Header Image

Free Festival News & Reviews

This is where you can read recent news articles and reviews of shows in the Free Festival.


An Interview with Nathan Cassidy

June 4, 2019   Mumble Comedy

Article about Nathan Cassidy: Observational

An Interview with Nathan Cassidy

 Click Here


May 30, 2019   On Stage Blog

Article about No Name Show

Maggie Lalley is a pleasantly gregarious presence on stage. Off beat and strange in a way that somehow still feels welcoming. This is a necessity with material like her’s, of course. She plays in the same vein of no-holds-barred, unapologetic, and unbridledly surreal frankness that comedians like Jamie Loftus do. When you’re going to go for broke like that, it pays to come as you are. In her new show, destined for the Edinburgh Fringe this August, she digs deep in to her teenage diary to share a story of sorcery, teen sexual foibles, and ginger movie stars. It is, at turns, silly, raunchy, and compellingly honest. As it gears up for a pre-Festival run at Under St Marks, you owe it to yourself to catch Cold Blooded Witch: The Sex Musical and see what the fuss is about.

In this one woman show, Lalley tells the story of a two-year high-school fling with a creepy, yet exciting, female classmate. Said classmate entices Maggie in to said relationship by claiming to be an actual bonafide witch. Like in Charmed, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and Harry Potter, which were all popular at the time. She assures Maggie that she will teach her the ways of witchcraft in exchange for her loyalty. What starts out with the promise of self-empowerment quickly morphs in to an emotionally manipulative tryst in which Lalley is convinced that she is dating (and eventually married to) teen sensation Rupert Grint. Who just so happens to be possessing the body of her friend at the time. As the lie unfolds, our heroine punctuates the telling of it with original songs that spur the action onwards.

Lalley is an excellent storyteller, as is prerequisite for doing a one woman show, and she really shines in the dispensation of her own material. This is her story, and she knows how to dole it out, taking pot-shots at herself all the while. “It turns out I wasn’t a witch… I was just really dumb,” is one of her refrains… and she’s not wrong. However, her self-awareness takes what could easily be turned into a misguided sob-story, and instead spins it in to comedy gold. By throwing her chronicle of (put bluntly) abuse in to the light of its own ridiculousness, she is able to take charge of her own narrative and mine it for its inherent hilarity.

As a result, the journey we get to see is Lalley reclaiming her life, and there’s something quite beautiful about that. Even as it is interspersed with gags and songs about cunnulingus, mediocre Al Pacino impressions, and trying to manifest telepathy whilst at a studio taping of an interview with the actor who played Ronald Weasley. Maggie is adroit with a turn of phrase for every situation, can put a piano chord to every problem, and also takes time out to thank her mother for helping her out of an insane situation and putting her in to a therapist’s chair.

Cold Blooded Witch: The Sex Musical is a one-woman show that’s earned its place in the biggest Fringe Festival in the world. It’s a fantastic opportunity to watch an actor and up-and-coming comedian tell a story that you, quite literally, will not hear anywhere else. It is superbly expounded, thoughtfully presented, and damn funny to boot. Before it leaves to conquer the wider world, you should catch it on its home turf. Maggie Lalley is a rare performer. What she does here is marvelously honest, and undeniably side-splitting. Buy a ticket now, it’s cheaper than a flight to Edinburgh.


Broadway Baby

May 27, 2019    Broadway Baby

Review of Simone Belshaw: Goblin & Fiends

Broadway Baby

"Dirty, absurd, damn fun" Click Here


May 24, 2019   The Post and Courier

Article about I Am the Horrible Thing

What was supposed to be a celebratory getaway to Costa Rica for local improv comedian Greg Tavares and his wife quickly turned dark when Tavares decided to take on “monster-sized waves” on his stand-up paddleboard.

“I got worked by a wave,” Tavares said. “I got separated from my guide that was with me. I got separated from my board. I didn’t have a flotation device and I had to fight my way back in. I almost didn’t make it.”

Nearly three years later, Tavares still is traumatized by his near-drowning experience, he said. One thing that has helped him cope is telling his story in a new one-man show, “I Am the Horrible Thing,” which he workshopped at Pure Theatre in the spring of 2018.

This year he will be presenting the show as part of Piccolo Fringe at Theatre 99, before heading to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August.

This show is an artistic departure for the 50-year-old improv comic, who gets deeply personal as he recounts his experience, sharing childhood memories of growing up in Hawaii. Being serious in front of an audience made Tavares a little uneasy.

“At first, I was kind of afraid that people would laugh during it because they would think I was supposed to be funny,” Tavares said.

While he admits there are some funny moments — such as the story of his father taking the family to a nudist beach — the show is, more than anything, about his “harrowing” brush with death.

It’s not the inspirational story audiences might expect.

“I tried to fly in the face of some of the stereotypes about the idea of a true-life, near-death experience,” he said.

Audiences will not hear Tavares talk about how flowers smell sweeter, or how one is supposed to view every day as if it’s the “best day of your life.” Nor will he ask patrons for sympathy.

“I’m embarrassed that I almost got myself killed,” he said.

“I Am the Horrible Thing” is Tavares’ “loving tribute to the ocean for not killing (him),” and a way to process the fact that he lived.

He did not let it stop him from getting back out into the ocean; Tavares still tries to paddleboard at least once a week, though he must fight through his fear. Returning to the water has been therapeutic, he said.

Writing and performing the show forced Tavares to revisit his trauma and also figure out how best to engage the audience.

“My job is to re-live it in a way that’s passionate, connected and feels like it’s happening,” Tavares said. “The funny thing is that people, when they see it, sometimes have told me they’re actually worried I’m not going to make it out.”

Spoiler alert: he does.

Madalyn Owen is a Goldring arts journalist at Syracuse University. Click Here


If You Like Funny Dirty Standup You'll Like Jez Watts

April 20, 2019   Onya Mag Australia

Article about Absolute Zero: Jez Watts

If You Like Funny Dirty Standup You'll Like Jez Watts

In Jez Watts’ own words, “if you like funny, dirty stand up”, you’ll enjoy Absolute Zero.

In Watts’ MICF debut, he fuses punchy, gritty comedy with music and self-deprecating anecdotes like his $18,000 debt to his girlfriend.

Off the back of touring Edinburgh, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Perth, Watts has put together a highlight reel of his best bits of the last four years for his Comedy Festival inauguration.

The former-soldier, -husband, -neuroscientist and -drug addict (his words) will have you at both times laughing and feeling concerned at his tribulations (of which there are many).

An ode to Reggie Watts in the form of an improvised song made on a loop station is a funny, musical reprieve from bits about crippling debt and being prescribed animal antibiotics.

Despite his seemingly gruff exterior, Watts has an earnest and genuine spirit, with a backstory that will leave you feeling happy to have bought a ticket (because the fee will go straight to paying off his debt). Click Here


April 6, 2019    

Review of Object of Desire

"With a tripod, a clothes hanger and an overcoat, Cora Todd, an emerging Scottish performance artist creates a dark, humorous and unsettling performance that is unlike any other I've seen" M Sherin (Rose Bruford)


March 10, 2019   

Article about Half the Man – Michael Livesley

 Click Here


DTCB Adelaide Fringe review 2019

February 22, 2019   Clothesline Magazine

Article about Circus Sonas Presents: DTCB The Prison Years

DTCB Adelaide Fringe review 2019

Dirty Tattooed Circus Bastards: Dangerous And Hilarious… Just How We Love Our Circus! Clothesline Magazine ~ Adelaide Fringe 2019 Review Click Here


Fringe Review: A Booklover’s Comedy Show - 4 Stars

February 17, 2019    Glamadelaide

Review of A Booklover's Comedy Show

Fringe Review: A Booklover’s Comedy Show - 4 Stars

A Booklover’s Comedy Show is the brainchild of stand-up comedian, George Dimarelos. A certified ‘Super Greek’ (pun on ‘Super Geek’, get it? get it?) Dimarelos opened the bill of rotating comedians with the observation that a bookshow in a wine centre couldn’t really get any douchier. Delivered with a good dose of self deprecation, the audience went with him and what followed was a fair whack of audience interaction as they offered up their opinions and reading recommendations for the best books of all time.

Dimarelos performed his own book related stand-up, and acted as the glue holding together a bunch of comedians tasked with performing bookish comedy. The line-up changes nightly, but on Saturday night, the audience was treated to skits from the Burger King Illuminati (BKI), witticisms from Sam Bowden, nerdy comedy from Alexander Richmond, and astounding improv rap from MC Hammersmith. All these comedians have their own Fringe shows and are all worth checking out.

Some of the performances had tenuous links to books (BKIs skit about the Gringotts Bank from Harry Potter was fab, but their second skit lost me) but most got it over the line. Sam Bowden controversially argued that the book is not always better than the movie (Lord of the Rings, anyone?) and Alexander Richmond made everyone feel slightly uncomfortable with lots of Lolita references. MC Hammersmith is straight from the ghettos of middle-class white England and could himself pass for an older Harry Potter, but wow can this guy improv rap. The audience offered up a list of random, and quite unusual words (literary crowd show offs!), which Hammersmith promptly turned into a rap. He then did similar incorporating objects owned by audience members. (I offered up the miniature Kinder Surprise hiding in my bag courtesy of one of my children and yes, he managed to work it in.)

This isn’t a big name show, but it was an awesome start to this reviewer’s 2019 Fringe season, and I do urge people to support lessor known performers. All the comedians in this line-up were great in their own ways, and ringleader George Dimarelos deserves a big high five for his ongoing energy, enthusiasm and ability to keep smiling through all those snotty heckles! Go along to see something a little more high brow and different than your average Fringe funnies, then go home and read a good book. Click Here


Fringe World Review: A Booklover’s Comedy Show - 5 stars

February 6, 2019    Dircksey Magazine

Review of A Booklover's Comedy Show

Fringe World Review: A Booklover’s Comedy Show - 5 stars

From a song about grammar, to a Shakespearean play, to the world of erotic literature, George Dimarelos’ A Booklover’s Comedy Show has it all. With a compilation of talented comedians and avid book lovers, each performer brought their own unique take on the world of books to the stage.

The show’s producer and emcee for the night, George Dimarelos began the show by asking the audience what our favourite book was – a question for his end-of-tour book list that he will be sharing with us later. The humour of the night is generally topical with the occasional use of wordplay and literary innuendos. Dimarelos introduced us to the night’s 3 talented comedians, Louisa Fitzhardinge, Gillian English, and Pamela DeMenthe.

Louisa Fitzhardinge’s performance is perfect for lovers of literature and grammar. With puns like “a novel idea”, Fitzhardinge unveils the grammar nerd in us all. She performs multiple musical numbers, with her own song ‘The Rational Anthem’. Using the song ‘What A Wonderful World’, the audience held up flags which she sang persistently as she changed between German, Italian, English and AUSLAN (sign language). Fitzhardinge secures the audience’s attention and amazement with her creativity and multilingualism.

Having an extensive knowledge on all things Shakespeare, Gillian English surprises the audience with her comedic hatred of some Shakespeare classics by her re-enactment of an uncommon Shakespeare play. English’s hilarious interpretation of Shakespeare is definitely something I’d pay to see at the theatre. She also delves into Disney’s ideals on teenage girls and romance. Being my highlight for the night, English’s performance is feminism at its funniest.

As a “humble” author, Pamela DeMenthe speaks to the crowd as if we were all her dedicated fans at the book release for her novel, Sticky Digits. She begins with a story about her journey into the world of writing erotic fiction. Following this, DeMenthe offers the audience tips on writing erotic fiction; such as writing erotic fiction for your crush which she guarantees will “get their attention”. She finishes her performance by reading a chapter of her book, leaving the crowd wanting more.

I’ve never felt homier than surrounded by a crowd of book lovers enjoying some literary comedy. With a range of loosely book-related topics, this show is a must see this Fringe season for any bookworm. Each night, like any good book, is guaranteed to be a wonderful and unique experience. Click Here


FRINGEWORLD 2019: A Booklover’s Comedy Show | 4.5 Stars

February 5, 2019    Fourth Wall Media

Review of A Booklover's Comedy Show

FRINGEWORLD 2019: A Booklover’s Comedy Show | 4.5 Stars

FRINGEWORLD 2019: A Booklover’s Comedy Show | 4.5 Stars
February 5, 2019
Fourth Wall Media
Review | Kieran Eaton

I better get my grammar in check because show creator, George Dimarelos is a self-confessed book geek, though he first accidently-on-purpose says book ‘Greek’ a funny and charming way to show off his Greek ethnicity. Dimarelos might look the stereotype – glasses and twee clothing – but looks can be deceiving because he talks the talk. This makes me want to know more about him because he seems like an interesting guy, however, as the host of the show, we are left with glimpses only!

The premise is simple – three guest comedic book lovers, give an example of their bookish sense of humour. Each night has a different selection of acts and so if you like this concept, you can see this show multiple times and gain different perspectives on the world of books. The night I saw showcased Louise Fitzhardinge, Gillian English, and Pamela DeMenthe, all doing their own shows for FRINGEWORLD 2019.

Before bringing on each act, Dimarelos explains his love of books in a conversational manner and emphasises that it does not matter how many books you have read in a year, he won’t say anything but there may be internal judgement if you only say one! This gets plenty of laughs because he judges well that most of the crowd are book enthusiasts. However, like a book club the crowd can have differing opinions on a book and that is OK because Dimarelos says that he’ll just add an author or book to his reading list.

Fitzhardinge is the first of this bunch to be brought on and give a sample of her highly successful show, Comma Sutra. It is comedic cabaret all about grammar and her love of language, making it difficult to find the perfect lover. She is also multi lingual so also highlights that in song. English is next with banter about Shakespeare, and the age of Disney Princesses. It’s a bit of a glimpse into her solo show, She Wolf. Finally, DeMenthe goes into the making of an erotic fiction novel, called Sticky Digits (Also her FRINGEWORLD show title).

For those who want to embrace their inner introvert A Book Lover’s Comedy Show is a must see for you! Click Here


Charmian Hughes: What-Not

January 22, 2019   Scoop News

Article about Charmian Hughes: What-not

Charmian Hughes: What-Not

Charmian says ‘My whole life has been a muddle of cross identification. Through a series of accidents and coincidences, I was born German to an English family, brought up Catholic when they were Protestant and was an only child yet had five siblings. If that sounds like the clue to the riddle ‘What am I?’, the answer is ‘what-not’ and I am reclaiming that word as a proud identity.’ Click Here


January 16, 2019   Scoop News

Article about Charmian Hughes: What-not

Charmian Hughes – Soixante Mirth
Written and performed by Charmian Hughes
Bats Theatre, Wellington, 9:30pm nightly, until March 4.
Reviewed by Ewen Coleman Charmian has just turned 60 and decides to look back on her life and have a good laugh, hence the title of her show Charmian Hughes – Soixante Mirth.
The 1960s, when Hughes was growing up as a teenager in the UK, is also a major feature of her show.
But what makes this performer a class above most stand-up comedians is the original and innovative way she constructs her show. She goes back in time and encounters herself as a 10-year-old looking forward, before revisiting the dreams and aspirations she had at 14 and then again at 23, all hilariously told.
Full of confidence, with witty and erudite comments that are both funny yet profound, Charmian Hughes is a great entertainer not to be missed. Click Here


Words is Words is Words

October 18, 2018    Surrey Advertiser

Review of A Talking Therapist's Blues

Words is Words is Words

Mindblowing!… hugely gripping, fabulously crafted poetry, borne from personal tragedy, a huge depth of experience, and personal development. Tess has presence and presents – she hand's you a gift: words that will dance beside you and haunt you long after you leave her space. Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Awards, Monaghan, 2014


Its raw. Its from the heart. It will enter your soul. Prepare to be bewitched.
Surrey Mirror, 18 October 2019.


DANGEROUS ADVENTURES

September 9, 2018   BBC Radio

Article about Dangerous Adventures

DANGEROUS ADVENTURES

"A thrilling story. A pivotal time...action-packed."


The Guardian's Best Shows at the Fringe

August 24, 2018   The Guardian

Article about Rob Oldham: Worm's Resolve

The Guardian's Best Shows at the Fringe

'A vivid snapshot of being young and half-alive in the 21st century...whets the appetite to see what Oldham will do next. Click Here


Fringe Review: Andrew Frank: Macrocosm

August 19, 2018   Edmonton Journal

Article about Andrew Frank: Cognitive Goof

Fringe Review: Andrew Frank: Macrocosm

 Click Here


Fringe Review: Andrew Frank: Macrocosm

August 19, 2018   Edmonton Journal

Article about Andrew Frank: Cognitive Goof

Fringe Review: Andrew Frank: Macrocosm

 Click Here


Fringe review: Andrew Frank: Macrocosm

August 19, 2018   Edmonton Journal

Article about Andrew Frank: Cognitive Goof

Fringe review: Andrew Frank: Macrocosm

 Click Here


Fringe review: Andrew Frank: Macrocosm

August 19, 2018    Edmonton Journal

Review of Andrew Frank: Cognitive Goof

Fringe review: Andrew Frank: Macrocosm

He might have left his Christian upbringing far behind, but Andrew Frank isn’t quite done with it yet.
The Missouri-born stand up still farms his formative years in the Bible Belt for material, and if you’re easily offended by pointed, hilarious commentary on fundamentalist dogma then you might want to think twice about attending his Fringe show, Macrocosm.
If not, you’ll enjoy his riffing on plenty of religious topics, with lengthy side excursions into American politics, Anne Frank, climate change, science, and probably the smartest (and longest, no pun intended) dick joke you’ll ever hear.
Bring a calculator and brush up on your physics if you care to call him out on it. Frank is a witty man, trading obvious jabs for sly observations, cerebral quips, and machine gun spitted declarations on the morality of the western world, and he’s not above razzing the audience for missing or being slow on a punchline.
Stay sharp if you decide to interact with him, but definitely do not miss out. Click Here


The best comedy show titles at the 2018 Edinburgh Fringe

August 3, 2018   British Comedy Guide

The best comedy show titles at the 2018 Edinburgh Fringe

 Click Here


Review: Seven Inch

May 18, 2018    Upstaged

Review of Fat Roland: Seven Inch

Review: Seven Inch

Fat Roland is a comedic onslaught of musical puns, cultural references, and audience interaction. Taking place in a single, hand-scrawled, cartoonish set, the monologue leads the audience through a narrative centred around the trials and tribulations of being a record shop owner in the digital age. Throughout the performance, we’re guided through Fat Roland’s internal debate surrounding updating his shop to something more fashionable and millennial-friendly. Slop anyone?

Before the show even begins, the audience is fascinated by the set design, which is simple but complex, the black and white squiggles being plenty to look at before the spoken-word artist comes onto the stage. The bold shapes and thick outlines on the shop’s furniture are reminiscent of something that 80s Will Smith would have rapped in front of for a music video, giving the performance an air of nostalgia. Fat Roland works in unison with the unique set design, tying in the records titles on display with his narrative, utilising everything that was visible to the audience. Whilst the set doubles as props, Roland has his own collection of 2d drawings, including realistic photos of popular celebrities, ensuring that the jokes are perfectly supplemented throughout.

The sound design for the performance works well, as it’s synchronised with the narrative and Roland’s movements. From songs that complement specific pieces of the narrative, to an advertising piece that seems too eager to wait its turn, the sounds amplify the comedic effect of the overall show and stay true to Fat Roland’s previous career as a DJ. Fat Roland holds the show together with impeccably timed reactions to the sounds being played, provoking an impressive response from the audience.

A casual mood was upheld from start to finish, with the audience being invited to answer questions, participate in pieces of the narrative, and even look after some of the props. It is clear that Fat Roland is more than familiar with performance, knowing exactly how to get the room roaring with laughter, from start to finish.

To conclude, the show is a fantastic combination of comedy, cartoons, and creativity, and is great for those looking for something uplifting and entertaining throughout. The independent nature of the show gives it a refreshing, homemade feel that makes it refreshing and engaging.
 Click Here


December 2, 2017   The Student

Article about Mother and the Monster

‘Mother and the Monster’ is the debut production of the newly formed Paradigm Lab, a new theatre company founded by recent graduate of the University of Edinburgh and student theatre veteran, Vlada Nebo who also serves as director. Paradigm Lab sets out to immerse audiences through experimental techniques of production and direction. For its first show Paradigm Lab has certainly set the bar high.

Inspired by the life true story of legendary costume designer Millicent Patrick; Rory Kelly’s script follows reclusive prop maker Charlotte performed (in a slightly exaggerated style) by Amelia Watson. Watson struggles to match the quick changing emotion of the script as her character guides the naïve protégé Polly through the toils of a male dominated industry and attempts to deal with the ‘Monster’.

The play certainly fulfils its goal to be a ‘feminist fairy tale’ with the contrasting personalities of the ambitious Lucy and cloistered Charlotte both struggling to defend the integrity of their work in male dominated creative industries – the younger Polly clearly represents the younger generations resistance to the pressures of the patriarchy. Sarika Mathur stands out as Lucy, managing to balance the paradoxical traits of excitability and rationality.

The cast work together in near perfect cohesion; Nebo’s direction is clever and dynamic, the transitions are seamless and energetically push the action forward despite a slightly slow start. The costume and set are relatively minimalistic, with the surrealism of the monster bringing a comedic edge to an otherwise frightening character.

Arguably the most impressive aspect of ‘Mother and the Monster’ is the way in which they use sound and light. Assembly Roxy is a relatively small theatre but the use of light makes the show even more intimate, narrowing us in on the action and making the audience feel incredibly close to the action on the stage (including me up in the Gods). Since the dialogue is incredibly quick witted the changes in light mirror and enhance this, echoing the feelings of the characters on stage and allowing their emotion to be conveyed to the audience.

Of course the monster is the catalyst for much of the fear in the show, whenever his character appears the music changes to create a sense of foreboding, but this style is slightly cliché though effective. The mood of the piece shifts quite dramatically and the technical effects serve to magnify these quick tonal changes.

‘Mother and the Monster’ is an impressive debut for Paradigm Lab and I eagerly await their forthcoming shows. It plays at Assembly Roxy until Saturday 2nd of December and, with student tickets only costing £6.50, it is well worth a watch. Click Here


Mother and the Monster

December 2, 2017    The Student

Review of Mother and the Monster

Mother and the Monster

‘Mother and the Monster’ is the debut production of the newly formed Paradigm Lab, a new theatre company founded by recent graduate of the University of Edinburgh and student theatre veteran, Vlada Nebo who also serves as director. Paradigm Lab sets out to immerse audiences through experimental techniques of production and direction. For its first show Paradigm Lab has certainly set the bar high.

Inspired by the life true story of legendary costume designer Millicent Patrick; Rory Kelly’s script follows reclusive prop maker Charlotte performed (in a slightly exaggerated style) by Amelia Watson. Watson struggles to match the quick changing emotion of the script as her character guides the naïve protégé Polly through the toils of a male dominated industry and attempts to deal with the ‘Monster’.

The play certainly fulfils its goal to be a ‘feminist fairy tale’ with the contrasting personalities of the ambitious Lucy and cloistered Charlotte both struggling to defend the integrity of their work in male dominated creative industries – the younger Polly clearly represents the younger generations resistance to the pressures of the patriarchy. Sarika Mathur stands out as Lucy, managing to balance the paradoxical traits of excitability and rationality.

The cast work together in near perfect cohesion; Nebo’s direction is clever and dynamic, the transitions are seamless and energetically push the action forward despite a slightly slow start. The costume and set are relatively minimalistic, with the surrealism of the monster bringing a comedic edge to an otherwise frightening character.

Arguably the most impressive aspect of ‘Mother and the Monster’ is the way in which they use sound and light. Assembly Roxy is a relatively small theatre but the use of light makes the show even more intimate, narrowing us in on the action and making the audience feel incredibly close to the action on the stage (including me up in the Gods). Since the dialogue is incredibly quick witted the changes in light mirror and enhance this, echoing the feelings of the characters on stage and allowing their emotion to be conveyed to the audience.

Of course the monster is the catalyst for much of the fear in the show, whenever his character appears the music changes to create a sense of foreboding, but this style is slightly cliché though effective. The mood of the piece shifts quite dramatically and the technical effects serve to magnify these quick tonal changes.

‘Mother and the Monster’ is an impressive debut for Paradigm Lab and I eagerly await their forthcoming shows. It plays at Assembly Roxy until Saturday 2nd of December and, with student tickets only costing £6.50, it is well worth a watch. Click Here


Mother and The Monster

December 2, 2017    All Edinburgh Theatre

Review of Mother and the Monster

Mother and The Monster

The power of our darkest secrets is explored in Mother and The Monster, a refreshing debut by Edinburgh theatre group, Paradigm Lab.

This new play by Rory Kelly, directed by Vlada Nebo, explores the life of those who mainly remain firming behind the camera, giving an interesting take on those professions that we rarely shine a spotlight on.


Angus Gavan McHarg and Amelia Watson. Pic Andrew Perry

It’s in the downstairs room of Assembly Roxy that we meet legendary prop maker, Charlotte, who has turned into a recluse since missing out on an Oscar many years before.

As the play begins, Charlotte is living alone with her cleaner and biggest fan, Julia, for company. However, we soon find out that’s not the only presence in Charlotte’s house as she also has a monster of her own creation living in her cupboard.

It’s not until she finally breaks her silence and tells a wannabe journalist her biggest secret, that the Monster finally leaves her alone for good.

Amelia Watson gives an excellent performance in the lead role of Charlotte, a part which sees her on stage throughout the entire show. She’s has the power to make the audience laugh out loud, but really shines in the second act during her emotional confession that someone else claimed credit for famous horror movie monster that has haunted her life ever since.

animated performance
Angus Gavan McHarg makes the best use of the stage during his animated performance as the Monster in Molly Lambourne’s bright and colourful (but hardly scary) costume. During the first half of the show it can be a little confusing to figure out who this Monster is, but as the story develops in the second half it all becomes much clearer.



The cast is completed by Julia Weingaertner, who plays the loveable and shy Polly, and Sarika Mathur, who is pretending to be a journalist. Both actors give strong performances filled with humour as they support Charlotte throughout the show.

Monster and the Mother is a funny and poignant piece of theatre by an exciting and talented new theatre company that it’s definitely worth keeping your eye on. Click Here


We are STILL all C*nts Review

August 17, 2017    Three Weeks

Review of Ashley Haden: F*ck you, and F*ck your beliefs.

We are STILL all C*nts Review

You might be a vegan, give lots to charity and think you’re a pretty good person as far as things go, but chances are you’re probably still a c*nt. Ashley Haden returns to the Fringe with his satirical political commentary on the shit unfolding around us. If you think the title of this show is offensive, then his jokes about rape, child refugees, paedophilia and suicide will probably emotionally scar you. Haden is like a drunk, tortured prophet of truth with his sharp, acute and, at times, strangely poetic musings on the state of the world and British politics. Deeply distasteful yet liberatingly transgressive, Haden delivers a set so dark you’ll need to bring a torch. Click Here


WES SIDE STORY Moment comedian Wes Dalton helps hopeless romantic PROPOSE at Edinburgh Fringe gig

August 15, 2017   The Scottish Sun

WES SIDE STORY Moment comedian Wes Dalton helps hopeless romantic PROPOSE at Edinburgh Fringe gig

https://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/living/1421967/wes-dalton-edinburgh-fringe-proposal-whistlebinkies/

THIS is the moment comedian Wes Dalton helped a hopeless romantic PROPOSE at an Edinburgh Fringe gig.

The comic was on hand to offer the happy couple his congratulations during the show at Whistlebinkies in the capital.

The couple were egged onto the stage

YOUTUBE
3
The couple were egged onto the stage
The clip shows comedian Dalton egging on the couple to join him on stage.

And while the groom-to-be Sander smiles, his future wife Astrid looks terrified as she joins him.

MOST READ IN VIRALS

LET'S TACO BOUT IT Bad news, Wetherspoons fans - they’ve just had the last ever Mexican Monday

PHONIES EXPOSED Hilarious gallery reveals the cheaters who were caught out by some VERY awkward text fails

SHE NAILED IT! Ingenious student cheats on her science exam by writing the answers under her FINGERNAILS
Wes announced: “This is the weirdest thing I’ve ever done on stage.

“We could have the whole ceremony on here.”

View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter

Wes Dalton
@WesleyDalton
Today @edfringe I convinced a Dutchman to propose to his girlfriend onstage.
Boyfriend dragging his heels?Come to my next gig #EdFringe17

11
2:34 PM - Aug 13, 2017 · Edinburgh, Scotland
See Wes Dalton's other Tweets
Twitter Ads info and privacy
And the crowd cheers as the romantic groom gets down on one knee to pop the big question.

Using a ring donated from the audience, Astrid looks delighted as she chokes back tears.

The pair got engaged on stage

YOUTUBE
3
The pair got engaged on stage
But it wasn’t all smooth sailing as Wes shouts “it’s the wrong finger!”

And the couple looked delighted as the audience celebrated. Click Here


August 15, 2017   The Scottish Sun

THIS is the moment comedian Wes Dalton helped a hopeless romantic PROPOSE at an Edinburgh Fringe gig.

The comic was on hand to offer the happy couple his congratulations during the show at Whistlebinkies in the capital.

The couple were egged onto the stage

YOUTUBE
3
The couple were egged onto the stage
The clip shows comedian Dalton egging on the couple to join him on stage.

And while the groom-to-be Sander smiles, his future wife Astrid looks terrified as she joins him.

MOST READ IN VIRALS

SHE NAILED IT! Ingenious student cheats on her science exam by writing the answers under her FINGERNAILS

ADULTERY HOTSPOTS How faithful is YOUR town? Affairs website names and shames cheating capital of Scotland
Wes announced: “This is the weirdest thing I’ve ever done on stage.

“We could have the whole ceremony on here.”

View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter

Wes Dalton
@WesleyDalton
Today @edfringe I convinced a Dutchman to propose to his girlfriend onstage.
Boyfriend dragging his heels?Come to my next gig #EdFringe17

11
2:34 PM - Aug 13, 2017 · Edinburgh, Scotland
See Wes Dalton's other Tweets
Twitter Ads info and privacy
And the crowd cheers as the romantic groom gets down on one knee to pop the big question.

Using a ring donated from the audience, Astrid looks delighted as she chokes back tears.

The pair got engaged on stage

YOUTUBE
3
The pair got engaged on stage
But it wasn’t all smooth sailing as Wes shouts “it’s the wrong finger!”

And the couple looked delighted as the audience celebrated. Click Here


The Best Free Shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

June 1, 2017   Culture Trip

Article about Full Moon Cabaret

The Best Free Shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

This devilishly cheeky show is destined to ‘subjugate the world to its eccentric erotica and deviant decadency’ while celebrating ‘the lunacy within us all’. An unmitigated pleasure palace. Click Here


The heroes of the London Bridge attack

April 8, 2017   The heroes of the London Bridge attack

Article about Italian Stallion Fake Hero

The heroes of the London Bridge attack

-’’I have faith in our multi cultural society!!!!! ’’-
https://youtu.be/JIRFnnGSpSY
Joe Palermo An Italian witness on the scene during the terrorist attacks on London Bridge and Borough Market was helping people with injuries and assisting and taking armed police officers to the locations where terrorist were! A few people have disputed this! saying that this wasn’t true! Joe Palermo was indeed there! I’m inviting those ’people’ to make a request to obtain CCTV Footage and you will see clearly man wearing a stripes pink shirt, blue jeans and a Panama hat coming from the MUDLARK pub and taking the stairs to London bridge and talking to police officers near the terrorist VAN and then going back down the stairs with them. People have said that Italians are liars! That is offensive! I will persecute such persons! Thank you for not appreciating someone who was helping during the attack!
-Nearby, Joe Palermo was getting some fresh air outside The Mudlark Pub when a woman staggered towards him, bleeding from the neck. “I invited her into the bar because I could see all these people running around,” the bouncer says. “Working in security, I realised something was happening. I tried to give her first aid until a paramedic came up and she took over.” He went to try to get help. Behind the pub where the terrorists went, he says, is “like a “labyrinth”: “It’s easy for people to go one way and another without being seen.” He told a police officer where he thought they had gone.

When he returned to the pub, the doors were locked. He led around 20 other people away from where the terrorists were and they were let into Bill’s restaurant on Clink Street. Palermo armed himself with a fire extinguisher and a knife. After a while, people thought it was safe, and went to look out of the windows. “Then the armoured police came in, saying ‘get down! Get away from the windows!” Palermo says. Eventually, the police told everyone in the restaurant to run. Click Here


Bounty of Beards: Merkin 9 to 5

August 15, 2016    The List

Review of Evers, Booth and [NAME]

Bounty of Beards: Merkin 9 to 5

Finely-written sketches with lo-fi elements and double entendres galore

You can tell from their title that this troupe like a bit of wordplay, though sadly there's no tribute to Dolly Parton in here. What is here, though, is a bunch of finely written sketches.

The opening scene sets out their love of pun with as many piscine double entendres as you can possibly think of when the Plenty of Fish dating site is mistaken by a fish enthusiast for a fish suppliers and where 'crabs ruining your fishnets' could take on a whole new meaning. The follow-up using Match.com is equally as well-penned and stuffed with naughty inferences.

To allow for costume changes there are video interludes also starring fourth member Fen, who is riddled with stage fright after an incident with someone's leg. But here on screen, aside from her story and the group's attempts at tempting her back on stage, are a range of adverts such as the incongruously hilarious one featuring Alan Bennett crossed with a jihadi.

Bounty of Beards prove masters of the most unlikely combinations as the highlight here is the eponymously titled Amish band playing (non)electronic music complete with dodgy facial hair and a wooden xylophone. Kraftwerk's 'The Model' never sound-ed so lo-fi.
 Click Here


August 16, 2015    The Wee Review

Review of Left Wing Conspiracy Theorist with Dyspraxia 2

 Click Here


August 15, 2015    The Wee Review

Review of Left Wing Conspiracy Theorist with Dyspraxia 2

https://theweereview.com/review/dyspraxia-politics-the-two-sides-of-don-biswas/ Click Here


August 15, 2015    The Wee Review

Review of Left Wing Conspiracy Theorist with Dyspraxia 2

 Click Here


‘The Little Big Show’, by Laughter House Productions

August 15, 2015   The Circus Diaries

‘The Little Big Show’, by Laughter House Productions

Inside the Spiegeltent’s light and child-friendly younger cousin, the Kazador, we enter to sit around the tiny stage to an upbeat Elvis soundtrack, welcomed at the door by genial smiling host Mr Vita.

We are a tiny audience, but he invests as much energy and warmth on us as he would a full house, gently getting us going, and explaining the nature of his ‘mostly silent show’. Who needs words when you have a face – and eyebrows – as expressive as his?

The morning version of The Little Big Show is a half-hour solo spot, followed later in the day by a 45 minute mini-cabaret of four various artists. If they are all as engaging as Mr Vita, I wouldn’t hesitate to book.

His generous and warm-hearted clowning doesn’t falter for a minute when confronted by two very shy children of the three in attendance, and he gently coaches them to become the next generation of volunteer superstars – whilst cheekily involving the ‘Mummy’s too.

His object manipulation generates an awed ‘It’s floating!’ from in front of me as he smoothly rolls a large crystal contact ball over his fingertips, arms and chest; a cigar-box style manoevre with three big red balls is fun, and he loves our appreciation so much that we love giving it to him.

He balances objects on his face, launches forks that emerge from his creaking box of props into a dartboard, and is a strong and funny communicator through his mime and few words, faux-preening and showers of confetti.

Mr Vita is a consumate professional and charismatic performer who can entertain the whole family. A big personality on a little stage. Click Here


Stand-up comedy - it's no joke

June 24, 2014   The Irish Post

Stand-up comedy - it's no joke

In the final part of his In The Thick Of It series, James Martin faces the challenge of five minutes of stand-up comedy in front of a live audience.

“THIS could be the worst five minutes of your life,” Jarlath Regan tells me, ominously, over a cappuccino.

It’s late in London’s Leicester Square and the comic has just finished his set next door at 99 Club.

I tell Jarlath my stand up debut is just a couple of weeks away but I don’t have any jokes. That’s his response.

I’m not sure I’m up for this. Having spent years honing an extraordinary talent for evading public speaking at any opportunity, this is deep-end stuff.

Fate seems to be against me though. My plan to complete my Irish Post In The Thick Of It series working as a doorman outside an Irish club hit a legal minefield.

And so it was to be… my next and final challenge — stand-up comedy in front of a live audience.

What did I have in my favour? Well, there was not one but two leading Irish comedians to draw on for advice.

I phone Andrew Maxwell. In his gravelly Dublin accent, he advises: “Remember, you are the f****** joke. You are the only individual in the room that is so psychologically vulnerable that you need the unconditional love of absolute strangers.”

Great! Thanks. To be fair, later I troll the interview transcripts and there’s plenty of good stuff there too.

I spot the overlap I was looking for.

First, Jarlath Regan warns against pulling any tricks on the audience.

“Go up and let it be the most honest reflection of what you believe to be funny. And believe in the jokes you are going to say — mean them,” he says.

Maxwell adds: “Only talk on-stage about what you find funny. Genuinely, what actually makes you chuckle. You’ll be far more excited to tell the audience. Don’t ever try and second guess them by writing material about what you think they might find funny.”

Got it! The next two weeks are spent scribbling away a collection of old stories, reflections on immature happenings and observations which have made me and my mates chuckle over the years.

For two days before showtime I barely leave the flat. My hopeful reasoning being that the more prepared I am, the fewer nerves I might experience.

At this point, I’m avoiding thoughts about something Jarlath said during our meeting.

Jarlath Regan offered James some comedy tips
The Kildare man warned that, even having been at the comedy game for as long as he can remember, the pre-stage jitters “never go away”.

“Even if you went at this forever, and you’re Jerry Seinfeld, there’s still this anxiety for half an hour before you’ve gone on that’s worse than anything you’ve ever felt,” he added.

Soon after, the long-dreaded night arrives. I’m booked for five minutes at Funny Feckers, a mid-week open mic night in Kentish Town, north London.

Wesley Dalton, a comedian and actor from Bray, is the cordial host and MCs the show, which celebrated its year-long residency last week.

On the night, Wes can see I’m nervous and tries to calm me down by reassuring me that no one in the audience is going to chop me up into pieces with a machete.

All I’m thinking at this point is: “How can he be so sure?”

What’s worse is that the day before, Wes gets an email from American actress Mary Lynn Rajskub who stars in the television drama series 24.

As well as acting, Rajskub does comedy and after she books up for five minutes Wes inevitably leaks the news on Facebook.

So what’s normally a busy night at Funny Feckers turns into a packed-to-the-rafters one.

The show is housed in a downstairs bunker at Hoot N’ Annie’s bar.

Picture the size of your richest childhood friend’s garage. Add at least 60 half-cut punters, plus, tonight, at least a dozen more clambering on the stairs for a view. Along with another handful front left, who are stationed so close to the stage you can almost smell their feet.

American actress Mary Lynn Rajskub also performed a set
That was my view taking to the stage — the fifth act just before 8.30pm on the night.

The comics before me are pretty hot as well. Laughs flow and the place is buzzing.

Strangely, the fear has subsided a little as it dawns on me that ‘this is it, there’s no way of backing out now’.

Maybe laughter therapy does work, I think to myself, although no Zen-like calm comes over me as Wes introduces me to the audience as a newbie. Instead my attention shifts to the material I’m eager to deliver properly.

I recall the simple yet effective tip of smiling to the audience (cheers Jarlath). I don’t fumble taking the mic out or trip over the stand. It’s already going better than expected.

In fact, aside from a few flashing moments when I think I might have a total freak out and forget what to say, the set goes surprisingly well.

People are laughing; I’m pretty sure it’s with me and not at me.

Although most of my on-stage recollections swirl into a blur, an early crack about growing up around Sutton (which I describe, perhaps harshly, as a suburban mess in south London) — and unexpectedly having to return after university — goes down well.

The liberal north London crowd seems to enjoy my working-class tales leaden with lads on the smash, trips to the bookies and snippets of bizarre yet brilliant tales overheard while pulling pints for geezers in Chelsea tops at the local working men’s club.

I race through the first four minutes. When Wes tells me I’ve got less than a minute to go, I pull a final trick out of the bag to finish.

As it’s a free open mic, the acts can’t be paid. So I pretend to have to cut short the set before I’d had the opportunity to do a section about the internship culture which is commonplace among my generation.

My reasoning is that, before my current job, I’d clocked up many months of working for free trying to get into the creative industries; and therefore there was no way on earth I’d be clocking up even more minutes on the free by running over with this gig.

I tell the audience as much, and leave them there. It feels like a bold move and it works.

I can’t say for sure, but I think I even hear a few whoops as I weave my way through the crowd and off stage, the most relieved man in history.

Afterwards, someone even invites me to do a slot at their open mic night. Another comes up and gives me surely the greatest accolade possible: “You seemed naturally funny.”

After the endorphin rush from the night subsided, the inevitable question arose: Would I ever repeat the experience?

I don’t think so. As a natural worrier, preparing for this gig had been an exhausting few weeks where the rest of my life seemed to hit the brakes.

A final 48-hours of hermit-like existence as I practised delivering the set didn’t seem too healthy either.

The hours would be appealing, for sure. But it’d certainly be no cop out.

I’ve got friends trying to make their way up the greasy comedy pole and they’re out gigging at least three or four nights a week.

They have to put up with low turnouts in dingy rooms, entering crap competitions (which, given the voting systems, are often won by whoever brings the most pals along) and endless self-promo work.

Plus there must be thousands upon thousands of others in exactly the same boat trying to catch the same break.

Nope. For me, I suspect it’ll go down as another one ticked off the list.

As you might do after going to see old ruins like the Giant’s Causeway or the Rolling Stones. Click Here


February 21, 2014    The Scotsman

Review of Joke Thieves

 Click Here


Review

August 24, 2013    Three Weeks

Review of 99 Club Stand-up Selection - Free

Review

Compèred by James Woroniecki, this comedy night delivered many laughs by four very accomplished comedians. Brett Goldstein effortlessly won over the crowd with his polished delivery, while Carly Smallman, singing with her guitar, found humour in the unlikely topic of incest, as she sang about fancying her (thankfully imaginary) little brother. Richard Todd criss-crossed all over the stage with his scraggly hair, showcasing his surrealist sense of humour with. The night was rounded off by Matt Green, who actively engaged with audience members he picked out, making jokes on the fly, as well as telling stories of his travels in Paris. A great opportunity to get a taste of four capable comedians. Click Here


Review

August 14, 2013    The Skinny

Review of 99 Club Stand-up Selection - Free

Review

Presenting a new selection of four of the finest comedians from the Fringe each night for free, this show is stonkingly good value. These ripe talents will offer you a rich punnet of satisfyingly funny standup, so dig in! Tonight’s line-up demonstrated just why this show is so highly regarded each year.


First up the hilarious Dan Nightingale, who revealed how turning 32 had encouraged him to appreciate the value of reasonably priced, reasonably comfortable and reasonably fashionable clothes from Burton. It's also turned him into a Dickensian schoolteacher whenever he converses with the agonisingly hip staff in Topshop.

Second, Lee Wong, who takes advantage of his part-Chinese heritage to, among other things, shout through his letterbox and put off unwanted charity collectors coming to his flat. A witty young guy with a brilliantly dry and self-effacing humour.

Third, Michael Fabbri, who highlights how the internet can spiral out of control and off subject, demonstrating how you go from China to rich tea biscuits in just a few posts. An astute, funny comic who had the audience in creases.

Fourth, and my personal favourite, Australian Benny Boot. An energetic dude who buzzes on the stage and fires out a serious of incredibly funny short jokes. Covering everything from parrots to dynamite microphones, his enthusiasm is infectious.

Overall this foursome had the packed audience chortling throughout. Take advantage of this opportunity to see some of the finest acts of the Fringe for free – highly enjoyable and incredibly funny. Click Here


August 7, 2012    ThreeWeeks

Review of 101 Comedy Club

'Funny. Fast. Free' ★★★★ Click Here