Laughing Horses Funny Fillies – Free

4 Stars ****

With a starting time approachingmidnight, generally I am in danger of turning into a pumpkin by then; this show features some of the best of the female comics appearing on the Fringe.

It is a laid back atmosphere, the room and the seating is more akin to a lounge than a comedy club the MC of this and every night is Sajeela Kershi, one half of sketch group Asian Provocateurs, in her more usual role as a stand-up.

The line up varies each night but the ethos is the same, numerous female acts turn up and perform part of their show, maybe ten minutes or so, to give a taster of the full experience. It’s good promotion for them and good for the audience too.

The night I attended their were two sketch groups, two stand-ups, a ukulele playing singer of comedy songs and a shark!!! I kid you not., but don’t expect it to be the same when you venture there.

The show has a nice feel about it, a bunch of mates spending time together and with Ms Kershi in charge things flow smoothly.

As part of the Free Festival entry is free, but a donation bucket is there for you to make your donation when leaving, well these fillies do need to eat after all.

Reviewed by Geoff

Laughing Horse @ The White Horse V 296

Until 28 August

23:50 to 01:00

Advertisements

Rory O’Hanlon: Is it Just Me That’s Mental

4 Stars *****

Rory O’Hanlon is yet another comedian from the conveyor belt of comedy talent that seems to exist inSouthern Ireland and although being a stand up for six years and having been in Edinburgh Fringe before I was unaware of him.

However, catching me in a queue for another show he, never afraid of self promotion asked me to go and see his show and as it fitted in I was able to do so.

O’Hanlon is an observational and autobiographical comedian with a nice line in material and good presentation. He is often self-deprecating making himself the butt of several stories, in particular his hair colour and now his lack of the same.

Family, school, jobs and holidays are points of call along the route he took us, with many laugh out loud moments on the way. If the audience I was in were any judges of proceedings then the guy was a definite hit. And I totally concur.

If there is a slight improvement I would like to see, then that would be a few more smiles along the way, he has an infectious sense of humour and a grin or two more would only heighten the pleasure.

Reviewed by Geoff

Just the Tonic @ The Store V 20

Until 28 August

16:20 to 17:20

Pollyanna

2 stars

**

I must confess I have no idea who Eleanor Porter was or her Pollyanna character which inspires this show. But as an audience member going to see a show I shoudn’t have to. So it takes a while to adjust to the whole scenario, especially when you have background ensemble/stage crew who look like a cross between Black and White Minstrels and the Oompa Loompas. And then strange ‘creatures’ come in and talk very quietly and sing even quieter under the too-loud music… and so it goes on.

The general story is a run-of-the-mill one about an orphaned girl causing problems… I must say that the girl playing said girl (Pollyanna) is adorable and a wee star. She carries the show, being the only person with energy. But the whole show suffers from bad diction, bad direction (some good ideas but please cut the silly walks) and the vicar in particular is quite incomprehensible.

The music is bland and not a harmony in sight, even for the finale!

A strange show and too long – it has to be said, the company would have been better doing Annie, even though it’s a show done to death… sorry!

Review by Alan.

C, 15:00-16:30

Until 26th August.

Showchoir! The Musical

5 stars

*****

Thu 25th performance.

I don’t need to say this is essentially ‘Glee, the musical’. What I will say is that it is superbly done. The singing and harmonies are sensational, direction and choreography tight and slick and the characterisations spot on.

It’s a brilliant way to spend an hour, it’s professional, it’s very funny, you don’t need to know Glee (or the other numerous references) and you don’t have to think too much (it’s on at noon after all).

I loved all the extra wee bits going on in the background, playing with each others’ hair etc. – everyone is working all the time and it shows in the end result. An excellent ensemble piece, but special kudos to ‘Racey’ – what a voice! Very well done to all involved.

Review by Alan.

C, 12:00-1300.

Performances left on 27th & 29th August.

13

4 stars

****

This was excellent, despite being cut down! I must commend the singing, it’s a vocally hard show and the cast did themselves proud with excellent technique and diction. It’s an ensemble show and everyone did their bit with passion and I wouldn’t say there was a weak link anywhere.

The acting and choreography are also top notch.

My only gripe was the sound balance, the drums (bass drum in particular) are far, far too loud. There are two guitarists up there and you couldn’t hear them 95% of the time for the keys and drums. Even some vocals/dialogue couldn’t be heard – I hope this was a one off (Fri show) as it could have been perfect.

On listening to the CD I originally cringed at the whole one-of-each-stereotype characters, especially having someone in a wheelchair (i.e. it seemed like the creators were trying to tick all the boxes) but watching the actual show all my concerns disappeared. It’s all done in a very matter-of-fact way and Eddie is a brilliant character, very well played.

While all the cast are excellent, special kudos go to ‘Patrice’ who has brilliant songs which are so hard to sing – very well done.

Review by Alan.

C -1, 12:25-13:55.

Until 29th August.

Ian Fox Exposes Himself – Free

3 Stars ***

Manchester based Ian Fox has been on the comedy scene for a long time but it was only recently I became aware of his other passion that of photography, so it seems perfectly natural for him to combine the two art forms and use this as his Edinburgh show for 2011.

Playing to a smallish audience this likeable chap ran through a whole series of his photographs with Fox pointing out things in some, explaining others and generally showing his photographic ability of ‘seeing a picture’ coupled with his gentle humour.

There were two ‘ad breaks’ when he allegedly sold out for sponsorship, but were in fact a series of hand drawn gags, broke up proceedings, and we finished off with a silly game.

All good fun, non threatening, not ground breaking in any form but certainly worth seeing a s a gentle start to the long Fringe day.

Reviewed by Geoff

Laughing Horse @ Espionage V 185

14:30 to 15:30

Until 28 August

Fringe Brochure P 90

Somewhere Beneath it all a Fire still Burns

4 Stars ****

Now to many people Phil Nichol is just a funny comedian, but to those in the know, this is just one facet of his abilities, because Nichol is a top class actor too, and anyone coming to see this many layered production will be able to testify too.

Sitting in a café Kevin McDonald, played by Nichol, displays his infatuation with Lithuanian waitress Daina who it is fair to say he has an unhealthy obsession with. He is obviously somewhat disturbed as his comments run the gambit on both the innocent events and the lurid ones in his head. The character development is well written if somewhat disturbing.

Then part way through. Bang. Down comes the forth wall in a pile of rubble as Phil steps back from Kevin and rants for a few moments before the play resumes but this time with Nichol as Phil. The conclusion? Well see this for yourself.

This play written by Dave Florez and the performance  by Phil Nichol is one you are unlikely to forget.

Reviewed by Geoff

Gilded Balloon Dining Room V 14

12:00 to 13:00

Until 29 August