+3 Interview: Joe Sutherland: Toxic

“It’s me doing my funny talking words for 55 minutes. It’s about gender, masculinity, my grandma, the Midlands and the Spice Girls.”

WHO: Joe Sutherland, Star

WHAT: “Masculinity – isn’t it, like, over? Or are there new ways to model manliness? Growing up Joe felt less like a boy, more like a Spice Girl. Now he’s sort of grown up, and technically a man. This is a show about embracing girl power to create your own brand of manhood. ‘Richly entertaining’ **** (ScotsGay.co.uk). ‘An engaging hour of stand-up with an important message and many laughs to be had’ **** (Edinburgh Festivals Magazine). ‘So much originality’ **** (VoiceMag.uk). ‘Oozing star power from every pore’ (Mirror). ‘Edgy and unpredictable’ (ToDoList.org.uk). ‘Definitely one to watch’ (Chortle.co.uk).”

WHERE: Underbelly, Bristo Square – Dexter (Venue 302) 

WHEN: 20:10 (60 min)

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Is this your first time to Edinburgh?

No, this is my second solo show, and I’ve been coming to the Fringe for pretty much my whole life, so a good 59 years now. I know, I look good. I’ll have to show you the painting in my attic at some point.

What’s the biggest thing to have happened to you since Festivals ’17?

I decided to consider veganism which means I’ve had to cut out Frazzles, so I’d appreciate some privacy at this difficult time of transition in my life.

Tell us about your show.

It’s me doing my funny talking words for 55 minutes. It’s about gender, masculinity, my grandma, the Midlands and the Spice Girls.

I was very lucky this year to have direction from the fab Jess Fostekew and production support from the top lads that are United Agents.

You see what I’ve done here is used ‘lads’ ironically because the team is, in fact, entirely female. How edgy of me.

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

Their own reflection in a toilet mirror in a portacabin as they take a deep breath and ask themselves, “what now? How could it possibly get any better?”

Oh and Sarah Keyworth, Harriet Kemsley, Sophie Duker & Lulu Popplewell (Duke Pop) and Mawaan Rizwan. Top lads.


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Paddington Bear’s First Concert (Underbelly, Bristo Square – Cowbarn: 12, 14-26 Aug: 11:20: 60 mins)

“There’s balloons, inflatable fruit, Hungarian folk dancing, sing-alongs, and more than a bit of mayhem.”

Editorial Rating: 4 Stars: Nae Bad

Beloved bear. Slick marketing. Fabulous venue. Great timeslot. This was always going to be a formula that would bring in the punters. The queue stretches round the block. My heart sinks a little. Nothing this popular can possibly be any good. That’s the rule. Except of course that our Paddington Bear breaks all the rules.

We’re at the famous London railway terminus. An orchestra rushes through the audience trying (unsuccessfully) to catch their train. Their unscheduled delay provides a window of opportunity to tell the story of a stowaway bear, the family he adopts, the people he meets, and his first ever concert at the Royal Albert Hall.

Along the way we meet the members of the orchestra, learn about how to conduct them, and how to make them go faster, and faster, and faster. There’s balloons, inflatable fruit, Hungarian folk dancing, sing-alongs, and more than a bit of mayhem. If you are planning on seeing a live action show replete with actual bear (or becostumed stand in) you will leave this show disappointed. If, on the other hand, you are even a little bit curious, easily excited, and unashamedly thrilled by people who can do something amazing (like playing musical instruments really, really, really well) then you will leave Paddington Bear’s First Concert more than a little happy.

A quick glance at the critical reactions to Paddington Bear’s First Concert and it’s clear that the underpaid, under-informed, overworked misery-gutses are out in force. This isn’t (shock-horror) a show aimed at a world weary 20 something reviewing 15 shows a day irrespective of genre or personal preference. It is however the real deal. Paddington’s creator Michael Bond and musical godfather Herbert Chappell wrote this adaptation in 1984. Perhaps this joyful and jovial revival ought to make more of its authenticity amid all that slick advertising?

Paddington Bear’s First Concert really is a concert. A group young musicians play a range of strings, woodwind, and brass instruments under the watchful eye of their conductor who is also our storyteller. Her performance is pitch perfect. Beside me Daughter 1.0 (aged 3) is entranced, it’s not hard to see how that stuff with that piper in Hamelin went down so easily.

Bond and Chappell’s genius, or perhaps sleight of hand, was to create a show which quietly makes the introduction – “children meet classical music, classical music meet children” – without fanfare or condescension. There is an unhealthy notion abroad in Britain that high art should be taken and endured like bad tasting medicine. Paddington Bear’s First Concert remains a guaranteed cure against all such silly, self-defeating cynicism.

nae bad_blue

Star (blue)Star (blue)Star (blue)Star (blue)

Reviewer: Dan Lentell (Seen 9 August 2018)

Visit the Assembly Roxy Bedlam Church Hill Theatre Festival Theatre King’s Theatre Other Pleasance, Potterrow & Teviot Summerhall The Lyceum The Stand Traverse archive.

THIS REVIEW HAS NOT BEEN SUBEDITED

+3 Interview: Robyn Perkins: 10,000 Decisions

“In a former life I was a landscape architect, so actually worked on Quartermile quite a bit.”

WHO: Robyn Perkins, Performer

WHAT: “Everyone makes bad decisions, right? But let’s be honest, bad decisions make you who you are. In this brilliant new stand-up show, comedian Robyn Perkins (English Comedian of the Year finalist) uses a series of hilarious personal anecdotes, family stories and even some neuroscience to come up with a well thought out decision for one random audience member. Don’t miss this delightfully funny show about why we make the decisions we do, and whether we can decide to be happy. ‘A golden performer whose charisma alone on stage is refreshing.’ **** (VoiceMag.uk). **** (ThreeWeeks).”

WHERE: Underbelly, Bristo Square – Daisy (Venue 302) 

WHEN: 17:50 (60 min)

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Is this your first time to Edinburgh?

I have been performing at the Fringe since my first visit in 2012. Additionally, in a former life I was a landscape architect, so actually worked on Quartermile quite a bit and have been since 2009. Finally, my former water polo coach is in Edinburgh, so I have been up for many random reasons. I love the city!

What’s the biggest thing to have happened to you since Festivals ’17?

I had major ankle reconstruction surgery, which means I now have several screws in my left leg. It’s not the most glamorous, but being part robot isn’t all bad.  More interestingly, in January I had coffee with a neuroscientist (Gabija Toleikyte). We discussed how our brains make decisions, what influences them, and why I am so indecisive. This has been crucial in developing the show.

Tell us about your show.

The show is called 10,000 Decisions. In short, it is about why we make the decisions we do; if you are indecisive, this is the show for you. The show is a fun mix of relate-able personal stories, neuroscience, an improvised lie decision, and a surprise ending. I have been working on the show since 2017. John Gordillo has been directing the show, starting right after the 2017 Fringe. I have been previewing the show at a lot of the smaller Fringes around the UK, but it is premiering officially at the Edinburgh Fringe, 2018.

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

Ian Smith has in incredible and fun idea for a show. Sindhu Vee is a really great storyteller and breakthough act. Richard Wright is doing a show called Virgin, which is really interesting. And Jim Cambell is a great act doing his first hour. I am excited to see it. Darren Harriott is incredible and I am very much looking forward to his second hour. After that, John Hastings, Jarred Christmas, Ivo Graham, Ed Gamble and Tom Stade are all amazing stand-ups that you cannot go wrong with.


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+3 Interview: Luca Cupani: God Digger

“It’s about my exciting life as a practising Catholic and an observant hypochondriac.”

WHO: Luca Cupani, Performer

WHAT: “Luca’s hypochondria and survival instincts have helped him live a fairly safe and sin-free life so far, but his imaginary diseases and unfulfilled dreams of being the poster child for over-the-counter painkillers have lead Luca to further question his Catholicism for life’s answers. This So You Think You’re Funny winner, Italian comedian and all round lovely guy is here to entice the masses with his endearing and brutally honest storytelling. ‘Funny and fresh and so, so moreish’ **** (Scotsman). ‘Lines that will make you laugh for the rest of the day’ **** (Scotsman).”

WHERE: Underbelly, George Square – The Wee Coo (Venue 139) 

WHEN: 17:20 (60 min)

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Is this your first time to Edinburgh?

It is my fifth time at the Fringe. My first experience was in 2014, I loved the atmosphere and I spend every August in Edinburgh since then. What I like the most is the chance to meet loads of talented artists and to perform every day in front of people from all over the world!

What’s the biggest thing to have happened to you since Festivals ’17?

I managed to write another show for this Fringe 2018!

Tell us about your show.

My show is called ‘God Digger’ and I wrote it: it’s about my exciting life as a practising Catholic and an observant hypochondriac. The show is promoted by my agent Mick Perrin Worldwide Ltd. Edinburgh will be the world premiere and after the festival I’d love to bring the show everywhere!

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

There is a long list of shows that I hope to see, here is just some of them (in alphabetical order):
Anuvab Pal: Empire
Austentatious
Ed Night: An Aesthetic
Romina Puma It’s all my mother fault
Tim Renkow Tries to punch down


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+3 Interview: Ashley Blaker: Observant Jew

“I have just finished a five-week run Off Broadway in New York.”

WHO: Ashley Blaker, Performer

WHAT: “Ashley Blaker isn’t your average Orthodox Jewish man. He’s also an internationally acclaimed comedian and now, for the first time, is performing a show for us gentiles, direct from his off-Broadway run. How did a secular Jewish comedy producer end up becoming ultra-orthodox? How does he live between two very different worlds? As heard on BBC Radio 4. ‘Has audiences on the floor’ (Jerusalem Post). ‘Relentlessly funny… Blaker brings something totally unprecedented to stand-up’ (Jewish Chronicle). ‘A wittier man than I’ll ever be’ (Matt Lucas, Little Me).”

WHERE: Underbelly, Bristo Square – Daisy (Venue 139) 

WHEN: 15:00 (60 min)

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Is this your first time to Edinburgh?

I came to Edinburgh as a punter in both 1992 and 1993. I then came several times as a TV producer looking for talent for different show. This is my first time though as a performer.

What’s the biggest thing to have happened to you since Festivals ’17?

The last year has been incredible. I have performed shows in South Africa, Israel and Canada; made my first BBC Radio 4 show; and I have just finished a five-week run Off Broadway in New York. Coming to Edinburgh to perform my debut show will be an equally exciting experience.

Tell us about your show.

The show is about how I went from being a secular Jewish TV producer to being strictly orthodox and not even owning a TV (it’s forbidden!). And considering how crazy my life is now, hopefully I’ll be able to explain why on earth I still do it. This is the show’s premier apart from three previews in July so it is completely unchartered territory for me. As for where it will go next, that really does depend on how it goes down I guess. Maybe I will retreat back home and not want to come out for a few months! Ideally, I’d like to tour an extended version of the show around the UK at some point soon.

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

It will all be a let down thereafter so maybe they just need to stick to the Tattoo. I do love Keiran Hodgson though and Max and Ivan are peerless when it comes to sketch comedy. I am sure both of those shows will be amazing. However, if I am wrong, please don’t come to me asking for your money back. That’s not how this works.


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+3 Interview: Myra Dubois: We Wish You a Myra Christmas

“Getting to see me LIVE and in the flesh was a pretty big thing to have happened to those 3, 000 people!”

WHO: Myra Dubois, Performer

WHAT: “The self-declared siren of south Yorkshire presents a festive spectacular! In August. Join Myra DuBois for an hour of off-season seasonal singalongs and summertime yuletide anecdotes from her Christmases past, all delivered in her trademark acerbic wit! ‘A display of caustic sensibility and razor sharp wit’ (Scotland on Sunday). ‘Proper stand-up… brilliantly delivered’ **** (BroadwayBaby.com). ‘Hilarious… comedic timing that never misses a beat’ **** (Edinburgh Festivals Magazine).”

WHERE: Underbelly, George Square – The Wee Coo (Venue 300) 

WHEN: 16:00 (60 min)

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Is this your first time to Edinburgh?

It most certainly isn’t! I’ve served seven long years at the Fringe in various capacities, from ensemble shows to solo spectaculars! Although, saying “served” sounds awfully pessimistic doesn’t it? It’s quite ‘trendy’ to grumble about the fringe but I love it. Whisky and show business! What more could you want?!

What’s the biggest thing to have happened to you since Festivals ’17?

The doctor put me on these new tablets and I don’t think these are the placebos, which is lovely! Also I JUST supported the celebrated transvestite Bianca Del Rio on her UK tour, playing to packed houses of about 3,000 people a night! Getting to see me LIVE and in the flesh was a pretty big thing to have happened to those 3, 000 people!

Tell us about your show.

Well, it stars ME and it’s produced by So Comedy/Broken Robot productions by arrangement with ME and I suppose it was written by ME – although can we call off the cuff musings “writing”? It’s essentially just me talking about Christmas for an hour with some songs thrown in. But WHY NOT?

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

I encourage all your readers to absolutely AVOID seeing Frank Lavender’s awful little show “Gotta Laugh?” at the Counting House Lounge at 6pm everyone. He’s a WOEFULLY unfunny comedian and I curse the day my sister became romantically involved with that man. He’d have you believe we’re close, but this is FAKE NEWS. I repeat, do NOT see Frank Lavender’s ‘Gotta Laugh’ at the Counting House at 6pm!


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+3 Interview: Tori Scott Is #Thirsty

“I’m thrilled to be making my debut and can’t wait to explore Edinburgh.”

WHO: Tori Scott, Perfomer

WHAT: “Celebrating poor life choices and an unconditional love of vodka, direct from New York City. This Garland for the Grindr era is ‘a force to be reckoned with’ (BroadwayWorld.com), desperate to escape Trumpland and be let loose on Scotland! Join Tori and her band The Shame Spirals on an audacious musical journey of slurred autobiographical stories and songs she stole from other people. Set to the music of Lady Gaga, Queen, Edith Piaf, Pink and more. You’re in for ‘an absolute thrill’ (HuffingtonPost.com). ‘Sheer delight… what a marvel’ ***** (BritishTheatre.com).”

WHERE: Underbelly, Bristo Square – The Dairy Room (Venue 302) 

WHEN: 22:15 (60 min)

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Is this your first time to Edinburgh?

It is!! First Fringe and first time in Scotland! I’m thrilled to be making my debut and can’t wait to explore Edinburgh.

Tell us about your show.

#Thirsty is an hour of sassy commentary celebrating bad decisions and my unconditional love of vodka. Mixed in with the stories are songs I stole from other people like Lady Gaga, Queen, even Judy Garland. I wrote the show based on personal experiences and, with the help of my wonderful music director Jesse Kissel and my fabulous director Seth Sklar-Heyn, we created a really great shameless musical journey of poor life choices. #Thirsty is produced by Robin Rayner in association with Steve Richardson and Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater. I’ve been working with Jesse and Seth for the past 6 years since I began doing my shows at Joe’s Pub in New York. I began working with Robin Rayner last year and we premiered a very early version of this at The Vault Festival in London. It’s changed quite a bit since that run and we are really thrilled to show it to an Edinburgh audience. After Edinburgh, we will do a one night only performance of it at Live at Zedel at the Brasserie Zedel in London on August 29th. And after that, I would love to take it on tour!

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

I’m really looking forward to seeing fellow Joe’s Pub performer and New Yorker Murray Hill’s show at the Gilded Balloon. I’m also excited to see Velma Celli and The Worst Little Warehouse in London at Assembly. And you don’t want to miss the most charming magician, Tom Brace, in his magic show over at the Pleasance Courtyard.


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