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…

The Pitiless Storm

5 Aug 20144 stars

David Hayman on blistering form in in Chris Dolan's political play, staged at the Edinburgh Fringe

Anyone who’s watched David Hayman perform will know his skill for mastering the characters he plays. And he doesn’t disappoint here. Hayman is on blistering form in this one-man show that, while making clear its political intent, is ultimately a…

SmallWar

5 Aug 20144 stars

Powerful verbatim WWI work at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Flemish actor and writer Valentijn Dhaenens’ follow-up to 2012’s Bigmouth looks at the little people caught up in conflicts enacted by his previous production’s world-leading figures. But don’t expect a tear-drenched memorial for the fallen, nor a…

Threnody for the Sky Children

5 Aug 20144 stars

A zombie apocalypse romantic comedy epic poem at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Although Jack Dean’s epic poem covers zombie apocalypse, the anguish of failed love and the ravings of ‘philosophical pervert’ Slavoj Zizek, his attention to metaphorical detail and intimate performance make Threnody a touching, and emotive hour.

The Generation of Z: Edinburgh

5 Aug 20144 stars

Entertaining interative zombie show at 2014 Edinburgh Fringe

'That’s like every movie I absolutely love,’ grins one punter as he emerges, breathless and ecstatic, from immersive action-horror production The Generation of Z. He’s not wrong – all the familiar tropes from modern zombie flicks are present and…

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Light

5 Aug 20144 stars

Theatre Ad Infinitum's spectacular Edinburgh Fringe show is inspired by surveillance scandals

This is one of Theatre Ad Infinitum's best shows yet. Their most recent Fringe hits, the multi-award winning Translunar Paradise (2011) and Ballad of the Burning Star (2013), were slickly choreographed but in Light, the group achieve with mime and…

Ryan Van Winkle and Dan Gorman: ViewMaster

5 Aug 20144 stars

Intimate and charming poetry and music journey away from the bustle of the Fringe

Upstairs in an attic-like room, hidden away in a forgotten corner of Summerhall, poet Ryan Van Winkle and musician Dan Gorman have made a den. At the start each audience member (this is a show for one person at a time) is given a short questionnaire…

The House of Bernarda Alba

5 Aug 20143 stars

Lorca’s powerful all-female drama

Federico Garcia Lorca's intense hothouse melodrama is transferred reverentially to the stage by the Fourth Monkey Theatre Company; with a youthful, all-female cast crammed into a tiny venue, you can practically smell the hormones as the classic study of…

Electra: An American Gothic

5 Aug 20143 stars

Ancient Greek myth transferred to 1880s US by Slippery Rock Theatre for Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Pennsylvania’s Slippery Rock Theatre has been bringing nastily effective little tales of horror to the Fringe for several years now, and although this year’s offering tones things down a bit, there’s still the trademark fevered intensity that’s made…

Thief

5 Aug 20143 stars

Jean Genet-inspired monologue at 2014 Edinburgh Fringe

Winston Churchill famously described the British Royal Navy as having been sustained by three things, namely, "rum, sodomy and the lash." It is to just such a sexually dissolute and violent maritime society that we are taken by Liam Rudden's Thief.  A…

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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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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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…

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…

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…

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.

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…

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... 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…

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…

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…

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…

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…