Katherine Ryan : Miss Conception

3 Stars ***

Having done well at the Fringe two or three years ago and taking sometime off to have a baby, Ms Ryan is back and boy is she hitting hard.

Playing late in the day in Pleasance Below, Canadian born Katheryn is sooo full of energy she could power a small town. Dressed in a green dress / tutu she bounds onto the stage and barely pauses for breath until the show is over.

Now Ms Ryan of a couple of years ago was soberly dressed fairly placid and punctuated her set with a infectious if somewhat irritating giggle, all of this has come.

Instead we have a in your face ballsy chick who sings to us, flits with some, and totally goes for it and to hell with everyone. She is having a good time and dares you not too.

The audience were a little sceptical of her to start with, but her out there personality backed up with a whole raft of interesting and funny material Katherine won them over.

The finale was different, unexpected and for me did not add anything to the show, but then I am not in charge. God no. Ms Ryan knows what she wants and heaven help anyone who gets in her way.

 Reviewed by Geoff

Pleasance Below V33

3 to 29 August

22:55 to 23:55

Fringe Brochure 104

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Daniel Sloss: The Joker

5 Stars *****

It doesn’t seen so long ago that Daniel Sloss was performing 10 minute slots at The Stand Comedy Club, in fact I saw one of his very early ones and now he is regularly selling out the massive Speigeltent in Assembly George Square.

Sloss has risen to fame based on firstly his spectacular comedy talent and this in turn has led to TV opportunities such as McIntyre’s Roadshow and 8/10 Cats to name just two.

Still playing on his youth somewhat Sloss claims that older people will hate him, not necessarily the case young sir, many, including me, really like your style and content.

From the moment he hit the stage Daniel was in charge. Not in an aggressive way, just that he commanded the attention from the off. The range of his material is still somewhat dictated by his youth, well he is still only 20, but he is definitely maturing in his stagecraft and presence.

I feel that the progress made year in year out is a testament to his probably longevity in the business and if the size of the rooms he can regularly sell out carries on the way it has, where will be big enough for his Fringe show 2012? Only time will tell.

So grab the chance to see the immerging superstar while there still is the chance of a ticket.

Reviewed by Geoff

Assembly Speigeltent V 3

3 to 28 August

19:35 to 20:35

Fringe Brochure P62

Showstopper! The Improvised Musical

5 Stars *****

Showstopper’s fourth Fringe run continues to flourish. The Improvised Musical that gets the audience to make up the show is a joy to watch from beginning to end.

Last night, ‘Bloody Jazz Hands’ the story of a house haunted by three jazz singing sisters, was brought to life through a dirty Rocky Horror number, freeform jazz, a brilliantly performed Les Mis type song and the character Scary Poppins’s ‘Ectoplasmic-interversion-on the-astral plane’ bringing the house down brilliantly.

The company are generous, talented and as well as being fantastic comedy improvisers, they’re brilliant singers able to adapt to any music form suggested. They are supported fantastically by a skilled technical crew who improvise with them.

 Seeing them on Fringe 2009, I couldn’t believe what I saw. Thinking it couldn’t be repeated, I returned the next night to be proved wrong as they topped it by a mile. Their love for what they do is infectious. This company and the production grows spontaneously and I hope they continue to thrive.

They’ll be on to a different creation tonight so get yourself along to be involved.

A perfect way to end the day at the Fringe, this show is worth seeing more than once.

Reviewed by Andrew Gourlay

Fabulous Divas of Hollywood

3 stars

***

Alan Palmer, apparently well-known over the pond, gives us his tribute to various female stars from all eras. Unfortunately losing his voice, he plays each character with a nod to Forbidden Broadway – a well-known song with new, clever lyrics, sung to a quiet video backing.

Each character has their own lavish costume which means half the show comes from behind a screen while he is getting changed. This isn’t great from an audience’s point of view although we do get some really interesting anecdotes in the meantime.

There is also something a little disturbing about a grown man dressing up and pretending to be a little girl, I was a little uncomfortable with this. Perhaps the show would work better without the costumes – as Alan Palmer himself, explaining his passion, presenting the same material and singing the characters etc. but not losing the audience behind a screen.

Review by Alan

theSpaces @ Surgeons Hall

5th-13th August, 22:50-23:40

Luke Wright : Cynical Ballads

5 Stars *****

Okay I’ll get the confession out of the way first. I am not a fan of poetry in any format. It generally does nothing for me, but I was encouraged to go and see this show and have to confess I loved it. Every second!!

A simple set up, two screens which from time to time illustrated our wordsmith’s tale, a short explanation on ballads and their original historical purpose and the rhyming pattern occasionally, and then just a number of lyrical, generally funny, extremely entertaining and masterfully delivered creations from this imposing lad from Colchester.

It would be interesting to the statisticians amongst us as to the number of words he used in this hour long show, but I’m willing to bet that it is more than virtually every other performer at the Fringe this year. One thing is that he does speak rather quickly so one really does have to listen closely, but the concentration required is more than worth it.

You could have heard a pin drop in the labyrinth while he was in full flow, and the applause that followed each was long and sustained.

So, don’t think poetry and ballads are not for you, give it a try, and like me you may just be surprised.

Reviewed by Geoff

Underbelly V61

4 to 28 August (not 16)

16:15 to 17:15

Fringe Brochure P111

Gemma Goggin: Double G

3 Stars ***

Well in this world one must made use of one’s assets and the voluptuous Ms Goggin is certainly doing this with a show about boobs. Make no mistake about it these female features are discussed at various levels over the course of the hour.

From Desmond Morris, evolutionary process, historical information and plenty of illustrative slides, Gemma has obviously researched her subject.

Now I don’t want to give the impression that this is a lecture, because it isn’t, she has facts sure, but she presents them in a funny way that you can’t help but laugh at.

What else is in the show? Well there is a quiz about boobs which surprisingly the crowd I was in did very well at, and even the correct way to decide the correct bra size, with tape measures supplied to check each other, or yourself!! One young lady was very popular with her three male companions at this juncture!!!!

Now I like boobs as well as the next guy, so was this show a bust, or a titillating success? To find out go, check for yourself.

Reviewed by Geoff

Gilded Balloon Turret V14

3 to 28 August (not 22)

14:45 to 15:45

Fringe Brochure P82

Dr Apple’s Last Lecture

2 Stars

**

A journey into the subconscious mind is not easy theatre to depict with any clarity but with more than half way through this play when Dr Apple uttered the line “I am so confused.” I don’t think I was the only one in the audience who had the same feeling.

The play initially has a bright start with Miss Hyde, one of Dr Apple’s students, offering each member of the audience one of her special cookies. Dr Apple enters and begins his lecture on the workings of the brain with the aid of a few slides from an overhead projector. This section did feel like being in a real lecture room. His lecture is interrupted by Miss Hyde, tripping out on one of her doctored cookies. Dr Apple dismisses the class and, after an unsuccessful meeting with one of his colleagues, returns to his lecture room and takes several of the cookies which are left.

It is then a medley of random scenes proceed with a collection of characters that inhabit his mind. I suppose this is how our mind works but there was no coherent structure, hence the confusion. However, it all seems to end well as he appears to be a more liberated and confident individual after the experience. This is a questionable outcome.

This was a play that took a long time to get going and the humour when it did come was fairly tepid. It had the feel of a play in its first draft which required pruning in some parts and generally made more intelligible.

Reviewed by Ben

Gilded Balloon Teviot; 14

3 to 28 August 2011

14.30 – 15.30

Fringe Programme Page Number: 257