Nick Pynn with Kate Daisy Grant

An array of instruments welcomes audience members as they take their seats in this tiny, intimate venue just off Princes Street, from strings through percussion to a homemade Theremin, and one can’t help but wondering whether Mr. Pynn is really going to play them all. As they plucked one instrument from the ground after another (some of them previously unseen and even ones that no-one had realised were instruments at first) the audience’s jaws dropped further and further towards the floor as they mashed the sounds of guitar with xylophone, zither with harmonica and even a homemade ‘mandocello’, a mandolin/cello hybrid, with a collection of chromatic bells. There was even one moment when Pynn used wine glasses filled with water to create a haunting overture towards the end of his set, which was extremely impressive.

All of this was supplemented with a live looping system, and while this allowed the smorgasbord of instruments to complement each other further, it did mean Pynn had a huge amount to think about at once. As such there were a few moments of dead air when he was fumbling around for the next instrument or fiddling with one of the pedals. Pynn looked very nervous whenever this happened, which led to the listener never quite feeling at ease throughout the set.

That said, any mistakes that did occur were marginal and rare, and there was one very special moment when the fireworks of the Military Tattoo coincided perfectly with the mood and the rhythm of the penultimate melody, and were even caught on the loop, being repeated gloriously throughout the remainder of the piece.

There is always the feeling that an artist can try and do too much during a show like this, but for the most part this wasn’t the case, as Pynn played almost every instrument with as much pizzazz and dexterity as the next, but there were a couple of parts (in particularly the drumming and the pair’s average vocals) that could have been cut. However, on the whole these two are clearly both extremely talented and versatile and put on a highly eccentric show that is unlike anything else you will see at the Festival.

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
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The Blurb

Multi award winner Nick Pynn is a maverick electro-acoustic player/tunewriter who performs on various self-made string instruments and found items, whilst live-looping and bass-pedalling with his feet. 'A magical find in the night' (Scotsman).

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