Skip to main content

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014 Theatre Reviews 3 - Donald Robertson Is Not A Stand-Up Comedian / Outings / Blind Hamlet

Donald Robertson Is Not A Stand-Up Comedian
Traverse Theatre
Four stars
Traverse 2 is reconfigured as an up close and personal brick wall club
complete with cabaret tables for Gary McNair's pithy and personal
deconstruction of comedy. First seen in work-in-progress form at the
Arches in Glasgow, McNair dons the fantasy-wish-fulfilment mantle of
the sort of cheeky chappie act who you could see any night of the week
in Edinburgh throughout August. Using this device, McNair gradually
unravels a shaggy dog story about a wise-cracking kid he meets on the
bus before risking being upstaged by the show's post-modern finale.

It's a fascinating shtick which gives nods to everything from Trevor
Griffiths' dramatic exposure of the comedy of hate in Comedians, to the
relationship between stand-up and live art bridged by the likes of
Lenny Bruce and Eric Bogosian. McNair cuts an altogether more chipper
dash than all of those, however, in a knowing study of one of the
Fringe's most popular artforms that has a punchline to die for.

Gilded Balloon
Three stars
  A row of see-through plastic stools are lined up across the stage at
the start of Matthew Baldwin and Thomas Hescott's compendium of true
stories from gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and trans-gender men and women and
their experience of coming out in a straight world. As a troupe of five
performers lift scripts from a back-wall pin-board of newspaper
cuttings, the implication in David Grindley's production is that
nothing is hidden in a piece which doesn't pretend

Knitted together from a set of first-hand testimonies, things open
familiarly enough with everyday tales of awkward adolescents finding
out who they are or who they want to be, before opening out to look at
how assorted religions and races view homosexuality today.

Performed by Rob Deering, Andrew Doyle, Zoe Lyons and Camille Duncan
plus an under-used daily guest star (Rob Crouch from the Pleasance
production of Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas the day the Herald is in),
the show's nearest relative is Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues, in
that its power comes from giving voice to what is still too often
hidden from view, whilst remaining vital that they're heard.

Blind Hamlet
Assembly Roxy
Four stars
There are no actors at all onstage in White Rabbit Red Rabbit writer
Nassim Soleimanpour’s painfully personal coming to terms with losing
his sight. Instead, Ramin Gray's production for ATC opens with a stage
manager putting a microphone close to a mobile phone placed on the
spotlight-illuminated stage floor. When the stage manager presses play,
what we hear are effectively the Iranian born writer's final dramatic
gift to the world, as his disembodied voice engages the audience in
assorted theatre games that involve us closing and opening our eyes as
a process of elimination weeds out a pair of make-believe killers from
a set of willing volunteers.

At the heart of all this is Soleimanpour's love affair with Hamlet, a
play he has never read, but which his eyes are now too dimmed to ever
be able to finish it. As poignant as all this is, there is a
playfulness to proceedings as the audience effectively create a new
play with every show. At times one can't help but think of Derek
Jarman's similarly voice-led film, Blue, another set of sightless
meditations. The fact that Soleimanpour's work stems initially from an
empty stage and a mobile phone is a powerful statement on what is and
isn't required to play the Dane.

The Herald, August 6th 2014



Popular posts from this blog

Losing Touch With My Mind - Psychedelia in Britain 1986-1990

DISC 1 1. THE STONE ROSES   -  Don’t Stop 2. SPACEMEN 3   -  Losing Touch With My Mind (Demo) 3. THE MODERN ART   -  Mind Train 4. 14 ICED BEARS   -  Mother Sleep 5. RED CHAIR FADEAWAY  -  Myra 6. BIFF BANG POW!   -  Five Minutes In The Life Of Greenwood Goulding 7. THE STAIRS  -  I Remember A Day 8. THE PRISONERS  -  In From The Cold 9. THE TELESCOPES   -  Everso 10. THE SEERS   -  Psych Out 11. MAGIC MUSHROOM BAND  -  You Can Be My L-S-D 12. THE HONEY SMUGGLERS  - Smokey Ice-Cream 13. THE MOONFLOWERS  -  We Dig Your Earth 14. THE SUGAR BATTLE   -  Colliding Minds 15. GOL GAPPAS   -  Albert Parker 16. PAUL ROLAND  -  In The Opium Den 17. THE THANES  -  Days Go Slowly By 18. THEE HYPNOTICS   -  Justice In Freedom (12" Version) 1. THE STONE ROSES    Don’t Stop ( Silvertone   ORE   1989) The trip didn’t quite start here for what sounds like Waterfall played backwards on The Stone Roses’ era-defining eponymous debut album, but it sounds

Big Gold Dreams – A Story of Scottish Independent Music 1977-1989

Disc 1 1. THE REZILLOS (My Baby Does) Good Sculptures (12/77)  2. THE EXILE Hooked On You (8/77) 3. DRIVE Jerkin’ (8/77) 4. VALVES Robot Love (9/77) 5. P.V.C. 2 Put You In The Picture (10/77) 6. JOHNNY & THE SELF ABUSERS Dead Vandals (11/77) 7. BEE BEE CEE You Gotta Know Girl (11/77) 8. SUBS Gimme Your Heart (2/78) 9. SKIDS Reasons (No Bad NB 1, 4/78) 10. FINGERPRINTZ Dancing With Myself (1/79)  11. THE ZIPS Take Me Down (4/79) 12. ANOTHER PRETTY FACE All The Boys Love Carrie (5/79)  13. VISITORS Electric Heat (5/79) 14. JOLT See Saw (6/79) 15. SIMPLE MINDS Chelsea Girl (6/79) 16. SHAKE Culture Shock (7/79) 17. HEADBOYS The Shape Of Things To Come (7/79) 18. FIRE EXIT Time Wall (8/79) 19. FREEZE Paranoia (9/79) 20. FAKES Sylvia Clarke (9/79) 21. TPI She’s Too Clever For Me (10/79) 22. FUN 4 Singing In The Showers (11/79) 23. FLOWERS Confessions (12/79) 24. TV21 Playing With Fire (4/80) 25. ALEX FERGUSSON Stay With Me Tonight (1980) 1. THE REZILL

Edinburgh Rocks – The Capital's Music Scene in the 1950s and Early 1960s

Edinburgh has always been a vintage city. Yet, for youngsters growing up in the shadow of World War Two as well as a pervading air of tight-lipped Calvinism, they were dreich times indeed. The founding of the Edinburgh International Festival in 1947 and the subsequent Fringe it spawned may have livened up the city for a couple of weeks in August as long as you were fans of theatre, opera and classical music, but the pubs still shut early, and on Sundays weren't open at all. But Edinburgh too has always had a flipside beyond such official channels, and, in a twitch-hipped expression of the sort of cultural duality Robert Louis Stevenson recognised in his novel, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, a vibrant dance-hall scene grew up across the city. Audiences flocked to emporiums such as the Cavendish in Tollcross, the Eldorado in Leith, The Plaza in Morningside and, most glamorous of all due to its revolving stage, the Palais in Fountainbridge. Here the likes of Joe Loss and Ted Heath broug