The Amazing Bubble Show

***** 5 Stars

This show has always received high acclaim amongst audience members and 2011 is no different, we sat through this show and once again watched child after child willingly throw themselves open to volunteer for mysterious tasks and delight in what was presented to them! All of the audience enjoyed this immensely and I wouldn’t be surprised if there would be more than a couple of return visits.

The Bubble Man entertains and interacts with the audience in a magnificent manner and delights you with curious and enthralling bubble formations, the square bubble was a favourite in our camp!

This is a terrific show for families of all ages as there is something in there for everyone and I can guarantee that you will not leave disappointed.

Reviewed by Kath.

C Too, St Columbas by the castle.

August 4th – 29th

12.05 & 13.05

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Mitch Benn

4 Star ****

It has been all too long since one time Edinburgh resident larger than life comedian Mitch Benn graced the Fringe in a solo show.

I first came across him as part of a double act with magician Ian Kendall, but Benn has gone on to far bigger things and is now a mainstay of BBC Radio 4 comedy.

His appearance is way different; having recently shed numerous stones in weight, but that has not diminished his phenomenal talent. Benn has been a purveyor of funny songs linked together with funny songs since time immemorial and this hasn’t changed in structure, but the content is obviously different. He gathered the audience up from the start and held them in the palm of his hand, where he kept them through out the gig.

His subject matter of his songs is wide and always funny, his lyrics liberally

coated in satire and the humour never quits.

The highlight of the show? Well I’m not going to give it away, but the teaser is it involves his iphone, Shakespeare and rap music. You just gotta be there!!

Benn is only playing a short Fringe this year so time is tight to get your ticket  so do not delay.

Reviewed by Geoff

Stand Comedy Club III

5-14 August

15:00 – 16:00

Fringe Programme P 120

Rosie’s Pop Diary – Rosie Wilby

3 Star ***

Now I have of heard of Rosie Wilby the comedian for a few years now and each year I had seen her enjoyed her style more. But what I didn’t know that back in the 90’s, when she must have been at least 12, Rosie was a recording artiste and wrote a column in the magazine of the time ‘Makin’ Music’

So in what was a bit of a nostalgia trip for her and her audience Ms Wilby, with the aid of slides, filofax and assorted props, told us all of the stuff going on in the music world and her own life at that time.

As always she is funny, gently funny, not in your face style for her. Oh no anything but, yet in spite of the appalling technical issues she was experiencing on the night soldiered through, the true the show must go on philosophy.

But an integral part of show I hadn’t mentioned so far was that Rosie and guitar treated us all to a selection of her songs from way back then, and I must say what a wonderful singing voice she has and her music was very much to my taste too.

This show was in preview so I expect that the techy issues have been sorted now so give it a go, check out a teatime show with a difference.

Reviewed by Geoff

Just The Tonic at The Tron V 51

4 – 28 August (not 15 & 16)

Max and Ivan are Holmes and Watson

5 Stars

*****

Max and Ivan play not only Holmes and Watson but also many other characters, both male and female, in a rapid fire sequence of scenes. Their blend of surreal dialogue and intense physical action is totally funny and indeed mesmerising. Their timing is immaculate given the complexity of the story they are telling. Despite this complexity, there is a coherent structure maintained from start to finish. The only simple feature in their performance is the use of a chair as the only prop, but it does have a crucial part to play in the action

Set in the 1920’’s, Watson has been kidnapped by the Chicago underworld headed by Al Capone who has teamed up with a reincarnated Moriarty in an attempt to lure Holmes to come and rescue his long term associate in order for him to be eliminated. As the story unfolds, we meet up with the ‘Octagon’, a comic book type character and a ‘man of a thousand faces’. Also, Holmes falls in love with a gangster’s moll.

Somehow the origins of the Charleston dance are ludicrously revealed and the synchronised dance routine is a particular highlight.

In the final few scenes the action builds and builds. Against all the odds will good triumph over evil? It wouldn’t be correct for me to reveal the outcome other than to say at the conclusion; a packed audience had obviously enjoyed this Holmes and Watson adventure.

Reviewed by Ben

Pleasance Courtyard: Cellar: 33

3 to 29 August 2011 (not 16)

15.30 – 16.30

Fringe Programme Page Number: 116

Elis James: Do You Remember the First Time?

3 Stars

***

Elis James has a conversational approach to his humorous brand of comedy as he weaves one-liners with longer story telling routines. The title of his show does catch the eye and gives him the freedom to explore all kinds of ‘first times’. Much of his material is drawn from his early years. Thus his family and mates feature strongly from the time as a 2 year old when his father had to deal with a pee in the swimming pool problem to, as a 16 year old, his mates set up his first kiss. A particular highlight from this period was his recounting of a carol singing experience and I have to say the audience did well in providing some vocal background.

One curious feature in his set is his long term relationship with sports presenter Jim Rosenthal. This began as a seven year old as he encountered a celebrity for the first time when, along with his family, he saw him having breakfast in a hotel. This continued up to a more recent meeting with him several years ago.

An aspect which did impact on his performance was the hot-house atmosphere in a packed out Attic room. (My advice is to have liquid refreshment available.) About half way through he simply stopped his prepared routines and just engaged with members of the audience. Even a fluffed line didn’t faze him. He just got back in, and, to the appreciation of the audience, he nailed the story.

Reviewed by Ben

Pleasance Courtyard – Attic; 33

3 to 29 August 2011 (not 18)

20.15 – 21.15

Fringe Programme Page Number: 71

Those Magnificent Men

5 Stars

*****

The combined efforts to recreate an epic journey in words, action, sound, lighting and set construction have resulted in a heart-warming production of great quality and humour. Ian Shaw and Richard Earl take on the roles of Captain John Alcock and Lieutenant Arthur Whitton Brown respectively, as well as other characters in the story and themselves as narrators.

On entering the auditorium we are met by the two actors who distribute programmes in the style of a newspaper of the times. It is also best to arrive early to take in the atmosphere created by the set which will figure in the story. Indeed, there is a third important character in the form of the Vickers-Vimy-Rolls aeroplane which Shaw and Earl put together as the story develops. It does look a bit of a Heath-Robinson construction but it is convincing in putting across the dramatic nature of their historic flight in what the pilots of the times called a crate.

The humour in the account stems largely from Shaw and Earl being at odds as narrators with the former wanting to retain strict historical accuracy whilst the latter would introduce a few embellishments for dramatic effect. However, the story in itself is sufficiently dramatic from the time when Alcock and Brown form a partnership, to the battle with the weather elements on the record breaking flight right through to the aftermath of their success.

Great credit must go to all involved, Writers Brian Mitchell and Joseph Nixon, Director Daniel Buckroyd and all the technical crew. Although there is much humour in the play, it is done with respect to two aviation heroes never losing sight of their courage and daring.

Reviewed by Ben

Udderbelly’s Pasture Cow Barn: 300

3 to 29 August 2011 (not 17)

13.15 – 14.30

Fringe Programme Page Number: 303

4 Poofs and a Piano – Business as Usual

5 Stars

*****

The 4 Poofs are what they are but beneath all the non PC patter, they provide a solid hour of witty musical entertainment. When they sing as a quartet, they can really put a song across with their rich and full harmonisation. Individually, they can command the stage with sheer presence and singing ability.

They perform around a dozen songs opening up with Dolly Parton’s ‘9 till 5’ – a good up tempo song to get the audience in the mood as they move into the auditorium minimally dressed from the waist down. I have no intention of giving a precise song list – why spoil the surprises that await, particularly the song and dance routines along with their many costume changes.

If all that you can remember about the four guys are their appearances as the house band on the Jonathan Ross TV chat show, it does not do justice to the fact they can operate successfully in a big stage setting. They do provide a balanced and contrasting selection of musical entertainment.

Their claim to national fame is their original and very funny lyrics to well-known tunes. Their rapid run through of songs from musicals such as Evita and many more is a comedy joy. You know a show has gone down well with the audience when what it really wants is a few encores when they have completed their prepared set.

Reviewed by Ben

Pleasance Courtyard – Pleasance One: 33

3 to 28 August 2011 (not 17)

18.00 – 19.00

Fringe programme page number: 77