Axis of Awesome

5 Stars *****

For the last four Edinburgh Fringes this Australian comedy rock band have been building their reputation and fan base, so much so that they are now a fixture on most people’s must see list, that is if they can get a ticket.

The boys are Lee on guitar and vocals,Jordanon vocals and little Benny, keyboards and vocals and boy do these guys know how to entertain everyone.

Their comedy songs and interspersed with comedy routines, mostly slagging off the rather diminutive Benny. Comedy they may produce but boy can they play their instruments too.

They have the crowd in the palm of their hands from the off, regular attendees far outnumber us first timers such is the appeal of these Antipodean entertainers.

They are not only entertaining, they have some interesting props as well and a very bright light show.

With the Fringe beginning it’s final week tickets will be even harder to get than normal, so do not delay if you want a ticket

Reviewed by Geoff

Gilded Balloon Debating Hall V 14

3 to 29 August

21:30 to 22:30

Fringe Brochure P 42

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Des Clarke: Comedy Jam

4 Stars ****

Glaswegian Des Clarke is a Scottish stand-up playing a big room at a major venue at a peak time. And he is selling it out!!

But then Clarke is a high profile guy, TV appearances and the regular Breakfast show deejay on a Scottish radio station help to keep him in the public eye and his fellow Scots flock to see him return to his roots.

It’s a good job a high proportion are Scottish as by God does he talk at a rate. Motor mouth doesn’t cover it, but his material is consistently good albeit somewhat strongly Scottish flavoured.

Clarke packs in so much material, some topical, some less so but all well observed and delivered by this personable performer.

He is never still, always pacing around his venue space, but is non-threatening too, he seldom goes to the audience, so even an English man on the front row is completely ‘safe’ … from Clarke anyway!!

He is definitely a comic well worth checking out, so why not find out for yourselves.

Reviewed by Geoff

Gilded Balloon Dining Room V 14

3 to 29 August

20:15 to 21:15

Fringe Brochure P 66

Jessica Fostekew : Luxury Tramp

4 Star ****

Jessica Fostekew is not someone I had come across before seeing her this year. The sauna that is her space in Gilded Balloon’s Wee Room is generally full to capacity so that is telling you she is beginning to make an impact on the world of comedy.

Jessica is an oxymoron lover, two words that seem to oppose each other in the same sentence; hence the show title is thus explained.

She is straight into her set, the mike dispensed with as she goes unplugged through a hour full of material and her powerful semi-posh voice, her words, carries easily throughout the room.

The subject matter is mostly autobiographical, a fair amount draws on references to her somewhat extended family, occasionally self-deprecating, yet always funny and draws laughter from everyone throughout her entertaining set. I suspect she is an actor as well as a really good comic, as the voices she can conjurer up are so good, and don’t get me started on the sexy travel girl voice she produces!!!

All in all Jess is a comedian I will look forward to seeing again hopefully in the near future.

Reviewed by Geoff

Gilded Balloon Wee Room V 14

3 to 28 August

19:00 to 20:00

Fringe Brochure P 97

Constance & Sinestra

5 stars

*****

To paraphrase Little Shop – what a strange and interesting show!

This is absolutely lovely – quirky, interesting, intruiging characters and a delightfully different story.

Musically there are backing tracks and live music and a mix of the two – it all works, it is all really nice and very well sung. The acting is superb and the characters excellent.

Ignore the description of the show as it’s so hard to put into words, just go see it – this is one of the best potential pieces of new musical theatre I have ever seen in 15 years of going to the Fringe – I hope they can bring the full version next year.

Caution – and it is by no means the producers’ fault but the venue’s – sit in the front row or on the floor or you will miss half the show. I was near the back and still loved it but if you can, get down the front…

Review by Alan.

C Soco, 15:35-16:35

Until 29th August.

The Hot Mikado

3 stars

***

Oh dear… The Hot Mikado is usually a great show, full of tongue-in-cheek humour and hot, jazzy music. However this version has been bastardised and chopped more than a pound of mince, squeezing essentially a ‘greatest hits’ version of the show into an hour.

The cast are hard working and energetic, which is good. However even in the fourth row you can’t hear them as the band is far too loud, and for no good reason. Don’t get me wrong, the band are good – just too loud as the cast are unmiced. And the songs are too fast – they’re supposed to be “hot”, not so fast that they lose all musicality.

Such a shame, as there has obviously been a lot of work put into this.

Review by Alan.

C eca, 18:50-19:50.

Until 29th August.

Fresher the Musical

3 stars

***

This is getting rave reviews and won the best new musical award last year… but I was just bored. The characters are typical stereotypes, the plot predictable and the music bland.

However the actors are all excellent and Dan Buckley in particular has excellent comic timing. Unfortunately they’re let down with one of the worst sound designs I’ve heard in the Fringe. The mix is so wet/bright that the ensemble numbers just come across as a huge wash of twang, rendering most lyrics irrelevant. And if you’re sitting stage left you can’t hear them anyway as the drums are so damn loud that is all you can hear…

Another problem is that most of the action is directed out front yet the majority of the audience is at the sides.

The dialogue is fine though.

Review by Alan.

Pleasance Dome, 15:50-17:00.

Until 29th August.

Apply Within

3 stars

***

A musical about job interviews and CVs doesn’t sound too inspiring however the show does have a few laugh-out-loud moments. Many of the songs are forgettable and formulaic however a couple stand out – the nervous tick one and the big solo one for Ian Lily who is very good overall.

There were a few points where the singing was flat (in pitch) and the choreography seems a bit, well, embarrassing and not suited to the confined space but overall a show which could be developed into something with more meat and character development.

Review by Alan.

Pleasance Courtyard, 13:30-14:30.

Until 29th August.