Category Archives: Festivals

Subjective Reflections on Rosalind Crisp, Practises of Disarmament… by Anushiye Yarnell

(When we enter a workshop or performance we already carry so much with us, which shapes and resonates perpetually in how we feel, sense, think witness… and determines what we take away.)

Workshop:

Choreographic Improvisation

Possibly I enter each workshop dressed in degrees of resistance and estimated angles of surrender, 

and

I guess…  definitely un-definitive desires.

Desires secretly aflame stashed as best I can for another occasion. 

The geometry of these desires has been formed by my habitats of dancing, which have since childhood most predominately been solitary experiences, practices and investigations. Flickering into dancing nights out and occasional classes or workshops.

(Working under or up to a choreographer or even a teacher never quite seems to fit.) The implicitexplicit hierarchies and structures involved in the process of ‘becoming a dancer’ contrast significantly with those of other art forms.

My tendency seems to ‘dip in’ intermittently to social sites of contemporary dance- seeking conversations, connections with other dancing bodies- sources of reorientation rather than reproduction.

There is a lot I keep stashed under wraps in workshop situation.

That I edit out of my dancing in order to be there.

Perhaps everyone there does.

How thread bear can the fleshy garments we wear between life and dance?

I continue to find it distracting being in a room full of dancers ‘doing moves’ -moves which have been shaped by the aesthetics and conduct of contemporary dance class. There is a strong determinative current in the room- in some ways experienced as an opportunist ‘expansive’ and fertile energy-  yet also subliminally restrictive, prescriptive and within determining stylistic spectrums.

Ever-present (even in absence) is the omniscient all-knowing mirror in the room- in the held faces.

Sprayed on songs counted in 8.

An inheritance of aesthetics and ideologies.

As such dance classes and workshops are also a site of renouncement.

Resonance and Dissonance have been as much a part of my dance quests and navigations as my desires.

Expectations, prejudices, disappointments, preconceptions. These ebb and flow, merge and submerge, comforts and discomforts, hopes barriers, openings, shields. Somehow I wear them all… as in the misspelling the 2nd hand blue sweater I am wearing as I write this….

ARMOUR 

A_MOUR.

Love and Conflict co-inhabit as Survival in the way i wear and experience my body- in dance and life.

My anti Ideologies include paradox and contradiction, which resonate harmonically with dissonance and self undoing.

Everyone has their rules and regulations…to apprehend…however morphic, unrecognisable, displaced from the establishment /status quo.

There is a welcome greeting from Rosalind which extends somehow as a climate, an  atmosphere into the first actions of the day.

She is throw away with her words and tasks…as if shooting a tin can with exactitude and disarming laughter. Sending things flying in disarray… arriving with a perturbingly exacting landing. I believe in the moment I shall remember everything she says… yet never seem to.

We are invited to wear in-depth, the fleshy gestures we enact as we ‘Warm UP’.

Somehow there is a dressing and undressing from our needs- practical, physical, emotional. Which elements do we self-consciously edit out or adjust in this social situation?

A few years ago I stripped away Warming UP.

It had always been a synthetic add on. Easy to let go of…and almost made necessary by life’s constraints. 

Anyway my real desire was always to begin by dancing without expectation. Perhaps what I identified as ‘warming up’…has been historically identified by what I am not ready, or not yet good enough for.

If any thing I ‘warm down’ – a practical apparatus to be able to carry my dance back into my life- patterns and constructs of my body in day to day survival. A kind of savoury dessert. An elixir of the ordinary. 

It is a chorus somehow strangely echoes …down the line from Deborah Hay….

“Getting What You Need”

Not here or now this morning… yet somehow it echoes of its own accord.

When this incantation first resounded in my radar I had to undress it from associations of affirmation. It seems to fit easy when I recognise “what I need” as a cellular unidentifiable, morphic, surprising and self unravelling experience. What I need as a question, rather than an acquisition. 

An invitation, direction or gesture of departure as well as arrival.

Somehow Rosalind offered Warming UP as question…. an invitation to reconfigure ‘needs’…moving within easy to reach field of movement.

Perhaps if I rechristen Warming UP as acclimatising.

“Warming UP”  could feel like an invitation to include very practical and ordinary elements of my everyday  body- needs, fears and desires.

Warming UP deciphers beginnings and endings, invitations, expectations to tuning into tuning out of.

Rosalind describes a musical scale as a metaphor for Warming Up.  

A series of portals to experience aspects of feeling and being which appear and disappear.

Warming Up those vital aspects of ourselves,  dormant, or attired in getting through life, which can dishabille  dancing?

I am aware of how I am tethered by by my own discreetly oppositional anti establishment ideologies…which have their own restrictions within civilised  systems.

Rosalind speaks of “Shedding” through the day.

Somehow this Act of Shedding has been the only way anything has ever formed, accumulated, been generated, or encompassed in my the habitat of my dance.

There is a freedom and exactitude to “Shedding”.

 She rechristens Warming UP as Noticing.

Like orphaning and rechristening a child of the establishment as an illegitimate out of wedlock love child…tuning the harmonics and melodics of the

…the exchanging interface between life body and dancing body.

*Orienting includes of Disorientating and Reorienting.*

 Rosalind lightly describes years of being in the studio alone.

And her fidelity to 

“Just One Thing”at a time

…as a Practice.

“Practice” is another word I have orphaned, adopted and rechristened as a Habitat.

After all I always try to untether activities from Justifications.

In a world where justice can only be a fleeting or temporal accommodation.

The End of the World?

…Should it be a question any longer?

…So many worlds are ending.

…Yet the world is not a Mono-theistic Being.

(Even if that is translated into modern silhouette of Atheism  or sacrificial altar of Scientific Progress and Salvation. )

…Beyond my fingertips yes but not the nerve endings of my the reality of my imagination.

…Extinction still seems somehow out of reach…like the aspirational vote…on the top shelf of the corner shop.

…No-one ever shops there anymore.

…Warming Up as a mammalian being flickering through other forms of alien earthly life?

…Shedding humanity as a destination.

Destiny?

Salvation.?

Extinction?

Perceptually many worlds not one?

“Whoever says salvation exists is a slave, because he keeps weighing each of his and deeds in every moment.’Will I be saved or damned he tremblingly asks…Salvation means deliverance from all saviours…the perfect saviour …who shall deliver mankind from Salvation”

John Gray STRAW DOGS

***

Possibly sometime ago I would have felt a sense of inadequacy in attempting to commit to Rosalind’s  “ Just one Thing.” .

Now I seem to realise I have a tendency towards the inside out.

(My mother who is incredibly superstitious insists its unlucky to change your clothes if you put them on inside out…lately she seems to have extended this in recent years to back to front scenarios.) She is suddenly older.

….I start with a myriad of unnamed constellations and something strangely specific and singular seems to crystallise amongst the sensations.

Rosalind seems to start with some singular, visceral, displacing devotional action- distilling an undefinable, multiplicity of sensation. Somehow her work reconfigures the relationship between the dancers nervous and reflexive systems. 

“For polytheists, religion is a matter of practice not belief: and there are many kinds of practice….

Polytheism is too delicate a way of thinking for modern minds.” 

John Gray.  STRAW DOGS.

In Rosalind’s practice duality and multiplicity to experientially unfold through devotion and surrender through attending a singular perceptual activity.  

She speaks of the duality or oppositional friendship between her dancing self and choreographing self.

Her  fidelity to being moved by singular responsive action invites a dynamic multiplicity created by possibilities of empathetic polarities…movements between oppositional perceptions, or ways of apprehending experience.

She speaks of resting into/ committing to the specific initiation of one definitive   activity – tethering the mind/ brain- keeping it busy- so body can be free to… perhaps not act as its subject.

Sunday Morning…

We begin with SURFACE(s)….interplays of exchange, interfaces- membranes  of sensation…She specifies “SURFACE” not located, dislocated identified as skin, clothing, hair, aura, fat, nerves, space.

This definition is perceptually inclusive rather than exclusive.

We begin differentiating the sense of whole body and a body in parts.

We change channel to our VOLUME– Sensations of our how we are contained within our forms.

“What if the depth is on the surface?” An echo from Deborah Hay.

Our Skin an outer brain.

Our Brain an inner skin.

The skin of a thought.

The mind of sensation/ feeling.

I wonder…What if we our whole being is surface?… internally externally a site of exchange/ interface, a multiplicity. Each organ, nerve, vessel, muscle, orifice an intricate accumulation- a series, a family of surfaces. Every cell of our body…an intricate, responsive folding of surfaces, membranes, skins of connective differentiation.

I inhabit my Volume. I feel my Surfaces.

I inhabit my surface. I feel my Volumes.

I feel myself one…I become many.

I feel myself as many…I become one.

“Opposition is true Friendship”

Marriage of Heaven and Hell. William Blake

PERFORMANCE

a partial lecture about a partial history 
an unfinished dance by a saturated body 
an ongoing practice exposed

Rosalind’s meticulous distillation of perpetual actions….materialise in her performance. Framed at once by immediate incremental intervals… and over the history of her dance reaching into other dance worlds and practices. 

Films are shown as a windows into different fields of her work- the fluid electrics of her nervous system seems interconnected as other instruments of attentiveness ….perceptual apparatus.

My daughter sits on my lap and laughs as Rosalind enacts a live commentary on her actions- a self reporting journalist. Each moment and action swallowed up by the channelling of next event. The struggle between words and forms shaping and shedding..dressing and undressing of destinies… shedding of destinations.

She speaks about the dancer being carried away by the dance- like a babe in arms. Perhaps she speaks of marriage- of fidelity rather than faithfulness. I feel the meaning… yet I fail to remember the vows….the vowels without consonants…constants. Perhaps she is speaking about different types of love, liberty and dependancy…all intrinsically, synchronistically intertwined.

There is an ending…She speaks of riding through forest, as a girl on horseback…and the revisitation to the devastation of the wilderness she once was carried by and loved. She shows film of herself dancing, moving in the bodies of felled trees- laid waste.

It is stark and hopeless in its endurance and truth.

Her humanity exposed and stranded between animal and machine.

She is a helplessly human visitation in a scene of natural devastation. Yet she is dancing. Dancing somehow feels like an authentic activism- where there is no graspable solution.

I am writing this over hearing a conversation between the waitress at the Old Boys Club and a customer:

It is about animal life and meat.

It is about the value of life in the face of death.

He says to her,  “At the end of the day…When the animals are going to die anyway…Whats the point of them being happy and living a good life?”

It is also about ourselves.

My dear friend has given me… hand inked in lovely italics…a sign…

ESPERANCE

Hope is more convincing in French…because I don’t speak french.

Rosalind’s incantations and dances are untampered by representative justifications. Somehow her work channels with a truthful and disarming delicacy, with apparitions  of specificity-  a commitment to the beauty and mystery of the world- of existence. 

Fidelity to incrementals of uncounted time.

She speaks of hands being at the end of your feet.

Being carried by the contact we have with the earth..

The natural world… Out of sight…Out of mind… Out of our hands

But still resounding through our feet 

turning us on the world’s surface/skin- through our animal universals, rather than our human specialisations.

Perhaps we live in an age…where salvation must be reconfigured an act of disarmament…

A shedding of Humanity’s Survival-

A shedding of Humanity’s aesthetics governed by its fears an desires.

Perhaps this is a dance- as much as anything. 

IN THE PINK by Ann Davies

It was a dark Autumnal Valleys night where under feet the gravel crunched, it was almost like walking on cornflakes; curtains were drawn like closed eyes on terraced houses in the village. It was a cold night, with the mist draping the mountainside like a cosy quilt.

Ahead on the hillside, stood the whiteness of Carmel Chapel in the Rhondda Fach Village of Blaenllechau where Brian’s General Store, in partnership with the Blaenllechau Community Involvement Group and Blaenllechau Village Hall Project proudly announced a concert with guests the Tenovus Choir and Timeline.

Inside the Chapel there was a warm welcome with refreshments available as the choir began rehearsing their repertoire and people began arriving. The Chapel began as two wooden buildings built in 1858 – thus making it the oldest chapel in the Rhondda Fach Valley – its denomination was Presbyterian at birth, but since 2002 it has been an Independent Chapel which holds an Evening Service at 5.30 pm every Sunday, with Owen Griffiths as the Chapel’s Pastor.

The Tenovus Choir Pontypridd are one of the largest in Wales, they are a mixed group of people who have suffered or know someone who has or had cancer; their combination of singing and the message of enjoyment it brought to all was well received. The Choir were arranged into rows of musicality, they wore mostly black, and some with Tenovus T shirts but the main colour was prominent. There were wigs, a boa stole, a cowboy hat, ties and sleeves with jewellery that were the entire colour of pink. The message was for Breast Cancer Awareness Week stating that men can get breast cancer too. Their Choir Leader is Iori Haugen, he leads two Tenovus Choirs, and there are 16 in Wales. The Charity itself will be 75 years old next year and the Let’s sing for Cancer Project has been going for 10 years. Its aim is to raise funds for similar units (to the Mammogram ones) which will bring Chemotherapy treatment closer to the home of the patients. For further information please contact info@tenovuscancercare,org.uk.

Using backing tracks the Choir sang several songs which highlighted their talent, “Mr Blue Sky”,

 “We are Warriors” and “Sing a Song” particularly stood out.

The second group to entertain the audience was TimeLine, comprising of Gary, Nigel and Keith, a well-known trio of male singers from the area, formerly the Gooseberries with their formulae of songs which had the chapel rocking to the rafters. A trip down memory lane of “Waterloo Sunset”, “I’m a Believer” complete with the awesome “Hallelujah” which I am sure reached out well beyond the valley.

Special Guests were Deputy Mayor Councillor Susan Morgans (Ferndale Ward) and her Consort, Councillor Jack Harries (Maerdy Ward) both representatives of the local authority of Rhondda Cynon Taf. A presentation was given to a local couple by Cllr. Morgans consisting of a beautiful bouquet of flowers and a basket of goodies. Compere Brian Jones (in his pink shirt) of Brian’s General Store, Blaenllechau announced the results of the Raffle being held at the event comprising of wine, chocolates and homemade cakes.

In her speech Cllr. Morgans – who will be Mayor of RCT in 2020 with Cllr. Harries as her Consort, concluded that we are all one community and that as one we should help one another. Cllr. Morgans has named Cancer Research as one of her Charities for her tenure as Mayor.

The Valley was alive with song rocking the chapel to its rafters to be heard well beyond as the Tenovus Choir, TimeLine and the audience ended the night combining together with the Elvis song “I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You”

With thanks and appreciation to all IN THE PINK of health

Remembering there but for the grace of God

Think Pink Think Cancer Research

Tips and Tricks as a First Time Ed Fringe-r By Hannah Goslin


Working in the industry for around 10 years, it is a wonder I have only just made the essential pilgrimage for every Performing Arts professional.

This is not for want of not wanting to. Time, money… all those factors. And each year I have major FOMO through all the pictures and social media, friends and colleagues attending; my insides screaming WHY AM I NOT THERE!

So this year, I planned in January. And trust me, when I say, this is the best time to plan.

But when researching, I firstly reached out to seasoned friends and colleagues on their tips and tricks of the Fringe and Edinburgh itself (as, a double whammy, I had never been to Scotland either!). I have immense gratitude to these beautiful people, and it was a lovely euphoric moment of realising the collection of talented beings I know and love in one City, from someone who has made these connections all across the country. To have all these people in one place was surreal but also completely beautiful.

However, there was nothing more I could find from others with perhaps a list of things to consider when making this trip, and while I certainly do not know it all, I thought I would write a little something of the things I learnt at my first Fringe.

What to Bring

Scotland is Scotland after all. It can be cold. It (weirdly) can be pretty hot too. It buckets down. It shines. But it is still the UK. So here are a few things I found out you NEED to have with you:

  • Coat – bring a light one. You can bulk with warm stuff underneath. But when it rains, it bloody rains.
  • Wellies/Walking boots – I only brought trainers and flip flops (oh the hopeful part of me) but when it pours, parts of streets get quite flooded and soak through your socks. While I was suffering from quite a lot of chronic pain at the time which affected my decision also, bring hiking/walking boots with you if you plan on Arthur’s Seat. The day I wanted to do this, it rained and trainers would just not have done the job. Sadly I did not walk it this time due to all these contributing factors, but from what I know, you can walk it any time, so be prepared!
  • Socks – man oh man bring enough socks. While I came away with lovely highland cow socks, they cost me £4 and I probably should have just been prepared. (There are shops like Primark and H&M is the newer part, but if you’re busy you may not have the time).
  • Water – Yes you will drink a lot of booze. But get a reusable (all about the eco) bottle – pubs, venues e.t.c. will fill these up for you. And trust me, you will need a lot to drink with walking the city.
  • Pre-pack some food – Do not feel like you always need to eat out. It can get a bit pricey and if you are with limited time between shows, a protein bar or some fruit in your bag will save your life. It was delicious, but a £7 mini pizza was not healthy, rinsed my wallet and I rushed it, feeling pretty unwell after.

The City

  • The City is BEAUTIFUL. Take some time to explore, be a tourist, enjoy!
  • Stay in Old Town / Near the Royal Mile – easily the best part of the city, so beautiful but also a stone’s throw from most of the Fringe activity. Some happens in the newer part, and the half price tent is over there too but you will find most venues are in Old Town.
  • We’re still in the UK – Tescos, Lidl, corner shops are still around to grab anything you need. It can be stressful when you go on holiday and do not know the language or the area, but Edinburgh is littered with places to grab any essentials.
  • Walking is good – I loved walking the City. It’s pretty easy to do and the majority of things are pretty close together. But beware, it is all hills! (I found this out the hard way). However, if you’re struggling for time or feeling a bit lazy, public transport is amazing, and there is Uber!
  • Google Maps – Add at least another 10 mins to what google maps tells you. It is so busy and you will need to fight crowds at times. If you do not know the City, it’s easy to read a road not a bridge on the maps and end up going the long way. If you use public transport, there’s a lot of traffic so add time. And ensure you can grab a drink before your show!

Fringe

  • Get. Some. Sleep. – Part of this is planning where you want to stay. I chose a hostel but the experience made me realise I was A. Too Old for hostels now and B. It is NOT the place if you want to grab sleep, naps, relax e.t.c. So really think where you want to stay. This leads me onto…
  • Plan ahead – Get planning asap. Places sell out fast. Prices go sky high. The sooner you can book your travel tickets (train, plane, bus if you’re adventurous) and where to stay, the more you will save, the more selection and therefore can grab that private hotel room if you want/can afford and won’t end up sharing with a man who watches you leave/enter rooms and get ready for bed.. (yes this really happened).
  • Eat Healthy – I am still fighting the worse acne I have EVER had, and recuperating from lack of energy even a week and half after I finished Fringe. It’s so easy to eat bad food and let your health go down. Get some veggies. Drink some water. Practice serious self-care.
  • Have a freakin’ day off and organise your time– I packed around 50 shows in 9 days. I sadly cancelled a whole day because I got so unwell. 11am-11pm non-stop is insane, and why I thought I could do that for 9 days straight is beyond me. And organise your time – try not to do a million shows a day. Spread them out; schedule time to have a drink with the acts after; see some friends for lunch or coffee in between; go for a walk or take a nap between shows. Because you cannot truly enjoy a show if you’re at the back sweaty, exhausted and feeling like you may puke.
  • Plan your shows by distance – My second day I walked back and forth from the centre of Old Town down to Summerhall (a 20 min walk each way) at least 3 times. And I was a mess. If you’re seeing a lot at Bistro Square/St George’s Square or all on the Royal Mile, you can take a seat between, grab some food, chill in the park or a coffee shop and you’re not panic walking half way across the city.
  • Flyers/Be adventurous – Artists put a lot of money and time into flyers and flyer-ers. I spent my first few days politely saying no thank you until I met up with a producer friend who put it in perspective. Take the flyer, have a look, take a chance if you have the time. And if you can’t go and see it, you’ve at least made that persons day a little brighter by taking their flyer and considering it.
    Equally, take a punt! I was lucky to be going for reviews and ended up seeing some of the most incredible, the weirdest, the wonderful-est shows ever. And I may not have chosen these on my own. Even if it looks crazy or odd, have a go – you may be pleasantly surprised.
  • I also missed a lot of great work because I did not look into them enough before. If you are reviewing, balance it! Do some review work, see some shows just for yourself. I only did this once and it was a lovely relief not to be writing about it and to just enjoy it alone; a little break in between.
  • Be polite and chat with people – we’re theatrical people. The locals are lovely. Make conversation, it will brighten not only their day, but yours too. Everyone is really friendly.
  • Try not to hog pavements, doorways e.t.c It can be so dangerous with the busy roads. Be mindful and helpful, and it will make the Fringe so much better.

It may seem like a lot, but I learnt a lot from my first experience. I believe you need to experience it yourself and find your own ways to enjoy the Fringe but this is just a little to get you started.

Ultimately – ENJOY IT. It is probably one of the best things I have done with my life.

And maybe see you there next year – message me at any of the below and we can grab a drink!

If you have any other tips and tricks:

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We would love to hear your thoughts!

Review: Leslie Ewing-Burgesse EXISTS! Edinburgh Fringe Festival By Hannah Goslin

2 out of 5 stars (2 / 5)

Canadian born Leslie has come to London as she has always dreamed. In her flat, she finds an unusual book with the conspiracy that Paul McCartney died and all these years has been an imposter. And this begins a journey into her insecurities, acceptance but also getting to know this colourful lady through comedy.

Dressed magnificently (her boots are to die for, pink sparkly platforms!) and her bright hair, it’s hard not to fall in love with Leslie despite her fighting her own personal demons.

This work-in-progress performance is full of different levels – from insight into her past, The Beetles and conspiracy theories, the structure is well thought out and engaging as to what happens next.

There are times when Leslie needs to remind herself of what is next, but takes this in her stride and her comical ability smooths over these very brief breaks. Her ideas are all there, there just needs a little more confidence and trust in herself and her writing, as when it goes well, it is smooth and funny. This is not to say it never does not go well, but a work in progress type show always has a little delay with the comedian working out their material.

At times it felt a little more like a TED talk, and thoroughly interesting in this way none the less. But there’s a little work to do to deliver this as more of a comedy performance.

Leslise Ewing-Burgesse does indeed EXIST! She is flamboyant, loveable and we all want to be her best mate. Funny and insightful, she is one to keep an eye on as she inevitably rises through the comedy scene.

Review: Moonbird, Handprint Theatre, Edinburgh Fringe Festival By Hannah Goslin

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

After previously seeing Jonny Cotsen and Mr and Mrs Clark with Louder Is Not Always Clearer, it is safe to say my interest in BSL performances and learning BSL has peaked more than ever before.

If we’re being honest, between us friends, I am not sure before Cotsen’s show, that I have ever seen a show with BSL. Not even a captioned performance. And for that I feel shame, but also think it makes a great point of what Cotsen and Handprint Theatre and trying to achieve and put across in the industry with these shows.

Moonbird is a gorgeous tale of a Prince whose parents begin to realise he is deaf. Their struggle is explored on how to connect with their child and their feelings of failure towards him, but we also explore Orla’s (the Prince) struggle with being deaf, the world around him and ultimately loneliness. Enter the Moonbird who introduces him to nature, where he learns how he can communicate, and rebuild hIS relationship with his parents.

Throughout the production, BSL is communicated, along with subtitles projected behind. They are patient and take their time, not rushing through this to fully fulfil the message coming across. As one who does not know BSL, the movements of communication are like a beautiful dance, and the performers throw their all into it, incredibly bringing emotion and feeling across. If there were not spoken word accompanying the signing, I believe that you would still understand the story and feel every emotion within it.

The performers do well to change characters – a small group of 4, the majority double, even triple up from humans in the palace, to deer roaming the fields and monkeys playfully prancing the stage. During this time, there is almost no speech at all, purely the communication through action, movement and facial expressions. And nothing is over the top – it is enough for the stage yet subtle enough to be realistic and understandable.

Use of puppetry (my favourite!) comes in the form of baby Orla and Moonbird, and every movement is carefully thought out and taken time with. There is total fluidity and realism with this and you forget that these are not real actors on stage.

Lastly, the staging, lighting and general composition of the aesthetics are magical and beautiful. Simple yet effective, it feels as if we have jumped into a story book, with purples and blues, peacock colours spanning the stage, and basic costuming and props to help the story along – but ultimately this story is about the physical and nothing draws away from this.

Moonbird, while a production for young families, is really for everyone. The story is what every child’s story should be – magical, engaging and with a moral to the story. Moonbird is such an important performance for theatre going forward, I dare anyone to come away without being mesmerised and championing BSL performances.

Review: Switcheroo, The Oxford Revue, Edinburgh Fringe Festival By Hannah Goslin

2 out of 5 stars (2 / 5)

Think Whose Line Is It Anyway? Think classic British Sketch shows. A combination of these is what the Oxford Revue are trying for.

A small group of performers from Oxford university, aside from being some of the brainiest in the country, they are dabbling their hand at acting and performance creation which is always commendable.

Quintessentially British, they tackle relatable subjects from Dating to the Doctors, University life to sports which we all associate with in one way or another as well as recognise from society. This gives easy laughter, and interesting how they can easily roll through an hour long of 2 minute sketches without flagging energy.

As one can imagine, these guys are just starting out and so have a long way to go. They are comical, full of passion and excitement, but still with room to improve and hone their acting skills a little more.

Interaction with the audience comes in ebb’s and flows, something a little different than what we expect from a sketch show. However, the audience are as up for it as the performers which is a great sight to see, boosting confidence and helping the show run smoothly. The performers interact well with chosen contestants and do well to ad lib when necessary.

Oxford Revue, Switcheroo, is a good fun activity – a late night affair, if you are not ready to head home and up for sitting back for easy laughter, they are worth checking out. I would be interested to see how they progress professionally and perfect those already developing theatrical skills.

Review : Crazy Cat Lad-y, Dave Bibby, Edinburgh Fringe Festival By Hannah Goslin

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

We are crammed into a hot corner of a pub, close and snuggly, but the next hour proves why.

Dave Bibby is a Crazy Cat Lad-y – dressed in a onesie with a giant cat face, his comedy is evidently popular but also completely wacky.

The name is however a misdemeanour – admitting he needed a name for the show before writing it, his love for cats was what he thought of; however, in between his show, we get to see cute cat pictures, videos and GIFs to help us calm from the intensity – intensity of laughter.

Bibby talks to us about how he wishes he was Peter Pan – he unveils a costume under his onesie to reveal he is really Peter Pan. He then cleverly changes the characters in the original story to be accompanied by modern day themed songs e.g. The Lost Boys, are actually Lads from love island and so a song featuring full body waxing and ghosting girls begins.

The intelligence and thought into turning these characters into more relatable people and modern scenarios is abundant and so is completely hilarious in execution but also with how clever they are and how much it makes sense.

Bibby is completely engaging, and while we are all sitting almost on each other’s laps to see him, he makes us feel like close friends, engaging with us, confidently making eye contact and effortlessly interacting and ad libbing.

There’s at no point that we wonder what time it is or how long is left, because we are completely engaged and consistently laughing. The show is chocked full and Biddy even struggles to have a sip of cola as he is on an energetic roll.

Dave Bibby may be a crazy Cat Lad-y but he is also a talented, very funny comedian. Get there early to grab a seat, and don’t be surprised by how busy it is, because he truly brings a hilarious comedy show to the fringe. I look forward to seeing what his next show may contain.

Review: Do Our Best, Remy Beasley, Francesca Moody Productions, Edinburgh Fringe Festival By Hannah Goslin

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

For you Welsh readers, you would recognise Remy Beasley. But it may take a while. I spent a huge amount of Do Our Best wondering where I had seen her before, and it is a testament to her acting talent that I still did not know till googling after. Known for her role in the Welsh show, Stella, her character of Sephie could not be more far removed from her character opposite Ruth Jones.

Written by Beasely, we are introduced to Sephie who has decided to go back to girl guides to get her final badge. Dealing with the death of her mother, her feeling of insecurity and failure, and her relationship with her guide leader, we go through her motions of sadness, of loss to reliving her past and realising how much of a star she is.

Beasley is full of beans and never seems to stop on stage. I love this approach to the character, giving her a sense of still being childlike and finding her way in the World. She finds her way on the floor, on top of chairs, hugging the audience – she is as impatient as a child and we get the sense she has not grown up since the guides.

Sephie is a confident character – her want to be a star and her memory of being the centre of the world is evident, and she brings this to us in the present, ordering us around, stating memories as facts, and all in all being absolutely hilarious. Beasley shows through this her own confidence and own get go – at times slipping her own giggle at an audience interaction in, a little ad lib, and obviously enjoying her own performance, as much as we are!

And these comical and loveable moments make the hard moments, the sadness and the euphoric moments all the more poignant – when silence comes after chaos, it is beautiful, and she relishes these moments, leaving us feeling nicely energised and contemplative.

Do Our Best is a brilliant example of women running theatre – Beasley is a performer to be reckoned with, and it is guaranteed you will come out sore from laughter, from heart ache but with a new friend in Sephie.

Review: The Bible 2 (Plus a Cure for Shame, Violence, Betrayal and Athlete’s Foot), Crystal Rasmussen / Tom Glitter, Edinburgh Fringe Festival By Hannah Goslin

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

This is a drag show unlike any other.

A combination of comedy, quintessential camp fierceness, honesty, raw truth and pure love, Crystal Rasmussen (out of drag, lovely Tom Glitter) brings us the story of violence, shame and betrayal he felt growing up as a homosexual man in a less accepting world, and how his drag alternative personality helped him to accept himself and ignore the haters.

Crystal is beautiful, glamorous and hilarious. She bares all to us not only emotionally but physically, spinning on the stage in all her glitter for us to cheer, whoop and love.

When she opens up to us about Tom’s past, the physical, emotional and mental abuse he suffered for just being him, it is brought to us in a really sensitive way and anyone with a brain on their shoulders and a heart in their chest feels for him, feels the anger, betrayal and sadness that there are people who could treat someone else like this.

The narrative is nicely and equally split – while there is some hard hitting stuff, there’s as much joy and comedy and utter glamour to help us along.

Crystal also makes us feel included – saying hello to all of us, somehow making us feel as if she knows us one by one (and she is so brilliant, you just WISH you were her friend!) and makes us feel welcome. It feels like a safe sanctuary, where we are all joined together to celebrate Crystal and Tom’s love.

Not to mention, some well-known tunes, that we boogie to, but that she sings – and what a voice! I would happily listen to her sing any song and love it more than the original. Crystal Rasmussen/Tom Glitter, Bible 2, is great fun, a wonderful night out, but a hard hitting realisation of the world for LGBTQ+ people. It is not a shy performance, the jokes are NSFW and we come away even more in love with her than before.

Utter perfection!

Review: YUCK Circus, Edinburgh Fringe Festival By Hannah Goslin

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

The only way to start this review is to announce that this was one of the best and most inventive things I have seen for a long time.

The word ‘circus’ could however be a loose term for the performance; there are some small stunts, a little aerial and flexibility, but this is not the main focus, and that does not make me mad.

This all female group openly spit in the face of the patriarchy, but with a sense of humour and no fear. The YUCK ladies take elements of female life, from menstruation, to talking about messy nights out, pubic hair to ‘dick pics’ and ultimately doing this with a hint of satire on how women are perceived in Circus shows.

The YUCK performers are dressed in basic black shorts and tops, modest and purely to help with the stunts. But at one point, they point out that there has been little circus; to fuel our need, they do a balancing act, but not before pulling their shorts up, exposing their bottoms and facing the audience. This is not only hilarious but is addressing the importance that we are used to seeing scantily clad circus performers, and at times we question if this is really for function or for the ‘male gaze’.

They are unapologetic in parts of life that are not feminine – beer drinking, burping – who cares! They certainly don’t and through this humour and inventive acts, they poke fun and make a stand at the same time.

They interact fully with us, making eye contact, coming into the audience and so this is not a show for the shy by any means.

There is also music; and again, these range from satirical live music, poking fun at what the aerialist is doing, as well as some quintessential feminist songs, some disco – all the tunes you cannot stop yourself dancing to.

YUCK Circus is what every feminist woman should go to to feel another push in what we are striving for in society; for every woman who is still in the dark; and for every man who is stuck in the patriarchy. It is for everyone who wants to laugh, has a slight dark and unbarred humour and to feel really empowered by these unapologetic and fierce women.