Red Raw (4*)


Ruth’s review:

Well I loved everything about Red Raw at The Stand comedy club, it has been far too long since I saw any ‘risky’ standup comedy.  And I love it risky, there is something awesome about not knowing whether it is going to be brilliant or awful.

This show was split over three sections, the first two being 10 minute slots from a bunch of standup newbies, followed by a work in progress section from the lovely Ro Campbell (who we have seen before during the Fringe).

Some of the young uns (and the not so young, young uns) were shaking like leaves, it was really quite endearing.  And several of them were actually good.  Some dodgy moments from one or two, but nothing to embarrassingly dreadful.  I didn’t take their names, but if I go again (and I will go again) I’ll try to remember to do so as I like to follow the decent ones and see what becomes of them.

Mondays.  £2.  Bargain.

Lyceum: Takin’ over the Asylum (4.5* / 3*)


Ian’s 4.5* Review:

I was really looking forward to seeing this play, as it sort of closes a circle for me.  A few years back I saw a young actor called David Tennant in a play at the Lyceum called Look Back in Anger.  He was utterly mesmerising, and not long after we started seeing him in some great TV pieces – the first was Cassanova.  Later, we looked for other stuff he had been in, and got a DVD of Takin’ Over the Asylum.  We loved it.  Now we get to see it in play form at the Lyceum.  A personal, and very obscure, circle.

It’s a few years since we watched the DVD, but a two-hour play is always going to be a little shallow compared with a 6 hour series, and the first half in particular felt a little quick.  Quite a few plot threads necessarily get lost.  After the first few minutes though, I was able to accept the different performances and settle into the performances.

I really, really enjoyed it.  There was laugh-out-loud comedy, heart-wrenching pathos and everything in between.  Fraser had real style, and Aileen’s subtle transformation is beautifully understated.  The script somehow manages to cover all the main themes from the TV version, and I really felt the highs and lows.

Ruth’s 3* Review:

We went to see Takin over the asylum which is a play about hospital radio set in a psychiatric hospital. Theoretically I’m well on board with the concept of using meaningful activities to improve mental health (part of my day job) and that’s all in there. But. I didn’t gel with it.

I’m not sure I can blame the play, it was nice enough and Ian enjoyed it. But having seen the original 1994 TV drama starring David Tennant this just wasn’t as good. The character exposition seemed forced and obvious which I think is natural when you squeeze six hours down into two. But for me it lost some of the compassion of the original. You should all get the DVD.

Plus, with the instant feedback of the audience, I was never quite sure whether people were laughing ‘at’ or ‘with’ the characters and the stigmatising language they used, for example “we are loonies and we are proud” being a key repeating sentiment.

Wil Hodgson (3.5*)

2013-03-03Ruth’s Review (3.5*)

In this routine, Wil Hodgson spoke about his early influences (including comic books, the Pink Ladies and Carry On films) and how these shaped his sexuality and sexual interests.

Wil’s delivery was quite different, more of an autobiographical monologue than your usual stand up comedy.  Also less laugh out loud than your usual stand up comedy.  Plus of course it was about sexuality.  Something in this led to a fairly low turn-out and several people leaving during the performance.

But it was good in so many ways.  It felt honest and authentic and self consistent.  I felt empathy and understanding around what he said even though we had few shared experiences.  Although the subject-matter tiptoed around the deviant it wasn’t crass in the slightest.  It felt warm, and intelligent, and overwhelmingly simply interesting.

Clearly was not everyone’s cup of tea though.


Ian’s Review (3.5*)

I have agree with Ruth – I really enjoyed this and I thought Wil was lovely.  He’s an intellectual hiding in the body of an ex-wrestler with arms covered in care-bear tattoos, so he’s a genuine one-off!   A thoroughly entertaining evening.

A few people did leave at interval, but the ones I noticed were both loved-up couples who looked like they would have nipped off from just about anything at that point…  So I wouldn’t read too much into it…