Five Reasons to See … Hoipolloi Turning 15 at the Fringe

August 21, 2009

The Doubtful GuestAward-winning company Hoipolloi are celebrating their 15th anniversary this year, with two shows at the Fringe. The Doubtful Guest, inspired by Edward Gorey’s mischievously macabre tale, is presented at the Traverse Theatre, while Fringe favourite Hugh Hughes is presenting his new one-man show Hugh Hughes in… 360 at the Pleasance (See Interviews, 14 Aug 2009). Hoipolloi’s David Ralfe lists five more reasons to catch the company at this year’s festival.

1) Unleash the anarchy of your imagination.
Like all Hoipolloi shows, The Doubtful Guest and 360 will take you into fantastical worlds unbound by reality. 360 celebrates the power of the imagination, perhaps even more than Hugh Hughes’ previous shows, and The Doubtful Guest will lead you up a deliciously dark path into the twisted world of cult author Edward Gorey, where nonsense takes on a darker hue. (Think Edward Lear crossed with Tim Burton!) Read more

Jon Holmes On … Rock Stars

August 20, 2009

Jon Holmes, photo by Steve BrownJon Holmes, star of BBC Radio 4′s The Now Show, goes solo at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe, with Rock Star Babylon, based on his book of the same name, a catalogue of rock ‘n’ roll bad – and boring - behaviour. While he’s at the festival, he’s also presenting his BBC 6 Music show live from Edinburgh.

I’ve climbed all the way up to the Edinburgh Fringe many times, but until now I’ve always taken the easy path. Mostly I’ve been led by the sherpas of BBC Radio 4 as we’ve arrived in town to record the likes of Dead Ringers or The Now Show in a great big sold-out venue. But this year, like Edmund Hilary wandering away from Tensing Norgay to go for a wee, I’m striking out on my own. Read more

Rob Castell On … His Weirdest Fringe Venue

August 19, 2009

Rob Castell (right) in Afternoon DelightRob Castell is performing in two shows at this year’s festival, comedy two-hander Afternoon Delight by the Bodega Brothers and Barbershopera II, the four-part harmony sequel to last year’s award-winning musical Barbershopera.

Probably not always the weirdest venue – indeed, by all accounts, it’s often the after-hours place to be – but the Bongo Club on a Tuesday night early in the festival last year was the venue for our most surreal appearance.

Desperately dashing through the rain moments after finishing our show Barbershopera at the Pleasance, we soon found ourselves waiting in the wings, whispering over the sound of around seven audience members chuckling sporadically at a burlesque bunny rabbit lady singing “my name is lamb-chop magoo” in a voice that sounded a bit like a Disney character on helium. Read more

Brief Encounter With … Afternoon Tea‘s Gemma Leader

August 19, 2009

Gemma Leader with David Kelly in Afternoon TeaStand-up Gemma Leader is back for her second Edinburgh Fringe this year, with Afternoon Tea, a two-hander that she’s co-written and performs with David Kelly. It’s part of this year’s Free Fringe programme.

Tell us a little more about Afternoon Tea.
Well, it’s basically two stand-ups charting the history of tea, the drink itself, the ceremonies surrounding it, the origins of the leaves, the subtle difference between each of the varieties. That’s the first three minutes. After that, it’s funny stuff about life and things. And there’s free cake. And some rousing music. And maybe some chocolate. Read more

Chris Cox On … Mind Reading in Edinburgh

August 18, 2009

chriscox290.jpgMind-reader Chris Cox has returned to the Fringe for the fourth time – as a performer – to present the world premiere of his latest show, Chris Cox: Mind Over Patter.

I’m a mind-reader who can’t actually read minds. As a rule, the first thing you get when you tell someone you’re a mind-reader is them going, “okay, tell me what I’m thinking.” It doesn’t work like that. In fact, if you see me and ask me that, I reserve the right to just walk away from you. I won’t. I’m nice. But it’s terribly annoying. Read more

Brief Encounter With … Art House‘s Rachael Coopes

August 17, 2009

rachaelcoopes150.jpgAustralian actress-turned-playwright Rachael Coopes is the author of the new revenge thriller Art House, which has its world premiere at this year’s Fringe.

You trained as an actress & are a familiar face on Australian TV. How does it feel to be in the rehearsal room as a writer rather than actor? How different is it?

It’s really great to be on the other side for a change, particularly in the rehearsal room, where I can work with the actors and director from another perspective. I love the collaborative part of the process. Writing is far more solitary. I spent long periods locked up doing a draft. It’s a longer process than acting, where you generally come to the project at a certain stage but far more satisfying in many ways. Read more

Five Reasons to See … Rendition Monologues

August 17, 2009

renditionmonologues-290.jpgIceandfire’s verbatim drama Rendition Monologues tells the true stories of four men who have been victims of the CIA’s “extraordinary rendition” programme, the kidnapping and imprisonment of terror suspects in countries that are known to use torture. One of the stories featured in the script is that of British resident Binyam Mohamed, who was recently returned to the UK from Guantanamo Bay with no charges laid against him. Christine Bacon, co-artistic director of iceandfire, lists the main reasons you should catch this show, which opens at St John’s Church tonight (17 August).

1) The stories you will hear are moving, shocking and challenging first-hand accounts from victims of this practice. In the words of Reprieve’s Clive Stafford Smith OBE: “If anyone doubts the shocking reality of rendition, they should see this performance.” Read more

Brief Encounter With … Karin Schaupp

August 16, 2009

karinschaupp-guitar150.jpgAustralian classical guitarist Karin Schaupp performs widely on the international stage as a concerto soloist and festival guest, and has given countless recitals in Australia, Europe, Asia, North America and Mexico. Lotte’s Gift, which was written especially for Karin by leading Australian playwright David Williamson, allows her to combine her twin loves of music and acting on the theatrical stage. The one-woman piece receives its UK premiere at this year’s Fringe. Read more

Five Reasons to See … Tree Duet

August 16, 2009

treeduet-290.jpgPaul Rae and Kaylene Tan formed Singapore-based performance company spell#7 in 1997. In the company’s on-going ‘Duets’ series, Paul and Kaylene have created a series of pseudo-autobiographical performances about the power of two in a world of many. Tree Duet, which receives its European premiere at this year’s Fringe, is the fourth in the series. In the “eco-performance minus the moralising”, the pair are accompanied by pianist Shane Thio. Here, Paul Rae explains five good reasons why you shouldn’t miss the show, which is running this week only at the New Town Theatre.

1) A mid-morning meditation. In the frenzy of the Edinburgh Fringe, 11.30am is a perfect time to take in a quiet and meditative show. Tree Duet starts from trying to make sense of our relationship with trees. In the performance, we unfold a series of actions, stories and interactions which circulate around the theme of trees, and represent trees showing ways we are interconnected, even in the modern world. Read more

Five Reasons to See … Tiernan Douieb: 28 Years Later

August 15, 2009

tiernandouieb.jpgTiernan Douieb is a stand-up comedian whose Edinburgh Fringe debut, 28 Years Later, is about adulthood, childish imaginings and zombies. Here, Tieran lays out five good – highly amusing – reasons why you shouldn’t miss his one-man offering at the Underbelly.

1) If you don’t, when someone you know who did see it asks you if you saw it, you’ll have to say ‘no’. Then there will be an awkward pause in your conversation which will slowly tear apart your relationship as acquaintances, friends or lovers. Read more

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