Speed of Light – The Cheapskate Approach

Ian’s Review

I have no idea how good (or otherwise) Speed of Light is if you pay to get a ticket for the proper tour, but I wandered up to have a wee look without going into the paid area.  This was thanks to a tip from a friend who appeared in it, who suggested the view from the small craig just to the south-west of the ruined chapel would be pretty good.  Given a good evening, it seemed worth a shot, so off I set with my camera, a tripod and a good torch.

It was quite interesting to see the shapes formed by the runners on the hillside, and probably worth the effort of walking up to a good vantage point if you get a good evening for it.  It didn’t inspire me to pay to join one of the organised viewings, I have to admit, but maybe if I’d been on one of those I’d have loved it.  I just don’t know.

Mostly I enjoyed the quiet on the hillside, with occasional strains of bagpipes drifting over from the Tattoo and a wonderful view of Edinburgh by night.

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50 Shades: The Musical (4* / 3.5*)

Ruth’s Review

Ah 50 Shades.  Yes, I’ve read it.  And the sequels.  Unlike many of the people in the queue so I have no idea what they made of it.  This was a one-off performance which was a rehearsed musical performed by a bunch of people who usual do improv musicals.  It was funny and cringey and very well received by the audience.  The singing was good, the costumes were silly, the dancing was fine, and the cast really threw themselves into it.  Content-wise, the books have so much to parody that there was plenty of material there for them to work with.  They did a decent job, and there was some intelligent stuff in there about the power dynamic in the Ana/Christian relationship and some amusing bits that were embellished for comic effect.  Loved the song where Christian explained how he likes to be when he is in bed with someone.  However it did seem remiss that they failed to mention Ana’s inner goddess or the apex of her thighs.  Instead they put a lot of emphasis on her… er… bottom… which those who have read the books will know is barely mentioned, along with a particular act which might relate to that area which is certainly not undertaken in the series and is probably mentioned once in the context of hard limits.  Anyway, I laughed a lot and I could have watched it for longer so overall it was pretty good.

Ian’s Review

I mostly agree with Ruth, although I’m scoring it just slightly lower.  For me, too much of the humour was in the “knob gag” or “George W Bush” category – just really lazy and not especially based on the books.  That said, the performance was competent and there were a few good laughs in there!

The Chris and Paul Show (4*)

Chris and Paul performed a series of largely silent sketches which tended to be based around their mischievous and child-like personas.

These guys were extremely likable and it worked very very well. The approach felt fresh and different and was often very funny.

I loved the balloons, I loved the cookies, I loved the spelling bee, I loved the fire… and they got me on stage which was scary scary.

Really good. Liked it.

Breathless: A Dramatic Cantata (2.5*)

So I really have no idea what this was about. I think something around loss and ‘the show must go on’.

It was multimedia and multidisciplinary, with singing and spoken word and physical theatre and film, plus throw in a random bondage-looking cape, some partial nudity and a sparkly sequinned jacket.

It was laced with doom, very dark and very self indulgent.

If you were going to parody a Fringe show this is exactly what you would come up with, and I loved it for that, although it was serious.

My rating is slightly inflated to represent this guy’s sheer balls for doing something so ridiculous.

Ladystache (2*)

These girls were so nice, so likeable, and they had clearly put a bit of effort into their act. Sadly it wasn’t funny though.

Thing is, it wasn’t offensive or inappropriate or completely off the mark. It just didn’t really have anything much funny in it. I don’t really know what to make of a bunch of entirely neutral sketches, I’ve not seen anything like it before.

One of the girls had some great accents and facial expressions, and the other did an excellent Bjork impression.

Otherwise… well… erm…

Mike Sheer in Undergod (4*)

Mike comes across as a big kid, maybe even a bit of a stoner, but looks and delivery are deceptive.

This was a straightforward stand up routine, with a bit of a story to it and some audience interaction.

His material is in places extremely different, intelligent and cleverly put together with randomness, juxtapositions and great timing.

I laughed a lot, and by the end I really liked the guy.

Mike says he often gets reviews that say he has potential and he hates that. Sorry, but it was what I was thinking too. He’s already good but I think he has it in him to be great.

The Mechanisms: Once Upon A Time (in space) (4*)

Ruth’s Review (4*)

I watched this, I loved it so much, but I have no idea what it was supposed to be about.  Some sort of space pirate musical act thing.  Loads of guy-liner and sea shanties about fairytales and fighting in space.  But daaaaark.  A bit confusing.  But who cares?  The main guy was outstanding – what a voice, tremendous charisma and stage presence.  Hot hot hot.  It would be unfair to the others to say he carried the thing, but he was a cut above.

Ian’s Review (4*)

Another act we saw a brief snippet of at Kabarett, and rather enjoyed.  The Mechanisms are SteamPunk style space-pirates, and the show is a narration of a future epic war populated with characters with fairy-tale type names.  The music is folky and performed with passion and skill, and the energy of the front-man is irresistable.  I still have some of the songs in my head now too.

The band members all have a great look – it is very impressive.

Another great example of what is available on the Free Fringe this year.