Tag Archives: Pleasance Courtyard

REVIEW: Alexander Fox: Ringo – Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh

It’s the moments of pure storytelling that resonate most in Alexander Fox’s debut solo hour of original comedy: Ringo.

In 2006, a then teenaged Fox, met and began a pen-pal correspondence with the world’s most famous drummer, The Beatles’ Ringo Starr. What follows is an at times surreal, biographical tale, with appearances from the Cadbury’s gorilla drumming to Phil Collins’ In the Air Tonight and Pingu; references to drumming movie Whiplash, as well as a whole lot of audience participation and good-natured banter.

For all the mad-cap antics it’s the moments of stillness and genuine emotion that are the most successful. Fox is a natural storyteller and easily grips the audience. He should be confident enough to rely on his considerable skills without resorting to some of the nonsense that litters the tale and takes it off on unnecessary tangents. There’s real potential here: the subject matter alone is enough to draw an audience, keeping the path of the narrative a little closer to the key material (or if the silliness were a bit more on-theme) could make this a universal winner.

Fox is genuinely charming and it’s easy to warm to him and he provides plenty of laughs throughout. He is naturally ebullient, but this is as much a negative as it is a positive, his youth and exuberance playing to the time-wasting interruptions from the audience rather than keeping it tight and on-point.

With a little bit of work, Alexander Fox: Ringo, could have a long life beyond an igloo on the green at The Pleasance for the Edinburgh Fringe.

Runs until 28 August 2017 | Image: Contributed

This review was originally published by The Reviews Hub

REVIEW: Love Birds – Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh

This pin-sharp, production perfectly demonstrates that the apple hasn’t fallen far from the songwriting talent tree in the Sherman family. Writer, composer and lyricist Robert J. Sherman, grandson of Tin Pan Alley alumni Al Sherman, son of Robert B. and nephew of Richard M. – the world-renowned Sherman Brothers composing duo who wrote the music for Mary Poppins; Chitty, Chitty Bang Bang, The Jungle Book and The Aristocats, has created a one-of-a-kind gem of a new musical.

This utterly charming tale is set at the height of the vaudeville era but sparkles with bang-up-to-date originality throughout. An avian revue featuring a quartet of penguins (who bear an uncanny resemblance to those in Mary Poppins – but we can’t say that because that would be copyright infringement), a trio of singing macaw sisters and starring Baalthazar – a rainbow-hued, thoroughly temperamental, savoury cracker addict feathered Caruso, is thrown into disarray when Baalthazar goes missing and their dinosaur (literally, he’s a plesiosaur) boss refuses to change with the times.

This is an absolute shining jewel of a show, which oozes quality from start to end: from the outstanding costumes, to the catchy tunes, to the charming book, to the highly inventive choreography (in an extremely confined space) and the perfectly judged performances of its highly talented cast – it shines bright above its peers at this year’s Fringe. Packed with meticulous detail throughout, the only fault is that you leave wishing there was more. With appeal for both adults and children alike, I’m sure this won’t be the last we hear of the thoroughly loveable Love Birds.

Runs until 31st August 2015

Image: Steve Ullathorn

Originally published at: http://www.thepublicreviews.com/love-birds-pleasance-courtyard-edinburgh/

REVIEW: The Girl From Nowhere – Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh

Victoria Rigby’s electrifying central performance elevates this tale of shattered dreams far above the normal road to ruin rock star tale.

In an era of innovation and change, where men have walked on the moon, women are still limited by societal expectation. It’s Cripple Creek, Texas, 1969, Jeannie Hogan has returned to her childhood home. As she riffles through the detritus of the life she left behind, a tale unfolds of how she ended up back here in the place she’s spent her life trying to get away from.

Rigby’s tale of teenage dreams of escape from a stifling past through rock stardom, is as cathartic as it is confessional and brings into focus how the issues played out here in this late sixties setting  are still depressingly relevant today: what if you don’t want marriage? what if you don’t have any maternal instincts? what if you want to live your life exactly as you please? Apparently OK if you’re a man, but a woman…

Rigby is an electrifying performer and her star turn as Jeannie is hypnotic and moving in equal measure. A masterclass in the art of storytelling. Simply mesmerising.

Runs until 31 August 2015

Originally published at: http://www.thepublicreviews.com/the-girl-from-nowhere-pleasance-courtyard-edinburgh/

REVIEW: The Falcon’s Malteser by Anthony Horowitz – Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh

Theatre company New Old Friends have a rare and brilliant gem on their hands: taking Anthony Horowitz’s much-loved 1986 kiddie noir novel The Falcon’s Malteser and delivering a show that is utterly entertaining and daftly funny for both adults and children alike.

Ex-cop and now private eye, Tim (rather dim) and his teenage (genius) brother Nick Diamond find themselves in possession of a mysterious and much sought after package. Throw into the mix a cast of, what seems like thousands, including: a vertically challenged Mexican, a Russian gangster, an East End villain and a German hit-man to name a few. There’s a cracking script filled with slapstick, songs and sight gags and delightfully clever wordplay – all ripping along at a breakneck speed that keeps you glued throughout.

Much of the show’s success is down to the well-drilled and simply top-notch cast: though churlish to single anyone out, it is Dan Winter who creates the lion’s share of the laughs, as in turn: a door to door, door salesman; a science teacher; a butcher; a newsagent; a hotel proprietor; a night-club bouncer and a hit-man – oh, and he sings too.

It’s filled with witty writing, warmth, charm and winning performances – what more could you ask for? Gather your grannies and grandpas, mums and dads, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters and get along to this gag-filled gem. You’d be missing out if you missed it.

Runs until 31 August 2015

Originally published at: http://www.thepublicreviews.com/the-falcons-malteser-by-anthony-horowitz-pleasance-courtyard-edinburgh/

REVIEW: The Only Way is Downton – Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh

This article was originally written for The Public Reviews at: http://www.thepublicreviews.com/the-only-way-is-downton-pleasance-courtyard-edinburgh/

Writer: Luke Kempner

Director: Owen Lewis

The Only Way is Downton is the perfect vehicle for the impressive impersonation talents of creator Luke Kempner, and having toured the UK since its debut in 2013, this affectionate parody of not only Downton Abbey, but every current reality TV show you can name, shows no sign of losing its sparkle.

The plodding pace of the show’s plot has been replaced with a break-neck speed, quite frankly surreal, episode involving all your familiar favourites as well as a cast of utterly unexpected guests (Tom Daley, Dermot O’Leary anyone?)  Downton is in financial trouble (surprise, surprise) and the Dowager, family and servants will go to any, and extraordinary lengths to save it.

Considering the differing range of accents, pitches and tones, not to mention sexes of character, the frightening speed and consummate ease with which Kempner switches between each is breath-taking: with a mere twitch of the head or flick of the wrist the audience can instantly identify all.

The sheer range and accuracy of the impersonations is unique, and it’s hard to identify any area of real weakness; each of the Downton characters is spot-on. Unsurprisingly, it is the appearance of a certain Scottish tennis champion that rouses some of the evening’s loudest laughter, but Kempner to his credit, manages to deliver, quite literally, a laugh a minute and often more throughout.

For an evening of out and out belly laughs you can’t get any better than this. Kempner is a rare and unique talent.

Runs until 25th Aug