Cabaret Whore Encore! – Free

*****

5 Stars

Following on from last year’s sell-out Sarah-Louise Young has returned to the Fringe with another dose of her Cabaret Whore show.

Ms Young is an extremely talented and versatile young lady, and she welcomes us into her venue, assisting in seating her packed out room in character of the Diva of a certain age Bernie St. Clair. Once all are seated to her satisfaction the diva, as part of her latest final comeback tour treats us to a selection of numbers, interspersed with some comedy linking about her life and family.

Following hard on her heels, the next character she presents is Kasia, an eastern European entertainer clad in a pink cat suit and accompanied by a toning ukulele as she entertains with a variety of styles.

Character 3 was Sister Mary-Ann, an Australian evangelist who does her bit in the happy clappy style associated. She, like her predecessors, mixes funny links with quality singing.

The piece de resistance was the revival of the slightly psychotic La Poulle Plombee  from last year’s extravaganza. This French diva with a pomme frit on her shoulder and a knife in her hand bemoans her plight and sings like an angel, even if contemporary   Edith Piaf still gets more work and she is dead!!

One thing for sure Sarah-Louise Young is a superb performer. She is versatile in her singing style, funny in her links and all for free too.

*****

Reviewed by Geoff

Three Sisters V272

5 to 29 August

18-15 to 19-15

Fringe Brochure P 209

Felix Dexter – Multiple Personalities in Order

***

3 Stars

There is no doubting that Felix Dexter can do stand-up and also, as an actor, characters too, so a mix of the two should have worked well, shouldn’t it?

Maybe it should, or perhaps it was the night I went, but I was a little disappointed by the overall product.

Dexter welcomed the audience as himself warming up for the first of his characters the slightly stereotyped Nigerian student Julius who chatted up the ladies, advised the men on seduction techniques et al. Although he held the characterisation, I felt the clichés jarring after a while.

Back to him self for some stand-up before Early D appeared. This wide-boy Harlseden entrepreneur, while well performed had no real substance and again hung on caricatures of street culture for the material.

Briefly it was Fletcher again, before his most successful characterisation, that of Aubrey a black architect who lived in the Cotswolds. His accent and attitude seemed spot on and for me this was the highlight of his hour.

This wasn’t a bad show, far from it; I did expect to enjoy it more though.

***

Reviewed by Geoff

Pleasance Above V33

4 to 30 August

21-00 to 22-00

Fringe Brochure P 61

Jump: Tank Productions

****

4 Stars

I have not seen many musicals this year, there was a time where I saw loads, but having been a little disillusioned with some recently, just did other shows. But while talking to Toby Herschmann, the composer of Jump, he encouraged me to go and check out this production and I’m glad he did.

The highly talented cast perform this 75 minutes show in such a way that my faith in new musicals has been somewhat restored. The lyrics and book by Kelly Kingham together with the music by Mr Herschmann where of a very high standard and the busy afternoon crowd seem en masse to agree with me.

Danny, Jonathan Eio, a student of middle-class parents is discovered on the top of a ten storey building and it is assumed he is going to jump. Tabloid style reporter Reilly, Jonathan Dryden Taylor, tries to get the scoop and so the story unfolds.

Danny’s relationship with Sarah, Rebecca Hutchinson, a rather mousey brunette is not going to survive their Uni separation and art student Danny falls for red headed siren Naimh, Emma Odell, who is blatantly sexy but working class, a situation that doesn’t sit well with Danny’s parents , Dryden Taylor again and Lowri-Ann Richards.

Throw into the mix Cassie, Stuart Saint, a pro, a transvestite, a confident and rather more than that for Dad and the plot is ready for fermentation.

The set is versatile, the actors play their characters with style, humour, pathos and versatility to the fore, each excellent at their roles and each has a good singing voice.

The production is well directed by Patrick Wilde, and together with a good script and enjoyable music made this a show well worth seeing.

****

Reviewed by Geoff

Pleasance Queen Dome V 23

4 to 30 August

14-05 to 15-20

Fringe Brochure P213

Caledonian Folk and Blues at the Guilford

****

4 Stars

One of the longest running institutions at the Fringe is the Caledonian Folk and Blues at the Guilford Pub, an establishment famed throughout the year for a wide selection of quality food and an even wider selection of beer.

Throw into the mix local folk band Yard of Ale with guest basis Val, and a selection of visiting bands as well, and there is no admission fee either. Win, Win, Win!!!

Alistair McDougald, Peter Gillan and Colin Mackenzie are the trio of folkies that play every night of their run and they always produce a quality evening of music with their selection of Scottish, Irish, English and American folk music, together with a few C&W numbers and even a 50’s classic or two.

Yard of Ale do the first hour, and a selection of visiting performers play a middle set, before the Yardies finish off proceedings.

The packed out pub were thoroughly enjoying themselves with even a queue forming outside periodically were a testament to the popularity of this Fringe gig, and with 2010 event heading towards a conclusion let’s start looking forward to 2011.

****

Reviewed by Geoff

Guilford Arms V 107

19 to 28 August

20-00 to 24-00

Fringe Brochure P178

Rosie Wilby – Further Science of Sex

****

4 Stars

I first saw Rosie Wilby last year when she presented her show The Science of Sex and although I enjoyed it, I felt it was somewhat undersold. 12 months on, and ‘Dr’ Rosie is back with an updated version, and this time she certainly made the most of her subject.

Some things have changed since last year Rosie is no longer in a relationship and a little of the break up featured in the show, the illustrations were similar some of the text and features remained, but what was added was a whole host of laughs, mostly laugh out loud belly laughs . Rosie rocked it most of the time and I was so pleased to see this personable young lady realise at least some of her potential.

Sex being the subject, a fair amount of the material, some fact based, some with the undoubted Wilby spin, is one that will often tend to get laughs and with an occasional foray into the audience to get a personal perspective on things..

It would have been slightly understandable that nearing the end of the Fringe an energy level drop from both performer and audience may have been expected, but it was not evident in any respect.

I look forward to seeing Ms Wilby next year with her 2011 show and hope the progress I have seen this year continues. I’ve no doubt it will be.

****

Reviewed by Geoff

Underbelly Delhi Belly V 61

6 to 29 August

16-125 to 17-05

Fringe Brochure P 117

Jessica Ransom: Ransom’s Millions

3 Stars

***

Jessica Ransom tells an almost plausible story of how a worker in a biscuit factory was tasked by her boss to give £1million to a person who had no links with him. This was due to some complex tenuous Italian connections.

This gives the set up for her to display her abilities as a comedy actress to play numerous characters who considered themselves worthy enough to walk of with the cash. Several of the characters were given one line descriptions but four gave longer, humorous monologues as their pitch to walk off with the cash. There was the avante-garde artist, the computer obsessed player of Quest, the female bounty hunter and the self help guru. This final character gives the show a lift with a volunteer from the audience benefiting from the advice offered.

A funny, well constructed hour of entertainment from a most talented actress but without any belly laugh moments.

Reviewed by Ben

Venue; Venue Number                  Pleasance Courtyard; V33

Dates                                                  4 to 30 August 2010 (not16)

Times                                                 16.45 to 17.45

Fringe Programme Page Number: 77

Ian D Montfort: Touching the Dead

4 Stars

****

Ian D. Montfort’s way of giving a literally spell binding performance is to talk slowly and precisely. His movement matches his delivery as he looks and assesses the individuals in the audience. Hailing from Sunderland, he describes himself as a spirit medium who is in touch with those on the other side.

With the help of his spirit guide, his ability to identify members of the audience and give personal details is uncanny. He can also put them in touch with famous celebrities such as Elvis Presley and John Lennon.

He performs several amazing illusions including an assist from William Shakespeare who helped him quote some lines from the Complete Works chosen at random. Between the extraordinary feats, he has a witty line of patter. This blend of humour and magic is a winning combination.

Reviewed by Ben

Venue; Venue Number                  Pleasance Courtyard; V33

Dates                                                  4 to 30 August 2010

Times                                                 14.15 to 15.15

Fringe Programme Page Number: 71

Adam Riches Rides!

4 Stars

****

Adam Riches superb, highly visual comedy comes from a selection of bizarre characters in a series of extended sketches. He opens with Pierce Brosnan as a singing and dancing centaur, his assistant playing the back end of the horse. A member of the audience is encouraged to ride the horse which eventually he achieves successfully. This sets the madcap tone for the sketches which follow. Volunteers from the audience are crucial to the play acting.

His energy never flags in his character roles, as he encourages and directs his volunteers to give a performance as well. There is plenty of room for hilarious ad libs. He reprises his super hero character, Victor Legit, who on this occasion is doing battle to fight against addiction to a certain make of drinking yoghurt. How Adam Riches gets away with all the silliness is his flamboyant, commanding stage presence and wonderful sense of timing.

Reviewed by Ben

Venue; Venue Number                  Pleasance Courtyard; V33

Dates                                                  4 to 30 August 2010

Times                                                 16.00 to 17.00

Fringe Programme Page Number: 22

Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre – on the Telly

4 Stars

****

This is a non stop show of puns and daft, funny comedy. Two sock puppets form the classic double act; one is sensible and trying to keep to a planned script whilst the other is anarchic doing his best to hog the limelight.

The pace is frenetic as they play out sketches of different TV genres involving numerous costume changes. There is the period drama with rival claimants to the beautiful heroine attempting to fight a duel. We just know the puppet master cannot physically do the walking 10 paces apart and the compromise is hilarious. A sketch with the mixing of dialogue from a cookery programme and a gardening programme along with the appearance of superman calls for split second timing and dexterity. Between the sketches, songs are performed to rock classics with the lyrics twisted and made very adult.

The perfect synchronisation of the hand movements and the delivery of the lines bring the puppets to life. Undoubtedly, there are a number of very corny puns but with so many fired at you, there are some classics.

Reviewed by Ben

Venue; Venue Number                  Gilded Balloon Teviot; V14

Dates                                                  4 to 29 August 2010

Times                                                 21.15 to 22.15

Fringe Programme Page Number: 120

The Bruce Collective

2 Stars

**

There is a lot going on this show – improvised comedy against a green backdrop with computer wizardry to produce a science fiction film on a projection screen. Chris Harvey-John directs with his laptop as location scenes flash up on to the projection screen.

Suggestions and objects from the audience give the three performers, Jarred Christmas, Mike Wozniak and Simon Young, the ideas to work into a plot of good versus evil. There are some impressive special effects, talking heads for example. However, working the comedy into a pre-set framework meant that Chris Harvey-John’s direction seemed to cause confusion all round. Much of the fun of improvised comedy is when performers run and run, bouncing ideas of each other. Just as I felt they were going in a good direction, they had to move on because of the demands of the story. For me, it was a show that never quite took off.

Reviewed by Ben

Venue; Venue Number                  Gilded Balloon; V14

Dates                                                  20 to 30 August 2010

Times                                                 18.30 to 19.30

Fringe Programme Page Number: 38