Posts Tagged Edinburgh Fringe

Review: Ulysses Dies at Dawn

ulysses-dies-at-dawn_30225Category     Cabaret
Genres     music, sci-fi
Group     Mechanisms / PBH’s Free Fringe
Venue     Whynot? ?
Event Website
Date     15-24 August
Time     17:30
Duration     1 hour
Suitability     18+
Warnings     Strong language.
Country of Origin     England




This is a clever retelling of the classical Olympic Greek tales of Ulysses, Heracles, Orpheus, Oedipus and Ariadne as seen through the eyes of a bunch of bloodthirsty space pirates calling themselves the Mechanisms.  Does this work as a cyberpunk musical?  Surprisingly, it does. It brings a touch of the first Mad Max movies to the original Greek tragedies richly overlaid with grim gallows humour.

The players have added together an array of fiddles, banjo, keyboard, beatbox and bass guitar to go with some terrific folk and blues songs to create a performance that comes close to perfection.  The ancient Greek Choruses were never like this.

Reviewed by David Kerr


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Review: Funny Stuff for Happy People

martinbigpigCategory – Children’s Shows
Genres – children’s, family
Group – Martin ‘Bigpig’ Mor
Venue – Laughing Horse @ City Cafe
Event Website –
Date – 12-18 August
Time – 12:30
Duration – 1 hour
Suitability – U (5+)
Country of Origin – Northern Ireland



Martin Mor from Northern Ireland was a successful circus performer, but has since turned to the comedy circuit.  He has worked professionally as a performer for more than 25 years and is well established in the UK as a popular comedian.  He has performed in many venues, from an Italian prison to performing before members of the British Royal Family. He has even supported the iconic Tina Turner.

For the Fringe this year, Martin is performing a family oriented circus show as Martin BigPig. And what a presence he is, from his outrageously long ZZ Top style beard to his boots, he is genuinely hilarious, with a mischievous streak and dead right audience rapport.

This is no show for the timid, as Martin draws in kids and adults alike to take part in his madness.  As I scrambled to a dark corner to watch the show from a safe distance, Martin BigPig pulled up onto the stage, unsuspecting victims. er audience members, who he swiftly integrated into the show.  The audience was having so much fun, you could see the children jumping up and down to happily become the next casualty of his folly.

Johnny Vegas reports that BigPig is a very funny lad with the best beard in the business and funnyman Frankie Boyle has said that Martin has been a big influence on him.

I won’t spoil the show for you, but there were rabid bunnies, rappin daddies, lickable lollies and tricksy tricks with gravity, raw eggs and water….
This show had laughter galore, shouting, cheering (and jeering!) and lets not forget the fart jokes.  Suitable for children and adults alike, BigPig Martin Mor gives us an hour of comedy, storytelling, circus and stupid science.  That’s right repeat after me kiddies, Stupid Science..Kids, bring your adults to Funny Stuff for Happy People, this is a rib tickling good time for both parents and kids.  I caught myself chuckling all the way through it and I recommend a good dose of BigPig for you lot.

Reviewed by Michelle Harrington

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King Lear

King Lear

Act One

Zoo Monkey House, Venue 124

0131 662 6892


This intense modern adaptation of one of Shakespeare’s bloodiest tragedies brings the events surrounding Lear and his daughters forward to a feral, post-apocalyptic Britain.


King Lear

These eclipses in the sun portend no good to us…

Lear gives up power to his two thuggish daughters, Regan and Goneril, while spurning his favourite daughter Cordelia who declines to flatter him. Shorn of its Tudor garb, the brutality of this tragedy becomes much clearer to the modern audience.  There are some nice modern touches; messages now come via smartphone and pistols replace blades.

This tale of madness, treachery and bad faith is powerful stuff; a million miles away from Shakespeare’s boring image. Be warned, though, this is not for the fainthearted. The torture and gouging out of the ex-policeman Gloucester’s eyes is truly shocking. It’s a flawless performance from a top class cast.

**** Four Stars

David Kerr

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Cast of Metamorphoses leafleting on the Royal Mile.



Fables from Ovid

Venue 53, The Space at Surgeon’s Hall

Hecate Theatre Company

What could be more innocent?  Four excited boarding schoolgirls can’t sleep as they await a debutant ball the next day.  They are about to become women.

The stern matron is persuaded to tell the girls a story.  She retells the old story of Arachne, whose weaving skill was so fine that she provoked the wrath of the Goddess Minerva, who turned her into a spider.  Using their bedlinen as props the girls compete to tell even more hair-raising tales from Ovid. The subjects of these stories find that their actions have dire consequences. If you don’t know the stories, you’re in for a big shock.  Prepare to have your spine chilled.

**** Four Stars.

David Kerr

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Scottish Folk Roots and Offshoots

Scottish Roots and Offshoots

The Royal Oak Bar

Infirmary Street


SCOTLAND’S music has travelled all over the world; toAustralia,New Zealand,Canada, but most of all toAmerica.  Scots settled abroad for many reasons; poverty and religious or political persecution at home, or just in search of a new life.  Wherever they settled, they brought their music with them. That’s why one of the songs sung for generations in theAppalachian mountainsmentions the River Clyde.  It’s a folk memory.  Once there, the music met with other strains, mutated a bit and came back here.

This trend is epitomised by the Singer/Songwriter David Ferrard.  AnEdinburghlad himself, his mum is American, and he spent most of his summers as a young man over there, picking ups songs as he went along.

This comes out strongly in his routine which draws together songs from Robert Burns excoriating the politicians of his day as a Parcel of Rogues, romantic Jabobite songs dedicated to the Young Chevalier, Black American freedom songs from the slave era and some of his own composition.  Love songs, sad songs, rude songs and silly songs.  They’re all here.

Ferrard engages with his audience in an understated way that draws them out into singing choruses and participating in ‘hand-dancing’. More than half the audience had seen previous performances and come back for more. What better recommendation can a man have?

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Adapted by Elton Townend Jones

Dyad Productions

Directed by Guy Masterson

ASSEMBLY @ George Square (Three)

FOLLOWING its success with I, Elizabeth in Fringe 2010, Dyad Productions breaks new ground with this hugely entertaining adaptation of Mark Twain’s Diaries of Adam and Eve. Rebecca Vaughan’s Eve, is bright, chatty and inquisitive.  She experiments with naming things, developing language and engaging with the not-too bright, not-very-talkative, indolent creature she encounters in the Garden of Eden.  She’s not sure if he’s a man or a reptile in this, the original story of human relationships.

This is the ultimate story of how those little and great misunderstandings between men and women have been around since the beginning of time. This is one to see with your husband, wife, or significant other.

***** Five Stars

Reviewed by David Kerr

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DUST Scargill’s dreams and reality. Britain 1984-2011

Advertising Dust

Dust poster carrying CounterCulture UK ***** star verdict.

DUST  Scargill’s dreams and reality. Britain1984-2011

Quidem Productions

The New Town Theatre, Freemasons’ Hall, 96 George Street Venue 7

NOTHING divided British society in the mid-1980s more than the bitter Coal mineworkers’ strike of 1984.  As in 1926, a confrontation between a charismatic leader of the miners’ union and the elected government, brought poverty and misery to dozens of mining communities all overBritain.  Margaret Thatcher, who became Prime Minister in 1979, was determined to break the power of the miners’ union which had forced a previous Conservative government out of office in 1974.  Ironically, the Miners’ union played a part in bringing Thatcher to power when she succeeded Ted Heath as Tory leader after his electoral defeat in 1974.  She determined to break the power of the miners and their famous ‘flying pickets’.

Scargill echoes another Arthur, AJ Cook who led the miners to defeat in the 1926 general strike with the famous slogan, ‘Not a minute on the day, not a penny off the pay’. Cook, a former Baptist preacher, died at the age of 47 in 1931.

This is the background to Ade Morris’s play. Arthur (Michael Strobel) and his publisher Barbara (Lucinda Curtis) are discussing his forthcoming biography of his hero AJ Cook when news breaks that his old nemesis, Margaret Thatcher, has died.  Arthur is expecting a visit from Lawrence, one of his old militant flying pickets.

InDoncaster, Chris (John Sackville), a retrained former miner tells his wife Maggie (Alice Bernard) that he is facing redundancy from his health care job.

At times witty and at other times deeply moving, the play probes the depths of each character’s soul.  Strobil’s Scargill is convinced that he was absolutely right and that history has vindicated him. Other characters illustrate the human cost of the miners’ struggle.

Simple staging means that a lot more rests on the actors to project the right image and not distract the audience. This experienced cast carry this task off easily. John Sackville stood out.  With a change of coat, stance and accent he switched from a preaching, revivalist-style Welsh miners’ leader to a defeated, downcast ex-miner fromDoncasterand back again.

If you’re looking for an agitprop hagiography of Arthur Scargill as champion of the working classes, you’ll be disappointed.  This is Arthur Scargill and the miners strike, warts and all.

Reviewed by David Kerr

***** Five Stars

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Edinburgh Fringe 2010: SCOTTISH FOLK ROOTS AND OFFSHOOTS   ****


23-30 August 18:30hrs
The Royal Oak, Infirmary Street    TICKETS

David Ferrard spent his youth travelling between Scotland and Pennsylvania where his mum comes form.  His music embraces both sides of the Atlantic.  He traces many of those songs that began in Scotland and set down roots in North America, particularly in the Appalachian Mountains. On most of this show, he accompanies himself on an acoustic guitar, but he holds his notes well enough to sing two ballads a capelo.

He learned one fine son from a 93-year-old lady who has since died..  Wistfully entitled, Oh, I wish I was Single again, the song contrasts the hopes and dreams of a courtship and a future marriage with the less pleasant realist.

Ferrard has a quiet engaging style that allows him to win over reluctant audiences, most of whom tend to sit well back in fear of being picked on to do something embarrassing.  In the space of an hour the international audience in the intimate venue were cheerfully joining in the choruses.

Much of the material, though sadly not Oh, I wish I was Single again, is on Ferrard’s new album, Across the Troubled Wave.  If you can‘t make the show do get hold of this CD.  You won’t be sorry.

**** four stars

The Royal Oak

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Edinburgh Fringe: Firing Blanks



Written and directed by Tom Spencer

Underbelly, Cowgate, 56 Cowgate, Edinburgh

Aug 7-8, 11-12, 18-19, 25-26 @ 15.35 (45min) £8.00

Aug 9-10, 13-15, 20-21, 27-29 @ 15.35 (45) £9.00

Aug 16 -17, 23 – 24 @ 15.35 (45 min) £6.50

Buy tickets here

Reviewed by Jacqueline Sharp

Men tend not to speak about the subject of male infertility with their partners, or their friends, perhaps out of fear, embarrassment, or ridicule. Some may avoid the issue choosing instead to banter about football over a pint of lager.

I was curious as to how this story would be told. The script is first class as it tackles this taboo subject head on.  The banter and dialogue between an older man and a younger woman is excellent.  It’s refreshing how one feels better when speaking to a stranger about one’s problems.

The two characters have no romantic involvement, just the basics of a good friendship.

Holly Beasley-Garrigan, as Kate, is pretty, with a lovely smile; which helps ease the pain for Richard.  Robin McLoughlin, as Richard, seemed wooden. I didn’t think he was right for this role.  He needed to be more comical, inject more comedy into the role, loosen up, have a laugh and let it all go.  He seemed too stern, angry, anxious, annoyed; all feelings anyone would feel at being infertile. However those feelings were inappropriate for the Fringe.  He was far too serious. Comedy helps to tease pain. Laughter is therapeutic!  It is always better to laugh at ones problems, than to dwell or cry.

Perhaps the Director Tom Spencer was hoping to raise awareness about male infertility. This play still has potential, though.  I could see this first class script turned into a television show with a different male lead, though!

Anyone looking for more information on this subject please check out following links.

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Edinburgh Fringe; NEXT! ★★★★★



Assembly @ Assembly Hall, Baillie Room, 7th – 30th August 2010, at

12.00 (midday) Tickets

Reviewed by Jacqueline Sharp


NEXT? This production should have been The Kiki Kendrick Show! Kiki is the NEXT big thing in comedy!

This would be an apt and well-deserved accreditation for a strong woman with lots of character; a loveable actress with guts, determination and nerves of steel for surviving so many dodgy and countless auditions!

I couldn’t help wondering why this production was named as theatre in the Fringe brochure; this hilarious one-woman show is definitely the best comedy show in town! I laughed, laughed and laughed so much my sides ached! The audience laughed to her every line and were eager to see more and hear more from her!

This talented actress and writer has taken her gift of insight to recount the highs and lows and many pitfalls that come with being an actress. One actress creates a cast of 20 characters’ real-life auditions.

I had a vision! Kiki on Broadway in The Kiki Kendrick Show! Not impossible She has what it takes to be a huge star in America and United Kingdom, with her own television show. How about, The Kiki Kendrick Show – The Next Big Thing?

I couldn’t help but laugh at the thought of all those directors applying for an audition for The Kiki Kendrick Show. Kiki would have the last laugh passing them over by saying NEXT! There would be a long list of directors making guest slots on her show. That would be comical!

With its well-written script, perfect timing and presentation, this hidden gem is thoroughly recommended. It deserves an award for excellence!

★★★★★ five stars


Q Hi Kiki! Congratulations, I loved your show, I laughed and laughed endlessly, you are extremely comical. The audience also laughed just as much as me, well done!

A Laughs! Laughter is so important in an audience, when there is one lead laugher the others follow.

Q Your show should be jam packed full, you have the best comedy at Fringe this year, and what do you think about that?

A  It is harder to get an audience during the day; however, there is still time for everyone to know Kiki Kendrick is here!

Q Why was the production headed up in the Fringe brochure as theatre? Shouldn’t it have been comedy?

A Next is a play, storytelling! Perhaps I hadn’t realised how comical the show would come across. I had thought that serious fringegoers would go for serious comedy.

Q Who are team Next then?

A I am the performer, in this one-woman show. I also wrote the script. James Barry, (Director), Anjali Kale, (Production Design), Set Designer, (Kate Klinger), Asst Manager, (Nicola Roodt), Production Asst, (Olivia Ward), Photographer, (Julian Hanford), Fiona Tanner, (hair/make up).

Q Kiki, you wrote the script, which was well written, where did you get your ideas for Next?

A I had a string of some real bad auditions for two years, which threw me a bit. So in 2007 I came up with the idea of writing Next; a one woman show about an actress, the experiences of bad auditions. I suppose I wanted to turn negatives into a positive!

The script for Next has changed and evolved many times. Even now I get ideas all the time and incorporate them into my show, fresh ideas all time.

Q Was this therapy for you then?

A Laughs! Everyone asks me that. It was more a case of a wakeup call, a release, making my own path, finding my own way!

Q In one line Kiki, how does it feel for an actress going to auditions?

A Laughs! I have heard the auditions are much kinder in the United States; they don’t mess around over there, if they don’t want you they just say next straight up, without wasting actress time, without even doing an audition. I have never been for an audition in the United States; this is just what I have heard.

Here in the United Kingdom, it is much harder; I found the better the job the less you have to do at an audition. The crap jobs, they make you jump through hoops, work much harder and even get called back for recalls.

Q Are you going on tour with Next then?

A I am open to offers!

Q What about your own television show?

A I am open to offers!

Q Any books in the pipeline?

A Laughs! Bring it on! It is all about me, me, and me, Kiki Kendrick!

Q You are a professional actress, so what productions have you been involved with then?

A My television CV;

The Office, Cold Feet, Fat Friends, 2 Pints of Lager and a Packet Crisps, Night & Day, Waterloo Road, Casualty and Doctors.

My film CV;

9 Lives of Tomas Katz, Do I love You, and Phobias.

My Theatre CV;

Fly Me To The Moon, Reunion, I Want That Hair, My Beautiful Laundrette, Waiting For Hillsborough, Crime and Punishment, Lip Service, Mutton, 5065 Lift’s Insane Jane, Too & Close For Comfort, Babooshka, The Woman who Cooked her Husband

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