Government Inspector

Government Inspector

In this production of Nikolai Gogol’s satirical masterpiece, Sedos, ‘The City of London’s premier amateur theatre company,’ have forwarded the action a hundred years to 1970s Russia, complete will eye-blistering florals and trousers of unusual shape... 

Is Your Marmite Watching You?

Is Your Marmite Watching You?

The point of a thought-experiment is to provide a way of exploring the consequences of an idea, not through a metaphorical prism, but through a literal imagining of what might happen as a result of something... 

Jazz Rite of Spring

Jazz Rite of Spring

The Rite of Spring lends itself extremely well to jazz interpretations: those wild off-beats and dissonances must be a jazz artist’s wet dream. Pianist and composer David Patrick’s arrangement for a jazz ensemble of 3 woodwind, 3 brass and jazz trio not only provides a recap of the famous themes but captures much of the texture of the original, which is remarkable considering the complexity of Stravinsky’s orchestration... 

Rachel Stubbings: Doing It for Himself

Rachel Stubbings: Doing It for Himself

Rachel Stubbings gave me a Maoam. That’s not a euphemism. According to her, if I continue to wear my Berghaus fleece I’ll never have another blowjob again. But how else can I deal with the changeable Edinburgh weather, Rachel? My nice jackets make me too hot or too cold!Rachel Stubbing openly mentions she’s experimented with drugs... 

Cabaret Nova

Cabaret Nova

Cabaret Nova has undergone a transformation since last year. Previously only showcasing acts associated with C venues, this year they are sourcing the best acts they can from those available at the Fringe, increasing the quality and variety of acts they can offer... 

West Side Story

West Side Story

Youth Music Theatre Scotland return for another successful year at the Fringe, this time with a remarkably professional and well-executed production of West Side Story, perhaps the most challenging but rewarding musical of them all... 

Title and Deed by Will Eno

Title and Deed by Will Eno

Plays by leading contemporary playwrights are becoming more common at the Fringe. It’s an interesting phenomenon, creating a tension between giving quality theatre more exposure and going against some of what the Fringe was originally all about... 

Hamlet

Hamlet

I really hope there wasn’t an adult in charge of this. If there was, why didn’t you tell them what they were doing? Rarely has the text of Hamlet been altered with such baffling disrespect... 

Occupied

Occupied

Harry Buckoke’s Occupied is an intelligent and refreshingly light-hearted dissection of the 2011 occupation of Lady Margaret Hall by students of Cambridge University.The conceit of the play is a clever one... 

Classical Guitar - Jonathan Prag

Classical Guitar - Jonathan Prag

Combining an interesting program with an intimate setting and impressive technique, this concert of classical guitar music will be of interest to specialists and those who will enjoy a quiet church setting to encounter some intriguing pieces in the often under-appreciated repertoire of the classical guitar... 

Phill Jupitus is Porky the Poet in Juplicity

Phill Jupitus is Porky the Poet in Juplicity

Before Phill Jupitus was a panel show staple (but in a good way) he was a performance poet. This show, in which Jupitus assumes the identity of his alter-ego Porky the Poet, reveals a side of him only hinted at in his work in television and stand-up... 

Ride of the Wagnerian

Ride of the Wagnerian

There’s nothing I would like to do more than go for a pint with Giacinto Palmieri and discuss Wagner. Maybe a discourse on the semantics of logical connectives could round off the conversation... 

Kitty in the Lane

Kitty in the Lane

An intense, poetic study of loneliness, cruelty and rural isolation, Kitty in the Lane is a mesmeric continuation of the Irish literary tradition, a reminder that our cousins over the water have a special way with words... 

Demi Lardner: Birds with Human Lips

Demi Lardner: Birds with Human Lips

As a recipient of the Gilded Balloon’s So You Think You’re Funny? Award Demi Lardner belongs to an elite group of comedy talent. Winning it can make a career. Lardner has enough talent to make it without such accolades, although it’s always good to find someone who clearly deserves them... 

Julius Caesar in Original Pronunciation

Julius Caesar in Original Pronunciation

Fighting a giggle fit is not what an audience member should be doing during the first half of Julius Caesar. It was unprofessional of me, I know. But those accents... This group from Texas are attempting, through some very worthy scholarship, to recreate Elizabethan pronunciation so that we might hear Shakespeare as it was meant to be heard... 

Sophie Wu is Minging, She Looks Like She's Dead

Sophie Wu is Minging, She Looks Like She's Dead

Hang on... 15 in 1998? I was only 8 in 1998. So... 30? 31? Really? Sophie Wu doesn’t look dead, she’s actually very beautiful, charming, and youthful. Her speech patterns are very much the ones I heard at school... 

The Dispute

The Dispute

Who was first unfaithful: woman or man? A scientific experiment designed to recreate the garden of Eden and answer this question “once and for all” is the premise of this heavily modernised version of Pierre de Marivaux’s 1744 original... 

Jay Rayner: My Dining Hell

Jay Rayner: My Dining Hell

Jay Rayner is a real presence, a big guy with a big voice who is very comfortable with addressing an audience. During a very interesting hour we learn a lot about what motivates his writing, why we love coruscating reviews, and the different types of ‘bad’ restaurant... 

Half Baked

Half Baked

Oh, boy. I would love to know what the unsuspecting group of teenagers I sat amongst thought about this show. You guys looked terrified! It’s ok, it’s not real. It’s just a dark sketch show employing clown and physical theatre, with creative roots in Dadaism and Surrealist cinema... 

Pomme is French for Apple

Pomme is French for Apple

You can sense when an audience is tense even without turning around. It’s tangible. It’s a feeling that must be the result of many subconscious perceptions: the way people laugh, the way they sit, the way they breathe... 

According To His Need

According To His Need

Oddball alert! A guy wearing headphones sits strangely close to me and asks whether I like “communist romcoms.” There’s no space for edging over. I answer, “Well, I hope so... 

Tejas Verdes

Tejas Verdes

It was strange returning from Tejas Verdes. Walking out of the gate, I didn’t know which way to go or what I should be doing. I wanted something. I wanted to find things out. What does it mean to be able to say ‘I will never live under tyranny, I will never be tortured’? Tejas Verdes reminded me how little I know... 

Junk

Junk

If the fringe has a competition for ‘the most cool stuff a director can think of and put into a show’, Junk is a shoe-in. Fluorescent dust, water balloons, a shower, songs, dancing, oh-so-much symbolism and use of space... 

Captive Minds

Captive Minds

Ironic isn’t it? A show about a psychopath and it made me want to kill someone. It’s too easy to have reactions like this to plays such as Captive Minds. Yet it’s important to acknowledge these insensitive and unintelligent reactions... 

How Hard Do You Hum When You Cum?

How Hard Do You Hum When You Cum?

The funniest piece in this collection of performed poems isn’t about the human body. It’s about a sandwich. How Hard Do You Hum When You Cum? is such a promising title; unfortunately the show itself continually disappoints... 

The Shape of Things

The Shape of Things

Neil LaBute’s 2001 play has big themes: the morality of art; the morality of love. Yet they’re not really explored. They are plastered all over the walls as if a three year old was given an idea-filled pressure washer... 

Comedy, Evolved

Comedy, Evolved

Watching Americans do sketch comedy can be painful for the British. It’s our discipline - stop touching it with your unironic hands. Yet it has been done well: Dave Chappelle is a master, and Saturday Night Live is one of its greatest ever exponents... 

Vanity

Vanity

On the first night I tried to go to Vanity the tiny room was completely full: I couldn’t even see past people hanging around at the door. On the second night I was one of five. This is a very unusual and potentially alienating piece of drama, despite its simple design... 

Vernon God Little

Vernon God Little

Someone once wrote of the novel Vernon God Little that it ‘was a work of unutterably tedious nastiness and vulgarity’, and its author DBC (Dirty But Clean) Pierre ‘a man with no discernible literary talent whose vulgarity of mind was deep and thoroughgoing’... 

South Downs

South Downs

Based on David Hare’s knowledge of 1960’s private school politics from the position of a boy attending on a scholarship, South Downs is an excellent play: funny, intelligent and exceptionally well-crafted... 

Squidboy

Squidboy

People who have seen Squidboy will be competing to find the best way to describe it. Here’s my entry: a children’s story written by David Lynch, directed by Taika Waititi (Eagle vs Shark) and performed by a tall, lean Zach Galifianakis... 

The Mad Hatter Bum Party

The Mad Hatter Bum Party

The Mad Hatter Bum Party confers a false and fairly nauseating dignity on being without a home. They’re joking around about one of them having urinating where someone sleeps: ha ha! Ha... 

Bristol Improv Presents... / PBH's Free Fringe

Bristol Improv Presents... / PBH's Free Fringe

Watching actors improvise can be the most fun thing ever. In a way, it’s difficult not to have a good time. When things go wrong it’s funny, when things go right it can be wonderful... 

Seann Walsh: The Lie-in King

Seann Walsh: The Lie-in King

Though a wayward arachnid hanging from the ceiling threatened to steal Walsh’s show on the night I was there, his genuine reaction to it – ‘HOLY SHIT’ – turned into ten minutes of a fantastic ad-libbed routine: ‘I’ve never been heckled by a spider before’... 

Roughs

Roughs

Last time someone ‘breathed new life’ into Beckett they were issued an injunction. In 2006 a theatre company in Italy staged a performance of Waiting for Godot starring two women as Vladimir and Estragon, whilst lawyers representing Beckett’s estate begged them to stop... 

Macbeth

Macbeth

Director Matt Dann writes that his production of Macbeth is ‘informed, not by an imposed concept, but by the texture of the text itself: lean, taut, bristling with muscular tension’... 

Find Me

Find Me

Find Me manages to reveal simultaneously how far we’ve come and how far we have to go in our attitudes to mental illness. Written in 1977, it is the disturbing true story of Verity Taylor, who was imprisoned in Broadmoor hospital after setting fire to a chair and causing six pounds worth of damage... 

Edinburgh Science, Edinburgh Magic!

Edinburgh Science, Edinburgh Magic!

Ron Butlin is the Edinburgh Makar (poet laureate) and he is a skilled and sensitive writer. However, with musicians Dick Lee and Anne Evans he has created a show so nice, so twee, that it smooths over the colour and interest of its subject matter; the contribution that Edinburgh has made to science... 

Verb Garden: Radical Scotland

Verb Garden: Radical Scotland

Our host Bob Starrett is a cartoonist, writer, trade unionist and political activist heavily involved personally and politically with the history of the Glasgow shipyards. Google has confirmed this for me, for during this one hour talk I wasn’t told who was talking or how these facts might be related to ‘Radical Scotland’... 

Moraletry - PBH's Free Fringe

Moraletry - PBH's Free Fringe

Ethics and morality aren’t typically seen as trendy when it comes to comedy, poetry and performance; they are often seen as unfun and old-hat. Yet, it could be argued that they are ever the central theme when it comes to any kind of show; each word carries some moral burden because it claims something, and said or understood incorrectly, they can have dangerous effects... 

The Bear Goes Walkabout

The Bear Goes Walkabout

Events like The Bear Goes Walkabout are premonitions of the future of British classical music. A rallying like this of two organisations (the Melos Sinfonia and the Helios Chamber Opera) dedicated to promoting young talent is something to be excited about: our music is in their hands... 

Titty Bar Ha Ha

Titty Bar Ha Ha

Some good friends snubbed the opportunity to see this with me: I was made to see my first cabaret all alone. I must have looked very odd. Luckily it was probably the most fun I’ve ever had, so all bones to pick have been forgotten... 

Casual Violence Presents: House of Nostril

Casual Violence Presents: House of Nostril

Jamie Hamilton is an energetic and inventive sketch writer, with an unusual ability to take conventions from other genres and spin them until they become surreal.The conventions he uses here are the Adams-family-esque dark, wealthy and eccentric family and the strange, supernatural house they inhabit... 

Waves

Waves

Alice Mary Cooper ushers us into a tiny black room, onstage are a cup, saucer and red cork cricket ball resting on a cardboard box. We are invited into the room as if it had been previously arranged, as if we all knew the woman that Cooper is about to tell us about... 

George Galloway’s Fighting Talk

George Galloway’s Fighting Talk

George Galloway arrives on stage chewing gum and wearing a military style jacket. He reminds me fleetingly of Jean Reno in Godzilla: ‘What’s with the chewing gum?’ ‘It makes us look more American’... 

Harder Please

Harder Please

Our bodies are not challenged in the way our ancestors would have been used to. We no longer have to root for grubs or track antelope for days in order to feed ourselves and our families... 

Duvet Dave

Duvet Dave

Who is Duvet Dave? I’m not really allowed to say exactly who, but I can describe him. He’s an irresponsible and belligerent slacker who thinks the world owes him a living because, in his opinion, he’s a creative... 

Milo McCabe: Schiz

Milo McCabe: Schiz

It can be annoying when someone points out that being schizophrenic has nothing to do with split personalities, but they would be right. So in case you’re a psychiatrist and confused by the title of this show and you’re expecting to see something about hearing voices, this character-based comedy is, in fact, about split personalities... 

A  Brief History of Beer

A Brief History of Beer

We really don’t know much about beer. For example: the difference between lager and ale? One is fizzy and one is flat, of course. One is cold and one is warm. One is for those in tracksuits, one is for those in tweed...