Tag Archives: fringe

Steve Whiteley – Wisebowm: The Struggle is Real

 

Bunbury Magazine – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

 

Wisebowm is an urban poet whose struggle is real – the struggle with being the country’s leading urban poet. The struggle with working the nine to five. The struggle with trying to impress the right woman and please his friends and family. This is a musical about struggle.

 

Steve Whiteley has created a deeply likeable character in Wisebowm, a crackling parody of the faux ‘urban kid rap poet’, with pretensions of being ‘gangsta’ yet actually being achingly middle-class. Steve has perfectly identified the attitude and intricacies of these characters and presented them in a fresh way, via an engaging premise. I have seen many parodies of this type of character before, but have never seen it so well done.

 

The premise is a musical based around Wisebowm’s last year, and the struggles he has faced. Steve Whiteley uses the poems and music weaved together exceptionally within the narrative, and his performance absolutely fills the room. There is no ignoring Wisebowm when he is in full flow. The production of the music is also stand-out – the music and SFX all timed to comedic perfection.

 

I never like to make comparisons of one thing to another in these reviews but the narrative of The Struggle is Real, the music and poetry put me in mind of The Streets’ A Grand Don’t Come For Free (a personal note to Mr. Whiteley – I really apologise if this is off the mark of your intentions for the show. That really is one of my favourite albums and you have done a stellar job of parodying it!) Go and see Wisebowm while he is still tearing up the Edinburgh streets with his rhymes. You’ll be his next biggest fan!

Steve Whiteley – Wisebowm: The Struggle is Real

Part of the PBH Free Fringe.

Opium.

1345.

Until 26th.

Written by Christopher Moriarty.

Marjolein Robertson – Relations

 

Bunbury Magazine – ⭐⭐⭐⭐

 

As the title of the show would suggest, this is an hour of comedy about relationships brought by Marjolein Robertson from the Shetlands to Edinburgh. From the first moments, with Marjolein comparing her relationship with her Dutch Mother to Brexit, it is clear that she has a natural talent for bringing large-scale issues down to a very personal level, and also amplifying the personal in a great way.

 

Marjolein has a great stage presence, immediately bringing the audience into her world in a warm and engaging manner. Even when the types of relationships talked about are a little [rude], the crowd is never made to feel uneasy – Marjolein can take the ultra-personal and the sometimes dark and use her intelligences, emotional and comedic, to craft a set full of laughs.

 

All of this and we are treated to a glimpse of how the BBC series Shetland really should have been written! This is a show that has got something for everyone.

Attila the Stockbroker – Undaunted

Bunbury Magazine –  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I sometimes find it hard to write a review of a spoken word show, especially a review of one by someone as talented and wordly-gifted as Attila – mostly because I get so drawn into the performance and the poems (and a little because I get very envious of the talent.)

 

It is with a heady mix of the two that I sit to write this review of Undaunted, the Stockbroker’s Edinburgh show in the iconic Bannerman’s. There could not have been a more perfect venue for this punkiest and rockiest of punk-rock poets. This was a quintessential spoken word set – with poems ranging from the political, the NHS, Trump, Grenfell to the deeply personal, of of which was interspersed with laughs, hard-hitting truths and an honesty which drew the audience in. Attila knows exactly how to work a crowd’s emotions, crafting a set and a flow of poems that twists and turns, leaving the audience in pieces afterwards.

 

All of that is not to mention the words themselves. I could try and be poetic here, describing the man’s talent in a manner befitting the man himself but I doubt I could do him justice so I will leave it with 3 sentences and 3 words: Attila. Is. Phenomenal.

Attila the Stockbroker – Undaunted.

Part of the PBH Free Fringe.

Bannerman’s.

1715.

Until 25th.

Written by Christopher Moriarty.

Joz Norris – Hello, Goodbye: A Review

Bunbury Magazine Rating – ★★★★★

From the very start – not just the start of the set but from walking in to the room – it is clear that this will be a show of comedy with a difference.

Hello, Goodbye is a tale of love and death that takes in everything from Beatrix Potter to Van Morrison with a surreal look at what motivates us moving forward in life.

Joz is a very confident and charming performer. His work with the audience – involving them with the show and drawing them in to his wonderfully imaginative world – is first class. He makes brilliant use of props and music to craft his story and plays around with different forms of comedy to create a layered and unexpected narrative.

It was wonderful to see his subversion of these comedic forms – his subversion of character and improv comedy were very well thought out.

His dedication to the craft is admirable and he really does have a massive future ahead of him.

Hello, Goodbye was on at The Hive at 1840 as part of the Heroes model.

Dave Chawner – Circumcision: A Review

Bunbury Magazine Rating – ★★★★★

Bunbury Fringe Award – The From The Hood Award

Straight from the top of the show, it is clear that Dave Chawner is a confident performer who brings a great deal of cheek and charm to the stage.

This cheek and charm are deployed to fantastic effect whilst dealing with some very sensitive issues – this show is the story of Dave’s circumcision at the start of this year. As the story unfolds, the audience are taken on a journey through mental health issues and eating disorders, all of which are dealt with with the utmost respect and sensitivity. It is clear that Dave knows how to put an audience at ease with excellent delivery.

He even talks about sex in a way that had us in stitches but without being overtly graphic – for the most part – which is a very difficult skill to master.

The entire show had a great rhythm and flow, moving through the narrative with a natural pace that allowed the story to build momentum. There was a very clear message to take from the show, an uplifting message which we will not spoil here but we left knowing we had seen something brilliant from one of the loveliest people we met in Edinburgh.

Circumcision was on at Cabaret Voltaire.

Gary From Leeds – Garibaldi: A Review

Bunbury Magazine Rating: ★★★★★

Bunbury Fringe Award: Best Show Title

One really nice thing we have found at the Edinburgh Fringe in the last few years is that spoken word is taking more of a centre stage. As much as we love comedy here at Bunbury, we do also love a finely-crafted hour of spoken word.

Garibaldi, in our opinion, straddles both comedy and spoken word in a very clever way.

After some startling statistics on the decline of The Gary, Gary From Leeds spends the next hour performing sharply-written poems in an attempt to ‘Save Gary.’ He references everything from the Andrex Puppies to Giuseppe Garibaldi himself whilst taking the audience on an extraordinary journey through his words.

Gary makes brilliant use of props throughout the show as well – the palm reading is a stroke of genius (we won’t give it away!) as well as utilising music very effectively. One of the highlights is a poem so bereft of hope yet set to the ‘second jauntiest TV theme of all time’ (again, we won’t give it away) that, yes Gary, it did leave the audience with a net depression. And we loved it.

This is spoken word at its finest and funniest.

Garibaldi was performed at Silk in the Upper Room.

Editor Christopher Writes – #PoemADayForAYear: 01/03/15

For the first time in a long, I am writing with The Virgin Suicides EP by Air on. This is my writing album. Should be a good one tonight. So, some things that happened this week.

The Brits. This is something that I have been plagued with at work for the past few weeks. Radio One have been all excited because some people who do some singing and stuff are turning up at a place for people to tell them how good they are when, in actuality, they are underwhelming. The big thing Radio One focussed on was the British Breakthrough act, voted for by the public. They did a Live Lounge with each of the five nominees. I was surprised by how much I liked a few of them. George Ezra has a wonderfully incongruent voice. I could listen to his voice all day. I would love to be able to pay him to cover some of my favourite songs. Metallica’s ‘Don’t Tread On Me’ would be phenomenal. Royal Blood, to say there are just two of them, are loud and brash and brilliant. I do not really hold with music that isn’t made with real instruments but Chvrches are fantastic. An electro dream. FKA Twigs has a silly name but a great voice. The one who won, Sam Smith, I don’t really have anything to say about him. Nothing seems to stand out with him. I know I am coming into this modern music scene a little late but I do not see what stood out about him. His voice isn’t distinctive. His music doesn’t say anything. He’s just a thing in a place. Ah well. That’s the general voting public for you. Bland. No wonder we never elect the right man to run the country.

All of this was overshadowed by The Fallen Madonna. There has been a lot of sexist and ageist remarks about this. Yes, she very well may have broken a hip in the fall, it was a bad one. She may have broken other things in the fall too. To be honest, I know it happened, I don’t know much about what happened after. to focus in on the hip though is ageist. the real thing to focus in on though is this: she’s a clumsy dick head who was paying more attention to strutting around like a peacock than adhering to basic health and safety. There was go. That could be said about anyone. No prejudice involved. She fell over. That’s it. I fell over a few months ago. I slipped in the kitchen on some water that had leaked from the washing machine. I went really high up in the air and fell with negative aplomb. Where’s my f**king meme with Gerard Butler screaming in my face? Is it because I’m not Madonna? Who’s the sexist now?

Yesterday, Keri and I spent the afternoon watching documentaries about life on other planets. There was one revolved around something called The Drake Equation. It has close-ups of Ian Drake writing it out with mathematical symbols of a sort all relating to different conditions that would make life in other solar systems viable. They were all made up. I didn’t see one single ‘x’ or pi symbol in there. What’s the point of us learning that s**t in school if it has no application in the real world, in real jobs. It doesn’t even have an application to jobs where’s maths is f**king used?! Then Drake started ‘plugging data’ into his equation. He was just making it all up. Plucking numbers out of the air. ‘Best guesses’. Woah now, Drakey-Boy. You’re a scientist. We rely on people like you to tell us how stuff works. Not just make it all up. Any silly b**tard could do that. Give me a job looking at space all day. I can make numbers up too. I’m more than qualified to do that. How many planets in the universe could harbour life? 10 to the nth balloon. There we go. Job done. Funding for research now please.

Here is a poem.

There are as many atoms

in the human body as there

are stars in the sky.

As many tears

on this blue-green orb,

a wave of fondness that for

83 years, the world was brighter.

As many specks of dirt may

cover your coffin and bury your body

but your effervescence can

not be dimmed by any amount

of particles, densely packed together.

As many smiles from people who’s

life you altered, made warmer

and lighter by your energy.

As much energy in 83 years

as one man can radiate.

As many perfect moments

from those who’s life you touched,

preserved in memory’s garden.

Tonight, that many stars, bound

and jostling for position in celestial battle,

will put aside their differences to make room

for one more supernova.

Live long, sweet star, and prosper.

Editor Christopher Writes – A Poem A Day For A Year: 13/01/15

Doing this blog this late at night can be problematic. Throughout the day, I have thoughts and opinions on things but I get distracted by housework, or studying I course I can barely understand, or playing FIFA. By the time Keri and I have eaten dinner and had our minds re-blown by a couple of episodes of Fringe, any ire / positivity / energy I had has basically dissipated. Plus tonight I am a little drunk off vodka and ginger beer. Keri is playing Minecraft. You are really seeing behind the velvet rope now.

Tonight we had the first meeting of our writing group, Do The Write Thing, since before Christmas. It was a small modest affair. Just myself and Keri, and two regular members, Fiona and Lorraine. We shared what we have been writing, which always leads to healthy feedback and conversations related to what has been written about, It was just good to meet up with them again. Since I have been off work with depression and feel angsty about being in social situations, I have been cooped up at home a lot and it was nice to go out and connect with some actual human beings, and humans who like writing and are basically on the same wave-length a me.

Fiona wrote a stunning poem about what has been happening in Paris which I really hope to be able to share with you in the next few days. As a writer, she has a flow and way with words and nuanced eye for detail that is very enviable. As a writer myself, I dislike her for these thing.

I do not.

Anyway, I have sort of left this way a little too late tonight. I can only apologise that my ramblings are succinct. It is possibly a good thing as the conversation tonight turned to the Ched Evans / Oldham situation on which I have thoughts but they are manifold, complex and not something I want to get sucked into. Plus, I have a vodka and ginger on the other side of the room that is calling me. I have asked it to stop but it loves insulting people.

Here is a poem.

The boiler has started kicking again,

dull metallic thumps from the pipework

telling us we are no longer allowed to keep warm

via a service we pay healthily for.

She asks me to go and get the eiderdown

from the airing cupboard and switch off the heating

while I am there.

I reach down the side of the bed and grab my socks,

put them on under the duvet and haul myself out of bed.

I stiffly walk to the door, reaching into the hall to switch the light on

before entering it properly,

because monsters.

I walk down the hall to the airing cupboard and

pull open the slatted wooden door. There

are three shelves filled with pillow-cases,

bed-sheets, duvet covers.

I stand and look at them for a moment and reach forward,

picking up a thick, pink clothy blanket. What the fuck in an eiderdown?

Is this one? Or maybe it’s that velvety green

bed-cover thing down on the other shelf?

While I think I turn to the dial for the heating and turn

it down. I think that’s right. I’ve

never understood how it works to be honest.

I don’t think anyone really knows how their boiler works.

It’s just one of those things we say we know how to work

when someone asks, to save face – like the difference between

fast and economy cycles on the washing machine.

I clutch the pink blanket in my hand.

This is the one. If it’s not,

I could always just make a hot water bottle.

But that means downstairs,

the dark.

No, this is an eiderdown and by god it will

keep us warm if it literally kills us.

Eiderdown, duvet. It’s

all bourgeois really.

A new announcement, on the 17th February we are hosting the next Do The Write Thing live spoken word event. It is hosted in Bar Ten on Silver Street, Bury, north of Manchester. It is always a cracking night of live poetry, games and prizes to be won in the best bar in Bury. Please do try to get along. We have open mic spots available, headline slots for the taking and a very welcoming attitude! We also love live music so if you play and/or sing, let us know! Here is the poster that the very talented Keri made for us.

DTWT 1702

Once again, while you are here, the latest issue and all previous issues of Bunbury Magazine are available for your discerning reading pleasure right here – Bunbury Magazine – All the Issues

Also, feel free to come and check out our brand-new, half-finished website for a sneak peek behind the scenes of what we are doing: bunburymagazine.com

And if you would like to help us make it better, there is a short survey here. Because we want to make Bunbury as shiny as possible for you! Click the link here – Bunbury Readership Survey

Editor Christopher Writes – A Poem A Day: 10/01/15

I am a massive fan of television. As I think I have said before, I do not watch a lot of broadcast television, as, in Britain, a lot of broadcast television consists of auction shows, DIY shows and other ‘reality’ type shows. Oh, and ‘talent shows’ too, with a huge block of coarse sea-salt slammed down onto the word ‘talent’. Basically, television for the masses. The very worst of low art.

And that is what television is seen as. As a form of entertainment that still is looked down upon, by intellectuals and the like. I assume this is because it is still, relatively speaking, a new form of media. We are now just getting to the point where films can be seen as art. But television is viewed as the low-brow cousin.

I think this is very unfair. Particularly with the way television has progressed in the last 20 years or so, if we put aside the types of shows I mentioned above. I’m talking about the wave of brilliantly crafted drama and comedy that has been crashing over us, I think pretty much since the world-wide recession started. When we all got dramatically poorer, or the rate of inflation as so high that none of us could really afford to do nice things like go out a lot, we started delving into box-sets of TV shows (me, I started this a few years before that because I’ve always been quite poor. I mean, because I’m a path-finding trend-setter). I started on shows like House and How I Met Your Mother, Fringe, Peep Show, Red Dwarf over and over, Dexter, Pushing Daisies. The list is endless.

Then, off the back of this phenomenon of binge-watching TV, streaming services like Netflix started, buying the rights to shows and films and charging a certain amount a month to access it. You know how it works.

Because we were investing more time and revenue in these shows, the production companies started doing the same and the quality increased. This is the way I see it anyway. Now we live in a post-Breaking-Bad world where every show is trying to live up to the very high bar that it set. And that is not a bad thing. Breaking Bad, on every single level – production, writing, acting, philosophy, sheer jaw-droppingly awesome moments – was so far ahead of everything else. It has now become ‘that’ show that we all must see. To the point where people will not stop going on about it. It has become something of a cursed chalice.

I’m fully are that these are probably only my thoughts but when something becomes that popular, it somehow gets devalued. There is a certain prestige in something being only accessible by a few and shunned by the rest. Firefly s a perfect example of that. I started watching Breaking Bad when it first started itself. I would usually sit and go through all the premières of new shows and decide which ones I would stick with (I did not have a lot going on in my life for quite a while). When I watched the first few episodes of Breaking Bad, I obviously began recommending it to my friends. I explained the outline of the show and they thought it sounded like complete b***ocks. Then, when it become the ‘trendy’ thing to like around season four, they started recommending it to my. The very same friends. A**eholes.

There was a point to what I was saying but I seem to have taken a few tangents. A lot of these entries may be like this, just to warn you. A lot of half-completed thoughts with the illusion of some grand plan behind them. Ah yes, it’s coming back to me now.

Television has become an art-form in itself. I can do things that film cannot. Film only has a limited and contracted time-span in which to tell its story, develop characters, explore ideas and themes and often, but my no means always, they can fall short. A television show can work story arcs and delve deep into the past of the characters. A show like Fringe, which I actually think is better than Breaking Bad, can develop a whole mythology around itself and really explore the nature of our world and reality. Plus, John Noble is absolutely superb in it.

Television, in my opinion, when it is does properly, can be equally as edifying as a book. Television though, does not have the luxury of having centuries of distinguished history to back it up. Which is a shame. I actually think the ancient Mayans had television but ‘the man’ covered it up and kept it to himself until the technology became sentient and revealed itself to us, using Logie Baird as its puppet so as not to reveal that it was actually sentient. Now it has become the dominant form of media and is brainwashing us with a mix of I.Q-dropping reality TV and gripping narratives to keep our will to fight in the oncoming War Against Technology subdued. Eventually, we will be wired into various devices capable of transmitting huge amounts of televisual data via nodes inserted into the base of our skull while our physical bodies are drained of all sustenance to keep our silicone overlords powered until such time that our bodies wither away through entropy and liquidated to feed the living.

Did I mention I think the matrix is real too? Here is a poem.

He breathes

in deeply. A

swirl of smoke surrounds him.

The knot of tension twists his heart,

his pulse racing through his fingers, temples,

building beats behind blurring eyes.

The burning heat in his

lungs pushes down,

stomach

lurching, spitting

up bile towards his throat.

He takes another drag, breathes in

deeply, the knot of tension subsiding.

Blurry eyed, he starts to believe he can make it

through another day, last til tomorrow.

That is all he now has to do

Make it to tomorrow.

Another drag,

deep breath.

Once again, while you are here, the latest issue and all previous issues of Bunbury Magazine are available for your discerning reading pleasure right here – Bunbury Magazine – All the Issues

Also, feel free to come and check out our brand-new, half-finished website for a sneak peek behind the scenes of what we are doing: bunburymagazine.com

And if you would like to help us make it better, there is a short survey here. Because we want to make Bunbury as shiny as possible for you! Click the link here – Bunbury Readership Survey

Our Fringe 2014 – Part Two

No point messing about, beating around the bush, wasting time, thinking of different ways to say the same thing at the start of part two of our Edinburgh Fringe round-up. Let’s just get straight into who we saw and our thoughts on them.

Though Po did end up somewhere wonderful while we were walking around one day:

Po at Moriarty

I (Christopher ‘Anything-for-a-free-pint’ Moriarty) did try and get a discount but they were having none of it! Anyway, really no more playing games, into the reviews.

Porky the Poet – The Run DMC Award: As soon as Porky walked on stage, we had the feeling we had seen him before but couldn’t quite place it. Regardless, this was one of the true gems of the Free Fringe. His poetry rolled so easily and naturally from his mouth into our ears, particularly the poem about the first gig of Phil…He’s Phil Jupitus! That’s it. Very commendable in his ideas of what the Fringe should be ie. not a money-making machine but an absolute celebration. Get out to see Porky and definitely by his book, ‘Ten Line Fringe.’

Chris Coltrane – The Cadbury’s Award: Lively and energetic, Chris mixes in a cheeky charm to his show, ‘There’s no heroes left except all of us.’ He is very passionate with a touch of self-deprecation. This highly politicised, animated show also takes the audience to the surprisingly fantastic realm of the power-point presentation with wonderful results. This is a man who goes the extra mile with highly engaging and, in parts, unexpected show. One of the smoothest, polished shows we saw.

Cariad Lloyd – The Trooper Award: This ‘Character Hour’ was first billed as Cariad Lloyd and Louise Ford together but, as we found out when Cariad first came onto the stage, Louise has been offered a job in America. As an audience, we thought this was a rouse though assurances were made by Cariad that it was not. We cannot say how the show was with both performers but, in the absence of her co-star, Cariad still shone. She played really well with the audience, particularly during her Jooooooooooooooooooooooooooooey Beschanel character, which perfectly poked fun at the popular show ‘New Girl.’ Other characters included a french street parkour runner and a feminine hygiene disposable bag. All were brilliantly balanced and performed and enough cannot be sad about Cariad’s spirit.

Aidan Killian – The Janus Award: From where I was sat in the audience, when Aidan walked on stage, he was sporting a Jesus-style beard and flowing hair. When he turned to face us all, half of his head was completey shaved. It was astonishing and perfectly summed up the title of the show, ‘Jesus vs Buddha.’ The best-titled show of the Fringe. His was a well-thought and thought-provoking hour of comedy about how the teachings of these two great men still impact on our lives today with an under-current of his own hilarious attempts to mess with debt-collectors. He was easy on stage and fascinating to listen to. He has said that after the Fringe he wants to teach-stand up to activists because he believes laughter can really change the world. Well sad, that man. We salute you.

Dr Sicko’s Comedy Vomit – Walking on the Razor’s Edge Award: Jay Islaam, ‘Dr Sicko’, presents an hour of comedy which was banned from over 100 venues at the Fringe. It did exactly what it set out to do, especially at the end of the show when he created a very uncomfortable but intelligently presented moment for the audience, which I will not put here, but was very commendable.

We also saw a few paid shows…

Andrew Lawrence – A lot of Andrew’s show was about how he feels his career is on the downward curve. If that’s the case, keep going because this was the funniest set we have seen by him. He is always a pleasure to watch and had us in stitches.

Richard Herring – Watching a Richard Herring show always has the feel of seeing someone having the best time ever on stage. If you are a long-time fan, you will know that ‘The Lord of the Dance-Settee.’ is a long-running reference in his work and this show felt like he had finally worked it into something wonderful. We also had a bonus bit of Christian Reilly singing the titular song.

What Does The Title Matter Anyway? – This was not, for legal reasons ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway?’ but, let’s face it, with Clive Anderson hosting a series of hilariously-performed improv games by Greg Proops, Mike McShane, Stephen Thompson and Lee Simpson, it doesn’t really matter. We were also treated to the rare sighting of Paul Merton in his natural habitat: on stage in his pants.

Special mention to Thom Tuck for best flyer of the Fringe: Find him on Twitter @turlygod

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