Wasting no time today, I head off to the THE EARLY EDITION. Marcus Brigstocke and Andre Vincent read all the papers so we don’t have to. Then they dissect the news in front of a live audience with guest comedians to assist in their wry commentary. Brigstocke and Vincent make an endearing double-act as usual: He, gentle and self-deprecating; Vincent, somewhat more vulgar. Today’s front pages are filled with Mo-madness, Brigstocke noting that even The Sun and Daily Mail are forced to bow to having a Muslim immigrant on their front page.
Today’s guests are Felicity Ward and Glenn Wool: The former has clearly done a little preparation, the latter content to bang the drum that doping is the only reason for British success at the Olympics no matter what topic the panel are on. It’s a warm and pleasing show that fits well into the early part of the day. You can roll out of bed late and pick up a coffee on the way – sit back, perhaps learn a little, and not feel too challenged. Certainly the guest spots must have their ups and downs, and today feels a bit weak, with Ward insisting on making rather clunky social commentary and failing in search of laughs, while Wool proclaims himself to be stoned which is neither big, clever, nor funny. Brigstocke and Vincent hold it together confidently, but you may prefer to spend your money on a nice brunch and discuss the issues with your mates.
Next up was A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM performed by Custom/Practice, an up-and-coming company putting on new and classical work alongside professional development and educational outreach. So it is fitting that the show begins with a scene of inner city detention, where the teacher with somewhat magical qualities spirits the delinquents away to Shakespeare’s land of love, lust, mishap and adventure.
This opening does not seem to be entirely useful within the context of the show, but once we are rattling through this tightly edited version we soon lose sight of a somewhat lacklustre start and (mostly) forget the sound of revellers from outside. And there are surely some stars of the future here, with Liam Mansfield as a physically entrancing Oberon, and McMahon as Hermia and Oussellam as Demetrius producing a catfight like a suburban Scottish domestic. Not always tonally coherent, but nevertheless compelling, Custom/Practice have staged Dream with humour, wit and energy.
Having seen Bane 1&2, Joe Bone’s noir-inspired thriller romps, in past years, I was thrilled to happen upon the chance to take in BANE 3. The first two, when performed back to back, equal the Guinness World Record for ‘Most characters played by a single actor in a theatre production’. And in Bane 3 there is no let up.
Bone plays all forms of heroes, bad guys and innocent bystanders in his super-slick physical style with only a black back cloth and an acoustic guitar to support him. But Ben Roe’s music is masterful in supporting the action, with change-ups as we shift in place and rhythm, and neat riffs to punctuate chapters. Despite the sweltering auditorium, the audience are stock still, in thrall to the world of Bane as he shifts from car chases, to ballroom dances, love stories and a gruesome climax. See all three, and come back for Bane 4 next year.
And gosh, its only 6pm and I’ve seen all three. Time to look at the programme and make a selection. What novelty.
THE EARLY EDITION – 2-25 Aug (Not 13) – Underbelly, Bristo Square
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM – 2-27 Aug (not 20) – Assembly George Square
BANE 1, 2 & 3 – 1-26 Aug (not 13) – Pleasance Dome