Tag Archives: reviews

John Robertson: The Dark Room

John Robertson: The Dark Room
20:00 Underbelly, White Belly (Venue 61) until Aug 26th

Bunbury Rating – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I have waited for three years to see this show. The Dark Room is without a doubt one of the best things I’ve ever seen. It’s everything it promises and more besides. As the game is played by audience members, it becomes increasingly funny and slightly frustrating, just like the real text based video games of consoles past.
The writing, the stage presence and presentation for me was completely perfect. The feeling of spontaneity and crowd work sets this show apart.  The democracy round is another stroke of genius where people practically tear out their vocal chords to be heard and make a difference…
It is a highly odd experience to be made to feel like you’re working with and against those around you to try and beat the game.

The only down side is that every now and again, the memory of this marvellous show will pop into my head and for no apparent reason, I find myself whispering ‘You awake to find yourself in a dark room’. This I’m told is slightly unnerving for the rest of my colleagues but who cares?

There are so many reasons to see this dark humoured show from the exceptional writing to the character work of Mr John Robertson, this is really some top draw stuff that’s worth every penny and more.

Tickets can be bought here:

http://bit.ly/2L7jZbB

Plus there’s a child friendly show at 17:30, The Gilded Balloon, Teviot (Venue 41) Until 26th Aug

Tickets for this can be bought here:

http://bit.ly/2OLd7D4

 

Niteskreen

Niteskreen
00:10 Just The Tonic @ The Caves, Just The Wee Room (Venue 88) Aug 19-26th

Bunbury Rating – ⭐⭐⭐⭐

This is an odd little show and one of the true gems of the fringe although it’s not what you might expect.
A synthesiser is played in the background while images of fictional shows flash up on a screen accompanied by descriptions of what to expect from the shows. It is here that the magic of this show lies. There is no spoken word element to the performance but the descriptions are a work of pure genius. While reading one or two of these I found myself thinking that I’d probably watch this or that programme. I don’t know what that says about me but what I was seeing was strangely addictive.
Throughout the show the short show descriptions became more surreal and dark aided by the music which, at times was downright creepy.

For me, this show is on at the right time, in the right room in the right venue and has tp be seen. It’s a really treat and something more than a bit unique and unusual.

Cornelius Patrick O’Sullivan: The Family Guy

Cornelius Patrick O’Sullivan: The Family Guy
 13:15 Sneaky Pete (Venue 437) 4-12th Aug
PBH’s Free Fringe

Bunbury Rating –  ⭐⭐⭐⭐

This warm and welcoming show is conversational in tone and well written, dealing with some very sentive issues delicately in some parts and no so delicately in others. In fact, sometimes the subject matter is handled in rather an ‘in your face’ way which suits the O’Sullivan performance style. His stage presence and use of space is superb, hitting in with the visual material to back up the already strong writing and delivery. Blunt and to the point, O’Sullivan works the room well, drawing the audience into the stories he tells.
The descriptions and details are powerful, and passionate, building up suspense and painting highly vivid pictures in the mind. He breaks this form now and then with funny, odd and vibrantly performed poems which add another layer to an already very funny, very enjoyable show.

This odd and eccentric show kept me giggling for hours afterwards and I will be keeping an eye out for him in the future.

Sketch Thieves

Sketch Thieves
13:00 – Laughing Horse @ Cabaret Voltaire (Venue 338) Aug 2-26th

Bunbury Rating – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

From the start, this show was warm and welcoming. The entire room was attentive, expectant.

Love Hard
Tales From the Elsewhere 21:45 Laughing Horse @ Espionage (Venue 185) 2-26th Aug

The first sketch came from two familiar faces. They were none other than  the smashing chaps from Love Hard (Tales From The Elsewhere) and as you’d expect, the sketch they performed was a very well written piece, masterfully performed, quick witted with excellent word play and brilliant one liners. Quick and energetic, they really got the audience’s juices flowing.

Bad Clowns
Hostage: 16:30 Just The Tonic @ The Grassmarket Centre, just The Meeting Room (Venue 27) 18-26th Aug

Keeping the aforementioned juices going, a troop called Bad Clowns followed. With boundless energy and a slick performance, these three are smooth operators. The sketch they had prepared was silly, fun and very well written. They built suspense carefully, then crashed through it to a very satisfying end. Another strong performance to follow the first.

Lola & Jo
Focus Groupies: 16:00 Underbelly, Cowgate, Delhi Belly (Venue 61) 18-26th Aug

it was clear from the start that this was brilliantly written, and it was unusually performed. 4th wall? What 4th wall. A slow burning sketch that builds momentum and laughs through the writing and structure. The character work is pin point accurate and leaves you thinking of those people we know who are ‘exactly like that’. Highly enjoyable all round and easily a match for the first two.

Tina’s Leaving Party
Hot Young Things: 21:50 Just The Tonic @ Th Grassmarket Centre, Just The Meeting Room (Venue 27) 18-26th Aug

This is a lovely bit of business. True brilliance shines though here, as with the previous three acts. This is another demonstration of how timing, presentation and top notch writing comes together to produce something that really sticks with you. The subversion of expectation is masterful and the chemistry between the two is strong, leading to a fine honed performance.

4 excellent performances performing their own material but this show has only just begun.
Now, each group must present their interpretation of one of the other group’s sketch. So here’s what went down.

Love Hard as Lola & Jo

They really captured the sketch well and it got savage fast. The sketch went a slightly different way which was equally pleasing and brilliantly funny. Love Hard really captured the over sharing aspect of the sketch and extracted the urine magnificently. The crowd was waiting for it and they delivered, proving the excellent quick wittedness of the performers.

Bad Clowns as Tracy’s Leaving Party

Again, the friendly savagery showed early on and it was amazing. Bad Clowns looked like they had so much fun and so did the audience. I’m still laughing now as I type up this review. They captured the mannerism very well and the last sketch was incredible. I don’t think I’ll ever forget seeing two men stuffed into one t-shirt one of whom is brushing the other’s teeth fairly violently. That much toothpaste in one mouth should be illegal.

Lola & Jo as Love Hard

The hilarity just keeps on coming with this performance. I loved the fact that they riffed Shakespeare word for word. It totally blew mw away. The mock energy and silliness was perfectly captured and the friendly rivalry was palpable. An incredible performance presented passionatly and tenderly while being side achingly funny. Awesome. Just awesome. These two really have a feel for spontaneity.

Tina’s Leaving Party as Bad Clowns

Seeing a sketch written for three performers but presented for two was unbelievable. The incredible thing was that it didn’t make a difference. Far from feeling sparse they filled the time they had expertly with superb inpersonations of the guys from Bad Clowns and fabulous sarcasm. At one point I couldn’t look at them because I was laughing so hard. These two are highly skilled and so on point. The audience loved it and so did the performers.

The standard of comedy from all was matched here and I feel very lucky to have seen this. You simply must see this show. It would be foolish not to.

 

The Roleplaying Comedy Hour 2

The Roleplaying Comedy Hour 2
22:00 Bar Bados (Venue 32) Aug 4-25th
PBH’s Free Fringe

Bunbury Rating – ⭐⭐⭐⭐

If Roleplaying is your thing (no, not that kind, get your mind out of the gutter) then this is the show for you. If you don’t really know what Roleplaying games are or have never played one, then this is the show for you. It is easy to watch this with or without any prior knowledge of games like Dungeons & Dragons etc and it is a really good laugh.

The stories change from night to night and so do the guest comics. No one knows what the outcome will be or what situations the group will get themselves into as the game is played with real dice and so all in the room are at the mercy of the dungeon master.

It’s something a bit different and so worth going to see and who knows? You may vent become a part of the action yourself. There’s only one way to find out.
Take a chance on the roll of a dice.

Charmian Hughes – Bra Trek

Charmian Hughes – Bra Trek
15:35 Laughing Horse @ The Counting House, Part of the Free Festival (Venue 170) Aug 2-12, 14-26th

Bunbury Rating – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Right from the off, all of the audience members felt welcome and relaxed. The room was warm so ice water was to be dispensed if anyone said the safe word. I have to say, it’s the first comedy show I’ve ever been to with a safe word. I loved that touch. Charmian Hughes also went to the trouble of making fans from her flyers.
I mention all of this because that’s just the kind pf person she is. Friendly, considerate, thoughtful and quick thinking. These qualities come though in her material too so that her audiences see a well thought out, funny, delightful show that makes you feel good and makes you think. There is no option but to love it. Hughes is very charismatic and has a superb way of telling the beautifully written stories and material. Everyone in the room is completely invested and really enjoying themselves no matter what age or gender they are or identify as.
It is a performance that really encapsulates all of the frustrations, trials and triumphant feeling felt in seeking a sexy, supportive, non-bank account breaking bra.
There is, as always with Hughes’ shows, so much more than that to it.
You’ll just have to go and find out what I mean.

It’s a show for everyone. I can guarantee you’ll come away laughing and feeling spectacular.

 

 

Sian Clarke and Jimmy Slim – Bitter and Twisted: A Review

Bunbury Magazine – ⭐⭐

As Sian Clarke is running late for the show, the audience is treated to an appearance by Strange Johnson, former Judas Preist roadie and current vape shop owner, launching his new book, memoirs of life on the road.

Johnson takes full advantage of his moment in the limelight, regaling the audience with extracts from his memoirs which touch the edges of self-indulgence. This is man who has spent a life working for those in the spotlight and almost does not know how to handle it when he is under its glare himself.

Jimmy Slim, as Johnson, brings an eclectic mix to the stage – physical and anecdotal comedy which pushes at the boundaries, challenging the concepts of what comedy can be. The material is well-crafted and delivered, a structure to the half which shows how carefully thought through every aspect is. The self-indulgence of Johnson is flipped on its head at the climax and everything slots together very well.

When Sian turns up for the show, there is a whole new energy on the stage, a dark, brooding energy which is unapologetically hard-line. This performance is about what it is still like to be a woman in today’s society, how toxic masculinity still needs to be stood up to.

The narrative is about how Sian was patronised by a man who came round to do some work on her house. The show is a response to this man, and to everyone that has ever harassed, cat-called, patronised a woman – a performance which takes the audience into some very sinister corners, causing a tension and an uncomfortableness which is a perfect reflection of the issues. The rhetoric which rumbles on very level of this show is a powerful one indeed.

This is a show that needs to be seen – there is a lot I did not want to reveal in this review as I did not want to take away from its impact. Just believe me on this – it needs to be seen.

Written by Christopher Moriarty.

Sian Clarke and Jimmy Slim – Bitter and Twisted

Heroes @ The Hive, 1640

Part of the Heroes Festival (£5 advance, PWYW on the door)

9th – 26th August

Sam Golin and Gabriel Ebulue – Cult Comics: A Review

Bunbury Magazine – 

Sam Golin and Gabriel Ebulue present a split-hour of comedy for the geeks of Edinburgh, both performers dropping in more than a few niche references for fans of comics and sci-fi.

Gabriel takes to the stage first, with a good amount of energy and charm to welcome the audience into his world. His comedy is sharp, flipping the conventions of racism and appearance. Perhaps the highlight of this half hour is how he explains he is ‘Jehova’s Witness proof’. There are stories about how he was bullied growing up but Gabriel always presents a light-heartedness to his anecdotes. When Sam takes to the stage, there is a different energy – his is more laid back and presents a different perspective to the themes from the first half, looking at another side of racism and judging people by their appearances.

These are two comics that compliment each other’s  very well and offer a good message to the audience – always find the funny side of life and just try to enjoy yourself, which is very easy to do in this show with Gabriel and Sam.

Written by Christopher Moriarty.

Sam Golin and Gabriel Ebulue – Cult Comics

Laughing Horse @ The Counting House, 1415

Part of The Free Festival

2nd – 26th August (except 13th)

Daphna Baram: Sugarcoating

Daphna Baram: Sugarcoating
19:00 @ Sweet Novotel: 3 (Venue 188) Aug 2-7, 9-14, 16-21, 23-25th

Bunbury Rating – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Sugarcoating is not what you’d expect at all. Daphna Baram is charismatic, welcoming and brings a relaxed performance to the stage.
There is raw passion beating just under the skin of the material which is subtle & delicate in parts and very honest in others all tied together with absolute hilarity.

This is an important show to see. It is packed with positive body image, messages mixed with cautionary tales, based on actual experiences  and I guarantee this will leave you feeling good in yourself.
As a show it is conversational in tone and told with Baram’s overt but gentle material.

It is slow burning with superb structure. In hot, it is everything you want from a comedy show and more, with biting satirical humour and fantastic observational comedy.

Daphna Baram also speaks about charity work she is involved with in one part of the performance which is also magnificently funny.
The charity work revolves around and organisation where volunteers can go and help communities build homes, help with the harvest and learn about the region. You can also buy bricks to build houses for £1 a pop. Yes, you rad that correctly.
For more details visit http://www.icahd.org

If you do one thing while you’re at the fringe, go and see this show. It is on my list of vital performances to see. It’s worth far more than the entry fee and you’ll be so happy you went.

You can buy tickets here

http://bit.ly/2vPYcjR

Go and enjoy all that Daphna Baram has to offer her audience.

Abbie Murphy – Eat Sleep Shit Shag: A Review

Bunbury Magazine – ⭐⭐

When Abbie Murphy  greets the audience in perhaps the most joyously flamboyant head-wear you could see at the Fringe, one might be forgiven for expecting a high-octane show. In perfect juxtapostion to the energy of her feathered adornment, Abbie’s performance has a great low-key rumbling to it, a conversational style that creates an intimate atmosphere between her and the audience.

Abbie brings an hour of comedy about getting older, the intrusiveness of technology in modern life and about her time working as a performer on a cruise ship. All the time, there is an undercurrent to these stories – a powerful tone of feminism upon which the narrative hangs. Abbie wonderfully flips the conventions that desperately need flipping with hard-line and jet black humour, not afraid to cut through the stereotypes with sharp teeth.

All the while, this is a show about always being who you are and chasing your dreams. Abbie has a tremendous talant for finding the sideways perspective, bringing a different view to some very important themes.

Written by Christopher Moriarty.

Abbie Murphy – Eat Sleep Shit Shag

Laughing Horse @ City Cafe, 1345

Part of The Free Festival

2nd – 23th August