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Fringe Review: Tea Room

Posted by in Edinburgh Fringe | 1 comment

* * * * * (5 stars)

A cup of tea in a china cup, a pristine white tablecloth and an enticing cake stand. And listen carefully, the show is going on around you. You only have to listen in.

Characters come and go from the tearoom, each bringing their own story. There are ups and downs, fights, resolutions, fears, tears and joy. We are swept along with the characters, wondering about who they are and hoping they find happiness after this brief glimpse into their lives.

If you enjoy people-watching you will love this show, and watching the reactions of the other members of the audience as much as the diverse cast. There is much to ponder on and take away from this unique experience. Bring a hankie.

* * * * * (5 stars)

Tea Room
Lauriston Hall

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Fringe review: Ian Kendall’s Obsession

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* * * * * (5 stars)

Two years ago, after eighteen years on the Fringe, Ian Kendall said he would never do this again. After his sell-out show (called “I said I would never do this again”) last year he’s back this year for two nights only with a new show entitled “Obsession”, as well as daily performing slots on the Royal Mile.

If you’ve seen Ian performing street magic on the Mile you may have felt a little scared but you would definitely have felt mystified, impressed and very entertained. His stage show is a step up from his outdoor performance, with much more chat and close-up magic that often fails to result in its deserved response as audience brains struggle to comprehend what they’ve just seen and forget what their arms are for. A quick repeat and a witty comment and the trick receives stunned and awed applause.

Ian’s shows are a combination of humour, encyclopaedic knowledge on a variety of geeky subjects and the most mind-blowingly amazing magic. He is also very tall.

If you want to see Ian this year you’ll need to try and catch him on the Royal Mile – his two-show run finished last night. But he will be back next year for his 21st anniversary on the Fringe.

* * * * * (5 stars)

Ian Kendall
Obsession

Zoo Roxy

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Fringe review – The Noise Next Door

Posted by in Edinburgh Fringe | 0 comments

***** (5 stars)

The Noise Next Door are five young lads doing improvised musical comedy the way it should be done. There was no sense of the audience needing to warm up to the show, the laughs were coming thick and fast before bums were even on seats thanks to two puppets in the tech box making witty comments while two of the boys made beautiful music on the stage. The fifth member of the crew was out with a box of acetates and pens encouraging audience members in the queue to draw random scenes for use later in the show.

The speed at which the suggestions from the audience were incorporated into sketches and songs was impressive. Even when a joke took several attempts to formulate properly, there was a real sense of camaraderie as the audience respected the effort clearly being put into this fast-thinking, and willed the punchline to materialise on the tip of the performer’s tongue. These young men are remarkably talented and work incredibly well together. Ending a five-part improvised song by rhyming “taramasalata” is just one small example of their combined genius.

***** (5 stars)

The Noise Next Door
Their Finest Hour

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Fringe Review: The Brandreth Papers

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* * * (3 stars)

This is an interesting mix of one man monologue, comedy character piece, and good old fashioned shaggy dog stories. It doesn’t quite hold together, but the charm of Brandon Brandreth holds it all together with passion, charm, delightful turns of phrase, and dexterous wordplay.

The chiselled chin, smart dinner jacket, slicked back hair (and a prop Walther PPK pistol) bring to mind a young James Bond, but it feels a little bit excessive. There’s no easing the audience into the character, and it’s vital to the show that we believe in this character before we are taken on a journey that covers love, a Kraken, Tolstoy, the Duke of Edinburgh, and more. Without that belief, the heightened reality feels false. While that might be the ultimate intention, I think the audience should be taken on that journey, rather than start at the destination.

There is a good show in here, and there’s every chance that it wil improve over the Edinburgh run, but right now it’s more Roger Moore than Sean Connery, and I’m a Connery man.

* * * (3 stars)

The Brandreth Papers
Gilded Balloon

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Fringe Review: Neil Delamere, Diviliment

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* * * * (4 stars).

Moving up from a club set of twenty minutes to the full hour that is an Edinburgh hour is not always easy, but if anyone wanted an example on how to carry over the energy of the regular show, while taking advantage of the imitate properties that sixty minutes hands a comic… They should look no further than Neil Delamere.

The confident irishman took to the stage with not a little bit of trouble. Throw some tech issues, late audience members, and a lively crowd, and some would struggle to get the giggles from the opening. Delamere threads everything into the fabric of the rest of the show.

And while the scripted material might not push any boundaries, once Delamere warms up and starts riffing on his own material, the magic happens. As long as he overrides the voice of reason in hours head, the audience will be rewarded handsomely.

The only thing missing is the voice of Peter Dickson (the voice over man from The X Factor) shouting “Neil DelaMERE!“, but that’s only going to worry the four Fighting Talk fans who recognise Delamere’s name.

* * * * (4 stars).

Neil Delamere
Divilment

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Fringe Review: Jerry Sadowitz – Comedian, Magician, Psychopath

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* * * * (4 stars)

Thanks to the show title and the opening line of the description on the Edinburgh Fringe site ("If you like Hitler, you’ll love Jerry Sadowitz!") you go in with your eyes open, and what you see is a versatile performer who is on top of their game. A comedian who wins over the vast audience of close to 800 people in the Assembly Hall within ninety seconds; a magician so confident and assured that routines that could easily be the climax of another act are discarded with anger towards the wings of a stage; a psychopath who is so clinically accurate that the logic of Sadowitz underpinning the comedy makes perfect sense.

And he rapidly gets to his almost trademarked Madeline McCann moment within four minutes.

There is an artistry here, a delicate light touch which is easily lost behind the forceful personality and verbal assault of the comic. The tools of Sadowtiz trade might be distasteful to the Morningside ladies who would normally sit in the Assembly Halls, but his words are poetic, their construction is impeccable, and should it matter that where other comedians draw breath and pause, Sadowtiz appears to be using swearing for punctuation?

A manic performer, bouncing around material that I suspect could last for hours, going wherever his mood and the audience takes him, there’s no way to say exactly what sort of show you’ll get or where the balance between magic and comedy will be. But you’ll get to see a master craftsman, in his element, at full speed for an hour.

* * * * (4 stars)

Jerry Sadowitz – Comedian, Magician, Psycopath
Assembly Hall

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