.)

The programme advert for Last Queen of Scotland beckons us to "Come, hear this amazing secret truth ...", but it seems we'll have to wait a while.

There's something special about Tim, he commits to his comedy in a way best described as dogged. The first time I met him in a pub in Soho, he'd lost most of the skin on one foot, as well as a toenail, in the name of laughter. Understandable really, as he'd just morris danced from London to Norwich in nine days straight, beating the record set by Shakespeare's clown Will Kemp, who made a similar journey back when Queen Elizabeth I, not II, was on the English throne.

In all probability, Tim is only the second person to attempt this dance epic, but as Kemp took nine days spread over several weeks rather than consecutively, it's fair to say Tim can be proud of his title in morris-enabled-travel.

My interview with Tim for Three Weeks last year was a pleasure, and as a few less of you may see him now that Last Queen of Scotland is cancelled, here is a Full Mooner's video from last year for your delectation:

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Over to the dark side (at last)

There’s something a bit magical about getting your hands on your first Fringe ticket of the year.

I’ve just booked to see Camille O’Sullivan, exchanging that pesky online booking fee for a much more enjoyable stroll down the Royal Mile - which is already heaving - to the Fringe office.

A wedding party leaving St Giles’s Cathedral received the same treatment from the crowds as the street theatre nearby, save the odd spectator throwing a pound at the bride and groom.

The couple didn’t seem to mind - if you get married on the Royal Mile in (almost) festival time you must expect a little extra attention. Some people taking photos and gathering around may have, forgivably, thought it was some uncannily realistic performance. It’s one of the upside-down realities of the festival that most interactions are dramatic, most characters you meet are just that, and anything that seems mundane is more than likely the next big thing in realist theatre.

I wanted to see Camille last year, having first heard her sultry vocals in the film Mrs Henderson Presents in 2005. Sadly though, her run of The Dark Angel at the now deceased (in Edinburgh) Spiegeltent was sold out.

The French-Irish songstress’s return to London’s La Clique last December cemented her already striking presence on the UK and Ireland's stages. The tendency of the press to associate her with burlesque, which is undeniably hot at the moment, may have gained her extra attention, but Camille herself rejects this categorisation. From clips I've seen she is outside of any real style. Camille is one of few female singers who are recognised on a first-name basis at the Fringe.

The reviews have frothed and the features gushed; she is more than a few steps down the path to iconography, and when she arrives there any unsavoury reviews will trickle off her impermeable image.

One frankly beautiful quote from Dominic Cavendish's Daily Telegraph review last year stays in my mind: When she sings it's as though her breath is soaked in paraffin; one spark, and the whole room would ignite."

I look forward to being seduced.