Thursday, August 25, 2016

A Wild West Murder Mystery

One of the best bits of advice to Fringe goers, see here, is to talk to people around you as you queue for various performances. Now, I've never been slow in coming forward in this regard anyway, but when the woman standing in front of me in a queue a few days ago had a big button on her rucksack which said, "Ask me about Ginger Creek," I did just that.

To cut a long story short, she was from New York and the director of a 'family show', called 'Mystery at Ginger Creek'. Good salesman too, of a performance suitable for 7 years of age and up, and I (big kid that I am) duly turned up at the show. Lots of interaction with the audience. Which was just great fun.

Personally I thought Sally Silver Gunz was the murderer, but it seems I'm not much of a detective!

Mystery at Ginger Creek is produced by the Panto-WHAT?! Theatre Company, see here, and was written by Michael Curtin and Ruthie Scarpino, who was also on the stage.

Here are the main protagonists. Left is Emilie Deschamps - the director and 'lighting guru'. Centre is Gabriel Spector who played Hank, the Colonel and Drusilla. Right is Ruthie Scarpino who played Sally, Ms Ketch and Igor (you had to be there!). Great talent, and the two actors were just wonderful with the kids, two of whom, sisters, in the audience were the stars of the show too!

The whole idea of family shows at the Fringe is something I had not considered before, but 'Mystery at Ginger Creek' shows that great family entertainment is available if you know where to look. 

Serious drums today! Kensaku Satu is considered one of the greatest exponents of Japanese drumming, and his show was a solo masterclass. It was wonderful to experience - from Sakiwai (meaning felicity) played on the O'Daiko (the big drum) with a tree trunk (!), through a variety of different drums and styles, finishing again on the O'Daiko in a performance which, if you shut your eyes, you would think that there were rather more than one artist on stage!

Definitely an hour for the taiko fan, although I suspect that others might find a group show (such as Hibiki, my personal favourites) more accessible.

Kensaku Satou says, "The beat of Japanese drums unites the people in the world beyond the language communication." True, so true!

This all male a cappella group from Exeter University was my 'an hour to spare, what's on' pick, and was a brilliant choice. I sometimes miss my students - young people have such enthusiasm. And talent. Exeter doesn't do music degrees, so Semi-Toned are all students of different things - I talked to a student of archaeology, a biologist and a mathematician. The twelve guys provided great entertainment as they spanned the decades with their choice of music to sing.

Their version of Fleetwood Mac's 'The Chain' was a masterpiece! And what good ambassadors for the University.

I don't want this year's Fringe to finish!

More to come ......

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