City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Only One Dog In This Pleasance Fringe Preview Show

By edg - Posted on 02 August 2014

Pleasance 30 year cake cutting interrupted by dog

It was The Pleasance's turn to hold its Fringe press launch / preview this morning. Thanks to its strong ties with Edinburgh University, the Pleasance, in its 30th year, has expanded from a couple of theatres just off the Royal Mile into a veritable village of small and large performance spaces, pop-up bars, cafes, not to mention its big presence up at Bristo Square in the Potterow Dome.

Today's preview, gave us good chunks from eight of its shows. It was a welcome reminder of why The Pleasance has thrived over the years and is an obvious destination for the lazy or risk-averse Fringe-goer. You can rely on them to put on a good show. On a sunny day (unlike the dreich one today) the Courtyard and its various bars and tents are buzzing day and night.

A fierce-looking, baby T-Rex from kids' giant puppet show Dinosaur Zoo pursued audience members as they found their seats in Pleasance Grand and played up for the press photographers arrayed on the front row.

The opening act Voca People, an "alien" a cappella group who have landed on the Fringe for their first year, zapped the audience to life. Dressed head to toe in white, with red lips, they gave us a quick succession of brilliant, synchronised medleys of classic tunes using a mix of chirrupy, beat box vocals and slick harmonies. There was an important physical humour part to the performance as the group, who only communicate using sounds, mind-melded with members of the audience (the lucky punters getting thoroughly into the spirit of it). This will, no doubt, sell out quickly on the strength of this. A lot of fun and very well done.

Next up, amiably, self-deprecating stand-up Angela Barnes made light of dysfunctional body parts (particularly her own) and the ageing process.

On the theatre side, Kill The Beast's "He Had Hairy Hands" was a curious piece of nonsense, riffing on the classic line of old British detective stories "Get me, Whitehall!". It was a whirlwind of scenes, accents and settings to create a comical supernatural detective story which defies description.

A marked change in tone came with Forgotten Voices, which draws on the Imperial War Museum's oral testimonies of veterans of World War One made in 1972. Just four older men reading texts - but very moving readings they were. A special commemorative show will be performed at 10.30pm on 4 August which will end at midnight to mark the outbreak of World War One, one hundred years ago.

David Trent provided some hilarious critiques of rap, with aid of recorded media, and then the lithe, acrobatic singer-dancers of "This Is Brasil - The Show" brought the preview to an energetic and exuberant close.

The varied tone of the preview show made it move along quickly. Compere John Hastings even milked impromptu humour when a loose black labrador ambled up to the front and "upstaged" a 30th birthday photo spot with Pleasance founder Christopher Richardson and director Anthony Alderson.

All in all, a good and very Fringe morning - a preview show that managed only one dog. Literally.