Theatre, Reviews

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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…

The Diary of a Dress

20 Aug 20132 stars

An unmemorable memoir directed by Hillary Wood as part of ‘Discover Georgia in Edinburgh’

Georgia is justly renowned for the lyricism and boldness of its theatre, and the skill of its actors. So, Tamara Bartaia’s one-woman play The Diary of a Dress, which is performed by young actress Tamara Bziava and directed by Hillary Wood as part of the…

Breakfast Plays: A Respectable Widow Takes To Vulgarity

20 Aug 20134 stars

Douglas Maxwell's script finally proves that swearing is both big and clever

Although a barrage of f-words and c-words is a tough call first thing in the morning, Douglas Maxwell’s plea for a more tolerant attitude to bad language is hidden beneath a fast-paced and witty comedy. Following one woman’s attempt to come to terms…

Major Tom

20 Aug 20134 stars

A funny look at people's competitive nature and the judgemental society we live in

Performer Victoria Melody got the idea of entering her basset hound Major Tom into competitions but quickly became disheartened by how low he scored with judges. Another brain wave hits: she too will enter competitions, but as a beauty queen. The play…

Dustpan Odyssey

20 Aug 20134 stars

Kitchen utensils take a life of their own in inventive recounting of Homer's Odyssey

Philippe Genty’s puppetering company has gained international renown thanks to its imaginative use of a wide range of cultural influences and upbeat performances that captures the audience’s full attention. His latest piece ‘Dustpan Odyssey’ is a…

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We Will Be Free

16 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…

Jerry & Tom

16 Aug 20133 stars

Tarantino-esque hitman dramedy

There’s a shiver that runs down every critic’s spine when s/he hears the name ‘Tarantino’ in reference to a stage production. This word is invariably not used to describe something the Hollywood director has actually written; rather, it is shorthand for…

Boris & Sergey II Perilous Escapade

16 Aug 20134 stars

The Balkan bad boys go straight to Hell in this unmissable comedy sequel

After the dramatic finale of their previous adventure, Boris & Sergey II Perilous Escapade, accompanies the infamous brothers on an unforgettable journey to the underworld that tests their unique brotherly bond to its limit. A mixture of physical…

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…

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…

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[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…

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…

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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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…

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…

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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…

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…