Jessie Cave: I Loved Her

Jessie Cave: I Loved Her

Imagine a one-night stand you had resulted in a pregnancy and four months later you started a relationship off the back of it. Imagine, after having the baby, that relationship was going well – unusually well... 

Abacus

Abacus

That the character of Paul Abacus was created in 2009 – three years after TED talks became available to watch online – is no surprise at all. That people believed in the construct of this ‘public intellectual’ until 2012 – when he was revealed as a fake at Sundance Film Festival – is a good indicator of the quality of the parody... 

Confirmation

Confirmation

At a certain point in Confirmation’s 85 minutes of perspective-smudging, you just want to get up and scream – so inescapably does Chris Thorpe’s script put you face-to-face with an articulate, holocaust-denying white supremacist... 

Neil Henry's Magical Mindsquirm

Neil Henry's Magical Mindsquirm

You probably expect misdirection from magic, but it’s a rare thing for it to move you. This extraordinary offering from Neil Henry ended with such heartfelt sweetness that not even the most begrudging sceptics among the audience – if there were any left by the end of the show – could have come out feeling anything but joy... 

Martha McBrier: Pigeon Puncher

Martha McBrier: Pigeon Puncher

Punching pigeons comes surprisingly easily to Martha McBrier, whose hour of engaging and funny storytelling draws on run-ins with pesky birds of all kinds, all the while unmasking a personal, serious side about her long career in social work that never feels trite or gratuitous... 

Ahoy! Captain Morgan nabs a Bobby Award for its treasure trove of innovative comedy and storytelling

Ahoy! Captain Morgan nabs a Bobby Award for its treasure trove of innovative comedy and storytelling

Congratulations to Tap Tap Theatre's Captain Morgan series, which has bagged our second Bobby Award of 2015. It's a hilarious and immersive swashbuckling adventure series for adults (and older children), starring two brilliant multi-rolers, who play 44 roles between them, along with atmospheric musical accompaniment... 

Jamie Kilstein: Sober Song Rants and a Cat Story

Jamie Kilstein: Sober Song Rants and a Cat Story

Musical comedian Jamie Kilstein has an utterly charming stage presence. Approaching the mic, his eyes flit distractedly about the upper reaches of the Spiegeltent in St Andrew Square... 

And Broadway Baby's first Bobby Award of 2015 goes to...

And Broadway Baby's first Bobby Award of 2015 goes to...

Our first Bobby Award of the year goes to the inimitable Luke McQueen, whose playful and genre-breaking show Double Act wowed our comedy editor, Martin Walker, and the judges who went to see the show earlier this week... 

Damien Slash: Übermen

Damien Slash: Übermen

‘Hi, Eric Swineblade,’ says a bluetooth-enabled gumph-bot at the door, proffering his executive, solutions-providing hand. ‘Are you on Twitter? Tinder? LinkedIn?’It’s an undeniably strong start to Damien Slash’s hour of character comedy: when we’ve all taken our seats, he embarks on a vacuous, nonsensical and extremely funny improvised talk about business, or ‘what it’s about’, or something... 

Joseph Morpurgo: Soothing Sounds for Baby

Joseph Morpurgo: Soothing Sounds for Baby

I’m going to start by dismissing the notion that we’re due something entirely new from Joseph Morpurgo, because such thinking ignores the staggeringly high standards to which the character comic is held... 

Bridget Christie: A Book For Her

Bridget Christie: A Book For Her

It’s 11 am – for some, the time for a late, leisurely breakfast. For Bridget Christie, it’s time to take stock: the Tories are in. Cuts are ravaging our public services. Refugees are being left in the Mediterranean to drown... 

‘He Could Take on Four Soldiers and Still Win’ - Wojtek: The Happy Warrior Interview

‘He Could Take on Four Soldiers and Still Win’ - Wojtek: The Happy Warrior Interview

Wojtek: The Happy Warrior is a physical theatre ensemble retelling of the real-life story of a Syrian bear who joined the Polish army to fight in World War II. Larry Bartleet sat down with Kitty Myers, Glenn Tillin, and Christian Woolf from Quarter Too Ensemble to find out more about Wojtek and getting inside his mind, the company’s devising process, and how the whole show fits together. 

Alfie Brown: -ism

Alfie Brown: -ism

Alfie Brown has a real problem with moral absolutism. All the isms, actually. Even vegetarianism. Think what you like about any of them, and have a high regard of them if you will – but fail to question them at your peril... 

Fin Taylor: Stink

Fin Taylor: Stink

Welcome to the house party. It’s midnight, and according to Fin Taylor’s mate, this is the perfect setting for his random, pensive comedy. He gives a beer to one audience member to set the mood before we embark on a trip inside his mind: what dwells there is a sedated zaniness – absurd creativity on Ritalin... 

Lloyd Griffith: Great Grimsby's Big Turn On

Lloyd Griffith: Great Grimsby's Big Turn On

There’s a very fine line between watching an actual, heart-in-mouth onstage breakdown and one that’s convincingly feigned. Lloyd Griffith’s lack of commitment to his role of insecure, unappreciated singleton places him so far from this line that it’s difficult to work out where we are and why at the climax of a theoretically decent set... 

Thrones! The Musical

Thrones! The Musical

The opening salvo of this musical Game of Thrones pastiche has such brazen, devilish promise that for a while I entertained the possibility of being blown away by it. Dips in quality during the hour of medieval-ish frippery gradually eliminated that possibility, but this remains a mostly well-pitched and, crucially, funny show... 

Can I Start Again Please

Can I Start Again Please

Pay attention as this breathtaking production desiccates, then dissects childhood trauma via its exploration of Wittgenstein and semantics: there’s a wordless sucker punch in Can I Start Again Please that strikes over the course of several minutes, and its impact aches for hours... 

Austentatious: An Improvised Jane Austen Novel

Austentatious: An Improvised Jane Austen Novel

Fasten your knickerbockers and hold onto your bonnets: Austentatious is back for a fourth year of frilly-meets-filthy improvisation, based exceptionally loosely on the collected works of Jane Austen... 

Last Christmas

Last Christmas

When seeing a piece of new writing it can be best to have no expectations, to let the play lead you where it will. Often that’s easy, but with a loaded title like Last Christmas you’re bound to have at least some preconceptions... 

Bach on the Guitar

Bach on the Guitar

Luca Villani certainly gives you plenty of Bach for your buck. This performance of all of Bach’s lute works, performed here on classical guitar, lasted well over two hours in the tranquil surrounds of Greyfriars Kirk... 

Saving Graces at St Mabel's

Saving Graces at St Mabel's

It might be difficult to see why someone would bother writing a comedy pastiche of a girls’ boarding school when a perfectly good one already exists in Daisy Pulls It Off. However, this piece of new writing by Piers Todd, college librarian of Cheltenham Ladies’ College, is a fun romp tailored to the abilities of this group of lower sixth formers... 

Sara Pascoe vs History

Sara Pascoe vs History

You’d be forgiven for thinking you’d come to the wrong classroom: at times this show seems more like Sara Pascoe vs Biology, what with the fascinating nano-lectures on “sperm selection” and the evolution of human sexuality... 

Pianists of Edinburgh Napier University

Pianists of Edinburgh Napier University

This one-off recital was a showcase of first-year talent from a group of four classical pianists from Edinburgh Napier University. With two or three turns each to exhibit their skills, they played music from the Baroque, Classical and Romantic periods; the most effective performances fell into the latter category... 

Kitten Killers

Kitten Killers

The amount of energy going into Kitten Killers’ non-stop hour is one of its greatest assets. Their comedy itself is often too unbalanced to truly lose oneself in, but the unwavering faith they display in their material ensures that every punchline lands with feline confidence and, more often than not, a roomful of laughs... 

Sleight & Hand

Sleight & Hand

Sleight & Hand’s purposefully heavy-handed opening speech casts a shadow over its self-conscious remainder: this piece of new writing by Chris Bush is so knowing you’d really expect it to teach us something... 

Rachel Sermanni

Rachel Sermanni

There’s certainly more than a touch of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl to 22-year-old Rachel Sermanni: the floaty blue dress, the bare feet, the frequent tipping of toes. There’s real character to her set though, both in her amusing, relaxed exchanges with the audience and in her dark, tangled folk songs... 

Rhys Nicholson - Eurgh

Rhys Nicholson - Eurgh

“Who here is a guard llama?” Confused? So is the attempted narrative arc of Rhys Nicholson’s set, supposedly an hour-long look at protectors (guard llamas) and protected (sheep) in various situations... 

The World Mouse Plague

The World Mouse Plague

The World Mouse Plague is a complex, experimental illusion of a play. Its scornful personality is unmistakable and consistent, but otherwise, it’s difficult to decipher. Initially, it appears to have started life as a serious commentary on social cleansing... 

Nordic Raga

Nordic Raga

‘Only at the Fringe,’ you might hear from the uninitiated, shaking their heads at the madcap eccentricities on display daily and greyly on the Mile. Nordic Raga has none of this kind of superficial, attention-seeking oddness... 

Sherlock Holmes: The Hound of the Baskervilles

Sherlock Holmes: The Hound of the Baskervilles

Playing with form is a bold move, one for which Ross Macfarlane, the director of this one-man show, must be praised. His valiant production asks: why follow convention? Why pander to audiences’ expectations? Why the hell not adapt a complex detective novel for solo performance?Unfortunately for Macfarlane, his production satisfactorily answers its own questions within about fifteen minutes... 

Nothing

Nothing

If your experience of Fringe plays has become stale, Nothing is likely to change your mind. I’m not being facetious: this is an absolutely captivating piece of theatre. The fact that Barrel Organ Theatre is largely made up of recent graduates makes its professionalism even more impressive... 

Measure for Measure

Measure for Measure

The Sydney Theatre School’s production of Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure grapples gallantly with its intricate material, but fails to leave much of an impression. The abridged script runs at a solid ninety minutes, but its weighty issues still feel uncomfortably squashed, its delicious moments of role-reversal deprived of breathing space... 

Fast Fringe

Fast Fringe

The line-up of this comedy showcase changes daily, making each viewing unique. The performance that I attended took place on ‘Black Wednesday,’ compere Ray Peacock was quick to inform us: the first day when Fringe tickets lose their 2-for-1 deals and crowds thin dramatically... 

WitTank: Old School Secrets

WitTank: Old School Secrets

It’s hard to imagine an audience that won’t enjoy this show, based (exceedingly loosely, one hopes) on the boarding school experiences of WitTank’s cast of three: Mark Cooper-Jones, Naz Osmanoglu and Kieran Boyd... 

Concerto Without Orchestra

Concerto Without Orchestra

You might find yourself wondering how far into the past you’ve strayed during this excellent piano concert by Steven Worbey and Kevin Farrell. Their unthreatening, delightfully camp humour and delivery smacks of a bygone era, although they do take care to modernise their show with complex renditions of popular music... 

Standby for Tape Back-Up

Standby for Tape Back-Up

This is a show about seeing patterns in the random; about time’s ability to change perception; about coming to terms with death and working through depression. It’s surreal and fragmented and strangely hypnotic, even if its ambitious, weighty concepts fail to culminate in anything particularly meaningful... 

Dan Schreiber: C*ckblocked from Outer Space

Dan Schreiber: C*ckblocked from Outer Space

Dan Schreiber is a fact-obsessed Aussie who has spent parts of his life in Hong Kong and London and most of it in denial of being a complete and utter geek. His show’s title is pretty misleading: he actually spends the majority of the time exploring his geekhood and professing his desire of preserving esoteric information, but this is a nice surprise, really... 

Alpha Fail

Alpha Fail

Cormac Friel’s hour-long set on masculinity, relationships and competitiveness is full of sparkling one-liners and cheerful narration, but suffers from his tendency to rush through his carefully prepared material... 

Talk About Something You Like

Talk About Something You Like

Byron Vincent enters the venue in pinstriped pyjamas and a pair of tatty trainers, wiping his long fringe out of his eyes. Unnerving footage of a louse scurrying across a floor plays ceaselessly on a projector behind him... 

Kevin Day: Standy Uppy

Kevin Day: Standy Uppy

Kevin Day begins his act with a long, cautious introduction, letting us know what is to come. He says he's self-aware and whimsical, joking that the entire act is in fact a metaphor for the Scottish referendum – even the sections about lesbian pornography and UKIP weather forecasts – but he also warns us of the glee he takes in being offensive: about Oscar Pistorius, about dwarfism and even about his own wife’s cancer diagnosis and treatment... 

Should Capitalism be Criminal?

Should Capitalism be Criminal?

Should Capitalism Be Criminal? was the first discussion in a series entitled Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas, which is essentially a leftie version of Question Time, set in a yurt in St Andrew Square... 

Jamie MacDowell and Tom Thum

Jamie MacDowell and Tom Thum

What sounds can you make with just your body? Most us can manage the usual: speaking, shouting, applause. The odd laugh. An impression of a pig. But what about a rattlesnake? A dubstep bass drop? Miles Davis’ trumpet? Tom Thum can manage all this and far more, leaving his audience giggling helplessly and applauding ferociously – in fact, we make most of the noises we’re capable of as a tribute to this master of beatboxing and sound-making in general... 

Silk Road

Silk Road

This engaging one-man play by Alex Oates is a novel take on the descent into drug-dealing: our protagonist, Geordie lad Bruce Blakemore, begins buying cocaine through a shady website known as the Silk Road – which exists in what is known as the ‘Deep Web’ – and sells it on eBay through the help of his unwitting octogenarian Nan and her knitted tea cosies... 

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Most school kids don't want to read Shakespeare. They would, though, if they had a magnetic teacher like the one who opens this production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. He has something to hide, a secret magical power which puts the very spirit of Shakespeare into his students... 

Roddy Woomble

Roddy Woomble

Roddy Woomble’s gig at the Acoustic Music Centre fell slightly flat. Both he and his three-strong band were seated for the duration, unfurling a series of pleasant songs for the sizeable audience... 

Whatever Gets You Through the Night

Whatever Gets You Through the Night

Whatever Gets You Through The Night is a wide-spanning arts project: an album, a film, a stage show and a book have all come together under the umbrella heading of ‘somewhere in Scotland, between the hours of midnight and 4am... 

A Little Night Music

A Little Night Music

A Little Night Music promised a delightful evening of choice piano pieces associated with the night-time. Where it shone was in its darker, stiller moments. The crashing thunder of midnight storms in the final movement of the Moonlight Sonata was less convincing... 

Indie Classical

Indie Classical

‘Accident’ isn’t a word normally associated with The Zodiac Trio. The violin, clarinet and piano ensemble is famed for giving complex and innovative performances around the globe... 

Dougie MacLean Trio in Concert

Dougie MacLean Trio in Concert

This concert bore all the hallmarks of a homecoming gig, except that very few people actually seemed to know any of MacLean’s songs. To counteract this, we received chorus lessons for almost all of them... 

Discover Ben Target

Discover Ben Target

It’s hard to describe Discover Ben Target without spoiling its crazy, meandering plot: at the core of this show’s magic is the element of surprise. This is an hour of stupefying, hyperactive, pythonesque madness straight from the hallowed lands of nonsense and whimsy... 

The 70s Songbook

The 70s Songbook

Tim Rose and Andy Philip are two fantastic guitarists. That much was obvious as they began their first song of their Jazz Bar set, ‘Wichita Lineman’ by Glen Campbell. All seats were full and there were many people leaning on the bar and standing at the back of room: the show’s name is clearly a big draw... 

The Not Quite Quartet

The Not Quite Quartet

The Not Quite Quartet is confusingly named. They’re not even a trio: this is just a pair of guys performing musical comedy, interspersed with audience interaction that’s almost standup comedy... 

Paul Dabek Presents Thurston

Paul Dabek Presents Thurston

This is a one-man show with a difference: the actor is also a magician. The characters are Howard Thurston and Harry Houdini. Consequently, the show is part characterisation and narrative, part magic... 

Bach for Breakfast

Bach for Breakfast

Bach for Breakfast is one of a number of mealtime-based concerts at Overseas House. At the beginning we were told that the series is a sell-out year after year: the programme proudly displays Fringe laurels for the past nine years’ shows alongside the glittering credentials of its musicians... 

BBC: Radio 1's Fun and Filth Cabaret - Night 2

BBC: Radio 1's Fun and Filth Cabaret - Night 2

BBC Radio 1’s Fun and Filth Cabaret is the perfect late-night entertainment show: the cream of the Fringe’s weird and wonderful crop is given short slots to impress a sizeable crowd... 

Hearts on Fire

Hearts on Fire

‘Good luck on your journey!’ beams a girl at the entrance of this unique Fringe show. Behind the curtain is a domed tent in the Arizona desert, with a single row of simple seating lining its edges, covered with rugs... 

Paul Gilbody

Paul Gilbody

The Jazz Bar’s crowd on Sunday the 12th August was a bit of a mix. Some were there to listen to the gig. Some were there to have a natter. Paul Gilbody did his best to carry on regardless, but he never truly overcame the banal conversations going on at the back of the room: they both just coexisted... 

Faure Requiem By Candlelight

Faure Requiem By Candlelight

With a capable choir, a proficient orchestra and a perfect acoustic, it would be difficult to get Fauré’s well-loved Requiem wrong. In Old St Paul’s Episcopal Church, with candles lining every available ledge around the walls and the smell of incense thick in the air, Vincent Wallace led St Andrew’s Camerata in an arrangement that was imperfect but still strikingly beautiful... 

Tom Thum - Beating the Habit

Tom Thum - Beating the Habit

Tom Thum is amazing. There’s no two ways about it; someone who can reproduce an entire song with only their voice and a few loops is amazing. There are lots of positive things to say about his set: from his stunning entry as a robot, crammed with ultra-high and subwoofer sounds; to his engaging explanation of the loop, sampler and reverb effect table... 

RH: Live

RH: Live

RH Live is a great improv show. Its actors found fame via their YouTube channel, The RH Experience, which has 140 videos and has won funding through YouTube’s Next Up programme. The act includes a trio of orange hoody-wearing guys and their affable presenter... 

Dirty Paki Lingerie

Dirty Paki Lingerie

Aizzah Fatima’s one-woman show is an exploration of modern Islamic feminism through the eyes of seven different characters, whose varied situations and outlooks on life paint a fascinating and comprehensive picture of Islamic women in modern America and Pakistan... 

A Midsummer Night's Dream

A Midsummer Night's Dream

A commanding, busty Titania sits with her changeling child as drab fairies dance woozily around her to crackly swing music. A lone lock of ivy tumbles down in the middle of the stage... 

The Andi Neate Band

The Andi Neate Band

In this one-off show, Andi Neate’s band was small and intimate. She had short, friendly exchanges with her double-bassist and her backing singer, both of whom were happy to let her take the limelight... 

A Cry Too Far From Heaven

A Cry Too Far From Heaven

The premise of A Cry Too Far From Heaven is fairly simple: a former executioner in New Zealand delves into the past, a time before the complete abolition of capital punishment came into effect in 1989... 

Passion, Pints and Potatoes - An Irish Guide to Life

Passion, Pints and Potatoes - An Irish Guide to Life

At the start of this amateurish pub stand-up set, we are told the reasoning behind its name. Unbelievably, this pair is Irish. Therefore, we are told, they live up to stereotypes: they talk about sex, they talk about alcohol and they talk about potatoes... 

California Beach Bungalow

California Beach Bungalow

Smile and Nod are a sunny, engaging college improv group from California, whose show California Beach Bungalow is confident, slick and imaginative. All they need from their audience are a few words before they get going... 

Nothing to Show

Nothing to Show

Watch This Improv Troupe have set themselves up for quite a fall after confidently naming their act Nothing To Show. Luckily though, they are comfortable enough on stage for this lack of material to be irrelevant to their success, as they cleverly put together an improvised, madcap play based on one word alone... 

Biloxi Blues

Biloxi Blues

Bishops Diocesan College, an independent boys' school in Cape Town, brings this ambitious production of Biloxi Blues to Edinburgh after their run of Master Harold... and the Boys last year... 

Simon Evans: Friendly Fire

Simon Evans: Friendly Fire

'Simon Evans: Friendly Fire' is a misnomer. This show takes random pops at easy targets which many Fringe-goers will enjoy hearing criticised: Mitt Romney, morbid obesity, football... 

Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells For Two
BOBBY WINNER

Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells For Two

Mike Oldfield's critically and commercially successful prog-rock album 'Tubular Bells' has been lovingly recreated by Daniel Holdsworth and Aidan Roberts as a live, two-man performance... 

Do Not Adjust Your Stage

Do Not Adjust Your Stage

Do Not Adjust Your Stage is an interesting concept. The small audience is placed in front of a 'TV' - the stage - over which there is little control. Perhaps the dog chewed up the remote, it’s not clear, but we're trapped here for the next hour so we may as well just watch as the TV spontaneously flicks from soap to documentary to gameshow... 

I Shall Be Remembered - The Story of Madame de Pompadour

I Shall Be Remembered - The Story of Madame de Pompadour

'I shall be remembered!' cries Dame Elaine Montgomerie for the fifth time in her one-woman show about the life of Madame de Pompadour. It's a phrase that epitomises the self-obsessed portrait Montgomerie paints of Jeanne Antoinette Poisson, the bourgeoise who seduced and manipulated her way to the lofty heights of Madame, Marquise and king's mistress... 

Lach: Up the Anti!

Lach: Up the Anti!

Some acts let the music do the talking, but performers can vastly improve their sets with routines. Too little conversation will have fans feeling the cold shoulder, while too much laughter-seeking fluff can result in awkward silences and lowered estimations...