Fringe Music

Art of Believing

theSpace Triplex

Five stars

There’s a local connection to this marvellous presentation of Andalusian culture. Daniel Martinez studied flamenco guitar from the age of seven in his native Cordoba and played in the city’s tablaos before moving to the UK in 2015 and establishing his guitar school in Edinburgh.

His flamenco troupe has two Scottish guitarists and one of this production’s pieces expresses the happiness Martinez has found in Scotland but the music and movement are undiluted Andalusia. The venue even obliged with Andalusian temperatures, making dancer Gabriela Pouso’s intense and astonishingly precise footwork all the more admirable.

There’s music in Pouso’s feet and her close coordination with Martinez’ brilliantly nimble and massively colourful musicianship would have been worth the ticket price alone. That, though, would have robbed us of the fantastically expressive singing of Imma Montero and Danielo Olivera and violinist Pabo Rodriguez’ superb articulation with and without his bow.

The concert began quietly, with Martinez playing alone, soulfully evoking a calm before the storm. And what a storm: three guitars in intricate partnership, violin and voices soaring as the singers added typically urgent and musical hand clapping and Pouso embodying the music’s vibrant physical presence. Bravo indeed.

Fringe Cabaret, Kit and McConnel, The Radisson Collection Royal Mile Hotel FOUR STARS

Kit Hesketh Harvey and James McConnel don’t actually enter and exit to The Odd Couple theme but there’s something of Neil Simon’s creation about their abrasive-harmonious rapport. Theirs is certainly an old school approach – the ghosts of Flanders & Swann hover over their voice and piano endeavours – but their current crop of songs is largely bang up to date.

Emmanuel Macron recast as Sandie Shaw’s Monsieur Dupont may not chime with a younger audience and Tom Lehrer’s still razor sharp The Elements is likely to be more familiar to those of a certain age but the duo’s professorial observations about students transitioning (one becomes a hedgehog) and paying off their loans through porn earned mirth across the age range here.

Crisply written, witty lyrics about political correctness, migration and one Amazon being depleted while another depletes the High Street flow as freely as their banter. Cleverly expressed thoughts on McConnel murdering his wife for her way of eating a boiled egg and dodging the grandchildren are balanced by a tender prayer for Hesketh Harvey’s daughter in a show that doubtless has much hard work behind its apparently effortless charm.

Rob Adams