Piff the Magic Dragon: Last of the Magic Dragons

3 Stars ***

Now perhaps I expected too much from this show, the vibe I’ve been getting is that it is one to watch, so although I’m still skeptical about magic acts, I along with many others, went to see if the word was right.

Now I have respect for what these guys can do normally, so yes the Dragon costume was a different slant and couldn’t have made it any easier to do his set, and he is a more than competent magician, I’m just not sure which market he is aiming for. I think the show was too childish for adults, yet too adult for children, which I think this persona would be better suited for.

Armed with a very surly assistant Amy Sunshine and his chiwawa dog assistant Mr Piffles, Piff ran the whole gambit of card trick, mind reading sleight of hand and so on, and yet I was not as awestruck or impressed as with some other magicians.

Piff has a penchant for the ladies though and one in particular, but did she have to be selected for three or more of his tricks? If one was cynical one could think she was a plant.

Still it was a pleasant enough way to spend an hour.

Reviewed by Geoff

Just the Tonic at The Store

4 to 28 August (not 16)

18:40 to 19:40

Fringe Brochure P 134

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Hansel And Gretel

**** 4 Stars

This was a great little production, the children were instantly put at ease and made to feel special when they were sat at the front on the scatter cushions and blankets, after following a path of candles into the enchanted forest whilst the parents and guardians were sat at the rear on the chairs and couches.

This was a lively and fun show which involved the children from the start to the finish, they were given jobs to do throughout the show which they took very seriously and they were rewarded later in the show with some sweets from the witches house (and later some toothpaste!)

The cast was lively and fun and the children were easily drawn into the story and had quickly picked their favourite characters to watch, there was even a certain worm called Graham that made a few new fans! The props and set used was both imaginative and fun to watch.

This is a great show for any family and is well worth a visit.

Reviewed by Kath

C Soco, studio 1A

12.30

The Just So Stories

***** 5 Stars

From the minute that you walk into the venue for this show, you are immediately aware that this is a kids show that takes their audience very seriously, the kids are sat at the front on scattered beans bags with soft toys and are quickly settled into their own space whilst the grown ups sit a bit further back on their own stools.

These Rudyard Kipling tales are told in a brilliantly simple, yet effective manner and there isn’t a peep from the children whilst they are a immersed into the storytelling, the cast are engaging and a terrific focal point for the audience, whilst the use of the props is creative and highly effective.

This is a kids show that has been handled excellently and if todays children are the next generation of Festival goers, then there have been some magical memories created in this show, the atmosphere is perfect, and if possible I would recommend anyone with a family to go along and catch this show, is by far one of  my 5 year old daughters favourites.

Reviewed by Kath.

The Green, Pleasance Courtyard

12.30 & 14.45

Dances for Wolves: Class Stage Productions

4 Stars  ****

This piece of theatre could easily fit into the comedy or even the musical sections, because it has elements of all in the production.

Set in the G Spot gentleman’s club our five ‘entertainers’, posh girl Meredith, welsh school teacher Paella, the older Diane and the bickering pair of Pasha and Melanoma provide the songs, daces and comedy in the contest to win a lucrative dancing contract for the rich Arab owner of the Wolves, the local football team

This play written by Kirsty Eyre is fun with a capital F, and the pace never drops from the opening scene to the last.

Each girl tells their back story, takes the mickey fro the audience and all sing like angels.

The show is not ground breaking but it is very entertaining and well worth an evening visit.

Reviewed by Geoff

C Aquila( Roman Eagle Lodge) Venue 21

4 to 29 August (not 16)

21:30 to 22:20

Fringe Brochure P 253

Multiple Choice

3 stars

***

Five actors sit in a line in what is essentially a rehearsed reading, i.e. they all have their scripts with them. What was not clear was if the actors are their characters or if they’re reading the characters’ stories (which would make more sense for having the scripts). Either way a big issue is that for the most of the time their eyes are down, making eye contact with the audience all too brief.

Some fine performances though, however a couple of the actors have very little story to tell and so the balance between the actors is a bit off. Could be more interesting if developed further.

Review by Alan

theSpaces @ Surgeons’ Hall

Until 27th August, 17:05-17:55

Improvised Plays from Austin, Texas

3 stars

***

Yet another improvised show – while I prefer the improvised musicals for wow factor this is the straight play equivalent. Opinions will differ every night as it is completely made up every night. This evening we had a swimming instructor as the central theme and they did a grand job with it, some spot on comedy moments although several lulls as well.

Worth catching if you like this genre, but not one I would go back to see several times.

Review by Alan

theSpaces on the Mile

Until 27th August, 19:40-20:25

Craig Campbell

4 Stars ****

Craig Campbell is a larger than life character in every way you want to look at it. He is a tall, solid, hairy bearded guy and as a personality as large as his frame and his talent is equal to both.

Canadian by birth but a UK resident for years now,Campbell still retains a lot of his North American love for the outdoors and is evident in his material, as is his love of a drink when not working. He has a whole raft of stories of scrapes he got into when the demon liquor had been partaken of, which went down well with the crowd, and numerous references to things Scottish, which also pleased the locals.

His rather funny final story about being involved in a serious mountain climb and the consequences that ensued had the audience in convulsions yet slight horror at the same time.

Campbellis always value for money and this show is up there with the best and without a doubt his following is growing. I suggest that now would be a good time to order your tickets before he sells out.

Reviewed by Geoff

Stand III V12

5 to 28 August (not 15)

21:00 to 22:00

Fringe Brochure P 61