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 Festival 2006
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Musicals & Opera

(B) 3 out of 74
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= Unwatchable
Page number refers to the Fringe programme

Brendon Burns - Sober Not Clean. (Page 25).

Drams None needed!
Venue Pleasance Dome (Venue 23).
Address 1 Bristo Square.
Reviewer Leanna Rance.

Brendon Burns returns to Edinburgh in 2006 with the last part of his trilogy – Sober Not Clean. This final installation maps his time in rehab battling various addictions, and charts his journey onwards and upwards (he has now abstained completely from addictive substances and practices for seven months).

It’s pleasing to see the anger and energy is still there – his tirades perhaps delivered with greater focus and perspective, as a slightly older, wiser Burns examines his relationship with life, love and the universe, having decided that there is after all, a God. This hasn’t tempered his use of the ‘c’ word. “I’m not Adam Hills, I fear”, he lets us know with a wry smile. As if we were in any doubt.

This unique comic has publicly and openly struggled with his self-destructive side, for as long as memory serves. Burnsy vs Brendon. Jekyll vs Hyde. David vs Goliath. The jury has always been out, as to whether man or monster, would eventually rise victorious.

This is confessional comedy at its most grotesque – unsavory snapshots of Burns deliberately unveiled in lurid, graphic detail. And although on the surface, this might sound like a self-indulgent wallowing in the mire – it generates from a place of such integrity - a passion, sharpness and uncompromising desire to lay bare his soul – that it ensures a truly stunning 90 minutes of stand-up (yes, he joyously overran).

Time in the Priory clearly left an indelible mark on the man. The real question is, where will he go from here? Burnsy vs Brendon – The Sobriety Years’ perhaps.
It’ll be a tough call. Burns will need to draw strength from a completely different creative and emotional place.

“Who won?” he asks himself at the end. “I did”. A glorious affirmation of the art.
© Leanna Rance - 17 August 2006 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com.
Runs to 28 August at 20.30 every day, excepting 18.
Company - Brendon Burns.


Brokeback Britain. (Page 25).
Drams .
Venue Baby Belly. (Venue 88).
Address The Caves, Niddry St South, off Cowgate.
Reviewer Adam Baker.

Firstly a disclaimer - Brokeback Britain has little or no connection with the Oscar-winning film Brokeback Mountain. As an aside, it's very interesting to note how much humor can apparently be extracted out of homosexuality when you see the staggering amount of gay-related comedy shows at Fringe. Though Brokeback Mountain is a relentlessly arduous film about self-hate, it is in this context dropped as if it were a piece of kitsch culture. If, as Freud says, humor is the release of tension, it seems there is still much tension to be released.

The title of this show is in fact merely a semi-pun that attempts to tap into the current 'zeitgeist' for extra publicity. In fact, the show is a standard piece of observational comedy where Australian Pete Jonas and American Erich McElroy talk about the culture shock of living in Blighty. They make for an affable and funny duo which is lucky considering the issues they address are predictable at best - drinking, the weather, queuing, more drinking, women, politics etc., and the observations they make are less than mind-blowing. However, their sharp and polished back-and-forth makes for an enjoyable show of consistent quality.

The duo manage to construct a real rapport with their audience through plenty of interaction and a few enjoyable set pieces, notably getting the audience to stand and sing 'God Save the Queen' using new lyrics written by the pair. Another fun musical moment is a performance of Johnny Cash's Nine Inch Nails cover 'Hurt' by Jonas, while McElroy holds up sheets of card with situations and thoughts on that might inspire a Briton to sing a mournful dirge such as Cash's. A fun, if somewhat unsurprising way to spend an hour.
©Adam Baker 9 August 2006 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com.
Runs to August 27 at 20:20 every day, except 14.
Company - Leviathan Entertainment and ESM productions.


Bully Woo! (Page 25).
Drams .
Venue C Central (Venue 54)
Address Carlton Hotel, North Bridge.
Reviewer Chris Mounsey.

Bully Woo! is described as "the non-artistic, non-pretentious sketch show that flatly refuses to tackle any important issues" and I think that that might be one of the most truthful blurbs at the Fringe. When I looked at the "humourous" biographies in the programme my heart sank. Not only were they all deeply unfunny but they were all remarkably similar with not a spark of originality to be found. I settled myself into my booth with a weary resignation.

So imagine my surprise when I found myself laughing at many of the puerile skits that flitted all too quickly across the stage; such sketches as "Manly Poos", "Having An Affair" and "Donald Rumsfeld" were, in fact, quite witty, albeit in a crude way (but, then, no one could say that I hadn't been warned). There was definite potential here: the show could have done with more material, and the young performers desperately needed a good director but, all in all, the 40 odd minutes flew by.
© Chris Mounsey August 2006 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs to August 28 at 16.40 every day.
Company - NUTS.

(B) 3 out of 74
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