Category Archives: Reviews

Edinburgh Fringe Review 2014 – When it Rains – 2b Theatre Company (4/5)

More Maus then Marvel, more Joe Sacco then Superman.  This live action animated graphic novel is a great investigation into a dark comedy for modern times.

Opening with classic melancholia and Sergei Gainsbourg’s weary tones, the play revolves around a brother and sister and their respective husband and wife. Alan is a statistical being all maths and logic, his sister on the other hand is disorganised, unconfident and frightful of the passionate imbalance her husband Louis has. Alan’s wife Sybil on the other hand is far more composed and through the narration we learn more about the happiness and happenstance that beleaguers the two couple’s lives.

The setting is stunning and you feel add a sense of the play as commentary with the two dimension sets blending seamlessly into the archetypes the actors play. To be honest any description cannot give it justice so why not see what I mean with this short video courtesy of the 2b Theatre Company.

There is a fantastic musical interlude and the narrative voice helps give the objective humour the bleak situations require.

In the end there is no singular hero in this piece but it is a great lunch time play and should be applauded for its audacity. While at over an hour there are moments of longeurs, but I would be hesitant to cut any moments for fear of undermining the text.

Try something different, try something challenging and try something with a portion of French. And you will be rewarded.  This show is a unique experience on the fringe.



When it Rains is at the Pleasance Dome (venue 73) 3.35pm 5, 7-10, 12-17, 19-23 TICKETS HERE

Edinburgh Fringe Review 2014 – Choose Your Own Comedy Adventure – Alasdair Beckett-Kin and Barry Ferns (4/5)

Firstly, this show on paper is doing everything that could possibly go wrong at a live fringe show.  A high level of tech at a free gig in a late night slot with no time for a technical rehearsal or stage blocking should spell disaster.

10272556_671786519535063_6665351923135727720_oHowever, I saw a preview night and the engagement of the audience was a sight to behold.  Barry and Alasdair make a great double act.  They start by comforting and bringing the punters in and starting the show with a ‘taster’ set of their own personalities. Barry being an experienced MC ensured the audience and Alasdair’s role as button wizard/stooge held the crowd with great aplomb.

What follows is an interactive narrative in a very traditional Choose Your Own Adventure style of multiple choices.  The animation style and artwork showing the comical sensibilities of South Park while giving the movement the rapid pace of the Python foot splash was a joy.

Technical problems were easily pulled over and reconfigured and the ability of these guys to take a late night crowd and get them to listen to a story was amazing. Admittedly it was the story of a southern drawl lady and involved, via audience participation her booming voice, her vampire lover, her redundancy and of course a werewolf orgy.

A great sense of fun and the audience continued to throw more and more at the talented duo who added more and more as it progressed.

A feel good show and a great one to watch as it changes every night.  I will definitely catch it again.



Choose Your Own Comedy Adventure is at the Counting House 11.15pm (not 5th, 12th or 19th) and is part of the Laughing Horse Free Festival.  Free entry with a donation at the end of the show.

Guardians of the Galaxy film review – Rob “The Encyclopedia” Deb

Ok, I tend to wait. And this was the one I was thinking that was going to be rubbish. I remember seeing the concept artwork at a comic con a few years back and wasn’t impressed. Then things came in. James Gunn was the one that made me go, “yes”. If you’re not sure where you’ve heard the name I urge you to stop reading this and see his classic The Specials a low budget film about a bunch of maladjusted superheroes largely derided by everyone in and out of the super power community. Sound familiar?  Well it should.

But I can’t stress how beautiful this film is. This is no Kevin Smith stuck with a budget he can’t be bothered with.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the guy but backdrops might as well be in the original green screen when he does adventure.

I saw GOTG at the Edinburgh Imax and I haven’t been so impressed with 3D since Avatar. Now admittedly maybe that’s because London 3D is shit and never run properly, but let’s get back to the GOTG. I have written three reviews so check your security clearance.

You liked Star Wars right?  The good guys/bad guys and rogue bit is similar. Good explosions and the romance is well handled.

M2014 08 01 GOTG-posterOVIE FAN
Fantastic lead, the raccoon doesn’t look shit and they don’t just turn up and save the day.  There is some genuine epoxy in the film and when you get them leaving at the end you’re totally satisfied with the film and yes, you will spot Stan Lee.

OMG OMG This film is so rich! The references are not heavy handed, they totally fit in and some of the things you see are the things you thought you would never see in a movie. They really went to town and the marvel cosmic universe has been mined for every design moment in the whole film and I totally understand the anger fans feel for the lack of credit given to the original creators.

However, the input that Dan Abnett has had into this film and his work makes this a very symbiotic film. You see Thanos is more than an image and the infinity gauntlet begins to take shape.  The humour of the film is classic one liner and so well defined, you can see how the personalities bond without the Basil Exposition that has plagued other marvel films.

I’m going again tomorrow.  If I could I would take root like Groot and stay in the cinema for a couple of screenings.

I was having a moment last night. Everyone gets them, just withdrawn, just brooding and b
eing dangerous. But this really picked me up.

Oh and some show biz gossip. Me, Aiden Goatley, and Rik Carenza are all walking around with the same style Batman bag. That’s just embarrassing, but oh so cute.


Rob “The Encyclopedia” Deb also writes for Cape Lifting and will be performing at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe with Rob Deb 20th Anniversary Edition.

Deb’s Den : Graph Novs you should read 1 – Rob “The Encyclopedia” Deb

Hi there and welcome to my first of many Deb’s Den.

Please pull up a pew.  You can move the cape anywhere you like, my mum will be up in a bit with some tea and biscuits as I give you the Rob Deb recommends you have demanded.  OK, admittedly it was more Mike “The Woman” Belgrave who badgered me to start earning the crust I so eagerly gnaw on and asked me to choose a selection of graphic novels a new to comics reader could enjoy. So here is a selection of cool ready to read trades I know you will enjoy.  And if you don’t, you are obviously dead from the waist down.

 Green Lantern rebirth by Geoff Johns, et al.
Bringing back a character so well loved as Hal Jordan was always going to be difficult, especially to appease the old guard and bringing in new readers at the same time, but Geoff Johns managers to convey character and bring all comers up to speed.

A sharp retooling for one of DC’s flagship characters and a great primer for Superhero comics and how they can be done in general.

Ultimate Spider-Man – Ultimate Spider-Man (Paperback) 1 by Bill Jemas, et al.
Ultimate Spider-man is a swift and sharp re-imagining of the Spider-man mythos, largely aimed at teen readers in its inception, and drawing back old, hem, mature comic book fans who’s interest has been sparked again with the new movie franchise.

By starting over Bendis has been able to modernize Peter and the world around him in a stylish ‘dialogue of references’ you get in many American dramas. Mark Bagely’s artwork is vibrant and clear, with a touch of manga to it.

For spidey fans who want to start over before the wedding, the last hunt, the clones, and the carnage, I can’t think of a better beginning.

Hitman by Garth Ennis, et al.
Bringing many elements that typify Ennis style (shock, cynicism, and a deep irreverence for any established authority) into a light hearted romp through the underside of the DC Universe, Hitman is an enjoyable read with a deeply charismatic protagonist.

John McCrea’s artwork is suitably dark and eccentric and his take on batman alone should be worth the price of admission alone for many readers.

Incredible Hulk: Return of the Monster by Bruce Jones, et al.
On the run, a man alone with his rage, Bruce Banner seems to finally come to an understanding with the monster within, until it all unravels around him.

Bruce Jones brings an earthy sensibility to the hulk, which is rarely on panel and more of a force because of it. Jones also brings in a great deal of enemies against whom banner can vent his rage, a cloudy version of x-files with a meaner bent, this collection is a dark reflection on the character of the Hulk.

In a word Smashing!

Transmetropolitan by Darick Robertson, et al.
Searing, satirical, and sarcastic, the story of Spider’s Gonzo infused odyssey against the American political and corporate structure is gripping from page to page.

Robertson’s art enthuses Warren Ellis’s humor with a level of detail to rival George Perez and your eyes will feel like its feasting on each panel, unlike many of the low background ‘image’s you get in new comics

a must read

Daredevil by Kevin Smith, et al.
A great stylish form of art work from Quesada accompanied with a great line of dialogue that typifies the Kevin Smithsonian institute of writing, this book is a fantastic (re)introduction to one of Marvel’s most hardboiled heroes.

Also emotional sense of closure from the threads left with frank Miller’s work ‘Born again’ and an emphasize on the theatrical aspects of the character rarely covered in later works.

nuff said

Identity Crisis by Brad Meltzer
A hard boiled crime story in a world that has encountered numerous cosmic threats, but never faced such simple human villainy. Meltzer writes character that conveys more (in compliment with the sharp iconic style of Morales and Bair) humanity within our heroes in a single panel than some could do with an entire chapter. A must read for any fan who wants to reacquaint themselves with their childhood idols, as we have grown up, so have they!

Well that brings me to the end of my selection I think you will find something to enjoy in this collection of mutants, misanthropes and murder mysteries, and if you did never worry much like ‘The Sandman’ you can consider it all a dream. So until next time does excuse me as I break out inflatable Kara and the puncture repair kit. KLATU!

Rob Deb at Meanwhile ComixRob “The Encyclopedia” Deb also writes for Cape Lifting and will be performing at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe with Rob Deb 20th Anniversary Edition.