Reviews & features: Paul Dale

75 reviews

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Transmitted Live: Nam June Paik Resounds

11 Aug 2013

The artist who brought television to art is celebrated during the Edinburgh International Festival

Like so many radical Asian artists of his generation, the original video freak, composer and cultural terrorist / spiritualist Nam June Paikwas born into wealth in 1932. As Korea was being defiled by Japanese occupation in preparation for the…

The Silky Pair

22 Aug 20122 stars

A few sketches hit the mark, but feels cobbled together

Female duo The Silky Pair sells sketches and songs from their comedy shop. Punters have the chance to buy complete routines including outfits and hand gestures. It's a conceptual comedy cliché that's as old as The Two Ronnies but that doesn't mean it…

I Am, I Am

15 Aug 20124 stars

Highly entertaining slapstick minstrelry from promising troubadour comedy duo

For ones so young it's obscene how much confidence these duelling acoustic troubadours from Cambridge have. With their genre shifting ditties and punning rhymes I Am, I Am are most obviously comparable to The Flight of the Conchords but their very…

The Funeral of Conor O'Toole

11 Aug 20123 stars

Compassionate comedy skirting with tedium

Fey, morbid and awkward Conor O’Toole is an unlikely comedian. A noted Goth, O’Toole wants to plan his own funeral and he is after an audience. He leads a curious bunch of punters from Bristo Square to Greyfriars Kirkyard, gets them to settle near some…

Jessie Cave: Bookworm

11 Aug 20123 stars

A bookish, kooky, bolshy hour

Jessie Cave has a thing about books. She also has a thing about power. Founding a book club is a given. Giddy with excitement, Cave parades her many eccentricities while laying down the various rules of book club. Before becoming an actress (she played…

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7 Aug 20124 stars

Rabid account of US punk movement from one man and a cellist

Long before Kurt Cobain moved to Seattle, sold his ass and lost his soul, the clouds of the American punk rock movement were gathering, rumbling and occasionally transcending. From the poetic beat riffs of Gregory Corso through to the narcotic and…

Ma Biche et Mon Lapin

6 Aug 20123 stars

A quirky French comedy from Collectif Aie Aie Aie

Like escapees from a Jean-Pierre Jeunet and/or Marc Caro film (Delicatessen/Amelie/Micmacs), Julien Mellano and Charlotte Blin are craft store silent vaudeville eccentrics; Gallic bunraku doll puppet handlers with no puppets but a whole load of mutant…

Bette and Joan - The Final Curtain

23 Aug 20114 stars

Witty other-worldly ode to Hollywood starlets

It’s 1989 and Bette Davis, betrayed by kith and kin, lies alone and dying. Her nemesis Joan Crawford arrives to guide her to the other side, and then the fireworks begin. Foursight Theatre’s witty and inventive deconstruction of the relationship between…

Ruby Wax: Losing It

19 Aug 20113 stars

A fevered and empowering comic monologue

According to a 2009 report, one in ten people in Scotland take daily medication for depression. This demographic are Ruby Wax’s kind of people. Broadened out from a community project that Wax and best friend/musician Judith Owen toured around NHS mental…

Richard Demarco and Joseph Beuys

17 Aug 20114 stars

An art world friendship under a Scottish sky

A single rose can make a garden; a single friend can make a world. Writer, artist and philosopher Richard Demarco’s friendship with the humanistic artist Joseph Beuys was something special. These two passionate, occasionally obtuse men were drawn to…

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Paul Foot: Still Life

16 Aug 20113 stars

Childish ingenuity and some laughs but feels like going through the motions

Like Frankie Howerd before him, procrastination and performance deconstruction filtered through a mesh of silliness are Foot’s stock in trade. Despite previous Fringe prowess, Still Life has him going through the motions. There’s childish ingenuity and…

The Qatsi trilogy at the 2011 Edinburgh International Festival

15 Aug 20115 stars

Godfrey Reggio's film trilogy with Philip Glass Ensemble live score is a masterpiece

It’s been twenty-eight years since I saw Koyaanisqatsi, twenty-odd since I saw Powaqqatsi, and almost a decade since Naqoyqatsi. The first two I saw in empty art house cinemas on wet afternoons, I watched the third in a somnambulistic state from my sofa…

Danny Bevins

15 Aug 20113 stars

Muscular comedy from the former soldier, jailbird and redneck

Former soldier, jailbird and dysfunctionally raised red neck, Bevins is a gifted and dyspeptic stand-up, stringing together material on the ancient theme that all humanity is excrement. Like a mildly less political Bill Hicks, Bevins likes to confound…

Carey Marx

12 Aug 20113 stars

The thinking man’s shock jock

Middle-aged and feeling decrepit and pointless, Carey Marx believes in speaking his sordid little mind. Opinions on clitoral stimuli, fat people who stop suddenly in the street, feminists and circumcision-revenge-rabbi-rape spill easily from his…

Colin Hoult

8 Aug 20112 stars

Talented and energetic performer targets UK provinces

Somewhere between Angry Boys and The League of Gentlemen lies Colin Hoult. A clearly talented and energetic performer, Hoult’s bag is the grotesquery of the provinces. Crap Welsh poets, crime stoppers from East Midlands, gleeful northern dogs and…

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Doctor Brown

8 Aug 20112 stars

Silent and vulgar tedium

Surrealism and silent comedy have a long and healthy relationship. Ask Mack Sennett, Charlie Chaplin or Buster Keaton. You’d have to dig them up first, but that may be preferable to spending time with the hirsute Doctor Brown. In his silk dressing gown…

Ingrid Calame

5 Aug 20114 stars

Water water everywhere with only a doodle to drink

A river runs through Ingrid Calame’s work. But this river has been drained and all that remains are detritus and old stains. Somewhere between Google Earth screen grabs, weighty childhood nature books with their own illustrative key codes and fey…

Anton Henning: Interieur No. 493

5 Aug 20113 stars

Curious and bemusing conceptual art salon at 2011 Edinburgh Art Festival

If, as critic and writer Cyril Connolly once noted, ‘vulgarity is the garlic in the salad of life’ German artist Anton Henning might just have halitosis. Henning’s first solo show in Scotland is just about as curious and bemusing an exhibition as you…

Elizabeth Blackadder

3 Aug 20114 stars

Brilliant retrospective of work by one of Scotland’s major artists

Elizabeth Blackadder is a Dame, a Royal Academician and arguably Scotland’s most popular female painter and printmaker. A major retrospective of her work at Scotland’s biggest gallery space was only ever going to draw sighs of resignation from art snobs…

Tony Cragg

3 Aug 20114 stars

Stunning showcase of sculptor’s poetic, monolithic output

From Scouse lab technician to director of Kunstakademie, Düsseldorf, Cragg’s prolific artistic journey has been one of inspiration and rejection, absorption and a will to move beyond. While the works of Max Ernst, Richard Long, Joseph Beuys and Henry…

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Leroy Jones Band - Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival

21 Jul 2011

The trumpeter visits Edinburgh after appearances in TV drama Treme

‘I was in an episode two weeks ago with my local quintet. I was performing one of my original compositions for about a minute and twenty seconds.’ Bandleader and trumpeter Leroy Jones is bubbling with pride over his recent appearance in an episode of…

Precious Light - David Mach interview

6 Jul 2011

Artist's first major Scottish exhibition in years at Edinburgh Art Festival 2011

It’s just after 9am in Forest Hill in South London. The denizens of this leafy area have walked their children to school and boarded their commuter trains. In David Mach’s messy but unfussy two-floored studio, two handfuls of assistants and technicians…

War correspondent Martin Bell to give Oliver Stone another chance

24 Jun 2011

Martin Bell will be introducing Oliver Stone's Salvador at the EIFF

‘I tend to walk out of films about wars that I reported on. I walked out of Oliver Stone’s Salvador when I first saw it in 1986 that’s why it will be interesting to present it and revisit it in Edinburgh. I remember he satirised a female reporter I know…

Edinburgh International Film Festival 2011 opens with an Oirish whimper (not a bang)

16 Jun 2011

65th festival gets underway despite disappointing opener The Guard

So the 65th edition of the Edinburgh International Film Festival is now open. It opened last night, a balmy, spitty Wednesday evening, with a screening of John Michael McDonagh’s decidedly patchy Irish comedy policier The Guard starring Brendan Gleeson.

EIFF 2011 - Five to try: Conflict and Reportage

27 May 2011

Our picks for the Edinburgh International Film Festival's outsider strands

Conflict and Reportage Frontline Club: Martin Bell presents Salvador Broadcasting and politics’ ‘man in the white suit’ says of this event: ‘I tend to walk out of films about wars that I reported on. I walked out of Oliver Stone’s Salvador when I…