I Gave Him an Orchid

I Gave Him an Orchid

Sarah Calver begins her spirited, witty show with a disclaimer: this show is ideally watched in Berlin at 10pm while a couple of pints down. We might not have been under the ideal circumstances – Edinburgh, 3pm, depressingly sober – but Calver admirably continues with an imaginative and inventive mix of limericks, stand-up and physical theatre... 

Gods Are Fallen And All Safety Gone

Gods Are Fallen And All Safety Gone

Four people are onstage at the start of this play: Sean Campion and Scott Turnbull, the actors playing a mother/daughter pair, and a real-life mother/daughter pair. Watching the conversation taking place in front of them, their physical similarity is striking... 

Tomorrow

Tomorrow

Vanishing Point’s latest devised show opens with three figures creating what look to be masks, perhaps of their future selves. The manner is mechanical and passionless – these people know what they are doing... 

Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour

Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour

Swearing more than a band of sailors, the cast of Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour present an entirely candid portrait of female teenage sexuality and lives. Based on Alan Warner’s novel The Sopranos, Lee Hall’s adaptation follows six girls from the titular school during a 24-hour stint in Edinburgh, ostensibly for a choir competition but in reality to 'go mental'... 

The Jennifer Tremblay Trilogy Part III: The Deliverance

The Jennifer Tremblay Trilogy Part III: The Deliverance

Attempting to answer the question posed in the second part – The Carousel ­– of whether The Woman had a ‘happy childhood’ or not, The Deliverance provides the conclusion to The Jennifer Tremblay Trilogy... 

The Jennifer Tremblay Trilogy Part II: The Carousel

The Jennifer Tremblay Trilogy Part II: The Carousel

The Carousel, the middle play of The Jennifer Tremblay Trilogy, is a frantic, flashy piece of theatre with a strong performance at the heart of it. A play for which the programme has a family tree explaining the connections between the piece’s characters is always going to be somewhat difficult to keep up with, and the script covers a whole host of characters and times... 

Crash

Crash

Though this is a story about a trader, the crash of the title refers not only to the financial crash but also to a car crash that turns the trader’s life upside down. At the heart of this piece is the question of control: to what extent can we have control over our lives and destinies?As the trader’s life starts to spin out of control, so do the markets... 

Little Thing, Big Thing

Little Thing, Big Thing

A nun and an ex-con find themselves on the run across Ireland, carrying two film rolls, identical in appearance but with very different sets of pictures on them. If this sounds somewhat contrived or like the set-up to a bad joke, Little Thing, Big Thing is very aware of this, and the somewhat implausible beginning allows a lovely set of character sketches and situations to pervade throughout the piece... 

An Oak Tree

An Oak Tree

In 2015, using actors who haven’t seen the script for a piece of theatre isn’t too much of a selling point: there are always multiple shows at the Fringe which do so. However, this was much more ground-breaking in 2005, and this fact is being recognised in this tenth-anniversary production of Tim Crouch’s An Oak Tree... 

Swallow

Swallow

Shef Smith’s new play presents three damaged, complex, engaging characters, each trying to continue their lives in spite of a new sense of chaos surrounding them. One is reeling from a split with her husband, another hasn’t left the house since “two Christmases ago”, and the final character explores a newly acknowledged masculine identity within... 

Glenn Wool: Creator, I am but a Pawn

Glenn Wool: Creator, I am but a Pawn

Glenn Wool isn’t afraid to engage with Big Themes: feminism and the existence of God take centre stage during his set. His latest show takes the idea of the ‘little voice inside your head’ and uses it to ask questions about all aspects of life, centred around the question of whether this voice exists as a sentient being separate to one’s self – designed to trick one into making horrendous decisions – or simply just another part of the mind... 

Hatty Ashdown: Hurry Up Hatty

Hatty Ashdown: Hurry Up Hatty

Hattie Ashdown was a mistake. This isn’t a critical comment on her new set, merely a critical comment on her life: she wasn’t, as her mother euphemistically assumed, ‘The Change’, but instead a new addition to the family... 

Phlash!

Phlash!

Phlash! is a confusing mess of a show. With some degree of narrative arc to it, namely surrounding the creation of a new TV show in a place named Phlash! Towers, the show meanders through a number of bizarre sketches and not in the effectively surreal way that it seems to be aiming for... 

Simply the West

Simply the West

We are promised an “epic tale of love, loyalty and logistics” and, with varying degrees of each, that is what we get. Telling the story of a girl in East Berlin whose father is in West Berlin, theatre company Cosmic Biscuit uses puppets, silly dancing, fake beards and kazoo solos effectively over the course of the short show... 

Orlando: An Autobiography

Orlando: An Autobiography

Virginia Woolf’s Orlando is an odd book. Written as a love letter to Vita Sackville-West, it follows a character of changing sex and gender through history, allowing comment on a whole host of issues... 

Bridget Christie: An Ungrateful Woman

Bridget Christie: An Ungrateful Woman

After last year’s storm-causing, award-winning, activism-inspiring show, it was hard to see how Bridget Christie would be able to better last year’s set.As she says at the opening of the show, “I was hoping my feminist comedy show wouldn’t be very successful so I could give up work and be supported by my husband”... 

Jana and Heidi

Jana and Heidi

Jana and Heidi starts with the blasé observation that Heidi Stransky had seen a comedian at last year’s Fringe Festival and thought “I could do that”, deciding to put together a set with her daughter Jana Kennedy... 

Mat Ricardo: Showman

Mat Ricardo: Showman

Juggling is impressive. Juggling with household objects is very impressive. Juggling with bowling balls is even more impressive. But juggling is also repetitive. What works well when you’re watching street performances for five minutes loses its novelty fifteen minutes into an hour long show... 

Spoiling

Spoiling

As was always to be expected, the buzzword of this year’s Fringe is independence. Forming part of the conversation is John McCann’s Spoiling, taking the premise of a newly independent Scotland and questioning how willing the rest of Britain will be to give up Scotland, offering interdependence rather than independence... 

Birthday Girls: Party Vibes

Birthday Girls: Party Vibes

Birthday Girls, made up of members of the now disbanded sketch group Lady Garden, is a three-woman group delivering excellently pitched long and short scenes. Camille Ucan, Beattie Edmondson and Rose Johnson bridge the gap between silliness and seriousness superbly with sketches ranging from character work to more observation-based scenes... 

Holly Walsh: Never Had It

Holly Walsh: Never Had It

Holly Walsh makes it clear in the opening sentences of Never Had It that she certainly doesn’t have ‘it’. Taking the audience on a tour of what ‘it’ means - confirming that whilst Obama does have it, Prince Charles certainly doesn’t - Walsh confronts issues from strip clubs to train announcements to pre-Reformation monastic marginalia, laced with a hefty dose of feminism...