Tag Archives: Underbelly

REVIEW: Quarter Life Crisis – Underbelly Delhi Belly, Edinburgh

The last few years have seen an upsurge in shows from Millennials pondering the meaning of life, and this year’s Fringe is positively awash with 20-somethings decrying their lack of a future and the problems of ‘adulting’.

Yolanda Mercy, through her semi-autobiographical character Alicia in Quarter Life Crisis, brings, in her own words; “some South London to the Edinburgh Fringe”, adding in her experiences as a young woman surrounded by her getting-their-shit-together friends and always aware of the influence of her Nigerian heritage.

It is Mercy’s warm, all-embracing, irresistible personality that is the biggest star here. The instant she walks on stage, the first smile, and you can’t help but like this girl. Her spoken word tale of a life spent swiping right, swiping left, thinking how you can fiddle your Young Persons Railcard and watching her friends and relatives get married off and have babies, is hugely relatable to the youthful audience she attracts. The stories of her extended family, their customs and quirks, are as enlightening as they are funny, and the perils of finding a job when you are over-qualified for almost everything and dating in 2017 are depressingly familiar.

The writing has potential, but is far from the polished, finished product. It needs judicious editing to pick out the gems and run with those and weed out the superfluous bits. The use of projections of texts, Instagram posts and Tinder profiles, help to punctuate the story, the emoji equations are less successful in eliciting the laughs.

If this were fleshed out, with other characters, there’s sit-com potential here. With a performer as endearing as Mercy, a young woman with a bright future, this could develop into so much more.

Runs until 27 August 2017 | Image: Contributed

This review was originally written for The Reviews Hub

REVIEW: Edinburgh Fringe – George Ryegolds God in a Bag, Underbelly, Dairy Room

The Public Reviews Rating: ★★★½☆

Toby Williams’ dark creation, the highly distasteful George Ryegold, returns to the Fringe in God in a Bag, this time with an expanded cast including: Red Dwarf’s Hattie Hayridge, Fresh Meat’s Dan Mersh and fellow comedians Lindsay Sharman and Milo McCabe. The self-obsessed, penny-pinching, fabulously under-achieving doctor has been suspended yet again and has to deal with a fractious love life, time on his hands, a potentially earth-shattering new theory and competition from a smarmy but successful colleague who has nicked his research.

Billed as a comedy play, it’s more like an extended TV sitcom episode or over-long radio show. There are some moments of comedy gold here, especially when Ryegold delivers a highly inappropriate sex-education lecture to a room full of school kids, but over the hour the laughs aren’t sustained.

The supporting characters do the best with the material they have, and all are accomplished actors, but none are as well conceived as the charmless doctor. This is illustrated in the under-use of fine character comedy performer McCabe, he has limited material here and to his credit still manages to shine, but he’s a talent that could have been exploited. T.V. veteran Hayridge plays a torpid cafe owner but basically regurgitates her usual laconic on-screen persona.

God in a Bag proves there’s good reason why sitcom episodes are under 30 minutes. The writing is at times highly intelligent and cleverly witty but there’s not enough material to hold the attention for an hour and the central character is just too unpleasant for us to root for him. A skilled cast and material that has glimmers of potential – just not in this format.

Runs until 27th August

REVIEW: Edinburgh Fringe – Rachel Stubbings is Stubbing Out Problems, Underbelly

 

Writer: Rachel Stubbings

Director: Brett Goldstein

The Public Reviews Rating: ★★★½☆

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

With advice like: “Feel the fear and do it anyway”, to a man contemplating suicide and the unwitting recommendation of the use of Rohypnol to a guy who can’t get a girlfriend you can see exactly the calibre of advice that self-professed “gifted healer” Rachel Stubbings is doling out in her new show Rachel Stubbings is Stubbing Out Problems.

In Rachel’s own opinion she’s a world-class agony aunt, hell-bent on helping people less fortunate than herself (that’s everyone). Having prevented her parents’ divorce and loads of other “stuff” she’s sure she has a gift, and buoyed by this success she’s come to Edinburgh to “heal live” and share how “awesome and selfless” she is.

The queue is handed a flyer while waiting and those brave enough gamely write down any problems they want “stubbed out” and put them in the “Stub-bin” at the start of the show. The delivery is the same arrogant dead-pan that anyone who liked The Office will enjoy but in some ways there could be more bite to her perils of wisdom. Stubbings utilises Skype, video material and audience interaction throughout the show but there were some problems keeping the whole thing flowing. There were some uncomfortable silences and the audience was on the whole, pretty unresponsive. The time slot could be partially to blame, mid-afternoon whereas the material is more late night.

This would be an ideal half-hour radio or TV show, at an hour it’s a tad too long for the content. That said Stubbings is quirky and quick witted and succeeds in never making the audience feel uncomfortable, turning the harshest focus back onto herself. She starts out confident she can heal the world but instead ends up healing herself. A promising Fringe debut.

Runs until 27th August