The Sleeping Trees’ Odyssey (3.5*)

odyRuth’s 3.5* review:

A reimagining of the Odyssey from three actors playing a variety of roles. I thought it might be pretentious or ridiculous but actually it struck a very good balance between being silly and clever. All of the guys had presence and likeability and I genuinely enjoyed it.

They were dressed entirely in white and were filthy by the end. Dirty dirty venue. An act to keep an eye on, I think.

I expect good things in the future.

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Captain Morgan and the Sands of Time (3*)

2013-08-04 Fringe 0022Ian’s 3* Review:

“Two actors. One musician. Forty-four characters. Captain Morgan and First Mate Hammond quest for the secrets of time travel in a rip-roaring pirate adventure comedy”

A silly romp which does exactly what it says on the tin.  The story has all the depth of a deflated paddling pool but it is enthusiastically presented with some good jokes, farcical physicality and plenty of pantomime style good fun.  The audience for the performance we saw went beyond “the seats are full” into “standing room only” and finally “sit on the floor at the front” (where we ended up) and everyone seemed to have a whale of a time.

If you’ve had your fill of high-brow stand-up and pretentious student theatre “re-imagings” this might be just the antidote you need!

Ruth’s 3* Review:

Captain Morgan is a pirate searching for the sands of time and the gift of time travel. This comedy play was acted by two young guys with no set, and a musician on the side. It was well done and the actors put a lot of energy into the performance – they were very physical which led to some entertaining moments. The place was packed out and we had to sit on the floor, and most of the people there were in hysterics. It was extremely well received. Overall I thought it was alright. It was pretty good, if a bit silly, but that’s fine.

Ballad of the burning star (3.5*)

Ruth’s 3.5* review:
This performance was described to us as a story about the conflict in Israel narrated by a drag queen. I guess it was that, but it was more as well. Dark and complicated and not your usual method of storytelling. Along with the main narrator, the story is interpreted – mainly though dance – by a troop of ladies in sexy military uniform. Gorgeous costumes, and very very slick. The performance jumps between the telling and the interaction between the narrator and her troop. It is a harrowing tale, and it becomes more so. I find it hard to know how to judge something like this, I’m certain it won’t be for everyone in terms of its style or subject matter. And I’m not sure it was for me, I wouldn’t say I enjoyed it (and I generally like the deep and dark stuff). But. It was extremely competent and different and interesting.

The curse of Elizabeth Faulkner (3*)

faulkRuth’s 3* review:

A play about an Edwardian undertaker who gets caught up in a quest to rid his family of a curse. I think this could be best described as a caper. A dark-ish farce-ish play. I watched it quite happily and was consistently amused. Nice characters, decent interpretation. Nothing ground-breaking but no problems with it. Good, for what it was.

The Boss of it All (4.5*)

IMG_1356Ian’s 4.5* Review:

I was interested by the idea of this play when I first heard about it:

“Kristoffer, an out of work actor, has been hired for an unusual job; to stand in as the boss of a failing company. Soon the target of an angry and obsessive staff team, Kristoffer finds himself being pulled deeper and deeper into a bizarre new reality.”

I work with a number of different management teams in my day-to-day life, so I was fascinated by the idea of a clever play on the subject.  I was not disappointed.  This is a really insightful piece, exploring the responsibility of management, the natural desire of managers to be liked, and the consequences of these often opposing tensions.  I loved it, and I will be thinking about some of the messages (or warnings!) from this for a while!  The fact it achieves this in a light-hearted, entertaining and frequently comic script is a great testament to the ability of the writer.

Strong performances from an ensemble cast and beautifully clean staging are the icing on the cake.  Very highly recommended.

Ruth’s 4.5* Review:

A play about leadership and what happens when a company needs to take some difficult business decisions and communicate them to the staff.  But this is no ordinary workplace, as it turns out no-one knows who the boss of it all actually is.  It was a simple concept – nothing too complicated or distracting, and in that sense it felt very Scandinavian (along with the set and lighting which also felt in keeping).  And it was funny, and engaging, and well acted.  But the ideas in it will be well recognised by anyone who has ever been a manager at work: it is easy to be a great boss as long as you don’t have to take any actual responsibility.  Saying that, it wasn’t serious or anything.  Very entertaining, very good, would have a broad appeal.

No Direction (4*)

IMG_1354Ian’s 4* Review:

“One thing you can be sure of when you go to the theatre is that nothing is ever what it seems to be. Guy Masterson presents a new play that deals with the contract between actor and audience”.

This play seems very simple at the start, but the cast of two adds layer after layer of complexity as the story progresses.  In fact I only realised later that what I thought was going to be the main storyline is never finished in any way (in fact, I’m not even sure what it is supposed to be about!).

An engaging performance of a really interesting play – I really enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone looking for some really interesting theatre this festival!

Ruth’s 4* Review:

This was a really good play.  The two actors were excellent and the dynamic between them worked really well.  I don’t want to say too much, it was quite twisty from the start and we never really got to the bottom of what was happening.  Which was the point of it, by the way!

The Mating Ritual (2.5*)

Ruth’s 2.5* review:

We went to see The Mating Ritual which was advertised as a piece of theatre cabaret. I found it disappointing, but then I was expecting something with a bit more… artistic integrity. It was just silly and contrived. Like someone made it up in their bedroom. A happy interlude to the nonsense was a song about Jimmy Saville which was dark and witty and had a strong message.