It is Rocket Science! V2 – Helen Keen

***

3 Stars

Is Helen Keen a geek? I don’t know but she announces that the show is a stand-up lecture on Rocket Science and she collects stamps!!  Specifically space stamps!! Well I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions.

What I will tell you that this bubbly lady is certainly entertaining and I’m sure the near capacity audience would agree with me.

She sought a volunteer to play Patrick Moore and a rather too eager punter played up the role, the audience was divided as per the cold war days and we were off, blasting away as with simple shadow puppetry a few illustrations on an easel, Ms keen doesn’t waste her budget on technology, we do more or less get a well researched lecture on her passion of space and rockets.

Now I’m no space freak, in any shape or size, and yet I found myself dragged into this show and reacting as others more subject material literate than I were.

I don’t think there is any doubt Ms Keen can entertain, her humour is gentle and non-confrontational and this show, V2, suggests there was a V1 which I missed, is soon to be launched into a Radio 4 series.

So for the chance to see it ‘live’ before blast off, the Balcony at The Gilded Balloon is the place to be.

***

Reviewed by Geoff

Gilded Balloon Balcony V 14

6 to 30 August

13-15 to 14-15

Fringe Brochure P 73

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Jeremy Lion Goes Green

****

4 Stars

Was it really 5 years ago that Justin Edwards last performed his creation Jeremy Lion at the Fringe, and got Perrier nominated if memory serves me correct.

Lion is back. The boozed up children’s entertainer has fallen on hard times and advised to go back on the road. In his trademark too tight outfit of clashing colours and ably assisted by keyboard playing Hilary Cox, who occasionally assists in the show itself Jeremy Lion is visited by a polar bear in a dream and with the aid of his shed is transported to a few locations to see the effect that greenhouse gasses are having on the environment.

But is the hard drinking, bumbling, larger than life character moved enough to change his ways?

There is a delicious surreal feel to this show that seems to have almost universal appeal. There was a wide age range at the show I saw, but it was a pretty general reaction of enjoyment throughout.

Although Lions plays the role of a children’s entertainer, this would not be suitable show for the youngsters given the content, however those young at heart should sign up now.

****

Reviewed by Geoff

Pleasance Queen Dome V23

4 to 30 August

20-20 to 21-20

Fringe Brochure P 77

Ali Cook: Pieces of Strange

*****

5 Stars

I have to admit that magic shows are not normally my bag, however I was persuaded by a friend that I should check out Ali Cook as he was amazing, and I have to admit that in spite of my preconceptions I had to agree.

Cook is a personable entertainer and a red hot magician to boot.

Throughout the hour he demonstrated slight of hand, close up magic, mind reading, card trick made thing disappear and reappear almost at will, in fact seemed to do the impossible more often than not.

There was plenty of audience participation through out his set, a set that just went way too fast for all.

I was fortunate to be sitting in the front row during his performance, yet try as I might I have no idea how these tricks and illusions, were done.

As a finale Cook and his team have redesigned a Houdini escapology routine aiming to beat the master’s time. And that is probably worth the admission money alone.

I have to admit my friend was right, Cook was excellent throughout and just maybe I’ll have to re-think my previous opinion on magic shows in the future.

*****

Reviewed by Geoff

Gilded Balloon Billiard Room V 14

4 to 30 August

21-45 to 22-45

Fringe Brochure P24