Saturday, August 13

Scotland

Eglantyne – Gilded Balloon Teviot
Scotland

Eglantyne – Gilded Balloon Teviot

Eglantyne is a one woman play written and performed by actress Anne Chamberlain which follows the life and story of Eglantyne Jebb. This 75-minute documentary play delves deep into Chamberlain’s love and respect for the woman who fronted and fought for the charity campaign ‘Save The Children’ exploring what made Jebb the woman she was. You can feel the love and admiration Chamberlain has for Jebb, it radiates from her, giving her a glow that shines through her eyes rather than just the stage lights. She uses a range of storytelling tactics jumping from first person into third and even taking time to explain her own emotional connection to the historical figure and a few costume changes. Eglantyne’s story is one of triumph and failure and unfortunately this production is too. Whi...
Starship Improvise – Pleasance Courtyard
Scotland

Starship Improvise – Pleasance Courtyard

You don’t have to love sci-fi to come along to this show, if you love comedy, you are in for a treat.   Tony and Olivier Award winning companies, Mischief Theatre, Showstopper! and Austentatious are the cream of the crop when it comes to improvising, so to have their combined skills on one stage is a must-see opportunity. To set the scene, Celestia 7 was a long-running sci-fi TV series, and years later the stars have been invited to a fans convention where they reminisce about their series memories.  In this episode the improvisers were Adam Meggido (Showstopper!), Ruth Bratt (Showstopper!), Henry Shields (Mischief), Nell Mooney (Showstopper!), Dave Hearn (Mischief), and Charlotte Gittins (Austentatious), with Ed Zanders providing the musical accompaniment (musical direc...
Crossing The Void – theSpace on the Mile
Scotland

Crossing The Void – theSpace on the Mile

Ghost stories are never what they seem, or at least they should not be. As Henry James taught us with his The Turn of the Screw, any self-respecting ghost story should know how to play with the appearance of things, with the ambiguity underlying reality itself, with the perception of the reader or, in our case, of the spectator, and create, through allusions and linguistic traps, a labyrinthine reality, phantasmagorical in fact, a game of reflexes where everything can be the opposite of everything. This is what Crossing the Void succeeds in achieving, to the viewer's great satisfaction, as a result of young scriptwriter Sally MacAlister's collaboration with queer actresses’ koi collective in their debut as a theatre company. A student of Drama Writing at the University of Manchester, M...
Boy – Summerhall, Main Hall
Scotland

Boy – Summerhall, Main Hall

“Boy” tells the true story of David Reimer, a Canadian boy born in the 1960s and raised as a girl.  Named Bruce at birth, David was an identical twin to Brian, his name later being changed to Brenda.  When they were six months old, both boys were referred for circumcision at hospital.  A comparatively new method was used on Bruce, the first twin to have the surgery, and resulted in catastrophic and irreversible mutilation to his penis.  The procedure was not carried out on Brian.  His parents sought advice from Johns Hopkins psychologist, John Money, on how best to help their son in the coming years learning to live with his situation.  The advice from Money was that, since in his opinion gender identity stems from social learning, it would be better to have ...
For Queen and Country – Army @ the Fringe
Scotland

For Queen and Country – Army @ the Fringe

Major Denis Rake (Neil Summerville) was a gay actor parachuted into Occupied France during WW2 to serve as a radio operator. The average life expectancy of an SOE wireless operator there was just six weeks, and he was quickly betrayed and forced into hiding. So, he did the only logical thing a man on the run for his life does and became a drag queen entertaining Nazi officers in a Parisian nightclub. Writer/director Paul Stone discovered Rake's story while making the BBC TV programme Secret Agent Selection and decided to shine a light on the contribution of the LGBT+ community to WW2, assisted by venue Army @ The Fringe. The venue is noteworthy here. For one thing, it's not every fringe venue where the ushers, bar staff and techies are all in military uniform. For another there'...
Heroin to Hero – Army @ the Fringe
Scotland

Heroin to Hero – Army @ the Fringe

In the fitting surroundings of the army barracks, we are introduced to Paul Boggie, who has a very disturbing tale to tell.  Played by actor and playwright Tony McGeever this is the story of Paul Boggie, reformed heroin addict who fought his addiction, to turn his life around to later join the army and to guard the Queen.  Interested? From the book of the same name penned by Boggie, the writer has now brought the story to the stage.  This dark true tale opens our eyes to the reality of the impact that drugs have on Scottish communities, and acts as a warning to anyone thinking that drugs are a harmless bit of fun. Boggie begins with his childhood, born in 1979, he was one of four children, and his dad enjoyed nothing more than kicking a football around with his kids, but fo...
Hens and Heroines – theSpace on North Bridge
Scotland

Hens and Heroines – theSpace on North Bridge

It should be inspired by Ovid's Heroides, Hens and Heroines, and mark the debut of the Bristol Badminton School at the Fringe 2022. It should interrogate the audience with atavistic dilemmas concerning life and death, fate and free will, desire and duty. Yet the only dilemmas it is able to raise seem to be those about the why of its own production, about the ultimate meaning of what it wants to convey, arousing a general perplexity about what the audience is watching. In spite of the limited half-hour on stage, the play strikes with force for its lack of coherence and credibility, for a poor script and for forced and awkward acting. As much as one can appreciate the effort of the seven girls involved in the production, some of them very young, the play appears as a badly cut plot, ...
Les Dawson: Flying High – Assembly George Square
Scotland

Les Dawson: Flying High – Assembly George Square

Before I begin the review, I must comment on the handling of the audience at the venue on my visit.  This is one of the larger venues at the festival, and the show began almost 30 minutes late.  Many people attending the Fringe Festival book shows quite close together, and this delay could have been the cause of people leaving the show part way through.  Not good for the artist and disturbing for the remaining audience.  Assembly, this must be improved! Les Dawson was a favourite of mine, and I have childhood memories of watching his numerous shows on TV.  This play follows Dawson’s life, beginning with his childhood and moving through his career’s ups and downs.  Dawson is played by Jon Culshaw who needs no introduction, as his mimicry is legendary.&nb...
Making a Murderer: The Musical – Underbelly, Bristo Square
Scotland

Making a Murderer: The Musical – Underbelly, Bristo Square

Making a Murderer: The Musical is a beautifully crafted, tongue in cheek, satirical show that at its  beating heart has a message of hope and social justice. From the opening I was hooked, Emma Norman was fantastic as Betsy the tour guide, we begin with a song that sets the scene and tempo for the whole show. The lyrics are smart and satirical poking fun at the American small town mentality and the discrimination that goes along with that. The casting is so on point and the ensemble of characters, and their portrayals is phenomenal, this is a talented set of performers! The show really highlights the incompetence of the police force in regard to the case in beautifully tongue in cheek chorus number. The set is simple yet sleek and stylish and the use of multiple media...
Are You Being Murdered? – Pleasance at EICC
Scotland

Are You Being Murdered? – Pleasance at EICC

What would happen if Agatha Christie met Father Brown? This seems to be asked by David Semple, the acclaimed writer of the famous series branded BBC ONE, in bringing to the stage the one man shows entitled "Are You Being Murdered?" A show focused exclusively on the talents of "Allo Allo" actor Arthur Bostrom, capable of bringing together comedy and mystery, suspense and social satire. Set in the golden age of old BBC sitcoms, the show proves to be marked by a glossy nostalgia that winks at a specific generation and targets that generation specifically. Although with its lively monologue and ready wit, the show seems to take up, like a dress worn out by too much use, certain stereotypes of a genre unable to speak to a contemporary audience with sharper and more irreverent tastes. Th...