Cinema (Northern Stage at Summerhall, Monday 9th August 2015) ***

Having learnt my lesson from previous years, I booked most of the shows each day in one venue. Today was the start of my Northern Stage at Summerhall day.

The first show was a monologue about a horrific fire which took place in August 1978 at the Cinema Rex in Abadan, Iran. The story is told by a cat who has used her nine lives up. The whole hour is very moving, and well performed. The issue, I had was that the cat concept just didn’t work for me. I didn’t ever believe that the cat could experience the human emotion to make the whole thing work. The cat’s back story just wasn’t interesting enough.

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My verdict: ***

Weekend Rockstars (Underbelly, Sunday 8th August 2015) *****


It was the end of my third day and I’d had two late nights, so why not a third?

This is a piece by Luke Barnes who is an exciting young playwright and the author of Chapel Street and Visitor. Barnes’ writing and Middle Child’s energetic performance is thoroughly entertaining.

The production is a mix of dialogue and music, telling the story of Terry who is living through the worst week of his life. Each day gets worse, but as the weekend arrives, Terry is going to be a rockstar. Though Terry loses his girl, his job and more, there is a positive, optimistic feel and ending to the piece.

I was enthralled by the lead singer’s performance as Terry. He had a habit of making eye contact which drew me into the piece.

When I went to see this, early in the run, the audience was sparse. Maybe it was the venue and the slot combined, but I hope word spreads and more people get to see this show.

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My verdict: *****

Patrick Monahan. The Disco Years (Gilded Balloon, Sunday 8th August 2015) ***

 The Disco Years was a fun show with a little bit of audience participation. Patrick Monahan talks about his Iranian background alongside a backdrop of 1970’s disco music. Monahan had a great way with families and managed to involve the children in the audience in the show without it being embarrassing. Monahan managed to sustain a joke about the bloke next to me having two wives throughout the show, which was amusing.

The show was funny, and the autobiography was interesting. I enjoyed being able to disco dance at the end.

My verdict: ***

Shit-Faced Shakespeare (Udderbelly, Sunday 8th August 2015) ***

Firstly, I had to go to at least one show in the Udderbelly which had moved from its usual spot in Bisto Square to George Square. The Uddrbelly is basically an upside-down purple cow! That’s amusing in itself.

Shit-Faced Shakespeare is Shakespeare performed with a pissed up cast member. It’s fairly amusing and OK for an hour.

The production that I saw was The Merchant of Venice with some changes such as Antonio romantically getting Jessica at the end. I suppose the problem I have with this is that I find Shakespeare funny anyway, and yes there’s some skill in timing, but basically the production was fairly straight forward. Much of the comedy came from the ‘shit-faced’ actor sat in the aisles commenting on the action.

My verdict: ***

Confessions of a Redheaded Coffeeshop Girl (Gilded Balloon, Sunday 8th August 2015) ****

Rebecca Perry performs this monologue with humour and some song. The show does what it says on the tin (title in this case). The show is the story of a girl (Joanie Little) working in a coffee shop because she can’t get a graduate job. Joanie has got a degree in Anthropology and puts that to good use in the coffee shop where she observes all the customers and colleagues. There’s the owner a bit like a gorilla, the jogger like a turkey and her ex who is like a peacock.

Joanie dreams of working with her idol Jane Goodall. She even has a picture of Goodall in her flat and talks to her on an evening.

I couldn’t help liking Joanie, and it’s the kind of piece that you know nothing bad will come of it.

Like many Festival ticket buys, I bought the ticket on the basis that the title of the show sounded good. I was glad that I did.

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My verdict: ****