The 2019 Edinburgh Fringe is fast approaching, & the Mumble reviewers are sharpening their pencils & getting their hair-dos done in eager anticipation. But just who are the people behind the words? Are these scintillating connoisseurs of culture really real? The answer is a big & happy yes!
James Nixon is a PhD graduate who looked at the relation between American politics and political comedy in the Obama era. He has a particular interest in forms of cultural communication within categories such as stand-up, film and television, and how these communicate and subvert cultural, social and political norms. Chapters of his Masters and PhD research have been published by Penn State University and Illinois State University.
Lisa Williams is of British-Grenadian heritage and been living in Edinburgh since 2011. She runs Caribbean cultural events, Black History Walking Tours of Edinburgh and educational workshops in Scottish schools. Her first degree was in Psychology and African and Asian Studies and she’s currently studying for an MA in Arts, Festival and Cultural Management. When not penning her own creations, Lisa likes to fangirl her favourite authors at literary festivals. You can follow her on Twitter @edincarib and Instagram @caribscot
Ewan Law lives in Edinburgh and works for a homelessness prevention charity, where he writes, teaches, and provides the staff with amusing mannerisms to copy behind his back. He recently wrote, produced, directed and starred in a promotional film for the charity. This led to a situation wildly reminiscent of the Frasier Episode ‘Ham Radio’. Working with addictions, mental health issues and homelessness over the last ten years gave him the necessary education to turn an amateur love of stand up into a semi professional one. Ewan has graced the stage at the Edinburgh Festival over the last few years with such luminaries as Lucy Hopkins (Shouting Erasure songs at a bemused Bob Slayer), Funz and Gamez (Playing pin the tail on the donkey and stealing childrens prizes) and John Kearns (sitting on his knee and drinking a pint of Lucozade, Cointreau and backwash. pictured). Ewan is excited to be joining team Mumble for the Fringe and finally having someone to listen to his opinions.(Editors note: The Mumble is legally required to mention that Ewan has been blocked on Facebook by all the above mentioned artists)
The Mumble’s editor-in-chief likes to think of himself as a poet of some nuance. Starting life in Burnley, Lancashire, & finding himself living in Edinburgh in his 30s, Damian Beeson Bullen set up the Mumble up to further his artistic education & to keep the words flowing – albeit in prose. Six years into his Parnassian pilgrimage he’s gathered a crack team of culture vultures to share the bounty. He enjoys all of the Mumbles – Comedy, Art, Theatre, Opera, Cirque, Festivals, Words & especially Musicals, which often make him cry.
Mark ‘Divine’ Calvert is a multi-talented explorer of all things artistic and spiritual. A gifted Clairvoyant, Spiritual Healer, Musician, Writer and Performance Poet and Dancer. Arriving at The Edinburgh Fringe in 1995 to perform Clairvoyance at the Citrus Club, he fell in love with Edinburgh and made it his home. In 1996 he became the Spiegel Tent’s resident Clairvoyant and Spiritual Healer. A relationship that would last ten years, introducing him to some of the best performance art on the planet. In 2000 he joined the Spiegel Crew on their maiden voyage to the Adelaide Fringe where he became instrumental in the creation of Spiegel’s “Garden Of Unearthly Delights.”
Working with, spiritually guiding and supporting Fringe performers both in Adelaide and Edinburgh for two decades, it would be a natural progression to become a performance art reviewer for the world famous Blog “The Mumble.” When one is a performance artist and its rich tapestry has influenced ones life path so, being able to expand upon thespian pursuits and having the opportunity to witness the vast array of artistic merit for free, write an appraisal for, get it published and get paid for the privilege. Oh Aye 5 Stars all round. Its a win win, for Divine and the Artists he reviews.
David Jackson is a happy go lucky guy who embraces all that life throws at him. Good or bad, he maintains a positive outlook on life. He loves to write, act, travel, dance, read, and pay it forward to those around him or to those whom he meets on his daily journey through life. Accept and be content is his out look on life and why not, he says, being convinced we create our own happiness and joy and therefore can share it with others. Hence being a reviewer.
Lucy Davidson is a 21 year old English Literature graduate from Edinburgh University. In the autumn, she will be moving to London to pursue a masters degree in theatre directing at RADA. She particularly enjoys reviewing new writing, immersive and site-specific work, physical theatre and contemporary Shakespearean adaptations. She is also more than excited about diversifying The Mumble by reviewing work in The Big Smoke!
Billy Pearson has recently been called a “Renaissance Man” by friends, as he has partaken in many creative endeavours. He splits time between Europe and the USA, as the law dictates. He spent his formative years travelling thousands of miles though North America on a bicycle, sleeping in bushes and eating out of waste bins. Wood sculpture has fascinated Michael for many years, and he has recently completed a bench. He has often traversed great expanses in order to cat sit. Michael is formally trained in creative writing from a lower-mid level university. He enjoys the collaborative nature of reviewing for the Mumble. Getting to experience performance arts and creating a review to help attract others to do the same, fulfils Michael’s desire to see earth become a better place.
Teri Welsh is a former spacecraft engineer, having worked for Scisys on ESA contracts for the Rover Mars mission. Her PhD research was undertaken at Glasgow University, Stanford University and NASA Ames in California, where she wrote a number of scientific papers on Spacecraft Robotics. Disillusioned with the private sector rat race, she abandoned her career to follow a holistic life as a traveller and writer, and set up a fair trade clothing/craft business working with disadvantaged communities in the developing world. In her free time she enjoys DJing at various gigs and festivals both here in Scotland and overseas, and can often be found dancing in a muddy field with a warm can of Strongbow.
Mark Mackenzie gained a Master of Theology from St Andrews in 1992, before it was overrun with American heiresses looking to snag a prince. He has had many occupations, including farm-working, teaching, cleaning busses and editing books. He currently lives and works in Perth, with Archie, a rescue dog who adopted him. They like to go hillwalking, getting wet, and rambling in the park, where they terrorise other dog owners. Mark likes theatre, classic literature and all sorts of music. Except grime.
Eilidh Sawyers is a Scottish lass with an English accent – a scarring combination for a child in Lanarkshire which has ultimately led to a deep appreciation of language and a degree in Linguistics. She finds happiness in forests, jangly guitars and just-too-spicy food. Recently graduated and trying to work out where she should let the world take her; picking up odd-jobs along the way. Ever the critic, the Mumble is a way to harness her healthy scepticism.
Matt Boyd, a recent graduate of French and History at the University of Edinburgh where I developed an interest in critical writing. My downtime is best spent cooking for friends, watching documentaries, and listening to music. I’m a frequenter of the Fringe that has worked as a promoter, critic and trader at music and cultural festivals across the United Kingdom. I have a passion for all things musical, comedic and spectacular (with a particular soft spot for anything bizarre and shocking) so I can’t wait to bring my keen and critical eye to The Mumble this year.
Being part of the Mumble team has taken Daniel Donnelly on many courses, reviewing everything from comedy to tragedy in the theatre, to covering operas and rock music. His increased appreciation has come from reviewing Music and theatre especially. When he was put in the middle of Edinburgh’s Princes Street and told to go see some Fringe shows and write about how he felt about them, he discovered the journey made between production team, audience and the reviewer can be a handsomely rewarding thing to do. Hr is excited at the future of this kind of writing both for himself and for The Mumble. He has been set alight by performances and has divulged with great reverence scripts and dialogues, each time with a feeling that he was covering this better or that… the opportunity for writing has always been a welcome one, and one that will continue as part of his life. Music and theatre just seems to hit a certain spot in me as to offer me relish in what he does.
Originally from Orkney, Catherine Eunson has lived in Huntly, Stirling, Edinburgh, Devon, London, Glasgow and Benbecula, where her family all lived for 20 years until 2016. She worked first as a music therapist and then in arts and education, with various community groups and as an event promoter. A lapsed cellist, she wrote and recorded music for Pauline Prior-Pitt’s ‘North Uist Sea Poems.’ Catherine has also had poetry published in various publications.
Steve Bromley is a creative writing graduate, who has unexpectedly found himself neck deep in the world of social housing. As a child, he wanted to be a frog, which is not necessarily the direction taken by most fairy tales and he’s never fully recovered from the disappointment of discovering that his amphibian goal could never be achieved. He now lives in Leeds with his sprawling extended family and fills his days with a heady (or possibly headless) mixture of experimental music, trashy horror films, comic books and classic literature. In summary, Steve is pretty undiscerning. He’s at his most comfortable astride the dizzying chasm of high and low brow, and is this is where his imagination burns at its brightest. Steve has released music through an assortment of netlabels from Edinburgh’s very own Bearsuit Records to the Netherlands based Rack and Ruin Records, having matured musically at the height of internet based file sharing bands. Over the years, he’s also written over enthusiastically about music for a variety of fanzines and websites. He now bothers the West Yorkshire music scene in the form of Gnomefoam. West Yorkshire is still working out how to put him back into his box. He’s also still working on his unwritten masterpiece.
Code name: Big Weegie Mark
Strengths: Flagpoles, painting ceilings and being funny as fuck! Great under pressure!
Weaknesses: Can’t stand a bully, loves everyone, a bit naive, believes any old shite, pish at deadlines.
Best Mumble moment to date: Rag-dolling Nina Contie last year in her monkey suit, I had her mid-air one handed and no I was not part of the show. I hate a bully – she is one – but hopefully she has learned don’t pick a fight up here unless you are sure you can finish it!
Funniest Mumble Moment: Louise Redknapp reading my review of her show while getting a massage from my ladypal at some posh hotel, and me texting my ladypal asking for a threesome… still waiting on my answer Lou!
Loves: Dogs rule… my family reading out my reviews at birthday dinners/parties (proud as punch)… helping out whenever the Weegie is needed… Theatre, Comedy, Dance, Techno… taking someone to their first show or play or comedy and telling the story about how their face lit up and how they absolutely loved it!
Philosophy: Kill them with kindness, love yourself as no one else is going to and this shit’s a marathon not a sprint. If you can spread some love along the way there is room -for you on my cloud.