My Beautiful Laundrette

My Beautiful Laundrette

If you saw Stephen Frear’s movie My Beautiful Launderette, made way back in the mercifully distant days of Thatcherite Britain, or even if you’re too young to remember it (like me), it’s worth catching up with this adaptation at Above The Stag... 

Godspell

Godspell

Stephen Schwartz, long before he became famous for Wicked, collaborated with fellow student John-Michael Tebelak to create a highly experimental show that combined the parables of Jesus with popular music in a way that completely by-passed any need for a belief system... 

Troy Boy

Troy Boy

The show begins in a Greek restaurant. Bored housewife Helen, taking a fancy to a Greek waiter, imagines herself back into Ancient and Mythological Greece...You could be forgiven for thinking you had walked into an unknown Gilbert and Sullivan opera set in, of all places, a Greek taverna... 

Seduction

Seduction

It’s a perennial problem in plays where the actors are continually taking their clothes off: how do they get them back on, or off the stage cleanly between scenes? There’s a lot of that in Jack Heifner’s Seduction which squarely and fairly lives up to its title... 

Robin Hood Queen Of Thieves

Robin Hood Queen Of Thieves

They’re sold out until the end of time (well, the end of the run anyway) so it’s pretty academic if I say that this is the funniest, silliest, campest, rudest, coarsest, most preposterous and delightfully vulgar pantomime you will see this side of the Arctic circle... 

All I Want For Christmas

All I Want For Christmas

Take a liberal helping of Ayckbourn, add a sprinkling of Sondheimesque songs, stir well with a cupful of Joe Orton, and what do you get? A unique show which pulls the rug from under anyone who still thinks that Christmas Day should be a perfect occasion... 

The Eight: Reindeer Monologues

The Eight: Reindeer Monologues

If reindeer could really speak, what awful tales would we hear? My hackles rose in the lobby when I was confronted with early November shiny baubles and other such Christmas frippery, but then the bleak stage set with its eight chairs and numerous pairs of reindeer antlers made me feel a lot more sanguine... 

The Irish Curse

The Irish Curse

I used to know a guy with a small penis. If that seems a strange way of starting a review, stay with me, I beg you. It was like a little mushroom and I later found out he was having hormone treatment... 

Maurice

Maurice

Maurice, the play based on E. M. Forster’s seminal novel, is back at Above The Stag, and if you saw it before then take heart – it’s as good if not better than the first time round... 

My Name is Richard

My Name is Richard

Richard is the butt of school jibes and his home life is not much better in spite of his having two loyal brothers. Mum and dad are always sparring and so he retreats into his safe haven of fantasy movies, endlessly attempting to discuss the virtues of Lord of the Rings and King Kong... 

Blink Twice!

Blink Twice!

It takes a lot of courage to put on a tribute composed entirely of musical numbers from shows which flopped. After all, there was probably a very good reason why they failed. Some ran a few months (and on the West End and Broadway that’s a flop, darling), some went belly-up almost immediately... 

Dangerous

Dangerous

You can almost smell the testosterone coming off the stage in this raunchy and sexy play, an all-male take on Les Liaisons Dangereuses. The original has a chequered history, starting in 1782 when Pierre Choderlos de Laclos published the novel to cries of scandal and immorality, and taking in numerous film and play adaptations on the way... 

Foreign Affair

Foreign Affair

It takes some pluck to produce, write, direct and star in your own play. Brazilian Andre Bacelar has a pretty good stab at it in his debut work Foreign Affair which takes at its subject the relationship between a young Brazilian in London - cue Mr Bacelar as Marcos, naturally, and a considerably older man, Gareth, who ought to know better... 

Polar Bears

Polar Bears

Polar Bears are dangerous. There are some lines that are equally deadly. “This is getting boring.” is one of them. ‘I can’t believe this is really happening.” is another. When it falls on the shoulders of Richard Coyle at the end of the play to deliver a lecture to the audience on the nature of philosophy to justify all that has gone before, he ends up by asking them if they really care at all... 

The Way of the World

The Way of the World

Updating Shakespeare into modern dress may be de rigeur, but it takes a lot of nerve to do the same with restoration comedy, much of the appeal of which for modern audiences - and strike me down for saying this - is the frocks... 

Maurice

Maurice

E. M. Forster’s Maurice was the first book on a homosexual subject I ever bought. I can remember reading it under the bedcovers when I was fourteen, thinking how daring it seemed at the time... 

Mad Kings and Englishmen: History Hung Drawn and Quartered

Mad Kings and Englishmen: History Hung Drawn and Quartered

I hated history lessons at school - all those dates and names of Kings and Queens, so long ago that they seemed totally irrelevant. If only I could have supplanted them with the Red Handed Theatre Company’s romp through the ages, two millenniums worth from Dark through Enlightenment to our own modern times... 

Flhip Flhop: Everything Happens On The Break

Flhip Flhop: Everything Happens On The Break

You know when you come out of a show that it’s going to sell out fast. The house is packed, the audience is electrified, and you know that you want to see it again. Well that’s the way I felt after watching The Rannel Theatre Company’s amazing two-man production... 

Sequence Of Events

Sequence Of Events

Where in Edinburgh can you get a three-tier stand of scones and cakes and sandwiches that would do justice to Jenners, a glass of bubbly, and a Victorian thriller all for the price of your ticket? The answer, just off The Shore at Leith... 

Ed: The Musical

Ed: The Musical

I was just about getting weary of anything with ‘The Musical’ after it when I went in to see this show by StoppedClock. It’s a sentimental tale with music to match, no bad thing if you’re a hardened cynic, but it boasts two terrific performances by Ben Alyn-Francis and Chris Grahamson... 

Six Ways

Six Ways

Six Ways is one of those small musicals that sends you out into the Edinburgh rain with a big heart. It begins modestly, a simple tale of three couples, three relationships, three different crises in their lives... 

Wolfboy

Wolfboy

There’s always a plethora of musicals on the most unlikely subjects at the Fringe. You’ll either love this one or you’ll hate it. The one thing you won’t do is come out feeling indifferent... 

Eric Davidson's Second Day Soup!

Eric Davidson's Second Day Soup!

I got pulled into this pure wee gem of a show at almost the last minute. And I have a confession - I really don’t take to stand-up comedians. There, that’s me laid bare. I’ve seen a lot that just don’t make me laugh... 

The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie

The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie

When I was a small boy, they filmed some of the outdoor scenes of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie in my grandmother’s street in Edinburgh. I remember pressing my face against the window glass and experiencing a kind of magic... 

By Order Of Ignorance

By Order Of Ignorance

We are in a strange building in an unidentified city, and not even the country is clear. Davey and Jeff, the first an American soldier so blissfully uneducated that he thinks “Barak Obana” is a holiday resort, are confronted by a Palestinian terrorist in a suicide vest who threatens them with holy oblivion for their complacency and their ignorance and their refusal to defend what he sees as the only cause... 

Too Close To The Sun

Too Close To The Sun

The scene a producer's office in that place where men sit waiting to throw money at the moon. Enter composer and lyricist, for it is they. - Hey, we've got a great idea for a new musical, says one... 

Amongst Friends

Amongst Friends

There is something rotten in the state of Hampstead. It comes most recently in the shape of April de Angelis’ new play, which takes us into the gated community apartment of Lara and Richard, an agoraphobic journalist and her politician husband turned writer... 

Naked Boys Singing

Naked Boys Singing

I didn’t know what to expect from a show with the title ‘Naked Boys Singing’. This may sound terribly naive, but be thankful there is still some innocence in the world. Would they be naked all the time? Would I be subjected to sixty-five minutes of bobbing pudenda? Well, not a bit of it... 

School for Scandal

School for Scandal

Everyone loves a good scandal and this is probably why Sheridan’s most famous play has stood the test of the time for the last two hundred and thirty years. Here, the Red Handed Theatre Company bring a lunchtime version lasting but fifty minutes to the stage of the Bridewell Theatre, just off Fleet Street (a place where scandal once had a natural home)... 

School of Comedy

School of Comedy

I caught this troop of budding young comedians last year and was mightily impressed by their ingenuity, their sense of comic timing, and the wonderfully risqué formula of getting young teenagers to do very adult drama... 

The Adventures of Butt Boy and Tigger

The Adventures of Butt Boy and Tigger

Jamie and Matt are two young men indulging in the exchange of sexual fantasies over the internet. But hey, wait a minute, are those their real names? They know each other at first only as Butt Boy and Tigger, and those aren’t their real names either... 

FxP2 in Trouble!

FxP2 in Trouble!

I stumbled into ‘FxP2 in Trouble’ out of an Edinburgh drizzle and initially thought to myself, oh well, another shower of rain, another comedy sketch show. Within minutes, the fresh faces and manic energy of this troop of five young performers had me in transports of delight... 

I Caught Crabs in Walberswick

I Caught Crabs in Walberswick

I have been to Walberswick and I never caught crabs, but I’m glad I caught this new play by Fringe First Winner Joel Horwood.Fitz and Wheeler are two teenage boys stuck in a backwater village in East Anglia, the sort of place where ‘nice people’ live and from which teenagers long to escape... 

Shackled

Shackled

There is a moment a third a way into Fergus Ford’s play when the lights dim, the comedy darkens and the plot takes a sharp and unsettling swerve into territory already occupied by the Hostel and Saw franchises... 

Lightning Strikes

Lightning Strikes

Tom is a modern boy living an openly gay life but unable to get it together. Jamie lives in another era, the early sixties, when homosexuality was criminalised. The fascinating premise behind Matt Ian Kelly’s play is that they both live in the same south London flat, but in different times, yet meet and fall in love...