Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Fringe First!

August 21 2009


Today I won a Scotsman Fringe First Award for the Rap Guide to Evolution, which is a prize given each year to the best new writing for the stage at the Edinburgh Fringe. This is literally the most coveted theatre prize at the festival (it's officially a big deal), so it really is a great acknowledgement of the show and a great boost for the rest of the run (ten more days to go!), and for life after the Fringe. Last year the Rebel Cell was nominated for a Fringe First but we didn't make it through the final round of judging. This year I guess I passed the bar, so call it a birthday present to Darwin. Click here to read the announcement.

Speaking of life after the Fringe, I am now on the lookout for gig opportunities for October (UK), November (USA) and February - April 2010 (Australia), and if you have another place or another time in mind I'm open to any possibility. Please get in touch. If you want to know about availability I put all of my confirmed gigs on my Google Calendar.

If you haven't heard the Rap Guide to Evolution yet, you can download the CD by clicking here.

And if you want to read more about my Edinburgh experience this year, check
out my "Darwin on the Fringe" blog for Whatsonstage.com.

Love and fecundity,


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Darwin on the Fringe

August 15 2009

Meme Pools,

The launch of the Edinburgh Fringe was one week ago, and I just finished performing my 25th show of the festival. Yes, with previews last week and both the Rap Guide to Evolution and the Rebel Cell on every single day, plus cabaret spots at night, it adds up quickly. There is so much to tell that I'm not even going to try to elaborate in an email, except to say that the highlights have been constant and consistently stimulating, and I'm blogging them regularly.

Yes, if you want to know more about the details of my experience here, I am writing a regular blog called "Darwin on the Fringe" for Whatsonstage.com, a Darwinian analysis of the strange phenomenon that is the world's largest arts festival. The most recent entry about performers-cum-producers and the phenomenon of human menopause is particularly entertaining. Here's a link to read it, and catch up on the past week: Darwin on the Fringe Blog.

The other interesting development is that we've been on the telly quite a lot lately. Dizraeli and I performed live on both BBC Breakfast Television and GMTV last week, which went out to literally millions across the UK, and the BBC rap was picked up by BBC News 24 and run worldwide (!) every hour that day, so a lot of random people in Australia, Europe, etc, have written to say they saw us, quite surreal. Here's the link to the BBC feature.

And here's the link to the GMTV feature.

And the reviews? So far we have only been reviewed once for the Rebel Cell, quite positively, and I have been reviewed four times for the Rap Guide to Evolution, two three star reviews and two four star ones. The three star reviews have faulted me for speaking too fast and trying to cram too much into an hour, and for coming across too much like a lecture and not enough like theatre. The best (ie most interesting) review so far was from BroadwayBaby.com, and ought to be read in its entirety, since the critic really did pick up on some of the most important elements of the show. Click here to read it.

Regardless of the reviews, the crowds have been having a great time, and we've been playing to full (if not yet sold out) houses. I have also had some great responses on my Rap Guide to Evolution CD giveaway, including plugs on both RichardDawkins.net and PZ Myers' legendary Pharyngula blog, which called it "not bad" (shivers!). Click here to check it out, along with some of the

Onward and upward!


Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Rap Guide to Evolution: Free Music Download!

August 1 2009

Human Tribespeople,

Tomorrow I depart for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and possibly the greatest creative adventure of my life to date (I know, I always say that). Starting next week I will be performing the Rap Guide to Evolution and the Rebel Cell (with the ever-talented MC Dizraeli), both every day until August 31st, and to get things launched I want to share my newest opus with you: The Rap Guide to Evolution LP!

This album was recorded in between rehearsals and tours over the past six weeks, in collaboration with some amazing UK artists, and one Turkish one. Infinite Potential, Tom Caruana, and Nokz from Tehdit all provide the beats, Mr. Simmonds did mixes, cuts, and the final master, Dizraeli and Noa Bodner provided chorus vocals, and my uncle Simon Kendall provided the keyboard magic to give it a powerful musical score. The whole thing can now be download from my website for free as a special Fringe promotion for August only! Click Here.

Please download it and give it a serious listen and pass it on to friends if you think they would like it (or if you think they would hate it, but need to hear it).

This album is for anyone who has ever wondered: what's the big deal about Darwin? The album explores Darwin's place in history, what he taught us, why it matters, what is being done with his theory today, what it says about the human animal and our place in the universe, why his theory is so threatening to so many people, and why it is so inspiring to so many others. Besides the philosophical aspect, the album also gives a fairly comprehensive and scientifically-accurate overview of modern evolutionary biology, which means it can also be used for educational purposes (my devious hidden agenda). And did I mention that it's also quite funny?

If any of you know of video editors or producers (students welcome) who might be interested in helping me to create video treatments for the songs, I am very keen to make this a reality.

If you want to hear what the live Fringe show sounds like, a Podcast called "The Naked Scientist" recently posted a complete recording of one of my Cambridge Darwin Festival performances, just click here to download.

And while we're on the free music tip, Dizraeli just released his first single, "Reach Out", which can be downloaded for free from his website. Give it a listen, you'll love it! Click here.

Wish us luck on the Fringe!


PS - here's a link to my Edinburgh press release, with details, if you know anyone who will be there. Click here.