Tag Archives: C Venue C

REVIEW: The Rat Pack Live – C Venues, Edinburgh

The seemingly unwavering appeal of swing music has made the Rat Pack Live an irresistible draw to Fringe audiences year after year and this packed house proves that this year is no exception.

Here in its final ever Fringe appearance, this well-honed show is a lesson in how to give your audience exactly what it wants: their favourite performers and their most beloved hits. The Vegas-style cabaret show comes replete with a 12 piece jazz orchestra, glamorously clad back-up singers the Berelli Sisters and Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jnr. and Frank Sinatra – well almost.

Read the rest of this review originally written for Broadway Baby here.

REVIEW: Thrill Me: The Leopold & Loeb Story – C Venues, Edinburgh

The now infamous case of the 1924 ‘thrill killers’ Leopold and Loeb is a well-mined source of theatrical material, from Patrick Hamilton’s 1929 play Rope, in turn transformed into Alfred Hitchcock’s 1948 film of the same name, to this, Stephen Dolginoff’s 2005 musical Thrill Me.

Told as a series of flashbacks, this atmospheric two-hander begins at Leopold’s fifth parole hearing in 1958. Previously tight-lipped, but now desirous of release, Nathan ‘Babe’ Leopold finally decides to divulge the full story of the murder of 14 year old Bobby Franks, committed simply ‘because they could’. The claustrophobic relationship between the pair is explored to great effect in this well-constructed script and the lengths to which Leopold will go in order to satisfy the Nietzsche-worshipping Loeb’s depraved craving for thrills are tightly written.

Read the rest of this review, written for Broadway Baby here.

REVIEW: Edinburgh Fringe – The Alleycats Contemporary a Cappella, C Venue C

This review was originally written for and published by The Public Reviews

The Public Reviews Rating: ★★★☆☆

Veterans of Last Choir Standing and finalists in the UK Voice Festival competition The Alleycats, return to the Fringe with a show of varied content and quality. The group’s 2012 performance doesn’t bring anything new to the a cappella field, comprising as it does the ubiquitous mash-ups and a safe set list of cover versions from Fleetwood Mac to Britney Spears but what elevates it above the norm is the enthusiasm and appealing personalities of the performers.

The group also has to be given credit for trying to vary the choreography and staging for each of their numbers, however it would have made more impact if a few of them could actually dance: despite the exuberance, there are more than a few looks of self-consciousness when trying to pull off the moves. A nice inclusion in the act though, is a section which gives the audience an insight into the creative process of making an a cappella version of a song, and shows how the disparate and often seemingly unharmonious parts come together to make the whole.

One serious quibble about the whole performance is the serious lack of power from the group, sitting three rows from the front rendered the soloists almost inaudible and the moment the rest of the group joined in they were inevitably drowned out by the voices around them.

This 50 minute show doesn’t break any new ground in either musical choice or staging but the winning personalities and the conviction and vivacity with which it’s performed more than make up for its shortcomings. A pleasant enough way to pass the early evening at the Fringe.

REVIEW: Edinburgh Fringe – 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, C Venue C

“Dust off your dictionary and prepare yourselves for the spelling challenge of a lifetime as six plucky adolescents compete at the Putnam County Bee. A different show every night as audience members compete with the characters to win the title. With music by renowned composer William Finn and an award winning book by Rachel Sheinkin.”

In the space of an hour we are treated to laughter, tears, singing, dancing, a bit of audience participation, oh and spelling, in this absolute gem of a musical from Patch of Blue Theatre.

It is rare to find an ensemble whose every member is, well…there’s no other word for it – perfect. It seems unfair to single out anyone in particular but Ellie Mason as Olive Ostrovsky genuinely moved with one of the most touching and beautifully played performances you’ll  see at the Fringe. That said there isn’t a weak link anywhere in this production. Beg, borrow or steal, just make sure you get a ticket.

Runs at C Venue C until 27th August details here.

REVIEW: Edinburgh Fringe – Towards The Moon, C Venue C

This review was originally written for and published by The Public Reviews

Book, Music and Lyrics: Andrew McGregor

Director: Michael Howell

Musical Director: Lindsey Miller

The Public Reviews Rating: ★★★★☆

Who would have thought that the less than glamorous Scottish port town of Greenock would be the setting for a musical? But hey, this is the Edinburgh Fringe and as we know, anything’s possible here.

Bobby (Ryan Paterson) is a 24 year old dreamer, desperate to be a writer but fed up with his humdrum life – no job, no girlfriend and no pals. But his luck changes after a near-death experience when an angel appears offering him the chance to turn his life around, finally achieve his dreams and reach the moon – but at a price.

Towards the Moon is a brand new show from Andrew McGregor, one of a group of musical writers emerging from Scotland. New it may be, but the Faustian pact is as old as time, McGregor manages to keep it fresh by making our anti-hero an ordinary Joe and updating the setting to the present day. The piece wears its Scottish influences on its sleeve and anyone who has seen a Bill Forsyth movie will spot the parallels.

It is very much a work in progress: the storyline is simplistic and the music needs work to give the performance some variation in tone, but real potential is there. The skill of the performers also helps to energise the piece: Paterson breathes life into the character of Bobby and is helped by an appealing performance from Kylie McMahon as best pal Mags.

Despite the flaws, it’s a positive start from writer McGregor. There’s real warmth and charm here and it’s certainly a chance to see the beginning of successful careers for the actors who are the cement that holds this show together. Again the Royal Conservatoire prove that a quality performance is assured where you see their name.

Runs until 26th August

REVIEW: Edinburgh Fringe – As You Like It, C Venue C

This review was originally written for and published by The Public Reviews

Writer: William Shakespeare

Director: Charlie Parham

The Public Reviews Rating: ★★★½☆

This might not be Shakespeare as you know it, but you’re definitely going to like it. The tale of Rosalind and her love Orlando and their gender-swapping love games are played out in a wholly original way by Cambridge University Amateur Dramatic Club.

Rosalind and Celia are in Paris, the inhabitants of a corrupt modern-day court, and their only concerns are where to charge their iPods and plug in their hair straighteners. So begins this all-male, time travelling production of Shakespeare’s As You Like It. As they wander deeper into the countryside the pair fall further into the past and find themselves in corsets instead of Louis Vuitton. Our hero Orlando is also in dismay, he can’t get a signal on his Blackberry – so he has to try his hand at tree-carving instead.

This modern take on one of The Bard’s most joyful plays is still pleasingly faithful to the original but the most appealing thing about this production is its return to the bawdy spirit of its Elizabethan origins. There’s something to marvel at every minute: linguistic gymnastics, amazing physicality, falling wigs, Renaissance garb, time travel and a lot of laughs.

However its ebullience is its downfall in many ways, the dialogue is often mangled in an attempt to be exuberant, and there’s the feeling that some of the players are wringing every ounce of drama out of their parts. That said, there is some fine acting too, in particular Tom Russel as Rosalind whose subtly nuanced performance was the highlight of the piece.

Cambridge University Amateur Dramatic Group achieve what many fail to – and that’s bring originality to Shakespeare, and that in itself is well worth paying the admission price to see.

Runs until 18 August