I’m getting the hang of the Edinburgh public transport system (there is still no tram system which is a bone of contention to the locals). The bus I get at the top of the street where I’m staying in Leith takes me to right outside the Traverse Theatre.
It was here where I was hoping to see two plays back to back – I’m With The Band and Quietly but the shows overlapped, so Quietly will wait till tomorrow.
I’m With The Band
I’m With The Band by Tim Price is the story about an Englishman, a Northern Irishman, a Scotsman and a Welshman who walked into a recording studio and created The Union, a commercially successful and critically acclaimed pioneering indie-rock band that is now on the verge of breaking-up after ten years at the top.
With live music from the four multitalented musicians, this is a witty and all so realistic tale of life in a rock and roll band in decline. A superb work, it is directed by the Traverse’s associate director Hamish Pirie, and the actor musicians (James Hillier, Declan Rogers, Andy Clark and Matthew Bulgo) pull off a masterful and believable piece of work.
I’m With The Band ★★★★☆.
My next show wasn’t for a couple of hours so I wandered down Princes Street for some retail therapy before I arrived at The Assembly Hall for Drum Stuck. This is the brainchild of the Drum Café’s Warren Lieberman and co-created with Kathy-Jo Wein.
Drum Struck originally premiered in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2002 and has since become a phenomenon, touring the world with shows in New York, Japan, Australia, China and Vietnam.
Billed as the first interactive drum theatre experience, it has won over audiences with its exhilarating presentation of African beats and explosive energy. This one-of-a-kind show provides every audience member with a drum to play along with the on stage performers.
There is a thinly veiled story about the Ubuntu Queen dying and we all need to help her live by drumming with the cast.
The story doesn’t matter as this is a fantastic experience for all the family. Everybody was drumming, singing and dancing by the end. The vocal and percussive ability of the cast is amazing and it was a real feel good time.
Drum Stuck ★★★★☆
Dean Friedman – Words And Music
The next show was a strange experience. It was Dean Friedman – Words And Music at the Sweet Grassmarket. This was a difficult venue to find and I had to wolf down a curry and dash to get there in time.
When I got there I found it was a posh hotel and the show was in one of the larger rooms that would seat about 60 or 70 people; there was about 25 of us in there.
I don’t know very much about Mr Friedman apart from remembering his big hit Lucky Stars – although I recognised more songs than I remembered. He is very laid back in his delivery and almost seemed uncomfortable when talking to us but is clearly is a very good musician on both guitar and piano.
His voice sounded great but the songs were a mixed bag with the more serious songs being better. Some songs were too sugary for me and the comic songs were very weird and not in a good way.
He played all the hits but I would like to see him play a folk club with the serious songs and drop the comic ones, particularly the one about the snail.
The Best Of The Fest
Last show of the day was The Best Of The Fest, back at the Assembly Hall. This comedy showcase started at midnight and finished at 1.30am, so technically it’s a day six show but who’s quibbling.
There is a different group of six comedians each night with one comic working as compere. There was only one outstanding comedian on tonight’s bill and that was Canadian Craig Campbell who I’ve never seen before, but he was just fantastic. Here are the stars for each comic and one word to describe their set
Craig Campbell – Outstanding ★★★★☆
Adam Hess – Terrible ★☆☆☆☆
Tim Fitzhigham – OK ★★☆☆☆
Jimeoin – Good ★★★☆☆
Damian Clark – Better ★★★☆☆
Milton Jones – Disappointing ★★☆☆☆
Show of the Day: I’m With The Band
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