With the Edinburgh Fringe gathering speed I began to wonder just what good it would do me to review anything that I saw this year. Surely, these shows will have been and gone by the time that people read my li'l attempt to praise or criticise them? But then I realised that I'd been fortunate enough to see a number of shows at the very start of this busy time. Not only that, a lot of these acts go elsewhere after the material has been well-received in Edinburgh. Maybe I can help in my own little way by recommending some favourites. And it also helps me to write a little bit more about Edinburgh, in general.
Don't worry, I'm not about to start reviewing absolutely everything I do in life (meals in restaurants, drinks in clubs, etc) but I DO think that shows are something I can comment on. I'm no expert (but, then again, I am no expert on movies and that's never stopped me before now) but I'll try to mix in as much information with my opinion as possible.
Which brings us to the first review of this kind that I've ever written and, indeed, it's the main reason that I finally caved in after arguing with myself about including stage fare here. Re-Animator: The Musical. When I heard that it was showing here in Edinburgh I knew that I had to see it. In case you weren't aware of the fact, I am a huge fan of Re-Animator. Director Stuart Gordon created something I will always love. And now, in a very different way, he's done it again.
Yes, Stuart Gordon is the director once more and the music and lyrics are by Mark Nutter. Between them, these men have taken the elements that fans love about Re-Animator and crafted something that just shouldn't work but really, REALLY does. It follows the movie quite closely, albeit with many more songs in the mix, and all of the best-loved lines from the movie's script are either recreated here or made into a song lyric.
The cast are exemplary. George Wendt is the most famous name among them, as far as I'm aware, but he generously makes way for the leading men to . . . . . . . . . . lead. Graham Skipper plays Herbert West and, amazingly, captures the essence of the character as we know him from the movie while also putting his own stamp on the performance. Jesse Merlin is positively channeling the spirit of David Gale in some places and is bloody superb as Dr. Hill. Chris L. McKenna and Rachel Avery, playing Dan and Megan, respectively, were both great. I even almost forgot about Barbara Crampton while watching this new incarnation of Megan. Almost.
Everything you want is here. There's zombie action with blood spraying out over the audience, that memorable sequence with the cat is here, Dr. Hill is creepy and scheming and there's more zombie action that results in more blood spraying over the audience (if you're brave enough then try to get a seat front and centre to be located in the coveted "Splash Zone"). Then there are, of course, the many songs. They're often very silly but they're also very catchy and I'd be lying if I tried to say that I hope to purchase a CD with accompanying lyric-covered liner notes.
I still like to give my movies ratings out of 10, just for my own personal preference, but I can change things slightly for stage shows and use a 5-star system (not to be confused with the 5-Star system, which is based on the lyrics of System Addict). Yep, sometimes even I can be traditional.
And here is the website for all of your information/purchases.