Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The Penny Dreadfuls and Radio. And more.

I have mentioned this fine group of comedians before, in my drunken Fringe ramblings, and the producer, whom many of you may read from time to time (and if you don't, you should), has pointed out that they have not only photos, but sound clips too.

Young Master Bookdrunk who is, in his spare time, something of an academic, is pouring his little heart and soul into the project and would be very grateful if, were you to be in Edinburgh over the next few weeks, you would grace their show with your patronage.

I think you should go because they are fucking funny, personally. These are people who make me laugh like a fucking drain (much though I may hide it, guys) every time that I go for drinks with them. Which is fairly often for, though they do not share my demon propensity for boozing (and, yes, I am trying to sort that out. Just not very well) they do like to partake of a beer a temps en temps. Also, Humphrey is the tallest man in Christiandom. Well, maybe not but your humble Devil, despite his slouching, is actually a little over six foot and still finds himself having to tilt his head upwards at an uncomfortable angle to talk to the man. Anyway, go; see; laugh.

Can I have a free ticket now, BD? No, I mean it, can I?

UPDATE: Radio, which I have been plugging for some time because I am an excellent judge of great theatre, has received its first 5 star review from Three Weeks.

When I was 6 my dad told me that the gold sheet around the lunar module which sent those to the moon in 1968 was thinner than the plastic film round his friend's packet of fags. For some reason I remembered that halfway through 'Radio': the idea that something so everday and simple could be trusted to perform that most beautiful and dangerous act imaginable. 'Radio' does not walk that fine line between lightness and depth as fly ten thousand miles above it: it is about radio love, family, duty, space travel, dreams, youth, the 60's, America and yet is so elegantly, so humbly written, acted and directed a piece of that it transcends theatre itself. Remember this play: 'Radio' defies gravity.

Smirnoff Underbelly, 3-27 Aug, 4.30pm (5.15pm), prices vary, Fringe Programme Page 200

tw 5/5 [cj]

Can I have a free ticket to that as well please, Oscar?

UPDATE 2: And another Radio review in SkinnyFest.
RADIO, Kandinsky

Its achievement is unquestionable

Radio is a story of the birth, life and death of one young man’s American dream, all told in a perfectly manageable 45 minutes. As anti-Americanism is second only to Cabaret and Burlesque in this year’s fashionable genre league tables, one may be forgiven for expecting little from this rather over-worked subject matter. However, these fears are quickly dispelled. As the story unravels it becomes clear that the apparently innocuous monologue actually carries in it some more serious connotations. Al Smith has undoubtedly been successful in re-creating the hope, prosperity, and ultimately the disappointments of early post-war America, from the joys of mindless patriotism and its immense popularity in 1950s, to the depressing reality check ushered in by the 1960s flag burning age.

As a play, its achievement is unquestionable. The only real criticism of Radio may me made in the one-man performance, but even here there is little to fault. Despute [sic] his slightly shaky American accent, his performance was for the most endearing and engaging. This might not be first on your list of plays to see, but is certainly a pleasing way to spend the afternoon and will hopefully stimulate a bit of nostalgia for those ‘good old days’, when flying to the moon was no longer a dream, and America was the centre of the universe. Maybe things haven’t changed so much after all.

Now, I really want my free ticket.

UPDATE 3: If, of course, you are not in Edinburgh but in the Big Smoke, you can see Al's other—or rather, one of his other plays—at the Soho Theatre: The Astronauts Wives Club. Really, go and see it; if I had made any progress in leaving this fucking city, I would so and see it myself. Maybe if I get my skates on, I will. Al and I discussed the concept of this play back before we did Enola, in Fringe 2005, because, you see, I am the power behind so many artistic thrones (goddamn it, I've produced 40 plays, all but 8 of them new writing, in 10 years: one would hope that the playwrights would go and do something high profile, eh?) and there is an article in The Grauniad; Al writes on the concept of the show.
Al Smith
I've always been a spaceship geek: my father had moved to the US in the mid-1960s and worked for Nasa as a physicist, choosing the lunar landing sites for the Apollo missions. Growing up, we'd stand in our garden with a pair of binoculars as he'd point out the seas and mountain ranges on the surface of the Moon. He'd collected dozens of books about the space programme, detailing the lives of those daring men who'd blasted off, wandered around on the surface and fallen back to Earth.

Most of those astronauts were eldest or only sons, and all of them were married. Marriage, it seems, was the silent rule of astronaut selection. To be an astronaut's wife was not only a lucrative position, but powerful in the sense that these men needed their wives if they wanted to leave the planet. They formed a tightknit group that fell to pieces with catastrophic consequences after the launch of the first divorced astronaut aboard Apollo 15 in 1971. My play The Astronaut Wives Club is the story of the people left behind by the space race.

Seriously, go see it: I guarantee that it will be great.

UPDATE 4: Last year, I mentioned that Macca (and having seen that Wikipedia page, should be called "Old Poker Face". I prefer the word "implacable" myself) and I had been singing from the old children's classic, All Aboard. This year, we have already indulged in the same practice, but joined by Tim Fitzhigham, a splendidly bearded and very proper gentleman who is partaking in a Flanders and Swann show (with Duncan Walsh Atkins, who is a rather talented piano player).

Apparently, a couple of nights ago, I said that I would produce a show next year, based on All Aboard. What the hell am I doing? Actually, I do vaguely remember this, but was forcefully reminded last night, in the Gilded Balloon's Loft Bar, by Tim shouting across the room, "Hey, Producer-man! Do you want a drink?"

What the fuck have I done...?


Mr Eugenides said...

Am I missing something? You want a free ticket because someone else reviewed the show? Has the world gone mad?

Can I have a free ticket too?

Damned entitlement culture.

Devil's Kitchen said...

That baby scares me. No, I know that I'm getting a free ticket: but I'm plugging it to hundreds of readers, some of whom maybe somewhere near the Festival at some point.

That's as much as I do to earn tickets these days.


Al said...

Dude, free ticket coming your way. Let me know when and where. Smith

Devil's Kitchen said...

Cheers, Al. Probably tomorrow, but I'll drop Osc a text and let him know. Best of luck and see you around: are you in Edinburgh weekends only at the mo?


Devil's Kitchen said...

Mr E,

I doubt it, but fancy seeing it and having a few drinks?


Mr Eugenides said...


See my email.

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