Author Archives: yodamo
Our Eyes Met
The Space – Surgeons hall
Aug 8 – 13, 13,00
The title for this play ‘Our Eyes Met’ caught my eye as an appealing one and it didn’t let me down. The Space – Surgeon Hall room was blackened with drapes as the play began. The St Catherine’s School’s Drama crew were in the position of 2 groups sitting either side of the stage. There was an air of confidence bubbling about them already.
They were at a train station waiting for a train, from which the ghostly tale was to unfold. Straight away we knew we were in the realm of the gods, the Greek Gods to be exact. The metaphorical waves were hugely stirred as the Gods and muses tussled with bad news of rape and murder.
Out of the chaos the saga of Perseus and Medusa immerged as the central story. The play told it as the Legend had happened where Medusa was punished by Athena for mating with Poseidon. Athena was furious and cursed Medusa to a terrible and tragic life of the freshly created gorgon. Medusa’s new power meant that whomever she set her eyes upon would turn to stone, also in her pitiable fate was to be banished to live alone on a remote rocky island.
The mighty subject on show here held a remarkable twist in a fresh retelling of a strong and enjoyable journey of Medusa and Perseus. The play tied down a kind of contest that carefully placed our attention on assumptions of how we look at things through the eyes of the gods. With Athena furious and incensed it wasn’t long till Perseus travelled, under instruction from his father Zeus; making Perseus a half god half mortal, to find and slay poor Medusa.
The naturalness of the play rose in the delectable energy portraying the kind of multifaceted plot to leave Medusa and Perseus under a trial of the scene of Medusa’s death by his sword. The moment of killing her was part of the remarkable twist. Re-enacting this scene was the fate of the play. Taking turns (enthusiastically) to play the scene found that each case for the prosecution and defence ran a little differently, though always on Olympian proportions.
Their deliberating stood strong, with the strength of the gods, and comedy of importance. And together it strode forth with an inquisition in an attempt to find the truth about the murderous actions of the gods and Perseus. And with each perfectly framed repetition of the scene the reality on trial in the play became; who the real monster was? A question of compassion was struck.
Was Athena too wild in her reaction to how Medusa had behaved? The poor exile was to suffer her fate forever as a mortal changed into the most unfortunate monster. Passionate dialogue ran incredibly well, in timing, and had a great innocence about proceedings. They had the gods on the go with a flavour of naivety very appropriate to the Myth of the Greek gods.
With this fresh retelling capably underway and with the braided hair universally worn, the play was never about doubt but about fact. We found it very learned as they hurriedly listed many of the hierarchy of the ancient mound with swift and certain deliberation.
As a fan of the genre this play went well beyond any frivolity nor had it a need for farce. Instead it was seamless and free from the faults of mortals, but resoundingly it felt like a good and bright production; fun, games, truth, fear, were all on show with the togetherness of the happy medium of a very well written plural play.
I enjoyed it greatly and would not substitute it for anything, very worth your while as it sparkled on a note that reached deep into storytelling, creating a beautifully wonderful play. The title ‘Our Eyes Met’ turned out in its brilliance to offer the tragic aspect of Medusa’s eyes that may never be met again. After it’s repeated ordeal the gods and muses broke character to catch their train, leaving the tale in a ghost-like phenomenon.
August 10-29th (16.40pm)
In a quaint room situated at the back of the Pleasance Courtyard the comedy / theatre show Skank was about to be unleashed upon the eagerly waiting crowd. Fuelled by all the chit-chat in the queue my anticipation was growing stronger as I proceeded inside. Suddenly, a bashful Kate wearing fish-net tights and holding a baked bean can was controlling her audience with an intoxicating stage presence. You could tell from the outset that this was a well-thought out piece of theatre with only one thing in mind – to shock the audience and make them cringe with laughter. That she did in abundance.
Skank delivers a show directed at sexual frustration, mundane office jobs, friendships and recycling. Collectively, Clementine Bogg-Hargroves’ Kate brings everything into prospective as an inner chaos creates an eruption of vocalized jokes that were delivered with venom. Stylish, creative, witty & scathingly sarcastic, Skank continues to grow & grow as the show develops at a steady pace. Nibbling away like a squirrel on an acorn, Skank encases you with contentment. Raw, hard hitting, truthful and delivered with heart and soul, this is a refined slice of the Edinburgh Fringe. A challenging piece I was enjoying & questioning the show at the same time. As I left the theatre I was ruminating on whether witnessing the internal turmoil of anxiety was really entertainment. But then watching Kate pull it all off was entertaining, so there’s the true rub.
Pleasance at EICC
3rd – 28th August (not 22nd)
The EICC definitely has the comfiest seats at the Edinburgh Fringe, & after 3 years of political nonsense & global propaganda, I was curious to know how our current bunch of ‘leaders’ were being satirised. To be honest I wish I hadn’t have bother’d, but the young lady I was out with, who’d barely seen anything at the Fringe, thoroughly enjoy’d herself. Was it me – had I been oversaturated with culture, or had I become hypercritical after gauging so much art? Or was the NewsRevue just a bit, well, weak?
The show gives us two men & two women – talented singers all four – who have master’d their acting skills & voice projection, flowing through every important political avatar of the past few years. There was an excellent Trump, a cutting edge Truss & a floppy haired Bo-Jo all swaggering about on stage on the sketch-show hamster-wheel of political light entertainment. Along the way the superb pianist accompanied singing, & tinkl’d classics thro the interludes, & some of the songs were excellent. The best one, unfortunately, was the Patrick Vallance & Chris Whitty duet which was reyt funky but sung by the avatars of absolutely evil people. It was all a bit ‘Springtime for Hitler,’ but far too raw as its only been a couple of years since those ghouls took the pharmaceutical companies money & brainwashed an entire nation into becoming vaccine addicts. Not cool.
Still, if you like your Ant & Decs & Oligarchs, your Steimers & yer Sunaks, yer Putin & yer Partygate, your gags & songs & dances, this show’s definitely for you. There was one moment when two news-readers spoke in unison about the mirror image worldscape of 2003 & the 2020s – just changing the names of the leaders in each period – that show’d the potential of this show to wake the audience from its media-fuell’d mass-conditioning. Unfortunately, the rest was too gentle, I think, & like I said before, if I refused to watch our corrupt political ‘leaders’ & the sacred Covid Downing Street broadcasts during the fake pandemic, & have been completely disgusted by the way the media is being used to implement a totalitarian globalist regime, then why would I want to be entertain’d by the same rabid cumquats utilising its vehicular Big Brother weapon of mass manipulation. The news isn’t fun any more. But my date enjoy’d it, so its getting 3 stars…
Aug 10-14 (15.00)
The Pleasance Beyond is a lovely large space for theatre, & so to see the ‘The Trial,’ by the Young Pleasance ensemble. Based on Frans Kafka’s early 20th century novel, The Trial, Tim Norton has transcreated in a new piece in which tells of how Joseph K is arrested and prosecuted in a medical trial for reasons unbeknown to him or the audience on his 21st Birthday.
the play then depicts, metaphorically, allegorically, whatever, & just plain weirdly the struggles of combating bureaucratic authorities in the most surrealistic of manners. Interludes of dance and live set changes transport you into the dream state of Joseph K and leave you as baffled as he is by his set of circumstances.
The acting was very intense but wasn’t enough to engage me emotionally. The costumes were fantastically tailored and represented each character well. The lighting was extremely well done, creating great atmosphere and mood, especially the use of torch light to emphasis the speaker throughout the trial scene, but then all proceeding suddenly rushed to an abrupt halt, a rather vague experience leaving me dazed & confused about what I had just witnessed.
I’m sure there is a powerful artistic message in there somewhere, but unfortunately I missed it. This adaptation will be best enjoyed by those who are already familiar with Kafka’s work, otherwise you may only be set up for complete mystification.
theSpace – Surgeons Hall
Aug 5 – 13, 18.00
The variety on show at the Edinburgh Fringe is overwhelming, and the experience changes with the style of venue having a powerful effect on the show. So I entered theSpace – Surgeons hall to a larger room and a large stage surrounded (though not by many) with chairs. In this luxury the crowd quietened and, complimentary to the show, the lights went down
We were there for the play ‘Flesh’ written by Derek Batchelor a writer in Scottish Law. So as the play began we had a good idea of what to come. And come it did, thick and fast with 1900’s costumes and an Irish following.
The play was inspired by the stories of immigration, law, justice and of course as per plot criminality. At this period of time human bodies were needed (dead ones) for the purposes of scientific research. Thus spread the criminality of selling and buying corpses across the lines of the social classes of the rich and of the poor portrayed as men at ease.
A body happens to turn up and the two Irishmen, Burke(played by the Irish talking Jeremy Frazer) and his compatriot Hare (played by Roddy MacLeod) both capable men and lovers discover that the dead body could have great commercial provisions, much needed in the effect of being paid so many pounds for it.
They rub their hands in the relish for this money making enterprise and find themselves thick with murder and conniving payments on a regular basis. Of course there came along the matter of the law. This musical was written in overtures for each scene up to the scores of eleven. They had a kind of base music, electric, modern and thankfully to some extent disconcerting.
It was Mr Knox (Frank Burr)who was paying them for these bodies, obviously an influential man, but when the police raided the stage he too was to go down by law. When the law heard of the slightest trace of the conceived murdering the fate of the three man and their industry was sealed. Left without hope of getting away with any of it. So the Flesh was to be its selling potential. In a story of early capitalism, the play ventured through celebrating the success (doomed to fail) and the sorrow in failing.
And we found ourselves thinking had the right side won? Well yes screamed my inner voice; a good entourage of chorus and solo songs. With the spotlight hitting and house light enlightening, having a great cast and crew who put this magical play together. A very human tale of striding and tenderness he threw up his arms and said it’s just the way it is but not everyone has sold human flesh for a much improved life.
The Giant Killers
Gilded Balloon Teviot – Wine Bar
Aug 10-15, 17-29 (12:45)
Not many people know that if you draw a line 10 miles long over Lancashire, you would have passed through one quarter of the founder members of the Football League. The furthest east of these is my beloved Burnley – I bleed claret & blue – & I remember the day in Burnley library on the microfilm machine when I was looking at the newspapers of 1888 to read the reports of the boys’ first ever professional games. Travelling west from Burnley you soon reach Accrington Stanley, then Bl%$£”&*n Rovers (I can’t say or type the name without getting curiously agitated), from where one turns 90 degrees & draws another line 3 miles long, south to Darwen, the next of the East Lancashire contingent to join the Football League in 1891-92.
Darwen was the smallest of the four mill-towns, & is the chief setting of Long Lane Theatre’s highly engrossing ‘The Giant Killers,’ a story concerning the unfairness of life & the hope of football. At it’s core is the 1878-79 FA Cup run by Darwen to the quarter finals where they met Lord Kinnaird’s Old Etonians in a battle of class & culture – top hats versus flat caps & all that. En route we get hints of the debate about professionalism & the evolution of tactics, but there’s so much more to this play than the footy. ‘The Giant Killers’ chief remit is to highlight the plight of the northern working classes, still suffering in a semi-feudal state 60 years after Peterloo, with MacDonald’s first Labour government yet 45 years away. Football was about to change all that & it can be argued that trade unionism really began to take root on the terraces.
The tale is relayed by four strong performances, three lads & a lassie with proper northern accents, seamlessly combining to create the energy of entire teams, towns & even a hyper-realistic train ride to London for the quarter final. They really do bring across the love of football & how it helped people rise from the plague of poverty, & just made the world feel a better place, exactly as in the modern-day, seeing Vincent Kompany start off well at Turf Moor (4 points from 6) makes me also feel similarily content to be alive.
Despite the occasional mention of Bl%$£”&*n Rovers, the whole play is a class act, tho’ perhaps one replay too many. The story of the cup run does involve replays, & it’s necessary to relay the truth of the matter, but going over the same ground, same pitch actually, does drain a little of one’s attention. Still, by the end I was bubbling with emotion & gushing pride & best bitter for my fellow Lancastrians showing the world that working men can match gentle men & really helping to fuse the common folk of the country with the beautiful, & their national, game, the greatest ever leveler of men.
Aca-Pocalypse: Diamond in the Riff
Aug 8-13 (16:25)
The use of the microphone has given the art of A Capella a deeper ability to effect the listener, while the introduction of choreography has then turned this artform into a major spectacle. When done well its an absolute joy to behold, & so, to Aca-pocalypse, brought to Edinburgh by the fantastic University of Nottingham A Cappella Society. While most students are getting hammer’d & experimenting with mushrooms off the Dark Web, these guys have congregated into a juicy love-ball of smiles, movement & Gilbert & Sullivan light opera. Sopranos, Baritones, Mezzo-Sopranos, they were all there in an even mix of young man & woman.
They were completely excellent, a congruous whole of 17 individuals, each pinpoint tight as to their role & pitch, all of which were shepherded into the Elysian Fields by a bangin’ beatboxer called Jake. I also enjoyed the comedic interludes between each song, which served as introductions & entertainment at the same time. A lovely bunch of performers whose smiles seemed to have got stuck on their faces. Nobody can be that happy for an hour.
The song selection was eclectic – as were the singers to sing them – opening with Rome Wasn’t Built in A Day by Morcheeba was a wonderful start for me. A couple of years ago I remember singing along to it on my phone headphones wandering the hills over Burnley in the summer sunshine on my first visit to my family after lockdown restrictions had lifted. It was a euphoric moment then, which Aca-pocalypse immediately reconvoked.
Other tunes included Snow Patrol’s Chasing Cars, Gnarls Barkley’s Crazy & the celestial canticle Prayer of Saint Francis, or Make Me a Channel of Your Peace, which was like, wow! The future of A Capella is looking bright, & its present is proper slick. I enjoyed that big time!
Pleasance Courtyard – Bunker Two
Aug 9, 11-16, 18-29 (15:00)
The cathartic qualities of art have been known for millennia. The act of creation makes people feel better about themselves. The creation of art allows feelings & pent-up pains to be channel’d out of the psyche & into various mediums. So, to Laura Horton, a former publicist at the Fringe who has cross’d over to the dark side & has brought an actual play to Edinburgh. Its clearly doing well, having been nominated for the Popcorn Awards already, & on watching the play I got the general gist why. It’s pretty good!
Breathless is part of the Theatre Royal Plymouth gang who have sent half a dozen pieces to Edinburgh, of which Horton’s is but one. She is the current Plymouth laureate of words so she’s definitely earning her keep. Her subject is one close her to own heart & existence – hoarding -, & already people are coming up to her after the play just really happy to be able to identify with what Breathless stands for. The true essence of the play trickles out in subtle bite-sized, hint-tinted portions, until the excellently emotional ending makes every member of the room so happy to watch the sea-change in our now-beloved hoarder of ‘amazing things’ such as Stella Mcartney screen-printed trousers.
The drama is pulled off single-handedly – it’s a solo piece – by the multi-talented Madelaine Macmahon, who in her career sings & acts & tells jokes with equal electric alacrity. The way she plucks her potential love-match, Joe, from thin air & makes them a very tangible presence in the room is astonishing. The only problem for me was, despite her excellent performance, & it was riveting, I never quite believed she was a hoarder. I don’t really know any hoarders per se, & I don’t expect them to have a nervous twitch or anything, but it just didn’t feel like she was perfect for the role. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I think perhaps an actress with genuine OCD concerns herself might have pulled off the part better. I never quite felt those ‘waves of hatred from unworn outfits’ she was describing. I might be barking up the wrong tree completely, but this is what my instincts were saying. Or perhaps the fact that hoarders walk silently & anonymously among us was actually a part of the overall effect & it was the subtlety of Macmahon’s performance that went right over my head!
I enjoyed the simplicity of the set, with every scene marked out by an effortless replacing of a single wooden chair. For a play about hoarding it was seriously unclutter’d. What I can say about Breathless is that it holds your attention for an entire hour, however hot a day it is. I was topless inside & should have swooned into a snooze, but all credit to Madaleine Macmahon, she kept me watching with intensity. It was also a fascinating insight into the mind of a hoarder, & to hear the litany of excuses to stop people coming into the house, or to go to the sales instead of a wedding, was educational to say the least. A great play on many levels & a great asset to the burgeoning thespianic career of Laura Horton.
Underbelly’s Circus Hub on the Meadows
Aug 9-14, 16-21, 23-27 (21:55)
Hi Honey I’m home ❤
Wow that was a long day, Amazingly entertaining and on the whole fucking brilliant,
Hmm I thought, its lovely and warm. So i headed along The Innocent railway Path and up for a cuddle with Tracey Tree, It was so soft and welcoming, I layed down and gave myself healing. Grounding as deeply as I could do and let it all go.
I gave myself a good hour of self-healing and then headed for an afternoon and evening on The Meadows for a Masterclass of amazingness at The Circus Hub, First Up 2.15 Tulu, then at 9.55 Blunderland. That gave me a lot of time for self healing between performances, I met up with Damo to pick up my writers wages and Headed to the Pianodrome for a tinkle. It was great then had a coffee with Raah and then back to the Pianodrome to finish where I had left off. I played for a life drawing class and grounded the angels. I really hit on something when I played at Glastonbury this year.
It took a while but I slipped back into the flow, My audience where very appreciative. then headed back to the Meadows to sit under a tree, look at the Moon and sip a rather good-looking but expensive hot chocolate. Have walked some miles today so as you can guess I was knackered. The Meadows is a really nice place to chill under a tree, The Moon rising big and heavy as dusk wove its dark cloak round Aulde Reiki. The anticipation of something brilliant was making me excited, being a psychic and with the Calibur of acrobatic amazingness I experienced with Tulu. I knew Blunderland was going to be spectacular. And I wasnae wrong. Divine is so so happy tonight. So it been a very entertaining self-healing day. more in a bit am off to make a cuppa.
Blunderland The Cast
The Beauty is a large Spiegel Tent, the 2nd of the brilliant venues within the Circus Hub which houses this brilliant example of Cabaret and risque burlesque, mind-bending, mind-expanding psychedelic trip of sexiness. Adam Malone our host of the evening explained that the show is designed for people that love psychedelics. OOOOoooo I thought “This is going to be good.”
As we took our seats in the round of The Beauty, I couldnae help thinking “The Adults Only Magic Show” Should have been housed here too, it was such a grand and noble venue, The ambience created by the lighting and sounds, created a dubstep rainy city street, just seedy enough on the side of naughty But very very nice to add weight to the theatrical brilliance that was about to be unleashed. To the right of me, Lee, from Machester was on to his 57th show of this years Fringe, Blimey I Thought Lee is an eager beaver. To the left of me a rather dashingly handsome young Frenchman called Rudi. I was in good company. Suitably Bohemian and ready for a Good Time. With the perfect balance of eye candy for both boys and girls to be mutually excited by. I think the psychedelic of choice was MDMA with a line of Ketamine for good measure. This dynamic work of burlesque performance art found its roots in Melbourne After Adam Malone from the art houses of New York flew there to find the gifted and ridiculously talented performers that would make his vision “Blundered” A performance art presentation of genius. Very Very Sexy Genius indeed.
Nothing is left to the imagination an alternative cabaret that drips with sensuality and all done in the best possible taste. Sassy, camp, funny Original, classy and very beautiful all set to a brilliant techno soundtrack. in pink sequined hot pants. Divine was in love Beautiful stage nudity seems to be an evolving thing with Australian Burlesque. The Trapeze act alone is worth the ticket price. A brilliantly and beautifully choreographed depiction of conception, the female reproductive system brought to life with feet and umbrellas, it was so so clever, surreal and wonderful. Oh yes I was loving being in Blunderland and that’s without any Acid. Surreal and Bohemian art house brilliance making its debut at the Edinburgh Fringe. Blunderland is performance art of legendary proportions, once seen never forgotten, for it is a production with staying power. Creative Viagra for all who take a ride into Blunderland. Blunderland’s Fans are growing.
Totally. A Well earned 5 Stars.
Mark ‘Divine’ Calvert
CIRCUS ABYSSINIA: TULU
Underbelly’s Circus Hub on the Meadows
Aug 6-27 (14:15)
Underbelly’s Circus Hub on The Meadows is perhaps the most conducive to healing and peace of mind. The venue comprises The Lafayette a huge big blue traditional circus big top planted in the Middle of our beloved Meadows, it was a beautiful warm day, perfect for taking it easy. Underbelly’s Circus Hub is beautifully attractive and very welcoming. Word had obviously got around that Circus Abyssinia were back in town, all the way from Ethiopia these guys have travelled a long way to bring this delightful human circus to the Edinburgh Fringe. So on the first Monday of the Fringe it was completely sold out. Circus Abyssinia had a sold-out run of performances in 2017 at the Edinburgh Fringe. Divine was about to discover why this troop of acrobats are so successful.
This new presentation of breath-taking circus skills. Celebrating the first African woman to win Olympic Gold. Inspired by the true tale of an Ethiopian icon Deratu Tulu. Circus Abyssinia fit a lot into the 75 minuets of showtime and all of it, edge-of-seat amazement. With death-defying feats of human agility and athletic acrobatic skill, The dance routines performed by two incredibly beautiful ladies took the entire Laffeyette Big Top and all of us in it back to an Ethiopian nature reserve, my mouth was wide open in awe a Yoga Master Class, that demonstrated just how bendy a human body can be, beautifully choreographed. This within itself was an Olympic Gold performance. Completely awesome.
Followed by a really fast-paced sequence of acrobatics performed by beautiful young athletes, flying through the air with the greatest of ease, Human catapults. trapeze, fire juggeling. It was awesome, Circus Abyssinia brought the packed house down, with a show of breathtaking spectacle. Circus Abyssinia’s audience were having a great time, Divine included ❤
By the time we reached the end of the performance, I completely understood why this show sells out every day. Indeed we were blessed to be part of the audience. For without a doubt a five star performance.
Good Time Divine.