Performers/Creatives reviews – Irvine Welsh’s two plays are exercises in tedium

Embarrassingly limp: George Russo and Perry Benson in Performers.

Not so much theatre shows as exercises in tedium, these new pieces from Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh would never have seen the light of day if they didn’t have his name attached. An audience expecting the skanky wit and vim of Trainspotting will be disappointed by this duo of tired and clumsy plays.

Performers, written with Dean Cavanagh, is potentially the more interesting of the two. Apparently, when making the 1970 movie Performance, which starred Mick Jagger and James Fox, directors Nicolas Roeg and Donald Cammell wanted to hire real villains to play the gangsters. Their quest for authenticity sees low-life criminals Alf (Perry Benson) and Bert (George Russo) turning up at the production offices. But with slack direction from Nick Moran, it has all the tension of a used teabag. The comic tour de force that is supposed to ensue when a pretentious young assistant director persuades Alf to take off his clothes is embarrassingly limp.

Set in 1969, it would have looked dated and if it had actually been written that year, and – in their own quest for authenticity – Welsh and Cavanagh appear to have copied out a cockney rhyming slang dictionary lock, stock and barrel.

Creatives: bland, slick shininess.
 Creatives: bland, slick shininess. Photograph: Roberto Ricciuti/Getty

If Performers aims for comic grittiness and misses by a mile, Creatives is all bland, slick shininess; straight out of the Fame mould. It’s a musical, written with Don de Grazia, about a group of would-be songwriters attending a Chicago course run by former punk Paul, whose career has nosedived and whose personal life is complicated.

The students are all stereotypes, ranging from moody goth girl to (bizarrely) a redneck Trump supporter, and the entire thing starts to resemble an audition for the X Factor but with less convincing back stories, until a violent plot twist pushes it into outright melodrama.

The US cast are game, and Laurence Mark Wythe’s music and lyrics cry out for a better vehicle than this cliched attempt to explore the price of creativity and the pressures to sell out for a quick buck. One imagines that is exactly what Welsh has done with these abysmal efforts.

 Performers is at the Assembly Rooms until 27 August. Box office: 0131-623 3030. Creatives is at the Pleasance Courtyard until 28 August. Box office: 0131-556 6550.


An eight-year-old reviews the Nintendo Switch

Editor’s note: Last week, Verge transportation editor Tamara Warren showed me a review of the Nintendo Switch by her eight-year-old son Benicio. Handwritten on ruled notebook paper, the critique showed gumption, vigor, and passion. As a craven and cynical editor, I was also struck by my good fortune: a Nintendo Switch review with custom art for nothing more than a box of popsicles. I simply couldn’t pass up the opportunity! So, I chomped on my Cuban cigar, spun on my fine leather swivel chair, pounded my mahogany desk, scribbled the page with absolutely vicious edits, and demanded a perfect revision by Wednesday. It’s my honor to now share the final draft. Chris Plante

The Nintendo Switch is the new-and-improved game system for gamers like me. When I’ve gone over to my friends’ houses, I explored the Xbox, and PlayStation 3 and 4. But these game systems are nothing compared to the Nintendo Switch. My grandmother just bought me the game system this summer, because I got a good report card.

If you have an Xbox or a PlayStation, you can’t bring it on a trip with you. You have to leave it at home. But if you have a Switch, you can take it on the airplane. If you really want to finish something in your game, you can bring the Switch instead of leaving it at your house. The Nintendo Switch makes me happy, because I don’t have to wait to go home to play.

You can use multiple controllers to play with your friends. I mostly play by myself, and sometimes I play with my friends or my parents. When I was on vacation, I played with my friend Evan and it was really cool to have competition. It was the first time I got to play with another kid. I can’t wait to play with my best friends Liam, Shrey, and Jackson when we all get back from summer vacation and have a sleepover.

My favorite part of the Nintendo Switch is the graphics. These graphics are the best graphics I’ve seen Nintendo make. They have really good-looking colors, and the ideas are presented in a clever way.

My favorite game is Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Some stadiums represent where the characters come from, like Yoshi Falls. Sometimes, characters decorate the tracks they sponsor, like Wario Stadium. Mario Kart has many new game modes, surroundings, and characters like Metal Mario.

Inside Nintendo Switch games, there are so many choices. In Mario Kart, there are three Rainbow Roads that are used on different grand prix tracks. There are many obstacles, such as the Venus Fly Trap. The obstacles really challenge you to finish in the top three.

Benicio’s rough draft.

In the game Arms there are characters like Max Brass and Ribbon Girl. Max Brass is my favorite character. He has a lot of muscle, but he can even beat a guy who has more muscle than him, like Master Mummy, because he has a super strong double punch. He bounces his opponent’s head against his chest, and then he slams a hard hit into his face.

Arms lets you choose different modes. I prefer Party Match mode because it has mini games, such as Hoops. I like throwing the player I am playing against into the basketball hoop. When I play Arms, I feel energetic and start bouncing around the room and waving my controllers.

There are many more games besides Mario Kart and Arms, but these two are the ones that I want to talk about. I am hoping to get Zelda on my birthday in September. The games so far are appropriate for young gamers in the world, and they are more fun than shooting games.

I support Xbox and PlayStation, but the Nintendo Switch made me feel like I was inside the game. I also love the Switch because if your mother or father doesn’t like the TV being on all the time, you can take it to your room to play. One night I even stayed up till 11:30 at night playing in bed.

Please don’t tell my mom.


Google confirms it’s rolling out new reviews format for hotels

Google has confirmed with Search Engine Land that it is now rolling out a new user interface and feature set around local reviews for hotels. Earlier this month, we saw Google begin testing new hotel reviews features, and now Google has begun to roll them out. Sergey Alakov was the first to notice these beginning to roll out.

A Google spokesperson confirmed this with us just now and said in a statement:

Google is continually improving the information shown to people to help them make decisions about where to go. When people are searching for a hotel to stay at, we want to ensure we make it easy for people to find useful and relevant web reviews about that place to help them make informed decisions.

The new hotel reviews interface added some core features. Here are a few:

  • Third-party reviews show in a carousel for some of the listings.
  • The review overview section has a more robust interface showing stronger colors and reviews also by attribute.
  • The detailed review section will show a graphical user interface based on type of travel.

Here are some screen shots we are able to see now of the new interface:


These Reviews Of Ivanka Trump’s New Book Are SAVAGE


The most un-woke book was destroyed by reviews.

In case you didn’t know, First Daughter Ivanka Trump published a book last week entitled Women Who Work: Rewriting the Rules for Success.

As shocking as it was for Ivanka to use that title, the text is even worse. With an impeccable three-star rating on Amazon, and a very generous one-star on Barnes & Noble, readers were not thrilled over the contents of Ms. Trump’s latest work.

The reviews were also a thing of beauty.

The New Yorker’s review was titled: “Ivanka Trump Wrote a Painfully Oblivious Book for Basically No One.”

The author, Jia Tolentino, writes, “’Women Who Work’ is mostly composed of artless jargon (‘All women benefit immeasurably by architecting their lives’) and inspirational quotes you might find by Googling ‘inspirational quotes.’”

The Washington Post’s was called: “Ivanka Trump’s Life of Privilege Undermines the Credibility of Her New Book’s Message.”

James Hohmann of the Post writes, “I don’t think it is going too far out on a limb to speculate that most would-be entrepreneurs reading Ivanka’s book probably couldn’t schedule sit-downs with Tory Burch, Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors, and Calvin Klein to pick their brains about starting a fashion label.”

Slate’s review: “Ivanka Trump’s New Book Exploits and Cheapens Feminism”

“This is not a book about policy or about navigating the minefield of male-dominated corporate culture. Much of it is a celebration of the unlimited possibilities open to working women when they have full-time household help.”

And The New York Times’ review: “Having Trouble Having It All? Ivanka Alone Can Fix It.” Savage.

“And because Ivanka alone can fix our problems, she opens her book with a pasture full of straw men, including the argument that our culture isn’t having nuanced conversations about working mothers.”

The real gem is Refinery29’s awkward half-flip-flop.

On May 2, 2017, the day Ivanka’s now infamous book was published; R29 posted an excerpt of the “business guide.”

It’s not the excerpt that was weird for R29 to post, it was the article published in response to the excerpt.

The piece entitled: “Ivanka Trump’s Feminism Is Not Intersectional –– But She Still Shouldn’t Be Silenced,” seemed like it was supposed to be another scathing review on the very un-woke book. But it missed –– by like a million miles.

It opens by defending Ivanka with an article she penned in 2015. Then the author, Neha Gandhi, continues saying “But 2015 was a different time. The future felt truly and easily female.”

We’re with you so far R29.

But then the piece takes a turn and becomes a nothing-sandwich. Gandhi simply restates the issues of today, but then basically says Ivanka is welcome back to Refinery29 any time.