Filament

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Underbelly’s Circus Hub on the Meadows
Aug 20-24 (17:00)


When me & my sister were growing up in the 80s, we dearly loved all the cool American films like Teenwolf & Dirty Dancing. So, when I discovered that two comets were on a collision course; my sister’s visit to Edinburgh with the niblings, & Los Angeless Short Round Productions arrival at the Fringe with Filament, it was a no-brainer, I had to take her. The chief reason is that the thread seguing some extremely sophisticated, & fast-paced acrobatics is an American high school menage a trois.

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The Dirty Dancing bit

This is acrobatic theatre that although is driven by a retro theme, is enacted instead on the cutting edge of its art – the routines were breathholdingly breathtaking at times. Everything is there to wow & please the traditionalist; an ever-moving montage of body shapes brought on by hula-hoop, trapeze, juggling, dangleropes & bendy-wendys – all done to the beat of an amazing soundtrack. I’ve had a soft-spot for the American TV show Big Little Lies over the past fourteen months or so, mainly for its supercool soundtrack each episode. I felt the same sensations of appreciation within me while tapping my feet along to the lithe talent pirouetting with pure professionalism across & above the circus floor. One cannot help but be happily hypnotised by the unexhausting energy of the Short Round Gang as they sail their story-arc-boats along those streams of sexual attraction found in every US student soup.

Damian Beeson Bullen

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Kevin Quantum – Neon Future

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Kevin Quantum – award winner, record breaker, trickster! Kevin is unique, in his own words, a ‘hybrid,’ & you can totally see why he won ‘best magic’ award at the Adelaide Fringe. After dropping his PHD in physics 12 years ago, he undertook a career in magic which led him to stand before me at the Edinburgh Fringe. Kevin throws himself into his show from the outset, the set is simple and practical, which is necessary for the fast turnaroud of the Fringe, while the theatre was intimate enough to feel involved. I took my two children, the 8-year old being confident he could explain how each trick was done, but ten minutes in he was baffled.

Having spent half of my adult life studying physics and half magic, I explore the exotic space where science and magic meet. Read the full interview…

During sell-out shows at last year’s fringe, a fellow Mumbler reviewed ‘Vanishing Point’ and described Kevin as kind and friendly with a comedic presence. It was great to see he hasn’t lost any of that, despite a gruelling schedule of two shows per day this year. – the other being ‘For My Next Trick 2,’ at Underbelly, Cowgate. The one we show, Neon Future, is definitely worth the ticket; Kevin’s scientific background gives him an edge, while his confidence and ability sets him aside from less impressive acts. At all times his warmth towards his audience and participants sets everyone at ease. There were a smattering of minor weaknesses, and despite being funny and entertaining all the way through, it was still lacking a little bit of oomph. Perfect family entertainment, however, my kids were gabbling with appreciation after the show.

Overall the technophiles will love Neon Future, and those who love their traditional magic just as much. That they sit as easy bedfellows in the same show is another story – sometimes it worked, sometimes it was a little contrived, but we were witnesses to a grand and entertaining spectacle all the same.

Aimee Hewitt

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Neon Future

Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose

July 31 – Aug 26 (18:00)

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www.quantummagician.com

Identity

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As lead dancer Caitlin Taylor stepped onto the Greenside stage, she found herself challenged by some sort of device which seemed to both attract and repel her as she roved over the stage. She was soon joined by an entourage of six other excellent dancers who immediately began to throw each other and Caitlin around to spectacular effect. They were to leave Caitlin and return to her often throughout the show, when her quieter moments she would offer up a dialogue. Her speech was personal and real, covering all the abhorrent things that had happened to her in her early teens. A period of life when protection was greatly needed, yet a time when you wanted nothing more than to cut the bonds. Illustration came when she stood upon shoulders and trusted herself in the arms of her fellows by a courageous dive.

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The performance took us to wonderful highs and the most poignant lows. In her solitary moments she would play songs on the guitar; that she had composed especially for the show. When her unhappiness came to the fore she would appear fragile, like she was made from porcelain very easy to crack, evidence of past damage done. But her strength was emphasised in each expressive scene when we saw her willingness to take us on and say why these years had fallen so far for her. She performed as if in bandages of white which contrasted with the black worn by her entourage, serving to set her apart in achieving her terrible transformation.

I found it enthralling to watch all the transformations – sometimes terrible – that Caitlin went through in this very physical show; transformations that we all go though in life. Mixing all kinds of theatrical dancing, the troupe portrayed the passion and strength of the character as she came through like some sort of warrior figure. In the end she did find her identity and though in tatters triumphantly sang that she knew little in life but had the potential of teaching it. Everything she held seemed like something holy until the last dance turned things around in a display of celebration.

Daniel Donnelly

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Identity

Greenside @ Infirmary Street

Aug 12-17, 19-24 (16:10)

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www.ctcdancecompany.com

Hotel Paradiso

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Performing at the Fringe is all about doing something different, about striving for progress in your artistic field. International circus company, Lost In Translation, have taken that spirit to heart & evolved something special out of the traditional circus format. Everything that should be there is there; such as fantastic feats of balance & acrobatics, dizzying hula-hoops, Elizabethan juggling & ankle-snap-jerk-rope-drops from the higher reaches of the tent, all of which were delivered flawlessly & pluck out our gasps with ease. But we also have a story – the owner of the eponymous Hotel Paradiso & its raggle-taggle collection of staff workers are threatened with eviction. The plot is simple, but what is wonderful is how the story is woven into those aforementioned set-piece, traditional tricks, stunts & show-pieces. The unifying theme of a hotel is a beautiful idea, which all comes across like a combination of Fawlty Towers & The Grand Budapest. The results are so impressive, it is like a re-codification of the art.
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When it comes to family entertainment, Hotel Paradiso shoots a clear bullseye – there is something for everyone. A noontide show, I attended with my wife (the kids are back at school), but despite our combined age of 90 the both of us were genuinely woooing & aahhhing at the appropriate moments. At one point I even found myself twisting my spine & contorting my back muscles watching a young lady as she swivelled & braided her body into alphabetti spaghetti shapes, while dangling from an extremely tall chandelier. The Underbelly Circus has also done an amazing job of creating superb marquee arenas for us to enjoy our shows in – so authentic & charming – & combining the place with such a frisky & fabulous show as Hotel Paradiso is a blend worth buying.

 

Damian Beeson Bullen

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Hotel Paradiso

Aug 13-24 (12:10)

Underbelly Circus Hub

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hwww.lostintranslationcircus.com

Comfort Food Cabaret

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Imagination Workshop – Kings Hall
Venue 119 – @ 17.15pm (13th August)


Comfort Food Cabaret is set in the beautiful Kings Hall in the former George Hotel on Edinburgh’s historic George Street. A four-piece band, a mobile kitchen and a singing chef called Michelle!! Your first thoughts are, how will this work, what is it all about and how will the food taste? Comfort Food springs from the genuis of Michelle Pearson. Having traversed the seas all the way from Adelaide, Michelle is the singing queen of food who entices you in with her witty charm and humour. Having mastered her own recipes and cooking style, with the added touch of soft blues music live in the background, the scene is set for an evening meal that would surely hold many memories for years to come. With balls of goodness (Risoto Balls) kicking of the proceedings the journey through the mysterious menu begins… investigating the importance to food in our life is a paramount part of Comfort Food, well who else could sing “Feeling Good” while eating crisps…

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Michelle has created a storytelling cabaret musical experience like no other. If the Edinburgh Fringe was created to bring diverse and educational shows to its shores, then Comfort Food has succeeded in more ways than one. Creative, comforting, wholesome, warming and informing – you begin to see food in a different light. I’ll never forget Michelle  holding a jar of Nutella and singing “Missing You”, plus hearing other classic songs such as “9 to 5” by Dolly Patron, and the Stones’ “Wild Horses,” all accompained by a delicious bowl of spaghetti bolognese. Michelle’s Comfort Food really does hit the spot… singing, food, dancing, pasta, chocolate mousse, laughs and a warm cosy atmosphere, just perfect!!

Raymond Speedie

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From Judy to Bette: The Stars of Old Hollywood

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Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose
Jul 31 – Aug 26 (19.30)


This was one spectacular theatre piece. The great room at the Gilded Balloon boasted comfortable seats, a large space and an enticing stage. Rebecca Perry stepped out resplendent in a gorgeous Hollywood-style red dress and held out her arms to us, ready to burst into song. Courtesy of Perry, we were going to spend an hour in the company of four legends of Hollywood: Judy Garland, Lucille Ball, Betty Hutton and Bette Davis.
In a mixture of music and story, the performer took on the persona of each of the stars in turn, seeming to switch from one to another with seamless ease and performing their classic signature songs and routines with perfect pitch. Not to mention clever costume changes with various items added on top of her red dress to denote the different characters. And in between, she told us the stories of their remarkable careers and how they each in their own way had to fight their way to the top in the face of all kinds of male criticism and manipulation. All were trailblazers for women following in their wake.

The show impressed us as much as a whole entourage of performers, you had to remind yourself it was just one solo performer belting out the well-loved songs of yesteryear with relish and an enthusiasm that grabbed your attention. When it came to “Over the Rainbow” all were close to tears as Rebecca invoked the spirit of Judy Garland in a wondrous rendition that struck right to the heart of the original. The hour was an absolutely perfect homage to days gone by, repeatedly hitting just the right tone to evoke the golden era of Hollywood. A voice to bring the house down, articulate and heart-warming storytelling, this was a spectacular hour of glorious pure entertainment.

Daniel Donnelly

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