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Fringe Review: Ian D Montford

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I have no idea how Ian D Montford does it.

* * * * * (5 stars)

With his spirit guide at his side, a spot-welder called Geoff, he wows the audience with his amazing psychic abilities.

On the face of it Ian D Montford is a comic character created by Tom Binns (of Ivan Brackenbury fame) and the audience chuckles along lightheartedly

But Montford knows.

He is able to reveal information that he could not possibly guess and the audience begin to believe. By the end of the show, mouths are agape and the applause is thundering.

As the audience left I saw people who has been participants looking around for hidden mirrors, cameras, anything that could explain how it was done. The show was riotously funny.

Tom Binns is self-assured, quick-thinking and tremendously talented. I have no idea how he does it.

* * * * * (5 stars)

Ian D Montford – Touching the Dead
Pleasance Courtyard

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Fringe Review: Wolf

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What’s the time Mr Wolf? The not-so-distant howling is a little un-nerving – is it actors or real wolves?

* * * * * (5 stars)

After the briefing outside, including advice from the Wolf Conservation Trust on interacting with wolves, I’m not quite sure.

The audience moves uncertainly into a dark cave-like room, keeping close together. There is a strong smell: earthy, musky, wild. The howling grows louder The wolves appear, howling, snarling, yelping. They sniff and investigate the audience. There’s some nervous giggling, but most people stand stock still until the wolf moves on.

The wolves are powerful, organised, they fear nothing. They are disdainful of humans and the offer to be reintroduced where they have been exterminated. The wolves want to challenge the lies humans tell about them, the myths and stories.

The setting lends itself perfectly to the story being told. My senses are alive. Sights, sounds, smells, touch. There’s an eroticism  too in the animalistic lust and hunger of the wolves, an intensity in their eyes that connects to something wild deep inside me.

The darkness, the audience huddling together with wolves weaving through them, dominant and a little scary heightens the senses further. It’s truly thrilling, at times arousing, the adrenaline and excitement leaving me breathless.

The cast are exceptional, the songs haunting and howling. It has been an amazing experience, and there’s a slight sense of disappointment at coming back to reality; stepping back into the sunshine, into the world of humans.

* * * * * (5 stars)

Wolf
Just the Tonic at The Caves

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Fringe Review: Dead Cat Bounce, Too Fast for Love

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If you like the look of classic ’80s styling such as The Breakfast Club, New Romantics and Spinal Tap you will love Ireland’s Dead Cat Bounce.

* * * * * (5 Stars)

Lead-singer James Walmsley looks like a tall, young, sexy Mick Jagger; Mick Cullinan on keyboards is Dylan Moran crossed with a puppy. Bassist Shane O’Brien would not look out of place in any glam band and Demian Fox, the drummer, is indescribable. Their songs and banter between songs paint vivid pictures and are delivered fantastically dead-pan.

At this show you have the unique opportunity to learn the dance craze sweeping the world, including Belgium – The Kick. Listen to the song, watch the demonstration, have a go. Other songs include one inspired by a dream, and one designed solely to massage Walmsley’s ego.

The music is well-rehearsed and all four band members are vocally strong and talented. Dramatic lighting, impressive dance moves, audience participation and guest instrument the kazoo can only enhance the already awesome show. The songs are fast, fun and camply dramatic.

Brilliant.

* * * * * (5 Stars)

Dead Cat Bounce, Too Fast for Love
Gilded Balloon

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Fringe Review: The Boy with Tape on his Face

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If I could give this unique show six stars, I would. My gob has been utterly smacked and my mind blown.

* * * * * (5 Stars)

The boy with tape on his face is a combination of Vaudeville and puppetry, where magician meets Mr Bean. His eyes share Tom Baker’s intensity, with the same hint of mad genius.

With his hands clasped in his lap and a piece of gaffer tape over his mouth he is amazingly expressive, communicating with the audience with his eyes; striking and sexy. The depth of his gaze and earnestness of expression have the audience on-side from the start, so they need little encouragement to participate when beckoned.

Using everyday objects, he creates ingenious puppets with an understated skill and ease, accompanied by a perfectly-timed soundtrack. Motown singers appear at his fingertips, and an envelope and pencil sing like Elvis.

If you only see one Fringe show this year, make sure it’s this one. It will leave you speechless.

* * * * * (5 Stars)

The Boy with Tape on his Face
Gilded Balloon
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Fringe Review: Miles Jupp: Fibber in the Heat

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Yes, he’s the eccentric inventor who lives in a pink castle in Cbeebies’ Balamory, but he’d prefer you not to mention it as he takes you with him on an emotional journey.

* * * * (4 stars)

The journey starts with the decision to become a cricket commentator,  through trying to fit in and  existential Delhi-belly to why you shouldn’t meet your heroes and the realisation that he doesn’t want to be a cricket commentator at all.

Even if you have no prior knowledge of or interest in cricket, the eloquent anecdotes are laugh-out-loud funny, and Jupp’s attempts at impressionism and incredible memory for cricket scores keep the audience giggling along the way.

He is captivating, warm, funny and unafraid to lay his emotions out. A genuine human being with presence, timing, wit and charm, his show is a delightful way to spend an hour.

You might not learn anything about cricket, but you may well learn a lot about humanity. And why Wales is so important.

* * * * (4 stars)

Miles Jupp: Fibber in the Heat (A Cricket Tale)
Gilded Balloon

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