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(W) 7 out of 226
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Rating Guide
None = Unmissable

= Unwatchable
Page number refers to the Fringe programme



Waiting For A Good Blow. (Page 190).

Drams full glass .
Venue Underbelly (Venue 61).
Address Cowgate (entrances on Cowgate and Victoria Street).
Reviewer Sarah Jane Murray.

A deconstruction of the notion of the alpha male may not be the most appealingly entertaining premise. Yet, do not be put off. Waiting For Good Blow manages to pull off an astute study of male social dynamics, whilst simultaneously being accessible and comic.

Jake, Pete and Robin have managed to stumble home after a night out. So begins the post-revel dissection – who copped off with whom, where, and how. But tonight the boys have a special after-party treat – and she will be at the flat in one hour. The tension brewing in the room grows as the steam clears over the boys’ bravado, exposing their thinly-veiled individual neuroses.

While the characters at first appear as simply irritating rich brats, the honesty with which the young English middle-class male is presented takes the characters beyond mere cut-outs. Each is depicted with eerie accuracy, and the dynamics are all-too familiar. In addition, the writing is spontaneous but revealing. The lads’ inebriated slurs and grumbles reveal each of them to be riddled with insecurity, and frustrated by an unstable identity.

Do not be deceived by the misleadingly bawdy publicity for the play, and its title. This show is intelligent, genuine and well executed. Cheap whisky, pizza and call girls – the perfect recipe for a tensely concealed homo-erotic feast . . .
©Sarah Jane Murray 12 August 2004 – Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Aug 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28 – 13.05.
Company – Aireborn Theatre Company.

   

A Weekend in the Country (Page191)
Drams full glassfull glass
Venue Sweet on the Grassmarket(Venue 18)
Address Apex City Hotel, 61 Grassmarket
Reviewer Neil Ingram.

What could be better than a weekend in the country with friends, time to relax away from the stresses of work and enjoy extended conversations? With friends like those in Killer Kat Productions’ new show, you’d be much better to stay at home! Not that the weekend is dull- far from it, from the moment the guests discover something nasty under the settee, it’s downhill all the way with a succession of shocks and revelations. You’ll never want to carve another turkey, or invite a poet to stay.

Writer/director Adrienne Kress has created a very dark comedy about creative people and their self- importance. Poor Richard, the host for the weekend, is merely a spectator as his friends set out to destroy one another, and it’s hard to tell where the next assault will come from. It's skilfully done, but with a cast of 7 the room does feel very crowded at times. Perhaps that's the point, though- once you're there, there is no escape from the obsessions and passions of your fellow guests.
© Neil Ingram 9 August 2004 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs to August 29 at 21.30
Company – Killer Kat Productions


   

When It's Ajar (Page191).
Drams full glassfull glass .
Venue C (Venue 34).
Address Chambers Street.
Reviewer Neil Ingram.

This is a clever piece of theatre, perhaps best described as Three Men and a Door.

The action opens with two men repairing an office door, while a third sits at a desk typing. We then see the scene again, but starting slightly earlier, and some of the words and actions take on different meanings. This concept is then developed in various different theatre styles- it's a good idea, if perhaps repeated rather too often, though there are excellent performances from Daniel Poole, Steve Brownlie and James Stuart. The more physical the action becomes, the better the three of them work together, and some of the longer scenes are particularly clever and in parts very funny.

In short, it's an entertaining if not particularly demanding show, and worth taking the time to see.
© Neil Ingram 14 August 2004 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs to August 30 at 13.00.
Company – Trouserpress.
Company Website www.trouserpresstheatre.com


   

When the Bulbul Stopped Singing. (Page191)
Drams full glass .
Venue Traverse (Venue 15)
Address Cambridge Street, off Lothian Rd.
Reviewer Thelma Good.

Man standing on empty stage
When the Bulbul Stopped Singing
© Robbie Jack 2004.
With a skewed room set by Anthony MacIlwaine, lighting by Chanine Yavroyan and music by Max Richter, Christoper Simon as Raja the author of When the Bulbul Stopped Singing gives a beautifully paced performance. Directed by Philip Howard, David Grieg's dramatisation of the book holds the attention most of the time but has little of the unique strengths of this playwright. It could in truth have come from several pens or should I say keyboards of adapters. It's a good example of its genre but there is a question in the air. What do these plays achieve? Do they tell us anything or are they just a form of baring witness to man's and governments' inhumanity to other people/s and nations.

Raja tells us of his life in Ramallah before the Israeli troops entering and during their occupation. It is a story which could move more than it does, the narrator's calmly controlled delivery is distancing, he rarely comes close to anger. As a lawyer he he works in the Human Rights centre and he comments as the Israel's actions show blatant ignoring of boundaries or the code of Human Rights. What the play does do is make us realise how powerless you are when men have guns and politicians behind them. No one in his family comes to bodily harm, though his brother Samur's family is severely harrassed by soldiers in their home and Raja sees things and experiences the soldiers looking for guns in his rooms. But he is a writer and his weapons could be words, ironically they fail to recognise that.

As he squats drawing in the red sand carpet in the room, placing tanks so we understand the geography of his town, his hands become red, a visual reminded that whether one is actively aggressive or just quietly trying to hold on, you can be marked with real blood or the stain and strain of just surviving. Why do we make these plays? It touched me less than I expected, even though I think the occupation of the West Bank is a running sore in our world. I find Joe Sacco’s Palestine graphic narrative book gives more, in it Sacco is a nerdy western visitor, an innocent in a world where people live in house which are suddenly bulldozed or services cut off. Often what these plays lack, as result of their groundedness in specific conflicts, is a sense of the unfortunate enduring flaws of humanity, they point at particular scapegoats rather than make us look at our own entrails. And they confirm us as passive voyeurs of another human group's plight.
© Thelma Good 8 August 2004 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs to August 28 at various times, not Mon.
Company – Traverse Theatre Company.
Company Website www.traverse.co.uk
   

Why They Made Me King. (Page 191).

Drams full glassfull glassfull glassfull glass - the writing was good.
Venue The Underbelly. (Venue 61)
Address Cowgate (entrances on Cowgate and Victoria Street).
Reviewer Marisa de Andrade.

Why They Made Me King was shortlisted for the Royal Court Young Writers Festival 2004. Hmm. I'm sure it's grand if you're reading it at home with a bottle of wine. But on stage, it's about as visual as an audio book. A couple of chairs, two bottles of water, a pair of actors and two long, dissected monologues - not exactly an afternoon treat.

It gets off to a promising start. But as the philosophical art gallery cleaner gets sidetracked with his thoughts, he takes the plot with him. The alternating monologues between caretaker (P) and medical student (D) are meant to be moving and funny. Frankly, I found them confusing. Even their names are one-dimensional. I was concentrating, but couldn't determine their relationship - friends, strangers? And I'm quite sure I missed the conflict too.

Amidst the poignant thoughts is one unmotivated outburst from P. And then he's back to his storytelling, which isn't half bad - in written form. The script has reams of potential - directors could have a field trip in P's mind as he tries to pick at the minds of Dickens and Byron. But sitting and standing is as far as it goes. Just for the records, I'm still trying to figure out why they made him king.
© Marisa de Andrade August 2004 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs to August 5-29 (not 17, 24), 17.00.
EGMO Theatre.

   

Will the Real Slim Lady Please Stand up (Page 141)
Drams full glassfull glassfull glass

Venue C Cubed(Venue no 34)
Address Brodies Close, Lawnmarket
Reviewer Neil Ingram.

This is a curious show, at times entertaining, at times infuriating, but overall lacking in purpose and form. It’s about 5 girls who perform a cabaret act based on their experiences of life. They sing and dance, flirt with the audience and slag off men. But when one of their number wants to break away from the clique, and won’t share her experiences, they get very bitchy and torment her. But is this part of the act, or something outside it? Perhaps we aren’t supposed to know, perhaps it’s both, but after a brisk opening and some lively exchanges between the performers, the show drifts through a muddled centre to a confused end.

There is live music with the dancing, and the singing is good, but my interest drifted as the story went on. This is a devised piece, and quite experimental in form, but it feels as if more devising is needed to produce something with a clearer message.
© Neil Ingram 8 August 2004 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs to August 30 every day.
Company – Thrown Together.

   

Women on Trial. (Page 192).
Drams full glassfull glass.
Venue The Zoo @ The Three Sisters (Venue108).
Address The Three Sisters Pub, Cowgate.
Reviewer Ellie Fazan.

A really polished cabaret-style performance from A-level students (only tell tale signs was the very brief glimpse of a safety pin and a high proportion of parents in the audience). As the Dynamite Girls tell us they are multi-taskers 'balancing our A levels with fish nets and heels' they masterminded the whole project themselves and the end result is well worth it.

In a room where you can both drink and smoke The Dynamite Girls perform a Chicago-inspired series of satirical sketches exploring the role of women in modern society. 'Tits Arse Boobs Sex' they chant as they display an in-your-face type of Spice Girls feminism. These girls are very much of the age the Spice Girls were when they became famous, yet they show that the more important aspects of feminism haven't got lost under all those short skirts and alco-pops.

Aside from the important message of the show and its humorous content, Women on Trial was excellently choreographed with great live music provided the girls' own musicians. Overall a thoroughly enjoyable romp, enjoy the renewed versions of old songs.
©Ellie Fazan 24th August 2004, published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs until 29th August, daily at 20.40.
Company The Dynamite Girls.
Company Email thedynamitegirls@yahoo.co.uk


(W) 7 out of 226
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