Kev Orkian the Guilty Pianist – The Closed Venues Tour

5 stars
*****
7th August show.

What can I say? Kev is a musical comedian and does it superbly. He has a quick wit and a great rapport with the audience. He is very funny and a very good player to boot. Not much more to say other than this is a fantastic show which had the audience in stitches. Superb!

The only niggle is that the piano was a bit too loud, I assume that will get fixed and it didn’t spoil the show. The world needs more Kevs! Also do yourselves a favour when you’re booking for Kev by also booking for Sharron Matthews who is on right after him. A fantastic night!

Review by Alan.

SpaceCabaret @ 54 (Carlton Hotel)

8th-27th August.

19:15-19:50.

Truly Medley Deeply

4 stars
****
7th August show.

Okay, outfits aside, this young quartet are excellent – individually very talented players as well as gelling as a group. The singing is great too and medley following medley of popular songs is performed very well I have to say.

A couple of things make this a 4 rather than 5 though – the diction needs to be better as a large amount of what could be heard couldn’t be understood unless you knew the songs (which to be fair most were known). My biggest issue was, however, that the whole show was far, far too loud. It’s a small space, the sound just needs to be balanced and clear however tonight’s show was verging on painful at points because the music drowned out the singing which was a great pity.

It probably didn’t help that Edinburgh Tonight over-ran by 15 minutes and I imagine it was “get set up and go” but this needs to be fixed. Then I’d gladly give it the 5 stars it deserves – they’re talented, polished and, dare I say it, gorgeous and deserve a fabulous run.

Review by Alan.

SpaceCabaret @ 54 (Carlton Hotel)

9th-20th August.

18:00-18:45.

Edinburgh Tonight with Joe Simmons and Lorraine Chase

3 stars
***
7th August show.

These ‘Best of’ shows are hard, hard work. I did it myself a few years ago and hats off to the team for bringing Edinburgh Tonight back again this year. I appreciate just how hard it is to keep bringing in quality (or not) acts to do their ‘slot’ and have the utmost respect for what goes into putting these shows on.

As every night is different it’s so hard to judge ‘this show’ without taking into account all the acts which are participating but it’s worth mentioning a few things. It started in the queue, overhearing a comment “…but I’ve no idea who Joe Simmons is”. Fair enough, neither did I! He’s Butch from ‘Topping and Butch’ who I have actually heard of – but I didn’t put the two together without reading the blurb.

The show starts with what must be the cheesiest, most self-indulgent opening ever and is completely unnecessary. Also unnecessary, I’m afraid, is Topping on the keyboard doing odd fills. It’s just not needed, takes up time and valuable space on the small stage. Sorry!

Anyway, despite many not knowing who he is, Joe’s a good host, likeable, presentable, funny and works hard. Lorraine Chase however is incredibly ditsy and kept forgetting to use her mic (which she needs as she’s so quiet). The whole thing seemed so rushed and yet ran 15 minutes over.

There was also no sign of Kate Copstick and even though the acts were giving away tickets, the audience were mainly reluctant to take them. Other shows further into the run will no doubt be slicker etc. but for me, tonight, only 3/5 I’m afraid.

Review by Alan.

SpaceCabaret @ 54 (Carlton Hotel)

9th-27th August (not 15th or 22nd).

16:50-17:45.

Elsa Jean McTaggart

5 stars
*****
7th August show.

With a beautiful voice and highly accomplished fiddling, Elsa sings her own original songs while accompanying herself on either her fiddle or guitar. The songs are very appealing, excellent and often personal – she gives the background to them all and it’s very interesting hearing about the stories surrounding them. There is also further excellent accompaniment and backings from her, well shall I say, accompanist? The balance was great, if a little loud overall.

Elsa has great banter with the audience too and was extremely patient handling the drunk (yes, drunk before 3pm!) and this was a lovely show.

An excellent 45 minutes of professional, talented musicians.

Review by Alan.

SpaceCabaret @ 54 (Carlton Hotel)

9th-27th August.

15:30-16:15.

Sharron Matthews Superstar: Jesus Thinks I’m Funny

5 stars

*****

7th August show.

Sharron is the only person I’ve seen who personally welcomes every audience member as they come in to their show. She is incredibly affable and sets everyone at ease, it’s almost like she’s welcoming you into her home.

This sets up an all-too-quick hour of fabulous singing and anecdotes. Sharron has a huge vocal range and covers all styles and genres, sometimes in the same phrase. Yet it’s not over-used – her voice is beautiful, honest and sometimes deeply emotional and a joy to listen to.

She has the whole audience in tears of laughter one second, then in complete silence for the next song. Absolutely delightful. Add to that the spot-on musicianship of Chris Tsujiuchi who is clearly enjoying himself on piano – this is pure entertainment at it’s best. Fabulous!

When you go, do yourself a favour and also go to see Kev Orkian who is on just before her, makes a fabulous evening.

Reviewed by Alan.

SpaceCabaret @ 54 (Carlton Hotel).

8-27th August (not 21st).

20:05-21:10.

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