The first show of the day was The Librarians by the Minotaur Theatre Company who are an on-going showcase of the drama degree programme from the University of East Anglia.
This Kafkaesque play by director Lewis Garvey, opens with a song that is incredibly inventive, made from scraping sounds, tapping, stamping and closing and open books. The effect is stunning.
As the play unfolds we find a group of librarians trapped in the Lional Tinderghast Library and our anti-hero Mandrake Hardbach (Harry Denniston who sounds like David Mitchell from Peep Show) has his eye set on the chief librarian’s job by fair means or foul.
These young actors are the stars of tomorrow, the play is very funny, incredibly well acted and very well directed and the cast are very well drilled. The whole piece just crackles.
The only annoying point was a group teenagers in Baby Wants Candy shirts (Another 2013 Fringe Show) who laughed too loud and shouted out at inappropriate times. They clearly didn’t know how to behave in public which was a shame.
The Librarians has to be one of the hits of Fringe 2013 and is already selling out so go see it if you can get a ticket.
The Librarians by the Minotaur Theatre Company ★★★★★
Secrets of the Elders of Zion The second show of the day was Hayden Cohen’s Secrets of the Elders of Zion. Hayden follows me on twitter and asked if I would review the show again (I’d reviewed Age Of The Geek last year) but I’m sorry to say this show wasn’t very good.
There was more groans than laughs from the small audience in attendance and while Hayden is very likeable, his comic material just isn’t strong enough. I think Hayden’s real strength is in his guitar playing and song writing and a show full of satirical home-grown songs might just be the winning show he’s looking for.
Secrets of the Elders of Zion ★☆☆☆☆
Shadow On Their Wall I stayed at the Paradise in The Vault for the next show Shadow On Their Wall. This was another review request that came via Twitter.
This play is an intense and chilling tale about Michael, a man that submits to his impulses, who is clearly suffering from depression and is in his darkest hour.
This is not an easy piece of theatre to like but is well acted by Gareth Watkins and should be seen. Gareth as Michael is totally believable, so much so that I found the finale difficult to watch.
Shadow On Their Wall ★★★★☆
Old And New
After Shadow On Their Wall I was looking forward to some light relief fromNorman Lovett’s show Old And New and I certainly got it with Norman. Now I am a fan – I’ve seen him three or four times over the years and I am in awe because Norman doesn’t really do anything!
We’ve got bubble wrap, plastic bags and silly ears, insects and pigs noses and it’s all brilliantly funny with Norman looking like he’s making it up on the spot (maybe he is) but its effortlessly funny. Norman asked me if he’d got 3 stars for the show and I said…
Norman Lovett: Old And New ★★★★☆
Martha Reeves And The Vandellas
The final show of the day was a concert by Martha Reeves And The Vandellas at the Assembly Rooms – only there wasn’t any Vandellas just Martha and a great group of session musicians.
The show was sold out and I was looking forward to seeing a real soul legend, and while the music was fantastic and Martha had great interaction with the audience, it’s sad to say her voice just wasn’t up to the job.
Now I know she is 72 years of age but tickets for this show were £20 each and some people felt cheated. I left just before the encore and I wasn’t the only one.
Martha Reeves And The Vandellas ★★☆☆☆
Show of the Day: The Librarians