Fringe

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Invisible Walls

13 Aug 20143 stars

Serious theatre exploring isolation and surveillance performed outdoors

Performed outdoors, Teatri Oda of Kosovo's show takes its small audience through a whirlwind 35 minutes of warm hospitality, music and song, fear of surveillance, terror of conflict and prejudice in exile. It is rooted, no doubt, in the experience of…

The best Martin Amis books

12 Aug 2014

Five of the best Martin Amis novels ahead of writer's appearance at 2014 Edinburgh Book Festival

Money (1984) The novel that defined a decade, Money is a sustained, exuberant, and viciously funny assault on the excesses of the 1980s and the hollow promises of late 20th-century capitalism. Narrated by one of the great comic grotesques of English…

Return to the voice

12 Aug 20143 stars

High-impact musical theatre fraught with raw emotional honesty at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Return to the Voice by Wroclaw-based music / theatre company Song of the Goat was always going to have a lot to live up to. Following the universal eulogising of the company’s remarkable Songs of Lear back in 2012, this new work was specially…

Backstage in Biscuit-land

12 Aug 20144 stars

Jess Thom talks Tourette’s to an entertaining effect at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

‘It’s the only place I can sit in the theatre without someone asking me to leave,’ observes Jess Thom from the stage at the start of her simple but appealing show. Over the next hour, it’s quickly apparent why audiences elsewhere might find Thom’s…

Andy De La Tour

12 Aug 20142 stars

Lukewarm observations from alt-com trooper at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

There are just four years between comedy veterans Andy de la Tour and Alexei Sayle but their Fringe returns have proved to be a world apart. Last year, Sayle rolled back the years with a raucous set which had packed Stand crowds breathless with…

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The Capone Trilogy: Loki

12 Aug 20144 stars

Romp with the gender swap Norse god in the windy city, staged at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Given Jethro Compton's commitment to serious theatre with a conceptual foundation, it is a delightful surprise to discover that he is capable of directing fast-paced comedy. Loki is the first of his Capone Trilogy and it is a stand-alone whirlwind of…

The Object Lesson

12 Aug 20145 stars

Genius absurdist theatre by American performance artist Geoff Sobelle at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

In our society of hyper-consumption and digitisation it can be easy to lose the emotional connection which human beings have always had with the objects they have made, chosen or been given. In American performance artist Geoff Sobelle's delightful…

Nick Helm's Two Night Stand in The Grand

12 Aug 20143 stars

Flesh, self-abuse and lewdness abound in bombastic show

‘Don’t fuck this up’ is one of Nick Helm’s rallying cries for this ‘two-night stand at the Grand’. The character he portrays on stage (bombastic, spiteful, lewd and very, very loud) appears to be on a solo mission to achieve exactly that. ‘This is…

FOMO: The Fear of Missing Out

12 Aug 20143 stars

Plot gets lost in this enjoyable exploration of Internet age sensation at the Edinburgh Festival Fri

FOMO is the name for the Internet age sensation of looking at all the fun and success your friends are having on social media and feeling like you’re missing out. Zoe McDonald (a name shared by both the character and the actress who plays her) is in a…

Danny Ward: Infra Dig

12 Aug 20143 stars

So-so comedy show hampered by the host's own politeness at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Danny Ward had a lot to contend with on this showing of his Infra Dig hour. On the front row to his left, a trio of girls giggling at their own jokes; on the front row to his right, Todd from Corrie accompanied by a small boy wearing headphones. Ever…

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Kurakuraw Dance Glass Bead

12 Aug 20143 stars

Elegant Taiwanese dance and music performance blends East and West

This is the most refined of the four dance productions in the Taiwan season split between Dance Base and Summerhall. It’s the work of Tjimur, a company jointly run by siblings Baru and Ljuzem Madiljin and described as Taiwan’s ‘first and best-known…

The Zulu

12 Aug 20143 stars

Storytelling from South Africa with mixed results at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

The Zulus were a warrior nation who ruled over much of Southern Africa before the colonial armies arrived in the early 20th century. In The Zulu, Grammy-award winning actor and theatre director Mbongeni Ngema uses the storytelling tradition of the Zulu…

Luke McQueen: Now That's What I Luke McQueen

12 Aug 20143 stars

Ballsy comedian delivers genuine edge of the seat show at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

There’s one thing you can’t accuse Luke McQueen of and that’s not being totally committed to his craft. The mask barely drops for a second as he plays a man not so much on the brink, but one who’s gone past the precipice and is hanging on by his badly…

Theatre on a Long Thin Wire

12 Aug 20143 stars

An experiment in form and function exploring mediation of modern life through technology

Based on the conceptual composition of Alvin Lucier, Theatre on a Long Thin Wire dispenses with that hoary old theatrical conceit – the performer – and replaces them with a mobile phone. As Lucier was concerned with challenging what could be described…

Dead Ghost Star

12 Aug 20143 stars

Alternative child-friendly comedy is space oddity lost in a vacuum at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

This hour of nonsense clowning in space is a bit like Spike Milligan on MDMA, or Edward Lear doing a guest appearance at the Hacienda. Cheekykita and Mr Dinner bring their odd space odyssey to a hidden room in the flyer-covered maze of Cowgatehead…

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The Colour Ham

12 Aug 20143 stars

Comedy magic act played mainly for laughs at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

With any comedy show where three people are vying for stage time, there’s a real need for the audience to be able to distinguish between the various personae. The Colour Ham have certainly got this aspect nailed. So, Colin McLeod is the semi-serious…

Jason Cook: Broken

12 Aug 20143 stars

Plenty of laughs & decent stories but this Edinburgh Fringe stand-up show lacks higher significance

At the top of Jason Cook’s solo Fringe career, he wowed audiences and critics with My Confessions and Joy, deeply personal, incredibly moving yet hugely funny shows about his family. Since then, he’s become a father and written Hebburn, a BBC sitcom…

Dalloway

12 Aug 20144 stars

Dyad Productions present a powerful rendering of Woolf’s novel at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

The war is over, London swells with the bubbling heat of summer, the squeals of omnibuses, and the chatter of the socially ambitious. Such is the world of Woolf’s novel and the spirit evoked in Dalloway by Dyad Productions. This solo performance by…

The Eradication of Schizophrenia in Western Lapland

12 Aug 20143 stars

Modernist experiment by theare company Ridiculusmus splits Edinburgh Festival Fringe audience

This piece, by acclaimed theatre company Ridiculusmus, employs a theatrical form which will recalls the heyday of Dadaism, the avant-garde and absurdist art movement of the early twentieth century which inspired much of the last century's performance…

Spoiling

11 Aug 20142 stars

Toothless satire on post-independence Scotland

Undecided voters rolling up up to John McCann’s play about the birth-pains of post-independence Scotland need not worry about their opinions being swayed: they’re likely to be more undecided than ever when the fifty minutes are up. Directed by the…

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Adam of the Riches

11 Aug 20144 stars

Hysterically silly Edinburgh Fringe show of generous and off-the-cuff brilliance

For anyone with a track record of being in the audience or (heaven help your scarred psyche) up on stage with Adam Riches, entering his Pleasance Dome venue might seem like sleepwalking back into your worst nightmare. Sinister music is playing as three…

Pioneer

11 Aug 20144 stars

Stunning space-age exploration drama goes to infinity and beyond in style

At first glance, the story of Pioneer would lend itself better to a blockbuster film; set in outer-space, under the Pacific Ocean, and on a deserted Siberian road, the reference points seem cinematic rather than theatrical, with visionary/bonkers…

He Had Hairy Hands

11 Aug 20144 stars

Kill the Beast's 1970s werewolf horror comedy is just shy of perfection at the Edinburgh Fringe

I let out a giddy gasp of relief when He Had Hairy Hands experienced a small lull in the second act – up until that point, it was headed for a perfect rating, and who would have credited that? ‘Five stars for a silly retro horror comedy about…

Israeli theatre company Incubator perform silent protest show at Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014

11 Aug 2014

The show, which receives public state funding, attracted attention from pro-Palestine protesters

A ‘silent’ protest performance by Jerusalem-based Incubator Theatre was itself the focus of pro-Palestinian protests in Bristo Square on Saturday. Hip hop opera The City had been cancelled by Underbelly following noisy protests outside the McEwan Hall…

Beowulf: The Blockbuster

11 Aug 20145 stars

Fusion of Irish storytelling and 80s blockbusters strikes at the core of what it is to be mortal

A masterclass in both physical theatre and the grand tradition of Irish storytelling, Beowulf: The Blockbuster examines the awkward father/son dynamic, put to the ultimate test when cancer comes into the equation. Swapping a proscenium arch for a neon…