Who isn't a sucker for a good production company name? That's right - no one. But the sad truth is it's becoming harder and harder to think of a good name as more and more companies saturate the genre. Memorable companies past include Single Carrot Theater and Elevator Repair Services, but what gems have the producers of #edfringe 2014 come up with? We sent Features Editor James T Harding though the theatre section of the Fringe programme to find out.
I like a Theatro de Ravenous Flea much as the next Fringegoer. But having just been through the whole Theatre section of the Fringe guide to pick out production company names, I am very much over it.
17. Unleash the Llama
A certain class of teen-at-heart is going to be all over this. I imagine that's exactly what UTL were going for.
Nougat for Kings
‘Lotta people didn't know who I was for a long time, but now, no cat will ever forget my name’. If you crave sexy, swashbuckling, scandalous action, this new blaxploitation drama guarantees to put your ass in traction. When Caecilius Clay returns from the New World to avenge his brother, fraternal feud erupts in a chase from the seediest of opium dens to Her Majesty's court. Tarantino meets Tartuffe in Nougat for Kings: farce at its finest. Double the bodacity, twice the tenacity, more tantalising than two tangy totalitarian titties! 'You stay cool. Your humours be janglin’.'
16. Deadpan Theatre
I'm in love.
Low Tide in Glass Bay
Karen and Bronnie drink, joke and shortcut their way through life where their greatest crises are unresolved takeaways and low tides in their wine glasses. They are blissfully conscience-free even at their most destructive. Important life lessons of love and Clearasil need to be learnt as past and future collide. It might finally be time to sober up and take life seriously. ‘Deadpan Theatre, a strong and ambitious team with natural wit who are heading for the heights of comic success. Imaginative and fantastically observed, this is stage-based situation comedy at its very best’ (Epigram).
15. Produced Moon
I'm choosing to interpret this in the buttock-displaying way and I am not ashamed.
Edinburgh, 2017. The city has been brought to a sudden standstill by the outbreak of a deadly virus. The disease has since claimed millions of lives. At GTNV, we have been working tirelessly to bring you Eden Gate, a sanctuary where we are working with survivors to rebuild civilisation. Offering shelter and a new beginning to anyone who can find their way to Eden Gate, GTNV need your help. Produced Moon follow their sell-out 2013 show, The Hawke Papers, with another thrilling immersive experience. A young company pushing the boundaries of theatre. Come and play...
14. Elsewhere and Otherwise
You which? Running aside a drink seventh. Many written bistro connection I legs.
Hyde & Seek
15 years after his Fringe First nominated play Ultimate Islands, ‘beautifully written, sensitive and intelligent’ (Scotsman), Michael Daviot revisits Robert Louis Stevenson. Inspired by a childhood nightmare caused by Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, this show is part biography, part autobiography. For 50 years Stevenson and his work have woven through Michael's life in good times and bad; he uses this story to intimately and unflinchingly explore family, memory, identity, addiction, mental health and the many faces of Mr Hyde. Warning: contains live fiddle-playing. Teamed with Peppermint Muse's Altamont and Lavender Junction.
13. Organised Crime Theatre Company
It was a toss up between this one and Inside Intelligence. Sorry, Intel!
A darkly comic monologue by DC Moore (Alaska, The Empire) exploring the lies we tell and the fallout when the truth is revealed. One man's addiction to honesty leads to a late-night London journey that spirals out of control. Performed by Conor Mannion. Directed by Peter Jackson. Praise for Organised Crime’s ‘Pornography’, 2012: ‘Mannion is fantastic, switching mood and pace with exceptional fluidity’ (EdFringeReview.com). ‘An electrifying production’ ‘exceptionally talented cast’ **** (EdFringeReview.com). ‘The acting is impeccable’ **** (BroadwayBaby.com).
12. Cog & Sprocket
I just looked it up, and a sprocket is a type of cogwheel that meshes with a chain instead of another cog. Who said the Fringe wasn't educational?
Three actors, one hour... Denmark will never be the same. The tragedy of Hamlet as you have never seen it before. Premiering in 2014, a brand new look at Shakespeare's tragic tale of revenge, ambition and majesty the tragedy of Hamlet the Prince of Denmark, adapted and directed by Jo Marsh. Performed by three actors, this fast paced, multimedia production is set in a futuristic dystopia where everyone is being watched and secrets are not kept for long. With original music by Canadian musician un.
11. Tortoise in a Nushell
I see what they did there. Crafty.
Fringe First Award winner, Total Theatre Award nominee and sell-out show 2013 returns for eleven shows only. Joe looks back at his childhood home and traces its journey from idyllic seaside town to community gripped by anarchy. Combining puppetry, immersive soundscapes and multimedia technology, multi award-winning company Tortoise in a Nutshell build an entire world in front of the audience's eyes. 'Sophisticated and highly entertaining. The level of detail here is extraordinary' **** (Times). 'Mesmerisingly inventive... technically, visually, aurally and politically, it's a tremendous show' **** (Scotsman). 'A genuinely exciting young company brimful of ideas' (Guardian). www.madeinscotlandshowcase.com
10. Surface of a Bubble
This would make a good title for a love poem, or something about the transience of Internet journalism.
In the Surface of a Bubble
What if all it took to make something true was to think it? The girl with the most imagination falls in love with the boy with the least and together they create a new reality where no one need suffer ever again. Inspired by animé and martial art films, Lecoq trained Surface Of A Bubble use puppetry, masks, capoeira, kung-fu and live music to reveal how the universe came to be and why our dreams are locked inside our heads. Contains puppet violence.
9. Les Enfants Terribles
I first saw one of this troupe's shows back in 2011 and I've never forgotten it, or their name. A delightful company.
Ernest and the Pale Moon
Award-winning Les Enfants Terribles return to Edinburgh for the 13th year with their acclaimed hit show, adapted for the stage with Pins and Needles. Inspired by the works of Poe and Hitchcock, Ernest is a spine-chilling tale of obsession and murder from the team behind The Trench. Ernest spends his days watching the beautiful young woman who lives in the apartment opposite. Upon seeing her with another man he is thrown into a jealous rage and driven to murder, though all is not what it seems and slowly Ernest's guilt sends him plummeting into madness.
Dr Longitude's Marvellous Imaginary Menagerie
Roll up for the most magnifical, tremendible and fantasticulous experience in town! Ever wanted to count a Decapus' legs? Or wondered what a Whistling Pank eats? Would you like to catch a glimpse of the fabled 'Massive Paw', lick a Tresillian toad? Or see a cow that looks like Brian May? Then you've come to the right place! Dr Longitude and his team of 'experts' are here to guide you through a puppet-packed, ludicrously lyrical and magically musical tour of the Imaginary Menagerie's finest exhibits. From the acclaimed award-winning creators of The Terrible Infants.
8. Sh!t Theatre
You might as well be honest about it, I suppose. Though I have no reason to think this company is indeed of inferior quality.
Guinea Pigs on Trial
Sh!t Theatre have decent bodies. They are trying to sell them. Pharmaceutical trials such as Flu Camp are being marketed to job seekers and students as a way of making money, essentially turning poor people into guinea pigs. Delving into the murky ethics of Big Pharma, broke Sh!t Theatre ask: is guinea-pigging a good cure for an empty bank account? And what happens when profit takes priority in the creation of medicine? Using song, satire, spoken word and movement, Sh!t Theatre follow up their multi-award-winning show Job Seekers Anonymous 2013.
7. Whisky Anorak
I'm picturing one of those helmets with beer cans strapped to it, only with an anorak of whisky. Extra points for spelling whisky the Scottish way and not "whiskey" as certain other production companies have done.
Bad Boys: Whisky Theatre
A romp through the bits of the whisky industry that didn't quite go to plan. It's more than tartan and kilts you know! Light-hearted storytelling and tutored whisky tasting - the Whisky Anorak way.
6. Peppermint Muse
Faintly existential, and no doubt handy after a heavy night of wearing the Whisky Anorak (see No. 7).
As dusk descends on the Rolling Stones' free festival, celebration turns to carnage bringing the 60s peace and love ethos to a violent end. Joe's belief in the power of music is put to the test as he becomes caught up in the crazy events of this often forgotten landmark concert. From hippy dancing chicks to terrifying Hell's Angels, Altamont is one man's experience of life, death and music. Teamed with Peppermint Muse's Lavender Junction and Hyde & Seek. 'A remarkable and inspiring performance - a virtuoso production of a moving and perceptive play' (Herts Advertiser).
Set against the fascinating backdrop of colonial India and inspired by a true story, this evocative suitcase of warm and witty memories journeys through living, learning and loving. During the waning years of the British Raj an ordinary woman shares her innermost thoughts and feelings whilst drawing on the extraordinary sights, sounds and symbols of a mysterious land and a rich tapestry of characters. Uplifting, timeless and deeply human. Teamed with Altamont, and Hyde and Seek from Peppermint Muse. 'Long may they continue to produce works as fascinating and thought-provoking' (Herts Advertiser).
5. Joint winners: Blazing Grannies / Fast Parson Theatre
I'd say these are the most successful examples of the Unexpected Adjective/Noun pairing forumula we've got this year.
Others of this type include Flaming Locomotive, Purple Penguin Productions, Scruffy Penguin (penguins are very 'in' this year), Triple Fish Theatre Company, Fourth Monkey Theare Company (great guys, incidentally), Big Squirrel Productions, Blazing Hyenea Theatre Company, Jealous Whale Theatre, Hungry Wolf, Blind Elephant, Fire Donkey Productions, Black Dingo Productions, and Coughing Sheep.
It works, as formulas go. I like a Theatro de Ravenous Flea much as the next Fringegoer. But having just been through the whole Theatre section of the Fringe guide to pick out production company names, I am very much over it. No more Hyperactive Seagull Productionses, please.
King David's Wives
Blazing Grannies’ F.Mary Callan returns to Edinburgh, after her 3 * and 4 * debut last year. King David's Wives, her new one-woman show, brings us a cavalcade of distraught wives and grizzled courtiers, recounting David's exploits from bandit chief to respected elder statesman. Accompanist Libby Redman creates shifting moods. Simple songs explore women's strategies for coping with tragedy and change. In the background loom the big questions: what is God's role and who will inherit the kingdom? A gentle yet challenging hour, with two great performers.
The Curious Incident of the Frog in my Sightline
Otkas awakes one morning to discover a world made up entirely of frog. Into this nightmarish situation comes Posil, an amateur herpetologist with a penchant for amphibians, and together they begin to fumble towards an explanation for (and hopefully solution to) their shared predicament. The Curious Incident of the Frog in My Sightline is a brand new absurdist play from the creative team behind Emotion Pictures' Last Petal Falling: ‘Beautiful’ (Phill Jupitus), ‘undeniably powerful stuff’ **** (Iain Martin, ThreeWeeks); and is brought to you by Fringe first-timers Fast Parson Theatre.
4. The Egg Theatre Company
Believe it or not, there are three egg-themed production companies this year. The other two are ThisEgg and Eggs Collective. I decided to go for The Egg Theatre Company because it seemed the most authentic.
A collaboratively devised creative adaptation of Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray in a high impact Berkovian style, putting a new spin on the classic tale of the pursuit of hedonism and the destruction of the human soul. Performed by six promising young actors from Dorset.
3. Drama Queens
This company does what it says on the tin. I respect that.
Who's your best friend? Need more time to think about it? Me too. When two women meet, they provide support for each other. Sometimes. And sometimes they have more chance of growing polystyrene horns. What do you need if the road gets rough and the going gets tough? A cushion for your derrière, or some poor soul to sit on? Let’s stick to the cushion, eh?
2. Everything I Own
From the "Buy This Pamphlet so I Can Pay My Plumber" school of titling (that title from the poet Sophia Walker).
Somebody I Used to Know
Does technology really bring us closer together? At fourteen Claire met best friend, Andrew. They bonded over The Simpsons, Mario Kart and Marlboro Reds. Before long they were inseparable. As is so often the case with childhood friends, their lives took different directions and they eventually drifted apart. It's been six years since they last saw each other... Explore how we connect with the people we care about in this unique, personal and interactive one-on-one experience. A chance to remember those we have almost forgotten. 'A talent to keep an eye on' (List).
1. Inside I'm a Mermaid
If these guys's show had anything to do with mermaid, I wouldn't respect them as much. But as it is, their production company name is gloriously irrelevant and totally opaque. 11/10, and best of luck with your show!
The Little Leaf
One day, a curious little girl stumbles across a lonely little leaf, hiding in her attic. The pair quickly become friends, and set off on a journey to the end of the world. They build a boat, and sail down winding rivers, gushing waterfalls, and vast seas. Our two explorers face many challenges and obstacles along the way, but although they may be small in size, together they find courage they need to survive their voyage. This is the story of how the unlikeliest of friendships can lead to the most extraordinary of adventures.