Posts Tagged ‘Pleasance Dome’

Review – Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Pleasance Dome, Edinburgh Fringe

Saturday 27 August 2011

Yet another recommendation: Ovid’s Metamorphoses by Pants on Fire (that’s the name of the theatre group, not what Phil is now calling the people making recommendations).

It’s a mythological dactylic hexameter poem (not another!) describing the history of the world from its creation within a loose mythico-historical framework. Goodness! Surely Phil has more sense than to listen to the two Johns who raved about it so much they went back for a second visit?

Secretly Phil felt it might be more Avoid than Ovid.

Peter Bramley’s version with original songs by Lucy Egger has been neatly updated to World War II, so expect Andrews Sisters style singers, men and women in uniforms, newsreel footage, people walking through cinema screens and some puppetry.

So far, so Kneehigh.

But Ovid waver between Shinhigh and Thighhigh: occasionally it is a bit scrappy, it needs a little tightening up and cutting but mostly it’s highly entertaining, inventively and wittily staged and has moments of considerable elegance. And what this cast can’t do with a set of reversible screens isn’t worth knowing.

The multi-tasking, multi-costume-changing actors are young, talented and maddeningly attractive which is just as well as one of them (Mike Slader) has to play Narcissus as a Hollywood heart throb falling in love with his own image on the cinema screen. Imagine the casting call for that.

Aside from a few minor cavils Phil was unusually grateful for the recommendation.

Rating

Review – Tom Lenk: Nerdgasm, Pleasance Dome, Edinburgh Fringe

Wednesday 17 August 2011

Think of this posting as the Whingers’ version of the iconic children’s TV show Vision On.

Think of Buffy the Vampire Slayer star Tom Lenk‘s show Tom Lenk: Nergasm*as an art heist.

Think of the Whingers on the floor of a busy bar (that bit is not tricky, we accept), not with drinks in their hands but with crayons (ok that’s not strictly true we did have wine too), attempting to draw images for the show (this they were invited to do but the whys and wherefores are too taxing to go into).

Think of Andrew opting, from a list of nine rather complicated descriptions available, to draw bare feet (Andrew can’t abide bare feet).

Think of Phil choosing to draw Michael Jackson from memory and Mr Lenk himself, even though he’d previously never heard of him (let alone seen him) and asking around for a flyer so he had some idea what he looks like. Asking? Yes, asking for a flyer at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, when you spend most of the day trying to avoid being given them. Now that must be a first.

Think of the Whingers called up on stage (yet again) to reveal their drawings during one of Mr Lenk’s songs and him deciding to keep Phil’s drawing without even the courtesy of asking.


Think of Andrew’s chagrin on realising that Mr Lenk had no interest in retaining the artistic fruits of his labours.

Think why Phil warmed to Lenk’s albeit patchy stand-up show and why Andrew didn’t so much. But both agreed that the autobiographical bits – particularly his run through his photo album and his childhood dream board  illustrating his geekiness and gayness – had potential.

The show was only originally intended to play one date. We saw an extra late night performance starting at 11pm which was way past Andrew’s bedtime and may be yet another reason why he was so choleric.

Time to hum the Vision On gallery tune.

Footnote (according to the publicity)

*Nerdgasm [n]: The excitement of one’s nerdy or geeky tendencies causing a sensory overload.

Rating

Review – Arthur Smith’s Pissed-Up Chat Show, Pleasance Dome

Wednesday 17 August 2011

You can’t imagine why the Whingers selected this one, can you?

This sounded very much our cup of cheers: a live chat show with celebrity guests in a bar hosted by the usually reliable Arthur Smith; the perfect excuse to knock back a few drinks and round off an evening.

But this was more of a cocked-up than a Pissed-Up chat Show.

Each guest is invited to take a breathalyser test as Smith interviews them and there are various riffs on the dangers of too much drinking.

And there lies part of the problem. While you’re sitting there knocking back the alcohol you don’t really want to be shown the difference between a healthy and an unhealthy liver do you? You’d rather be clutching your sides with laughter than feeling to see if you have one left.

Smith has given up drinking, one of his guests on the show we saw Art Malik was also teetotal, so it was really left to the other guests – Malik’s daughter Keira (appearing on the Fringe together in Rose) and Fish from Marillion – to fly the flag a bit.

One audience member was invited to blow into the device but sadly neither Whinger was selected on this occasion. Perhaps this being the Fringe they can’t stretch to a backup machine and felt it was too risky.

But the tone, which feels a bit preachy, was made even worse by the feeling of unpreparedness from Smith who rambled through the evening referring to notes on a bit of paper and even then failing to get the name of his guest musician right. Is he sure he’s given up the sauce? If he has, perhaps he should consider going back on it.

As it happens, Fish (AKA Derek Dick) provided the most interesting chat and seemed a very likeable chap. But the evening was almost saved from being a complete shambles by Smith’s besuited side-kick Derek from the fictional Scottish Licensing Agency who provided most of the real laughs.

Of course as the guests vary every night so no two shows will be the same, but the whole drinks issue seemed counter-productive, rather than over-the-counter, to the proceedings.

Dispiriting in both senses.

Rating