Aug 042017
 

With thanks to Ross Anderson, Senior Account Manager, Citrus:Mix

Comedian Justin Moorhouse will hold his show at NOX nightclub.

Organisers of Aberdeen Comedy Festival have signed up several new venues across the city centre as they announce a new and improved format for this year.
A total of ten new venues have signed up to host stand-up shows in the Granite City later this year, bringing the total number of venues to 27.
Launched by Aberdeen Inspired in 2016, this years’ festival will run from Thursday, October 5 to Sunday,
October 15.

The eleven-day festival, which has been organised with programming partner Breakneck Comedy, will feature national and international comedians performing across the city centre.

New venues for 2017 include, the Belmont Filmhouse, Aberdeen Douglas Hotel, Sing City, La Lombarda Basement Bar, The Shack, The Wild Boar, Spin, NOX, Lemon Tree, and the Wee Glen situated in Glentanar Bar.

Venues for the festival now range from a capacity of 30 seats at the Wee Glen to 350 seats at Aberdeen Arts Centre, giving organisers venues around the city centre to suit to suit any act or audience.

Comedian Justin Moorhouse will hold his show at NOX nightclub and the Belmont Filmhouse will screen several comedy movies throughout the festival, including Airplane! and Wayne’s World.

Sponsored by McGinty’s Meal An’ Ale, the festival will comprise over 50 events, including five free stand-up shows, comedy workshops for children and adults, kids shows, and local talent showcases.

The festival format has been changed this year to include a selection of solo performances as well as shows with several comedians taking to the stage.

Shows will also be staggered so comedy fans have the opportunity to attend several without having to choose between events starting at the same time.

Described as the Canadian Billy Connolly, Craig Campbell will headline the launch of the festival at the Lemon Tree in partnership with Aberdeen Performing Arts (APA).

Scottish comedian Fred MacAulay, who performed at the festival last year, will make a return alongside other comedians, including Patrick Monahan, Gary Delaney and Shazia Mirza – who have all recently featured on a range of panel shows on TV.

Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said:

“We’re delighted to welcome our new venues to Aberdeen Comedy Festival this year. It’s great to have more businesses involved after the festival’s very successful debut in 2016.

“It really captured the imagination and people turned out in large numbers for shows across the city centre which had a positive knock-on effect for businesses. As well as Aberdonians, we welcomed people from the wider north-east area and beyond who were keen to see comedy shows.

“The full line-up will be announced soon and we hope people will take the opportunity to enjoy the fantastic range of comedy which will be performed on their doorstep.”

More than 3,100 tickets were sold during the laughter filled extravaganza in 2016, as well as over 1,500 tickets from APA and Beach Ballroom promoted events.

Gavin Paterson, general manager of Aberdeen Douglas Hotel, said:

“Aberdeen Comedy Festival is a fantastic opportunity for businesses in the city centre to showcase their venues and host stand-up shows for the public.

“When we saw how successful the festival was in its first year we were very keen to play our part in 2017 and we are delighted to be hosting both Australian comic Damian Clark and the returning Billy Kirkwood who really impressed Aberdonian crowds last year.”

Colin Farquhar, Belmont Filmhouse cinema manager, added:

“We’re very excited to be involved in this year’s Aberdeen Comedy Festival. It’s another great string to the city’s cultural bow and we’re delighted that as well as screening some classic comedies, we’re able to host a few stand-up performances too.”

Aberdeen Inspired is the banner under which the Aberdeen BID operates. It is a business-led initiative within the city centre in which levy payers within the BID zone contribute.

Proceeds are used to fund projects designed to improve the business district. More information about Aberdeen Inspired is available at www.aberdeeninspired.com

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Jul 212017
 

With thanks to Kieran Booth.

Following her hit 2015 show, Miss Myrtle Throgmorton OBE (pending) is returning to the 2017 Edinburgh Fringe with a brand new production.
The critics, in 2015, stayed away but the audience came in droves and through word of mouth, a brief stint with the Really Terrible Orchestra and some energetic flyering, the show was sold out most nights – and everyone had a hoot! [“Very, very funny” – STV]  

So the game old trout, ancient heckler and exuberant enthusiast for all things Scottish, is back, Stuffed and Mounted, mad-rabbiting on about the delights of a long life – giddy aunts, Burns, beards, Creamola Foam, Zimmer Zumba and much more.

Myrtle is created by former BBC Comedy producer Jennie Campbell / Chalmers, and has been developed over many years although Jennie admits that the original bag-for-life is now, worryingly, more ‘ego’ than ‘alter’.  Since her Fringe debut, Miss Throgmorton has been making appearances across the North East of Scotland at charity gigs, Burns Suppers and two sell-out runs at the Haddo Arts Festival.

Myrtle’s accumulated years are off-set by the youthful vigour of baritone, Colin Brockie and pianist, Richard Bailey who join her for the three-week run at the Fringe. The production could also be unique on the 2017 Festival as the cast and crew all come from rural Aberdeenshire: Colin from Ellon, Richard from Udny, and Jennie, Kieran and Mary from Barthol Chapel.

Myrtle is still chairman of the Surrey Association for Lonely, Misplaced Or Non-Domiciled Scots [ALEX] but has been rusticated from her sheltered housing scheme [a minor misunderstanding over a game of sardines with her friend Midriff Bulge] and now lives as the permanent resident in a once–grand hotel.

The audience will be her ‘fellow diners’ and much conversation and banter will ensue as she shares her opinion on pretty much everything [advanced age is so liberating], punctuated by live and original music from Richard, some ‘proper’ singing from Colin and a little nifty hip work from Myrtle herself.  

Once again, every show will end with a surprise guest joining Myrtle for cheery chat over the coffee and mints. The audience is completely unaware who the guest will be – indeed Myrtle herself may not be entirely up to speed until just before the off.

2015 guests included Rory Bremner, Arnold Brown, Lieven Schiere and Alan Cumming. 

It could be a TV celebrity, an acclaimed author, the face of a familiar radio voice, a rising star, an unknown character with a story to tell, someone with a great, undiscovered show or the joker from the café on the corner…  A truly potluck surprise, in the spirit of the Fringe, and every one a guaranteed delight!

After a brief career as a London lawyer, and a briefer one cleaning houses, Jennie Campbell joined BBC Radio Comedy as a producer of such programmes as Week Ending, The News Quiz and The Edinburgh Festival Compilations, scouting the Fringe in the 80s for hungry new young talent.
On moving to Scotland, she switched from satirical news to the real thing and has been variously a radio presenter [Newsweek Scotland], news and current affairs producer, director of theatre, opera and musicals, drama teacher, arts organizer, serial committee member and session clerk.

With Myrtle Throgmorton, Jennie makes a long overdue return to her comedy roots.

Venue: Mint Studio | Greenside @ Infirmary St. [Venue 236]                   
Dates: 4th – 26th August [not Sundays]                     
Time: 18.25 [55 mins]                                                          

Tickets: £10/£9/£5 

Box Office: edfringe.com / 0131 618 0758
Website: www.myrtleproductions.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/myrtlethrog
Twitter: www.twitter.com/myrtlethrog   (@myrtlethrog)

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Jul 062017
 

With thanks to Ross Anderson, Senior Account Manager, Citrus:Mix

Some of the most popular stand-up comedians from UK and beyond will return to the Granite City later this year for the second Aberdeen Comedy Festival.

Launched by Aberdeen Inspired in 2016, this year’s festival will run from Thursday, October 5 to Sunday, October 15.

The eleven-day festival, which has been organised with programming partner Breakneck Comedy, will feature national and international comedians performing at more than 20 venues throughout the city centre.

Sponsored by McGinty’s Meal An’ Ale, the festival will comprise around 50 events, including five free stand-up shows, comedy workshops for children and adults, kids shows, local talent showcases and comedy films screened at the Belmont Filmhouse.

Described as the Canadian Billy Connolly, Craig Campbell (pictured) will headline the launch of the festival at the Lemon Tree in partnership with Aberdeen Performing Arts (APA).

Scottish comedian Fred MacAulay, who performed at the festival last year, will make a return alongside other comedians, including Justin Moorhouse, Gary Delaney and Shazia Mirza – who have all recently featured on a range of panel shows on TV.

Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said:

“We’re delighted to launch the second Aberdeen Comedy Festival following its tremendous success last year. It really captured the imagination and people turned out in strength for shows across the city centre which had a positive knock-on effect for businesses in the area.

“As well as Aberdonians, we welcomed people from the wider north-east area and beyond, and a group even travelled from Norway to see their favourite comedians perform on stage.

“Our aim is to provide the best comedy for both residents and visitors to Aberdeen to enjoy. We have some fantastic comedians already confirmed and the full line-up will be announced soon.

“We hope the public will take the opportunity to enjoy the fantastic range of comedy which will be performed on their doorstep.”

Alan Aitken, Operations Director of McGinty’s, added:

“As a local business, it’s great to welcome cultural events like the Comedy Festival to our city and following the success of last year, we’re really delighted to support the event again.

“It was great to see the people from Aberdeen and around the north-east out in force and enjoying a laugh, and we hope to see even more this year.”

More than 3,100 tickets were sold during the laughter filled extravaganza in 2016, as well as over 1,500 tickets from APA and Beach Ballroom promoted events.

Aberdeen Performing Arts’ director of programming and creative projects, Ben Torrie, said:

“We’re very excited to be supporting the Comedy Festival and we are looking forward to kicking things off with the gala launch night here at The Lemon Tree.”

Aberdeen Inspired is the banner under which the Aberdeen BID (Business Improvement District) operates. It is a business-led initiative within the city centre in which levy payers within the BID zone contribute.

Proceeds are used to fund projects designed to improve the business district. More information about Aberdeen Inspired is available at www.aberdeeninspired.com

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Nov 102016
 

With thanks to Jessica Murphy, Senior Account Executive, Citrus:Mix.

aberdeen-comedy-festival-2It involved more than 65 shows, over 250 comedians and 25 venues throughout the city centre – all aiming to bring a smile and some laughs to the Granite City.
23 days later, the first Aberdeen Comedy Festival, organised by Aberdeen Inspired in partnership with Breakneck Comedy, drew to a close, with organisers delighted with the fantastic response from the North-east public.

Night after night of the festival, which was kindly sponsored by local bar/pub McGinty’s Meal An’ Ale, has seen people pack out city centre venues and enjoy a huge array of comedic talent.

From the sold out launch event at the Tivoli Theatre on October 14 featuring Tom Stade, Billy Kirkwood, Liam Withnail and Gary Little to the final show at Park Inn by Radisson with John Scott, Pearse O’Haloran, The Reverend Obadiah Steppenwolfe III and Martin James Walmsley on November 5, more than 3,100 tickets have been sold during the laugh filled extravaganza, as well as over 1,500 tickets from APA and Beach Ballroom promoted events.

Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said:

“The response from the public, local businesses and visitors to the Aberdeen Comedy Festival has been fantastic and we are delighted with the success of all the shows.

“It was ambitious to undertake to put on an event on this scale, which is already, in only its first year, Scotland’s third biggest event of its kind. We can’t thank our sponsors, all the venues that took part and the teams from Aberdeen Inspired and Breakneck Comedy that have worked so hard to make it a reality.

“The great feedback we have received from visitors to the festival proves there is a big appetite for events on this scale in the Granite City and at a time when Aberdeen is going through a difficult period, it was great to see people enjoying themselves so much in the city centre.

“We are determined to carry this positive momentum forward and are excited to bring the Aberdeen Comedy Festival back next year.”

Operations Director, Alan Aitken of McGinty’s Meal An’ Ale, said:

“It has been great to see what a success the Aberdeen Comedy Festival has been and as a local business, we were very proud to support it.

“The festival really has brought the city together and it is a great incentive to encourage the public to enjoy everything the city centre has to offer. We can’t wait to welcome the comedy lovers back to have some laughs next year.”

Aberdeen Inspired is the banner under which the Aberdeen BID (Business Improvement District) operates. It is a business-led initiative within the city centre in which levy payers within the BID zone contribute.

Proceeds are used to fund projects designed to improve the business district. More information on the work of Aberdeen Inspired is available at www.aberdeeninspired.com

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Oct 152016
 

With thanks to Jessica Murphy, Senior Account Executive, Citrus:Mix.

aberdeen-comedy-festivalA new comedy festival which boasts a host of stand-up talent is getting underway in the Granite City.

Comedy fans can choose from more than 65 shows from a fantastic line-up of comics during the 23 day Aberdeen Comedy Festival which will run until Saturday, November 5.

The laugh filled extravaganza, which is being sponsored by local bar/pub McGinty’s Meal An’ Ale, features more than 250 comedians performing at over 20 venues throughout the city centre.

These include Hardeep Sing Kholi, Phil Nicol, Junior Simpson, Carl Hutchison, Kate Smurthwaite and Carly Baker among many others.

The festival, which is sponsored by McGinty’s Meal An’ Ale, kicked off in style with a gala launch event at the historic Tivoli Theatre on Friday with Australian funnyman Tom Stade setting the tone for the event, alongside Billy Kirkwood, Liam Withnail and Gary Little.

Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said:

“We are delighted to be launching the Aberdeen Comedy Festival, which we are sure we will be very well received by the public.

“Both Aberdeen Inspired and Breakneck Comedy have worked very hard to get to this point and it is fantastic to now be getting underway with events.

“At what continues to be a difficult time economically for the city, we are pleased to bringing some laughs to Aberdeen with the aim of also increasing footfall within the centre.

“It has always been an ambition of ours to organise an event on this scale. We also know we need the backing of the north-east public so hope people take this opportunity to enjoy the great variety of comedy that will be on offer.”

Operations Director, Alan Aitken of McGinty’s Meal An’ Ale, said:

“As a local business, we are delighted to support the first Aberdeen Comedy Festival. It is great to be involved in a new initiative for the North-east and hopefully this will encourage everyone to stay local in the city centre to enjoy what our great city has to offer.

“We look forward to welcoming all the comedy lovers to McGinty’s on Tuesday October 18 when Andrea Hubbert, Marc Jennings, Mark Nelson and Elaine Millar will be performing a free event from 8.30pm. We will also be serving the official festival ale ‘McGinty’s Barrel of Laughs’ throughout the festival.”

The festival programme has been put together by Naz Hussain of Breakneck Comedy. To buy tickets and for more information on the festival visit http://www.aberdeencomedyfestival.com/

Tickets can also be bought in person at the Lemon Tree or HMT Box Offices.

Aberdeen Inspired is the banner under which the Aberdeen BID (Business Improvement District) operates. It is a business-led initiative within the city centre in which levy payers within the BID zone contribute.

Proceeds are used to fund projects designed to improve the business district. Further information on the work of Aberdeen Inspired is available at www.aberdeeninspired.com.

Sep 232016
 

With thanks to Jessica Murphy, Senior Account Executive, Citrus:Mix.

junior-simpsonTickets for a new comedy festival in the heart of the Granite City will be available to the public from Friday September 23.
Comedy fans can choose from over 65 shows from a fantastic line-up of comics during the 23 day Aberdeen Comedy Festival, which is taking place from October 14 to November 5.

The laugh filled extravaganza, which is being sponsored by local bar/pub McGinty’s Meal An’ Ale, will feature more than 250 comedians performing at over 20 venues throughout the city centre.

Junior Simpson, Phil Nicol, Shazia Mirza, Allyson June Smith, Seymour Mace and local favourite Gus Lymburn have been announced as the latest comics to take part in the inaugural event, which will mark the first time Aberdeen has hosted a comedy festival on such a big scale.

Finding his humour in the everyday and humdrum with anecdotes of his world travels as a comedian, Junior Simpson has a boundless joy and exuberance that has audiences hooked with hilarity.

With his infectious energy and huge stage presence it is easy to see why Junior Simpson is a circuit favourite. Junior has performed in countless festivals and is looking forward to taking part in the first Aberdeen Comedy Festival.

The festival will kick off in style with a gala launch event at the historic Tivoli Theatre in Aberdeen on October 14 as Australian funnyman Tom Stade sets the tone for the event.

Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said:

“Both Aberdeen Inspired and Breakneck Comedy have been working incredibly hard on planning the Aberdeen Comedy Festival and we are delighted to have reached this point.

“At what continues to be a difficult time economically for the city, we are pleased to bringing some laughs to Aberdeen with the first comedy festival of its kind and it is great to get support from local businesses like our main sponsor McGintys. There has been a fantastic buzz since we launched the festival and we are sure there will be great interest in the wide variety of comedians and shows that will be on offer from Friday.

“The launch event at Tivoli is shaping up to a tremendous event and we are looking forward to kicking off the festival in such wonderful and historic surroundings. Our ambition with the festival was to source the best comedy for both residents and visitors to enjoy and we hope the public will take advantage of this opportunity to see a varied range of comedy in the city centre.”

Operations Director, Alan Aitken of McGinty’s Meal An’ Ale, said:

“As a local business, we are delighted to support the first Aberdeen Comedy Festival. It is great to be involved in a new initiative for the North-east and hopefully this will encourage everyone to stay local in the city centre to enjoy what our great city has to offer. We look forward to welcoming all the comedy lovers and throughout the festival we will be serving the official festival ale ‘McGinty’s Barrel of Laughs’.”

Caroline Morgan, Theatre Manager at the Tivoli, said:

“The Tivoli is thrilled to be involved with such an exciting event and we are proud to be the Comedy Festival Gala Night venue. We know that audiences all over the city will have a great laugh and we hope it will bring new people to the theatre.”

The festival programme has been put together by Naz Hussain of Breakneck Comedy. Younger audiences will also get a chance to have some fun at a special show for kids, while anyone who has ever fancied their hand at comedy will have the chance with stand-up comedy workshops.

To buy tickets (from Friday September 23) and for more information on the festival visit http://www.aberdeencomedyfestival.com/

Tickets can also be bought in person at the Lemon Tree or HMT Box Offices.

Aberdeen Inspired is the banner under which the Aberdeen BID (Business Improvement District) operates. It is a business-led initiative within the city centre in which levy payers within the BID zone contribute.

Proceeds are used to fund projects designed to improve the business district. Further information on the work of Aberdeen Inspired is available at www.aberdeeninspired.com

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Sep 162016
 

With thanks to Esther Green, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR

distilled-14

Speyside’s finest food and drink were the perfect mix at the first Spirit of Speyside: Distilled.

The first mini-festival drawing Speyside’s finest food and drink producers together in one central venue has been toasted a success, after hundreds of people turned out to ensure it got off the best possible start.
Organisers of Spirit of Speyside: Distilled are in high spirits after finding that mixing the region’s finest whisky with gin, beer and food went down a treat with audiences.

Large crowds of people flocked to Elgin – the largest town in the region –  where some of the region’s most coveted and iconic brands stood shoulder to shoulder with smaller producers growing in name and reputation to showcase the ingredients that make the region a delight for food and drink lovers.

Over three days, four sessions at Elgin Town Hall provided audiences a delicious flavour of Speyside.

As well as visiting different stand holders to sample food and drink, visitors could meet the people behind the products, including master distillers and brand ambassadors. There were a range of specialist masterclasses covering topics from cocktails to food pairings and there were new, rare and cask strength drams, and insights into the art of whisky, gin and beer making led by experts in their craft.

Billed as ‘one region under one roof’, the 30 plus exhibitors included a range of distilleries responsible for producing world famous brands like Aberlour, Benromach, Cardhu, Cragganmore, The Glenlivet, Glen Moray, Benromach, Macallan, Glenfiddich and Glen Grant. There were also craft breweries, gin makers, and specialists in shortbread, ice cream, soup, coffee and tea, bakery and tablet making and more.

Spirit of Speyside: Distilled manager Pery Zakeri said:

“We had fantastic crowds and there was a great atmosphere. People turned out with their friends to enjoy a range of excellent flavours and they weren’t disappointed. It was a really relaxed environment and we had people from the local area who said that seeing all the food and drink businesses in one venue really brought home the range of great tastes there are in Speyside.

“Others travelled from further much afield including Canada, the USA, Norway and Germany in order to be part of our first festival of this kind and they equally enjoyed the experience.

“It was heartening to see the best of Speyside’s food and drink industry come together, from the big names in the drinks business that have a global following to smaller producers that may be less known outwith the local area.

“Whisky is of major importance in Speyside, but I think this festival has helped show that it is very well complemented by the gin, beer and food producers who joined us in showcasing Speyside’s local larder.”

The offer of free entry to anyone sharing a name with a Speyside distillery failed to find anyone with the same moniker to any one of the area’s 50 plus distilleries – not even a Glen Keith, Glen Grant or Tam Dhu.

The mini-festival is an offshoot of the renowned Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival which takes place around the first bank holiday weekend in May and organisers will now be shifting their focus to preparing for this major event which draws thousands of people from all over the world to Speyside for a five day celebration of the amber nectar.

The 2017 festival takes place from April 27 – May 1 at venues across Speyside, and while the full programme is still being worked on, will include talks, tours and tastings, heritage walks, a whisky school, whisky with food pairings, whisky menus and more. In all it is likely there will be around 500 events over multiple venues.

Sep 132016
 

trickery-aug16-8By Fred Wilkinson.

‘Something Different’ is happening in the Aberdeen entertainment scene.

With musicians and music lovers alike still smarting from the recent closure of yet another popular small venue, we certainly don’t want more of the same, and perhaps a taste of trickery may be just the tonic.

The Trickery is a monthly cabaret night which has been running in some shape or form for the last four years, and yet, for all I have been intrigued by the concept, had never managed to attend.

That was until August 26 when I found myself free to accept an invite, and to meet with organiser and compere, Iain Adam.

I asked Iain how The Trickery came about. Iain told me:

“The Trickery was first conceived as a magic show when we had the opportunity to bring one of the biggest acts in magic (Dani DaOrtiz) up to Aberdeen. He was booked for an event that was just for magicians, but we really wanted to show Aberdeen just what was happening in the magic scene.

“After the public show, people came up and asked us when the next event was and we said “next month” and so it began. That was 4 years ago and we have been going ever since. It’s run by me and my wife Gail.

“I describe The Trickery as ‘Something Different’. Everybody is looking to do something different, something that they wouldn’t normally do, and thats what we have for them.”

trickery-aug16-3Audience participation is key to the fun and the special atmosphere of The Trickery.

As compere, Iain Adam opens the show, engaging in humorous banter with the audience and whetting their appetite with hints as to what we can expect – including ‘the unexpected’.

Putting the crowd through its paces, it is made clear we are not only handed a leading role, but that a licence to heckle is included in the admission fee.

.

,

trickery-aug16-15First up is Mind reader/Magician Michael Brandie.

For a performer who publicly talks down his joke telling skills, he can be more than satisfied with the chuckles he winkled out of the audience.

Some laughter, possibly of a nervous nature, even occurred when he stuffed his head in a plastic bag and suffocated himself onstage to the point his heart stopped.

trickery-aug16-16OK, it’s only a trick, but I confess to having been more than a little concerned.

Then to prove his given theory that restriction of blood flow has an anaesthetic effect, he pushed an acupuncture needle through his hand …

….. and invited a member of the audience to yank it out!

‘Something Different’ was promised, and, well, it’s not every day …..

.

.

Next up is Professional Artist and Model, Sharrow.

trickery-aug16-1Tonight we witness her Trickery debut as a Burlesque Dance performancer.

Demonstrating her understanding of the art form, Sharrow wastes no time in catching the eye and holding on to it, and in glimpses, offers that characteristic, subtle element of ‘tease’ which plays more in the viewers imagination than elsewhere, which the audience own up to and call out with their vocal appreciation.

During her routine, the smallness of the stage is suddenly emphasised by the grandeur of her moves which the visually pleasing use of silk scarf ‘streamers’ served to accentuate.

trickery-aug16-4It’s all over a little too quickly, but on the other hand, not too soon for tonight’s special guest, Drag Queen, Miss Scarlet Diamonte.

As her name may suggest, she appears in a vivid, red sequinned dress, the hem of which is better friends with her waist than with her kneecaps.

Perched on four inch high Perspex heels, she appears appropriately imposing, and dare I say, Formidable.

And she lives up to that first impression with room to spare.

Scarlet Diamonte’s act is not for the fainthearted.

trickery-aug16-6Her humour is unashamedly, unapologetically brash and coarse.

It swishes past risqué without exchanging pleasantries, thumbs its nose at political correctness, and condescendingly pats Innuendo on the head in passing on its lunge for the jugular … and a few other anatomical features as well.

It is borderline brutal, and yet spills out warmth …. and the audience are lapping it up.

She is in complete control as she teases and toys with this crowd, up close, personal and physical, much to their delight, and for all the blushes and involuntary shrieks of laughter, no-one is getting hurt.

trickery-aug16-5However, should anyone ever be in a position to offer encouragement to Scarlet on her way to the stage, avoid the traditional three worded motivator. Scarlet may well ‘break a leg’, but I am certain it would never be her own.

I am reminded of the words of Johnny Rotten to an audience at a Sex Pistols gig. Something like:

“I’m not here for your entertainment, you’re here for mine.”

But the tables are most certainly turned when she turns to the songs.

Her command of her audience is sealed as the power in her voice, matched by an impressive pair of lungs, leaves us in no doubt of the extent of her stagecraft and talent.

trickery-aug16-10With admirable energy and style, accompanied by expressive gestures and movement from her face to her feet, and the occasional hilarious ‘aside’, she takes on and slays half a dozen ‘camp classics’, starting with ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’.

There was no danger of stopping her – at least not until her finale whereupon, mid song, we were treated to a remarkable transformation which would have had Ennio Marchetto taking notes.

De-wigged, peeled off and wiped clean, Scarlet was summarily discarded.

In her place now stood Tillydrone raised, London based actor Brian Elrick to take the song to it’s inevitable crescendo, take a bow and wallow in the whoops and applause of an impressed and thoroughly entertained audience.

Having been given some respite to catch our breath, if not a drink, we were eager to find out what the final act at tonight’s Trickery had to offer.

trickery-aug16-11That final offering was ‘Ray Guns Look Real Enough’ – and we were not disappointed.

In common with most great comedy duos with a certain unique chemistry, musical comedy duo Ray Guns and Luke Real bounce off one another beautifully.

This is a well worked act which skips along at a lively pace.

trickery-aug16-13Between the songs, the comedy interplay between the duo, and the audience, is slick … and very funny.

Still, space is afforded to flashes of spontaneous improvisation which always land ‘buttered side up’.

From the moment they arrive on stage, we are promised laughs merely by way of their appearance ( Sorry – I mean of course ‘image’ … they being a famous stadium rock band).

trickery-aug16-12Between them, their stage attire, from the ill-fitting cat-suit to the lacquered mohawk, appeared to be a jumble of iconic items of memorabilia stolen over the course of 3 decades from the biggest names in rock/pop culture.

And much the same could be said of the music as they ripped through a series of montages and mash-ups of pop/rock classics, all seamlessly stitched together and expertly delivered.

trickery-aug16-14Armed with no more than one guitar, a tambourine, and two well matched voices, it was puzzling to hear the sheer power of their sound and fullness of the arrangement.

The mash-ups were at times amusing simply by way of the zany unlikelihood of the elements combined, but always cleverly presented, and I suspect more than one musician in the audience will have wondered:

“Shit! Why did I not think of that?”

All in all, a superbly talented, creative and entertaining act who are so instantly lovable they could do no wrong if they tried. From their intro to the last second of their deserved encore, I was transfixed to the extent I have no idea how long they were actually on stage.

And with said encore, so ended a cracking night’s entertainment – other than the long remaining smiles on the faces of many a highly satisfied audience member.

I asked Iain how this show compares to past events, and what’s next for The Trickery. He said:

“The Trickery means a lot to me as it gives Aberdeen the chance to see some acts that they wouldn’t get a chance to see anywhere else at any time. In the near future, we have shows opening up in other cities around Scotland.

“We have had freak shows, pick pockets, mind readers, hypnotists and more. We’ve seen people shot with paint guns, people walk on glass and people break arrows with their throat.

“We’ve had Hollands biggest magician and the inspiration for the TV show The Mentalist. Every show is different, but every show is great.

“This month we have a double headliner show. Each headliner has just finished sell out 5 star shows in two different fringe festivals (Edinburgh and Amsterdam). Every act is must see, because you only get one chance to see them.

Iain is offering some complementary tickets to this month’s event featuring comedy musician, Friz Frizzle and Dutch magician, Fritz Alkemade which takes place on Friday, September 23.

Simply share the ‘September at the Trickery’ event page on your personal facebook page, then visit the main ‘Trickery’ page and ‘like’ the page. Good luck, and hope to see you there.

Jun 032016
 

Dreich_Encounter_2Duncan Harley reviews ‘Dreich Encounter’ at His Majesty’s Theatre Aberdeen,

In the classic 1945 David Lean romantic drama, Brief Encounter, Laura famously meets Alec at the local railway station and the chance encounter leads to unexpected consequences including an emotional love affair

In the classic 2016 Flying Pig’s comedy drama, Dreich Encounter, both Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard are conspicuously absent.

Mither meets Faither on the sofa and then in the bedroom and then yet again in the sitting-room. Screenwriter Noël Coward would have simply loved the unconventionality of the Pig’s production.

Dreich is such a wonderfully emotive adjective. In a 2013 YouGov Plc opinion poll, which asked adults across the country to select their number one Scots word, it ranked well ahead of sleekit, glaikit and even blether; and a recent Tripadvisor review of the shortbread tin favourite Eilean Donan Castle really put the welly in when it concluded that the place was “dreich AND disappointing”.

Aberdeen’s very own Flying Pig’s latest offering ‘Dreich Encounter’ is far from dreich and certainly far from disappointing.

‘Father Ted meets Ivor Cutler’ utterly fails to describe this production adequately. With past classics such as ‘Stanley Cooslick’s Clockwork Sporran’, ‘Finzean in the Rain’, ‘All Quiet on the Westburn Front’ and ‘How to Look Glaikit’ firmly behind them; this new production elevates the Pig’s very own brand of parody-punkesque Doric humour to completely new levels.

From the moment the show opens with the startling announcement that “this evening’s performance has been sponsored by naebody” to the final sketch where Cooncillor Croonie introduces the theatre audience to the new and improved Aberdeen Town motto, no-one and certainly no public institution is safe from gentle ridicule.

As musical comedy sketch revue, ‘Dreich Encounter’ goes bravely where no-one else usually dares or wins. In fact anyone daft enough to emulate the Doric dynamos risks being put up against a wall in Broad Street and executed by firing squad.

Predictably, the Donald gets a mention, as does the Robbie Shepherd. Less predictably Anuptaphobia, medically defined as “a morbid fear of staying or remaining single” features briefly, and the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ is sung with more up-to-date lyrics including the hilarious line “When you walk through the storm, hold your head up high and don’t be afraid of the duck.”

There are 28 laughter-strewn sketches, featuring the likes of grand piano player Hilton John, the dulcet-toned, tartan-trewed Delmonte-jacketed Buckie Drifters, and of course Archie and Davie: this is a show which has something for everyone. Classics include the Bakery Wifies, a Doric A to Z, and Meikle Wartle TV, surely a parody of the Garioch’s very own household favourite, Kintore-based Turnip Radio.

Then there are the words and phrases. Best not repeat the punch line “I’m aff for a shite” perhaps; however lard arse, wobble-bottom and pleiter certainly make it into the non-expletive top ten.

For my money, Mither’s Happy Days and Mither’s Happy Anniversary represent the best that ‘Dreich Encounter’ has to offer. Reminiscent of Cutler’s Glasgow classic “Life in a Scotch Sitting Room”, “Mither” gently parodies the folk memories of the North east.
In fact you can almost taste that delightfully carbonated Blue Nun and those cheesy pineapple hedgehogs.

A Flying Pig Production, Dreich Encounter plays at HMT Aberdeen until Saturday 11th June

Tickets from Aberdeen Performing Arts Tel: 01224- 641122

Words © Duncan Harley and Images © APA

Dec 032015
 

Duncan Harley reviews this year’s pantomime at HM Theatre, Aberdeen

Jordan Young (left), Elaine C Smith and Alan McHugh. Photo by Michal Wachucik-Abermedia

Jordan Young (left), Elaine C Smith and Alan McHugh. Photo by Michal Wachucik-Abermedia

Panto returned to the Aberdeen stage this week, with familiar faces Elaine C. Smith, Jordan Young and Alan McHugh firmly at the helm of the Jolly Roger, in this classic tale of the boy who never grew up.

The traditional story features a flying child, Peter Pan, who lives in Neverland and just likes to have fun.

Thrilling adventures unfold with the likes of pirates, Native Americans and of course a very alarmed crocodile. Faeries and Lost Boys feature, alongside tales of unrequited love and self sacrifice.

The flying child is in this case played by Scott Fletcher, who carries the role admirably, despite his obvious male attributes. Peter is frequently played by a woman.

The draft for the original 1904 J.M. Barrie play seemingly lacked both pirate ship and Captain Hook. Fortunately for theatre audiences, the author soon added both, and Peter Pan’s nemesis was born.

At Tuesday evening’s performance, and true to pantomime tradition, John Jack’s Captain Hook was resoundingly booed at points by an appreciative young audience, despite an engagingly villainous and faultless performance.

Written by Alan McHugh, who plays the colourfully boisterous Dame Maggie Celeste, this swashbuckling take on Peter Pan follows the traditional modern Pantomime route of audience engagement, plus several laughs a minute. Comedic duo, Dame Maggie and Jordan Young’s Smee work well together. Add Elaine C. Smith to the mix as the Magical Mermaid and the slapstick comedy takes off big-time!

New Pitsligo, Portlethen, Stewarty Milne and even Donald Trump take it on the chin as the often hilarious and sometimes raucous gags power on throughout this high energy production.

The 3D presentation in Act 2, although technically competent, seemed superfluous. It was more than made up for by the impressively scary Clockodile, however.

The team from Aberdeen Academy of Dance performed flawlessly, with both Aedan Dufton’s Michael Darling, and Logan Reid’s John Darling deserving special mention.

With costumes, set and special effects to die for, this is pantomime at its finest delivered by a creative team well-used to engaging with Aberdeen audiences.

Children of all ages are guaranteed a Jolly Roger of a time and the spectacle of an airborne Magical Mermaid has to be seen to be believed!

Directed by Nick Winston and Produced by Michael Harrison with Musical Direction by Captain Nemo – Peter Pan plays at HM Theatre Aberdeen until Sunday 3 January 2016.

Tickets from Aberdeen Performing Arts Tel: 01224- 641122

Words © Duncan Harley, Images © Michal Wachucik-Abermedia