9 Circles by Bill Cain.

What happens when a US Private goes rogue in Iraq? How do the Government and Army respond to disciplinary action? Character names have been changed as the storyline appears to have been based on the real-life trial of Steven Dale Green.

Private Daniel Reeves (Joshua Collins) commits the most heinous crimes while serving for his country during the Iraq war. While on trial in the US he questions why should be on trial in America for the crimes committed on foreign soil. In principle the question is reasonable, yet these acts should never go unpunished.

Training the perfect soldier who views shooting the enemy as much a part of his job as he would putting on his boots. Inevitably risks installing a mindset that can lose sight of rational thinking and crosses humanity’s boundaries.

9 Circles has been separated into nine sections examining all the events one step at a time that lead to the why what and how he has ended up in this situation and is facing the death penalty.

Placing the storyline in the structure of Dantes 9 circles of hell turns out to be a clever device. Two large circles dominate the stage one for the cast to perform in and the other to add light from behind. By the time you too have experienced verbally the events that took place in Iraq through the sixty-five-minute performance. It leaves you feeling that you have had a short trip to the circles of hell.

Although a powerful, hard-hitting and unnerving storyline the entire cast delivers exceptional performances which will leave a lasting impression and are an absolute credit to director Guy Masterson.

For more information and tickets please use the links below.

Four Stars

https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/9-circles

You’re Dead, Mate by Edmund Morris.

The journey through death is far from easy especially through the eyes of the writer Edmund Morris in his new play You’re Dead Mate. How would anyone know when they are dead? Furthermore, how does someone as well versed in helping people as Death help you come to terms with accepting it?

The 70-minute performance has been brilliantly written and edited that you hardly believe that you haven’t been in the theatre a lot longer. It’s so tightly scripted and acutely delivered that you are in the moment at all times throughout the play.

The exceptional performances of both actors Harry Duff Walker and Edmund Morris bring a new outlook and exceptional humour to a subject which everyone has in common, dying.

When Death arrives to finalise the paperwork for Walkers character to move onto his next chapter. Death is confronted with hostility and accusations of kidnap with some strange fears that follow. Has he been taken to be used for sex? Or being held hostage in Coventry? These fears are far more fanciful than the cold harsh reality that at 23 it’s game over!

The strong language doesn’t feel that it has been added because the writer can. It reflects the frustration being felt by both parties. One who does not want to accept he is dead. The other for dealing with every dead person regardless of age, gender and status who comes to him before moving onto their next journey.

Director Millie Boardman has bought Morris’s play to life in a sensitive and heartfelt production. This extremely moving, funny and thought-provoking play exploring the transition through death is a difficult subject to stage as nobody actually knows what happens once we die!

An absolutely incredible example of what the Off West End theatre’s have to offer and I hope this play will be taken on tour further as it certainly deserves to be seen. The standing ovation at the end of the play speaks for itself.

Cast

Edmund Morris

Harry Duff Walker

Director

Millie Boardman

Production Assistant-Georgia Bisbas

Lighting and Sound Design Technician-Louis Caro

Five Stars

Playing from 2nd-5th June 2019

KATZPACE Studio Theatre
At Katzenjammers bierkeller,
24 Southwark Street

Ludomachy hosted by Dave.

Dave does RPG hosts Ludomachy, an hour-long free fringe performance where you spend the time with Dave creating a new game. This can be any genre, any platform and it’s all decided by the audience there and then on the day.

The game we created was called Fringe Crawl a game-based app set at the Edinburgh Fringe where you rate shows, restaurants, and places to rest. You can interact with other app users on your travels. Once created there will be quests and challenges along the way. Other additions will be available as it’s still in the planning stages.

Dave is an excellent host and knows how to lead a team. They will listen to everyone’s ideas and is extremely enthusiastic about the creations coming forward at the time.

This might not be everyone’s idea of entertainment. I can assure you that at 10.40 am it’s a really good way to get your brain active and start a busy day at the Fringe. Plus the Kafe serves good coffee.

I have decided not to give this production a star rating based on the fact that each day the product will be different. As an audience member, you will get out of it what you put in. Some days it might be five stars others three. Go along with an open mind and enjoy yourself.

For more information please use the link below.

https://edinburghfestival.datathistle.com/event/1920319-ludomachy-the-summoning-of-games/

Christy Coysh at Patter Hoose, Gilded Balloon.

If like myself you’ve never heard of the multi-talented comedian Christy Coysh I urge you to check out his show Bangarang if you’re visiting the Edinburgh Fringe this year, August 2022.

Comedian, musician and all-around entertainer spent an hour performing magic tricks, rap songs, comedy and a few jokes thrown into the mix.

Coysh created a positive and intriguing song about Wakefield (his home Town) that any local tourist board would have welcomed to have taken on as a selling point for the local area.

The three-minute signature rap Following your Dreams rap is extremely catchy and funny. The audience is encouraged to join in towards the end, well that’s if you can stop laughing.

One of the highlights of the show was learning how the T-Rex use to “strut its funky stuff” back in the day with the T-Rex dance. Coysh will even teach you how to do it.

Coysh has been the funniest comedian I have seen at the Fringe yet this year. With an abundance of chararisma, he is a likeable guy who commands the stage throughout the performance. Plus he will always finish his show with a standing ovation, intrigued? Then book up and find out for yourself.

Please use the links below to find out more about Coysh and book tickets for the few remaining dates.

Four Stars

https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/christy-coysh-bangarang

Healing + by Mike Lemme.

American comedian Mike Lemme welcomes you into his bedroom in the flat he shares in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, New York. Today’s the last day he will ever sleep in that room. Moving out tomorrow he wants to start in a new place with a fresh outlook and explains how little he is leaving behind bearing in mind he has been there for ten years.

Sights are set on playing to a packed auditorium in the famous Carnegie Hall. Lemme is trying to figure out how he makes the transition from his 1 am comedy club slot to an 8 pm prime time spot. Which hopefully would lead to him fulfilling his dream and becoming o popular recognised comedian.

Billed as a comedy show. Lemme has been told this isn’t a comedy show. Although it’s not a laugh-out-loud sarcastic, brash comedy show. Using his soon-to-be ex-housemates conversations for comedic purposes has the desired effect.

There is an awkwardness around listening to his roommate’s conversation with his girlfriend. Yet it certainly adds another level of comedic value and leaves you feeling slightly uncomfortable at times due to the intimate details you hear. However, if you have roommates you probably expect to be overheard I guess!

Lemme’s performance focuses on the journey of growth. The emotional baggage we carry around with us can be as cumbersome as the physical “stuff” we obtain over years. Just like decluttering our homes, we need to declutter our minds and deal with the emotional burdens that hold us back.

The concept of Healing + suits the Fringe platform where audiences often expect to be challenged in solo performances dealing with the subjects raised by Lemme and in small audiences you often become part of the act.

For more information on Healing + and to book tickets please use the link below.

Three Stars.

https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on#q=%22Mike%20lemme%22

Bette Midler and Me by writer and director Chris Burgess.

West End star Sue Kelvin lights up the stage at the Edinburgh Fringe with her fabulous performance as Bette Midler in Chris Burgess’s musical Bette Midler and Me. Inspired by the diva Bette, Sue was a perfect choice as she had followed her icon’s path growing up and adored Bette. This led to Sue following her dreams to become a West End diva in her own right. From her performance today I can understand why.

One of the particularly entertaining parts of this production is the fact that I learnt things about Bette Midler that I have never known for example her AIDS charity work, the gay clubs she launched her career from and the tragedies that marred her life along the way. Despite the setbacks, she has become one of Hollywood’s stars.

All the glitz and glamour that you’ve come to expect and adore surrounding Midler have been transferred to the Edinburgh Fringe stage to wow audiences as they listen to her life story unfold accompanied by some of the hits associated with her. From Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy and a distance. However, for me, Wings beneath my wings will always be my favourite track.

Burgess, writer and director captures everything wonderful and attributed to the larger-than-life star/icon Bette Midler. Bringing her story to life through the eyes of her long-standing fan just adds another depth of warmth to her fascinating life story.

If you’ve never seen the 1988 comedy-drama film Beaches starring Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey, then don’t despair the edited three-minute puppet version will explain it all in more clarity than the original film.

Playing until the end of this week in the Symposium Hall, Annex at the Fringe. Please use the link below to find out more about Bette Midler and Me and the link to buy tickets.

Five Stars.

https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/bette-midler-and-me

Phil Green 90’s Boy, Blair the Lovegun and me.

If you’re a fan of everything 90’s or just fancy a trip down memory lane, then comedian Phil Green has a show just for you, 90’s Boy the Lovegun and Me. Combining his music obsession, bad luck in finding a girlfriend and trying to understand his parents.

Laced with one-hit wonder bands and their follow up lesser-known b-sides from Aqua and The Red Necks, along with an explanation behind the relationship dynamics of the characters in the hit children’s television programme Rainbow and his obsession with the BBC evening programme changing rooms.

Green’s neurodiverse condition takes up a reasonably large part of the performance. Green explains how his late diagnosis in life has allowed him to make sense of his behaviour especially when he was younger. Although questioned along the way about how his Mother could have missed his condition as she had worked as a mental health nurse.

Stated strongly a couple of times during the show that this “is not a political show” politics does future a few times and we are briefly educated on the reasons why Green was an active labour party member during the Blair years in power.

Just a word of warning though if you own a Cockapoo and live near Green, please avoid being recruited by the “freemasons of the dog community ” called “Poo Club” as their terms and conditions in their WhatsApp group is very strict. You could find yourself removed without warning.

Starting your Edinburgh Fringe afternoon with this light-hearted comedy show is certainly on my recommendation list.

For more information on Phil Green and information about how to see this great comedy show which is part of the free fringe please use the links below.

Four Stars

https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/phil-green-90s-boy-blair-the-lovegun-and-me

By the Light of the Moon by Shea Donovan.

Due to a limited schedule during the Edinburgh Fringe, I have taken the time to watch this filmed version of By the Light of the Moon at home. I am extremely pleased that I did, Shea Donovan delivers a powerful performance from inside a lunatic asylum.

In 1928 lunatic asylums were the only place people with any form of learning disability or a range of mental illnesses were locked away when their families could no longer cope with their behaviour or they became a danger to themselves.

Alone, confused, innocent and desperate to be back in what she recalls as the “security” of her family we hear the story from the perspective of Lila a patient being held in Oxford Lunatic Asylum.

The harrowing story in which she begins appears to be described through the eyes of a naive young child, who only wants to see the good in the adults surrounding her. Sadly, all of them at some point have let her down and now she is facing an uncertain future alone and scared.

Donovan’s empathetic delivery highlights the innocent and naive position, which Lila sees the worom when she describes the sexual assault she was subjected to which lead to an unplanned pregnancy.

We only get any sense of the time she has been locked away when her cellmate dies and is replaced by Joan. Lila doesn’t know what to say to her and decides to ask her “what year it is” the reply of 1948 shocks and enrages Lila and she turns nasty.

After a lifetime of abuse, confusion and being neglected I wanted a happy ever after conclusion. This wasn’t going to be the case, from archived records we understand that many were left to see out their days screaming to be heard.

For more information on By the Light of the Moon please use the links below. Sadly the Edinburgh Fringe run is now over.

Four Stars

https://www.edfringe.com/learn/news-and-events/edinburgh-festival-fringe-2022-tickets-for-further-1-047-shows-made-available

https://www.sheadonovan.org/

https://instagram.com/indigoartscollective?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=

Twitter @IndigoArtsCo

Jellicle by Linus Karp.

Linus Karp’s deconstruction of the relatively unpopular 2019 film Cats is a one-person cabaret show which combines everything bad and partly good about the star-studded film Cats based on the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical of the same name.

Karp has used his unique talents to dissect in depth what it truly means to live up to being a Jellicle being. What lengths do you need to succeed to be chosen and elevated in high esteem? Karp’s analysis of the cast’s cat characters is honest, considerate and certainly, doesn’t hold back on some characters. However, we would need to consult our powerful head cat first, the national treasure Old Deuteronomy (Dame Judy Dench) for the final decision.

It’s loud, slightly cheesy yet highly entertaining throughout the performance. The solo performance commands the entire stage and requires plenty of audience interaction. Whether you like Cats the film of felines in general there’s nothing to dislike about Karp’s feline alter ego.

How to live a Jellicle life can safely be added to the ongoing theatre life in the “Cats” performance repertoire. The solo quirky performance is one of those things you didn’t realise you needed in your life until you see it.

I especially liked the Jellicle name generator where each member of the audience was invited to take part and create their Jellicle name. Mine was quite mundane compared to some of the others that were called out during the show. An unusual yet hilarious way to get the audience interacting.

If you’re looking for some great entertainment Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber and everyone else of course please check out this very “Jellicle” extravaganza performance.

For more information on the past and present tour of How to live a Jellicle life and ticket information for performances at Riddles Court, Edinburgh Fringe please use the links below.

Five Stars

https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/how-to-live-a-jellicle-life-life-lessons-from-the-2019-hit-movie-musical-cats

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=how+to+live+a+jellicle+life&view=detail&mid=4267753D450119AFBFEF4267753D450119AFBFEF&FORM=VIRE&PC=LNCH10

http://www.linuskarp.com/

Shakespeare’s Fool by T G Hofman.

Tortive Theatre brings to the Edinburgh Fringe stage this year the superb production Shakespeare’s Fool starring the exceptionally talented Robin Leetham and his trusted companion a hand-held Marrote.

Cavaliero Kempe tries very hard not to be bitter towards his ex-friend and colleague William Shakespeare. However, this doesn’t necessarily come across that way as we find him destitute, down on his luck and living in squalor on the streets. Who could blame him for feeling that way too?

Kempe is desperately trying to gather an audience to perform in front of in the street he now calls home. However, the only audience member he ends up performing in front of is a little mouse that he had just attempted to assassinate for trying to steal his food.

Leetham’s performance is entertaining and funny. He brings out Kempe’s resilience and humour ever the entertainer who thrives on watching his audience smile and laugh. Creating a likeable charismatic actor/ man who doesn’t appear to have deserved the treatment he received.

The audience learns about Kempe”s first taste of the stage career at the age of 12. Events first took place when he was called to Kenilworth Castle with his father and brothers and found himself in the presence of Queen Elizabeth.

Based on actual events that took place between Kempe and Shakespeare the fast-paced comedy evokes bittersweet memories throughout the performance.

Director Ben Humphrey has succeeded in bringing an often untold story about Shakespeare’s era to life which I think deserves more promotion and should become part of the teaching when students study the Bard.

For further information please use the links below.

Five Stars.

http://www.tortivetheatre.com