I Need A Doctor: The Whosical

By Ron Bingham

Ahhh, Doctor Who, the musical, what could go wrong? Well, the BBC could send a cease and desist notice to the performers an hour before the show starts, causing a mad re-write to ensure copyright is not infringed. The sets could be as shoddy and wobbly as the 70s TV show and none of the special guests could turn up.

So it’s a complete joyful relief that this is such a fun experience. If you are a fan of the Doctor and you do not see this tribute to all things Who at the festival, then you are letting yourself down very badly. The entire cast consists of Jamie Wilson and Jess Spray, (plus an excellent keyboard player), and they are brilliant. Jess plays The Assistant (good scream and excellent depiction of a girly sci-fi nerd), while Jamie plays everyone else.

The songs woven throughout the performance are perfect for all you Whovians out there (and there is a CD available for just £3 after the show). Both have very good singing voices, and there is a constant stream of references for the fans from the first 1963 episode on, as well as a couple of really cool props.

I Need A Doctor: The Whosical is a re-working of the show they took to the Fringe last year (which I somehow missed). The show is choc-full of music and jokes and action and laughs and will delight any fan of any incarnation of Dr Who.

I Need A Doctor: The Whosical is on at Pleasance Courtyard.
For Tickets and more information go to the Edinburgh Fringe Website:


Birthday Girls – Party Vibes

By Ron Bingham

The Birthday Girls started out in five-member sketch troupe Lady Garden a few years ago, but time has whittled them down to the last three degenerate comedians peddling their mad sketches on an unsuspecting public. I first have to confess that I love them, as their minds are warped on a wavelength similar to mine. This year they are performing as part of the Free Fringe, at a venue which is still under construction (no toilets, door handles, air conditioning scaffolding and workmen everywhere) in sight of The Castle at a time when the Tattoo ends (thus fireworks and cannons about half-way through the show).

Party Vibes is basically a series of unrelated sketches with a few running gags, some dance numbers, a little audience participation and a coffee break. The room was full, with a number of people standing, but there are two huge pillars in the middle of the room, so fight your way to the front of the crowd and choose your seating carefully. There is also a small bar just outside the door but, remember, no toilets.

I won’t say too much about the sketches (although the parody of the Great British Bake Off was so terrifically tasteless!) but most of them got good laughs from the audience and on top of that there is always the dance numbers and corpsing to keep punters entertained. The donation bucket at the end of the show was filling nicely, which is always a good indication of how the audience felt. It’s on at 10pm, but get there early as it fills up quickly. Lots of swearing and some “adult” concepts from three ladies who take nothing seriously but give their all to entertain the punters. No message in this show, apart from just have some fun at their playful party.

Birthday Girls are performing Party vibes at Cowgate  for Tickets and more information go to the Edinburgh Fringe Website:


The Boy with Tape on his face – More Tape

By Alanta Colley

The Boy With Tape on His Face projects traditional physical theatre into a new dimension making it bigger, faster and louder than ever before.

The Boy frantically constructs whole universes and situations with a flurry of props and actions, then destroys them once more with equal gusto. One second we are ensconced in a bull fight, another in precarious acro-balance, another minute a golf tournament, and the next a Star Wars re-enactment. Every scene is fun, cheeky, furiously fast paced, and pushes the limits of physical ability and safety. The whole room was entranced from the first second to the last.

The Boy (New Zealander Sam Wills) utilizes many performance styles from his bag of tricks; puppetry, mime, tremendous amounts of audience interaction, and more. He has the reflexes of a cat, and the started look of a possum. He plays the audience like a well-tuned fiddle. His mouth, as the name suggests, remains hidden behind a firmly attached piece of gaffa tape for the entire performance. But he clearly proves he doesn’t need words to effectively communicate with the audience. We were all completely within his control for the entire performance; each and every audience member selected for participation instantly obeying his every command, even as what the Boy asks of them grows increasingly more ludicrous and challenging. The Boy’s employment of audience participation pushes boundaries, which is both terrifying and exhilarating. Even at the most daring of moments the Boy expertly walks the fine line between hilarious and cruel; gaining maximum laughs and managing not to get the audience offside. We are more than conscious that we are watching a master at work.

This man sets the standard for physical theatre. This show is nothing short of spectacular. Every nuanced motion of the Boy’s act is met with perfectly executed lighting and music cues; enhancing the performance and forming its own set of punch-lines. The spectacular and climactic ending feels like a giant hug involving the entire audience.

This show has been a sell out around the world and The Boy is back in town. Get in to see him while you can!

 More Tape is on til March 16 in The Vagabond tent at The Garden of Unearthly Delights.


Foil, Arms and Hog: Irish sketch comedy

By Alanta Colley

Foil Arms and Hog bring their particular brand of mirth and mayhem all the way from Ireland to this year’s Adelaide Fringe.

The trio take you on an adventure into the competitive domain of sandcastle making. We learn of the murky underworld of the ‘net people’, local parish talent quests, the terrifying prospect of spontaneously having to learn sign language,  14 year old love and syncopated IT usage. Each sketch holds a kernel of a deliciously original idea and richly developed characters.  Along the way we are witness to an excellently executed sword fight. A true highlight of the show.

Unfortunately, each sketch dragged out for a good five minutes after the punch line had been delivered, which weakened the impact of the piece.  After each sketch the performers had a habit of breaking character and providing commentary on it, which had the effect of letting the energy of the performance drop. It felt as if there was a solid 40 minutes of material here, which had been stretched unwillingly to an hour. While all three performers displayed polished and interesting characters, with deliciously convincing accents, wonderful facial expressions, and excellent stage craft, they habitually pulled focus from each other, which muddied the plot and confused the audience. That said, the few times the trio had an opportunity for improvisation we saw them at their best. They expanded like a gas to use all available space in various combinations; the audience sometimes becoming sandwiched betwixt the performers. They gave the fourth wall a solid massage and played with multiple methods of engaging the audience throughout the show.  With a bit of tightening this show is going to be amazing.

If you’re in the mood for some original, energetic, and fast on their feet impro-infused sketch, Foil Arms and Hog will stand and deliver.

Foil, Arms and Hog: Irish sketch comedy is on at Sugar til March 5.


CJ Delling, Reality Bandit

By Alanta Colley 

CJ Delling is a conglomeration of contradictions. Nominally an Australian moved here from Germany; she presents herself as the rarest of species, a German comedian, and a female one at that. She informs us that there are no such things as German comedians and flirts with the entrenched stereotypes we hold of Germans, delicately uncoupling our assumptions along the way. This opens the doorway to an analysis of language, accents, impressions, and misunderstandings. All rich comedy fodder.

We are immediately endeared to this complex, self-aware, and quirky human. Delling’s mind seems a place of unpredictable adventure – we are never quite sure what is coming next. A practitioner of subtle satire, Delling presents us with material to make us question alternative medicine and other key themes without demanding from us a specific set of conclusions. This is intelligent and elegant comedy.

Delling’s delivery is gentle; if you’re not paying attention she’s not going to spell out the jokes for you. It’s refreshing to see a comedian who feels no need to wait for us to catch up. It feels like we’ve established a relationship of mutual respect during the show.

With considerable skill she builds an analogy, never settling for a single gag from each anecdote. It was quite a rewarding experience journeying with her to see just where she could take each new and ever more farcical scenario. While the familiar themes of love and loss, of not fitting in, and pithy reflections on religion are all present, Delling manages a new take on many of these and the show is not without a surprise twist here and there.

The show could do with a dash more structure; while all of Delling’s material is original and worthwhile, you are sometimes left wondering what the last story had to do with the next. Such confusion puts a lot of pressure on the end of the show to tie up the loose ends of a lot of anecdotes, and in this instance, it wasn’t a completely satisfying pay off.

With that in mind, Delling is a delightful edition to the circuit; well worth an hour of your Fringe Festival. See her while you can.

CJ Delling, Reality Bandit is on at the Crown & Anchor Hotel until Feb 22


Cam Knight – 100 percenter

By Alanta Colley

Cam Knight explores his complex relationship with ‘giving it all you got’, or ‘giving it 100%’. Why do anything at all if you’re not going to give it everything? But then again, there’s so much fun to be had.

Flashing his pearly whites at the audience this happy go lucky chap recounts moments of gaining enlightenment while drunk in the swimming pool of a Thai Resort. The contrast between his highbrow ideals and his lowbrow behaviour becomes indicative of the rest of the show. We are beholden to an hour of comedy twixt suspect gags and flashes of hilarious insight.

Cam’s performance is energetic and up-beat.  Even when recounting the phobias he carried with him throughout his life and the financially precarious nature of being a comedian, the overall positivity of the show never ceases.

The show has many a delicious anecdote of silliness; albeit rather laddish accounts of hilariously stupid stunts ending with trips to the emergency ward. Knight ‘s critical glare on the world of meditation and general hippy carryings on was a highlight of the show. Some of Knight’s investigations into fate and identity produced some excellent reality checks on how we perceive what we were ‘born to do’. Yet the sporadic dives into ruddy sexual allegory had the feel that Knight was focused on appealing to the lowest common denominator in the room.

This show felt like being on a see saw.  Themes vacillated wildly between witty anecdotes and rather lazy bawdy humour. Despite some truly hilarious moments Knight relies a little too much on his boyish charm to carry through some of his more dubious material involving elderly citizens on public transport and blow jobs. And theatre and blow jobs. And his parents and blow jobs. This show was a mixed bag. If you like your comedy full of pep and cheek, Cam Knight is the comic for you.

Cam Knight is on at Gluttony – The Piglet til Feb 23