Blind Date, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

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by Meredith Jones Russell

A sexy French clown goes on a blind date with a willing gentleman from the audience. And it is wonderful.

As you are ushered in to the theatre to witness this potentially most alarming of spectacles, French waiters politely hand out small typed compliments from silver platters. ‘You are beautiful,’ reads one. This gives the immediate reassurance needed before this kind of show. This is not about humiliation or nastiness. Far from it, Blind Date is full of warmth, heart and even love.

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Tom Lenk is Trash, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

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by Meredith Jones Russell

Tom Lenk is Trash is trash.

That’s not even a cruel review, it’s literally what he told me to say. And after seeing the show, I am not going to be so stupid as to say anything he doesn’t want me to.

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Die or Run, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

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by Laura Kressly

It’s the 1980s. Big hair, shoulder pads and synth-pop provide a backdrop for Margaret Thatcher’s advocacy of the individual instead of a collective society. This results in a country that loves to go out dancing, but when crisis hits, people find themselves isolated and overwhelmed. Denise’s journey from cheerful disco queen to depressed carer unfolds through a fragmented monologue of nostalgia, song lyrics and sound-bites. 

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A Wake in Progress, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

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by Meredith Jones Russell

Trigger warnings have been the subject of some debate in theatre circles, but if ever there was a perfect example of the right time to use one, it is in A Wake in Progress. Not only because it is easily and deftly woven into the piece by master of ceremonies Amy Fleming without spoilers or awkward interjections, but also because the point of this show is absolutely not to make anyone feel uncomfortable or unhappy about death. Quite the opposite.

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The Sea Queen and Twelfth Night, The Scoop

by Laura Kressly

Since 2003, there has been a summer of free, open-air theatre at The Scoop, a sweeping, granite amphitheatre on the Thames next to City Hall. This year’s double-bill is a 90-minute version of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and a new children’s musical, The Sea Queen. Performed by one cast doing double-duty, Twelfth Night is the far superior show though there is plenty to appeal to young children in The Sea Queen.

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Cruel Intentions: The Musical, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

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by Meredith Jones Russell

Does the world need a musical version of 1999 American teen flick Cruel Intentions? Probably not, but by God it’s entertaining.

Packing out the Underbelly’s Palais du Variete, this is closer to rock concert than musical. The mainly millennial audience is practically word perfect on both the script, which has been cut for length but otherwise largely unaltered from the screenplay, and the ‘00s hits that are peppered through the plot, often with the flimsiest justification.

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