31 July 2008

Jim Jefferies - Hammered

Last year Jim provided us a strong, quick moving set with some heart-felt revelations about his life that really made you feel a connection with him. This year, possibly due to this being his opening night, his show does not have a rhythm yet and it feels like a series of disjointed stories, rather than one flowing performance. He does, as always, make some very interesting points and get several good laughs about the topics, but it feels quite superficial and lacks the real edge he had last year. Probably with a long opening weekend under his belt he'll be flowing but when you pay £8 for preview tickets in the second largest venue in Edinburgh, I would expect such an established performer to be ready from day one.
Another 7 out of 10 but with the belief that when he gets going he'll probably move up to an 8, same as last year.

30 July 2008

Andrew Lawrence - Don't Just Do Something, Sit There!

Two years ago I saw Andrew perform in his 'Best Newcomer Nominated' show, How to Butcher your Loved Ones. Whilst he was well prepared and had good delivery, I didn't find his material too funny (although I accepted other people may) and I felt he was limited in what he could do for the future. Last year he ditched the keyboard and did straight stand-up which got him a nomination for the top award. I didn't want to go and see him as I knew what his style was like and failed to see how he could have made such a dramatic change in 11 months. I did however decide to give him another chance on the opening preview night of this year's festival and I'm so glad I did. He's simply brilliant. He has taken all his strong points and added an extra, more mature quality whilst still touching on the puerile and infantile. He's keep in his ability to reel off a dozen of so complicated things in quick succession without pausing, and wrapped it tightly in with wide ranging material across a wide spectrum of laughs. This year his show looks at the three main areas of life that people waste chasing: Careerism; Materialism and the Pursuit of Physical Perfectionsim. Thanks to Andrew's effortless self-deprecating and (bizarrely) likable efforts, I had tears of laughter streaming down my face through-out the entire hour.
10 out of 10 and a strong contender for this year's top prize.

Felix Dexter - Not just Another White Guy

By his own admission, Felix hasn't done stand-up for over a decade and that becomes obvious quite early on. His jokes are safe and his subjects are a bit tired - it's like jumping back to the mid-90s. What Felix does have on his side is excellent performance and delivery, no doubt down to his acting background. All that said he is a solid opening show to this year's festival and a good warm up for Andrew Lawrence later.
On the new scoring system he gets 7 out of 10 - Good entertainment but only for die-hard fans or half price tickets (I was the later).

The Festival Has Landed!

Despite the catastrophic implementation of the new ticketing system preventing people buying tickets; Despite the hour long queues to collect tickets lost in the post; And despite the rolling haar and flash down pours yesterday: The Edinburgh Festival has successfully got under way! Hurays all round!

27 July 2008

The Dark Knight Review by Anagrams

Indeed, it was a dark night (well afternoon, actually). Allow me to enlighten you with accurate reviews of The DK by means of carefully constructed anagrams. My first touches on the film as a whole event and it is "The Emperor's New Clothes". The astute amongst you will have notice that I had to borrow and swap a few letters to construct that anagram but I figured if vast numbers of otherwise sane people could pretend that The DK was a good film then surely I could be afforded a similar bizarre privileged...

Next, let me capture the whole story that the film gets its grounding in with the anagram "Holy Plotless Wonder". I guess I should now cover the leg-end Heath Ledger and his performance. Ignoring one good initial scene where his Jack-inspired mannerism were good the first time you see them, his overall performance can be summarised with "The Joke is on (pause to clear excess saliva from mouth because that's all you need to do a hundred times to portray madness) us". Finally we need to end with the directing and the apparent darkness of the piece with "Colourful Copycats Mr Bond" (that was what the opening half hour was going for wasn't it? Morgan Freeman playing Q...).

As I started out by saying, it was a dark night and try as I might, I'm not getting those 3 hours or my money back. 6 out of 10 - Okay but too much padding. Tickets must be free or you need to be able to fast forward segments!

20 July 2008

New Scoring System

I've been thinking over the last little while that marks out of five don't really cut it anymore as there is too much confusion, e.g. is 3 out of 5 good? It is actually 6 out of 10 which is less flattering. There were only two ways to address this: use half marks or scale up to a base-10 marking system. I'm now going to work on the following scoring structure:

10 - Simply brilliant! Beg, steal or lie to see this!
9 - Very good, highly enjoyable, worth the price.
8 - Quite good and if you can get in cheaper go ahead.
7 - Good entertainment but only for die-hard fans or half price tickets
6 - Okay but too much padding. Tickets must be free or you need to be able to fast forward segments!
5 - One small part is interesting but you are better off hearing that from a friend.
4 - Walk out and don't look back, save your precious time. Nothing of note.
3 - Start to get angry at the waste of money and effort from the creators that could have been better spent doing anything else!
2 - Mercy killings might be a good idea to prevent any future abominations.
1 - CIA use this as part of their "enhanced interegation" torture programme.

6 July 2008

Something BIG is Happening...

My domain is moving over to Google Apps. Until I can import from Wordpress's XML format into blogger, my old blog entries (all 352 of them and 220 real comments!) can be viewed over at Phill Gillespie's Blog. My gallery will be available soon at Phill Gillespie's Pictures. After almost a year away (since the end of last year's Festival ended) my blog is back in business, coupled with some new powers!