Archive for Edinburgh Fringe Festival

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

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Interview with Aletia Upstairs

aletiaupstairsandpatrick

Patrick Harrington with Aletia Upstairs

Interview with Aletia Upstairs who is currently starring in her fringe show ‘A Queer Love of Dix’

Could you tell us a bit about yourself and how you came to be a performer?

I come from Cape Town, South Africa. I’ve lived in London for the last 12 years. Apparently, I had an hour and a half of singing repertoire at the age of 18 months. My parents met on stage in a school play, so it was my destiny.

Do you hold strong political opinions? How would you describe them?

I come from South Africa….Our country changed a hell of a lot during my first few years at university. I couldn’t really see myself being involved with political cabaret in South Africa because everything had to be so PC. And of course, cabaret SHOULD be political. A Queer Love of Dix is my most political show to date and it is still quite mild, I think.

My political opinion is simply that everyone should be treated equally. I grew up seeing the inequality in South Africa…and I became more and more aware of that as I grew older. My idea of feminism is tied in with this view.

You cover some great songs from the Weimar period in your show, (“Pirate Jenny”, “It’s All a Swindle” and “The Lavender Song” to give a few examples). Do you have a song that you like to listen to more than the others and is that different from one that you really like to perform?

I don’t really listen to my show music when I am performing it, as I would get sick of it, and because I listen to it A LOT when I’m learning it. Recently I was listening to ‘Just a Gigolo’ in German (‘Schöner Gigolo, armer Gigolo’) the Max Raabe and the Palast Orchester version, on a loop… constantly…on my bicycle, in the tube, in order to learn the German words. This song was composed in 1928 by Leonello Casucci to lyrics written in 1924 by Julius Brammer. I am interested in the history of the songs (maybe because of my Musicology studies) and with that – especially Lavender Song (‘Das Lila Lied’), which was composed by Mischa Spoliansky under the pseudonym Arno Billing.

You describe Weimar as a ‘utopia’. How far do you think our impression of 1924-29 of Weimar in this period is skewed by Berlin’s reputation as a city where “anything went”? Do you think this vision of Berlin has made us forget that it wasn’t typical of the country, traditional attitudes persisting particularly in small-town and rural areas and amongst the older generation?

I think, most of what we are aware of through say the Cabaret movie – as this is the first taste of that world for many, is the decadence and hedonism of the period…but then there is a part in the movie where the people in the countryside sing a folk song and make the Nazi salute. This makes me think a lot about Brexit, since it was mainly the people in the rural areas who voted out. The people in the cities – London, at least, were generally not that positive about Brexit.

Berlin, in the 1920s, was a forward-looking place though. There were many lesbian and gay bars. People had this little taste of freedom just before the worst event in history set in. When you go on a walking tour in Berlin, specifically The Christopher Isherwood’s Neighbourhood walking tour http://www.isherwoods-neighbourhood.com/  you learn a lot about the LGBTQI community at the time, but also about how people were taken away to concentration camps. There are these little plaques at the entrances of certain homes with people’s names and when they were taken, whereto and when and where they died.

During the Weimar Republic, homosexuality was certainly tolerated but it wasn’t legal (The 1871 Code which criminalised it wasn’t repealed until 1994). Also, outside of Berlin, social attitudes were still very conservative. The Eulenburg Scandal in 1907-8 drew attention to the goings-on in the Kaiser’s own circle, where the death in 1908 from a heart attack of the Chief of the Military Cabinet while dancing in the Kaiser’s presence dressed in a ballerina’s tutu added to rumours that the Kaiser was bi-sexual. The point, however, is that it WAS a scandal. The magazine “Simplicissimus”, the “Private Eye” of its day, made sure of that. The Nazis hated Weimar culturally as well as politically. Would you accept that, to a degree, they reflected the opinion of many in this regard?

In the show, I say it was ‘permitted’. Of course, generally, social attitudes were still very conservative, but we always think about the majority being cisgender. Is that really the case though? Was that the case then? Is that the case now? Or are many, many people just going along with societal norms which are based on gender norms dictated by the main religions?
Are you saying that the general public didn’t agree with the liberal lifestyle practiced in the Weimar Republic? I guess not…and that’s one reason for the Nazis rise to power. They had the populist support in combination with the support of those who were fearful of opposing them. Of course, we know that the Weimar Republic was, as I say in the show, ‘an attempt at a perfect democracy’, but it failed because it had some major flaws.

This makes me think of Apartheid South Africa, again, where I know, for a fact, that white people were killed who opposed the government, so, as a result, some people just took the easy way out, ignorant, or oblivious of what they were actually supporting.

Have Brecht, Weill, Isherwood, etc. captured our imagination and distorted our perception of the country and period?

Generally, people are more au fait with Kander and Ebb’s Cabaret than with any of them. Based on the movie, I wanted to be Sally Bowles. When I was in my early twenties, I used to write my bio as ‘Aletia Upstairs wants to be Sally Bowles’, but Isherwood’s Sally Bowles is quite different from the Liza Minelli version everyone knows. Naturally, I wanted to explore the period more and more.

None of them paint a purely utopian picture of the Weimar Republic and Berlin of the time, however, I would say that Otto Dix with his New Objectivity (Neue Sachlichkeit) style gives us a much more realistic view of the period. This is why I had to combine his work with the music, some of which quite well-known, of Brecht and Weill.

Do you think that our own period in our own country where homosexuality is legal, and discrimination outlawed still struggles with negative social attitudes amongst some?

Absolutely, yes. There are still numerous homophobic attacks taking place. The two lesbians who were attacked on a bus is in London, for example…that happened on May 30th.

What can we do to win hearts and minds and change these attitudes?

Keep preaching…to the non-converted. I’m trying to change some people’s perceptions with this show. I rejoice in the fact that cisgender people can sing along to the words ‘We’re not afraid to be queer and different’. It is educational in a subtle way. And if they didn’t know that we say intersex these days, rather than hermaphrodite, they will when they leave the show. I hope that experiencing the show might open their hearts and minds and make people more accepting of the whole LGBTQI spectrum. I think, in a small way, I am accomplishing that.

What attracts you to the culture of the Weimar period so strongly?

I had that image of Anita Berber, used for the poster, as an inspirational picture for many years before I made the show. Although cabaret did not originate in the Weimar Republic or, more specifically Berlin, it is the kind of cabaret similar to how it was performed in South Africa when I was growing up and the way I was trained in cabaret.

Why do you think that many are fascinated by the Goldene Zwanziger (“Golden Twenties”) of Weimar?

This was a moment in history when, like I say in the show, the outsider could be the insider. It was a time of an explosion in artistic activity and personal freedom. The New Objectivity style, used by Otto Dix, originated during this time. Androgyny was fashionable, as documented by Dix’s painting of Sylvia von Harden. It was the time when women cut their hair in the bob hairstyle. This act, in particular, indicated more freedom for women, in particular.

You feature the work of Otto Dix in your show as a backdrop to your singing. What connects his work to the songs for you?
I see it as his work illustrating the songs. I have never seen Brecht and Weill performed in, as I call it, the world of Otto Dix, but I feel that they were talking about the same things, so I thought it would work well in combination.

Who/what do you blame for Hitler’s rise to power and how might it have been prevented?

As I say in the show, in the Weimar Republic, the left and the right could not come to an agreeable compromise, and meanwhile, nationalism was rising. The Weimar Republic’s democracy was flawed. The people were too passive; they went along with the Nazi party for what it promised them – employment and so on which was necessary following the Depression and the period of hyperinflation. I think a lot of people didn’t know what they were letting themselves in for until it was too late.

How has the audience reaction been to the show? What kind of feedback have you had?

People have said it’s been educational, thought-provoking and enjoyable. That’s my intention…exactly that. I don’t want it to be like a lecture, but I do want people to feel that they’ve learned something from it: maybe take another look at their own attitudes to the Other. Some have said it was unique, which is nice to know.

Have you ever thought of presenting the content of your show in another format – a documentary or book for example?

No, not at all, but on a previous project I collaborated with a documentary writer, so it’s not out of the question. I just have to see what opportunities come my way.

What plans do you have for shows in the future?

I am hoping to tour this show to other parts of Europe. I am in negotiations about taking it to Romania and Germany. I don’t have a plan for another show at the moment. It will come when the time is right.

Tickets for A Queer Love of Dix are available from:https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/queer-love-of-dix

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Radu Isac: Good Excuses for Sociopaths

raduisac

Radu Isac: dark and edgy comedy

Comedy (satire, stand-up)
Venue
27
Just the Tonic at The Grassmarket Centre – Just The Meeting Room
20:30
Aug 16-25
1 hour
Suitability: 16+ (Guideline)

If you like your comedy dark and edgy then this is the show for you. If you are in need of a ‘safe space’ then probably not! Radu Isac isn’t afraid to push boundaries and buttons. Yet as he explains he wants to keep the audience onside and still like him. He says that he got into comedy because he realised he could say things that might offend but still keep friends if he said he was joking!

I found it refreshing that at a time when comedy is coming under pressure to conform Radu talked about difficult subjects like depression, suicide, and male sexual desire. He did this in a way that revealed some truths through the humour. He is a very skilled comedian with a dry wit.

The audience loved it and I think you will too.

Reviewed by Pat Harrington

You can buy a ticket here: https://tickets.edfringe.com/…/radu-isac-good-excuses-for-s…

#edfringe #edfringe2019 #edinburghfringe2019

 

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Ask A Stripper

askastripperHeroes @ Bob’s BlundaBus – Top Deck
19:50
Aug 5-13, 15-20, 22-25
55 minutes
Suitability: 18+ (Restriction)
Country: United Kingdom – Scotland
Group: Gypsy Charms and Stacey Clare/ Heroes / PWYW
Warnings and additional info: Buy a ticket in advance to guarantee entry or Pay What You Want at the venue. Audience Participation, Nudity, Scenes of a Sexual Nature, Strong Language/Swearing

What have you always wanted to ask a stripper? This show gives you your chance. Gypsy and Stacey confidently field any question from the audience with humour and intelligence. The questions on the night I attended were very varied. Being a political animal I asked about power relations between the stripper and their client. Others there asked about safety, Feminism, and why they did the job (was it just for the money)? Some serious social and political issues were covered but there was also a huge amount of fun.

If you are easily shocked this is not the show for you. If you are openminded, however, you will learn a lot from the experiences of Gypsy and Stacey. I think everyone came away with a better understanding of these workers but everyone was also entertained!

I’d advise booking a ticket in advance as the venue is quite intimate (small) being a converted bus. As word gets out about this show it will be a hot ticket.

You can buy tickets here: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/ask-a-stripper

#saveourclubs #strippersrights #sexworkeradvocacy #edinburghfringe #edinburghfringe2019

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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

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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.

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

#edinburghfringe2019

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The Crown Dual

crowndualpicGilded Balloon Patter Hoose – Big Yin
16:20
Aug 1-6, 8-13, 15-20, 22-26
1 hour 10 minutes
Suitability: 14+ (Guideline)
Country: United Kingdom – England
Group: By Daniel Clarkson, Director Owen Lewis, Presented by James Seabright

Rosie Holt and Brendan Murphy play the Queen and Prince Philip in this sharp parody of the hit Netflix series The Crown. Not just these two central characters but many more – including a Penguin! When other characters were needed members of the audience were recruited/pressganged. Some of the audience when I attended were themselves very funny and up to adlibbing.

Without being preachy or heavy there was a subversive undercurrent to the show which I enjoyed.

The Crown Dual had me laughing a lot. It is incredibly well-written with many different forms of humour woven into it including visual. If you just feel like having fun this a great show to see.

Reviewed by Patrick Harrington

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