EARLY contenders for the most creative use of a performing space award, the KlangHaus team don't turn Summerhall's small animals hospital into a venue so much as a musical instrument. Follow your ears is the instruction as you take the lift — or in our case the stairs — up to the musical mystery tour that has an underground feel in more ways than one.
And without wishing to give too much away, your ears will take you into a suite of rooms that house a suite of sounds, some almost industrial, some just a little bit eerie, some downright romantic and some from the post-punk school of kerrang and thunder. A disembodied voice sings as a pianist mysteriously appears to lend belated accompaniment. A musical saw adds its sympathetic cry to a childlike ballad. Drummers drum. Basses pulse. Guitars chortle. And the open, long unoccupied, spot-lit cages sit there as if in accusation.
This might not be for the claustrophobic but it's an adventure utterly in the spirit of the Fringe and as the pied pipers lead their followers towards a very cleverly executed denouement, they leave their nursery rhyme-simple final chant hanging in the air and in all likelihood stuck in your inner ear for a good while afterwards.
Run ends August 24.
Joe Stilgoe: Songs on Film
JOURNEY with us now, back to the Plaza in Oxted, where a young Joe Stilgoe is developing a movie habit so bad that he'll elbow his old man off the family piano, learn every soundtrack known to mankind and grow up to share that knowledge with wit, charm, an abundance of talent, a jazz trio and bunch of balloons — and no, the last two are not interchangeable.
Stilgoe's enthusiasm is infectious and he and his bass and drums team make an hour pass very quickly indeed, involving the audience all along the way and adding catchy original lines about popcorn to film themes mad, moving and verging on the bonkers. Genuine unashamed entertainment — as well as some rather fine singing and playing — for all the family.
Run ends August 22.
DECLAN Zapala has given the percussive guitar-playing style pioneered by Michael Hedges, Preston Reed et al a different twist by approaching it from the classical side. His training has given him marvellous fluidity, as his Bach preludes demonstrate, and guitar- tuning buffs will be in heaven (open C sharp minor, anyone?) as he puts his nylon strings through unconventional pitches as well as taps, tugs and slaps on original pieces such as the bubbly Broken Rhapsody.
Like others who have taken the percussive route, he can sacrifice satisfying compositional form and emotional resolution at the altar of hands everywhere trickery, but there's a certain balletic quality in his playing that holds the attention and he tempers his technical proficiency with an approachable onstage manner.
Run ends August 16.