Thursday, October 6

Tag: Edinburgh Fringe

Leaves on the Line – theSpace @ Surgeons Hall
Scotland

Leaves on the Line – theSpace @ Surgeons Hall

I, like many English people who’ve moved to Edinburgh but still have family down South, am very familiar with the trainline between Kings Cross St Pancras and Edinburgh Waverley. This show focusses primarily on the lives of six people on one of the trains covering this route, as they all attempt to get up North for various reasons, such as hill walking, going to a hen do or (ironically) visiting the Fringe. This feels like a quintessential, quirky Fringe show. It fits perfectly into the shorter run time and limited space characteristic of Fringe shows, never feeling limited by these restrictions but also never feeling like the show is too small or unambitious. This is a perfect fit for the Fringe when viewed from every dimension. The highlight of this show is its score. Equal blends...
Baxter vs The Bookies – Gilded Balloon Teviot (Wee Room)
Scotland

Baxter vs The Bookies – Gilded Balloon Teviot (Wee Room)

Our hero William Baxter justifies the chequered life of an inveterate gambler by bemoaning the fact he left school at fifteen with no qualifications, but proudly pointing out he’d made an ashtray in woodwork. This is just the first of many bon mots and one-liners in a one-man play adapted from Roy Granville’s book. One could be forgiven for thinking the role had been written especially for Andy Linden, an actor instantly recognizable (Harry Potter, Count Arthur Strong, to name just two from a long, long line of film and TV credits) his lugubrious face and earthy London tone enabling masterful storytelling. The play was split into five ‘episodes’ each with a twist at the end, Andy playing other parts beyond Baxter; Jeff Armstrong (a bookie so morose that ‘if he ran a funeral parlour peo...
Temping – Assembly George Square Studios
Scotland

Temping – Assembly George Square Studios

Temping is like nothing else I’ve seen at the Edinburgh Fringe, being more of an interactive experience than a show. The premise is simple, you have been brought into the company to cover some shifts for an absent employee. I was led into my new office, an excellently decorated set inside a cargo container, and told that the owner of the office, Sarah Jane, had left an instruction message for me. Throughout the hour, I had to complete various tasks, primarily changing former employees’ statuses from active to deceased, as well as answer phone calls and emails, each instructing me on how to proceed. The genius of the show though, is that many of these emails are not scripted. If I replied to an email, I would get a response to it. In a way, it is like you’re improvising. The general script...
Looking For Me Friend: The Music of Victoria Wood – Assembly Rooms
Scotland

Looking For Me Friend: The Music of Victoria Wood – Assembly Rooms

Victoria Wood is one of those northern comedians whose expressions find a way into your life, without you really even knowing it.  ‘Seventy-two baps Connie, you slice, I’ll spread,’ her joke on how the British deal with the funeral of a loved one.  She had a way of looking at life and finding the humour in people’s day-to-day existence.  Even though it is six years since she died, she still has a loyal following, and her sense of humour runs through people like the message in a stick of Blackpool rock. As a northern lass and fan of the late Victoria Wood, I went along to spend an hour in the company of other fans who appreciated her and to enjoy reminiscing about her very funny material, but also the amazing skill she had in creating these amusing tunes. Paulus is a f...
Pauline – Pleasance Courtyard
Scotland

Pauline – Pleasance Courtyard

Pauline is a pure example of storytelling where the words, voices and testimonies of three generations of women meet and confront each other in what turns out to be a moving and necessary memoir for all contemporary women. An all-female story, with a strong feminist character that always remains intimate and never aggressive. A veritable exposé of human nature, of what it means to be a woman, of weaknesses, insecurities, sins even, and of the great moral strength that such a gender role seems to bring with it, the play lays bare three characters, three women who are different but bound together by blood and art, by a love of storytelling and telling. An excavation in the memory of the actress, alone and unique in this one-woman show, who seems to want to cling with all her might to what s...
Mary, Chris, Mars – Summerhall
Scotland

Mary, Chris, Mars – Summerhall

If you’re in search of a family friendly show this Fringe, or even if you just want to enjoy a heart-warming and playful performance by yourself, look no further – Mary, Chris, Mars has you covered. And if you happen to be a Korean learner, you can take in the delight of experiencing a performance in both Korean and English (with English captioning) – and if you’re not, the same statement still applies. I reckon it only adds to the enjoyment of the play. Part of the Korean Showcase – presented by the Korean Cultural Centre UK (KCCUK) – Trunk Theatre Project’s Mary, Chris, Mars (played respectively by Cho Yeeun, Ryu Wonjun, and Park Hyeon) takes us on a colourful journey through space, as Mary and Chris are brought together by chance and spend a rather unusual Christmas Day on Mars. Pun...
Work.txt – Summerhall Old Lab
Scotland

Work.txt – Summerhall Old Lab

Work.txt is a show about work in which the audience do all (well... most of) the work. Only they tread the boards as there are no actors; following instructions projected on the wall, communicated over headphones or printed out onto a script. They build the set, read lines and act out what needs acting out together (if they are okay with that), alone (if they volunteer) or just as witnesses (if they prefer) to the others, the interplay between audience and screen, and to the light show and music, aided by an atmospheric haze machine. Why? It's a show about the gig economy, financial instability and bad jobs, as seen through a day in a nameless city, and the impact and connections made by a single worker. The format illustrates all that, though I can't imagine anyone finding their part ...
Men With Coconuts – Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose
Scotland

Men With Coconuts – Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose

The award-winning local improv troupe returned to the Fringe to illustrate what a double-edged sword the make-it up-as-you-go-along world of improv is. At times inducing belly-laughs, at others a cringe or two and all points in between. OK then, a multi-edged sword. The former was true at the start as our three players bounded onto stage following a frantic jazz soundtrack, repeating the manoeuvre no less than three times to accommodate late-comers. In all the excitement ringmaster Charlie appeared to lose track of his microphone while piano-player Colin dutifully added appropriate incidentals to the chaos and the tone was set, snapping to attention the audience, a key element in this milieu. The guys riffed around various suggested film genres on an imaginary ‘Prime Minister versus Co...
The Sian Clarke Experience – Underbelly, Cowgate
Scotland

The Sian Clarke Experience – Underbelly, Cowgate

There is a lot of dirt, a lot of grime, a lot of mess and a lot of rage on stage of the Sian Clarke experience, a physical performance that is as deliberately irreverent and uncomfortable as it is necessary for our society. It seems like an out-of-control rage that of the young comedian, Sian Clarke, but it is instead a calculated fun guaranteed by the strong stage presence of the performer who fills the stage with mastery and awareness. Sian does not want to be sexy, she does not want to be funny, she does not want to be "a good girl", she wants to be uncomfortable, desecrating, attacking a sexist and patronising society that threatens women on a daily basis and frames them in demeaning and humiliating categories. Hers is a necessary testimony, unfortunately shared by all the women pr...
Charlie Russell Aims to Please – Pleasance Courtyard
Scotland

Charlie Russell Aims to Please – Pleasance Courtyard

Charlie Russell wants to create a show that will please absolutely everyone by trying to hit as many solo Fringe show tropes and styles as possible within an hour, based on what her audience likes the most. Though as a person/character Russell might just be trying to please an audience, as a show concept this is a quite challenge to them. You might know going in a comedy show is supposed to make you laugh, but it's something else for a performer to point out that's what they're trying to do, tell you they've failed if you haven't and give you a second and more controllable way of giving or with-holding approval: it's a gauntlet that more mischievous or combative audience members might take some convincing to just put back on your hand. Or maybe that's just her being a more positive (in...