Tuesday, August 26, 2008

"The Caravan" - Edinburgh Fringe 2008

In probably the most surreal venue we visited this year, "The Caravan" by Look Left Look Right shows what can be done simply, with good acting, writing and direction. In a well-crafted piece of verbatim theatre we're introduced to the dubious delights of caravan living as a result of the floods that hit large parts of England last year.

Normally only 8 people in an audience at the Fringe would be viewed as a poor result, but "The Caravan" turned this into an asset. Molly Taylor, Davies Palmer, Brett Sadie and Rachel Dale produce some impressive acting as they switch between multiple people who were affected to different extents and in different ways by the floods of Summer 2007. You're taken into confidences, amused and touched by the tales of real people. Considering the large number of daily performances undertaken and the short turnaround between them, the show still seemed fresh even on the last Saturday.

A thoroughly thought provoking and captivating production which will certainly make us keep an eye out for future productions by the company.

Oh, and there were biscuits.

The Caravan has now finished its run at the Pleasance Courtyard, but hopes to tour later in the year.


"On the Waterfront" - Edinburgh Fringe 2008

"On the Waterfront" is one of those rare shows where it's entirely possible to forget that this is 'The Fringe' - or at least it would be if it wasn't for the dreadfully cramped legroom in Pleasance Grand. This is every bit a 'Grand' production in terms of scale and polish, however it does leave itself open to the charge of 'style over substance'. But when a show is as stylish as this I'll quite happily forego a little substance.

While the performances are all solid enough, the scale of the venue makes it an entirely different proposition from most Fringe productions and deprives the cast of the opportunity to really make an impact (at least it did in the seats three quarters of the way back) From there, only Vincenzo Nicoli as Father Barry delivered a performance that fully conveyed the depth of the dilemma facing his character.

However, as anyone who has seen the publicity for this show will know, it isn't really about the cast - it's all about Steven Berkoff's direction. And so it proves, with a direction that gives a clear identity to the show with it's mix of light and shadow, some wonderfully choreographed scenes of violence, and a wonderful moment in a pigeon loft.

Given the right venue(s) (not too big, not too small) this show will have a very good run in London and on tour.

On The Waterfront has completed its run at the Pleasance Grand
Image used with permission


Sunday, August 24, 2008

"365" - Edinburgh International Festival 2008

Since its creation we've managed to see over a dozen National Theatre of Scotland badged shows and up until now only "Peer Gynt" has been a complete disappointment (yes we know it won loads of awards but it just didn't work for us) so I guess we were overdue for another one. And "365" definitely fits the bill.

365 features around half a dozen individual threads - some interwoven and others entirely isolated. This immediately creates a feeling of incoherence and puzzlement as the audience reaches for links between characters that simply aren't there. Despite David Harrower's writing credit, this really feels like a devised piece where pairs/groups have created their own segments with little attention given to the whole.

Given the excellent use of choreography and physical theatre seen in previous NTS shows I initially assumed that in "365" it was intentionally graceless and cumbersome but as the show progressed I'm no longer sure it deserves that generous approach. And despite trumpeting that it would feature a new song from Paul Buchanan of Blue Nile fame, it too failed to register even a minor impression. As for the set - least said the better.

Two of the central tales are given far too much prominence in comparison to others and fail to justify the attention. J's relationship with her mother lacked tension, and the damaging dynamic between F, K & B seemed merely designed to shock some of the older patrons of the International Festival.

But some elements of the show did work. The scenes between Ryan Fletcher and Scott Fletcher as brothers P and N arguing on other sides of a door were brilliantly staged and performed - a clear highlight of the night. C's story, one of the few to actually focus on the 'practice flat' idea the show was billed as, is also one of the most successful. Okay, so we'd seen it before in "Elling", but Ben Presley played the character with sufficient depth that I think he was the only one that generated any empathy. The scenes he shared with Rebecca Smith's L were particularly effective.

I'd read in previews that the show was very much an ongoing creative process and while that's probably responsible for many of its failings and lack of vision it might also save the show. They now have a couple of weeks to sort it out before a run in London. If they don't, I suspect it could be in for a real critical mauling.

And I'd strongly suggest that anyone involved with the show beg the guys from "Caravan" to put on an extra few shows to see just how effectively voices can be given to people and issues in need of them.

365 runs at the Edinburgh Playhouse until 25th August and then a the Lyric Hammersmith from 8th to 27th September
Image by Mark Hamilton, used with permission


"I Love You, Bro" - Edinburgh Fringe 2008

I think this is probably the most uncomfortable I've felt in a show this year - quite an achievement considering that I've seen "The Factory". Not to mention the hours spent in sauna-like airless rooms. But there was an altogether different reason for my uncomfortable shifting in my seat during "I Love You, Bro".

Given that this is based on a true story I wasn't sure how to respond to Ash Flanders' portrayal of Johnny, who through elaborate online identities persuades the object of his affection to stab him. He's clearly a charismatic character to have pulled it all off so convincingly (although one does wonder about just how gullible people can be) but should I really be laughing with him?

Depending on your viewpoint he's either a downright nasty piece of work or a vulnerable boy with mental health issues. Either way, I'm sure my sympathy should really lie with Mark who is caught up in Johhny's (world wide) web of deceit. And while we do get to hear Mark's 'voice' it's always through Johnny. I think I would have engaged a lot more with the show had Mark been present in the form of another actor - or the story told entirely from his viewpoint.

Adam J A Cass has written a piece whose narrator and use of language is somewhat reminiscent of "A Clockwork Orange" but while Burgess creates Alex a punishment that renders him a victim, here Johnny's fate is insufficient to generate much empathy for the character. But that shouldn't detract from an impressive performance from Flanders as he chronicles the events. He carries the audience with him through sheer force of will and against their better judgement - at least in my case.

At the end of the day "I Love You, Bro" is more a curiosity piece than anything else, as despite being rooted in truth, it's just too bizarre to be thought-provoking in any meaningful way.

I Love You, Bro runs at the Pleasancedome at 2.25pm until 25th August
Image used with permission


Friday, August 22, 2008

"Zanna, Don't!" - Edinburgh Fringe 2008

After a couple of shows that were both pretty intense I was really in the mood for a snappily written cheesefest of a musical, but unfortunately "Zanna, Don't!" with the students from the RSAMD just wasn't it. It's a one-joke show, and I laughed once (the SF gag for the record). The show's concept of a world where heterosexuals are a persecuted minority has potential but there are only so many times a high school cliché can be reversed and remain funny.

But this is a musical after all, so there's always the songs and dancing to look forward to. Ah yes, the songs - pretty instantly forgettable I'm afraid, until 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' where the vocals of Anna Clayton as Kate and Craig Carter as Steve finally show some quality. Up until that point the ensemble numbers had been lacking in clarity and many of the individual songs were unexceptional at best. But the dancing, yes, I'll give you the dancing as the show was excellently choreographed and the performers all executed it well. Bobby Callahan as Zanna, Kirsty Malone as Candi and Craig Deuchar as Tank along with Clayton also get the chance to show that they have the acting ability to make an impact - given the right material.

The RSAMD have three other shows at the Fringe with the cast all featuring in at least one other, and I do wonder if there is a price that has been paid for that. Stunning performances could have lifted what is a pretty mundane musical, but without them the whole is a real disappointment.

Zanna, Don't! has two performances remaining at Musical Theatre @ George Square at 4pm on the 22nd and 25th August


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

"Involution" - Edinburgh Fringe 2008

Several hours and two shows later, "Involution" is still buzzing round my head. Rachel Welch has written something wonderful - I'm just not sure it's wonderful theatre.

After a worrying first ten minutes where the dialogue seems forced and the acting unnatural the play quickly hits its stride as the cast find their characters. Ben Murray-Watson as Cohen and Sara Pascoe as Talulah are particularly impressive.

But there's just so much here - religion, science, ethics, artificial intelligence, trust, betrayal that it would be a struggle to fit it all in to a 3 hour play. Attempting to shoehorn it into 75 minutes doesn't do it justice and deprives some of the relationships of room to breathe. "Involution" deserves to be a six part BBC Drama but I suspect the natural home of this story and these characters is a 600 page epic novel.

As theatre, it's certainly worth seeing for what it could become, but make sure you leave yourself a bit of a gap afterwards to let your head clear a bit.

Involution runs at the Pleasancedome at 12 noon until 25th August
Image used with permission


"The Bird & The Bee: The Bee" - Edinburgh Fringe 2008

Much as "The Bird" and "The Bee" are interlinked shows I'm afraid our thoughts on each show very much have a bearing on the other. Each show is the story of a character's path to a point where they meet the central character from the other show. It's said they can be seen as standalone shows and that is certainly the case with "The Bee". Indeed that's probably what we would recommend you do.

Presumably designed to shock and intrigue, the publicity materials (and even the Fringe Programme blurb) give away the conclusion of the characters' journeys. This does create a certain atmosphere to the piece when the audience knows where things are headed, but I think it strips the play of a potentially powerful moment of revelation.

Matt Hartley's script is filled with moments of pain but also include some well observed touches of humour. The performances of Tom Ferguson, Sarah Sweeney and James Yeatman in various roles provide a substantial foundation for Rebecca Whitehead who is outstanding as Chloe. She successfully combines the simultaneous youth and maturity of the character in a way that makes the whole believable. There is a real depth and intensity to her performance.

Having seen this show I was happy that it was self-contained if I needed it to be, but having enjoyed it I was looking forward to seeing the other side of the story. We'll say more about "The Bird" separately but I want to mention here about the impact seeing it had on my views of "The Bee". It left me feeling a bit cheated to be honest and wishing that they had simply taken a 10 minute section from it and included it with "The Bee" to create a complete work.

So, here's my advice if you are considering seeing these shows:
- If you've seen "The Bee" and are thinking about seeing "The Bird" read what we thought first (but do get someone who has seen it to tell you the interesting bit)
- if you've not seen either yet, do go and see "The Bee"
- if you've seen "The Bird" then definitely go and see "The Bee"

The Bee runs at Underbelly until the 24th August at 2.40pm


"The Bird & The Bee: The Bird" - Edinburgh Fringe 2008

Although listed as the "The Bird & The Bee", "The Bee" is shown earlier in the day. So most people who will see both will usually see "The Bird" already knowing the events in Chloe's tale ("The Bee"). In hindsight that's probably for "The Best". Although well performed by the same cast as its counterpart (playing different roles), the slightly surreal story of Jacob just didn't work as well.

Although it had its engaging elements "The Bee" didn't feel like a fully fleshed out story and left me feeling like it was a DVD extra to "The Bird". Perhaps Jacob's story was just a little too bizarre to allow you to empathise with someone who you knew Chloe had connected with. And you couldn't understand how that connection had happened

"The Bee" works as a standalone piece (reviewed here) - and should probably be treated as such.

The Bird & The Bee: The Bird runs at Underbelly at 5:40pm until 24 August


"Deep Cut" - Edinburgh Fringe 2008

As the winner of both a Fringe First and a Herald Angel at this year's Fringe, I was lucky to grab one of the few remaining tickets for "Deep Cut" at the Traverse. The run has now completely sold out, and deservedly so. Sherman Cymru and Philip Ralph have put together an impressive tale told from the viewpoint of Private Cheryl James' parents.
As a visitor to the James' house the audience are pulled into the tale as Des James (Ciaran McIntyre) talks about his daughter, her death and their quest for answers as to how or why she died.

The play highlights some of the inconsistencies and failings of the investigation into Cheryl's death, and the other 3 soldiers (Privates Sean Benton, Geoff Gray and James Collinson). Although no conclusion as to the cause of the deaths is come to - you are left questioning the events and witnessing the frustration of Des and his wife, Doreen (Rhian Morgan) at the lack of answers. The James' don't know if she committed suicide (the inquest verdict was open), but they are prepared to accept that it is a possibility. What they are continuing to fight and campaign for is a proper public inquiry that can look at all the evidence into their daughter's death. If it was suicide were there systemic failings at the barracks, if it wasn't then who was responsible?

The James' story is intercut with additional information about Deep Cut brought to us by Jonesy (Rhian Blythe) one of Cheryl's contempories and the other figures that have featured into the investigation into the deaths by the media, the police, the military and the Blake enquiry (Simon Molloy, Robert Bowman, Frank Blythe).

A well written and performed piece that makes you feel slightly guilty for enjoying a drama based on real tragic events.

The script book is well worth picking up - it's more like an academic text than a script; giving you sources and information beyond what you see on stage.

Photo used with permission.

Deep Cut continues at The Traverse until 24 August - the run has sold out.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

"How it Ended" - Edinburgh Fringe 2008

"How it Ended" caused much confusion when it was originally suggested to us in the Comments on our Fringe Preview. We quite liked the sound of it but didn't remember seeing it in the Programme. Then we realised it was in the Dance & Physical Theatre section - and we never read that. And having now seen the show I can officially declare that it was clearly placed in the wrong section. You see, I actually quite liked it and that couldn't possibly have happened if it really was Dance & Physical Theatre.

You Need Me's tale of a young Welsh woman who meets a French trainee pilot during the Second World War isn't exactly a fun piece of theatre. But there is plenty of joy to be found from it. The writer and cast make the relationships between the characters utterly believable and it makes for compelling viewing.

The Dance elements are fairly limited and I'm sure there are many shows using this much more extensively who have slipped their way into the Theatre section. There are some fine moments - the way the baby takes form is magical to watch - but there are also problems with the show. In a tight space with limited raking, the decision to stage a number of scenes with characters sitting or lying on the floor is an appalling error - to the extent that I'd estimate about 60% of the audience were unable to see considerable sections of the piece. So if you're going to catch this make sure you sit in the front row.

But even with a restricted view it was clear I was watching a production of genuine quality and I guess we'll have an extra 12 or so pages of the Fringe Programme to wade through next year.

And thanks to Roger for bringing the show to our attention

How it Ended runs at C Cubed at 9.15pm until 25th August


"My Grandfather's Great War" - Edinburgh Fringe 2008

The admiration and respect Cameron Stewart has for his Grandfather is clear from the outset, and by the time the hour is up the audience will feel much the same. But this isn't about heroes - although Captain Alexander Stuart certainly was one. It's about what we put ordinary men through.

War is presented here with all its horrors and we are reminded how quickly we forget the lessons of 'The War to End All Wars'. Captain Stewart was clearly a thinking soldier and while that may be what the modern army looks for, it was no doubt a dangerous thing in his time. As a result, for the most part he kept his thoughts to himself and committed them to scraps of diaries which he sent home to be reassembled after the war, and it's these diaries that have provided the material for the show.

Cameron switches between delivering his grandfather's words and providing family and historical background to them. It's a useful storytelling technique and augmented by some startling sound effects and the damp stone walls in Baby Belly 1 he really creates a powerful atmosphere. While there are moments when his 'Johnny Ball' style jumping around start to distract from the focus of what he's saying, it has little impact on the overall effectiveness of the show.

As with "The Factory", it's impossible to really convey the impact of such trauma in a one hour show - and that's probably just as well.

For those who want to know more about Captain Stewart's experiences, copies of the book were available at the end of the show.

My Grandfather's Great War runs at Underbelly's Baby Belly at 2.45pm until 24th August
Image used with permission


Monday, August 18, 2008

"The Sword of Maximum Damage" - Edinburgh Fringe 2008

Okay, you want to have a show at the Fringe based on the world of competitive role playing games? Roll a D10 dice to choose a type of show. A six - Theatre it is. Never mind, at least it wasn't Dance. Roll again to fix a venue. Five - Underbelly: lots of passing trade but also lots of competition, but you've got a space near the exit so no need to worry about the whole 'fire hazard' thing. Cast next - a D20 for this one. Fifteen! Strong, your cast is. And lastly the script. A ten - a brave attempt that doesn't quite live up to its potential. Right, that's enough of that...

It's an entertaining piece but it somehow never quite reaches the level of comedy that the situation and characters should provide. I suspect there may have been a dilemma regarding how much to make the humour at the expense of the characters without it alienating their potential audience. And yes, the audience did appear to be very much letting their inner geeks out for the night - I can't imagine many other shows where a major discussion takes place in the queue about the potential drawbacks should we ever perfect cold fusion.

Anyway, back to the show. The cast's enthusiasm is obvious and the characters are well defined and all have a bit of substance to them. Normally that's a bonus but to some extent it's a problem here as the character building comes at the expense of the laughs. Despite the frequent smiles it generates there just aren't enough laugh out loud moments to lift it above the ordinary.

But there is more than enough here to make it worth seeing if you have a gap to fill, and don't be put off if your knowledge of role playing games is non-existent - you'll get the general idea without too much difficulty. And for those who have dabbled with such things (even I was eight years old once) it will bring the memories flooding back.

Sword of Maximum Damage runs at Underbelly at 8.40pm until 24th August
Image used with permission


"Stolen Secrets" - Edinburgh Fringe 2008

Following the success of last year's "Mehndi Night" Mulberry School for Girls in London have again worked with playwright Fin Kennedy to bring a production to the Fringe. While it's undoubtedly an entertaining piece of theatre it lacks that feeling of discovering a window into a different world that "Mehndi Night" brought me. And I did miss that aspect a little.

But what we do have is a script and a number of performances so filled with energy and vitality that it's contagious. Made up of four "urban fairytales" inspired by locations and characters around the school, each has its merits but my own favourite was "Make & Mend" which featured three very strong performances. Waldorf particularly enjoyed "Mrs Jones".

Unfortunately some lines of dialogue were difficult to pick out due to a lack of volume and it's disappointing that some of the cast still appeared to suffer a shortage of confidence at the end of the show's run. Especially considering the quality of their 'product' and the audience reception (if Saturday was anything to go by).

The set design was both clever and effective but I do wonder if it was responsible for the loss of a 'missing tale' due to time restrictions, and having read it in the Programme/Script it's a real shame as I'd love to have seen what they had planned for performing it.

But none of the flaws take away from the fact that it's a little gem of a show that you can't help but be charmed by. We'll certainly be making space in our schedule to see what they have planned for us next year.

Stolen Secrets' run at Venue 45 is now completed
Image used with permission


Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Bird & The Bee -Edinburgh Fringe (interim post)

With a busy Sunday planned (mostly non-Fringe) we won't get the chance to post our thoughts on Saturday's four shows until Monday.
But we want to do a quick post about the interlinked shows 'Bird' & 'Bee' to say: See 'Bee' as a standalone piece and give 'Bird' a miss.


Friday, August 15, 2008

"The Factory" - Edinburgh Fringe 2008

After our abortive attempt to see "The Factory" by Badac Theatre Company at Pleasance Courtyard on the opening Sunday we made a a special trip through to catch this mid-week. We seem to be having a very war-related based August (Oh! What A Lovely War, Fall, My Grandfather's Great War, How It Ended, Restitution) but this was potentially the most draining experience of them all. How can you do a dramatic piece about the holocaust sensitively?

Even in the queue the scene starts to be set as we're asked to deposit any bags into a trunk. I'm not sure if the stripping of possessions is an intentional mirroring of what happened to those on the way to the death camps, or just due to the space restrictions in the venue, but the former was very much in my mind as we deposited our belongings.

I don't know how successful "The Factory" is in portraying the true experience of those who entered the machinery of the Final Solution; that would be impossible to achieve. However the company does its best to show you the terror and emotional journey of the three nameless Jews being sent to their death and of those involved in achieving this end. Ultimately we all knew we were walking out of there, so there was a natural limit to what they could achieve. We're told at various points that we're witnesses to what happened and not to forget. It's a reminder of horrific events that happened, and that they could happen again.

What you do get is a very personal experience, that will have a different impact on different people. For me, I felt powerless and had to physically stop myself from interrupting the performance on at least 3 occasions. Standing idly by was not easy to do - I would have been interested to see what they would have done if someone had intervened. During the final scene I noted several others who, like me, were avoiding making eye contact with others so that their emotions didn't make themselves too manifest.

Brave and physically demanding performances from the 5 person ensemble leave you slightly disappointed you don't get to show your appreciation for them at the end.

The Factory runs as Pleasance Courtyard until 24 August (times vary)


Thursday, August 14, 2008

"The Third Condiment" - Edinburgh Fringe 2008

I think this is the show with a poster that mentions a comparison with Ricky Gervais - and that's pretty much on the money. What we have here is very much in the tone of "The Office". The plot is so slight it's not worth going into - certainly not to give any serious consideration of the issues raised in passing. This show is all about the performances and the comedy.

As the central character Dave, Sam Morris provides a hugely impressive performance without which the show simply wouldn't work anywhere near as well as it does. Polly Keane's Jennifer Saunders inspired Hatty pushed all the wrong buttons for me, but was undeniably a hit with others. For the most part the remaining cast provide strong support, however Charlie Eccleshare's portrayal of Rubric suggested an attitude towards his daughters that veered towards being uncomfortably inappropriate (although given the comparisons with "The Office" I'll accept that this may have been entirely intentional).

It's certainly a well put together show, with some genuinely funny moments and a nice line in soundtrack references. It made for an entertaining end to the evening, although I suspect it would benefit from a couple of pre-show drinks.

The Third Condiment runs at The Zoo at 9.05pm until 25th August
Image used with permission


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

"Literally" - Edinburgh Fringe 2008

We had a bit of a gap to fill so signed up for Paul Parry's campaign against the incorrect usage of the word "literally"...

In an mildly amusing manner he highlights the increased misuse of the word in recent years - and names and shames some of the prime culprits. He also tells of his efforts to gain publicity for his campaign by doing things literally - one of which involves his cycle trip from A (Norway) to Bee (middle America). Parry is amiable enough that it makes for an entertaining hour, although, I suspect I may well be cursing him (literally) every time my brain now 'pings' when I hear it misused - (including in "The Third Condiment" which immediately follows his show). But then I guess that's what he's aiming for.

Literally runs at The Zoo until 25th August at 7.55pm
Image used with permission


Monday, August 11, 2008

"Free Outgoing" - Edinburgh Fringe 2008

"Free Outgoing" a Royal Court Theatre production at The Traverse explores what happens when a teenager does something she really shouldn't, and it all gets caught on camera. This is a tale of moral outrage, conservative values and how technology can let the genie out of the bottle - and make it impossible to put back.
Deepa is her mother's golden girl who, in a situation reminiscent of Claire Swire, quickly become infamous for an act of teenage stupidity, that has wide reaching consequences on her mother, brother and community as a whole.

Lolita Chakrabarti gives a particularly striking performance as Malini, Deepa's mother, whose hard-worked for life is falling apart before her eyes and who has no control over the events that are threatening her family. Whilst Amit Shah effectively portrays her teenage son Sharan, who has lived his life in his sister's shadow and is now directly affected by her disgrace. Although set in a conservative area of India, strong performances from the entire ensemble bring us a story that could happen in any country in the world.

In the past if you fell down stairs or slipped on a banana skin the most you had to worry about as some bruises - both physical and to your dignity. Anupama Chandrasekhar's tale reminds us that now due to the ubiquitous camera phone you can become an unwilling celebrity.

Free Outgoing runs at The Traverse (various times) until 24 August.

Photo by Marc Bremner. Used with permission.


"Romeo & Juliet" - Edinburgh Fringe 2008

With budgets tight, Nonsenseroom's decision to stage Romeo & Juliet with a cast of only three is understandable, but it takes a talented and committed cast to make such a production work. Fortunately that's exactly what Cameron Mowat, Louise Bolton and Stuart Nicoll have supplied.

Rather surprisingly this hasn't necessitated that the text be played for laughs. Yes, there is humour - but it comes from the text. It would have been very easy to go down the road of over-the-top wigs and falsetto voices, but instead we have a cast who, along with director Bruce Strachan (and some clever costuming), have crafted each of their multiple characters clear identities allowing them to be easily distinguished. Even the occasional moments when characters are required to change on-stage are handled sombrely. Indeed, the representation of Tybalt's death by Nicoll shedding his costume is an incredibly powerful image.

The wonderful atmosphere the location provides, both in the chapel and its grounds, is further enhanced by Fiona Rutherford's harp playing - her accompaniment for the scene with the Apothecary truly creates a sense of impending tragedy.

Would I rather have seen Nonsenseroom mount a 'full scale' production? Possibly. But given the choice between this production and someone else's 'full scale' one, this one wins hands down every day of the week (and even more so on Saturday when your £25 ticket gets you a couple of glasses of wine, a light buffet, short Q&A and a late night tour of the chapel.)

Due to planned restoration work it's unlikely that Nonsenseroom will be able to stage a show at Rosslyn next year - and our Fringe experience will be much poorer for it.

Romeo & Juliet runs at Rosslyn Chapel until 23rd August (not 17th) with 'Special Performances' on the 16th and 23rd


"Markus Birdman: Sympathy For the Devil" - Edinburgh Fringe 2008

We saw Markus Birdman as a last minute gap filler last year, and liked what we saw. So we headed back for his new show - Sympathy For The Devil - at the Pleasance Dome this year. In possibly the hottest venue at this year's Fringe (sit under the fan - we recommend it), we waited to be amused

And we were.

The show did seem to be a little unstructured at points, and was possibly being fine tuned for the Fringe audience (we saw it in the first week), but was still very funny. In particular with some unrehearsed audience interaction which prompted Markus to hope that no members of the press were there. Well we were (sort of) but it was hysterically funny and 'spitroast' is our new swear word of choice - you had to be there.

Calling on his family background with a father who's a vicar, and his own atheism we get some amusing family conflicts and moral dilemmas. Although we do have a quibble with his statement that 'the Easter story is the only tale you would tell a small child that ends with an execution' - we came up with Hansel and Gretel and Little Red Riding Hood on the way home (although both are vigilante action rather than state sanctioned). Birdman's philosophy is that it's better to regret what you've done than what you've not. And you won't regret seeing his show.

Markus Birdman is at the Pleasance Dome at 8:20p.m. until 24 August.

PS Co-incidentally this was the XKCD cartoon that was posted on the day we saw the show.


Sunday, August 10, 2008

"Restitution" - Edinburgh Fringe 2008

This is why we go to the Fringe.
This two handed play written by Emily Juniper which she performs along with Peter Tilly is quite simply a beautiful piece of theatre. Tilly is Robert who is continuing his late mother's quest to locate a painting that was stolen from her family by the Nazis. And now he's found it... loaned to the gallery in which Berta works; and 'owned' by her mother.

Robert passionately makes his case to Berta of what finding the painting means to him but it becomes clear that they have different ideas as to how the problem should be resolved. Both Juniper and Tilly give wonderfully charged performances - Juniper's candlelit descriptions of the painting are enchanting.

Restitution runs at Rocket @ Demarco Roxy Art House at 3.45p.m. until 25 August.


"The Army of Reason" - Edinburgh Fringe 2008

James Hammond's look at the aftermath of civil unrest following the murder of a controversial playwright was one of the shows that I'd been particularly looking forward to since the launch of the Fringe Programme. With some high and low points over the course of the play, it was a bit of a rollercoaster ride, and if I left disappointed at all it was only slightly.

It's a cleverly constructed piece of theatre which makes the most of a small set. Essentially three short acts, we first see the events leading up to the writer's murder before jumping forward to a time where religious and secular factions battle in the streets.

We're given a run through of how law and order broke down and how the writer's children have become involved in the 'war'. Unfortunately Hammond concludes this section with a revelation that seems entirely unnecessary and serves only to distract from an otherwise all too believable reality. I'll avoid detailing the third act as I think it better if this is seen without prior knowledge. I'll just say that it started with me thinking "What the...?" and left me thinking "Nice. Very nice."

With a strong ensemble cast "Army Of Reason" is slickly presented and may just leave an audience with something to think about.

The Army of Reason runs at the Pleasancedome at 12.45 pm until 25th August (excluding the 12th & 18th)
Image used with permission


"Golden" - Edinburgh Fringe 2008

"Golden" is an attempt to create a Westminster based political satire loosely based on 'Macbeth' and on the face of it, it isn't an unreasonable concept. But a focus on the comedic is hugely damaging to the success of Theatre with Teeth's production.

While good for a few laughs, the knockabout tone removes any element of tragedy and depth from the piece and leaves it unremarkable in a sea of similarly styled student shows. Of course the other problem here is that the reality of the political machinations are frequently more interesting than anything fiction can create.

What we do have here though are five performers who cope well with the challenges of fast paced switching between multiple roles and manage to make each individual character sufficiently distinct. Nicholas Myles is particularly impressive as 'Political Ed' and 'Maguire'.

And there's a moment in the show that hints at what could have been, had the company made different choices. Out of nowhere Siobhan Williams gives 'Eva Golden' a powerful final speech where the laughs are left behind to great effect. It would have taken a brave decision to drop the comedy elements from the production but I suspect the result would have been more satisfying.

Golden runs at Rocket @ Demarco Roxy Art House at 11am until 25th August (excluding the 17th)
Image used with permission


"Hero" - August 2008

With a hectic weekend at the Fringe planned, we couldn't quite summon up the enthusiasm for an additional Friday night run through to Edinburgh. So the less taxing option of seeing the Scottish Youth Theatre's "Hero" in Glasgow proved attractive. Devised by the cast, it is three intercut tales based loosely on the theme of heroes .

In the first of these we follow Stephanie and Jess as we are reminded how cruel children can be and and how attractive it can be to retreat to a world of comic books. It's well structured and performed and at times really quite thrilling.

The second element is the one with most to say for itself as we follow the celebrity obsessed Sophie as she aims to make the pages of the glossy magazines she reads religiously. Sharply written, it gives some insight into how damaging such a pursuit can be. The 'self help' segment was a personal highlight - marvelously funny while remaining all too close to the truth. Dance and movement have clearly been a large part of this year's festival and are used to great effect here.

The last segment featuring an ongoing battle between 'Red' and 'Blue' had some very nice moments but isn't as fully realised as the other two. Despite being well performed I'm left unsure as to quite what I was supposed to take from it. It also suffered from including a consideration of the power of masks that was considerably overlong.

In addition to the three tales we have a compelling performance from our narrator who gives us a historical context to our need for heroes - frequently delivered while playing the piano.

Despite a moment or two which felt 'by-the-numbers' the SYT have once again produced an entertaining evening of which all involved can be proud.

"Hero" has now completed its run at the Brian Cox Studio in the SYT building.
Image used with permission


Thursday, August 07, 2008

"Oh! What A Lovely War" - August 2008

Proving that theatre continues outside of Edinburgh during August, Scottish Youth Theatre's Summer Festival is staging "Oh! What A Lovely War" at the Tron. It's a provocative production that mixes song, dance, comedy and spoken word pieces to highlight the futility of war - in this case WWI

The staging is fantastically stylish including some stunning costumes. All of the cast impress with their performances - although some of the voices would have benefited from mics. The show is at its best in the big musical numbers as, while well performed, the spoken pieces have a tendency to feel overlong. It's good to see that 'Black Watch' seems to be having an impact, inspiring a lot of strong male physical and dance performances here. This is very much an ensemble piece and the cast list in the programme doesn't link actors with their (many) characters, so I think we'll respect that by not highlighting individual performances.

The use of the LED scroll to provide progress on the war was very effective but at times I think I was missing text by watching the action on stage (or vice versa), and it may have been better had the action 'frozen' while the scroll was running.

The cast deserve huge credit for the professional way they were unperturbed by an audience that seemed insistent on talking throughout. I'm not talking about an individual whispering, but 4 or 5 pockets around the theatre of people chatting away, others with picnics and one or two at the back who thought it fun to stand up and wave to their friend on stage. It made me long for the days of a single idiot with a mobile phone. Seriously - worst audience ever.

Okay, back to the show... Despite its bleak tone it remains very much a striking piece of theatre, and the SYT have done it justice.

Oh! What A Lovely War runs at the Tron until Saturday 9th August.
Image by Douglas Robertson used with permission


Wednesday, August 06, 2008

"Fall" - Edinburgh Fringe 2008

Written by Zinnie Harris and Directed by Artistic Director Dominic Hill, "Fall" is The Traverse's flagship production at this year's Fringe. Perhaps more topical than expected, it considers the aftermath of a civil war and how the new regime should deal with the war criminals of the past. Just the kind of angst ridden piece the critics should love. Only problem is - the play is a mess.

Given that fairly provocative statement this 'review' will be somewhat different from what we usually do here at View From The Stalls. Our style is normally to keep plot summaries as vague as possible and to avoid disclosing anything approaching 'Spoilers', but here in order to explain our response to Fall I think we'll need to look closely at the play. So... if you want to see the show with unpolluted eyes don't click "read more"

We meet the play's central character Kate, who has discovered that her now dead husband was a war criminal, as she visits one of his former commanders in prison as he awaits execution. She's looking for answers as to who her husband really was, which is understandable enough. But it just doesn't seem plausible that such visits would be permitted, particularly given the way we see the prisoner being treated. And this is the one aspect of the play that did work - after a fashion. This idea of a woman caught in the glare of publicity with a public unsure whether to believe her story had promise - add in potential charges of harbouring him and I'm definitely interested. But this whole aspect is discarded fairly early on.

The other central character is the nation's somewhat reluctant Prime Minister who we meet with his wife Kiki and adviser Howard. After a random encounter with a campaigner against the executions he and his adviser concoct a scheme to allow the campaigner to decide the fate of those awaiting execution. They figure that after seeing all the evidence even she will order the execution which will satisfy public demand but insulate them from international condemnation. Now if that isn't absurd enough, when she opts out of the role they decide Kate should step in to make the decision. Sorry? What? Yeah, right, whatever.

To be fair, after that it flows reasonably logically but by then it had lost any credibility for me as a serious piece of theatre. And trust me the summary above makes it all sound much tighter than the bloated piece of writing it is. Throw in a violent prison guard (shock), the startling revelation that war criminals aren't nice people, and an irrelevant new love interest for Kate and we start to get a flavour of the muddle we have here.

But it's not simply the plot - the whole tone is all over the place. As a huge admirer of the works of Joss Whedon I'm pretty open to placing light and dark in close proximity, but here it fails spectacularly. Many of the 'political' scenes appear to try to evoke a "Yes Minister" kind of feel, but the non verbal signals are all wrong and the dark lighting and soundtrack overshadow any humour.

Now this being serious and challenging adult drama expected to win awards it quickly aims to tick all the required boxes - violence, violence against women, sexual violence, nudity, violent nude death. Enough already - we get it. Serious. Challenging. Adult. Drama. Shame it didn't make me think.

The performances are fine but there's nothing here to make me care about the characters - even Kate. And as for those awaiting execution whose lives are on the line, well most people will have a view on the matter one way or the other. But do we actually care which happens?

This play said absolutely nothing to me and provided very limited entertainment. But as always, your mileage may vary. I've read some positive reviews (including Bluedog) and a couple we chatted to in the bar loved it, although there also others with a mixed response.

Oh yes, it also started 35 minutes late due to "the set proving complicated".

Fall runs at The Traverse until the 24th August (excluding Mondays) Times vary.


"The Factory" (sort of) - Edinburgh Fringe 2008

Are you allowed to look forward to a play about the horrors of the Nazi death camps? If you are, then I was. Unfortunately I was disappointed - no, not in "The Factory" - I don't know if it's any good, ask me again in a week. Blame The Traverse - even if it's on at Pleasance Courtyard. Confused - you will be.

First day proper of the Fringe was of course going to be busy day. Shows are just starting so delays are almost inevitable as sets have to be constructed and struck under pressure for the first time. Technical gremlins are bound to strike. This was one of the reasons The Traverse featured heavily in our first day plans (3 out of the 5 shows), well that and taking advantage of the 2 for 1 early bird discount. It's a year round theatre so should have a huge head start over a lot of other places for ensuring that things go smoothly.

So our tightest turnaround that day was between Fall (The Traverse) and Factory (Pleasance Courtyard) - 45 minutes to make a 25 minute brisk walk. Worst case scenario: we'd parked 5 minutes from The Traverse so could have jumped in the car and made it in 15 minutes.

This went out the window when Fall started 35 minutes late.

Obviously the 4 previews weren't enough to stop Mr Murphy LLB come knocking on the first day. The set apparently was proving more troublesome than expected. The Traverse certainly did its best front of house - at least 4 tannoy announcements and helpful staff keeping us stocked up with glasses of water as we waited in a very good humoured, if slightly warm, queue.

However we weren't the only people to be faced with the dilemma of possibly having to abandon Fall either at the start or interval to ensure that subsequent plans weren't disrupted. I do know that some people definitely didn't return after the interval.

Fortunately "Factory" has a long run - so a midweek trip next week will mean we won't miss it. But that 35 minutes cost us £19 pounds in rebooked tickets, another trip to Edinburgh that we didn't intend - and the set wasn't even that good.


Tuesday, August 05, 2008

"Finished With Engines" - Edinburgh Fringe 2008

"Finished With Engines" at The Traverse, with its Arches pedigree, sounds interesting - two American sailors, watching from a safe distance the disintegration of a less developed country, whilst coming to terms with who they are and why they ("they" being both them personally and them as representatives of their nation) are there. And it's also a comedy. Maybe it was because the last show in a long day, but my reaction was more incredulity than interest.
The action takes place in a number of short scenes during which time is clearly passing. And clearly from the programme the 10 scenes between the two protagonists Megan (Stephanie Viola) and Hemingway (Drew Friedman) are meant to reflect the progress of the wider conflict they are witnessing somewhat dispassionately on the shore. I didn't get that from the play itself - I'm glad the programme explained that because I would have missed it otherwise.

In an hour a lot is touched on, and you do get to see some of what's behind the initially shallow Megan who's cynically clear in who she is and what they're doing there and the revelation of this to the naive wannabe writer Hemingway. Unfortunately for me the ludicrousness of some of the scenes just turned me off - including the construction and eating of an impressive tuna and tomato multi-decker sandwich.

Their most emotional response is when their favourite shore-side bar is destroyed. For me it was the fact that the Traverse bar was still open when it finished.

Finished With Engines runs at The Traverse (various times) until 10th August.


"The Patriot Act" - Edinburgh Fringe 2008

During the Fringe Edinburgh is filled with thousands of young actors and writers taking their first steps, and if any of them should happen to read “View From The Stalls” – well, this bit is for you. If you want to make the most of your education here this year and have any ambition in serious theatre, you must make the effort to see this production. It’s a genuine masterclass in writing and performing in a way that makes your audience care about your characters.

The play centres around aging playwright William Carpenter whose recent work has been accused of supporting terrorism, and who now finds himself being offered a deal with the US government. If he agrees to make his next work clearly condemning of terrorism, then the judicial system will be inclined to look favourably on him. As with all the best issue focussed plays, the drama comes not from the issue, but from the individuals. It’s very rare for me to be genuinely moved by a piece but there are some simply heartbreaking moments in here. Writers Lydia Bruce and Sandy Burns have created living, breathing characters and their wonderful cast have brought them to life. As the writer’s wife and son, Darri Johnson Colton and Richard Arum really punch above their weight despite having comparatively little stage time. Robert Pemberton impresses as the government's representative but its Will Lyman’s performance in the central role of Carpenter that will leave the audience raving. Full of subtlety he conveys the character's stubbornness with some perfectly delivered dry humour while also making his vulnerability apparent. I doubt I'll see a better performance at the Fringe, and several other audience members were similarly impressed.

If it hadn't been for one small quibble I have with a plot element I think I may well have been starting a standing ovation at the end. If this production were at the Traverse it would be nailed on for a Fringe First and Herald Angel - I hope those involved with such things will give it due consideration.

The Patriot Act runs at the Gilded Balloon Teviot at 12:45 pm until 25th August (excluding the 11th)


"Time Bomb" - Edinburgh Fringe 2008

It's 2017 and Parliament is debating the potential use of nuclear weapons against Iran. The Clarke family have been tied to politics and the weapons programme for the last 50 years. Secrets are about to be revealed with implications for the family... and the country. It was certainly enough to catch my attention in the Fringe Programme, and I'd since seen a snippet or two elsewhere suggesting it was worth seeing.

Perhaps it's the dining room setting and the wallpaper but this screams that we are in safe BBC sitcom territory here - but without the laughs. The performances are all decent enough but the narrative is cluttered with excess characters and would have benefited from being cut down to leave only four - father, daughter, son, son's girlfriend.
It makes it's political argument well but it gets swamped amongst the bickering between characters and the additional background we are given about the characters.

Perhaps I'm being unfair after having high hopes for this. Don't get me wrong, this isn't a bad show - it's just didn't live up to expectation.

Time Bomb runs at Sweet Teviot Place at 3pm until the 10th August


"Call For The Condemned" - Edinburgh Fringe 2008

"Call For The Condemned" from Watchthis is about to receive a very rare thing on View From The Stalls - a short and to the point review. For once I think I'm happy to cut the analysis and just go straight to the bits they may wish for their poster - of which there are quite a few...

It's a spectacularly slick and stylish show full of perfectly crafted demonic personalities trading magnificently offensive insults as they man Hell Inc's call centre providing support to potential evildoers. The entire cast give magnificent performances - but special mentions for Rachel Salisbury's deliciously jealous Leviathan, Eddie Wilson's glorious Manager from Hell, and an impeccable performance by sadly anonymous understudy filling in as Dante. If you like Kevin Smith's "Dogma" you'll love this. Devilishly good stuff.

Seriously - not a bad word to say about this one.

"Call For The Condemned" runs at Rocket @ Demarco Roxy Arthouse at 10pm on even dates until the 24th August.


"Creation & all that Jazz" - Edinburgh Fringe 2008

Walking into a venue with a disappointing audience must be heartbreaking for a cast, but for someone there to review a show it produces very mixed emotions. Is word already out that the show you're about to sit through is a disaster? Or could you have just stumbled upon the holy grail of the Fringe - an amazing show that no one is seeing, just waiting for you to spread the word…

This isn't the show I've been searching for - but it's certainly no disaster either. Last Chance Theatre Company's production chronicles JC Construction's efforts to create the Earth, meet their targets within budget and finally determine what to do with it. The first half focuses on creation and evolution and while parts work well, it's as much miss as hit. But the second section really picks up in quality as they attempt to influence the course of humanity and debate how to bring project earth to a satisfactory conclusion. It's all daft stuff but it's also pretty funny and successfully creates something in the mould of "The Mary Whitehouse Experience".

Perhaps not one to make the centre of your plans for the day, but if you've had enough of the serious shows that seem to dominate this year, Creation & All That Jazz might just fill a gap in your schedule rather nicely.

Creation & All That Jazz runs at Augustines until the 25th August at 6pm (excluding the 11th & 18th


"Shafted" - Edinburgh Fringe 2008

"Shafted" has a strong premise - 3 men are in a lift which breaks down but only two leave alive. Who killed Theo... and why?

The cast of three make a decent effort to bring the piece to life but the script is sadly beyond redemption. The plot could be straight from a US daytime soap - the history that is revealed between the characters make their initially cordial behaviour rather unbelievable. While the dialogue has some sharp moments, it's often terribly clunky featuring excessive repetition of phrases and at times simply goes round in circles. I got the feeling there was a final revelation at the end but it wasn't sufficiently conveyed for us to 'get it'. The staging doesn't do the show any favours either, with many seats in the small venue suffering from a considerably restricted view of much of the action.

It's a nice concept with some good work by the cast but at the end of the day the script just isn't satisfactory.

Shafted runs at Rocket @ Roxburghe Hotel until 25th (not 17th) at 2:40 pm


Friday, August 01, 2008

"You Don't Need To Know That" - Edinburgh Fringe 2008

Standing in the queue before Gonzo Moose's "You Don't Need To Know That" my concern grew that I was about to witness the company learn Lesson No.26 in Fringe marketing - "Sometimes no audience is better than the wrong audience". As groups of parents with children under 8 seemed to make up most of those waiting I was more than a little worried just how this "Kafkaesque nightmare" would stand up to such a tough audience.

But this high energy performance quickly won them over with some dazzling verbal and physical comedy. The cast of three blast their way through 75 minutes of high octane gags, and while any deeper message may be pushed to the edges of the piece it's genuinely entertaining stuff.

As the accused Beresford Jones, Mark Conway engages with the audience in a friendly manner and appeared to cleverly improv some changes to reflect the younger than expected audience (and to his credit he playfully made the most of one of the piece's more 'adult' gags when it may have been tempting to quickly gloss over it.)

Ellie Harley and Angus Barr impressively play the numerous characters Beresford encounters in his journey through the justice system. Barr is given an inspired moment of audience participation as The Librarian, while Harley gets her moment to shine as she simultaneously plays Judge and witnesses to great comic effect.

Daft, silly, but always clever. This is old school knockabout fun that evokes memories of 'Morcambe and Wise' - you'd have to be made of stone not to leave with a smile on your face.

"You Don't Need To Know That" runs at the Pleasance until 25th August (excluding the 11th) at 3.15pm. We saw this on 31st July and have confirmed with the production that they are happy for us to comment on a performance so early in the run.

Image used with permission


"Plague! - The Musical" - Edinburgh Fringe 2008

As a general rule musicals at the Fringe tend to be fairly limited both in scale and length - but Bubonic Productions and their 11 strong cast seem to have missed the memo and appear to believe they are putting on a large scale, full length, west end bound show. And you know what? They might just be right. But there are also reminders here of the many reasons why a fully fledged musical is a rare beast at the Fringe... and they are all about the venue.

With a run time of 1 hour 45 minutes with no interval the venue becomes almost unbearably hot and those seats are really only good for 75 minutes without a break. What could happily run as a two hour musical with interval in a 'proper' theatre struggles here and it definitely feels like it could lose 20 minutes.

Okay, quick plot run through - Boy, Girl, Undertaker, Alchemist, Druids, Rats, Death. Come on it's a musical - plot is an optional extra. But for the record it's all here, present and correct and it actually holds up very well. There are plenty of comic moments and even the groanworthy ones work well. The Pythonesque influences are obvious but the show makes the most of them, and while establishing a number of running gags they aren't stretched beyond their natural life.

Song wise there are two or three cracking numbers, one or two on the weak side but most are pretty effective. But the vocals are a bit of a mixed bag. Catriana Sandison does well as 'Isabella' while Porl Matthews' 'Clive' pitches his vocals perfectly for the space and makes a fine comic double act along with Tim Frost's 'Jerry'. The vocals in the ensemble numbers are very strong but a number of the individual voices struggled to get enough volume in their solos. Once playing to a full auditorium - (which this show deserves to) a lot of lyrics are going to be lost beyond the first few rows unless they are really kicked up a notch or two. But if they can do that, then this could just become the cult hit of this year's Fringe.

Plague! The Musical runs at C until the 25th August (excluding the 11th) at 9:30pm.. We saw the performance on 31st July after confirming the production was happy for us to attend so early in the run.
Image by Ian Stirling used with permission


"Tony Of Arabia" - Edinburgh Fringe 2008

Following last year's hit with Tony! The Blair Musical, White Rose Theatre are back with a sequel by Chris Bush and Ian McLuskey, reuniting Tony with all his old friends and introducing some new ones too.

James Duckworth as Tony Blair is simply remarkable. Any small doubts about the vocals are far outweighed by his impressive acting performance here, and he manages to make Blair much more sympathetic than I thought possible. But while his performance is reason enough to see the show, there is a lot more to it. Ellie Cox provides impressive vocals as Cherie, Ed Duncan Smith's David Cameron is the comic highlight but Gavin Whitworth's George W Bush and Jethro Compton's Peter Mandelson provide plenty of laughs too.

And then we have Michael Slater as Gordon Brown. It's a perfectly fine performance, but while other shows suffer financially, the credit crunch may bite this show in an altogether different fashion. When it was first put together (presumably months ago) it will have seemed perfectly reasonable to have Gordon Brown played fairly straight - perhaps a little out of his depth but trying his best. Problem is, I get the feeling that the mood has changed and I'm not so sure people will easily accept such a charitable portrayal. In fact given a little bit of encouragement I think large sections of the audience would happily see him cast as the villain of the piece, but maybe that's being kept for next year.

The musical numbers are certainly enjoyable and benefit from the excellent on stage band, but they do largely fall into the category of instantly forgettable. But then, the attraction here (for me at least) isn't the music - it's the satire. And here the show really delivers, biting hard at the expense of all those featured.

Tony of Arabia runs at the Pleasancedome on various dates until the 25th August at 5.30pm. We saw the show on 31st and received permission from the company to comment on a performance so early in the run.
Image used with permission


"Answers" - Edinburgh Fringe 2008

Newcastle University Theatre Society's "Answers" by Edward Clifton is the first of several political based shows we're seeing at this year's Fringe and it deals with the events the evening before a controversial Westminster vote on a matter with civil liberties implications. The government has got itself in a bit of a tight spot and is struggling to get their bill passed - but what lengths will they go to?

The show opens with a stylish set piece interview between a rebel MP and an off stage Newsnight presenter type. It's handled very effectively and quickly raised my expectations for the production, but it's a moment of inspiration that the script rarely reaches again. The plot is nicely set up but there are a number of question marks over decisions characters make as events unfold - I was often left with the feeling that the actions taken bore little relation to how the characters would likely behave in the situations confronting them.

What also doesn't help is the chatter amongst the junior staff members to flesh out their characters. While nicely observed and well portrayed it adds very little of relevance to the piece and serves to take up time that would have been better spent 'on message' as it were. At times the characters are at pains to avoid discussing the merits of the proposed legislation, when it could (and possibly should) be the main focus. Fortunately strong performances from the cast - particularly from Samuel Jefferson playing the PM's Press Secretary and Andrew McKeane as the Rebel MP - go a long way towards making up for the flaws in the script.

"Answers" is unlikely to be a show you'll come away raving about, but it's good solid stuff and I don't think there will be many disappointed by it.

Answers runs at C Soco until 25th August (not 11th) at 1.45pm.
Please note that we attended an early performance of the show on 31st July with the permission of the production.


Edinburgh Fringe 2008 Index

As the start of the Edinburgh Fringe draws ever nearer its time to pull together a few of our posts and add some useful links.

Fringe Preview

Fringe Good Food Guide

Tips for Fringe goers

Shows Reviewed (Updated throughout August)
Answers - review posted
Tony of Arabia - review posted
Plague! The Musical - review posted
You Don't Need To Know That - review posted
Free Outgoing - review posted
Fall - review posted
Shafted - review posted
Factory - review posted
Finished with Engines - review posted
Time Bomb - review posted
The Patriot Act - review posted
Markus Birdman: Sympathy For The Devil - review posted
Call for the Condemned - review posted
Creation & All That Jazz - review posted
The Army of Reason - review posted
Golden - review posted
Romeo & Juliet (Nonsenseroom @ Rosslyn Chapel) - review posted
Restitution - review posted
My Grandfather's Great War - review posted
Literally - review posted
The Third Condiment - review posted
Stolen Secrets - review posted
The Bird & The Bee: Bird - review posted
The Bird & The Bee: Bee - review posted
How it Ended - review posted
Deep Cut - review posted
Sword of Maximum Damage - review posted
Involution - review posted
Zanna, Don't - review posted
I Love You, Bro - review posted
The Caravan - review posted
On The Waterfront - review posted
365 (@ EIF) - review posted

Other Fringe Review/Comment sites
Three Weeks
Edinburgh Festivals
Onstage Scotland
Edinburgh Festival Punter
A Local's Guide to the Fringe
Fringe Guru