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(B) 20 out of 258
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None = Unmissable

= Unwatchable
Page number refers to the Fringe programme



Babooshka. (Page 132).
Drams full glassfull glass.
Venue Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33).
Address 60, The Pleasance.
Reviewer Ed Thornton.

Multi tasking, bikini waxing, a high paid job and a happy family are just some of the impossible aspirations imposed on the modern day woman by advertising agencies who know exactly how to make a woman spend her money: Call her old, fat and useless.

A young celebrity obsessed sales assistant, Catherine Steadman, tends to the needs of four women in the unflinching honesty of a department store dressing room. A hard, career-driven ‘go getter’, Charlotte Pyke, a young mum, Clare McKenna, and an older mum finding it hard to accept her age, Kiki Kendrick, are all busy trying on the latest fashions. With 5 items or less at a time, acres of material are draped, buttoned and tied in a frantic search to find the right façade that will present each lady’s desired self to the outside world.

The fifth person present is a calm, ‘happy to be 50’ woman, Maggie Saunders, who’s left all that nonsense behind. Sometimes it takes a great pain to realise there’s more to life than worrying because fashion doesn’t do 40.

These ladies are five pivotal points in the steep learning curve of being a modern woman; it’s a linier progression where the faults of one must be observed to understand the gains of the next. From the tittering young teenager to the woman fearful of her age, each stage is integral to the forming of the end result.

Caitriona McLaughlin directs a funny, frank and at times quite crude celebration of the journey to feminine maturity in a consumer driven society. It occasionally strays a little too far into the hen party realm of caterwauling Spice Girls renditions as interludes to bra speak, but on the whole a well performed and thoughtful piece. .
©Ed Thornton 8 August 2005 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs to August 29 at 14.15.
Company - Liberated Theatre.
Company Website - www.liberatedtheatre.com

   

Back To Your Roots. (Page 132).
Dramsfull glassfull glassfull glassfull glass..
Venue Gilded Balloon Teviot. (Venue 14).
Address 13 Bristo Square.
Reviewer Guy Woodward.

The publicity for Imogen Rands new play describes it as a “Victoria Woodesque comic murder mystery”, but this is sadly, truthfully, less of a recommendation to see Back To Your Roots than a gross slur on the incumbent first dinnerlady of British comedy. For all its laboured references to such contemporary “celebrity” dross merchants as Michael Barrymore, Graham Norton and Vanessa Feltz, the script runs more in the vein of the clapped out Seventies sitcoms that we have, in these enlightened times, mercifully largely left behind us.

The puns and innuendoes are in fact so crusty and mildewed that even the writers of On the Buses, should they be rehired, would surely consign them immediately to the cesspit. The tissue thin plot of this utterly charmless farce revolves around the hair salon of one Mario O’Reilly, a gratingly overwrought drama queen who makes Julian Clary look like Jean Paul Sartre. Persecuted by his homophobic mother, Mario plots to kill her and his employee at the salon Hayley, in the hope of eloping with Hayley’s fiancé Andy, played by an endearingly butch actor .

Cursed as they are with such a rusty sewer of a script, it would be unfair to pick holes in the performances of those involved. But Teresa Jennings, as the Irish harpy of a mother, did put in a fine comic performance despite being was repeatedly let down by the circular tedium of her lines. Don’t bother.
©Guy Woodward 4 August 2005 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs to 28 August at 12.45. except 17 August.
Company - The Actors’ Circle.

   

Beautiful Thing. (Page 132).

Drams full glassfull glassfull glassfull glassfull glass.
Venue The Zoo (Venue 124).
Address 140 The Pleasance.
Reviewer Lyndsey Turner.

I never thought I would see a 'no star show'. I thought they were part of the Fringe myth, the stuff of hack legend. I've always imagined that I have a guardian angel watching over me, preventing me from ever booking a ticket for We Will Rock You or Jane McDonald Live. Call it intuition, call it taste - last night my angel failed me.

You see, last night, I saw Beautiful Thing - a witty and insightful play about young love written by Liverpool-born Jonathan Harvey. Now I am forever altered. I watched as Harvey's perfectly realised dialogue was mumbled and mangled beyond all recognition. I winced as the cast clunked around bashing into walls in interminable black scene changes. I squirmed as the actress playing Leah - the witty young Mama Cass obsessive - fluffed the lyrics to yet another song.

This is clearly a determined young company, but each of the performances lacked the energy necessary to sustain the performance. The tension (sexual or otherwise) between the two male leads, who fall in love via cheese salads and peppermint foot lotion, was effectively non-existent. Perhaps if the director had taken greater pains to distinguish between the adult characters and the children, the production might have made a little more emotional sense. As it is, sandals and school ties stand in for realised characterisation and an effective sense of the subtext at work in Harvey's drama.

The designer has done a thorough job with the set (although it's clearly something of an obstacle course for the actors themselves), but the play is a demanding one, perhaps unsuitable for the Fringe. I sat as respectfully as I could have done given overall standard of the work I was witnessing. And then I left.
©Lyndsey Turner 09 August 2005 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs until 20 August at 19.00.
Company - Dead Rabbit Productions.

   

Bed of Roses Love Cafe. (Page 133).

Drams full glass. - to temper the sweetness of Sally.
Venue Sweet on the Grassmarket (Venue 18).
Address Apex City Hotel, 61, Grassmarket.
Reviewer Max Blinkhorn.

DESCRIPTION.
Sally Crabtree.
© Max Blinkhorn 2005.
I never would have thought that six sugars in my cup of tea would be so palatable. I do like poetry - it is my cup of tea - but six sugars? And what about the effect of all that sugar on my heart? Sally Crabtree spoons out the sugar-love-dust to her audience by the bucket actually and though it ought to be syrupy-sickly (and not a little cheesey too) something, somewhere out in the Cosmos clicks, somehow the chemistry is right and the audience is thoroughly love-charged and entertained by this pink-wigged pocket Venus from Cornwall with a pretty guitar and props straight from the window of Clinton's Cards. (Breathe!)

The audience enters the large room-cum-theatre at the Sweet and observe an elaborate bed, bed-decked with roses which glow softly and give a ... rosey glow (boom-boom!) to the room. We are greeted by Sally, graceful and gracious, sit at our table - the front seats are Cafe style with tables and chairs - and we are given a plate of sweet things - well an edible fairy cake with red lip sweets on top - if you go, keep the lips to the end. When all who are coming have arrived, the bemused audience is "encouraged" to play Bingo - there are cards on each table.  After a little precis, the show begins. Sally recites little heartfelt poems to us and sings songs of love variously blessed and cursed and adds an air of "I've been there - REALLY, I've been there" which is both enchanting and endearing.

Sally creates a tone and atmosphere which is very enjoyable, involves the audience (obligatory in performance poetry, these days) and, oh, has she created or merely recreated the idea of the "British Chanson"? (The French, you see, have this style of singing which is both melancholic and passionate at the same time and it is sung with a style that only a French accent can render correctly). British Chanson? Well actually, yes - I felt it, and was, at points, transfixed! The songs dominated but the poems kept the audience aware that they were being emotionally challenged and that this wasn't so light as it might appear to be.

For fringe-goers who's maturity is in excess of that necessary to enjoy plain stand-up, Bed of Roses is excellent and a great smiley-chuckle. Sally is very deft at delivering her material and really ought to receive a van load of Valentines every year as a just reward for putting this show on. It's on at a horribly early time that doesn't help (should be about 10pm or 10:30pm instead of 4pm in the afternoon) but it deserves your ticket money. One to see in the final hours of the Fringe. Do go.
©Max Blinkhorn 24 August 2005 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs to 29 August at 16:00 (0.55) Tickets £7.50 (£6.50).
Company: Sally Crabtree 

   

A Beginner’s Guide to the Fringe. (Page 133).
Drams full glass.
Venue C Central . (Venue No54).
Address Calton Hotel, North Bridge.
Reviewer Ed Thornton.

With 1800 shows in 240 venues across the city, the Edinburgh festival can seem a little daunting to a frist timer. Accosted at every turn by eager promoters shamelessly selling their shows, experiencing a sensory overload from the deluge of posters plastered to every conceivable surface, it’s hard to make sense of it all when all you’ve got to navigate with is the phone book of a Fringe Programme.

The Beginner’s Guide to the Fringe is set to change all that. Tucked away in the bowels of the Calton Hotel, two capable old timers await to unveil the mysteries of the festival. With minimal technical support Alfa, Paul Beeson, and Beta, Gemma Ryan, string a series of hilarious sketches together in a slick, professional parody of everything you can expect to see.

In 50 short minuets Romeo and Juliet in the Wild West, lazy improvising comedians, whining folk singers and pretentious drama graduates all come under the scrutiny of their festival hardened cynicism. Although by no means a definitive answer to all your questions, this deranged duo has a wealth of understated talent and a manic energy that’ s utterly infectious. They’re an absolute must see for fringe virgins and veterans alike.
©Ed Thornton August 2005 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs to August 29 11:35.
Company Beeswax Theatre Company

   

Being Charlie Kaufman (Page 133).

Drams full glassfull glassfull glass.
Venue Sweet on the Grassmarket (Venue 18).
Address Apex City Hotel, 61 Grassmarket.
Reviewer Lorraine McCann.

The central idea here is essentially not bad - that being famous for the originality of your ideas is likely to provoke envy and imitation in lesser mortals. Add to that the fact that the original thinker in question is a Hollywood icon amongst the roach-wielding classes, however, and you might start to suspect onanist tendancies. And you'd be right.

The piece begins with a cravat-wearing writer Mote Greenerby ( Finnian Tweed ) accosting a girl on a park bench and explaining that his ideas are constantly being pinched and/or pre-empted by his 'ink brother', Charlie Kaufman. However, rather than trying to get his screenplays finished more quickly, or finding a new agent, Greenerby's brainwave is that the best way to stop Kaufman ruining his career is to kill him. And so he sets off to find the reclusive genius and pump him full of lead over a nice cup of tea . . .

Now, it's not that there's nothing entertaining here. Not even that it's badly acted or lacking in cheerful conviction. It's just that it all starts to feel rather laboured. And while there might be more fun to be had from it for real Kaufman aficionados, the switchback-ride narrative and the grim-faced determination to be wacky just doesn't suffice for me.
© Lorraine McCann, 10 August 2005 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs to 14 August at 1500.
Company - Singular Mind Productions.

   

Being Elvis. (Page 133).

Drams full glassfull glassfull glassfull glass.
Venue Venue 45. (Venue 45).
Address Old Paul’s Church Hall, Jeffrey Street.
Reviewer Guy Woodward.

The attraction of this play, like so many at the Fringe this year, rests entirely on association. Stick a celebrity name in the title, the thinking seems to go, and people will be queuing round the block. Many punters will indeed go to see this because they like Elvis, but unfortunately they are likely to be disappointed by this consistently limp and ultimately inconsequential production. I certainly was.

Being Elvis tells the story of three people competing in an Elvis impersonation contest, one a hapless cuckolded husband determine to win back his wife by impressing her with his performance, one a seemingly tough lesbian policewoman, and the other a coke addled ex boyband star on the wane. We discover the stories behind each of these disparate and troubled characters in three separate fifteen minute sections split between monologue and dialogue, each of which culminates in their respective karaoke performances on stage.

Sadly their tales are all far too derivative to be interesting. There is little character development here, nor is there any imaginative exploration of the reasons behind their attempts to ape the King. There are a few isolated laughs, mainly at the expense of Malcolm, the bumbling husband, but the crass lesbian jokes and overly caricatured performance of the actor playing the former boy band star Darryl Day soon begin to grate. The tuneless karaoke renditions seem to have little purpose beyond taking the audience’s mind off the wet dishcloth of the script. Perhaps I’ m being unfair – the night I went the actor playing Malcolm was indisposed, and his place taken by a substitute reading from the script, but the fact that said substitute was the best thing about the play hardly inspires confidence. And there is really no excuse for prompting at this stage in the game. Pointless.
©Guy Woodward 19 August 2005 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs to 27 August at 22.10, except 21 August.
Company – Poor Players.
Website – www.beingelvis.com.

   

Being Gertrude Stein.

Drams full glassfull glass. needed.
VenueCity Central.
Address 19 Blair Street.
Reviewer Barbara Bryan.

Gertrude Stein was an icon of the 20th century, for two reasons. Her writing and her open relationship with Alice B Toklas whom she met in l907. Although homosexuality was frowned upon in those days the two set up home in Paris, a liberal city, and fraternised with fellow artists like Picasso and Hemingway.

As we learn from this one woman show, Gertrude Stein achieved her iconic literary status in her late 50's, but it had taken a while to gather momentum. When she was first published the reviews were dreadful. Even T S Eliot felt moved to comment - "The work of Gertrude Stein is very fine. But not for us". Maybe. But eventually many people began to appreciate her "words that dance."

Emma Callander, as Gertrude Stein, creates a convincing performance in her portrayal of this character, however, more could have been made of Stein's story. It would have been good to have heard about the problems of being gay at that time. How seriously did Gertrude take her writing? Was she just a whimsical person, as her writing suggests, or did she try and create a new voice with her repetitive poetic style? But the show, as one member of the audience commented, was nevertheless "interesting" and illuminating with regard to this unusual character.
© Barbara Bryan 27 August 2005 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs at 14.40 until 29 August.
Company - Pulse Theatre.
Company Website - www.pulsetheatre.co.uk

   

Bella and the Beautiful Knight. (Page 133).

Drams None required.
Venue Gilded Balloon Teviot (Venue 14).
Address 13 Bristo Square.
Reviewer Ruth Clowes.

Bella has grown up being told stories by her adored brother Donny. As the major influence in her life since the death of their parents, Donny has sought to protect and isolate his sister from the outside world, creating a fantasy of fable that feeds off his suffocating, obsessive love. Despite this carefully constructed fairy-tale, Donny has always known that there is a Beautiful Knight waiting in the shadows to take his sister away from him. When inevitably the Knight appears, in the form of accountant Philip, his presence in Bella and Donny's world stretches their twisted relationship to breaking point.

The three actors, directed by Daniel Bye, give impressively subtle, compelling performances. Grae Cleugh perfectly captures the obsessive, irrational Donny, inciting considerable pathos from the audience as he pours over the hundreds of air-mile tokens he has collected in order to travel the world, despite being incapable of leaving the ordered, illusory existence he has created for himself and his sister. The part of Bella is played in an equally unaffected style by Sally Kent, who imbues this part with immense dignity and a quietly powerful physical presence. Nicholas Cowell plays Philip with a down-to-earth blokey ordinariness, in perfect contrast to Donny and Bella's warped intensity.

This is a beautiful, rich piece of writing by Oliver Emanuel, a vast, claustrophobic fairy-tale of myriad influences, with a dark heart and numerous subtle messages as memorable as they are profound. Complicated and gently provocative, this is an intriguing exploration of obsession and the subtle dynamics of sexual relationships. Without doubt the highlight of my Festival so far, a fascinating and challenging production.
© Ruth Clowes 14 August 2005 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com.
Runs to 28 August (not 16, 23) at 14:45
Company - Silver Tongue Theatre.
Company Website - www.silvertongue.org.uk

   

Beyond Midnight. (Page 133).

Drams full glassfull glassfull glassfull glass.
Venue Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33).
Address 60 The Pleasance.
Reviewer Lyndsey Turner.

Could somebody please explain to me what Beyond Midnight is about? I gathered this much as I sat slack-jawed through 80 minutes of puppetry and prancing: Cinderella's daughter is distraught as her own father has just demanded her hand in marriage. To save herself from an incestuous union, she dons a coat made of the skins of every animal in the kingdom and journeys off into the night. With a bird-boy for company, she arrives at a palace where her attempts to snag a prince are thwarted by two sisters who bake and paint their way to favour without saying a single word (they are - you see - mutes, played with Trestle's trademark vigour by a pair of mask experts).

So far so twisted. With a ending involving a resurrected bear and a score seemingly composed and played on an old Bontempi organ, this is a confused and confusing piece of theatre. Whilst the actors make good use of a well designed set and a series of beautiful masks, the piece simply doesn't hang together as a whole. Traditional fairytale idiom brushes up against protracted movement sequences, which in turn jostle with the conventions of children's theatre. The whole thing is topped off nicely by a Prince whose characterisation (and costume) is pure Pete Doherty.

There are some excellent ideas here waiting to be unpacked, but Beyond Midnight fails to hit the spot. A bizarre and inconsistent effort by a usually excellent theatre company.
©Lyndsey Turner 25 August 2005 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs to 29 August at 17.10.
Company - Trestle Theatre Company.
Company Website www.trestle.uk.com

   

Billy Holiday. (Page 134).

Dramsfull glassfull glassfull 
glassfull glass.
Venue Underbelly. (Venue 61).
Address 56 Cowgate.
Reviewer Guy Woodward.

This is a show (calling it a "play" or "monologue" or "musical" or anything else really would be misleading in some way) about three men who have " multiple impersonation disorder". They live in a dingy council flat in Kidbrooke, South London, and wear identical red tracksuits. Each of them believes that he is Billie Holiday, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. To this end there is cross dressing, and singing, and lots of shouting. It's not quite as bad as it sounds, but it's certainly not great.

Trying to summarise this show inevitably ends in a Private Eye style parody of the more eccentric offerings on the Fringe, and it did feel at times (most acutely when the three of them stripped to nightdresses and pirouetted manically to the frantic strains of an Irish jig, it has to be said) as though we were on the end of a brilliant piece of satire. However, I don't think that this is the case. For the most part Billy Holiday is just ridiculous. Such moments of satisfaction as there were came during Billy No. 1's delightfully deadpan monologues about the urban misery of life in Kidbrooke, but the anarchic nature of the production sadly renders the rest of the show almost completely incoherent.

They've had Arts Council money for this, so you might like to pop in if only to find out how your taxes are being spent, but otherwise I suspect the audience may be limited. Unless you too are completely obsessed with the late Miss Holiday then you're probably better off putting your money towards one of her albums.
©Guy Woodward 12 August 2005 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs to 28 August at 16.25, except 15 August.
Company - Brian and BAC in association with Underbelly Productions.
Company Website www.bac.org.uk.

   

Binkie Beaumont And The Body Backstage (Page 134).

Drams full glassfull glassfull glassfull glass.
Venue Venue 13 (Venue 13).
Address Lochend Close, Canongate.
Reviewer Lorraine McCann.

In the years roughly between the first and second world wars, Binkie Beaumont was a theatre impresario non pareil. As producer of plays by the likes of Rattigan and Coward, he held influence of a most singular kind over the careers of many an aspiring - or declining - star. All of which would seem to make him a natural pivot for a playful murder mystery in which several of his more illustrious pals can be conjured up by an exceptionally gifted mimic. Right?

Well, no, actually. Because even though I've just convinced myself that it's a perfectly sane idea for a playwright to have had, I just can't shake the feeling that the whole thing is actually misconceived. It's not a spoof; it's not a musical; it's not a drama; it's not a bio-play; it's none of these things and yet even that simple fact isn't enough to explain its utter charmlessness. Perhaps it's got more to do with the moribund performance of Chris Morgan in the lead role. Or with the fact that Alastair Sill is just not up to impersonating John Geilgud, Noel Coward and Dame Edith Evans without sounding Welsh ALL the time.

I do, of course, have to record here that a few of the audience seemed to enjoy it, and it's well possible that writer Mark Ryan's script can be realised with far more energy and sparkle than was evident here. There are, for example, some nicely judged gags about folk not being able to work out how to turn their tellies on. For me, however, the nadir came when the guys started to 'sing' and mince about like Julian Clary on Mogadon. Fun for them, no doubt, but that's not what you pay for, is it?
© Lorraine McCann, 16 August 2005 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs to 20 August at 11:30.
Company - Equinox Theatre.

   

Birth of the Cool. (Page 134).

Drams full glass - to sip during the show.
Venue Gilded Balloon Teviot (Venue 14).
Address Bristo Square..
Reviewer Vivien Devlin.

This cabaret show could quite easily have been listed under Music as it's equally a laid back jazz gig interspersed throughout with literary extracts from the Beat Writers, Kerouac, Burroughs, Ginsberg et al. The all Australian line up is Steve Arie on Bass, Fabian Hevia, percussion, Paul Cutlan, saxophone/clarinet with John Turnbull as actor. The music, by Cutlan, is all original, inspired by the great jazz players of the 40s and 50s, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davies who had in their day inspired these writers, whose poetry and fiction was reminiscent of the raciness, freedom and humour of jazz.

The Teviot wine bar is the perfect venue, with seats at large round tables so that you can sit with a drink during the performance. Although it's only 5.30pm it feels like midnight, in this dark interior with swirling smoke to recreate a slightly sleazy New York Times Square bar. After a curtain raiser hip hop number, Turnbull wanders on stage in black leather trousers, black shirt and sits on a high stool. He starts with the blisteringly, brutal first lines of Ginsberg's poem, Howl, "I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the Negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix." The rhythm of the words, complemented by a smooth, raunchy jazz music accompaniment sets the style, mood and tone of this fantastic show.

In a tightly written narrative with a diverse range of extracts, we hear the edited highlights of the extraordinary story of the Beat writers, "the ones who were mad to live, mad to talk, who never yawn, but burn, burn, burn". We learn about the close bond between Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassidy, alias rebel heroes Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty, in Kerouac's cult novel, On the Road in which characters Carlo Marx and Bull Lee are based on Ginsberg and Burroughs. Original and captivating as a piece of theatre, it's performed with intelligence, energy and sheer passion for the words and music.
©Vivien Devlin, 12 August 2005 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs to 28 August at 17:15 every day.
Company - Ideas Australia.

   

Boston Marriage (Page 135).

Drams full glass.
Venue C Central (Venue 54).
Address Carlton Hotel, North Bridge.
Reviewer Lorraine McCann.

In case you don't know, the term 'Boston marriage' is a nineteenth-century euphemism for (probably) lesbian co-habitants, and its ambiguous social status provided David Mamet with the inspiration for this absorbing, mildly bruising drama.

Claire, Victoria Ross, is a woman with an eye on the future. Knowing that she and her lover Anna, Caroline Dyott, need an income in order to maintain their way of life. So she gets herself a sugar daddy who will provide her with a stipend in exchange for unspecified favours. Anna's jealous reaction is somewhat undermined, however, when it transpires that she herself has her eye on an exquisite young filly whom she'd like to introduce to Sapphic ways. There then emerges a stand-off, a game of cat-and-mouse predicated upon each woman's balancing of what she must have against what she must be prepared to give up.

The acting performances in Boston Marriage are a joy to watch. Ross, in particular, utterly convinces as the pragmatic but worldly Claire, savaging her staff and yet so obviously meltingly in love with the more feral Anna. My one complaint is that it is a tad on the long side for a no-interval Fringe gig. Oh, and charging fifty pee for a photocopied prgramme - bit cheeky, that.
© Lorraine McCann, 20 August 2005 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs to 29 August at 14:45.
Company - Primavera.

   

Bounce! A Madcap Musical Adventure. (Page 8).

Drams None need soft for kinds or otherwise for adults.
Venue George Square Theatre (Venue ).
Address George Square.
Reviewer Juliet Morrish .

There is nothing more likely to get you up and going in the morning than a good old sing-song and some lighthearted fun. And this is what Scotty and Lulu provide by the bucketload. The show, aptly entitled Bounce! , is a celebration of music, dance and song that, although specifically targetted at 2-8 year olds, cannot fail to put a smile on anyone's face.

Scotty and Lulu come to Edinburgh following successful tours of Asia and America and their professionalism and experience in children's entertainment shine through from beginning to end. In Bounce! they are helped along by the adorable Edinburgh Happy Crew; twenty or so young dancers who fill the stage with their well-rehearsed dance routines and beaming smiles. Rousing songs are accompanied by fun actions so that all the audience can participate. And participate they certainly do: everywhere you look there are small children clapping, stamping, and spinning around. The likeable natures of Scotty and Lulu endear them to parents also, and many mummys and daddys appear to enjoy the show just as much if not more than their offspring.

A wonderfully silly and enjoyable show performed by two highly professional entertainers, Bounce! is only at the Fringe until the 15th so see it now, before it's too late.
©Juliet Morrish 13 August 2005 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs to August 15 at 10.30
Company - Scotty&Lulu.
Company Website - www.scottylulu.com

   

Breakfast at Audrey's. (Page 135).

Drams full glass just a wee dram required.
Venue Gilded Balloon Teviot. (Venue 14).
Address 13 Bristo Square.
Reviewer Vivien Devlin.

Based on Truman Capote's novella, Breakfast at Tiffany's is probably the ultimate movie about New York, starring Hollywood's darling Audrey Hepburn
who plays the adorable madcap, Holly Golightly. The iconic opening scene shows Holly, in tiara and evening dress, clutching coffee cup and Danish pastry, stepping out of yellow cab outside Tiffany's on 5th Avenue. This is the starting point of this brilliantly insightful portrait of Hepburn crosscutting with a parallel story which investigates her unforgettable image as a role model for glamorous sophistication and fashionable slenderness.

Philippa Vafadariis a perfect Audrey lookalike and also an accomplished trapeze artist. Swinging high above the stage, back and forth and upside down, her somersaulting antics perhaps represent the tough high-flying movie world, where her beauty and perfect figure are paramount to success. Her mother Baroness Ella Van Heemstra (portrayed with quiet charisma by Cara Kelly)is her constant minder on set, ensuring she maintains her size 8, 19" waist and moulding her for stardom. We hear about her appalling childhood experiences where she suffered malnutrition during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands which has left a haunting impression of starvation and death. Through elocution lessons, modelling and a strict diet, Audrey is reinvented as an English actress and queen of fashion.

Flash forward to 2005 and a young Scots girl Holly spends her time exercising and dieting, inspired by Audrey as a symbol of feminine perfection. Her obsessive infatuation and anorexia upsets her mother who insists the photographs are airbrushed, "But no-one looks like that really," she pleads anxiously. With a glorious movie soundtrack from Henry Mancini's Moon River to My Fair Lady tracks and How to be Lovely from Funny Face, we hear the intertwining tragic stories of Audrey and Holly, both fragile lost souls, whose doting mothers just want the best for their daughters.

John Binnie as writer and director has created a surreal, dreamlike setting to dramatise our perennial fascination with Audrey Hepburn and her legacy today. Expect fabulous performances by both actors, magical inventiveness, humour, song and dance with unbelievably daring aerial acrobatics.
©Vivien Devlin, 11 August 2005 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs to 28 August at 1730 every day, not Mons.
Company- Clyde Unity Theatre and BandBazi.
Company Website
www.clydeunity.co.uk

   

Breath[e]. (Page 135).
Drams full glassfull glass. - to help you get in the 'zone'.
Venue Traverse 7. (Venue 324).
Address The Lyceum Studio, 30b Grindlay Street (opp Royal Lyceum Theatre).
Reviewer Marisa de Andrade.

Breath[e] is like thirty-five minutes of meditation. Those who are familiar with the form of relaxation will know it isn't as simple as it sounds. If you manage to slow down your breathing, become accustomed to the dark space between your eyebrows and silence the voices in your head, you still have to maintain the moment for longer than a minute. Blissful if you get it right. Torture if you don't. Theatre 2.0's Breathe[e] is a similar experience.

I somehow manage to put the festival hype aside and embrace just over half an hour of mesmerising madness. Seated comfortably in my plastic chair in a black box theatre, I open my mind to the award-winning spectacle. At first, a red light and a steady, prominent heartbeat. Then the lights dim to darkness as the heartbeat becomes more pronounced. A black screen covering a mini stage - large enough to hide decent sized puppets - rises. Red, billowing smoke escapes. What lies behind the sturdy curtain is mine to explore as the pulsing continues. I see a stormy sea. Dark clouds looming above a rough marine. For a moment, the rhythmic beat blends with my own breathing and I hear nothing. Then it becomes faster, more urgent, as if I'm running away from the tempest. Then stillness. Sunset on a calm summer's evening. A perfect full-moon reflects off water from an unknown source. The heartbeat terminates, the breathing stops. This is my experience.

Others are caught up in another place. One sees an abandoned, steamy car park. Another, a throbbing nightclub. I suspect there is no wrong or right here. The sensual journey is open for personal exploration and discovery. But these are the facts. A dark room, a play without words or actors. You look, but you aren't sure what it is you're witnessing.

See it. Feel it.
©Marisa de Andrade 6 August 2004 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs to 21 August, various times.
Theatre 2.0 in association with Richard Jordan Productions Ltd.

   

Brecht on Brecht. (Page 136).

Drams None.
Venue St Augustines. (Venue 152).
Address 41 George lV Bridge.
Reviewer Marisa de Andrade.

Brecht on Brecht brings the Edinburgh Fringe Festival to life, yet remains almost undiscovered in Augustine's basement. It's a shame this afternoon play isn't heaving. And that it's run is already coming to an end. Nonetheless, The Brentwood Theater Company bursts to life with a steamy rendition of 'Mack the Knife'. That's when you know this is going to be good.

George Tabori has taken Brecht's masterminding creativity and carved it into a fine piece of art. Touching on some of the political playwright's best work, he creates his own masterpiece. It's seventy minutes of sheer entertainment with a river of realism running right through it. When the band isn't playing a jazzy tune or ensemble singing a perfectly pitched song, someone's performing a Brecht monologue with intense passion.

The culminating piece in this satirical revue is particularly poignant. 'The Jewish Wife' packs to leave her husband at a time in the 1930s when race and religion brought death and destruction. Director Judith Lyons heightens the scene with a series of lighter scenes on either side. Their order of appearance ensures that the highs are high and the lows lifted. 'The Clown Play' serves this purpose. Here, a giant puppet is severed by a pair of political clowns. They're creepy enough to laugh at with the just the right measure of reservation.

Brecht on Brecht lifts somewhat laborious texts from a page and vividly brings them to life. The overall effect is inspiring. Fast and fabulous, Brecht on Brecht is a must see.
© Marisa de Andrade 10 August 2004 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs to 13 August, 15.50.
Brentwood Theater Company.

   

Brecht's The Wedding. (Page 136).

Drams full glassfull glass.
Venue Roman Eagle Lodge (Venue 21).
Address 2 Johnston Terrace.
Reviewer Alex Eades.

Now, fan as I am of Berthold Brecht's work, I've never really been taken by The Wedding. I first read it during my early student years and later saw a production, both left me a little unsatisfied. It's an interesting play with Brecht talking about the wasting away of the Weimar Republic and, most obviously, the family. However there has always been something there that made me switch off. I was hoping for a grand awaking to the magnificence of this highly acclaimed work from this production. I have to say they partially succeeded.

The youthful cast an excellent, breathing fresh life into this rarely staged play. They keep the audiences attention well, partly by being very funny. But you never forget this is a student production. It's a little messy in places and, occasionally, a hint that it's not only the characters who are competing with one another. It's enjoyable enough, and makes me feel it's possible I'll one day see a production of The Wedding to wholly convince me.
© Alex Eades 12 August 2005 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs to August 28 at 15:00 every day.
Company – Pompalurum Jig.
   

The Burlesque Hour. (Page 136).

Drams None - this show contains its own kicks.
Venue The Spiegel Garden. (Venue 87).
Address George Square Gardens.
Reviewer Marisa de Andrade.

Prepare to be shocked and overwhelmed. Expect no less. Experience so much more. The Burlesque Hour is not for the faint-hearted, the queasy or the conservative. But even these types have to appreciate the entertaining spectacle for what it is. It's difficult not to. These showgirls are polished and prepared to dazzle, from their go-go dancing routines right through to mad moments of nudity.

This is so much more than one burlesque, Vaudeville-esque act after another. It's a variety show, where a small troupe manages to enact a whole spectrum of over-the-top characters. Set in somewhat of a posh circus tent complete with candlelit tables, alcohol on tap and a gaudy atmosphere, The Burlesque Hour begins to the sound of a familiar tune - 'I touch Myself'. The title says it all, but it isn't the words so much that make this number jaw-dropping, but the artiste. She's also a feisty balloon-popping femme fatale, ice queen and a 'quivering character', who shakes so vigorously you assume she's about to crack. Thankfully she doesn't and the show goes on.

Hello Kitty meows to life in the form of Yumi Umiumare. This dynamic fur-ball is creepy and hilarious at once. The energy she exudes throughout the show is exhausting even to watch. Then there's the seductive stilt-walker who spends most of the night tying herself in knots. And in arguably the funniest number, she flashes all her flesh - besides the bits that are covered by a netted mass of pearls - as she 'Turn(s) Around'. A showstopper!

I suggest you grab a drink, sit back in your wobbly chair and allow yourself to be thrilled. Enter at your own risk though!
© Marisa de Andrade 11 August 2004 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs to 3 Sept, at 21.00.
Company - The Burlesque Hour.


(B) 20 out of 258
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