Edinburgh Festival: Fringe Reviews

MUSICAL

Words and Music

C too, Venue 4, 7.50pm (0131-225 5105)

to 30 Aug

BILLED AS the first revival of Noel Coward's revue since 1932, Words and Music had a lot to live up to. Present circumstances (a church hall) could hardly evoke the glamour of the original production, but the energy and relish of this band of five performers made up for that. They caught the period style remarkably well, delivering the stiff-upper- lip dialogue of numbers like "Let's Say Goodbye" with conviction, and singing, rather than crooning, classics like "A Room with a View" and "The Party's Over Now".

Several numbers brought out Coward's subversive satire of the society of his day. Which certainly corrected the current impression of Coward's work as merely silly or sentimental. Highpoints, in particular, "Mad about the Boy" achieved genuine intensity. Well worth seeing.

Laurence Hughes

COMEDY

Rich Hall

Pleasance, Venue 33, 10.15pm (0131-556 6550) to 30 Aug

There is something about Otis Lee Crenshaw, alter-ego of Rich Hall, that causes women to swoon. Maybe it's his voice, a gravelly, 60-a-day drawl that makes Tom Waits sound like a canary. It could be his jailbird status, a feature that affords him vulnerability while giving him that vital element of danger. As Crenshaw puts it, "women like a project".

His improvised banter revolves around his appreciation of girls while subtly highlighting the inadequacies of their boyfriends. And despite some ill-judged attempts from audience members to upstage him, Crenshaw effortlessly retains the upper hand.

But most of his appeal lies in his songs, a series of country tunes with a sadistic twist. While steeped in the traditions of country and western, Crenshaw takes a dim view of Garth Brooks ("He doesn't know what it's like to pour bourbon over your cornflakes"). But such misanthropic tendencies are balanced by moments of pure sweetness. Only he could transform a song about jail rape into an epic love poem: "My cellmate beats me black and blue. But it's cool, he almost looks like you." An utterly charming monster.

Fiona Sturges

FILM

Pushing Tin

Gala international premiere, ABC Cinema, Lothian Road (0131-623 8030) tonight 8pm

Director Mike Newell's last film, the sorely underrated Donnie Brasco, dealt with a gangster tiring of his "ball-busting" lot. In Newell's comedy drama Pushing Tin, Nick Falzone (John Cusack) is another tough guy losing his zest for a lucrative, high-pressure occupation. Air-traffic control, however, doesn't have quite the fugitive allure of the Mob, which is just the start of the film's problems.

Already threatened by the arrival of an enigmatic, Native American-Irish controller Russell Bell (Billy Bob Thornton), Falzone begins to crack up after a one-night stand with Bell's wife. Next, his own partner (Cate Blanchett) walks out, and at work he nearly pushes one piece of tin into another at 20,000ft.

Unfortunately, Newell toils far too long in trying to dramatise the macho posturing of the control room. In doing so, he neglects a first-rate cast, particularly Blanchett - a comic revelation as the ditzy Connie - and Thornton, whose character is little more than a plot contrivance. Moreover, the film presents and then ignores, a far more intriguing milieu than the world of air traffic, namely the moneyed, New York suburban enclave inhabited by the controllers and their families. Finally, if it limps home at all, it's due to the script's occasional savvy moment and the self-deprecating presence of Cusack.

Mike Higgins

CHILDREN'S THEATRE

The Man Who Lost His Nose - Pekko's Puppets

Komedia @ Southside, Venue 82, 10.45am (0131-667 2212) to 29 Aug.

Ages 4-10

THIS IS the very funny and rather sad story of Major Kovalyev, a man of great importance and many medals. One morning he wakes to find his nose has gone. And although it can be seen having a great time with other runaway noses, there seems no way to catch it.

Adapted from Gogol's short story, the whole show relies on the skill of the storyteller, Stephen Novy. As the lover, the policeman, the barber and the manservant, he does a pretty good job. The runaway noses are fabulous as they dance and flirt with each other. But best of all is the General. While Novy stands right next to this pompous puppet and makes no effort to disguise either himself or his voice, he still seems invisible. What we see and hear is the poor, puffed-up soldier who cannot contemplate a life without a long, fat nose. Recommended.

Pru Irvine

Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
TV
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Actor and director Zach Braff

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Maisie Williams plays 'bad ass' Arya Stark in Game of Thrones

TV
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife

film
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne modelling

film
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape

Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'

music
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

film
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

Review: Cilla, ITV TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Hardy stars with Cillian Murphy in Peaky Blinders II

TV
Arts and Entertainment

art
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game

film
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West is on his 'Yeezus' tour at the moment

Music
Arts and Entertainment
Rob James-Collier, who plays under-butler Thomas Barrow, admitted to suffering sleepless nights over the Series 5 script

TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week