Another year, another amazing time at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (its official name). We were there for four days, and boy did we cram in loads of shows. It did remind me a lot of fashion week… lots of wide eyed, eager enthusiasts with giant cups of Starbucks to keep them alert and awake.
Before I give you a lowdown of the shows we saw, I just wanted to say that I LOVE Edinburgh. What a friggin’ amazing city. Every year we go I grow more and more fond of it. The architecture, to be quite honest, craps over what we have in London.
Anyway, here are the shows we saw, in no particular order. I’ve tried to be as honest as I can, no point in sticking in the word ‘amazing’ to everything, huh?
Vikki Stone: Instrumental
What an uber talented little lady. Her wit, comedic song writing and delivery is dynamite. She attempts to play 20 instruments that she owns or has borrowed and tells her life story through song and music. An honest, brave, AMAZING piece of theatre. Highly recommend this.
The Trial Of Jane Fonda
I had no idea Jane Fonda did so much anti-war campaigning during the Vietnam War up until seeing this play. It was educational to say the least. It’s based in a small town in America in 1988 where war veterans were apposed to her filming scenes of a film she was starring in with Robert De Niro. Oscar nominated Anne Archer delivers a great performance of Jane Fonda, in fact all the acting is brilliant, but there isn’t much creativity with direction and it’s a tad predictable. Hard to re-write history though! Worth seeing just for Anne and learning about Jane’s history.
The Curing Room
It can’t be all camp. There always comes a point during my time at the festival when I need to see something gritty and moving. This is exactly that. In brief, seven Soviet soldiers are captured by the Nazis, stripped naked and locked in a cellar. This is all about survival. You quickly get over the fact that there are seven completely naked (good looking) men on stage, especially when they start killing and eating each other. A seriously harrowing yet incredible play, and so well acted, by all seven men. A must see!
Tina T’urner Tea Lady
We saw this straight after The Curing Room, and thank God we did. We needed some light comic relief. Definitely the funniest show we saw all week, AND FREE! Winner of Best Newcomer at the London Cabaret Awards 2014, this funny lady has taken one of the biggest musical icons of all time, one of my favourite divas, and turned her into a screeching, hysterical tea lady. Parody songs, stories and a tiny bit of audience participation.
Addams Family (musical)
This isn’t just the old story re-hashed with songs crow-barred in. It charts the story of Wednesday falling in love. Not as soppy as it sounds, there is still kooky, wicked comedy and a funny script. Uncle Fester was particularly brilliant – camp and witty – and Wednesday had the best voice out of the cast. The only disappointment for me was Morticia – she wasn’t over the top enough, didn’t glide (maybe they should have put her on casters?) and wasn’t close enough to the film version. Overall though, fun and worth the watch.
Frisky and Mannish: Just Too Much
A firecracker of a double act who have honed the skill of variety… current pop songs turned into funny parodies, comedy, a bit of dance (but not their strongest attribute, in fact a ballet dream sequence in the middle could be substituted for more of their camp repertoire). Laura Corcoran (Frisky) has a good voice and brilliant timing and wit, very natural. Matthew Floyd Jones (Mannish) has to work a bit harder at the comedy, sometimes relying on Frisky to pull him through, but nonetheless is amazing on the piano and brings a lot of fun to the show. A-class modern variety.
50 Shades! The Musical. The Original Parody
Obviously Christian Grey is cast as a fat Chinese man. Why wouldn’t he be? Hilarious from the beginning, this is one of the funniest musical parodies I’ve ever seen. There was definitely an older couple there, (woman dragging man) who thought it was going to be just the (first) book turned into a musical. Boy were they wrong. An hour long, and wee-yourself-funny… definitely go and see this if you have the time spare. But be warned, there’ll be long queues!
Some other shows to see:
Split Decision is a very well acted threesome about the impending collapse of a marriage, and all written in verse (which I only realised half way through due to not reading the synopsis properly). Out Of The Blue, the singing, all-male, slightly awkward Oxford graduates take pop and classic songs and do them all A cappella, with beatboxing and all. I’m Thinking Of Leaving Facebook, written and performed by Lolly Jones, is a funny and honest take on our social media world, taking us on a journey of her sexual conquests. Blues And Burlesque does what it says on the tin, and happens to be one of the best burlesque shows at the fringe. Vicious Delicious is absolutely hysterical, with a brilliant and natural wit like no other, often using her typically London accent to her advantage, while Scarlett Belle does all the burlesque, and happens to have the most amazing nipple tassel swinging technique I’ve ever seen.
Hope that helps!