Archive for category Sophie Alexander
Sandi Toksvig Live: My Valentine (review)
Sandi Toksvig is particularly inspiring as an ‘out’ female celebrity; within the dominating mass of heterosexual culture she provides a reminder that we can be female, gay, and bloody successful.
What Would Beyonce Do? (review)
It’s so exciting when something like this happens at the Fringe and surely this is what encapsulates the festival like nothing other. Sitting by the loos in a sweaty room above a bar, watching a free show by the freshest new talent on the block.
Suzi Ruffell: Let’s Get Ready to Ruffell (review)
A fresh (cute) face, acute observations, a truly awful Glaswegian accent and a really enjoyable hour spent in the company of one of the comedy worlds rising stars. Here it comes… One to watch. There, I said it.
Buzz word this month is Beyonce and how she would break up a shit with a stick.
Luisa Omielan in her free masterpiece on love, heartbreak and family, chronicles disasters many of us will face at some time and ponders the question what exactly would Beyonce do in these situations?
Omielan is the most perfect of performers. She catapults herself across the tiny stage in the Meadows bar and ensures for the next hour we will be thoroughly entertained and blown away by the manic intensity and commitment she gives to her performance.
In such a small space often the audience can feel slightly awkward at being packed in like battery hens, made to sit on the floor and cosy up to the stranger next to you. But this simply added to the experience and is even more kudos to Omielan that she made every single person feel comfortable enough to laugh out loud, wave their hands in the air and moo (yes moo.. go and see it for yourself) the lyrics to ‘Survivor’.
Ingenuity is what sets this show apart from the hundreds of others. Whilst material may be from the fairly well-trodden comedic path, the extent to which Omielan makes the generic seem original is the sign of a true talent. The only disappointment is that we have to wait a whole nother year to see her again.
It’s so exciting when something like this happens at the Fringe and surely this is what encapsulates the festival like nothing other. Sitting by the loos in a sweaty room above a bar, watching a free show by the freshest new talent on the block. Give handsomely on the way out though, because yup you’ve guessed it, it’s what Beyonce would do.
In the bright and rare beautiful sunny weather I wasn’t overly enthusiastic about entering the Sapphire Rooms mid-afternoon, a strip club in the heart of the pubic triangle on Lothian Road.
This feeling only spiralled downward into true despair as this hour-long debacle dragged on and on. I think about mid-way through I may have actually developed acute depression and never again thought I would experience happiness, laugher or contentment.
The premise of the show, which we were reminded of when the director came on stage at the beginning and in the most precocious of manners, proceeded to tell us nothing that wasn’t written on the flyer. Something about wanting to experience all sides of the sex industry, why men frequent strip clubs and how the strippers are just regular girls. Shocking stuff I know.
This shambling, amateur hour of disjointed and smug theatre was the worst I have ever had the misfortune of enduring. Not only were we put through uniformly bad improv, over-acted soliloquies and sketches that seemed to have no relevance to either the show or real life, but at one point we were actually flyered for an actor’s cheerleading business. A real all-time low I think that one was.
The main problem with Gob Shop—though there were many—was that it just thought it was a whole lot edgier than it actually was. Subsequently the director must have forgotten to actually come up with any sort of real plot or hire actors who could actually act, so struck with how edgy it would be to produce something on the sex industry.
Around half way through Gob shite, sorry Gob Shop (I had to, I had to..) we get a free shot of booze, ten more and perhaps.. actually no. Nothing could make this bearable.
A chronicling of all things lesbian: no surprise this is on the ScotsGay reviewer’s agenda.
Strange Hungers is billed as ‘lavender cabaret’ and a ‘grubby lesbo freakshow’. It was so queer, so feminist it should be on the study list of Barnard or Wellesley College student.
The show wasn’t predictable as much as totally unsurprising. I was almost waiting for the requisite dildo to be brandished and the actresses to lift their arms showing off a few months’ growth. Admittedly, when Maud does leap onstage with a belt of silver shlongs round her waist and a purple one affixed to her forehead it is thoroughly amusing but precisely what I have come to expect from any sort of queer theatre.
The show chronicled a brief history of lesbians, from Ann Lister and Vita Sackville West to references to the modern-day Sapphic bible of the L Word. A favourite little sketch depicted the butch and femme dynamic, Maud and Claude playing the sinister butches eyeing up the coy femme (a lady in the front row) but cocking it up to ridicule and demonstrate the façade of that role-playing culture.
The show left us asking are Sue Perkins and Claire Balding the only role-models we can hope to have as young gay women? Is lesbian history really as boring and sexless as we are led to believe (Radclyffe Hall ahem)?
Strange Hungers (a reference to a lesbian pulp fiction novel) is well written, directed and performed. There are some killer lines, ‘take your patriarchy and get the hell out of here!’ and the musical accompaniment from Magic Fingers is a brilliant extra touch. But from the company that brought us Alma Mater (an acclaimed piece of iPad theatre) I was hoping for a little more substance, a little less ‘titty-show’ and a lot more deconstruction. Fun, but could have done so much more.
What adjective can fittingly describe Sandi Toksvig? Phenomenal would be one of them, delightful another. I could go on but instead I will simply say an hour spent in the company of this woman was not enough. I could have sat and listened and laughed and marvelled for so many more.
Toksvig is an orator, a writer, a broadcaster and a darling of the British public. She adorns her show with anecdotal tales of sport and shopping, an insight into her Danish family history, a look at some of her favourite feminine icons, plus a brief history of the Boer War.
To be quite honest I could listen to the woman talk about the history of watching paint dry and it would still be a hoot.
Toksivg encapsulates the phrase joie de vivre quite perfectly: her absolute enthusiasm for life is infectious, spreading to the very back of the rammed to the rafters Pleasance Grand. She bounces over the stage and throws her arms about, conducting imaginary orchestras and thoroughly enjoying the audience smiles and crying mirth.
As a feminist she speaks about the lack of equal representation still on going at the Edinburgh Festival. Strong females are a running theme, with Toksvig denouncing those old children’s stories such as the ‘Janet and John’ books in which no feisty females existed.
This nicely leads on to her explaining the ideas behind ‘Valentine Grey’; Toksvig’s most recent fictional accomplishment.
I’m not sure whether I want to actually be Sandi Toksvig or marry her, but either way she has provided for me my Festival highlight thus far. She is particularly inspiring as an ‘out’ female celebrity; within the dominating mass of heterosexual culture she provides a reminder that we can be female, gay, and bloody successful.
So, what does happen if we can only physiologically love for a maximum of eighteen months? Naylor explores this and other burning questions about marriage, death, dead dogs and wardrobes in this romantic story-telling with musical backing.
Naylor is sweet, wide-eyed and a good orator. Her dramatic pauses and perfect intonation work well but I feel would be better suited to radio. She speaks in a way that suggests we could all close our eyes and drift off into the tale she’s spinning, without necessarily being aware of what she’s doing on stage.
The musical backing is courtesy of ‘The Middle Ones’, who play bass, suitcase, and mini xylophone. For me they either needed to play more, or just not be there at all. The band are so achingly Juno/Native State/insert-suitable-indie-film-name-here, that they almost make the fable seem less authentic and too self-conscious.
The story however, is well-written, interesting and rather poignant at moments. Naylor engages the audience for the full hour and I would like to hear more of her, if perhaps not on stage but a sunny afternoon, lying and listening to her warming tones play out over Radio 4.
As we enter Assembly 3, everyone is handed a party popper and hat and invited to the birthday party of Morrissey obsessive Amy Lamé. Quickly the main concept of the show becomes apparent; the audience plays pass the parcel (which was always my favourite party game just FYI) and the gift that is unwrapped becomes the prop for the next part of the show. This was suitably entertaining but became repetitive with little variation on the theme.
Audience participation is somewhere the show could buckle. Luckily tonight what absolutely ensured a successful hour was the array of characters sitting with their paper hats atop their heads. We had a smiley BBC dude, a man who may well have just wandered off the streets and sat writing numbers on what looked like a match-box, a couple of hysterical teenagers who, when one had to have a shot of milk almost exploded with red-faced giggles. But the absolute highlight were a couple sitting front row, under the grave misapprehension this was to be a little less performance art, a little more tribute act. They had their Moz tees on and everything.
Lamé repeatedly checks on her party guests throughout, ensuring we are all as devoted to Moz as she is. She runs past everyone screaming ‘You like Morrissey right?’ ‘You like him?’ After the third bout of this, the lady with the Je Suis Morrissey t-shirt looked quite despairing and just waved her hand across her chest at the slogan, as if to say ‘YES I adore him too. Now why do you keep asking me?’
The icing on the cake for myself, was almost exactly that. I had my head shoved in a piece of sponge, my neck covered in lipstick and I may or may not have been snogged quite enthusiastically, but it’s a blurry memory.
The performance could have run a little deeper, perhaps taken on board some of that good old Moz irony. Subtle this show ain’t, it force feeds you butter icing and forces you to have a good time, which I did. Hard one to surmise this, but all in all an incredibly frantic, bizarre and messy hour.
Rich Peppiatt is a former Daily Star hack turned Edinburgh Festival performer. Since turning his back on the days of churning out copy after copy of insignificant tabloid tat (an exposé on Alexander the Meer cat will be ever forgotten), Peppiatt handed in a very public resignation letter which featured in The Guardian.
In this performance lecture and public story-telling, Peppiatt elaborates on the superciliousness, hypocrisy and seediness of the men who sell us our daily news.
In front of a projector and a lap-top whilst supping on a pint, Peppiatt looks every inch the journalist: unshaven, slightly alcoholic and cynically amusing.
He derives particular pleasure in seeking out the Daily Mail readers amongst us – unsurprisingly in this left-wing show there is only one who dares to raise his hand. What falls under particular attack is the Mail’s online gossip columns, featuring an absurd story about a film editor in a bikini. Peppiatt riles this for all it’s worth extracting as many laughs as he can get before moving on.
The contentedness I feel when watching Peppiatt dress up in trench coat and trilby and plaster contradictory and exploitative Daily Express headlines regarding Madeline McCann, all over editor Hugh Whittow’s lovely new Range-Rover is perhaps a feeling of a little bit of just deserts being served.
Whilst there are weak moments in the show, the concept and delivery is bang-on. Not so much a comedy as a scandalous expose on scandals which will leave some of the head honchos very red-faced indeed.
What could sum up the Edinburgh Festival more, than a production of Midsummer Night’s Dream in which a different actor each night gets thoroughly, well, shitfaced before going on stage?
Tonight it’s Demetrius’s turn and boy is he pissed. Peter Quince proffers the tray of empties that actor John Sebastian has already imbibed: a Tesco Value gin bottle, three cans of Guinness and an alco-pop. Not bad going for a pre-theatre booze up.
Demetrius acted the perfect drunk. I say acted, as though he was no doubt thoroughly pissed, he hammed it up to such an extent I was waiting to catch him out and say ‘ah-ha’! ‘I knew you were faking’.
However, whilst most of us can watch and laugh at the inebriated on a regular night out, there was something quite rough and authentic in the contradistinction between the slurred and stumbling drunk and the Shakespearean language he was attempting to remember.
At times it was over-done, but the exaggerations went down well with a pretty raucous audience. As in Shakespearean times the audience were key, encouraging Demetrius to drink more by hollering and yelling. Never did I think I would be sat in a production of Midsummer whilst the audience chanted ‘Down it, Down it, Down it!’
At times hilarious, at others a little over the top, but a perfect festival show. I cannot imagine it would go down so well anywhere else in the world.
The phrase ‘one to watch’ gets chucked around all too often this month of August. But fuck it, I’m going to use it anyway.
The longer Suzi Ruffell is on stage the longer the audience want her to stay there. Her warm, funny and self-deprecating style is a true winner with the (miniature) crowd in the stifling underground vault in the Courtyard.
Ruffell easily makes you think she’s your mate by orating stories of drunken nights out, broken hearts and naked bicycle rides: seems like she’d be pretty fun to get on the Jaegers with.
Whilst the space in the aforementioned enclosure is fairly minimal, Ruffell still manages to conjure up the God of Gaga in a routine that wouldn’t look out of place in a club on George Street (gesticulating wildly, then falling to her knees, repeat with added moans of drunken despair). She also plonks herself down next to me, singing Lionel Richie in an ode to being on the pull.
A fresh (cute) face, acute observations, a truly awful Glaswegian accent and a really enjoyable hour spent in the company of one of the comedy worlds rising stars. Here it comes… One to watch. There, I said it again.
Daniel Bye begins his show The Price of Everything, by explaining how what the audience are about to experience is a performance lecture not a piece of theatre. And lecture he does (in a most articulate and engaging fashion) on the price of the human body if it were to be chopped up and sold on the black market, the cost of a lake in milk and how much people will be willing to pay for an air guitar on Ebay.
It becomes apparent that Bye is taking us for a ride. Without spoiling it, his first major anecdote turns out to be a ruse, a way of us putting our trust in the orator and him mocking us for believing his fabricated stories: a bit like a Daily Mail journalist.
The point Bye is trying to make is not sufficiently concluded, and I wondered how he would connect monetary value (and milk) with the second half of the show concerning human altruism.
The second half then has Bye taking a seat with adequately sombre lighting while he deliberates on human kindness and small acts of compassion. Whilst I agree, it would be lovely to be bought a coffee by a stranger I was distinctly reminded of Danny Wallace (and his book ‘Random Acts of Kindness’) and thus Bye seemed to be slightly un-original in his task of giving a stranger £20 to spend on another stranger.
Yet, a free glass of milk goes a long way to making this particular dairy fan feel content, and the show sure got me thinking: were we to consider the price of truth? Of humanity? It’s left open-ended but one could never complain when a show makes you sit and ponder the complexities of life for at least a few minutes.
No Poofs No Piano theSpace on the Mile 2:05 pm (run ends 18th August)
Hmmm… Is my first thought at the uninspiring title of this show. My questioning attitude only declines into utter disparity the further into the “performance” we get. The three degenerates on stage manage to insult several geographical and socio-political groups of the British population with ill-timed and uninspiring sketches on ‘stereotypes’.
Unfortunately for No Poofs No Piano one stereotype they cannot escape is that of the hopeless and untalented try-hard performer. Apart from the guy who did a back-flip. He was ok.
When commenting on ‘stereotypes’ one has to watch out not to actually end up re-enforcing them: No Poofs No Piano were the dumb mouse to the cheese. One and only one of their sketches had potential: an upper class couple named Daphne and Derek who had a morbid fascination with the working classes.
It had potential, until the representation of the working class man was ‘Dave’ in a flat-cap who overly dropped his t’s in a sort of stage school interpretation of the lumpenproletariat. Sigh. Surely it would have been more fitting to have ‘Dave’ just a regular guy, thus highlighting the snobbery of Daphne and Derek in thinking anyone who was not like themselves was ‘working-class’.
Next enter the obligatory talent show sketch (repeated throughout) and the old, tired Catholic priest and school-boy bit. Add to this yet another sketch on paedophiles and the audience gave up politely laughing and sat waiting for the whole tired debacle to come to an end.
Unfunny, ignorant and infantile.
I must be one of the few regular festival-goers to have never seen Fascinating Aida. Luckily my request came good this year and as I queued up along-side the hordes of middle aged couples and groups of what looked like mature shall we say, hen parties, I wondered if this show may not be quite up my street.
How wrong I was. I was in stitches throughout, not quite to the levels of hysteria like some surrounding me, but I can honestly say I laughed from start to finish. These are the ladies that should be on our TV screens, not the anti-feminist anti-Christ’s of the Loose Women lot. How about giving these three a TV deal so we the unemployed could have some actual entertainment midday? Imagine them interviewing Cheryl Cole or Katy Perry: they would tear them to pieces.
Back to the show and it’s hard to say what were highlights and what not. Particular crowd-pleasers seemed to be ‘Dogging’: a solo from pianist and lynch-pin Dillie Keane; which she prefaces with the line, in her gravelly whisky stained growl: ‘Those of a sensitive disposition.. What the fuck are you doing here?’
The numbers are all topical, including references to the scoundrel Jimmy Carr in a song about tax evasion and the requisite mention to Fifty Shades of Grey.
A surprise of the night was Liza Pullman singing a sincere number about being freed from the shackles of a destructive relationship. Since taking a year off Pullman has returned to FA and all the more glad we are for that. Pullman’s performance demonstrated how the show is enjoyable not only for the lyrical wizardry but equally the musicality.
At times I thought some of the humour was perhaps directed to a slightly older audience, as previously mentioned. ‘Down with the Kids’ was one of these moments, yet when I was happy to take a back seat in the laughter, Dillie threw in a phrase such as getting ‘my minge vajazzled’ and I was off again.
I could tell you to go and see this show come rain or shine, sickness or health but to be quite honest the name Fascinating Aida precedes them: they live up to the hype and exceed it.
DeAnne Smith: Livin’ the Sweet Life
Gilded Ballon Teviot
7:30pm (run ends 26th August)
DeAnne Smith deserves bigger audiences. I know the beginning of the festival is always slow-burning, but I am publicly imploring punters to see this wise-cracking funny lady in action.
Last year, I believe I stated Smith was ‘self-deprecating’. I retract this comment. Whilst Smith, like any comedian, is well versed in putting audiences at ease by laughing at her own actions, she oozes the confidence of an unstoppable force, a slick whirlwind of nerdiness and charm to give a polished performance in which she need not laugh at herself as the whole room (albeit only nine of us) is already doing that for her.
About fifteen minutes into the show, Smith ‘comes out’, I mean, in her own words ‘as if the hair, shirt and tie wasn’t enough’. Girls, veganism and father-lesbian bonding moments suffuse the show and go down well with the mainly het. crowd. Smith bonds with the boys and flirts with the girls so no-one is left feeling unloved.
The cheekiness of Smith makes her instantly likeable and her blasé question to the audience: ‘so who has given oral sex to a woman here?’ (two burly guys sitting in the back row apparently) is juxtaposed with the sheer energy of the performance. At times Smith may appear relaxed and easy-going, but the writing alone demands more of her than this. Impeccably put together, her show is full to bursting point of gags, puns, wicked tales, the voice of her unconscious brain and Smith’s rocket-like energy.
A few of the transatlantic quips fell on the deaf ears of the predominantly British audience: yeah we know, you say 911 we say 999, it’s a big world out there. But aside from these minor points, DeAnne Smith should well be on the verge of something greater than a nine man audience. Gays up and rise to support her and everyone else too. Let’s help her festival experience be a little more sweet.
Not all comedians can get away with that sort of look-at-me-I’m-awkward-cute-and-still-funny type of act, but Mae Martin, perhaps because she genuinely is all of the above, pulls it off.
What I really liked about Martin’s show was the breath of topic within her humour. Underpinning the show was her anxiety of life, YOYO (you’re only young once) and a general uncertainty of what direction she should be taking. These are feelings at some point, we have all felt, and to juxtapose them with increasingly amusing anecdotes and songs was kind of lovely.
The gawky slightly nervous demeanour enabled the audience to feel safe and as though they could relate to her. Hers is not the type of comedy where you’re terrified to sit in the front row, save the comedian verbally accosts you for your fine choice of plaid shirt. This is not to say her comedy strays on the safe side, it is an eclectic jumble of songs about endless showers, Ke$ha rants and a startling accurate impersonation of Julia Roberts.
I think when Martin is at her best, is when she is just sort of, fucking confident. She’s a clever gal; she knows how make an audience laugh. Her portrayal of herself as a young, spidery 14 year old is a bit silly, but loud and full of the confidence of a veteran comedian.
Mae Martin is enticingly endearing, despite looking slightly like Sid from Toy Story. I feel myself sort of willing her on throughout her set. There are moments of brilliance from this lady and I’m crossing my fingers she’ll be back in Edinburgh next year.
Set in a world in which Mother Nature has taken her revenge; the ice caps are melting, people and polar bears are desperate to survive but stand very little chance against the rapidly rising water. This is a dying world, in need of a hero. Enter, the eponymous character Alvin Sputnik, who, with little left to lose embarks on a quest to save the planet.
This is a simplistic tale, but one which captures emotions inherent in humanity. We experience loss, hope and love, all within the space of a wonderfully romantic hour of pure abandonment.
The staging of this magnificent, Disney eat your heart out type show, was beautifully managed, with lighting and the gentle mandolin tracks toying with the audiences emotions and making us ever more empathetic with a little animated stick man. The mixture of puppetry, animation and mime kept the show fresh and interesting, whilst being easily inventive too; a plastic bag used as a jelly fish wafting around in the ocean was met with many ‘oohs and ahs’.
It is not the most intricate of tales, and in all honesty that much doesn’t actually happen, but it is relatable, winsome and utterly enchanting. An absolute ‘must see’, of the Edinburgh Fringe, 2011.
To any who state the old ‘but women aren’t funny’ diatribe, The Boom Jennies are about to knee you in the balls. But will do it with a smile, and a sprinkling of cayenne pepper.
These girls are sketch and character comedy at its absolute best. Often slightly surreal and with a touch of the bizarre, this energetic trio rocket through character sketches, a couple of hilarious dance routines and some brilliantly written running jokes. The focus on food becomes more apparent, but for no apparent reason too. Watch out for the mayo if you deign to sit in the front row.
The girls interact with the audience like old friends, mingling, with some slightly scary flirting and inviting unsuspecting guys to dinner. The best audience interaction I’ve seen at the Fringe, impeccably timed whilst making everyone feel quite at ease. They utilise every inch of their stage space making this performance an all round welcome attack on the senses. The hurricane-esque force with which these three perform is something other performers should take a note of. Managing to balance in your face laughs and subtlety quite perfectly.
The writing is fantastic, with a plethora of characters from a French pen pal gone wrong to a desperate single hankering for a husband. With a bloody great soundtrack; Cher anyone? This show was an hour of constant laughs, hilarious bemusement and free chips.
Be blown away by the Boom Jennies, go and support them and ask them to marry you. They’ll say yes.
This modern day adaptation of Euripides’ classic theatrical drama, was a jumble of strange accents, a dire chorus and questionable set design, with the only redeeming feature being Nadira Janikova managing to just about drum up some stage presence.
The set seemed to think it was a space age hotel, with two sets of grey marbled elevator style doors and what looked like a prop from the Science Museum’s planetarium exhibition stuck in between them. The vast orange sun was meant to represent Medea as ‘the fiery daughter of the sun’ and thus glowed violently any time the lead was feeling particularly murderous (which was often, by the way).
Richard Fry played Jason, Creon and Aegus and to help us audience out, he kindly put on three different accents each time he swapped character, to aid us in the difficult process of understanding basic theatrical practice. Firstly, Creon spoke in quasi West County/Cornish jargon, Jason in a terrible Del Boy esque Londoners drawl; ‘Naaaaaaaaah, you won’t ‘av it’ and finally Aegus in a slightly upper crust public schoolboy manner. This at least made for some amusement
Janikova managed to convey all feelings of desperation, fury and despair and I feel she was let down by the rest of the cast. Janikova and Fry had little chemistry and at the crux of the play, when Medea has murdered her own children, a bleak wail from Fry ruined what should have been a chilling finale.
This play had some potential; the modern day text by Stella Duffy was easy to understand and fresh in its dialogue. Yet the flat delivery by all but Janikova made Medea less fire and brimstone and more sad, dying firework.
Turning 40 soon, and outwardly reflecting on what she has accomplished so far, Zoe Lyons sets herself up as an underachiever who is content staying at home, watching Come Dine With Me in her Snuggie (a blanket with sleeves don’t cha know). For such a self-proclaimed underachiever, Lyons is certainly doing a-ok at the moment; with a successful Edinburgh show and permanent panel show appearances on the beeb.
Lyons material is fairly safe, she skips through jokes about nudist beaches, airports and drug smuggling, raising solid laughs all round. When Lyons is at her best however, is when she crosses that line between playing it safe and daring to be a little riskier. Her scathing condemnation of the ‘high achieving youth’ offering her life advice, is delivered in such a ferocious manner with excellent use of comedic tone and timing, Lyons should perhaps focus a little more on this more cutting type of narrative.
The best thing about Lyons is her widespread appeal and what it stands for. She goes down well with the Michael McIntyre type; a sort of middle England, funny but not outrageous type of humour. This for a 39-year old lesbian from Glasgow is the highest of achievements, and it seems despite the premise of her show, Lyons is coolly aware of this.
This interminable piece of dross performed by two women, who on first appearance I thought to be drag queens, should be served with a health warning: Danger to anyone who possesses an inkling of subtlety, shrewdness or intelligence and does not wish to be treated like a voyeur watching not so much a car crash but more a terrorist attack on the senses.
This piece of ‘comedy and dance’ as it is described, is a confusing mix of performance art, failed humour and pointless nudity. One sketch involved one half of the catastrophic duo, dressed in a ballerina costume, picking her nose, trying to eat her own foot and licking her nipple. I speak for myself and the rest of the audience, when I say we were all rather hoping she would choke. This display of self indulgent and patronising wannabe comedy is an insult to the few audience members that paid money to have an hour of their life crassly taken from them.
I believe the point of this façade, was meant to be some sort of illustration on comedy duo’s, done as they put it, in an ‘honest female sort of way’. This I do find funny, as I have no idea how on earth, miming fellatio and premature ejaculation is at all characteristically female. I think any woman watching this spectacle would be offended that such immaturity is akin to any sort of femaleness.
There are a fair few infamous double acts in history; Myra Hindley and Ian Brady, Fred and Roesmary West, the Kray twins, and… you see where I’m going with this. The Two Wrongies will be well known through Edinburgh fairly soon as having not only the worst show of the entire Festival but for the first riots in Scotland starting as irate audiences demand their money back.
With all the subtlety of a cheap bottle of red on a Friday night (just chuck it down your throat and enjoy yourself) Margaret Cho sashays onstage, confident that by the end of her show, the audience will be eating from the palm of her casually extended hand.
Cho’s humour is energetic, ballsy and raucous. Hedonism is the dish of the day and as Cho journeys through a sample of her sexual exploits; complete with finite detail (think bush and lots of it) the audience cringe but crack up simultaneously. Cho talks frankly of topics often avoided by women and I feel her ‘asshole’ should get its own credit on her flyer.
Whilst Cho has the room in stitches, she unites a queer friendly audience in her no bullshit attitude to same sex marriage and gay teen suicide. This more political and sensitive material is interspersed with her love/hate feelings on Sarah Palin; ‘I don’t like Sarah Palin’s politics at all, but, I wanna fuck her’.
Cho uses her cultural heritage to elicit a few more, cheaper laughs. Extended impersonations of her Korean mother are amusing, but a little tired. Although Cho herself states that she is not as famous here, as she is in the US, she can still rely on her credentials enough to merely sneeze onstage and bring the house down.
As with that cheap bottle of vino, Cho is to be enjoyed on a rare occasion but leaves a taste in your mouth you won’t be forgetting for some time.
DeAnne Smith is rather charming. She is also fairly laddish, a touch self deprecating and a little manic too. Not exactly all things to all men.. but she’s damn well trying.
The fact that Smith appeals to all sorts is a testimony to her show and herself. Her comedy is polished and perfectly precise. A hair doesn’t fall out of place from her side swept haircut (what is it with lesbians and their fringes?), yet she makes the time to gently mock herself, referring to the fact she does look rather like the geeky hybrid love child of Justin Bieber and Harry Potter.
Her punch lines are delivered swiftly yet it does seem as though she has perfected her routine a little too much, perhaps newcomers’ nerves at wanting to make everything perfect. But then comes the undoubtable highlight of her set; ‘Six and a Half Minutes of Bonus Hilarity’. Bruce the tech sets a timer and off she goes, chatting with the audience and finding herself amongst a self confessed polygamist and a young teen with daddy issues. Smith interacts so naturally and confidently with a small room of strangers it makes me think she should spend a little more of her set straying from her material.
For the past hour, like HP himself, Smith has been casting a spell over the audience and is now about to sever the connection. This lady is a brilliant comedian, perceptive and original and as an audience member I do feel as though I have fallen for her charms. The break up is swift, but I have no doubt she’ll be entering into our lives once more, on a much bigger stage.