Tuesday, March 5

Tag: Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Grown Up Orphan Annie – Gilded Balloon, Patter Hoose
Scotland

Grown Up Orphan Annie – Gilded Balloon, Patter Hoose

Little Orphan Annie (Katherine Bourne-Taylor) has grown up into a lovable, but insecure, girl-woman with a serious Ovaltine habit. Her happy ending with Daddy Warbucks was a sham: he took all her money, he controls the rights to all her hit songs, and he even stole her dog. Life has been cruel to Annie, but she bustles on with her characteristic optimism infused with desperation.  We like her, but she is hard work. This is a one-woman show, but Annie longs for connection and Bourne-Taylor interacts with the audience, and the tech guy, throughout. She asks us if she can go to our “hang” after the show, enlists an audience member to help her onstage, and calls us all her “Fannies”. (I am now the proud owner of a sticker that says “#1 Fannie”.) We catch up with Annie after the...
Some Sonnets and a Bit of Bach – Greenside @ Infirmary Street
Scotland

Some Sonnets and a Bit of Bach – Greenside @ Infirmary Street

Passionate about William Shakespear and Johann Sebastian Bach, or better yet wondered what these two historical figures have in common? Then you are in for a treat. Performed by the enthusiastic Sebastian Michael, performing his first spoken word solo at the Edinburgh Fringe. This spoken word program will take you back to the past delving into the lives of Bach and Shakespear. Michael not only discusses Bach and Shakespear but adds a personal touch to the performance where he talks about his own artistic journey and how he encountered his love of these two artistic legends. The simplistic staging and clear color theme (since everything is in the color black) all eyes are on Michael, making the performance all the more intimate. Michael’s passion shines through in the moments when h...
Bluebeard’s Castle – Churchill Theatre
Scotland

Bluebeard’s Castle – Churchill Theatre

The collaboration between director/librettist, Daisy Evans, and conductor/arranger, Stephen Higgins, to create a dementia tale from Bartók’s only opera, Bluebeard’s Castle, is startlingly clever and beautifully produced. The set by Adrian Linford is simple, yet effective. The lighting is perfect for a castle where the sun never shines. The Hebrides Ensemble play like angels. And the two voices: Michael Mayes and Charlotte Hellekant - superb! Gone is the gothic horror and the manipulation of the male/female power dynamic of the original to be replaced by the less blameworthy machinations of memory loss through dementia. In reality, dementia is equally as frightening in its thievery, but not so terrifying in its conscious malice. In this version, Bluebeard and his wife, Judith, re...
Dee Christopher The Psychic Vampire – Frankenstein & Bier Keller
Scotland

Dee Christopher The Psychic Vampire – Frankenstein & Bier Keller

In the dark depths of the spookiest pub in Edinburgh you can find yourself a magic act like non other. Dee Christopher takes you on a journey to prove both his legitimacy as a real life vampire and his skill as a magician using the mediums of storytelling, humour and some seriously impressive tricks. The best way to describe Dee Christopher as a performer would be a man with the essence of an old Hollywood rock star, he is like Johnny Depp if they had let him play a cool vampire instead of the strange thing from Dark Shadows. His voice is somewhat calming but at the same time you feel as though you’re watching some mysterious stranger in a bar who’s stories you could listen to all night. Not only are we given magic, but through audience choices we are told stories of this vampir...
The Music of Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie – The Jazz Bar
Scotland

The Music of Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie – The Jazz Bar

The Colin Steele quintet, featuring the brilliant saxophone of Martin Kershaw, cooked it up a storm at The Jazz Bar tonight. A young lady in the front row (who couldn’t have been more than 11 years-old!) was back for the second night in a row. And why not, when you have musicianship of this quality on your doorstep. The superlatives list would be long for the saxophone playing of Martin Kershaw who was the stand-out on stage, a truly world-class performer. Beautifully supported by Colin Steele on trumpet, Pete Johnstone on keys, Brian Shiels on Bass and Max Popp on the skins. It was great to see the level of respect and love for their fellow players and the space they all received to show off their individual skills on the various instruments, all of which was heartily applau...
Kyiv City Ballet – Assembly Hall
Scotland

Kyiv City Ballet – Assembly Hall

Hopeful, playful and bright. Those are the adjectives I’d use to describe the show performed by the homeless Kyiv City Ballet this evening. The company was on tour in France when hostilities broke out in Ukraine. There was no going home. The company has been living by touring ever since: recycling costumes and shows, inventing new shows and making beautiful art as a means of making a living and a way of distracting themselves from their terrible exiled predicament. Creative dance is a wonderful means of expression and this company has kept itself afloat through its own endeavors. Their new piece is an expression of love, humanity, sharing and caring. It is utterly charming. There is no wiff of bitterness nor an aside to the black nature of mankind. It is simply a celebration of ...
Cults, Startups and Pornstars: How I (almost) Won My Dad’s Approval – Zoo Playground
Scotland

Cults, Startups and Pornstars: How I (almost) Won My Dad’s Approval – Zoo Playground

This humorous confessional makes light of child abuse in order to win over the audience. The subject matter is made palatable and, therefore, people listen. In response to a traumatic childhood, Cheyenne claims to have developed an App to protect children online. It was removed from use. If true, this should concern us all. But I only have one side of the story. Cheyenne’s. What goes on behind closed doors is rarely revealed easily and then there’s the difficulty of building a case. But, online exploitation, now that’s a public thing and a dirty thing and an underground thing that needs policing. I would have thought any efforts in this field would be welcomed with open arms. This was the part of the show that hit me. And it was meant to. The other parts, are there to pull...
The 7 Fingers: Duel Reality – Underbelly Circus Hub
Scotland

The 7 Fingers: Duel Reality – Underbelly Circus Hub

Now, here is an oddity, a show I have seen twice, once on preview night at the start of the Fringe, and again tonight, and I can immediately see improvements! The first thing to say, is that this show is best viewed from the central seating area (where I was tonight), if you can. Duel reality starts with a beautifully choreographed fight scene between the two ‘sides’ of the ten-strong troupe, pitting the blues against the reds. To add to the audience experience you are given a wrist band of blue or red as you enter the circus tent and ‘requested’ to support your team. There is whooping, clapping, screaming from the audience – this idea sounds like it is working well! Raising the stakes of the team struggle, we soon come to realise that Blue is Capulet and Red is Montague and the...
The Last Show Before We Die – Summerhall Roundabout
Scotland

The Last Show Before We Die – Summerhall Roundabout

The Last Show Before We Die was created, written and performed by Mary Higgins and Ell Potter, or Ell and Mary as we know the versions of themselves they present on-stage. They are former lovers, and current (still) best friends, housemates and work partners, whose previous collaborations include FITTER and HOTTER. The latter was the last piece of live theatre this reviewer saw before the first lock-down of the pandemic, which was already making its mark when audience members were encouraged to jump up and dance at the end of the show, but to do it without moving around the theatre or coming into contact with anyone. The history the two performers share (with each other, not with Covid, or me) is central to this show, and obvious whether you know about their previous projects or not...
Beats on Pointe: Masters of Choreography – Assembly George Square
Scotland

Beats on Pointe: Masters of Choreography – Assembly George Square

In this extravaganza of fabulousness, the outrageously skilled members of the Australian dance company, Masters of Choreography, seamlessly combine a boundless range of dance and performance disciplines including hip hop, ballet, commercial, breakdancing, and more. Sometimes they synchronise with each other’s moves in different styles, with the ballerinas adapting newer dance styles to perform en pointe. A particularly exciting moment involves a break dancer spinning on his head while, behind him, three ballerinas pirouette in unison. The athleticism of the performers is astounding, with gymnastic backflips, leaps, and lifts galore. The ballet team enters a dance showdown with the hip-hop team, and the hip-hop group seems to win, though I’m not sure why. Even seemingly casual movements...