I Love You You're Perfect Now Change

I Love You You're Perfect Now Change

This blitz through dates, relationships, marriages, kids, divorces and funerals is a joyous and occasionally moving romp. With stellar performances all around and an abundance of laughs, this is an evening well spent... 

Ray Shell - Back To Black II

Ray Shell - Back To Black II

Ray Shell is a delight, as ever. For his second cabaret show, he revisits songs from the first show, as well as incorporating a few new ones, with his trademark wit and sparkle.The follow-up to his spectacular Back to Black is stripped down: it’s just him, a piano and a synth, with no percussion or backing tracks and no singers... 

The Forensics of a Flat (and other stories)

The Forensics of a Flat (and other stories)

Francesca Millican-Slater is a delight. From start to finish, we are swept up by her charisma, as though caught up in a love story with her, as she recounts her relationship with her Birmingham flat... 

Jo Burke: Burke Shire

Jo Burke: Burke Shire

Jo’s Burke Shire is inhabited by a series of dysfunctional misfits: all very well-acted but sometimes lacking in good jokes. She sets the scene with her main character – Mary Magdalene, the alcoholhic, man-hungry mayor of Burke Shire – who introduces us to this radioactive, crime-ridden land, before other members of the town come forward... 

Urinetown: The Musical

Urinetown: The Musical

Urinetown is both bleak and brilliant. Set in a future dystopia where water is so precious a commodity that all people have to pay for the ‘privilege to pee’, else be sent away to the mysterious ‘Urinetown’, this is a biting satire that manages to delight and appal in equal measure... 

Back To Black

Back To Black

Ray Shell’s cabaret debut is a rollicking, gossipy, exuberant affair, zooming through musicals and pop hits from his glittery career. He’s the host with the most – flirting with every audience member, giving us his small secret asides (‘I haven’t told anyone this…... 

The Secret Life Of You and Me

The Secret Life Of You and Me

I love Lowri. She’s charming, engaging and reflective in equal measure. Unfortunately, as hard as I tried to love this play, I could never fully connect with it. It was a show that strived for meaning, but ultimately lacked substance... 

Shang-a-Lang

Shang-a-Lang

It’s hard to sell a play with anti-nostalgia sentiments to a nostalgic crowd, but this is exactly what Shang-a-lang ends up doing. Whilst Johnson’s Mamma Mia is a West End musical equivalent of an Abba-themed hen party, Shang-a-Lang is like taking disco enthusiasts for a boogie and then telling them they’re all idiots and leaving them stranded in a parking lot... 

Vocalarity

Vocalarity

The main phrase that springs to mind throughout this montage of musical sketches is simply: middle-class. This is completely transparent right from the start, with an opening sketch (which recurs throughout) of a letter of complaint concerning the likes of Waitrose Essentials taramasalata... 

Company Man

Company Man

Company Man is a joy to watch, with professional clowning and circus skills woven into the stories of office workers. It is not only an interesting look at Japanese work culture, but also proof that you can produce an original and effective circus show without focussing solely on spectacle... 

Munch

Munch

Sitch N’ Kink’s Munch is a whirlwind of characters, revelations and sensations, blurring the lines between theatre and spoken word. As Will Cousins and Ben Richards recount the tale of a visit to Kinkfest Bazaar, we are wholly swept up into this world of fetish and BDSM, in a fittingly dank, dark room of the Banshee Labyrinth... 

Mum, Can You Wipe My Bum?

Mum, Can You Wipe My Bum?

Vicky Arlidge is a charming and talented musician whose songs about motherhood and marriage are pleasant and fun. Although some of the songs are a little trite and contrived, it’s an enjoyable way to spend an hour... 

Little Shop of Horrors

Little Shop of Horrors

It’s impossible not to have a good time at Little Shop of Horrors - the music is so uplifting, the characters so fun and the story so oddly compelling. Stage by Stage do an apt job of capturing the mood of the piece in an exuberant fashion, but the vocals were not quite strong enough to carry the songs... 

Wardens

Wardens

Wardens takes a rather ludicrous premise and stretches it out to a full hour which lacks plot, humour and originality. This is a shame, as there are talented actors and comedians amongst the bunch, but they simply aren’t given any material to work with... 

This Arthurs Seat Gala Belongs to Lionel Richie

This Arthurs Seat Gala Belongs to Lionel Richie

Walking under a wooden doorframe to enter the ‘venue’ (which was not quite the summit, by the way) before sitting on a patch of grass atop a volcano whilst a man sings about the London Underground - this is definitely a unique way to spend the afternoon... 

Doctor Brown: Because, Becaves and Befrdfgth

Doctor Brown: Because, Becaves and Befrdfgth

Doctor Brown’s ability to communicate and interact with the audience silently despite his understated facial movements and body language is commendable, particularly when compared to others in a similar genre... 

Künt and the Gang

Künt and the Gang

Künt and the Gang is undeniably shocking, offensive and infantile. However, no one would go to see ‘Künt’ unless they were already up for this kind of humour. If this is what you like, this show will have you in hysterics... 

Anil Desai's Another Night at the Movies

Anil Desai's Another Night at the Movies

Anil Desai is a very personable and talented impressionist. He can give a wide variety of spot-on impressions, but unfortunately the show lacked a sense of cohesion, making it seem like an hour’s worth of party tricks... 

The Island of Doctor Moreau
BOBBY WINNER

The Island of Doctor Moreau

Piper Theatre Productions’ Edinburgh Fringe debut is utterly captivating. With a cast armed solely with suitcases and bandages, accompanied by Lucas Syed’s cello and cajon drum, every scene is performed to perfection, with fully fleshed-out scenarios and characters magicked out of thin air... 

Yianni in Think Big

Yianni in Think Big

Yianni’s optimism and trademark nerdiness combine for a show that is refreshingly devoid of cynicism. The show is built around the idea of success and ‘thinking big’, using some great examples from his own life to illustrate notions of failure (the Death Slide), competition (musical chairs) and resentment for others’ success, levelled against an ‘unnamed’ comedian... 

Just So Stories

Just So Stories

Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories are fanciful tales that will delight. This production adds songs and puppetry to flesh out these stories but, although it is fun, it does not add any wonder to the stories themselves... 

Bent

Bent

Bent is an arresting and difficult play, both for the audience and for the performers. However, this production lacks the emotional depth or sense of timing in order to pull it off successfully... 

The Good, the Bad and the Morally Ambiguous

The Good, the Bad and the Morally Ambiguous

There were many moments in this show where I really wanted to enjoy it. The sketch show often used clever concepts, but consistently failed to pull them off or make them funny in the slightest... 

Kids Do Forth on the Fringe

Kids Do Forth on the Fringe

This show offers a wide variety of acts that are sure to excite and amuse all the family. With performers ranging from theatre to slapstick to stand-up to literature, this was a jam-packed show with plenty of scope... 

Martha Reeves and the Vandellas

Martha Reeves and the Vandellas

Martha Reeves is spellbinding. Her presence, personality and vocal range are astounding, and her show was a powerhouse of hits and dance numbers, oozing with infectious energy. With a whole new band comprising the ‘Vandellas’, 72-year-old Reeves dominated the stage... 

Brendon Burns Hasn't Heard of You Either

Brendon Burns Hasn't Heard of You Either

Amongst the general hubbub as the audience left the show, the snippets I overheard were ‘That was hilarious’, ‘I can’t believe he said that’, and simply ‘WtTF’. This show appalled, offended and confused me, but also somehow gave me plenty of laughs... 

The Trench

The Trench

The Trench is an evocative, claustrophobic tale of a soldier in World War I. The storytelling incorporates a variety of styles in order to conjure up the horror of being trapped underground, including verse, puppetry and live music... 

I Need a Doctor: The Unauthorised Whosical Adventure

I Need a Doctor: The Unauthorised Whosical Adventure

A Doctor Who musical can so easily be terrible: too cliche-ridden or too bogged down in obscure Doctor Who references. However, this managed to get the tone spot-on in an accessible show that would appeal to anyone with even a passing knowledge of Doctor Who, musicals and the BBC... 

Spank

Spank

Spank is the perfect late night comedy show. Raucous, irreverent and containing gratuitous nudity - this is a night of inescapable fun.Spank draws in some of the biggest names of the Fringe each night, with recent acts including Aisling O’Bea, Piff the Magic Dragon, Benny Boot, East End Cabaret... 

Morgan and West: A Grand Adventure

Morgan and West: A Grand Adventure

Morgan and West’s ‘time-travelling magician’ show is a wonderful premise with the occasional funny moment and well-executed magic trick. However, the combination of humour, storytelling and magic unfortunately seemed to lower the quality of all three aspects... 

Doris Day at the Movies - A Celebration in Song

Doris Day at the Movies - A Celebration in Song

Pam Lawson’s tribute to Doris Day takes the audiences on a chronological journey through Doris Day’s movies. It is an affectionate and educational affair, but lacks any flair which seems at odds with the incredible exuberance of Doris Day herself... 

Best of Burlesque

Best of Burlesque

Best of Burslesque is a constantly changing variety night showcasing the wealth of risque acts at the Fringe. The MC for the night I saw it was Dandy Darkly, who was cheeky and dirty but also slightly haphazard, with many misjudged jokes and lapses in momentum... 

Soweto Melodic Voices

Soweto Melodic Voices

What a joy. Soweto Melodic Voices are a talented and inspiring group of young people who will fill you with emotion and wonder. The group’s motto is ‘we sing when we’re happy and we sing when we’re sad,’ and with that they take us on a beautiful journey through spiritual gospel moments to raucous dance numbers... 

Ali McGregor's Late-Nite Variety-Nite Night

Ali McGregor's Late-Nite Variety-Nite Night

From the moment you walk into the room, the mood is set. With the band, Swinging Hot Trio, providing some background jazz, and Virginia Gay’s ‘buttress’ character walking around flirting and climbing over audience members – it is apparent that this is going to be a boozy, jazzy, irreverent affair... 

Samba Sene and Diwan

Samba Sene and Diwan

Samba Sene performs a set mixing African styles with his velvety vocals, managing to get the whole audience on their feet. Although lacking in some of the vitality of other African bands, the music is enjoyable and danceable nonetheless... 

Lili la Scala: Another F*cking Variety Show

Lili la Scala: Another F*cking Variety Show

It’s hard to tire of variety shows such as this, particularly when they are pulling in consistently excellent acts ranging from the highly acclaimed Boy with Tape on his Face to mentalist Doug Segal to juggler Mat Ricardo to spoof German rock band, Die Roten Punkte; this show is certainly offering a lot of variety and high quality variety at that... 

Diane Spencer: Hurricane Diane

Diane Spencer: Hurricane Diane

Diane Spencer is one of the most exciting comics on the Fringe. She is personable, hilarious and ballsy. The show is a voyage into ‘Hurricane Diane’s chaotic personality, and she delivers a near-flawless performance... 

Holland and Barker: How to Be... A Man.

Holland and Barker: How to Be... A Man.

Alex Holland and Ben Barker present a show on manliness, providing a clichéd but amusing take on what it means to be a man from two self-professed ‘unmanly’ men. The result is an enjoyable show full of (often geeky) pop culture references, video clips of Lou Ferrigno and the occasional astute observation... 

Phill Jupitus is Porky the Poet in Zeitgeist Limbo

Phill Jupitus is Porky the Poet in Zeitgeist Limbo

Anyone looking for Phill Jupitus’ stand-up, please look elsewhere. As he announced at the beginning of the show: Phill is not here. Porky’s in town.Phill Jupitus’ Porky the Poet gives him the chance to showcase his poetry - something that he quite obviously loves to do... 

Pot of Dreams - Look At Me

Pot of Dreams - Look At Me

Pot Of Dreams: Look At Me returns to Club Rouge for its third year, offering a look at the club’s dancers in their own words and images. The result is eye-opening, occasionally upsetting, but also empowering... 

Zoe Lyons - Pop-up Comic

Zoe Lyons - Pop-up Comic

I like Zoe Lyons. I think she is a funny and amiable person – however, this show was only mildly amusing. Despite being quite a slick set, the topics and stories were bland, and the jokes never had time to be appreciated... 

Felicity Ward: Irregardless

Felicity Ward: Irregardless

Felicity Ward is back after last year's award-winning The Hedgehog Dilemma, and has proven herself a gifted and confident force to be reckoned with. Despite still touring last year's show until mere weeks ago, Ward has come up with a whole new set, delving into other aspects of her personal life... 

Cambridge Footlights: Canada

Cambridge Footlights: Canada

I have never seen a perfect sketch show, and the Cambridge Footlights provided no exception. However, there were some sketches which displayed such true originality and creativity, it made up for any shortcomings in the show... 

Festival Chill-Out Zone

Festival Chill-Out Zone

The Fringe doesn’t offer many opportunities for a bit of a breather, which is why Neal’s Yard Remedies have created a Festival Chill-Out Zone for the duration of the festival.Offering drop-in 15 minute sessions of any of their usual treatments (including Indian head massage, reflexology and therapeutic holistic massage – each £15 for a 15 minute session), Neal’s Yard Remedies is a beautifully-scented, relaxing getaway – and, if you don’t fancy one of their treatments, you can go along for a free cup of herbal tea... 

Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells 'For Two'

Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells 'For Two'

Wiping the sweat from his forehead, Aidan Roberts announced ‘And… tubular bells!' A sudden burst of light brought the bells into view, like a heavenly apparition. This show is a momentous feat of musicality and showmanship, filled with glorious moments...