How to Start a Riot

How to Start a Riot

Living, as I do, in one of the London areas most badly affected by last summer’s riots, it was fascinating to watch this show almost exactly a year to the day. 

Satan's Playground

Satan's Playground

Sacred And Profane’s stated aim is to produce ensemble theatre adapted from literary or folk traditions, using live music and live digital devices. 

The Miller's Tale: Wahala Dey Oh!

The Miller's Tale: Wahala Dey Oh!

Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales is often cited as the beginning, not only of ‘modern’ English Literature and as the legitimation of the vernacular language. 

Statements After an Arrest Under the Immorality Act by Athol Fugard

Statements After an Arrest Under the Immorality Act by Athol Fugard

Just before the lights went down at the start of this production of Athol Fugard’s 1972 play, a front of house person barked at an audience member clambering over a seat ‘Stop … 

Oliver Reed: Wild Thing

Oliver Reed: Wild Thing

The problem with one-person shows from an audience point of view is that, if you don’t like what’s going on, you know that no one else is going to come along and perk things up… 

Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet

My heart usually sinks when I see the words ‘new interpretation’ or ‘re-imagined’ applied to productions of Shakespeare plays in Edinburgh. 

Educating Rita

Educating Rita

Willie Russell’s two-hander about a Liverpudlian housewife trying to better herself through an Open University literature course was hailed in 1980 as a Pygmalion for modern time… 

'Tis Pity She's a Whore

'Tis Pity She's a Whore

Written and first performed in the first half of the seventeenth century, John Ford’s tragedy of forbidden love amongst the Italian aristocracy has had a controversial history. 

There's Only One Lord Byron

There's Only One Lord Byron

The poet Bryon was famously described by one of his countless paramours as ‘mad, bad and dangerous to know’. 

They Shoot Horses Don't They

They Shoot Horses Don't They

This is adaptation of a short novel by Horace McCoy, presented by the Italia Conti Ensemble, recalls the Depression in America in 1935 when poverty drove young people to take part … 

Racing Demon

Racing Demon

First performed in 1993 at The National Theatre, this eloquent play about the Church of England is part of a trilogy by award winning writer David Hare. 

The Visit

The Visit

This extraordinary play was written in 1956 by Swiss genius Friedrich Durrenmatt. 

Twelfth Night

Twelfth Night

This is one of Shakespeare’s most beautiful plays. 

Diary of Anne Frank

Diary of Anne Frank

Anne Frank wrote arguably the most famous diary in history. 

Man Who Was Hamlet

Man Who Was Hamlet

For centuries scholars have disagreed about the authorship of the most famous plays in the world. 

Gutted. A Revenger's Musical

Gutted. A Revenger's Musical

At the age of seven, Sorrow (Helen George), saw her parents brutally murdered by members of the Bewley family. 

Firing Blanks

Firing Blanks

Kate is a teenager staring out into the audience and smiling and muttering. 

History Boys

History Boys

There are three productions of Alan Bennett’s wonderful play in Edinburgh this year. 

Talented Mr Ripley

Talented Mr Ripley

Patricia Highsmith’s novel, written in 1955, is the first of five about the eponymous fraudster who cons, cheats and lies his way through life and most of Europe. 

Oi! For England

Oi! For England

Trevor Griffiths’s short (very short) play written in 1981 is a fascinating choice for a young company to present in 2010. 

Doctor Faustus

Doctor Faustus

This play by Shakespeare’s contemporary Marlowe is potentially thrilling. 

Venetian Twins

Venetian Twins

This complicated farce by Italian writer Carlo Goldini was written in 1747 and is regarded as one of the great comedies of Italian theatre. 

Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet

I’ve seen this play a lot. 

Sordid Lives

Sordid Lives

Though Tower Theatre Company describe themselves as a non-professional outfit it’s hard to tell they are amateurs. 

Merry Wives of Henry VIII

Merry Wives of Henry VIII

If there’s one period of history, or one English monarch everyone thinks they know a bit about, it’s the reign of Henry VIII. 

Lockerbie: Unfinished Business

Lockerbie: Unfinished Business

It’s strange to be reviewing this at all. 

Marat/Sade

Marat/Sade

Peter Weiss’s The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade, to give this … 

His Name is Tim

His Name is Tim

Apologies for the length of this review. 

Mysterious Skin

Mysterious Skin

Eighteen-year-old Brian has written fan letters to Avalyn. 

Tristram Shandy

Tristram Shandy

The novel The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, by Laurence Sterne was first published in two volumes in 1759, with seven others following over the next 10 years. 

Spring Awakening

Spring Awakening

Wedekind’s play was ground breaking when he wrote it in 1890. 

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

This play is a masterpiece. 

Oliver Twist

Oliver Twist

Let me declare up front that I was injured during this show. 

Belt Up's 'Lorca is Dead'

Belt Up's 'Lorca is Dead'

The title doesn’t exactly sell the show as an evening of mirth and anarchy. 

Bacchae

Bacchae

Written in the fourth century BC by Euripides, this is the tragedy of the royal house of Cadmus in ancient Thebes. 

Bliss

Bliss

This piece by Olivier Choinier, translated by Caryl Churchill was first presented at London’s Royal Court Theatre. 

Equus

Equus

Equus is a popular choice with young companies coming to the Fringe, and I’ve never understood why. 

Private Peaceful

Private Peaceful

The program for this show presented by Beacon Theatre Group points out that this group of youngsters will be the first generation to grow up with no survivors of the First World Wa… 

Alcatraz

Alcatraz

To have in the publicity for your show the remark that ‘an artist’s masterpiece is a spectator’s nightmare’ is a dangerous hostage to fortune. 

All the Queen's Children

All the Queen's Children

This young company have taken on a huge and emotive subject here; the plight of young children who arrive in this country as refugees, unaccompanied by adults. 

Blood Brothers, the Play

Blood Brothers, the Play

Willy Russell’s phenomenal West End hit musical succeeds for many reasons, but most of all because it has great tunes and in the final moments will make the hardest amongst us blu… 

Faulty Towers The Dining Experience

Faulty Towers The Dining Experience

This is certainly different. 

Under Milk Wood

Under Milk Wood

Dylan Thomas wrote this extraordinary poem to humanity in 1954. 

Jane Austen's Guide To Pornography

Jane Austen's Guide To Pornography

Pornography, we are educationally informed in this piece, means “the writing of harlots”. 

Our Country's Good

Our Country's Good

This award-winning play by Timberlake Wertenbaker was first performed at London’s Royal Court in 1988 and has lost none of its power. 

The Tempest

The Tempest

“This is Shakespeare’s last play, you know, the one he wrote when he knew he was going to die” explained the helpful American audience member to my right. 

Once A Catholic

Once A Catholic

As the press pack informs us Mary O’Malley’s Once a Catholic is a comedy centering around the lives of three Marys (Mooney, McGinty and Gallagher) at a convent school in North Lo… 

Chronicles Of Long Kesh

Chronicles Of Long Kesh

Years ago, before my broad mind and narrow waist had changed places and I was a young actor, I went to Northern Ireland on tour. 

Don Carlos

Don Carlos

About a decade ago there was a renewed interest in Schiller’s work. 

Me, Mum And Dusty Springfield

Me, Mum And Dusty Springfield

This short one-woman show starts very cleverly. 

Love's Labour's Lost

Love's Labour's Lost

This is one of Shakespeare’s toughest plays to pull off. 

Neville's Island

Neville's Island

If I tell you the TV version of this popular comedy by Tim Firth included performances by Tim Spall and David Bamber you will get some idea of the age range of the characters. 

Little Johnny's Big Gay Musical

Little Johnny's Big Gay Musical

If you are a first time visitor to this piece you may be forgiven expecting something different. 

Rue Magique

Rue Magique

Prostitution is hardly an original subject for drama or even musicals - think Mrs Warren’s Profession, Camille, La Boheme and more recently Baz Lurman’s Moulin Rouge. 

No Place for Dreams

No Place for Dreams

Brief Candle describe this piece as a play for “family audiences”. 

Bully

Bully

“I don’t like small rooms” is the first line of this beautifully performed one-man show from Richard Fry. 

Finding Alice

Finding Alice

Reviewing children’s shows can feel a little ridiculous; after all, I’m not the target audience. 

A Dog Called Redemption

A Dog Called Redemption

Two tramps spend each day much as the previous one, regaling each other with tales and seemingly waiting for something or someone to turn up to make life better. 

East

East

Productions of Berkoff used to be ten a penny on The Fringe. 

The Boy From Centreville

The Boy From Centreville

On April 16 2007 a young student at Virginia Polytechnic carried out two separate shootings approximately two hours apart. 

The Talented Mr Ripley

The Talented Mr Ripley

Okay, this is always a tricky one. 

I Love You, Bro

I Love You, Bro

In his program notes writer Adam J A Cass remarks this one-person show is based on “a boy who is out there somewhere”, the “out there” being cyber space. 

St Nicholas

St Nicholas

Conor McPherson is an extraordinary writer. 

Love for Sale

Love for Sale

This two hander begins with both actresses acting out a dumb show to a music track. 

Twelfth Night

Twelfth Night

The beginning of this production of Shakespeare’s most bitter- sweet comedy is stunning. 

Christie In Love

Christie In Love

Waiting to go into this production of Howard Brenton’s short, searing exploration of the nature of justice and retribution I witnessed the front of house staff refuse entry to a f… 

Kes (A Kestrel for a Knave)

Kes (A Kestrel for a Knave)

As I collected my press ticket from the box office, a rather severe woman in the queue prodded me in the chest and said “they’re only kids doing this show, so you be nice or you… 

The Rat Pack - Forever Swinging

The Rat Pack - Forever Swinging

Just as one’s heart sinks when sent to review Shakespeare done by students or kids, when I was told that this young company were attempting their own version of the West End hit I… 

Unnatural Acts

Unnatural Acts

Marsha (Jessica Martin) and Elliot (Jason Wood) are flatmates. 

Mile End

Mile End

From the program: Analogue is a multidisciplinary collective dedicated to producing challenging, visceral and exciting contemporary work, fusing mixed media on stage. 

Love Labours Won

Love Labours Won

This piece by director/writer Ryan J-W Smith garnered fantastic reviews and awards at last year’s Festival. 

True West

True West

This 1980 play by Sam Shepard begins naturalistically enough. 

Our Trebor Mint Feeling

Our Trebor Mint Feeling

On entering the space the audience is presented with four-coloured globes set upon four shiny bar stools. 

The Bitches' Ball

The Bitches' Ball

Mary Robinson so besotted the Prince of Wales (later George IV) with her performance as Perdita in The Winter’s Tale that he took her as a mistress. 

A (Gay Disabled Transexual) Love Story Told to a Ticket Inspector at Alton Towers

A (Gay Disabled Transexual) Love Story Told to a Ticket Inspector at Alton Towers

This is as good a play as I’ve ever seen about the absurdity of prejudice. 

Fanny and Faggot

Fanny and Faggot

The title of this play by Jack Thorne might be misleading in Edinburgh where provocative or simply rude words are employed to get bums on seats. 

24/7/52

24/7/52

Director/performer Bill Aitchison addresses the audience at the beginning and asks for their co-operation. 

What The Butler Saw

What The Butler Saw

It is astonishing that Joe Orton only wrote six plays in his short life and yet is still so famous. 

Cabaret Auschwitz

Cabaret Auschwitz

As titles go this one is pretty much guaranteed to get your attention. 

Growing Growing ... Gone! The Story of Jack and the Beanstalk

Growing Growing ... Gone! The Story of Jack and the Beanstalk

Panto usually involves a cast of thousands, huge sets and the theatrical magic supplied by trap doors, smoke machines and flying apparatus. 

The Vortex

The Vortex

It’s quite tough to know by what standards to judge performances in Edinburgh. 

Journey's End

Journey's End

This play by R. 

The Dresser

The Dresser

I love this play, and love the film adaptation, which stars Albert Finney and Tom Courtenay. 

Teenage Kicks

Teenage Kicks

When John Peel died in 2004 a nation mourned. 

Bouncy Castle Macbeth

Bouncy Castle Macbeth

Okay, this does exactly what it says on the tin. 

The Walworth Farce

The Walworth Farce

It is almost impossible to sum up the style of this play by Enda Walsh. 

Duck Variations

Duck Variations

This is David Mamet’s first play, written in 1972, and like many first plays is a two hander (and involves a park bench). 

Road

Road

For those who like to know these things, this play by Jim Cartwright was voted thirty-sixth best play of the twentieth century in a poll run by The Royal National Theatre. 

Julius Caesar

Julius Caesar

This trimmed down version of Shakespeare’s play is interestingly staged and mostly powerfully performed by Exeter University Theatre Company. 

The Pornographer Diaries

The Pornographer Diaries

It’s fascinating watching the assembled audience as this piece warms up. 

The Shagaround

The Shagaround

This is play by Maggie Nevill will resonate with anyone who has been dumped suddenly, or found out that their boyfriend or girlfriend has been cheating on them. 

Stonewall

Stonewall

Old Compton Street in Soho is a place of fabulousness, where gay men and women can wander hand in hand, drink double skinny no-foam cappuccinos (with cinnamon) on the pavements, an… 

You've Got To Laugh

You've Got To Laugh

As I entered this new space at ten thirty last night after a full day’s reviewing my heart sank. 

Corpus Christi

Corpus Christi

This play By Terence McNally caused great consternation on its 1998 opening in Los Angeles. 

Borstal Boy

Borstal Boy

This autobiographical account tells the story of the Irish playwright and poet Brendan Behan’s true-life arrest at the age of sixteen when he was caught in Liverpool carrying expl… 

Threads

Threads

The basic premise behind this piece is a clever one. 

Someone Who'll Watch Over Me

Someone Who'll Watch Over Me

In the late 1980’s Brian Keenan, John McCarthy and Terry Waite were taken hostage in Beirut. 

Macbeth

Macbeth

Things don’t bode well when the author of this little piece has his name spelt wrongly on the programme! I hope his agent doesn’t sue. 

Breaker Morant

Breaker Morant

Breaker Morant is an Ozzie legend. 

Faustus

Faustus

This tale of how a brilliant man sells his soul to the devil in return for twenty four years of earthly pleasure has attracted writers in all genres for four centuries. 

Lord of the Flies

Lord of the Flies

William Golding’s extraordinary novel was written in 1954, with a world still reeling from the horrors of the discovery of the extent of Nazi brutality and fearing for it’s very … 

Denied

Denied

The mood when the audience enters this bleak and dimly-lit space is sombre. 

The Hypochondriac

The Hypochondriac

This is a shortened but fun version of Moliere’s final play. 

God’s Pottery Saves The World

God’s Pottery Saves The World

It is an absolute delight to be able to report that Jeremiah Smallchild and Gideon Lamb have returned to the den of iniquity, incontinence, drug-peddling and pederasty that is the … 

Killer Joe

Killer Joe

The author’s mother is responsible for the above quote. 

Chav! It’s a Musical Innit

Chav! It’s a Musical Innit

Edinburgh show titles are fascinating. 

Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead

Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead

In 1966, when the only definition of a hard drive was the jaunt to Edinburgh from London with a dodgy minibus full of props and costumes, and the beer at the venues was tuppence a … 

The Concert for Lavert - God’s Pottery

The Concert for Lavert - God’s Pottery

These two Jesus loving friends are here from across the pond on a mission, to raise money to help a little boy with terminal cancer. 

Apollo/Dionysus

Apollo/Dionysus

The Dead, in the form of actors Andrew Oliveira and Jonny Iron caused quite a stir at the C venue launch when they turned up naked to promote this show. 

Everyone Should Have A Gun

Everyone Should Have A Gun

Hayley Shillito and Laura Taylor spend the whole of this piece from Horizon Arts dressed in black and joined together by a piece of long elastic. 

Cast Aside

Cast Aside

The young students of Ankle Productions have a mission statement in the program which says they want to appeal to those who favour content over style and want to laugh at “uber-th… 

Lies Have Been Told

Lies Have Been Told

The highest tribute I can pay to this one man play about the notorious Robert Maxwell is that I really felt I had spent ninety minutes in the media tycoon’s presence. 

Food

Food

It seems unfair compare this with some of the other offerings on the Fringe. 

Up The Gary

Up The Gary

Given the subject matter of this piece from Bad Penny Theatre the start couldn’t be more chilling. 

My Dearest Byron

My Dearest Byron

The presentation of this piece, from the costumes, to the elaborate “love letter” style of the press release, is top notch. 

Purgatory

Purgatory

In their press release Blank Theatre Company describe this rarely performed one-act play by Yeats as a “haunting scene of tragic intensity”. 

Pains Of Youth

Pains Of Youth

Captain Theatre’s production of this rarely performed piece is stylishly designed and features some committed performances. 

JFK – The Musical

JFK – The Musical

Z Theatre company are a bunch of schoolgirls who sing very nicely and try to put a new spin on the Kennedy assassination. 

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin

This is an established production of Mike Maron Productions’ take on the book. 

The Hood

The Hood

The audience is confronted initially with two men tied to chairs, with hessian sacks over their heads. 

The Goodies Still Rule OK!

The Goodies Still Rule OK!

I am of the generation lucky enough to grow up with the Goodies and Monty Python. 

Midnight Cowboy

Midnight Cowboy

Writer Tim Fountain has gone back to James Leo Herlihy’s novel for this adaptation of the tale of a naïve and well meaning hustler’s experiences in New York in the 70’s. 

Doctor Faustus

Doctor Faustus

Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus is notoriously hard to stage. 

My Brother and I Are Porn Stars

My Brother and I Are Porn Stars

Jan van Beek and Jonathan Brugh bill themselves as the Van Brugh family, and when this piece begins with them playing a very young brother and sister who talk about sucking cocks … 

Boom Bang-A-Bang

Boom Bang-A-Bang

“When you’re bored with Hampstead Heath you’re bored with life”. 

Vocation of a Whore

Vocation of a Whore

There’s a truly international flavour to this presentation by Teatro dei Borgia, written by Italian Natalia Capra, directed by her countryman Gianpiero Borgia and performed by Nor… 

An Asylum On Every Corner

An Asylum On Every Corner

Modus Operandi have chosen an unlikely subject for this new musical by writer/director James Michalos – mental health. 

Talk Radio

Talk Radio

This version of Eric Bergosian’s mid-eighties tale of one broadcast in the life of trail blazing shock jock Barry Champlain is one of the most hyped in this year’s festival. 

Flood

Flood

Modest proposals’ have staged an atmospheric and mildly disturbing premiere of this surreal Gunter Grass play. 

Jack The Lad

Jack The Lad

The poster for Perfume Productions’ presentation of this new play by Matt Harris is one of the most eye-catching and provocative, asking “Have You Been To A Male Prostitute?” I… 

The Macbeth Conspiracy

The Macbeth Conspiracy

You know you’re not in for a conventional approach to the Scottish Tragedy when the “Tomorrow, and tomorrow and tomorrow” speech opens proceedings. 

Lady Chatterley's Lover

Lady Chatterley's Lover

Kangaroo Court have devised and interesting take on DH Lawrence’s notorious tale of illicit love between the classes. 

Black Comedy

Black Comedy

Dreamwalk productions are a young talented group of sixth form and gap year students who have brought Peter Shaffer’s ingenious piece to the Fringe. 

Aeneas Faversham

Aeneas Faversham

Penny Dreadfuls are a comedy troupe with a difference – all of the sketches are set in Victorian England. 

Help I’m A Teenager, Get Me Out Of Here!

Help I’m A Teenager, Get Me Out Of Here!

This lively bunch of performers from Kett Sixth Form College in Norwich have put together a piece of theatre about the dangers of over indulging in alcohol. 

Bouncers

Bouncers

John Godber’s work had always found a home at the Festival Fringe where he has directed and produced it himself and where many young theatre groups have also taken it on. 

Dolly West’s Kitchen

Dolly West’s Kitchen

This gentle comedy is set in Buncrana, County Donegal, just across the border from Northern Ireland, between 1943 and 1945, the last two years of what the Irish called “The Emerge… 

Point of Yes

Point of Yes

Beginning in the East End of Glasgow in 1979 when major supplies of heroin first appeared on the streets (and Margaret Thatcher on the steps of Number Ten), stand up comedian and w… 

Lizzie Roper in Peccadillo Circus

Lizzie Roper in Peccadillo Circus

Lizzie Roper is a very funny stand up and talented actress. 

The Importance of Being Earnest

The Importance of Being Earnest

I was unable to obtain any information or a cast list prior to this show, so apologies to the young American actors who have a brave stab at Wilde’s classic, thought by many to be… 

The Trial

The Trial

Cambridge ADC have made a brave stab at this difficult piece. 

Bloggers – Real Internet Diaries

Bloggers – Real Internet Diaries

Writer/director Oliver Mann has constructed this show entirely from edited extracts of internet blogs, and Connected Theatre crack through the snippets of the lives of eleven blogg… 

The China Vase

The China Vase

Bernie Kavanagh’s anti-war play, presented by Feet and Fingers TC, has a brilliant premise. 

The Gaydar Diaries

The Gaydar Diaries

Once upon a time gay men had to leave the house to find each other. 

Othello

Othello

Going to see Shakespeare done by a youth theatre doesn’t necessarily fill one’s soul with gleeful expectation. 

Metamorphosis

Metamorphosis

There was a time when the Fringe was awash with Berkoff plays. 

A Murder Of Crows

A Murder Of Crows

It’s difficult to gauge how the audience is supposed to react to this tale of a bungled heist presented by Crumpet Theatre Company.