Vladimir McTavish and Keir McAllister Look at the State of Scotland

4 Star

**** 

Although the vote on Scottish Independence is some two years away, a pair of the most iconic Scottish Stand-ups, have joined together for a tongue in cheek look at the question, or questions, to try and gauge feelings and maybe provide pointers.

Now McTavish and McAllister are hugely entertaining individually but as a duo they seem to complement each other, each taking the lead and each the straight man on occasions.

A thriving crowd of people in the audience and a fairly large proportion of Scots, who knew, were royally entertained by both.

A lot of the issues are debated somewhat tongue in cheek style and this did slightly start a public forum, not for long it was back on track in a trice and I have to say the hour went by all too fast.

So did we come to a conclusion? Probably not. Do we have a new National Anthem? We certainly should, but somehow I doubt it. One thing that should not be up for debate and that is you should definitely go to see this show.

Reviewed by Geoff

Stand Comedy Club IV

Until 26 August

19-00 to 20-00

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Stu and Garry in The Lunchtime Show

4 Star

**** 

Stu Murphy and Garry Dobson are two of the very best when it comes to Improv comedy. This Edinburgh based duo perform this style of show virtually every week of the year at The Stand Comedy Club, so perhaps it is little wonder that they are as fine tuned as a Formula One engine.

They have the innate ability to read a room, deal with all thrown at them and my goodness they get plenty in that manner yet still create a novel experience everytime.

The show I attended was well populated and one and all enjoyed their hour as our intrepid duo worked their way through a whole host of Improv games, I guess at least half a dozen were showcased during their hour.

The beauty of this show is that everyone is different, so there is nothing to stop you attending more that once as at least one member of the audience I spoke to had done.

If there is a better way to start a Fringe day, well I’ve still looking for it.

Reviewed by Geoff

Assembly Rooms Studio 2

Until 26 August

12-15 to 13-15

Scales of the Unexpected

4 Star

**** 

Scales of the Unexpected are a three man ensemble of accomplished cabaret performers namely Big Ian, Little Ian and Brian and in their bunker of a space are performing a late evening extravaganza of material and this certainly gives them a vehicle to showcase their talents.

The premise is that this intrepid trio are ore on a mission to save the world ‘one harmony at a time’.

Their show consisted of a large number of close harmony amalgams and parodies of numerous well known songs, I started to count but the sheer numbers defeated me, various costume changes along the way with the odd original number thrown in too.

The packed house on the night I went was well up for a fun night, and this they saw and then some. Each got a chance to feature and the whole performance was oh so slick.

Were there favourite bits? Well of course there was and for me the Literal Choreography songs were not only well executed but very witty to boot.

So for a good way to relax after a hard days Fringing this show would be hard to beat.

Reviewed by Geoff

Gilded Balloon at The Third Door

Until 26 August

22-45 to 23-45

Swamp Juice

*****

In the wondrous finale of Swamp Juice, shadow puppetry is taken to a big, big scale in a way I have never witnessed before. It is breath taking, but let me take you back to the beginning. Jeff Achtem, the puppeteer, enters from the rear of the auditorium, miked up and kitted out eccentrically in goggles, bow tie and waistcoat, mini-kilt and purple hose. In his opening sequences, his actions are as much part of the performance as the action he is creating on a large screen.

The show begins quietly. Down in the swamp, there are squabbling snails, a snake, a bird, monsters in the watery depths and a villainous hunter. The action settles into the bird trying to evade the hunter.

Chase sequences are developed, building in intensity with the aid of a three piece band to enhance the visual action. Jeff Achtem disappears behind an enlarged screen and the audience are issued with 3D spectacles.

The 3D effects are spectacular. In a below water sequence, creatures come right up to your face. I instinctively flinched. This changes to the villain chasing the bird in a helicopter. There is a humorous ending to the tale but what remains in the memory is the excitement and ingenuity of the illusions created before your very eyes. By now, most of us have seen 3D in the cinema. However, whatever your age, to experience it live in a theatre does astound.

Reviewed by Ben

Underbelly Bristo Square: 300

14 to 27 August 2012

16.30 – 17.25

Fringe Programme Page Number: 324

A Donkey and a Parrot

****

Sarah Hamilton’s solo performance play is charmingly and ingeniously performed. She is Australian and one branch of her family tree goes back over 300 years. Her story begins in France during the Huguenot persecutions, moves to London and Maryland USA, returning back to London It encompasses escape, kidnapping and romance.

On the stage is large barrel and from this brings out a range of mini figures and props, She gracefully moves around the barrel and climbs on top of it to give the story the full dramatic effect – even a Titanic moment which she admitted she couldn’t resist.

Her storytelling involves playing the parts of many characters as she embellishes the events in her own imaginative way. What of the Donkey and the Parrot? Constance and Goldie are humorous inventions using a large amount of artistic license.

Reviewed by Ben

Gilded Balloon at Third Door: 24

1 to 27 August 2012 (not 13 & 20)

14.00 – 15.00

Fringe Programme Page Number: 272

Jim Jeffries –Fully Functional

4 Star

**** 

Aussie comic Jim Jeffries has been around for a while doing comedy his way! I remember first seeing him was in one of the Pleasance shipping containers quite a few years ago and his career has blossomed to the extent that he is now selling out one of the largest spaces available to Edinburgh Fringe.

Now I think even Jeffries would agree he is not to everyone’s taste. He is dark, he is loud, he can be very offensive and he uses the ‘C bomb’ more that any other probably, but what you can’t ever say about the man is that he is not open. It is what he does and if you like him, and many do, then he’s your man, if not then stay away.

He now sits through some of his hour plus. He no longer swills lager throughout, but the old Jeffries is still there, boy is he there!

He tells stories, not always nice, but always funny, yet is such an enthralling narrator you could here a pin drop, that is until some idiot tried to make a name for himself, not once but for a second time. On Boy did he get it!! No one should try to mess with JJ. He shredded him big style.

The show slightly over ran due to this but everyone stayed. Who would want to miss a second of the night or a phrase of the final story?

Reviewed by Geoff

Assembly Hall

Until 26 August

21-00 to 22-00

DeAnne Smith – Living The Sweet Life

4 Star

****

DeAnne Smith is a young lady with a huge comedy future ahead of her that is for certain. She comes from ‘Across the Pond’ and is doing her second full length Edinburgh comedy show and fairly packing them in so she is living the good life right?

Well ish. She is doing okay and can occasionally pay people to do things for her which she previously had to do for herself. But ever generous she selects a member of the audience to be pampered, cushions, a drink, snacks and more as the hour progresses.

Opening and closing with a song accompanied by the inevitable ukulele, DeAnne wins everyone onto her side, even a couple of guys who really were in the wrong show for them settled in and enjoyed it.

She is a lady who seems to thrive on feedback, and the audience I was part of were very positive about her and her very funny stuff, and the more we gave then the better she became and the upward spiral continued.

And then of course there was the finale. And to find that out you’ll have to go see for yourself.

Reviewed by Geoff

Gilded Balloon Balcony

Until 26 August

19-30 to 20-30