Edinburgh Festival Fringe Reviews

Date
August 2005

Client
edinburghguide.com

Type of work
Award-nominated Fringe reviews

For three weeks in August, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe opens the doors, streets and alleyways of an entire city to an explosion of creative energy from around the globe. This is the world’s biggest arts festival and since the early 2000s it’s been a regular fixture on my calendar.

I wrote over 50 reviews during the 2005 Edinburgh Festival Fringe for edinburghguide.com, the city’s leading news and entertainment guide. These reviews led to me being nominated for the Allen Wright Award for Outstanding Arts Journalism. The award recognises the best writing from arts journalists under 30 years old. Those were the days.

What would you do differently if you could travel back in time? Dr Patrick Beer knows what he has to do, and he is not giving up until he has completed his daunting task. Ensconced in his chaotic laboratory, this is a mad professor on a mission, and he’s taking......

This is one of five productions at this year’s Festival by New York’s Singing Harp theatre company, who perform stories adapted from traditional fairy tales and classic literature. The Golden Bird is a story by the Brothers Grimm, with all those familiar ingredients of sibling rivalry, greed and jealousy that......

Japanese physical comedy duo Hiropon and Ketch! make a welcome return to Edinburgh after a hugely successful show at last year’s Festival, and they certainly do not to disappoint this time. A packed audience show their appreciation through near-constant laughter, broken only by stunned, awe-filled silence as these two immensely......

Think puppets can’t be sexy? Think again. Kermit would be thanking his lucky stars that he only had Miss Piggy to contend with after witnessing this astonishing performance. The cabaret style show is compered by a sinister half-woman half-bird creature, who introduces the various acts in a juicy Franglais, while......

This is one of five productions at this year’s Festival by New York’s Singing Harp theatre company, who perform stories adapted from traditional fairy tales and classic literature. In this luscious production we are treated to the tale of The Three Treasures, a luminous story of jealousy, revenge and redemption.......

Tear yourself away from the Pleasance and the Gilded Balloon, with their big name comedians and celebrity packed bars, and turn your attention to Bristo Square’s lesser known venue. Something beautiful is happening in McEwan Hall, and it deserves twenty-five minutes of anyone’s time. The Clod Ensemble’s performance begins before......

Crossings was written by Clare Duffy in 2002 as part of her MA in Scriptwriting at the University of Glamorgan and was later commissioned by Sgript Cymru, Wales’ new writing company. We follow the literal and emotional journey of Jane, a teenage lesbian with a history of self-harm, as she......

The plot of this surrealist farce by Things on Fire is controlled by a wide open yet dreaming eye, typing away at the corner of the stage. The characters that the eye controls follow every whim of its meandering, whimsical train of thought. The majority of the action takes place......

From the removal of our shoes before entering the auditorium to the traditional post-show tea ceremony an aura of calm and reverence runs through this whole intriguing performance. The audience is encouraged to hold hands as Stephania Zampiga ushers us to a small seating area to the side of the......

Written and performed by Paul Marshall, Babble is a combination of storytelling, stand-up comedy and performance poetry. These diverse elements are fitted together largely successfully and delivered with energy and passion by a likeable performer. Marshall was recently voted Short Fuse Poetry Idol 2005, and it is the poetry element......

Ever wondered how a children’s party entertainer might fare if forced into a career in dentistry? Me neither, but Wayne Slater apparently has, and from this unlikely premise leads us on a journey of mediocre magic tricks and embarrassing audience participation likely to have you cancelling the magician and ordering......

Los Albatross is a Dublin-based theatre company, made up of five writers and comedians, who have created a perfect showcase for their myriad talents and bag- loads of enthusiasm in this fun, fast-paced sketch show. Having performed at the Festival for the last two years, as half of the comedy......

For those unfamiliar with the phenomenon of performance poetry its mention probably conjures up images of middle-aged housewives in flowery frocks exchanging equally flowery verse at chintzy living room gatherings. Be prepared to shed these misconceptions as you encounter the hyperactive cascade of verse that is Big Word Performance Poetry.......

“That was silly” observes a giggling audience member at the conclusion of this high-tempo, surreal sketch show. Indeed, this production must be the jolliest, best acted, most polished silliness at this year’s Fringe. In Conspiracy, the five members of Dutch Elm Conservatoire, directed by Ed Curtis, become a team of......

On a screen at the back of the stage an apathetic middle-aged housewife spends her day on the sofa eating junk food, doing her nails and endlessly channel surfing. The four performers are puppets in her hapless hands as she flicks between soap operas, news programmes and commercials. When her......

There is a bewildering array of sketch shows in this year’s programme, with those of the short attention span being well and truly spoiled by the sheer quantity of sketch based comedy on offer. Connoisseurs of the genre will find the variation in quality equally sizeable, with Cowards being one......

In 1955 a frustrated housewife seduces the postman. In a parallel existence, fifty years on, an equally unappreciated Marriage Guidance Counsellor cheats on her husband with one of her clients. On these two tired clichés is built a play that is trying to make a point about the tendency of......

In an obscure government office four agents analyse and manipulate a remote society, their lives a constant drudge of administration, ringing telephones and impersonal orders from a distant dictator. They live their feverish, claustrophobic lives completely removed from the society which they control. But this society breaks in, in the......

There are colourful acrobatics and fairytale magic aplenty in this bright and bubbly show, suitable for younger children, and feisty enough to keep older ones entertained too. The familiar story is skilfully told, with lots of energy and enthusiasm from this likeable duo, and plenty of opportunity for some gentle......

The eponymous hero was found as a baby, in a lemon box, on top of the grand piano in the ballroom of luxury class on a cruise ship. The ship crosses the Atlantic Ocean from Europe to America and back and 1900 goes with it, never leaving the safety of......

As driver of the National Express overnight bus between Penzance and London, Frank has a captive audience for his storytelling. There are no complaints from the passengers on this service though as Frank, Ed Gaughan, treats us to the lyrical, intimate and utterly engrossing tale of the life of his......

With its disco balls, silver tinsel curtain and gaudy gold and purple colour scheme the set looks ready to host the grand final of Stars in Their Eyes. Thankfully the audience is instead treated to an energetic, humorous reinvention of a familiar story, told from the point of view of......

Four talented comedians perform in this sketch show of impressive diversity. Louie Bayliss, Rachel Egan, Felicity Wren and James Wren demonstrate a vast breadth of talents between them, and show an obvious joy in entertaining. From Tyrannosaurus Rexs playing musical chairs, to dribbling, Werther’s Original obsessed OAPs; no subject is......

If you fancy a change from comedy and theatre then how about this – a fascinating evening lecture focusing on the life of Scottish poet Robert Burns. David Purdie tells Burns’ story, giving a thorough overview of his work and personal life, and relating his activities to those of other......

This is the seventeenth Edinburgh Fringe Production for the University of Central Lancashire’s Crumpet Theatre Company. It is hard to imagine why, with so much experience under their belt, Crumpet does not use this annual opportunity to support new writing, instead falling back on big name productions, in this case......

Best known for his children’s literature, C S Lewis also produced a large quantity of grown-up writing, much of it inspired by his Christian faith and interest in theology. The Screwtape Letters is one such work, originally appearing as a series of letters in a religious journal, it has been......

This is a challenging piece of political theatre by the author of Shopping and Fucking, Mark Ravenhill. The play follows political activist Nick, as he attempts to readjust to life in the late 1990s after having spent twenty years in prison. Alongside his story runs a loosely connected narrative following......

The phrase “it’s like banging your head against a brick wall” is the kind of overused cliché that we should attempt to steer clear of. However, it is the closest simile available to describe the experience of watching this hour-long migraine of a show, performed by turophile Anton Pick. Pick......

Fresh from a six-month run Off-Broadway, Squeeze Box has won several awards for writer and performer Ann Randolph, including a “Best Solo Performance Award” from the Los Angeles Times. The original show was produced by Anne Bancroft and Mel Brooks, and has undergone several rewrites since its conception, the end......

Rather than jumping on the bandwagon of a topical news story, as this show’s title might suggest, a fan’s obsession with Michael Jackson is used solely as a handy metaphor for escapism of many kinds. Martha’s love of the superstar is the one certainty in her life, her sole retreat......

A casual glance at the image of Ava Vidal on the front of the flyer for her show Misfit, may well leave the casual glancer anticipating a show of confrontation and audience humiliation at the hands of a hostile and menacing host. Happily, any such preconceptions are cast aside the......

Fresh from a series of sell-out shows at the Science Museum’s Dana Centre in London, these four young performers have had plenty of practice explaining complicated scientific theories with the help of comedy sketches, silly songs and audience participation. Even so, their bid to make Einstein’s theories on Brownian Motion......

With Me, Not I, the aptly named Human Symphony Orchestra have composed a beautiful, poetic performance, with ordinary objects and everyday actions as its music, and a heartfelt message at its core. A woman takes a sip of water and lies down to sleep, she wakes, looks at her phone......

Classical actor Greg Hicks stars in this one-man show consisting of five monologues written by Irish playwright Colin Teevan. Hicks’ most recent work includes playing Hamlet during last year’s Tragedies season at the Royal Shakespeare Company. His flair for portraying dark drama and tortured masculinity is the perfect match for......

This is one of three shows at this year’s Festival by the Anglo Mexican Foundation, which aims to showcase the latest in Mexican theatre and dance. Those expecting free tequila and burros in sombreros will be disappointed with this offering though, as will pretty much everyone else. The dingy stage......

Bella has grown up being told stories by her adored brother Donny. As the major influence in her life since the death of their parents, Donny has sought to protect and isolate his sister from the outside world, creating a fantasy of fable that feeds off his suffocating, obsessive love.......

Sabrina George, if that is her real name, has been a pick-pocket, credit fraudster and Hustle-style con-artist, with the event she appears most proud of in her ignominious career being the time she posed as a vicar in order to rip off a charity. Her latest ingenious con is to......