Somewhere At The Fringe 2018

We came out!

#SomewhereAtTheFringe is our first LGBT+ culture-focused project, and what a way to soft-launch by championing fantastic LGBT+ work at this year's Edinburgh Festival Fringe! 


By creating our 5-part LGBT+ Fringe Guide, a series of press-accredited show reviews and features, plus social media promotional support for LGBT+ voices at the Fringe, we got the Somewhere word out there! 

Supporting the 3%

With over 120 LGBT+ shows to choose from, we were really spoilt for choice - everything from comedy, theatre, musical theatre, drag and cabaret, across the board. 


We saw some really high quality work and it's important to remember that this year there were over 3560 shows altogether, so LGBT+ voices need creative platforms to get the word out. 


We were so pleased with engagement and reach on our channels and we're very proud to have done our bit to get bums on seats this year.


Thank you to Deadline News for collaborating with us this summer and to all our new friends and supporters who have made our coming out a really wonderful experience!


"Kath’s energetic dedication to flagging up some of the Edinburgh International Fringe Festival’s best servings of LGBT+ culture was formidable to say the least. A talented and prolific writer her decisive efforts to right some of the balance of coverage at this year’s Fringe were somewhat epic. Covering 16 + shows with vigour she ploughed through the writing with professionalism, providing copy that helps all audiences get a better grasp of issues surrounding diversity in the arts. I’m hoping she will be back on the beat next year. ***** Five stars!" 


Jean West, Review Team Lead, on behalf of Deadline News

Looking to next year

#SomewhereAtTheFringe will be back for 2019, with plenty more previews and articles so you can plan your queerest Fringe yet! 


We hope to see even more LGBT+ shows on offer to review, support and champion. We're especially keen to see more work by, for or about trans and trans/non-binary people as those stories were especially hard to find this year.


In the meantime, click on the link below to help us make even more of a difference in the weeks and months to come. Thank you. 

Sigrid Nielsen and Bob Orr

REVIEW: Love Song To Lavender Menace

THEATRE - Witty, well-observed and heartfelt

***** (5 STARS)


KATHRYN PIERCE

4 August 2018

Deadline News


Returning to the Fringe after a sell-out run in autumn last year, Love Song to Lavender Menace triumphantly leads the Fringe’s Made in Scotland showcase with the true tale of Edinburgh’s radical, lesbian, gay and feminist bookshop.

The entrepreneurial and inspirational partnership of Bob Orr and Sigrid Nielsen, forged from a love of books and a shared passion for LGBT community activism, became the Lavender Book Collective, and the Lavender Menace bookshop in 1982. Edinburgh’s much-loved radical bookshop was a place which introduced a myriad of home-grown and international lesbian and gay literature to the conservative streets of the city.


Love Song to Lavender Menace pays a witty, well-observed and heartfelt tribute to the work of these two pioneers, and to the community which supported them in establishing the bookshop into everyday life for LGBT people in 1980’s Scotland. The story is told in flashbacks by characters Glen (MATTHEW MCVARISH) and Lewis (PIERCE REID), on the eve of the shop’s 5th birthday. Sigrid is rightly honoured as a statue of feminist liberty, as is Bob’s expertise in the book trade.

With an 80’s soundtrack which brought so many of my own memories flooding back, the play leafed through chapters of shared lives punctuated with moments of joy, fear, despair, discovery and loss; anthologising an emotional dedication to the people and places who made it all happen.


Like an open book, the play wears its heart on its sleeve. James Ley’s (VILLAGE PUB THEATRE) evocative and multi-layered script celebrates the role of the bookshop as a safe haven and sanctuary from a hostile 1980’s reality, and as a vital space of community connection and self-discovery, rightly marking its place in LGBT social history.

The character of the narrator rang true with us, the community back then – closeted and out in dangerous dark spaces seeking recognition and belonging in furtive glances; the bookstore offering a respectable way into a world of untold stories. It resonated so much with me personally, reminding me of News from Nowhere, my Liverpool Lavender Menace, where, as a closeted young gay woman, I too pored over stories on the shelves in search for myself.


It is a truly wonderful and joyful production, and a devoted legacy, with outstanding and engaging performances from the two leads – the very energetic, loquacious and intense Glen and the utterly loveable dancing bear Lewis – who share their own special Lavender Menace love story with us. But this romantic comedy isn’t just about Glen and Lewis, it is the tale of the lavender marriage of Bob and Sigrid, their love of stories and love for their own diverse marginalised community which turned the fiction of an inspiring and radical idea into a mighty real matter of fact.


I never wanted it to end, but just as these important moments in LGBT social history are just that, moments in time, it had to.

Unforgettable.


http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/2018/08/04/theatre-outstanding-tribute-to-pinoeer-lgbt-bookstore/

  

Venue: Tech Cube Zero at Summerhall
1 Summerhall, Edinburgh EH9 1PL

Performance Dates and Tickets:
AUGUST 4, 5, 7-12, 14-19, 21-26
BSL performance: Wednesday 15 August 2018, 12:55pm
Prices: £12 (£10)

Twitter: @lovesongplay
Facebook: /lovesongtolavendermenace

Bookings: 0131 560 1581

Restrictions: 14+ (Restriction)

Coming up tomorrow

Suzi Ruffell: Nocturnal

REVIEW: MICHAEL GRIFFITHS

CABARET - Songs by Kylie: A sensational step back in time

KATHRYN PIERCE

19 August 2018

Deadline News 


***** (5 STARS)


http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/2018/08/19/michael-griffiths-songs-by-kylie-is-a-sensational-step-back-in-time/


  

Having appeared as Madonna and Annie Lennox at previous Edinburgh Festivals, at his sixth Fringe, there’s a new Michael Griffiths in town. This time his one-man-cabaret experience pays a loving and lyrical homage to Kylie, pop princess and LGBT royalty.


The simple show develops quickly into an inspired hour of reverence and irreverence, tracking the highs and lows of the pop princess’s life and career, with comedy inserts into musical medleys and haunting reworkings of her famous hit songs. 


The fact that Michael hails from Adelaide brings the feel of a “homegrown” story to the Fringe, with local insights (who knew she was known in Oz as a “singing budgie”?!) and how Kylie’s appeal set fewer hearts racing back home than it did with adoring legions of fans in the UK. The first-person-Griffiths-as-Kylie-into-narrator -into-singing-tribute format is inspired, and allows him to have all sorts of gender-bending queer fun with the audience invited to his pop party. 


His style is in the Aussie drag tradition of Dame Edna with lashings of Bob Downe, and a loving smile and sardonic laugh that moves between self-deprecating and withering drag humour that shreds you in seconds. 


There was less of the latter though and more of a sense of fun with everyone invited, with a surprise karaoke which gave us a joyful gay remake of the famous Kylie and Jason duet, the one where (as Kylie), Griffiths points out “together we had HIS biggest hit” (rowwwrrr). 


While the show pokes fun at the cheesefest of her early musical career with Stock Aitken and Waterman, with her hits as markers on the show’s timeline, you soon realise that while you’d thought you’d come to a show about her life, and ended up with the soundtrack to your own life (I was 16 when ISBSL came out). 


With a big nod to gay bar culture, this show isn’t a glorified lounge singing or karaoke. Griffiths has musical talent and some of his jazz reworking of her hits are really something, the INXS mash up is worth the hour in itself.


ISBSL came out in 1988, a whole 8 years before I did, I’ve been aware of her importance to and kinship with the LGBT community ever since. Michael Griffiths’ gay homage to a gay icon is loving and heartfelt, championing her personal battles and victories as much as her singing success. 


And, just like the pop princess herself, this show is small but perfectly formed, and one of my standout favourites this Fringe.


Fancy seeing it? Unless today is the 27th August, it’s never too late, you’ve still got time.


Venue: The Bubble @Assembly George Square Theatre

Dates:   Aug 18-26

Time:  17:20 

Tickets: Mon-Thurs £10, Fri-Sun £12

Enquiries:  0131 623 3030

Restrictions: 12+ (Guideline)

REVIEW: JEN BRISTER

COMEDY: - Meaningless: A hilarious battle cry for womankind

***** (5 STARS)


KATHRYN PIERCE

8 August 2018

Deadline News


http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/2018/08/08/comedy-a-hilarious-battle-cry-for-womankind/


With her signature confidence, composed delivery and with no-holds-barred style, Jen Brister pulls back a big catapult full of comedy and releases it onto us in a magnificent hour of character-filled mini-sketches; finally calling time on male/female double-standards.


Jen’s been under a bit of pressure of late – her mum has “temporarily” moved in and has entirely taken over, not to mention she is a lesbian mum of 3-year-old twin boys – so best not get her started on Jacob Rees-Mogg (“that flesh-coloured windsock”), or famous parents waving their privilege about; and as for women that don’t stick up for other women, well for that you’ll get perimenopausal rage in all its nearly-period-free glory.


Jen’s been on the comedy scene for many years now, and this latest bumper-sized chapter of life is rich with old and new characters, and a big dose of double-up funny, all played out in completely-awkward-yet-totally familiar moments. Triumphant and truthful, we feel for her and relate to her. 


The men in the crowd take it on the chin, getting both barrels as we sit in a comedy club that has its walls decorated with larger-than-life male faces.


Jen does her bit for the matriarchy, by turning the tables on penis privilege and demanding women’s share of the pie – pointing out that even Woman’s Hour doesn’t quite get its due, with a screening time of only 45 minutes (come on BBC).


In this rip-roaring set, she grabs the patriarchy by the balls and demands the world spend less time obsessing about the thigh-gap and more time working on the gender pay gap. 


She’s right though, we can all do better; and for a show worth far more than the £5 ticket price, I challenge you to find a better way to spend an hour this Fringe.


  

Venue: Monkey Barrel Comedy Club, 9-11 Blair Street EH1 1QR

Dates: Aug 6-14, 16-26 

Time: 13:45

Tickets:  £5 (plus pay what you like on the door after the gig)

Bookings:  0845 500 1056

Restrictions: 16+ (Restrictio

Coming up tomorrow

Blink 


@Greenside, Infirmary Street

REVIEW: 147HZ CAN'T PASS

SPOKEN WORD - "I can’t wait to be boring.” One trans person’s riotous request for a nicer society

KATHRYN PIERCE

15 August

Deadline News


**** (4 STARS)


http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/2018/08/15/theatre-i-cant-wait-to-be-boring-one-trans-persons-riotous-request-for-a-nicer-society/ 



Named after the gender-neutral frequency for speaking and the ability for a trans person to “pass” as a defined binary gender, Activising for Change’s 147Hz Can’t Pass, is an excellently-crafted hour of spoken word, movement, and poetry combining into a strident, open-hearted and public statement of a young person’s dignity and independence. “I am normal”, states eighteen-year-old transgender non-binary character Ash (performed by INK ASHER HEMP) at the start, declaring clearly that the piece is “not a confession, nor an apology” and certainly “not a plea for acceptance”.


In the time that follows, we are invited to hear about episodes in Ash’s life – their battle with themselves and with the many challenges of a straight, binary society; the pressure of constructing a façade that’s acceptable to everyone else, and what it actually feels like coming out every day. Also made real is the relief and belonging which comes from finding your own community and feeling less alone, less different, less interesting.


With interlaced recorded audio and simple AV, music and lighting changes, we get glimpses into instances in Ash’s childhood and the dysphoria and dissonance with their birth gender, the search for reconciliation with a body that doesn’t express them but also doesn’t reject them (“I trust you/I’m disgusted by you”), alongside lived experiences of the risks of chest binding and never-ending reminders that their biological body still wants to do female things.


The style of performance is straightforward, accessible and honest, and while it feels exposed, there is no vulnerability present. INK ASHER HEMP addresses the audience directly, stands on a box, owns the space and holds a steady gaze, connecting with you and ensuring you hear them.


Though I am a member of the LGBT+ community, I am a cisgendered (my birth gender matches my gender expression) lesbian female and though I have dear friends in the trans community, I don’t expect to speak for them or have any real idea of their lived experience. This is why work such as 147Hz is so important for everyone to see, and especially members of the LGBT+ community which can be fragmented and divided.


Developed as part of Scottish Youth Theatre’s residency program, 147Hz Can’t Pass is an hour of reclaimed time where a person from the trans community chooses and owns their right to speak, and they do so with beauty, clarity, impact and with compassion for themselves and for us.


  

Venue: Ivy Studio @ Greenside, Infirmary Street

Dates:  Aug 15-18, 20-25

Time: 12.35 

Tickets: £7 (£5) 

Bookings:  0131 557 2124

Restrictions: 12+ (Guideline) 


Coming up tomorrow

Best in Class


@Harry's Southside 

REVIEWS: DRIP FEED

THEATRE - A haunting story perfectly encapsulated in The Bubble

**** (4 stars) 


KATHRYN PIERCE

11 AUGUST 2018

Deadline News


http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/2018/08/11/theatre-drip-feed-a-haunting-story-encapsulated-perfectly-in-the-bubble/


Set in late 90s Cork, Soho Theatre’s Drip Feed is an immersive experience – an evocative, unapologetic and sharply funny painting with words, detailing the life, love and loss of lesbian Brenda and her best friend Veronica. A visceral and powerful monologue (written and performed by KAREN M COGAN), Drip Feed is a fierce piece of writing, boldly and darkly depicting the struggle to cope with ending relationships, the role of friends-as-family, and the entanglements of intense love which spill into self-harm and humiliation. 


The play is laced with a familiar blur of nineties dance music, alcohol, hangovers and regrets, set to an exposed backdrop of harsh weather and harsh realities.


As I shared The Bubble venue with 40 others, in a comfortable domed-shaped space which gave Karen M Cogan all the necessary room to tell her story, she occasionally broke the fourth wall, which further authenticated it, like Brenda herself had turned up and chosen us to hear her authentic truth.


An impressive, highly-descriptive piece, we were treated to a virtual scratch-and-sniff map of Brenda’s hometown where she’s “part of the Cork furniture” – with well-worn family stomping grounds, and the refuge of sticky-floored nightclubs and old pubs well past their best. Brenda’s story is a triumph of survival, and the fight to be yourself as a young-ish gay woman and all the sh*t that comes with that; being desperate for love and freedom in a small town in Ireland, where the lesbian community is pretty thin on the ground and everyone knows everyone else’s business. However, as the story begins by chronicling the messiness of first love, the early years of self-discovery and coming out, it soon emerges as a vivid and dark fable for those who slip through the cracks in their 20s and get stuck. 


It’s a wonderful thing to find a play that paints a minds-eye picture so vividly you can see Brenda’s bloodied shirt, feel the cold wind against her, recall the brain-shift of heavy drunkenness and taste the array of cheap food eaten to soak up the night before. I found myself imagining my own life as Brenda and how easily that may have happened, and I thank my lucky, privileged stars it didn’t.


This piece is like biting down on a big burger full of real-life and chewing through every morsel before swallowing. It is a gutsy story and has certainly left its mark, both in my heart and in my stomach. It’s a haunting story encapsulated perfectly in the Bubble. Go and see it.


Venue: The Bubble @ Assembly George Square Theatre

Dates:  Aug 11-13, 15-26 

Time: 14:30

Tickets: Mon-Thurs £12 (£11), Fri-Sun £13 (£12)

Bookings:  0131 623 3030

Restrictions: 14+ (Guideline)

Coming up

Queer Words


@Greenside Infirmary Street

Lord Hicks (credit: James T Millar)

REVIEW: SOD'S LAW

MUSICAL THEATRE - A bittersweet serenade through the a(n)nals of queer history

Blunt and beautiful, Sod's Law is an afternoon delight


KATHRYN PIERCE

5 AUGUST 2018

Deadline News


**** (4 STARS)


Aristocrat Lord Hicks seems to know a thing or two about queer life, and as I shared a late afternoon tea with him, and 35 other audience members, we were treated to a marvellous musical gay history lesson, beginning with King Henry VIII’s Buggery Act of 1533 and ending with the sheer bad manners of Grindr and 21st century dating.


Like an all-seeing, all-knowing minstrel he wistfully presents a rousing retrospective, with acerbic asides, and a haughty air best described as Judge Rinder channelling Dr Frank. N. Furter.

On our whimsical whistle-stop, the Lord holds opens the hidden doors of LGBT history and lets us in. Adding the hysterical to the historical, our queer past is also in very safe hands here, with diverse LGBT stories getting a look-in, not just the usual cisgender gay male ones.


Having tea with the Lord is akin to spending time with a dear queer wealthy friend, whose obvious talent and accomplished musicality mean that sad and difficult times in the LGBT timeline are handled with compassion, while the highs and lows of gay culture are joyously celebrated by an ornately-worded, rude and frantically-funny script. I can honestly say I have never enjoyed gay insults so much in my entire life.


With a ukulele, a piano and a few simple images, in 50 magical minutes I was entertained and educated, mocked and shocked, and privy to beautifully-executed ballads like the Pretty Policeman (lavatorial) Blues, along with well-placed and often haunting snippets of familiar songs that were the soundtrack to many key moments of the 20th century and my own life.


As the whole of the (very hot) room hangs onto Lord Hicks’ raised eyebrow, I revelled in the withering wit that exemplifies the best of drag humour. 


There’s also a knowing nod to the future in this caustic cautionary tale, and a call for the LGBT community to stick together and support each other.


There’s a lot of love in this show – it’s well-written, excellently performed (GEORGE) and produced (JOSH COCKCROFT). The only hetero thing about it is that it’s straight to the point. Make time for the good Lord this Fringe.


http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/2018/08/06/sods-law-a-bittersweet-serenade-through-the-annals-of-queer-history/ 


Venue: Greenside @ Infirmary Street

Dates:  Aug 6th-25th (not 12th or 19th)

Time: 17:20

Tickets:  £10 (£7.50)

Bookings:  0131 557 2124 (Greenside Box Office)

Restrictions: 14+ (Guideline)

Coming up tomorrow

Jen Brister: Meaningless 

The cast of Sirens, from award-winning company ZooCo

Review: SIRENS

THEATRE - A roar for the silent minorities - with guts, glitter and gumption

**** (4 STARS) 


KATHRYN PIERCE

2 AUGUST 2018

Deadline News


It’s a rare thing to find a piece of theatre which champions authentic lives, in a truly inclusive way, in both its narrative and in its production values. Under the artistic direction of Florence O’Mahony, award-winning ZooCo’s latest message is a seductive one, and if the diversity in the audience members is anything to go by, this gem of a show is already turning heads, and rightly so. 


It’s 500BC and Pia, Xoe and Lou (FLEUR ROOTH, FLORENCE O’MAHONY, ROSALIND HOY), three sirens (half-woman, half-bird creatures – whatever you do, don’t call them mermaids), defy Zeus and find themselves quite literally plucked out of Ancient Greek obscurity and catapulted into Hastings in 2018. Able to kill any man who hears the sound of their voices, they embark on a mission to find their ancient text which has landed in the hands of unsuspecting Tobi (JAMAL AJALA), a young man whose deafness protects him from the curse. He befriends them, teaching them to communicate through signing, and they conspire to reclaim their lost treasure from the clutches of Stuart, the creepfest museum guy (NICK GILBERT) who has it under guard. Enjoying their new-found freedom, soon enough the sirens find out that minority voices still struggle to be heard and to be free, 2500 years later.


SIRENS is an uplifting and defiant piece of physical theatre, at the centre of the well-imagined, creatively-captioned lines and visual display lies a serious and impactful tale, with important and timely observations on oppression, marginalisation, toxic masculinity and sexual violence, all neatly packed into 55 minutes.


SIRENS production is slick, with spoken dialogue flowing into Visual Vernacular and dance sequences, marrying sound and silence, with imaginative set design (ADAM BOTTOMLEY), AV and lighting (TIMOTHY KELLY) adding dynamism to the synth soundscapes (MARK ASPINALL). I’m confident that as the show settles into the run, timings will become razor-sharp and it will feel like the cast are fully on top of the show’s considerable pace.


Crucially, the show gathers diverse stories – gender non-conformity, free expression of LGBT+ sexuality, isolation of d/Deaf communities, marginalisation of people of colour - and owns them. SIRENS is less about freedom of speech, but rather the freedom to express yourself authentically, and to be understood and included. It isn’t a coincidence that every Sirens performance is also in a relaxed style. 


SIRENS is a fist-pumping feel-good display of girl power, and a triumph of silent and silenced voices. With a fierce feminist message, this isn’t a cry for freedom, this is a collective roar of liberation.


http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/2018/08/03/theatre-sirens-is-a-roar-for-the-silent-minorities/


Venue: Pleasance Two - Pleasance Courtyard, 60 Pleasance EH8 9TJ 

Dates: Aug 1-27, (not 13th or 20th)

Time: 3.35pm 

BSL inclusive 

Tickets: Tuesdays £8.50 (£7.50), Weds-Fridays £10 (£9), Saturday, Sunday £11 (£10), 

Group discounts available, 2 for 1 offer 6th/7th Aug

Bookings: 0131 556 6550

Restrictions: 12+ (Guideline)


 

Coming up tomorrow

Love Song to Lavender Menace, 12:55, Summerhall

REVIEW: ZOE LYONS

COMEDY - Entry Level Human: Our Happy Place

KATHRYN PIERCE

17th August 2018

Deadline News


**** (4 STARS)


http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/2018/08/17/comedy-entry-level-human-our-happy-place/


Sitting in a sold-out show in the Gilded Balloon Teviot Dining Room with a few hundred others, there was a real buzz in the audience; and looking around it was clear to see that over the years, Zoe Lyons has developed a very wide appeal indeed, which is no mean feat for a “tattooed, middle-aged lesbian” – her words.


 Zoe’s Entry Level Human show is a very clever piece of observational and relatable comedy, centering on the complexities and absurdities of modern life responsible for what she believes to be our perpetual state of self-induced disappointment. Covering a broad sweep of subjects such as the social media echo chamber, our obsession with being hyperconnected, the consumption-driven and narcissistic world, plus the fact we live with higher and higher expectations of ourselves and others, it’s no wonder our actual lived reality can be a major facepalm. Thank goodness Zoe and motivational memes are there to reassure and ground us.


I really enjoyed her wry appreciation and celebration of the fact that we can all just be a bit rubbish; how human error can mess with a perfectly-designed algorithmic world where tastes are satisfied at the scroll of a smartphone screen. I was impressed she decided to tackle the “B” word, as we call Brexit in our house, declaring that now “everything is shit or brilliant”, depending on your perspective, and she reckons we’re actually hard-wired to become more Brexity the older we get, which certainly would explain a few things.


This jam-packed show was sixty fun-filled minutes spent with comedy characters, travel and holiday stories, petty annoyances, random events and even a drunken Glaswegian fly, which all added up to a therapeutic hour of raucous relief from the pressures of 21st century life.


Zoe pitched her Entry Level Human show as a way to a happier world, through more realistic expectations. That said, we all had high expectations of her and she certainly didn’t disappoint.


  

Venue: Gilded Balloon Teviot (Dining Room)

Dates:  Aug 17-26

Time: 17:45

Tickets: £11.50 (£9.50), £12.50 (£10.50)

Bookings:  0131 622 6552

Restrictions: 14+ (Guideline)

 

Coming up

Transpennine


@TheSpace on North Bridge

REVIEW: BEST IN CLASS

FREE FRINGE COMEDY - Lunchtime laughter: A warm-hearted and inclusive free-for-all

KATHRYN PIERCE

16 August 2018

Deadline News


**** (4 STARS)


http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/2018/08/16/lunchtime-laughter-a-warm-hearted-and-inclusive-free-for-all/


In the Fringe’s ‘bubble’, it’s easy to get consumed by the bigger shows, which is why I felt it especially important to connect with at least one of the many LGBT+ led/inclusive comedy acts on the Free Fringe. Entirely selfishly, I was also very keen to hear familiar northern English voices that are quite a rarity in everyday Edinburgh life.


Best In Class is a comedy showcase supporting working-class artists to perform at the Fringe without the prohibitive upfront costs of the main festival. Today’s compilation line-up were Scouser SIAN DAVIES, who has a middle-class dog) Brummie LINDSEY SANTORO, “from South Birmingham – think of it as a holding pen for Jeremy Kyle”, and too-many-adjectives-even-for-him-to-remember VINCE “Flour Power” ATTA, sporting a mile-wide smile and impressive beatbox-looping set.


This crowdfunded offering brought an hour of real, straightforward, warm-hearted and engaging comedy; the twenty-or-so of us in the audience, and Kaya the dog, had a great time. 


Topics on the menu included the complexities of ordering coffee, reality replacing romance in long-term relationships, the inevitability of turning into your mother, and the lesser-known consequences of Lush bathbomb use.


It was great to see a predominantly female group, playing to a mainly female audience, so word has spread about the friendly atmosphere. Saying that, Vince did close the hour on a real high with his interactive game, meaning everyone left with a smile on their faces.


The venue upstairs at Harry’s on Southside was lovely – a gem of a nook in an airy room with wooden floors and exposed brick, creating a welcoming and intimate space for an hour of real-life grassroots comedy.


Why not fill your lunchtime with friendly and feel-good laughs? Worth checking out.


  

Venue: Laughing Horse (upstairs at Harry’s, Southside)

Dates:  Aug 16-26

Time: 12 noon 

Tickets: Free 

Enquiries: 0131 662 0974

Restrictions: 12+ (Guideline) 



Coming up tomorrow

Zoe Lyons


@ Gilded Balloon Teviot 



review: blink

THEATRE - BLINK and don't miss it!

**** (4 stars)


KATHRYN PIERCE

10 August 2018

Deadline News


http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/2018/08/10/theatre-blink-or-you-might-miss-it/



BLINK, from Squabbling House Theatre, is the story of two parallel lives, Sophie and Esther, brought together through coincidence and through a mutual craving and deep-seated need to belong somewhere, and to be visible in the world. With shared experiences of loss and isolation, this unusual lesbian love story combines a narrative tackling the loneliness of living online, and the struggle to find intimacy and human connection in a world dominated by screens. Two intertwined parallel lives spill out of the virtual world into the real world, with a time-delay, and with life-changing consequences.


I recognised a common dynamic of co-dependency which can happen in lesbian relationships where there is an intensity of emotion and a need to express love in nurturing ways we are taught as females. What this story shows though is how it is possible to be more trapped in a relationship in the real world, than one which exists in pixels within a small screen, and the story’s voyeurism element explored a desire to remain in control and manage the very real risks attached to actual human connection. Maybe sometimes the screen is a safer place, and as Sophie puts it, “love is what you want it to be”.


Blink is a two-header, with fine performances from the female leads, both very comfortable with their surroundings and offering credible, genuine, relatable well-defined characters. I really liked the fact that their LGBT sexuality wasn’t an explicit part of the story, instead simply intrinsic to the characters’ identities. 


Though the script relies very heavily on exposition, and I definitely wanted a more show than tell, it is very well-crafted. The writing is strong, and though I welcomed movement when it came, I was left craving more visual elements.


A friend once told me that people in your life are with you for a reason, a season or a lifetime, and in this case, we’re not sure until the end which path this story will take. It’s a real gem of a play that tackles some interesting questions in an intelligent way, and leaves you appreciating how hard it is to find real love in a virtual world, especially if you’re LGBT, an introvert, an eccentric, or even all three. 


BLINK is only on for another four dates, so make sure you catch it.

Venue: Greenside @ Infirmary Street (Mint Studio)

Dates: Aug 11, 13, 15, 17

Time: 13:50

Tickets:  £8.50 (£6)

Bookings:  0131 557 2124

Restrictions: 14+ (Guideline)

Coming up tomorrow

Drip Feed


@The Bubble, Assembly George Square Theatre

review: QUEER WORDS

PHYSICAL THEATRE - An unusual sensory experience

KATHRYN PIERCE

13 August 2018

Deadline News


*** 3 STARS


http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/2018/08/14/1112831/


I was really looking forward to experiencing Autin Dance Theatre’s Queer Words opening night at Greenside Infirmary Street. What I encountered was a diverse and daring depiction of LGBTQ+ lives, performed by an all-LGBTQ+ cast of dancers, poets and physical theatre performers.


My Queer Words experience, and it is an experience, was a fierce 45 minutes spent with 80 others in the Forest Theatre. The production was a series of spoken word, drama and comedy sketches interlinked with music backdrops and dance segments which offers social comment and challenging ideas of gender stereotyping, toxic masculinity and sexual expression.


Amongst the offerings was a dance and spoken word segment where the three leads (BETHANY SLINN, JOSHUA TOFT-WILD, OLIVER SALE) gave us a powerful commentary on how each of their LGBTQ+ sexualities are described by others, in a mainly derogatory way, and by themselves – “loud”, “roaring”, “normal”. This was followed by a quick lesson in the “queer alphabet” because “If we’re having a conversation, we need to speak the same language”, inviting us and enabling us to tune in to their wavelength.


The performers also tackle and reclaim insults, and instigate interaction with the audience – as someone who has personal history of having “Dyke” shouted at me as an insult, it
felt awkward and difficult to shout it out loud.

Different accents, styles and pitches interspersed with song and physical movement made for a very corporeal performance and one which shifted between expressive forms very readily. It was quite anarchic and explicit at times, turning a mirror on the audience and asking them direct graphic questions – which I bizarrely found myself answering – before moving swiftly into scenes of spoken word melded into dance sequences portraying hook-ups of all sexualities, finally linking into character work parodying educators’ attempts to teach inclusivity.


Club scenes capture the gay male gaze with thumping basslines segue into explicit poetry about gay male sexual encounters. Vogueing dance shapes are carried with monologues from the three leads, each expressing themselves and their sexuality through movement. Elements of the show also reminded me of a theatre of the absurd piece I once saw where the performers self-rewind and repeat traces across the stage, as if looped in time.


I particularly enjoyed the dance sequence with OLIVER SALE and JOSHUA TOFT-WILD which was a graceful depiction of loneliness and vulnerability which comes from reaching out for intimacy from strangers, longing for a deeper connection. The strength and contortion of the two male dancers was impressive and it occurred to me I had never necessarily seen two male performers dance in such a beautiful and intimate style before.


The show is an unusual sensory experience and I certainly came away appreciating far more that sometimes the best way to express the most important things is through physicality alone.


  

Venue: Forest Theatre @ Greenside, Infirmary Street

Dates:  Aug 14-18, 20-25 

Time: 16:15 

Tickets: Mon-Thurs £12 (£11), Fri-Sun £13 (£12)

Bookings:  0131 557 2124

Restrictions: 16+ (Guideline) – contains strong language and explicit sexual references



Coming up tomorrow

147Hz Can't Pass 


@Greenside Infirmary Street

Q&A with Loud and Proud choir

Q&A: Loud and Proud, Scotland's LGBT choir get ready for their Fringe gig

Loud and Proud on the Fringe: 18th August, 7.30pm, St Cuthbert’s Church (£15/£11 conc)


Tickets: 

http://www.waverleycare.org/loudandproud


Deadline News

2 August 2018


http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/2018/08/02/qa-scotlands-lgbt-choir-talk-pride-and-prep-work/


We talked to the brilliant bunch that is Loud and Proud Choir in the run up to their Fringe gig on 18th August and this is their take on our Q&A:


Choose 3 words to describe Loud and Proud Choir: Community, love, harmony


How many are there of you? 40 to 60 members, plus our extensive fan clubs


Best thing about being part of Scotland’s LGBT+ choir? The sense of community and pride singing together, there’s just nothing else like it


Best thing about being in the Fringe? Being part the 3rd biggest festival in the world! And part of the party!


How do you prepare for the gig? Hieroglyphic crib sheets, learning before bed, social rehearsals with a bit too much good food and drink, remembering to breathe, and not eating too much on the day to save burps


Strategies to cope with hecklers or wannabe comedians in the audience? Have you met Steve our MC? I wouldn’t mess with him! Hard as nails with the biggest smile!


Any gig rituals, lucky mascots or superstitions? Just our rainbow choir badges 


Biggest challenge during Fringe month? Getting from Aye to B in Edinburgh


How does it feel being one of the few choirs appearing on the Fringe? We’re the local talent let loose on the world!


Sum up being in Edinburgh in August? Madness (Welcome to the House of Fun)


If Loud and Proud were a comedian, who would it be? There are too many comedians already in the choir, we don’t need any more 


Favourite songs to sing? Ae fond kiss, Something inside so strong, I wish I knew How it Feels to be Free, Oh What a World…so many good songs!


Are you partial to any dancing or choreography? Sometimes, but getting 40 people to do the same thing while balancing on risers on a stage is a trifle challenging/hilarious/requires a comprehensive risk assessment, so we camp it up instead sometimes!


What can we expect from your concert on the 18th Aug? Some of our all-time favourite songs in one of our favourite venues. Come and join us to share the love <3


If you were to shout one thing out loud and proud so that everyone in the Fringe could hear you, what would it be? Nat King Cole had the right idea: Let there be love!



ABOUT LOUD AND PROUD

Loud and Proud is the only mixed LGBT choir in Scotland. Their members have been singing their socks off for 13 years, and are now 60 in number, led by Musical Director Karen Dietz. Loud and Proud perform regularly in the city throughout the year, and travel abroad to attend LGBT+ choir festivals, the most recent being Various Voices 2018 in Munich, Germany. The choir is proud to support the vital work at Waverley Care, and all proceeds from their Fringe event go to Scotland’s HIV and Hepatitis C charity.

Follow them on Twitter @LoudProudChoir, on Facebook @LoudandProudChoir, and check out their website at www.loudandproudchoir.org


WAVERLEY CARE

Waverley Care is Scotland’s HIV and Hepatitis C charity. Across Scotland, we are reducing new HIV and hepatitis C infections, encouraging people to get tested and providing much needed support to people living with, or affected by these conditions. Through our work, we are also challenging HIV and hepatitis C related stigma, tackling health inequalities and promoting good sexual health.

Follow Waverley Care on Twitter @WaverleyCare, on Facebook @WaverleyCareFanPage and at www.waverleycare.org 

The event is kindly supported by CC Blooms.






Coming up tomorrow

Grace

@ Gilded Balloon Teviot

Suzi Ruffell

REVIEW: SUZI RUFFELL

COMEDY - Nocturnal: An enjoyable evening we wanted to love

*** (3 STARS)


KATHRYN PIERCE

5 August 2018

Deadline News


Last night’s offering at The Pleasance came from Suzi Ruffell, fresh from her travels and back at the Fringe with a new show, having bagged a nomination for Chortle’s Best Breakthrough Act.


This time Suzi’s landed in Edinburgh with a backpack of travelling anecdotes, serious sleep deprivation and a lot of fresh new fears. She pitches her comedy tent, pegged with trademark anxiety and lets rip – we get the feeling it’s all been a bit much to carry around.


Worries of the world, strange and oddly personal encounters with stingrays and the frustration of being the lesbian in a straight group of friends all contributed to the you-wouldn’t-believe-it-had-it-not-happened series of Suzi mishaps that made up her set.


In amongst this ball of energy is Suzi’s attempt to connect with the room, and on this particular night I didn’t feel like she quite broke through. It’s a delicate balance to strike between being mates with and relating to a gay audience, and doing the same to a non-gay audience.


I got behind her campaigning for a “Disney Princess who’s a mess, who’s a bit of a Disney Prince like me”, and her pointing out with a wry wit that life as a lesbian certainly isn’t all plain sailing – especially in countries where it’s illegal to be gay.


As a gay woman, I felt a real camaraderie with parts of the show but I didn’t laugh out loud too often, and instead enjoyed it as spending quality time with a familiar friend – but one who really needs a good mate to ask, “What were you thinking with the strobe lighting joke?”.


Squeezed into a small and hot venue which felt considerably smaller than Suzi’s rising profile, the audience was a friendly mixed bunch up for a good laugh, and they certainly enjoyed it, though it felt maybe this time Suzi wasn’t quite sure how to pitch it.


http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/2018/08/05/comedy-suzi-ruffell-nocturnal-an-enjoyable-night-we-wanted-to-love/

  

Venue: Pleasance Below - Pleasance Courtyard, 60 Pleasance EH8 9TJ (Note: Aug 16th show is Please Beneath at Pleasance Courtyard)

Dates: Aug 5-12, 14-26 (some dates now sold out)

Time: 21:45

Tickets: Tuesdays £8.50 (£7.50), Weds, Thurs £10 (£9), Fri- Sun £11 (£10) 2 for 1 6th and 7th Aug

Bookings: 0131 556 6550

Restrictions: 14+ (Restriction)

Coming up tomorrow

Sod's Law

REVIEW: REALLY WANT TO HURT ME

THEATRE - Well-written but out of reach

KATHRYN PIERCE

21st August 2018

Deadline News 


*** (3 stars)


http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/2018/08/21/theatre-really-want-to-hurt-me-is-well-written-but-out-of-reach/


Flaming Theatre’s Really Want to Hurt Me is a solo theatre piece which tells the story of a 15-year-old Devonian schoolboy (RYAN PRICE) growing up in 1980s England, coming to terms with his sexuality and finding his passion and identity. It traces two years of his life until he leaves school and heads to London in search of a future in acting.


The story runs like a mix tape of memories, with music playing a huge part in the protagonist’s way of coping with and escaping the world. We follow the everyday battles at school – where societal expectations are felt the hardest – alongside the absence of supportive and present parenting. Themes of bullying and suicide run through the story as the protagonist struggles to find themselves and their footing in the world.


The writing is really strong (BEN SANTAMARIA) and I enjoyed how the story was put together and related like a spoken diary without dates and times.


While I enjoyed Ryan’s performance, I personally would have preferred a more grounded style of acting, with more direct eye contact with the audience, rather than the “looking into the distance” style delivery which reminded more of a filmed monologue. It occurred to me the style of direction would work well as a ‘talking head’ as I didn’t feel the movement or occasional props necessarily added to the story.


The writing style reminded me a little of Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, and while the protagonist is just 15-years-old, and would perhaps be limited in how acutely they could express some of the darker elements of the story, I did feel there was too much of a light touch at times.


Overall the story needed a greater breadth of acting, as it felt a little bare and I was conscious of the fourth wall. Adding more AV elements would add greater context to some of the scenes, or even a low music bed to the narration would have added more depth and made the audience feel less shut out.


The distance between the action and the audience didn’t allow enough access into the emotional content of the plot, and ultimately the heart, of the story.


  

Venue: Assembly Hall (Baillie Room)

Dates:  Aug 21-27

Time:   15:00

Tickets:   Mon-Thurs £10 (£9), Fri-Sun £11 (£10)

Enquiries:  0131 623 3030

Restrictions: 14+ (Guideline)

Coming up

Michael Griffiths: Songs by Kylie 


@Assembly George Square Theatre: The Bubble

Trans Pennine

REVIEW: TRANS PENNINE

THEATRE - A clunky comedy with its heart in the right place

KATHRYN PIERCE

16th August 2018

Deadline News


***(3 STARS)


http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/2018/08/16/theatre-transpennine-a-clunky-comedy-with-its-heart-in-the-right-place/



TransPennine literally defines itself in the first few moments as a “respectful comedy” about loss, with an unusual introduction set-up scene, as if reassurance were needed that this story would be coming from a place of love. I’m glad they did though, mainly because of elements of old-fashioned Alf Garnett wife-hating misogynist humour which isn’t a favourite of mine, although it clearly was a favourite of some of the older men in the room.


A dark comedy drama led by three actors (NICK BLESSLEY, IAN TUCKER-BELL, with a standout JULIE FLOWER), TransPennine is about a newly-widowed, ill-tempered father and his two children Ben and Victoria, and their journey to fulfil the final wishes of Gillian, their wife/mother whose ashes travel with them in a margarine tub to be scattered at her favourite caravan park in the Yorkshire Dales.


The story of the road-trip is interspersed with background history of the family’s often difficult life together, and their struggles, misunderstandings and conflicts, which are eventually made more poignant by revelations borne from consequences of long-kept secrets.


Though I liked the overall story, I didn’t gel easily with the structure of the production, mainly because of frequent jumps between narration, exposition and action, converging with jumps between comedy and pathos, and breaks in the fourth wall. This felt confusing and disjointed, and the humorous asides to the audience didn’t add anything to the piece.


Tired gender stereotypes grated on me, and although attempts to redress balance and add self-parody are made through Victoria’s character, they were executed in a way that felt engineered. I did struggle to engage with some of the acting style too, at times finding it overly theatrical for the stuffy performance space.


Given the show’s promotional line: “Dad’s angry. Ben is Amy. Mum is in a margarine tub”, it doesn’t give anything away to say that the play’s title has a double meaning given there is trans storyline. This focuses on the character of Ben/Amy (IAN TUCKER-BELL) and it emerges rather awkwardly in the second half of the 50-minute show. I enjoyed this part so much more, and would have happily watched a greater part of the plot focused on the Ben/Amy element. This was by far the standout part of the play, with stronger writing which in turn made for better performances from IAN TUCKER-BELL and JULIE FLOWER.


It’s a risky strategy to combine distinct elements of old-fashioned style comedy with more complex and delicate contemporary subjects, which can lead to misdirection and a lack of clarity as to where the humour is meant to lie. I sensed in the audience that for a brief moment some (mainly older) male audience members thought that Ben/Amy’s character was up to be mocked, soon realising that wasn’t the intention at all.


I ended up thinking that perhaps I wasn’t the right kind of audience for the piece, but then given the contrasts of ages, styles and subjects, perhaps that was the problem – who is exactly?

It was a nice enough trip to the Dales, but I’m not sure I’d hurry back.


  

Venue: The Space on North Bridge (Venue 36, Hilton Hotel First Floor, Argyll Theatre)

Dates:  Aug 17, 21, 23, 25 

Time: 18:20

Tickets £8 (£6)

Bookings: 0131 510 2386 

Restrictions: 14+ (Guideline) 

Coming up tomorrow

Michael Griffiths: Songs by Kylie


@Assembly George Square Theatre (The Bubble)

Photo credit: Philippa Michaels Photography

review: grace

COMEDY THEATRE - Grace fails to make its mark amid the noise

 ** (2 stars)


KATHRYN PIERCE

9 AUGUST 2018

Deadline News


http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/2018/08/09/theatre-grace-fails-to-make-its-mark-amid-the-noise/


An impressive press release and striking promotional photography meant I was looking forward to catching Katie Reddin-Clancy’s GRACE - billed as ‘a production about power and letting go’ – an hour-long character-filled solo-show commenting on meaty subjects such as gender, identity, love and death, among other things.


The performance centres on the vaudevillian characters of Zora and male alter-ego Alfie, performing in an old regional theatre for the first time since their co-star and former lover Grace met with an untimely death. Supporting acts come in the form of various characters such as with Sheryl (with an ‘S’) the theatre manager, Audrey the Am-Dram ghost and Anna the agent and PR, and even dearly-departed Grace comes back to have her say when Zora puts on Grace’s costume head-dress. 


Each of the characters has a different story to tell, attempting to offer something to current conversations around fame, gender fluidity, the re-configuring of sexual paradigms (“Just because you’re in a relationship with a woman doesn’t mean you’re a card-carrying lesbian. Welcome to 2018”), and the role of show business in artistic and personal freedom.


Although the ambitions for the show are high, unfortunately they aren't realised, instead becoming a confusing jump between roles (especially between Zora/Alfie narratives) and ultimately none of the characters brings anything of real substance to the table. Trans identities aren’t explored with any insight, and the use of alter-egos, secret languages, gendered toys and role-play creates a mist of superficial and fanciful, which is a real shame. 


There were glimpses of sharper-witted comedy in a couple of the characters, and I found myself wishing this had been a stand-up set instead. The performance itself was good, and some of the character work I really liked; Reddin-Clancy has a good singing voice and she commanded the room well. I did feel for her as the excessive noise bleed from the adjacent performance space was unacceptably intrusive throughout the majority of the show, and she did very well to maintain a professional performance throughout. When questioned after the show had ended, staff at the venue claimed there hadn’t been any previous complaints about the issue. 


In the end, I came away not really knowing what the piece was trying to tell me. 


Venue: Gilded Balloon Teviot (Sportsmans)

Dates: Aug 8-12, 14-27 

Time: 13:45

Tickets: Mon-Thurs £8.50 (£7.50), Fri-Sun £9.50 (£8.50)

Bookings:  0131 622 6552

Restrictions: 14+ (Guideline)


Coming up tomorrow

Blink


@Greenside Infirmary Street

LGBT EDINBURGH FRINGE GUIDE FOR 2018