Theatre

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Blind

22 Aug 20144 stars

UK beatboxing champion Grace Savage delivers stunning coming-of-age show

When Grace Savage beat boxes, you can’t help but be mesmerised. Blind does not merely showcase her breathtaking talent (she is UK beatboxing champion of 2012 and 2013), but combines theatre, music, autobiography and audience participation to question…

The HandleBards announced as winner of 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe Sustainable Practice Award

22 Aug 2014

My Luxurious 50 Square Feet Life, India Street and The Worm also competed for eco-conscious award

The HandleBards have won the 2014 Edinburgh Fringe Sustainable Practice Award, it was announced at a special ceremony today at Fringe Central. After cycling to the Fringe from London, carrying all the required sets, props, costumes and camping…

Christeene: The Christeene Machine

20 Aug 20144 stars

Unashamedly sexual and seductive queer live art hip hop at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Given hip-hop's uncomfortable relationship with sexuality beyond the exploitative norm, the opening of The Christeene Machine is a violent, delightful jolt. Spitting lyrics of queer rage, accompanied by two beautiful beefy boys, Christeene arrives on…

The Addams Family: The Musical

19 Aug 20143 stars

Song and dance with a touch of gallows humour at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

The company have gone as big as they dare for this musical take on the ghoulish television show with an orchestra, chorus line and a two hour running time. The set changes and choreography are slick, which is no mean feat on a reduced stage space, and…

Once Upon a Nightmare

18 Aug 20143 stars

Dynamic adventure play in need of streamlining at Edinburgh Festival Free Fringe

Although there is much to enjoy in this fantasy adventure from Box Step Productions, including some fine performances, there is one over-riding problem with Once Upon a Nightmare – it wants to be a film. It came as no surprise to discover, after…

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Letters Home

27 Aug 20143 stars

Four snapshot stories of exile at 2014 Edinburgh International Book Festival

Consisting of four short scenes and an unnecessary epilogue set 'backstage' where the actors turn back into civilians, Letters Home is surprisingly slight for a two hour flagship production at the Book Festival. Only Grid Iron's own Ben Harrison deals…

Bonenkai

19 Aug 20143 stars

Dynamic musical theatre based on Japanese drinking celebration at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Named for the Japanese drinking celebration – essentially an end of year blow-out designed for blocking out the past year's woes, Bonenkai is an energetic display with a cast that doubles as a vigorous live band. With little plot, or character…

The Man Who Would Be King

28 Aug 20144 stars

Kipling's tale of imperialist ambition is given a contemporary resonance

Perhaps best known in the film version – which saw the dream team of Sean Connery and Michael Caine play the would-be emperors – Kipling's Afghanistan story is more than just a boy's own adventure, reflecting on the arrogant ambitions of a British…

Wuthering Heights

28 Aug 20143 stars

Bravely abstract take on the nineteenth century classic at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

This is not a faithful theatre adaption of Emily Brontë’s classic: from the beginning the all-male cast announce they will be playing various characters from the novel as well as themselves, taking Heathcliff’s temperamental disposition as the driving…

Interview: director Graham McLaren on reviving Joe Corrie's In Time O' Strife

27 Aug 2014

'I love that we are giving voice to an artist who was denied it by the theatre establishment'

Set in the 1920s, and highlighting the struggles of Fife miners against poverty and social injustice, In Time O' Strife is a neglected Scottish classic, presaging in its anger the great theatrical revolution of the Angry Young Men in the 1950s. Director…

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Interview: theatremaker Robert Icke on adapting George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four

27 Aug 2014

'We looked more to other art forms for inspiration: David Lynch, Breaking Bad, Grand Theft Auto'

Jointly created by Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan, Headlong's adaptation of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four has been praised for its energy and finding new ideas in a familiar tale. Applying a contemporary sensitivity, the classic tale of…

Interview: actor Joe McGann on taking the lead in John Godber's bittersweet April in Paris

27 Aug 2014

'You see wives nudging their husbands and saying, that's you, that is. He writes in a universal way'

'Al and Bet are one of those couples you wouldn't want to be sitting next to on a bus,' says Joe McGann, who plays Al in John Godber’s April in Paris. 'They have been together 27 years and it sounds like constant bickering. And we all know couples like…

Helen Lawrence

27 Aug 20142 stars

Impressive but confused multimedia theatre piece at Edinburgh International Festival

Helen Lawrence is the definition of ‘impressive’ multimedia theatre, as Canadian Stage has enlisted the help of artist Stan Douglas and screenwriter Chris Haddock to create a homage to 1940s film noir through a combination of theatre and film. Femme…

Legendary Agatha Christie stage adap The Mousetrap to tour the UK

27 Aug 2014

West End cast Luke Jenkins, Henry Luxemburg and Helen Clapp take the murder mystery on the road

As British as changeable weather, withering sarcasm and a nice cup of tea, Agatha Christie's classic whodunnit The Mousetrap is still the longest-running play in the world, having opened in theatres in 1952 and translated into over 50 languages. While…

Milk Presents: Self Service

27 Aug 20143 stars

Clever experimental cabaret exploring queer identity at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Since the definition of 'queer' is contested (it tends to be a bucket for anything outside of the norm), a cabaret dedicated to explaining it is long overdue. The three performers, with added help from a musician and two audience members as compères…

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Opinion: Scotland's theatre-makers are predominantly pro-Independence - so what happens if we vote No?

26 Aug 2014

‘If theatre is serious about dialogue, it has to remember to listen’

As the Edinburgh Fringe has made clear through the offerings of Alan Bissett, David Greig and the National Collective, the majority of theatre-makers have come down in public favour of the Yes vote in the upcoming referendum. Apart from causing a…

Bears in Space

26 Aug 20143 stars

Talented puppeting cast navigate through muddled story at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

While much of the press attention for Bears in Space focussed on the fact that King Joffrey was in the show, admirably little ego has been displayed by Irish actor Jack Gleeson. At this hour’s finale, while a female fan hangs awkwardly back to chat with…

Minetti

22 Aug 20143 stars

King Lear meets Waiting for Godot in challenging theatre piece as part of 2014 EIF

On New Year’s Eve, in a hotel lobby in Ostend, an ageing actor waits for the arrival of a director who will orchestrate his comeback in a production of King Lear. But will he come? The night wears on, and Minetti (a towering performance by Peter…

The Future for Beginners

22 Aug 20143 stars

Twee take on first world problems at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Contemporary experimental theatre in the UK tends towards extremes. Either brutally challenging or charmingly twee, it breaks the traditional format only to struggle to find something new. The Future for Beginners, despite a bracing premise – a…

Casual Violence: The Great Fire of Nostril

21 Aug 20143 stars

Fun and absurd comedy undermined by underwritten script at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Everyone, it seems, would rather hear a story featuring evil conjoined twins rather than one about a happy gherkin and so the hapless narrator Ridley loses out to his unseen voiceover narrator rival. Young Roger Nostril is distraught when his father is…

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Lysistrata

20 Aug 20142 stars

Greek comedy becomes a tragedy with constant mood shifts destroying narrative journey

The script, freely adapted from Aristophanes' fifth century comedy about women going on sex strike to stop a war, has massive ambitions. Sometimes using passages from the source - including an argument between old men and women and an ill-judged…

The Duck Pond

20 Aug 20143 stars

Pacy and poignant re-telling of Swan Lake at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Theatre company withWings certainly knows how to pack a stage. A fairground set, live band, dance, theatre, comedy, tragedy, dodgems and the moon on a stick; they’re all in this sweet and pacy re-working of the tale that inspired Swan Lake. Prince…

The Sma Room Seance

20 Aug 20143 stars

Hybrid music-theatre in search of poet William Soutar's spirit

Here is the setup. We, the audience, are a group of poetry-hungry gullibles, attending a session with a medium of unidentified origin and heavy makeup, name of Madame Lozatska. On stage there is a jazz-folk band playing the poems of Perth-born poet…

Travesti

18 Aug 20143 stars

Male bodies, female voices in intriguing Edinburgh Fringe Festival show

Mirroring the themes of Ontroeren Goed's Sirens, Travesti has an all male cast voicing the words of women. This juxtaposition, putting words in the mouths of men, is the show's main concept and while it is initially shocking, it can't sustain the weight…

Beats North

18 Aug 20143 stars

A touching theatre double-bill that reminds of the power of music at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

In this double-bill of plays by Ishy Din and Luke Barnes, Al and Jack are two young northern men trying to find their way into adulthood. Jack prefers Bonnie Tyler and Meatloaf to football, and needs to make sure his ragdoll – a hand-me-down toy from…