Posts Tagged ‘ Ruaraidh Murray ’

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

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ALLIE

Allie
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Returning to the Fringe after three successful years and sell out shows- Big Sean, Mikey and Me, Boxman and Bath Time– Ruaraidh Murray teams up with Megan Shandley in the title role of Allie for 2015’s offering and rest assured it is as impressive, if not even more so than previous offerings. The tagline ‘Revenge is best served radge’ more than sums it up.
Just as intense and complex as previous works Allie also utilises Edinburgh locations and reference points to great effect but whereas his previous writings saw Murray delve in and out of characters with consummate ease this very dark comedy sees him concentrate his energies into just the one persona: the damaged and abusive Bobby Warren.
Starting with the bold and brassy sounds of ‘Big Spender’- which is used to punctuate crucial moments as the drama twists and turns- the piece begins with Allie introducing us to the charms of Scotland Yard, a park in the Canonmills area of the city, where she meets locally renowned bad boy Bobby Warren in auspicious circumstances. Being a trusting fifteen year old Allie is initially impressed by Bobby’s braggadocio and smart arse attitude. This rather swiftly lends her to falling for his patter and pretty quickly finds herself pregnant.
It is at this juncture that the swift humorous rapport between the two shifts from being playful into something far more sinister and deeply complex as the realities and responsibilities of the situation they are now in starts to reveal itself as something serious. Bobby’s reaction to this is to lash out at anything in his vicinity which more often than not turns out to be the defenceless and eventually worn down Allie.
Things go from bad to worse very quickly and just as it seems Allie has little chance of extricating herself from her impossible situation Bobby conveniently provides her with an escape. Or does he?
Murray and Shandley work excellently together in this extremely competent piece of high tension drama which shifts and changes pace excellently making you both laugh and cower away almost simultaneously. The dialogue is outstanding, the humour raucous, ribald and totally believable whilst the darker moments are brilliantly handled; never do you not believe in the characters or the drama unfolding. The challenge of a bigger theatre space and having someone onstage to spar with has lent Murray the power to develop his writing in a more intense and concise manner and Tim Stark’s direction is spot on. Once again Ruaraidh has provided us with one of the Fringe highlights. In fact this could very well be THE Fringe highlight!
Bump is at The Gilded Ballon at 5pm every day until the 31st August.
*****

BOXMAN

Boxman
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This is Ruaraidh Murray’s third consecutive year at the Gilded Balloon and his new production Boxman will not disappoint devotees of his two previous works ‘Big Sean, Mikey and Me’ and ‘Bath Time’. Simultaneously maintaining the ethos of these two great works-minimal props and effective performance- it is also a step forward and although it is still ahigh octane show it is less manic and even more assured than its predecessors.
Centring on the character Boxman-aka Brian as we discover during its duration- who seems to live an isolated life in his front room where he seeks to hide from life’s harsh realities by securing himself within the confines of a cardboard box. Abandoned by his wife and obsessive about minute details, such as securing every bolt on the windows or dripping taps which don’t actually drip, his life is awakened and his spirit emboldened after a trip to his local Asda where he encounters the sexy Mandy working on the check outs.
This is almost an epiphany to him and following one disastrous encounter where he loses his nerve when confronted with the object of his desires he sets out to seduce her. First step involves him getting a job in Asda himself and after this has been secured he finds that although he manages to win the attention of Mandy- a hilarious act of congress in a Wetherspoon’s cleaning cupboard is the setting for romance Boxman style- he finds he lacks the confidence to pursue it further; it would seem that childhood afflictions and memories still haunt our hero and have probably plagued him throughout his adult life.
Boxman is definitely a show worth seeing at this year’s fringe and Murray-skilfully directed by Tim Stark- has certainly upped his ante and shown a new maturity with this work. Many of his trademark nuances are still apparent but they now seem housed in a more cerebral rather than corporeal sensibility. Less frantic than his previous works it is no less compelling and once word spreads will be one of this year’s sure-fire Fringe hits.
*****
Boxman is on at the Gilded Balloon every day at 4.15pm until August 25th

BATH TIME

Bath Time

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Returning after last year’s triumphant and acclaimed ‘Big Sean, Mikey and Me’ Ruaraidh Murray brings a new one man play to the Gilded Balloon to try and replicate that amazing production’s success. Thankfully he manages this and if anything this years show is even more intense and powerful than that extraordinary work.

 Returning to the streets of Edinburgh – being an Edinburgh native himself he explores the city’s underbelly not usually seen on the bus tours- Murray again shifts between a triumvirate of characters: the central protagonist Spike, the unstable Joe Joe and the more grounded Billy armed with only facial nuance, an array of tonal accents and a swift change of clothes as props to convey each one’s personality. With this arsenal he successfully manages to imbue each of his characters with a sense of individuality so that the audience is constantly aware who is driving the narrative at any given time.

 Beginning by proving that Spike can actually fight his way out of a cardboard box we are off on a journey that involves visiting the sexual disease clinic where preventing unwanted erections by thinking of Margaret Thatcher whilst being examined by an attractive female nurse is of major traumatic concern continuing by describing love at first fight with girlfriend Lois, a relationship which clearly means a lot to him. In fact it was only male braggadocio which necessitated a visit to the clinic in the first place as boasting of non–existent sexual conquests convinced Lois he was some kind of stud when in fact the truth was far from that.

The journey then includes an early morning gym session and a night at the city’s legendary Venue where Tribal Funktion is in full swing and the sound of Jay Dee’s ‘Plastic Dreams’ confirm our whereabouts quite accurately; so much so that I found myself subconsciously swigging from my bottle of water as memories of many nights there flooded back to me. Following this there are dodgy drug deals at train stations, arrests, then further crimes involving computer hardware thefts. Somewhere along the way there is time for the hilarious recounting of a first-ten second- sexual encounter.

 This is an intensely taut powerhouse corporeal performance with depth and throughout its hour long duration Murray never loses the audience or his verve. It is a novelty at the Fringe to have a show about Edinburgh and even more novel when it is written and performed by someone who actually knows something of the city other than the regular tourist traps. This enables Murray to capture many of the different well honed characteristics of its inhabitants. Pink Floyd’s ‘Wish You Were Here’ is a recurring theme throughout and the only way I can conclude is by stating don’t wish you had been there and instead go see this show!

*****

Bath Time is on at the Gilded Balloon every day at 3.15 until August 26th.

http://www.gildedballoon.co.uk/tickets/index.php

JUST AN OBSERVATION

Just An Observation

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Fringe 2012 was essentially a bit of a non starter from the word go. With promoters and performers claiming they were in an impossible position having to compete with the Olympics in London it felt on occasion as if they hadn’t even bothered entering the race. As a result it was not a memorable year and felt as damp as Edinburgh in August-surprisingly and conversely enough last year was one of the brightest and driest Fringe seasons in recent memory- although this allowed certain productions to stand out from the dross even more memorably.

‘Big Sean , Mikey and Me’, ‘Razing Eddie’ and ‘A Clockwork Orange’ were the three that still stand out in my mind and new shows by the former two are on  my must see list for the opening week.

 Ruaraidh Murray -above- the talent responsible for ‘Big Sean etc’ makes a return with a new work ‘Bath Time’ which has already been gathering plaudits at London previews. Definitely one to catch I hope to see this during the opening weekend. Performing daily at 1.15 at the Gilded Balloon Murray is an Edinburgh native who addresses his hometown with a mixture of affection and insightful knowing and during August people from Edinburgh-and the city itself- remain virtually ignored as their city is invaded by interlopers only interested in promoting their wares. Promising ‘tidy sexual health clinic nurses v Maggie Thatcher’ Murray’s new work looks like replicating last year’s success.

 Horizon Arts-responsible for ‘Razing Eddie’ as well as several other great production over the years- meanwhile return to the Underbelly with their new offering ‘ Beeston Rifles’. Regulars to the Fringe this company never fail to disappoint bringing interesting material and taut performances to fruition, creating great drama in the process.

 Other promising shows look like being ‘Die Roten Punkte’, ‘The Unremarkable Death of Marilyn Monroe’ and ‘Inspector Norse at Assembly. ‘Breaker’ ‘Chalk Farm’ and the ultimate one on one interactive experience –my favourite from 2011- ‘You Once Said Yes’ at Underbelly. Over at the Pleasance ‘The Confessions of Gordon Brown’, ‘Kubrick’, and ‘Beats’ look like being highlights whilst the welcome return of young comedy genius and amazing talent Bo Burnham after a three year hiatus augurs well.

 Talking of comedy I am generally giving it a body swerve this year due to the fact that most of it is generally not very funny. At all.

 A late starter to last years non event was the Summerhall complex which seems to have come on in leaps and bounds in the intervening twelve months and looks like being a main contender this year. A new project by photographer Gavin Evans ‘Diving’ is an exploratory work looking at, what many consider, taboo subjects through film accompanied by live music and promises to be an intriguing and fascinating proposition. Likewise an installation by Gregor Schneider, Will Pickvance’s ‘Anatomy of a Piano’ and ‘Bonanza’ also look like being worthwhile. Wisely steering clear of the endless stand up comedy stream which runs like a flooding river through Edinburgh in August, Summerhall is aiming to bring a higher quality more intelligent and credible series of events to the party.

 Over at the Festival proper Patti Smith reciting Ginsberg accompanied by Philip Glass will be packing them out at the Playhouse for one night only on August 13th. Seeing Patti Smith almost annually has become like visiting a favourite aunt and in my experience it is always a joyous, enlightening and thrilling experience. I am sure this show will be no different. A truly mesmerising performer and one who can quite correctly lay claim to such carelessly bandied around terms such as ‘Icon’ and Living Legend’.

 That is the Fringe at a quick glance then but I am sure that many more decent shows will reveal themselves to me over the next few weeks though no doubt the dross will also make itself known just as quickly. Off to the opening parties then and here’s hoping I don’t make a show of myself!

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