Tag Archives: Edinburgh festival

Edinburgh Review: Once A Catholic

There are laughs to be had in this erratic comedy of Catholicism, but they offer no sanctuary to a script in urgent need of salvation. Set in a Catholic girls’ school in 1950s London, this should be a  comedic critique of the church’s sometimes cruel, always doctrinal role in education, but Mary O’Malley’s 30 year old play has not aged well. Relying on crude Irish stereotypes to get its laughs and on bland teen dilemmas for drama, it produces a few of the former and none of the latter. It is gamely staged by an energetic cast, but this production is uncertain whether it wants to be ribald farce or coming of age comedy. In the end, it’s neither.

2/5

This review was originally published here.

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Edinburgh Review: The Free Late Show

Judging a stand up comedian after only seeing one performance can be cruel; there’s no other kind of comedy that is liable to change so much from night to night depending on the audience and performer. Israeli stand up Yariv Perelmuter had a bad night when I saw him, and while a sullen audience gave him little to work with, his weak material, disjointed set and a palpable lack of confidence and preparation all let him down. Then again, it was his first night. He’s got time to hone and improve his act, so why not stop by later in the run and see how he’s getting on? It’s a free show, so you’ve nothing to lose.

2/5

This review was originally published here.

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Edinburgh Review: Sketch Crunch

During the Edinburgh Festival, the desire for fetid pig meat that grips most drunkards at midnight changes into a compelling urge to find a comedy act in the arse end of the C venues to laugh at. You could probably do worse than ‘Sketch Crunch’ – this comedy trio have plenty of energy and a couple of good gags – but you could certainly do much better. Most of the sketches are weakly written, fizzling out with poor punchlines, and there are few genuine big laughs to be had. Much like a greasy kebab or an intimate experience with an ugly stranger, mediocre sketch shows like this one are best enjoyed whilst heavily under the influence. Do not attend sober.

2/5

This review was originally published here.

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Edinburgh Review: The Shape Of Things

This is a simply staged and stunningly acted production of Neil LaBute’s superbly written play that is funny, honest, provocative, and achingly sad. Revolving around the tangled love lives of four American students in a claustrophobic campus town, the script examines the boundaries of art, the constant acts of manipulation and betrayal involved in friendship and in love, and the redemptive significance that a single true moment can have. If you think it sounds a bit worthy, don’t be put off – its also extremely funny and effortlessly watchable, mostly due to a cast who give committed and convincing performances that never strike a false note. Easy to watch, but difficult to forget. Go and see this play.

5/5

This review was originally published here.

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Edinburgh Review: Dwayne Dopsie & The Zydeco Hellraisers

At midnight on the night of a full moon, so I’ve heard, a musician can meet the Devil at a crossroads and strike a Faustian bargain for inhuman musical skill. Should this legend be true, then I fear for Dwayne Dopsie’s immortal soul. His infernal skill on the accordion was at the centre of this storming blues gig, and with his slick showmanship and the band’s superb ensemble numbers, the show couldn’t be faulted. They were let down by both the venue, which was all seated, and an audience that seemed sedated – I felt ditching the seats would have helped energise the lukewarm crowd. But in the face of these obstacles, the band played a triumphant set, led by Dopsie’s earthy vocals and truly fiendish accordion playing. Someone better call for a priest.

4/5

This review was originally published here.

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On Neglect

Oops! Edinburgh has been insanely busy, so I’ve been neglecting many things – my health, my friends, my writing, my blog…but here is a bundle of reviews to make up for it…

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