Archive for August 12th, 2012


 Sunday August 12th


Well that is the first ten days or so of the Fringe done and dusted then. So far the most amazing thing is that it has been remarkably dry since last weekend with days which could even be described as summery. The rain has stayed away since last Monday night when I was making my way to a show about the Smiths and all that was going through my head was the lyric ‘The rain fell down on a humdrum town’. The show in question Half a Person, My Life as Told by the Smiths was, fortunately, emotionally stirring, thought provoking and concise. It even made me forget the dampness of my drenched clothes and at one point brought me close to tears and this is no mean feat. Especially within the world of live theatre when emotional intensity usually loses its intimacy due to the exaggerated medium necessary to appeal to an audience who don’t have the advantage of camera close ups. A full review can be found here.

Other five star shows-full reviews can be found by clicking on the name of the shows in question- are the inestimable talents of beat-boxer Tom Thum, the intense drama of Glory Dazed and if a good night out with friends is required then The Boom Boom Club is a night out like no other. Featuring fire-eating strippers, wedding ceremonies blessed by a dildo, a hula hoping slinky and a forty five minute cabaret show it will have you wondering what is part of the act and what is not. This , of course, is half the fun and my companion and I spent several minutes watching someone sweep glitter from the stage convinced he was about to do something outrageous. When he didn’t-sweeping the floor was all he was there to do- we merely turned around to be distracted by some other happening. It is a bonkers night out and for anyone who complains that a good night out in Edinburgh is hard to find then I suggest you re-consider spending twenty quid to watch a DJ who has been around since the Jurassic era and get yourself along to this.

Not far behind these shows are Marcel Lucont’s Gallic Symbol show, a great show about Oliver ReedWild Thing-, The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, An Audience with the Duke of Windsor, Bitch Boxer and  the scattergun musings and rants of Josie Long.

Slightly missing the mark-though they may have improved since I saw them- are Loretta Maine’s Bipolar and Sammy J and Randy which are both shows I had high hopes for but unfortunately both fell a little short of expectations. Beyond hope though, I fear, is Confessions of  a Grindr Addict which was very definitely a grind. This was disappointing as I feel the subject has great dramatic value and interest-especially with the recent crashing of the site due to overuse when the Olympic athletes all descended on London and started downloading/using the app.- unfortunately this show is not the one to bring these values to fruition.

Talking of the Olympics, most of them have passed me by although I did get emotional last night when Tom Daley won a bronze model-what is it with me and emotion at the moment? A transient phase or fad I hope- and am beyond hyper excited at the prospect that Kate Bush ‘might’ be performing ‘Running up that Hill’ live- her first live performance since 1979- at the closing ceremony. This would be an amazing coup and the reclusive singer would satisfy several generations of fans by simply being there. As I write this I am listening to the perennial classic ‘Hounds of Love’ album very loud. The thing I love most about Kate Bush-apart from the obvious genius she possesses- is the way that when you listen to her you actually enter in to her universe to inhabit a world she has created for you. She is just so unstarry whilst being a huge star in possession of a gargantuan talent and this is re-assuring in these days of reality TV non-entities and wannabes who possess little ,if any, talent whatsoever.  I may be induced to sit through the whole proceedings just for this one moment alone.

The Olympics are also bearing the brunt of the blame for the Fringe being quieter than usual. It is noticeably quieter on the streets compared to the last few years and many venues are expecting it to pick up after the Olympics are over. The good weather also contributes to the more relaxed atmosphere as usually the rain forces everyone to rush to where they are going pushing past anyone who gets in their way. Or perhaps that is just me!

Manners do, by tradition, take a back seat around this time of year in Edinburgh as everyone considers their route to be the most important and anyone in their way merely an inconvenience. Spending a substantial part of my day waiting in queues has admittedly tried my patience on several occasions- I am not renowned for my patience at the best of times-but at least it is not raining.

Today sees a drama about Agatha Christie’s Marple and the big screens most enduring image of her as portrayed by Margaret Rutherford. This is followed by Australian comic Asher Treleaver. The rest of the week includes another show based on the Smiths –Unhappy Birthday- an adaptation of A Clockwork Orange, dramas about Tony Hancock and Tommy Sheridan as well as a promising show by Edinburgh veteran Ruaraidh Murray called Big Sean, Mikey and Me. I have sensibly decided to round the week off on Friday evening- I avoid reviewing shows at the weekend as it is too busy- with Fringe stalwarts and super-fun megastars Frisky and Mannish who never fail to impress.

Also on the agenda this week is the first ever Edinburgh International Fashion Festival and I am looking forward to the opening launch party on Wednesday at Summerhall.  Showing nightly at the Institute  is Gavin Evans’s short film The Audition featuring Oliver Reed,  Daniel Craig Samuel .L. Jackson and about twenty five other major A-list stars . The venue also houses his much discussed and controversial ‘Naked Touch’ exhibition. It is free entry and the film screens every night at 10pm. Apart from that it is work all the way so off out for a dose of murder in the form of Marple. Perfect Sunday afternoon entertainment suited to my tweeds and brogues!


Bourgeois and Maurice-Sugartits- Underbelly 10.15pm


There are often moments when reviewing shows which are not quite hitting the mark that I wonder at what point did the performers feel this was ready to take out of the rehearsal studio and onto the stage? Sometimes when it is a really bad show I wonder when did this really bad idea germinate and become discussed as an option to perform in public. Fortunately the cabaret styled Bourgeois and Maurice did not stray into the latter territory but unfortunately the sentiments of the former crossed my mind on a couple of occasions.

I am not sure where the problem lay with this act but I feel it is something to do with the fact it has not made its mind up exactly what it wants to be. It, on one hand, wants to be a little bit Scissor Sisters-the visual aura certainly suggests a Jake Shears , Ana Matronic vibe- whilst there is also the feeling they are trying to inhabit the same universe as Fringe stalwarts, and stars in this musical duo genre, Frisky and Mannish. Both are reasonable acts to aspire to however but somehow Bourgeois and Maurice fall short on several levels.

The first problem seems to be the lack of dynamic or chemistry between the couple. Maurice does not sit well in the role of being her partner’s stooge. A further problem was the songs were not strong enough in their own right and the comedy material not particularly funny or original. Matters were further blighted by bad sound which made most of the lyrics inaudible and as the bulk of their act relies on the latter this was unfortunate. This is the technical setback you would expect in the first couple of days not when an act has had a week to sort it out.

It is not all bad however as their vocals and instrumentation were spot on. The frantic dancing did detract a little but not enough to spoil things and their interaction and chemistry with the audience managed to keep them onside throughout the one hour duration of the show.

All in all Bourgeois and Maurice have a more than adequate show whilst although it is not all that bad and the sequinned costumes are all glitz, glamour and sparkle but unfortunately the rest of the act lacked sparkle.