In the confusing explosion of activity that is the Edinburgh Fringe, NewsRevue has the huge advantage of being a known brand whose appeal is all the greater when a torrent of unsettling news leaves us craving comic relief and the decades-old formula of satire set to music is still the best of tonics.
In our post-fact world where we drown in other people’s opinions, life as a hard-up, stand-up comedian trying to make a name has got harder. And on the Free Fringe periphery of the Edinburgh Fringe – where artists effectively busk in a tatty room with a few uncomfortable seats and a bucket for contributions as there is no formal entrance free – it has become an even more extreme act of faith.
The Italian word for cheerful, allegro in music implies a happy kind of brisk walking pace. As the title of that rare thing – a virtually unknown Rodgers and Hammerstein musical – it is both apt and poignant given that maintaining an allegro mood throughout life is next to impossible.
If you go down to the woods today, you’d better not go alone, not so much because of the dangers that lurk there as for our far greater ability to fight them as a team. That’s the standout message from this dark and gleeful take on a clutch of fairy tales and on real relationships.
Ex Machina/Robert Lepage: Needles and Opium Barbican Theatre, 7 – 16 July 2016
Leoš Janácek’s absurdist opera, first performed in Brno on 6 November 1924, is a marvellous expression of Modernism. We get Freud, Darwin, Magritte and Jarry as oblique cultural references but most of all we get a Czech, or rather Moravian, sensibility which is both cartoonish and psychologically astute.
This was the UK premiere for the Compagnie Marie Chouinard from Quebec. She started with Soft virtuosity, still humid, on the edge – a title that means nothing in English but perhaps has more resonance in French. Happily the work was far more exciting than the title.
Writer and director Liam Borrett: ‘Saying goodbye has always interested me. Whilst it happens at different times to different people, the fact remains that it is an unavoidable part of life.’
A new stage show by poet Martin Figura turns out to be both entertaining and thought-provoking
A dance-drama about the troubled lives of Caitlin & Dylan Thomas
In our modern, toxic world, the perfect embodiment of the endless struggle between good and evil could be the green warrior versus the polluter.
Ultimately, that’s the premise of The Toxic Avenger, the rock musical, which director Benji Sperring happened to see during one free afternoon off-Broadway in New York in 2009.
Some lies are so pleasant that we cheerfully believe them. It’s the premise that underlies the illusory appeal of theatre and especially musical theatre. And it makes the 19th-century scandal of a beautiful young woman who lied her way from rags to riches by pretending to be a shipwrecked princess perfect subject-matter for Phil Willmott, one of the nation’s most adept musical theatre professionals.