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ARTICLE UPDATED AFTER CONCLUSION OF EDINBURGH FRINGE 2015, TO INCLUDE:
Women Who Wank
Four FIVE shows you should go and see during the final week of Edinburgh Fringe 2015. And you could see all of them in one day.
[NOTE: I’m knackered on a Sunday night, these words have NOT been properly checked. Errors may be included. Feel free to point them out, just show compassion.]
Scenes of a Sensual Nature – Jo Romero (@JoRomeroSOASN)
At Cowgatehead (venue 32) 12noon
Remaining shows: Aug 24-29
This was one of those take-a-chance shows where we were walking past five minutes before, got handed a flyer and decided to turn up. What we got was totally unexpected. In a dusty, long narrow store room on the second floor this play showcased five male actors – Mick Ferry, David Mills, Gary Colman and James Dowdeswell. But, good as they were (and they all had their moments) it was the Jo Romero who stole the show (albeit her own) with a breathtaking performance of several characters.
From an Armenian prostitute to a slightly desperate mum-to-be, and including a very desperate school reunion organiser, you could not take your eyes off Romero. I have seen few acting performances as good on stage.
I’m not sure if a 12noon show time is good or bad – but it certainly means you can kick-off your Fringe day with quality.
Summerhall (venue 26) 2pm
Remaining shows: Aug 24, 26, 28, 30
I don’t know much about the two performers of Woman’s Hour. I know nothing about them actually. But I had heard of Sh!t Theatre who produced the show and was aware that their stuff is known to be, shall we say, original and edgy.
And for one hour a packed out audience got exactly that, plus satire, singing, slideshows wrapped in a critical membrane of feminism. This was an all-inclusive party pointing its fingers at perceptions of beauty and attitudes to women, all done without the kind of stuffy sincerity you might hear on radio shows with the same name.
The energy is exciting, the irony and repetition of advertising and social stereotypes is exactly what this Fringe festival should be about. If you’ve only got room for one dose of feminism at this festival, make it this one.
It’s Only Words – Louise Reay (@LouiseReayBeam)
At Community Project (venue 27) 4.15pm
Remaining shows: Aug 24-30
I wrote about It’s Only Words already as I saw a preview show at Preston Tringe in July. I took a friend to see the show in Edinburgh and they said it was their favourite of the festival.
This one woman show performed entirely in Chinese (by an English woman) is a demonstration in communication featuring some hugely comic acting and indescribable face pulling farce by Reay.
It has to be seen to be fully enjoyed, but it’s impossible not to warm to Reay as she involves the audience into her communication experiment. That this performer is actually a documentary producer only adds to underline the impressiveness of the performances. See It’s Only Words for one of those genuine Fringe Wow! experiences.
A Mother and Baby – Ellie White (@EllieWhite5) and Natasia Demetriou (@Natasia4life)
At Banshee Labyrinth, Niddry Street (Cinema room) (venue 156) 8.30pm
Remaining shows: Aug 24-30
Free @ (but they were sitting on the stairs on Saturday night so get there early to avoid being locked out).
Confession time. It had been a long day. A very busy Saturday. We walked into a packed-out pub. Could not get down the corridor for the queue, which we got stuck in. We weren’t in a good mood as we stood there for twenty minutes until they finally let us in. We would have walked off already if it had been possible to squeeze past everybody else. It was not the best of starts.
When these two women I’d never heard of were introduced by a manic dancer in a sequined crop top, things were not looking good. For the first five minutes we sat stone-faced as these two women said some vaguely amusing, very silly things on stage. I couldn’t understand why this was the most packed theatre I’d been in for the entire fringe. People were huddled tightly on the stairs.
Then the strangest thing happened. Cajoled by a mixture of self-deprecation and surreal comedy – and Demetriou’s delivery – the show erupted into what I can best describe as a cult experience. The only time I’ve felt anything similar was many years ago during a show Vic Reeves’ Big Night Out, where the confusion of watching the first TV show by Vic & Bob was quickly replaced by a sense of feeling that you were watching the greatest show ever seen on television.
They had that same mix of real-life conversation between two friends and bizarre character-led performance which made them laugh as much as the audience.
I’ve no idea if the rapport and humour between White and Demetriou will live on beyond the Fringe. They’ve obviously got some kind of following, I’ve no idea how. I’m sure someone can tell me if they’ve been on the telly. I’ve never heard of them. But I knew by the end of the show that they were brilliant. They should go on. And on.
One show I could not include in this list (as it finished before the final week of Edinburgh Fringe) was this one:
Produced by Fool Size Theatre (@FoolSizeTheatre), this one woman show of improvised theatre was as shocking for its warmth, humour and brutally tender moments as it was for its title.
Joanne Tremarco’s performance was beguiling from the moment she wandered into the landing of the decrepit building which housed her show to welcome in the audience. As 150-plus slightly uncomfortable filed into the room she chats, jokes and prods her audience, most of whom are blissfully unaware that the show has already started.
If ever there was a show which relied on the whole-hearted confidence of a single person to succeed, this is it. That the show is so good, so captivating and so funny is a tribute to the actress. Talk goes from the obvious to the more subtle side of relationships, with a huge dollop of audience participation adding to the nervous nature of the laughter. Fool Size Theatre have previous when it comes to human genitalia (The Fig Leaf Wars) so be in no doubt, they have put effort into this show.
Tremarco is as endearing as a woman impersonating a giant vagina can be. She achieves this simply by pulling her red dress over her head. The description here possibly does match the effect.
If Woman Who Wank tours anywhere near you, I suggest you pack up the feelings discomfort over the show’s title, chuck them out of the window and go and be entertained in a way you never thought possible.