Saturday, 13 August 2016

The Chocolate Ocelot's 2016 Fringe - Day Seven


Puppet Fiction
Laughing Horse @ Newsroom
Everybody be cool, this is a mother*cking puppet show! The ultimate Tarantino homage, this is Pulp Fiction with strings attached. The award-winning cult show from New Zealand returns to the Edinburgh Fringe with more miniature madness and mayhem. Combining the joy of live puppetry with an iconic piece of pop culture creates a unique and hilarious theatrical experience.
The Ocelot says: Left the show early. I feel bad. Forgot that visibility at the Newsroom is shocking. Half the room downstairs is dominated by a whacking great structural support a metre across which blocks the view of the cramped corner performance area where the puppet show was taking place. And the sound of the a/c didn't help either. Combine that with a somewhat too faithful and somewhat plodding recreation of the interminable Jules/Vincent dialogue from the movie's opening and the odds were just too great. CJ was the first to give it up as a bad job, and Herself and I were close behind. Sorry, the Puppet Fiction people. Would've helped if you'd spoken up a bit though. 2/5

Pippa Evans: Same Same But Different
Bannermans (a venue without an @. Amazing!)
Pippa Evans returns from winning an Olivier (Showstopper! The Improvised Musical), some bits on TV (Drunk History, Alan Davies: As Yet Untitled) and a sitcom on BBC Radio 4 (Josh Howie's Losing It) to tell jokes and sing at you.
The Ocelot says: Jolly good show from the slightly gawky and ever so charming Evans, who I'd quite like to see doubled up with Ellie Taylor (not like that, you filth), and bounce off each other's posh girl/Essex girl personas. Love how she's not afraid to pull faces and lollop all over the place. Great belting singing voice too. 4/5

Woody Allen(ish)
Frankenstein pub
Simon Schatzberger performs Woody Allen's iconic and legendary 60s stand-up comedy routines. Including The Moose! A must-see for all fans of Woody and classic American stand-up comedy. 'Uncanny, like going back in time and seeing him live' (Jon Culshaw).
The Ocelot says: Simon Schatzberger does a note-perfect Woody, as he recreates all the old gags I remember from a tape I listened to as a kid, including the moose story. He has the voice, the look, the head scratching tics, and a nice suit. Gentle enough comedy, though probably a edgy back in '68, I enjoyed this for the nostalgia and to pretend I had seen Woody himself perform it (though I have seen him play with his jazz band at the Festival Hall). Not something that you'd see twice, but a nice little gem. Simon himself is a very nice chap and happy to talk about our shared enthusiasm for Woody Allen. 3/5

Mordor She Wrote
Frooty Goose @ Humbuggers
Someone's murdered that nice old Mr Gandalf, and only elderly authoress Galadriel Fletcher can unravel the plot! Tolkien meets Lansbury in a madcap mashup of hobbits, rings and cosy detection.
The Ocelot says: A spirited if chaotic production from the Highland Coo de Theatre company. With an average cast age of 73, the action scenes were somewhat less than pulse-pounding but the December to December romantic subplot between the elven sleuth and Radagast was strangely erotic. 2/5

Will Seaward: Magnificent Bastard
Sitting Room @ Gilded Balloon at the Counting House
Will Seaward has decided to become a real super-villain and take over the world. And he's going to do it live onstage at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Tremble ye innocents! Nothing can stop him! Nothing! Ha ha ha! Warning: Audience may be eaten by piranhas.
The Ocelot says: Every bit as lunatic as I had hoped. Packed into a tiny room at the Counting House with inappropriate music wafting in from the courtyard, the beaming Will Seaward involved us all in his evil scheme of the day (he has a different one planned for every day of the Fringe, the mad bugger). I was fortunate enough to be chosen as one of his high priests and knocked out a rather fine hula dance, if I do say so myself, in an attempt to reawaken the volcano under Arthur's Seat. And congrats to CJ for becoming Will's Number One evil minion. Bonkers, joyous stuff. "I hope you enjoy the salt mines!" 4/5

Colin Hoult / Anna Mann: A Sketch Show for Depressives
Beneath @ Pleasance Courtyard
Star of BBC's Murder in Successville and Being Human, Colin Hoult returns as the delightful character Ms Anna Mann in a show to put down your black dog at last or at least chuck him a bone.
The Ocelot says: A most welcome to the Fringe for Colin Hoult, whose shows we've been enjoying since 2008's Zimbani. Here he revisits luvvie Anna Mann (check her out on YouTube), in a series of typically odd sketches, ably aided by her two male dancer/assistants 'Bruce Wayne' and 'the other one', played by Andrew Bridge (also appearing in Aart as Mikey the Aartist) and the rather fit Tom Greaves (of Tom and Will's Open Swim). A pity that the room was only half full. Got a chance to chat to him on the way out and talk about previous shows, and he was most gracious. "Oh fuck off. I love it!". 4/5

Andrew Roper – Superhero Secret Origins: Special Edition
The Alcove @ Laughing Horse @ Bar 50
It’s back! The interactive comic book knowledge bomb. Part stand-up, part lecture, part madness, all superhero. Learn things you never thought you didn't know about our favourite comic book heroes. Updated for 2016 with a look at women in comics.
The Ocelot says: More of a lecture than a comedy piece - which is absolutely fine by the way. I do like a good talk about superheroes and comics. Mr Roper knows his stuff; shockingly, a little more than me, at least about the background for today's talk, which was all about Wonder Woman and her creator Dr William Moulton Marston (a name I always get mixed up). The venue and set-up wasn't ideal, as the projector on the seat next to me kept packing up, but Andrew put on a nice slide show, some cool theme tunes including the various TV versions, and a complex examination of both the character's feminist credentials and her creators' (plural intended) unconventional lifestyles. But most importantly, I was the first person in the festival to correctly identify the Superfriends theme tune from a couple of seconds of music. "Merciful Minerva!" 5/5

House of Edgar
Space 3 @ theSpace on the Mile
This original musical uses folk-styled songs to retell some of Poe's most famous stories, weaving them into a ghostly new tale. Unpredictable, unusual and unique.
The Ocelot says: There's always a show too far at the festival and for me, this was it. No fault of the excellent young cast from the Argosy Theatre Company though. I was just dog tired and too hot. I fear I may have drifted off a little halfway through, lending this musical about Edgar Allen Poe and his rivalry with writer Rufus Griswold even more hallucinatory. Some standout performances, especially from the chap who portrayed the protagonist of the Tell Tale Heart with wild-eyed, Jekyll and Hyde like intensity. I rather enjoyed the 'battle of the narratives' between Poe and Griswold too. "Nevermore!" 4/5

Quirky Incident
Having cravenly snuck out of Puppet Fiction, we consoled ourselves with tea and coffee in the Newsroom upstairs, where I proceeded to trip up some steps and nearly send the entire tray of drinks flying. Fortunately though I only spilt the milk juggette (It was a small jug, that's what it's called, I have decided). So I count that as a small victory in the face of near certain beverage disaster.

Note the hideous leather puppet

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