Lady Carol Must Die – Lady Carol

*****

5 Stars

Although this show is listed in the cabaret section of the Fringe brochure I feel it could be equally at home in either the music section or even comedy. If there was a section called entertainment it would definitely be in there.

Lady Carol, a charismatic lady with a huge voice, and a little ukulele has the ability to ensnare he audience, bewitch them with her performance and leave them wanting more and then some. I first saw her three years ago and I am still under her spell.

This year’s show is different to the others. It is far more personal, she is laying bare her emotions of family issues, both in song and with AV. Her lilting craic between the numbers told from both sides of the issue if handled differently could have been misconstrued s self indulgent, but this was not the case, the music choice pertinent, some well known songs, some less known, but each given the arrangements and the special touch of magic that only this performer can do. I could go on, but I’m not going to spoil it.

The crowd I saw the performance with was of a good size, but she deserves more. It should be selling out daily. So why not go and see for yourselves.

Reviewed by Geoff

Assembly Rooms Studio 2

2-26 August (not13)

18-30 to 19-30

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Sara Pascoe : The Musical

***

3 Star

I have to admit being intrigued by the title of this show. I knew of Ms Pascoe the stand-up, Ms Pascoe the actor, but Ms Pascoe the singer?

Along with quite a mixed crowd I took my place and yes she did appear with a guitar and there were a few examples of her singing, but in essence it was a stand-up show. Who knew?

She gave an synopsis of her life from the early days and a lot of the material I found amusing rather than belly laughingly funny, but a whole lot of ‘her greatest fans’ were having the time of there lives. Plenty of her anecdotal content was self deprecating, and although she is an attractive woman does not play on her looks, rather the reverse in most cases.

The set although subject to numerous late comers initially was well rounded and structured, I just wondered about the need for the music. It added little other than to address the show title.

Reviewed by Geoff

Assembly George Square 3

1-26 August

21-15 to 22-15

Jessica Fostekew – Brave New Word

**** 

4 Star

I first became aware of Jessica Fostekew during last years Fringe and was instantly hooked into her style. Okay maybe she isn’t the most ground breaking comic around, but she certainly is a funny lady.

12 months on, the show she offers us is based on her love of words and their meaning, and she transforms the Turret into a classroom on the last day of term, as Miss Fostekew, probably a teacher we would always have preferred at school than the ones we actually got, leads us through a series of lessons, each punctuated by a school bell.

Each ‘lesson’ gave her a chance to showcase her acting talents, to entertain, and yes educate, with her explanation of the derivation of some of her chosen favourite words and  her creative interpretations if an odd word selected eluded her occasionally, illustrated with a whole host of funny anecdotes as well.

For a non-confrontational hour or fun, oh there was compulsorily pass the parcel, then enrol for this last day of term experience, and register your approval.

Reviewed by Geoff

Gilded Balloon Turret

1-26 August (not 14)

18-30 to 19-30

Pretending things are a c*ck

***

This show isn’t actually as immature as it sounds. Granted, it does contain lots of pictures of Mr Bennett posing with various things, but it’s all tied together with the stories behind the images. He attempts to answer some questions (like, why?) and offers an insight into the various experiences this pastime has introduced him to.

While there are less photos and more stories than I’d anticipated, the balance works well, and it never becomes an endless litany of variations on a theme. The photos are all essentially the same, but if parts of the body make you laugh, there’s enough inventiveness here to keep you amused. If it’s stories that’re your thing, well, there’s a picture to go with the story, something to look at (besides Mr Bennett of course) while you listen.

While you won’t get full on belly laughs, you will get some good stories. Some photos may entertain some people more than others, as was the case for the audience I was part of. And, if you’re so inclined, you can try it for yourself at the end.

Reviewed by Laura

Pleasance Courtyard

3 – 27 Aug, 21:45

Garrett Millerick: Sensible Answers to Stupid Questions

**

Garrett has been plagued by his inability to answer questions, in particular stupid ones. Some explanation is given as to what a stupid question consists of, and for the rest of the time, Garrett tells stories of the consequences of being unable to answer.

Garrett Millerick is a good story teller. When he has a good story to tell, he does so with some skill, providing exactly the right details to bring a scene alive. He’s also rather good at evoking the characters in those stories, bringing them to life with the same skill as the scenes. Slightly manic in places, and with some material very close to the bone, Garrett nevertheless had a good rapport with the audience, dealing smoothly with the latecomers.

Slightly disparate elements hung together uneasily, although each entertained in and of itself. Most of the audience seemed to enjoy themselves, although some clearly didn’t (they left).

Reviewed by Laura

Underbelly Bristo Square

5 – 27 Aug, 23:00

The Improverts

*****

The Improverts are a troupe of sketch comics. The show is based on audience suggestions for their various ‘games’, so it’s different every night. If they’re always as entertaining as they were tonight, you’re guaranteed some fun.

A good proportion of the audience for this late, late show obviously had some previous experience of the Improverts, and they were enthusiastic in their appreciation and rather wackier suggestions. It felt like quite a young crowd, but neither that nor their previous experience made me feel like an outsider. A good audience obviously makes for a good show since it’s based on their suggestions and sometimes, interventions. While the first couple of sketches might have had some trace of being pre-prepared and adaptable, the rest seemed pure unscripted raucous fun.

The troupe took the suggestions and ran with them, invariably to resounding success. Their explanations were clear, and there was even space for audience participation at the end.

Reviewed by Laura

Bedlam Theatre

1 – 25 Aug, 00:30

A Real Man’s Guide to Sainthood

*****

Having enjoyed Milk Productions show last year Bluebeard: A Fairytale for Adults, I know the company has a flair for original and imaginative theatre. This year their version of George being plucked from obscurity to become a Saint has all the hallmarks of their distinctive style.

The lead roles are taken by Adam Robertson who delivers his lines as compere and the King of Silene with panache, and Stuart Wilde as an extremely athletic George. The supporting roles in terms of songs and music are provided by Saskia Solomons, Samuel Milsom and Tiff Wear. All five performers work as a team in their unique presentation of the visual content using overhead projectors and piles and piles of acetates. Their other unique feature is the use of bicycle power to create special lighting effects.

The first half of the show is played as fast and continuous comedy, often hilariously so. The second half has a darker and edgier mood – hence a slowing in pace. After all, to become a Saint, death usually has to occur.

Full credit must go all the creative team led by Lucy Skilbeck (Director) and Ruby Glaskin (Producer). This show is storytelling with total commitment.

Reviewed by Ben

Underbelly Cowgate/Big Belly; 61

2 to 26 August 2012 (not 9 & 10)

18.40 – 19.40

Fringe Programme Page Number: 312