Winter Foenander is part of an impressive crop of comedians to have come out of Ireland in recent years. From the very beginning of the show, he was quick to make the audience feel at home in the venue – a marquee. He brought the audience into his show with good warming-up of the crowd and interaction.
His jokes were well-weaved into long anecdotes, segueing between stories and never leaving the laughs far between. And we here at Bunbury always appreciate a Groot reference!
It is going to perhaps be a detriment to this review that we were not able to stay for the entire show, as the laughs build steadily throughout Winter’s narratives.
We also only ever review a show based on the work performer puts in and never review the audience or the venue. It was clear that a good deal of time and talent went into Winter’s show. However, a show of charming stories and laughs such as this was perhaps not suited to the marquee in one of the busiest beer gardens at the Fringe.
We’re hoping to have the chance to catch Winter again at the Fringe. His is a brand of comedy we enjoy.
Wisebowm is an urban poet whose struggle is real – the struggle with being the country’s leading urban poet. The struggle with working the nine to five. The struggle with trying to impress the right woman and please his friends and family. This is a musical about struggle.
Steve Whiteley has created a deeply likeable character in Wisebowm, a crackling parody of the faux ‘urban kid rap poet’, with pretensions of being ‘gangsta’ yet actually being achingly middle-class. Steve has perfectly identified the attitude and intricacies of these characters and presented them in a fresh way, via an engaging premise. I have seen many parodies of this type of character before, but have never seen it so well done.
The premise is a musical based around Wisebowm’s last year, and the struggles he has faced. Steve Whiteley uses the poems and music weaved together exceptionally within the narrative, and his performance absolutely fills the room. There is no ignoring Wisebowm when he is in full flow. The production of the music is also stand-out – the music and SFX all timed to comedic perfection.
I never like to make comparisons of one thing to another in these reviews but the narrative of The Struggle is Real, the music and poetry put me in mind of The Streets’ A Grand Don’t Come For Free (a personal note to Mr. Whiteley – I really apologise if this is off the mark of your intentions for the show. That really is one of my favourite albums and you have done a stellar job of parodying it!) Go and see Wisebowm while he is still tearing up the Edinburgh streets with his rhymes. You’ll be his next biggest fan!
The first thing to say about Tim Renkow is, his comedy is not for the faint-hearted. If you like a sugar-coating, sprinkles of fairy dust and happy-go-lucky stories, Tim’s brand of comedy is not for you.
However, if you like blisteringly honest, ferocious and to-the-knuckle comedy (and let’s face it, who doesn’t) then Tim is most certainly the comedian for you.
Tim clearly has a wickedly sharp comic sense which he turns on his life with cerebral palsy, his time on the streets and, afterwards, being hounded by the homeless in a wonderfully dark manner. His tales are grounded in a fierce reality yet ‘out there’ in a glorious way. He weaves a great levity into his darkness, putting the audience’s minds at rest.
Not that the audience needed this comfort. Even with the brutal way in which Tim speaks about his life, there was never an uncomfortable moment.
Tim is a natural and confident performer with a wicked sense of comedy which is a pleasure to witness.
King of the Tramps was on at The Hive at 1950 as part of Heroes
Peter Brush is not your ordinary comedian and his show, Dreams with Advert Breaks, is not your typical comedy show.
Peter’s show is all about dreams – more specifically, his dreams, and whether, looking back, he is getting his dreams and his memories confused with one another. With this premise, he sets off on an hour of playing around with some delightfully silly ideas, well-crafted and well-landed jokes that take in everything from being in the womb to playing rock-paper-sciccors.
He uses the room to his advantage too, making the very best use out of the intimate nature of the space to engage with the audience on a more personal level. He was once described in another review as not looking ‘like he’s meant to be on the stage’, something which, again he uses to his advantage. (By the way, we disagree with this!)
Peter’s is a well-rehearsed performance. What we particularly admired was the ending of the show, which brought back all those flights of fancy he takes the audience on and ties everything together. This is a deeply imaginative show about how we should embrace our imaginative side and is very funny indeed.
Dreams with Advert Breaks was on in The Banshee Labyrinth at 1310 as part of the PBH Free Fringe.
The show we saw of Crime Scene Improvisation was a one-off, in more than one sense of the word. This intelligent group of actors work an entire murder mystery solely based on suggestions from the audience, meaning each performance is unique, never to be seen again.
Each and every person involved demonstrated a phenomenal skill in building an increasingly bizarre and hilarious story, filled with wonderfully 3-dimensional characters.
Our was the story of a young, world-leading shrew tamer who was force-fed a Lego statue of a shrew. Yes, we told you it was bizarre. The detective superbly lead the audience through the narrative as each of the characters interacted, unraveling revelations that eventually built to revealing the culprit.
This troupe of performers cannot be praised highly enough for their quick-thinking, interaction, both with each other and the audience and we cannot more strongly recommend seeing them if they should be in a town near you. It is of utter testament to them that the demand to see the show was so high that people were being asked to come back the next day.
CSI: Crime Scene Improvisation was on in Cabaret Voltaire at 1515 as part of The Free Festival.
From the very start – not just the start of the set but from walking in to the room – it is clear that this will be a show of comedy with a difference.
Hello, Goodbye is a tale of love and death that takes in everything from Beatrix Potter to Van Morrison with a surreal look at what motivates us moving forward in life.
Joz is a very confident and charming performer. His work with the audience – involving them with the show and drawing them in to his wonderfully imaginative world – is first class. He makes brilliant use of props and music to craft his story and plays around with different forms of comedy to create a layered and unexpected narrative.
It was wonderful to see his subversion of these comedic forms – his subversion of character and improv comedy were very well thought out.
His dedication to the craft is admirable and he really does have a massive future ahead of him.
Hello, Goodbye was on at The Hive at 1840 as part of the Heroes model.
One really nice thing we have found at the Edinburgh Fringe in the last few years is that spoken word is taking more of a centre stage. As much as we love comedy here at Bunbury, we do also love a finely-crafted hour of spoken word.
Garibaldi, in our opinion, straddles both comedy and spoken word in a very clever way.
After some startling statistics on the decline of The Gary, Gary From Leeds spends the next hour performing sharply-written poems in an attempt to ‘Save Gary.’ He references everything from the Andrex Puppies to Giuseppe Garibaldi himself whilst taking the audience on an extraordinary journey through his words.
Gary makes brilliant use of props throughout the show as well – the palm reading is a stroke of genius (we won’t give it away!) as well as utilising music very effectively. One of the highlights is a poem so bereft of hope yet set to the ‘second jauntiest TV theme of all time’ (again, we won’t give it away) that, yes Gary, it did leave the audience with a net depression. And we loved it.
This is spoken word at its finest and funniest.
Garibaldi was performed at Silk in the Upper Room.
Rain tore down the well built defences of waterproof jackets and umbrellas while a welcoming, warm light burned in Bar Ten. A large bowl of sweets sat invitingly on a table and a pumpkin glowed on stage, a raven carved into its face.
The evening started with open mic slots, the first of which took the form of a dialogue written and performed by Alan Rick with Fiona Nuttall taking the second roll. It is the first time we have had a more theatrical piece and it was great to see something different.
Next up was Michael Bainbridge who has a short, sweet and wonderfully penned offering and you know how much we love seeing a new face.
Another new face performing but regular audience member Helen Bainbridge gave us a heartfelt and emotive pieces to enjoy.
After the first lot of open mic performers we had the first of our headliners for the evening, Dr. Sam Illingworth.
Dr Mr Sam is a physicist who lectures at Manchester Metropolitan University. He is also a poet. He delighted us with poems on birds, fish, the void and many other topics. Sam writes about and researches the crossover poetry and science, to put it in a nutshell and if you get the opportunity, go see him. You will not be disappointed.
After the break we had our second headliner, Mr Chris Bainbridge who is always a pleasure to have at our evenings. His pieces are inspirational at some points, thought provoking at others and downright hilarious too. He truly is a gifted poet and again, if you get a chance to see him, do so.
The second, smaller duo of open mic performers started with a comedic piece from Matt Panesh who portrayed a character by the name of Roger Cumsnatch who is just as jaw-dropping as the name implies. It was very refreshing to have another first at Do The Write Thing.
The second slot saw the return of the highly talented Fiona Nuttall who is always a pleasure to hear and has previously been a headliner. Fiona has a style all of her own and captivates the audience with ease and a great degree of skill.
Finally, we saw the début headliner performance of Lorraine Beckett-Murray, who delivers great impact from page to performance. We were treated to tales of cannibalism and long lost loves spanning centuries. A regular at our writing group, Do The Write Thing and landlady of Bar Ten, it is wonderful to see someone so passionate really take the reins.
At the end of the night, Keri presented the headliners with her own canvases. The pictures of which, are below. We hope you’ve enjoyed this write up and urge you to come to the next event. Keep an eye on our Facebook page for updates about the next event.
The first rule of Write Club: Please tell people about the evening because it really means a lot when people turn up.
That is what we had last night for the latest installment of Do The Write Thing – really great turn-out of both performers and just those who love spoken word.
As always we had open mic spots and headliners contributing to a wonderful night of poetry and story-telling.
The second rule of Write Club: If you want to perform, bring some of your brilliant poems to perform for a warm and accepting crowd. That is exactly what these lovely people did.
The first half saw Dave Morgan opening the night in great style, Karen Little returning – she had bought a miner’s lamp to be able to see her poems but the sun shone beautifully through! Judgement Dave performed here for the first time – our judgement? Awesome! Chris Bainbridge came back to our event with some brilliantly topical and moving poetry and Lorraine, owner of the fine establishment and home to Do The Write Thing, Bar Ten, closed off the open-mic segment of the first half with poems of her usual delightful style.
What can we say about the headliner of the first half, Elizabeth Tyrrell. First, forget everything you know about spoken word. Her performance was full of wonderfully varied pieces and it was a pleasure to have her at the event.
The third rule of Write Club: in the break, mingle, get a drink, relax and prepare yourself for an awesome second half. After the break, we kicked off with our second headliner of the night, Dave Viney. We went to his book launch a couple of weeks ago for a collection called A Poet Called Dave. The highlight of his set with us was his letter to Brian Reid at Northern Rail Customer Service, which is absolutely hilarious. We highly recommend getting over to FlapJack Press and getting a copy. He works tirelessly for his passion and deserves all your support!
The second half proceeded with more open-mic spots from some lovely people. Alex Wight, headliner from last time, came back to deliver more impassioned poetry. Nick Woods kept the ball rolling with some lovely pieces before Stephanie Portersmith (apologies to her, we lost the photos we took but have found one from our fundraiser. We hope that is OK!) returned to DTWT once more with some more fantastic poetry. Fiona Nuttall, a stalwart of our regular writing group, closed off the show with some enviably good poetry!
And the whole thing was hosted by these two lovely people:
So that is that. What an absolutely great night once again. Thanks so much to everyone who came along, to read, watch, listen, drink, all of the things! The next one is 28th July where we will have some very special guests. Until next time, remember:
You’re not your job. You’re not how much money you have in the bank. You’re not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You’re not your khakis. You are poets, the all-reading lovelies of the world.