Posts Tagged ‘Assembly George Square’

Review – Le Gateau Chocolat, Assembly George Square, Edinburgh Fringe

Wednesday 31 August 2011

Edinburgh may have finished but the Whingers haven’t.

The perfect recipe for Le Gateau Chocolat.

1 large Nigerian 29 year old male trained in law
Make up
Several frocks
Red glittery lipstick
Lashings of Lycra
A penchant for Barbra Streisand numbers
A soupçon of audience participation*

Mix the ingredients together gently and simmer charmingly with a seasoning of good-natured, unapologetic, cheeky humour for one hour. Experiment with various toppings, decorations and accessories and sieve through Lycra for the most spectacular results.

Serving suggestion:
Place in a circus like tent, adding music and a justifiably appreciative audience.

The finished product may be slightly improved by turning the result out in a sound-proofed container so that the quieter, more introspective numbers are not drowned by the general cacophony of Fringe revellers outside. Although this is unnecessary for a magnificently emotional rendition of “Ol’ Man River”.

*Sadly not the Whingers on this occasion although each was most keen to see the other humiliated in Lycra.


Review – Nina Conti: Talk to the Hand, Assembly George Square, Edinburgh Fringe

Tuesday 30 August 2011

“Isn’t she the daughter of someone famous?” asked Andrew (quite correctly) before ruining his apparently uncharacteristically thorough pre-show research by adding  “It’s John Conteh, isn’t it?”

The Whingers had cogitated that an hour of ventriloquism might be stretching things somewhat. But as they had pretty much covered all the Fringe bases of plays, stand-up, cabaret, puppetry, magic, beatbox and – heavens preserve them – even mime it seemed that (assuming contemporary dance was off the menu) it had to be done: Nina Conti: Talk to the Hand.  Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Dave Gorman’s Powerpoint Presentation, Assembly George Square, Edinburgh Fringe

Sunday 28 August 2011

“We should do some stand-up” mumbled Andrew.

Phil, thinking that Andrew was finally coming round to his idea to bringing the Whingers’ own show to the Fringe next year, began to feel rather giddy.

Sadly, Andrew’s aspirations were no higher than watching some stand-up.

Given that the purple section of the Fringe brochure constitutes about half its hefty weight we had rather overlooked the genre.

But what were the chances of the Whingers spotting a star of tomorrow before audiences fork out huge amounts of money to watch them on screens in the O2? True we’d seen Sarah Millican, but this was playing safe, that was merely dipping toes into the vast pool of comedy with our water wings judiciously inflated. And what is stand up and what is cabaret anyway? Is Kev Orkian stand up or cabaret? Discuss.

So we plumped for author, presenter and Jewish* comedian Dave Gorman’s Powerpoint Presentation, an illustrated talk on various aspects of his life, his wife, his supposed lookalikes and Jim Davidson.

And (bear with us on this as we know it’s getting tedious), yet again, it’s a quite brilliant show.

But it’s the cleverness (without being clever-clever) of his absurdly detailed take on things that make his show stand out. Without giving a running gag away, his take on advertisements for clocks (no, we’re not making this up) is smart and hilarious.

Don’t – as many of the audience obviously did – drink too much before seeing the show (pot? kettle? black?) but if you do, make sure you squeeze out your bladder before going in. As one punter headed for the loo mid-show Gorman dropped his nice guy persona to berate the man in no uncertain terms: “It’s only an hour long, you shouldn’t have drunk four pints before you came in. You’re a grown up.” (It went on much longer than that; we’ve deleted  his string of expletives.)

The show goes on the road after Edinburgh but it was a delight to see Mister Gorman in a mere 500 seat venue as opposed to one of the barns he’ll be inhabiting on tour. Still, at least the Powerpoint presentation format means that there will be something to look should you catch it in an arena.

Another hit. If only London were like this.


*Not actually true, but you’ll understand if you catch the show.


Rating score 5-5 our cups overfloweth

Review – Liberace: Live From Heaven, Assembly George Square, Edinburgh Fringe

Monday 15 August 2011

You can’t say the Whingers aren’t taking risks on the Fringe.

Bobby Crush in Liberace: Live From Heaven (the place people supposedly go after death, not the 80s nightclub you understand), now you really wouldn’t have expected us to take a punt on that now would you?

Well the clues in the title. Liberace is poised at the gates of heaven and has to convince St Peter (voiced by Stephen Fry) and God (voiced by Victoria Wood) why he should be admitted through the Pearly Gates or take the elevator to hell. And then we the audience ultimately vote to seal his fate.

But the big mystery for the Whingers was why a party of about 10 people walked out 15 minutes into the show. Didn’t they know what they were coming to? L:LFH does exactly what it says on the tin.

We get a potted biography as he takes us through his life, arguing his case and of course plenty of delightful piano playing from Crush’s Liberace and that’s when the show is at its best. Crush has the twinkling mannerisms down to a “T” and they’re hilarious to watch even if he did remind Phil of a brunette Pat Butcher (now Pat Evans previously Harris, Beale and Wicks) at times.

But the highlight comes towards the end when he plays a medley of six songs which Crush invites his audience to shout out.

This should have been the Whingers’ moment, but our minds went even blanker than usual. All Phil could think of was “Jesus Christ Superstar” without realising how appropriate that would have been.

The show is good fun but at 75 minutes it is rather overextended on what is, after all, something of a chestnut of a device.

For the record we voted Liberace into heaven.


Review – The Magnets, Assembly George Square, Edinburgh Fringe

Monday 15 August 2011

What has happened to the Whingers in Edinburgh? Is there something in the air up here that has turned their heads? Have Phil and Andrew been spiking each others drinks?

With about 2,500 shows to choose from you’d think we could find more to Whinge about than this. Our rictus grinning continues apace. It really is most dispiriting and unsettling. If this carries on in London we’ll be seeking a new moniker.

What a joyous hour we spent in the company of the extraordinary a capella/beatboxing group The Magnets. Six phenomenally talented and dapper young (everything’s relative) men who rip through a set of covers from Sister Sledge’s “Lost in Music” to Blur’s “Girls and Boys” without the aid of instruments, which must make their travelling arrangements so much simpler.

So nothing to whinge about at all then? Well we wouldn’t have chosen Blondie’s “Call Me” but one of their better (to us) numbers and when the group invite the audience to choose between a sung through A to Z of either band names or film music we were of course screaming for films knowing that we wouldn’t know many of the bands suggested. The bands list was, as expected, voted for and our knowledge of more contemporary music was exposed as scratchy to say the least.

But that is unnecessary peevishness on our part. We found The Magnets’ attraction extremely appealing.


Review – Paul Daniels: Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow, Assembly George Square, Edinburgh Fringe

Saturday 13 August 2011

Be careful what you wish for.

Phil was beginning to regret his fantasy of revisiting Pete Firman’s magic show in the slight chance that he might see Andrew with his head in a guillotine.

Bad karma indeed. Less than 24 hours later and there was Phil, on his knees in front of Paul Daniels with his head locked in a guillotine for that very same trick. And all this with not only Andrew, but Mark Shenton in the audience too. You really couldn’t make it up.

Phil was on stage for what seemed like half the show having already had his £20 ripped in two by Mr Daniels.

Andrew, feeling distinctly snubbed and green with envy at Phil’s undeserved temporary stardom, refused to buy Phil the post-show drink he deseprately needed to calm down leading to a frantic Sellotaping session by Phil.

This was Paul Daniels: Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow in which the veteran magician proves why he’s lasted so long in the business. He’s got the tricks and the patter, although there is perhaps a  little too much chat before he actually gets down to business of magic and a trick involving in a magic box with a couple of ropes seemed somewhat over-elaborate.

But you really do have to see these seasoned old pros live. There is also a live rabbit and – of course – the lovely Debbie McGee.

Of course you are unlikely to be treated to a Whinger under the blade but you can’t have it all can you?

And yes, Phil still has no idea how the trick was done.

Highly recommended.


Rating score 4-5 full-bodied

Would almost certainly have been five had Phil’s head come off.