Kin

 

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Underbelly Circus Hub
Aug 8-26 (17.00)

Well it’s here at last the fringe and Kin was to be my first show! I had previously seen the posters for Kin and was intrigued by the guy in the hoop, who was he was the hoop the whole show was there more than one performer? All would shortly be answered I thought as I took my seat beside the stage with a couple of friends. This was to be not only my first Fringe show this year but also my first acrobatic performance so I had high hopes but didn’t really know what to expect.

The lights dimmed the tent filled with smoke and then out tumbled the performers, they weren’t really in costumes as such and wear wearing what appeared to be plain loose fitting clothing which to be fair would be fitting for an acrobatic performance. The stage was pretty bare and was basically a row of blocks at the back one for each performer and a desk and chair in the other corner suddenly they all climbed on to their plinths and stood posing with their heads held high. Then in strolled the most athletic looking woman I have ever seen in my life, now she looks fit I thought as she strutted about the stage. She started eyeing up the guys and then picked one to perform. You quickly realise that the show is some sort of futuristic  selection process for a woman to pick her mate. It is performed with wit and a lot of slapstick and you are drawn to the individual male characters as they endeavour to compete to win the affections of the super fit lady.

Now where was the hoop I wondered that I had admired on the poster, I didn’t have to wait too long probably a third of the way into the show and sure enough they brought out the big hoop. One performer was picked to enter the hoop and show what he had. I was right to been intrigued by the hoop it was a very skilful performance as he duly spun around inside the hoop with an array of special moves with enthralled the crowd. That was impressive I thought but was that it only 5 minutes of actual hooping I hoped not! There were also other tricks performed they brought out a giant seesaw which was used to propel the artists through the air with a great display of various summersaults and twists and turns and It was all delivered at a fast pace with more slapstick thrown in wherever possible which kept the performance both humorous and highly skilful.

Now this was the first night of the show and I am not sure if the actors where suffering a little from nerves or where a little rusty and not quite on point but there were a few of the tricks that weren’t quite delivered correctly with the actors taking what seemed to be quite sore falls. This however actually worked in their favour and the audience empathise with them more when one performer smashed heavily onto the seesaw from a fairly decent height he immediately picked himself back up and carried on like a true professional. That actually got one of the loudest applauses of the night though to be fair there were plenty of moments of spontaneous applause throughout the show. The skill level was generally very high and the tricks where daring.

I also liked the venue itself right in the heart of  the meadows the circus hub is located and on a nice day I would be happy to hang out there and catch a few of the shows while grabbing a few pints at the bar. There are two main tents for the performances and we were there to see Kin who were on in the big traditional blue circus tent to the left. Don’t worry when you see the size of the cue the tent was a bit of a Traduce and everyone fitted in no problem. We had arrived late and joined the back of the cue but when they started seating people we were all quickly inside. My only tip would be if you do arrive a little late try and not sit in front of the rigging at the corner of the stage it blocks your view quite a bit and it can be a pain to have to move about in your seat to try and follow the performers as they travel about the stage. Overall though I had a good time and really enjoyed the show it had an ok narrative to go along with the performance. The tricks were very decent and all of the performers where very fit and gave it their all.

Reviewer : Mark Parker

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Snap!

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Assembly George Square Theatre
August 7-28 (not 14, 21) / 15:00
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SNAP! is a charming and curious show produced by Casa Kim, from a performing troupe that is just one of the 19 groups who are performing as part of the third Korean Season at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe. SNAP! is a spellbinding creatton that whisks you gently into a fantasy world of magical illusions,and provides an enchanting outing for the whole family. The show won Best Production at the Asian Arts Awards in 2016 and this year, seven of the top illusionists in South Korea have returned to expertly lead us through an unusual fantasy experience; magic interwoven with cheeky comedy and clever mime.

The show opened with fingershapes projected onto a screen. Not just standard bunny ears; but deft, practised fingers which along with perfectly timed sound effects, are able to conjure fully formed vicious barking dogs and Frank Sinatra in full flow. The entire show both needed and had a breathtaking integration with the sound and lighting. There was the odd split second delay, at times, but barely noticeable at the rate some of the illusions are going at, which feels like lightning speed. So fast, at times, that you’re likely to be missing the subtlety of a trick or two and that it wouldn’t be amiss to see the show for a second time.

There’s a solid looking door on stage, which opens the way to the magicians’ fantasy worlds. Each time the door opens, we are privy to peeking in to a series of beautiful and soothing dreamscapes, each one dramatic and ethereal in a variety of ways. Each of the seven men embodies a character such as The Alchemist, the Florist, the Oddball or The Dreamer. The three funny Tricksters in their stripey vintage costumes remind us of the silent slapstick of Laurel and Hardy or Harold Lloyd, anchoring the show with short skits like walking through Edinburgh getting pasted with flyers, as we alternate between different realities.

There are moments that are funny and impossible to work out; like the mischievous glove that seems to work entirely of its own accord, or the red ribbon that whistles through the air at odd moments. Clever scenes that juxtapose screen reality and 3-D reality, until we are confused about which is which. Creepy scenes like the strange, unexplained happenings in the artist’s studio. Breathtaking scenes as hoops inextricably disappear and transform into glitter.

Like a highly sophisticated and professional variety show, SNAP! is wonderful and truly novel in its entire scope, gentle and enchanting for children, but quirky and intriguing enough for adults. It manages to feel old fashioned but incredibly modern simultaneously, with its unusual and inventive illusions. But let me not spoil the show. Get down to the Assembly George Square Theatre and enjoy the ride.

Reviewer: Lisa Williams

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Rosie Sings

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Fingers Piano Bar
Aug 5-6, 8-13, 15-20, 22-27 (15.10)

Divine’s first review of this Fringe season took me to a quaint watering hole on Frederick Street in The New Town. To be the witness of a cabaret of stunning beauty, irrepressible panache and elegance comfortably worn; supported by the very handsome Douglas Price on baby grand piano. Having toured the UK and Europe as a vocalist and actress in musicals, plays, cabaret and concerts, Rosie has only just recently decided to go it alone (alongside Douglas of course) & in a recent interview with The Mumble told us why;

Well, being your own boss and playing by your own rules is so much fun, if a bit stressful. It’s just me until I hit the stage when I’m joined by my lovely musical director, Douglas Price (who is so awesome I genuinely can’t believe my luck)! I just want to sing what I enjoy singing, say what I want to say, be playful and have fun. I just fancy doing my own thing for a little while. If you want to do what you truly enjoy, you have to start by making it happen on your own, right? At the moment my only choice is to do that solo. No one knows who I am yet and hopefully by the end of August I’ll meet some people who understand me, where I’m coming from and humour me in spite of it. I’m finding myself again but it’s a newer more interesting me and I’d like to share that with people.

We are taken on a journey of Rosie Houlton’s life, beginning with her early years in Milton Keynes, in which place are set stories of her first experiences of teenage clubbing, romance and heavy petting, interspersed with impressive covers of songs made famous by Adele, Celine Dion and Barbra Streisand. Each of these numbers were reproduced faithfully with an equally powerful vocal range to match. This within itself was enough to capture her audience, but Rosie is also a very funny lady,  incorporating audience participation into the show with a fun competition based upon naming theme tunes. This completed a very entertaining hour of performance art and as part of The PBH’s Free Fringe, it will nae cost you a penny, while you even get the gift of a goody bag at the end of the show! Its not what one wears but how one wears it, & Rosie is a talented, aesthetically pleasing and very generous lady, & to top it all off, her Mother is a Psychic like Divine! A Well Earned 4 Stars!

Reviewer : Mark ‘Divine’ Calvert

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An Interview with Chris Cook

Chris+Cook+headshotHi Chris, where are you from?
I come from a town called Kendal in the Lake District originally but I’ve actually been living in Edinburgh for the past two years. I fell in love with the city over a decade ago when I first came to the fringe festival as a punter so it’s wonderful to now be living here and performing as part of the festival I adored so much as a young teenager.

When did you first realise you were, well, magical?
I always knew I was a good talker and I learned that I could use that to persuade and influence people. I started out doing simple bar-bets and scams to earn drinks in the pub. It wasn’t until later that I realised I could take those ideas and turn them into magic tricks.

There is a lot of showbiz front to your performances, does this come naturally?
I think so. I don’t often get nervous in front of a crowd. I suppose performing is like wearing a mask so the person they meet on stage isn’t necessarily a fully representative version of myself. The thing I find the most difficult is when I take that mask off and show the audience the real Chris that hides underneath. I think that’s a vulnerability rarely exhibited in magic shows but it’s something I’m fascinated in exploring.

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You know a good show when its happened, what are the special ingredients?
I always say that when it comes to magic, it is easy to make people laugh or applaud, it’s difficult to make people think, and it’s nearly impossible to make people feel. I strive to do all three. I know when I’ve hit it and I know when I fell short.

What does Chris Cook like to do when he’s not being, well, magical?
Well that all depends on the time of year. If it’s winter, I like to go snowboarding or travel to warmer climates in search of places to mountain bike, swim in the sea or go exploring. During summer I’m often really busy so I like to spend spare time juggling, playing guitar or walking in the hills as I feel these things help me relax and unwind. During the actual fringe festival, if I’m not performing myself I’m either frantically running around seeing other people’s shows or trying to hide from the festival by playing boardgames in cafe’s with friends.

CONCEALED+Show+poster.pngYou are returning to the Fringe for another stint, can you tell us what you’re up to?
This is the first year that I’m bringing two brand new shows to the festival. The first is more of theatrical experience based around Control. I’m returning to a theme I explored two years ago with a show that was really challenging for me. I’m excited to be performing another show that is as much about the audience as the performer. It’s less about giving them a show and more about creating a community of people who go on a journey together. The audience get to determine the direction that journey takes. The second show is called Concealed and is a more intimate show. The magic happens right in front of the audiences faces and I get to tell them a bit more about my life as a juggler, street performer and magician.

You have been described as a “Cheeky magician who works the crowd with the slickness of a stand-up” : is there a comedic element to our show?
One of my biggest pet-hates in magic is that magicians often take themselves far too seriously. Magic is inherently silly so I like to embrace that and make it a funny experience. I think a lot of magicians get too caught up on being magicians and forget that they should also be actors or comedians or improvisers as well.

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Can you describe the Fringe experience in a single sentence?
Like a Charlie Chaplin movie in fast forward, but on repeat for a month.

What does the rest of 2017 hold in store for Chris Cook?
I’ve got private and public shows booked in around the country for September. I’ve also been asked to do some shows on cruise-ships and abroad that I’m interested in giving a go (even if it’s just to get a bit more sunshine than Scotland usually gifts me with). After the fringe my head is usually buzzing with new ideas to pursue so I’m looking forward to that.


You can catch both of Chris’ shows at the Fringe

 

CONCEALED
Aug 6-27 : The Street (17.00)

CONTROL
Aug 5-27 : Voodoo Rooms (13.40)

An Interview with Baykali Ganambarr

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Hello Baykali, so where ya from & where ya at, geographically speaking?
My name is Baykali Ganambarr and I’m from a community called Galiwinku, which is located on a small remote Island called Elcho Island… far north east of Darwin in the Northern Territory at the very top end of Australia. At the moment we’re Melbourne bayside presenting a season at Map57, Wintergarden in St Kilda. We’re performing for another week, we’ve already been here for a week then we head off to Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland this Saturday. The boys and I are really stoked about this upcoming tour, really excited.

When did you first realise you you could dance so well?
When I was a kid I saw my family dance, my uncles, brothers and father mainly traditional in ceremonies. Then I started to get inspired by my uncle who performed with Bangara. I started off with traditional, then came pop ’n’lock, break dance, hip hop and pretty much everything else. Being a kid in small community and watching the first DJUKI MALA dance I wanted to be with this company, in fact I needed to be there.

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Can you tell us about Djuki Mala?
The original DJUKI boys were my idols and now I’m here representing. I can’t imagine how far DJUKI MALA has come from that first YouTube clip and became a world sensation.

You have been touring now for 10 years, how has your show evolved over that time?
This year is our 10th birthday, and we will take it for another 10 or 20 more years. Performing overseas was a different experience. Sharing our oldest culture in the world to the world stage makes us really proud. The audience we had on our overseas tour were hyped with our dance and story.

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Your show was an award-winning success at the this year’s Perth Fringe. How did you find the experience?
Perth was amazing! Almost a month performing and the crowds were excellent as always. The boys and I performed well and we really can’t believe how many awards we’re stacking up last year and this year. Very well deserved and hard work.

What does Baykali Ganambarr like to do when he’s not dancing?
When I’m not on tour I pretty much go back home to the island and go fishing, play footy and basketball and also I work in the community sports and recreation organising community events and sports, also movie nights competitions with nearby islands (communities).

Who is the chief choreographer behind the group, & where does the music come from?
Well Lionel my uncle, which is Big Franks son came up with the idea of Zorba the Greek Yolngu style as a way to show respect to Lionel’s sisters’ care taker which who was a Greek lady from the Darwin hospital. We were also lucky to have Nikki Ashby on board for this new show putting her flame and passion into choreography. She’s a Nunga woman from South Australia and she is amazing and the boys and I were blessed to have her with us.

What does the rest of 2017 hold in store for Baykali Ganambarr?
2017 looks like it’s going to be a hectic year. Got heaps coming up. Looking forward to it. Thank you.


You can catch Baykali dancing with Djuki Mala this Fringe

Aug 3-13, 15-20, 22-28 

Assembly George Square Theatre (16.30)

An Interview with Gypsy Wood

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Gypsy, the lovely lady on the left

Hello Gypsy, so where ya from & where ya at, geographically speaking?
I’m from Australia but live in London

When did you first realise you were an entertainer?
I used to perform in a beautiful red tutu to the music manhattan by Gershwin for my parents when I was 5. I come from a showbiz family so I was forced into it really!

You know a good show when its happened, what are the special ingredients?
I like a show that has form and content. I like something dirty beautiful and mega dangerous!!!!!!

What does Gypsy Wood like to do when she’s not being entertaining?
Elizabeth Taylor after she went recovery

You are bringing ‘Peter & Bambi Heaven: When Love Becomes Magic’ to this year’s fringe. Can you describe the show?
Australia’s best high energy dancing magicians, Peter & Bambi Heaven are back, spraying love and magic on everything and everyone they touch. Its a mad romp of everything thats cheesy and crass about showbiz!!!!

After the success of last year’s Fringe show you have performed in France’s Got Talent, headlined their version of the Royal Variety Show and performed a short residency in Las Vegas. How has the ride been & what were your highlights?
We have had a huge success in the last year. Its been very exciting and difficult to be on the road for so many months. The high lights are bringing the show to new audiences who are loving the show. My family in Sydney finally got to see the show. I have really enjoyed every part of it. I never get tired of performing our silly magic show. Going on France has got talent was just totally insane. The adelaide cabaret festival was pretty cool too!

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How does it feel to be working so closely with the man who was your husband only last year?
We are just like any couple who has to get on with life even when it doesn’t go to plan. Many couple have to co parent children or run a business together after divorce. We are just doing the best we can. There are difficult times and there are really beautiful moments where we remember how much we mean to each other. I really don’t think I could ever work with anyone else like this. Asher and I can tell each other how we feel and just love having fun together. We get sad sometimes we’re not together any more, but are happy to be having this rich life experience together!!

Can you describe the Fringe experience in a single sentence?
A melting pot of nut bar, narcissism, madness bullshit and art.

What does the rest of 2017 hold in store for Gypsy Wood?
I just want to make Art. Do yoga read books and perform in glamorous and strange places.


You can catch Peter & Bambi Heaven’s new comedy show

‘When Love Becomes Magic’

@ the Assembly George Square Piccolo Tent 

Aug 3-27 (22.35)

Edinburgh International Magic Festival 

Magic Fair
Summerhall
June 30 – July 2
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Summerhall is truly a vast warren of rooms; and for the launch of the Edinburgh International Magic Festival, each one was hosting a different magician’s 20 minute taster of longer acts to come later in the festival. The magical atmosphere began with the elegant cocktail reception; with the expected smatterings of waistcoats among the eclectic crowd of middle-aged couples, a smooth jazz quartet on stage, and eye-catching ‘floating’ trees suspended by helium balloons. A small crowd was clustered around a man at the back of the room, attentively straining to hear his words over the jazz as he deftly pulled and switched cards out of the pack with classic tricks.
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There was much more to come; the printed timetable and the cheerful but shy staff guiding us to pack in as many magical mini events as we could digest in four hours. Everyone held tickets to at least two shows, and for those ones, you were ushered to the ticket holders ‘ line outside each event that guaranteed access. The other line was left to luck and chance, and a wee dollop of magic. Though the punters were joking about the slight anxiety of going stand-by, I managed to get into all the events I queued for, and I think everyone else did too. The system seemed a little chaotic, but it added to the fun of finding your way into a tiny auditorium, and sitting a couple of feet away from the action meant a good chance of getting dragged on to stage to do something vaguely embarrassing. But hey, that’s what you sign up for.
Having grown up on going to see Paul Daniels live, it was interesting to see the new crop of magicians and if there were any modern trends. Still invariably all men, but a range of ages, styles and nationalities, all professing their wish that they could go and witness each other’s acts, no doubt bored with practising their own to death. Dave Alnwick, a bespectacled and bouncy Ed Sheeran turned mind reader, led the way, amazing us with his mind reading abilities and making us laugh. He guessed a number correctly that I had secretly chosen out of ten, and actually made my mouth drop open with his speed and accuracy. Was it simple human psychology, my eye movements, statistics, gender, age, or how I was dressed that led him to his instant conclusion? Did I blink and give away something I didn’t know about? I could only guess at how he knew. Vincent Gambini was next to queue for: and well worth the uncertainty, as he was droll, deadpan, and hilarious. With his nuanced meta-observations woven in to his performance, he was truly the Stuart Lee of magic. He gave us belly laughs too, brought on brilliant timing and deadly mastery of skills. Gambini, probably my favourite, unassumingly dropped in some devastating social commentary as he moved between his personae like an old time mime artist.This is the Guardian reader’s magician, and great for those shyer folks who dread being randomly being pulled up out of the audience.
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Morgan and West belie their ten years’ of experience with their youthful exuberance underlying their Victorian alter-egos. Regaling the audience with old-fashioned banter and cheeky expressions as we waited for their show to begin, we were transported back to a vaudeville travelling circus atmosphere. They were a tight comic act, and although some tricks dragged a little in their delivery, they delivered in the end, with an memorable dash of panache. They had a big crowd, eager participants and rewarded with great applause. I caught Elliot Bibby’s Wheel of Magic last, a fairly new act from our local Falkirk. Up on stage, presenting a Poundland version of Wheel of Fortune, he pulled out half the small audience to help him in bizarre and slightly risque tricks and jokes, which is why the evening Magic Fair lates were deemed 16 plus. He lucked out with assistants who were plucky, mouthy and game, buoyed with Dutch courage.
It’s a great advertisement for the various acts showcasing their talents in the Edinburgh International Magic Festival, that continues for the rest of the week in various atmospheric historical venues around the city. Many of the acts are returning for the Fringe, and would be well worth your while checking them out. Although the overall organisation could be slicker, and the venue spruced up a little more, the atmosphere was friendly and fun. Summerhall offers the space for live music, food and drink, and even a magic shop, so even if you are alone and have a gap between shows, there’s no reason to feel awkward. Unless they drag you out the audience and tie you with a piece of rope to a stranger. Then anything could happen…
Reviewer : Lisa Williams