Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews

“No other Fringe performer can match...this rocket-fuelled comedic monologue”

At Dirty Protest

Dirty Protest- Sugar Baby , Roundabout @ Summerhall, Edinburgh , August 15, 2018
At Dirty Protest by Dirty Protest- Sugar Baby “Come and see the show!” It is the one phrase, five words, that is spoken more than any other in the 25 madcap days that are August in central Edinburgh. There may be 10,000 people here acting, singing, making music. But when they are not under the lights those 10,000, plus their friends, are out on the pavements promoting, persuading, selling.

I talk to Steve Richards, one of Britain's four or five top political commentators- he and his partner are pushing bicycles in the drizzle. He is performing “rock 'n' roll politics 2018”, and is back in Edinburgh for the seventh year. With an interest in performance I ask him about the format. He explains but his sign-off, as he sets off into the wet, is “Come and see it.”

Everyone is craving that 4-star review and for the overwhelming majority they are not going to get it. They are not going to get any reviews at all; perhaps an audience comment or two is the sole digital footprint that all that titanic effort, and cost, will leave in its wake.

Some events spark through novelty. Summerhall is home for Dirty Protest, Theatr Clwyd and the Sherman. In the small space outside, between the building itself and the iron railings, a shipping container has been wedged in. It has a regular queue, waiting to be locked in, and I ask two of the queuers what it is about. “Don't know” is the reply “it looks interesting.”

Nearby is a small wooden hut labelled “Finnish Sauna”. Four men in towels and a woman in swimsuit stand outside. “Come on in” is the invitation. I ask what the show is about. Everyone in this area of the city is performing, or promoting, and so too must be the men in towels. But, no, this is what it says. In the middle of the flow and hubbub it really is an alfresco Finnish sauna.

Across Summerhall's courtyard the three excellent companies of Wales are performing in the same venue. This has a lot of good sense to it and a small commercial advantage. The bright yellow geodesic dome has Paines Plough's name attached to it. Theatre is a small world but that double P is a big name in it. There is another advantage. The organisers have set up a series of boards along the wall where we queue to promote all the other productions. Jafar Iqbal is there with a warm review for Brad Birch, David Mercatali, Louise Collins. His article for Wales Arts Review is blown up to display size, in prominence given equal status with a London broadsheet. The Western Mail never reached this far.

The board for “Sugar Baby” has a strap-line not often seen in the theatre of Wales. It reads “back by public demand”. It is good, it is to be applauded, and if the Arts Council is backing it, they are good too. Queues talk and word of mouth sells. “Sugar Baby” has a lot of buzz to it. From my viewing at the Soho, 23rd May below, I add my own small bit of recommendation.

The downside to a popular return is that few reviewers have turned up so far and it is mid-way through its number of performances. The reason is a good one. The shows are limitless, the reviewers are few and have only so much time. They were there in 2017 to dish out their five stars for Alan Harris and Catherine Paskell- below August 14th 2017.

The one review to date from onesceneone includes:

“No other Fringe performer can match Adam Redmore’s exuberance and commitment in this lovable, drug-dealing rogue’s hilarious yet sinister adventure through a Cardiff park – an absolute must-see at Edinburgh’s top venue.

“From cheerfully welcoming each audience member to their seat, through his Matrix acrobatics to his sweat-sodden closing gesture, Redmore’s full throttle physicality is marvelled by the audience waiting on baited breath for his next move. Pulsating music, slick lighting sets and timely sound effects somehow enhance the incredible pathos of the piece even further.

Alan Harris has written a gift of a role, the comedy value of which is completely exploited by the actor and production team. Crazed caricatures and silly re-enactments champion Redmore in this role of jester, completely enamouring his public.

This rocket-fuelled comedic monologue is a secret gem of the Fringe.”

An audience response on the Fringe site explodes with similar enthusiasm. “Hands down the best performance I’ve seen so far- captivating and 12/10 energy throughout. Harris’ script blends fantasy and reality in the most exciting and endearing way. If you want a pick me up, book book book.”

The full review from onesceneone is at

Reviewed by: Adam Somerset

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