Mary Beard: He-he-he! What Made the Ancient Romans Laugh?

Mary Beard: He-he-he! What Made the Ancient Romans Laugh?

Mary Beard is an unlikely rockstar. Her one-off lecture at the Assembly Rooms attracted one of the biggest audiences I’ve seen at this year’s Fringe, some of them showing up half an hour in advance to get a seat close to the front... 

Sonics in Duum

Sonics in Duum

As one of many circus shows visiting Edinburgh this month, Sonics in Duum has some pretty stiff competition. So while their gymnastic abilities are top-notch, this company of acrobats and dancers simply does not have the showmanship to measure up... 

The God That Comes

The God That Comes

It takes a hell of a lot of stage presence to pull of a one-man cabaret musical inspired by Euripides’ The Bacchae, but Hawksley Workman is certainly up to the task.Opening with a tipsy precis of the original story of the Bacchae - a repressed and angry king is tricked by the god of wine, resulting in the king being torn limb from limb by a crowd of drunk and horny worshippers - Workman launches into a gripping and witty elaboration on the myth, moving between the three main roles of the God, the King, and his mother and his own wry persona as a storyteller... 

Michelangelo Drawing Blood

Michelangelo Drawing Blood

Michelangelo Drawing Blood explores the artist’s fascination with the male form, partly inspired by his sketches for the unfinished fresco The Battle of Cascina. Melding video art, live music played on renaissance instruments and a physical performance from two dancers representing Michelangelo and the male bodies seen in his sketches, this show provides us with an atmospheric mix between modern and historical art forms... 

Riders

Riders

Lenka Vagnerová and Company have two shows on at this year’s Fringe, Riders and La Loba. Choreographed by Vagnerová and performed by five dancers, Riders is smart, urgent, and a pleasure to watch... 

Marcel Vol. I – Italian Politics as a Work of Art

Marcel Vol. I – Italian Politics as a Work of Art

Marcel Vol I explores the topic of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s sex scandals, portrayed in the form of an absurdist nightmare.The audience is greeted by what feels like an ominously un-self-aware parody of performance art: a group of people dressed all in black, solemnly snapping their fingers and making repetitive physical gestures while sitting underneath a naked, decapitated mannequin wearing a leather harness and a horse’s head... 

No Name

No Name

Playwright and screenwriter Jeffrey Hatcher has a long career writing historical dramas, including Stage Beauty and The Duchess. No Name is his latest work, an adaptation of the 19th century novel by Wilkie Collins... 

Cirque Tsuki: Feast

Cirque Tsuki: Feast

Cirque Tsuki: Feast plays with the old tales of 1001 Arabian Nights, exploring multiple interlocking stories-within-stories. As a piece of storytelling theatre this works relatively well, engaging with the audience and adding some humorous and gender-bending sparkle to familiar fairytales like Aladdin... 

Eden Gate

Eden Gate

Eden Gate is very much like stepping into a post-apocalyptic sci-fi movie. Various familiar dystopian tropes can be found here: the deadly plague, the mysteriously secretive scientific research facility and a growing sense of paranoia among the survivors... 

Darling Ghost

Darling Ghost

Darling Ghost is a collaboration between singer and pianist Sheena Bernett, four woodwind musicians and two spoken word performers, bringing what they describe as “theatrical anti-punk” to the calm, relaxed venue of St Mark’s Unitarian Church... 

re:Fujisan

re:Fujisan

Japanese dance company LaN-T003 have been to the Fringe several times before, bringing with them an eccentric blend of video art, physical theatre and quirky slapstick. Unfortunately, this year’s offering was not quite as fresh nor as coherent as previous efforts... 

This is Contemporary Ice Skating

This is Contemporary Ice Skating

Most of us have only ever been exposed to ice skating through the Winter Olympics, which is kind of like living in a world where the only readily-available form of dance is ballet... 

The Greatest Liar in All the World

The Greatest Liar in All the World

Familia de la Noche take the story of Pinocchio and turn it on its head, with the former puppet boy as the titular “greatest liar in the world.” After all, what did happen to Pinocchio after he became a real boy? Presumably he grew up and lived as a normal man, but most of the popular retellings tend to stop before that happens... 

Critical! (A Sociopath’s Guide to Influencing Edinburgh Fringe Reviewers)

Critical! (A Sociopath’s Guide to Influencing Edinburgh Fringe Reviewers)

How to review a Fringe show whose cast kidnaps and threatens a theatre critic at gunpoint? Will any positive comments be interpreted as surrendering to the demands of terrorists? Will anything negative be interpreted as cattiness?Critical! (A Sociopath’s Guide to Influencing Edinburgh Fringe Reviewers) is one for the die-hard Fringe-goers, or at least for people who want to be... 

You, Me and the World

You, Me and the World

You know that scene in every crime show ever, when the police finally show up at the serial killer’s lair to find a treasure trove of strange, coded messages pinned to the walls? Well, the venue for You, Me and the World is very reminiscent of that... 

KlangHaus

KlangHaus

With over 3000 shows descending on Edinburgh this month, the city is attempting to squeeze a Fringe venue out of every possible space available. In some cases this results in a gimmicky setting that doesn’t really add to the show’s appeal, but KlangHaus benefits hugely from its unusual choice of venue: the Small Animal Hospital at Summerhall... 

Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind

Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind

Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind has been running in various iterations since 1988, with an ever-changing roster of extremely short “plays.” 30 plays in 60 minutes, to be exact, although don’t allow that premise to fool you into thinking this is sketch comedy... 

Pentimento

Pentimento

One of the perils of confessional theatre is that you may end up paying to witness someone airing their dirty laundry. When a play is overtly based on the writer’s real-life experiences, are we in for a dose of gratuitous navel-gazing or some real insight? In the case of Pentimento, this is not a major concern...