Archive for August 12th, 2011

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SPID’s Youth Drama – Spookily Topical

Friday, 12 August, 2011

Youth Project with the kids of Kensal House Estate

Team Spirit is the story of council estate teenagers who pull together as a team to overcome the difficulties in our lives. All the young people involved are against the looting and violence on the streets.

Kids from Kensal House put on their show

All the young people involved have been working hard all Summer at their base in the modernist estate of Kensal House, Ladbroke Grove. They are looking forward to touring the show to the West London council estates that inspired it.

For all the depravity of recent events, this project promises to demonstrate the unifying power of sport and community theatre. The young people have thrived on the opportunity to create something positive, whether through writing, acting or producing. They have learned a lot from each other, sharing knowledge of each others’ cultures and of their various neighbourhoods.
The gang culture, gun and knife crime that blights urban teenagers has been well publicised and is now storming the headlines. The problems have eclipsed any mention of solutions – yet in its small way, Team Spirit offers hope.

Thursday 11th August 7:00pm
Dalgarno Community Centre
1 Webb Close, Dalgarno Way, London, W10 5BQ
With support from the Dalgarno Neighbourhood Trust

Saturday 13th August 7:00pm
Chelsea Youth Centre
Blantyre Street, World’s End Estate Chelsea, London, SW10 0EQ

Monday 15th August 7:00pm
Lancaster Youth Centre
128a Lancaster Road, London, W11 1Q

www.spidtheatrecompany.com

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Clare Plested: Vegas, Jesus and Me

Friday, 12 August, 2011

Warm, smiley, open delivery

Edinburgh 11 – Underbelly – 4-28 August 11 – 17:20 (0:45)

Clare Plested (c) Clare Plested 2011

As she walks on stage carrying a box of Pinot Grigio, with a full glass in hand, Clare Plested begins her show introducing herself by a fuller name – Clare Louise Anthony Plested…  full review at http://www.fringereport.com/1108clareplestedvegasjesusandme.php

(c) Chandrika Chevli 2011

reviewed Tuesday, 9 August 2011 / Underbelly.Edinburgh, UK

Fringe Report (c) Fringe Report 2002-2011

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Imran Yusuf – Bring The Thunder

Friday, 12 August, 2011

Embracing shortcomings, pursuing dreams

Edinburgh 11 – Pleasance Courtyard – 3-28 August 11 – 19:00 (1:00)

Imran Yusuf takes to the stage seeming full of good cheer and relaxed. He says that the show is trying to convey the message that everyone should be proud of shortcomings: for example, he is skinny… full review at http://www.fringereport.com/1108imranyusufbringthethunder.php

(c) Chandrika Chevli 2011

reviewed on Tuesday 9 August 2011 / Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh, UK

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Rich Fulcher – Tiny Acts of Rebellion

Friday, 12 August, 2011

Bizarre, incredibly funny stuff

Edinburgh 11 – Gilded Balloon Teviot – 3-28 Aug 11 – 20:30 (1:00)

American character-based comic Rich Fulcher comes on stage, his already sweaty face complimented by an ill-fitting suit and putrid coloured tie, to present an hour’s illumination into the world of Tiny Acts of Rebellion by guest lecturer Professor Fulcher. It’s complete with visual aides courtesy of a somewhat temperamental projector screen and help from an elfin-eared, slightly disconcerting glamorous assistant (Arnab Chanda).  Sound weird? It is… full review at http://www.fringereport.com/1108richfulchertinyactsofrebellion.php

(c) Emma MacLennan 2011

reviewed Monday 8 August 2011 / Gilded Balloon Teviot, Edinburgh, UK

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Parris and Dowler: Special Delivery

Friday, 12 August, 2011

Comedy better together than apart

Edinburgh 11 – Bar 50, Smart City Café, Cowgate – 6-27 August 2011 – 15:30 (0:45)

Max Dowler and Rachel Parris start the show with deadpan insistence that they are not a double act.  Max Dowler’s main focus is those celebrities a typical television viewer would recognise.  Rachel Parris delivers her own brand of musical comedy.  Her vocal abilities are impeccable…full review at http://www.fringereport.com/1108parrisandowlerspecialdelivery.php

(c) Alexandra Kavanagh 2011

reviewed 2011 / Bar 50, Edinburgh, UK

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The Rape of Lucrece

Friday, 12 August, 2011

Electrifying performance, meticulous direction

Edinburgh 11 – Edinburgh, Zoo Southside – 5-28 Aug 11 – 17:15 (1:00)

Solo actor Gerard Logan delivers an electrifying performance of The Rape of Lucrece (1594), a narrative poem by William Shakespeare (1564-1616). Using little more than a white shawl, he recreates each aspect of the poem exquisitely, subtly embodying individual characters with masterful grace… full review at http://www.fringereport.com/1108therapeoflucrece.php

(c) Emma MacLennan 2011

reviewed Tuesday 9 August 2011 / Zoo Southside, Edinburgh, UK

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Matt Green: Too Much Information

Friday, 12 August, 2011

Intelligent, articulate comedy, lacks punch

Edinburgh 11 – Pleasance Courtyard – 3-28 Aug 11 – 20:30 (0:55)

Matt Green delivers a few musings on why God hates comedy and loves rioting and some other topical references and then it’s onto the show proper. He covers a wide range of topics in his fifty-five minute slot, ranging from the weirdest place he’s ever done a gig (a royal palace) to why he doesn’t like Churches (blame Tesco) and his feelings on the Olympics.   Some of it perhaps a bit off-topic from the main theme of his show, but enjoyable nevertheless… full review at http://www.fringereport.com/1108mattgreentoomuchinformation.php

(c) Emma MacLennan 2011

reviewed Wednesday 10 August 2011 / Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh, UK

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Fly Me to Baboon, at Camden Fringe

Friday, 12 August, 2011

Comedy sketches from Fat Hammond’s Banjo Lounge

Rosalind Blessed and Paul Handley

The press release for this show says that “If you find the thought of jokes about cancer, paedophilia, homosexual superheroes, rape and religion distasteful, shocking and shameful then you are clearly an upstanding member of society with an admirable moral compass. You should also probably avoid coming to see this show.”

Well, I went anyway and what I found was three comedy performers who with better material could be very good indeed. Sadly, there is just that lack of edge in much of it, and the attempts to shock looked more like papered over cracks than an effort to expand the envelope of comedy. That is not to say that the show didn’t have its moments. The girl having to deal with the fact that her blind date is living out an XBox fantasy game was a highlight. I have to say too that I thought the homosexual superheroes sketch was quite fun, but, in the spirit of a man who, when he turns on a TV show titled Monty Python’s Flying Circus and finds neither flying nor a circus, I was a little confused. No banjos. No baboons, either, if it comes to that, and the Frank Sinatra songs that punctuated the sketches only served to increase my confusion. Maybe I’m just too literal for comedy these days.

The performers here – Paul Handley (surely responsible for the animal cruelty humour), Rosalind Blessed, and new member Duncan Wilkins – are engaging, and new member Duncan Wilkins not only fits in well with the group, but also delivers some stand out performances, totally convincing in all of his characters. I particularly liked the pervy young art teacher, getting his students used to sexual symbolism.

Smutty surrealism is what Fat Hammond’s Banjo Lounge tell us to expect, and maybe a little winding down of the smut, and a ratcheting up of the surrealism might pay better dividends for these very capable and animated performers. Possibly the best piece of the evening was what was in Frank’s box, which was a recurring theme, and a little masterpiece of comic timing. It is the little things that count.

reviewed 11 August 2011

(c) Michael Spring 2011

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Giants of Comedy

Friday, 12 August, 2011

Variable comedy

Edinburgh 11 – 6-27 August – Fingers Piano Bar, Venue 221 – 19:50 (1:00)

The Giants of Comedy are (alpha order) Leo Kearse, Lindsay Sharman, Darren Walsh. The name doesn’t come from their fame in comedy, but from their physical height. It is not an exaggeration. Darren Walsh on stage is perilously close to the ceiling… full review at http://www.fringereport.com/1108giantsofcomedy.php

(c) George Maddocks 2011

reviewed Wednesday 10 August 2011 / Fingers Piano Bar, Edinburgh, UK

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Out Damned Spot, written and performed by Emma Hutchins

Friday, 12 August, 2011

Doomed woman in Scottish Castle

Emma Hutchins as a young Lady MacBeth

Out, Damned Spot is a one-actor show that presents us with, effectively, MacBeth, the Prequel. It is a one-hour production written and performed by Emma Hutchins. The show opens with Isobel on her wedding day. She enters in her wedding dress and promptly falls to the floor, the victim of her impetuous nature and stormy temperament.

Emma Hutchins’ Lady MacBeth is 23 at her wedding, an unformed project for Donald (MacBeth), who has married beneath him. She is a country girl untutored in the ways of the nobility, quietly relishing her new found status.

Through various short scenes we are given glimpses of her life. Despite a wish for children, she seems unable to bear them. Her one daughter who is much beloved by her, dies in childbirth (Sorry, not in childbirth, but early childhood). And there are other problems too.

MacBeth is absent for long periods, fighting on behalf of the King. The newly ennobled Lady MacBeth finds her existence a lonely and friendless one. Her chief pleasure, the ‘progress’ of the court around the country is finally denied to her after she is compromised by the King. Her mother-in-law, with whom she is forced to spent much of her tme in the cheerless castle, is cold and bitterly regrets that Isobel has become Lady MacBeth.

In the end, it is only with her mother-in-law’s death that she can find any joy in the world, and so begins the tale that Shakespeare told, of her and her husband’s ambition, and their joint willingness to commit multiple murders in order to realise it.

It is an interesting idea, but whether this glimpse into an imagined past actually holds water is another matter entirely. There is also that difficult matter of tone. It would be too much to ask to have Emma Hutchins create her vision in truly effective Shakespearean language, but somehow, because of the nature of her heroine, that is exactly what we expect. And of course, it can’t be done. The atmosphere of medieval Scotland is sketched at, but never totally convinces. There seems just to be a lack of those small but crucial details that tell us where we are and what the times are like. Shakespeare never used first names, and just that one thing (Macbeth becoming Donald, and his wife, Isobel) seems to trivialise what is to come. We are no longer watching a tragedy, but a domestic drama.

Emma Hutchins works hard to breathe life into her character, but it is difficult to feel sympathy for her, and difficult too, to imagine how she might have emerged as Shakespeare’s lady with blood on her hands.

reviewed 11 August 2011, Etcetera Theatre

(c) Michael Spring

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