Fringe Review | Tom Ballard

WRITTEN BY AMANDA JOSEPH


© Photos Credited to Tom Ballard, Twitter

I wasn’t sure quite what to expect when my Aussie friend, who is living in London, suggested that we go see Tom Ballard over the weekend she was up for the Fringe. I had never heard of him before, and when she mentioned he used to a  DJ on hipster Aussie station TripleJ, I was a little wary of what to expect from the show on Sunday evening, but tagged along in any case.
 
Surprised, delighted and thoroughly entertained, I haven’t been able to praise this show highly enough since seeing it. Ballard’s performance is so poignant for these times. At once side-splittingly funny, whilst still delivering an important message, surrounded as we are by a barrage of alt-right propaganda, misogyny, bigotry, racism and hatred. Ballard isn’t for the faint of heart, or the easily offended but he sure packs a punch covering everything from political correctness to middle class privilege.
 
A quintessential millennial himself, happily living in a bubble of middle classed privilege and having grown up as a white male to boot, Ballard expounds on the culture shock he experienced when he joined the high-brow Australian reality TV show First Contact. Here, six Australian celebritity were taken out to Aboriginal communities to experience life in one of the most remote landscapes, with some of the most disenfranchised peoples. Faced with abject racist rhetoric from David Oldfield, Ballard brings his experience to light by taking the mickey out of the constant struggle of a generation born into privilege but fighting for equality in a system that is rigged towards the One Percent.
 
Ballard, with humour and animated eloquence unravels issues from political correctness to privilege, in a generation where we have the likes of Trump and Pauline Hanson (the leader of the alt-right racist One Nation political party in Australia) openly propagating hate from positions of political power, whilst still leaving some ambiguity to what are complex topics.
 
Both ironic and playful, Ballard delivers an incredible, meaningful and heart-felt performance with so much energy that you’re guaranteed to leave with a belly sore from laughing. Although, I should say there was one patron that seemed less than impressed by Ballards antics – ironically an old, white, middle-class man who sat with his arms crossed and a frown on his face the entire time. Which, I suppose, just highlighted Ballard’s points with further, if unintended, irony.
 
Tom Ballard is at the Pleasance Courtyard until 27 August.

Read more of Amanda's writings on her blog, the Soulful Vagabond.

Fringe Review | Phil Wang

WRITTEN BY EMMA THOMSON

Picture Credit © Phil Wang, Twitter Inc

The son of a Malaysian Man and English woman, Phil Wang considers himself a child of the British Empire. A tough position in 2017 Britain, when we’re trying to close our borders to the rest of the world…thank you Brexit.

So, where does he belong? Is he Malaysian, British, or is he just a stereotype to be made fun of?
 
As a kid all he wanted was to be a grown up and British, but has he changed his mind? The hour long show will take you through some anecdotes of childhood, adolescence and dating to try answer some of these questions in the funniest way possible.
 
While the audience might not be able to relate to everything Phil has to say about his childhood, lacing the facts with some rather hilarious stereotypes means he holds everyone’s attention and the hour will fly by.
 
Whether or not you’ve caught Phil on Live at the Apollo, Have I Got News For You? or another TV show (not yet made it to the BBC Asia Network). I’d recommend you try catch him live while he’s in town for a rather topical comic journey about the life of a British-Malaysian.
 
Catch Phil at Pleasance Courtyard until 27 August.

Fringe Review | Sara Pascoe LadsLadsLads

WRITTEN BY KIM STEELE

 

A good comedian is someone who makes you laugh; a great comedian is someone who crafts a stand up story which interlaces stories back and forth to keep you both thinking and laughing throughout. The latter is what Sara Pascoe is, who struts out onto the stage and immediately enters her intimate set which is funny, candid, boundary pushing and endearing all at the same time.

Sara is a Fringe veteran and her newest show does not disappoint. The theme of this year's show is the recent break up with her partner of four years. She's candid and open in ways which we could all learn a lesson from and is unashamedly herself.

Her show eloquently and intelligently weaves from teenage anecdotes to the present day and how she's going to make the world a better place for women and men, one meal at a time. What makes her show so great is that Sara is totally relatable; I think everyone in the audience at one point or another gave a wry smile or a deep seated belly laugh because we've all been somewhere she has (unless you're a Tory and then probably not).

If you're not familiar with Sara, she's also written a brilliant book called “Animal” which I think everyone should be made to read in school – boys and girls – as it's an enlightening read about the female anatomy and how we've evolved over the years.

I don't want to give anything away about LadsLadsLads as I want you to go and enjoy the show yourself without expecting any of the punch lines. All I will say is Sara, if you read this, you're not tampony at all.

Sara is on at the Pleasance Courtyard until 27 August.

 

Fringe Review | Buzz: A New Musical

WRITTEN BY EVE SMITH

This Fringe-show-come-sex-ed musical really takes the birds and the bees to a whole new level! Did you know that Cleopatra filled a hard-skinned fruit with angry bees to use as her…erm, vibrator? Yes, it’s bizarre; and it’s also just one of the stories which inspired Buzz: A New Musical by Fat Rascal Theatre.

Featuring the famous Hitachi Magic Wand, a Rabbit from Amazon Prime, M&S pyjamas and a plush clitoris along with an assortment of characters from history, the musical takes the audience on a laugh-out-loud journey through a timeline of women’s self-pleasure.

The show’s opening scene is hilarious and doesn’t hold back, so be prepared to come face to face with a dancing clitoris (no actual nudity) from the get go. Right away we’re introduced to the heroine of the story, Angie, as she is wallowing over a break-up. To the shock of her best friends, it’s revealed that Angie has never owned a vibrator, and so begins the story of her self-discovery with the helping hand of Cleo, ‘hysterical’ Victorian women, sacked scientists (how dare they research female self-pleasure!), and a few gods and goddesses who know a thing or two about getting it on, alone.

The awkwardly hilarious performance by Allie Munro (Angie) brings this surreal musical about vibrators back down to earth, and there is genuinely something to be learned here. The story doesn’t just address women’s sex toys, but also touches upon sexual health, casual dating, one night stands, queefing (omg), and the pressure to look good.

It goes without saying that Fat Rascal Theatre have produced a feel-good comedy musical addressing a subject which is generally more accepted and open today. It entertains while educating, and shows just how far we’ve come in in the world of female orgasms and self-pleasure. In fact, a few of my male friends feel the balance is tipped the other way, and that it’s male sex toys that are the tabooer subject. Either way, it’s refreshing to see this topic being examined on stage at the Fringe and being so thoroughly enjoyed by the audience.

If only our sex ed at school could have been less bananas and condoms and more dancing clitorises, I’m sure we’d have learned a lot more about our bodies, and that sex isn’t just about putting condoms on men. Go and see this musical with your friends, then head straight to the pub to laugh about ‘that scene’ with the blow-up doll!

Buzz: A New Musical is at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe until August 28th 2017.  

Bar Soba | Edinburgh

W H O

Bar Soba

W H A T

A Trendy bar serving a plethora of cocktails and pan Asian bites

W H E R E

104 Hanover Street, Edinburgh

W H E N

Thursday 27 July

We were invited down to the launch night to sample some of their new cocktails. The Bubblelicious was a surprising delight, the grown up slushies with gin and rhubarb are all of our summer dreams come true, they do a perfect serve G&T in a goblet and make a mean mojito. Question: why has no one ever thought of a chilli laced cheeseburger spring roll before? Game changer. Their menu is definitely worth checking out.

Will we be back? Yes, definitely! Great service and lovely staff who know their stuff. Keep your eyes peeled for some Bar Soba x athena collectiv. exclusive events…

“Act natural” © Emma Thomson

© Emma Thomson

© Emma Thomson

© Emma Thomson

© Emma Thomson

Why I’m Not Offended by Being a “Grafter”

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WRITTEN BY KIM STEELE

You may have seen recently that a company advertised a job offer addressed to millennials (their word, not mine) asking for a grafter. The Tea House Theatre had a hella’ backlash about their “patronising” open letter to potential applicants about the issues they have experienced with recruitment and asking for someone who’s more dedicated and who wants to grow with them.

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Correct me if I’m wrong, but how many of us haven’t written on our CVs that we’re loyal, that we want “to grow with the company”, that we’re hard working? They’re asking for the things that we offer on our CVs. They’re asking for people who – gasp – want to work. Now, I don’t know the company, I can’t attest to whether or not they’re good employers and if it is in fact that they are terrible people to work for that they’re having to advertise their job for the “third time in as many months”. But, let’s just assume that they’re okay to work for; for the purpose of this article it’s irrelevant for now. Regardless, they have been running the company since 2010 and they’ve felt so exasperated that they’ve felt the need to write this letter.

I’ve read countless articles on this advert and for the most part they’ve been negative. Yes, some of the stuff the directors of the company wrote is stupid and doesn’t paint them in the best light but, personally, I’d be attacking the use of “millennials” because it’s a bullshit made up word that covers people from the ’80s to the noughties who, for the most part, will have very little in common but that’s an opinion for another day.

Maybe I’m not offended by the advert because I am a grafter. I am a proud grafter. And every single one of you who has put “hard working” on their CV is claiming to be a grafter. Of course everyone is going to take different things from the advert and my opinion is just one of many but I did, in fact, realise that the end of my studies was the beginning of my education when I learned more about an industry in 3 months on the job than I did in three years at university. I started at the bottom and worked my way up through my industry, through the pay scales, to get to where I am now. I was taught to work hard for something if I want it. I’ve seen people come and go from jobs where they just weren’t cut out for it.

I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask for someone to take a job and keep it. I’m sure there’s going to be the right candidate out there for them, who saw this advert and went “that’s me” – who saw an opportunity to work in the arts industry and will take the job gratefully and do us grafters proud.

What did you think of the advert? Tell us in the comments, we welcome healthy debate!