Do you recognise the title? Here Comes Your Man comes from a
famous Pixie’s song to which our comedian for the night thought was all about
love. Yet he has a sore realisation that it is about a murderous homeless
So how does he turn this around? Matt Hoss the hopeless
romantic bears his soul to us for comedy, telling us about his relationship
fails and his hopes for the future.
Matt Hoss is a rapid speaker and at times it we lose the
train of thought slightly. This can only be put down to nerves, which we
appreciate and are happy to stick with for a funny man.
You cannot help but feel for Hoss – we have all been there,
and it being rare for a man to feel so much and to be romantic – any lady would
be happy to have him. But his tales are not unusual, but the way he has twisted
it and to create a show from it, is.
To turn this into comedy for our enjoyment is brave; he is comical, lovable and fun to be in a room with.
With a little more confidence, Matt Hoss could go far. He is worth checking out for all those who have loved and lost, and need that pick me up!
No matter what age, we all grew up with lashings of ginger
beer, while slapping our raised knee. Not one person does not know about Enid
Blyton and her wonderful tales.
But what happens when you take the Blyton theme and
A whole lot of fun.
Bumper Blyton, an improv group, interact with us and let us
take control. We give our suggestions and they help to influence how the team
bring the story to us. Each time is different, each joke is different and so
each show is unique.
Playfully labelled as ‘Enid Blyton for Grown Ups’ – it sure
is! There are jokes that are only for the adults, and at times even flummox the
performers themselves; this is not a bad thing. One thing I think is brilliant
is when performers in these types of performances quite obviously enjoy what
they do and find it as funny and exciting as the audience. And it is clear they
do. This makes us laugh even more and feel included and part of the group.
Improv is a clever performance technique and so to come up
with an interesting and mysterious story on the spot, keeping to character is impressive.
Bumper Blyton is lashing of fun, a slap on the knee of enjoyment and a show we all feel included in. If you want a break from the festival to sit back, laugh and enjoy something new each time, ensure you check them out.
In an underground tunnel, it seems like the perfect place to
set the creation and editing process of the famous Grimm Fairy tales, we all
know and love.
However, there is a twist to this tale. The Grandmother’s Grimm
takes a keen look into the women behind these stories; ahead of her time, Frau
Hassenpflug helps the Grimm brothers to edit the horror out of the original
tales, while realising how the females behind these stories are the ones being
edited out. As we delve into their editorial process, we see the championing of
women, at a time that the patriarchy was at full force.
This small cast need little else than their talent and
enthusiasm to bring this tale to us – doubling up as the farcical characters in
the fairy tales, they use little items to help bring the magic across, and this
works well, triggering our own imagination.
The character’s of the Grimm brothers, Frau H and the house
maid are well established and with fierce and conflicting personalities of
their own – keeping to the ‘Victorian’ era that it is set, they continue the
customs and attitudes of the time, filling their language and physicality with
this, yet there is a modern take when Mrs H and the house maid are challenging
the stereotypes and becoming just as involved and as important as the men.
The Grandmother’s Grimm is intelligent, interesting and intriguing – a really enjoyable and unusual production.
If there is any time for a production around Brexit, then
this is it.
But this is Volcano Theatre Company – do not expect it to be
as simple as a Brexit play.
In what looks like a village hall at Summerhall, there are
no chairs, no ‘basic theatre staging’; nothing is quintessential about this
Firstly, it is AMAZING how this small group of performers
keep going. Edinburgh is unusually hot at the moment, and to then essentially dance
full stop, in character, no where to hide, for probably 15 minutes is a feat in
Volcano are well known (and gosh don’t I know it from my
training days with them as a student) for their physicality, and so there is no
fear in this when they battle over tables, ‘claiming space’ and almost throw
one another around the room. They each have a ‘character’ but there’s also an
honesty about them – we get to know them, their personalities, with the
opportunity to ad lib and interact with us alone and as a group, and from this
we get the impression of their personalities. Of course, this may just be very
good acting, but still, we enjoy getting to know them, laughing with them, dancing
with them and all the absurdities in between.
The ‘choones’ are EXCELLENT- A brilliant choice of music; it
lets us get involved, as music is a powerful tool when everyone knows the song.
And these are eclectic in themselves, with diverse nationalities and drag us
into one era, while the performers question the future; we are left in a state
of every changing existence.
The Populars is high energised fun, full of important questions, great music and intense choreography.
In the tiny upstairs room of a lovely bar, Sofi’s, we are
introduced to Andy Quirk and his partner in crime, Anna J. Dressed in what
could be described as street/ ‘chav’ gear, the two entertain us through comedy
in the form of songs addressing some of the 99 problems of the World.
These musical interludes tap into different genres of music –
rap, house, punk pop, 80’s and are all entertaining, addressing Bags for Life,
waiting in a queue and the meal deal; and while funny, they are also true to
life, making our interaction easy and the connection to the narratives true to
The relationship of Andy Quirk and Anna J is on point – they
interact well with us and with each other, making the show flow and with room
to add ad libs, going with the flow and making the show catered to us.
The music is fun, recognisable and also clever in how they
in put the lyrics to the beat. For every song, we have a chance to be involved
so rather than being sung / rapped at, we have the chance to join in and sing
our hearts out to relatable content.
99 First World Problems is fun, funny and quite a nice break out of the main hustle and bustle of busy Royal Mile. If you want a laid back, enjoyable show you can get involved with, then this is it.
Whether this is a Ed Fringe common occurrence, my naive first
time attendee is unsure, but this year there is a ‘Death Season’. Many
productions have taken this theme and created theatre in response to the
stimulus. And also for some great causes.
Glass Half Full Theatre’s How To Save A Life is no
different. It sees the story of Melissa –
a young 20’s female, seemingly with her life all ready and raring to go, suddenly
finding out she has cancer. What follows is her journey, and those of her
boyfriend and best friend in wake of the news.
Melissa is such a loveable character. I kind of what to be
her. She loves glitter. She’s confident, fun, with amazing hair and a lovely
personality. It is no wonder she catches the eye of a handsome man who wants to
be with her forever and becomes best friends with a girl who is wild but
equally as loveable.
We get to know Melissa; we laugh and joke with her. We
associate ourselves with her, with her ideals and her life, and if we do not
have this already, we want it. We want to funny, beautiful personality of
Melissa, a caring and adorning partner, a best friend who is mad but would do
anything for you. So when we reach crisis point and the C word is issued, we
feel even more for Melissa; we feel her pain, her disbelief and her struggle.
Melissa was our constant character, and rightly so – this was
her story. And when we soon became her friends, privileged to live her life
with her, she makes you begin to think about your own life, your own loved ones
and your health and how important all of these are. Who would have thought such
a beautiful soul would lead such a tragic life!?
How To Save A Life is hilarious, but heart wrenching. Not many a production would reduce me to tears but as the lights come up, I find myself in a snotty, painful and wet mess, wishing this had not happened to Melissa. This is one of the best productions at this year’s Fringe – A Must See!
Most of us know the story of Jesus of Nazareth and his disciples.
But have you ever seen a nautical depiction of this tale?
Fisherman’s Tail combines essentially all of Jesus’s life
story into one hour, filled with fun, music and plenty of fish.
While normally, as an agnostic, I would not necessarily pick
a show linked to religion, I was pleasantly surprised and came out feeling
pretty entertained and uplifted.
It may be based on religious stories, but it ultimately is a
story of friendship, forgiveness and definitely enough fishing jokes and antics
for all the children in the audience.
The live music, played on string instruments and percussion
is joyful, folk-like and catchy. It has a tiny twist to make the story fun and
not like the stuffy bible speeches we had in British primary schools. It feels
like a new story and it feels exclusive to us.
The performers all work in harmony, with little dances,
great interaction and with fully formed character’s. The only criticism I would
give is when doubling up, for me there needed to be more distinction – a change
of hat, a different stance, just something over the top to bring that new
character to the forefront for us.
Fisherman’s Tail is for everyone, religious or not. It is good fun, interactive, and a heart warming production.
At half 9 at night, the last thing you would be expecting to
see is a sock puppet show. I love a good puppet, but I equally love an usual
concept. Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre (SFSPT) sure are the unusual.
Opened to the world of adult puppetry and it becoming more
familiar a concept, we have all heard of the adult themed ‘Avenue Q’ and a few
years ago, ‘Hand to God’. Even cartoons have become more adult friendly,
opening up a whole new world in performing arts.
And while I hesitate to compare SFSPT to such shows (a joke
in the performance itself reflecting this), it is agreeable that this concept
Is not as unusual as it may once were. Yet I was still pleasantly surprised and
Puppetry come comedy, the FSPT does not rely on humour alone
to get by. There is a theme, and it is ever changing (as we hear from its 15 or
so years of its presence). This round is Circus themed –with The Greatest
Showman being so prevalent in the last year, SFSPT draw upon this to create a
narrative, but feels free to go a little off course, ad lib where necessary and
it is all just as funny as the original plan. We are at times asked to use our
imagination, thinking of a sock puppet out of shot on a tightrope or completing
an another amazing feat.
They keep the information present – keeping to events and
news from the last year, even making jokes and making it clear that some of the
audience may find some too obscure, we cannot help but love it and definitely
With only one man, two puppets, and maybe around 5
character’s, it is a feat of genius and skill at set and ‘costume’ changes with
one hand- a magical experience we all wish we knew the answer to. He manages to
give each character its own personality, even with their interaction with one
another being quick. Of course there are times when a Australian accent is
suddenly Scottish and he soon realises it. But this only adds to the humour –
there is no masking mistakes, only inclusion of them.
The narrative went a little off course and dark humoured,
but you know what, I was not mad at it. I was sufficiently entertained, laughed
my socks off (pardon the pun) and had a really interesting and splendid time.
Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre is not exactly breaking theatrical boundaries, but my gosh was it a lot of fun. If you fancy something unusual, ridiculous (is a good way) and a good laugh, then this show is a total must.
Let me tell you, if you like boundary breaking, the plain and simple truth and interesting physicality to name but a few, then you need Mr and Mrs Clark in your life.
A long-time fan, I have always admired their work, their
concepts and how they bring these to the stage. They are never similar, never
the same but always ground breaking and perfectly formed.
Louder Is Not Always Clearer draws upon the performance artist Jonny Cotsen and his life as a deaf person. The show Is autobiographical to an extent, but also makes you really see yourself. Using a range of media, physical theatre techniques, theatrical techniques and fine art, Cotsen brings us into his world, his difficulties but poses it in a way to create slight difficulty for us. Almost acting as if we are those who may not be as open minded and accommodating, we feel similar to how Cotsen has felt during his life – wanting to participate but being discriminated for something he cannot control.
An example of this is with use of sign language. I can
imagine not every performance goes this way, depending on who is in the
audience, but he begins a conversation with someone who can sign, finding them
by openly asking through this communication who can indeed sign. And to this
day, I still have no idea the conversation. This made me feel isolated,
confused and this was very clever. As to an extent, this is what he himself has
experienced on the other end.
He, with use of props, physicality and vocalisation makes
fun of those who are ignorant. Those who are surprised by how he can drive a
car, have children, those who almost shout at him to ‘hear’ them, normal things
that everyone can do – and through these, they are comical, sometimes heart
warming, sometimes astonishing at the ignorance and completely understandable.
Cotsen commands the stage. Unlike some of Mr and Mrs Clark’s
pieces which are abundant with physical theatre, there are times of peace, of
silence, of contemplation, and even at these points you cannot take your eyes
off Cotsen – he is simply a fantastic performer.
Louder Not Always Clearer is honest, it has no fear, it has no bullsh*t. It is unashamed, unapologetic and something fully needed in the forefront of society. Feel seen, feel informed but ultimately, come away feeling Cotsen’s emotions and with anger at those who are ignorant.
Think back to the Agatha Christies. Miss Marple, Poirot.
Think even to the extent of Sherlock Holmes. These crime stories, full of
mystery and far fetched narratives. Number Please felt very reminiscent of these.
When a telephone operator hears a murder on the telephone,
she is dragged into a world of secrecy, double crossing and spies. Enter train
chases, over the top character’s, and London (because a murder always happens
in London and alien invasion, but that is Doctor Who and off topic).
This female lead company came to bring us fun, frivolities
and intrigue. And they execute some of this. I am glad that it was meant to be ‘hammed
up’ as the characters seemed quite one dimensional, and my worry was for the
stereotyping of women. Saving this, the 1950’s styled era saw a strong female
lead, solving the murder and uncovering the mystery.
While I had a lot of fun and enjoyed their performance, I
could not help but wonder whether it was meant to be unintentionally of an
amateur persuasion or whether this was the point; a metta/ironic take on the absurdity
and predictability of these genres.
What cannot be argued is that the performers put their all
into their performances. Every facial expression was executed, every pun and
the fact they high-kneed ran for a good 5 minutes non stop is something to be
Number Please is a fun, easy going, easy watching show. If you want to just sit back and have a little giggle, this is for you.
Creating opportunities for a diverse range of people to experience and respond to sport, arts, culture and live events. / Lleisiau amrywiol o Gymru yn ymateb i'r celfyddydau a digwyddiadau byw