Fringe 2016 – 2044, Starship Osiris,  Jules Verne’s 20000 Leagues Under the Sea,  Dracula,  Shakespeare in The Garden,  Twelfth Night & Poe’s Last Night

6 shows at six different venues in one day is probably a bit excessive. 

2044 *** (3 stars) 

Set in a dystopian future where England has been flooded and an independent Scotland is a walled authoritarian state where only fit,  healthy and productive English refugees are allowed in. This play revolves around three English refugees sharing a flat.  

Putting aside the politics (this show does not put an independent Scotland in a good light) this show is well acted and you do feel for the characters. It’s almost like a pilot episode for a TV series,  spending the time creating the characters and their circumstances without really having much of a plot. 

Today started off lovely and sunny and I was in a cheery mood on entering the show,  I was on a bit of a downer when I emerged, it’s not exactly a happy play! It had not occurred to me that the title of the play was possibly related to George Orwell’s novel 1984 until one of the characters said they were reading it. 

The play wasn’t bad and I’m sure some people would rate it higher than I have,  but it wasn’t really to my liking.

Starship Osiris **** (4 stars)

I admit I’m a sci-fi fan, so when I saw a sci-fi comedy show in the progamme I had to see it. This starts off like a rather poor sci-fi show, a tall heroic captain and his crew of attractive young ladies in tight, sleek, short uniforms fighting off aliens in cheap alien costumes. 

It is rather hard to explain what makes this show so much fun without giving away spoilers, but suffice to say things go from bad to worse to completely chaotic.

You really don’t have to be a sci-fi fan to appreciate this show, I imagine they could have chosen any genre and created a similar show. It’s a very funny show and worth seeing for a good laugh, there are some rather clever twists and I imagine I had a silly grin on my face when I left.

Jules Verne’s 20000 Leagues Under The Sea **** (4 stars) 

This retelling of the classic tale is well done, with a minimum of props and scenery.  I thought it might be difficult without underwater effects and visuals but the cast are excellent and the script describes the surroundings so well you can visualise being underwater in the Nautilus. 

The three main leads are excellent,  Captain Nemo comes across as slightly unhinged but passionate. The professor (a woman) is driven by her need to learn and understand Nemo. And the young harpoonist only wants his freedom. 

The highlight of the show for me is when the Kraken attacks the Nautilus and its “all hands on deck” to fight it off. 

This is a good old fashioned adventure and worth seeing. 

Dracula *** (3 stars)

The Fringe programme described this as “physical theatre”, I’d call it more like interpretive dance. Yes, the cast wear costumes and use props but there is no dialouge. At the end of the show I overheard somebody commenting “It was very good but I had no idea what was going on”. I’m fairly familiar with the original Bram Stoker’s Dracula and I could follow what was happening, although they did miss out most of the plot set in England including Van Helsing!

From my very limited knowledge of dance the cast were very good and enjoyable to watch, if you are into dance shows you should enjoy this, you might want to make sure you are familiar with the basic outline of the original Dracula plot.

Shakespeare in the Garden : A Twelfth Night ***** (5 stars)

I believe this is the third year I’ve gone to see “Shakespeare in the Garden” but only the first time it’s been dry enough to actually perform it in the garden (the past years it was performed in the church where the garden is due to wet weather). 

This year it was touch and go but it did stay dry although there had been a little rain earlier. There were only a few garden chairs supplied, one of which I got 🙂 the rest of the audience were supplied with picnic blankets to sit on the grass and some blankets to keep warm, umbrellas were also available just in case. 

The show itself was excellent, the cast did a wonderful job and the setting in the garden makes for novel experience. The play makes great use of the garden, they even use a VW campervan park beside the garden.

This is a very good classic version of Shakespeare’s play in a unique setting, you can even bring a picnic if you want. Just be aware of the weather and dress approriately, it did get a touch chilly near the end, and if it IS too wet I’m sure the show will be just as good in the church as it has been in previous years.

Poe’s Last Night **** (4 stars)

Obviously this is one for those who appreciate Edgar Alan Poe. It’s a one man show, Poe arrives home and explains to the audience he overheard somebody plotting to kill him and begins musing about who it could be. He reminiscences about his past acquaintances which brings to mind a few of his poems and short stories.

It’s a rather clever show putting a subtley new twist on the more traditional recitations I’ve seen before. This is Edgar at the end of his life, a bit decrepit, certainly drinking too much, as evidenced by his continual sipping from a bottle, and possibly a bit unstable. The acting comes across well and pulls you in to almost believing you are listening to Edgar Alan Poe himself.

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