Archive for Drama

Chaika: First Woman in Space 

chaikatheSpace on North Bridge – Argyll Theatre
14:20, 18:20
Aug 22-24
50 minutes
Suitability: 12+ (Guideline)
Group: Acting Coach Scotland

The “Chaika” of the title was the codename given to Valentina Tereshkova, who became the first woman in space on 16 June 1963 and is Russian for seagull.

This play brought to us by Acting Coach Scotland is both informative and entertaining and tells the story of her life from a young girl who lost her father to war, had her schooling delayed by the war and who as a young woman went to work in a factory and became an avid parachutist in her free time, a path that was ultimately to lead to her trip into space.

The all-female cast takes turns at telling Tereshkova’s story with a Russian Cyrillic Velcro name badge being at times passed from actress to actress and Nikita Krushchev is even briefly depicted as the ultimate arbiter of which of the female cosmonauts will go on the mission. Props are minimal and some effective use of lighting techniques helps to take the audience into space with Tereshkova.

Prior to watching this play, I had only a basic knowledge of Tereshkova’s story and the information that I gleaned from this production has resulted in me going on to read further about her. The cast of “Chaika: First Woman in Space” convey real energy and enthusiasm for telling her story and this play is very much worth going to see.

Reviewed by David Andrews
#edinburghfringe2019 #edinburghfringe

Stars5

 

Advertisements

Leave a Comment

Interview with Eddy Brimson

naughtyboy

Eddy Brimson as Joe in Naughty Boy

Eddy Brimson is currently performing in Naughty Boy at the Edinburgh Fringe.

1) You have written about football hooliganism in the past; how did that equip you to create the character of Joe? Is he perhaps based on, or in part on, a particular individual that you encountered in this world or is he a product of the parts of several different people?

I have written a few books on football fan culture and the violence that can go with it. Back in the late ’70s and early 80’s I was involved in the darker side of football and so I have a good knowledge of the subject. The books blew open the stereotypical view of what a football hooligan was and his background and so they made quite a stir. This play has been adapted from the book I’d written, which I will now release as an audiobook post Festival. There is quite a lot of personal experience in the character as well as attitude. I hope the political side of Joe comes across. he is definitely a man of the people, or the cogs, as he puts it. There is a lot of Them against Us in his thinking. There is a political edge to his outlook on the world.

2) Previously, you’ve worked in comedy. What inspired you to venture into the rather dark world of Joe?

I am a full-time comedian, I’ve been pro for 17 years and I’m very lucky to be so. I think that if you are a creative person you need to test yourself. And this has been one hell of a test.

3) Joe expresses the view that violence makes him feel truly alive. Can you explain why Joe feels this way? How did you understand his motivation to participate in violence?

Violence sets Joe free from the weights life places upon his shoulders. In such moments nothing else matters, he feels truly himself and so that is the motivation that drives him.

4) Joe seems to hold ‘normal’ life and people in contempt. Why do you think that is? Does he see himself as better than them?

Joe holds those that follow the herd in contempt. He despises those that just follow trends as he feels they have just given in and handed themselves over to being what those he sees as controlling us want rather than who they truly want and should be.

5) How important is being part of a group for Joe?

I think being part of the group reassures Joe that he is not alone. That said, he is a violent man, and a violent man will always find a fight alone or not.

6) What sort of reaction and feedback have you been getting from audiences?

The play has exceeded all expectations. I’ve never attempted anything like this before and the kind words on my ability to pull it off, both from punters and reviewers are really encouraging. Whoever, the most important thing for me is the writing. People seem to really like and understand it. That is just amazing.

7) Where next with “Naughty Boy”? Do you plan on performing it elsewhere? Is it a genre that you would continue next year at The Fringe with another show or repeat?

I would love to tour this, and a few offers have been made and so fingers crossed. My next aim is to record the audiobook. That’ll be a good 4 hours plus so it’ll take a while to knock that into shape as the play has evolved and that will affect the style of the book, and then who knows. Next year seems a long way off but it has been such a great experience that I am already tempted, which means I’ll be back. Maybe something lighter next year.

8) What other projects are you working on just now?

As I’ve said, the audiobook and seeing about a tour for the play will be top of the list as I need to keep the momentum going. I’d love to get an agent for the acting and writing side of things as well. Aside from that, it’ll be back on the road doing the stand-up with a tour of Asia to look forward to in October, which’ll be nice …. Onwards

Tickets for Naughty Boy can be purchased here

The Counter Culture review of Naughty Boy is here

 

 

Eddy Brimson was interviewed by Pat Harrington
#edinburghfringe2019 #edinburghfringe

Leave a Comment

And They Played Shang-A-Lang

andtheyplayedshangalangEdinburgh Little Theatre
At: Hill Street Theatre.
12:25pm until 25 August.

“And They Played Shang-A-Lang” is a rip-roaring musical comedy that takes us through life, love, and death with a musical soundtrack from the 1970s.

It opens with a young woman mourning the untimely death of her uncle and turning to read the memoirs of his childhood. The uncle then appears as narrator and takes the audience through a roller-coaster account of his growing-up during a decade well remembered for its music. We experience such landmarks as the school disco and nativity play, girls and boys going through the awkwardness of asking for a first dance, family gathering at Hogmanay and how we lose those family members over time. While at times poignant, the overall feel of this show is vibrant and happy and the music and energy of the cast easily got members of the audience clapping, tapping their feet and singing along to numbers by groups including Queen, Abba, Sweet, and The Bay City Rollers.

Not everyone will be old enough to get the references to Argentina 1978 or the food and drink of those times but that should be no barrier to enjoying this production!

The actors in this show deserve praise for a fine performance which encompassed acting, singing, and dancing.

If you are looking for a lunchtime show this Fringe event should be high on your list.

Reviewed by David Andrews

#edinburghfringe2019 #edinburghfringe

You can buy tickets here: https://tickets.edfringe.com/w…/and-they-played-shang-a-lang

Stars5

Leave a Comment

Naughty Boy

naughtyboy

Eddy Brimson as Joe

Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose, Edinburgh
3 Chambers Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1HR
15:15
Aug 4-12, 14-26
1 hour
Suitability: 16+ (Restriction)

Eddy Brimson plays Joe, a football hooligan, in this thought-provoking one-man show. Joe is a man who is forthright about the excitement and energy of violence. Joe only feels truly alive when he is indulging in violence. Violence fills an empty space for Joe and enables him to believe that he is different from the rest of a constrained, boring society. Brimson does not shy away from describing the violence initiated by or directed at Joe and his gang over a weekend fueled by alcohol and anonymous sex.

This show is challenging and gives a glimpse into another life, a life Joe exhorts you to admire and adopt.

Stars5

You can buy a ticket here: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/naughty-boy

#edinburghfringe2019

Leave a Comment

 Just William’s Luck

justwilliamTheatre (comedy, family)
Venue 61
Underbelly, Cowgate – Iron Belly
12:10
Aug 23-26
1 hour
Suitability: 3+
Group: Shedload Theatre

This adaptation of Richmal Crompton`s only full-length “Just William” novel did full justice to the spirit of its creator. It was fun throughout, faithful to the original without ever quite merging into parody. The obvious enthusiasm of the actors communicated itself readily to the audience.
The plot revolves around the antics of the Outlaws, a “gang” from a more innocent era when 11 year olds got themselves into scrapes, before the emergence of the gang culture we know to-day. Its self-appointed leader, William Brown, and his associates Ginger, Douglas and Heny, occupied their spare time by devising a series of adventures which although well-intentioned, never quite achieved their objectives. The one girl, Violet Elizabeth Bott, was kept at more than arm`s length. In this production, however, she was allowed fuller participation, a concession to our contemporary values, perhaps. The roles of the adults were acted by the Outlaws themselves. William remained himself, but his much-older siblings, brother Robert and sister Ethel, were played by Douglas and Ginger, his father by Henry (using a hairbrush as a moustache) and his mother by Violet Elizabeth. This imaginative deployment of the cast was similarly evident in the changes of scenery, using sheets and banners to make the most of the limited resources available.

William`s confused recollections of his History lessons led him to the transformation of the Outlaws into the Knights of the Square Table, a round one being unavailable, with a mission to right the wrongs of the world. Improbably, the impending marriage of Ginger`s elder brother and his gift to Ginger of a bicycle, led the Outlaws into attempting to arrange the marriages of all their older siblings to acquire bicycles. The resulting mayhem was played by all the cast with infectious enthusiasm, and, of course, all ended happily.

A highly enjoyable performance, strongly recommended.

Reviewed by Henry Falconer
#EdFringe2018 #EdFringe #IntoTheUnknown

Gold star

Gold star

Leave a Comment

 Alma, a Human Voice

almaTheatre (new writing, solo show)
Venue
26
Summerhall – Old Lab
11:50
Aug 23-26
1 hour

Group: Nina’s Drag Queens

Lorenzo Piccolo gives an accomplished performance as Alma Mahler. Visual aspects of the show are excellent from the start with Lorenzo entering with a suitcase and laying out clothes right up to the fizzing pills placed in twelve glasses of water at the end. We hear Ingrid Bergman’s voice in the telephone conversations which show a deeply disturbed woman. This woman, driven mad by love, is the subject of Jean Cocteau’s poetic drama La Voix Humane. Bergman played the role in one of the many film versions. We also hear the surreal story of the creation and ultimate destruction of a life-size doll of Alma by her former lover, the artist Oscar Kokoschka.

The performance is, however, let down by the narrative. No clear context is given and a knowledge of Alma and her significance as a muse to (amongst others) Gustav Mahler, Walter Gropius and Franz Werfel is assumed. For me the show is about love, loss and obsession. It’s a show that is very good but could have been excellent.
Reviewed by Patrick Harrington

#EdFringe2018 #EdFringe #IntoTheUnknown

Gold star

Gold star

Leave a Comment

That Bastard Brecht

thatbastardbrecht

Mark Howard as Brecht

Theatre (new writing, drama)
Venue
152
Paradise in Augustines – Sanctuary
21:35
Aug 23-25
1 hour 35 minutes

Wow! What a show. Fifteen original songs, amazing choreography and sharp dialogue tell the story of Brecht through the eyes of Elizabeth Hauptmann (Tove Berkhout). Hauptmann first met Brecht in 1922 when she came to Berlin.

Hauptmann is said to have written most of The Threepenny Opera (1928) but was denied any credit while Brecht lived. She also, reportedly, wrote at least half of the Mahagonny-Songspiel (1927), including one of the best known songs, the “Alabama Song“, but again was not credited.

The cast, who hail from Melbourne, Australia, have an incredible energy and the pace is fast. It doesn’t hurt that some of the ensemble are strikingly good looking either! Myra Davidson playing Lotte Lenya was stunning.

Brecht had an open relationship where his partner and later wife,from 1930 until his death in 1956, Helene Wiegel (Jenn Walter) was happy for him to have other female lovers. Mark Howard plays him as an egotistical charmer, full of charisma – a rock star of his day. He struts, he rants, he cajoles and persuades. He talks of collaboration and progressive values of equality but you know that whatever he says (or sings!) there is a boss and only one. Does the fact that his female partners (mainly) put up with this make Brecht any less of a bastard?

As Nuworks Theatre point out Brecht never lived up to his Socialist principles when it came to money:

“He was a Marxist, presumably believing in a redistribution of wealth and the plight of the poor. That’s the general tenor of all his best works. Yet this is at odds with his lack of desire to share his own wealth, even amongst his closest and utterly deserving of collaborators. They must have been paid but little in proportion to Brecht and then there’s the old, tasteless joke (no pun intended) that he paid most of them in semen and as for literary recognition, most of them never received other than a footnote of that in their lifetime.”

The background to this free love party is the spectre of the rise of the Nazis. Appearances from an angry, threatening Brownshirt (Lachlan Smith) keep this in our mind. We know, and Brecht and his collaborators gradually realise, that their party isn’t going to last much longer. Perhaps that knowledge led them to take more risks and push more boundaries?

I will certainly be looking out for Nuworks visiting the UK again. It was a gripping story told by a talented ensemble with passion. It was great that the music was original and live and there were certainly some stand out songs for me. As I said at the start – wow!

Reviewed by Patrick Harrington

#EdFringe2018 #EdFringe #IntoTheUnknown

five-stars

Leave a Comment

Older Posts »