Vikki Stone: Instrumental

By Ron Bingham

This is a change from Vikki’s show last year, as Vikki pays tribute to her dad. At the start, the audience sees a stage filled with a wide variety of musical instruments set up ready to play. Vikki enters and, in a very fast paced delivery, tells the story of her youth: falling in love with music and how much of an influence her dad had been. While speaking she is also using various instruments and technology to create a backing group to her stories. Some of the instruments Vikki can play very well, some have been borrowed and she has yet to master them yet she has an attachment to all of them. There are a couple of “proper” songs, including a lovely one to her father at the end.

One of the major scenes involves a story where Vikki was asked to sing backing vocals for a major artiste and what happened afterwards. In the audience was a(nother) reviewer who had been apparently having a Twitter battle with Vikki over the wearing of a dog costume (from last year’s show) as a bet, where she would receive an extra star if she donned the furry suit. Vikki turned the tables and forced him to wear it in the scene, to the riotous applause of the rest of the audience (it’s probably on t’internet as I write).

So if you want to see a very personal show about family and influences, which is also musically entertaining and funny, see this show. There is a little swearing but it will appeal to all ages.

Vikki Stone is performing Instrumental at Underbelly, Cowgate.
For Tickets and more information go to the Edinburgh Fringe Website:

Kitten Killers

By Ron Bingham

I’m not sure whether I should be encouraging people to come and see this show or I should be calling for some men in white coats to take them somewhere safe and secure. This mid-afternoon show is full of violence (possibly involving weapons and small fluffy (toy) animals) and sex (the final song was about as gross as one can be in the daytime) and a lot of hilarious sketches.

This is the Fringe debut of the team (Fran Bushe, Kat Cade, Kate Lennon & Perdita Stott) but one or two of the group looked familiar (though whether that is because I have seen them at Edinburgh before or bumped into them on London’s Underground I can’t say, as the website they promote after the show hasn’t been updated since it was created and has little biographical detail). If they are all newcomers to Edinburgh, then this is a very impressive debut show. I did see one lady walk out half way through (after a very violent sketch involving Royalty and wildlife) and a lot of the punchlines are groaners, but if you can take the subject matter without becoming queasy then you will have a great time.

The room is small and the stage is tiny, so with four performers and a lot of props who move about the stage during their sketches, I suggest that the front row should be renamed the danger zone. Tickets for this show will sell out fast, once the word gets around about how funny they are.

Kitten Killers are performing at Underbelly, Bristo Square.
For Tickets and more information go to the Edinburgh Fringe Website:

The Big Bite-Size Breakfast Show

By Ron Bingham

What a lovely start to the day. On the way in (and be warned that the audience is let in early), you are given tea/coffee, a croissant and fresh strawberries. The Big Bite-Size Breakfast Show is referring to bite-sized comedic plays of around ten minutes each. The audience has the choice of three different “menu’s”  of six plays performed each day, although the day I went they had swapped one play due to time constraints. The flyer has the dates for each menu in case you wish to attend all three versions and, judging on the plays I witnessed, this is probably an excellent idea.

The following is a snapshot of some of the plays on offer. The day I attended was Menu One, with Mothra VS The Casting Director swapped for Intertwining Monologue.

Mothra VS The Casting Director is a very funny look at the problems faced when you have been typecast as a ravening giant moth whose only real hit was beating Godzilla.

I Thought I Liked Girls by Nicole Pandolfo, is a hilarious ‘coming out’ situation which has been twisted and bent until you’re not sure who fancies what anymore.

Violin by Jonathan Kravetz, is a solo piece which started with a startling premise and was performed well but seemed to peter out towards the end, leaving us with a bit of an anti-climax.

Bursting by Lisa Holdsworth, has a woman trapped in a locked department store with a strange man, it’s amazing what some people are prepared to confess. Some excellent writing and acting in this and I did sympathise with the fantasies they confessed to liking…..

Candy Likes Your Status by Matt Henderson, is a friendship dissected via Facebook, text and Twitter. One for the young people who understand all this new fangled so-called communication of the 21st century. It was very good but I spent much of the sketch trying to translate their LOLs and other acronyms into old person speak.

A Great War, a WWI sketch set in what would have been the Fox Newsroom if Rupert Murdoch had a time machine. Some brilliant jokes about the war, the battles, the military leaders and the attitudes of the time. You will probably miss a few of the jokes (unless you’ve been watching the History Channel) but the sketch as a whole was hilarious and heartbreakingly accurate.

One of the best ways to start a day at the Festival. And the strawberries were scrumptious.

The Big Bite-Size Breakfast Show is on at Pleasance Dome.
For Tickets and more information go to the Edinburgh Fringe Website:

Miss Glory Pearl: The Naked Stand-Up

By Ron Bingham

OK, your host will be standing on stage naked from the start to the finish, but you will not be required to remove any clothing (although if it as hot as it was the night I was there, that could be a disappointment).

Miss Glory starts with a bit of her employment history (school teacher, burlesque dancer, stripper, advertising executive, but NOT a nudist) and, like all good ex-teachers, gives the audience a lovely, relaxed but well structured lecture about why she decided to perform her first Edinburgh show in this fashion, what the potential legal perils and penalties of not wearing clothes are (can anyone explain “decent exposure”?), and why her body is not as those depicted in magazines and advertisements are.

During the show, the audience is asked to participate in a discussion about their best and worst ‘bits’ and whether this defines what they are. The atmosphere is very relaxed and pleasant throughout the show and you will soon forget the lady talking to you is not wearing any clothes. This show is highly recommended if you are embarrassed by any of your “bits” or are curious as to whether it is possible to see a naked lady without ‘exploding in a ball of lustful desire’ (thanks, religion). It is also very funny in a laid back way (blimey, it’s hard to review a show about a naked lady without accidently slipping in a double entendre or two, isn’t it?).

Miss Glory Pearl is performing The Naked Stand-Up at Just the Tonic at The Caves.
For Tickets and more information go to the Edinburgh Fringe Website:

Saucy Jack and the Space Vixens

By Ron Bingham

This is a tale of black murder, love, lust, revenge and justice told in song and dance, with loud rock music, flashing lights, smoke machines and sparkly costumes with a sexy cast.

The story concerns Saucy Jack, who has a tavern on another planet. His cabaret singers keep turning up dead just after they tell Jack they are leaving for better jobs (not much of a spoiler, as early on we see the blood on Jack’s hands at the same time we learn of the Slingback Killer). His employees all dream of a better life, away from Saucy Jack’s, but until the Space Vixens (the galaxy’s enforcers of justice) turn up, it seem they are trapped under Jack’s spell. The problem is that one of the Vixens may have a bit of a past with Jack, which means she will have to choose between love and justice.

This high energy show is performed cabaret style, with the stage at one end and the bar at the other, and the characters moving from one to the other throughout the show. The audience sits at tables along the sides, with extra chairs behind. The show starts at 11pm, has an interval halfway and finishes just after 1am (I snuck out at 1:15, while the cast and my fellow audience members were distracted jiving away to Dancing Queen – it could still be going). I had trouble hearing some of the words in the songs due to the loudness of the music and it was a little disconcerting having all the speakers at the stage end, when the action was taking place at the bar end but, apart from that, this was a fast, funny, sexy and toe tapping show that is well worth seeing. I did notice a couple of people down the front were returnee’s, they were dancing and singing along with the cast throughout. So it definitely has the repeat factor.

The cast all sang, danced and acted equally well, and I was amazed at how well they could move in those platform boots, wearing tight skimpy costumes with tall elaborate headpieces. Of course, as this is the far future, gender is unimportant and love is a flexible concept (it’s very LGTB friendly), so if you’re easily offended by adult themes, loud rock and disco music, smoke machines or sexy talk, maybe you should have an early night instead. Everyone else should be here, with a little sparkle in their costumes and their dancing shoes on ready to boogie the night away, at Saucy Jack’s.

Saucy Jack and the Space Vixens is on at Just the Tonic at The Caves.
For Tickets and more information go to the Edinburgh Fringe Website:

Comedy in the Dark

By Ron Bingham

A very interesting concept, which can be brilliant or not, depending on how much the comedian relies on props, facial expressions, gestures or costume. The host of Comedy in the Dark is Mark Olver and it starts with the lights on (as are the transitions as it wouldn’t do to have the comedian fall off stage or get lost on the way from backstage). The guests today were Rob Rouse, Margaret Thatcher (and a picture of Winston Churchill) and John Kearns.

Mark did an excellent job as host, with some audience interaction, most notably with the lady who had 200 small (foot tall toy) cows and the Brooklyn couple who had to describe their wedding buffet for Mark to judge.

Rob Rouse had obviously done Comedy in the Dark before, as he came prepared with a chair and a backpack with a couple of surprise props. He started by removing his trousers (in the dark of course) and talking about chickens, children and marriage. I’d talk about the props he used (and the ones he pretended he might also have in his bag), but I think he could be a regular to this gig and it’s better to keep the surprise factor there.

Following Rob was Maggie (in full costume) and Winnie, which needed half of the invisible prop work described before the dialogue, which sort of spoiled it a bit. The last spot, John Kearns, played a character which seemed to rely on seeing him in his hillbilly costume to complete most of the jokes.

So, it’s a fascinating concept, but not one that will work for every comedian. It is very dark in there, but be warned the lights can come up unexpectedly. It’s also warm and comfortable, so sit down the back if you come in a bit tired. Well recommended to “see” at least once, and the guests change daily (on a board out the front of the venue).

Comedy in the Dark is on at Just the Tonic at The Community Project.
For Tickets and more information go to the Edinburgh Fringe Website: