Shakespeare For Breakfast ***** (5 stars)
This show is an institution at The Fringe, it’s been running for over 20 years (a new show each year). The breakfast part is really just a gimmick, you get a cup of tea or coffee and a croissant, it’s really irrelevant to the show except to possibly provide the opportunity for a couple jokes within the show.
The real genius of the show is how it manages to present a Shakespeare play with modern characters, or not so much modem characters but the same Shakespearen characters but with modern personalities.
The show is packed full of clever modem references, re-writing well known Shakespearen quotes with modern references thrown in. Not everybody will get every reference as some will relate to pop culture they are not familiar with e. g. L a TV show or pop song not everyone knows but there are so many a few can go over your head without spoilling things.
I don’t want to give away any spoilers so all I’ll say is that this year they have taken A Midsummer Nights Dream as their play and it IS very, very funny. Obviously it is difficult to create new shows every year and they dont always hit the nail on the head but this year’s is great!
The cast do a wonderful job of presenting their various characters and the laughs rarely stop.
The Mission **** (4 stars)
I was a bit warey of this show, having seen a couple “physical theatre” this year, that weren’t that great but it turns out i really enjoyed this.
The basic plot revolves around a very ordinary “bar maid” who is selected to go on a solo one way mission into space. The idea being if she can do it then anion could.
The show itself is very stylized with no costumes and only a few LED lighting props. There is a lot of choreographed scenes intermixed with the dialogue as the show follows or heroine through her recruitment and training as well as her relationship with her boyfriend, whom she is not allowed to tell until The Mission is revealed to the entire world. There are also a couple scenes using a rather charming spaceman puppet which are nicely done.
It is a very good show, very professionally presented and tells a rather new and original story.
Ada/Ava by Manual Cinema ***** (5 stars)
This is a shadow puppet sjow that combines hundreds of cardboard cutouts and live action shapes to tell a tale about two elderly women who live in a lighthouse toaster until one of them passes away.
There is no dialogue, but live music accompanies the show. It really is a brilliant piece of work. Multiple overhead projectors are used to carry shadows onto a screen with live actresses casing their own silhouettes onto the same screen at the same time. There must be a camera behind the screen connected to a projector which projects the end result onto a larger svreen for the audience.
This means you can see the team working as well as seeing the end result. The story is charming and easy to folliw even with no dialogue its truly amazing how the team work together and coordinate multiple cutouts and luve action at the same time for some very clever effects.
Its a brilliant show and a real privilege to see (this is the companies first visit to the Uk from their home in Chicago).
One Man Star Wars Trilogy **** (4 stars)
This one is obviously for Sart Wars fans. without the use of costumes, props or special effects, one man re-enacts all three of the original Star Waes films in an hour!
Obviously be doesn’t do ever single line from the films and he does in fact skip over some scenes completely, but he does very well to cover all the major scenes across. He also does lots of sound effects and voices although some ate better than others (his Yoda, Darth Vader & Chewbacca aren’t great) he also manages to add in a lot of humour and comments
The amount of effort he puts in is quite astounding, he fly along at a very brisk pace only taking brief breaks between episodes. He jumps immediately from one scene to the next and on occasion it took me a second or two to catch up, especially when he skips some of the minor scenes. If you are not very familiar with the films you may well struggle to follow the action, especially the fight scenes (either blasters, light sabers or spaceships) as a lot of these are mostly sound effects with limited dialogue.
If you ate not a big fan of the Star Wars films you are unlikely to enjoy this show, although you may still appreciate the humour and performance.