Have I got some Edinburgh shows for you? Yes, I have!
Here’s the schedule for 21st August:
12.15 – Mat Ricardo: The Extraordinary Gentleman, Gilded Balloon Teviot. From the Edinburgh Fringe website:
“A unique, hilarious and unmissable one-man show from the worlds most critically acclaimed variety artist. Scalpel-sharp wit and astonishing skills honed over three decades travelling the world’s stages, streets and spiegeltents come together to create an unforgettable hour of big tricks and big laughs for all ages. ‘One of the greatest variety artists working today’ (Scotsman). ‘The most talented man at the Edinburgh Fringe’ (BroadwayBaby.com). ‘Breathtaking’ (Evening Standard). ‘Terrific’ (Guardian). ‘The Derren Brown of juggling’ (LoveFringe.com). ‘Mat Ricardo is amazing!’ (HRH Prince Charles).”
I’ve seen Mat Ricardo a couple of times as part of the Burlesque Show that used to come to the Royal and Derngate in Northampton, and he was always superb. It’ll be good to see him in a full show by himself!
UPDATE: Good to see Mat Ricardo again – his juggling skills are second to none. A few gasp out loud moments – he said there would be. Whilst he’s technically brilliant, I’m slightly less sure of his ability to host a complete hour with his presentation style, but that’s just me. Nevertheless, it was thoroughly entertaining, and the hour flew by. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
14.05 – Fritz and Matlock, Pleasance Courtyard.
“In a Sheffield basement, two men try to bury the bodies of their past to find a hopeful future. With no way out, will Fritz make it to his wedding? Will Matlock get away with murder? Or will the police finally raid the marijuana grow in the attic? A new dark comedy with a fresh take on men’s mental health, the care system and addiction. 2021 Offie nominees for Lead Performances and Most Promising New Playwrights. ‘Reminiscent of the works of Beckett and Pinter’ ***** (TheReviewsHub.com). **** (Stage).”
As well as Beckett and Pinter, this sounds rather Ortonesque, which is what drew my attention! Fingers crossed that it works well.
UPDATE: Definitely Pinteresque; not so much Beckett and definitely not Orton. Two excellent performances in an intriguing play with a clever twist that I certainly didn’t see coming, and I definitely won’t tell you about! Not sure that the plot was entirely watertight, and there were a couple of scenes that weren’t sufficiently clear for us to understand. But the acting certainly carries the day, and the play is definitely worth seeing. ⭐️⭐️⭐️
16.00 – Afghanistan Is Not Funny by Henry Naylor, Gilded Balloon Teviot.
“In 2002, whilst researching a comedy, triple-Fringe First winner Henry Naylor and two-time Scottish Press Photographer of the Year Sam Maynard, went to the Afghan war zone. An extraordinary tale ensued in which they were threatened by a war criminal, captured by the Mujahideen and nearly blown up by the Taliban. Performed by Naylor himself, the show takes us back to the start of the modern Afghan tragedy. It comes direct from the Adelaide Fringe, where it won twelve five-star reviews and two major awards. European Premiere.”
This sounds like a truly fascinating mix of dark comedy and true tragedy. But it’s considered a hit, so that’s good enough for me!
UPDATE: A fascinating and very personal account of Henry Naylor’s time in Afghanistan, coupled with some extraordinary photographs that speak volumes, are at the heart of this slightly unbalanced show. Whilst everything to do with Afghanistan in this hour totally captures your interest and imagination, the framework surrounding it, with his dealings with the Gilded Balloon, and his psychotherapist, largely miss the mark. But it’s a very intense and thought provoking show. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
18.00 – Tim Vine: Breeeep! Pleasance Courtyard.
“Tim Vine returns with his new stand-up show. A mountain of nonsense. One-liners, stupid things, unlikely songs, wobbly props. (Plus utter drivel.) Tim’s like the manager of a sweet shop where all the sweets are replaced by jokes, and he serves them in the order he chooses. So, it’s like a sweet shop where the manager just throws sweets at you. Winner of Dave’s Best Joke of the Fringe 2010 and 2014. Star of The Tim Vine Chat Show (BBC Radio 4) and numerous TV appearances. Enjoy the foolishness. Then leave. ‘A symphony of silly’ ***** (Times).”
It’s been the sin of omission that we’ve never seen Tim Vine live before, so I’m sure this will be magnificent!
UPDATE: Having realised we’ve only seen Tim Vine in short spurts on TV we became concerned that a full hour of him might be too much. And so it proved. The relentless silliness quickly palled with us, and whilst others guffawed throughout, we only chuckled occasionally. As Mrs C noted, she wasn’t expecting it to be quite so *infantile*. Not for us, but I completely accept that he went down a storm with others! ⭐️⭐️⭐️
21.00 – Ballet Freedom, Pleasance @ EICC.
“Spectacular world renowned ballet company journey from Kyiv. Freedom Ballet celebrate their 20th anniversary in Edinburgh with 14 incredible dancers. An outstanding dance collective. Their intimate, sensual ballet is astonishing. This adaptation of their hit show Boudoir is about the moment of life, when knowing yourself, your love and your loss, you can truly see yourself in the mirror. Credits include performing with Franco Dragone, legendary director of Cirque de Soleil, and sharing the stage with Dita Von Teese, Queen of Burlesque Cabaret. Sold out tours in more than 30 countries with over 5,000 performances.”
Given the appalling situation in Ukraine I can only believe that this will be a truly emotional performance. I’m sure it will be a rewarding dance experience too.
UPDATE: Audience reviews online were about 75-25 in favour of this show, but those who didn’t like it *really* didn’t like it! We thought it was terrific; inventive, dynamic choreography, danced with joy and skill, frequently very tongue in cheek, lots of dark humour and even a few instances of audience participation (and don’t think by not sitting in the front you’re safe – you’re not!) Invasion by a hostile neighbour was tastefully suggested in a few of the dances. I was very disappointed at the amount of photography and videoing from audience members, which was extremely disrespectful of both the performers and other audience members. But we loved the show! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️