Sammy J – Skinny Man, Modern World

***
3 Stars

Australian Sammy J bounds on to the stage full of energy at the beginning of his show, all 58 kilos of him. After introducing himself to several members of the audience, Sammy launched into a story of a teenage practical joke, underscored by his keyboard playing.

This story sets the tone for the rest of the show, in a departure from previous years, this show is simply a mixture of anecdotes and silly songs, including one about mermaids and Alf Stewart from Home & Away, which is exactly the brand of surreal silliness you would expect if you are familiar with Sammy J’s work.

The show provided plenty of belly laughs but there were a few moments when the anecdotes could have been tightened up (the show, which is billed as an hour, actually lasted 75 minutes, leading to a very fast dash across town to George Street for me), and I was expecting more songs from a comic I know as primarily a musical comedian. That said, it’s impossible not to warm to Sammy’s friendly character and I can’t fail to be entertained by whatever he has to offer.

Reviewed by Sarah

Underbelly
21:50 – 22:50

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Robin Ince and Michael Legge: Pointless Anger, Righteous Ire

4 stars

****

In this show Ince and Legge have decided to look closely at the nature of anger – is anger actually a force for good or a force for evil.  If we get angry over the littlest things is it a complete waste of time and effort or is there a point to it, are we justified in our rage?  Hence the title – Pointless Anger, Righteous Ire.  It’s a bit of a deep concept for what is, essentially, two men going purple in the face for an hour.

There was a loose structure to this show with Ince and Legge both taking turns to rail against certain subjects that had ticked them off.  Then it was thrown open to the audience to suggest topics that made them hot under the collar – trains, barking dogs, 24 hour locksmiths who didn’t fully understand the term 24 hour, bad drivers, bad pedestrians.  We could have gone on like this for the full hour as I sense a number of the audience found the release of their rage somewhat cathartic.  Ince and Legge dealt with each suggestion brilliantly and provided a lot of off the cuff ranting and raging.  At the end of each suggestion a vote was taken, was this person’s anger pointless or righteous?  The vote seemed to fall to the latter most of the time.  We were an angry audience.

Due to spending most of their time dealing with us, both men had to rush through their later material – a quick look at their Heroes of Anger and a Top 10 of things that make them angry.  However, since it was Legge’s birthday, we still found a moment to sing him Happy Birthday (angrily, of course) and enjoy a musical interlude provided by Jim Bob.

At the end of the hour I feel that many of the audience left with a burden lifted from their shoulders, whilst the performers left with something approaching an aneurism.  Do make these men angry.  You’ll enjoy them when they’re angry.

Reviewed by Di

Venue – GRV

14.00 – 15.00

Maria Tecce: Strapless

5 Stars

*****

Maria Tecce has all the seductive qualities of sophistication and sensuality but there is much, much more to her performance. She has a fabulous voice, complete stage presence, and, boy, can she put across a song.

Her set contains a variety of songs based around the emotions of desire and love. There are the songs in Spanish with Latin rhythms. We may not understand the lyrics but she sings with such ferocious intensity, we know that this is a woman not to mess around with. When she performs the songs with a jazzy, bluesy feel every languid movement has a meaning. For some lucky guy sitting at the front, the song ‘What Lola wants, Lola gets’ will be especially enjoyable. Her performance of ‘Nature Boy’ was especially dramatic, being on her knees and absolutely still.

From her first entrance to her final exit, she captures and holds the audience’s attention A little confession: after her show, I did buy her CD.

Review by Ben

Venue; Venue Number                  Assembly @ George Street ; V3

Dates                                                  5 to 29 August 2010 (not 16, 23)

Times                                                 18.40 to 19.35

Fringe Programme Page Number: 193

Mould & Arrowsmith in 3D

Two Stars

**

Comedy can be easily judged by the frequency of laughs. After a bright opening, the laughs just dried up. Unfortunately, the sketches which contained references to game shows and optical illusions simply fell flat.

There was much computer stuff shown on a big screen. The 3D video did work effectively.

The show developed into computer geek theatre rather than comedy with a battle for world domination between Mac and PC.

Mould and Arrowsmith are confident, assured performers and perhaps you have to be up to speed with the latest computer wizardry to get the most out of this show.

Reviewed by Ben

Venue; Venue Number                  Pleasance Courtyard; V33

Dates                                                  4 to 29 August 2010 (not 10, 17)

Times                                                 16.30 to 17.30

Fringe Programme Page Number: 100

Reginald D Hunter: Trophy Nigga

*****

5 Stars

There are comedians, big comedians and then there are the huge comedians. I don’t mean in size, but in talent and drawing power and Reginald D Hunter is surely up there I the top few.

I have seen most of Hunter’s shows over the last few years, not just at the Fringe but at venues such as the Stand Comedy Club and Dunfermline’s Alhambra Theatre, and one thing than can be assured is that with him on the stage the comedy will come thick and fast and delivered in his deep rich Georgia accent. Hunter has the ability to make one feel as if he is talking to you personally, even in such a vast place as the Pleasance Grand.

Never one to shy away from controversy in his show titles and the ensuing issues it throws up, Reg is happy to talk about and with his audience involved too at times on PC, stupidity, gender differences, bullying and politics. The list goes on.

The smooth voice, the biting wit, the well observed and eloquently delivered set was universally well received and the time just evaporated so much so that when his time was up, it felt like he had only been opining for minutes.

The ticket is already a hot one, so if you should want to see one of the best surely at the top of his game, then you better act PDQ.

*****

Reviewed by Geoff

Pleasance Grand V 33

4-29 August

20-00 to 21-00

Fringe Brochure P 113

Seann Walsh – I’d Happily Punch Myself in the Face

4 Stars

****

Seann Walsh is in his twenties and is making his solo debut at the Fringe. He could be described as pure stand up – just a mike and an inventive mind with no gimmicks or props. Despite his name, he is not Irish. He comes from Brighton and his experiences of living there provide the starting point for a very funny show.

He casually mentions he likes people watching and during his routines he has obviously absorbed ideas which have fed into his material. There is an underlying theme of transport – cars, buses, railways, airports and even just walking about. Reinforcing his great timing, he throws in some physical action. He drew an instinctive round of applause when he did a mime in slow motion of his girlfriend getting out of the backseat of a 2 door car.

On the night I saw him, he did have to deal with a number of distractions just when he was about to deliver a punch line. He dealt with these beautifully, especially a guy in the front row who wanted to see himself as part of a double act.

Word must be getting about that Seann Walsh is a comedian who can deliver, since he was playing to a full house.

Reviewed by Ben

Venue; Venue Number                  Pleasance Courtyard; V33

Dates                                                  4 to 30 August 2010 (not 11, 18)

Times                                                 20.30 to 21.30

Fringe Programme Page Number: 121

Soho Storeys

4 Stars

****

Written by Tim Norton, Soho Storeys is a big, ambitious project which is successfully realised by a cast of over 30 young, talented performers backed by a 9 piece jazz orchestra.

The scene is Soho, 1953. The action takes place in a 6 storey tenement which is a melting pot of immigrants from Jamaica, Italy, Greece, France and Russia. In the basement, there is a jazz club. The interaction between the immigrants, the locals and the dancing girls takes place with a series of quick fire, witty sketches mixed in with song and dance routines. With so much going on, it can be a trifle confusing.

The story eventually settles into the developing attraction between Jamaican singer Tyrone (Spencer Hughes) and Greek girl Elena, (Katie Barrie), wife of the womanising Tony (Ed Sayer). The highlight of the show is a spectacular chase scene when Tony finds out about Tyrone and Elena and he is seeking out Tyrone to exact revenge. Using a group of movable stairs and platforms the speed of the chase has to be timed with precision.

Huge plaudits must go the direction team of Tim Norton, Kathryn Norton and choreographer Neil Fisher, as well as Ned Bennett and Ajantha Chandrasena, the musical directors for putting together a slick, imaginative and enjoyable show.

Reviewed by Ben

Venue; Venue Number                  Pleasance Courtyard; V33

Dates                                                  8 to 20 August 2010 (not 17)

Times                                                 14.00 to 15.15

Fringe Programme Page Number: 289