The Edinburgh Fringe Full Monty (nearly) – Day 5, 9th August 2022

What’s in store for us in Edinburgh today?

Here’s the schedule for 9th August:

10.25 – Mrs Roosevelt Flies to London, Assembly George Square Studios. From the Edinburgh Fringe website:

Mrs Roosevelt“Returning to Edinburgh following a near sell-out 2016 Assembly season, Alison Skilbeck’s critically acclaimed one-woman show reveals the public and private life of one of the most extraordinary women of the 20th Century, Eleanor Roosevelt, from her daring trip to wartime Britain to her unconventional partnership with President Roosevelt. Granted special permission to use Eleanor’s diary and daily newspaper columns, this is the story of a passionate humanitarian, a woman beset by deep personal insecurities and tragedy, but one who never lost her passionate belief in the strength of the human spirit.”

This show was very well received six years ago, and since then we’ve seen Alison Skilbeck perform two more shows that were absolutely brilliant – so I have high hopes for this one.

UPDATE: An extraordinary story, well told, with great vocal characterisations and a wonderful sense of humour. It’s also very informative; for example, I didn’t know FDR had polio, nor that Eleanor Roosevelt played such an important role in the declaration of human rights – still a hot topic today. An assured and very enjoyable history lesson! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

12.50 – Please, Feel Free to Share, Pleasance Courtyard.

Please Feel Free To Share“Alex is a social success. Her Instagram boasts a montage of members-only rooftops and clinking glasses – like after like after like! When her father dies, Alex reluctantly joins a bereavement group. She shares a little, and then lies… a lot. Please, Feel Free to Share is a dynamic, darkly comic one-woman show about our personal addictions, the never-ending pursuit of likes and our growing desire to share all. Finalist: Popcorn Writing Award 2021.”

Produced by Scatterjam, this sounds like it should be an excellent dark comedy. Looking forward to it!

UPDATE: A liar gets addicted to lying by attending various self-help sessions pretending she is out of control. Very clever writing, matched by a very convincing performance. It’s also very thought provoking. Loved it! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

14.45 – Rajesh and Naresh, Summerhall.

Rajesh and Naresh“A feel-good love story. When Rajesh visits Mumbai, he encounters Naresh – not exactly the Indian wife his mother hoped for. Bend it like Beckham meets It’s a Sin in the queer romcom you’ve been waiting for – set just after India’s landmark decriminalisation of homosexuality in 2018. Funny and charmingly performed, Rajesh and Naresh was written from workshops conducted with members of the queer South Asian community in London and abroad. **** (Stage).”

We’ve been lucky enough to visit Mumbai a few times so I imagine I will be able to appreciate a lot of the background humour that I suspect lurks behind this play. Should be good.

UPDATE: Charming delicate story well told, great characterisations and terrific attention to detail – and a brilliant portrayal of an Indian mother, desperate for her son to marry. However, there were a couple of lulls in the narrative where my attention just started to wander, and I wasn’t convinced by the characters’ dance fantasies. Very good though, and they really got the audience on their side. ⭐️⭐️⭐️

17.00 – Blanket Ban, Underbelly, Cowgate.

Blanket Ban“Winner of Underbelly, New Diorama and Methuen Drama’s hit-making Untapped Award, 2022. ‘Sometimes I’m afraid of this play.’ Malta: Catholic kitsch, golden sun, deep blue sea, Eurovision – and a blanket ban on abortion. Propelled by three years of interviews with anonymous contributors and their own lived experience, actors and activists Marta and Davinia interrogate Malta’s restrictions on the freedom of women. What does it mean for your home to boast the world’s most progressive LGBTQIA rights, leading transgender laws – and a population that is almost unanimously anti-choice? A rallying cry from award-winning Chalk Line Theatre.”

This sounds really interesting – having been to Malta a few times, and also being a Eurovision fan! I can just imagine the gap between what’s allowed and what’s approved of. Should be very interesting.

UPDATE: A very important topic expressed with great passion and commitment. I did find the sea analogy heavy going and the anger of the two performers would be better conveyed just a bit more quietly! But you can’t take away from the seriousness of the subject and it’s something everyone should see. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

19.30 – Ivo Graham: My Future, My Clutter, Pleasance Courtyard.

Ivo Graham“Bumbling wordsmith and tripe factory returns to discuss three years of heavy-duty pranking/parenting/procrastinating since Dave’s 2019 nominations for Best Comedy Show and Joke of the Fringe (‘I’ve got an Eton College advent calendar, where all the doors are opened by my father’s contacts’). As seen/heard on Mock The Week, Live At The Apollo, Have I Got News For You, British As Folk and was the fondue-set winner on Richard Osman’s House of Games. ‘A hugely enjoyable hour of stand-up comedy’ (Times). ‘Suddenly has star-in-the-making coming off him like steam’ (Telegraph).”

We’ve seen Ivo Graham a few times and he never fails to deliver a great show, so we’re looking forward to this!

UPDATE: A solid hour of good observations, nicely delivered, but it never really soared though. Ivo is very likeable but he is also very wordy, and doesn’t use pauses for comic effect, so after a while it becomes just a little tiring. A very slick and well prepared show – maybe too well? ⭐️⭐️⭐️

22.20 – Rouge, Assembly Hall.

Rouge“Circus for grown ups – a decadent blend of sensational acrobatics, operatic cabaret and twisted burlesque. A non-stop celebration of the astonishing, surprising, subversive and supremely sexy. Winner of Best Circus 2020 Adelaide Fringe, Rouge is back with acts you’ve loved plus brand-new offerings to shock, delight and tease. Australian circus cabaret at its finest. ‘One badass sizzler of a show’ ***** (Daily Mail). ‘Rouge redefines what circus is and should be’ ***** (TheWeeReview.com). ‘Welcome to a circus for the new age… Brilliant performances… embodies the phrase: filthy and gorgeous’ ***** (WeekendNotes.com).”

We saw Rouge a few years ago and it was one of the better circus/burlesque offerings, so here’s hoping they continue the standard!

UPDATE: Sets the bar for all the shows in this genre. Stunning to watch, decadent in the extreme, incredible acrobatics and a silly, adult sense of humour. No more to say! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Edinburgh Fringe One-Weeker 2018 – Are There More of You, 19th August 2018

Are there more of youFor our first show of our first full day at the Fringe, we’re off to see a one-woman play that I know will be beautifully done, Hint of Lime’s production of Are There More of You, at Assembly Hall (Baillie Room) at 11:10 on Sunday 19th. This is how the blurb describes it: “Alison Skilbeck tells the linked tales of four women with only a postcode in common. Painful, scary, hilarious, and heart-warming, the stories chart each wildly different character’s search for love and happiness. ‘Brilliantly observed… a wonderful evening’ (Alan Ayckbourn). ‘Go see how character comedy acting is done’ (Miranda Hart). Skilbeck returns to Assembly following her five-star shows: Mrs Roosevelt Flies to London, 2016, and The Power behind The Crone, 2017. Television includes Sherlock Holmes, Miss Marple, The Beiderbecke Affair, Soldier Soldier, Midsomer Murders, Call the Midwife. ***** (ThreeWeeks). ***** (Broadwaybaby.com).”

Power BehindWe saw Alison Skilbeck last year in The Power Behind the Crone and it was a true tour-de-force. Intelligent, charming and very funny and on the strength of that I’m looking forward to seeing Ms Skilbeck do something else. Check back around 12:45pm to see what we thought. By then the next preview blog should be available to read too.

Four beautifully written and performed and interlocking monologues full of humour and sadness. Alison Skilbeck really knows how to create a believable character, with a full backstory. Highly recommended!

The Edinburgh Fringe One-Weeker 2017 – The Power Behind the Crone, 22nd August 2017

Power BehindLate night last night so not too early a start for our first performance of the day, Hint of Lime’s production of The Power Behind the Crone at Four @ Assembly George Square Studios, at 12:00 noon on Tuesday 22nd. Let’s read the blurb: “Alison Skilbeck’s serio-comic celebration of Shakespeare’s older women, directed by Tim Hardy. ‘There are no good parts in Shakespeare for older women’. Professor Artemis Turret, played by Alison Skilbeck, sets out to refute these words in an illustrated lecture. Her old chum, international star Dame Bunti Smart, who was to perform the speeches, lets her down. Professor Turret is forced to unveil her own hidden theatrical talents in seven wildly contrasting roles. Skilbeck’s five-star Mrs Roosevelt Flies To London had a near sold-out run at Assembly last year.”

If this is half as good as it sounds, it’s going to be absolutely brilliant! The premise sounds so funny and a good performance should make this magic. Check back around 1.15pm to see what we thought. By then the next preview blog should be available to read too.

The eloquent Artemis delivers a cracking lecture and we hang on her every word. There’s an element of Joyce Grenfell to her character, and all her crones are beautifully delineated! Charming and funny, and critically fascinating too!