None = Unmissable
Page number refers to the Fringe programme
Gonzo Dog-Do Bar Band (page 86)
Venue Pleasance Dome (23)
Address 1 Bristo Square
Reviewer Neil Ingram
You miss them at your peril!
In the mid 20th Century music in Europe was in flux, so were musicians. New Movements and fashions appeared weekly (or possibly weakly? Ed) but now many of the greats are forgotten, consigned to dry historical texts and heaps of rarely played vinyl records. It is important that these seminal works are occasionally aired and examined though we may not fully understand the relevance of their intricate forms.
In this context, the latest concert tour by the Gonzo Dog-Do Bar Band is problematic. It does little to explain the social relevance of the Trouser Press, though my Shirt particpated in the performance. I am also no wiser about the whereabouts of the Urban Spaceman. What I can say is they do give us a faithful interpretation of some of the greatest works of the unhinged movement in British music. I say again miss them at your peril. Fundamentally to understand our civilisation this deranged entertainment must be preserved.
I must credit the immense contribution of Matthew Perret and Jeremy Limb, nightly endangering their sanity, and the audience's, to sustain this miracle. Assisted ably, at least some of the time, by Dan Mersh and Paul Litchfield, and several other odd characters. Sadly when I saw them Al Mitchell was too ill to appear. If some of your brain cells are still intact, get along to the Pleasance Dome and let the Gonzos scramble them forever.
Runs Until 26th Aug, but not 6th or 20th at 23.50
© Neil Ingram 3 August 2002
Grease (page 104)
American High School Theatre Festival
Company Carey McCray; Caitlin Jamello; Jeff Pew; Alisa Cooper; Ashley Martinsen; Debbie Salsberg; T.J. Brewe; Abraham Lincoln High School Theatre
Venue Church Hill Theatre, Morningside Road (Venue 137)
Address Morningside Road
Reviewer Mairi Anderson
This show by the Abraham Lincoln High School Theatre, one of the best attended of the American High School Theatre Festival events, was unfortunately marred by serious sound problems. It was difficult to work out exactly what the problem was. Sound was true at the higher and lower ranges but distorted in the middle range, producing a flat sound with unpleasant sharp peaks. It's the first time I've experienced that kind of problem at this venue or with any of the AHSTF productions.
The bright and enthusiastic young cast succeeded in creating some highly entertaining moments. They were at their best in the full-chorus song and dance numbers, particularly Greased Lightning. Choreography was good and imaginative, featuring some very original moves and some dramatic, well-executed gymnastics.
The strongest performer and vocalist was Carey McCray as Rizzo. She brought style and passion to the role. Her performance had depth and she had a powerful stage presence. Her rendition of There Are Worse Things was the most moving moment of the show. Caitlin Jamello as Jan displayed the best acting skills and created the most believable character. Jeff Pew as Doody moved and sang very well throughout the show. He is charismatic and has a light touch with humour.
Alisa Cooper played Sandy. She sang well, particularly Raining on
Prom Night, but had to contend with sound distortion and a truly awful wig.
In fact bad wigs hampered so many of these young performers, particularly Ashley
Martinsen as Marty and Debbie Salsberg as Frenchy. T.J. Brewe
as Danny struggled with sound distortion too, but I would have to say that,
on the night, his voice was not up to carrying the lead role (partly due to
the sound problems) because he succeeded in hitting some very difficult notes,
but sounded flat or off-key sometimes in the middle range. He performed with
panache and enthusiasm and he certainly looked the part, but musically it was
not a strong performance.