Reviews & features: Niki Boyle

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Big Fat Fringe Bribe blog 2014: A TED Talk with Clay JW Crowne

24 Jul 2014

Ben Mills buys some valuable exposure with the gift of German pop

Having thoroughly warmed our wrists with our previous bribe, the List staff were ready to pump our fists in the air to some anthemic pop – which is why we were lucky Ben Mills' bribe arrived when it did. Wolfgang Petry is (according to Wikipedia) one of…

Big Fat Fringe Bribe blog 2014: Sweater Curse - a Yarn about Love

23 Jul 2014

A 'knitting obsessive' buys some exposure with handmade 'small dog sweaters'

Following Chelsea Manders' perhaps too valuable bribe, we were happy to receive something that had more of a homemade vibe to it. 'Writer / actor / obsessive knitter' Elaine Liner sent us an envelope stuffed with woollen wonders; were it not for her own…

Edinburgh Festivals 2014: Your guide to getting around the city

22 Jul 2014

Visiting the Fringe this August? Get familiar with the capital's bus, tram and rickshaw options

On foot Edinburgh isn’t just startlingly beautiful – it’s also pretty compact, and circumnavigable in a matter of hours. Edinburgh Castle is visible from most places, so use that as your landmark and get exploring. Bus Local transport company…

Big Fat Fringe Bribe blog 2014: Chelsea Manders - Don't Tell My Dad

21 Jul 2014

The Canadian comedian buys some exposure with a classy bottle of icewine

Despite trying to emphasise the tongue-in-cheek nature of our Big Fat Fringe Bribe, there are always one or two performers who go above and beyond with their payola. Possibly not realising that she could get away with an ornamental bottle-stopper…

Interview: Hackney Colliery Band on their unique sound ahead of 2014 Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival gig

15 Jul 2014

Group blend Afrobeat and Balkan music with contemporary rock to produce new fusion music

For those of you with a passing knowledge of London who may feel somewhat confused by the Hackney Colliery Band’s name, musician Steve Pretty is here to put your mind at ease. ‘There’s no colliery in Hackney,’ he confirms, describing the moniker as ‘a…

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Lucie Pohl bring debut show Hi Hitler to 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

15 Jul 2014

German-American draws from her unconventional childhood for comedy show

Let’s get one thing out of the way: the title of Lucie Pohl’s Fringe debut, Hi Hitler, is not there purely for shock value. ‘It’s a joke, of course, because when I was young I thought it was a greeting,’ she explains over the phone from Istanbul. ‘I…

Performers of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014: Send us your bribes!

9 Jul 2014

Send us free stuff and get valuable exposure for your show

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the biggest arts festival in the world, and as a result, individual shows or performers can sometimes struggle to make themselves heard. In an ideal world, it'd be great if every show could achieve a decent level of…

Life After Beth

25 Jun 20144 stars

Superlative zombie dramedy starring Dane DeHaan, Aubrey Plaza, Anna Kendrick and John C Reilly

‘Imagine The Graduate, but with zombies.’ That seems to have been Jeff Baena’s brief for Life After Beth, a ‘zomromcom’ that couldn’t be further from the Shaun of the Dead vibe that label suggests. Dane DeHaan is expertly cast as Zach, a gothier version…

Set Fire to the Stars

23 Jun 20143 stars

Elijah Wood and Celyn Jones star in this often overwrought portrayal of Dylan Thomas

Writer-director Andy Goddard has enlisted some world class assistance in creating his debut feature film, an account of Dylan Thomas’ 1950 visit to the United States at the behest of literary academic John Malcolm Brinnin. Cinematographer Chris Seager…

Hellion

23 Jun 20143 stars

Newcomer Josh Wiggins delivers a stellar performance in this delinquent drama

Josh Wiggins makes a startling debut in Kat Candler’s Hellion, bringing to mind the scorching presence of River Phoenix in his portrayal of delinquent youngster Jacob Wilson. When he’s not setting fire to cars or tearing around on his dirtbike, Jacob…

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Island of Lemurs: Madagascar

16 Jun 20143 stars

A beautiful but over-simplified family-friendly nature doc narrated by Morgan Freeman

At 40 minutes, David Douglas’ slender, family-friendly IMAX lemur doc is a hark back to the format’s days as a short-form edutainment outlet. Friendly, photogentic primates leap across the massive screen while Morgan Freeman’s subterranean tones…

Edinburgh International Film Festival 2014: Take a trip to the Island of Lemurs

10 Jun 2014

Writer-producer Drew Fellman discusses the IMAX doc, which is narrated by Morgan Freeman

It’s a cute, furry, animals-acting-like-humans narrative that could have been lifted straight from a Disney storyboard: a group of primates, fearing extinction on the mainland, board a naturally made raft and set sail for distant shores. ‘It’s the sort…

Edinburgh International Film Festival 2014: 5 rising stars

10 Jun 2014

Featuring Dane DeHaan, Kelly Reilly, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Amy Seimetz and Laura Fraser

Dane DeHaan Following recurring roles in two semi-popular TV series (Timbo in vamp drama True Blood; Jesse in Gabriel Byrne psychology series In Treatment), DeHaan was able to fully showcase his vulnerable-but-dangerous side in underrated handheld…

Eddie Izzard, James Franco and Kristen Wiig among the stars of Edinburgh International Film Festival 2014

28 May 2014

The EIFF programme also features Nicolas Cage, Elijah Wood and Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul

New films featuring Robert Duvall, Eddie Izzard, Nicolas Cage and Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul are among the highlights of the Edinburgh International Film Festival 2014, the programme for which was unveiled today. Projects featuring input from James…

A Killer Story

29 Aug 20132 stars

Great noir script let down by poor acting

Here’s the scoop: a private eye is on the case of a missing scientist; he’s presumed murdered, with his dame and his former business partner both in the frame for pulling the trigger. A saxophone purrs like a prostitute in the night as all three step up…

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The Horne Section

27 Aug 20132 stars

Disappointing off night for the usually on-form Horne and his comedy-music hybrid

At one point early in tonight’s show, special guest James Walmsley (formerly of muso-comedy group Dead Cat Bounce) declares that ‘this hasn’t been rehearsed’. Unfortunately, this is more than obvious. Although there’s a certain sense of tightness…

The Secret Agent

22 Aug 20132 stars

Disappointing adaptation of Joseph Conrad classic

There’s a large emphasis on presentation in theatre O’s adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s 1907 novel. The tale of anarchy, terrorism, disability, exploitation and betrayal – set in the waning years of Queen Victoria’s reign – is introduced via a showman’s…

Joke Thieves

20 Aug 20133 stars

A decent mixed line-up of performers nicking each other’s sets

The practise of joke-stealing is so frowned upon in modern comedy circles, it’s bewildering to think that it’s become the central concept in a show – and a successful one at that. On the evening of this sold-out performance (many audience members had to…

Brendon Burns & Colt Cabana

20 Aug 20133 stars

Enjoyable hour of wrestling-themed entertainment

Brendon Burns and Colt Cabana Sit in a Fifty-Seater Around Midnight and Provide the Commentary to Bad Wrestling Matches is, as Burns quickly points out, not a misleading title. Aussie comedian Burns is right at home with his audience of Lycra-loving…

Essential Tom Stade: 12 Nights Only!

20 Aug 20133 stars

Likeable re-run of old ideas

Remember Tom Stade’s early bit on Chinese casinos? How about the incendiary ‘Meat Van Guy’ sketch that broke him on McIntyre’s Road Show? If you loved these skits first time round and want to relive them, you’re in luck: Tom Stade is playing his…

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The Bravery Test

20 Aug 20134 stars

Touching spoken-word comedy show about sibling worship

Angus Dunican is not your average stand-up. Not for him are casual observations about electrical appliances or the difference between the sexes. Instead, he litters his deeply personal story about growing up aspiring to be his brother with such astute…

Seann Walsh

16 Aug 20133 stars

Some truly inspired moments amidst material very much by the numbers

There are a few moments in Seann Walsh’s set – which, predictably, is about how difficult blokes find it to grow up – where he seems to want more from his audience. He gestures to a guy in the front row who ‘hasn’t laughed since the wanking bit’; when…

Jerry & Tom

16 Aug 20133 stars

Tarantino-esque hitman dramedy

There’s a shiver that runs down every critic’s spine when s/he hears the name ‘Tarantino’ in reference to a stage production. This word is invariably not used to describe something the Hollywood director has actually written; rather, it is shorthand for…

Twonkey’s Blue Cadabra

14 Aug 20133 stars

More bizarre absurdity in Twonkey's latest journey to some very strange places

You have to be fully committed when you sign up for a Twonkey show. Through his frequent flights of bizarre absurdity, the man only occasionally known as Paul Vickers (of The Leg and John Peel favourites Dawn of the Replicants) will take you on a…

Edinburgh Festival Fringe shows The Dark Room and Knightmare Live! revisit entertainment of the past

13 Aug 2013

How to get ahead in the retromania game at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

It was only going to be so long before retromania – the habit of repackaging the past to entertain us in the present – outgrew the traditional spheres of film and music and ventured beyond. Two Fringe productions succeed in applying this trend to a…