|Edinburgh : A&E : Festivals : Fringe Reviews|
None = Unmissable
Page number refers to the Fringe programme
Janey Godley is Innocent. (Page 39).
Venue Underbelly. (Venue 61).
Address 56 Cowgate (entrances on Cowgate and Victoria Street).
Reviewer Anna Kay.
Janey Godley is an almost typical East End Glasgow mother. Some of the more international readership out there won’t get exactly how scary this concept is. In last year’s show she admitted to a major crime on stage and was brought in for questioning by the police. It’s all true. This show is not for those easily morally offended, as Godley brings in stories of child abuse, drug-taking and gangland killings in what appears to be a gentle hour of story-telling featuring colouring-in books. Although perhaps not a natural comic, , she does have a tendency to say everything twice to make sure we get it, her straight-down-the-line telling of her life provides enough laughs, and she is very very likeable.
This year she protests her innocence of a wide variety of ‘crimes’, mostly by showing her guilt but backing it up with mitigating circumstances. She would be more likely to receive our more uniquely Scottish verdict – Janey Godley? Not proven. But we’ll let her off because we like her.
Godley has a strong West coast accent, a point to be noted by non-Scots, but it is far from incomprehensible.
©Anna Kay 12 August 2005 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com .
Runs to August 28 at 22:00 every day.
Company - MWP Associates.
Jason Byrne – The Lovely Goat Show. (Page 39).
Drams .– but only for the dancing.
Venue Assembly at George St. (Venue 3).
Address Assembly Rooms, 54 George St.
Reviewer Anna Kay.
When it comes to comedy, there is nothing better than someone who is obviously having a good time, especially when at no-one else’s expense. So one of the things I love about Jason Byrne is how happy he seems all the time.
The genius of Byrne is in his improvisation skills – pre-planned material can’t have made up more than 15 minutes of this hour-long show. He plays with the audience like with a child. Proclaiming that we were all mad, he still had us loving him to pieces. I felt a physical sensation of pleasure at this gig and at times was gasping for more breath to laugh. It’s only the start and end of this show that confuses me. Complicated and energetic dance sequences feature, which although mildly impressive are not funny in any way (I’m not sure if they were meant to be) and mean the audience leave this otherwise perfect gig somewhat bewildered.
I couldn’t possibly tell you why this is entitled the Lovely Goat show, except that you’ll never get it. Just go – if you can get a ticket – it’s pure magic.
©Anna Kay 16 August 2005 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com .
Runs to August 29 at 22:25 every day.
Company - Jason Byrne.
Company Website - www.jasonbyrne.net.
Jerry Sadowitz - Card Tricks & Close Up Magic? (Page 20).
Venue Assembly at George Street. (Venue 3).
Address 54 George Street (as in Back of Fringe Programme).
Reviewer Garry Platt.
Jerry Sadowitz performs magic and has a unique line in patter but there the similarity with Paul Daniels ends. Sadowitz within the magic world is generally recognised to be the very best or certainly amongst the very best magicians working in this country. His forte is card magic and he has several books published on this topic and at one time he was the editor/publisher of a Magic periodical, so his credentials as a magician are unquestionable.
His show at the Assembly begins with a trick unique to Jerry as far as I know; the gravity defying piece of chewing gum; it flys out of his mouth and back in, well chewed of course. The chewed gum is then restored to an uneaten stick of Wrigleys. This is quickly followed by the classic Cup and Ball act which he performs with the exquisite dexterity only a seasoned and totally professional performer could achieve. During the entire act Jerry's laconic, irreverent and cutting patter spews out over his audience like a sewage tsunami.
His show persona is one of bitterness, resentment and regret all expressed through different shades of bile, anger and frustration topped off with a heavy dose of self deprecation and self loathing. Whilst he performs the most complicated and dextrous magic you will see anywhere, which requires subtlety, finesse and precision his mouth in a strange juxtaposition ejaculates obscenities, derision and more swear words I'll wager than in any other show on the Fringe. And it's this strange contrast between his verbal output and his remarkable dexterity with cards, sponge balls and rabbit droppings (go and see the show to see how that item gets included in a trick) which keeps his audience engaged, most of them can't figure it out and at the same time as being captured by the magic are shocked by the dialogue.
Jerry is indeed unique, a rarity; a performer who appears to love his trade and performs at a level and pitch few can attain. Jerry's stage character complains that he's 'wasted his life'; I beg to differ, not while you can keep a packed out theatre enraptured the way you do Jerry and have so many people laughing and enthralled.
©Garry Platt 6 August 2004 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs to the 28 August at 19:45 every day.
Assembly Theatre and Marshall Cordell.
Jerry Sadowitz (Page 55).
Drams None needed (but not family material!).
Venue Assembly Queen's Hall (Venue 72).
Address Clerk Street.
Reviewer Ritchie Smith.
What can you say about Jerry Sadowitz? Gobs****. A boor spitting charismatic devilment. A comic touched by side-splitting genius. All of that, and more.
The Jewish/Glaswegian Sadowitz came on first as Rabbi Burns, telling us he was so tight he'd rather 'drink my own p*** than spend a penny'. Coming on as himself (with trademark black top hat and lunatic hair, swigging from a bottle of Budvar) he quickly moved on to insult Channel 5, who sacked him, the Festival, foreigners, thalidomide victims, more foreigners, Aberdonians, and Muslims. Other comics? He named names, hilariously vile. The vicious imitation of Billy Connolly particularly had us in stitches, and his Graham Norton does the (surely) anatomically impossible. Jerry's Puppetry of the Penis also has to be seen to be believed.
I'm laughing out loud even as I write this. - Oh, and he finished off his act with some brilliant magic. Jerry is a motor-mouth hard-core act, astoundingly obscene, and certainly not for everyone. But, as he says, 'there's some f****** crap on at the Fringe'. With Jerry Sadowitz you see a crazy Swiftian quarrel with political correctness, politics, humanity, and God. The real thing? Trust me, this comic could not be realler.
©Ritchie Smith 12 August 2005 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs to 18-20, 25-27 August only, at 23:30.
Company Assembly Theatre and Marshall Cordell
© Thelma Good August 2005 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs to August date at time every day, not Suns etc.
Company – Put Company's name.
Company Website www.websiteaddress.co.uk
Jim Bowen - You Can't Beat A Bit Of Bully (Page 39).
Drams None needed for performer but one to mellow the surroundings.
Venue Jongleurs. (Venue 250).
Address Omni Leisure Complex, Greenside Place.
Reviewer Guy Woodward.
Jim Bowen's new show definitely wins the award for the worst flyer of this year's Fringe, but don't let that put you off. It's also on at the rather soulless, comedy warehouse Jongleurs, but don't let that put you off either. If you're tired of the smart arse generation of comics dominating the Fringe then Bowen is what you need, an hour's worth of good old fashioned stand up. There's not a whiff of Iraq, and he even does jokes about mothers in law.
One of the old school, Bowen has no time for political correctness, and although this may have got him into bother in the past, there's no malice here. Sacked by local radio in Lancashire two years ago after some unfortunate racially sensitive comments, the show marks another important step in Bowen's ongoing showbiz rehabilitation, kickstarted by Peter Kay's casting of him in both Phoenix Nights and the video for ubiquitous charity smash Is This The Way To Amarillo.
You Can't Beat A Bit Of Bully is of course dominated by Bowen's tales of his fifteen years as host of darts gameshow Bullseye, and if you' re not familiar with this particular cultural milestone then you will definitely find the hour long show somewhat confusing. Bowen himself seems bemused by the show's burgeoning cult status: "Bullseye started in 1980, and it was crap. It ran till 1995, and it was still crap. The difference is that I drive home in a Bentley, so b******s to you."
He is a consummate storyteller and builds up an instant rapport with his audience, all of whom seem to have a huge amount of affection for both Bowen and his bovine companion Bully, who remains chained to a pole for the duration of the show. You can bid for Bully on e bay. The auction closes on the 28th, with all proceeds going to Edinburgh's Macmillan Cancer Care. Super, Smashing, Great.
©Guy Woodward 12 August 2005 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs to 28 August at 19.00.
Company - Ovation.
Jo Caulfield: Who are you? (Page 40).
Venue Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33).
Address 60 The Pleasance.
Reviewer Edmund Gould.
Jo Caulfield seemingly possesses all the attributes necessary to provide a cracking hour of comedy. Her casual, conversational style immediately puts the audience at ease, giving the impression that she's less of an entertainer, and more of a friend filling you in on her latest gossip. Why is it, then, that I left her show feeling strangely dissatisfied with what I'd seen?
The reason is ultimately her lack of adventure. What begins promisingly with some well-judged audience banter soon gives way to an hour or so of really quite dull jokes. After a short and predictably clichéd rant that covers her problems with the opposite sex, Caulfield rather abruptly changes direction with her 'Review of the Year'; while some of her 'Best Bits' do raise a chuckle, most of them just feel like old hat. After all, how many 'Harry the Nazi' gags have we heard already? Caulfield has a tedious habit of picking soft targets, such as Michael Jackson and Camilla Parker-Bowles, all of which feels rather dated. While attempting to satirise yesterday's news is always a tricky business.
Caulfield is most successful at her moodiest moments; her 'Things I Hate' list provides some amusing observations, as does her alternative fairy tale for children (complete with ASBOs and adultery). However, large chunks of the show feel dragged out and forced - there's only so much mileage you can get out of jokes about Argos. With a bit more ambition, Caulfield has the potential to really put the cat amongst the pigeons. As it is, she's actually a bit of a bore.
©Edmund Gould 17 August 2005 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs to 29 August at 20:00 (1hr).
Company - Jo Caulfield.
Joanna Neary is Pan's Person.. (Page 40).
Venue Underbelly (Venue 61).
Address 56, Cowgate.
Reviewer Leanna Rance.
Joanna Neary is a diminutive figure with a sweet, benign countenance - her face a pristine canvas, and for the space of an hour, it is perfectly and vividly subsumed by the strange and ecclectic parade of characters she conjures up.
Pan's Person is Neary's follow-up to last years highly-rated Perrier newcomer nominated show - undoubtedly a very hard act to follow. A talented writer and actress, her characters are by turn whimsical, grotesque, pitiful, sweet and downright funny. Watching Pan's Person is like attending a seance - Neary, the medium, channelling a succession of clamouring, unsettled spirits from the beyond, their presence passing through her then evaporating eerily into the darkness. A rutting deer merges seamlessly into a zonked out trustifarian, melts into a Laurie Anderson inspired performance poet, into a joyless, time management obsessed woman into a fantastically wayward adolescent....
Unfortunately Neary's strengths can also be her undoing. She does not compromise, she doesn't play easy-to-get with her humour, she hands nothing to us on a plate. Hers is not laugh-out-loud fare - it is subtly crafted and designed to be savoured.It requires a certain leap of faith and suspension of disbelief from her audience, and this occasionally falters. An air of inaccessibility seems to pervade parts of the show. Pan's Person, for some reason, does not flow as well as last years offering - at certain points one senses a certain disconnection between the elements and the whole - a lack of completeness.
There is nevertheless much to enjoy here, and Neary's flouncy, suicidal Pan's Person finale has lost none of its charm.On form, Neary is one of our finest female character comics - with a wonderfully dark sensibility underpinning her work. As an audience, we just need to experience a greater sense of all the threads pulling together in unison.
© Leanna Rance 13 August - published on EdinburghGuide.com.
Runs to 28 August at 18.40 every day.
Company – Underbelly Productions.
John Oliver and Andy Zaltzman Issue a List of Demands and Await Your Response With Interest. (Page 40).
Venue Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33).
Address 60 The Pleasance.
Reviewer Lyndsey Turner.
John Oliver and Andy Zaltzman go together like ra-ma la-ma la-ma ka dinga kading-a-dong. So perfect is their relationship as a double act that it's sometimes hard to see where one ends and the other begins. This year sees the duo return to Edinburgh in order to issue a series of (frankly unreasonable) demands to the rest of the world in an effort to solve its problems. This is political stand up at its least aggressive. No call to arms, no taking to the streets - Oliver and Zaltzman prefer making discreet bunny ears behind the world's back to confronting it head on.
Their material ranges from the ridiculous to the ridiculous. They decide the fate of Europe by acting out a ludicrous choose-your-own-adventure story. They invent a helmet which enables the wearer to channel the thoughts of the dead. And all of this with a slick precision and a quality of writing which many comedians would cut out their funny bone for.
But the double act format necessarily precludes improvisation, and these two have written the show to within an inch of its life. Not a word is wasted, but the audience are left reeling by the sheer immovable perfection of the show. Not a single moment of vulnerability emerges as the two deliver gag after gag at a relentless pace. The show feels like a gang that you can never join rather than an attempt to create something special in the space between audience and performer. Oliver and Zaltzman will do something truly great one of these days, but not before they have learned to treat their crowd as collaborators rather than critics.
©Lyndsey Turner 12 August 2005 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs to 28 August at 18.40, not 16.
Company - Andy Zaltzman & John Oliver.
John Shuttleworth - Fawn Again. (Page 41).
Venue Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 23).
Address 60 The Pleasance.
Reviewer Lyndsey Turner.
John Shuttleworth is a great British institution. His one man monologues about crazy paving and pigeons can, on occasion, touch the sublime. Everybody should go to see a man with a rickety old organ (no pun intended) playing songs entitled Unaccompanied Lady and My Austin Ambassador Y Reg at least once in their lives.
But in Fawn Again, Shuttleworth's new show, the muse seems to have fled. Perhaps it was the support act - a new character, played by the same talented actor - who regaled the audience with a series of dull poems and rambling stories about concrete manufacture. Somehow, for all Graham Fellows' shrewd observation about the small town mentality and the relationship between wealth and general unpleasantness, the characterisation never really took off and the audience were left feeling rather confused.
After a charming 'pop video' (delivered in cartoon form), Shuttleworth himself took to the stage. Well declined into the vale of years, he is feeling his age - hence the conservatism of his dress, a vision in fawn. Luckily, Shuttleworth gets a second wind during the course of the show, even trying his hand at rap at one stage. Whilst everything about Shuttleworth is as convincing as it is heartwarming, I was left somewhat perplexed about what I was actually watching. Not quite theatre, not quite comedy, Fawn Again is s fragmented show and one which feels somehow rushed. Fans of Fellows' radio and television work will no doubt be delighted at the opportunity to spend an hour in his company, but newcomers are likely to feel that they are somehow missing the joke.
©Lyndsey Turner 05 August 2005 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs to 12 August at 15.30.
Company - John Shuttleworth.
Jump. Page 20.
Venue Assembly Hall. (Venue 23).
Address Mound Place.
Reviewer Garry Platt.
Well the Koreans are back with an energy charged hour of Kung Fu, gymnastics and funny scenes. The story line, such as it is isn't worth mentioning, sufficient to say that it is a vehicle for sword fights, somersaults, back flips, spinning kicks, board breaking and general mayhem.
If you like your theatre; physical, simple, high energy and funny, Jump is for you, you wont find better on the Fringe.
©Garry Platt 9 August 2005 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs to the 27 August at 19:30 every day.
Company - Ye-Gam Inc. Korea.