Richard III

Richard III

There are places which have unquestionable resonance. Places of pilgrimage, such as Mecca, Lourdes, Jerusalem. Places of history, such as the Coliseum in Rome, the Pyramids of Giza, the Alhambra in Granada and ... 

Once Upon a Time at the Adelphi

Once Upon a Time at the Adelphi

The name alone conjures up nostalgia, decadence, style and class … and this show delivers. It’s a musical theatre show in traditional Rogers & Hart / Hammerstein style, which follows the course of two main love stories, both played out against the backdrop of the Adelphi hotel, Liverpool... 

The Three Stigmata of Pacman

The Three Stigmata of Pacman

In this one-hour show, talented Ross Sutherland brings philosophy, physics and fun together to create a highly entertaining view of contemporary society, which transcends the obvious, scintillates with originality and packs a hard-hitting intellectual punch with the feather-light levity of a cotton-ball souflée aerated by a child’s laughter... 

The Petty Concerns of Luke Wright

The Petty Concerns of Luke Wright

Luke Wright is a talented performer who plays as much on his baby-faced good looks as with the words and styles he uses. In this hour-long one-man show, he looks back on ten years of performance experience, in which he has tried on the labels of performance poet, poet, and stand-up artist, among others... 

scratch (work in progress)

scratch (work in progress)

Sometimes raw, rough shows, performed on a knife-edge are the most gripping. This was certainly true in the case of the first part of Unpacked’s double-bill ‘scratch’ performance which took place in the foyer of the Pleasance Theatre, Islington... 

the brain

the brain

In a clinically white setting, with full-length white fabric backdrops suspended from rig to floor, among boxes draped with white sheets, lies a lifesize puppet of Albert Einstein. As the play begins, two puppeteers dressed as scientists enter and impersonally start to record their observations... 

The Spanish Tragedy

The Spanish Tragedy

Kyd’s Spanish Tragedy is a product of its time – socio-political, full of double-entendre, the themes of revenge and retribution and scenes of killing all the more poignant on stage against the backdrop of contemporary religious conflict and persecution, public hangings and brutal executions... 

Pages: Promised Land

Pages: Promised Land

A fringe show with four writers, three directors, two composers, a cast of fifteen and an even larger production team sounds like a recipe for disaster. When you think of everything that could have gone wrong, it could so easily have been more than disastrous, but it wasn’t... 

Trapped

Trapped

Blurring the boundaries between theatrical performance and dance, this artful show mixes different styles of movement with poetry, dialogue and brilliant choreography to produce a compelling narrative which outlines the fight of individualism against collectivism... 

Scottish Dance Theatre - Luxuria

Scottish Dance Theatre - Luxuria

Nine members of the Scottish Dance Theatre company take to the stage to dance. They enter individually, wearing string-ribboned costumes, evocative of lacing on seventeenth century costume, corsets or straitjackets... 

Scottish Dance Theatre - A Visitation

Scottish Dance Theatre - A Visitation

A10-strong cast from the Scottish Dance Theatre start off this performance with a still-life scene, a sculptural montage, in which all the characters appear in the same light. As the performance progresses, it becomes clearer through a combination of movement and costume that the cast is divided between the living and the ghostly... 

Crime Of The Century

Crime Of The Century

“Dan! Keep safe!” the show starts … but how? How can a youngster be safe if they can be knifed on their own doorstep? This is the unfortunate reality of contemporary society – not just in large cities... 

Brocante Sonore:The Mechanicians

Brocante Sonore:The Mechanicians

In an abstract space evocative of a garage, mechanic’s workshop, engine room, and/or horologist’s studio, the members of Brocante Sonore conjure up music from a range of things, from bric-a-brac to conventional instruments... 

Inventing The Sky

Inventing The Sky

Russian dance company Rain People are to dance what Picasso is to art. They redefine the boundaries of dance performance. Their performance has an improvisatory quality to it which flows beautifully... 

Room On The Broom

Room On The Broom

Tall Stories is a company that has made a name for entertaining children and family shows. This year, they bring Julia Donaldson’s rhyming story to life in an entertaining stage adaptation in which the audience sees the witch travel across the skies on her broom with her cat to the back of beyond to fight a dragon... 

Cardenio

Cardenio

It’s billed as ‘The Tragicomicall Historie of Cardenio’, a lost play said to be written by Shakespeare and Fletcher, reconstructed here by Dr Bernard Richards. Tragically, there was very little comedy in this performance, and opportunities for it abounded, with all the cross-dressing and gender confusion, not to mention opportunities for bawdy jokes about bestiality … and comic interludes for shepherds and the lovers’ parents which all could have been milked more... 

One Up One Down

One Up One Down

In this highly energetic performance, dancer-actor John Macaulay welcomes the audience and ushers them in, attempting to build up a friendly rapport. It feels rather like stepping into a US shopping mall, where politeness and over-white-bright smiles glisten on the outside, and boredom and emptiness gape dark on the inside... 

The Puppet-Show Man

The Puppet-Show Man

An entertaining hour of fairy tales drawn from Hans Christian Andersen’s collection. Familiar favourites like The Ugly Duckling, The Emperor’s New Clothes, The Steadfast Tin Soldier join with lesser known ones such as The Nightingale and The Shadow to form a cohesive collage... 

Mother/Son

Mother/Son

Jeffrey Solomon’s play is a tour-de-force of skilful writing and performance. The show smacks of class. Reflecting a dual coming out story, Solomon plays the characters of the gay son, coming out to his parents for the first time in his twenties, and the domineering mother, who has to come to terms with all the things that plague domineering mothers with gay sons … no grandchildren … fear of contracting AIDS … having to face the monsters of realisation that her son could end up as a character in the horror stories she’s heard related to gay culture … the guilt of maybe contributing to the terrible fate of her son’s gayness … the desperate attempt to cling to the idea that it might be a passing phase … that marriage or counselling might solve the issue … But gradually, over time, we see the two of them adjust … the son has to adjust to the fact that now he’s out to his mother, that involves a new level of trust and communication... 

Iago

Iago

An ambitious one-man show, in which Martin Aukland, as Iago, acts out single-handedly the story of his machinations against ‘The Moor of Venice’, outlining how and why he sets up a trap into which his victim falls headlong... 

The Best Of John Betjeman

The Best Of John Betjeman

Across the time span of two hour-long performances, Lance Pierson performs a selection of Betjeman’s poetry. The first programme, in the earlier time slot, covers Betjeman’s output from the early years to WWII and includes Slough, the well-known poem which starts ‘Come friendly bombs …’ and a poem called ‘A Subaltern’s Love Song’, better known for the refrain within it which plays on the name of ‘Miss J Hunter Dunn’... 

Don Quixote - Theatre of the Blind

Don Quixote - Theatre of the Blind

Unlike ‘His Ghostly Heart’, another play on the Fringe which is played out in the dark, where the stage is darkened and the audience can make out the actors’ forms, in ‘Don Quixote’, audience members are each given individual face masks and experience the whole story in the dark, even though the actors are moving about in normal lighting conditions... 

Killing Alan

Killing Alan

A highly challenging story which draws on the Arthurian story of Gawain and the Green Knight, and references many others. The central character, Alan, is challenged to a game by his brother after the death of their parents... 

Faust In The Box

Faust In The Box

Bridge Markland performs his own version of Goethe’s Faust in a maverick combination of blank verse and pop song. A cardboard box with a window cut out of it provides the stage, platform, puppet theatre and backdrop to his antics... 

Platform 88

Platform 88

You know what it’s like when you arrive in a strange place, and have to ask for help in a foreign language? The only person around is someone who looks strange, unfamiliar, different – someone you’d never talk to in a million years back home … but you need help, so you ask for it, and find yourself on the adventure you’ve always been looking for, but which you thought would never ever happen? This production depicts that journey – and much more... 

Martin 'The Falsetto' Milnes

Martin 'The Falsetto' Milnes

Martin Milnes is a unique talent – with an exceptional voice and good vocal technique to go with it. His pianist, quiet and unassuming, supports him well, and shines in his own right... 

The Lamplighter's Lament

The Lamplighter's Lament

Three versatile performers tell the tale of a solitary lamplighter, an endearing character who lives by the sea alone, sleepwalks, enjoys music, food and drink, follows the news in the paper and … has a sea of emptiness inside him... 

Rachel Rose Reid: And They Lived ...

Rachel Rose Reid: And They Lived ...

Rachel Rose Reid is a young storyteller who places herself firmly within a long tradition of oral storytelling. Winner of the Young Storyteller of the Year award, storytelling is embedded deep in her bones... 

Bully

Bully

A harrowing first-hand account of a cycle of transformation from victim of circumstance to victim of fate told by a character who just wants to find a quiet spot where he can just belong (to paraphrase a line from the show)... 

Matthew Sharp In ... Johnny's Midnight Goggles

Matthew Sharp In ... Johnny's Midnight Goggles

He’s a velvety-voiced opera singer with a voice to die for. He’s a classical cellist who has performed as a soloist in many of the major concert halls in the world. He’s a theatrical storyteller with a demonically cunning way with words... 

Lotte's Gift

Lotte's Gift

This recipe for an autobiographical slideshow sandwich with musical filling could so easily have turned out to be unappetising. Like all top-notch meals, however, quality depends on a mix of good, fresh ingredients and natural talent... 

Matthew Sharp In ... Finklestein's Castle

Matthew Sharp In ... Finklestein's Castle

With deliciously ridiculous names, fantastic situations, a plot that would make Ian Fleming grin with delight, and toothpaste taking on a significance you would never credit it with, Matthew Sharp takes his audience on an adventure which includes an operatic aria to die for, superb cello playing which he performs nonchalantly while maintaining casual conversation as easily as you or I would count to three with our eyes closed... 

Noir

Noir

Airealism attempt to mix circus and theatre to tell a tale of love gone wrong. Drawing their inspiration from film noir, they tip a cursory nod at narrative, using it as a lame excuse to show of a pretty standard range of aerial circus skills... 

Boy In Darkness

Boy In Darkness

Titus Groan, heir to the great crumbling kingdom of Gormenghast is fourteen. He escapes from the castle and wanders out into the desert, where he finds a group of changelings with animalistic attributes who draw him into their world... 

Zeitgeist

Zeitgeist

It starts with a chalk circle traced upon the ground. Ritualistic. Primal. Within, seven dancers crouched in foetal position, skin whitened, hungry for the attention of light, which pours down on them... 

The Origin Of Species By Means Of Natural Selection Or The Survival Of (R)evolutionary Theories...

The Origin Of Species By Means Of Natural Selection Or The Survival Of (R)evolutionary Theories...

Director Daniel Goldman and Multi-talented musican-actor-storyteller John Hinton join forces again after their collaboration on ‘Crunch!’ – the history of the apple told in an hour of fun-filled storytelling... 

Jewish Chronicles

Jewish Chronicles

In a musical style reminiscent of Claude-Michel Schönberg ballads, Daniel Cainer sings his big, broad Jewish heart out to entertain, engage, enlighten his audience.His songs tell stories – stories of his family, his experiences of them, their experiences of life... 

There Are A Thousand Ways To Kneel And Kiss The Ground

There Are A Thousand Ways To Kneel And Kiss The Ground

A bed, a body covered in a fire-black veil, a single rose, long-stemmed, green-leaved in a slim vase at the foot. The dancer-poet wakes, statuesque as a Greek goddess, the fine drapery of the veil cradling her finely-featured body like the caress of shadowlight... 

Twine

Twine

‘Tortoise in a Nutshell’ tell the story of a little string boy who is left out of things, so he goes off on an adventure of self-discovery and returns. When he gets back, he’s changed, and ends up changing the lives of those around him in the process... 

East 10th Street

East 10th Street

Life in a rooming house in New York’s East 10th Street is the subject of this gripping one-man show, which is billed rather pompously as a ‘self portrait with empty house’. After experiencing the show, I can see why... 

The Timekeepers

The Timekeepers

Humour is at its most poignant against a background of human tragedy. This play draws on this tried and tested recipe in its structural concept, which is based around a classic comic duo pairing, but set in a concentration camp... 

His Ghostly Heart

His Ghostly Heart

It’s a conventional play with a difference … acted out on stage, with an audience seated front-on … in the dark. It’s an experience.The writing, by Ben Schiffer of E4’s ‘Skins’ is tight and cinematic... 

Beachy Head

Beachy Head

Two film-makers, filming the lighthouse on Beachy Head for a documentary about lighthouses unwittingly come back with video footage of a man’s last moments before committing suicide by jumping off the edge of the cliff... 

Borges And I

Borges And I

Their flyer is designed like a book which unfolds into a poster. Their poster design features a shower of letters. Their set is constructed out of books, words, pages, paper. Borges would have loved it... 

Lost World

Lost World

Arthur Conan Doyle’s story of The Lost World is brought to life using live animation and music by the members of The Paper Cinema. The story was told visually in as an animated film which was created by two animators using cardboard cut-outs drawn in black and white mainly against a black background... 

Cocorico

Cocorico

From their first entrance, comic duo Patrice Thibaud and Phillipe Leygnac had the audience in hysterics. By they end they got a standing ovation. ‘Thibaud and Leygnac’ doesn’t have the familiar ring of ‘Morecambe and Wise’, ‘Laurel and Hardy’, or ‘Abbott and Costello’ but they have all the class and quality to be counted among the great classic comedy duos... 

The Rap Guide To Evolution

The Rap Guide To Evolution

There are big names behind this show which starts with some stunning visual film sequences from the Wellcome Trust. Dr Mark Pallen, author of The Rough Guide to Evolution, made sure it had sufficient scientific rigour and it stars Baba Brinkman, one of the world’s great intelligent rappers... 

A Pirate's Life For Me!

A Pirate's Life For Me!

It all started well enough. The audience entered. Two-sided cards were laid on chairs – skulls on one side, crossbones on the other. Two actors, who turned out later to be narrator-storytellers were asleep... 

The Shadow Orchestra

The Shadow Orchestra

Xavier Mortimer is a talented magician-musician-mime artist and clown. Think David Copperfield, Marcel Marceau and Paul Daniels rolled into one. While he is an illusionist, what you see him doing will have you believe he can really do magic – real Harry Potter stuff, right before your eyes... 

Ragamala Dance Presents Yathra (Journey)

Ragamala Dance Presents Yathra (Journey)

The world-class Ragamala Dance Company returns to the Edinburgh Fringe this year with a soul-moving performance of South Indian Classical Bharatanatyam dance. Their programme this year is made up of three pieces, each portraying different aspects of Bharatanatyam... 

The Wind In The Willows

The Wind In The Willows

This is a very clever, wonderfully traditional, old-fashioned theatrical adaptation of the timeless classic tale of life by a riverbank. The perfectly-balanced cast of 10, in sumptuous, no-expense-spared costumes which were a joy to behold, treated us to an enchanting production set in the 1920s... 

Rapunzelstiltskin

Rapunzelstiltskin

Storytelling and theatre meet in a comic theatrical retelling of two classic tales retold with fun and vigour. The first is the story of Rapunzel, the girl with hair far longer than the longest piece of spaghetti you've ever seen... 

Rapunzel And The Tower Of Doom

Rapunzel And The Tower Of Doom

This one-man show features engaging storytelling with a fruit and veg theme. It’s ably told by Andy Lawrence and a cast of adorable puppets who take on the main roles in the classic fairytale about the princess with golden hair who is trapped in a tower by an evil witch, but is eventually rescued by a handsome prince... 

The Brothers Lionheart

The Brothers Lionheart

Lindgren’s classic story of bravery and self-sacrifice is retold with cinematic scope and vision in this adaptation by Lionheart Productions and The Pleasance Theatre. The story centres around two brothers who end up going on an adventure they would not wish on anyone … which tries them to the utmost, and from which they eventually emerge transformed...