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Friday, 16 August 2019

Top 10 Things to see at the Edinburgh Fringe

At this year's Edinburgh fringe I saw 35 shows, around 1% of the total on offer but here are my top recommendations. There were a couple of notable shows that did not quite make the top 10 recommendations: “Keith Moon: the real me” for Who fans, “Now that is what I call Brexit” for musical satire fans and “Paris de Nuit” for circus fans but here are my favourites ten.

The Dots are a sophisticated singing trio, elegantly dressed, stylishly choreographed and word perfect least they were until the soprano stormed out and the mezzo died. The remaining Dot Helen played by Helen Colby decides to carry on with under rehearsed understudies, Macey Cherett who wants to incorporate magic and Nerine Skinner an enthusiastic amateur. The joy of this show is that they each totally inhabit these comic creations.

It is devised and performed by the Founders of Hot Coals Theatre, Clare-Louise English and Jo Sargeant who work so well together. You hardly notice that there are no words as they use movement and facial expressions synchronised with the beautiful underscore to tell their story. With their comical noses and Harris's sumptuous beard, so much of the emotion is expressed through their eyes and they exploit this wonderfully, never rushing the moment and always aware of the audience watching them. 

Friday, 9 August 2019

EDINBURGH FRINGE REVIEW: Genesis: The Mary Shelley play at C Cubed Main Space

It is always refreshing when someone takes a familiar true story and characters from history and reimagines the sequence of scenes that created their fame. Mary Humphrey Baldridge has taken the story of Byron's challenge to his friends on Lake Geneva in 1816 to write a ghost story which led to Mary Shelley writing one of the most famous horror stories of all Frankenstein. I was not familiar with his challenge or relationships but in this extremely well written seventy minute play, she hooks us into the hedonistic world this group inhabited and their obsession with Death and the after life.

In the intimate cramped surroundings of C venue 50 on Lawnmarket with a minimum of props and furniture, the Artists Collective Theatre recreate the houses that Byron and Shelley hired that summer in Switzerland and we see the influences that led Mary Shelley to respond to Byron's challenge in writing her story. The costumes are generally good although I failed to understand why they were all bare footed throughout and the two white knitwear jumpers they wear when going sailing looked like they had just been bought from a Scottish knitwear shop on the Royal Mile! 
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