Lesbian Bathhouse

***

3 Stars

The premise of this play by Helen Eisenbach it seems is that it is the audition stage for a sexual play directed by Ron Lascelle, who is never seen, but thinks himself a lesbian!!

Actresses come into audition for the roles, and there is underlying tension in the fact that Grace, a rather straight laced actor is joined in the process by a former lover who is less than keen for her to be there.

All seven actors Mia Austen, Daisy Burns, Michelle Calvert, Alana Hood, Freya Parker, Amelia Saberwal and Nicola Stuart-Hill all have short scenes depicting tongue in cheek representations of classic scenarios such a pizza delivery person, repair person etc where the girls get to behave badly.

This was a short snappy production that flowed from tableau to tableau with little delay, however it really didn’t capture my imagination. I’m afraid.

***

Reviewed by Geoff

Assembly Edinburgh Suite V 3

5 to 29 August

22-40 to 23-40

Fringe Brochure P88

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The Oxford Imps

***

3 Stars

Take a troupe of six impro actors,  one MC and one keyboard player add an enthusiastic audience and some unlikely suggestions and the scene is set for this lunchtime production.

The Imps have been around on the Fringe for numerous years and they are always popular with the audiences. Impro, if done well, is a fantastically enjoyable experience, if done badly can be embarrassing. This show was neither, it was good most of the time and occasionally very good and just occasionally was ordinary, hence the middle of the road score given.

The games and scenarios delivered are all tried and tested, no real surprises forthcoming unfortunately.

Certainly this is a show that can vary from day to day and there are definitely many worse around on the Fringe. It is a fairly safe way to start off a long Fringe day and is totally child friendly so take the kids along as well.

***

Reviewed by Geoff

Gilded Balloon Dining Room V14

4 to 30 August

13-15 to 14-05

Fringe Brochure P107

Tommy Tiernan:- Crooked Man

****

4 Stars

I can’t believe that it was 12 years ago with this likeable Irish comic walked off the Perrier Award at the Edinburgh Fringe, it’s amazing how time flies.

Tiernan is a little greyer these days than he was then, but once he got into his stride the sense of humour, the stage presence and the twinkling eye is undiminished.

Okay it maybe took a few minutes to click into gear but once he was there buckle in for the ride. Tiernan expounds his views on numerous topics amongst which were useless knowledge, his schooldays, family, a football match religion snoring and wishing to be able to sing. This is just a selection as he chats about many other things too.

He claims at the start that he wanted us and him to leave the gig actually knowing less as the brain can only hold so much information. I’m not sure he achieved that goal however. Having spent an hour in his company, it just reinforced my opinion that Tiernan is a definite comedy star and has been out of my orbit for far, far too long.

Tirenan is only on a short run and tickets are selling fast, so don’t be the one to miss out.

****

Reviewed by Geoff

Gilded Balloon Debating Hall V 14

20 to 30 August

20-00 to 21-00

Fringe Brochure P 134

Reel to Real: The Movies Musical

5 Stars

*****

What a wonderful, vibrant production! The combination of live singing and dancing performed against a large back screen of movie clips and location scenes is a sheer delight.

The storyline follows rival twins Jack and Jill whose father, a movie mogul, has set them a challenge with the winner to take control of the studio. This involves separate journeys across the world, Jack heading east and taking in London and Paris, and Jill heading west taking in Hollywood and Tahiti. The starting point is New York and the opening number ‘New York, New York’ gets the show of to a cracking beginning.

A bundle of songs are performed in spectacular fashion by the team of ten hugely talented singers and dancers. Examples include ‘Hit the road Jack’; Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend, and ‘Singing in the Rain’. Linking the action are little comedy sketches. Particularly clever was a scene between the live Jill and Humphrey Bogart in his classic role from ‘Casablanca’.

The finale when the twins arrive in China is hugely lavish and ties up all the loose ends in the plot. This is truly a show full of superlatives.

Reviewed by Ben

Venue; Venue Number                     Pleasance Courtyard; V33

Dates                                                  4 to 30 August 2010 (not 10, 17, 24)

Times                                                 18.00 to 19.10

Fringe Programme Page Number: 216

Sara Pascoe vs Her Ego

4 Stars

****

Sara Pascoe doesn’t do self deprecation humour. Her routine is based around her confidence and apparent brilliance – authoress, temping for a few days as Home Secretary, and it was she who caused Take That to get together again. These are only a few of her achievements. She does take a risk because if her act isn’t funny, it could all fall flat, but she carries it off superbly.

She has an abundance of good material on a huge range of topics. From memory, she touched on religion, her parents, politics, food, football and particularly sex. Well, she is an attractive blond in her late twenties. There is such variety in the way she is so funny. There are gags, hilarious throw away one liners, stories, role play and a few songs.

She can go from sharp, observational humour to the bizarre which I personally liked. For example, the Marquise de Sade is her current boy friend and a one night stand with the philosopher Nietzsche persuaded her to give up religion. The incongruity between working class accent and the mention of philosophers works a treat. What is consistent in her performance is the precision timing in hitting the punch line at the right moment.

She is on at a really competitive time in the evening. She is up against some big names but from the almost packed house it is evident she is making an impression even though it’s her first Fringe.

Reviewed by Ben

Venue; Venue Number                  Pleasance Courtyard; V33

Dates                                                  4 to 30 August 2010 (not 16)

Times                                                 20.15 to 21.15

Fringe Programme Page Number: 119

The Glenn Miller Mystery

2 Stars

**

Over the years there has been speculation as to the disappearance of Glenn Miller on a routine flight to France in 1944. This play includes a fictional account of the circumstances which could have led to his death.

Expecting a thriller, at no point did I get that spine tingling sensation of either pure tension or of sudden surprise. The scene is set in seedy dressing room whereTony Perelli, an aging Frank Sinatra tribute singer, is preparing to make his final appearance. A stranger in military uniform appears. The ensuing conversation reveals a reluctance from the stranger to explain his presence. On the other hand, Tony gives us his life story in excessive detail in long monologue sections with a couple of songs thrown in.

The weakness in the performance is the lack of biting cut and thrust in the dialogue between the two men.

Reviewed by Ben

Venue; Venue Number                  Pleasance Courtyard; V33

Dates                                                  17 to 30 August 2010

Times                                                 12.40 to 13.35

Fringe Programme Page Number: 256

Keepers

4 Stars

****

Keepers is an extra-ordinary combination of words, movement, sound effects, music and lighting. The successful blend gives a memorable theatrical experience. This true story is set on the Smalls lighthouse of the Welsh coast around two hundred years ago. It portrays two lighthouse keepers Thomas Howell and Thomas Griffith played by Martin Bonger and Fionn Gill. They immediately look the part with their rough beards.

In the first half of the play the tone is light hearted and humorous. The two men have differing personalities. Howell is serious and conscientious whilst Griffith is more extrovert but also something of a dreamer. However, their job is dangerous and mood changes when Griffith dies in an accident. Left alone with a dead body, Howell descends into insanity. Now, with few words, the emotions are expressed physically.

The two actors work so well together in their movement using simple props in the creation of many mental images. The relatively simple story is given an intelligent and powerful treatment. As a footnote; after this event, lighthouses were always manned by three keepers.

Reviewed by Ben

Venue; Venue Number                  Pleasance Courtyard; V33

Dates                                                  4 to 30 August 2010 (not11, 18)

Times                                                 16.00 to 17.00

Fringe Programme Page Number: 264