|(L) 15 out of 226
None = Unmissable
Page number refers to the Fringe programme
La Trattoria di Segretti.
Venue Pleasance Courtyard. (Venue 33).
Address 60 The Pleasance.
Reviewer Ksenija Horvat.
Fast-moving, flamboyant and hilarious, La Trattoria di Segretti is a pure
joy to watch. Tim Norton's script is catchy and interesting from start
to finish, even though the story is a bit predictable, and Ned Bennett's
score will have you whistle and sing-a-long in no time.
The best part of the show, though, are its fourteen young superbly multi-talented
actors/singers/musicians. Wanna sing? Wanna dance? Wanna see some good acting?
Young Pleasance is your company. They swap the roles as fast as they throw
around dirty dishes. They may be over the top in a grand guignol fashion, but
they never miss a beat. The result is a total mayhem onstage, and belly-laughing
audiences in the auditorium.
And while the set and props fly across the stage, and a complex web of
cliched characters and situations come alive before one's eyes, one
cannot but admire the skill and diversity of these young performers. They
tease their audience and lure them into the chaotic world of the play,
they kindle the audiences' imagination and toy with it with an unsurpassed
mastery and ease. It would be difficult to single out a performance above
the rest because all of them work in seamless unison, their singularities
perfect part of the whole.
This show is, without any doubt, Fringe First material.
Ksenija Horvat, 23 August 2004 - Published
Runs until 30 August, 13:20.
Company Young Pleasance.
La Zapatera Prodigiosa
Venue Bedlam Theatre (Venue 49).
Address 11b Bristo Place.
Reviewer Ksenija Horvat.
Cross-dressing is nothing new - that Elizabethan theatre employed young boys to
play female parts is common knowledge today. The Fletcher Players do exactly
the opposite, and apart from a brief appearance by Laurence Hooper as Lorca/Narrator,
the show is staged by an all-female cast of exquisitely lively and funny performers.
La Zapatera Prodigiosa is everything that the Fringe brochure says it is
- flamboyant, farcical, colourful, and sentimental. It has live music too.
The cross-dressing element is the highlight of the show. The girls do not try
to imitate boys, they parody them in deliciously funny ways. Suzy Pollard
and Jenny Wright are hilarious as Alcalde and Don Mirlo, and Maria Quintero
makes a very believable Zapatero. Rosie Senguel is the wheels on fire as
stubborn Zapatera, as if the bull's blood flows in her own veins, and the rest
of the cast successfully complete Lorca's mosaic of social archetypes.
Performed completely in Spanish, with the translation projected onto the back
screen, spectators lacking a knowledge of the language may struggle to keep up
with the characters' comings and goings. It’s a good idea to acquaint yourself
with the story before the show, so that you can enjoy the rollicking action without
©Ksenija Horvat 16 August
2004 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs until 28 August (not 22nd), 10:00am.
Company - The Fletcher Players.
Ladyboys of Bangkok.
Drams None needed – pure entertainment.
Venue Meadows Theatre Big Tops (Venue 189).
Address The Meadows, Melville Drive.
Reviewer Sophie Lloyd.
Leggy, toned and beautiful with no trace of cellulite – something all girls aspire
to be! The Lady Boys of Bangkok are quite something with their fantastic
figures, sexy dancing and extravagant costumes that leave little to the imagination.
A definite must see for the Fringe.
Ladyboys of Bangkok
Directed and produced by Carol and Phillip Gandey, this show will have
your jaw dropping as 16 glamorous transvestites take the stage dancing
and cavorting to a repertoire of classic songs from Madonna’s Vogue
to the Cheeky Girls. With a cabaret feel, the décor, lighting and
ambiance inside the tent are perfect - right down to the red velvet
curtains from behind which the ladies emerge. Sporting a range of racy
outfits, fancy wigs and sexy stilettos, the lady boys tantalise and amuse
the audience with their talents. Most impressive is the One Man One
Woman piece performed by Mr Chakkrit Kiettiachaysay who
succeeds in entertaining spectators with both his feminine wiles and
masculine strengths – at the same time.
You may be one of the lucky persons that get pulled up on stage to
participate in the show. If not, you can get a souvenir photo during the
interval to take home for the mantelpiece. Impressive singing, dancing
and erm surgery!
©Sophie Lloyd 9 August 2004 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs August 6-21, Aug 23-September 4 at 19.00, Aug 6-Sep 4 at 21.15,
Aug 28 at 17.00.
Company – Urban Circus Ltd.
Laius. (Page 162).
Venue Old St. Pauls Church Hall (Venue 267).
Address Then Put address Address as in Back of Fringe Programme.
Reviewer Bill Dunlop.
Laius is an almost unique example of the use of classical verse in a contemporary
play. David Adey's edgy script has a baroque delight in its own language,
whose richness might have drawn plaudits from Mervyn Peake or Michael Moorcock
(in his 'Gloriana' phase).
The script's potential problem is that its very density can obscure the horrendous
nature of the story it unfolds. Laius is King in a land we know not where or when.
He falls heavily and passionately for Mia, a child of the woods, who is less than
welcomed by Laius' jealous, incestuous court. Seann, scheming secular high priest
connives to bring about Laius' downfall, although his motives for this remain
at least as ambiguous as those of Iago in Shakespeare's Othello.
Adey's text touches on themes of jealousy, the nature of passion, the purity
and impurity of lust, and the nature of power itself, but often seems to walk
around these without coming to direct grips with the forces suggested and unleashed.
There's potential for allegory here which is not fully identified or revealed.
Georgie Cockburn plays a heart-breakingly vulnerable but strongly passionate
Mia, while Ben Wiltshire's Laius is almost faultlessly foiled by David
Brown's Seann. If some of Cockburn and Wiltshire's scenes appear
coyly stiff at times, the conviction in their acting overcomes much, and their
fellow players ably support throughout.
3 Bugs deserve congratulation for tackling a challenging piece of contemporary
theatre with conviction and elan. It's always a positive when one feels a strong
sense of 'company'; in a production and Birmingham based 3 Bugs emanate
an encouraging sense of solidarity. Its to be hoped, whether separately
or together, more is seen of many of the members of this young and very able company.
© Bill Dunlop 24 August 2004 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs to 28 August at 16:15.
Company – 3 Bugs.
Larium Dreams. (Not
in Fringe Programme).
Venue Cowgate Central at Wilkie House. (Venue 26).
Address Hasties Close off Guthrie St/Chambers St.
Reviewer Georgina Merry.
It is the decision that has plagued many – health or sanity? In this short and
confusing play, Jon Rankin, Ian Staples, has this very conundrum. He has
to travel around the globe as part of his job. He takes Larium, a drug that combats
Malaria. It has drastic side effects and soon Jon is having some very strange
dreams. But he never really makes any decision to stop what happens - he just
allows his sanity to slowly slip away until he can no longer decipher fantasy
from reality. By the time he does realise the extent of that he has believed to
be real it’s too late…
This piece is ambitious in every sense and the complexity of the script struggles
to work in so short a time period. Condensing too many experiences and different
angles thrown in haphazardly, without any explanation, it's hard to follow. As
it is clear that this is the intention of the script – to allow the audience to
experience the craziness of Jon’s mind and his emotions - it requires a multitude
of acting capabilities from cast members. It also calls for an extreme amount
of directorial vision that even David Lynch would have difficulty conveying. More
than a little too intricate for a small scale production to pull off successfully,
combined with the nature of the plot means you end up not really caring about
the characters. The actors give it their best shot, but the script demands so
high a level of intensity and diversity from the characters it is hard for even
the most skilled performer, never mind an amateur group. However, Ian Staples
is very convincing as Jon, though even he finds the role hard to sustain throughout
One thing that can be said about this production is that it has a lot of heart.
Each and every participant in this play has given their all. The script demands
more than they have at their disposal - time, lack of experience and a difficult
script are against them.
©Georgina 28 August 2004 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs to August 30 at 20:30.
Company Circle of Arts.
Last Night A DJ Saved My Life.
Venue Gilded Balloon.(Venue 14).
Address 13 Bristo Square.
Reviewer Ellie Fazan.
The idea is this - a Cult radio DJ randomly phones phone boxes and gets the people
who answer to talk on the radio. For them this may be a life changing experience
but what next? When Anna answers the phone she opens her soul and she believes
the phone call has been a sign, she tracks down the DJ who eventually destroys
her faith and she is left to rebuild her own life.
This story, as a concept, is great and was effectively told. The play begins
and ends with a phone ringing from a phonebox on an empty stage. Anna's
monologues reveal the sole destroying state of her world while Bennet, Kelly and
Cassy really lift the action and put some life into the performance which for
some reason felt otherwise fairly dull. The DJ was suitably cheesy in a
Richard Madely-esque way, but his performance (intentionally or not) made me slightly
cringe. Part of the problem is that there is not enough interaction between
characters (necessarily though in this type of play) but it left some of the action
feeling isolated and dull (and really made some of the great scenes between the
three kids shine).
Some parts of this production are really funny, others really insightful.
Essentially though, this is a piece centered around an idea - the idea, the concept,
is great, but great enough to carry a much stronger and better thought out play.
©Ellie Fazan, 24 August 2004 - published on EdinburghGuide.com.
Runs until 30 August at 13.30 (every other day - even days only).
Company - Leaves on the Track Theatre Company.
Lies Told To Children.
Venue C cubed (Venue no as in back of Fringe programme).
Address Brodie's Close, Lawnmarket.
Reviewer Ritchie Smith.
We start with family domesticity and then are in youth culture, with student banter.
The set-up involves Becky, Justin and the little-seen Neil in a kind of eternal
triangle, with one and a half of those characters gay. I won't say which is the
half. It rolls along pleasantly enough without ever quite sparking off for me.
You might say the plot, the theme, is about the difficulty of achieving love and
happiness for Becky. But the question really becomes whether or not she might
have to move to London on her own. So, though she feels 'dumped' (without ever
doing very much about it) not much is really at risk, and the characters don't
exactly undergo life-changing experiences while climbing the emotional mountains
of theatre. But for a younger audience especially it's probably a pleasant enough
stroll in the foothills. (Oh, and there's an amusing Imaginary Friend, a chartered
accountant with an animal's head, regrettably totally irrelevant to the plot...)
I must note the number of flat lines and cliches in this play, and I'd avoid saying
things like this, in case sarcastic reviewers write them down: 'Don't gush on
like you've said anything special.' However, there is an amusing moment of bedroom
farce at the end, and Lucy Middleweek as Becky is vivacious and listenable-to
all the way through.
© Ritchie Smith 18 August 2004 - Published on www.EdinburghGuide.com
Runs to 30 August (even dates only, e.g. 20, 22 etc.) at 13:10.
Life Is Precious.
(Not in Fringe programme).
to make a welcoming toast.
Venue C Central (Venue 54).
Address Carlton Hotel, North Bridge.
Reviewer Thelma Good.
Life Is Precious - Matt Jackson.
© photographer 2004.
Francois is an old man, yet when he moves in his slow steps there is still
the movement of the dancer he once was. He enters the stage and comes gradually
to the blouse and skirt hanging up - as he touches and smells them, his loss
is tangible. To the music of Three Grossiemes beautifully played live
by unseen Caroline Lewis, the Edinburgh-based pianist, Matt Jackson
moves his creation Francois. In a brief fifteen minute perfomance, his first
as a puppeteer Jackson has put down his calling card as a creator, puppeteer
and actor to watch and savour.
He made Francois during a brief course at Institut International de la Marionette
in France learning from a Japanese master of puppets and this short engrossing
work developed there. Part way through this Fringe, while working at C he decided
Edinburgh should met Francois. With ecomony of movement and storytelling and
without words Jackson's Francois conveys the sweet and bitter pain of loving
and losing. After applauding the cast and musician there is time to talk to
Jackson about the work he has created. That too is a treat in the rushing of
audiences in and out of Fringe spaces as longer shows running back to back,
changing audiences in 15 minutes or so.
This is a chance to see a quality artist embarking on a new relationship with
performance, till now he made puppets and special effects for other people,
productions and film. He has worked with the Squonk Opera Company as a noteable
prop/puppet engineer. Brighton, England will be staging this developing work
soon, and others should be coming with invitations. Well worth the £3/£2
charged. Don't miss.
© Thelma Good 28 August 2004 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs to 30 August at 13:30.
Company – Matt Jackson.
Company Website - mattjacksonstudios.com
Little Lucy and Friends. (Page 165)
Venue Venue 45. (Venue 45)
Address Old st Pauls Church Hall, Jeffery Street.
Reviewer Georgina Merry.
Little Lucy likes to be horrid. She’s clever and wicked and she knows how
to use it. She aspires to be a pyromaniac. As Lucy torments each of her
friends in turn the audience cannot help but look on, wondering just what
act of cruelty she will perform next.
The characters are dressed in black and white, which is surprisingly effective
against the white back- drop. Their grotesquely painted faces add an eerie quality
and emphasize their animated expressions and movements. Each has their own distinctive
style, the result is an intriguing and twisted bonanza of the dark and the obscure.
This wonderfully absurd malevolent comedy is ideal as a
pre-dinner pick-me-up. The humour is black and the plot is fiendish. Well
worth a look.
©Georgina August 11 2004 - Published on
Runs to August 19 at 17:00, not Aug 15.
Company Z Theatre Company.
A Little Touch Of Harry
In The Night (Page 165).
Venue Cowgate Central (Venue 26).
Reviewer Alex Eades.
Henry V has always been a personal favourite of mine amongst
Shakespeare’s plays. After watching Laurence Olivier’s version as a child,
it was this play which first sparked my interest in theatre. The chance to
see it performed as a one-man show was something that I simply could
not miss. Sadly, in many ways, I wish now that I had.
The play has been cut quite significantly – for one man to play every
single part would be asking a lot of both actor and audience. The deleted
scenes have been chosen wisely and their absence doesn’t affect the
smooth running of the piece as a whole. Tyrus Lemerande jumps
from character to character with ease and are all well performed…
apart, that is, from Harry. The acting is energetic and emphatic,
which is all very well, but it all seems done for the sake of doing
Shakespeare and fails to show an understanding of the text or who the
character really is. If all is quiet, Lemerande raises his voice and
vice versa. He is still, then makes a giant hand gesture, without any
I came out a little disappointed in this play that I once loved so dearly.
This is a performance worth going to see just for the package, but
expect a lot of the play’s beauty to be lost in its delivery.
©Alex Eades 15 August 2004 – Published on Edinburghguide.com
Runs until 30 August at 5.35pm
Company – Knighthorse Theatre Company
The Little World of Don Camillo
Venue Valvona & Crolla (Venue 67).
Address 19 Elm Row, top of Leith Walk.
Reviewer Neil Ingram.
Mike Maran and Philip Contini have created another highly polished show, taking
us back to Italy in the 1940s. Based on the stories by Giovanni Guareschi, they
follow the lives of Don Camillo, the priest in Piccolo Mondo, a small town on
the bank of the Po River, and its Communist mayor Peppone. Through their conflicts
and tribulations, we see the fragile new democractic Italy struggle into life.
The diverse characters portrayed by Maran and Contini show how
individuals can pull together despite their political differences to rebuild
a country torn apart by the destructive forces of war.
The storytelling is relaxed, and at times a bit repetitive, but the stories
themselves are timeless in their simple humanity. They are illustrated and knitted
together by the music and sounds of a small Italian town, vivdly brought to
life by Colin Steele on trumpet and Martin Green on accordion. I left with a
warm feeling that life goes on despite the great events which dominate the news,
and communities often do find ways of working together through the chaos.
© Neil Ingram 12 August 2004 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs to August 28 at various times, not 16,23.
Company – Mike Maran productions.
Company Website www.mikemaran.com .
Loaded by Scott Capurro.
Venue Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33).
Address 60 The Pleasance.
Reviewer Sarah Jane Murray.
Loaded - with what exactly? Scott Capurro’s new play is most definitely
loaded with wit, acute observations and well-developed characterisation. But -
unfortunately - it is also loaded with distaste. This is not a case of excessive
prudishness - cracks about ‘dreamy’ Ian Huntley are simply not in good humour.
How unfortunate - Capurro’s cheap gags dilute an otherwise funny and human
In his favour, Capurro never set out to be tasteful. Taste is not something
that comes easily to a play about a man’s obsession with a stranger convicted
of murdering his own parents. Rather than unnecessary attempts to self-psychologise
his fictional fantasy, it is Capurro’s meandering anecdotes that show off
the acerbic tongue that has already won him the Perrier for stand-up. Along the
way, Capurro introduces us to a cast of characters so dysfunctional they
make the Osbournes look like the Waltons. In particular, Simon - an accountant
who lives with his mother and suffers from a rare condition which means he cannot
react to anything - brings humour to the heavy subject-matter with his monotone
deadpan manner. James Holmes – playing all supporting roles – manages to
bring a certain warmth, despite his characters being no less oddball-esque than
that of the lead.
Capurro is clearly adept at script-writing. Loaded is both
perceptive and incisive. However, he should be confident enough of his own
wit, without feeling the need to rely on controversy to win audiences.
©Sarah Jane Murray 11 August 2004 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs to 30 August, not 17 August, at 16.30.
Company - Festival Highlights.
Losing Venice (Page166).
Venue Komedia Roman Eagle Lodge(Venue 34).
Address 2 Johnstone Terrace.
Reviewer Neil Ingram.
It's great to see a new production of this remarkable play in Edinburgh, where
it won a Fringe First nearly 20 years ago. Extraordinarily this is only its second
professional production in Britain. John Clifford's* play is about the
eternal themes of love and war, and how the common man has little control over
his fate. The central character, Quevedo, is a poet in the employ of the Duke,
and we see him first writing a poem for the Duke's wedding. But once wed, the
Duke's ambition is to go to Venice to assert Spain's influence over the city republic.
Quevedo and his servant Pablo agree to go with him, but on the way they are captured
by pirates, and though they do get to Venice nothing turns out as expected.
The timeless themes of Losing Venice are just as relevant to our new century
as they were to the last, or to whenever nations seek to extend their influence
across the world. This multi-national production is rather uneven and in places
difficult to follow, they've shortened the text rather randomly. But it contains
some spirited acting and is cleverly directed on an almost bare stage.
© Neil Ingram 14 August 2004 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs to August 22 at 16.40.
Company – Art Immediate.
Company Website www.artimmediate.com
*John Clifford's writing is also appearing in the Edinburgh
International Festival, he is the translator of Spanish playwright Fernando
de Rojas' Celestina (first performed in 1499) starring Kathryn Hunter and
directed by Calixto Bieito on till 24 August at various times.
Love, Marilyn. (Page
Venue 1/4 rm rm @ Greenside (Venue 231).
Address 1b Royal Terrace.
Reviewer Vivien Devlin.
Marilyn Monroe died aged just 36 in 1962; "probably suicide" was the verdict.
Since then her iconic image as a beautiful blonde Hollywood goddess has remained
intact. Valerie Goodwin's play aims to tell Marilyn's tragic story of life
and death as seen through her friends, film directors, lovers, husbands and personal
staff. It's a huge cast list and therefore the ideal vehicle for around twenty
aspiring young actors of Beaminster School, Dorset.
The story is told in retrospect with Whitey, her make up artist (a fine performance
by Sean Clothier a James Dean lookalike) and Sam, her photographer, discussing
the speculation surrounding her death. Selected episodes in her life are dramatised
- from 15 year old Marilyn meeting Jim, her first husband to problems on the film
set when she was frequently late or indisposed. There is a germ of a strong show
here but unfortunately it is so overburdened with [often] unidentifiable characters
and endless scenes that the real star of the show is crowded out. Goodwin - who
also directs - has done her research meticulously, so much so this is virtually
a dramatised biography. Overwritten, overlong and too ambitious for this young
cast it suffers from some poor acting and gabbled speech.
After one and a half hours we reach the heart of the play when Marilyn (perceptively
played by Carol Fry) is sitting alone at home on that last fateful night.
Surrounded by vodka bottles and pills, she phones doctors for more pills and friends
for comfort. This is a touching and moving scene and beautifully illustrates her
tortured personality, "a perpetual child" who just wants to be loved. As a one-woman
show with just Marilyn on stage, her tape recordings, telephone, drink and drugs
- now that could be a powerful self portrait.
©Vivien Devlin 22 August 2004 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs to 30 August at 1.30pm every day.
Company - Taste Productions.
Company Website www.tasteproductions.co.uk
The Lunatic, the Secret Sportsman, and the Women Next Door.(Page 167)
One tiny wee measure, but do go.
Venue Hill Street Theatre Studio (Venue 41).
Address 19 Hill Street.
Reviewer Max Blinkhorn.
For the uninitiated, the principle of Absurdist Theatre is (some say) that it
strips away the story line and exposes the inner workings of humanity for us to
gawp at, laugh at or both. To work, the play and performing company must possess
energy and genuinely want the whole to work. Blue Hug's production of this piece
works very well and the young company members ooze enthusiasm and professionalism.
The first production of this play by Stanley Eveling was in 1968 at The Traverse
in Edinburgh but the structure and tone of "The Lunatic
not dated at all. The four characters are relevant in 2004 although in the sixties,
the very mild transvestism and boylove may have caused some consternation.
All the dysfunction of the world is distilled down into the four characters
portrayed. The complex interplay between them and the longer solo scenes are
well carried by the cast and each member plays their part in proportion. Ben
Hadley's Lunatic is wide eyed and frothy mouthed; he does not play a ludicrous
characiture of a mad person but instead is clever and sinister. Some scenes
in the script are notable for their violence but here, too, all is in proportion,
the cast having "deliberately avoided gimmicks".
The humour of the play is regarded as one of its strong points and the cast manage
to retain this executing the comic timing very well, much to the audience's delight.
Elsie, played by Esme Harwood, is a delight and Johnny Lloyd's Harry is tense,
his odious concealment of his "personal sexual preferences" is for me,
the point around which "The Lunatic
" revolves. Laura Stewart as
Doris/Billie, is by turns provocative and vulnerable, sharp yet innocent - the
play is very much an education for her.
As with many productions at the early days of the Festival, low audience numbers
do not make for a good atmosphere. However, I suspect (and hope) that a few
days down the line and this production will be paying it's way. I give it one
dram simply because it's not perfect but it is a good piece worthy of full houses
of drama fans. Do go.
© Max Blinkhorn 7th August 2004. Published on Edinburghguide.com
Runs 6-30 August (not Wed. 18th) 15:25 (£8.00/6.00)
Company: Blue Hug.
|(L) 15 out of 226