Monski Mouse's Baby Disco Dance Hall

Monski Mouse's Baby Disco Dance Hall

I have faint memories of being taken to a children’s dance and movement class when I was about two. My overriding recollection is of a strong smell of indeterminate soup- the venue was the local church hall- and of a playlist which consisted of “Row, row, row your boat” and “Wind the bobbin up” played at a funereal pace and deafening volume... 

Baby Loves Disco

Baby Loves Disco

"I wuv you" murmured a girl on the dance floor as she collapsed into a boy's arms. Further discussion was halted as she proceeded to show the depth of her affection by chewing his nose... 

Huggers - Free Festival Family Fun

Huggers - Free Festival Family Fun

I imagine as a children’s performer you’re probably prepared for a great deal. Shouty children, crying children, children who say they didn’t want to be at the stupid show anyway they wanted to be at home playing Xbox etc... 

Centralia

Centralia

There is surely a rich vein of theatre in exploring why people choose, despite advice, to stay in dangerous areas affected by major natural disasters. “Centralia”, by Superbolt Theatre, never quite gets to grips with the question but its gentle examination of three Americans who remain in a condemned town provides a surprising number of laughs and some moments of well-observed tenderness... 

In a Handbag, Darkly

In a Handbag, Darkly

There are some plays where one longs to discover what happened after the final curtain fell and others where things seem quite satisfactorily resolved. I had always placed “The Importance of Being Earnest” in the latter category... 

A Dirty Martini

A Dirty Martini

Daarrling you simply must see A Dirty Martini. It’s a play about the Bright Young Things put on by some vair brainy people at Trailblaze Theatre Co from Brighton. They devised it too, can you imagine, based on the work of that nice Evelyn Waugh... 

The World Over

The World Over

No one could accuse St Andrews Mermaids for lack of ambition. The World Over, which tells of the travels of Adam (Magnus Sinding), lost prince of Gildoray, calls for theatre on an epic scale, with multiple shipwrecks, a flying sequence, a host of monsters, and an awful lot of swordplay... 

Poe's Last Night - Free

Poe's Last Night - Free

Ideally Edgar Allan Poe’s works should be read in the dead of night, in an armchair by a crackling fire with the slow tap of wintry branches against the window. All credit to David Crawford then for performing his one-hander about Poe’s final hours in a unevenly lit bar with no more than a few feet to move about in, at quarter past one in the afternoon... 

Monkey Poet's Murder Mystery

Monkey Poet's Murder Mystery

When a group came into his show mistaking it for the one on next door, Matt Panesh, aka Money Poet, didn’t bat an eyelid. Instead, keeping in character as Homer, he extemporised a few lines of perfect verse to direct them to the correct location... 

Letter to the Man (from the Boy)

Letter to the Man (from the Boy)

It’s an intriguing concept, though not a new one: if you could write a letter to your future self what would you want to tell them? Henry Raby, poet and performer, uses the idea as a springboard for a series of spoken poems covering both his childhood and his hopes for the future... 

I Heart Hamas: And Other Things I'm Afraid to Tell You

I Heart Hamas: And Other Things I'm Afraid to Tell You

It will come as no surprise that this is a controversial play. Surely not since Ravenhill’s Shopping and F***ing has there been a play title that will so instantly polarise. Jennifer Jajeh, writer and performer, is clearly aware of the controversy she’s courting with; I Heart Hamas: And Other Things I’m Afraid to Tell You is the first play I’ve ever attended where a voiceover at the beginning of the play asked audience members not to engage the performer in unsolicited political discussion after the show... 

Am I Good Friend?

Am I Good Friend?

Deep in the cellars of the Café Voltaire a science experiment is taking place. Yve Blake wants to know what makes a good friend and with the aid of video projection, props and audience participation she embarks on ‘a pie chart filled adventure full of surprises’... 

Porphyria

Porphyria

Sometimes your dreams coming true can be the very worst thing that could happen to you. Never have mother’s words to be careful what you wish for been more apt that in C.J. Wilmann’s haunting new play, performed by Nottingham University’s New Theatre... 

Fat Whore

Fat Whore

When at least half the audience refuse to clap at the end of a comedy show and then gather in groups outside to discuss how they hated it you can say one of two things about the show... 

Hoof Hoof

Hoof Hoof

Euripides’ The Bacchae. You know the one; smidge of inadvertent filicide, mass drunkenness and a whole load of orgies. It doesn’t exactly scream Watch with Mother. So it’s a bit of a mystery why Parker Rees Rubini decided to adapt The Bacchae into “Hoof Hoof” a play suitable for children... 

Chris Henry: We Need to Talk!

Chris Henry: We Need to Talk!

Chris Henry would be the first person to admit that the words “we need to talk” do not inspire confidence. In fact, if Henry’s experience if anything to go by, the moment the last syllable of the phrase is uttered you should kiss your loved ones goodbye and dash to the nearest nuclear bunker taking only a lifetime supply of milk chocolate... 

Proof

Proof

A play about the search for elusive maths formulas sounds about as exciting as handing out flyers at midnight in the pouring rain. If, however, there is a play by a student company in the Fringe this year with more captivating and exciting acting than “Proof” I will eat my (metaphorical) rain hat... 

Comedian Dies in the Middle of Joke

Comedian Dies in the Middle of Joke

Clues that Comedian Dies In The Middle of Joke would not be a typical show appeared early. I was led to a stool clustered round one of many small tables by Ross Sutherland, writer and performer, and there found a peroxide wig and an enigmatic instruction to put the wig on and be prepared to interject at a given point... 

Owen and Bettesworth: Sung and Unsung

Owen and Bettesworth: Sung and Unsung

As far as I’m aware the Fringe brand, although complete this year with a Cyclops yellow cat wearing a pork-pie hat, has no theme song. This marketing oversight has however been remedied by Laurence Owen, the sung half of Owen and Bettesworth: Sung and Unsung, with a song about the Fringe so brilliant it should immediately be adopted by the Fringe Office and broadcast down the Royal Mile... 

Champion of Champions!

Champion of Champions!

“Has anyone been watching the Olympics?” called out story tellers Macastory at the beginning of the show. Down to the tiniest tot the audience roared with laughter. Of course we’d been watching the Olympics... 

The Last Fairytale

The Last Fairytale

Imagine a story with two puppets struggling for consciousness, a sinister East-End Orator, and an arty pinch of German Expressionism and what do you have? A modern fairytale that aims high, but ultimately gets lost in the woods... 

Miss Havisham's Expectations

Miss Havisham's Expectations

Linda Marlowe’s one-woman shows have become something of a fixture at the Fringe. She continues her romp through the great female characters in literature in Miss Havisham’s Expectations, in which she tackles Dickens’ jilted bride... 

The Intervention

The Intervention

A family gathers together to stage an intervention for an alcoholic son. Mother and father can’t stand their son Zac and don’t seem much keener on each other. His second-best friend is babbling about the locked door and his aunt appears to be using the opportunity to show off her descriptive writing skills... 

Firenado! The Sketch Show

Firenado! The Sketch Show

It's what a performer does in adversity which really shows their true colours. When Andy Higson and Stephen Matthew found, on what was their first performance of Firenado!, that they had no music to cover the scene changes, they hummed it instead... 

An Evening with Jay Sodagar

An Evening with Jay Sodagar

Jay Sodagar came on stage apologising. He had chosen the title of his show before he had found out what time he would be on. Starting at 10.45pm it was, he acknowledged, difficult to claim it was really an evening with Jay Sodagar... 

Lady M

Lady M

This is Macbeth as you’ve never seen it before, through the eyes of Lady Macbeth’s surprisingly up-beat lady-in-waiting (de Bruijn). Reduced to a single scene by Shakespeare, she is very welcoming towards the audiences who have come to hear her side of the story... 

Leather

Leather

Start a play with the dulcet tones of Jeremy Kyle castigating some hapless father and you’re making a statement: this play will be unlike the home life of our dear Queen. In case you were in any doubt, there’s a large pile of drug paraphernalia in the corner and a stolen red leather sofa in the middle of the stage... 

Gagging for Attention

Gagging for Attention

There are various ways you can sell your comedy show in the Fringe programme. You can list your appearances on BBC Three or quote past reviews. Or, as the DMU Footlights have done, you can point out that the price of a ticket for your show (£3) is less than the cost of a pint...