Midnight Paranormal Haunted Underground Experience

3 stars
***

This was a very interesting tour, starting with a look at some torture instruments and detailed accounts of how they were used. Morbid and cringey but fascinating.

This was followed by a look at some vaults and a short bit of underground street, what they were used for, who lived (and died) there etc. Add in some tales of ghosts and banshees and other spiritsa and you get the idea. All very interesting but not scary if you’re sober or just sensible!

My main issue with the tour was that it was very short, both in distance travelled (a few vaults) and the time – under an hour long yet advertised at 90 minutes. I would have assumed, reading the description, that it would have been more in-depth so that was a bit disappointing.

Still, a very interesting hour although definitely aimed at the tourists.

Review by Alan

Auld Reekie Tours
3 Aug-1 Sep
Midnight

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Berlin Cabaret

4 stars
****

If you imagine the setting where Sally Bowles performs in ‘Cabaret’ then you get the premise of this decadent German club scenario.

Tales of debauchery, androgenous characters, scantily clad women and men abounded, interspersed with some basic songs (there was no live band as was advertised though). Although sometimes uncomfortable in subject matter, it never quite went over the line which kept the audience feeling ‘safe’, despite a lot of audience interaction!

It was all nicely done and while the singing was not great with few harmonies, it was perfectly adequate and worked well. It was just great fun and a good end to the evening.

Review by Alan

theSpace on the Mile
20-25 August
22:10-22:50

Revolution! The Musical

3 stars
***

This was billed as “Britain’s next big musical” – unfortunately it isn’t.

Set in Bosnia over a number of years we were told stories of revolution, romance and war. But it all got confusing – there was projected video at the back but often it wasn’t noticed and when you were aware of it it was too small to work out what was going on (the bridge blowing up for example). This lead to us watching people with names we were unsure of talking about and doing other things which weren’t clear or just seemed completely random (e.g. the diving).

I have to say that the singing was generally excellent, especially from the men who had some really high full-voice requirements. What let the show down though was a lot of really bad, amateur acting – it seems strange to have well-trained singers who don’t know how to even stand still. Some scenes got slightly slow unfortunately and Adela’s clothing seemed completely out of place (sexy jeans/busty top).

Musically there was nothing memorable or even that tuneful; I have to say though that the violinst was excellent and a joy to listen to.

Perhaps this show has a future but it needs a lot of reshaping and development work.

Review by Alan

Paradise in Augustine’s
4-27 August (not 13, 20)
20:25-21:45

Bereavement: The Musical

4 stars
****

This song cycle gave us a variety of scenes based around bereavement and grieving and the different ways of coping.

There was nothing morbid here though, just a collection of clever and witty writing which put a nice spin on the whole subject matter without being cliched or offensive.

The excellent music was interesting and tuneful and played by the composer on a grand piano – a grand in C+3, has to be a first! The simple setting and lighting also worked well and overall the performance was delightful.

 
Review by Alan

C
1-27 August (not 13)
18:40-19:40

Dr Quimpugh’s Compendium of Peculiar Afflictions

4 stars
****

Very interesting to see a professional opera on the Fringe and such a change from the usual musical fayre.

The three singers were excellent and played a multitude of roles. They coped very well with their parts although I did lose quite a few words – the diction is spot on but sometimes the over-articulations meant I had to lip-read a lot.

The three musicians were quite superb, annoyingly gorgeous and performed impeccably. The actual music I found quite random though and when there was a tune it seemed to go on just a bit too long – The Alien Hand for example.

But overall a very interesting show, an unusual subject matter and professionally produced.

 
Review by Alan
Summerhall
3-26 August (not7, 14, 21)
17:00-18:10