Edinburgh Round-up

Posted: August 29, 2016 in Theatre

In addition to those already reviewed, here is a round-up of other productions seen during a hectic week in Edinburgh:

hamlet in bedHamlet in Bed** (Pleasance Courtyard)

American actors Annette O’Toole and Michael Laurence both strike me as having admirable qualities and I would happily see both again, so long as it could be in something other than this. Laurence’s own play centres on a 39-year-old actor obsessed with Shakespeare’s Hamlet, who picks out his Gertrude, a long-retired actress who had been a notable Ophelia many years earlier, and sets about rehearsing the arras scene, working through his own Oedipal issues at the same time. Leaving aside that O’Toole looks at least 20 years too young to have s son aged 39, the play struggles to gain any credibility. In fairness, it must be noted that many in the audience applauded enthusiastically at the end, indicating that I could have been out of step in finding the play sleep-inducing pseudo intellectual psycho-babble of the sort that can give Off-Off-Broadway a dodgy name.

Performance date: 8 August 2016


Joe-Stilgoe-Edinbu-new-landscapeJoe Stilgoe: Songs on Film**** (Assembly Checkpoint)

There can be few better ways of winding down after a hard day’s theatre reviewing than spending an hour or so in the company of Joe Stilgoe. The show is exactly what it says in the title, with Stilgoe performing a range of songs from films, accompanying himself on piano, with the help of a bass player and a drummer who “looks like the love child of Novak Djokovic and Nicola Sturgeon.” He does too! The poster lies, as there is no Singing in the Rain, but Stilgoe would get plenty of chances to perform that one, outside in soggy Edinburgh. My favourite number in the show is a percussion-backed Rhythm of Life fromSweet Charity, but there are no duds. Stilgoe does not bring into play the improv skills seen so memorably at the beginning of the Old Vic’s High Society last year, rather the show is slick, polished, and, of course, backed by an album.  Still, hard not to enjoy it.

Performance date: 8 August 2016


i'm doing this for youI’m Doing This For You*** (Summerhall)

Appearing in a platinum blond wig, Haley McGee looks a little like Marilyn Monroe and sounds a lot like Ruby Wax in this hour-long comedy routine. The flimsy pretext is that the audience has been assembled to spring a Birthday surprise on McGee’s ex-boyfriend, a very shy budding comedian.We wait and wait and then….It is wafer thin, but there are some very funny moments, spiked with nice touches of pathos and McGee has enough charisma to just about carry it off.

Performance date: 9 August 2016




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