Category Archives: Martin Walker

The Year I Was Gifted

The Year I Was Gifted
Sweet Grassmarket
2.50pm (run ends 25th Aug)

This comic semi-autobiographical piece, written and performed by award-winning playwright, Monica Bauer, is a gorgeous wee gem of a show.

Billed as a coming of age, gay-straight love story, Bauer depicts the fortunes of a working class 15 year old girl who lied her way into a prestigious American boarding school for the arts.

As we’ve come to expect from Bauer, her writing is stronger than strong. Not a word is wasted. Her performance is engaging, though perhaps she dropped out of character occasionally, when playing her much younger self.

The story of how she secured her place at Interlochen Arts Academy is endearing and entertaining. But the sequence of events that followed left me genuinely moved.

Why are gay lads are being expelled from the school at an alarming rate? Who is this gay best friend that influenced Bauer so much? Will Bauer risk everything to make a stand?

This is a play about a sense of belonging, of right and wrong and of loyalty. Anyone who still thinks that homosexuality is somehow immoral should see this piece immediately.

Martin Walker

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Posted by on August 15, 2013 in Martin Walker, The Year I Was Gifted


Paul Foot: Words

Paul Foot: Words
Underbelly Cowgate
7.30pm (run ends 25th Aug)

Imagine Simon Munnery, Daniel Kitson, Josie Long and Baconface at Bodo’s one night. Over several pints of beer and a rum and coke, served by our own Jo Caulfield, they wait for Stewart Lee to turn up (he doesn’t for some reason). It’s their night off performing and this super group of comedian’s comedians are looking forward to seeing a show.

They’re going to see Paul Foot. That’s how good he is.

Martin Walker

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Posted by on August 15, 2013 in Martin Walker, Paul Foot: Words


Mitch Benn is the 37th Beatle

Mitch Benn is the 37th Beatle
The Stand
3pm (run ends 25th Aug)


Did you know that Peter Capaldi once played George Harrison in a biopic of The Beatles? Or that Christopher Eccleston once played John Lennon? Mitch Benn interrupts himself, “Shut up about Doctor Who Mitch, keep to one of your obsessions at a time.”

Mitch Benn is the UK’s leading musical satirist (a quote which adorns much of Benn’s promotional bumf) and for my money he’s also the country’s most loveable nerd.

This of course is a compliment. He adores Doctor Who, he’s about to take over as Zaphod in the stage version of Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy, and he’s just had his first SF/Fantasy novel published… (it’s called ‘Terra’ and it’s really rather good)… and yes, he’s a massive Beatles fan.

So back in February, while Benn was trying to come up with a concept for a Fringe show, the Liverpudlian singer Tony Sheridan, died. The obituaries described him has “the fifth Beatle”, a label frequently used to describe anybody with even the most tenuous connection with the band. Benn went to the same school as two of the Beatles, so in an effort to discover how close to being the fifth Beatle he might be, he decided to make a list.

You really don’t need to be a Beatles buff to enjoy this hour. Benn is terrific company. He gets from number one “John Lennon” to number thirty-seven “Mitch Benn” via an entertaining musical potted history and a light hearted examination of their legacy. Perhaps I prefer the Mitch Benn who writes anti-war numbers and performs pro-gay marriage songs, but this is terrific entertainment never the less.

So who else is on his list? Don’t mention Oasis.

Martin Walker

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Posted by on August 15, 2013 in Martin Walker, Mitch Benn is the 37th Beatle


Milo McCabe: Schiz

Milo McCabe: Schiz
Gilded Balloon
5pm (run ends 25th Aug)


Appearing at the fringe for the third year in a row in an array of guises, character comedian Milo McCabe yet again impresses and entertains in equal measure.

McCabe seems determined to make his own life as difficult as possible by attempting to depict individuals with characteristics that are utterly ridiculous, but also grounded in reality.

First up is an affectionate take on a wannabe dandy, who signs on the dole whist working in Wilko’s. In less deft hands this act may have come across has pretty homophobic, but McCabe can have you caring about the character even as you are laughing at them.

Next is a hard Glaswegian man who happens to be a train enthusiast who thinks he’s Adele. It’s a hilarious stereotype busting turn made even funnier when McCabe improvises with the audience whilst remaining in character.

My favourite was probably Q10 – the Grimsby dock worker with a secret – though if you want to know what that is, you’ll have to see the show for yourself.

All in all, Schiz was a bit of a treat, as McCabe’s shows always are. If I’m being picky, it could maybe have done with an overall plot to hang the thing together – like in his previous shows – but I enjoyed it immensely nevertheless.

Martin Walker


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Posted by on August 15, 2013 in Martin Walker, Milo McCabe: Schiz


Gay Straight Alliance

Gay Straight Alliance
The Phoenix
10pm (run ends 25th Aug)


Direct from the famous Stonewall Inn in New York, Veronica Elizabeth’s ‘Gay Straight Alliance’ presents gay-friendly straights and straight-friendly gays in a mixed stand-up comedy night – under The Phoenix pub, in the heart of Edinburgh’s gay quarter.

The compere’s guests on the strong night I attended were the gorgeous gay Irish lad, Cormac Friel (from the show Jobby Hunter) and musical satirist Christian Reilly (from the show Songs of Praise). Both guests were excellent, with Reilly in particular wooing the crowd.

But the highlight of the show, and the reason I think Gay Straight Alliance will always worth a punt, is Elizabeth herself. Presenting a fresh take on self-deprecating lesbian themed humour, she manages to somehow be inclusive, outward looking and slyly politically incorrect. Later, I saw her again at one of the very popular New Town Bar Sunday Fundraisers. She stormed it – the almost exclusively gay male audience couldn’t get enough of her.

Martin Walker


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Posted by on August 15, 2013 in Gay Straight Alliance, Martin Walker


A Tranny is Born

high rez kim boyzCabaret
A Tranny is Born
The Voodoo Rooms
6.45pm (run ends 25th Aug)


This is not a by the numbers drag show. Mzz Kimberley, our hostess for the night, isn’t just a powerful singer and an expert story teller. She’s the real deal. She’s an artist.

She has the moves of Eartha Kitt during ‘I want to be evil’. She bellows like Bassey during ‘Diamonds Are Forever’. She croons, she dances, and at one point she even performs on roller skates.

Each standard becomes her own.

‘Sweet Transvestite’ has rarely sounded so raunchy, ‘Cabaret’ rarely this fresh. ‘Oh Happy Day’ almost sent this atheist back to church to praise The Lord.

In between numbers she shares stories of growing up, hanging out at Motown and meeting Warhol, but the show is mostly designed to show her versatility as a singer and performer. From ‘Bridge over troubled water’ to her finale and signature tune ‘Tranny’, you’ll be wondering how the last hour went by so quickly.

The fact that this show can be found on the Free Fringe makes it all the more extraordinary. I really can’t praise Mzz Kimberley’s show highly enough.

Martin Walker


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Posted by on August 14, 2013 in A Tranny is Born, Martin Walker


Sunday Fundraiser

Sunday Fundraiser
New Town Bar
4pm every Sunday until 25th Aug

The very popular Sunday Fundraisers, in aid of Waverley Care, showcase gay and gay friendly acts from across the Fringe. Of-course it’s almost impossible to review a show like this, because the line-up is constantly changing.

The hosts the afternoon I was there were Scott Agnew (a personal favourite) and Eilish O’Carroll , (Winnie McGoogan from Mrs Brown’s Boys). They were clearly enjoying themselves immensely, and it would have been nice to hear them banter together some more.

Most of the acts were terrific. Some were a bit weird and one or two died on their arse. For me the best were the opening act, Diane Spencer – who told some of the most filthy jokes I’d heard in some time, Veronica Elizabeth of Gay Straight Alliance – who is surely going to be very famous one day, and the princess himself, Aaron Twitchen – whose routines are improving considerably year on year.

Ultimately, it costs absolutely nothing to get in to a four hour mixed show and you’re helping charity every time you buy a drink. What’s not to like? Enormous credit must go to Jimmy Quinn and Stephen Martin for organising the whole thing so well.

Martin Walker

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Posted by on August 14, 2013 in Martin Walker, Sunday Fundraiser


Martin’s shows to Review

A Tranny is Born

Bacon Face

David Mills

David Morgan

Desperately Seeking the Exit 

Gay Straight Alliance 

Ginge, Geordie, Geek

In Vogue: Songs by Madonna 

It Goes without Saying 

Knees Up Round the Organ! 

Magic Faraway Cabaret 

Milo McCabe: Schiz 

Mitch Benn: 37th Beatle 

Paul Foot: Words

Rosie Wilby 

Susan Calman: Work in Progress 

The Year I was Gifted 

Tony Law

Worbey and Farrell 

Zoe Lyons 

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Posted by on July 10, 2013 in Martin Walker



Reviews from this critic will appear here during August.



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