Rosie Wilby: How to (Not) Make It in Brit Pop

3 Star

***

Rosie Wilby is an accomplished comedian, yet until I saw her show last year I was unaware that she had a career in music, Brit Pop style.

This is a reworked version of last years show only here for a short season and is listed under theatre. It has a load of elements to it, Rosie has prepared a slide show of some of the photo’s of her and he band Wilby, from the era, she delivers a potted life history of their forming and gigging and for me anyway the best part is when she and her trusty acoustic guitar play a few numbers they recorded over the period. These songs are excellent and I am pleased to say are available on itunes to download.

I am an admirer of Ms Wilby as a comic, I have grown to like her music, but I’, afraid this show did not do it for me. I feel it did not comfortably fit into any genre, and a lot of the humour she used last year was diluted, there was not enough music to be in that category either. It was a pleasant hour, but no more than that.

She promised an hour of comedy for next year. Sign me up now please

Reviewed by Geoff

Bongo Club

Until 14 August

14-30 to 15-30

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Bec Hill : Is More Afraid of You than You are of Her

5 Star

*****

It seems a strange career choice for someone who is scared of audience interaction to set out her career path to be a stand-up comedian. But then most comics are liars by trade so do I believe her?

What I do believe however that she is a very entertaining comic, a lady with a whole raft of interesting and yes very funny ideas and is an absolute geuius when it comes to the art of flipcharts.

From the get go she is facing her fears by befriending one of the crowd to be her friend in exchange from curing his fears, dealing with heckles she’d planted and progressing to addressing other fears along the way.

Ms hill is an endearing comic, and it makes me genuinely wonder why I have not seen her perform before. It will not be the last time hopefully, as it is another name in the database.

Take your chance now. Once the word gets out seats could be at a premium.

Reviewed by Geoff

Gilded Balloon Turret

Until 26 August

14-45 to 15-45

Anthony Rapp – Without You

5 stars
*****

Anthony Rapp, one of the original cast members of Rent on stage and screen gives us an excellent, poignant and humbly honest account of the early days of his career, of auditioning for Rent, its early success and then tragedy following the sudden death of the creator, Jonathan Larson. Mixed in with this we are treated to very personal stories about Anthony’s relationship with his mother and the end of her life too.

His storytelling is spellbinding and his singing gloriously rocky – there is original material combined of course with snippets from Rent. And it’s really interesting to hear some of the original lyrics from the workshops of Rent.

The five-piece band are immense and are a fantastic backing. The only niggle on the night I saw it was that the drums were far too loud, completely obliterating the keys, the poor cellist and sometime Mr. Rapp himself. I hope that was just a glitch, it was otherwise a superb show to finish off the evening and you don’t have to be a Rent-head to enjoy it!

Review by Alan

Underbelly, Bristo Square
1-26 August (not 13)
22:30-23:45

Beulah

5 stars
*****

Beulah – coined by William Blake as the place between this world and the next, this is storytelling, folk singing and a bit of puppetry at its very best.

Making it look easy, our two storytellers act and sing with a beauty and innocence and tell the story of a couple in love, a young prince and a lion, reality, dreams and death. And leap years and sleeping. There is a lot more to it than that of course, 20 minutes more than advertised, but the time flies past listening to the wonderful storytelling and the multitude of instruments they play.

Well worth going to see if you can get a ticket (the venue was packed), it’s a beautiful piece of theatre.

Review by Alan

C nova
2-27 August (not 13)
17:15-18:35

Aida

1 star
*

The show started off ominously with an apology for the cast being only 14-17 and went downhill from there. Please, never ever apologise for something only being a ‘youth show’, there is a lot of outstanding work being done out there by youth theatres much of which puts adults to shame.

Despite having mics (at their eyes!) the singing was weak and diction mumbly. Tuning was often cringy. This is a high rock score and often the actors tried to sing down the octave which was then too low. The dialogue too was quiet (were the mics switched off?) and mumbly and too fast with little acting – despite actually knowing the show quite well I was confused as to who was who and what was happening; the storytelling was very poor.

A lot of the direction was set on the floor and unless you were down the front you missed it, the choreography was at times bizarre and not appropriate to the style of the piece (the whole opening museum scene for example) and the music, although nice to have it played live, was often too fast and basic.

There also seemed to be a pair of huge underpants hanging mid-stage during the whole show?!?

I hate writing poor reviews and prefer to be constructive but I’m seriously struggling to be positive about this production in any way and that’s such a shame as previous Spotlites productions have been very good.

Review by Alan

Spotlites @ The Merchants’ Hall
13-14 August
19:55-21:35

The Secrets Hidden in the Beatles RockBand

2 stars
**

Nothing to do with the Beatles (the title refers simply to a computer game the characters play), this is a short story essentially about sexual conquests and the relationships between two best friends and a big secret between them from the past. And that’s really the only plot point.

The acting is good and the music works well (nice to have a live piano) although at times it does seem to burst into song for no reason where dialogue would suffice. The book is adult and juvenile but does have moments of well written humour but in the end not much happens.
Review by Alan

C eca
4-26 August (even dates)
15:50-16:35

Hey, Piano Bar Lady

4 stars
****

Slightly ditsy but always charming, Linn Lorkin regales us with her life stories of growing up and becoming a piano bar player all over the world. This is a rare glimpse into a sadly dying profession including her own witty songs written about her life experiences.

Delightful and humourous storytelling mixed with songs, it’s more cabaret than musical and well worth a look if you’re interested in the life behind the artist as well as just being entertained with songs.
Review by Alan

Sweet Cabaret @ Venue 54
3-25 August (not 13, 20)
14:00-15:15