Cloud Man

*****

Wow! This show was simply beautiful, and the desire to now adopt a Cloud Man of my own is overpowering. The simple manner of the storytelling is so effective, the actress/puppeteer had the children and the adults in the audience hanging on every word she said and every action she performed. The children were delighted with the clue following and search for Cloud Man, and there were gasps of delight with every item found. This was fantastic honest storytelling which everyone enjoyed and set on a fabulous set, clouds will never be the same for my 6 year old! I would have no hesitation whatsoever recomending this to audiences of all ages who enjoy a nice heartwarming tale. It is also a lovely venue to visit with oppurtunity to have lunch or coffee and even when queueing to access the theatre  there are activities for the children to partake in. This really is a must see show.

Scottish Storytelling Centre, The Netherbow 43-44 High Street, EH1 1SR

August 3-14 11.00am (45mins)£7.00 (£5.00)

Reviewed by Kath.

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Mitch Benn: – Reduced Circumstances

4 Stars

**** 

I have been seeing Mitch Benn perform on and off for a number of years now, I reckon it is about 17 years or so and what has always been evident is the man’s mastery of funny songs linked by equally entertaining musings.

The title of the show this year points to the dramatic weight loss he has recently achieved and while he does talk bout this it is never in a ‘look at what I have achieved’ manner

What certainly hasn’t reduced is his ability to write funny songs, often topical, as those who follow the Now Show will testify to, and there are many of these throughout the hour.

He is inventive too; who would have thought you could play an iPhone? But with a very cheap app at least he can and shows us how it works.

Mitch is a highly intelligent comic who fires out funny material at the speed of a machine gun. You really do have to pay attention to him, but do so because the content does deserve to be heard and appreciated.

Reviewed by Geoff

Stand Comedy Club IV

2-26 August (not 13)

15-00 to 16-00

A Guide to Second Date Sex- Dirtystop-out and TEAfilms

5 Stars

*****

Laura is heading to Ryan’s flat. It is their second date. Both are unsure as to how the evening will go, what they should do, what they shouldn’t do. The anxiety and uncertainty are almost palpable. And the story begins. This comedy play is beautifully written by Rachel Hirons, Stef O’Driscoll directs Amy Butterworth as Laura and Thomas O’Connell as Ryan with aplomb and mixed with the video footage that is interspersed throughout the production makes this a late evening must see. The beauty for me is that everyone has been in the two principals position. Everyone has had the doubts and fears, so everyone can identify in the dilemma. Certainly the sell-out crowd in the show I saw were in accord with them. Sound comedy acting performances are delivered and make the characters totally believable and it is easy to empathise yet agonise at their reaction. I would thoroughly recommend this production to anyone who is looking for a genuine late night laugh, but don’t delay, tickets I’m sure will be at a premium.

Reviewed by Geoff

Underbelly Big Belly

2 – 26 August (not 15)

22-45 to 23-45

Neil Delamere: DelaMere Mortal

5 Stars

*****

Neil Delamere is a comic I have been impressed with for a number of years now, and he is yet another from the endless conveyor belt that seems to exist in Ireland.

Starting with the usual bit of audience interaction prior to getting into his set, Delamere leaves everyone aware that it is a lighting wit they are talking to, always with a twinkle in his eye. It is obvious he is enjoying himself as much as the crowd and that raised the pleasure factor further.

He has some vintage footage of a young Neil on a TV programme and keeps going back to it to illustrate points in his repartee.

Neil obviously has a bit of the devil in him, ask his neighbours about parking, but there is more. High class material, surprise topics, genuine belly laughingly funny throughout a total well rounded hour of entertainment.

If I had to highlight my favourite section, it was the suggestion of Scotland applying for the Olympics ton have fun with the countries vests. Genuine class there.

Reviewed by Geoff

Pleasance Above

1-26 August (not 13)

21-00 to 22-00

Mr Carmen

****

Russian Engeneering Theatre Akhe’s production is wordless. There is much symbolism and as such it is curious and strange, but completely mesmerising. For a start, take the name of the play. There is the combination of a male title with a female name.

I won’t pretend to understand all the action that the two actors perform but it appears they are in life and death conflict using a vast collection of props. Intrinsic to the action are the dramatic illusions they create with lighting effects and a sound background with snippets of melody and percussive elements.

The play opens with the building of the set into a square shape, with each side being composed of a loop of string that is in continuous movement. In the opening sequences the two actors operate independently but as the play develops the two interact, thus building up the emotional intensity.

In truth, it is theatre more to be experienced than to be analytically dissected.

Reviewed by Ben

Assembly Roxy: 139

2 to 27 August 2012 (not 13 & 20)

18.00 – 19.00

Fringe Programme Page Number: 302

I, Tommy

****

Like him or loathe him, Tommy Sheridan with his ego, impassioned fist clenching sound bites and fake tan complexion, has been good TV and newspaper copy for more than two decades. Ian Pattison, writer of the Rab C Nesbitt TV series, takes a satirical view of the life and times of the gallus Tommy, starting from his arrival on the political scene campaigning against the imposition of Thatcher’s poll tax in Scotland in the 1980’s.

Des McLean as Tommy not only looks and sounds like him but also conveys his charisma, impassioned rhetoric and narcissism. Tommy also has had his liking for the ladies and his alleged sexual exploits in various locations are given the full humorous treatment, particularly in the trial scenes. Ian Pattison’s banter type script is handled well by the supporting cast who take on various roles including Gail Sheridan, Tommy’s wife, and Alan McCombes, Tommy’s former colleague in the Scottish Socialist Party.

With the Leveson inquiry in progress and the trials of major figures in the tabloid newspaper industry in the offing, who knows how Tommy’s future will pan out? Could it be more Celebrity Big Brother type appearances or can a return to the Scottish Parliament be fully ruled out? Maybe, scope for I Tommy, the sequel?

Reviewed by Ben

Gilded Balloon Teviot: 14

3 to 27 August 2012 (not 13)

15.15 – 16.45

Fringe Programme Page Number: 288

Michael Legge – What a Shame

4 Stars

**** 

Northern Irish comic Michael Legge has been doing Fringe shows for a while but I have never had the chance to see his hour before, someone in the team usually got in first!!

Although I guess this would not be his choice of time slot Legge gave it his all from the start, and what a crazy start. God gang!! Really!!

He then goes on to demonstrate for the next hour why I have never seen him before with a well written and delivered set that extracted laughter from all corners of the busy venue.

His subject matter ranges through a whole host of subjects, a train journey to a gig, his perceived resemblance to certain celebrities, Fringe comics whose poster states ‘Star of..’ and how occasionally appearances can be deceiving, Twitter of course, how could that be omitted!!

Legge is a thoroughly entertaining comic, one that deserves big audiences and if you are looking for a mid-afternoon show then why not start here?

Reviewed by Geoff

Stand Comedy Club II

2-26 August (not 13)

15-30 to 16-30