Strange Face - Adventures with a Lost Nick Drake Recording

Strange Face - Adventures with a Lost Nick Drake Recording

Mike Burdett's one man show has all the signs and potential for being a Fringe hit but, sadly, due to some underdeveloped writing and wayward lessons, it doesn't quite hit the mark... 

Antonio Forcione: No Strings Attached

Antonio Forcione: No Strings Attached

Antonio Forcione is such an established and adored Fringe regular it almost seems redundant reviewing him because, just as day follows night, a five star review follows Foricone's show... 

...and This is My Friend Mr Laurel

...and This is My Friend Mr Laurel

Laurel and Hardy are widely considered to be the greatest comedy pairing of all time and this touching one-man show does a lot to display the deep affection and loyalty the two men felt for each other... 

Mick Ferry: What's Going On?

Mick Ferry: What's Going On?

Mick Ferry's flyer has quotes from John Bishop and Jason Manford declaring his genius so from the offset is pretty predictable what one is going to receive in this amusing but forgettable Fringe show... 

Mervyn Stutter's Pick of the Fringe

Mervyn Stutter's Pick of the Fringe

Mervyn Stutter has been sourcing and sharing his picks of the Fringe for, unbelievably, 28 years and he is clearly not waning when it comes to separating the wheat from the chaff.It's obviously difficult for me to tell you how the show will be the day you see it but judging from the swathe of talent he presented when I saw him, his team has a knack for picking out a wide range of the best of the fest... 

Eric Davidson - The Independent State of Eric

Eric Davidson - The Independent State of Eric

Eric Davidson's blend of wordplay, poetry, rhyme, song and comedy is somewhat legendary among Fringe savants and he doesn't disappoint with his new show. It is a joyful and reasonably lighthearted (albeit a little uninspired) romp through Scottish culture, the upcoming referendum (which is happening in September, not sure if anyone's mentioned it... 

Early Doors

Early Doors

Famed fan of the sauce Oliver Reed once said, “You meet a better class of people in pubs.” It would seem that company Not Too Tame Theatre had Reed’s sentiment in mind as they created this superb show... 

The Man Who Almost Killed Himself

The Man Who Almost Killed Himself

The Man Who Almost Killed Himself is a funny and tragic true story inspired by the work of anthropologist Andrew Irving in Uganda and Eastern Africa. The creative talent behind this interesting show is not to be sniffed at either; they bring the community, traditions and beliefs of Africa thrillingly to life... 

Klip

Klip

Klip describes itself as “a collage of carefully chosen coincidences”. You might read that and think, 'that sounds quite pretentious,’ and it is, as is the show. Klip is the kind of questionable, over-the-top performance art normally saved for a third year Drama degree show that is monumentally mocked for years to come... 

Larkin' About

Larkin' About

Larkin' About is a retrospective-come-biography of renowned contemporary poet Philip Larkin. Devised and performed by a cast famous for their roles in long running British radio institution The Archers, it's almost unsurprising that this play is a joy to listen to but a boring mess to look at... 

Government Inspector

Government Inspector

Born from the Young Pleasance brood, Incognito theatre in association with Pleasance present their wild and witty take on this secondary school favourite – Gogol's Government Inspector... 

The Confessions of Gordon Brown

The Confessions of Gordon Brown

Gordon Brown was, according to the blurb for this show, our greatest failing as a Prime Minister in 200 years. I'm not too sure what the meter used for such a claim is but, luckily for Fringe audiences and unlike the enraged Prime Minister that nobody wanted, this show is a triumph... 

Biding Time (Remix)

Biding Time (Remix)

Biding Time (Remix) holds some interesting ideas and memorable visuals, but it's often hard to decipher what the aim of the company's design and concept really is.The show itself has a slightly tired narrative about a female led band, A Band Called Quinn, which is ingested through the fame machine and spurted out the other end, having been used and abused by execs and hangers on... 

Bette Davis Ain’t for Sissies

Bette Davis Ain’t for Sissies

Writer and performer Jessica Sherr claims she has always been in love with the 1930s and 40s and it shows in this enjoyable and insightful one-woman show.On the night of the 1939 Academy Awards Bette Davis finds out she is losing her third Oscar to Vivien Leigh after the LA Times leak the results... 

Cutting Off Kate Bush

Cutting Off Kate Bush

Lucy Benson-Brown's one woman show explores mid-to-late twenties inertia, family values and how we pin hopes and philosophies on the tunes of our favourite musical artists. Benson-Brown's script and performance are frantic, heartfelt and confident as she paints the world of a lost 27 year old with fine detail... 

Jason Cook: Broken

Jason Cook: Broken

Jason Cook reveals near the beginning of Broken that his journey into stand-up comedy was a stereotypical one. He started telling jokes at school to avoid being bullied, carrying on his love for making people laugh at the shipyard and pub before some mates told him he should give it a whirl professionally... 

Hooray for Ben Target

Hooray for Ben Target

Hooray for Ben Target is a show in development, the idea being that by the 25August it will be full of great ideas. One feels almost guilty to critique a show that openly isn't finished or at its conclusion, but I must... 

Circumcise Me

Circumcise Me

Yisrael Campbell is just your average Irish, Italian, Catholic, American, recovering alcoholic, Reform Jew, Conservative Jew, Orthodox Jew, husband, father of four, comedian. Or so his blurb states... 

My Obsession

My Obsession

Suki Webster's debut play explores the relationship between comedians and their superfans. Fictional stand-up comic Danny Hayward (Paul Merton) is awoken one night in his soulless hotel room by Cheryl (Webster), an obsessive, wide-eyed fanatic who has broken in to meet her idol... 

Janis Joplin: Full Tilt

Janis Joplin: Full Tilt

Grab your feather boas, slug down a bottle of Jack Daniels in one and prepare yourself for this rocking, superb and moving show. Janis Joplin: Full Tilt brings the life of the famed singer barrelling off the stage with a perfect blend of music and theatre... 

Fragile

Fragile

Let it be known now: this show is not an easy watch. Not that it's intending to be – in fact, it's supposed to be a difficult, sickening, and upsetting evening – but if you can make it through, you'll witness an almighty powerhouse of a show... 

Boxman

Boxman

Boxman, the eponymous star of this one man show, is a lad, no doubt about it. For all his neurosis and Mummy issues, he is a lad. He likes drugs and drinking and one night stands. He is handsome, buff, and has an accent that would turn this heterosexual reviewer over in a heart beat... 

Normal/Madness

Normal/Madness

One issue addressed in this powerful and moving one-woman show is the unfortunate truth that mental illness is still massively misunderstood - a symptom that also seeps into theatre... 

A Kitchen Nightmare

A Kitchen Nightmare

There are only two jokes in A Kitchen Nightmare. 1) “Irish stereotypes are funny, aren't they?” and 2) Gordon Ramsay. As is probably clear just from this brief description, it's barely enough to carry pub banter, never mind a 50 minute show... 

Simon and Garfunkel – Through the Years

Simon and Garfunkel – Through the Years

Folk duo Bookends, made up of David Haynes and Pete Richards, pay homage to one of the greatest pairings in modern folk music with this heartfelt, competent and surprisingly multi-layered show... 

Hikapee Moonfall

Hikapee Moonfall

Amazing performances, dazzling circus and some well-placed gags save this lacking and unambitious two-handed children’s show. The set-up is simple – a stubborn princess is told she needs a husband but after falling out with a wizard she is exiled to the moon and only a young astronomer can save her and bring her home... 

Telephonic

Telephonic

Part story-telling, part lecture,Telephonic is an insightful and absorbing trip into the mesmerising and impressive world of Foley artists.Foley artists, for those unaccustomed with the phrase, is the physical creation of sound effects as opposed to the digital creation... 

Thor of the Common Man

Thor of the Common Man

Theatre SanTuoQi bring their famed blend of dance, physical theatre, puppetry and Nuo Opera to the fringe for their exploration of everyone's favourite Norse deity. It is a full throttle show, and the numerous disciplines used to bring the story to life are all performed with a great level of professionalism... 

Akmal

Akmal

Akmal, the Aussie comedian and radio star, returns to the Fringe for another show exploring his fundamentalist Christian upbringing, his race and his views on the world around him. At least, he he tries to... 

Cassetteboy vs DJ Rubbish

Cassetteboy vs DJ Rubbish

I am middle class. Unashamedly and overtly so. I like drinking Earl Grey, I tut at fellow commuters for rustling their Metros too frequently. All that being said, I thoroughly enjoyed Cassetteboy Vs DJ Rubbish and this proves, if nothing else, that you don't need to be down the kids and things to have a bare good time... 

Moonshine, Medicine and The Mob: Whisky Tasting

Moonshine, Medicine and The Mob: Whisky Tasting

Is there any better way to spend an afternoon than sitting in a wood panelled, beautiful, archaic board room, sipping on an array of expensive, high class, tasty beverages from around the globe and learning about a fascinating and shockingly under-reported period of American history? Well, maybe there is for sure, but this has got to rank up there... 

School Night

School Night

School Night joins the ranks of late night, best of the fest numbers at Pleasance Courtyard, the setup being the audience are the pupils and the comedians the teachers, all there to educate you in a certain subject... 

The State vs John Hayes

The State vs John Hayes

With the much publicised and ongoing arguments concerning the American death penalty and justice system, it would be easy to write a play concerning the issue which stank of lofty liberalism and slovenly social commentary... 

India Flamenco

India Flamenco

This exploration of the relationship between traditional Indian dancing and flamenco does exactly what it says on the tin. A trio of dancers and a quick fingered guitarist who has a rough, grizzled voice similar to that of Nicholas Reyes from the Gipsy Kings, present an hour of flamenco and Indian dance exploring the similar gypsy roots which each style shares... 

Paul Foot: Words

Paul Foot: Words

Paul Foot, the backwards-haircut (short on top, long on the sides) staple of comedy panel shows, brings his slurring style of delivery and love for all things surreal to the Fringe for a show that is certainly amusing, but lacks soul... 

MurleyDance Double Bill

MurleyDance Double Bill

Through the two pieces that make up this double bill, La Peau and Five Women Wearing the Same Dress, MurleyDance show off their immense skill and enviable talents in a production that displays a number of disciplines and styles, including ballet and physical theatre... 

The Bread and the Beer

The Bread and the Beer

In our day to day anodyne world of commuting and spam e-mails it's easy to forget that sometimes we all need to swill a beer, dismiss our troubles and dance to our sweaty content. In his new one man show The Bread and the Beer, Tristram Bernays attempts to remind us of this by resurrecting long forgotten deity John Barleycorn - an actual folklore figure with similarly capricious upbeat views and follies to Roman equivalent Bacchus... 

Cat Stevens Reconstructed

Cat Stevens Reconstructed

Cat Stevens Reconstructed is far more than a tribute act to the legendary singer songwriter. It is a soaring and captivating hour that breathes new life into many of the overplayed hits from the Stevens' back catalogue... 

Sex Guru

Sex Guru

Wolfgang Weinberger has been described by the Guardian as 'Austria's most prominent sexologist since Sigmund Freud'; he has performed to over half a million people around the world and, judging by the testimonials shown at the beginning of his show, many people have had their relationships strengthened, even saved, by Weinberger - the Baron of the Bedroom... 

The Greatest Liar in All the World

The Greatest Liar in All the World

The Greatest Liar in All the World is an extension/parallel exploration of children's favourite Pinocchio. Through a dizzying blend of live music, comedy, clown, monologue, physical theatre and puppetry, Familia de la Noche spin a mighty yarn about what could have happened to Pinocchio had his lying abilities been reversed - it's not that he can't lie; he's too damn good at it... 

My Pregnant Brother

My Pregnant Brother

This harrowing story of platonic love, loss and the things we do for our families is absolutely gripping from the moment it starts. Writer and performer Johanna Nutter lays everything on the slab, she emotionally exposes herself for everyone to see and from the offset achieves a strong connection with her audience... 

Sad Faces Threw a Party

Sad Faces Threw a Party

After the success of their debut Edinburgh show last year, Sad Faces return with more jokes, japes and some crisp-based canapés. As with their 2012 show, Sad Faces Remember it Differently, the strength of their new piece comes from the narrative structure and base, the premise this time round being that its Tobi's birthday and he is determined to have the best party ever... 

The Graveyard Slot

The Graveyard Slot

The Graveyard Slot, a 'live radio show', attempts to throw its audience back to the days of must-listen wireless drama with a story of death, deception, spectres, spirits and all things ghoulish... 

Whodidit

Whodidit

The question that arises during the viewing of Whodidit, a spoof murder mystery that riffs on long running mega-success The Mouse Trap among others, is not the eponymous one but a more profound, introspective one; why? Why have they done this? Why, for all things high and mighty, is this play so bad after 24 years in development? And why, for the love of all things past, present and future, all things dead, living and yet to come, all things that lie under the stars and majesty of heaven, am I here?Ham-A-Lot Theatre proclaim their show will captivate, amuse and titillate... 

Jonny & the Baptists: Bigger Than Judas

Jonny & the Baptists: Bigger Than Judas

Jonny & The Baptists have in the past, unfairly in my opinion, been likened to Tenacious D. Yes, they are a comedy rock duo. Yes, lead singer Jonny has a booming, rock voice and is a little rotund... 

John Lloyd: Liff of QI

John Lloyd: Liff of QI

John Lloyd has worked with some of this country’s most plaudit burdened comedians, many of whom cut their teeth on the mile and were discovered performing in the dingy venues of the Edinburgh Fringe from bygone days... 

Vladimir McTavish and Keir McAllister Look at the State of Scotland

Vladimir McTavish and Keir McAllister Look at the State of Scotland

A referendum is coming. Like it or not, know about it or not, care about it or not, in two years’ time Scotland will vote on whether it wants to detach itself from the UK and float northwards towards the ice caps or stay moored to the English mainland... 

Two for None

Two for None

Two for None comedians Mark Simmons and Danny Ward display, between them, vastly different comedy styles. Simmons is a cheeky, fresh-faced and charming one-liner pun machine whilst Ward is a cynical, craggy and dry observational comedian who enjoys pointing out the ineptitudes of his environment in long-winded speeches... 

Rookie Mistakes

Rookie Mistakes

There’s a something heartbreaking about seeing a bad show - it really claws its way into the caverns of your soul and ceaselessly picks away at it as you feel grief for the people involved in the comedy car crash... 

It's Not Us, It's You - Free

It's Not Us, It's You - Free

With so much free fringe it’s can be a daunting prospect wading through the guide to find what’s worthwhile. However, Larry Dean has made the task a little easier with his best of the free fest show at The Yurt Locker in which he showcases his personal favourites from around the free venues... 

The News at Kate 2012

The News at Kate 2012

A left-wing, atheist, ultra-feminist comedienne performing a politically fuelled stand-up show sounds daunting to say the least. However, if you descend into the depths of Ciao Roma expecting a flaming, uneducated, soapbox rant about how all men are bastards and how David Cameron is almost certainly a reptile you will be pleasantly surprised - you may not entirely agree with Kate Smurthwaite’s strong views but there is no denying her comic ability and prowess... 

Asher Treleaven: Troubadour

Asher Treleaven: Troubadour

Edward De Bono’s Six Thinking Hats, for those unversed in the Maltese physician’s guide to lateral thinking and problem solving, is a self-help book from 1985 that teaches the reader how to deliberately challenge and operate six distinct aspects of the brain in a planned and orderly fashion... 

Beethoven for Breakfast

Beethoven for Breakfast

Beethoven for Breakfast is a soft ease into an Edinburgh day. The musicians and complimentary tea and pastry will have you fit as a fiddle for another Fringe day by ten-thirty.The award-winning Ashley Fipp, a pianist who is playing at the venue a number of times during the festival, gently brought his audience round with a touching and soft performance of Beethoven’s famed Moonlight Sonata... 

Shostakovich Late

Shostakovich Late

After a long day trotting around Edinburgh from venue to venue, taking chances on shows that turn out to be rubbish, take yourself down to The Royal Over-Seas League and ease away those aching feet with some complimentary wine and some more of the venue’s characteristically grand line-up of performances... 

Mendelssohn at Teatime

Mendelssohn at Teatime

The Royal Over-Seas League is fast establishing itself as the venue for classical music concerts at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Over their programme they have a selection of superb musicians performing classic and contemporary work and telling from their upcoming schedule, they will continue to do so for the rest of the festival... 

The Awesome Show

The Awesome Show

The Awesome Show is a creative project that has been in the making for nine months. Starting at The Battersea Arts Centre, the four practitioners have been exploring the relationship between audience and performer in an attempt to discover what makes a show awesome – they have yet to find it... 

The Loveboat Big Band Album Launch Extravaganza

The Loveboat Big Band Album Launch Extravaganza

Hello Sailor. Welcome to port. My eyes are up here. How have your travels been? Cooped up on that barnacle ridden boat, slaving away, mopping the decks, raising the anchor, you must be desperate for some ol’-fashioned good times? Am I right? Then bring yourself down town, you naughty nautical boy, and climb aboard The Loveboat – a swinging, grooving, jiving, somewhat homoerotic, super-fun evening of big band bonanzas, crop-top-wearing hula-hoopers and giant, inflatable Champagne bottles... 

Swordy-Well

Swordy-Well

Swordy Well Family Meatworks is in crisis – as the last independent slaughter house in Britain it is facing a huge drop in sales, a mutiny from within the ranks, and assimilation by the corporate abattoirs... 

Rubies in the Attic

Rubies in the Attic

As a reviewer, I am expected to be an emotionally numb pillar of analytical prowess and critical acumen. However, in this review, I must reveal a little of my personal life for the sake of context... 

The Cagebirds

The Cagebirds

David Campton’s The Cagebirds is a tight, gritty and intelligent meditation on confinement and rebellion. The zippy, absurdist one act show that vigorously explores Stockholm Syndrome has roots in, and themes similar to, those found in Ken Kesey’s seminal One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and fans of post-war American literature will be able to draw many other comparisons... 

Jody Kamali: Dirty Filthy Rich - Free

Jody Kamali: Dirty Filthy Rich - Free

Dirty Filthy Rich wants to make you stinking, filthy rich. Rich beyond your wildest dreams. It wants to show you that having the money to buy your woman a Dyson will lead to avalanches of happiness... 

Tea With Terrorists - Free

Tea With Terrorists - Free

Sameena Zehra, the writer and performer of Tea With Terrorists, has led an extraordinary life and has been raised by an extraordinary family but her collection of stories, no matter how rich in cultural knowledge, do not make up a show... 

Owen O'Neill: Struck By Lightning

Owen O'Neill: Struck By Lightning

According to Owen O’Neill’s show his life started around the time of his 13th birthday when, whilst up a tree stealing apples from a local nunnery, he was struck by lightning. This was, in his eyes, the catalyst for a bizarre series of events including a kleptomaniacal obsession with roast chicken and a run in with the IRA... 

Misanthropy

Misanthropy

Misanthropy, as the title implies, is not a cheery play - it is miserable. Six miserable people unknowingly connected by a sexual assault weave through their miserable lives in this fable about misery and miseries... 

The Triumph of Time and Truth

The Triumph of Time and Truth

Tickets to see Scottish-grown chamber orchestra Ludus Baroque at Canongate Kirk are now bought by many as a matter of ritual, so strong is the group’s popularity and reputation for bringing wonderful music to the famed 17th century church... 

Kevin Tomlinson: Crazy Little Thing Called Love!

Kevin Tomlinson: Crazy Little Thing Called Love!

There is such an abundance of improvised shows around the fringe this year it’s a near impossible task to sift through them all to find the gems. Kevin Tomlinson’s Crazy Little Thing Called Love, however, is one... 

Broken

Broken

Set in a dystopian future where foetuses are harvested for their organs and boys dress like off-casts from a poorly funded production of ‘Oliver!,Broken, which displays some half decent writing for such a young company, runs through all the heavy, grown-up themes that crop up in the world of teenage theatre... 

The Vocal Orchestra

The Vocal Orchestra

A message reminding people to turn off their mobile phones plays through the theatre. A moment later, it plays again. Another moment later it plays again but this time the voice warps and distorts at the end, skipping and repeating itself... 

A Guide to Second Date Sex

A Guide to Second Date Sex

A terrifyingly authentic portrayal of the awkwardness and obstacles we all face when sleeping with a new sexual partner for the first time. This double hander, which uses projections and recorded voiceovers to reveal the characters’ innermost thoughts, is comforting and worrying in equal measure as it worms-out the audiences’ deepest, darkest and most intimate anxieties and then broadcasts them to a room full of strangers... 

Chris McCausland: Not Blind Enough

Chris McCausland: Not Blind Enough

Can a comedy show be rated on its interesting subject matter rather than its comedic merits? If so, Chris McCausland’s Not Blind Enough is definitely worth a look in. If not, you won’t be missing out too much if you can’t fit it into your fringe schedule... 

Folk at the Pleasance

Folk at the Pleasance

Presented by folk singer-songwriter Sophie Ramsay, who opens the evening with a beautiful a cappella performance of a traditional Gaelic song, Folk at the Pleasance is a welcome music event at the comedy heavy venue... 

Chris Mccausland And Liam Mullone

Chris Mccausland And Liam Mullone

Can a comedy show be rated on its interesting subject matter rather than its comedic merits? If so, Chris McCausland’s Not Blind Enough is definitely worth a look in. If not, you won’t be missing out too much if you can’t fit it into your fringe schedule... 

2 Facedbook 3

2 Facedbook 3

Being lecherous can be funny but if the letch is a winner it can come off as, well, perverse. This is where 2 Facebook 3 presenter Jools Constant finds himself. His anecdotes about how he pulled a 20 year old Australian blonde-bombshell off the back of finding out he was to be a Grandfather sets the tone for his routine: lots of tragic stories about him succeeding with girls beyond his reach... 

The  Pain of Desire

The Pain of Desire

For a music concert advertised as performance art and with the worryingly jejune title The Pain of Desire, one could be forgiven for thinking that this show might be worth a miss. However, it would be a mistake to follow that pre-emptive decision... 

Christian Reilly: This Is Not A Love Song

Christian Reilly: This Is Not A Love Song

Christian Reilly has walked upon and calmed the boiling seas of the Royal Mile and resurrected the flogged and lifeless corpse of comedy music. Reilly has achieved this by performing with so much biblical gusto and zest it is impossible not to be possessed by his optimistic persona... 

Tommy Talks

Tommy Talks

‘You are the true heroes of the Fringe!’ announced Tommy Holgate, the bikram-yoga-obsessed host-cum-compere of Tommy Talks. ‘Thank you so much for getting up early and coming to see the show... 

Flowers for the Living - Free

Flowers for the Living - Free

In an interview for the seminal concert movie Stop Making Sense, Talking Heads frontman David Byrne, acting as the interviewer in his own interview asks himself, ‘I don’t think you have a very good voice, but you’re a singer... 

Absolutely Free Live Music

Absolutely Free Live Music

If you find yourself staggering down the Royal Mile at 2am desperately looking for a drink, there is a string of late-night live music bars ready to keep your liver happy and supply you with that elusive final pint...