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Sunday, 7 August 2022

REVIEW: Good Grief at the Underbelly Colgate in the Iron Belly, Edinburgh Fringe

Ugly Bucket Theatre are a Liverpool-based physical theatre and clown company not afraid to delve into uncomfortable subject matters and make us laugh about it. As recipients of the New Diorama, Underbelly and Methuen Drama’s Untapped Award 2022, there is clearly energy behind this young company making their latest show, Good Grief, a contender for a place on your Edinburgh Fringe Festival dance card.

On brand for Ugly Bucket Theatre, Good Grief examines the grieving process that takes place before and after a good friend dies, through physical comedy, verbatim text and… techno dancing. It follows the life of a man who we meet pre-birth in the womb of his mother through to his afterlife after suffering from cancer of the intestine. Right from the beginning, he is subject to the hard truths of life. People and animals come and go and after a montage of macabre tragedies, he is paralysed by doom and eventually must also face his own mortality when sickness strikes. Both he and his loved ones are now subject to grieve a life disappearing. Sounds grim right? Well, not today. Obviously, the best way to address all of this is through clown!

Friday, 23 August 2019

INTERVIEW: Vivienne de Vil, who is about to bring her one woman show to the Underbelly on the Southbank

Vivienne de Vil, Broadway veteran and confidant to the stars, is bringing her one woman show to the Underbelly at the Southbank this summer. In the show she celebrates some of the most iconic women of Musical Theatre; From Streisand to Minnelli, Paige to LuPone. With One Look is an intimate evening of untold stories and the songs these women made famous featuring live musicians, read our ★★★★ star review here. We managed to catch her for a brief few minutes to chat to her about this wonderful show. 

Tell us a bit about your solo show at the Underbelly at the Southbank

It’s a celebration of some of the most iconic women of Musical Theatre, with little known stories from their careers, and the music they made famous. It’s also my big return to showbiz after a nasty divorce!

What inspired you to put together this show?

I’ve written and performed several solo shows throughout my career, but this show is much more intimate, and gives the audience a chance to get to know me better. And, being such a close friend of so many stars means that I’ve got a lot of stories about their lives that you won’t find in the history books.

Did you get any tips from any of your famous friends in the creation?

It was actually Julie Andrews who convinced me to write the show in the first place! I’d been away from the biz for a while and was nervous at the thought of treading the boards again, and Jules suggested I invite a small crowd of friends to dip my toe back into the water!

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

REVIEW: Angry Alan at Underbelly, Cowgate (Big Belly)

Fired from his unrewarding job and stuck in an ordinary life, Roger (Donald Sage Mackay) is scanning the internet for something interesting to read, when he bumps, almost accidentally, into some content published by the Men’s Rights Movement. What he reads makes sense to him and some videos, posted on YouTube by their motivational speakers, draw him into wanting to know more. Now actively reaching out to the Movement's comrades, he runs into the profile of Angry Alan, some sort of guru within the league who inspires a great change in his views.

This sudden mutation doesn't go down well with his feminist partner and, feeling misunderstood, he's even more convinced to support the cause, donating more than he can afford and hoping for special recognition from his peers. Meanwhile, his son has got something important to tell him.

The videos projected in between scenes are excerpts from genuine propagandistic material that appeared on the internet. In these, a bunch of enraged men denounce the 'oppressive gynocratic regime’ and accuse women of being the first cause of male suicide. Whilst watching, everyone in the room laughs out loud, but a chill runs down my spine. It is disturbing to think that these people really exist.

Thursday, 5 July 2018

REVIEW: Circa: Peepshow at Underbelly London

Hailing from Australia, Circa are one of the world’s leading contemporary circus companies. Since 2004 they have been wowing audiences across the world and becoming a firm Edinburgh Fringe favourite at the Underbelly.

Bringing their latest work to London, Peepshow is a bold and breath-taking production that grabs you hard and doesn’t let go. Director Yaron Lifschitz has turned the traditional ideals of a ‘peepshow’ on its head and while the show is sexy and wild, it is not about gratification and objectifying women which has become so synonymous with the genre.

The show really lent itself to the space and seeing Peepshow in a more traditional space just wouldn’t have the same impact. It’s no wonder the Australian Government are so happy to support their work. This new production only further enhances their reputation and reinforces the plaudits that have followed from their other shows including Humans and Closer.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

EDINBURGH FRINGE REVIEW: The Eulogy of Toby Peach, Underbelly

When he was 20 years old, roughly two and a half thousand days ago, Toby Peach was diagnosed with cancer. Now in remission for the fourth year, his self-delivered eulogy is the story of his life, how he fought cancer twice and how he lived to tell the tale.

It’s a superb solo show, written with care, emotion and strangely bags of wit and energy. We laugh throughout and then are left icy cold when Peach’s storytelling demands it. 

Scenes set in the Cancer Club depict cancer as a sleazy but alluring character, mixing cocktails for the audience and making Toby feel special at his inclusion in the club. 


Focusing on one man’s desire to win Gold, Tether tells the story of athlete Mark who unwillingly becomes a guide for blind marathon runner Becky.

Proud and egotistical, Mark is far from the warm heart needed to support prickly Becky and the two quickly lock horns as a power battle ensues. Over time, the two find a common ground and Mark spies opportunity in supporting Becky to fulfil his quest for medal validation. 

Writer Isley Lynn has clearly done extensive research into the sport and has dug deep into the world of Paralympic athletes and in doing so, has created an authentic and honest script. 


Who knew a block of yellow sponge could be so engaging?!

Bruce is a simple but compelling story of love, action and adventure displaying some wicked storytelling and performed by The Last Great Haunt.

Just two performers, one puppet and a few change of eyes is all that is needed to bring this rich and colourful tale to life which whizzes by leaving the audience desperate for more.

Uplifting, laugh out loud funny and immensely warm, the success of this piece is its simplicity. Amazing vocal skills and strong physical performances make Bruce seem incredibly human this show is by far one of the most feel-good in Edinburgh.


Based on true events, Brute follows the life of Poppy; a 14 year old school girl who has just begun studying at an all-girls school.

Unable to do right from wrong, Poppy makes friends, breaks them, daren’t be too clever, too stupid, too fat nor to thin and Izzy Tennyson morphs herself into the character with terrifying ease.

The opening scenes are a strong vehicle for Tennyson’s talents as a performer and writer, but this strength isn’t maintained throughout, with the production becoming repetitive and the character becoming too Vicky Pollard to sustain the audiences early interest. 

EDINBURGH FRINGE REVIEW: Ross & Rachel, Assembly Box

A dark and moving play, Ross and Rachel trials the highs and lows of modern love and a woman’s struggle to forge an identity outside of her relationship status.

Not at all comical or frivolous like the title may suggest, James Fritz’ play is told by just one performer, Molly Vevers, who shines in this production. Blending effortlessly between the husband and wife of this story, she is a captivating and emotional performer who is utterly magical in this tight and tense play.

Simply staged in the Assembly Box venue, the audience are taken on her roller-coaster journey as she attempts to be a good wife, support her dying husband and suppress feelings for “Daniel”.
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