The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre – Boo Lingerie

****
I’ve been a regular visitor to the Socks’ shows over the years, coming back year after year, for all the reasons I loved their latest offering. The banter between Serious Sock and Silly Sock was, as ever, a joy, taking in a wide range of bad puns, comments on local events, and plenty of comic misunderstandings, all with a tongue in cheek self-awareness.

This year’s theme, “Boo Lingerie” is horror, from scary films to everything Halloween. As Serious Sock tries to steer the show towards an in depth analysis of the classics of the genre, Silly Sock is busy trying to get the audience baying for blood. We weren’t quite sure how to bay.

The Socks ably demonstrate a wide repertoire, benefitting from quickfire costume changes as they give their impressions of characters through horror history, to song spoofs, including a fun genre stereotypes medley, interspered with quickfire gags that would work on twitter. And let’s not forget the Socks’ skill with audience interaction, dealing with all the room throws at them, despite being a little short of arms.

This funny, fast-paced, lyrically skilled double act could go far. (If only they could escape from their tiny theatre!)

Reviewed by Gill Smith

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Parris and Dowler Know What They’re Doing

***
This kind of show titles is always a risk… your reviewer is so tempted to say no, they don’t, but actually, this pair do.

The show kicks off with a song, and banter between Rachel Parris and Max Dowler.

Dowler then has the stage to himself for some accurately observed topical impressions, from Prince Charles, to bumbling Boris, Greg from Masterchef, and Jamie Oliver. Every topical impressionist needs a Professor Brian Cox impression, and Dowler’s material made his especially fun. The gags linking impressions also came thick and fast, and the ending was a classic piece of comedic reincorporation.

Parris then takes over, kicking off with her song written for High school Musical. I’ll be honest, I’m not sure their producer will like it, but we certainly did. She plays this, and all her material with a fine balance of insecure vulnerability, and control freak. How it works, I don’t know, but it does.

Back on the pair together, their banter feels a little more forced than their individual sets, but as they say – end on a song. Or an impression, if that’s what you do. This pair end on both, and on plenty of laughter.

Reviewed by Gill Smith

Jim Campbell: Nine Year Old Man

***

Jim Campbell is a confident, likeable performer, slickly demonstrating to his audience that they were in for a good time. His show title might imply an immaturity, but as a comic, he’s anything but, dealing well with the slightly reticent preview-audience responses to his questions, and turning that into an 100% response rate courtesy of just a few casual one-liners.

As for his material, Campbell’s topics range from Scottish clan rivalry, to his catalogue of universities attended, and his somewhat concerning relationship with his father, not forgetting the exploits of his wildcard friend Gav, and Gav’s two year old daughter.

Campbell thoroughly justifies why he can call himself a “Nine Year Old Man” looking at various aspects of growing up, and taking responsibility, as well as analysing his own likelihood of being able to do so, if he were suddenly needed to become a grown up “normal person”. Maybe one day he’ll do so, but I hope even if so that he’ll keep his quirky, funny take on life in the 21st century, with all it’s niggles and good reasons for a bit of a moan.

Reviewed by Gill Smith

Laurence Clark: Inspired

***

A show of this title, you could expect to leave feeling Inspired. I left thinking that Laurence Clark was funny. Which is exactly what he would want. The celebal palsy sufferer and dad of two, didn’t set himself as inspiring, and doesn’t see why people get all excited when he manages to dress himself, impregnate his wife, or make his toddler look like a dalek.

His show was inspired by a fan’s annoying tweet, but it comes full circle, with a neat twist, thanks to Clark’s meeting with his twitter follower. He reincorporates his key themes nicely, switching between live stand up and pre-recorded clips. He enjoys watching his live audience’s reactions as much as he did those of the poor folks he chased, offering stickers.

Basically, what Laurence Clark asks is just to be talked to. So much so that he had a big sign made. The video evidence of it’s success is both very damning of us, the British public, and thought provoking. What wouldn’t you do for free crisps?

Along with relaxed audience banter, a fun participation game of “inspiring, or not inspiring?”, and plenty of twists and turns, we ask ourselves what counts as inspiring, and why? Overall, an interesting look at human nature, packed with laughs.

Reviewed by Gill Smith

The Pride

****

The Pride is a dark comedy, surreal in content and completely absorbing in its execution. It opens in a light-hearted way. Bruce and Linda appear to be a happily married lion couple with a family of 10 cubs who are only seen briefly and represented as cuddly toys. Bruce buys gifts for Linda. There is plenty of “I love you” and high fives, but marital tension does begin to appear. Bruce is a dissembler when asked to do things around the house and Linda is something of a nagger – no doubt here of an allegory of human behaviour!

Enter James, the newly arrived young single lion from next door. At first, the two males seem to bond as James is willing to help Bruce in his home with a feature wall decoration. Soon however, discord develops when Linda is off stage as Bruce sees a threat to his territorial space. From this point on, the tension mounts as a battle of wills is played out.

What enthrals is how will this conflict be resolved between Bruce and James, and will Bruce and Linda’s marriage survive? The three actors gave outstanding performances ranging from comedy farce to athletic, physical action. However, since they were not miked up and there was a backing sound track to give a sense of atmosphere, some of the dialogue was difficult to hear clearly. My advice, find a seat near the front to get the best of the action.

Reviewed by Ben

Underbelly Cowgate/Belly Button; 61

2 to 26 August 2012 (not 13)

18.20 – 19.25

Fringe Programme Page Number: 311

Dirty Great Love Story

*****

5 Stars

Okay I am not the sites number one theatre man, and normally I am not a lover of the rom-com genre, but just occasionally I like to dip my toes into the water of other types of shows and I must admit having witnessed this production I am sure glad I did,

This is the love story and the trials and tribulations in getting there between Richard Marsh and Katie Bonna, a story with more ups and downs than a rollercoaster as Marsh and Ms Bonna play out their story as themselves yet seamlessly take on the supporting roles as geeza Westie, Katie’s other suitor Matt Priest and CC Katie’s sloany friend.

Not content with all this they have even written the piece too, and a splendid job they have done on it as well. Comedy is very much to the fore, plenty of poetry as well interspersed with pathos, rejection and reconciliation as two years are played out in 70 minutes.

All in all this was a wonderful experience, simply staged and directed it relied on the quality of the writing and the performances and this was there in abundance.

The ovation that was received at the end was richly deserved and if this is not one of the hits of the Fringe then there is no justice.

Reviewed by Geoff

Pleasance Jack Dome V23

1-27 August (not 14)

13-20 to 14-30

Croft & Pearce: Do it Like a Lady

****

4 Stars

Now if there is one thing that sketch comedy needs is a slick presentation.  A running gag or two, some quality material and able performers help as well of course, but for me anyway any dead time, when nothing is happening looses all the energy that has been built up.

Hannah Croft and Fiona Pearce, our two comedy actresses must agree with me for from the off until the conclusion an hour later they delivered one of the slickest shows of this genre I have seen in years. And as there was plenty of funny material too, I started to try and list the different sketches, but sheer numbers defeated me and together with an evolving running gag into the bargain all my boxes were ticked.

Although probably 12-00 is not the most ideal time for a show of this type it was already attracting a healthy sized audience on the performance I attended and on leaving after the end of this packed hour everybody had a smile on their face. So just maybe it’s the ideal start to the Fringe Day.

Reviewed by Geoff

Gilded Balloon Balcony

1-27 August (not 15)

12-00 to 13-00