Sunday, 23 August 2015

Showstoppers - Pleasance courtyard Saturday 22nd - ***** - yes, that's this year's 5 stars

It was pissing down outside as our queue observed, and our compere reminded us as we dquelched into the comfortably cosy cloth cushioned seats. I couldnt help chuckling about the poor wee souls who would have to stand with hair dryers drying each and every one, but a nudge in the ribs brought me to order.

Showstoppers opened with a little bit of audience participation to set some general guidance for the show and the cast before the improv team set about their job, improvisation. On Saturday night with the help of the audience, Sean McCann edited our evening into Strummthorpe - the world air guitar championships set in Scunthorpe with music and chat at the mercy of the cast.

Random in every sense, hysterically assaulting all the senses. When you find that your making a bar chord in time with the music you know you've lost control of your sense and I surely did.

Ruth Blatt was outstanding as the current world champion of air guitar and despite the assualt from the across the pond, even at the outset there could only be one winner. You know its improv, you know the cast will take you on an adventure, but trust me, Ruth was winning that championship in 45 minute time.

The story line unfolded and MC turned narrator Sean McCann would occasionally give them a rest, cast them off in a new direction and the cast were loving it. Talk about throwing a dog a bone, Adam Meggido would slalom in as Elvis and at the behst of some nonsensical audience participation we were treated to an improv operatic diversion that Lloyd Webber would doubtless want to applaud. The singing was superb and the dialogue to die for, straight faces must've been tough for all the cast.

Pippa Evans & Nell Mooney had this great mother daughter sister thing going on while the love interest that was the geeky air guitar bassist Justin Brett absolutely aided the absurdity adding amps and cranking up the atmosphere at every octave.

Some picky bastard sitting next to me told his pal that one of them was playing Em7 all the time and I just collapsed. The audiences really join in during improv. I nudged him and suggested that Nell seems to be playing Iggy Pop's the passenger in open chords and to quote the Temptations "that aint right", surely this song was a 12 bar blues number.

Salvador Dali would be proud of the way Showstoppers melted time and no sooner had we arrived in 1961 and we had our homage to Buddy Holly, Elvis was suddenly in the building and fresh back from his time as a GI would become related to the cast. Time didnt just melt as Elvis stepped into his tardis, we moved through the 5th dimension, even Ruth air guitar had been moved to a different location.

Open stories develop differently in the audiences head and this story line was open and consequently brilliant. The performed and abstract narrative developed seamlessly, the musicians were outstanding and all the singing was a shining example of how much talent was on our stage. I feel very very fortunate to have such theatre explode upon my senses and at the ridiculously reasonable price of nothing. Our darling daughter treated us to the £14 tickets. In Edinburgh during the Fringe, they say £14 doesn't buy you much -


Shop wisely Shop Showstoppers - these are performers in their prime and buy the box set for your Christmas, it might not be on sale, but like any good air guitar just believe it is!

#Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2015

Notes to all - Deadbeat is responsible for all typos inaccuracies and nonsense it writes, apologies for all the mistakes.

Deadbeat only write 3 or 4 reviews as bad reviews are pointless. If I tipped race horses I'd tell you about the ones I really thought should win, not the hopefully next time....We only write about things we really are enthusiastic about. We might attend 20-30 shows but as in the 80's our policy is only to talk up what we like - unless of course your the erse sat next to me talking about Em7. I'm sure I always played saxophone by lifting my knee to me jaw and playing my tibia - but cmon pal - go with it.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

June Brides & Great Guitars

This was the tape that was the preliminary Deadbeat tape 4, well in my head. It also includes the Frontiers, bring on the ambience....if my ears are working.

Great stuff - not just them bands - those bands were supplemented by Mission Impossible, Page Boys, Jasmine Minks, and the priceless Half Kilos

What I love about demos from this time is the light and shade of the music

Every generation is defined by the drugs they took and while the 70's was one or two things and the 90's seemed about ecstasy and some well crack, the 60's invented acid....we were about taking speed and possible running as close as we could to the edge......

The beat of the drum and the rhythm of the bass pushed us forward with an urgency. We followed the arrows....the amarillo fleschas.....despair this this way......

We're all lucky to have had a generation of music when we were growing up whatever age, the golden period is pretty vacant age 14 and pillar to post....age 19. Candyskin at 16 was one of those freak shows you live with. Another of my great songs for the camino. I can sing "Candyskin" for about 5 hours when I wander across Spain and I still dont know the words....but I hear the riff in my head so I dont care.

The only issue with all these demos I have is you have to turn a cassette over, even the Proclaimers are digital in this house.....they are post 1985!

Take Care

Vinny B

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

2014 Eddie Izzard - When I heard Iain Stirling I think we have another new direction to head...c'mon comedy....we love it!

An hour in my life that I'll never get back and ah never want back. The journey Eddie Izzard takes you on is still the same. It is simply superb surreal comedy. Dali would love the way he melts time. As scholarly as his artistic licence allows him, he juggles time and states-people (well statesmen really, that's the way they write history....), moves seamlessly through the epochs and never forgets to give the Gods a glance. Giving punchlines away would not spoil the show as his delivery is everything. We all know why later copies of the bible suppressed the bit when Adam and Eve discussed cross dressing. We wont dwell on the ego of a performer or even older phrases on the power of deep voices, its the delivery, and Eddie delivers across a diverse eclectic range of topics. The crowd hang on every syllable and when it doesnt arrive the tension just makes the humour better. Has he forgotten?... is it for effect?... what is he thinking? The Danish have laughing clubs and Eddie clearly has his own touring laughing club. There is no tension in the room. He tries to remind us that the right wing are still alive and kicking us, but we know, and we pretend it doesnt hurt. Tonight, of course, it doesnae hurt. We have our saviour, our talismanic, idiosyncratic action transvestite. Go on yersel big man, well in those heels we'd all be big men.

The last time I saw Eddie in a venue this small was in the last months of Thatcher's Britain at the Brighton comedy club. I'd travelled down from Edinburgh and after a game of 5-a-sides stumbled into one of the finest nights of my life. Joint second with my wedding and daughter's birth. All through the 80's we had divided the country in two. Comedy was the same. Alternative comedy grew out of the ashes of our manufacturing industry although the greatest irony was working mens' clubs gave voice to the old right wing fascists, but I digress. As Thatcher's cabinet was nimbly applying pressure to the pillow they had lifted over her whisky stained gob a more sophisticated alternative comedian had appeared. Eddie shone in that Laura Ashley frock back then. He was a more overt transvestite but his mind was as sharp as the tangent at the point of a circle. Yeah, really sharp. 

He looked 25 years older but that could just be the marathons he's run or the fact that he is 25 years older and even action transvestites dont believe a nip and a tuck is a good use of financial reserves. Instead Eddie very kindly let the impoverished public wander in for £15 to an intimate gig which he did in German and French earlier in the evening. The same show performed every hour for 3 hours in 3 languages is his well publicised new gig. Some language teachers need to look at getting the kids along to his shows. The French gig tonight was not sold out, that is simply a scandal. Fanfuckintastico when he adds Spanish to the list. He'll be doing 4 hours a night, even when footballers have to go to extra time and penalties they still dont do that long and they charge more than 4 x £15....

Quite simply Eddie Izzard is a human being in our space, on our planet at the same time as us. Quite simply in the absence of God and the Clash, he is the new religion. Quite when he'll have the resources to do the show in Gaelic is unknown but I'm sure he'd relish the challenge.

Iain Stirling @the pleasance - great gig & Beirut - take two - its even better

HAPPINESS - I never tire of good food and BEIRUT reviewed last year is superb - good comedy made my evening even better. Its that simple. Iain Stirling was funny. Nervous at times about how funny he was but when he let go.... he was very funny. A raconteur is not always best when his audience is in another room but in Iain's case it frequently was the case that he used these interruptions to good effect, his act is brilliant in both versions....the audience was 99% happy - grateful for a good show but the comedian worried.....Until he didnt - then he rode the temple of the shiniest member of the audience.

I never like to give the gags away and like the best Fringe performers, Iain has the lines to fill the gaps not just where the punchlines belong.

It was a great gig where things worked really well. Edinburgh audiences populate the early shows; as we are tight fisted (quietly).

I went to a school - HOLYROOD, nuff said.////. Iain laid us out bare with Morningside jokes and the rest - I felt St Tams might take a tanning - but there were no cancer jokes so I laughed loudly internally...guffaw is not Edinburgh but this was BRILLIANT!  ****