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Thursday, 24 August 2017

EDINBURGH FRINGE REVIEW: The Tinder Tales at the Greenside @ Infirmary

Tinder. It’s all over the Edinburgh Fringe this year and for good reason. It seems to be a massive talking point for a broad spectrum of people. Tinder Tales, takes the real life stories from people using the app, and flips between the good, the bad and the ugly in a short 40 minutes. 

With one interviewee chair placed centre stage, and the cast sat behind it, the play mainly focuses on the stories of the individual but allows a few moments for the whole cast to get involved. Most stories were fun and comical, which allowed the most sombre moments to land quite beautifully. I questioned, however, the need to gender swap for two of the scenes. Whilst all actors in these scenes played it wonderfully, I felt if they’d kept the scenes as written, it would have landed even more of a message. 

EDINBURGH FRINGE REVIEW: Fag/Stag at the Underbelly Cowgate

No story is ever told the same way. The general gist might be there, but there’ll always be some anecdote or sentence missed out, or rose tinted way of telling it to make you sound a bit better. What would happen if two friends told the same story, at the same time, on the same stage? Take the Australian performer/writer duo, Chris Isaacs and Jeffrey Jay Fowler, ask them to do just that, and you have Fag/Stag.

Tamara is getting married and both Corgan and Jimmy are invited. Both men loved her, Jimmy for a week in high school, Corgan during their four-year relationship, and even more now. Fag/Stag journeys from the duo receiving their invites, to the day of the wedding and all in-between. There’s so much to say about this show that I don’t think I will do it justice. Both Issacs and Fowler are captivating throughout. In a performance which is mainly about male relationships, they only look at each other once but you can feel the chemistry between the two in abundance. Their quick witted, fast paced script grabs the audience from the beginning and doesn’t let go. It’s heart-breaking to watch as friends fall out over homophobia, self-harm, and not being there when your friend needs you the most.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

EDINBURGH FRINGE REVIEW: The Prophetic Visions of Bethany Lewis at the Underbelly Cowgate

There’s a fair amount of puppets at Edinburgh Festival Fringe this year and a lot of it has been very good. It was now the turn for The Prophetic Visions of Bethany Lewis, and my oh my it did not disappoint. From the moment the furry purple puppet opened her mouth (or had it opened for her) to the last note of the perfectly pitched (in all terms of the word) ending song, I was crying with laughter. 

Three brilliant puppeteers take on a variety of characters that feature in the rise, and subsequent fall of Bethany Lewis, a normal girl who starts seeing visions when she’s bumped in the head by an escaping baked bean tin. Unfortunately for Bethany, she starts seeing things that the government, and their leader, don’t want the public knowing. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who is going to see it (and if you aren’t, you should) so I’ll keep quiet, but a specific scene between the Prime Minister and the creature that is running parliament is worth the ticket price alone. 

EDINBURGH FRINGE REVIEW: Maddy Anholt - Herselves at the Underbelly Clover

Behind every woman is not just one character. There are a collection of weird and wonderful personalities just dying to be heard. At least that’s what Maddy Anholt will have you believe in her new show, Herselves. Luckily for the audience, the women wanting to be heard from Anholt are brilliant. 

This one woman stand up, character comedian and at times improv artist had the world out against her the day I saw the show but she batted every problem off with ease and hilarity. Mic problems? Don’t worry, one of her characters, Shazza, relied on her two days of drama school training and projected her chavvy heart out. Got a heckler that won’t give up? Just get the crazed zoo keeper dressed as peacock to give him one of the most disturbing lap dances he’ll ever receive. Or if someone decides to eat a full meal during your show, give them a blow-up phone half way through their mouthful and tell them it’s time for audience call in on double yolk eggs. Granted, these disruptions won’t happen every show, but Anholt’s beautiful comic timing made you think she’d planned them all along. 

Friday, 18 August 2017

EDINBURGH FRINGE REVIEW: Brutal Cessation at Assembly George Square Theatre

Brutal Cessation is exactly what it says on the tin - Brutal. A frank, no holds barred portrayal of an abusive relationship where both characters are struggling to find a way to finally call time on it. 

This two hander seamlessly swaps parts half way through, allowing the audience to watch the same scenes, comparing how you view certain conversations when the abuser is male or female. This is writer Milly Thomas’s second venture at this year’s Fringe alongside her one woman show, Dust, with Brutal Cessation being performed beautifully by Alan Mahon and Lydia Larson. 

Larson, in particular comes into her own during a scene where she describes how much she wants to physically harm her partner, so much so that this is her fantasy. During the scene, you cannot take your eyes off of her, even though you want to because her level of intensity makes the audience feel so uncomfortable, but that’s the point. Mahon is constant throughout, pitching the last big blow out scene perfectly. The duo manage to tread the line of highlighting the fragility and danger of the relationship whilst keeping the audience engaged throughout. The Assemble Gardens ‘The Box’ venue mirrors the piece, feeling a tad claustrophobic during the more uncomfortable scenes. 

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

EDINBURGH FRINGE REVIEW: Tamar Broadbent, Get Ugly at the Underbelly Clover

“When you break up with someone, you become 25% less attractive” – the starter for the comedy talent that is Tamar Broadbent and her new show “Get Ugly”. Armed with jokes on the mic and witty songs accompanied by her keyboard, Broadbent takes the audience through her journey of becoming newly single and finding the strength in herself to finally move the fridge. 

Although her stand up was good, she really came into her own when she got behind the keyboard. Her songs were catchy, refreshing and really did make you laugh. It was easy to forget (whilst you were laughing at the “Shoreditch Wanker” she’d dragged up on stage) but Tamar Broadbent has a beautiful voice. I almost wished there were even more songs, as they were the highlight of the performance. With constant nods to current pop stars, she became the Edinburgh Fringe’s very own Taylor Swift. Break up songs don’t need to be angry or sad, Tamar Broadbent has delivered a new style, and it’s funny, really funny. 

Monday, 14 August 2017

EDINBURGH FRINGE REVIEW: Losers at the Underbelly Cowgate

The ever growing rise in the need for instant fame and fortune, regardless of talent, is a subject that is currently being covered a lot in theatre. Frequently, the pieces become quite similar and struggle to tread the line of entertaining and not preachy. In order to overcome this obstacle, the piece would need to be original, exciting and completely different to something we’ve seen before. Step forward Tit4Twat and their new show Losers. 

Four friends, tired of being talented and not getting the attention they believe they deserve, devise a new game show that they will film, with an audience, to send off to a casting director. This casting director will then hopefully cast just one of them, the winner, in a new reality show, granting them the sudden fame they crave. The audience are each given a voting devise when they enter, with four buttons matching the colour of clothing for each contestant. At the end of each round, you decide who wins and who loses and has to face the losers forfeit. 

Saturday, 12 August 2017

EDINBURGH FRINGE REVIEW: Showstopper! The Improvised Musical at the Pleasance Grand

The Pleasance Grand was heaving with people on my trip to see Showstopper! The Improvised Musical. Now in it’s 10th year, the Olivier award winning troupe have made a name for themselves as a must see during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. The premise is similar to that of other improvised shows, the audience decides the fate of the musical that will be performed that night. Luckily, that means no spoilers, as the show I saw is unlikely to ever happen again. 

Set in an Ancient Greek gladiator arena, “Glad” the musical, followed the story of two best friends trying to impress the stuttering, Emperor Caesar. The opening number, “We do it all for Caesar”, made you realise just why the Showstopper team have such packed out audiences – they’re incredible. Our 60 minute musical took inspiration from the music of (thank you audience suggestions), Fame, any Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, Little Shop of Horrors, Dear Evan Hanson and Pirates of Penzance. 

Friday, 11 August 2017

EDINBURGH FRINGE REVIEW: Dust at the Underbelly Cowgate

I’ve been struggling to write a review for Dust. I’m not sure why, but I think it’s because a few days after seeing it, it’s still seems to be affecting me, a true sign of a good show. Before the show, I knew it would be quite tricky, with a subject matter like suicide, but I wasn’t ready for the powerhouse of a performance, that was Milly Thomas. 

The self-penned one woman show, follows Alice’s journey in afterlife following her suicide. Thomas effortless throws herself around the stage, into other characters and positions some actors would shy away from, but that’s what makes it so brilliant. Her performance is brave and real and so very honest. She had the audience in the palm of her hand from the first scene and didn’t let go until the lights went out. The monologues were beautifully crude at points, and whilst I thought it might alienate certain members of the audience, one quick glance around proved me wrong. 

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

EDINBURGH FRINGE REVIEW: Impromptu Shakespeare at Just the Tonic

Knowing that the show I just saw will probably never happen again makes this review seem almost obsolete, but here I go regardless. Firstly, go and see this show. It's intelligent, it's funny, it's all of the adjectives for brilliant.

On our arrival we were asked to pick an orange ball from a bucket. Written on each individual ball was a different word or phrase. As the show opened, we were asked to throw out balls on stage and one of the cast would catch as many as he could in his breeches. Once this was over the rest of the cast had a delved in and picked 5 balls. These then became the basis of the Shakespeare that we would see. I'm still not sure how they did what they did. The play was so slick and hilarious, I forgot for moments that it was improvised until something even funnier messed them up. From not being able to do Welsh accent, to bringing a cannon to a sword fight, Impromptu Shakespeare is a show I will most certainly return to.
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