FESTIVAL THEATRE | Reviews at a Glance
For full length versions of these reviews see list.co.uk/festival Amelia Ryan: Lady Liberty ●●●●● Ryan is wheeled into Assembly’s The Box on a metal goods carrier. It sets the tone for a constantly surprising show that’s coloured by Ryan’s never- diminishing energy levels. It tells the story of the Lady Liberty within us all. For Ryan, her Lady Liberty moment was moving from Adelaide. (Adam Bloodworth) Assembly George Square Theatre, 623 3030, until 28 Aug, (not 22) £10–£12. Angel by Henry Naylor ●●●●● For the third year, Henry Naylor returns to the Gilded Balloon with a serious play based on current issues in the Middle East, and for the second year running his female performer is the magnetic and versatile Filipa Bragança. Both of his previous pieces earned him a Fringe First, and Angel has repeated that feat. (David Pollock) Gilded Balloon Teviot, 622 6552, until 29 Aug, 4.30pm, £10.50–£12.50 (£9.50–£11.50). Blood will have Blood ●●●●● Caught between post-visual and immersive theatre modes, Blood Will Have Blood never hits its stride. The new perspective on Macbeth is welcome, but the company are trying to i nd their voice: the seeds of future greatness may be there, but this hour is confusing and uncomfortable. (Gareth K Vile) C nova, 0845 260 1234, until 29 Aug, 2.15pm & 9.15pm, £11.50– £13.50 (£9.50–£11.50) Blush ●●●●● Scripted as a series of i rst person monologues, Blush addresses the contemporary topic of revenge porn. The two-strong cast play a wide range of characters and are adept at switching between the roles. They succeed in creating a thought provoking drama exploring the complex issues surrounding shared nudity without ever having to resort to explicitly showing it. (Rowena McIntosh) Underbelly Cowgate, 0844 545 8252, until 28 Aug, 6pm, £10–£11 (£9–£10). Bricking It ●●●●● Joanna Grifi n and her father Pat have swapped places. But this is no mere exercise in role play theatre as comedic conceit: having lost their wife and mother recently, Joanna and Pat make her presence felt. The show is never ‘drilled’ to perfection, but what it lacks in slickness it makes up for in emotional articulacy. (Lorna Irvine) Underbelly Cowgate, 0844 545 8252, until 28 Aug, 5.30 pm, £9.50–£10.50 (£8.50–£9.50). The Convolution of Pip and Twig ●●●●● The storytelling at points risks selling the story short, with a prevalence of pre-recorded sound effects and repetitive action as the piece nears the end. The Convolution of Pip and Twig makes vivid work of its characters, but less striking are the twists and turns of the journey it sends them on. (Elliot Roberts) SpaceTriplex, 510 2395, until 27 Aug (not 21), 6.40pm, £8 (£6) Dublin Oldschool ●●●●● You can feel the seething energy in Emmet Kirwan’s hectic, frantic, chemically enhanced trip through the Irish capital. His wild linguistic exuberance makes the show spellbinding, as two men slip in and out of rap and speech, sparking off each other magnii cently. It’s not always easy to follow, but keep up and it’s an unforgettable switchback journey. (David Kettle) Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 28 Aug (not 22), 1pm, £7.50–£10 (£6.50–£9). The Empire Builders ●●●●● The power of the play is in the clarity of the production, which reduces bourgeois optimism to a small space, bounded by tape and doubt. Strong performances and an increasingly
88 THE LIST FESTIVAL 18–29 Aug 2016
On Ego by Mick Gordon ●●●●● For a Fringe debut, York-based Mind Over Matter theatre company’s beautifully delivered show is a bold achievement – not least because they dare to be calm, considered and rel ective. Anna Mawn and Will Heyes’ strikingly simple, elegant design gives the show a gently futuristic, plastic feel that lodges in the memory. (David Kettle) ZOO, 662 6892, until 20 Aug, 2pm, £10 (£8). Ruby and the Vinyl ●●●●● The production by the John Godber Company pairs legendary writer John Godber with his daughter Elizabeth. In classic Godber style, the script contains plenty of true-to-life dialogue and a handful of pithy chuckles in between the bright, foot-tapping musical numbers. The tone of youthful earnest awkwardness dominates the piece leaving little room for much development of the characters. (Elliot Roberts) Underbelly Cowgate, 0844 545 8252, until 28 Aug, 7.10pm, £9–£10.50 (£8–£9.50). Sacré Blue ●●●●● Once a vital tool for survival, anxiety has become symptomatic of the human experience. Sacré Blue packs a multitude of material into a gig-style setlist structure. With so much material on display, particular attention is drawn to the less focused moments, where unnecessary repetition or a lack of immediacy threatens to dissipate the energy stimulated in the more engaging moments. (Elliot Roberts) Northern Stage at Summerhall, run ended. Shake ●●●●● The collision of French physical comedy and the intricate plot of Twelfth Night does not always cohere, but the i nale resolves the tension into a sequence of witty set pieces that allow the actors to show off their skills and i nish the evening with some broad laughter. (Gareth K Vile) Lyceum, run ended. Swivelhead ●●●●● Ben Dyson as Paddy has plenty of memorable one-liners, while still convincingly charting his character’s descent into despair. Juliet Welch is tender as his sister Hattie, and Lewis Howard gives a superbly nuanced, considered performance as young recruit Callum. This is serious, thought- provoking stuff that sets its sights high, and scores a direct hit. (David Kettle) Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 29 Aug, 3.10pm, £8–£10 (£7–£9). The Vaudevillains ●●●●● The individual routines vary in quality, but the overall narrative is a little slim, serving more to hold the action together. Yet the range of skills within the cast is impressive and the ensemble have a distinctive dynamism: the songs lack enough identity to make this a memorable musical. (Gareth K Vile) Assembly George Square, until 28 Aug, 10.10pm, £14–£16 (£12.50–£14.50). We Live By the Sea ●●●●● Patch of Blue theatre company have something quite special going on, as they’ve proved with several big-hearted Fringe shows in recent years combining touching, poignant stories with exuberant theatricality. And We Live By the Sea is no exception – a show that can bring a tear to the eye while wowing with its homespun stage inventiveness. (David Kettle) Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 29 Aug, 4.30pm, £7–£9 (£6–£8). World Without Us ●●●●● This latest work from Ontroerend Goed – the ever-inventive Belgian company behind legendary Fringe shows Internal and Audience – is a lengthy narrative poem about a world devoid of human life. The narrator, today performed by Valentijn Dhaenens, delivers an impressive performance, but the show’s drawn-out length and lack of visual stimulation may be too much for some. (Yasmin Sulaiman) Summerhall, 560 1581, until 28 Aug (not 22), 11.30am, £12 (£10).
In Tents and Purposes
desperate atmosphere ensure that the absurdist vision is evident even to the vicious end. (Gareth K Vile) Institut français d’Écosse, 225 5366, until 21 Aug, 6.30pm, £12 (£10) F*cking Men ●●●●● It is superb how writer Joe Dipietro involves so many characters – all with their own unique stories – but doesn’t allow this to interfere with a strong, clear narrative. Dipietro’s play presents a deep study of the three central men when it could have easily been a weaker, more general, ensemble piece. (Adam Bloodworth) Assembly George Square Studios, 623 3030, until 29 Aug (not 23), 3.55pm, £13–£15 (£11–£13). Hess ●●●●● Derek Crawford Munn brings to life Rudolph Hess, the last Nazi prisoner to die in Spandau. The actor plays the war leader with gentle force and exacting bite. It’s a tour-de-force performance that serves to make his situation pitiful, rather than sympathetic. (Adam Bloodworth) Gilded Balloon Teviot, 622 6552, until 29 Aug (not 23), £10–£12 (£9–£11). In Tents and Purposes ●●●●● The play examines what might happen if we could alter incidents from our past that dei ne us. The duo’s comedic work is magnii cently sparky as they competitively put each other down in the meta moments, then act out edits in the script to benei t the characters. (Adam Bloodworth) Assembly George Square Studios, 623 3030, until 29 Aug (not 22), £9–£11 (£8–£10). Jules Verne’s Extraordinary Voyages: The Lighthouse at the End of the World ●●●●● The naked and unchanging set on which the drama happens creates frequent ambiguity about the action’s setting that the excessively wordy script fails to illuminate. What might, in more seasoned hands, have been a thrilling tale of adventure, piracy, and hiding from bad guys, unfortunately disappoints as a dull, uninspired skeleton of a show. (Jordan Shaw) C nova, until 29 Aug, 4.45pm, £8.50–£10.50 (£6.50–£8.50). Love for Sale ●●●●● There are many parallels drawn here between the Weimar Republic and contemporary austerity-marked Britain, where radical theatre provides an alternative to reality by alluding to the human condition with a weary smile and a knowing wink. Burke and Atkins ultimately succeed in a heartfelt and stylish show which is as intelligent as it is decadent. (Lorna Irvine) Assembly Hall, 623 3030, until 29 Aug, 5.45pm £11–£12 (£10–£11). Nel ●●●●● Multi-tasking between acting, singing, puppetry and succulent sound effects, the four-strong cast throw everything they have into the show, and the result is a high-energy, entertaining, laugh-out- loud hour of touching whimsy, even if its structure could do with tightening, and its themes clarifying. Nevertheless, Nel must have the most charming, humorous outro anywhere on the Fringe. (David Kettle) Pleasance Dome, 556 6550, until 29 Aug, 3pm, £8.50–£10 (£7.50–£9).