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Fringe reviews: Music & cabaret

Ivy Paige: Kiss and Sell

Underbelly Bristo Square

THE audience are on their feet in the first number of Ivy Paige's latest romp - because they're ordered to stand and La Paige is not the sort of burlesque artist to brook disobedience.

A cross between Miss Whiplash and one of Martina Cole's East London gangland anti-heroines, Paige portrays herself as ruthless.

She's done a deal with the devil and slept her way to the top, and with keyboard accompaniment from Dexy's Midnight Runner Pete Saunders, she's ready to give details in a show that's raucous and roarin' and spares nobody's feelings as Paige chooses her targets for fork-tongued attack and frank ridicule.

And yet, amid the send-ups, put-downs, lurid tales and promises to bare her bottom - which she teasingly does - there's a rather, well, nice version of Madonna's Material Girl, which is taken at torch ballad pace.

The show runs out of steam - and steaminess - a bit towards the end when Paige's big tart-with-a-heart song becomes a vocal/keyboard battle - which the keyboard wins - and she resorts to inviting three blokes from the audience onstage to form one of these "what are we doing here?'" chorus lines that fill in a few minutes.

Overall, though, Kiss and Sell is good, anything but clean, late-night fun.

Run ends August 24

Love Laid Bare

Space Cabaret @ 54

THERE'S a sense, from early on, that Jenna Monroe might have seen appearing an the Fringe as an item on her list of things to do before she dies. Hopefully that event is a long way off, but her family have arrived from the US to support and surprise her.

She recovers from finding them in the front row to give a competent performance of songs that find love variously a comfort, a mad distraction, a fatal attraction, a bit of a disappointment and - literally - a dead loss.

Although Monroe doesn't quite have the chops to sing convincing jazz, she gets into credible dipso character for Peggy Lee's Is That All There Is? and her violinist-pianist sets up some very effective, sparely used, electronic loop accompaniments.

Run ends August 23.

This is Ceilidh

Assembly George Square Gardens

AUDIENCE participation is neither occupational nor Fringe-going hazard here. It's the whole point. On arrival you're given a wristband that denotes to which of the two clans, Campbells or MacPhersons, you'll be assigned. After that, good luck!

With learn-and-go instructions and dance callers on hand to keep everyone in step, this is a fair attempt at dispensing with the "dodgems in kilts" nature of first-time ceilidh dance experiences and it's probably best to view the linking storyline and odd Burns raps as breathers-cum-cues for the next trip round the dance floor.

Not all of the music would stand up to concert scrutiny but the band does a fine job and there are splendid bodhran and duelling bagpipes cameos, the latter producing a small feast of chanter glissandi.

Run ends August 24

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