Experimental Music Love

August 13, 2008

More Fringe Reviews

Filed under: Edinburgh Festival — by Free Edinburgh Podcast @ 2:33 am
Tags: , , , , ,

Because I’ve been to see more shows. I’m so horribly busy, I do feel quite sick. I’ll also have interviews with Stewart Lee and Will Poulter (aka the schemey one from the brilliant Son of Rambow ) to come soon, but probably only after they’ve been in ThreeWeeks. They will be special extended versions though, so look forward to that. Anyway.


Bert Jansch
Bert Jansch
This was always going to be something special. The legendary folk musician behind Pentangle, widely-regarded as the most accomplished Scottish guitarist there’s ever been, was playing the Fringe. And the place was packed. Few could hold the attention of such an audience for over an hour with just one acoustic guitar for company, but Jansch’s playing is spellbinding, with every song so very special. For someone so talented, Jansch is humble too, with his slow methodical approach to setting up, taking great care to plug in his guitar, and between song comments portraying a man who knows he needs no rock star attitude to please a crowd. No, it’s about the music tonight, and what spectacular music it is.
Acoustic Music Centre @ St Bride’s, 10 – 12 Aug, 9.00pm (10.15pm), £15.00 (£12.00), fpp 141.
eml rating 5/5

Billy Jones
Billy Jones
For a man born in Bathgate and now living in Sweden, Billy Jones has a distinctly American sound. Clearly influenced by the greats like Dylan and Cash, there’s a country twang to Jones’ work, with jaunty fiddle and slide guitar dominating much of what’s heard tonight. Jones hasn’t forgotten his roots though, and skilled accordion helps hark back to traditions of Scottish music as Jones sings with passion about the life he had as a lad and the city he grew up in. There’s even room for his daughter to come on stage and help on fiddle duties, as this particular show manages to feel like a homecoming for Jones. And he’d be welcome back in Edinburgh any time.
Acoustic Music Centre @ St Bride’s, 9 Aug, 7.15pm (8.30pm), £10.00 (£8.00), fpp 142
eml rating 3/5


The Mulholland-Constant
Jools Constant/PBH’s Free Fringe
When the main event is completely outshone by its five minute warm-up poetry act, you know it’s not been a good night. And though Mab Jones may not have the best company, her brief set is a delightful set of comic verse, that’s both articulate and imaginative. The comedy of Jools Constant and David Mulholland, however, is not. With one a former Jehovah’s witness, and the other a war reporter who spent time in Afghanistan, you’d think they’d have at least one interesting story to tell between them. Alas, this is charmless tedium, that somehow manages to not even be worth the free asking price.
The White Horse, 2 – 23 Aug (not 10 or 17), 9.25pm (10.25pm), free non-ticketed, fpp 80.
eml rating 1/5

This Show Belongs To Lionel Ritchie No. 4: Dial-A-Sketch
This Belongs to Lionel Ritchie
Do you ever fancy some moderately funny comedy sketches from an eclectic group of individuals with big ideas, but just can’t be bothered going to the nearest fringe venue to find some? Well, why not have them come to you? The fourth incarnation of the ubiqutous This Show Belongs to Lionel Ritchie series offers you a chance to give them a ring and they shall come and perform anywhere you may desire. It’s a novel idea, and the show isn’t too bad either. Making an essential sketch performance is a near impossible task these days, and this is an admirable effort, with a humour that suits its daring premise.
We come to you – call 07807 164 987, 3 – 24 Aug (not 13), 1.00pm (2.00pm), free non-ticketed, fpp 103.
eml rating 3/5

Secret Midnight Gig
Various Artists
“We have absolutely no idea who will be on,” claim the organisers. So how should I judge a review for an ever-changing line-up that can even be a mystery to those behind the show? No, I don’t know either. What won’t change however is how inebriated audience, host and performers alike are. This alcohol soaked edge does provide a relaxed atmosphere, as banter is rife and each act is brave enough to go for their most daring material. And do expect some big names to appear. I was treated to 15 minutes of Alan Carr looking very confused as he slurred untested jokes. A good night of cheap laughs, but just don’t expect any level of professionalism.
Laughing Horse @ Espionage, 31 Jul – 23 Aug (not Wednesdays), 00.05am (01.05am), free ticketed, fpp 94.
eml rating 3/5

Obie – Total Recall – Half Scum, Half Genius – Free

Obie/Laughing Horse Free Festival
It’s a confusing title, and an even more bewildering show. And not bewildering in that hilariously rambling Ross Noble way, nor that “how the hell did he do that?” Derren Brown way. No, this is the sort of bewilderment that comes from a mess of a show, entirely lacking in comprehension or organisation, that veers from daringly funny to tired obscenity, all ending with a not very impressive memory trick that bears no relation to anything gone on before. Obie does have some talent when it comes to humour, certainly eliciting a few real belly laughs from the crowd, but he sinks too low too often. And there’s just no need for bestiality in any art.
Laughing Horse @ Espionage, 31 Jul – 15 Aug, 8.30pm (9.30pm), free non-ticketed, fpp 82.
eml rating 2/5

Jesus: The Guantanamo Years
Abie Philbin Bowman
Abie Philbin Bowman is back with the same show for the third year running, but don’t begrudge him for a lack of new ideas. For this is a stand-up set that deserves as many followers as its esteemed subject matter, being as it is full of clever takes on an old subject and, of course, plenty of laughs. For a limited run only, it’s worth getting your tickets early to hear Bowman’s reasoning for why Jesus would surely end up being tortured in Guantanamo Bay if he were to rise again today. And it’s hard to argue with any theory Bowman ponders, being delivered with an eloquence and charisma worthy of the man he portrays.
Underbelly, 5, 12 and 19 Aug, 3.55pm (4.55pm), £9.50 (£8.50), fpp 64.
eml rating 4/5


Wiczy Theatre
The back of a camper-van may be one of the more unusual venues at this year’s Fringe, but it certainly proves an effective way of realistically portraying the plight of two Polish immigrants struggling with life in the U.K. With a cramped audience sitting in the back, the performance becomes poignant to the verge of painful, as each argument about food or money, and each hopeless tale of the future becomes all too easy to imagine. The characters are all too relatable too – one an intellect, the other a labourer, but both united in a need for food and money. And alcohol. It may be a little too long, but nothing will hit home quite so hard this Fringe.
Rocket @ Demarco Roxy Art House, 11 – 17 Aug, times vary, prices vary, fpp 198.
eml rating 3/5


The Radio Cafe
BBC Radio Scotland
It’s hard to recommend a show that depends so much on the qualiy of its guests. Luckily for me, today’s musical attraction on Radio Scotland’s weekday lunchtime slot are the fabulous Orkestra Del Sol, whose brass led meditterean rhythms provide a welcome burst of sunshine on another rainy day. The other guests prove of interest too, including Scottish acting legend, Bill Paterson, and Taggart creator, Glen Chandler, talking about his festival show, Boys of the Empire. Clare English is an amicable host, seeming genuinely interested in the festival, and striking a suitably friendly rapport with each interviewee. Even with its variable line-up, it’s hard to see how this show could be anything less than interesting.
The Spiegel Garden, 11 – 22 Aug (not 16 or 17), 1.15pm (2.99pm), free non-ticketed, fpp 129.
eml rating 3/5

Yourspace Scratch Nights
Sweet Entertainments
After a quick dash through the rain from Sweet ECA (where this show is definitely not on, despite what my ticket said), I found a seat amongst the waist-coated group of festival goers and performers to delight in samples of some of the newest talent the Fringe had to offer. Unfortunately, tonight’s variety are a bit meh and miss. Comedian, Rob Tarbuck, is excruciating to watch, actually asking, without a hint of irony, “Whay! Who smokes weed here?”. The more interesting acts on offer include a very confusing one woman play by a Korean lady, but it’s just all too busy and unprepared for anything to be seriously considered. A nice idea, but then, so was lemon coke.
Sweet Teviot Place, 1 – 24 Aug (not Mondays), 10.00pm (11.15pm), £7.50 (£6.50), fpp 111.
eml rating 2/5


1 Comment »

  1. Hiya,

    Thanks for your kind words re: the warm-up I did for the “Mulholland Constant” on the free comedy fringe. It was my first time in Edinburgh and its v nice to receive a little bit of praise. Especially since I wasnt supposed to be the warm-up act, but got “demoted” by Jools in favour of David Mulholland…
    I only found out about this on arrival. :-s

    Anyway! Onwards and upwards! Your words have cheered me and hopefully them there boys have seen em too.

    Many thanks!

    Mab x

    Comment by Mab Jones — August 13, 2008 @ 9:00 am |Reply

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