Reviews & features: Suzanne Black

181 reviews

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Atrium

17 Aug 20103 stars

Theatre interrupted

Last year Belt Up caused a stir by blindfolding the audience during The Trial. Even without blindfolds there is a great deal of trust placed in a theatre company: to guide the audience clearly (and safely) to an as-yet unknown destination. When standard…

Creatures

16 Aug 20104 stars

The humour is toe-curlingly awkward

Susan Harrison is a tiny wee ball of ginger energy. Her character sketch show is akin to being at a conference in The Office with the cast of Animaniacs: the humour is toe-curlingly awkward and the characters like twisted fairy tales. It’s better than…

Bang Bang You’re Dead

13 Aug 20102 stars

Update to 1999 version lacks emotional force of original

Writer William Mastrosimone and director Michael Fisher update their 1999 attempt to make sense of student Kip Kinkel’s killing spree at Thurston High School, Springfield, Oregon. This well-respected version lacks the emotional force attributed to the…

Imperial Fizz

12 Aug 20104 stars

Fast-talking 1930s drawing room satire with a twist

Like the spirit of Oscar Wilde (all barbed wit and intricate language) filtered through a dark Lovecraftian sensibility, Imperial Fizz adds an extra ingredient to a classic recipe to delicious effect. Sophie Fletcher directs American Brian Parks…

Decky Does A Bronco

12 Aug 20104 stars

Winning revival of site-specific coming-of-age drama

Reviving its award-winning 2000 production of Douglas Maxwell’s site-specific play Grid Iron set up home in a Canonmills park. In a circular arena focused on a swingset David, a self-confessed ‘pathological reminiscer’, dredges up childhood…

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The White Dalmatian

12 Aug 20103 stars

Fairytale musical with a twist

Little Claire gets a special new stuffed toy for her birthday, Dalmatian Polkadot, but one of her old toys, Witch, is jealous. She magics Dalmatian’s spots to Fairyland and all the other toys have to journey there to retrieve them. In this musical…

The Railway Children

12 Aug 20103 stars

A classic revisited

Rather than cater to contemporary children’s experiences, Sell a Door Theatre Company has gone for a faithful rendition of a classic. E. Nesbit’s well-loved tale of Mrs Waterbury and her three children, who are forced to move to the country while her…

Could it Be Forever?

12 Aug 20103 stars

A bittersweet comedy will have you recall youthful emotion

Six schoolfriends reunite after 37 years to remember an eventful week during which they were in thrall to David Cassidy in this bittersweet comedy about first loves, friendships and the unexpected course of life. Whether you were a pop picker in 1973 or…

Ray Bradbury’s 2116

12 Aug 20103 stars

A dreamy fairytale about the perils of creating perfection

Creepy. Macabre. Childish. Puppets are dangerously captivating. In this new musical by speculative fiction guru Ray Bradbury Mr Marionette leads a dreamy gothic fairytale about the perils of creating perfection. The production, masterminded by…

Suspicious Package

11 Aug 20103 stars

Immersive fun on the streets of Edinburgh

If you’re in a shop in the Grassmarket or on Victoria Street and see some people in daft hats having a stilted conversation read from iPods you’ve probably stumbled across a ‘performance’ of this interactive promenade piece. After being greeted by…

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Jason Cook

11 Aug 20104 stars

Well-crafted, life-affirming stuff

It’s a cliché that comedians just want to be loved, but Jason Cook tries awfully hard to endear himself. Welcoming the audience into The End (Part 1), he lightly teases a few individuals, joshes with a reviewer he recognises and seeks advice and…

Arj Barker

11 Aug 20102 stars

Disappointing gaggery from much-hyped actor

At the top of the show, Arj Barker promises fresh material, points out the contemporary fashion for honesty and vulnerability in comedy, and (whether fairly or not) has drawn a sell-out crowd due to being Dave from Flight of the Conchords. Sounds good…

The Blue Lady Sings

11 Aug 20104 stars

A free cabaret-style show full of humour and skill

Tricity Vogue is blue. Not depressed, literally painted blue. She sings the blues and other lyrically relevant songs. She is also a painting, although slightly unhinged and occasionally escaping her frame. Romping through a series of cabaret-style skits…

New Art Club

11 Aug 20104 stars

Original, charming and very funny

A best-of compilation from the comedy dance duo (who can actually dance) in which Tom Roden and Pete Shenton replay their best bits. Loyal fans and Johnny-come-latelys get to see minimalist experimental pieces, clever wordy numbers and downright silly…

Rob Rouse

11 Aug 20103 stars

Spinning the mundane into the finest yarn

So, what have you been up to? A half-decent comedian should be able to cobble together an entertaining answer to this simple premise and Rouse doesn’t disappoint. Without high concept, gimmick or whimsy, he relates incidents from his recent move to the…

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Memory Cells

10 Aug 20103 stars

Exploring the machinations of power

Louise Welsh excels at excavating the dark and depraved aspects of the human psyche, eking out secret desires and fears. In this dialogue between a beautiful captive girl and her love-deluded jailer, not much else is given away by the brutal staging…

Storm Large - Crazy Enough

9 Aug 20104 stars

A musical memoir with bawdy tales

Storm Large is absolutely gorgeous, what with her mile-long legs, blonde locks and cherubic face. But I think she expects us to be shocked with all her talk about fisting. The American rock chick will learn that Fringe audiences have a high capacity for…

Jungle Book: The Next Chapter

9 Aug 20102 stars

Monkeying around with Kipling’s classic

Rudyard Kipling’s fables are part of the collective national psyche, so this follow-up from Glenn Elston and the Australian Shakespeare Company has a lot to live up to. The story picks up when Mowgli, now grown, returns to the jungle to visit Baloo.

Zambezi Express

9 Aug 20103 stars

Talented performers bring warmth to cold Fringe

Feet stomp, drums resound and mouths scat and sing to conjure a vibrant, joyful Africa through dance, percussion, a cappella vocals and acrobatics. A nominal storyline fails to hinder the packed dance card of contrasting pieces, which errs on the side…

Bound

9 Aug 20103 stars

Brimming with comedic talent, weaker on emotion, generally lovely

Some say life is like a boat: you can move around the deck but the course is set. Six fisherman on their last (sea)legs undertake one more voyage in Bear Trap’s water-based drama about the fibres of human connection. Brimming over with comedic talent…

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Doon MacKichan - Primadoona

8 Aug 20104 stars

Turning tragedy into comedy

Life has heaped a lot of lemons on Doon MacKichan: death, divorce, illness, a career in voiceovers. It’s given her some treats as well, to be fair: children, two Emmys, the ability to Flamenco dance. The accomplished comedy writer and performer turns…

Miles Jupp: Telling it Like it Might be

28 Aug 20094 stars

Mr Nice Guy is generous with the laughs

Playing on his persona as a harmlessly posh good egg, the sort you’d happily leave your kids with, Jupp crafts tales of his failings and faux pas, mishaps visited on him and his own ineptitudes into a rolling onslaught of rib-tickling yarns. Designed to…

Emptymouthing

25 Aug 20092 stars

Doesn’t cohere into anything substantial

Susie Campbell’s one-woman show takes the Hansel and Gretel fairytale and deconstructs it to show society’s preoccupation with food, mixing in her own tale of eating disorders. Using storytelling, movement and props her analogy holds, and live music…

John Gordillo

24 Aug 20092 stars

Application of economic principles to heterosexual relationships

Ostensibly an application of economic principles to heterosexual relationships, Gordillo uses the concept to frame some adroit domestic whining in the first half. The second is a complex exploration of pornography's depiction of women. Running 20…

Matt Price

24 Aug 20093 stars

Cleverly constructed, highly personal story about love

My Girlfriend Was Attacked by a Small-Time Wannabe Gangster and This is What I Did About It is a vividly descriptive title, but there's more to this surprisingly tender confessional directed by John Gordillo. The lovely Price performs a cleverly…