Umbrella Birds (3 stars)

This article is from 2008.

Umbrella Birds

Sweating out life's problems

Mark Watson is no longer the hardest working performer on the Fringe. That accolade may actually go to Emily Watson Howes who just so happens to be the popular stand-up's good lady missus. Not only is she the creator and director of World War II drama How it Ended, she writes and stars in Gym, the follow-up to last year's WC, with the action occurring exclusively in a health club. While WC took place in a Fringe Portaloo, Gym's run is at the Pleasance, albeit in one of the venue's less breeze-friendly rooms, the perspiration of the fitness fanatics pretty much matched by those slumped in their seats.

A series of sketches gallop by as characters spill their guts while stretching their limbs; many of them are obnoxious, shy, cheated, scared, weird or lonely, either in search of some meaning to life or running away from the ghastly truth. Beautifully performed, the sketches don't worry about being all-out hilarious, preferring instead to focus on life's little woes and finding a precise and humane wit within.

Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 1 Sep (not 12), 6pm, £8.50–£9.50 (£7–£8).

Umbrella Birds

  • 3 stars

'Gym' is a follow-up to last year's 'WC' and offers a series of sketches to sweat out life's problems. 'Part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe'.

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