Sheeps: Live and Loud Selfie Sex Harry Potter

Sheeps: Live and Loud Selfie Sex Harry Potter

Sheeps are officially back, following previous acclaim and an underground status as one of the Fringe's finest sketch groups and then a three year sebatical. Perhaps temporarily... 

Ciarán Dowd: Don Rodolfo

Ciarán Dowd: Don Rodolfo

Don Rodolfo opens his debut fringe hour duelling with an unseen coat rack. Whilst his lookalike Ciaran Dowd may have years of experience performing with perenially-underrated sketch trio Beasts at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, this is a new experience for the latin lothario swordsman Don Rodolfo... 

Sarah Keyworth: Dark Horse

Sarah Keyworth: Dark Horse

Dark Horse covers lots of ground and it is evidently the result of Keyworth tirelessly exploring multiple comic avenues. The hour touches on gender, sexuality, the comedian's childhood, and her current job being a nanny to two children from a very wealthy family, but it is well-structured and never spreads itself too thinly... 

The Basement Tapes

The Basement Tapes

Cleaning out her grandmother's old basement after her death, amongst the usual detritus a woman finds a tape recorder and an accompanying tape which tells the kind of story usually reserved for The Twilight Zone... 

Kate Berlant: Communikate

Kate Berlant: Communikate

A master of audience coersion, Kate Berlant mines her best material from audience response rather than her own resources. There are times when it seems as though she is resting on stock replies to an audience member denying she is actually psychic, but it is equally evident that Berlant is a hugely talented improviser who spins funny and engaging material from almost any audience response... 

Legacy: A Mother's Song

Legacy: A Mother's Song

Legacy: A Mother's Song, one of two devised musicals under the 'Legacy' banner at this year's Edinburgh Festival Fringe, is the distinctly less crowd-pleasing of the pair. Whilst there is no need to see A Mother's Song in order to comprehend The Book Of Names and vice versa, they do make for an interesting comparison piece when placed side-by-side... 

John-Luke Roberts: All I Wanna Do Is [FX: GUNSHOTS] With a [FX: GUN RELOADING] and a [FX: CASH REGISTER] and Perform Some Comedy!

John-Luke Roberts: All I Wanna Do Is [FX: GUNSHOTS] With a [FX: GUN RELOADING] and a [FX: CASH REGISTER] and Perform Some Comedy!

John-Luke Roberts is, for a certaint quotient, one of the staples of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Plugging away for years in various Free Fringe venues doing critically-acclaimed shows but failling to break through into the mainstream, one can only assume that the handsome, charismatic Roberts only stayed on the fringes of the Fringe through either voluntary force of will or deliberately alienating material... 

Rose Matafeo: Horndog

Rose Matafeo: Horndog

As the audience file in Rose Matafeo is playing table tennis with members of the front row, in a gimmick that does not factor into the later story at any point. This transparent effort to endear herself to the audience as literally approachable is one that pays off, breaking down the initial barrier between comedian and crowd and allowing Matafeo to thrive off the energy of the vocal audience... 

Heather and Harry

Heather and Harry

Heather and Harry is a romantic yarn detailing the story of Heather, an angel cast out of heaven by her misogynist rapping boyfriend Zeus, of Greek mythology fame. Your opinion of this show will likely depend on your tolerance for the phrase "misogynist rapping boyfriend Zeus" – but if that sounds to you like the richly enjoyable fun that it is, then Stumble Trip Theatre have plenty more for you with their hour of clowning in Heather and Harry... 

Tessa Waters: Fully Sik

Tessa Waters: Fully Sik

Tessa Waters is an experienced Fringe act, falling into a large group of fantastically-exuberant physical comedians who enliven any number of venues from large to small over the month with a mixture of clowning, audience banter and swift one-liners... 

The Worst Little Warehouse in London

The Worst Little Warehouse in London

The Worst Little Warehouse In London is crammed into The Box, which appears to be an actual shipping crate housed in Assembly Gardens. Such a location could not be more appropriate a place to house Lala Barlow and Robbie Smith, the real life couple that tell the audience the story of their first year in London and the roommates they lived with in a manner that packs a lot of weight onto their shoulders... 

Demi Lardner: I Love Skeleton

Demi Lardner: I Love Skeleton

Demi Lardner feels the need, at one point in their most recent show, to unveil a banner listing their previous accomplishments and awards they have won. This is presented alongside a series of self-depracating laughs at technical errors and admonishing of the welcoming audience applauding their routines... 

Legacy: The Book of Names

Legacy: The Book of Names

At first glance The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland's two collaborative productions with the American Music Theatre Project may seem remarkably similar to last year's pair. Two tales of the journey between Scotland and America, bridging the gap between the nations in a manner similar to the collaborative nature of their creation... 

Elf Lyons: ChiffChaff

Elf Lyons: ChiffChaff

Elf Lyons should be feeling pretty good right now. Although she does have to top a nomination for Best Show at last year's Fringe Festival, she is still in one of the major venues at the Fringe during peak time whilst performing to fair-sized audiences... 

The Half Moon Shania

The Half Moon Shania

Punk and theatre aren't the strangest of bedfellows, but there is something that often feels false when collectives of art school graduates and professionally-trained actors attempt to go rock 'n' roll for the evening... 

Shower Thoughts

Shower Thoughts

The bathroom of a student flat is not a place you'd want to spend 5 minutes, let alone an hour. Often unhygenic, unclean and coated in everything from shaving foam to old pizza boxes, they are not an enjoyable place to be... 

Assassins

Assassins

Assassins is a show of rich thematic complexity, difficult harmonies and challenging characterisation. Performers are asked to get inside the minds of would-be presidential murderers and audiences need to be convinced that they are allowed to enjoy these criminals portrayed as all-singing and all-dancing... 

Lucy Pearman: Fruit Loop

Lucy Pearman: Fruit Loop

There are too many shows at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. With literally thousands to choose from (admittedly mostly about Donald Trump or Brexit), it is increasingly difficult to navigate your way through the experimental theatre and the sketch comedy to find the right niche for you... 

Where the Hell is Bernard?

Where the Hell is Bernard?

Dystopia is a tricky subject matter to get right in a world obsessed with its own destruction as our current one. The well has perhaps run dry for bleak future worlds in which we eek out existence in the presence of a tyrannical overlord, a plotline popularised in science fiction through the 1970s in films such as Invasion Of The Body Snatchers... 

Showmanship

Showmanship

At first sight it would seem that Boondog Theatre's latest outing at the Edinburgh Fringe is somewhat ironically titled. Transferring from the crate they were packed in at Pleasance last year to the more intimate C Venues space, there is something inappropriate about the title Showmanship when one is being hurried down the corridor of a large hotel to a small box room and seated in front of a basic set up of two chairs, a table and a few candles... 

Demi Lardner: Look What You Made Me Do

Demi Lardner: Look What You Made Me Do

Despite the title, it’s quite clear from this hour of absurdist comedy that nobody is making Australian cult comic star Demi Lardner do anything. If there is one comedian who succeeds without ever compromising her unique sense of humour, it’s Demi... 

Sam Simmons A-K

Sam Simmons A-K

Sam Simmons is a dad now. This is a sentence which will fill any fan of Simmons’ onstage persona with terror as the abrasive, manic clown who has terrorised the Fringe repeatedly over the past few years doesn’t seem like the kind of person you’d want raising a child... 

Steen Raskopoulos – The Coolest Kid in Competitive Chess

Steen Raskopoulos – The Coolest Kid in Competitive Chess

Steen Raskopoulos makes no effort to be cool on stage. This is a wise decision in a show heavily based on audience interaction, as he repeatedly makes the crowd feel comfortable interacting with him in the multiple sketches that require their help... 

Zoe Coombs Marr: Trigger Warning

Zoe Coombs Marr: Trigger Warning

Comedians regularly perpetuate the idea that they sacrifice part of themselves for their art. As humble as many claim to be, and as much as they deride their counterparts in the theatre for talking about the price one pays to make art, comedians are often the first to cite the tragic clown as a metaphorical representation of themselves... 

Seanmhair

Seanmhair

The initial experience one is met with when the lights dim for Seanmhair (pronounced shen-a-var) is breathtaking. Flashes of light, dazzling expressive actors, intense dialogue delivered at breakneck speed as moments of levity are sprinkled amongst the drama effortlessly and sometimes so quickly the audience don’t catch them all... 

Party Game

Party Game

“What did you expect? This is immersive theatre.” One of the performers said, shattering the fourth wall in an unscripted moment about halfway through this 90-minute mixture of songs, dancing and quirky party games... 

Double Denim

Double Denim

Double Denim haven’t made their fringe debut easy for themselves, starting their show at nearly midnight and performing in perhaps the ugliest room in any of the major venues. The atmosphere cultivated by the Gilded Balloon Billiard Room resembles that of the rec hall on a budget cruise ship and the crowd that is watching this show are a mix of the too tired and the too drunk... 

Butt Kapinski

Butt Kapinski

When a show’s success or failure supposedly rests almost entirely on the skills and willingness of its audience, the trust and confidence placed between performer and viewer is terrifying from both directions... 

Wild Bore

Wild Bore

For a theatre piece to be perfect for some people, it has to be horrible for others. There is no way to create art that some find beautiful without others finding it offensive and lacking in merit... 

The Establishment: Eton Mess

The Establishment: Eton Mess

Satire can often be found at the root of absurdism. Usually when the world gets too unusual to be commented on accurately through traditional means, artists look to surreal narratives and comedy to express astute views... 

Gein's Family Giftshop: Volume 3

Gein's Family Giftshop: Volume 3

Sketch comedy is the medium in which an original voice is most important in order to be successful. Without the same club route that stand-ups have, a sketch comedy troupe’s only real chance of lasting success is to be picked up for a television/radio pilot and become a brand in their own right... 

The North

The North

The North is as hostile, unforgiving and beautiful as the land to which it dedicates its hour-long runtime. As an audience member unfamiliar with the tenets of physical theatre, one should not expect The North to go easy on the uninitiated... 

Tessa Coates: Primates

Tessa Coates: Primates

Putting on a Fringe show is, for any performer, a risky endeavour. Costing almost a year’s supply of time and money, taking chances with the cumulative creative effort of months of work is perhaps something that shouldn’t be accepted or required to create a great Fringe show... 

Atlantic: America and the Great War

Atlantic: America and the Great War

There is beautiful music at the heart of Atlantic: America & The Great War. The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland have done an excellent job putting together a show that sounds epic, intimate and touching throughout... 

A Super Happy Story (About Feeling Super Sad)

A Super Happy Story (About Feeling Super Sad)

A Super Happy Story (About Feeling Super Sad) is about a woman’s struggle with depression, told through a simple, storytelling format and soundtracked by original music from Frisky and Mannish’s usually excellent Matthew Floyd Jones... 

Bec Hill: Out of Order

Bec Hill: Out of Order

To a comedian, the structure of their Fringe hour is often held too preciously. With pleasantries at the beginning, some foreshadowing, some shorter jokes, some longer anecdotes and a liberal sprinkle of “heartfelt sincerity”, many shows at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe come attached with a worrying level of factory line sentimentality... 

Jane Doe

Jane Doe

Nobody wants to be lectured. That phrase suggests being sat, face down at your desk, with a monotoned teacher informing you in thorough detail just how the Roman Empire came to power... 

Goody

Goody

Nestled in what seems, somewhat appropriately, to be a shipping container in the Pleasance Courtyard, two creatures on a journey with no origin point or destination try to figure each other out... 

The End, the End, the End…

The End, the End, the End…

The amount a show takes liberties with narrative should be directly compensated by how much it has to say. The End, The End, The End... is a thoroughly baffling piece of work that, though admirable in the quality of its performers and technical team, doesn’t delve nearly deep enough or clearly enough into its subject matter to warrant being essentially an hour of disjointed, occasionally powerful, often confusing scenes... 

Into the Woods

Into the Woods

Fairytales don’t really make much sense. Designed to be as simple as possible in order to be told without the need for cumbersome text or complex detail, they are all iconic in that very simplicity... 

The Nature of Forgetting

The Nature of Forgetting

What’s more important when telling a compelling story of human emotion, feeling or narrative? The answer to this is largely dependent on the viewer’s personal preferences as to how an emotional response is best brought up in them...