London Fringe 17: First week reviews

Warning: This review may contain spoilers.

Theatre in London’s team of volunteer reviewers is ready to see and review every show in the 2016 London Fringe before the end of the opening weekend. (By Sunday morning, in fact.) Reviews will initially be posted to each show’s comments section on the Fringe website, and they’ll all be archived here after the festival ends. They’ll also be in this week’s edition of The London Yodeller, along with their own coverage. Keep an eye on @theatreinlondon and the #ldnfringe hashtag on social media for updates during the festival.

6 thoughts on “London Fringe 17: First week reviews”

  1. Shelley Carr

    “Submerged” A Lively Moment Theatre Production

    Vivien Adler mounts a touching one person show about the hopes, dreams of Jessica. Her characterization of Jessica draws you into the fancies of childhood and friendships from your youth.
    Her careful and excited planning for the future brings forth the idyllic memories of youthly ambition. You hope that Jessica becomes all of the things she plans for. However, the viewer knows with age and wisdom plans change.
    Sadly, Jessica’s dreams are lost but her spirit lives on.
    This a beautiful tribute to a life gone too early.

    (This review is part of Theatre in London’s opening week review project.

  2. Shelley Carr

    “Smoker” -Bob Brader

    Mounting his first comedic production, Bob Brader brings his audience deftly into the smoke rings of his life. Smokers will appreciate the honesty of addiction.
    Former smokers will identify with the love of the cigarette and the struggles of quitting something you love.
    Non-smokers will be given an inside view of the struggles of wanting to quit while fighting what you have always been.
    Everyone will enjoy how Bob’s story smoulders its way thru our naive youth, empowered young adulthood and current love relationships.
    Note: 10% of all profits from this production will be going to the Canadian Cancer Society

  3. Shelley Carr

    Almost Alice – Funeral Pyre Theatre – London, Ontario

    Based loosely on the story of Alice in Wonderland, the audience sees grown up Alice dealing with her first loss. The characters of her childhood re-visit her to remind her she cannot
    run to her secret memories all the time. Sometimes, standing up to your fears is the best way to move on.
    The cast in this production is extremely strong with amazing characterizations of the Cheshire Cat, the Flower, the Mad Hatter and the Glow worm.
    There were sections however where the plot was confusing to the audience. Since the characters in Alice in Wonderland are confusing, you are unsure if this was the actual director’s intention.
    Almost Alice is still a great show, more time and practice can make this an excellent production.

    (This review is part of Theatre in London’s opening week review project.

  4. Shelley Carr

    Screwtape – By the Book Productions Toronto, Ontario

    Screwtape is a fantastic one man show based on the writing of C.S. Lewis. featuring John D. Huston. The scene opens with Screwtape preparing for a toast for Slumgob, the Principal of the College of Tempters.
    Extremely verbose and Google Glass dependant, Screwtape prepares with the help of his faithful secretary, Turnpike. Constant interruptions come digitally from Wormwood, requesting assistance in turning a potential victim for hell in the right direction. Screwtape, as a Senior Tempter in Hell’s LowerArchery expounds on the foolishness of the human form, how easily we are turned to Temptation and the fallacies of Faith.
    An extremely smart, thinking production mounted tongue-in-cheek at St Paul’s Church.

    Be prepared to think, laugh and ponder human weakness.

    (This review is part of Theatre in London’s opening week review project.

  5. Paul Connolly says:

    “Saor (free)”

    [Due to what appears to be a technical problem on the Fringe web site, I’m going to post my comment here first and try the other site again later]


    This was the first show I saw at the Fringe and all these days later it’s still with me.

    I recognized the names of Carlyn Rhamey and her director, Melanie White, from their contributions to one of best shows I’ve seen recently (Titus Andronicus at the Arts Project). I had high hopes that this pair would put on a great show. I was not disappointed.

    The personable Ms. Rhamey caught my attention the moment she appeared and she held it throughout. There wasn’t a second, not a one, in which I wasn’t fully engaged in her adventures and her plights.

    I’m grateful to the second commentator here for pointing out the role ADHD takes in structuring the play. I was, for example, curious to learn what happened after Carlyn’s Mr. Darcy opened the door. (My curiosity arose only after I had seen the play–my mind could do no such wondering during the play for Ms. Rhamey’s performance wouldn’t
    permit it).

    I can only guess what it must have taken for her to paint such a convincing self-portrait. Talent? Obviously. But there must also have been a resolute determination to tell the truth, underpinned with intelligence and courage, and the capacity to step back and look dispassionately at her self, her trials and her triumphs.

    The show is very funny, by the way. I’ve now seen a number of purportedly funny shows at the Fringe, heard a
    few laugh lines, seen a few antic situations, but I experienced my only belly laugh when Ms. Rhamey illustrated her presence in Scotland with a postcard showing not a castle, not a skyline of Edinburgh, but what must have been a big-horned Scottish Highland Cow. The incongruity was uproarious. It was only the small space of Procunier Hall and rather small audience that kept me from bursting out in embarrassingly loud laughter (the effort to suppress this brought tears to me eyes). Such incongruity is of course what we call Irony, a form of humor often more rewarding than jokes and prat falls because it affords the audience the opportunity to think.

    Ms. Rhamey’s story certainly struck a few chords in me. To name just one: recognition. As a traveler I’ve experienced much of what she relates about her own journey. I was thinking, “Yes, that’s right, that’s just the way it was for me!” I’ve experienced the back-breaking over-packed backpack, the silliness at the airport baggage carousel, the money going down the drain, the long walk that may be in the wrong direction. As well there are the more pleasant experiences of meeting all kinds of interesting people and encountering unexpected local “color”–the sorts of things that make a sojourn abroad more memorable than the obligatory visits to museums and ruins.

    Well, perhaps I have commented, or effused, enough to imply that I hold this to be a MUST-SEE SHOW. There are only three performances remaining as of this writing, and I hope you can make it.

    (Aside: I had the opportunity to meet Ms. Rhamey and Ms. White after the show, and I mentioned how much I enjoyed Titus Andronicus. I forgot to tell them–and this is for everyone else who worked on that production who may be reading this–that I have seen Titus staged three times, and theirs was in most respects the best of the three–the other two were main stage Stratford productions.)

  6. I was so excited to see your review of Saor! Mel and Carlyn worked very hard on this and it is great to see them do so well. Also, (without trying to steal their thunder) I was very disappointed that there was not a review of Titus as we were all very proud of it, so thank you so much for your kind words!

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