Comic Strip

4 Stars ****

Welcome back to the past. This show staged in the impressive Dans Paleis, an elaborate ‘Speigeltent’ like structure inGeorge Squarewhere the order of business is as it says in the title. Comedy and striptease, well, burlesque anyway. Good old fashioned fun for all.

 Welcoming us into the space were three scantily clad dancers who set the tone before MC for the night Dave Callan took control and warmed up the crowd with some gags and even an energetic dance route with two of the girls prior to the burlesque charms of Gypsy Wood doing her stuff.

Simon Fielder was the opening comedian, more burlesque from Agent Lynch, comedy from Jen Brister, the return of Gypsy Wood and comic and singer Sammy J bringing things to a close. Certainly line-up will change check http://www.assemblyfestival.com

All in all it’s a glitzy glamorous and funny evening’s entertainment,

Reviewed by Geoff

AssemblyGeorge Square

Dans Paleis 22:30: 4th – 7th, 11th – 14th, 21st & 28th.

Spiegeltent 00:40: 19th, 20th, 26th & 27th.

Fringe brochure P 60

Fabulous Divas of Hollywood

3 stars

***

Alan Palmer, apparently well-known over the pond, gives us his tribute to various female stars from all eras. Unfortunately losing his voice, he plays each character with a nod to Forbidden Broadway – a well-known song with new, clever lyrics, sung to a quiet video backing.

Each character has their own lavish costume which means half the show comes from behind a screen while he is getting changed. This isn’t great from an audience’s point of view although we do get some really interesting anecdotes in the meantime.

There is also something a little disturbing about a grown man dressing up and pretending to be a little girl, I was a little uncomfortable with this. Perhaps the show would work better without the costumes – as Alan Palmer himself, explaining his passion, presenting the same material and singing the characters etc. but not losing the audience behind a screen.

Review by Alan

theSpaces @ Surgeons Hall

5th-13th August, 22:50-23:40

Lila La Scala: Songs to Make You Smile

3 Stars

***

Lili La Scala is what I would describe as a niche artist. Her choice of songs is taken almost exclusively from the 1920’s to 1940’s. Her appearance evokes this period also. She does have a strong singing voice which suits the songs of this bygone age and her diction is crystal clear. This is important because the lyricists of these times had to tell to a good story whether of love, sadness or humour.

Classic favourites appear such as ‘Cheek to Cheek’ and ‘Makin Whoopee’. The first half of her set was made up of American selections. For the second half, British songs figured including the humorous ditties of George Formby and Gracie Fields. Between songs, there is a bit of banter with her excellent piano accompanist. More interesting, perhaps, was the background to the songs. For example, by a fluke of circumstances she managed to obtain the music of a long forgotten Gracie Fields song.

She does live up to the title of her show, and to round things off as an encore, was a lovely, simple treatment of ‘Over the Rainbow’.

Reviewed by Ben

Assembly George Square – Bosco Theatre: 3

3 to 28 August 2011 (not 8,15, 22)

17.00 – 18.00

Fringe Programme Page Number: 12

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.

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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