Bane 2

5 Stars *****

Joe Bone’s relentless one man action film-noir is a master class in one-man storytelling. With all the grit of a real action film mixed to hysterical effect with bold characters, smooth one-liners

Accompanied by the brooding guitar of Ben Roe, we follow Bruce Bane in the sequel where our anti hero has to reluctantly come face to face with his inner demons via therapy and faces the prospect of killing an old friend who has recently mutated into a strange creature by toxic waste.

The skill and craft of body and voice that Bone produces reveals incredible range and the conviction in the playing gives the humour an extra edge. A favourite part of the show and a motif for the trilogy are the darkly funny deaths which provoke the audience into some spectacular reactions.

Those who have seen the first Bane outing will enjoy certain references but this format of trilogy should not stop people jumping in and enjoying Bane 2 or 3 before seeing the original if your Fringe plan wont accommodate you to see them in order.

The ending sets the stage perfectly for what is to come-stay tuned for the Bane 3 review.

Reviewed by Andrew Gourlay

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Big Noise – Tara Flynn

4 Stars ****

Now, while I certainly don’t profess to know everything, one of the biggest mysteries to me at Fringe 2010 was the relative indifference that this excellent show was met with. I am not alone in thinking it was a very good show, a selection of twelve different style of humorous song written and performed by the very lovely and extremely funny Tara Flynn.

But, if you were one who missed it then you have a second chance this year asTara has brought it back and is this time it is at The Voodoo Rooms.

In essence the show is the same, a few opening lines and explanation fromTara, with funny links in between all the songs. As well as being a very funny lady and versatile songwriter she also has a singing voice to die for, no matter what style of song she chooses to sing. Of courseTara was once a member of those lamented Noulas of days gone by so it is no surprise really than she sings well.

So if you are like me and loved this show last year then you have a chance to try a second helping, and if you missed it, well don’t miss it this time.

Reviewed by Geoff

The Voodoo Rooms V 68

6 to 27 August ( not 16)

17:05 to 18:05

Fringe brochure P49

Bane 3

5 Stars *****

With a thrilling opening to an emotional climax, Joe Bone, brings the final epic conclusion of his action trilogy with brilliance and bravado with his anti hero Bruce Bane.

Setting some kind of record for number of characters in a one man show, it lives up to it’s predecessors and excels in it’s own right.

The world and characters Bone creates are vibrant and detailed, hitting many levels of humour and spellbinding double take moments of realizing it‘s all coming from the same man.

Having escaped an old enemy, Bane leaves the city in search for a quieter life in the town of Sunnyveiw, but the monster inside him is provoked into returning to face his old boss who is still furious for him leaving his organisation, who now threaten to take over the city.

Again, Ben Roe’s brooding guitar gives the story it’s superb and varied soundtrack working in spectacular tandem with Bone’s energetic characterisation.

I wont give away details of the ending, but it left the audience genuinely stunned and eager to show Bone and Roe their appreciation.

Will there be more of Bane in the future? I hope so. A true gem and a highly recommended trilogy.

Reviewed by Andrew Gourlay

Ali Cook: Principles and Deceptions

5 Stars *****

Now I am not usually a ‘magic fan’ by any stretch of the imagination, but having seen Ali Cook’s 2010 show and been totally blown away I decided another excursion was in order.

Again I managed to get a front row seat so to be as close as possible to see what was happening. And once again I am none the wiser. Cook is a magician, illusionist, a comedian, a mind reader with all the tricks of the trade that are required for these skills and he has them in abundance.

I always thought that I could trust what I saw, but now I doubt myself. He made things happen that just didn’t. At times some of the close up stuff even had an overhead camera up close and personal and I still didn’t have a clue how he managed it.

There is plenty of audience participation throughout, and numerous laughs as well,  well as being in awe of this uber talented artiste.

So what is Cook’s best trick? Well, from a total sceptic, Cook as turned me into a magic fan, at least when he is the performer.

Try to get a ticket if you can it will be worth it and leave it too late they will all have vanished…. as if by magic.

Reviewed by Geoff

Gilded Balloon Dining Roon V 14

3 to 29 August ( not 17)

21:30 to 22:30

Fringe Brochure P 36

Shappi Khoursandi: Me and My Brother in our Pants Holding Hands

4 Stars   ****

 The strange title of this year’s offering apparently came about from a failed chat up situation Ms Khoursandi found herself in at last’s years festival when asked about her favourite photo. This got her thinking and hey ho this year’s show was born.

Iranian born but most of her life spent in London, Shappi recalls her childhood and incidents that influenced her and her brother Pavan as they grew up in the fairly relaxed family unit.

Shappi has the ability to engage her audience completely in her story and this coupled to the well written material and the slightly shallow persona she has created as her stage alter ego together add of to an hour of classy entertainment.

This show as you may well imagine majors on her family, with her parents, brother, grandmother, auntie and her own son all come under the microscope. Her ability to sell the story and raise laughs are a testament to her comedic talent.

Simply staged through out and certainly non-confrontational in style Shappi Khoursandi’s show a very pleasant and funny way to send an hour.

Reviewed by Geoff

Pleasance Beyond V33

3 to 28 August

19:50 to 20:50

Fringe Brochure P 150

Andi Osho:- All The Single Ladies

4 Stars ****

I cannot believe that someone as vibrant as Ms Osho is a single lady and also has been for some time. It seems incredulous that this genuinely nice and friendly woman has had to resort to internet dating and even set up this Edinburgh show in order to acquire herself a date. But it seems this is the case.

Andi, greeting her audience sitting on a stage speaker comes across as such a lovely person definitely no aloofness in her and once people are settled is into the well written and performed hour straight away raising laughter from the sell-out crowd from the off.

I have never considered internet dating as an option but she has obviously done some intensive research and has some keen observations to share with us and a whole host of improvements that she would make. She seeks some successful audience interaction this subject and also night club dates.

Somehow what could seem to be a dull subject, the talented and charismatic performer has a full hour of funny material and enough laughs for two shows.

So is Andi successful in her quest? Only one way to find get a ticket, and if you too are single and lucky it could be you.

Reviewed by Geoff

 Pleasance Cabaret Bar V 33

3 to 29 August ( not 15)

18:40 to 19:40

Fringe Brochure P 38

Mervyn Stutter’s Pick of The Fringe

4 Stars ****

Why is it that I, and countless others always make this a must see show every Fringe, some people going several times each year, and ignore most of the others?

Well could it be that our host Mervyn Stutter is such a genial and funny host and that he has been doing this for more years than he would probably care to remember? Could it be the inevitable draw of the pink jacket, now actually replaced by a brand new pink suit. Or could it be that this is more than just a 4 comics and a musical act? Who knows, but what ever the reasons rest assured that they always turn up and in droves.

The show follows a well tried and tested format, Merv welcomes all chats briefly with the audience and then performs a couple of his own numbers before introducing whatever acts his team of researchers have unearthed during the first few days.

There is always space on his bill for some theatre pieces, and this is something that most do not have, always some comedy and also music so it’s a fair chance that you’ll like something and hopefully be inspired to go and check out the full version of what is highlighted.

With money at a premium these days it’s good to try before you buy and for the acts a chance to promote before a large audience, so it’s a win-win situation.

****

Reviewed by Geoff

Pleasance Beyond V 33

7 to 29 August

12-55 to 14-25

Fringe Brochure P 117