Theatre, Reviews

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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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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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 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…

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…

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…

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…

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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 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…

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…

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…

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…

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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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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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…

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…

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.

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…

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…