Reviews & features: Niki Boyle

196 reviews

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Back Door

18 Aug 20143 stars

A gender-bending twist on Alfred Hitchock’s Rear Window at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Offering a gender-bending twist on Alfred Hitchock’s Rear Window, Off-Off-Off-Broadway’s Back Door joins truculent war reporter Tabitha Montgomery (Laura Louise Baker) in 1920s Paris as she recovers from a broken leg. Attended to by wittering fop John…

21 Things You Should Know About Toronto's Crack-Smoking Mayor

17 Aug 20143 stars

Rob Ford-themed political theatre at 2014 Edinburgh Fringe that credits audience with intelligence

Canadian politician Rob Ford had a non-existent profile on the world stage until May last year, when clickbait news website *3Gawker*2 published evidence of him smoking crack cocaine. When Ford’s eventual admission only made things worse (‘Yes, I have…

Come Heckle Christ

14 Aug 20143 stars

Josh Ladgrove's Edinburgh Festival Fringe comedy show is entirely dependent on audience interaction

You get no prizes for guessing that Come Heckle Christ is a show dependent on the quality of its audience. Character comedian Josh Ladgrove props himself on the cross for (almost) the entire duration, responding to a mix of insults, theological queries…

Big Fat Fringe Bribe blog 2014: Misa-Lisin

14 Aug 2014

Langasan Theatre company buy some easy exposure with traditional Taiwanese jewellery

Since receiving our rubber duckie from WithWings, the incessant tide of Big Fat Fringe Bribes had ceased almost immediately. Perhaps it was because all the other Festival performers sensed they wouldn't be able to top a visit from a metaphysical entity…

FOMO: The Fear of Missing Out

12 Aug 20143 stars

Plot gets lost in this enjoyable exploration of Internet age sensation at the Edinburgh Festival Fri

FOMO is the name for the Internet age sensation of looking at all the fun and success your friends are having on social media and feeling like you’re missing out. Zoe McDonald (a name shared by both the character and the actress who plays her) is in a…

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He Had Hairy Hands

11 Aug 20144 stars

Kill the Beast's 1970s werewolf horror comedy is just shy of perfection at the Edinburgh Fringe

I let out a giddy gasp of relief when He Had Hairy Hands experienced a small lull in the second act – up until that point, it was headed for a perfect rating, and who would have credited that? ‘Five stars for a silly retro horror comedy about…

Ablutions

11 Aug 20143 stars

FellSwoop Theatre perform deft but needless adap of Patrick deWitt's novel at the Edinburgh Fringe

Ablutions, adapted from the novel of the same name by Booker-nominated author Patrick DeWitt, has a straightforward, unflashy premise: a nameless barman reflects on his dead-end life, recounting the tales of his own alcoholic excesses and those of the…

Sophie Wu is Minging, She Looks Like She’s Dead

10 Aug 20143 stars

Amusing monologue on teenage years from Fresh Meat from Kick-Ass actress

Sophie Wu is currently forging a decent acting career for herself, picking up supporting roles in the Kick-Ass franchise and Channel 4’s Fresh Meat. She wasn’t always so successful, though: in her teenage years, she suffered intense bullying at the…

George Ryegold: Iron Face in a Velvet Beard

10 Aug 20143 stars

Sturdily constructed and potent Edinburgh Fringe show from disgraced medic

Disgraced medic George Ryegold has an impeccable and reassuring bedside manner. He wears a fuzzy beard and corduroy jacket; his speech is peppered with avuncular Old Etonionisms (everything’s ‘bloody’ or ‘a bugger’); and his Radio 4-friendly voice is…

Foil, Arms and Hog

9 Aug 20142 stars

Likeable enough trio suffer from acute lack of originality

You’ll find nothing especially wrong with affable Irish sketch trio Foil, Arms and Hog. You’ll go along and be vicariously charmed by how much fun they seem to be having on stage; you’ll be swept up in the merriment of the battle of the mimes, or the…

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Jay-Z and Me: A Fast-talking Memoir

8 Aug 20142 stars

Impressive mastery of Hova's verses fails to disguise empty plot at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

60-year-old New Yorker Brenda Cullerton is a massive Jay-Z fan. Forced to attend his concerts alone (her husband isn’t a hip hop fan; her children are too embarrassed), she stands in awe of the man whose love of words equals her own, and whose…

Big Fat Fringe Bribe blog 2014: The Duck Pond

7 Aug 2014

WithWings Theatre Company buy some easy exposure for their Swan Lake adap with a rubber duckie

There was no way the invasion-based bribe trend could continue, so after visits from an inept waiter and Death himself, we were relieved to receive a modest rubber duck bribe from Wings Theatre Company. It came with a rustic hand-written label and show…

The Generation of Z: Edinburgh

5 Aug 20144 stars

Entertaining interative zombie show at 2014 Edinburgh Fringe

'That’s like every movie I absolutely love,’ grins one punter as he emerges, breathless and ecstatic, from immersive action-horror production The Generation of Z. He’s not wrong – all the familiar tropes from modern zombie flicks are present and…

Awkward Conversations With Animals I’ve F*cked

5 Aug 20143 stars

Blacker-than-black comedy has solid in-depth character study but lacks significant story-line

When booking tickets for this blacker-than-black comedy, it may be worth bearing in mind the words of Mike Myers’ Wayne Campbell, who, upon hearing that rock band the Shitty Beatles make awful music, quips: ‘So it’s not just a clever name.’ Yes, the…

300 to 1

5 Aug 20143 stars

A one man version of 300, with added WWI context, at the Edinburgh Free Fringe

The idea of converting Zack Snyder’s homoerotic slash-‘em-up 300 into a one hour, one man stage show is an inherently silly one, if only because 300 stipulates the size of its cast right there in the title. Mancunian writer/performer Matt Panesh (aka…

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Dracula

5 Aug 20142 stars

Action to the Word's gothic musical Edinburgh Festival Fringe production is like Twilight meets Glee

Before we start laying into Action To The Word’s gothic musical adaptation, let it be known: there were just as many audience members offering standing ovations as there were sneaking out mid-show. To find out which side of the dividing line you’re on…

Big Fat Fringe Bribe blog 2014: Goodbye Gunther

5 Aug 2014

A visit from the Grim Reaper results in free publicity for Frank Wurzinger

We thought that Big Fat Fringe Bribe season had peaked with the delivery of a real live human being, but we clearly weren't thinking metaphysically enough. The Grim Reaper himself appeared in the List offices to hand out the next bribe (incongruously, a…

Big Fat Fringe Bribe blog 2014: Faulty Towers: The Dining Experience

4 Aug 2014

The List are presented with their own Spanish waiter in exchange for a few words of exposure

It was always gonna be hard to top a pair of floppy dog ears, but the cast of the Faulty Towers: The Dining Experience (note the clever, lawsuit-negating spelling) did their darndest by pitching something the Big Fat Bribe team had never experienced…

Larry Dean: Scottish Comedian of the Year 2013

3 Aug 20142 stars

An amiable hour that goes nowhere

The show title Scottish Comedian of the Year 2013 isn’t one that inspires a lot of hope in this comedy reviewer. For a start, it’s just lazy – unlike, say, Stewart Lee’s 41st Best Stand-Up, there’s no sense of ironic detachment. Secondly, it has the…

Antiquithon

2 Aug 20143 stars

A short, sharp spook story loaded with sideshow idiosyncrasies and occult ephemera

At only 30 minutes in length and £5 a pop, with up to five performances a day, Antiquithon is placed as the perfect show-between-shows. A short, sharp spook story loaded with sideshow idiosyncrasies, the tale unfolds in a cabinet de curiosité run by the…

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Big Fat Fringe Bribe blog 2014: Snoutology for Beginners

31 Jul 2014

Hijinx Theatre win premium exposure for their live-like-a-dog production

Following Struan Logan's thoughtful and considerate, er, rock, we were after something a bit less philosophical. Hijinx Theatre challenged the permanence of geological fragments with the impermanence of flimsy head-based props – their hairband dog-ears…

Big Fat Fringe Bribe blog 2014: Two More Liars

30 Jul 2014

Stand-up Struan Logan buys some valuable exposure with a minimalist bribe

Comedian Struan Logan doesn't like to stoop to childish, sugar-filled bribery like edible rats. No sire, not he. Struan sent us a symbol of 'the futility of what you and I are both doing. Writing and writing about comedy shows for one month that only a…

Big Fat Fringe Bribe blog 2014: Rat: Induction

30 Jul 2014

The Free Fringe sketch trio keep us sweet with some edible rodents

Board games and word searches are all very well, but they don't give us the artificially-sweetened energy we need to get us through the hectic Fringe days. Thank heavens, then, for sketch comedy trio Rat, who sent us two jumbo tubs of rodent-shaped…

Big Fat Fringe Bribe blog 2014: Whoever Fights

29 Jul 2014

Triad Pictures secure some free publicity for their Free Fringe boxing drama

While we at The List always appreciate an edible bribe, we were left a bit bloated and immovable following the consumption of an entire cheese house. Thankfully, Triad Pictures' delivery of a board game and puzzle book (with a free pen!) meant we could…

Big Fat Fringe Bribe blog 2014: Swiss Cheese

28 Jul 2014

Bawsoot Theatre Company swap some cheesy craftsmanship for valuable exposure

There was a marked contrast between the last bribe we received – Gary from Leeds' ultra-minimalist Yeti Action Pack – and our most recent arrival: a painstakingly assembled cheese house. Hand-delivered by two members of Bawsoot Theatre Company, the…