​9 Winning Tips for Surviving the EdFringe Media Matrix

​9 Winning Tips for Surviving the EdFringe Media Matrix

Fringe folk, I’ve been where you are. It’s a few months, weeks or days before your show opens at the ginormous Edinburgh Festival Fringe. You know your lines. You’ve had posters and flyers printed... 

Ricky Tomlinson: Guilty My Arse

Ricky Tomlinson: Guilty My Arse

He promises that next year he’ll bring his comedy show to the Fringe, but right now Ricky Tomlinson has serious matters to discuss. In a riveting one-off appearance at Assembly Rooms on the final Saturday of the festival, the 76-year-old Royle Family star spoke to a packed house about his more than 40-year struggle to find out why he was sentenced to two years in prison on what he outlines as trumped-up charges following a 1972 construction workers’ strike... 

Backstage in Biscuit Land

Backstage in Biscuit Land

Sometimes the best moments in live theatre are those that happen unexpectedly. A hint of danger that something might go horribly awry keeps audience and performer teetering on the edge of 'what if’... 

Plain English

Plain English

There is no shortage of solo shows about valiant teachers. Among the best are Nilaja Sun’s No Child, Dave Marquis’ I Am a Teacher and Mark Grist’s Rogue Teacher. Most follow the same basic story arc: Young, naïve but plucky educator dives into his or her first job in a classroom of unruly youths... 

The Ted Bundy Project

The Ted Bundy Project

Killing most of an hour, and murder to sit through, The Ted Bundy Project does bait-and-switch on its audience. Anyone who shows up expecting that this solo piece will in some way explore the string of homicides committed by the title figure, one of America’s most notorious serial killers, will instead get something else... 

The Wonderful Discovery of Witches in the County of Lancaster

The Wonderful Discovery of Witches in the County of Lancaster

The events reflected in Dawn State Theatre Company’s The Wonderful Discovery of Witches in the County of Lancaster happened in 1612, roughly 80 years before the Salem witch trials in Massachusetts... 

The Bad Arm: Confessions of a Dodgy Irish Dancer

The Bad Arm: Confessions of a Dodgy Irish Dancer

Out she comes, toes pointed, slim legs scissoring the air, arms pressed stiffly to her sides. Máire Clerkin, writer and star of Bad Arm: Confessions of a Dodgy Irish Dancer, then stops kicking long enough to take the hour-long leap into her autobiographical solo about her life in and out of the peculiar world of competitive dance... 

Breakfast Epiphanies

Breakfast Epiphanies

Wealth and fame haven’t yet been bestowed on young Irish comedian Cormac Friel. But the high quality of his writing and his whip-smart performance in Breakfast Epiphanies are evidence that with the right breaks, he shouldn’t have to wait too much longer for both those things... 

Cat Loud's Big Night In

Cat Loud's Big Night In

If you’re living right, this could happen to you. Down a steep flight of stairs that lead to a minuscule subterranean bar underneath another bar barely the size of a walk-in closet, across from the toilets – because sometimes great things can happen accompanied by the sour tang of humanity – a pretty young woman steps through a dusty black curtain singing Diamonds Are Forever... 

The Tobolowsky Files

The Tobolowsky Files

‘This will be as true as I can make it. True always trumps clever,’ says character actor and podcast raconteur Stephen Tobolowsky at the top of his one-man show The Tobolowsky Files, playing through the end of August in the cabaret bar at Pleasance Courtyard... 

An Audience With Jimmy Savile

An Audience With Jimmy Savile

As a career move, dying was the savviest option for Jimmy Savile. Unlike American comedian Bill Cosby, who’s still alive to issue terse denials to the more than 50 women who’ve alleged that he drugged and raped them, BBC TV and radio star Savile was safely toes up before his sex crimes were revealed and investigated... 

Paintings and Cake

Paintings and Cake

Do you like weird and impenetrable absurdist drama? The kind of play that seems to bend time with its slowness? Do you find pleasure in watching characters say meaningless things to one another, repeating them, not for emphasis, but for some confounding attempt at profundity? Is it easy for you to summon empathy for actors who garble their words, miss their cues, speak without actually moving their lips and make no attempt at vocal expressiveness? Who utter dialogue in the flat tones of the robo-voices who ring you at dinnertime on behalf of bogus real estate schemes and fake sweepstakes? Are you OK with sitting in a below-ground space that’s as airless as a boxcar? No, really, do you find it mentally stimulating to test your limits of claustrophobia in a room so hot it feels like the anteroom to purgatory? Have you been craving an alternative to the well-produced, expertly acted, beautifully written plays being staged elsewhere at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe? Do you need an hour of wooden acting to remind you what good acting looks like? Is it on your to-do list to witness a production in which the actors look like they need a hard scrubbing? Would you be interested in seeing three performers engaged in some new form of Method acting that requires them to wear filthy costumes? Have you dreamed of watching a play with no-name characters (they are called A, B and C) who gabble on about being trapped inside Monet paintings (much the way you are trapped inside the venue) and who sometimes cram their mouths full of pastry? If you said “yes” to all of these, Paintings and Cake is the perfect play for you... 

Stitch in Time: A Knitting Cabaret

Stitch in Time: A Knitting Cabaret

There’s niche and then there’s the niche of the niche. That’s what you get in Melanie Gall’s Stitch in Time: A Knitting Cabaret. The niche part is that she’s singing songs that mention knitting... 

A Life With The Beatles

A Life With The Beatles

For some of us among ‘the olds,’ the Beatles provided the lush soundtrack of our lives. From first love (I Want to Hold Your Hand) to wedding song (All You Need Is Love) to funeral music (In My Life), the Fab Four gave us the tunes and lyrics that remain permanently on our personal playlists... 

The Litvinenko Project

The Litvinenko Project

Go ahead and sip the gunpowder green tea poured into dainty cups by Tom Barnes and Matt Wilks, the handsome, engaging young performers of The Litvinenko Project. The more you hear about the cups of that tea that killed Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006, however, the bitterer the stuff will taste... 

The Kitchen Sink by Tom Wells

The Kitchen Sink by Tom Wells

The sweet and earnestly acted production of Tom Wells’ The Kitchen Sink at The Space @Surgeons’ Hall depicts a young Hull family whose emotions run hot and cold.Mom Kath (Helena Dudley) wants flighty gay son Billy (Oliver McLellan) to find himself at London art school, if only he can get accepted with his glitter-strewn paintings of Dolly Parton... 

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

In her khaki jumpsuit and ponytail, writer-actor Rebecca Crookshank looks like a cute suburban 30-something. But in her solo show Whiskey Tango Foxtrot at Underbelly Cowgate’s Anderson-shelter-like White Belly room, she takes us through her brief but demanding career in the Royal Air Force, starting at her enlistment at age 17... 

Portraits in Motion

Portraits in Motion

In his softly accented English, German photographer Volker Gerling introduces you to unforgettable faces in his quiet but compelling Portraits in Motion. It’s not a play, not a lecture – it’s artistic “show and tell” storytelling as Gerling talks about his 3500 km walks through Germany and Switzerland... 

The Frida Kahlo of Penge West

The Frida Kahlo of Penge West

As roommates, young London singletons Zoe and Ruth are as mismatched as Peep Show’s Mark and Jeremy. Good thing two well-matched actors, Olivia Scott-Taylor as introvert Zoe and Cecily Nash as attention-craver Ruth, are playing them, and to the hilt, in the deliciously eccentric two-hander The Frida Kahlo of Penge West... 

Fully Committed Starring Marcus Brigstocke

Fully Committed Starring Marcus Brigstocke

In posh Manhattan restaurant-ese, the phrase “fully committed” means “really, really full for the next two months, so don’t even try for a table.” In reference to Fully Committed, the 2000 play by Becky Mode now on at Underbelly Topside, it describes the galloping, hilarious performance by comedian Marcus Brigstocke... 

Bruce

Bruce

Best word to describe Bruce, a show built entirely around a block of yellow sponge: Absorbing.Australian puppeteering mimes Tim Watts and Wyatt Nixon-Lloyd disappear against black backdrops in their black-on-black full body covers as they work in tandem center stage to make the big hunk of foam and two white-gloved hands come to life as the title character (plus dozens more)... 

The Effects of Solitude

The Effects of Solitude

Written and performed by Noni Townshend, The Effects of Solitude unfolds with a disarming serenity. Townshend plays Alex, a volunteer in a worldwide study of the effects of extreme isolation on the human psyche... 

Two From Texas: New Plays in Performance

Two From Texas: New Plays in Performance

Why go to the trouble of raising the funds and making the trip to the International Collegiate Theatre Festival, only to present plays nobody back home would want to see, much less the spoiled audiences at the super-competitive Fringe?Two from Texas: New Plays in Performance came to Edinburgh from Stephen F... 

Gary Busey's One-Man Hamlet as Performed by David Carl

Gary Busey's One-Man Hamlet as Performed by David Carl

Every serious actor wants to do his Hamlet. Mr. Cumberbatch is doing his right now on the big stage at the Barbican. And Oscar-nominated Gary Busey is doing his in a somewhat smaller venue in Edinburgh, channeled through the body, teeth and copious lashings of spit and sweat of his fellow Texan, David Carl... 

The Titanic Orchestra

The Titanic Orchestra

The four filthy tramps in The Titanic Orchestra are waiting in vain for a train, not Godot, in a play by Bulgarian playwright Hristo Boytchev, who tries and fails to emulate Samuel Beckett’s classic piece of absurdist dystopia... 

Victoria Wood + Me

Victoria Wood + Me

A deep familiarity with the beloved UK television star portrayed in the warm and witty solo comedy Victoria Wood + ME isn’t necessary to enjoy the vibrant impersonation of her by actor Mo Shapiro... 

Sweet Dreams: Songs by Annie Lennox

Sweet Dreams: Songs by Annie Lennox

Winner of Best Cabaret at the 2014 Adelaide Fringe, Sweet Dreams: Songs by Annie Lennox now makes its Edinburgh debut. Aussie cabaret star Michael Griffiths takes to the keyboard and takes on the persona of the now-60-year-old Aberdeen-born singer-songwriter... 

An Illuminating Yarn

An Illuminating Yarn

"It’s amazing how therapeutic knitting can be,” says one of the three characters in An Illuminating Yarn, a one-act play by Jane Pickthall, produced by Newcastle’s Button Box Theatre Company for the Fringe...