Primadoona:- Doon MacKichan

****

4 Star

Twice Emmy winner Doon MacKichan, probably best known for writing and performing in the TV series Smack the Pony is staging her one woman show, a brief reenactment of the last three years where her life has been turned about by a series of set backs, a family death, a divorce and one of her three children becoming seriously ill.

MacKichan has treated all this as a source for her to entertain a packed house and as a vehicle to highlight her undoubted talents as both a writer and a comedy actress.

It would have been easy to have made this an over sentimental, self-indulgent piece, but she has managed to avoid falling into this trap and instead served up an hour of solid material perhaps with the message I will survive stamped right through it.

The packed out crowd were able to laugh throughout as the story unfolded and empathized at the sad parts. Certainly her name is a big draw in many attending, but she sure can deliver a performance worthy of her reputation.

This is a very popular show so it would be advisable to book early otherwise you could find yourself missing out.

****

Reviewed by Geoff

Gilded Balloon Dining Room V 14

4 to 29 August

17-30 to 18-30

Fringe Brochure P 281

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Felicity Ward Reads from the Book of Moron

3 Stars

***

My first impression of Felicity Ward was one of surprise. In her publicity photograph she comes across as cold and austere. In actual fact, she has a warm and welcoming personality that is beguiling. Her conversational, self deprecatory brand of humour kept me laughing all the way through her performance. She has a slim figure and doesn’t mind admitting there isn’t a lot in the bra area. Even when she does some edgy, sexual content she puts it across in a charming, conspiratorial way.

Her show is based around her book of tales drawn from her past experiences, for example, an incident when through peer pressure she ate some hash cake, and the problems resulting from irritable bowel syndrome in the closely confined space of a mini bus.

Between the stories her interaction with the audience is natural and witty.  As the show develops, it is as if we have become her friends. At the end of an enjoyable hour, she hands out a little booklet which contains her thoughts and the full text of her irritable bowel syndrome story – an amusing read.

Reviewed by Ben

Venue; Venue Number                  Gilded Balloon Teviot; V14

Dates                                                  4 to 30 August 2010 (not 16, 23)

Times                                                 18.45 to 19.45

Fringe Programme Page Number: 61

The Virtuous Burglar by Dario Fo

4 Stars

****

Italian playwright Dario Fo’s satirical farce is given a thoroughly satisfying and amusing treatment. It is a tale of deceit and sexual philandering by the wealthy as opposed to the straightforward way of life of a petty burglar.

The burglar breaks into the flat of a wealthy councillor, believing he and his wife are away for a few days. The phone rings continuously. He answers it and it is his wife. This is the first of many surprises. When the burglar hears a couple entering the flat, he has to hide immediately. The man, a wealthy councillor, is the owner of the flat and the lady is the wife of another. They are here to consummate their affair. The plot thickens when the burglar is discovered and further characters appear for the purpose of having sex. Each tries to explain their innocence to prove their marital fidelity.  Misunderstandings pile up, leaving the burglar completely baffled.

The cast perform with great skill bringing out the wonderful humour in the dialogue. The execution of the physical action is slickly achieved in this pacy production.

Reviewed by Ben

Venue; Venue Number                  Assembly @ George Street; V3

Dates                                                  5 to 30 August 2010 (not 16, 23)

Times                                                 14.15 to 16.15

Fringe Programme Page Number: 302

Julien Cottereau: Imagine toi

5 Stars

*****

Julien Cottereau has taken the arts of mime and clowning and given them a 21st century makeover by introducing a spectacular range of sound effects generated by his own voice. Despite his modernistic approach, the influences of the comedy greats of the era of silent movies can be seen and he matches what they devised.

He makes his first entrance as a cleaner and we get an idea of his act from the combination of facial expressions, movement and sound. For many of his routines he brings on to the stage volunteers from the audience to help with the action. What is truly impressive is the way he can co-ordinate precisely the actions of the volunteers with his sound effects. It is uncannily telepathic and achieved with an impish sense of humour. He can play tennis football and my eyes are following the movement of an invisible ball.

His final routine with the aid of two volunteers is spellbinding. There is the damsel in distress and the evil rogue. He, in Chaplin style, slays the evil rogue to achieve the rescue and to round off a classy performance.

Reviewed by Ben

Venue; Venue Number                  Assembly @ Princes St Gardens; V52

Dates                                                  5 to 29 August 2010 (not 9, 23)

Times                                                 16.15 to 17.15

Fringe Programme Page Number: 149

Andrew Maxwell 5 Nights Only

*****

5 Stars

Fringe institution Andrew Maxwell is only doing a short run at Fringe 2010 but this genial Irishman is as popular as ever judging by the packed at Rainey Hall for the first of his shows, even at a start time of 11-30pm

Although suffering the after effects of a dodgy burger, Maxwell is soon into his set at the very top of his game.

Initially bantering with the audience on local and nationality topics, and getting plenty of feedback, Maxwell as is his wont talks about many subjects always putting the funny into whatever he delivers. His skill as a raconteur is immense and his observational humour and the colourful way he describes situations really puts a clear image in ones mind.

He talks at length, and with much hilarity, about taking his son to a football match, a ‘killer’ killer whale, Pope’s visit to Glasgow, Irish bars in New York and a visit to an adult party following a TV panel programme he was on amongst other stuff.

Although scheduled for an hour, Maxwell was on stage for nearly an hour and a half. He said he was enjoying the audience and by God the audience was enjoying him and his set.

Hopefully he will return for a full Fringe in 2011. Please put me down for a ticket now.

*****

Reviewed by Geoff

Assembly Hall Rainy Hall V23

17 to 21 August

23-30 to 00-30 (allegedly)

Fringe Brochure P 27

Domestic Goddi Wonderland

****

4 Stars

I have seen the Domestic Goddi over the last two Fringes, originally Rosie Wilkinson and Helen O’Brien, Goddi II were Helen and Genevieve Swallow and for Goddi MkIII we have all three actors which certainly gives them scope for even more mayhem.

As in previous productions the sketches are well written and funny, if occasionally deliciously silly. I like the idea of running gags in sketch comedy, but to bring in this utilising some of last years characters and ideas and developing them is clever. However if you missed last years show they still work in isolation.

The sketches come thick and fast with very little lull between set-ups and I always feel it is when an hours show is winding up and one thinks it has been only going for a few minutes then it is a testament to the enjoyment factor.

Okay this is probably not a ground breaking performance, but it is a well- crafted, funny, enjoyable way to spend an hour in the Fringe afternoon.  I am looking forward to next year’s version already.

****

Reviewed by Geoff

Pleasance Beside V 33

4 to 30 August

14-45 to 15-45

Fringe Brochure P 56

Tony Tanner’s ‘Charlatan’ – SST Productions

*****

5 Stars

As a regular base line philistine with a low grade tolerance for ‘up itself prose’ and with no real grasp or devout interest in the origins of the Ballet Russes, I walked into Tony Tanner’s one man play Charlatan expecting to be mildly entertained. I was stunned by the sheer talent of the actor and totally overawed by the story. Tanner wrote this piece based on Sergei Diaghilev the man who is responsible for bringing modern and classical dance to the masses back in the early 1900s. His loves, hates and gossipy back biting are as relevant today as any sharp, sassy sitcom and the writing is superb.

Now, do not under any circumstances assume that this play is for those who adore Russian ballet and enjoy riveting tales of high falluting folk in a cultured world of exclusivity- it is quite the opposite, as the story itself uses a myriad of effluent language yet is still a cracking good story. And one that needs to be told.

Tanner had me transfixed from the moment the light shone on him, he takes the role of the fading Diaghilev in his sharp black suit and weaves his magic, you can almost see Nijinsky leap through the air with your own eyes. This isn’t just a story about ballet or about dance but a true human tale which had me wanting to watch it all over again. And I will.

*****

Reviewed by guest celebrity Janey Godley

Assembly Halls Baillie Room V

5 to 30 August

17-30 to 18-30

Fringe Brochure p297