Songs for Cynics (3.5*)

2013-08-09 Fringe 0012Ian’s 3.5* Review:

We saw Sarah-Louise Young briefly at a BBC event a couple of nights ago, and enjoyed her voice.  She was plugging her main show “Julie Madly Deeply” about Julie Andrews which didn’t really sound like my thing, but also mentioned she was doing a show of original funny songs, “Songs for Cynics”, so we thought we’d give it a go.

The format is simple – a piano and a songstress with a selection of songs that succeed in amusing in a fairly gentle way.  The possible exception is the song about babies that tickled me rather, which probably makes me a bad person…

An entertaining hour at the Counting House as part of the PBH Free Fringe.

Ruth’s 3.5* Review:

We saw Sarah-Louise perform a couple of shows at the BBC the other say and thought we’d give one of her full shows a try. This was a performance of witty songs performed by Sarah-Louise with Michael Roulston on piano. It was quite old skool, with scripted banter between the two leading into songs. The songs were amusing and the musical standard very good. A pleasant hour, a solid performance. And it was also pleasant that Michael Roulston looks a bit like Benedict Cumberbatch, yum.

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Jodie Prenger Presents… Musical Theatre

2013-08-07Ruth’s Review

This was a compilation show of musical Fringe acts, hosted by BBC at the Fringe.  We saw bits of several different shows ranging from straight folk singing to musical comedy to musical theatre.  Very good.  The highlight was absolutely (title of show) – yes that is their name – who were very very talented singers and their material was tight, quirky and amusing.  It is a musical about writing a musical, which looks like it will be great.  We will also probably try to catch Sarah-Louise Young’s Songs for Cynics.

Luckily for us this show started fifteen mins late (as we arrived fifteen mins late) but it finished on time.  So that was disappointing, I was expecting a full hour.

Ian’s Review

  • Beulah is a folk show, and the songs we heard were very competent, if not really my thing.
  • Adam and Eve the Musical seemed entertaining – I’ll be looking out for that one and might make it along.
  • Emily Rose, Confessions of a Rabbis Daughter seems like it could be a lot of fun too, that is also on my list of things to look out for.
  • Title of Show was brilliant.  The sound reminded me a little of “Rent”, and the vocals were amazing as well as clever and funny.  Tickets booked.
  • Sarah-Louise Young, Julie Madly Deeply Julie Andrews isn’t my thing but she seemed entertaining and had an amazing voice, so we have now planned to go and see her other show “Songs for Cynics”

A good evening, if a little on the short side.  Oh, and who is Jodie Prenger?

A picture of “Title of Show” to finish:

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Lady Rizo (4.5*)

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Ruth’s 4.5* Review:

This isn’t my first time to see the wonderful singer Lady Rizo, she was one of my favourite acts of last year.  My, she has a powerful voice on her.  The show was a combination of old classics, new material and interpretations of current songs.  Lady Rizo is hilarious – she has a lot of presence and is sexy and funny and very physical in her performance.  There was some crossover of material between this year and last year and I don’t think her awesomeness is quite so surprising the second time round.  I also preferred the smaller crowd and weirdness and intimateness of venue of last year, but I’m pleased for her success.

Ian’s 4.5* Review:

Effortlessly captivating – my eyes hardly left the stage for over an hour.  A voice with a huge dynamic range from an intimate whisper to the sort of power that you feel as well as hear.  Self deprecatingly funny.

We saw Lady Rizo for the first time last year and she was amazing then.  She was amazing again this year, and perhaps the only reason that I’m not giving full marks is that some of the material was repeated.

If you like musical cabaret with a bit of comedy thrown in, Lady Rizo is an easy win!

Distraction Club

2013-08-04 Fringe 0010Ian’s Review:

This show is a compilation of musical comedy acts, hosted by Mitch Benn, whose work I know from Radio 4’s “The Now Show”.  His band (including the lovely Kirsty Newton) provide the backbone of the show, with a large number of special guests bringing their own talents to the stage.

I particularly enjoyed seeing Titty Bar Ha Ha, who were hilarious and get a lot of points for their kazoo work.  My favourite has to be The Noise Next Door who came along to perform a couple of songs from their show Soundhouse (4*)(which we have already seen).  The late night audience were much more up for shouting out ideas for improv than when we saw the show, and the boys did a fabulous job with some challenging topics.  We were quick to volunteer Ruth to be the recipient of the boy-band-ballad, and so she had her moment of fame on stage (pictured).

I really enjoyed this – I love the idea of a musical compilation show and I may well be back.

Ruth’s Review:

The Distraction Club is a compilation show of musical acts, brought to us by the Voodoo Rooms.  They have a resident act and bring in special guests – this evening Titty Bar Ha Ha and the Noise Next Door.  Titty Bar Ha Ha were good, be enjoyed the kazoo section in particular.  We’d seen the Noise Next Door already this week but as they do improve it is always a bit different.  Very amusing suggestions.  And I was on stage being sung to for one of the songs which was awesome fun.  Ah, love the Noise Next Door.  Especially the purple one, yum.  Very enjoyable, lots of laughs.  Although to be fair it was after midnight so we were probably quite drunk.

Creative Martyrs: After the Apocalypse (4* / 4.5*)

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Ruth’s 4.5* Review:

The Creative Martyrs are involved with a post-apocalyptic cabaret show.  Things need to be taken in hand.  This mainly involves singing and playing the cello.  Not my first time at the Creative Martyrs, I enjoyed them very much last year.  These guys have a lot of presence and a genuine musical talent.  Basically they are weird.  Something about the combination of their look and their music and their subject matter.  It is amusing, but that’s not the appeal.  They are quirky and odd and it works brilliantly.  Liked the bit about the goat.

Ian’s 4.5* Review:

Another brilliant performance from an act with so much stage presence it’s almost scary!  The Creative Martyrs offer a really dark, sinister cabaret of funny songs interspersed with entertaining audience participation.

After last year’s excellent show from the Creative Martyrs: An Hour Long Sinister Wink (4.5* / 5*), I was really looking forward to seeing what they had to offer this year and it lived up to my expectations.  Once again this is one of my  picks for anyone looking for something thoroughly different on the Fringe!

I will probably be back to see it again before the festival season is over…

East End Cabaret: Dirty Talk (4*)

2013-08-02 Fringe 0003Ian’s 4* Review:

East End Cabaret was one of the highlights of the Fringe for us last year, so we were really looking forward to seeing this year’s show.  It was a good performance and entertained throughout.  For me however, it was ultimately a big let down.  There were very few of the songs that made last year’s show so great, and at least two of the songs were recycled.  Instead we got more comic interplay between Bernadette Byrne and Victor Victoria, which was amusing but lacked the sharp, gut-wrenching pathos of the previous show.  My expectations may have been too high and certainly the friends we were with enjoyed it, but for me it just didn’t have the magic.  A solid 4*

Ruth’s 4* Review:

My favourite act of last year, Bernie and Victy put on a cabaret show with filthy songs and banter. Most amusing and clever and a very high musical standard. I love the characters – Bernie with her sensual confidence and Victy with her sweetness and likeability and creepy stalkerish adoration of Bernie. Good, but I would have liked to see more songs.

Amateur Transplants: Adam Kay is going for a number 1 (4.5*)

Adam KayIan’s 4.5* Review:

Adam Kay’s format is very straightforward and not exactly original.  He stands behind a piano and sings versions of popular tunes with humorous lyrics.  Any lack of originality in the format is more than compensated for by brilliant execution!  He is not afraid to push the limits of good taste, and his links between songs are slick.  My amusement level was consistently at “grin” with regular excursions to “laughing out loud”.  It peaked with a few moments of “tears in my eyes” and even one “I nearly choked”.  Very highly recommended for all but the most easily offended!

Ruth’s 4.5* Review:

I saw Adam Kay last year and enjoyed his show so thought I’d go back. Adam sings and plays the keyboard, changing the lyrics to popular songs. This year the theme was Christmas and the stage was all decked out with lights and a tree. Adam is a great performer, I think best described as sardonic but very likeable. His songs are funny and usually offer a little bit more than the usual parodies with clever wordplays, unexpected twists and interesting ways of taking advantage of the music to enhance the phraseology. The Spandau Ballet one was genius. I think that this show would appeal to a lot of people and I really couldn’t fault it, other than to say that there was more crossover with his last show than I would have liked and I expected to see more new material.