La Petite Mort – The Orgasm

2 Stars

**

Isabel Hertaeg’s show didn’t really get off the ground. It could be described as a biology lesson with songs. There are plenty of facts delivered in a detailed and restrained way. For example, information about the sex habits of seagulls and voles doesn’t provide many laughs, however true.

On the other hand, the songs she has penned are more edgy and humorous. She has a strong voice and a good vocal range. However, what is missing from her performance is a feeling of sensuality and a real connection with the audience. She didn’t take risks and, as a comedy show, this was disappointing.

Reviewed by Ben

Venue; Venue Number                  Underbelly; V61

Dates                                                  5 to 29 August 2010 (not 16)

Times                                                 17.00 to 18.00

Fringe Programme Page Number: 86

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No Child

5 Stars

*****

Nilaja Sun’s performance in her own play, directed by Hal Brooks, definitely has that wow factor. She gives a master class in the art of solo performance theatre. Flawless timing and precise, demanding physical movement lead to a riveting stage presence.

Her story, set in a tough high school in the Bronx, is a reflection of that community’s day to day life with its humour, conflict and sadness. It follows the fortunes of a temporary teacher tasked with staging a play to be performed by the school’s most difficult class; thus, a play within a play. She performs the widest range of character, male/female, from the young to the old. Her changes of character are achieved instantaneously. Giving the story coherence is her witty portrayal of the elderly janitor who has been working in the school for decades. He acts as narrator forming the link between the scenes.

The fulsome applause she received from the audience at the end is testament to a heart warming experience.

Reviewed by Ben

Venue; Venue Number                  Assembly @ George Street; V3

Dates                                                  5 to 30 August 2010 (not 9, 23)

Times                                                 14.20 to 15.25

Fringe Programme Page Number: 274

Girl Constantly F***ing Interrupted

4 Stars

****

Celia Peachey gives a most moving and compelling performance in her depiction of Faith, a young woman in a seriously mentally unbalanced state of mind. The realism in her writing and performance comes from a traumatic experience in her own life.

The play opens with Faith seated in her attic. Earlier in the day, she has attended her mother’s funeral. Her mind is in deep pain and in a state of inner chaos. Characters crowd into her head but there are huge gaps in her memory. Who is she is her plea?

She opens a trunk. Objects give clues to her past. A notebook containing a list of male names denotes promiscuity. A volume of Shakespeare indicates she was once a serious student. A knife explains the self abuse on her body. The key possession is her journal which triggers thoughts about her relationship with her mother. The death of her mother is especially tragic since she had been murdered. It is apparent the police could have done more to give her mother protection.

Having had a few minutes to spare before seeing the play, I played a little game making up as many words from the ’F***ing’ in the title. Of course, there are a few obvious ones, but the word ‘Fearing’ is perhaps the most appropriate word to fit the theme of this psychological drama.

A footnote: After the play had ended, Celia Peachey came back on stage to explain that she had altered the play to a drama. In her promotional material, it is described as a comedy. However, I don’t think members of the audience would have any complaints given the quality of her performance.

Reviewed by Ben

Venue; Venue Number                  Gilded Balloon Teviot; V14

Dates                                                  4 to 30 August 2010

Times                                                 12.00 to 13.00

Fringe Programme Page Number: 255

Five Guys Named Moe

5 Stars

*****

What a joyful and brilliant show! Everything is right in this updated production starting with the technical side – staging, lighting, sound and costumes. The performances are dazzling – the song and dance routines, the humour and not forgetting the supporting jazz band. Also, the audience played their part in giving a good feel throughout.

The story is one of lost and found love. It stars Clarke Peters, the show’s original creator in 1990. He plays Nomax who finds himself transported back in time to meet up with the 5 Moes (Ashley Campbell, Christopher Colquhoun, Carlton Connell, Paul Hazel and Horace Oliver). Using the music and lyrics of Louis Jordan, a storyline has been cleverly constructed.

To many, Louis Jordan is not a household name but he was enormously popular in the 1940’s with his range of recordings in various styles from the blues to up tempo, boogie. His output was influential in the early development of rock and roll. What continues to make his songs fresh today is the humour in the quirky lyrics.

All the classic songs are performed with boundless energy, including ‘Choo, Choo Ch’Boogie’, ‘Caldonia Boogie’, ‘Reet Petite and Gone’ as well as the title song itself. It was interesting to look around to gauge the age range of the audience. It was not surprising to see a good representation of senior citizens but it was encouraging to see so many from younger generations. Sitting beside me were a couple of twenty somethings and they were chuckling and clapping throughout, proving quality can attract all age groups.

Reviewed by Ben

Venue; Venue Number                  Underbelly’s McEwan Hall; V300

Dates                                                  4 to 29 August 2010 (not 27)

Times                                                 17.15 to 18.45

Fringe Programme Page Number: 211

Toulson and Harvey Used to be Friends.

4 stars

****

After an enforced break of a few years, Toulson and Harvey have reformed to take on Fringe 2010.  Playing upon their separation allows the duo to explore the concept of betrayal, the tie which binds this particular show together.  Surprisingly, it also makes way for a lot of kissing.  Beware the front row, that’s all I’m saying.

The pair work their way through sketches involving a number of partnerships that end in betrayal: Jesus and Judas, Holmes and Watson, a barmaid and her alien boyfriend and two German best friends.  They don’t really employ any elaborate sets or costumes, relying instead on a succession of accents to differentiate characters.  This keeps the show rattling along at a fair old pace.  A particular highlight of the set is the rather disturbing partnership between Harvey and his childhood teddy bear, which gives way to a brilliantly vitriolic piece directed at Justin Lee Collins.  This is accompanied by a standout song so slanderous that any money they make from ticket sales will probably be spent on lawyer’s fees if one of the subjects catches wind of it.

In addition to the material they’ve worked on, they also do a nice line in lapsing away from their script and trying to get the better of each other.  In some ways this adds to the tension that they’re creating between themselves.  In other ways it’s just really funny to watch.  The small hut reverberated with laughter for the full hour and as the show drew to a close turned into thunderous applause.  It’s good to have Toulson and Harvey back.

Reviewed by Di

Venue: Pleasance Courtyard, Pleasance Beside

19.10-20.10