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 Festival 2006
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Musicals & Opera

(F) 3 out of 74
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Rating Guide
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= Unwatchable
Page number refers to the Fringe programme

Footlights - Niceties. (Page 34).
Drams .
Venue Pleasance Dome. (Venue 23).
Address 1 Bristo Square.
Reviewer Adam Baker.

It is still impossible to go to a Cambridge Footlights' performance without thinking of the great comedians who emerged from under its wing. Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, Emma Thompson, Peter Cook and so on and so on. This is of course both a blessing and a curse- while it guarantees the footlights a great deal of interest it also places a small hope in the audience's heart that they are seeing the Next Big Thing. The audience's introduction to this incarnation of Footlights is charmingly familiar and utterly bizarre. As we file in, the Footlights are on stage playing a selection of hits on keyboard, xylophone, penny whistle and kazoo. However, after they break off backstage it's straight into the sketches, and they come, one after the other, thick and fast for the next hour.

The show begins in a place, which, though it is no doubt rich with comic possibilities, doesn't do much to demolish stereotypes of Footlights comedy - a cricket pitch. However, the show is well carried on its solid writing delivered with confidence and timing by an able cast. Only a few sketches prove to be weak links with the audience not quite inclined to applaud heartily in the interlude after them. The real highlights are the well observed and closely written internet forum skit, and the closing photograph sketch, which shows that class is still the quickest route to laughter with a British audience. Niceties also included the brilliant line "Let's make love then bury our dead friends", which made this reviewer wish that they could make their writing just that bit more side-splittingly consistent.
©Adam Baker 11 August 2006 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs to 28 August at 20:00 every day, except the 16.
Company - Cambridge Footlights.
Company Website - www.footlights.org.


4 Poofs and a Piano - Strictly Neurotic. (Page 35).
Drams , less for those who want comfort comedy.
Venue Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33).
Address 60 The Pleasance
Reviewer Leanna Rance.

Always the bridesmaid, never the blushing bride… The members of 4 Poofs and a Piano could to some extent be excused for feeling this way, having operated so long in the shadow of uber-personality Jonathon Ross. But tonight in Strictly Neurotic, they have a chance to shine for 60 unfettered minutes. The capacity audience is almost exclusively middle-aged and middle-class – and resolutely out for a good time. 4 Poofs are preaching to the converted in Pleasance One tonight.

The fact is they don’t put a foot wrong. Because they know their audience, and know exactly what they need to deliver, to fulfill expectations. This is a goodtime show. A quality-assured comedy comfort zone. They’re cuddly and non-threatening. We have glittery kilts and ‘Do Not feed’ T-shirts for Dave the portly one.
They romp shamelessly through a tried-and-tested repertoire of double-entendres. Flirting with disco, country & Western and gospel, they stick to the obvious targets - divas, Joan Collins, Viagra, boy-bands and include an obsequious nod in the direction of Little Britain.

The choreography is slick and amusing, the singing great, the lines corny, the smiles fixed tightly and brightly on faces, and they deliver the goods, albeit in a camper-than-camp stereotypical way - much to the audiences delight. They are most certainly fun for some.

A great time slot for 4 Poofs and a Piano. A soufflé-light, easily digested Edinburgh appetizer, to whet your appetite before the evening’s main course.
© Leanna Rance - 12 August 2006 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs to 27 August at 18.00 every day, excepting 8, 15.
Company - 4 Poofs and a Piano.


Funny Money - Free . (Page 36).
Venue  Laughing Horse at Lindsays. (Venue 56).
Address  15 Brunswick St.
Reviewer  Anna Kay .

Yet another triumph of the Free Fringe!  And given the premise of JoJo Sutherland’s show, a very appropriate one.  Sutherland takes us through the ups and downs of her family finances, and when the up is a castle and the down is a caravan, this makes for fascinating listening, if nothing else.  But she does have something else.  The show is well structured, focussed and consistently funny.  The comedy makes us laugh and the tragedy doesn’t drag us down.  She is self-deprecating, but not self-pitying.

With her 2005 Fringe show focussing on her experiences on Wife Swap and marrying her husband’s brother, and this year’s about chasing down jewellery in the bushes of a castle, one wonders what on earth she will reveal about herself in next year’s show.  Whatever this may be, what thing is certain – it’ll be very good.
©Anna Kay 26 August 2006 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Run ended.
Company – JoJo Sutherland / PBH’s Free Fringe.
Company Website - www.freefringe.com.

(F) 3 out of 74
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