Reviews & features: Anna Millar

118 reviews

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Briefs: The Second Coming

21 Aug 20133 stars

Aerial trickery, vaudeville, smuttiness and muscles combine for a brilliant bonkers show

Elaborate dick pouches, man-dogs and defecation are just some of the high – and low – lights of a Briefs show, as occasionally brilliant as it is totally bonkers. A fabulous Priscilla, Queen of the Desert-inspired opening sets the tone for an all-male…

Mercy Killers

11 Aug 20133 stars

Broadway's Michael Milligan gives heart-breaking performance

This searing one man show manages to make politics personal, largely thanks to a heart-breaking performance from leading man and Broadway actor Michael Milligan. What could have been painfully simplistic or horribly over-played, is executed with…

Blam!

9 Aug 20135 stars

Glorious movie-based mayhem

In the world of Blam! the underdog is King. And this right royal ruckus has more than a few loyal servants, as a pumped-up crowd leap to their feet – after a high octane hour – to show their appreciation. Set in a bland office space, three men, and…

Chalk Farm

9 Aug 20133 stars

Insightful examination of London riots

When the London riots exploded in the summer of 2011, 24-hour news images of smashed-up cars, torched buildings and hoodie-clad ‘youths’ were propelled onto our television screens. The blame game began. David Cameron referred to the ‘pure and simple…

Lady Rizo

8 Aug 20134 stars

Sweeping vocals from New York's seasoned pro

As she prowls into the room, all foxy grey lace dress and huge eyelashes, there’s no doubting New Yorker Lady Rizo is a class act. Which is all to the good, with a tough Monday night crowd to seduce, and uninspired opener ‘Bali Hai’ from South Pacific…

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Making News

6 Aug 20133 stars

Phil Jupitus, Sara Pascoe and Dan Starkey in decent take on BBC news

To say it’s been a bad year for the BBC is to note that Edinburgh gets a bit busy over the festival. So the inspiration for Making News couldn’t be clearer. That it was penned by the scribes behind Coalition, last year’s smart take on the government…

The Shawshank Redemption

6 Aug 20133 stars

Omid Djalili and Kyle Secor in Stephen King's tale adapted for the stage

Given the warmth felt for the film adaptation of Stephen King’s prison-based novella, it’s little surprise that The Shawshank Redemption is one of the hottest tickets at this year’s Fringe. A tale of friendship and hope in the face of adversity, King’s…

Anna

5 Aug 20134 stars

Badac Theatre present a brutal tour de force

A lift opens and we step inside. Emerging moments later, a stark, sterile basement corridor lies ominously before us. Bright strip lights buzz overhead, as a woman ushers us to stand against the walls. And so it begins: Badac Theatre Company’s…

The Confessions of Gordon Brown

4 Aug 20132 stars

A well-written one-man show that suffers from a lack of real revelations

Any biographical tale is only as strong as its leading character – and herein lies the rub with The Confessions of Gordon Brown. As one of Scotland’s best, and most divisive, politicians Brown was one of Britain’s most forgettable prime ministers. While…

New Underbelly venue Topside hosts Doctor Brown, Alexander Masters and more

31 Jul 2013

The Fringe 2013 venue is also home to The Adventures of Alvin Sputnik and Le Gateau Chocolat

Here at List HQ we love a new venue, and are much excited by Topside, the Underbelly’s newest venture, to be found at the back of Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre. Highlights heading for the 200-capacity theatre studio include the world premiere of…

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[title of show] fuses musical theatre and real life at 2013 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

30 Jul 2013

UK premiere of quirky US Broadway musical hit

Anyone who saw Daniel Kitson’s 2012 Fringe sell-out, about a writer writing a play about writers writing another play, will agree that the show-within-a-show format has grown serious legs in recent years. This year Patch of Blue Theatre stride out with…

Physical theatre production BLAM! promises 'Die Hard meets The Office'

10 Jul 2013

The Danish production is coming to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2013

An elevator pings. Throaty laughter drifts round the corner and four beaming faces appear. ‘Coffee. We need coffee, please.’ Twelve hours ago, these caffeine-craving cohorts enjoyed a rowdy standing ovation in Reykjavik’s main theatre. Six hours ago…

Full programme announced for Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2013

30 May 2013

New shows from Ontroerend Goed, Michael Nyman and Brendon Burns among highlights

After a month of being drip fed nuggets, the full Fringe feast has been revealed, with a whopping 2,871 shows performed by 24,107 artists in 273 venues across Edinburgh up for grabs. From X-rated puppet musicals and guerrilla style pop-ups to the London…

Programme for the Edinburgh International Festival 2013 puts artists and technology centre-stage

12 Mar 2013

Tod Machover, the Wooster Group and Oper Frankfurt among the EIF programme highlights

A crowd sourced orchestral work by boundary breaker Tod Machover is just one of the many highlights of this year’s Edinburgh International Festival programme. Set over three weeks this August, the EIF’s line-up includes an homage to Allen Ginsberg with…

Bob Downe . . . Smokin'

22 Aug 20122 stars

Style over substance

From the minute he pirouettes onto stage all 70s gear, mega-watt grin and fake blonde hair, it’s clear Aussie’s ‘clown prince of polyester’ is having a ball, as he knocks out one karaoke hit after another and embarks on some name-that-tune competitions.

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Clinton The Musical

17 Aug 20123 stars

Ex-president inspires high-energy, catchy musical from talented ensemble

Former United States president Bill Clinton should offer any theatre production – let alone an all-singing, all-dancing musical – some great inspiration for material is a given. But, from his inauguration through to his sexual relations with ‘that…

Man 1 Bank 0

17 Aug 20123 stars

Patrick Combs takes on the money men

Half the challenge of putting on a great show at the Fringe is about finding a great story, and Patrick Combs certainly has that. Better still, it’s true. A young man, with a sea of credit card debt, deposits a $95,093.35 junk mail cheque into his local…

Holly Burn: The H Club

11 Aug 20123 stars

Eccentric sketches imbued with a liberating lack of reason

To say that Holly Burn is a bit bonkers, is like saying Edinburgh gets a bit busy during August. A familiar face on the Fringe scene, Burn’s barmy Geordie shtick seems to bemuse, confuse -- and when she hits the right note -- amuse her audience in equal…

The Life and Sort of Death of Eric Argyle

8 Aug 20124 stars

Savvy set design and excellent soundtrack in provoking limbo-land tragicomedy

Eric Argyle died at 11.42am two days ago; yet here he is, heart aching, mind racing in a confusing laboratory-cum-limbo-land. The Life and Sort... is another highly accomplished piece from the team behind last year’s success Minute After Midday. 15th…

Josh Widdicombe

7 Aug 20124 stars

Fast-rising funnyman entertains with acute observational humour

‘The Guardian called me a geezer today’ announces Josh Widdicombe, as he wanders onto the stage, looking less ‘Geez a go’, more shaggy-haired boy next door. ‘So watch it, or I’ll knife you and that.’ He laughs, we laugh. If this fast-rising funnyman…

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Slice

7 Aug 20123 stars

Mel Giedroyc's debut is a bittersweet lunchtime treat

This promising playwriting début from Mel Giedroyc (of Mel & Sue fame) arrives at the Fringe fresh from a successful run at Glasgow’s Oran Mor earlier this year, and has lost none of its emotional verve in transit. Three troubled sisters congregate in…

Peter Panic

7 Aug 20122 stars

Dystopian Peter Pan fails to inspire an emotional response

Showing an altogether darker, dystopian view of JM Barrie’s titular character of Peter Pan, Function Theatre brings together a brutal tale of morality, mob rule and the power of the State, stripping Barrie’s oeuvre of its innocence in the…

Jigsy

6 Aug 20123 stars

Nostalgic yet brave tale of a comedian past his prime, starring Les Dennis

It’s a brave man who takes on the role of an ageing, fading comedian. Braver still, if you’re Les Dennis – as well known for his Family Fortunes success, as his more recent foray into the dismal world of Celebrity Big Brother. Both are swiftly…

Milo McCabe: Kenny Moon This is Your Life

6 Aug 20123 stars

Bemusing character comedy from Milo and his dad

It’s all a bit barmy in the Gilded Balloon’s Billiard Room, as character chameleon Milo McCabe brings his unique brand of funny to this year’s Fringe. Irish comedy legend Kenny Moon (played by McCabe’s real-life father and New Faces star, Mike McCabe…

Lie. Cheat. Steal. Confessions of a Real Hustler

5 Aug 20122 stars

Slightly underwhelming show from Paul Wilson, writer and star of BBC3'S The Real Hustle

It’s a tricky old business recreating small screen success on the theatre stage, but Paul Wilson, writer and star of BBC3’s The Real Hustle handles it with reasonable gusto, albeit in a far more confined environment. It was The Sting movie, which…