Category Archives: Festivals

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.

 

Review: Just Me…?, Gareth Waugh, Edinburgh Fringe Festival By Hannah Goslin

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

If you are Edinburgh you need some pure Scottish-ness. There’s an abundance of shows that have travelled to this City, making it multi-cultural and vast in nationalities, but sometimes you come to Scotland and you want Scotland.

Enter Gareth Waugh – a pure Scottish comedian, his sing-song tones and confident stage presence is a lovely sight to behold.

Waugh is comfortable on stage, and comfortable speaking to us. He talks about everyday life and interacts with us as friends, engaging yet playfully taking the mick at times. He also is proudly Scottish and explains part of Scottish culture that may not be known by those not local. This is not patronising and informative, yet very funny.

With an almost full house, it is not a surprise that Waugh is a very good comedian. His almost self-titled show ‘Just Me?’ is about him but without being pretentious and certainly with much humour about himself.

Gareth Waugh is truly a talented comedian, full of Scottish pride and including us as new friends. Just Me? Is definitely a nice break from the hustle of fringe, laid back yet very humorous.

Review: Famtastic, Lucy Frederick, Edinburgh Fringe Festival By Hannah Goslin

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

I am a bad feminist. I really struggle to find a lot of women funny, and so as a huge comedy fan, it pains me to say that an awful lot of my favourites are male. And I think this is due to content – I struggle to resonate with men bashing, with talk of kids and marriage and generally ‘being a hard done by woman’ that seems to be an approach by a lot of female comedians. I want us to be championed, not to justify stereotypes of moaning females.

And so enter Lucy Frederick. Yes she talks about being a woman. Yes she talks about men and relationships. And the twist of this and something that I have never seen before is how she talks about becoming a step parent. And she approaches all of these in a refreshing, funny and relatable way.

Now I am not a mother nor a step mother, but somehow being an outsider hearing her experiences and approaches to the new way of life is really informative, and anyone who has worked with children can resonate a little more with this – there’s a similarity in it.

Frederick is a hilarious and loveable woman. She does not care what others think and is confident about her performance and herself on stage. She is very likeable, she interacts with us as if we are friends and really does engage us with the jokes, the content and with her personality.

Frederick is a breath of fresh air, a genuinely funny person and really needs to be given the chance to shine to larger audiences.

Review: Super Sunday, Race Horse Company, Edinburgh Fringe Festival By Hannah Goslin

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

In the last few years, there seems to have been a break out of traditional circus. The tricks and skills are generally the same, but the themes, the approach and ultimately the execution are all so different and unusual.

Race Horse Company bring their carnival, grown up kid-like circus to us, full of crazy stunts and belly laughing comedy.

This male group, a cross of hipsters meets a lad group who have been friends since childhood, they quite obviously explicitly trust one another (a must in circus) but also really enjoy what they do, while parading around in close to matching outlandish shirts and beach shorts.  

As any circus, we have a mixture of low level tricks to dangerous stunts – one minute the group are juggling or creating a comical dance routine wearing large horse puppets, and the next they are throwing one another up into the ceiling and performing in circular tubes that spin on their own at the same time on their own axis. Yet no matter what the performance, it seems effortless, smooth and there’s always an element of comedy to what they are doing.

A giant teddy bear being flung into the air, brightly coloured balls bouncing everywhere, this show is completely geared for children and you can hear the innocent giggles amongst the audience, along with gasps of all ages. Of course, any good show throws little jokes for the adults that go over the children’s heads and so we enjoy is just as much as the children are – giggling in our own corners and gasping in awe.

Super Sunday is extremely exciting, shocking in their courage and stunts but ultimately a brilliant Circus show.

Review: Tokyo Rose, Burnt Lemon Theatre, Edinburgh Fringe Festival By Hannah Goslin

2 out of 5 stars (2 / 5)

A wonderful way of bringing more unknown stories to light is through theatre. Burnt Lemon Theatre have done this with the story of Tokyo Rose.

An American woman, of Japanese heritage finds herself under the fire for treason in a case of mistaken identity, tricks and conspiracies. Burnt Lemon Theatre, through musical storytelling, bring us the story of this woman, from early life to the trial.

Not the biggest of musical fans, I have in the past be pleasantly surprised and converted. Unfortunately, Tokyo Rose does not do this for me. With musicals, some involve moments of script to break up the music, and some are back to back songs. With Tokyo Rose, this is more of the latter and it feels a little as if we need a break to take in the information. It feels quite full on.

What cannot be argued in how much the performers put into their series of characters, the choreography and singing itself. It is pristine, well formulated and executed with 110%. There are times that the singing is slightly off – throwing in quite often what I would call a ‘Mariah Carey’ flare; this over the top harmony that does not quite hit the right notes and could really be done without.

Unfortunately, Tokyo Rose was just not my cup of tea. Bringing such an important and not well known story to the forefront in this way is entirely commendable, and the performers are obviously very talented and bringing their all to the production. I really wanted to like it more – an all-female production bringing the injustice of a woman in the 1930’s/40s in a story missed slightly by time – it just missed the mark and did not seem to gel well with a musical approach.

Review: A Wake in Progress, Fine Mess Theatre, Edinburgh Fringe Festival By Hannah Goslin

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Adding to the ‘Death at the Fringe’ sector this year, Fine Mess Theatre bring us a death celebration.

When a young woman finds herself dying, all she wants to do is celebrate her life and go out with a bang. Not so much an unusual tale in today’s modern age, funeral parties before the death of someone is becoming increasingly popular – However, Fine Mess Theatre take this subject on with great intent and a refreshing approach.

The combination of scripted performance and audience interaction is equally measured. We are invited as guests; we are not made to feel like the audience but part of a really exclusive group of friends – given party hats and sweets, asked for our suggestions and addressed by names, (on a name tag we write at the beginning, but somehow the performers never make it seem as if they are reading them) we feel a part of this woman’s life. We feel the emotions and we feel the love.

The script is perfectly natural. Perfectly rehearsed, it does not feel scripted and if we were not at the fringe, it would be hard to guess that this is indeed a play; the performers interact and project their lines as if it was real life. The only theatrical break is when we are involved in the party and so there is a dramatic turn to the in depth and naturalistic scenes on stage.

And while partly heart breaking, partly realistic, there is some comedy to it. And these parts are not dramatised. Again, this is part of the script, naturally approached and so beautifully humorous, as one would find in a normal conversation among friends.

A Wake in Progress is true to life, deeply thought out and well executed. While a funeral is not something to find joyous, this celebration is worth the attendance.

Review: Art Heist, Poltergeist, Edinburgh Fringe Festival By Hannah Goslin

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

What happens when three thieves break into a gallery, the same night, to steal the same painting? A hilarious series of events full of comedy, gasps of close calls and complete chaos.

Art Heist by the company Poltergeist, in partnership with Underbelly and New Diorama Theatre, bring us a high energised and full of calamity production featuring three thieves and a gallery guard. All have different motives, different personalities and bring their own humour and likeability. At some point the characters are all bound to bump into each other, but there is a sense of a tense atmosphere while waiting for this, along with near misses. Once they do, the interaction is surprising, well thought out and full of comedy.

There’s hardly a break in this production for anyone – reminiscent of Monty Python, come Mischief Theatre’s ‘Comedy about a Bank Robbery’ with a hint of alternative reality/game culture, the narrative and actions are both fast paced and with quick thinking, yet perfectly accomplished with every comical intent hit.

Each character narrates their actions, sometimes with interaction from the guard who throws spanners in the works. This reminds me of watching a video game, with planned out thoughts that not always come to fruition.

The staging and lighting is simple – characters are always on stage but always engaged. We get different levels away from the main action, without a single person breaking character.  Multimedia is used with cameras, sound effects, lights e.t.c. to give the emphasis of a gallery but also to layer the action.

The performers themselves are hysterical – fully involved in their characters, there is freedom to ad lib and go with the chaos, especially when the audience are encouraged to interact. The simple ‘guard training’ that the audience undertake is hilarious in itself; again, it is simple but well put together.

Art Heist will steal your heart and rob your laughter – coming away, there is admiration of the energy of these performers and great smiles at how much fun we have in just an hour.

Review: The Words Are There, Nth Degree Productions, Edinburgh Fringe Festival By Hannah Goslin

3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

How does one express themselves without being able to speak fluidly?

The Words Are There tells the story about Mick and Trish, their meeting, relationship, the most important moment of their lives, but with the underlying issue of domestic abuse. Mick himself suffers from a stutter and so we see the impact this relationship has on bringing him out as a person and then shutting him back down.

This piece is fascinating. Using only sound cues and music, The Words Are There is a fully physical theatre production with only props to help us along the way. It is fast paced, intricate and full of energy, even at times of stillness. At times this is a little hard to keep up with and also a mystery to how Ronan Dempsey manages to keep going in this one man production.

While there in minimal narrative, with our reliance on the sound cues and the physicality, we are able to imagine our own scenes for Mick and Trish – triggers for the good and triggers for the bad are all available that we cannot help but get swept into the drama.

It seems comical when Dempsey makes Trish out of household items – but how he interacts with her and makes her move, we soon forget she is just an object and really believe in her and her personality.

The production is slow starting but somehow this works into bringing us to curve balls and climaxes. It feels like a build-up and we enjoy the ride; getting to know these two characters and developing love/hate feelings towards them.

The Words Are There is an energetic and emotional piece. Slow to start, we do engage intimately in these two characters and our feelings immediately change with the theatricality of the narrative.

Review: Final Form, Ange Lavoipierre, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, By Hannah Goslin

3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

Now this is going to be a hard review to write. How do you write a review when everything goes wrong, no fault of the performer?

Unfortunately for Ange Lavoipierre, technology was the devil for her tonight.

Final Form is a comedy show involving a cello, Lavoipierre’s past and present, her likes and dislikes as well as being open, raw and entirely loveable. Her approach to making her life comical is absurd but likeable and unlike any other.

But this was severely tampered with with the consistent tech malfunctions. Lavoipierre does well to laugh it off, continue when possible and use her natural comedic talent to keep the ball rolling. Her interaction with us is constant, warming and we are all there rooting for her.

From tales of snail massacre, to what she really wants in a man, Lavoipierre’s sense of humour is dark, unapologetic and damn right funny. We feel apart of a group and her friendly and confident personality makes us feel safe in her cocoon of an unusual life.

She’s not afraid to be vulnerable when things go wrong; but when they go right, they are excellent.

She has a fresh approach to female comedy, which is great to see; touching upon relationships, marriage and children, somehow it feels more fresh and a little less of what many female comedians can fall short with by bashing ticking clocks and men in general.

Ange Lavoipierre is lovely, friendly and definitely funny. It was just a real shame that tonight was when everything went wrong for her. I urge you to check her out, as her recovery over these obstacles shows that she has a real talent for comedy.