The Dots

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Imagination Workshop – Hanover Suite
Aug 8-25 (20.00)

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Edinburgh warmly welcomes the sexy and stylish trio known as The Dots. Three diverse and completely different characters provide comedy caberet with a glamorous flair. A desperate Dot Helen is eagerly looking for two wannabe sidekicks, and by jove does she find them. Take three marshmallows, sprinkle them with glitter, and toss them in tumble-dryer for an hour and hey presto, you have The Dots! Courageous, strong-minded and determined, these independent women cascade onto the stage like a powerful waterfall. They have only one thing in mind, to steal the show. With more energy than a electricity grid they are here to entertain, but Helen can only pray that these two new stooges make the grade.

Like an overflowing glass of wine the laughter just keeps spilling over the edge into the laps of the audience. The Dots take us on a well-written, face-paced and gritty musical journey. Battered and bruised, Helen is falling apart but is determined to finish the show, so unwillingly allows Macey her time in the spotlight. Not a good idea!! With the sweetest singing voices, this is a heart-warming and intoxicating, chic experience that caresses and teases you at every turn. Having laughed more than a pack of hyenas, The Dots had me in stitches from start to finish.

Raymondo Speedie

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Heroes

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Underbelly, George Square
Aug 10-26 (15:00)

This is an entertaining hour of family fun, two performers and ariel acrobats. These talented mesmerizes of the audience are Tony Mills, who trained as a breakdancer and then went on to train at The Space For Contemporary Dance in Dundee; and Beverely Grant, Tony’s faithful companion and co-star. She trained at the Rambert School of Contemporary Dance with a focus on circus performance art. Together they bring to life their latent superpowers through the use of very clever choreography and breathtaking circus skills. We are treated to demonstrations of Superspeed, Superstrength and the flight scenes all represented through physical theatre – brought to life in an original and captivating way. With hilarious clowning filling the Udderbelly with the laughter of children in the audience, we wer all transported into a Superhero world of possibility and imagination. Everyone loves Superheroes and everyone will love this performance.

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The All Or Nothing Ariel Dance Troupe are local to Edinburgh and are based at the Out Of The Blue, Drill Hall in Leith. Offering workshops throughout the Fringe for people to develop some of the amazing ariel circus skills presented in today’s performance, to encourage everyones inner Superhero to be brought to life. As inspirational performance art goes this a must-see performance it is perfect for families and children of all ages.

You Will Believe A Woman Can Fly. ❤

Mark ‘Divine’ Calvert

five-stars


An Interview with Joanna Vymeris

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The creator of 2016’s superb Alice in Wonderland is returning to Edinburgh


Hello Joanna, first things first, where are you from & where are you at, geographically speaking?
Hello! We are from London. Although the group as a whole, in typical circus fashion live fairly nomadic lives and are often scattered around the globe.

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Can you tell us about your sports career?
So I trained as a gymnast at a young age competing as a base in sports acrobatics. Which is funny as in circus I’m always a flier. I competed for three years but at the age of 14 transitioned to circus. I went back to gymnastics at Cambridge University and competed for the university team each year.

Where, when & why did you make the transition to the more creative, & less competitive world of circus?
I quit competitive gymnastics at the age of 14 when competition between the squad and even against my own pair and trio felt toxic. With such an emphasis on appearance and perfection I realised it wasn’t the world for me. I felt an emptiness in my life when I left but then went to see Traces by the Seven Fingers and was instantly inspired. My first contemporary circus show – I couldn’t believe such a thing existed. Incredible acrobatic ability with such aesthetic and artistic beauty and creativity. Before I knew it I was auditioning for the youth program at the National Centre for Circus Arts and that was that. I trained in flying trapeze and tumbling throughout my teenage years at the incredible space in Shoreditch and had the honour of working with companies such as Ockhams Razor on our annual shows.

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What is, would you say, the quintessence of your creativity?
The quintessence of my creativity. Wow what a question. Probably my adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in a forest in Brazil last year. We created an immersive experience, guiding the audience around the forest in the incredible Rosemary Dream with fairies hanging from aerial equipment in trees and Shakespeare and live music ringing out into the night. I had pretty much no budget so made all of the costumes and designed the lighting myself and encouraged students from a circus school to participate. It was a magical experience and something I’d love to develop with more time and money in the UK.

You directed a sell out circus adaptation of Alice in Wonderland at the 2016 Fringe, how did you find the experience?
Alice was incredible. It was my first experience directing and has influenced my life ever since. I had a fantastic team of 30 students all so excited to be up in Edinburgh and enthusiastic to work hard to sell the show. We occupied a large strip of the Royal Mile everyday and flittered in abstract acrobatic poses with jugglers, dancers and musicians all parading around in black and white traditional circus get up. Edfringe still uses images of us flyering on the mile for their information packs on publicity which always makes me smile. It was of course also my first insight into the struggles of putting on a fringe show but clearly didn’t put me off as I returned the following year with Coppelia and now here I am two years on from that with Tarot.

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Who are The Feathers of Daedalus?
I set up the Feathers straight after finishing Alice in Edinburgh in 2016. I graduated from Cambridge with an art history degree and nothing seemed more logical than setting up a circus company. I was so inspired following Edinburgh from what I’d seen and the people I’d met. Having studied Art History and being a painter myself I wanted to create a company that would make multidisciplinary shows retelling surreal stories in the manner of Alice. With a date booked in Jacksons Lane the following May to premiere my first professional production and some Arts council funding behind me, I set off to travel the world and be further inspired in my shows developments. I developed parts of the project on an art residency in Japan, worked on some of the circus elements in a circus school in Brazil, and collected music and ideas all the way around.

You’re bringing a show this year’s Edinburgh Fringe; can you tell us about it?
Tarot is an acrobat, aerial and live jazz-soul show based on two audience card readings. With 22 card options and only 6 cards drawn each night, every show is different and the acrobats and musicians never know what’s coming up next. We want to create a show that’s fun, impressive and unites audiences in their shared experiences. Tarot has been quite the adventure. The idea came to me when I had my cards read for the fist time in New Orleans last autumn. I fell in love with the world of Tarot. The imagery of the cards, the history, the stories and the mystery. I returned to London and met with the female lead of my previous show Coppelia who is a clairvoyant. I ran the idea past her of trying to merge live audience readings with circus and she was excited. I organically built an incredible team made up of people I’d worked with previously and those recommended for their interest in Tarot. I felt like I lucked out with my cast and band. They’re all incredibly experienced and talented and have been amazing to work with.

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What is the biggest obstacle you overcame while putting your show together?
As with so many shows – lack of time and lack of money. With issues getting funding and a cast who all live busy lives scattered over the world it’s been tough to pull the show together. But we managed to find 10 days when we were all in the UK and with some of us juggling other jobs to fund the show, here we are.

You’ve got 20 seconds to sell Tarot to somebody in the street, what would you say?
Ever wanted a tarot card reading? Want to see your tarot lived out in front of you by world class acrobats? Come and check out trot. The circus spectacle with live jazz-soul music in response to audience Tarot card readings. Every show is different. Every show is unique.

What will you & Tarot be doing after the Fringe?
Tour the world? Wouldn’t that be nice. For now the next step is Underbelly on the Southbank in London in September.  After that. Let’s see.


Tarot

Assembly Rooms – Bijou

Aug 9-18, 20-24 (23.10)

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www.feathersofdaedalus.co.uk

Beep Boop

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Assembly George Square

Aug 7-25 (14:45)


Richard Saudek’s mime performance is a spectacular transformation of a traditional art-form into the contemporary era. His brainbaby allows us to look into a societal reflection of the loneliness and anxiety that smart phones and social media can induce, and offers a refreshing reminder of just how ridiculous we look during our banal interactions with the cyber world.

Who better to caricature the insular loneliness of our modern times than a mime? It allows us to laugh at the absurdity of our behaviour and open up the conversation to dark topics and serious problems, all the while painting a smile upon our faces. Important messages are often well portrayed through a light hearted medium; our engagement with the topic is made more accessible, and, for themes of such gravity, a show of such few words could hardly have been more engaging, emotive, or meaningful. Richard Saudek and Jesse Novak’s performance was nothing short of impeccable, a tightly rehearsed and perfectly executed performosphere.

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Beep Boop’s slapstick mime tackles dark issues through hilarity and absurdity. The set seemed at first to be rather minimal: some clown make up and large white box as a prop. Their use of props, lighting, projections, and music, however, was soon ingeniously employed; such as the disturbingly sunken eyes of the protagonist, to the cunning use of phone screen backlights, and the projection of inverted images onto the stage. Beep Boop will leave you questioning the unhealthy nature of our relationship with technological devices; disturbed by our dependency on our phones for social interactions, and our general desire for affirmation and approval – yet, despite the dark content of this invigorating show, it will raise your happiness levels for its entirety.

Mat Boyd

five-stars

My Accidental Departure

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I have recently observed the majesty of human movement’s capabilities. My Accidental Departure, by Susana B. Williams, was one of an excellent series given at the Dance-Forms 76th International Choreographers’ Showcase. The third one to be precise, following Kelly Schoger’s avant garde ‘Beauty, Identity, Release,‘ & the trident-twirling bodhisattva that was Shoko Tamai’s ‘Dancing Siva.’

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Next to step elegantly onto this most sophisticated of catwalks was Matthew Ball, whose immensely-chiseled body felt like David had just stepped down from his pedestal outside the Palazzo Vecchia. In 2019, Matthew is the Royal Ballet’s principle dancer, & no-one on Earth could question his elevation to such an esteemed position. He is blessed not only with extreme physical prowess, but also the imagination needed to entertain.

Working with Matthew means to me having the opportunity to present my work at the highest technical level. – Susana B. Williams
Read the full interview…

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My Accidental Departure is a an emotive dance-theatre elegy to Susana’s son, whose life was taken from her by a fatal accident when he was just 36. From grief sometimes comes timeless art – as a poet I rate most highly Shelley’s ‘Adonais’, & Tennyson’s ‘In Memoriam,’ – & there is a similar moving outpouring of artistic beauty into My Accidental Departure. The piece is synchronized to Max Richter’s arrangement of Vivaldi’s ‘The Four Seasons: Summer,”‘ with the aching screech of violins wrenching to life Renaissance sketches of Man. The soft, yet powerful heaves of Ball’s movements convoked in me a sense of Prometheus striving for release & straining at his chains on his stormy rock, arms whirling like windmill sails. Half-way through, all goes red & Ball plummets to the ground for some desperately tragic floor-work, like a Dantean shade reaching out for mercy. This is theatre, this is dance, this is art, & I hope Susana has found an element of cathartic release in creating a piece loaded with the aforementioned majesty of human movement.

Damian Beeson Bullen

five-stars

 

 

Its Miss Hope Springs

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Drag queens have a certain sadness about them, a bit like circus clowns. Tonight’s female impersonator was no different. Miss Hope Springs is played by Ty Jeffries, a gentleman that comes from a very impressive theatrical background. His Dad was the British character actor, screenwriter and director Lionel Jeffries who starred in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, with Dick Van Dyke, also writing and directing the much loved classic family film The Railway Children. The genes of such success have certainly gone on to create the master of creativity I witnessed tonight. An accomplished pianist and songwriter, Ty had a publishing deal at 16 and went on to sign a record deal with Elton John’s Rocket Label. His talent on the old Joana being the driving force behind this excellent drag queen, nae lip-syncing or mime. All the music was played on his sparkly piano, elevating his songs to be sung by his beautiful alter ego.

Pete Waterman loves the songs, which with 22 number ones is a good sign. Oh! and The Pet Shop Boys and Frances Barber too (read the full interview)

Miss Hope Springs has accolades from some of Divine’s heroes, notably Marc Almond and Julian Clary, so with such star potential I was geared up with excitement for tonight’s performance, held in The Bijou, a smaller replica of The Famous Spiegeltent on the vamped up George Street in Edinburgh. It was a dark, balmy and quite stormy night, which only added to the atmosphere as she took to the stage, with Marilyn Monroe blonde hair, perfect makeup and a black sequined trouser suit. Miss Hope was delicious; recounting tales from her illustrious career in prose and song. along the way she held the audience perfectly with her professionalism and camp humor, resulting in a standing ovation from her delighted audience. A Well Deserved 5 Stars.

Mark ‘Divine’ Calvert

five-stars


Its Miss Hope Springs

Assembly Rooms

Aug 1-24 (20:20)

www.misshopesprings.com

Wit & Mirth

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Laughing Horse @ Bar 50
Aug 5 – 25 (22:15)


Later on the same day that Mark ‘Divine’ Calvert was reviewing David William Hughes’ Elizabethan, I went to see his second Fringe show at the Free Fringe Bar 50 venue. David is British, but teaches music in Boston, USA. An Egon Spengler of the showbiz world, we enter a cocktail lounge of musical archeology, delving into the seventeenth century & elsewhere for classy little nuggets of song. Luckily its beer-o-clock, & David has a knack of getting the crod singing & clappingf along, & its all jolly good fun, tho’ a little underwhelming overall. Like a stained glass window on an overcast Lothain day.

Although clearly a talented musician, I preferred his comedy patter, being perfectly fluid, engaging &, of course, funny. It is rather like he’s a transgender entertainer – if you pardon the metaphor -, a comedian trying to break out of a musician’s body kinda thing. Into the mix go a few of his own songs, which were clever, if slightly sacchirine rhymefests of common observations in the Victoria Wood mould. At the end of the day, Wit & Mirth is entertaining enough, but relatively niche fare. If the Edinburgh Fringe was a Russian Doll, then from the comedy doll comes the musical comedy doll, & within that lies the stuff that David does – but he does do it very well indeed!

Damian Beeson Bullen

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