Thu 6th – Sun 30th August 2015


Julia Pritchard

at 01:02 on 11th Aug 2015



Mixtape is without a doubt the coolest concept for a show I’ve heard of during my time at the Fringe so far.

The rules are simple. Each performance is assigned a musical genre or era. The cast, or in this case ‘mixtapers’, make up the show’s content by forming various sketches from lyrics of songs within that designated category. Each separate skit can only use the lyrics from the song chosen, but the words can be rearranged or repeated in any way they so wish.

The audience then watch, answer sheet and pen in hand, and guess both the song and artist that the skit was inspired by, for the chance to go home with the great honour that is the Golden Mixtape. In other words, it’s a comedy sketch show meets pub quiz; an absolute corker of night with a gaggle of mates, and a few vodka-cokes on board.

The themes range from the 80s to Britpop, Solo Stars to Boybands vs Girlbands, all of which most could have had a good crack at. However, the chosen theme for this night in question was Rock ‘n’ Roll 1950s Jukebox, which has got to be the most challenging, especially for two British twenty-somethings (the trophy would be in my hands right now, if only a bit of Backstreet Boys had been on the table).

Despite not really knowing, well, any songs from that era, the quiz was still highly enjoyable thanks to the clever and creative manipulations of the songs by the cast. One sketch saw the words of Chuck Berry’s Johnny B. Goode interpreted as an owner struggling to control his dog in the park, whilst another used Great Balls of Fire to show a rather forward woman talking of her erotic desires for her lover (and more specifically, his balls). Completely different but performed side by side, both were met by rapturous laughter as two of the better-known songs within the theme.

Music, as the main focus for the audience is also a big focus for the cast. Some skits cleverly formed other songs, for example a Buddy Holly track was rearranged and sung to the tune of Mr Sandman, which I thought clever and witty in equal measure. And, in keeping with the 1950s theme, many took the form of adverts for retro toys and gender-biased cleaning products, the catchy quips and theme tunes maintaining a light-hearted, humorous and fun feel.

If you’re looking for a night of comedic entertainment with some laughs with your pals on the side, then this is the event for you. And I stand by that, even with a pitable score of 7/40.


Laurie Atkinson

at 09:34 on 11th Aug 2015



Mixtape is music-inspired sketch comedy with real intelligence and an irresistible feel-good factor. This is an ideal late-evening show for music fanatics with a keen competitive streak, just make sure you don’t go on the wrong night, or you might end up getting Presley when you wanted Costello.

Answer sheets at the door and a thorough briefing on the rules leaves the audience in no doubt that this is a show that means business. Each sketch is inspired by a song. The performers may only use words contained in that song during the sketch. Guess the song and artist for a shot at Mixtape's coveted golden tape. Pass me the pen!

Unfortunately, this Monday night performance had Rock & Roll Juke Box as its theme; great for TV commercial skits and Buddy Holly impressions, but something of a disappointment to the various enclaves of bemused twenty-somethings around the Belly Laugh. Complete with dickie bow tie and west coast twang, Mixtape looked and sounded the part. It was painfully obvious to see that each sketch was meticulously written and carefully rehearsed, but much of the audience could hardly participate in the performers' enthusiasm, and in many instances it was difficult to determine if the clues were hilariously funny or unnecessarily cryptic.

During those rare moments when my knowledge of 1950s jitterbuggers did stretch to the level of this musical charades, Mixtape's entertainment potential became clear. The sketches thrived on witty wordplay and erotic subtexts obvious to even the most musically challenged. Particular favourites included Amy Foley and Zöe Hakin's gossip on Alright John and Back-alley Sally (Little Richard, anyone?), and lipstick-on-your-collar revelations above an audience-member ironing board. Also cause for hope was Mixtape's departing promise of a whole repertoire of different themes due to feature in upcoming shows at the Fringe (Brit Pop, The 80s, and Solo Stars to name but a few), but this served as a little consolation as a superb a capella version of 'I Get Knocked Down' reminded the departing audience of what could have been.

Mixtape is a charismatic show that blends comedy and trivia into a format that will draw back fans every day of the week. Grab a team, get a drink and start scribbling, but check the website for that evening's theme to avoid disappointment.


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