Monthly Archives: August 2015
Bonkers bonkers: bonkers bonkers, bonkers bonkers bonkers – bonkers. Bonkers, bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers, bonkers bonkers. Bonkers bonkers, bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers, bonkers bonkers bonkers. Bonkers. Bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers. Bonkers, bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers: bonkers, bonkers bonkers. Bbonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers; bonkers bonkers bonkers. Bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers. Bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers, bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers, bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers, bonkers bonkers. Bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers. BonkerS. BoNkerS. BONkErs. Bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers.
Bonkers, bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers, bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers. Bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers, bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers. BONKers. BONKers. bONkers. Bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers, bonkers bonkers, bonkers bonkers bonkers; bONkErs bonkers bonkers boNkeRs bonkers. BonkeRs bonkers, bonKers bonkers bOnkers bonkers bonkErs bonkers – bonkers bonkers bonkers… Bonkers (bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers, bonkers bonkers), bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers, bonkers. Bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers, bonkers bonkers bonkers. BonkeRs bonkers bonkers bonkers. BoNkers bonkers bonkers bonkers, bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers. Bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers? Bonkers! Bonkers? ‘Bonkers, bonkers bonkers – bonkers, bonkers!’ BOnkers bOnkers bOnkers bOnkers bOnkers bOnkers bOnkers. Bonkers bonkers, bonkers bonkers bonkers. Bonkers: bonkerS bonkers bonkers bonkErs bonkers – bonkers bonkers bonkers, bonkers bonkers. Bonkers, bonkers bonkers bonkers—bonkers. Bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers. Bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers.
BONKERS. Bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers bonkers! 5 BONKERS
Reviewer : Nicky Melville
A Cinema in South Georgia
A Cinema in South Georgia is a dashingly spirited romp through the life & times of four South Atlantic Whalers from Scotland, who find themselves working a LONG way from home on the wave-swept island of South Georgia. Based on real-life accounts of that salty old life, & laced with thought-provoking moments concerning the slaughtering of our oceans’ whales, we are transported to christmas 1959-60, at the heart of the Claret’s last championship winning season when Harry Potts led Burnley to the title, claiming top spot on only after the very last match!
The cinema in question was created, according to the play, by a projector taken from Leith’s Alhambra cinema,& on that xmas eve was showing Seven Brides For Seven Brothers. From here we follow the four lads into home-brew fuelled sessions & a jaunty trip to Aruba, all served up with some lovely lowland Scots dialect. Throughout the play we hear catchy monologues, second-bucket sea-shanties & music-hall songs, & one is left feeling with an inimitable warm glow by the end. The four actors have a most splendid chemistry, led by the professionally outstanding, Blackadder II lookalike Euan Mciver. All the rest of the lads gave stand-out performances, & have gained themselves a very worthy FOUR STARS
Reviewer : Damo Bullen
A surreal portrayal of a Welsh girl who has moved to Edinburgh. This one woman play is about being alone and wishing that every day events would hurry up and lead to some kind of spectacular love, which will fulfill all that is wrong with life. The duration of the performance is filled with mime and monologue but does also contain sound effects too. It touches upon the expected trials of moving somewhere new, like jumping through hoops to impress new employers or dodging bullets when being interrogated but new people. Having loved ones, back in Wales, and without a healthy support network in Edinburgh, desperation begins to takes hold. The character shows a deterioration of mental health as she alludes happiness and success to her mother over telephone conversations; while in reality she is enveloped in social isolation, causing her to seek relationships in rather unusual ways. Some say when life throws you lemons, make lemonade…However, you may never look at a lemon the same way again after you have seen this. THREE STARS
Reviewer : Bobbi Mckenzie
Yes Hub, Liberton Dams
1-31st August (not 25,28th)
A powerful performance from award-winning playwright Andy Paterson had me enthralled. Set in Yes Hub it’s a wee bit of distance from your festival central but all- the-better for escaping the throngs of people in the centre of festival mania. Y’ill no get a flyer for this up the Royal Mile, hen. This was a well-researched adventure into the life of the now dead/murdered Scottish activist lawyer and SNP MP Willie MacRae. You may or not have heard of this guy. He died in1985 in an apparent suicide. The gun used was found many metres from his body. The recovery companies employed to take away the car both claim that they did. I couldn’t have been both companies. His house was broken into an documents removed. Suspicious? Yes.
Willie was a lawyer of some infamy. He took on cases that promoted equality and which protected those fighting for the end-game of the sovereignty of the nation. He upset the establishment and was being closely monitored by the police and secret service. Cases that would likely have todays lawyers shitting in their breeks for fear of breaking ranks and showing some principles. The play is a portrait of a man, who almost peerless, heckled the hacks and politicians of the day and drove his point home. The mysterious circumstances of his untimely death – and the fact there has never been a fatal accident enquiry despite compelling evidence make this a compelling piece.
A recent 12000-strong petition to the Lord Advocate fell on deaf ears. MacRae had a dossier which indicted the higher echelons of British society into paedophile rings and reportedly had evidence of corruption to the highest level in the UK Nuclear industry at its inception. It is well scripted and forcefully performed by Paterson who is an impressive orator. The sory is told in monologue and song. The Q&A after was almost as compelling as the play. Off with their fucking heads! FIVE STARS
Reviewer David McCaramba
Richard III (a one-woman show)
Edinburgh Fringe, venue 127
Church of St John the Evangelist,
Princes St, Edinburgh
27th August 2015
I think perhaps we’re getting to the stage where everything that could possibly be done with and to Shakespeare’s plays has been done, from the instantly recognisable histrionics of Laurence Olivier on film to Blackadder, from modern-dress productions to translations into Klingon. But the Bard won’t lie down, and neither will the inventiveness of his interpreters. Brite Theater’s Emily Carding has been presenting a one-woman version of Richard III for Edinburgh Fringe audiences, obliterating (according to pre-publicity) the traditional ‘fourth wall’ between audience and performer, and garnering some glowing reviews. Will this be another one? Wait and see!
To distil any play to a state where a single actor can carry it requires judicious and inspired editing. We’re blessed that Shakespeare’s protagonists soliloquise so often, to give insight into their state of mind and intentions, that we have a good base to build on. The script of the Brite version of Richard III carries things further by, inter alia, incorporating some of the lines of other characters into Richard’s by way of commentary, in this kind of construction: “You say so-and-so has done such-and-such, well then…” Other devices are used, such as the modern setting allowing Richard to hold a conversation on a mobile phone, or to read out a series of incoming texts from another character. Surprisingly these are devices which all work. The breaking of the fourth wall isn’t as total as the pre-publicity makes out. By and large we sit and watch enrapt. Various members of the audience, as they file in, are given a sign to hang round their necks, identifying them as this or that character from the play; beyond that they are required to do very little, they have no set lines or actions beyond natural reactions, or occasionally they have to stand and be spoken to by Richard. Perhaps their major contribution is to receive a sticker bearing the word ‘DEAD’ when their character is disposed of. Apart from that we, the audience, watch and listen, standing once, and proclaiming once “Long live Richard, England’s royal King”. The reluctance and self-consciousness with which we complied with that was the whole point, and was the moment in the play when the fourth wall was truly broken – we were Richard’s unwilling subjects.
So much for the mechanics of the play. What about Emily Carding’s performance? Well, it is bound up with those mechanics. We meet her Richard, as we settle in our seats in the small venue, seeing him/her – ‘him’ from this point in my review – glowering from a swivel chair, wearing a dark suit. Draco Malfoy two decades on, almost. When we are still, and have been so for several seconds, Richard gives a deep sigh and, after another pause, speaks.
Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer by this sun of York…
A gesture to the labeled audience member, and – ah yes! – we are off, we are in familiar territory, and we are instantly attentive. The pause worked, and the delivery works. The standing, moving Richard is stereotypically deformed, not exaggeratedly so, but with a definite hunch and limp. Indeed if this punch is pulled then the meaning would go out of the words of the play. The delivery sharpens the focus on Richard, facilitates our listening to the actor’s words, those words becoming almost a sonata for voice. Sometimes this means we are not entirely sure what is soliloquy and what is not, and this points out a disadvantage in the concept of this presentation, inasmuch as an audience member must already understand the plot and structure of the full play in order to navigate the one-woman version. It would be almost pointless coming to this performance otherwise.
What else is lost, and does it matter? Well, most obviously, the play is shorn of much of its Tudor propaganda. All we know of Richmond – the future Henry VII – is the ‘vile politician’ Richard portrays him as. Yes, I know that’s a term from Henry IV Part 1, but the character to which it is applied is the type of which Richmond is the antitype, each shown as arguably justified in usurping an enthroned and anointed ‘Richard’. However, what this shearing-away of the Lancastrian apologia does is allow us to focus on Richard the man. The play à la Brite Theater, becomes The Tragedy of Richard III, with Richard as an anti-hero with whom we become intimately involved. Despite the fact that the casualty list of his ambition is plainly on show with ‘DEAD’ stickers on the victims, we begin to feel pity for this king, we see that he is no coward in his ambition. It’s not enough to make us Ricardian converts, but it makes us think, makes us check what we are feeling.
There are telling moments. Richard falls silent, remains so for a long time, his gaze tracking slowly from face to face in the audience. Suddenly we realise that he is looking, one-by-one, at every person whose death he has engineered and, if we know the play, we realise that he is seeing their ghosts on the night before the battle of Bosworth. If we know the play. Richard’s death is another telling moment. Already wounded, already dying, already wearing a ‘DEAD’ label, he pleads for a horse, pledges his kingdom for it, and dies reaching for the paper crown that has fallen from his head. The fact that it is made of paper serves to show how, ultimately, it is a meaningless object of desire and ambition. The play has to end there, Richard is dead.
Emily Carding’s performance in fact held me throughout. This can’t have been an easy performance to carry off. Allowing a small scattering of comedic moments and ad-libbing seasoned the mixture, but by far it was her delivery and characterisation that worked. It was an intensely emotional and even moving portrayal of the last Yorkist king of England. Hopefully this review will be on line in time to persuade you to go along and see the performance; as I write, the remaining performances are on 28th, 29th, and 31st of August. Despite the fact that I seem to be expressing reservations throughout this review, they are fair observations, and I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending it to you. FOUR STARS
Reviewer : Paul Thompson
The Sunset Five
Pleasance Dome, Potterrow
Until August 31
Alive with six characters this is a fun ride of a show. It takes the electric street vibe atmosphere at the Fringe and fuses it into a very comprehensive all be it completely light hearted upbeat entertainment. An impressive use of various stage props including recording on an effects pedal. Dialogue is quick and rolls on in the crazy plot. The Pleasance dome venue is a large public glass dome that houses a few separate venues, Queen Dome can hold a crowd of 175. However, even at half capacity the hour was full on.
This was an unexpected show, It starts with music but with the first burst of dialogue I was transfixed till the final bow. Laugh out loud and hilarious in its exploration of the six very distinctive characters. Synchronisation at times is inventive putting the stage to use in alternative ways. Quirky and distinctive in all of its aspects the story line centres around a group of friends investigating debt solution. The incredible thing about this play is that there is no main star; everyone is equally valid. Meandering between disliking a character to then discovering a liking for them before the end is a common thread in this production keeping the audience transfixed. It’s experimental yet solid.
At a show like this we are not just the audience but participants. In the special vibe of the Festival this production has a particular edge. The performers don’t break character at any point whether they sit in the background or are actively working the floor. This dedication creates superb interactions. These interchanges reverberate between the acting crew and audience. The stand up type dialogue from start to finish was perfect for this theatre environment. Good quality, abrupt but relaxed, there is even an action quality to it. I would recommend seeing it. FOUR STARS
Reviewer: Daniel Donnelly
Until Aug 31st
Alasdair Gray’s “Lanark: A Life in Four Books” becomes “Lanark: A Life in Three Acts” at this year’s Edinburgh Festival. If you’re not familiar with the novel, it’s hard to adequately communicate the ambition inherent to such an undertaking. Many folk have begun reading Lanark, perhaps for a course in Modernism, or for their Advanced Higher, or out of that same obligation to their delicate ego’s sense of its own intellectual superiority that leads many of us to plough doggedly through anything we’re told is seminal, or canonical. Not a small number of folk cite it as their favourite novel, and you can tell a real enthusiast when you meet one, absolutely. But one suspects that a fair few of those are just showing off the fact that they’ve made it to the end of the thing -like Ulysses but with added Scottish nationalism. And as Gray himself notes in one of the book’s many glib references to its own intersexuality, he and Joyce have much common ground, culturally, thematically, stylistically; in having set out to write a book that would challenge, shock, madden, embarrass… a book that was, like its protagonist, difficult to love, but which given the proper time and attention, proves impossible to fall out of love with. How does this book of so many types; so realist, so giddyingly modern, so unreal, so magically realist, make it off the page and onto the stage? Janice Galloway said of Lanark, “it was not the story so much as the voice in which the tale unfolded, the eyes through which it was seen, that compelled.” What is Lanark then, without its narrator?
These considerations are, no doubt ones that writer David Greig and director Graham Etoughhave given ample consideration to, and the play is steeped in the original text, generally to brilliant effect. The play is also, mercifully, its own thing, and incorporates the stage, and the fact of it’s staging, brilliantly, in a way that delights, deconstructing the theatre within the theatre much as the original uses a novel to deconstruct the concept of the novel itself. Aye, a Fringe’s-worth of smaller budget shows in cramped venues with newly “qualified” RADA or Le Coq graduates throws up the occasional gem, but the International Festival represents theatre at the top of its game, and Lanark fits right in. The innovative props, the mind bogglingly clever and stylish set, the seasoned actors. Greirson, is a slightly underwhelming protagonist, but then so is Lanark, so perhaps this is all very clever. The stand-out turn is Paul Hickey as Sludden –really properly charismatic and nasty. The play is nearly four hours long, and there are bits and bobs that I think could have been gainfully cut, decisions that were made to impress, rather than to further plot or theme. For example, in Act 2, the protagonist is played, simultaneously by each member of the cast, with actors stepping out to enact various formative memories before stepping back into the collective, which speaks and moves in unison. It has no seeming function, other than to demonstrate an impressive onstage cohesion, but this is not a novel about cohesion, it is about a man falling apart, a world falling apart, and it just didn’t need to be there. There is much, for all that, that is deeply impressive, visually stunning, and appropriately difficult. The lady next to me complained to her partner that, having not read the book, she did not know what was going on. I wanted to tell her that had she read the book, she would know that her state of confusion was bang on the money. FOUR STARS
Gruesome Playground Injuries
1A Hill St
Now this was a God send, the Angels answered my prayers. I awoke this morning feeling a bit sorry for myself. I was needing a bit of TLC. I live alone you see and have been single for quite some time. After I receiving my Mumble mission of the day I headed for my date with destiny. I was greeted warmly by the handsome producer as I waited for the performance to be called. Venue 1A Hill Street, is an office that has been remarkably changed into a small well equipped theatre, that is welcoming and warm. This lovely piece of theater was just what the Angels ordered. A tale of enduring but unfulfilled love. The play begins at school in the nurses office when our hero’s are 13 years old. Doug (The Boy) is an accident prone young man, there was more than a little resemblance of myself at that age. Throwing caution to the wind and riding his push bike off of the school roof ,Evel Knievel style. Doug comes out worse for ware and ends up in the nurses office. Kayleen (The Girl) is there because of a stomach bug and sickness. The portrayal of the 13 year old characters was perfect and very funny.
This 90 minutes of brilliant theatre visits our hero’s at different stages of their lives. It is always the serendipitous nature of Doug’s accidents that bring them together. Kayleen has a healing touch. In one scene Doug loses an eye and Kayleen comes to visit him in hospital. Doug pleads for Kayleens healing touch. This brought tears to my eye’s, no, more than that I was fare greeting. There are deeper issues that are touched upon like Kayleen’s self harm of cutting herself with a razor, but no real explanation as to why she would do such a thing. Although the subject matter was quite dark by nature, this was a story of how the love between two people can last a lifetime with a constant tension of will they or won’t they get it on. Indeed it is a tale of the healing properties of Tender Loving Care and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The stage lighting was superb and the acting and script were very entertaining Indeed. A top notch 90mins of afternoon entertainment. Tender Loving Care. FIVE STARS
Liquid Room Annexe
‘Married to herself. Divorced from reality.’
I’ve seen a few one-human shows this Fringe, but none of them can touch Christel Bartelse’s widely-toured Oneymoon for sheer entertainment. Like a love-filled, fluff-bunny on crack, this Canadian comic-actress flounces about her stage with the joy of teenage girl before her bedroom mirror initiating herself into the world of fashion. Her story is a simple one. She is one of those modern women who, searching for the perfect husband to come along for so long has become quite neurotic about it, & absolutely insists that on a first date she & her prospective mate must list each other flaws in order to determine compatibility. These neuroses have then tipped her over the edge into ‘where’s-my-medication‘ delusional behaviour – & at the start of the play we find her on honeymoon… married to herself!
Of the plays creation, Christel told the Mumble, ‘I was struggling with my own issues surrounding relationships, being single & a fear of commitment. What did I really want? I decided to go on a Solo Beach vacation. As I was packing, it felt like I was going on a ‘Honeymoon for one’… a ONEymoon.’ After her time at the beach, & a spot of being unfaithful to herself with a waiter named ‘Roberto,’ Christel returns to her life in the big city. Although firmly committed to herself, we witness the inevitable break-down of her ‘marriage.’ Just because she was married to herself doesn’t mean the marriage is special – it too becomes under the same pressures that any conjugal commingling is under. She begins to argue with herself, while the vibrator becomes a cold, unfeeling piece of plastic… it used to be out four times a day, then once a week, & towards the end of the play once every two months!
Surreal, silly & splendid, Oneymoon is a jolly romp through a woman’s insecurities & phantasies : a most special play garnished with a special performance. FOUR STARS
Reviewer : Damo Bullen
Venue 13 is a small and well equipped comfortable theater, a peaceful enclave in the throbbing heart of the Fringe! Its always a pleasure to come here and the surreal experimental theater that is performed here always makes me think.Dark Matter proved to be no exception to the rule of thumb!
This was a dark and very poignant tale of capitalism and greed meeting a fitting end at the hand of revolution from the people. The play opens with the heroine fighting the need not to drink. There.is a knock at the door and in walks a disheveled man with a torn sleeved jacket. Having just walked the riot torn streets outside.The drama unfolds as the couple move through the shadows generated by fear and disillusionment, while the world that they have built crumbles around them.
With a sharp twist in the tale, we are transported to a different reality. Where the revolution had been overturned by genocide. Perfectly reflecting the governments of America and The United Kingdom’s push to alienate and punish the most vulnerable in society. Political genocide to protect big business and greed.
With a cruel twist of karma at the end, there are no winners in this portrayal of a dystopian future. Although a work of fiction. This is a play that could very easily portray the outcome of Austerity, especially with current levels of greed running amok.Unfortunately, we are living the prologue of this well thought out script. As the title of the Performance suggests, Dark Matter, is very dark indeed. THREE STARS
Reviewer : Mark ‘Divine’ Calvert