ShawSolution's Fringe Review 2015. Once again managed 20 shows in four and a half days. Photos from the Fringe to follow in a few days.
Not something we'd normally have chosen, but the girl on the street talked to us about it and had free tickets and it started in ten minutes. So it was pretty much a win. The play is based on interviews the cast had done with survivors of the fire at Bradford City. Each of the three cast members narrated their experiences. It was an intimate, powerful portrayal and something I recommend strongly.
Of Mice and Men
Stalward classic, using only Lenny & George and very limited set pieces the key elements of the sotry are told in the hour of the play. George is powerful, angry but loyal to his friend. The actor playing Lenny takes up the challenge with apolomb.
Whiskey Foxtrot Tango
A terrific character actor, Rebecca Crookshank, wrote, directed and stars in this comic documentary of her experiences in the armed forces. Crookie jumps confidently between characters telling the story with a heart-warming honesty.
The Thinking Drinker's Guide to the Legends of Liquor
"Drink less, but drink better!" Is the mantra of the two comedian's who talk about some of the most famous drinkers in history whilst passing around a collection of tasters for gins, whiskeys and a rather nice porter. Some excellent scenes, including sexy Jesus turning water into wine, the show is a fast pace comedy which raises some good lessons in tasting.
You also might catch a glimpse of them in the craft bar after the shows.
Ivy Paige: Filthy Rich
Not a typical burlesque, Ivy Paige brings a whole heaping of sensuality to the stage whilst telling the audience how to become “filthy rich!” Ivy Paige brings her show pieces together with comedy, and her own musical numbers. Expertly ended with a fan dance.
Best of Scottish Comedian of the Year
Always a good choice for an evening of comedy, a selection of commedian's who have participated in the Scotting Comedian of the Year competition. Expect bawdy jokes, strong accents and rampant use of the C word.
The Maydays Present: Oh Boy! The Quantum Leap Show
A impromptu theatre company who decided to create a new episode of Quantum Leap every day of the fringe, a year and a topic are chosen by the audience. Ours was 1985 and “The Birthday” Fun, chaotic, and with an impressive Ziggy, it is worth it for any fan of Quantum Leap. People who don't know it well, would probably be confused. The highlights are the re-enactment of the introduction and credit sequence.
I Am Beast
A company dedicated to their art. We know they researched this meticulously with psychologists and teenagers. At the end they invited interested members of the audience to attend a workshop they had arranged. None of this is relevant to the talent ot their work, which is impressive. Blaze carries the performance, and the pupettering is impressive in its realism and control. A nice touch is the balance of father/mayor/villan.
One Man Breaking Bad: The Unauthorized Parody
Funny, On topic. A few too many jokes taken from Reddit from a few years ago (Purple, Minerals, Skylar is a bitch, Breakfast.) Where he excelled was his new ideas. Like the Nazi Bikers. The Kaizer Soze and the random impersonations. As well as doing a 3 minute recap of the first three seasons after giving each one ten minutes. Well worth a watch..
Don't bring small children..... Bitch.
There is an element of cynicism in me coming to this show a blond/brunette comedy folk duo who play the ukulele and do risk songs... Not terribly unusual. But they more than manage to find a niche, and their set is impeccable. A very tight hour of very funny songs and jokes. Fox does a terrific job of making uncomfortable faces at comments made by her partner and the night I was there they found the strongest audience particaption ever in their Naughty Nuts song.
So you think you are funny
A month long competition for comedians. Ours was heat one. Featuring
Ben Lund-Conlon: A Middleclass Theology comic. More accesible than it sounds.
Cally Beaton: Single parent comedy, hits its stride well
Christopher Sit: Another leaining on the “Middleclass”, but this time about being gay.
Josh James: Essex Lad, made most of the audience uncomfortable with his nosh joke as he makde it clear his mother was in the audience...
Mark Dennett: A set on the different types of tea drinkers
Matilda Wnek: Edgy comedian, made rape jokes funny which is always impressive considering the subject matter. My pick of the group. https://twitter.com/hatsandbackchat
Neil O’Rourke: The announced Winner, Main theme was that he was Irish mugging victim and the weapon he was confronted with was a sewer rat...
Solidly done, excellent mastery of puppets and I felt it very appropriate I had a handled jug of beer for the performance. Small venue, but that lended a good air to it, with the focused spot lighting, it highlighted the idea of an old hall or cave. A particularly nice note, the two pupeteers both had hair braided in a old danish style.
The Improv Musical
The same company as last year, but a new cast, this year was “Ninja Knitting” featuring a retired ninja and a delinquent forced to look after the elderly. Entertaining as always.
Actually a group we have seen before, though we did not know it at the time, two of the three man cast were in “Cafe Rouge”. Tighter script this year, and some wonderful cheese lines. “Best Police Cop... Ever” It was Energetic sweaty, fun as the cast jump between characters.
Twins: Pret A Comedy
Saw them a year ago almost by accident and really enjoyed them. Was not a disappointment to see them again, a few reoccurring jokes, a lot more new material, an incredible success of finding Chinese people in the audience and an audience that finally got the Northern Lights joke. Strongly recommend watching them.
Austentatious: An Improvised Jane Austen Novel
Another impromptu show, this group is a very experienced troup. They select a title from the audience, ours was Good Will and Happiness. The tale of an introverted father looking for the elusive Osprey (at bottling his past wives in formaldehyde), his son finding love with a poor artist and the terrifying shrinking boy... Nyaaa!
Winter is Coming, Again
One of two Game of Thrones inspired musicals at the fringe this year, this one uses the idea of casting for Game of Thrones the Musical, with an aggressive lead gunning for the Khaleesi role. Good use of the audience as the ensemble, it unfortunaly feels a little like a play done by Musical Theatre students for other musical theatre students as it can be very meta in its references to how theatre operates. Some very good moments however.
The Emperor of America
I'd like to think Dream of the Endless would be happy to see his experiment importalized. As much of the focus is on Samuel Clements as it is on the first and only Emperor of America, this end of the old west tale highlights a piece of Americana more people should know about.
Get Your Shit Together
The final play of the evening, set in the new apartment and downstairs bar of a recently single man. His sisters, (one young and innocent and one older and cynical) try and make sure he is OK. Reminded me a great deal of Coupling, both in the slightly wacky situation that arises and in the banter between the characters.
Ursula Invents Old Women
Easily one of the most surreal of the plays on at the fringe, this play takes the premise that eminent Sci-Fi author Ursula LeGiun is suffering from writers block until she meets and becomes intimate with a formless alien from another plane of reality. Tiny venue used very well with minimal sets and lighting, its a surprisingly gripping show. Not for everyone, but something I enjoyed a great deal.