Reviews

Festival Reviews

Theatre review: The End Of Eddy, The Studio

The theme of patriarchal attitudes and the damage they can inflict rolls on like an unstoppable flood through this year’s Festival; and this new stage version by Pamela Carter and Stewart Laing of Edouard Louis’s acclaimed 2014 novel The End Of Eddy is part of that tide, an indictment of the fierce, even violent, homophobia that still exists in places such as the depressed post-industrial village in northern France where Eddy grew up, and an affirmation that for any boy born there who cannot conform to the hard-drinking, beer-swilling, football-watching norm, escape – usually via education – is the only option.

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Theatre review: A Hero Of Our Time, C royale

Theatre review: A Hero Of Our Time, C royale

“He has a pompous phrase for every opportunity without an ounce of poetry in his soul.” So says charismatic Russian military man Pechorin of his on-and-increasing-off friend Grunshnitsky in this vibrant adaptation of Mikhail Lermontov’s 19th century novel, which brings to life a passionate story of unrequited love and action-packed adventure, all in a tiny basement.

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Jericho's message is mind-expanding. Picture: Contributed

Theatre review: Jericho, Underbelly Cowgate

Around midway through this show by Irish company Malaprop – or a little over midway, as we discover – it appears as though we may be in the presence of a really special piece of theatre that addresses the issues of the age with outstanding humour and genuine invention.

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Music review: Pavel Haas Quartet, Queen’s Hall

Music review: Pavel Haas Quartet, Queen’s Hall

You could never accuse Prague’s Pavel Haas ­Quartet of stinting on drama. The foursome attacked their richly coloured programme with breathtaking vigour and no less abandon – there was a chance the whole thing could have come off the rails, were it not for the group’s ­impeccable control and minute attention to nuance.

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Theatre review: Unsung, Summerhall

Theatre review: Unsung, Summerhall

In this latest monologue by the acclaimed Antwerp-based theatre-maker ­Valentijn Dhaenens, the stage is laid out like an exaggerated version of the speakers’ platform in any deluxe conference centre. There’s a lectern amid a forest of tropical pot-plants; and in the middle, a man in a suit, a fit and handsome-looking young leader-in-waiting, about to make a speech.

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Music review: John Grant, Playhouse

Music review: John Grant, Playhouse

There is such a casual brilliance to Canadian crooner John Grant’s music that even his most relaxed, straightforward concert reveals scintillating layers to his sound, and so it was with one of the most keenly anticipated shows of the International Festival’s contemporary music programme, with Grant and his Icelandic band – plus the notable piston engine of Siouxsie and the Banshees drummer, Budgie – embellished only by a stage set of illuminated pillars that looked imported from a 1980s music video.

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Rebecca Vaughan  is an assured performer and Orlando's inner world comes alive in her hands. Picture: Ben Guest

Theatre review: Orlando, Assembly Roxy

Rebecca Vaughan (Austen’s Women, Jane Eyre: An Autobiography) gives a towering performance in Elton Townend Jones’s adaptation of Virgina Woolf’s 1928 novel. Orlando is the luscious, sweeping tale of a callow youth who dreams of being a great poet, who is granted immortality at the hand of an ageing Queen Elizabeth I, and becomes a witness to the next four centuries, shifting in gender as easily as he shifts in time.

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David Carberry and Alice Muntz balance on more than bottles. Picture: Contributed

Dance review: Sediment, Assembly Roxy

If you saw Australia’s Company 2 going wild with a jazz band in Scotch & Soda, then put those memories to bed before entering the world of Sediment. This time there is no big band to back up the action, no nine-strong troupe twisting and tumbling, just an intimate two-hander performed by a couple in need of a bit of relationship therapy.

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Theatre review: That Bastard Brecht, Paradise in Augustines

Theatre review: That Bastard Brecht, Paradise in Augustines

“So, what made you choose this?” a woman asks an older couple queuing for the show. “We like Brecht,” is the reply. However, this new musical from David Dunn and Australian company NUWORKS has a mainstream, upbeat feel, lots of bohemian energy and catchy songs, despite also exploring the life of the avante-garde playwright.

Edinburgh festivals
The staging makes for an 'immersive tapestry'. Picture: Contributed

Theatre review: Bride Of The Gulf, C Cubed

Do you “make bombs and movies”? a young Iraqi man patrolling the landscape asks. Yes? “Congratulations,” he proclaims, “You are a part of a first-world country.” He’s talking to his friend about who is best placed to tell the story of the people of Basra: Iran is the somewhat surprising conclusion; they are simply better at filmmaking, he shrugs.

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