the house of horrors by Esaf Commitee

We walked into the main prayer hall of St Augustine’s Church on George the IV Bridge. The queue had been long and the set of Little Shops of Horrors exuded and Emerald Green. The show started and the singing chorus made their way on stage in stylish 60s costume, all wearing hints of green.

The set came alive as the chorus set the scene of life in Skid Row. Seymour took the take with beautiful ballads, nerdy charm and had a standout performance alongside the living Audrey II. The delivery was excellent, performance inventive and singing top notch with the casting of Audrey and Mr. Mushnik brilliant. The Edinburgh University Savoy Opera Group deserves 5 stars for this performance and for their closing night were treated with a standing ovation!

Newcastle Brown Male by Esaf Commitee

A great show tackling real issues in todays society through the medium of Comedy.

Upon hearing about this show I have to say, I was nervous. This show had the potential to plummet with some very difficult topics to address, from feminism to racism, homophobia to terrorism.

Rahul Kohli's, "Newcastle Brown Male" was, however, suprising. Upon entering the gothic surroundings of Jeykl and Hyde the audience were greeted with a rum and coke, courtesy of Rahul. What proceeded i could never of imagined. His presence on stage was warm, welcoming and endearing. Tackling these hardcore issues that comedians often get wrong, very very wrong. Rahul, however, managed to engage his audience with a quick witted comentary of the world we now live in, more specifically our western world. From drawing on racial sterotypes and the connections to how our media is driven to our western attitudes and nightclub grinding.

Although Rahul sometimes faltered when he changed his topic or when he joked about his family, who were in the room, Rahul made it seem effortless as he picked up and carried on and we the audience didnt bat an eyelid because he had become our friend.

Rahul, a postgraduate student, was humble and had a lot to say about the current state of affairs in Britain today, hitting some difficult topics whilst being consistently hilarious.
A great new way of looking at the wrongs of the modern day establishment we call society.

4.5 Stars

DANIEL SINCLAIR by Esaf Commitee

Our very own ESAF artists performing in the Laughing Horse Free Festival presented "Daniel Sinclair" . Walking into the free fringe venue you can see a very typical sight, a very subtle stage, a refreshing change in the Fringe this year as productions try to sell a show and its story by an elaborate and inconsequential set.

Pandorums’ first ever production seems to hit the spot fantastically finding the balance between the physical constraints of theatre making in the present day whilst still maintainimg meaning and subtext in their scenograpghy. Daniel Sinclair explores very delicate themes looking primarily at mental health, and its effect on strong friendships.  Pandorum’s Daniel Sinclair eloquently contributes to the mental health conversation happening today. Daniel Sinclair, alternating between actors Andrew Sim and William Coleman, has only one friend in his complicated and dispersed life, Esteneth, beautifully portrayed by Ashely Mcclean. We watch on in anticipation as Daniel begins to show the many different sides to his own personality and the inner struggle of Esteneth as she attempts to keep track of the ever changing Daniel.

This piece of original writing from a small group of recently graduated emerging theatre makers is a true testament to the quality of work our next generation of artists can offer. Balancing such a sensitive topic with comedy is a difficult task and usually doesn’t take much to broach into the offensive category. But Pandorum Theatre Company execute their performance with careful consideration and research, this is no half-hearted under researched production. This performance is a truthful representation and leaves an audience wonder whether Daniels world is imaginary, real or in fact a combination

ESAF artists, show this year’s fringe that the next generation have something real and meaningful to add.

4 STARS

Loud Poets by Esaf Commitee

Loud Poets starts and I am sitting in the top right back corner of the theatre. We are in the basement of the cozy, refurbished Scottish Storytelling Centre - a cultural hub that is one of my favourite's in the city. Strobe lights and sound attack our ears as the evening starts with a warm welcome to a live band and a short video about 'why we write.'

The opening poems are light-hearted about geek love and an ode to Daleks for Doctor Who fans on their skin care regime of motor oil, Brillo pads and other metal unmentionables. The scene takes a slightly more serious turn as one poet delivers a poignant and powerful piece about his mother who has recently passed away and how his story remains unfinished.

Two highlights were a poem about a poet's job as a child entertainer. She is a clown and perfectly illustrates how her job brings others joy and has meaning but how she does not take the chance to explain how fulfilling her job is to a romantic interest. The ode to daleks poet returns with a brilliant piece on McDonald's and the cult of the double arches. Them, Agnes Torok returns to the stage with her YouTube sensational poem 'Worthless' and delivers the poem with might.

The Loud Poets dazzle us with beautifully written poetry about love and youth - why do we overthink things and see life simply as we're older? The same poet delivers a beautiful poem about how we are all brilliant people with aplomb. Loud Poets is sure to inspire, dazzle and provoke-thought.
 

4.5 STARS

A Midsummer night's dream by Esaf Commitee

G&T productions adaptation of A Midsummer Night's Dream brought Will's classic prose to life with song, colour and black light. The performers ad-libbed certain parts bringing the words to life with clever interjections and comical responses. The black box theatre was adorned with no set but the blocking worked - the passion of the actors filling the space. The production was only an hour long and was executed well. Pulling the viewer in to the tantalising world of the Shakespeare.

Jekyll by Esaf Commitee

We walk into the black box where Hypnotist Theatre's adaptation of 'Jekyll' is set to start in 2 minutes. Alt-J's Breezeblocks is playing in the background and the girl from the box office's remark that Jekyll is her favourite show of the Fringe is still echoing in my head. Three sheets sprayed with black spray paint read: 'Be Yourself', 'I Am What I Am', and 'Ms Hyde Told Me So'.

The lights dim and production starts like a game show. As a slightly futuristic character with an orangey-red jumpsuit on starts speaking. She asks us questions and asking us to repeat after her, picking on individual members of the audience. The scene changes and different characters with the same style make-up but contrasting blue and cool colours take the stage.

It becomes apparent that with the combination of physical theatre, repetitive phrases and dramatic music - this modern adaption of Jekyll would challenge us. It would not be for everyone. One couple walked out.

After spending a week watching La Page and listening to Max Richter, my expectations were very high. I can say this is the single most poignant, well delivered and beautifully acted pieces of theatre I have seen this Fringe. The adaption deals with happiness, fulfilment, well-being and self-help. It tacked our obsession with bettering ourselves head on and leaves you will a crippling message. 'I Am Who I Am. If you believe in yourself wholly and selfishly, what does that mean for others.

I most certainly would give this production 5 stars.

5 STARS

Blind Mirth by Esaf Commitee

Quick, witty and intelligent improv comedy, with sharp comic timing.

A fresh, bold and original improv comedy show by students from St Andrews University comes to the Edinburgh Fringe 2015.  Student Company, Blind Mirth are true comedic geniuses and immediately after filling our seats we were warmly welcomed by our witty MC for the night, Ed Fry.  Ed executed his craft with experience, swiftness and a genuine sense of comfort.  We were invited into the Blind Mirth’s living room with tea and biscuits and what was to follow had us splitting at the sides…

Improv comedy relies on several important factors the main one’s being spontaneity and comic timing.  Blind Mirth sailed through their show, as a well-oiled machine showing, the audience the ease at which they could employ both of these critical elements, even when recovering from some tame unoriginal audience suggestions.  In particular Matthew Knapp’s performance was a highlight, with his interchanging characters, that were achieved with finesse, to his excellently timed interjections.  Finding the right balance of long/short sketches and quick fire improv games the troupe fill an hour with simplicity and the audience are left feeling fulfilled.

Blind Mirth’s 2015 Fringe Improv Comedy show is a real mood lifter performed by talented and humble individuals each as hilarious as the next.  

4 STARS

Foxfinder (Master of None Presents) by Esaf Commitee

'Master of None presents Foxfinder, a dystopian mystery set in the North (not Scotland) where foxes are almost immortalised as treacherous beasts and yet, they are no where to be found. The lead William Bloor (Alexander Stutt), a young Foxfinder, arrives at a family farm to investigate its lack of yield. His demeanour, diction and overall appearance plays perfectly into the dramatic setting.

Set in the striking and atmospheric Bedlam Theatre this cast brings the story to life with a minimal but effective set. Clever uses of costume and sound effect bring the country to life in this eerie drama. The four-person cast deliver strong an impactful lines while at some points (Judith Covey) would get lost in the lack of originality of the lines written for her role.

A clever comment on government control, propaganda, and an economically scarce future.

There is quite a finish at the end which may have called for a content or trigger warning while some disturbing themes play throughout the piece. Overall, a well executed piece that leaves you with a feeling of unease hanging over your head for the rest of the evening.