Theatre

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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…

Klip

18 Aug 20143 stars

Fun musical absurdism in pieces by Livingstones Kabinet at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

A disclaimer is displayed at the start of this show warns audience members not to attach any great depth or meaning to this performance. With that in mind, Denmark-based absurdists Livingstones Kabinet set the scene for a provocative hour of sound and…

In The Surface Of A Bubble

18 Aug 20143 stars

Ambitious allegorical study into human motivation and creativity at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Edward Day's play is nothing if not ambitious- an allegorical study into human motivation and creativity. In The Surface Of A Bubble weaves together Lecoq trained physical theatre, live music and puppetry with a dark, fragmentary structure. Michelle…

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…

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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 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…

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…

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Show Pony

18 Aug 20144 stars

Oddly delightful theatre piece from LetLuce at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

This is one pair of crazy ladies. Each playing one half of pink pony Eamonn, LetLuce tell the tale of how, finding himself unemployed, he ends up being punched by a nun in a field and sold into a circus that is somewhat surprisingly run by Ian McShane.

Echolalia

18 Aug 20143 stars

Echoes of vaudeville in one-woman performance at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Kiwi performer Jen McArthur's character Echo is a woman on the autistic spectrum, who needs numbers and endless routine to make it through the day. Her seemingly endless struggle to leave the house is an amusing spin on retro vaudeville, right down to…

Back Door

18 Aug 20143 stars

A gender-bending twist on Alfred Hitchock’s Rear Window at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Offering a gender-bending twist on Alfred Hitchock’s Rear Window, Off-Off-Off-Broadway’s Back Door joins truculent war reporter Tabitha Montgomery (Laura Louise Baker) in 1920s Paris as she recovers from a broken leg. Attended to by wittering fop John…

Dead Letters

18 Aug 20144 stars

PropUp Theatre's charming Edinburgh Festival Fringe production explores the secret life of mail

In this charming anti-Bartleby, newly appointed post office worker George crouches down to a pile of undelivered messages in the dead letter office. As paper rains on his head, he is overwhelmed by the potential heartbreak and sorrow the stranded post…

Icarus Falling

18 Aug 20144 stars

Physical theatre meets performance poetry in strong solo from Australian performance poet

’I am all words and nothing more,’ or so declares the aptly-named Australian performance poet Scott Wings at the start of this strong, concentrated solo show. He’s speaking in character as Icarus, the lad from Greek mythology whose manufactured…

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The Hibrow Hour

17 Aug 2014

Multi-media arts for smart audiences including Alison Jackson and Jonny and the Baptists

The Hi-Brow Hour, which takes over an afternoon slot at Summerhall for the third week of the Fringe, is more inclusive than the average show. Not only are the individual events be recorded, they are being streamed on BBC Arts Online and shown at Odeon…

Woyzeck

17 Aug 20144 stars

Splendid Productions' energetic and playful hour finds new meaning in the great unfinished play

In their rendering of Büchner’s unfinished text, Splendid Productions adopts a playful timbre that sees them skip between scenes, co-opt the audience as the rumour mongers, and gleefully demonstrate the mechanisms behind their skilful stagecraft: as…

Symphony by Ella Hickson, Tom Wells & Nick Payne

17 Aug 20143 stars

Three delightful theatre pieces exploring growing up and falling in love

Individually, Ella Hickson, Tom Wells and Nick Payne have seen their fair share of theatrical success. Hickson's had a number of hit plays since her 2008 Fringe debut, Eight, brought her to nationwide attention. Payne's Constellations recently won the…

Mildred and the Midnight City

17 Aug 20142 stars

Adventurous children's theatre piece that feels a little crowded

There are plenty of understated heroics in HookHitch Theatre's overly quaint tale of a little woman who has adventure thrust upon her. And there is plenty of puppetry, involving clever duel-screen shadow projectors, a peculiarly poodle-like Polar Bear…

Broken Dolls (Razbitye Kuklu)

17 Aug 20142 stars

Strong performances in sex trafficking drama let down by unresolved plot lines and poor set

Broken Dolls tells the story of Narcisa, a young girl from Moldova who is sold into sex trafficking and imprisoned in a Turkish brothel. The play explores the brutal psychological abuse inflicted on women in order to desensitise them and trap them in a…

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Can't Stay Away!

17 Aug 20141 star

A messy experiment which feels more like an under-rehearsed work-in-progress

Some Fringe shows thrive on experimentation, with a loose structure which well serves an atmosphere of seeming spontaneity. Some merely fail. Sadly, Fourth Monkey's Can't Stay Away! falls into the latter category. Examining an asylum seeker's…

21 Things You Should Know About Toronto's Crack-Smoking Mayor

17 Aug 20143 stars

Rob Ford-themed political theatre at 2014 Edinburgh Fringe that credits audience with intelligence

Canadian politician Rob Ford had a non-existent profile on the world stage until May last year, when clickbait news website *3Gawker*2 published evidence of him smoking crack cocaine. When Ford’s eventual admission only made things worse (‘Yes, I have…

Title and Deed by Will Eno

17 Aug 20144 stars

Brilliantly unsettling piece of Edinburgh Fringe theatre questioning the essence of humanity

In 2005 the New York Times described American playwright and Pulitzer Prize winner Will Eno as a Samuel Beckett for the Jon Stewart generation. Almost a decade on, it seems Eno lives up to that weighted description with his monologue Title and Deed, a…

Jamaica Farewell

17 Aug 20143 stars

Solo Fringe performance presents thrilling journey across political turbulence and street violence

Jamaica Farewell is a solo performance by Deborah Ehrhardt in which she recounts episodes from her childhood in her beloved Jamaica and her conflicting desire to one day move to America, the place she thinks of as the land of opportunity. In the…

Shakespeare, His Wife and the Dog

17 Aug 20144 stars

Joyous celebration of language and proof there is still life in scripted theatre

Shakespeare, his Wife and the Dog, is a joyous celebration of language, despite the underlying themes of senility and death. Finding himself unfashionable, Shakespeare retires and makes his household's lives miserable. Challenged by his wife, he goes…