A Final Day Fringe Selection

Camille Claudel (Theatre) ****

Oliver Reed: Wild Thing (Theatre) ****

Bad Musical (Comedy) ****

Celia Pacquola – Delayed (Comedy) ****

On this the final day of the Fringe and having completed my reviewing schedule a few days ago, on something of a whim, I shed my reviewer’s lanyard and bought a bundle of tickets, some from the Half Price Hut.

I began at the Pleasance Courtyard with Gael Le Cornec’s portrayal of artist and model Camille Claudel – a beautiful and moving performance capturing the mood of the Parisian art world during the final years of the 19th century.

Then, it was off to the Gilded Balloon for the remainder of the day. Rob Crouch as Oliver Reed is spot on as the hard drinking, charismatic actor. The next two shows have been fully reviewed elsewhere on this site. Bad Musical is a delightfully silly and very funny send up of Musicals. Finally, Celia Pacquola is a comedienne whom I have seen before and I thoroughly enjoy her style of warm ‘feel good’, conversational humour.

Four contrasting shows to round off a most enjoyable Fringe.

Reviewed by Ben

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News at Kate 2012 – Kate Smurthwaite

4 Star

**** 

Kate Smurthwaite is an atheist leftie feminist comedian, but that is no reason why she should not be taken seriously. In spite of a venue with a Mussolini quote on the wall, hardly conducive to her show, she regularly attracts a mixed gender crowd, and one of all ages too.

And so she should. She is opinionated but in a good way, and is an engaging personality and an eloquent speaker, it is little wonder that she is much in demand in the media for opinions and discussions.

Don’t expect an all out assault on men, far from it she is just a passionate performer who has no problem in dealing with those she sees as villains be they Daily Mail writers, politicians both British and American, radio presenters or even her mother-in-law, but none of these make the nomination of villain of the show.

It is however totally ‘safe’ to sit in the front row of her shows, even if you work in the financial sector, or even a PR in the defence industry. Any argument she may have is with others not in the room.

Reviewed by Geoff

Ciao Roma

Until 25 August

20-20 to 21-20

Andrew J Lederer – Cold Comfort

4 Star

**** 

I have known Andrew J Lederer for a number of years now and have always admired him as a performer. He is not a flash performer, he is an honest to goodness journeyman, but the New York City born guy always gives himself a mountain to climb. And no more than this year.

Cold Comfort is just one of three shows that he is performing this year, more than enough for most, but just three months ago he underwent massive surgery so how does this man cope?

He does however and in his own inimitable style, tells the story of this traumatic event, his trademark style of mesmerising prose as always to the fore. Even with the Fringe drawing to its conclusion and the audience numbers not so high, this charismatic performer entertains for his full hour making light of the very serious situation he found himself in by weaving in funny material throughout.

I feel he should get some recognition for the hard yards he has put in over the years for little reward. He really is what the Fringe should really be about.

Reviewed by Geoff

The Royal Mile Tavern

Until 25 August

17-00 to 18-00

This Audio Tour Belongs to Lionel Richie

****

This audio tour takes about forty-five minutes, and has a simple circular route, with, in the main, good directions (I only got lost once). Narrated by Barry Ferns in a lovely calming tone (nice contrast to the madness you wander through) and interspersed with conversations with various comedians reminiscing about their fringe experiences, it’s a brilliant way to fill in a gap between shows – or get to know a bit of Edinburgh.

I did find myself a little…lost, standing in the middle of a street, listening to a story, wondering where I was going next. But there are lots of people doing that at the Fringe. I did, however, really enjoy the different tasks and suggestions along the way, even if I didn’t do all of them. My especial favourite was the review wall.

This tour is just long enough, and full of silly entertaining humour. Lovely.

Reviewed by Laura

Free audio download from www .thisbelongstolionelrichie.co.uk

 

 

 

Elis James – Speaking as a Mother

4 Star

**** 

Eis James is definitely on the move as a comic in what is his 4th solo Edinburgh show, really(?) and the sell-out signs for this strangely entitled show in a port-a-cabin are very much in evidence. His style is long form story telling, but he is thinking of changing as he wants to buy a house!!

Although in his early thirties he hasn’t grown up, and although living with his partner refuses to do so,

His material is well constructed and funny, he tells stories against himself last years show interruptions by Glasgow Rangers stag night, being dissed on a train by two girls, being mugged in Cardiff and his cash conscious father are a few examples, but in truth there are a full hours worth of good material.

It is a sure bet that James’s career is definitely on the up. Already numerous TV appearances have raised his profile and I’m sure next year the trend will continue. I would be really surprised to see him in a port-a-cabin next year!!

Reviewed by Geoff

Pleasance Baby Grand

Until 27 August

19-00 to 20-00

Nish Kumar – Who is Nish Kumar?

4 Star

****

Nish Kumar was a new name to nearly all of the near capacity audience at the performance I witnessed but once seen I’m sure most will not forget him.

Kumar hails from Croydon and is a Brit of Indian origins.

There is a myriad of different subjects that make up his set list, a list that majors on his earlier life, the family relationships including a cinema visit with his father particularly amusing and the issues including racism he encountered in his earlier life, illustrated with a couple of hilarious anecdotes that brought the house down.

Kumar is an engaging comic, often self deprecating in style, and a self confessed Buffy The Vampire Slayer addict who is totally frightened of women has a no gimmick style but an all inclusive appeal, an appeal that will see him doing rather well in the future I’m sure.

In what is his debut Fringe solo show Kumar runs through a list of rejected show titles, mostly clever puns as is the vogue, and I feel he will certainly need one or most for the next few years as I reckon he will be a feature for the foreseeable future.

Reviewed by Geoff

Underbelly Daisy

Until 27 August

20-20 to 21-20

David Trent – Spontaneous Comedian.

3 Star

***

If ever there was a misnomer of a show title to describe the content then his has to be up with the best.

Spontaneous is certainly not a word that can be applied without irony to this tech heavy comic, PowerPointed to the gunnels and screens liberally strewn around the hot Pleasance Attic, liberal use of Youtube style clips to illustrate points are also there along the way.

But Trent, a school teacher by day job, has the comedy world really talking about him and has been achieving a lot of industry praise along the way. He has also been nominated in the Best Newcomer category for the Fosters comedy award in 2012.

His late night show is well attended the night I saw him and I have to say the reaction from them was patchy. Some stuff they really went with, other segments less so. I felt myself that much of the time the repetition of some of his footage was overdone, the call-backs used too often and impact lost in the process, but there was some genuinely funny and different stuff in there too. It is obvious that he is going places, and I look forward to seeing how he progresses. Could we have a new star in the comedy firmament?  Time will tell.

Reviewed by Geoff

Pleasance Attic

Until 27 August

22-45 to 23-45