Action at a Distance

Action at a Distance

Confronting head-on complex ethical dilemmas that co-exist with modern Western imperialism, this new play written by Rory Horne is urgent, engaging and also deeply entertaining. Based around the experiences and motivations of out-of-work plumber Chris in Nevada, desperate to support her ill and emotionally cold mother, the narrative develops from a life-changing meeting over the internet with vigilante data analyst Josh... 

Trashed

Trashed

This dark one-man play is full of energy and intensity as David William Bryan perfectly encapsulates the abject isolation of binman Keith Goodman, known to all as Goody.Goading the audience in attendance, whilst at the same time confessing his darkest secrets to them, Goody is a forceful personality... 

Teahouse

Teahouse

This adaptation of the modern Chinese drama Teahouse does not work. The original play, written by Lao She and first performed in China in 1958, had over 60 characters played by individual actors... 

Obfuscation

Obfuscation

Typically performed from the back of a truck in New York, this surreal take on a seminar exhorting the effective use of language achieves the desired level of oddness, but seems too short to really develop into anything meaningful... 

An Audience With Ted Pendleton

An Audience With Ted Pendleton

It is an interesting idea to stage a comedic play about the backstage conversations that take place between stage hands, in the shadow of the performer that they work for, but this idea has not been developed well here... 

Dave Johns: I, Fillum Star

Dave Johns: I, Fillum Star

It is a real privilege to get to spend time with Dave Johns for an hour as he recounts the rollercoaster that he has experienced since being cast as the lead part in Ken Loach’s I, Daniel Blake... 

Boris & Sergey's One Man Extravaganza

Boris & Sergey's One Man Extravaganza

The technical choreography from Flabbergast Theatre that delivers this consistently joyful, yet bleak, puppetry extravaganza is exceptional. Boris & Sergey, leather puppet brothers from the Balkans, are typical anti-heroes who are struggling to hold together their deeply competitive relationship long enough to pull through their hour-long variety show... 

Tez Ilyas: Teztify

Tez Ilyas: Teztify

Tez Ilyas shows throughout this hour that he is an assured stand-up with serious political messages to get across about intolerance. Having recently moved back to Blackburn, Ilyas recounts his experiences of having reconnected with his family there and the casual racism that he says typifies the North, both key strands in the narrative running throughout the show... 

David Huntsberger: Big Nothingness

David Huntsberger: Big Nothingness

David Huntsberger’s stand-up show is problematic as a comedy show as it has very little resembling a joke. The humour throughout seems to consist only in pointing out how strange it would be if such and such a strange thing came about... 

Mark Steel: Every Little Thing's Gonna Be Alright

Mark Steel: Every Little Thing's Gonna Be Alright

Mark Steel begins with a witty satire about the calamitous circus show that was the recent Tory election campaign, setting the tone for this solid left-wing stand-up show. The show is heavy on bloke humour, which is no bad thing... 

The Burning Gadulka

The Burning Gadulka

This hour-long dramatic and comedic monologue is a persistent exploration of why the existence of the gadulka – a traditional Bulgarian folk instrument – is the worst thing that ever happened to a gadulka player... 

Games and After Liverpool by James Saunders

Games and After Liverpool by James Saunders

Thought-provoking theatre and assured acting are on offer at this show, which is split into two plays, both written by the late playwright James Saunders, a one-time mentor to Tom Stoppard... 

The Recovery Version

The Recovery Version

A hidden gem of the fringe, this authentically Scottish play has fantastically realist, understated acting throughout, and it offers an emotional portrayal of the familial tensions that lie just under the surface... 

Found Footage Festival

Found Footage Festival

Curating a collection of the most bizarre instances of human behaviour recorded on esoteric VHS tapes, Joe Pickett and Nick Prueher do little more throughout the evening than briefly contextualise their found footage, although that seems sufficient for incessant laughter... 

Bob Slayer: Whatever Next?

Bob Slayer: Whatever Next?

Something akin to Grand Master of the bits of the Fringe that aren’t ‘a capitalist mess’, as he styles it, a visit to Bob Slayer’s double-decker bus is a source of rejuvenation for your festival... 

Paul Foot: 'Tis a Pity She's a Piglet

Paul Foot: 'Tis a Pity She's a Piglet

Culminating in an audience member punching a stuffed monkey named Jonnie whilst Paul Foot shouts ridiculous syncopated mottos about equality for all mankind, this show provides almost unlimited energy and hilarious surrealist set pieces... 

The Cat Man Curse

The Cat Man Curse

Deploying sketch comedy in its pinnacle form, Pelican, made up of ex-Footlights Guy Emanuel, Sam Grabiner and Jordan Mitchell, have put together a cohesive and hilarious narrative performance that defies full description... 

Boondocks

Boondocks

Set in a bush, this play gets quickly into its own stride, with a persistent odd humour which flips on its head anything you thought you knew about a conversation between three young men in a bush... 

Oil!

Oil!

This new piece of writing is an enjoyable, silly slice of sitcom, covering the last few days of student life amidst a diverse bunch of friends. Drawing on well-crafted student stereotypes, it is reminiscent of Fresh Meat, and a lot of the humour rests on how unlikely it is, for example, for self-entitled ex-Etonian Oscar and passionate feminist activist Milly to be able to stomach living under the same roof... 

John Robins: The Darkness of Robins

John Robins: The Darkness of Robins

Having developed a strong reputation at the Fringe in previous years, John Robins remains a safe bet for sarcastic, pithy self-loathing, although he seems to have a lost a little of his original bite... 

Brutal Cessation

Brutal Cessation

Described by its creator as a two-actor play of “a relationship rotting” and a manifestation of domestic “purgatory”, it quite quickly becomes apparent through this tense and engrossing performance that this is an understatement... 

Adventurers Wanted: A 250-Hour Epic Tabletop Roleplaying Game

Adventurers Wanted: A 250-Hour Epic Tabletop Roleplaying Game

How do you review a show which involves you spectating other people playing Dungeons and Dragons? Whilst tempting to let a dice roll determine its outcome, I feel the Game Master (GM) would probably outlaw this as “unauthorised play”... 

Agent November: Major X Plow-Shun / The Murder of Mr E

Agent November: Major X Plow-Shun / The Murder of Mr E

Within his immaculate MI5-style office set up as an escape room experience for up to ten people, Agent November offers willing accomplices the opportunity to take on the role of spies with the ideal mixture of puzzles, immersive drama and tongue-in-cheek humour... 

Gareth Waugh: Honestly?

Gareth Waugh: Honestly?

Gareth Waugh has structured his solid solo stand-up show around an admittedly less solid concept. Alternating between two microphones, the idea is that he will only tell true stories through one and only lies through the other...