An Interview with Rosie Sings

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It is a rare gift indeed to be funny AND sing like an angel. The Mumble were honored, then, to catch a wee blether with Rosie Houlton…


Hello Rosie, so where ya from & where ya at, geographically speaking?

Rosie: Hello Mumble, well I was born in the city which lacks all culture – Milton Keynes! I now live in the city where culture thrives – EDINBURGH!

When did you first realise you could sing really well?
Rosie: When someone told me they thought I could and then I asked someone to teach me how to try and do it well.

Which singers inspire you?
Rosie: Oh SO many singers are inspirational and I am constantly learning! However the artists I’m listening to at the moment would mainly be Morgan James, Shoshana Bean and Anne Marie.

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When did you first develop a passion for performing?
Rosie: Being born a Princess I’m no stranger to performance. I grew up touring the UK with my Dad in the circus and I often got asked to help with his act which I found fun and got to have a small taste of ‘showing off’. It wasn’t until I started Rosie Sings where I found the passion because I can just express who I want to be in the ways I want. It’s more of a true and honest passion.

You’re washed up on a desert island with an all-in-one solar powered DVD/TV combo & three films, what would they be?
Rosie: Three movies to pick me up if I was ever to be bored of the sea and sand would be – From Up on Poppy Hill, Moulin Rouge and Batman Begins.

Last year you were performing at the Fringe. How did it go?
Rosie: Last year was my first show at the fringe however a lady from the audience after one of my shows did came up to me and say ‘I come to see you every year – but this year you were the best you’ve ever been’… so I’m going to go with what she said and say – I was the best I’d been!

What have you got for us this year?
Rosie: This year the show is about all the men from my love life… or as many as I can fit in within 60 minutes.

Your show is quite a mish-mash of styles, just what exactly ARE you?
Rosie: … I’m me Bitch … I love everything from Old School Garage to Whitney.

How much of Rosie Houlton the person is there in Rosie Houlton, the performer?
Rosie: All of the stories in my shows are factual. How I perform them and the confidence I have on stage is the Rosie I inspire to be in my day to day life… but usually I just spend my time eating oreo cookies while I bathe.

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Can you tell us about your band?
Rosie: The band well … the band are what bring my show to life and add the unique character and sometimes aroma most boys bring along with them. I’ve been a very lucky Princess indeed as I’ve had a wonderful time working with different musicians throughout the year which has helped adapt the show creatively. The arrangements for the show have mostly been worked on with my Fairy Godmother Neil Metcalfe, if you live in Edinburgh and work as a musician you will know or want to know Neil, he is a genius and I wouldn’t have a show at all without him. During August I’ll have the wonderful Doug Price flying over from Canada to take on the role of Musical Director for the Fringe. Doug and I worked together last year and it will be so much fun to have him back by my side to see what we can get up to this time! I’ve also worked with Linda Stewart who stepped in on keys Sunday 1st July who has been working with the musical Wicked and touring the world on cruises. But the boys who make me smile and often wet in my pants are the very tall, sexy Scottish duo you got to see me perform with recently – Damien Quinn and Callum Morrison. We will be seeing more of them alongside Rosie Sings in the future but for now my lips are sealed!

How do you select the songs for your show?
Rosie: The songs I select can be for a number of reasons. Most importantly I have to like the songs I’m using and make sure that they have relevance to my story. Sometimes the song comes first because it reminds me of a story and other times I have a story and have to find a song to go along with it.

You’ve got 20 seconds to sell the show to somebody in the street, what would you say?
Rosie: I’m the voice of an angel with the mouth of a sailor. I will sing some of the greatest love songs to compliment the stories of my turbulent yet fruitful love life… and I just discovered Gin, which has nothing to do with me turning 30.

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How will you know & feel when you have just given a good performance?
Rosie: From how it effects my audience. I’m always pushing myself out of my comfort zone and encouraging others around me to face their fears. With this show being specifically about the trials and errors of my Love life, I’ve already found in my previews it is connecting with some people who can relate to a mutual experience. The show is to entertain through being honest about who I am. I’ve made some mistakes and I’ve learnt some things and when an audience member connects with that and tells me afterwards, I find that really rewarding.

Can you describe the experience of performing at the Fringe in a single sentence?
Rosie: Last year I caught a photographer taking photos of me and so I stopped to smile at him, he said, ‘No don’t stop, I’m just here to capture your struggle.’

What will you be doing after the Fringe?
Rosie: I’ll be getting on the next plane to the hottest place where I will stay until someone pays for me to come home … and eat cheese.


Rosie Sings Facts About Love

Fingers Piano Bar

Aug 4-26: (16:20)

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www.Rosie-Sings.com

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Tango Moderno


Edinburgh Playhouse
23-25 November 2017

It was a crisp Winter’s evening as I whisked through the city to be on time for my rendezvous with the very beautiful Minky. My companion and Strictly Come Dancing fan of the night. Luckily Minky was running late too, which gave me plenty of time to collect the tickets before her sparkling arrival. Divine never likes to keep a lady waiting. I had received prior knowledge that Vincent Simone wouldn’t be dancing due to a crook back, injured in rehearsal for tonight’s production. But in his place not one, but two very sensual gentlemen – Pasquale La Rocca and Leonel Di Cocco-  brought their own erotic flavour to the tango, filled Vincent’s shoes extremely well, and Flavia was in her element.  Of the situation, Adam Speigel, producer of Tango Moderno  told the Mumble; ‘Both dancers are sensational, world class performers, having represented their countries in ballroom and tango respectively. They have been working with Flavia and the company to ensure that Tango Moderno remains a terrific dance show.‘ Adam was right, they were brilliant, & they were supported by a cast of amazingly versatile dancers and a live band providing the groove, with lead vocals expertly sung by Tom Parsons and Rebecca Liswski.

Tango Moderno is a contemporary take on Tango, infused with Hip-Hop and Breakdancing. Street arts that had their beginnings in rebellion and passion, choreographed and directed by Karen Bruce. The whole production oozed sex and was packed with eye-candy. From the moment the lights went down the audience were on the edge of their seats, captivated by the athletic flow of the stars of the show and any disappointment from the audience that Strictly’s Vincent was absent dissipated in an instant. The stage set was a street scene complimented by lighting that was equally as sensual as the moves presented. Indeed, Flavia Cacace was mesmerizing. The closing dance was led on violin by Oliver Lewis, who happened to be the Guinness Book Of Records fastest violinist in the world, smashing the previous record on the BBC’s Blue Peter in 2010. This was a show that left everyone wondering why they had missed their calling to be a professional dancer. The standing ovation at the climax and the musky odour was a testament to how hot this show had been.

Reviewer : Mark ‘Divine’ Calvert

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An Interview with Kevin Quantum

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This Christmas, the Edinburgh International Magic Festival will be returning for a four-night run. In the lead-up to that wonderful event, The Mumble will be chatting to some of the performers, starting with the irrepressible talent that is Kevin Quantum.


Hello Kevin, so where ya from & where ya at, geographically speaking?
I’m in Edinburgh, near the Botanic Gardens. Lovely part of the world.

When did you first realise you were, well, magical?
After being on a reality TV show. I was a physicist up until 12 years ago. Then I was plucked from obscurity to go on C4’s Faking It and found I had not just an aptitude but a love for being on stage. So I ceased the PhD and became a magician. Needless to say mummy was surprised.

You are a Guinness World Record Breaker, can you tell us about it?
Sure, like most of my work it was a collaboration, this time between myself and Royal Blind Charity here in Edinburgh. We brought 2000+ people together and I taught them a magic trick. The biggest magic lesson ever! It was so surreal.

You’ve recently gone down well at the Adelaide Fringe. Can you tell us about the experience?
What a blast! I loved Adelaide. A wonderful city. I made friends and won awards and had sell out crowds. Kinda the perfect overseas tour. I’m not really one for the city-city tour circuit. It’s pretty tough moving every day somewhere new, so when a festival opportunity arrises then I’m well up for it. Edinburgh and Adelaide have lots in common, they both come alive during the fringe. I felt right at home.

What does Kevin Quantum like to do when he’s not being, well, magical?
I play in a tennis league, I compose music for guitar and bass, I spend time with my family. My daughter is 4 now and I love spending time with her. I have a huge family (mum is one of 9 kids and dad is one of 7 so lots of cousins, uncles, aunts etc ) and I’m one of 4 kids myself. We’re close and I really take the time to spend time with them. I love them all.

You are coming to Edinburgh this winter to perform at the International Christmas Special. Your show utilises visual magic with modern technology and unique inventions, what’s the backstory?
It comes from the Faking It show. I was a physicist before becoming a magician and recently I’ve realised they have a bit of a cross over. I just try and find some cool science and eek the magic our of it. Or take a cool magic trick and frame it with science.

You know a good show when its happened, what are the special ingredients?
From the performer’s side, there are three things. 1) attention to detail. 2) Rehearsal. 3) Heart.

Will you be catching any other magicians over the festive period?
I don’t know if there are any other magic shows on in Edinburgh over the festive period? Morgan And West were here last year and I spent a bit of time with them. Great guys.

What does the rest of 2017 hold in store for Kevin Quantum?
I’m doing my first full evening show in London. Can’t wait for that. Off to Alicante, Moscow and a top secret project I can’t talk about. It’s not ‘strictly’ but I wish it was. The rest of the time prep for MagicFest xmas, and my 2018 tour to Australia. It’s two months this time and I’m going to Perth too. Bring it on!

An Interview with Thomas Small

In two weeks time, an internationally-acclaimed piece of physical theatre shall be hitting East Lothian. The Mumble managed to catch a few words with multi-award winning choreographer, Thomas Small.


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Hello Thomas, so where ya from & where ya at, geographically speaking?
I am born and bred in Dundee, a pure Dundonian through and through. At this very moment, I am in Ibiza enjoying my holidays after a very busy Summer term.

When did you first realise you you could dance?
I realised I wanted to direct productions early on when I was about 13 years old and I used to boss my friends around to create shows. Then contemporary dance really got into me and I decided to study it to become a professional. Still, my interest was not in performance but in choreography and direction.

Where did you study the art of dancing & how did it go?
I was very fortunate to receive local support to study in one of the world leading institutions, the London Contemporary Dance School, The Place, where I studied under the tutelage of leading experts from all corners of the world.

What does Thomas Small like to do when he’s not involved in dancing?
I love walking my dog Molly, meeting friends for cocktails and karaoke, and just lately I am getting the exercise bug with my personal trainer.

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Can you tell us about Shaper/Caper?
Shaper/Caper is a charity based in Dundee. The company makes dance-theatre productions that tour nationally and internationally, as well as delivering an impressive creative learning portfolio, with just one of our projects reaching 7,000 primary school children per year in Tayside. We work with people of all ages and abilities, from babies to 101 years old (our oldest dancer, so far!) and are known for our site-specific and mass participation work. We are lucky to have robust and long-lasting partnerships with organisations such as NHS Tayside and the McManus: Dundee’s Art and Gallery Museum. We are also regularly supported by Creative Scotland, CashBack for Creativity, and Leisure and Culture Dundee, through the Dundee Dance Partnership.

Can you describe your creative relationship with Clore Fellow?
Creative Scotland supported my attendance to the full Clore Fellowship programme, where I was able to learn first-hand from world-leading cultural forerunners on governance, cultural policy, and insider tips such as failure, something that we tend not to talk enough about it socially, risking to recognise its transformational power. The experience and knowledge have shaped the way we operate the company and has also provided incredible network opportunities and friendships of the most disparate nature.

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Yolanda Aguilar

You guys also organise creative learning projects headed by Yolanda Aguilar. Can you tell us about these?
Yolanda is an experienced professional trained in dance and theatre, with a Masters in cultural management. She has led international creative learning commissions, and her expertise lies in working with vulnerable groups such as older dancers and those with non-traditional abilities and alternative learning pathways.

You are just about to start a Scottish tour of ‘Within This Dust’ can you tell us about it?
We are looking forward to sharing our piece with Scottish audiences after having performed at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum in New York, where the work was informed by the expert Chief curator Jan Seidler Ramirez and by Dr Lindsay Balfour’s profound analysis of the art and its context. Unfortunately, the theme of terrorism and its impact on Western and global societies continue to be relevant, so we want to engage in a dialogue with our audiences with the view to eventually effect change.

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What was it like to perform at the 9/11 Memorial Museum in New York City as part of the museum’s 15-year anniversary programme?
It was the most overwhelming experience, both poignant and beautiful at the same time. We were given several private tours with access to information not shared with the general public that made our presence there just so special. It was sold-out and the museum placed a screen in the foyer so people could join us and it was also live-streamed, so the event became global. New York audiences are very immediate with their reactions and people were happy to fully disclose their emotions, experiences and memories during the post-show discussion. We also met Richard Drew, the photographer that captured the iconic image of the falling man plunging form the World Trade Centre and that was the inspiration for this work. I was very humbled by the generosity of all involved in the event, from cultural partners to audiences, as my work became the catalyst for an honest and moving conversation.

How has the show evolved since its premier to today?
The piece started in 2011 with a research and development period working with one male dancer, as at the time it was envisioned as a single solo piece of work, rather than the triptych that has become. The production now also includes a female dancer, and although this has been the case so far I am not too concerned about the gender of my artists, so who knows? This might change in the future. The show starts with the female solo in a section called Embers, then moves to a duet in S/He, and ends with the Falling Man, the original male solo. The show received Made in Scotland support in 2012 and toured Berlin and Brazil. The production has been informed by different casts over the years and by the political circumstances the world has experienced since, so it now feels like the best existence it never had.

What does the rest of 2017 hold in store for Thomas Small?
We have just finished our Business Plan with the Board, which will take our activities until 2021, so there will be more productions touring the world, and more creative learning projects to reach across Scotland. I am now making a film to support the Dundee 2023 bid for European Capital of Culture, a great project to involve the community and show that Dundee used to be well known in Scotland for its dance halls. I will be starting shortly the production phase of my new show Unwanted, a tongue-in-cheek meets psychotherapy cabaret-like space that explores failure and invites all to share and celebrate its inevitability, accepting it as part of growth.


Within This Dust can be seen at The Brunton Theatre on 21st October at 7:30 pm. Tickets can be booked via The Brunton website or calling 0131 665 2240.  For further information about Within This Dust, visit www.shapercaper.com

Circus Abyssinia : Ethiopian Dreams

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Underbelly’s Circus Hub on the Meadows
Aug 19-20, 22-26 (15:00)

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Unknown.jpegCirque Abyssinia tells the autobiographical story of brothers Bibi and Bichu, who dream of performing in a circus. The man in the moon hears their wishes and transports them to the fantasy world of the circus… Here Bibi and Bichu and other members of Konjowoch Troupe embark on heart in your mouth stunts as the two youngest members are hand vaulted high into the air and caught again by human cradles; somersaults, flips and diving from one human cradle to another, they were received with rapturous applause..

Next in the show were a group of female contortionists, who danced to Ethiopian rhythms and bent themselves in every way possible in serpentine movements, they stacked themselves on top of each other and even supported themselves by their mouthes. The audience were captivated. Next was a colourful display using discs spun by feet and arms, amazing juggling of lit up sticks by the troupe and the original and now grown up Bibi and Bichu, and a cheeky clown who the kids loved.

The grand finale was a Chinese pole which the troupe took turns to climb up and perform tricks sliding down. You could not fail to be impressed by this talented and energetic group who so joyfully perform their circus skills. Great for adults, kids and lovers of circus!

Reviewer : Sophie Younger

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JoJo Bellini : Crash Bang Cabaret

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The Stand Comedy Club 2
Aug 17-27 (22:05)

In 2003, JoJo Bellini was in a major car accident after which she was inserted with all manner of metal poles & said she’d be in a wheelchair at 40. That never happened, & instead she’s jiggying it up at the Edinburgh Fringe in a rather mental hour of ‘cabaret.’ This essentially is her singing some classic tunes in various attires, interspliced with rather warm anecdotes as to her life since the accident. A karaoke queen whose voice isn’t exactly amazing, but which is more than made up for by her enthusiasm, JoJo provides a flouncing flagon of breathless & eye-popping entertainment. I rather felt like one of those old guys in the 60s sipping my mild ale just as a group of flower power girls waltzed into the pub in miniskirts & ordering white wine spritzers.

JoJo comes across like a horny Valkyrie, whose principle message in life – & one she preaches –  is to live your life to its fullest & have fun along the way. Deliciously daft, I’m like ‘is she taking the piss, is she taking the piss as an artform, or is she in fact quite serious about what she does.’ The end result is something quite astounding, not brilliant, but definitely watchable. Welcome to Edinburgh JoJo Bellini, a bubbly-loving, doctor-defying damsel, whose late-night antics are a perfect start to a boozy night on the town.

Reviewer : Damo
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