+3 Interview: Juan Vesuvius: I am Your Deejay

“The story is autobiographical and it does what it says on the tin. I have been telling these anecdotes in the pub for years.”

WHO: Barnie Duncan, Creator/Performer

WHAT: “Superstar disc jokey Juan Vesuvius brings his turntables back to Edinburgh to deliver the greatest and strangest DJ set you’ve ever experienced. But why does he need so much towelling? And what really happened between him and David Guetta?”

WHERE: Assembly George Square Theatre (Venue 8)

WHEN: 23:00 (60 min)

MORE: Click Here!


Is this your first time to Edinburgh?

No this is my fourth Fringe in Edinburgh. The first time I cam was in 2012 I think.. or 2011… with my best friend Trygve Wakenshaw. We made a show called Constantinople, and performed it at a venue that has since closed called The Electric Circus. In their karaoke room. It really taught us a lot and we were fresh non-jaded by flyering, toga wearing fun guys. Then I started bringing the Juan Vesuvius character over, and I am proud to be here with the third chapter in the trilogy.

What’s the biggest thing to have happened to you since Festivals ’16?

I wasn’t here for Fringe last year, I instead went to South Korea and Helsinki and China with Juan and calypso’d those places heads off. It was pretty full on. It was so full on I got a Calypso tattoo to commemorate the tour.

Tell us about your show.

This show is the third instalment of the Juan Vesuvius story – a DJ from the Caribbean who loves Calypso and maracas, but in this show delves into the history of House Music. It is an educational and surreal and physical and Turntabelist I wrote it in Melbourne and previewed it in Berlin before bringing it to Edinburgh, and I am produced by the suave and tall Nick James Clark.

What should your audience see at the festivals after they’ve seen your show?

OK great question. They should see my show with Trygve called Different Party, and they should see John Kearns, and Peter and Bambi Heaven, and Paul Currie and also Laid by Natalie Palamides.


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+3 Interview: Creature

“The performers fly, spring, fall physically forming relationships with each other.”

WHO: Vanessa Cook, Choreographer

WHAT: “Five extraordinary dancers weave aerial acrobatics and earth-bound choreography in a new work of compelling and visceral dance theatre. Visually stunning, suspended in a mesmerising soundscape, raw and beautiful, Creature explores the delicate balance between flying, falling, balancing, tumbling, succeeding and failing: this complex business of being human. A unique free fall experience for both performers and audience, it happens right in front of us, over us, and around us. UK Premiere from international company based in Switzerland. Creature is conceived and choreographed by Vanessa Cook (UK) and directed by Kate Higginbottom (UK).”

WHERE: C venues – C south (Venue 58) ​

WHEN: 17:35 (50 min)

MORE: Click Here!


Is this your first time to Edinburgh?

This is our first time to Edinburgh. Company members have been many times as punters, but this is the first time performing. I am British, but now live in Switzerland, so it’s especially nice for me to be returning to the UK with a with a show. The other members of the company come from Switzerland, Italy and Poland so they’re thrilled to be here.

Tell us about your show.

Creature is choreographed by me Vanessa Cook. It is an aerial dance show that uses ropes/harnesses/bungee equipment. The performers fly, spring, fall physically forming relationships with each other. Originally made and performed in a massive warehouse in Bern, Switzerland, this piece in Edinburgh is an adapted version for a smaller theatre venue. It can be performed in large or smaller venues.

What should your audience see at the festivals after they’ve seen your show?

I really enjoyed a show called ‘Land’. It was playing at Summerhall (but has finished already). One performer is bouncing on a trampoline, obsessively doing a jigsaw. Their relationship unravels in ridiculous and funny ways. For me it was a metaphor for how we try to ‘help’ each other, but don’t listen to each other.

But still playing is ‘All the Fun’. This is a charming and clever show.


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The Girl Who Jumped Off The Hollywood Sign (Assembly Roxy: Until 28 Aug: 11.30: 70 mins)

“Hartstone inhabits her characters (male and female) much as Liz Taylor was supposed to have simply been Cleopatra”

Editorial Rating: 5 Stars: Outstanding

We enter to the strains of Arthur Dooley Wilson singing As Time Goes By. The mood is glamorously sombre. On stage is the top half of the ‘H’ of the Hollywood sign. Onto it steps a figure in black dressed as though for a funeral. How did she get here? What (and who) have pushed her to this?

The story which writer and performer Joanne Hartstone has to tell is eerily familiar. Evelyn Margaret Edwards (or Evie Edwards, to use her stage name), is a naive young lady seeking to change her rags into riches through the magic of the Hollywood limelight. She has dreamed of becoming a star all through the Great Depression, from the stock market crash, via a Hooverville, and the unending grind of a hand-to-mouth existence. But without a fairy godmother her dreams are outshone by the stark realities of the entertainment industry.

A few days back I was interviewing the star of an American Civil Rights drama. With tongue firmly in cheek I asked if she was grateful to President Trump for helping to keep the issues she tackles relevant. “We’ll he’s great for my ticket sales!” she replied with a sad grin. We reflected on the truth that tragedy and suffering are the Fringe writer’s bread and butter – no one ever paid to see a play about contented people happily pottering through an uneventful life.

The good writer tells a tragic story in its time and place. The brilliant do that too, but they also say something universal about the human experience at all times and in all places. Hartstone has written a piece that falls squarely into the latter category. Her script is at once an insider’s tour of Hollywood’s Golden era (for ‘insider’ read, ‘black and white movie nerd’). It is also a profound reflection on the use and abuse of women – their ambitions, their independence, their bodies and souls.

The delivery is paced, but pacy – never lagging or getting ahead of itself. The story unwinds like a spool of luxury cloth under an exacting tailor’s expert eye. Though this is a one-woman show Hartstone inhabits her characters (male and female) much as Liz Taylor was supposed to have simply been Cleopatra while Richard Burton played at being Mark Anthony.

Hartstone is also possessed of a fine, evocative voice which conjures up the spirit of the age in sparkling speech and song. The movement is minimalist, the set perfectly scaled to allow Hartstone to ascend and descend from the ‘H’ with a minimum of fuss. You can honestly imagine that this is the staging Evie Edwards would have designed to best tell her story from.

The Girl Who Jumped off the Hollywood Sign is Fringe theatre at its best – profound without being maudlin, sassy, smart, and above all edgy. This is an iron fist of a script nestling in a velvet glove.

outstanding

StarStarStarStarStar

Reviewer: Dan Lentell (Seen 24 August)

Visit the Assembly Roxy archive.

THIS REVIEW HAS NOT BEEN SUBEDITED

+3 Review: Oskar’s Amazing Adventure (Gilded Balloon Teviot: Until 27 Aug: 11.50: 40min)

“The highest praise I can think of is to jump up and down in my seat squealing ‘Again! Again!'”

Editorial Rating: 5 Stars: Outstanding

It’s the middle of a hard winter in Switzerland. The little house on the top of the mountain is snowbound. Oppressed with cabin fever, fun loving puppy Oskar runs off in search of new friends to play with.

The show is based on the picture book by celebrated children’s author Colin Granger. Colin is of course a part owner of Komedia Brighton, and (once upon a time) was the author of the Heinemann English Grammar (which is yet to be dramatised for the stage). All the original characters are present, including Oskar, his friend the Marmot, the hungry Fox, Grandma, the chickens, the other puppies. The only exception is Mrs Goat who lost her seat on the tour bus to Colin.

We enter to find an alpine backdrop hung from rustic timbers. In front is a canvas pyramid with three of the four sides painted with a particular scene from the narrative that is about to unfold. With the occasional turn of this pyramid by performer Natasha Granger, Oskar’s story is revealed. Not since the Pharaoh Khufu walked out of Dunbar and Sons onto Morningside Road, having just purchased the ultra deluxe funerary care package, has a pyramid been put to such effective use.

This production is a grace and flavour mansion giving Colin Granger’s charming narrative a home away from home. The grace is delivered by his daughter Natasha whose fluid movement melts in and out of the liquid lighting and soundscape. The flavour is unmistakably alpine – crisp, simple, elegant. The interplay of stagecraft and performance is balanced and nuanced. The puppetry (including some shadow play on one side of the pyramid) empowers rather than overpowers. The effect is hugely satisfying, whether this is your first ever show or simply your latest.

It’s a safe bet that the Children’s section of the Fringe guide is the growth area to watch and shows like Oskar’s are in the vanguard. A glance at the reviews on EdFringe.com reveals where that vanguard will encounter the sharpest slings and arrows. Audiences love this show (as they should). The “professionals” are noticeably less excited. Why would they be? It’s fairly obvious that they weren’t accompanied by a reliable preschooler.

You might have noticed that it’s really quite expensive to come to Edinburgh in August and this is true for pundits as well as for producers and punters. Bringing a kid along too (without the support of local grandparents in residence) is a big ask, but it must be better answered. As the children’s section of the Fringe guide grows, reviewers and their publishers need to be much better at reflecting the artistry and talent that shows intended for younger audiences are already delivering.

This was my own preschooler’s first ever live show and I am so massively grateful to Theatre Fideri Fidera for making it such a positive and memorable experience for us both. Oskar’s Adventure may not strike a jaded 20-something as particularly amazing, but for preschoolers first noticing the big wide world (and for those of us privileged to attend them on their journey) the perspective offered is just right. The highest praise I can think of is to jump up and down in my seat squealing “Again! Again!”

outstanding

StarStarStarStarStar

Reviewer: Dan Lentell (Seen 23 August)

THIS REVIEW HAS NOT BEEN SUBEDITED

+3 Interview: Cursed

“The festival is buzzing with energy and I can’t wait to meet some of you in the street while flyering, come say hello if you see me!”

WHO: Mila G. Lawlor, Stage Manager

WHAT: “Divine punishment. Guilt. Bloodshed. The story of the House of Atreus is the most haunting of Greek mythology. Meet a family descended from the Gods, where the borders between cruelty and desire, loyalty and betrayal are painfully blurred. In this newly written and bold adaptation, their story is revived. It is now your turn to take action. From Agamemnon to Orestes, the family’s fate is in your hands. Coming fresh from London and making their Fringe debut, The Samurai! Company promises you a disquieting journey through the depths of human nature.”

WHERE:  Greenside @ Infirmary Street (Venue 236)

WHEN: 20:45 (60 min)

MORE: Click Here!


Is this your first time to Edinburgh?

Yes, it is my first time! And the first time of the company as well! Most of us have dreamt of coming to the Fringe for a while and we’re really excited about being here together and performing! The festival is buzzing with energy and I can’t wait to meet some of you in the street while flyering, come say hello if you see me!

Tell us about your show.

‘Cursed’ is a modern adaptation of Aeschylus’s Oresteia -a greek family tragedy- re-written by our director and other friends. It is immersive and the storyline changes depending on the audience’s decision. To me the play is especially relevant in terms of how subjective justice is and how people make different choices depending on a large number of factors: mood, ethic, education, etc.

We are producing the show with The Samurai! Company. Once the director had her idea, she invited all those who wanted to come join her to create the show. Meaning: no audition process, a large group of enthusiastic people, coming from all walks of life, and from very international backgrounds! With the director’s hardwork and patience, we created an amazing show out of this challenging experiment, and she made all the actors improve incredibly in no time!

The production premiered in May at Goldsmiths University and received a warm welcome from our audience! With exciting and unexpected reactions as well!
As for whether we’re taking it further, we’re hoping to the moon and back! No, seriously, we won’t take this show further but we hope to take another one to the Fringe again next year!

What should your audience see at the festivals after they’ve seen your show?

Oh well, a comedy for a change! You might need it!

And, definitely come and see our fellow Greensiders! Otherwise, maybe go and see another more modern family drama to see how relevant our play is!…… Or, just come see the show again, perhaps to check out an alternative ending!


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+3 Interview: The Last Days of Judas Iscariot

“Right now my brain is fizzing with ideas for next year.”

WHO: Stuart Walker, actor – Judas Iscariot & Butch Honeywell

WHAT: “Brought to you by Parallax Theatre, Stephen Adly Guirgis’s The Last Days of Judas Iscariot is a riotous look at life beyond. 2000 years after that deed, Judas is finally put on trial for ‘that business’ in Judea. With a dash of prejudice, a sprinkling of rude words and a lot of surprises, it is inventive, full on and very funny.”

WHERE: Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33)

WHEN: 13:30 (90 min)

MORE: Click Here!


Is this your first time to Edinburgh?

I have been to the Ed Fringe before as a theatre lover but this is my debut as a theatre performer! The atmosphere remains electric and highly addictive. Right now my brain is fizzing with ideas for next year. I feel truly inspired by the performances I’ve seen and the people I’ve met this year. My only complaint is the need to rest cuts into my theatre binge time.

Tell us about your show.

Parallax Theatre are reviving Stephen Adly Guirgis’s show with a cast of 10 for the 70th Anniversary of the Ed Fringe. Take a seat in the jury as we put Judas on trial for betraying the son of God. Was it a moment of greed, madness or even bravery? Under the direction of Alexander Knight we’re bursting onto the scene with this “outstanding” (Young Perspective) take on an already edgy script, refreshing topical references and breaking up the all American dialogue (originally meant for a New York audience) – e.g I perform my character Judas as a fella from East London. We want the words to hit our audience harder than ever!

What should your audience see at the festivals after they’ve seen your show?

I highly recommend ‘Flesh and Bone’ by Unpolished Theatre – it’s like a modern day Shakespeare play set in East London but forget Kings and Queens, this is about the gritty life of a family on a council estate. Powerful and punchy with verse, physical theatre, comedy and more. Eloquent yet raw. Let’s face it, more interesting than the Queen.


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+3 Interview: Rory O’Keeffe: Rorytelling

“…next year’s show will be called Rory O’Keeffe: Just The Bucket Speech.”

WHO: Rory O’Keeffe, Writer/Director/Performer/Narcissist

WHAT: “Affable young funnyman Rory O’Keeffe returns with a show about losing his faith and his bag (but mainly his bag). Join the ‘intelligent youngster’ (Time Out) for his second hour of jokes and stories. Or, as he narcissistically calls them, ‘rories’. ‘Thoughtful and self-aware, some of the better stand-up you’ll see at this year’s Fringe’ **** (BroadwayBaby.com). ‘You’ll be laughing – every time!’ **** (MumbleComedy.net). ‘Make no mistake: this is a downright clever show’ **** (Edinburgh49.org). ‘Utterly hilarious’ ***** (ThreeWeeks). ‘Comedy for a post-recession graduate generation’ **** (Fest). ‘A tightly composed and expertly delivered romp’ **** (EdFringeReview.com).”

WHERE:  Southsider (Venue 148)

WHEN: 15:15 (55 min)

MORE: Click Here!


Is this your first time to Edinburgh?

I am a deceptively young veteran and this will be my 9th year in Edinburgh. Here are my top 8 previous Edinburghs, in order of how much fun they were:

1. 2009
2. 2010
3. 2011
4. 2012
5. 2013
6. 2014
7. 2015
8. 2016

With age comes responsibility. This year’s been fun, though.

What’s the biggest thing to have happened to you since Festivals ’16?

I moved back in with my parents and then back out again. It’s called ‘Boomerang Kid’ for a reason, guys. I have committed. You can’t just move back in once.

Tell us about your show.

I have finally given in to the Edinburgh Pun Title and called my show ‘Rorytelling’. I tell two Rories. One about losing my bag and one about losing my faith (#deep). It’s funny, and it’s in a delightfully charming back room of a pub. #humblebrag here: sometimes it’s so full that someone has to sit on the stage behind me like a bring-your-child-to-work day situation. It’s free and I give a good bucket speech. In fact, next year’s show will be called Rory O’Keeffe: Just The Bucket Speech. And I will just ask the audience for money for 50 minutes.

What should your audience see at the festivals after they’ve seen your show?

Matt Winning: Filibuster – funny show about climate change.Clever yet stupid. Silly yet serious. Cheap yet valuable.

Princes of Main – great sketch show in a great venue (Bedlam Theatre)

Macblair – restaging of Macbeth with Tony Blair as the ambitious lead. It totally works. I laughed really hard to show I understood all the clever references. I am that guy.


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