|Edinburgh : A&E : Festivals : Fringe Theatre Reviews|
None = Unmissable
Page number refers to the Fringe programme
Vaudeville Cabaret. (Page 188).
Venue The Bongo Club. (Venue 143).
Address The Bongo Club, 37 Holyrood Road.
Reveiwer Ariadne Cass.
I arrive flustered for the Vaudeville Cabaret at the Bongo Club. Do you have any idea how long it takes to get into a corset? This is one of those events which requires dressing up. As the Bongo club is an established club in Edinburgh, the crowd which frequents it is local and bohemian. So when it's time to dress up at the Bongo club, people respond with enthusiam and imagination. I find myself, upon entering, surrounded by glitter, fishnets, stripes, tiny - waisted, corseted girls...and all before the show actually starts on stage.
Very nearly all of the acts are outstanding. Particularly excellent is Luminescent Orchestrii, a musical group from New York, whose fusion of styles and energy is ecstatic. Half the audience rise from their carefully guarded seats and begin to dance. The room feels wonderful at this point.
Other acts are more old fashioned cabaret, given an evil twist. Much of the material in these acts is black humoured and strange. The drunken, debauched trapeze artists of The Cabaret At The End Of The World are enjoyable, once we get past the first song. (None of them can sing. But they can really swing).
The musical duo, Rob And Skatz, is hilarious. But there is one absolutely diabolical act which I feel compelled to mention. Anthony Padgett and his interreligious show is so unfunny, so awful, that the audience starts to hiss. He remains for a further ten minutes, oblivious to the growing discontent before him.
Into the embarrassed silence which follows this leaps our compere, Dusty Limits. This man is amazing. He is the funniest camp man I have seen in a very, very long time. Dusty sings wonderful songs, which are very funny and very rude. His song about Americans, recently adapted to being about Republicans in light of recent complaints (same difference anyway) is a political joy. A compere should never be funnier than the acts, but it might be fair to say in this case that it doesn't matter. This cabaret is wonderful.
©Ariadne Cass 7th August 2005 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs 10 - 11, 15 - 18, 23 - 25, 29. Aug 2005
Company - Vaudeville Presents...
Company Website - www.thebongoclub.co.uk
Volpone: Sex Lies and Videotape. (Page 189).
Venue Baby Belly (Venue 88).
Address The Caves, Niddry St South, off Cowgate.
Reviewer Edmund Gould.
There is always an element of risk involved in contemporary adaptations of classic plays. On the surface, the Growling Monkey Theatre Group's decision to update Ben Jonson's comedy Volpone to today's corporate age appears perfectly logical. After all, it's a satire on our lust for wealth - 'Greed is good', and all that. So the idea of re-imagining Jonson's protagonist as a media tycoon seems rather clever. Sadly, the most important element of the original - comedy - has been savagely drained from the script, and the result is really quite unpleasant.
Sir Theodore Volpone is a Murdoch-esque billionaire, who enjoys the pursuit of wealth even more than the possession of it. Aided by his parasitic confidante, John Mosca, Volpone hatches an elaborate plot to con three businessmen out of their fortunes. He then sets his sights on one of his victim's wives, the beautiful Celia, but his lustful advances are thwarted by a gallant soap actor. Seriously.
Just as the farce is getting into full swing, however, the plot takes some rather nasty turns. The original ending is totally reworked, and in place of laughter we react with revulsion to some brutally misogynistic scenes, all of which jar with the play's initial tone. There are one or two neat touches that marginally redeem matters; the director makes fine use of CCTV footage, and one or two of the performances are suitably loathsome. That said, this bizarre production serves as a warning to aspiring writers hoping to revise classic material. It's a dangerous game, and in this case, it's one that's not worth playing.
©Edmund Gould 18 August 2005 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs to 28 August at 17:20 (1hr), every day except 27 August.
Company – Growling Monkey Theatre Group.