Skip to main content

Joanna Gruesome

Summerhall, Edinburgh
Four stars


It's an unintentional piece of synchronicity that Cardiff-sired nouveau-riot grrrl
indie-pop noiseniks Joanna Gruesome have broken cover to release their second
album, Peanut Butter, the sparky follow-up to their 2013 debut, Weird Sister,
just as the other-worldly voice of the chanteuse who inspired their name, Joanna
Newsome, has similarly reappeared on the scene.

With former front-woman Alanna McArdle departing following the recording of Peanut Butter, twin vocalists Kate Stonestreet of Glasgow fem/queer punks Pennycress and Roxy Brennan of Two White
Cranes have stepped into the breach in a way that makes them sound more wilfully
disparate than ever.

The Edinburgh date of JoGrue's inaugural tour in their new six-piece line-up forms part of Summerhall's ongoing Nothing Ever Happens Here
series of shows, and opens with the headliners Fortuna Pop! label-mates and
fellow travellers, The Spook School. Like their forbears, the Edinburgh-based
quartet are a mixed gender combo who wrap up two-minute yarns concerning
twenty-first century sexuality with fifty-seven varieties of androgynous buzzsaw
punk-pop that isn't afraid to get in touch with its feminine side.

Joanna Gruesome are even more contrary, their three guitar frontline bridging the gap
between C86 gonzo thrash and more FX-driven cosmic adventures as Stonestreet's
shouty confrontationalism counterpoints Brennan's sweeter choir-girl warbles.
The effect of all this in a live arena is a gloriously low-attention-span sugar
rush of absorbed ideas which have been cut up, bent out of shape and freshened
up for a new wave of DIY dilettantism. Beyond the fun and frenzy, the music
takes itself seriously even as it makes for a beautiful explosion of pop and
politics designed to have you grinning your way to oblivion.

The Herald, September 25th 2015




ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Maids

Dundee Rep

Two sisters sit in glass cases either side of the stage at the start of Eve Jamieson's production of Jean Genet's nasty little study of warped aspiration and abuse of power. Bathed in red light, the women look like artefacts in some cheap thrill waxworks horror-show, or else exhibits in a human zoo. Either way, they are both trapped, immortalised in a freak-show possibly of their own making.

Once the sisters come to life and drape themselves in the sumptuous bedroom of their absent mistress, they raid her bulging wardrobe to try on otherwise untouchable glad-rags and jewellery. As they do, the grotesque parody of the high-life they aspire to turns uglier by the second. When the Mistress returns, as played with daring abandon by Emily Winter as a glamour-chasing narcissist who gets her kicks from drooling over the criminal classes, you can't really blame the sisters for their fantasy of killing her.

Slabs of sound slice the air to punctuate each scene of Mart…

Phoebe Waller-Bridge - Fleabag

Phoebe Waller-Bridge is a busy woman. The thirty-two year old actress who burst onto our TV screens as writer and star of Fleabag, the tragi-comic sort of sit-com about a supposedly independent woman on the verge is currently overseeing Killing Eve, her new TV drama which she's written for BBC America. As an actress, Waller-Bridge is also filming a big screen project which we can't talk about, but which has already been outed as being part of the ongoing Star Wars franchise.

These are both pretty good reasons why Waller-Bridge won't be appearing in the brief Edinburgh Festival Fringe revival of the original stage play of Fleabag, when it opens next week at the Underbelly, where it was first unleashed to the world in 2013. In her place, Maddie Rice will take on the role of the potty-mouthed anti-heroine after touring Vickie Jones' production for Waller-Bridge and Jones' DryWrite company in association with Soho Theatre. This doesn't mean Waller-Bridge has turned…

The Divide

King's Theatre
Four stars

Everything is black and white in Alan Ayckbourn's new play, a six hour two part epic set in a dystopian future where men and women are segregated from each other following the aftermath of an unspecified plague. Into this landscape, the secret diaries of brother and sister Elihu and Soween are brought to life by Jake Davies and Erin Doherty with a wide-eyed lightness of touch as their hormones get the better of them when they both hit puberty.
Annabel Bolton's production for the Old Vic, EIF and Karl Sydow begins with a TED Talk type lecture that reveals the back story to how things turned out this way. It ends with a sentimental love story designed to tug the heart-strings. Inbetween, there is teenage rebellion aplenty against the regime's institutionalised repression. Liberation comes through art and sex, which, in such extreme circumstances become even greater life forces.

With both plays told through the siblings' diaries alongside ass…