The Edinburgh Fringe
Fringe 2008 Reviews (42)
In a soggy chamber of the Underbelly's Baby Belly, former model Sara Standring offers a glimpse into life in a model's apartment. Light hearted yet sinister this show teases at the common stereotype of the 'bimbo' model.
Set in Tokyo the humour seems to depend on a Japanese accent and a shuffling walk, although to be fair, a few jokes roused a laugh from the ten-strong audience.
This show does boast some commendable acting and Standring portrays the characters throughout with only some minor slips in accent. Although half way through I did suddenly realise I was minus a character!
Nevertheless the piece tugged at some hidden morals as Vodka Tits stumbled to a fro across the stage and Debbie shook like a leaf awaiting her latest delivery of drugs-stuffed teddy bears.
Of course the weight issue crops up throughout, becoming a focal point, softly mocking those who conform to size zero, while acknowledging that those who do not are on the next plane home.
Worth seeing if you are in the mood for a harmless piece of light comedy.
Bale de Rua at the Assembly on the Mound relies on so many dance genres that it is sure to please everyone. Even the kids. There's the requisite Brazilian music and dance; what is thought of as South American or Latin. There's acrobatics to dazzle. A little flavour of musical theatre/jazz. There seems to be an homage to Alvin Alley and Busby Berkley and Hip Hop. There is also a feel of the Harlem Globetrotters in the ease and individuality.
This is a large company, although only one woman, with powerful dance and athletic skills. We are introduced to the company all wearing white suits and hats. This speaks to their Brazilian influences. We quite quickly get a history of their African heritage, all told through dance and movement and music. Some of the music is recorded but the percussion is there in front of us.
The dancers are incredibly powerful, graceful, skilled and individual. You'll be hard-pressed to find more beautify bodies. The choreographer is precise enough for this to look very ensemble while allowing for individual skills and personalities. The costumes, and sometimes brevity of, are beautiful in their simplicity and utility. The sole woman in the group is never an extra or a tool for the men; she holds her own very well.
There are a few props, sometimes cluttering and pulling focus. The production does not need the gimmicks. The lighting is at times subtle, sometimes intrusive. The hand-held light near the end blinds the audience. As the dancers, musician and choreographer get further into the story or history, the group engages the audience more.
You'll be hard-pressed to find more beautify bodies, more engaging dancers, or cleaner choreography. The audience never seems to be taken for granted or left out. This is a real audience pleaser.
The Tailor of Inverness, which has won a coveted opening week Fringe First, is part detective story, part eulogy and part biography.
With support from a folk violinist, Matthew Zajac, under the direction of Grid Iron's Ben Harrison, both becomes his own father and explores the mystery of the Pole's life during the war, long before the writer/performer was born.
The first phase shows us the British part of Matheusz Zadac's life, though some of the speech is in Polish. This is presented with pace and wit, showing a tailor with a gift for organisation and management making good in his adoptive country. He finally lands up in Inverness, sporting a delightful two-toned accent.
The play then moves on to tell us the "official" version of the older Zajac's war. This involved an awful lot of travel, taking in Italy, Persia and Egypt as well as Eastern Europe.
Just when we seem to have ended our journey and his, most of what we have been told is thrown into doubt after Matthew takes his genealogical efforts a little further.
In a third phase, he acts like a fully-fledged investigative journalist making several uncomfortable discoveries but in doing so gaining a much fuller understanding of his father than had been the case during his lifetime.
With songs to create atmosphere added to low tech film and maps projected onto a screen of bleached clothes, The Tailor of Inverness draws its audience into the story of a seemingly ordinary man with more of a history than even his family could possibly imagine.