Theatre, Reviews

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Wot? No Fish!

16 Aug 20133 stars

Danny Braverman's lecture about his Jewish family is cleverly constructed and perfectly paced

Danny Braverman is the perfect host, welcoming us to his lecture theatre with a fishball, passing round the accompanying beetroot and horseradish sauce. He explains that this condiment is traditional in Jewish culture and that it sums up Jewish history…

Grounded

12 Aug 20134 stars

Compelling monologue charting female pilot's transition from work to domestic life

Snared in a murky glass cage in the middle of the room, a pilot, mother, wife soars through a compelling monologue of how she ended up in her grey, concrete trap. The Pilot - fierce, ambitious and in love with the sky - becomes pregnant, married and…

Esio Trot

16 Aug 20134 stars

Delightful Roald Dahl adaptation by Cambridge students

Roald Dahl’s tale of two lonely people brought together by a tortoise was adapted for the stage by Cambridge University’s Ryan Ammar and brought to Edinburgh by the Uni’s ADC Theatre. The script bolsters the slight story by amping up the villainy and…

Artaud: A Trilogy

14 Aug 20132 stars

Yesterday's shocking provocation becomes today's saucy romp

Although The Lincoln Company may not have caught the spirit of Artaud - it's difficult to imagine his impact, since he was writing before the internet made nudity and blasphemy accessible - this student company certainly enjoy the signifiers. A naughty…

Shit-faced Shakespeare

16 Aug 20133 stars

Enjoyable contrast between robustly delivered performance and cackhandedly mangled drama

Of all the comedy twists the works of the Bard have been given over the years, this inspired one is a potentially perfect fit for a late night at the Fringe. The idea is simple: a Shakespeare play is staged in an entirely serious manner by the cast…

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Killers

16 Aug 20133 stars

An insight into murderers' minds

Bathed in harsh white spotlights, three of Britain’s most notorious killers – Dennis Nilsen, Ian Brady and Peter Sutcliffe – sit in front of the audience, reading letters they’ve written to admirers from their prisons or secure hospitals. But if you’re…

[Title of Show]

16 Aug 20134 stars

Upbeat meta musical about the realities of creating a Broadway production

The trials and tribulations of a group of young performers in New York form the basis of the UK premiere of Patch of Blue’s [Title of Show]. Written in just three weeks for the New York Musical Theatre Festival, this 'musical about two guys writing a…

The Prima Party Scrapbook

16 Aug 20131 star

A messy performance lacking coherent narrative

Matthew Squance attempts to reconstruct a drug-fuelled London party in this chaotic, uncomfortable one-man show. On entering the venue, the audience are all handed a pair of glowsticks – and this, unfortunately, is the most exciting thing to happen in…

Now Leasing

15 Aug 20133 stars

An hour with an idiosyncratic artist and tales from her journeys

A solo show that sits comfortably as both theatrical monologue and variety show – Lea McGowan is as adept at acrobats as acting out episodes from her biography – Now Leasing is a cheerful canter through the life of an artist. While she doesn't handle…

The Year I Was Gifted

15 Aug 20132 stars

An uninvolving year at theatre school

Writer and performer Monica Bauer chronicles her single year spent at a performing arts school. Her journey to the school is fraught, involving lies about her musical abilities, desperate applications for money to cover the fees, and the final loan of…

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The State vs John Hayes

14 Aug 20133 stars

Two-for-one killer in a death row show

Either a one-woman show, a one-man show, or possibly a two hander played by one person, The State vs John Hayes is a tricky show to categorise. Billed as a psychological thriller, it’s really a confessional monologue in which a Death Row killer, facing…

Albert Einstein: Relativitively Speaking

14 Aug 20133 stars

Einstein a-go-go in John Hinton's Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2013 performance

The brilliance of The Big Bang Theory sitcom is that it works on two levels; the science and pop-culture references are amusing to geeks, while the rest of the audience can laugh at the failure of the boffins to get to grips with the complications of…

We Will Be Free! The Tolpuddle Martyrs Story

13 Aug 20134 stars

Charming resurrection of folk theatre tradition, with political insight to boot

Mummers plays – informal folk performances with hundreds of years of British history – are seeing something of a renaissance in smaller British theatres, with Townsend Productions leading the charge. The chandeliers of the Assembly Rooms Ballroom jar…

Cape Wrath

13 Aug 20133 stars

Intimate and heartfelt show set on a minibus

‘It’s not compulsory but if you want a more authentic experience you’re welcome to buckle up’, says Alexander Kelly as 12 audience members clamber onboard a minibus outside St Stephen’s Church. The bus doesn’t move an inch in the next hour but…

Leaving Planet Earth

13 Aug 20132 stars

The future is filled with promise, but its delivery throws up some awkward truths

Grid Iron has previously demonstrated itself as a master of the site-specific play, with 27 awards in 18 years. Working on a massive scale for the Edinburgh International Festival, their latest show Leaving Planet Earth is a dystopian science fiction…

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How to Occupy an Oil Rig

13 Aug 20133 stars

A useful guide for popular protest against unecological fuels

In these troubled times, with so much to protest against, we could all do with some tips. Enter Dan Bye with a news-you-can-use show full of interesting advice on bust cards and anti-tear gas remedies for those of us who would like the Arctic to stay…

Death and Gardening

13 Aug 20132 stars

Disappointing physical theatre about death and beyond

Wet Picnic take a quotation from painter Edvard Munch (‘from my rotting body, flowers shall grow’) as an inspiration for this slight study of one man’s death. While the incidental details of David’s life most ordinary are movingly expressed through…

Hope, Light and Nowhere

13 Aug 20133 stars

Three men discuss alienation after an apocalypse

Consisting of a series of conversations between three men in a dystopian future, Andrew Sheridan’s script is well structured and he has an ear for the telling, brutal phrase. The three actors are professional, convincing and appropriately disturbing.

Pirates and Mermaids: A Fairytale for Adults

13 Aug 20133 stars

A clever mix of legend and 21st-century alienation

Cameron is sitting on a bench in Central Park in his kilt. By a happy coincidence he has brought his manbag filled with with props; using these he unfolds the tale of how he comes to be swigging whisky and lurking around in full highland regalia instead…

Baddies

13 Aug 20133 stars

Self-referential Hollywood satire

Sergio is a method actor, successful in mainstream filmmaking but dissatisfied with his type-casting as a one-dimensional villain. Self-centred himbo Joe, a former classmate of Sergio’s, has disregarded his classical training in favour of becoming an…

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Newton

13 Aug 20133 stars

A performance lecture on the great scientific mind

Sir Isaac Newton: unarguably one of humanities greatest figures. Radical thinker and inventor, Newton literally changed our understanding of the world. Even now, hundreds of years beyond his death, his impact is still felt. Jack Klaff’s monologue is a…

Made For Each Other

13 Aug 20132 stars

Can we really be honest with the ones we love?

Made for Each Other is another play returning to the Fringe after a successful 2012 run: a one-man show about Alzheimer's and gay marriage, it has John Fico take on four roles. Throughout the show, he restlessly jumps between the ‘fag over 50’ science…

Dinner is Swerved

13 Aug 20133 stars

It’s a feast for the senses, pending good company and a taste for adventure

The definition of theatre is becoming more open, leading to works like Dinner is Swerved. Having more in common with a surrealist happening or a middle-class dinner party than Shakespeare or Pinter, this late night party serves food with short sketches…

How To Make A Killing in Bollywood

13 Aug 20132 stars

Glasgow theatre company NLP disappoint with this poorly-scripted show that starts out as a fun musical-comedy but comes unstuck as it attempts to develop more serious themes. The highlights by far are the joyous song and dance sequences that appear out…

Captain Amazing

11 Aug 20133 stars

Struggles a super hero's civilian life

Captain Amazing is one of the superest of superheroes: he can fly safely into the surface of the sun, save helpless innocents strapped to world-ending bombs and conduct a war of words with a villain in a burning house. It’s the everyday stuff he has a…