Review: The Improverts

August 20, 2008

The Improvertsstar

Bedlam Theatre (Venue 49)

These guys run every night of the Fringe except Sundays, and have done formany years now, 19 at last count. They are always a decent suggestion to the perennial Edinburgh question of what to do on a night out, and the central location of the Bedlam Theatre makes it easily reached from anywhere on the South Side. It’s rare that student groups become so big, or such Fringe institutions, but then most student comedy can’t even beginto compete with the Improverts. Read more

Review: Office Party

August 19, 2008

Office PartyUnderbelly’s Pasture

star

First a disclaimer: this show is most definitely not for everyone. If you’re the kind of Fringe stalwart who likes their theatre to be like office gossip – best enjoyed cold and at a distance – steer clear of this mayhem. Taking the toothless, aged bloodhound of promenade theatre and beating a host of new tricks into it, the Edinburgh Comedy Festival invites you to the annual office hoedown. Expect swearing, nudity and booze aplenty (albeit at inflated Fringe prices). Read more

Review: Mortal Engine

August 19, 2008

Mortal EngineEdinburgh Playhouse (EIF)

star

Australian dance theatre company Chunky Move have, thanks to their astounding technological innovation, raised the bar for what it is possible to expect to see on a stage. Dancers, in moving across the bare white ramp that forms the entirety of Mortal Engine‘s set, actively create their own lighting effects with their movement, spinning into and out of light patterns that respond to every extension. Read more

Review: On the Island of Aars

August 19, 2008

Laura Main, Barbara Drennan, Michael Wilson and Chris LarnerPleasance Courtyard (Venue 33)

star

When it comes to surreal musical comedy one has to find a careful balance between the completely ridiculous and the uproariously funny. On the Island of Aars is walking this line. Set on a rock off the coast of Scotland (or is it a giant floating turtle?), its inhabitants – a washed up rock singer, two puritans preaching hell and damnation and a charming yet slightly deluded young filly battle each other for the prize of the most absurd character at the fringe. Read more

Review: Happy Savages

August 19, 2008

Happy SavagesUnderbelly

star

Ryan Craig’s Happy Savages is a tale of woe, of real life, a pessimistic reflection of human nature. Lisa and Ben are in love; well, they have little in common, argue like cats, but have an irrepressible magnetism. As Lisa says, “I can’t forgive you, because I can’t stop loving you”. Both have strayed, with people close to them. As the story unravels, Lisa leaves for Joe, as she is expecting his baby, and would prefer a less intense relationship. As Joe leaves behind a desolate Rachel, she pursues the forlorn Ben – “We got hurt – let’s hurt them – that’s life”. Finally, events overtake them. Read more

Review: Lilly Through the Dark

August 19, 2008

Lilly Through the DarkBedlam Theatre

star

Actors and puppets. Not a combination I have seen work particularly well in the past and when I first spied Lilly, the papier mache protagonist, I must admit to being sceptical. However, the story of Lilly searching for her dead father is evoked with such tenderness and personality that I soon threw off my cloak of cynicism and found myself utterly spellbound by this charming tale. Read more

Review: Fall

August 19, 2008

FallTraverse Theatre

star

Loosely clumped together with her two previous plays for the RSC, Midwinter (2004) and Solstice (2005), this final instalment of Zinnie Harris’ trilogy studies the complex issues surrounding post-war rehabilitation – and in a decade that has seen both the execution of Saddam Hussein and the indictment of Radovan Karadzic, her timing would appear impeccable. Read more

Review: Plague! The Musical

August 19, 2008

The cast of Plague! The MusicalC + 1

star

Plague! The Musical is one of the most ridiculous, outrageous, over the top and watchable pieces of new musical theatre I have seen in a long time. The bubonic plague is not the most obviously comedic event in history but the blend of music and exceptionally corny jokes makes this a Spamalot-esque joy to watch. Read more

Review: The Self-Murder

August 19, 2008

The Self-Murderstar

clubWEST at Quincentenary Hall (Venue 112)

Suicide is perhaps one of the most misunderstood and misrepresented of concepts in society. For those who have never seriously considered it, the reality of consciously wanting to draw an end to one’s life, no matter how bad it seems, can never be anything other than a totally alien concept. For those who have truly faced the prospect of self-eradication with a clear mind, the logic must seem undeniable, the will to escape the travails and pressures of the world total, and the ultimate negation of life as a purely positive option. Read more

Review: Frank Woodley – Possessed

August 19, 2008

Frank WoodleystarAssembly @ George Street (Venue 3)

Advertised as comedy, this is theatre – hilarious theatre. Frank Woodley displays inspiring acting talent, combined with skills in physical theatre and impression. Read more

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