Theatre

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Emily Brown and the Thing

3 Aug 20145 stars

Slick storybook adaptation with a big heart

Emily Brown had successfully completed two adventures when the little boy sitting next to me turned to his mum. ‘I wish there was another adventure,’ he said longingly. ‘There is,’ replied mum, ‘she goes on three’. The look of glee on his face, when he…

Naked in Alaska

3 Aug 20143 stars

Redemption, addiction and pole dancing

Valerie Hager’s autobiographical solo show takes in both the highs and lows of her career as an exotic dancer: the escape from a mundane life of abusive boyfriends and financial worry; the petty rivalries of the clubs that destroy friendships; and the…

... And This Is My Friend Mr Laurel

3 Aug 20143 stars

One-man biography of a familiar face

Jeffrey Holland, a delightful old thesp familiar from Hi de Hi, and other TV shows from the olden days, is the perfect fellow to telescope the lives and careers of Laurel and Hardy into an affectionate hour-long one-hander. Laurel, retired and…

Big Fat Fringe Bribe blog 2014: Goodbye Gunther

5 Aug 2014

A visit from the Grim Reaper results in free publicity for Frank Wurzinger

We thought that Big Fat Fringe Bribe season had peaked with the delivery of a real live human being, but we clearly weren't thinking metaphysically enough. The Grim Reaper himself appeared in the List offices to hand out the next bribe (incongruously, a…

Dan Jones: New Kid

4 Aug 20142 stars

A comedic play with great potential that just doesn't come together at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Eager compere Dan Jones welcomes us his show 'Live at the Lolaceum', a – very probably – London-based comedy night. He introduces us to his acts; all of whom are suspiciously like Jones and all equally unhinged. From somewhere in the north of England is…

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Birdwatchers’ Wives

4 Aug 20143 stars

Despite much to like about the show, Caroline Smith’s avian alter-ego fails to take full flight

‘Welcome! Willkommen! Bienvenue!’ warbles Rita Grebe. Grebe is seven-foot tall, preening delicately and resplendent in a sumptuous costume of extravagant plumage (designed by David Curtis-Ring). This solo show from performance artist Caroline Smith…

The Comedy of Errors

4 Aug 20143 stars

Bristol Old Vic Theatre School present take on Shakespeare with broad appeal

Finding new and exciting ways to deliver Shakespeare to children is a challenging, but by no means impossible, task. Bristol Old Vic Theatre School is making a speciality of it, after last year’s superb Romeo & Juliet, and now that farcical tale of…

Beans on Toast

4 Aug 20143 stars

Playful and lightly enchanting vignettes from Patch of Blue at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Patch of Blue ’s Beans on Toast conjures a world of bunting, fairy lights, soft furnishings and brightly illuminated vignettes of youthful love. Between them, the six strong ensemble present the star-crossed lovers: Jen and Scott. Passing the roles…

Hiraeth

3 Aug 20143 stars

Comedy biography from the valleys and back again

Buddug James Jones comes from four generations of farmers. Weary of a life of cider-black, village gossip and a boyfriend whose idea of fun is upending the Portaloo at the Young Farmers disco, she decamps for London. There, after many solitary dinners…

The Sagas of Noggin the Nog

3 Aug 20144 stars

Live action Edinburgh Festival Fringe adaptation of children's TV classic

Every year it seems the Fringe gives parents (and in this case maybe some grandparents as well) the opportunity to revel in the nostalgia of their childhood TV viewing, under the guise of taking their children to a show – and this year is no…

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Human Child

3 Aug 20143 stars

Sweetly-told tale based on W B Yeats poem

One of the fastest growing Fringe trends in recent years is that of young companies eschewing gritty new writing in favour of creating quality, thoughtful and thought-provoking children’s theatre.

How to Achieve Redemption as a Scot Through the Medium of Braveheart

3 Aug 20143 stars

Random and redemptive contemplation on what it means to be a Scot

Rachael Clerke is in need of redemption. You see, a couple of years ago, she denied ever being a Scot. She was a ashamed of her Scottishness, the tartan, the kilts, the coos-until an encounter with a Turkish friend changed her perception of how others…

Billy’s Birthday Bash: Let's Party Like It's 1564!

3 Aug 20144 stars

Three classic plays in one silly hour

The ‘Billy’ in the title is none other than William Shakespeare, and this is not a birthday party but a celebration of 450 years since his birth through three of his most famous plays, each redacted into around fifteen minutes of frenetic fun. It would…

Black Is The Color Of My Voice

3 Aug 20143 stars

Nina Simone biography with music

A black woman who bears a disconcerting resemblance to Nina Simone is having what we would now call a detox. No booze, fags or phone, just her, an imaginary piano and a handy suitcase full of props from her life. Via a conversation with her father…

The Despondent Divorcee

3 Aug 20143 stars

Vintage mystery drama

Saddled with an unpromising title, The Despondent Divorcee is a neatly played investigation of a brutal death; Francis Dupree has fallen from a window at a 1940’s New York hotel. The incident is captured by a passing photographer, and reporter Robert…

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Black Faggot

3 Aug 20143 stars

Samoan gay showcase drama

Victor Rodger’s powerful two-hander is a high-energy (and, it has to be said, rather overlong) race through Samoan gay culture in New Zealand, from closeted football players to scheming rent boys, desperate teenagers to regretful older men, looking at…

A Series of Increasingly Impossible Acts

3 Aug 20142 stars

Improvised knockabout show

It’s a tricky, if not impossible business to firmly review a devised show; the essence of the performance is comes from having an unstable quality, a changing bill of fare from night to night. The opening of this show from the Lyric Hammersmith’s Secret…

Fragile

3 Aug 20144 stars

Brutal Edinburgh Festival Fringe performance by Nigel Francis, recounting abuse and redemption

Alone, with nothing but a bottle of beer in hand, One draws short, sharp swigs from the bottle. His muscular, tribal-tattooed, black-clad body hunches over a tape recorder, this whirring machine his only witness. He is checking the level of the…

Chef

3 Aug 20144 stars

Humane, raw and beautiful prison kitchen-based theatre piece at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Urban performance poet and playwright Sabrina Mahfouz's fast-talking work takes no prisoners, so it's ironic that her latest play Chef, inspired by real testimonies, follows the journey of a former sous chef, who is now a convicted inmate running a…

Bloom

3 Aug 20142 stars

Promising stories on origins let down by lacklustre storytelling and performances

Bloom is one of those shows that, on paper, looks like it should impress. Poignant subject matter, sparse theatricality and a good old dose of storytelling should mark this out as one to watch, but sadly the performances fail to deliver. Performers…

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Baba Brinkman - The Rap Guide to Religion

3 Aug 20143 stars

Religion get rapped

Don’t show up hungover, or even a bit tired or glaikit to Baba Brinkman’s Rap Guide to Religion. His cerebral hip hop, complete with Venn diagrams and home-made infographics, requests your full attention please, as he takes his audience on a geeky…

A Journey Round My Skull

3 Aug 20144 stars

Immersive and emotional story of love and loss

It’s clear from the off that this is not going to be your usual love story. On the way into Summerhall’s Red Lecture Theatre the audience are give headphones, a hint at the auditory intensity to come. A Journey Round My Skull explores the relationship…

Food and drink shows at the 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

2 Aug 2014

Love food? Love the Festival? Then you’ll need to know about these food-themes shows

Love food? Love the Festival? Then you’ll be delighted to hear that there are several culinary-themed shows to tuck into this August. David Pollock picks the highlights. To stage a play about Scotland’s national dish entitled Haggis, Haggis, Haggis: The…

Feminism and the Edinburgh Forest Fringe 2014 programme

2 Aug 2014

Forest Fringe co-director Deborah Pearson on the shows exploring what it means to be a woman

The Forest Fringe co-director asks: while there are shows fighting the feminist fight, where are the shows exploring what it means to be a woman? Wuthering Heights at Summerhall this year and the recent hit film Boyhood both interrogate masculinity in…

The Trial of Jane Fonda

2 Aug 20144 stars

Phenomenal performance by Anne Archer in exploration of the Hanoi Jane incident

In 1972 when US screen legend Jane Fonda posed on a Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun, opposing the Vietnam War, an American backlash ensued, with Fonda portrayed as a Communist and unpatriotic, despite the hippy movement. Another silver screen star, Anne…