The Addams Family – Festival Fringe 2019 Preview

Running from August 3rd – August 10th at Paradise in Augustines. Tickets available from: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/addams-family-1

Following on from their sell-out production of “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown“, Bare Productions return to the Festival Fringe with The Addams Family. The macabre family who make our own seem downright dull.

Proven to have a respectful place within Edinburgh’s amateur theatre circle, Bare Productions has only been around for two years, yet already they’ve made an impression. With their previous show receiving rave reviews, things are only looking positive for this year’s production.

The multi-award-winning team of authors Marshall Brickman, Rick Elice and composing lyricist Andrew Lippa brought the kooky, bleak and melancholy family of musical theatre into a fresh new narrative. The usual Mistress of Darkness, Wednesday Addams, made infamous with Christina Ricci’s cinematic portrayal finds herself in love. Yup, you read that correctly, and with a normal, chipper young man from middle-class suburbia no less.

A production which promises dance, song and humour, Bare Productions have a pleasing show for us all. Directed by Dominic Lewis, featuring the choreography of Felicity Thomas, The Addams Family will be that dark corner of the Fringe you’ll be dying to join.

Featuring a cast of local talent, Bare Productions are eager to make a second impression at this year’s Festival. Sticking within the realms of musical comedies, they’re hoping The Addams Family will provide this. With one look at the costume design, and musical director Finlay Turnball proving himself last year, we look forward to seeing how The Addams Family will turn out.

With a limited run towards the beginning of the Fringe, it is highly advisable to *dah-nah-nah-nah* snap up a ticket.

Images provided by Gavin Smart

A Joke – Assembley Rooms

Image contribution: Universal Arts

Written by Dan Freeman

This review was part of the 2018 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

How does the classic go again? An Englishman, an Irishman and a Scotsman (via the Atlantic) walk into a bar, or was it an island? A health clinic, no, it was a crashing plane, wasn’t it? Regardless, Dan Freeman’s A Joke navigates us through the construct of a joke, but more so life. An absurdist piece where humour is born grows, evolves and yes, sadly dies. Much more than this though, Freeman’s text talks to us more about our attitudes towards the pairing of life and humour. 

An empty canvas, nothing more than some furniture covered in sheets, and the stage is set. The real attraction here is our cast, three exponentially gifted performers all of whom deliver stellar performances. Sylvester McCoy’s charismatic Irishman serves as the ideal go-between for Robert Picardo’s American – but 57 times removed Scotsman – and The Englishman portrayed by John Bett, the latter delivering consistent eruptions from the audience. Together their chemistry is faultless, ricocheting off one-another sublimely.

In the pale crispness of the betwixt world they inhabit, the three have nothing to debate but their own existence. They struggle with the (lack of) reality of the situation, questioning if they are denizens of a joke, a story or indeed the final punchline: death. The play’s gradual climb is satirical. Like any decent joke, it begins jovially but steadily takes a more serious, darker tone, even if it becomes more convoluted in its approach.

So, who is the joke truly on? Certainly not the audience. These are three accomplished artists of their medium giving it their all. A Joke is rather akin to the infamous Aristocrats joke, a joke which is notoriously lengthy, twisting and turning and revealing that the real enjoyment isn’t from the eventual gag, but from the journey.

Review originally published for The Skinny: https://www.theskinny.co.uk/festivals/edinburgh-fringe/theatre/a-joke-assembly-rooms

Six @ Underbelly George Square

Image contribution:
Idil Sukan

Lyricist & Composer Toby Marlow

Playwrights: Toby Marlow & Lucy Moss

Believe all of the hype you may have heard, Six is a concert-style musical which, like its women, will stand the test of time.

Any Fringe-goer with an ear to the ground knows Six is one of the most anticipated shows this year. Whilst the executioner may have claimed Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard – can they survive the hype? Oh, honey, these ladies haven’t just (divorced, beheaded) survived, they’ve thrived. 

Fed-up with simply being part of a rhyme, the six wives of Henry the VIII decide to strike out on their own in the form of a band. Who should be lead vocals though? Surely it must be the one Henry was wed to the longest, Catherine of Aragon? Or perhaps the one he truly loved – Jane Seymour? Vengeful, driven to sing their side of history, these women have finally decided to step out of the shadows of men, spotlight and crown first. 

Not a single number falters; from pop to techno-house, the writers of Six have excelled themselves with this marriage of entertainment, drama and engaging lyrics. Nowhere is this showcased better than through dearly forgotten Catherine Howard. Her overtly sexualised depiction in media is lampooned by Six, yet her characterisation still respected. What starts as light-hearted and passionate quickly descends as her face contorts, shifting into anguish. The twisted distortion crossing her gaze, the unyielding hands grasping and clutching at her frame, Catherine suddenly becomes to most relatable Queen for women in the audience. 

Literature makes us think we remember these six women due to their husband when in reality, we remember him due to these fascinating individuals. Without them Henry VIII’s accomplishments, invasions and shortcomings would indeed have been documented, but would culture have held onto him so? History may have been written by men – but this time it stars women, and quite rightly so

Review originally published for The Skinny:
https://www.theskinny.co.uk/festivals/edinburgh-fringe/six-underbelly

Tickets available from Capital Theatres:
https://www.capitaltheatres.com/whats-on/six-the-musical