The Sunset Five
Taking a well known concept and putting an original spin on it takes courage, creativity and self-awareness, but The Sunset Five manages to do all this, and more.
With more than a nod to Ocean’s 11, this pub quiz-centric caper features five friends in a quiz team who must rob a casino in order to save their favourite pub, and comes complete with a mysterious narrator who pushes the storyline along. The production comes from the DugOut Theatre Company, who have put on shows at Edinburgh Fringe for the past five years and received numerous five star reviews for their 2014 offering, Inheritance Blues.
The most unexpected and unique aspect of The Sunset Five is the stripped down yet meticulously crafted creative process behind the show. This is driven by an intelligent synergy of innovative tech (loop pedals) and minimalist staging – their only props are six stools and a couple of instruments – as the actors slip in and out of multiple personas and take the audience on a journey through different worlds and scenarios. This all comes with extraordinarily precise lighting and sound effects to denote the context and immerses the audience in the fictional but highly relatable world that the show weaves.
This all comes complete with a sharp, witty script that attempts to harness that familiar concept of the everyday pub conversation. Each character on the pub quiz team is hilariously relatable, performed with skilfully executed pastiche but with a realistic appreciation of the stereotype they are portraying. The comedy is largely feel-good, but falls perfectly on the right side of the fine line between self-aware and cheesy.
This show is bound to leave audience members buzzing and is an absolute must-see at Edinburgh –just ensure you have a pint in your hand or you might start getting a little thirsty.
The Sunset Five is at Edinburgh Fringe in the Pleasance Dome (Queen Dome); 5.40pm Wednesday 5th – Monday 31st August 2015 (not 19th); £6-11 date dependent.
News Revue 2015
News Revue holds the Guinness World Record for the longest running live comedy, and on the evidence of the year review edition heading to Edinburgh Fringe Festival this summer, it may retain that accolade for a long time to come.
The news based satirical song and sketch show came about in 1979, performing at Edinburgh Fringe every year since and holding a weekly residency at the Canal Café Theatre in Maida Vale. It has garnered a cult following over the last 35 years as it has continued to pull no punches in its insightful humour. Notable names that have come through the ranks include Bill Bailey, Sarah Pascoe and Rory Bremner.
The Edinburgh Fringe edition sees the current cast focus on an entire year’s worth of news, rather than just the week, and the spoils are therefore plentiful and well-honed. Katriona Perrett, Kieran Mortell, Naomi Bullock and Simon Prag deliver a relentless barrage of comedy as they riff through what has been a very high profile year for British news. The cast of four are self-aware and each uses their varying image well, understanding how to take on personas that elicit maximum laughs. There is a predictably heavy focus on the General Election in May, with touches of international news and excellently targeted lampooning of recent cultural phenomena such as Netflix and Tinder.
This is all presented in an appealing and exciting mixture of ways. Brief two line attack-and-riposte moments give way to elaborate singing and dancing numbers; detailed sketches segway into exhibits of brash physical comedy. Nothing and nobody escapes the satire of the production, with clear attention to detail in the pacing of the show, the nuances of the script, and the choices of director Tara Newton-Wordsworth in which highlights of the past year are given time.
News Revue 2015 is perfect as an expertly satirical review of the past 12 months – literally a laugh a minute, and not to be missed.
Edinburgh Fringe, the Pleasance Beyond; 6.30pm daily 5th August to 31st August.
By Joey Leskin