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Fringe Review: Hugh Hughes in 360

1 Sep

*****

Hugh welcomed his audience at the door on entrance into the Pleasance Two venue. This was an unusual start and one that instantly encouraged a rapport with his audience.

Whilst at the front waiting for everyone to get seated, he then encouraged everyone to greet the person sitting next to them and behind them. Although this sounds cringeworthy (notably for the Scottish reserve) it actually worked well.

Maybe it was the eclectic mix of tourists and hosts.

The Welsh comedian then walked through a not-so-brief-history of his childhood, snagging on details for maybe just a little longer than he should have to sustain the audience.

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Edinburgh Fringe Review: John Shuttleworth – Southern Softies

25 Aug
John Shuttleworth in Southern Softies

John Shuttleworth in Southern Softies

*****

Attempting to discover once and for all whether Southerners really are softer than their northern counterparts, John Shuttleworth (aka Graham Fellows) returned to the Fringe for one night only to present the world premiere of his aptly titled new film, Southern Softies.

Sheffield’s favourite son follows up his 2006 trip to Shetland – It’s Nice Up North, in which he tried to discover whether people get nicer the further north you travel  – by relocating to Guernsey and nearby islands to interview the locals and find out just how soft they are.

Joined behind the camera by the unseen Ken Worthington, Shuttleworth encounters the weird and the wonderful in his search. Running out of funds during production, he then tries to beg and borrow favours from airlines and tourist boards, all the while providing a wry commentary on the world.

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Edinburgh Fringe Review: The Overcoat

25 Aug

*****

Similar to the titular overcoat suspended above the audience of the Pleasance Grand for the duration of the production, you should hang any preconceptions at the door as you settle down to watch Amit Lahav’s impressive retelling of Gogol’s 1842 short story.

With an attention to detail verging on the obsessive, the world of factory clerk Akaky Akakievich, a man residing in an unnamed Russian city who hand copies documents for a living, is presented to the audience as a dark, foreboding place where reality is just an aspect of dreams.

As Akaky moves through this world the audience is soon left to their own devices, the lack of English dialogue combined with a number of dance routines ensuring the plot becomes less important as the play goes on.

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Edinburgh Fringe Review: Pappy’s Fun Club

25 Aug

*****

From the offset of Pappy’s Fun Club the four characters of Ben, Brendan, Matthew and Tom ooze energy and improvised wit. It is clear the team of four put everything into their hour long show, attempting to achieve 200 sketches in an hour.

There is so much hype surrounding festival acts that everyone claims to have seen stars at some stage in their reviews but these four lived up to their growing reputation confidently.

Silly and unashamedly old school, topics range from time travelling dinosaurs to the world’s tallest man.

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Edinburgh Fringe Review: Janeane Garofalo

12 Aug

*****

Rambling, forgetful and keen to be loved, US star Janeane Garofalo arrives in Edinburgh with a stage persona it’s hard not to be enamored by.

Announcing at the outset that her course of antidepressants for a medical condition have the side effect of memory loss, Garofalo acknowledged the uncomfortable nature of the venue (one audience member fainted in the heat) before going on to engage locals with her love of the city.

From here there was little rhyme or reason to her material which, largely unscripted, segued from her hatred of G-strings to the problem of a low sex drive, Christian ping pong meetings to the bizarre nature of immigration forms to the US.

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Edinburgh Fringe Review: A-Team – The Musical

12 Aug

*****

Bringing back the A-Team may have proved impossible for Justin Lee Collins but in the cramped confines of Edinburgh’s Gilded Balloon Wine Bar those celebrated soldiers of fortune have well and truly returned.

This time around, as well as being armed with machine guns, revolvers and the odd blow torch, they’ve added song and dance routines to their arsenal, retro-themed synth pop ditties vying with bad 80s hairstyles for the attention of the sold out audience.

The plot is as throwaway as it ever was: a pretty young girl in peril (Ruth Bratt) calling on the team to help her fight the money-grabbing Action Jackson (a manic John Dorney) before he destroys her emporium of rare animals in the Deep South.

Just as in the TV show, BA Baracus gets the most love from the crowd, Vincent Jerome looking like an identikit Mr T, give or take a few pounds, as he keeps getting tricked into getting on those planes.

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Edinburgh Fringe Review: Hangover

9 Aug

David Elliot in Hangover

David Elliot in Hangover

*****

As someone once said, clichés only become clichés because they’re true. In the case of modern Scottish theatre there are some elements which can be relied upon to be wheeled out to signify that they’re both modern and gritty – see if you can spot them in the synopsis for new play Hangover:

Danny is a drink-sodden, foul mouthed wide boy with little regard for the opposite sex who would rather spend a night on the town with his latest floozy than his estranged son.

Recovering from a booze-laden night out, Danny wakes to find his memory more than a little hazy, his car in a bad state and his friend intent on him remembering his actions.

Written by and starring David Elliot as Danny, Hangover may embrace the clichés of the alcohol loving Scotsman but the skill of the piece is its ability to merely use them as the set-up to an intriguing look at the repercussions of what can happen when you deny responsibility for your own actions.

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