Archive for the ‘ Fringe 2016 ’ Category

BORIS: WORLD KING

Boris: World King
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Post Brexit this show is probably the most relevant at this year’s Fringe and Tom Crawshaw’s script attempts to capture the ruthless, arrogant, pompous, sexist megalomaniac behind the jovial, blustering buffoon who manages to charm his way into positions of power and then out of the messes he leaves behind him.
David Benson as Boris is superb; although Boris is possibly the biggest gift to any British actor in a long time and the more absurd they make him the more realistic and accurate the portrayal seems to be.
Presented in the form of a TV show the arch media manipulator runs a gamut of clichés from the spinning wheel to the picking attractive females out of the audience to indulge in some sporting activity with him.
Ably assisted by Alice Mc Carthy in a variety of roles –from Johnson’s beleaguered assistant to frustrated wife and many others in-between- the script ever lets up or disappoints. Like the character it portrays the more absurd and surreal the situation the closer to the truth it becomes until the idea of Boris as World King is maybe not such an unlikely proposition after all.
This is a very entertaining show which not only nails its subject but hammers the nails into him like skewers and it shows that the Tory Party is basically a game of Truth or Dare for old Etonians; with the truth part removed obviously!
Boris: World King is a thoroughly entertaining and clever show which captures the man who is at the heart of the nation’s mood at this time, even if he doesn’t hold a place in the nation’s hearts at the present moment. Highly recommended!
****
Boris: World King is at Pleasance Dome August 4th-29th at 17.40

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CONFESSIONS OF A RED HEADED COFFEE SHOP GIRL

Confessions of a Red Headed Coffee Shop Girl
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Back at The Gilded Balloon again after last year’s successful run of the show- I unfortunately missed it due to time constraints so was glad to hear it was back in an updated version this year- is Confessions of a Red Headed Coffee Shop Girl written and directed by Rebecca Perry.
However unfortunately my enthusiasm was dampened within the first five minutes when I realised that the show was going to be on the ‘zany’ side. This is just personal taste but it is a form of theatre which palls very quickly for me and no amount of enthusiasm emanating from the stage ever manages to grip me quite as much as maybe it should.
This is not to decry the production outright though as Perry is obviously an extremely talented young lady who puts her all into her performance and the musical numbers are all brilliantly executed and stunningly delivered. However these stray into musical theatre territory and again this is something I am not to partial to although versions of Joni Mitchell’s ‘California’ –adapted as Caledonia for a Scottish theme- and Judy’s ‘Don’t Rain On My Parade’ were faultless.
The storyline revolves around the recently graduated anthropology student Joanie Little leaving her dead-end job at a coffee shop intending to follow her dreams by travelling to Tanzania to work with her anthropological heroine Jane Goodall at her renowned institute. The adventures which follow are all delivered at a quite relentless pace which allow little time for contemplation but are all well crafted.
Obviously a lot of work has gone into this show and Perry is an accomplished performer but the show just didn’t gel with me and often it lapsed into Gang Show Territory although no-one can deny Perry’s determined enthusiasm but I would prefer to see her in something a little less forced and frantic.
***
Adventures of a Red Headed Coffee Shop Girl is showing at The Gilded Balloon Aug 3-29 ( not 10th , 17th 20th) at 16.15

THE CLUB

The Club
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Always a Fringe highlight, Ruaraidh Murray returns to The Fringe with his fifth consecutive show and it is as compelling, dark, twisted, toxically humorous and thought-provoking as all the other works he has brought to the Gilded Balloon over the last four years.
Like last year’s offering which saw Murray moving on from the one-handed show this year he again enlists the help of another, Mark Farelly, to take his writing into new and even more impressive areas.
Focussing on one particularly trying day and night in the running of the Tardis club where a series of marauding underworld menaces, family members and girlfriends past and present are always lurking in the background although they are never actually seen.
George (Murray) and Nick (Farrelly) have managed to get themselves into financial straits; or at least George has, however even that becomes more tenuous as the play unfolds. Owing £100,000 plus to the ruthless gangster Dave Sharky desperate measures are required; being tied up with the threat of torture followed up by the likelihood of probable death is about as desperate as things can get.
Not that this stops George and Nick from bickering and revealing secrets they have never shared before including some interesting dialogue from Nick time serving in the Falklands War which he has never felt comfortable discussing before. Meanwhile George reveals a family secret which impacts on their relationship forever.
The impressive thing about this play is the speed in which the dialogue shifts creating different moods without you even noticing. It is something constant in Murray’s work and it is wholly effective in ensnaring an audience and keeping them gripped throughout.
The staging and direction are also faultless – effective and hilarious use is made of the dildo as award prop- and the performances nuanced and among the best you will see at this year’s Fringe.
Murray scores again and along with Farrelly has created yet another Fringe highlight not to be missed!
*****
The Club is showing at The Gilded Balloon <strongfrom August 3rd -29th at 17.00

A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE

A Streetcar Named Desire
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A Georgian version of an Tennessee Williams’ great American classic ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ is an ambitious choice for Georgia’s iconic theatre group The Tumanishvili Film Actors Theatre to bring to the Edinburgh Fringe.
Taking on an iconic and well established play such as this was always going to be a tricky sell especially when up against such stiff competition around town. This fact didn’t seem to deter what was quite a well attended show however and although the subtitles may be a deterrent for many I must admit that once the production found its feet-despite a few problems with syncing but that is negligible on this only the third performance- this was negligible and although it may not to be to everyone’s taste ,the dialogue of the original is such a defining feature, it is still a commendable show.
The actors seemed comfortable in their roles and if you are familiar with the story then after a while the action unfolding in front of you can distract from the subtitles, thus achieving a different kind of theatre experience.
Obviously the roles of Stanley and Blanche Dubois are indelibly linked with Marlon Brando and Vivien Leigh and any comparisons with these legendary actors are as fruitless as they are inevitable. Safe to say the actors playing these two roles both performed more than admirably even if I didn’t understand a word of what they were saying, proving that expression is as important as dialogue in certain instances.
The lighting, stage sets and jazz soundtrack helped out in places that dialogue usually would and atmospherically it seldom missed the mark.
Personally I would say that a Georgian interpretation of such a recognisable work may not to be to everyone’s taste but if the idea of a theatre production which uses subtitles behind the stage performance is not off-putting then this capable production may well work for you.
***
A Streetcar Named Desire is showing at The Assembly Roxy from August 4th to 29th at 13.55 daily.

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