Tag Archives: Gilded Balloon

REVIEW: Keith Moon: The Real Me – Gilded Balloon Teviot Wine Bar, Edinburgh

Mick Berry endeavours to delve deep into the psyche of the world’s greatest rock drummer – The Who’s Keith Moon, but succeeds only in proving how decent a drummer he is himself  (he’s the author of The Drummer’s Bible), in this odd mish-mash of a show. 

There’s material a-plenty to plunder in Moon’s life, both actual and mythical, but this one-man version misses the mark in so many ways. Berry has apparently been working on this show since 2013, when a version appeared at the Eureka Theatre in San Francisco, that time with the support of some fellow musicians playing his band-mates in The Who. This one-man version is neither straight biography, though there are many dis-jointed biographical moments, nor musical tribute to the great musician.

As the famous chords of Baba O’Reilly ring out and Berry batters out the ear-splitting, accompanying beat, there’s a sense of optimism that this might be a rollicking rock ‘n’ roll tale, but that quickly subsides the moment Berry opens his mouth and the worst British accent since Dick Van Dyke’s Bert in Mary Poppins comes out. During the course of the show it travels from Cornwall to Cockney to Canberra. There’s also the issue of Berry’s insistence in shouting out disjointed sequences of dialogue that are drowned out by the backing track and Berry’s own drumming. Other minor issues are Berry’s insistence on replicating Moon’s famous two-handed drumstick twirling that looks laboured, something he continues to try to do throughout. Despite his evident drumming skills, to a Who fan’s ears there are moments when he quite evidently fails to keep on these famous beats. Berry also looks uncomfortably nervous, whether with the material itself or the muted reaction of the small audience, it’s hard to tell. Moon managed only 32 years on this earth, and Mr. Berry is a man of advanced age that’s hard to hide in a small venue.

There’s little attempt to “pierce Moon’s insane exterior to get inside of this rock legend” or provide a “deeper, more personal, volatile and intimate exploration” as promised in the advertising material. It merely grazes the surface in the most superficial and confusing way. It smacks of self-indulgence and is badly in need of a pair or two of outside eyes to take what could be a dynamite story to the place where it should be to be a fitting tribute to one of the rock and roll greats. On a more positive note, the drumming’s good and there are snippets of some of the biggest hits of the greatest rock band Britain ever produced.

REVIEW: Gilded Balloon Comedy – Drygate Brewing Co, Glasgow

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

Arguably Glasgow’s hippest venue, the Drygate Brewing Co. is playing host to Fringe behemoth Gilded Balloon’s brand, spanking, new, weekly comedy club. Housed in the UK’s first experiential craft brewery, the comedy space under the old Tennant’s Brewery’s seven peaked roofs, is both impressive and entirely fitting for this ambitious project.

The club presents two shows every Friday at 7:30pm and 10:00pm featuring a trio of established acts. Compered tonight by Glasgow’s Scott Agnew, the line-up for this inaugural event comprises two Scottish stand-ups; veteran Vladimir McTavish and fresh-faced Chris Forbes, with Canadian star John Hastings fresh from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe as headliner.

From a slightly jittery start, compare Agnew eventually finds his stride and moves the proceedings along apace.  First up, Vladimir McTavish starts strongly but soon loses his way and the laughs peter out to some polite chuckles, the material, not exactly finding its target audience. Forbes fares much better, instantly putting the audience at ease; the likeable and confident comic’s relatable and affable banter has the crowd onside from the get-go.

Fittingly, it is headliner Hastings who elicits the lion’s share of the evening’s belly laughs. He even manages to work in an unsuspecting waiter into the act. Clever, a little surreal at times, but always laugh out loud funny.

The clever combination of the UK’s longest running comedy club and Glasgow’s most in-demand venue coupled with a cleverly curated line-up of the world’s best comedy acts, should ensure that this new venture is a rip-roaring success.

Reviewed on 29th August and running every Friday at 7:30pm and 10:00pm

REVIEW: Kiss Me Honey, Honey – Motherwell Theatre, Motherwell


This article was originally written for and published  by The Public Reviews at:


Writer: Philip Meeks

Director: Sam  Kane

The Public Reviews Rating: ★★★½☆

A Gilded Balloon commission for this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Philip Meeks’ Kiss Me Honey, Honey is on the surface a farcical romp about the lives of two single middle aged men, reduced to living in less than salubrious digs, who bond over a mutual appreciation of Shirley Bassey and a desperate desire for love. But as with all of Meeks’ work it masks a deeper, much sadder and sadly resonant tale of loneliness and the perils of dating in the digital age.

This amiable two hander plays out for the most part like an episode of a risqué 1970′s sitcom: there’s innuendo, female impersonation, in-jokes and misunderstandings a-plenty. There’s also more than a whiff of the panto about the whole endeavour, deftly handled by both Andy Gray, as recently divorced Ross and Grant Stott as naive dating newbie Graham. Gray is well known as a comedy actor and it is no surprise that he elicits the biggest belly-laughs from the crowd, but it is Stott that is the revelation here, usually seen as the pantomime villain, his finely tuned portrayal of the innocent Graham displays an up until now unseen dramatic talent.

There is an undeniable rapport between the two actors, honed over years as stalwarts of the Edinburgh pantomime scene and they manage to wring every last laugh from the material. However, the comedy is broad and the jokes too obvious, and whilst they elicit laughs from the largely older audience, the 70′s sexism and (at times) misogyny, is a little hard to accept in the 21st century and lessens rather than heightens the impact of the more thoughtful moments of tragedy and reflection.

That said, its easy to forgive its faults and the mirth continued as the audience exited the venue. A funny but undemanding and somewhat old-fashioned evening’s entertainment, but it could have been so much more.

Reviewed on 13th October 2013 then touring.

Photo credit: Steve Ullathorne

REVIEWS: Edinburgh Fringe – Murder, Marple and Me, Gilded Balloon Teviot Wee Room

As any Agatha Christie fan knows, the casting of comic actress Margaret Rutherford as Miss Marple in the light-hearted George Pollock MGM series was widely reported by Mrs. Christie to be a grievous mistake. So unhappy was she with the whole situation, and in order to protect the reputation of her precious creation, she made frequent visits to the set to check on proceedings.

This play, set in Rutherford’s dressing room on location of the first film Murder She Said, centres around the ever-present Mrs. Christie and the rather more interesting story of Rutherford’s real life.

In one hour we touch on; mental illness; childhood trauma; murder and suicide, as well as Rutherford’s rather interesting relationships with those close to her.

Janet Prince assumes all the roles in the intimate setting of the Gilded Balloon Teviot’s Wee Room. Wee it is indeed, and the enjoyment of the experience is enhanced by the feeling that we have been personally invited into Rutherford’s dressing room to hear her recount her tales.

Prince retains focus throughout and the sometimes shocking revelations keep the interest levels up in this hour long show. I wouldn’t advise anyone without knowledge of Rutherford or Christie to go along as the main enjoyment is the feeling that you are finding out secrets you never knew about a familiar friend but well worth a viewing if you are a fan.

Runs until 27th August