Nick (gagravarr) wrote,

Fringe 2011

Last weekend I was up at the Edinburgh Fringe, and once again I managed to see quite a few shows, with a few gems amongst them. I tweeted reviews of most of them at the time (where wifi permitted!), but this is aiming to be a slightly more expanded set. Mostly to help with picking shows next year, it must be said, but there is a day or two of the fringe left for other people to use them!

Stupid People Will Be Offended - Free standup by Mikey Mileos at Dropkick Murphy's. We happened across this show when we got to The Vaults early, and nipped over the road for a drink. Only caught the first half of the show, but for free standup it was pretty good. I'd say probably half the jokes worked, which beats some paid-for fringe standup shows I've seen! Could be one to watch for next year, if he can improve over the year. 3*

Sherica - Shred Productions at Paradise in the Vault. Possibly summed up by the line early on: Sorry. Stop ... This isn’t me. I don’t visit prostitutes. For God’s sake – I read the Guardian!. This dark and thought-provoking piece follows the downward spiral after a teacher falls for a sex worker who turns out to be the sister of one of his pupils. Add in some blackmail, a new academy school struggling with the change, and it's a good piece. Not as good as Paper Birds were when they tackled a similar subject with In A Thousand Pieces, but good none the less. 4*

What You Will - Shrewsbury School at C. Their own musical telling of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night worked out really well, with some good songs but still keeping the original a lot. Good lunchtime fun, 4*

Lethal Injection - Five One Productions at C ECA. A compelling, minimalist production about 4 men on death row, and their guard. As their time approaches, we learn of their crimes and how they ended there, all for very different reasons. 4*

Sanctuary - Little Room Productions at Paradise in the Vault. A new opera set just before the apocalypse, as a father and daughter hide. Then others try to seek sanctuary with them. Very very operatic, which sometimes worked, but often got in the way. 3*

Matt Kirshen at Underbelly. Self-deprecating stories from his life, with the odd bit of politics in there as well. Funny, smart and enjoyable comedy. 4*

Wasted Love - One Academy Productions at C. This musical tells the story of a relationship support group, which despite how it may sounds was excellent. Great singing, great storytelling, heartbreak into uplifting redemption then sometimes tumbling back down again. This is what new and different musicals at the fringe should be like, 5*

Principal Parts - Strip Theatre at C soco. Surrealist telling of a group trying to assassinate Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, despite their incompetences. Good fun, 4*

Sunday in the Park with George - One Academy Productions again (twice in an afternoon!) at C. A full 2 hour production of Sondheim's musical about Georges Seurat's painting. A good (but not amazing) production of this good (but not amazing) musical. 4*

Sammy J and Randy: Ricketts Lane at Udderbelly Pasture. On top form again, this time Sammy J and his friend Randy (the foul mouthed purple puppet) are battling tax avoidance amidst their domestic misadventures. Silly tales, word plays, long running gags (can I get a pwappwa new guinea, pwappwa new guinea!), and generally very very very funny. 5*

Belt Up's Outland - Belt Up in C Soco once again. A smaller set of shows to last year, and in a small and intimate setting for this immersive theatre production. This time it's related to Lewis Carroll's worlds and life. Similar to last year's The Boy James, more static and less interactive than some of their have been. Generally good, but one or two bits felt a little too similar to some of their past shows. 4*

Isy Suttie at Pleasance was another funny, well done telling of the tale of her friend's relationship. Cheery comedy, with some good songs in it too, generally feel-good with laughs. 4*

Horne Section was late night music and banter in the Spiegel Tent. Quite a bit of live jazz, with some standup and silly games thrown in, not to mention the crazy but great Jazz/Morris Dancing Crossover version of a Beyonce song! Some good guests too the night we saw it. 4*

Street Dreams - Little Cauliflower at Underbelly. A puppetry show, but not really as you know it. Instead, an amazingly done piece of abstract storytelling, as an old man goes about his day pestered and chased by a variety of everyday objects. Sweet, funny, sad, brilliantly done and engaging. A little hard to describe, true, but an enchanting hour not to be missed! 5*

Which One's Fergal by Garrett Millerick at Just the Tonic at the Caves. A series of strong character sketches, satirical but well done, with a great mix of laughs and cringes. Garrett weaves his way between God's gift to Advertising Execs, a Traffic Warden, a failed motivational Hip-Hop singer and more. Biting but funny, a solid 4*

Flanders and Swan - Tim FitzHigham and Duncan Walsh Atkins at the Pleasance. An excellent hour of Flanders and Swan songs and tales, with just the right amount of sillyness (the music stand french horn anyone?). 4*

Seagull Effect - Idle Motion at Zoo Roxy. The Oxford based group were back again, after last year's great The Vanishing Horizon, this time with a tale of the 1987 hurricane. Once again they had a great mix of theatre, multimedia, and the odd bit of dance and physical theatre. The stories of different people interleave with archive footage and sound, with stories swirling together as the storm approaches. Great stuff, but not quite as good as last year. 4*

Belt Up's 20 minutes to 9 - back to C Soco for another Belt Up production. This one-woman immersive show takes us through recollections, stories and social observations of an aging apparently well-off woman. At times funny, others odd, almost always engaging, but you're never entirely sure quite what's going on, in that way that Belt Up can do well. Great stuff, but not quite as good as they have been before. 4*

Sammy J with Potentially at Underbelly is last but not least. Back again with stories, songs, and silly anecdotes that slowly stitch together to reveal the ridiculous but true linked narrative. Cruise Ships, Possums, a mystery man with a death wish in a red g-string, children's stories and a hell of a lot of laughs fill the hour. On top form again, 5*

Only 19 shows this year, in just over 3 days, but I'm sure we'll get the show count back up again next year!
Tags: edfringe

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