Skip to main content

Edinburgh Festival Fringe Theatre 2014 - Confirmation – Kings Hall – Four stars / I Promise You Sex and Violence - Kings Hall - Three stars / A Series of Increasingly Impossible Events - Kings Hall - Four stars

Was the holocaust real? Some say not, despite all sensible evidence to
the contrary. This is one of the uncomfortable questions Chris Thorpe
squared up to in Confirmation, his investigation into something called confirmation
bias, a behavioural tic which effectively allows us to justify any
belief system we care to align ourselves with. The answers Thorpe gets
from the white supremacist he makes contact with may be predictably
shocking, but, as he restlessly paces the floor dressed in respectable
white shirt and grey trousers, microphone in hand, he too runs the risk
of becoming a demagogue in this blisteringly physical production
directed by The T.E.A.M.'s Rachel Chavkin.

Thorpe is a charismatic performer, unafraid of looking us in the eye as
he plays the part of his charming nemesis while we are tasked to ask
the awkward questions in a series of head to head exchanges that might
make believers of us yet. In a co-production by Warwick Arts Centre and
China Plate commissioned by King's Hall resident company Northern Stage
and Battersea Arts Centre, Thorpe has created a fiercely intelligent
and relentlessly curious piece that strives for he truth, even as it
acts as a warning to the easily led.

Identity issues of a more libido-led  kind spill out all over in
Northern Stage's own production at the King's Hall. I Promise You Sex
and Violence is the audience-baiting title of David Ireland's
taboo-poking sex comedy, which, in a parody of  bad taste, puts a
racist, a homophobe and a misogynist in the sack together to find out
what tickles their fancy.

While gay Bunny masturbates over Will Smith, his friend Charlie tries
to ease the pain of giving blow-jobs to Tories by seeking out some
black friends, which Bunny duly provides her with.

There's an increasingly desperate edge to Lorne Campbell's production,
as actors Esther McAuley, Reuben Johnson and Keith Fleming run riot
like a gang of Mike Leigh grotesques in a manic Sam Shepherd short. In
the end, Ireland's play is an old-fashioned tale about three lonely
people trying to be someone they're not en route to a gloriously
dysfunctional form of domestic bliss.

The Secret Theatre Company are an ad hoc ensemble put together by the
Lyric Hammersmith's director, Sean Holmes, to devise a series of
exploratory works. The first of their Edinburgh shows, A Series of
Increasingly Impossible Acts, has Holmes put a youthful ten-strong
ensemble through their paces in what initially looks like a series of
theatre games, but which by the end has become a breathless emotional
assault course that suggests a little help from their friends is a good

With the name of the evening's protagonist pulled out of a hat, the
winner must take an hour-long leap into the void that becomes a
post-modern getting of wisdom. On the first night, Katherine Pearce was
the chosen one, and was duly sanctioned to bend iron bars, lock herself
in a suitcase, move a tyre with her mind, keep her hands in a bucket of
icy water and suck a lemon ad nauseum. Inbetween she wrestled with her
colleagues while answering a series of truth or dare style questions
about her real life hopes and fears, which she delivered with charm and
self-deprecating wit. There was also a pitch-perfect scene from Romeo
and Juliet just to remind us she's an actress in a show that gets to
the profound heart of what play can be.

The Herald, August 4th 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