Logic for a 5 Year Old

****

Two comics, Jon Wagstaffe and Richard Wood, bring you a short stand up piece each, preceded by some video tomfoolery, a sketch and ‘musical musings’. They’re in The Space @ Surgeons’ Hall, and do remember to shhhh! if you’re waiting for a show inside.

Listening to Jon Wagstaffe was like listening to your slightly over-clocked mate in the pub regaling you with stories of his weekend, complete with raucous detours, unfinished sentences (not that it meant you couldn’t follow) and inappropriately mixed metaphors. It had a rambling narrative flow, and it genuinely sounded like he was coming up with each sentence on the spot.

Richard Wood, gangly and slightly more awkward, was equally engaging and charming. His comedy is quite diverse, incorporating his observations of life – mainly relationships – some very edgy material and some lovely Dickens and Shakespeare one-liners. It’s Richard who provides the musical musings, accompanying himself on piano.

They’re not on for long (only the end of next week!) but they’re very funny and well worth an hour of your time.

Reviewed by Laura

The Space @ Surgeons’ Hall

4 – 11 Aug; 21:20

Fringe Programme p.116

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Lady’s Live Longer – Ladylike

***

3Stars

Louise Fitzgerald and Victoria Temple-Morris are the constituents of Ladies Live Longer and already have a string of competitions behind them. Their offering years Fringe is a selection of sketches and character comedy pieces all performed with high energy and enthusiasm, and even given the rather small audience they sold the show to the limit.

As with all sketch shows I feel there are always some parts that work better than others and his held true here. There was some excellent characterisation, some good funny stuff too, but I felt that the show relied a little too heavily on song parodies, amusing stuff for sure , but for me perhaps stronger singing voices would have given it that bit extra.

I certainly found the 45 minutes the show lasted passed quickly and when they went into what was obviously the last sketch I was somewhat surprised and they did leave the best to last.

I think that with a larger audience and a few more performances under their belt this could be a really interesting show, at present the jury is slightly out.

Reviewed by Geoff

C Nova India Buildings

15-30 16-20

2-27 August

Damien Crow – The World According to Damien Crow

**

The world, according to Damien Crow, doesn’t understand him: neither his soul nor his dress sense. Two thirds of the show is spent explaining why, and in the last third, he (and a friend) demonstrates. Apparently your stereotypical goth, Damien derides his friends and family and despairs of life in general. He’s also rather musical, and dances surprisingly well.

I was convinced by the character of Damien. I understood his reflections on life as a goth were on display in order for the audience to laugh at his mild delusion (Damien can make people go blind by staring at them really hard) – and in general, it was quite amusing. But, I wasn’t sure how far Damien was complicit in laughing at himself. At times painfully awkward and naïve, apparently lost in his reveries, at others (fairly few to be fair) his comments were starkly out of character.

Various interesting ideas were presented, but for me, there wasn’t a clear enough contrast between Damien’s interpretation and the reality his slide shows and music reveals. But then, maybe I’m one of those who simply misunderstand.

Reviewed by Laura

Assembly Rooms

1 – 26 Aug; 16:00

Fringe Programme p.61

Treasure Island

***

With the success of the Pirates of the Caribbean films, a production of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic adventure is timely. In this stripped down adaptation by Dominic Allen in a confined space and with minimal props, five actors play out the tale. Sea shanties provide the continuity between scenes.

The complex relationship between Long John Silver and Jim Hawkins is effectively conveyed by the two lead actors, as is the dual nature of Silver’s personality. If anything, Squire Trelawney and Doctor Livesey can be seen as deceitful as Silver.

It is a complex story to stage and Director Joe Hufton succeeds in clearly conveying the action from the beginning in the Admiral Benbow Inn all the way through to the final conclusion.

Reviewed by Ben

C too; 4

2 to 27 August 2012 (not 14)

15.30 – 16.40

Fringe Programme Page Number: 330

Stephen Carlin: Pandas vs Penguins

***

There are several strands which are linked together in Stephen Carlin’s brand of dry, observational humour. His starting point is the different behavioural characteristics of pandas and penguins sparked off by the arrival of the two pandas to Edinburgh Zoo earlier this year to replace the penguins as the Zoo’s top attraction. These characteristics can be observed in humans.

Now being resident in England, he is now acutely aware of the differences between the Scots and English in emotional responses to similar situations. There is also in his own personality as to whether he is more panda than penguin, particularly in his relationships with his parents and past girlfriends.

His style is thoughtful, ironic and witty as he takes on a journey to learn more about our inner selves. In terms of the comedy, when he fully commits to a fast flow of ideas, this is when the laughs come most. He invites us to make a choice. Are we more panda than penguin?

Reviewed by Ben

Pleasance Courtyard/Hut: 33

1 to 27 August 2012 (not 14)

18.00 – 19.00

Fringe Programme Page Number: 164

James Acaster – Prompt

****

This is the first time I have taken in a James Acaster show and I was mightily impressed by his complete stage presence, comic timing and the effortless ease of his storytelling approach to comedy. His style is best described as eccentric with many twists and turns, even indeed, full loops.

His delivery ranges from the mainly deadpan to the occasionally frenzied. Content-wise, there is a diversity of subjects, including his remix of his home-town football team Kettering Town’s supporter’s chant to his findings on his research on bread. His engagement with the audience resulting from his bread discoveries is gentle and good natured.

There is a touch of surrealism when, on a night out with the lads, he considers whether the nightclub they attended could be likened to an apple orchard. There is much more but it is not for me to reveal all his hilarious routines. All I will say is that he neatly brought together various elements in his performance in a grand finale.

Reviewed by Ben

Pleasance Courtyard/Baby Grand; 33

1 to 26 August 2012

20.15 – 21.15

Fringe Programme Page Number: 100

Collision

****

The Lite Fantastic Dance Company features a team of talented young dancers who stage a beautifully choreographed collection of dance routines. Hip-hop and street dance form the basis of their movement which is fluid, fast moving and polished.

The choreography is so inventive and full praise must go to Neil Davy for conceiving and producing the show. Elements of ballet, jive, even ballroom and Charleston are worked seamlessly into the mix of the individual items.

The high standard of performance is maintained throughout. Two particular routines I enjoyed were the girls performing as 1930’s alluring showgirls with the high leg kicks. This was immediately followed by the guys performing a highly athletic, street-type challenge.

The final exhilarating rock’n’roll routine with all the dancers occupying the stage had the whole audience clapping along. The entire show was a delight to the eye with such a wonderful display of energy and versatility. Never a dull moment.

Reviewed by Ben

C venue; 34

1 to 27 August 2012

14.40 – 15.30

Fringe Programme Page Number: 177