Wednesday, 28 August 2013

TO&ST – the Time Out & Soho Theatre Edinburgh Cabaret Award – was launched last year to celebrate excellence in cabaret at the Fringe and recognise a single outstanding show in the cabaret section of the programme. The prize consists of an extended run at Soho Theatre and feature coverage in Time Out London. Last year’s inaugural winner was the sensational Lady Rizo.
The award returned this year, with the 2012 judges – Time Out London cabaret editor Ben Walters, Soho Theatre comedy and cabaret producer Steve Lock and Glasgow-based cabaret producer Frodo McDaniel – joined by Scotsman reviewers Kate Copstick and Claire Smith. Today the shows nominated for the 2013 award are announced.
The shortlist is as follows:
Ben Hart: The Outsider Eye-boggling dexterity and cheeky charisma from the young illusionist.
Briefs: The Second Coming The Brisbane troupe return with a gloriously perverted circus spectacle.
Die Roten Punkte: Kunst Rock (Art Rock) A strangely lovely show from the head-banging comic sibling rockers.
Lynn Ruth Miller: Granny’s Gone Wild Wonderfully entertaining hour from the Fringe's favourite octogenarian.
Twonkey’s Blue Cadabra The latest dispatch from Paul Vickers’s uniquely bizarro world of wonder.
The nominees will take part in a free showcase to be held at Assembly Checkpoint at 10.40pm (not midnight, as previously advertised) on Wednesday August 21, with the winner announced at the end.
The award goes to the lovely Lynn Ruth Miller,Twonkey is a big fan so theres no hard feelings.I love her kidney dialysis machine routine and her moving song about the ageing process. Here is a picture of Lynn watching Twonkey perform at the 300 capacity B.B.C tent cabaret knees-up.
What a year for Twonkey the best yet. A killer year for Twonkey. Don"t take my word for it take the word of the man behind a cabaret show dreamed-up by Eraserhead with Mad Max on Stage design and Frank Booth on vocals. I am talking about the menacing and brilliant Tomas Ford speaking to threeweeks: Are there any other cabaret shows you particularly rate this year? TF: It’s a great programme this year. I really love what Eccentronic, Dusty Limits, East End Cabaret, Lady Rizo, Ali McGregor, Creative Martyrs, Tricity Vogue and Lili La Scala are doing, and that’s just off the top of my head. My solid favourite so far this year, though, has been ‘Twonkey’s Blue Cadabra’ at Espionage; he’s completely out on his own wave-length, committed to his own brand of caba-crazy. You can see how that might appeal to me!

Saturday, 17 August 2013

TIME OUT Ratings strong 4/5
Ben Walters
‘Don’t fear me. Indulge me.’ Good advice from Paul Vickers at the top of this latest instalment of his ongoing ‘Twonkey’ saga, an almost indescribable enterprise in which songs and stories, games and puppets, interstellar jockeys and wheels of knickers, Russian dolls and ‘greasy-spoon tomato balloons’ all have their part to play in the communication of a thoughtworld at once weirdly playful and evidently heartfelt, where nonsense, poetry and palpable passion dance a lovely, bewildering dance. Twonkey herself – a sort of fantasy tyrant – is barely evident here; instead, we learn about young Stan Laurel’s sexual yearnings, a flying Parisian tailor and a girl who regrettably booked a skiing holiday while on ecstasy (‘we’ve all been there’). Vickers describes a performer as ‘someone who is being bullied into doing something completely absurd for the pleasure of others’. The bullying can surely come from nowhere but his own impulse to perform; the absurdity is pretty undeniable; the pleasure, though perhaps not to all tastes, is there for the taking.
Fringe veteran Twonkey invites you into his weird world but whats a Blue Cadabra?. Down in the bowels of Espionage something strange is stirring. Not only stirring but shaking, singing and telling tales of such ridiculousness that they make the works of Edward Lear sound like the Six O’Clock News. Twonkey is a Fringe stalwart and this year brings us his Blue Cadabra. Of course you don’t know what a Blue Cadabra is, you will have very little idea what anything is in this strange hour. But loosen your grip on reality and step into Twonkey’s world. You will not forget it in a hurry.
How deep does the rabbit hole go? Several flights of stairs into the belly of Edinburgh – and that’s just the venue. Pay a visit to Twonkeys Blue Cadabra, and you’ll find yourself in the curious world of Paul Vickers’ imagination; a place where fairytales grew up, and went a bit wrong.
The Little Prince once said, “All grown-ups were once children... but only few of them remember it.” The allure of the fairytale hinges on an open mind, so take everything you know about being an adult, and forget it. You need to ditch your adult sensibilities at the door for this one. This deliciously twisted cabaret is so off the wall you won’t know which way is up; but that’s okay. You’re in the safe hands of Mr Twonkey; it’s clear he’s loving every minute, and if you relax a bit, you will too. Yes, it’s a bit odd, and at times no one really knows what’s happening – a bit like suddenly finding yourself wandering through a DalÍ, or in the midst of the Fishy-Fishy sketch from The Meaning of Life, but it's charming. There's a warmth that's often missing from absurdism, and it's comforting when it gets lost in translation. There’s magic, music and little hats. Ketchup balloons, stories and a puppet so tragic he might just make you cry. At times it’s a little hard to follow without a constant visual narrative, but Vickers is so earnest – so brimming with ardour – you have to just go with it. Twonkeys Blue Cadabra is a smelting pot of originality, and a must if you've ever found yourself giggling at nothing. This is reality versus imagination, and it’s up to you who wins. I know which side I’m picking.
THE LIST REVIEW 3 bright uns
by Niki Boyle
You have to be fully committed when you sign up for a Twonkey show. Through his frequent flights of bizarre absurdity, the man only occasionally known as Paul Vickers (of The Leg and John Peel favourites Dawn of the Replicants) will take you on a journey to some very strange places; only those with a stout sense of adventure will survive. Sadly, some attendees of this mid-week Free Fringe performance are not cut from the right cloth; while Twonkey’s experiments with mild innuendo raise a few relieved giggles (the psychic ship’s wheel of panties being a particular highlight), his ballad of Stan Laurel and Fanny of the Fig Tree had them covertly scurrying for the exits. We’d advise Twonkey to take heart however, and see this not as a case of audience loss but of audience refinement. The brave recruits who stay to the end are rewarded with a near-transcendent performance of ‘The Flying Tailor’, and the sense of elation when he unveils the secret of his biscuit box is glorious. You won’t catch him straddling the stage at the big purple cow any time soon, but with a gradually growing army of none-more-Fringe warriors, Twonkey will soon be set to take over the world. Or a world, at any rate.
1.Briefs: The Second Coming - Assembly George Square, 1-26 August Simply the most sexy boylesque you will ever see in your life, Briefs are a troupe of gorgeous, uttterly adorable boys from Down Under who prance, preen, twirl and do amazing things with feathers and fans.
2.EastEnd Cabaret: Dirty Talk - Underbelly, 1-25 August The naughtiest girls in town, EastEnd Cabaret write funny dirty songs full of outrageous anatomical detail. Inspired by Brecht and the brothels of Bangkok this musically talented duo have buckets of charm and put on a rip roaring show.
3.Le Gateau Chocolat – I heart Chocolat - Underbelly, 31 July-26 August Star of La Clique and La Soiree, Le Gateau is a giant sparkly man with lashings of mascara and a huge voice. This is a chance to see him solo – in a show inspired by a giant box of chocolates. Expect to see him belt out songs from Madonna, Donna Summer and – in tribute to the chef from South Park – Chocolate Salty Balls.
4.The Piff The Magic Dragon Show - Pleasance Dome, 1-25 August Owner of Mr Piffles, aka the cutest dog on the Fringe, Piff is a miserable magician in a bright shiny dragon suit who does astonishing magic tricks and makes you laugh. He’s a favourite with Penn and Teller, has played Vegas and has ten million hits on YouTube. This could be his year.
5.Twonkey’s Blue Cadabra – Free - Laughing Horse @ Espionage, 1-25 August You can do cabaret with glitter, polish and pizazz or you can be a dishevelled northerner with a shedload of home made rubbish props. Mr Twonkey is the most shambolic act you’ll ever see but his shows sparkle with glorious imagination and wonderfully stupid offbeat humour.
One of Britain's most psychedelic absurdists, Paul Vickers is ready to confuse Edinburgh again with the ongoing adventures of Twonkey.
“I’ve never really seen myself as one particular art form. I’m a bit of an ideas person really, and I didn’t really fully intend to get into songwriting; it just sort of happened.”
Paul Vickers, former frontman of 90s indie darlings, Dawn of the Replicants, has stumbled into comedy and surprised himself that it’s going well. He’s a serial creator, meandering into whatever takes his fancy. I asked him where it began:
“I started doing drawings; city landscapes, kind of like Lowry, but quite intense. I thought I was going to do well in my art GCSE, but I only got a C, which I was disappointing, because my friend got a B+ and all he’d done were really accurate drawings of Roland Rat...”
Undeterred by exam-board taste, he trundled off to art college, joined a band, and was then nudged in the direction of comedy, eventually gracing the Fringe with a surrealist’s wet dream; songs, stories, a windmill, a cottage, an underwater circus and a Twonkey: a cytpozoological puppet accomplice with a knack for numbers. Where do you even begin writing something like that?
“You have a spazzy moment, and you can’t work out if it’s utter bollocks or if it was amazing, and you reflect on that a few days later. That seems to be how it works with comedy. When you’re at your most mad and out there— which is what worries me— people like that the most".
Since then, he and his moveable pal have peppered another two festivals with their own flavour of folklore, occasionally disturbing crowds with loaves of talking bread. He’s not so much a man who does it by the book, as one who writes his own. Make sure you catch it before the wind takes him somewhere else.
Written by: David Pollock:
Paul Vickers presents Ivor Cutlerian nonsense in Twonkey’s Blue Cadabra
Vickers' adsurdist comic creation returns to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2013
Tell us, Mr Twonkey, what’s a Blue Cadabra? ‘It’s an enchanted cloth and known aphrodisiac from Casablanca.’ And what’s its story? ‘First we learn about a planet populated entirely by jockeys, which leads to a horse race and some high jinx. Next up we hear about the talking oven as the clock strikes afraid o’clock. Soon I am procrastinating about Stan Laurel’s road to sexual ecstasy and what it means to a sleepy Cumbrian backwater. The show features songs and puppets and some mind reading.’
Well done if you’re still with us on your first journey into the world of Twonkey, the continuing adventure from Edinburgh storyteller and musician Paul Vickers, an artist who probably gets away with being described as ‘madcap’. ‘My main skill is my imagination. I could win a war with it,’ says the former singer with John Peel-cherished, NME Brat Award-nominated Dawn of the Replicants and current mastermind of the cataclysmic Paul Vickers and the Leg. ‘I have always wanted to try every single area of the arts before I die. Life is too short to spend it just singing in an indie rock band.’
These sweet, surreal, sometimes action-packed fairytales are certainly a volte face. ‘People that enjoy warped storytelling in the vein of Ivor Cutler,’ he says when asked who his target audience comprises. ‘People of all ages seem to enjoy my show from about 18 to 75 but it’s all about letting go and floating down a strange river. If you don’t want to get wet and see the blood red turtle fish don’t come.’ Fraught Fringe reviewers also take heed: Mr Twonkey’s Daily Helpline for Journalists will be active throughout August. Seek professional help now.
Paul Vickers’ (of Paul Vickers and The Leg fame) comedy cabaret is one of those rare shows which, during a month of fringe comedy bombardment, manages to make you stop the comparisons and let yourself be taken on a magical mystery journey. Surreal and witty word play draw you into the dark depths of Mr Vickers’ imagination and just as you start to take it all a bit seriously he conjures up some altogether silly imagery to release you again.There are also entertaining musical intersections which keep the pace moving along quite nicely . All of this for free with the option to donate some cash and even acquire a CD. Like all the best people, Paul Vickers is clearly bonkers, but in an entirely endearing way. Dare you select some knickers from the ship’s wheel of early sexual experiences? FIVE STARS
Reviewer – Antionette Thirgood.