Best and Worst of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

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Andy Field is a Giddy Manchild
Comedy | Andy Field | Free Festival
1 star
JB: Stand-up stoner Andy Field has performed in SUSU several times while studying at Solent, and his ten minute competition sets have been quirky and amusing. Unfortunately his unorthodox, funny-because-it’s-weird style didn’t survive the jump to an hour-long set on the top deck of a converted London bus. Field was forced to acknowledge his own unpreparedness as his reactions to walk-outs became gradually less funny and more bitter… towards the end you could see the light dying behind his hipster-spectacled eyes.

Awkward Conversations with Animals I’ve Fucked
Theatre | Rob Hayes | Ten Dead Men
4 stars
CH: “It’s got be a joke, it can’t just be a show about bestiality.” I was very wrong. This one-man piece started out as a series of puns, drawing on the niche crossover of jokes about one-night-stands AND dogs, and quickly descended into a pretty disturbing portrayal of the character’s loss of sanity and eventual suicide. Actor Jack Holden hit the tone perfectly, and some creative staging (think magic marker on giant sheets of paper making up the back of the space) as well as the controversial subject matter made this a real Edinburgh experience – let’s face it, you’d never sell that title anywhere else.

Beardyman: One Album Per Hour
Comedy/Music | Darren Foreman | Mick Perrin Worldwide
5 stars
JB: Surrounded by an array of loop stations and vocal effects equipment, beatboxing demi-god Beardyman (a.k.a. Darren Foreman) laughed in the face of record companies everywhere by turning out an album’s worth of radio-quality music completely live, the majority of it created with his mouth alone. If his breathtaking talent wasn’t enough, Foreman’s comic showmanship, paired with comedian Daniel Sloss’ parody Producer character kept the audience laughing in between his musical escapades. An incredible performance.

Jack & I
Musical | DHK Productions
3 stars
CH: Having seen this company for the second year running now, I’m still not sure what I make of DHK. A group of – for the most part, anyway – legitimately talented actors and singers performing an incredibly shoddy musical, based on the story of a detective trying to track down Jack the Ripper. It’s perfectly pleasurable, but you can’t help wonder what the cast get out of this, when most of them could without a doubt be starring in something a little more highbrow. The show was genuinely laugh-a-minute… but it was hard to tell whether the audience were laughing with or at the cast.

Red Tap/Blue Tiger
Theatre | Richard Vincent | The Albion Company
2 stars
CH: “Jet black comedy” RT/BT was neither dark, nor comic. A play written about the lower classes for middle-class amusement trying desperately to be hard-hitting, but characters with no logical train of motivation as well as random outbursts of aggression do not good theatre make. Performances were flat (at best) across the whole cast, and I was genuinely shocked to discover afterwards that they were all recent Mountview grads. Not really a saving grace, but the only thing that kept RT/BT from being totally dull was the borderline hilarity of how two-dimensional the characters were. If I hadn’t known better, I’d have thought it was a parody.

MenSWEAR Collection: Spunk
Theatre | Stuard Crowther | Lights Up Entertainment
0 stars
JB: Poorly-written play about a recently-crippled man hiring a male prostitute; the writer attempted to raise debate about the subject… by having two people discuss it on stage. Watching unrealistic characters argue dated questions like “Is disabled people having sex wrong?” and “Is sex work immoral?” felt more like attending a school debating club than watching a piece of theatre. Worse still, Spunk reached its climax (sorry) halfway through, and continued repeating the same argument for the remainder of the play. A complete waste of everybody’s time.

 

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What do you do with a BA in English? Well, not a lot, which is why Caitlin also works as Deputy Editor here as well as being Head of Events and Marketing for SUSU Performing Arts, on top of blogging and communications for SUSU. After spending an unhealthy amount of her adolescence on the stage, she's taken to slagging other people off for their efforts. Aspiring theatre critic and all-round sassy queen.

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As The Edge's resident design monkey (and occasional album reviewer), Joe can usually be found sweating over a Wacom tablet colouring in drawings of celebrities, or getting over-excited about typography.

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