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NEWS & REVIEWS

This page contains the latest news stories and reviews for our venues and shows.... so keep checking back on this page to find out what's happening, and which shows are the ones not-to-miss....

Click here to see the highest rated shows from this years reviews

March 18, 2020 
BRIGHTON FRINGE 2020 HAS BEEN POSTPONED
Following the announcement by the Prime Minister urging the general public not to visit “pubs, clubs, or theatres” and advice from Brighton & Hove City Council, Brighton Fringe has announced that it will be postponing the festival until September/October 2020

We are planning to move the programme here on our website across to the new dates in October... please bear with us over the coming weeks until we confirm things. If you have already bought tickets for May 2020, then the Fringe will be in contact about refund arrangements.
 Click Here

January 15, 2020 The Culture Diary
Article about Samantha Pressdee: Covered
Why I'm performing my comedy show Covered on mental health campaign days
 Click Here

December 23, 2019 Laughing Horse News
The New Programme is live for Brighton Fringe 2020!
You can now view our 2020 Brighton Fringe Programme! Click Here

December 22, 2019 Laughing Horse News
Check Out Our Australian Festivals: Jan to April in Perth, Adelaide & Melbourne
Check out what we do in Australia! Click Here

December 3, 2019 
Article about Julie-Ann Amos: Death Row Jiggle
"Great material, and a very different energy in a comedy night. Unique life experiences crafted into very funny routines. Well worth booking" - Nick Page

October 16, 2019  Upper Circle
Review of ShakeItUp: The Improvised Shakespeare Show
ShakeItUp, Hen and Chickens Theatre
ShakeItUp: the Improvised Shakespeare Show does exactly what it sets out to do. Using audience suggestions to decide on a genre, setting and title character, the group of actors create an original play in the style of Shakespeare, following the usual improvisation rules of accepting whatever challenges are thrown at them and incorporating the new elements into the plot.

The Hen and Chickens Theatre Bar is an ideal venue for this production, the auditorium is small enough to make it easy for the audience to shout out prompts and feel involved in the show. Before the start of the show, one of the cast members goes around the bar handing out Shakespeare-style line prompts for the audience to fill in. At the beginning of the show, each cast member takes a handful of prompts to take out whenever they struggle for a response. This takes the show into new and unexpected directions. The less appropriate for Shakespeare the line is, the more ridiculous the play gets.

The cast is small but they are all very versatile and take on a variety of roles. The plot that gets created gets more and more complicated as it goes along, making it more impressive that they manage to keep track of all of the twists that they include. They have no props or costume changes to help distinguish each character but they still manage to help the audience understand the different scenes and roles using only their voices and body language.

The most impressive aspect, which makes the show stand out from other improv performances, is how they maintain the Shakespearean elements throughout. They use the typical speech styles that you would find in a Shakespeare play, even when the subject matter becomes much more modern. The highlight is when they add in rhyming couplets, completely improvised, that fit into the story. It really gives the impression of an authentic, if strange, work of Shakespeare.

There are two musicians that accompany the actors, providing sound effects and background music for the various scenes. They fit in so well that you almost forget they are there, and despite the improvisation the timing is great and the music fits as well as any pre-written soundtrack. They also provide music for the improvised songs that make up part of the play, often prompted by one of the actors forcing someone to sing with a line like ‘why don’t you tell us about that, in song?’. Although the songs follow a set format and tune, it is still entertaining, both when they manage to fit a very creative line perfectly into the song, and when they struggle and can’t make it work.

Obviously, this show will be a different experience every time it is performed. It is definitely reliant on the audience being ready and willing to participate, and the actors do a great job of warming up the crowd before the show to make everyone feel more comfortable with shouting out suggestions when needed. The cast are clearly passionate about what they do, and in the case of the most recent performance, were very excited to be able to try out a history, a genre that had never been chosen for them before. Their enthusiasm is what makes the show stand out, they seem to truly enjoy the performance so the audience does too.

Emma Grimsley Click Here

October 15, 2019  Broadway World
Review of ShakeItUp: The Improvised Shakespeare Show
ShakeItUp: The Improvised Shakespeare Show, Hen & Chickens
Shake It Up Theatre's concept for their Improvised Shakespeare Show is very simple and follows the basic rules of improv - with an Elizabethan twist added to the mix. The audience are in charge of setting the scene, choosing the genre first and then moving to setting and protagonist, the weirder, the better.

The cast (Abigail Clay, James Dart, Rebecca Gibbs, Joseph Prestwich, and Edward Kaye) start to flex their muscles as their crowd picks a location and a name to carry the story, while musicians Caleb Mitchell and Rose Trustman accompany the action.

Their impressive chemistry and trust spark creativity as they build the amusing and laugh-out-loud hilarious narrative using Shakespeare's language and general structure. They create rhymes and break out in songs fed by the cues that the patrons pre-write on paper slips ahead of the show. The atmosphere is joyfully convivial; the actors bounce back and forth stoking the plot twists and throwing themselves head-first into uproarious sequences.

The ever-changing nature of the production makes for an interesting evening and, with the company's quick wit and their penchant for ridiculous pastiche, it's a safe bet. While the public is central to the outcome of the play, Shake It Up maintain tight control of pace and rhythm, allowing themselves only a brief time span to let their scenarios meander.

Running at a mere hour, they keep it short and sweet with audience participation encouraged but not forced. Seeing what they come up with is as entertaining as watching them trying not to lose it on stage. They're funny, agile, and are unafraid to tip their toes in lightly deep themes as well. All in all, a great night out. Click Here

August 23, 2019 Squirrel Comedy
Article about Samantha Pressdee: Covered
Samantha Pressdee: Covered Review
 Click Here

August 22, 2019  Theatre Bubble
Review of Flamenco Guitar & Dance
”An evening to transport you with music and song that is captivating”.
Art of Believing is a truly memorable evening, filled with the authenticity of Andalucia, as Daniel Martinez brings some home grown talents into the heart of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. His group have an infectious talents in abundance and their audience lapped them all up – the singing, the rhythmical clapping, exciting flamenco dancing but most of all the sheer brilliance of the musicians and in particular, that of Daniel Martinez. He is a man who can communicate what it is to believe and if you give yourself to the evening you will understand the passion behind Flamenco.

Martinez, composer and expert Flamenco guitarist, displays an array of styles that captures a range of emotions – giving us an authentic feel for Spain. Most of all he allows us to access not only the rich beauty of the music, in song and dance, but to also to feel the searing love or pain of a piece. His generosity of spirit shines through all of his performance, whether with intricate finger picking or in strumming that is can be delicate or robust – whatever the style of play Martinez captures our attention and holds our emotions tight through to the end where we too somehow feel released from the drama.

The drama is wonderfully captured by the Flamenco dancer who commands respect as she circumscribes the floor with her heel-tapping shoes and intensely unfolds her narrative. With shawl or fan or with hands that gesture open or curled, welcoming or rejecting, she points, claps and stamps and absorbs the room and the players into her story. She is dynamic and poetic, enticing and dismissive in turn. She is rigid yet fluent and in releasing her story she tells us something of love and desire of hope and disappointment. She is a performer who may be intense yet she is inclusive as she nods and gestures to the musicians and responds to the singer’s calls and cries and we never feel excluded as she wraps us up in her storytelling. She and Martinez have a particularly strong connection and this adds to the intensity of the piece as she seems to be both challenging his music while at the same time being at one with it.

The accompanying singers wail, call and cry out to be heard. Their supportive vocals are wonderfully enticing to the listeners as we witness their rhythmical harmony with Martinez and his musicians.

Martinez links are a delight, honest and endearing as he explains the nature of the programme or introduces his group of performers. He does so with oodles of charm and Edinburgh is lucky to have him play at the festival. it’s Glasgow’s turn next ,so if for some crazy reason you missed them at the fringe rush through to Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall next month, it’s a performance that makes the sun shine, whatever the weather! Art of Believing is captivating and believe me you will will love it!

Martinez is a somewhat unique dignified talent and should not be missed. Its’ a talent he shares with great equanimity and as his group dance and sing along with exciting guitar and fiddle playing – you well be swept along with a true taste of Andalucia. Click Here

August 15, 2019  Edinburgh Festivals Magazine
Review of Ben Pope: WIP
Review: Ben Pope: Dancing Bear at Pleasance Courtyard
 Click Here

August 12, 2019  The Herald
Review of Flamenco Guitar & Dance
"Martinez playing alone, soulfully evoking a calm before the storm. And what a storm: Bravo indeed."
There’s a local connection to this marvellous presentation of Andalusian culture. Daniel Martinez studied flamenco guitar from the age of seven in his native Cordoba and played in the city’s tablaos before moving to the UK in 2015 and establishing his guitar school in Edinburgh.

His flamenco troupe has two Scottish guitarists and one of this production’s pieces expresses the happiness Martinez has found in Scotland but the music and movement are undiluted Andalusia. The venue even obliged with Andalusian temperatures, making dancer Gabriela Pouso’s intense and astonishingly precise footwork all the more admirable.

There’s music in Pouso’s feet and her close coordination with Martinez’ brilliantly nimble and massively colourful musicianship would have been worth the ticket price alone. That, though, would have robbed us of the fantastically expressive singing of Imma Montero and Danielo Olivera and violinist Pabo Rodriguez’ superb articulation with and without his bow.

The concert began quietly, with Martinez playing alone, soulfully evoking a calm before the storm. And what a storm: three guitars in intricate partnership, violin and voices soaring as the singers added typically urgent and musical hand clapping and Pouso embodying the music’s vibrant physical presence. Bravo indeed. Click Here

August 9, 2019  The Scotsman
Review of Ben Pope: WIP
Comedy review: Ben Pope: Dancing Bear, Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh
 Click Here

August 9, 2019  One4Review
Review of Ben Pope: WIP
Ben Pope: Dancing Bear 4**** - One4Review
 Click Here

July 24, 2019 ArtsYork
Article about Eliott Simpson: (a)sexy and I know it
Eliott Simpson: (a)sexy and I Know It
Comedian Eliott Simpson brings his show (a)sexy and I Know It to the Great Yorkshire Fringe prior to a run at the Edinburgh Fringe next month. The (a) is aptly placed, as Simpson’s show centres around his asexuality, and society’s response to this oft forgotten and misunderstood minority.

Simpson is an instantly likeable figure, bounding on stage enthusiastically in an Austin Powers style violet suit and waffle bowtie, and from that moment on the audience feels relaxed in his self-deprecating yet simultaneously self-assured company. Complete with props to aid his cheesy yet well-placed one-liners (plus running commentary of how much they set him back), and PowerPoint which largely serves to project various ‘dick pics’, the laughs just keep on coming. A section on the new-found gay romance between the Babadook and Pennywise the clown is a highlight.

As with any work in progress there are a couple of jokes that fall a bit flat (I’d skip the one about the Glaswegian comic’s advice), but by this point the audience are so in tune with Simpson that it doesn’t matter. Overall, he succeeds in finding the right balance between being both informative and hilarious, personal and universal, with a fominute show that is accessible and inclusive to members of the LGBTQIA community and its allies. Worth checking out in Edinburgh – with this ace show you can have your cake and eat it too.

(a)sexy and I Know It previewed at The Basement, York on the 23rd July 2019 as part of the Great Yorkshire Fringe. Click Here

June 18, 2019  Writebase
Review of Flamenco Guitar & Dance
“10/10 Perfect, pure flamenco at its vibrant and passionate best”
What a show! Daniel Martinez Flamenco Company presented The Art Of Believing, and early into the show, the audience suspended their disbelief at the skill and talent each member of the Company demonstrated.

The Epstein Theatre was a brilliant setting for the show, small enough for us to feel truly involved in the experience with excellent sound throughout.

Daniel Martinez’s flamenco guitar playing was breathtaking, very intense and atmospheric. He sat alone on a chair in the middle of the stage and that was it for the first couple of numbers and that was all that was needed. But then he was joined by two male and female flamenco singers and with rhythmic clapping and heartfelt vocals, if you closed your eyes, you could imagine the sun on your face, blue skies, a cold glass of wine while you surveyed the Spanish countryside.

There was also flamenco dancing. Emotional and passionate then lighter and slightly comedic as musicians from the cast joined in. The accompanying two guitarists and an exceptional violinist brought the songs to life with such energy!

Daniel didn’t speak too much during the performance but he gave us a little background to the compositions and informed us that the beautiful flamenco dancer was his fiancé.

It was pure flamenco at its vibrant and passionate best and I would definitely go to see this again. Click Here

 

 

      

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