Archive for Dance

The City (cancelled owing to ultra-leftist intimidation)


Incubator Theatre
30 July – 25 August
Underbelly, Bristo Square (cancelled owing to ultra-leftist SWP intimidation)

This show was supposed to have been performed at the Underbelly Cow Barn. Artists come from all over the world to take part in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe with no bother. This year I have seen artists from Georgia, the USA, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand as well as the home nations of the UK. That’s as it should be.

However, The City, a hiphop opera is performed by the Incubator Theatre which comes from Israel; so according to the Socialist Workers Party we shouldn’t see it because of the way that state’s government is treating the people of Gaza. Personally I do sympathise with the abandoned Palestinian people and have none at all for the current extremist government of Israel and its occupation of stolen land. I also have grave issues with the US government’s interference in Ukraine, Libya, most of the Middle East and Pakistan; especially with the use of drone bombs.

By the SWP’s logic, we should also boycott all the Americans staging plays too. Let’s get this straight; the people behind The City are artists. They aren’t in Edinburgh to promote the cause of killing children in Gaza. They’re here to put on a show. The American artists aren’t over here to justify Obama’s wars either. They’re here to promote their art. Just because of where they come from, the producers of The City have been penalised, intimidated, shouted down and treated in the most loutish manner. This is disgraceful and it’s a double disgrace that the Fringe organisers and the Underbelly have caved in to this denial of the artists’ rights.

I witnessed this on Saturday afternoon just as I came out of the performance of Private Peaceful reviewed elsewhere. Several dozen screaming men and women carrying SWP posters and carrying Palestinian flags surrounded three musicians and other artists as they attempted to give a silent open-air performance of the cancelled show while three or four police constables tried to keep order.

Cast members managed to hand out a flyer to those members of the public who could get close enough to speak to them. Here’s part of what it said…

We were supposed to perform at Underbelly’s Cow Barn, when one small but loud demonstration was enough for the festival organisers to decide to kick us out altogether. The Fringe could have chosed ot protect everybody’s rights to demonstrate. Instead they decided it’s easier to silence art.

We are actors, musicians and Fringe enthusiasts. Yes, we come from Israel. No, we are not politicians, nor is our show political in any way. We acknowledge that there is a difficult and complex realist in our region. We encourage debate, freedom of speech and open dialogue. But it seems that the Fringe is no longer a place for open dialogue, but rather a place where any group of people that don’t like something or someone can get a show cancelled and boycott art. We are here for the love of art, for the joy for creating, performing and most of all – for keeping an open mind and heart to new and great things. Help us keep the Fringe a safe space for art.


Reviewed by David Kerr


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Ladysmith Black Mambazo

ladysmithThe Edinburgh Playhouse

18-22 Greenside Place

Running time: 2 hours

Best known for accompanying Paul Simon on his hugely successful 1986 album Graceland, this nine-man South African Zulu choir held their adoring fans in raptures with a moving range of haunting a capella harmonies expressing universal values and experiences.

As you would expect, one of the songs – Long Walk to Freedom – was a tribute to the late ANC leader Nelson Mandela. However, most of the songs are related to the mundane things of everyday life; to encourage a young man taking cold feet before his wedding to go ahead with it and another extolling the virtues of mothers-in-law.

One or two cultural differences did show up for the Edinburgh audience. The song Lovely Rain may go down well on the parched South African veldt and in the townships, but in Edinburgh? One thing Edinburgh has no shortage of in most years is rain. In fact a house less than a mile away was hit by lightning in a heavy thunderstorm the previous evening.

The choir members interact well with the crowd, gently taking the rise out of one-another and, just before the break, with the audience too. What’s astonishing is that the performers bring out this extraordinary range of harmonisation without any accompanying musical instruments. It’s all done with the human voice alone. Once you see and hear this you’ll never forget it!

***** Five Stars

Reviewed by David Kerr

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I, the Dictator


Teatr Wiczy

New Town Theatre,George street.  Venue 7

JUST THREE people turned up to see this woeful production.  Perhaps I ought to have taken this a warning.  A man clad only in underpants stood centre-stage clutching a length of celluloid film. He’s Charlie Chaplin, apparently preparing to shoot the last scene of his film, The Great Dictator which satirised Hitler’sGermany and Mussolini’sItaly.

There were elements of tapdance, jazz and mime but your reviewer was past caring by this time.  I was startled back into wakefulness when the solo performer stood bullock-naked in front of me with his trousers around his ankles.  I couldn’t see any relevance to the plot. Great Dick-tator perhaps? Mercifully the end came and three intrepid theatregoers were able to make our escape out into the heavyEdinburghrain.


Reviewed by David Kerr


** Two Stars

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Edinburgh Fringe 2010: RHYTHM DRUM AND DANCE, the drum show from Berlin

Edinburgh Fringe 2010:

The Drum Show from Berlin


7-22 August

Venue 150 EICC, Morrison Street

Buy tickets here

Reviewed by David Kerr

Few shows at the Fringe are as likely to get an audience to its feet dancing, clapping and begging for more as Rhythm Drum and Dance, which bills itself with considerable understatement as ‘the drum show from Berlin’.  It’s that all right, but it’s so much more besides.

The action begins with a virtuoso solo performance on a standard rock band drum set before the drummer joins three others at a series of drums set up on a raised stage at the back.

So far, so good. After a few minutes this seems just like any other drum show, flawlessly played but nothing out of the ordinary. Then the dancers take to the stage and the performance takes off.  These women are fit, in all senses of the term.  They have to be, given the foot-perfect attention they give to their dancing, the quick cycle of costume changes and the seemingly effortless changes of pace and style.

Besides the four female dancers, two astonishingly athletic male hiphop dancers perform so rapidly that they appear to be constantly in the air. These talented lads gave the audience a few laughs as they competed with one-another and fought over a brush. The audience loved it.

These dancers are complemented by a versatile mixed couple of tapdancers who have dragged this genre out of the era of black and white movies and brought new life to the genre.  Who would have thought it?

The rapid pace of style changes was enhanced by the lighting, the soundtrack and the sheer talent of the drummers who took the art of percussion to new heights.  This is all down to the imagination of the choreographer and producer, Freddie Rust who has put together a terrific show from what might be thought of as incompatible styles.

Give your ears and eyes a treat and get down to Venue 150 at the EICC while there’s still time. You’ll not regret it.

***** five stars

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