Character comedy is a difficult discipline at the best of times and, with a trope as thoroughly picked-over as the oblivious action-hero, it asks at lot from a performer to find so…
Searching through the Fringe guide for a show worth seeing is a job that could perhaps be likened to archaeology – you spend hours carefully probing, sorting the dross from the d…
There are books which are called seminal largely because so many people have read them.
One of the most valuable functions of theatre is to offer us a way to explore difficult issues without fear of blame without fear of censure.
As a huge number of the entries in the Fringe programme could tell you, the life of a stand-up is a tough one – hours and hours of unpaid work just to get a decent set together a…
One of the hardest calls for a reviewer to make is where to draw the line between production and play.
An enigmatic title is the hallmark of many Fringe shows – I’m sure no one knows quite what to expect from Duckpond: An Element of Mystery in Umpteen Samples or Lights Over Tesc…
Though now a household name thanks to a semi-final place in last year’s Britain’s Got Talent, singing impressionist Jess Robinson is a familiar face of the Fringe.
In For A Penny is Libby McArthur’s true-life tale of the unforeseen consequences of an unpaid parking ticket - how one person can fall foul of a system that sees only the facts a…
If there’s one thing the majority of people at the Fringe can empathise with, it’s how hard the life of a jobbing actor can be.
Home is a powerful concept.
With the advent of the internet, smartphones and social media, today’s politics happens under an unprecedented level of scrutiny.
Free speech is a right fiercely protected in today’s society.
Much as it is a pleasure to discover a hidden gem amongst the mass of shows in Edinburgh, there’s also something very reassuring about having a list of reliable prospects.
The art of the comedic double act is a difficult one and its success largely based on chemistry between the two performers.
With Hollywood’s recent adaptation of his works, the name JRR Tolkien has come to be associated with huge spectacle and epic scope.
Victor Hugo once said “You can resist an invading army; you cannot resist an idea whose time has come.
In 2011, Charly Clive and Ellen Robertson were women without a mission.
A two-woman show starring only one woman – not a typo but the conceit at the centre of the latest show by Canadian actress and interactive artist Laurence Dauphinais.
Theatre today increasingly falls into one of two broad camps.
I’m sure we’re all used to growing the Fringe brochure and seeing shows with enigmatic titles which tell you nothing about the eventual content.
Puppet pioneers Flabbergast Theatre have made an interesting move this year, establishing their own dedicated performance space, The Omnitorium, within the confines of Assembly Ge…
The show’s stated theme is a philosophical discussion of how we end up where we end up, In actual fact this thread isn’t really followed up.
There’s a certain size and scale that one gets used to at the Fringe.
When deciding on a show to bring to the Fringe, you have two main choices: one, a piece of new writing - exciting and impactful but harder to market - or two, a take on a classic -…
Almost twenty years ago, Guy Ritchie changed the landscape of British cinema with his love letter to the charismatic psychopaths of the East End underbelly Lock, Stock and Two Smok…
New work is at the heart of the Fringe experience; new work by new companies all the more so.
Just one glance at this year’s stuffed-to-bursting wedge of a programme is enough to see that there are bewildering array of performance disciplines represented at this year’s …
The gamut of performers at Fringe brings with it a spectrum of experience; from shiny new student companies, powering forward on naive enthusiasm and off-brand energy drinks, to ve…
Improv comedy is a tricky beast - when it’s good, it’s very, very good; when it’s bad, it’s pointless.
It’s easy to get lulled by the constant flow of shows at the Fringe, to give in the mid-afternoon slump and the heavy-eyed semi-slumber.
There are some shows that you just get a good feeling about from the moment you step into the theatre.
This play tells the story of Benji and Alf, next-door neighbours becoming best friends, bonded by their love of the titular ‘Fairly Tales’.
The Fringe is a place for new discoveries – the freshest, young talent rubbing shoulders with the world’s best at their craft.
The legend of Faustus, the man who sold his soul for knowledge, wealth and power is one which has been in the public consciousness for over 500 years.
When boredom threatens at the Fringe, a hero will rise.
Despite being one of Jack London’s more obscure works, his 1915 novel The Star Rover or The Jacket is one that feels oddly contemporary.
Free Fringe comedy can be a risky prospect but it can be a risk worth taking in service of finding a night worth seeing.
Edinburgh stalwarts Dan and Jeff are back for another energetic hour and, following Potted Potter, Potted Pirates and Potted Panto, it’s the turn of Baker Street’s own Sherlock…
Science-theatre is in vogue at the moment.
As anyone who’s ever dealt with a three-year-old can tell you, keeping
their attention can be a Herculean task.
Standing centre stage in a dress and a dodgy blonde wig, Mark Grist jokes that this is what two guys with Arts Council funding really look like.
David O’Doherty is one of those rare stand-ups who is a familiar face without being plastered everywhere, who is successful without being packaged.
Billed as ‘Comedy (mime, physical theatre)’ I was a little unsure about what to expect from Kraken, but whatever it was that I had been expected was soon proven to be way out.
I’ve often wondered how Edinburgh locals truly feel about the Fringe - is it a huge party or just a massive disruption? Given the wealth of subjects from around the world being d…
There’s a sort of delicious irony to queuing for a show about rationing whilst watching one of the cast frantically stuffing their face with crisps.
Newton’s Cauldron is an unexpected gem, a brisk little piece which mixes storybook, history book and textbook deftly and amusingly.
It’s heartening to see a deserving standup successfully transfer from the Free Fringe to the larger potential audience of the mega-venues.
One of the best things about the Fringe is the energy and ingenuity of the young companies performing here and these are both words that apply perfectly to Double Edge Drama, creat…
In themselves the Beasts’ sketch personas are fairly standard; the nutcase, the buffoon and the straight man.
Lord of the Dance Settee marks Richard Herring’s 23rd Fringe show, an accumulated
Edinburgh residency of just under two years; enough, as he himself points out,
to make him mor…
As Ethel Merman famously sang in Gypsy, ‘you gotta get a gimmick
if you want to get ahead’.
There’s a particular pleasure in seeing someone do their job incredibly well.
My first clue should have been the warmup.
‘BABY/LON’, the second work by Hackney-based theatre company
The Big House, is a big story; one of homelessness, violence, motherhood on the
lowest rungs of society and the strug…
As a rule, I’m not always the biggest fan of ‘issue’ theatre.
There are two rules to improvised comedy: One, you’re only as strong as your weakest member and two, never, ever say no.
For me, female acapella is really difficult to get right.
Double act comedy is very difficult.
Slaves of the Kingdom is a new musical based around the Bible story of Moses and the Exodus and it’s one hell of an ambitious undertaking.
When you’re looking for a kids’ show at the Fringe, there are a few names which ought to be a safe bet and, of these, none more so than Roald Dahl.
I have to admit, I was not convinced by Gavin Crawford to begin with.
I’m not a morning person at the best of times.
Ivo Graham is posh.
Picture, if you will, your idea of a swing band leader.
Ensconced in an inflatable dome, in the children’s area of the Pleasance, bravely struggling through a voice ravaged by cold and flyering, Jay Foreman does not have an easy job o…
It’s likely that, when you think of France at its coolest, there are certain figures who spring to mind –Francois Truffaut, Jean-Paul Satre, Brigitte Bardot.
Christian Reilly is on a mission to save the world through music.
Rik n Mix is actually a showcase of three comedians combining their short sets to make an hour long show compered by Rik Carranza.
The Islanders tells the simple tale of a young Dorset couple, Amy and Eddie; the beginnings of their love, the slow disaster of their living together and the titanic struggle of or…
The Fringe isn’t always the best place for magic.
We see a lot of Rich Hall on panel shows these days: QI, Have I Got News For You?, Eight out of Ten Cats, Never Mind The Buzzcocks.
It’s official – science is now sexy.
Mime and physical theatre can be risky aspects of a comedy show.
Katie Goodman absolutely delivers – a gutsy comedian with a satirical side and a fairly foul mouth.
Sotho Sounds in the band’s current form is four men: cheerful front-man Khuti, guitarist Tankiso, string-player Josepha and frowning powerhouse percussionist Paseka.
Often high marks are awarded to those companies who create a new world in the theatre through their use of advanced set, puppetry, props or movement so it is good to sometimes be r…
In the right hands, theatre is an immensely powerful tool for taking large issues and bringing them down to a manageable level.
The story of the Fringe is a story of the periphery.
To a certain generation of British people, Adam Buxton is a bit of a legend.
Folk is a big deal at the moment, with bands such as Mumford and Sons bringing English traditional music to the stadium stage, while American artists such as Alison Krauss enjoy a …
Watching Ellis and Rose in the dank damp of the Bunker gives a moment of odd synchronicity.
Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.
I’m sure any fringe veteran worth their salt has had the experience of seeing a famous face from their childhood appearing out of an Edinburgh side-street to bring back a flood o…
‘Andrew and the Pony’ is, oddly enough, the story of how performer Andrew Bridges has always, since early childhood, desperately wanted a pony and of all the bizarre situations…
I often revisit companies and venues at the Fringe, simply because I know that their work works for me.
The Phill Jupitus Experiment.
My favourite thing about the Edinburgh Fringe is the sheer concentration of talent in creates in the city, an array of people with skills that I can only dream of having.
Music, video, comedy and theatre? A physical performance and an eBook? Attempting to tackle the subject of the apocalypse? From reading the show description of ‘The Flood’, you…
There are many things that make for a successful comedian.
Sketch comedy is, by its nature, a slightly hit-and-miss affair.
There’s a reason Charles Dickens’ stories endures in popularity.
We live in the age of the cultural mash-up, of old names reimagined into new forms.
Sat atop a hill in Highgate town, beneath the clouds but throned over London’s starry spread sits a gem of Fringe theatre and a pleasure unrestrained.
This summer’s clutch of blockbuster popcorn-bait has been dominated by the four colour heroes of the comic book.
On its face, ‘It’s a Puppet Life’ seems like a fairly straightforward concept.
The Camden Fringe is home to many different types of performer; opera singers, musicians, burlesque dancers and poets.
Few talents serve a stand-up better than audience rapport and I’m happy to say that Matt Tiller has it in spades.
A one-man show about a spare British poet - a challenging prospect for a sweaty Sunday in a tiny black box theatre.
God, I love talented people.
There’s something about the marriage of the arcane and the amusing, the faux Victoriana of shows like ‘Bleak Expectations’, that I always find enjoyable.
Structuring a review is basically fairly straightforward.
Palimpsest One is a bit of an odd beast.
Too often, fringe theatre can be overly serious and overly worthy.
Taking up the action with Kate’s harassment by the rakish Sir Mulberry Hawk and Nicholas and Smike’s return to London, this second half of Space Productions’ revival of the R…
Barry and Ian are two estranged brothers in their late middle-age.
One-man fringe shows tend towards extremes.
It’s a funny thing - children’s TV has changed a lot recently.
Tim FitzHigham is a true eccentric and a sucker for a challenge.
I feel a little drained after seeing this show but in the best possible way.
British folklore is packed with some of the most iconic figures anywhere in the world.
There’s a certain type of show that prompts a degree of fatigue in me.
Joe Bor stands out by sheer force of personality.
The things we love as children stay with us forever.
Character comedy is one of the most difficult types to do well.
Tania Edwards is a strange sort of stand-up for the Fringe.
Bad things shouldn’t happen to nice people.
Few would argue that the Fringe isn’t all about showcasing up-and-coming talent.
I’m upside down, the blood’s rushing to my head and I’m swinging madly like some sort of unwieldy pendulum.
There’s been a bit of a pattern to Fringe children’s theatre over the past few years.
Five stars only go to a show that is to all intents perfect, that wakens something inside you and keeps you utterly captivated for an entire hour.
Right, listen here.
We all live our lives within walls.
I’ve a confession of my own to make; when I chose to review this show I thought it was something entirely different.
There’s basically no-one who doesn’t like Roald Dahl – he’s been a cornerstone of kids’ literature for 50 years and with good reason.
Everyone remembers storytime – that happy time at the end of the day when the hard work of colouring in and sticking bits of paper to other bits of paper could be safely put behi…
I haven’t been to the circus for a while and there’s a reason for that.
In a Fringe increasingly dominated by comedy it can be difficult for stand-ups to stand out.
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