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Got a few minutes? Then why not catch an Edinburgh Fringe show from The Space UK (Online review)

Welcome to the virtual Edinburgh Fringe. Here I look at the shows made available via The Space UK which run under ten minutes duration. All are available until 31 August at Online@theSpace.

An Empty Chapel. A recitation for those lost. The shortest single piece in the festival, about two minutes, roughly filmed.

Half a Dozen Jane Eyres. Silliness and camp in a field, a man and a woman playing Jane meet, spar and talk conventions. The wind gives the ambience, but this is a piece which has a teasing appreciation of the character, enough to rib it. Three minutes, filmed well with good visuals and sound.

The Plague Thing by Marcia Kelson for Putney Theatre Company, this runs six minutes. Filmed in portrait, we find an elderly lady in her home (care home), isolated. “I used to have visitors before the plague thing.” There is a feeling of abandonment and confusion with this lady, but she has a strong sense of what is paid but not that she is in a home, or why. “Single beds are for children, not grown adults” The plight of people with dementia in residential care, where “nothing much happens”. Very well acted vignette, bringing to sharp relief the lack of socialising. “I’d risk a bit of the plague, for company.” Kelson directs, Carol Hudson acts.

Wet Paint Still Not Dry by Two Ladders. A show with a “critic” as a guest, talking about the fringe show we are watching. Very meta. “The title is on the par with The Bible.” Takes aim at the critic (pretentious in glasses and blazer). Seven minutes. “The writers have taken hold of writing and just written.” Presenter also ribbed (literally, in a cardigan and woolly hat), and just as pretentious, saying nothing. A comedy which is intermittently amusing, about a show which doesn’t exist but which is hard to define. Written and performed by Ed Poluse (presenter) and Harrison Roberts (critic).

Craig, by The Juicy Orange. Outside in a small leafy estate garden, into Craig’s bedroom, a few repeated shots. Just a song about loneliness and isolation, “feel like fruit rotting on a tree”. When you’ve nothing to do and nowhere to be, you miss your family. Fun and pithy, but also makes a point about men’s mental health and finding friends and projecting life to inanimate objects, who might have to become dinner! Seven and a half minutes.

Hyper-Nice Passive Aggressive Co-vid Poetry. David Watson presents words, animated, titles, then musing on the boring aspects of lockdown and time. There are some aspects of fun here, in these quickfire rhyming pieces about the annoyance of being stuck at home, shops running out, forgetting to garden. Eight minutes, a range of locations inside and out. A performer who has hit on the irritations of many, especially those in Zoom parties, work quizzes on Skype, and hatred “of everyone around me”. Sadly the sound level is variable.

Stranded, by Marcia Kelson. Flights cancelled, a Zoom call stuck in Peru (daughter), cheating mum in her kitchen (with wife). Directed by Kelson with Lesley-Ann Jones as Helen and Caroline Salter as Sarah, for Putney Theatre Company. A piece which isn’t quite there yet but has nuggets which could be explored.

Lady M, written by Nia Williams, dir Alice Evans. Filmed in portrait at first, presented by Three Chairs and a Hat. An extract from the full show, a small-scale musical performed by Susanne Hodgson. A bouncy tune, “you’re the creme de la creme when you’re with Lady M” and a bit of chat. Ropey sound sinks this one a bit but Lady M as a cross between fairy godmother, motivational speaker and mindfulness practitioner? That’s intriguing. Just over nine minutes.

Where The Magic Happens. Shaun Shears, Tim Brownsea, songwriters. Shaun is a wheelchair user. Talking about their writing partnership and how their personalities fit. Mini documentary chat in 9.5 minutes, with snatches of the songs.

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