The Mercenary Fiddler AKA Elsa Jean McTaggart

The Mercenary Fiddler AKA Elsa Jean McTaggart

Aberfeldian self-taught fiddler and singer-songwriter, Elsa Jean McTaggart, enters stage left, playing electric fiddle and wearing red tartan skirt, and jaunty baker boy hat. One thing's for sure: she looks the part and she has the tourist contingent firmly onside for this 50-minute show that sadly fails to make much of an impression... 

Nick Harper

Nick Harper

As the son of legendary folk-rock star Roy Harper, and one-time member of New Wave pop band Squeeze, Nick has a lot to live up to. But there would have been few in the audience tonight to leave feeling short-changed... 

Mairearad and Anna

Mairearad and Anna

Mairearad Green and Anna Massie know how to put on a show – they combine warmth, wit and banter with supreme musicianship to create an enjoyable, varied, and polished set. Their versatility is evident in the choice of songs... 

Newt North

Newt North

Sometimes circumstances conspire to flummox a band's gigging intentions: NeWt's trombonist's lip was injured and swollen, such that "I can't play some of the notes the tunes need!" However, while it was disappointing that this was not the gig NeWt had billed themselves as playing (a suite of tunes inspired by their sojourn to Unst, Shetland, with accompanying visuals) you have to take your hat off to the night's musicians for overcoming difficulty and performing some very interesting music... 

John Renbourn and Wizz Jones

John Renbourn and Wizz Jones

Septuagenarian guitar folk legends John Renbourn and Wizz Jones deliver a night of folk and blues, with varying degrees of success. The tracks themselves differ hugely in quality – from a cover of Robert Cray’s mighty Bad Influence to a rather dull, if not bizarre number about a racing pigeon, Corinne and the King of Rome... 

Americana Road Trip

Americana Road Trip

Sixpiece Americana-tribute band Flagstaff have created an evening of infectious, good-natured, toe-tapping fun in the environs of the Jazz Bar. Decking the stage in civil war era style flags, both music and staging takes the audience back to darker, bygone times... 

Alex Yellowlees Hot Club Jazz Quartet

Alex Yellowlees Hot Club Jazz Quartet

Alex Yellowlees and his band take us back in time to the swinging twenties with a collection of hot club swinging jazz tracks, played with a lightness of touch and a lot of skill... 

Fauré Requiem by Candlelight

Fauré Requiem by Candlelight

Fauré’s Requiem, composed in the late 1880s, is a short piece lasting 35 minutes, performed in Latin, and created for orchestra, organ, male and female chorus and two soloists, soprano and baritone... 

Playtime: New Adventures in Music

Playtime: New Adventures in Music

Billing their series of gigs as Playtime, some of Edinburgh’s finest Jazzers are creating very interesting and enjoyable music in the intimate space of The Outhouse's attic.This night was billed as featuring pianist Dave Milligan, alongside Playtime instigators, sax and clarinet player, Martin Kershaw and ‘the incomparable’ Graeme Stephen on guitar... 

Blues!

Blues!

Aiming to cover ninety years of Blues in sixty minutes is a mightily ambitious endeavour. Ultimately, while the band members' enthusiasm and love for the genre was never in doubt throughout the evening's show, their execution of Blues' various incarnations was somewhat patchy in places and their endeavour perhaps a little over ambitious... 

YurtaKids! 24583 Little Creepy Wonders

YurtaKids! 24583 Little Creepy Wonders

There is nothing wrong with the message of this show from the Italian company, Scarlattineteatro, but then neither is it particularly original. Pasquale is different from others: born with vampire teeth, he is victim to bullies, his physical oddness marking him out as Other and making it hard for him to fit in and gain acceptance... 

Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs

Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs

As one of the bigger children’s shows at the Fringe and certainly one of the more heavily advertised, I had rather high expectations of Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs. Unfortunately, while there is much to commend it, my overriding impression is that this is simply good panto without the innuendo... 

A Nicht Wi' Burns

A Nicht Wi' Burns

It was wi' some trepidation 'at Ah installed myself at a table, pint in hain, fur a thee hoors burns’ session. a fan ay th' stoatin cheil, Ah did also wonder whether th' nicht woods drag in places an' whether, as an sassenach lass, i’d be able tae follaw aw - ur onie! - ay whit was gonnae oan... 

Bella Hardy and the Midnight Watch

Bella Hardy and the Midnight Watch

Bella Hardy is one of those performers whose warmth and affability immediately put you at ease. She takes her music seriously and this show has the kind of professional polish and slick structure that you might expect of an artist in the peak of her career... 

Si L’enfant Ne Dort Pas Bien... (If the Child Does Not Sleep Well...)

Si L’enfant Ne Dort Pas Bien... (If the Child Does Not Sleep Well...)

Dreamland Theatre makes an impressive debut with this imaginative interpretation of a traditional fairy tale. The tale itself is based on characters from French classical songs - so, there is Sammy’s Mother/La Sorciere (Lucy Anderson), Charlotte/Le Chat (Zoe Catherine Barker), Charlotte’s Mother (Sarah Buckley), Le Cygne (Lewis Normand), Sammy/La Souris (Stefan Trout), and Monsieur Grenouille (Josh Whitelaw)... 

Starbird

Starbird

Starbird is a delightful show, performed by two charismatic women, ably assisted by some very cute starchick puppets. It tells the story of the beautiful Starbird - a bird who spends her time laying eggs and showering them with songs that set the stars alight... 

Story Shakespeare: Pericles

Story Shakespeare: Pericles

Year Out Drama Company, in association with Stratford-upon-Avon College, present one of Shakespeare’s rarely performed plays. Containing storms, shipwreck, superstition, jousts, pirates, prostitutes and princesses, it’s perhaps a wonder that Pericles is not better known - this young company do well to condense so much action into 50 minutes, without losing a strong sense of narrative and alienating the audience... 

All the King's Men Presents

All the King's Men Presents

Perhaps I’m experiencing a cappella fatigue, but the singers at this show did nothing to wow me particularly. It’s an interesting aspect of a cappella that the first time you hear ‘Cry Me A River’ you think it’s incredibly clever and creative, but by the third or fourth time, you begin to lose interest... 

Damien Dempsey

Damien Dempsey

There’s something very likeable about Irish singer and songwriter Damien Dempsey, but the adulation he inspires is a little confusing. Shouts of ‘Damo’ punctuated the background tape of mournful cello music and on walked Dempsey and his partner tonight, John McLoughlin... 

Wonders of Magic

Wonders of Magic

This production by Akhmeteli State Dramatic Theatre is a lesson on how not to stage a drama in a foreign language. For most of the first half I have no idea what is going on because it’s impossible for me to watch the actors - speaking in their native Georgian - and read the very wordy, dark, frequently out of sync surtitles... 

The Gramophone Jazz Band's Late Night Speakeasy

The Gramophone Jazz Band's Late Night Speakeasy

Edinburgh’s up and coming New Orleans Dixieland jazz band means business. This is an evening that’s been planned out in meticulous detail from the venue itself, a lovely little jazz cellar, to the framed pictures of musical heroes that adorn walls and tables (Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Irving Berlin, and Django Reinhardt, to name a few)... 

Carol Kidd Sings Cole Porter

Carol Kidd Sings Cole Porter

There’s no denying Scottish jazz singer Carol Kidd has a sweet voice, although it takes a few songs to settle down this evening. However, the material and set-up is not strong enough to sustain interest for the whole duration of the show and Kidd’s jokes wear thin pretty quickly... 

Mucus Factory

Mucus Factory

Performance artist and Cystic Fibrosis sufferer, Martin O’Brien, explores the relationship between endurance and chronic illness in Mucus Factory, a five-hour piece commissioned by the Live Art Development Agency and with financial assistance from Arts Council England... 

We'll Stuff You Once You're Dead

We'll Stuff You Once You're Dead

Z Theatre Company consists of a bunch of likeable first year drama students from Hull University. This ‘original’ play is little more than a substandard ‘Abigail’s Party’ rip-off but it is redeemed by a young cast, who - after a shaky, nervous start - soon settle into injecting life into a script that ordinarily would be better dropped into a recycling bin (having already been recycled itself)... 

Granny's Gone Wild - Free

Granny's Gone Wild - Free

Lynn Ruth Miller is approaching eighty-years old and she’s on a mission to prove to us all that aging is amazing through a series of real-life stories and a mix of classic pop songs, video montages, and some burlesque dancing – which stops short before the great reveal... 

A Mark of Water (Water Stain)

A Mark of Water (Water Stain)

Patricia Selonk stars as Laura - a 40 year-old-woman, grappling with a deteriorating neurological disease - in this exciting production from Armazem Theatre Company, part of this year’s Brazil Theatre Season... 

BonBon

BonBon

Good children’s theatre should appeal to the inner kid in every adult as well as every actual child. It’s doubtful whether this could be said of BonBon, which bizarrely played out for only 30 minutes, and even then ran out of steam beforehand... 

Charlie Dupré Presents... The Stories of Shakey P

Charlie Dupré Presents... The Stories of Shakey P

Spoken word and rap artist Charlie Dupre comes on stage to the strains of cello and violin, an accompaniment that is perhaps a little at odds with his casual hip-hop style and delivery and which at times distracts from the words rather than adds to their meaning... 

The Les Clochards - The Boys are Back in Town

The Les Clochards - The Boys are Back in Town

The Les Clochards combine high-jinx, cheeky-chappy, faux-Francais, ‘Allo ‘Allo, theatrics with a level of musical inventiveness and professionalism that can only have come from years of practice and bags of talent... 

Phil Nichol: The Weary Land

Phil Nichol: The Weary Land

Three-quarters into this heavily autobiographical show, Canadian comic, singer-songwriter and actor Phil Nichol launches into a story about breaking his penis during a one-night stand... 

Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra

Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra

The Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra is a charming ensemble of ten ukulele players and one double bass player. The band is clothed in brightly-coloured, mismatched, 1980’s fashions, with baritone ukulele player, Sam Auger in a onesie that Sully from Monsters Inc... 

Roddy Woomble

Roddy Woomble

26 September 1999. Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton. Band: Idlewild. Album: ‘Hope Is Important’. In attendance: one excited teenage girl, amidst plenty of other sweaty youths. Fast forward almost fifteen years to 7 August 2013... 

The Alleycats: Contemporary a Cappella

The Alleycats: Contemporary a Cappella

There seems to be an alarming number of a cappella groups at this year’s Fringe, so standing out as something rather special is all the harder. The Alleycats are thirteen vocalists (although eleven this afternoon) from the University of St... 

Le Gateau Chocolat – I heart Chocolat

Le Gateau Chocolat – I heart Chocolat

If you thought you’d seen it all before, think again: Le Gateau Chocolat is here to shake up your festival. Coming on stage dressed in sparkly, skin-tight lycra and wonderful Mariah Carey-style wig, the cake in question is a beautiful, undulating black man, quivering with infectious energy and a palpable sense of joy at entertaining us tonight... 

Sweet, Sour and Saucy

Sweet, Sour and Saucy

Australians Tnee Dyer and Melissa Western deliver a set list of classic jazz and blues with light-hearted, occasionally risqué between-song banter. Structuring the show around a 1950’s radio programme, characters Barry (Dyer) and Barbara (Western) alternate between sweet and saucy songs and doling out agony aunt-style advice as pretend listeners call or write in with their problems... 

Johnnie Walker's Guest Night

Johnnie Walker's Guest Night

‘Revealing, thought provoking and at times hilarious’ reads the flyer. Oh good. I like all of these things. Unfortunately, this show delivers none of the above. He opened with a badly-judged quip about not being able to use his free bus pass in Scotland - ‘You’re not independent already, are you?’ Bizarrely, he followed this up by asking for a show of hands – ‘Who wants Scotland to be fully independent?’... 

Vegas Underground

Vegas Underground

Vegas Underground stood in front of a huge screen as a cartoon designed to put us in the mood for a night of Rat Pack-style music appeared behind them. The screen is not always used to good effect and it can hard to work out the identity of the characters and what exactly they’re doing... 

The Blissful Viola

The Blissful Viola

American violist Christine Rutledge and British award-winning pianist David Gomper offer a little afternoon serenity in the midst of the festival hubbub. As the concert programme notes point out, Rutledge is a musician of eclectic tastes and talents, taking in cutting edge, standard repertoire and baroque... 

The Soil

The Soil

All the way from Soweto, South Africa, The Soil is a three-part SATMA award-winning a cappella group with a mission to warm the hearts of even the frostiest Edinburgh native. The group is slickly styled in tailored shirts and bright flares and lights up the lecture theatre with a set of ten fantastic songs, varied in mood from the more plaintive opening to a joyful, hand-clapping finale... 

Puss-in-Boots

Puss-in-Boots

This is a tale of two love stories running parallel: one between the cats Puss and Tabs; and the other between their owners, the hero and heroine. Puss inveigles himself into the life of a young, romantic hero by offering his services as a valet... 

Vive – Jazz A Cappella

Vive – Jazz A Cappella

Vive is a six-part a cappella jazz vocal ensemble from London that creates original songs and reworks old favourites. The group comprises of five men and one woman; their unique sound is the result of a combination of Bass (Lewis Daniel), Baritone (James Rose), two Tenors (Martynas Vilpisauskas and Ben Cox), Alto (Sam Robson) and Soprano (Emily Dankworth)...