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Theatre Review: Avenue Q - Kings Theatre, Glasgow ✭✭✭✭

Written By Siobhan on Wednesday, 26 August 2015 | 19:00

With songs called 'Everyone's a Little Bit Racist' and 'The Internet is for Porn' in the line up, the last thing you would expect from Avenue Q would be a touching coming of age story, but that's exactly what you get. Princeton is a fresh faced college graduate looking to find an apartment to rent and his purpose in life. On his quest for both he stumbles across Avenue Q, which just happens to be the home of the quirkiest yet most endearing neighbours in town. The show tracks Princeton's journey into adulthood providing many laughs (and a few tears) along the way. 

The Avenue Q cast is part human, part puppet and Richard Lowe and Sarah Harlington certainly  mastered the latter, controlling and voicing love birds Princeton and Kate Monster. Every look, gesture and movement was in sync to the point where you really forget that the Sesame Street style puppets you are watching, are just that. Stephen Arden was a particular highlight playing the porn obsessed 'grouch' of the bunch, Trekkie Monster. It's nice to see a fresh approach to an already funny character and Arden's blunter than normal responses had the audience in stitches. It has to be said that the cast as a whole are first class and really seemed to be enjoying themselves on stage, it was a pleasure to watch.  

Avenue Q tackles the topics that most musicals try to avoid, managing to portray tough life situations in a humorous way without distracting from their importance.  Some of the show's references are perhaps dated in parts but the heart of the story is still really relevant today and the final number, 'For Now', will leave you with a positive and upbeat message to take home - what more could you ask for?

Avenue Q is at the Kings Theatre until Saturday 29th August. For tickets and information visit

Fringe Review: Ross and Rachel - The Box, Assembly George Square Theatre ✭✭✭✭

Written By Siobhan on Saturday, 22 August 2015 | 17:32

Ross & Rachel at Edinburgh Fringe Festival Banner

‘Ross and Rachel’ is a very cleverly constructed yet simplistic one woman show which portrays the lives of the famous characters Ross and Rachel from ‘Friends’ after the American sitcom comes to an end. You will almost feel as though you are on a personal friendship level with the pair due to the amount of knowledge you gain on their relationship. 

This one hour monologue, by James Fritz and performed by Molly Vevers, beautifully captures the perhaps not so happily ever after ending that the couple are faced with, as well as the other hiccups most relationships nowadays entail. The pair’s struggles are clearly depicted as Ross is diagnosed with cancer and the ‘life after Ross’ scenario becomes the focus point for the plot.  

Vevers cleverly sucks you in and really allows you to feel a variety of strong emotions for both characters through the intimacy of the small, but sold out venue. As an audience member, you feel as though you know ‘Ross’ and ‘Rachel’ and feel like you could currently be sat in their living room, hearing both their sides of their relationship story. 

However, don’t be put off if you’ve never seen a single episode of ‘Friends’ before (but where have you been hiding?). There are occasionally very subtle references to the show, such as the famous ‘we were on a break’ scenario, but the show is easy to follow and understand regardless of how familiar you are with the show, which simply plays as a stimulus for the performance.

‘Ross and Rachel’ is at The Box, Assembly George Square Theatre until the the 31st of August lasting an hour at 12:30

Fringe Review: The Sunset Five - Queen Dome, Pleasance Dome ✭✭✭✭✭

‘The Sunset Five’ is a witty, warm, hilarious piece of theatre which is definitely not to be missed at the Edinburgh Fringe. If you are not planning on going, go. 

Full of twists, turns, laughs and music, ‘The Sunset Five’ is a fantastic feel-good piece of theatre where the cast are so brilliantly in tune with one another. You’ll be left wanting more. 

Upon entering the venue, the cast were sitting along the back playing Elvis Presley’s ‘Hound Dog’ live, setting the tone for the next hour or so. The instruments were continuously used throughout the performance for more singing as well as for cleverly making sound effects.  

The show follows the lovable characters; Charley (owner of The Sunset pub), Neil (the gymnastic enthusiast), Hugh (a local newspaper writer who is a bit of a let down to his parents), Alice (who is very into computers), Fork (a local low-key criminal) and Fred (an American whose dream is to travel and host pub quizzes around the globe).  Local casino owner Mikey has paid out Charley’s debt for her pub and threatens to take it over unless she can raise $80,000 to repay him. So together, the quiz team plan a heist to steal money from Mikey’s casino. 

‘The Sunset Five’ is a hilarious and fun production, and you will find yourself loving all of the characters (perhaps not Mikey however), and although the play contains fairly light occasional swearing, it is great entertainment for teens, adults and the elderly alike. 

‘The Sunset Five’ is at the Queen Dome, Pleasance Dome until the the 31st of August lasting an hour at 17:40

Fringe Review: Close Up by Circa - Udderbelly, Underbelly George Square ✭✭✭✭✭

Review by Ellen Cree

If circus tricks, tossing, tumbling, acrobatics and humour are your thing, then ‘Close Up' by Circa is right up your street.

The Australian quartet put on a jaw dropping spectacle which will leave you both in awe and left wondering if there is anything that the human body can’t do. You will find it incredibly difficult to look away, even for a second, and you’ll be wishing the performance was an hour longer after witnessing such a marvel.

You feel very close to the fabulous four as they strongly engage with the audience, even bringing a few people on stage to join them for some tricks.

Throughout the duration of the show, there is an aerial dance segment and a Chinese pole segment which are both incredible and gravity defying. You will find it difficult to tear your eyes away.

The four performers, personality wise, make the performance extra special. It is clear to see how in love with the art they are, and how they just live and breathe for their passion, as well as the group being genuinely lovely, happy people.

‘Close Up'  is so beautifully sleek and simplistic, and everything that they do is made to look so easy and natural. There is nothing more wonderful than witnessing a performance where everyone involved is so in love with what they are doing, and for that, you should make sure you don’t miss it before the Edinburgh Fringe comes to a close.

‘Close Up' by Circa is at Underbelly George Square until the the 31st of August lasting an hour at 20:00

Fringe Review: Girl From Nowhere - Pleasance That, Pleasance Courtyard ✭✭✭✭

Review by Ellen Cree 

Upon entering the venue to watch ‘Girl From Nowhere’ there were numerous cardboard boxes laid out in formation along with a guitar and an old fashioned tape recorder. It was apparent upon the arrival of Victoria Rigby in character that this hour-long, one woman show was going to be pretty hard hitting and gritty.

Set in 1969 in Southern USA, ‘Girl From Nowhere’ allows the audience to watch a young woman record her story, which is later revealed to be for her infant daughter who was conceived as a result of rape. Light is shed on the struggles and complications that musicians who were trying to find fame experienced during this era and Rigby’s use of body language and facial expressions, and her overall aura, truly capture this.

The show also discusses how difficult it was for young women who were pregnant, especially for those who were victims of rape and those seeking abortions during the 60s.  This was particularly thought provoking as this is a contemporary issue which is still apparent in today's society in various places around the world.  

Victoria Rigby beautifully captures the essence of the character in this captivating piece of theatre in which she also sings and plays guitar to convey her character's emotions. The intimate venue really makes you feel as though you are with her in the basement of her family home as she opens up to you. The play also contains the clever use of a voice recording playing the lead’s mother shouting at her from the house into the basement where the performance takes place.

‘Girl From Nowhere’ is a not to be missed performance which will stay with you long after it is over.

‘Girl From Nowhere’ is at Pleasance That, Pleasance Courtyard until the the 31st of August lasting an hour at 12:45

Theatre Review: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Kings Theatre, Glasgow ✭✭✭✭✭

Written By Siobhan on Wednesday, 19 August 2015 | 16:05

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is a dynamic and visually striking play based on the bestselling novel by Mark Haddon.  The show centres around 15 year-old Christopher Boone whose Asperger’s Syndrome gives him a unique view of the world.  A genius with numbers with a penchant for logic, Christopher struggles to relate to a society he finds confusing and unsettling.  Upon discovering his neighbour’s dog has been killed with a garden fork, he sets out to solve the murder in his own uniquely methodical way - but in doing so he must face his fears and engage with strangers, uncovering more than he bargained for along the way.

The intricate, high-tech gridlike set combined with a clever use of lighting and sound gives the audience great insight into the inner workings of Christopher’s brain - from flashes of lightning when he is touched to explosions of numbers and letters when he is overwhelmed.  The resulting experience really is mesmerising to watch.

Joshua Jenkins gives an exceptional performance as Christopher. Never leaving the stage, he handles the demands of the role with ease and endears the audience to the character with his honest and humorous replies to rhetorical questions, without ever allowing Christopher to become a caricature. He is supported by a strong ensemble who not only take on the role of multiple characters but through skilled use of movement, become inanimate objects which help to seamlessly link one scene to the next. There are many touching moments throughout the play, particularly during the scenes Christopher shares with his teacher and confidant, Siobhan (Geraldine Alexander).

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time has an important story to tell - it addresses complex life issues such as equality and adultery while allowing the audience to experience how it is to live with Asperger’s Syndrome. It is a deeply moving tale told with breathtaking skill, and has the power to change how people view the world.     

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is at the Kings Theatre until Saturday 22nd August. For tickets and information visit

Fringe Review: Bruce - Underbelly Cowgate ✭✭✭✭

Written By Lisa Davidson on Saturday, 15 August 2015 | 20:41

Review by Ellen Cree

Bruce is a beautiful and cleverly done double act puppetry show performed by Tim Watts and Wyatt Nixon-Lloyd of Weeping Spoon Productions, based in Perth, Australia.

Dressed completely in black to disguise themselves with the backdrop, puppeteers Nixon-Lloyd and Watts, equipped with their sponge-like puppet, put on the slightly tragic, yet heartwarming story of Bruce, a guy who hasn't been the most fortunate in life after being brought up by just his mother, shooting his friend Joe in the eye and having his wedding proposal to Debbie rejected. Watts cleverly operates the puppet head and puts on a verity of different voices to depict the man characters while Nixon-Lloyd, with only his hands visible in white gloves acts out the characters’ gestures and movements. Developing incredible characterisation together, the duo tell the story of Bruce’s life very effectively.

For Bruce, lighting played a very important role in terms of characterisation. As one puppet is being used for all the characters, the lighting, which was also operated cleverly by the puppeteers, was changed between colours to creatively indicate which characterwas speaking. This was particularly effective during duologues.

Bruce was so simple (but effective) visually, however, at points the story got more complex and as there only being one puppet used for all the characters it became more difficult to keep track of the characters. After getting over the initial confusion of the multiple characters, I was sucked right in and especially enjoyed the time travel and flashback elements of the performance.

There is no doubt that Nixon-Lloyd and Watts are two very talented and creative men, and Bruce is a unique, one of a kind act which contains loads of laughs as well as a whole load of sympathy.

Bruce is at Underbelly Cowgate until 30th August with performances lasting an hour at 15:15

Fringe Review: Bromance - Underbelly Circus Hub, The Meadows ✭✭✭✭✭

Review by Ellen Cree

If you aren't planning on seeing Bromance, then you aren't doing the Fringe properly. This spellbinding act stars an alluring, charismatic trio who have you captivated from start to finish by exploring friendship and male bonding in a mesmerising spectacle, including humorous filler sketches along with brilliant characterisation.

The three personalities, if you like, are Louis (the robust/stong one), Beren (the incredible leaper) and Charlie (who blew me away with his talent for the cyr wheel). As well as feeling inspired after attending the show, I was completely left in awe of the talent that I’d witnessed from the three. There was a perfect balance of light hearted humour, emotion and anticipation, along with some darker segments, all achieved with very little props, a cyr wheel and the bodies of the three men. The performance had the whole audience on the edge of their seats with their mouths wide open in disbelief at the stunts, followed by loud sighs of relief at the the success. My stomach was left in knots during many of the acrobatic routines, despite of course having full faith that all would run smoothly, but you can’t help but feel a degree of panic when spectating such risky tricks which involve the performers heads just missing the floor.

As well as having the light hearted comedy in places, the show deeply explores the themes of male friendship, and more specifically, jealously, damaged dignity and intimacy that might occur between a bromance made of three individuals, opposed to the more common number of two, as the routines become more complex.

Bromance beautifully captures the essence of friendship between males and it a fantastic act for fans of circus and comedy alike.

Bromance is at Underbelly Circus Hub, performances last 55 minutes and are on 15-16, 18-23, 25-29 August at 18:25

Fringe Review: Gobsmacked! - Underbelly ✭✭✭✭

Written By Lisa Davidson on Friday, 14 August 2015 | 06:05

Review by Anne Mackie

Gobsmacked! is a next generation acapella show that is quite literally (as the title suggests...) gobsmacking...

But what allows this production to merit the 'gobsmacking' headline? There are a number of reasons, really. But what particularly stands out in this hour long fringe spectacle is one simple thing - the human voice. A strange statement, maybe, but as the performance begins, it becomes apparent that the unique blend of voices work beautifully together to produce some of the most exquisite and incomprehensible sounds I have heard in a performance space! From dynamic beat-boxing to soaring lyrical soprano tones - this group literally have it all. So much so, it becomes almost inconceivable that the human voice is able to produce such dynamic, emotive yet diverse musical tones!

The group use a simple yet effective set which encompasses headphones connected to a series of stacked-up stereo amps which the group occasionally climb on throughout the show. Truth? I'm somewhat unsure of what this symbolised within the context of the production, however I like to think it denoted the power and capability of the live human voice against the notion of current pre-recorded, instrumentally accompanied and artificially edited studio vocals. A poignant notion in today's somewhat manufactured and reality TV-induced music industry. It would have been particularly interesting if the production had featured more of a linear narrative in which to tie in the use of such a striking set and well chosen mix of musical numbers. That said, we must also remind ourselves that this is not a 'musical' - but instead a show that focuses solely on the efficacy and ability of the human voice. 

What was particularly obvious throughout the production was the chemistry between each individual performer in the group. Not once did concentration, group dynamic, harmony lines or beat-boxing slip; thus making for a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon of vocal entertainment. So much so, I left the Udderbelly venue wanting to invest in some form of beat-boxing lessons! 

The long and short of it? Gobsmacked! is not only's mind-blowingly good! Featuring an array of face-meltingly fabulous vocals and lip-tinglingly terrific beat-boxing tones; I cannot recommend this production highly enough. You won't believe your ears! Go... Embrace... And prepare to be Gobsmacked!

Gobsmacked! is at Underbelly from 14-16 and 18-31 August at 16:30. The performance lasts 1 hour.

Fringe Review: NewsRevue 2015 - Pleasance Courtyard ✭✭✭✭

Review by Graeme Shield

They came. They saw. They mocked. The self proclaimed longest-running live comedy show in the world returns to Edinburgh and with a variety of subjects from the aftermath of the General Election to Greece’s debt woes, it would seem that no topic or celebrity is left unturned or untouched. 

As a show, it can count Bill Bailey and Alistair McGowan among it’s alumni and you see shades of these mighty comedians in the current crop of Kieran Mortell, Katriona Perrett, Simon Prag and Naomi Bullock (whose interpretation of Nigel Farage is worryingly close to the real thing). Mortell exudes a manic energy while Bullock’s facial expressions are hilarious and deserve a Fringe show all of their own. Simon Prag’s on- the-nose impression of Nicola Sturgeon is the undisputed highlight of the evening – so much so, you can only suspect the First Minister herself would approve. 

NewsRevue’s script brings hilarity to the last 12 months and while some of the stand out jokes are laugh out loud funny, a portion of the material veers to the obvious. Also, material is made from easy targets (Haven’t we seen enough royal family sketches?) and the London-centric gags struggle to land as they deserve to. Probably because it’s in Edinburgh, two skits – one about Andy Murray and one about the weather – prove wildly popular. 

There is an argument that NewsRevue may be the Fringe’s best kept secret. While it may not be the best or cleverest satire you’ll find, it’s an amusing way to spend an hour of your Fringe time.
Vote with your feet, dear reader, and buy your ticket quickly. 

NewsRevue is at the Pleasance Courtyard (Beyond) at 6.30pm (1hr) until 30th August (not 18th). 
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