ED2021 Comedy ED2021 Musicals ED2021 Theatre ED2021 Three To See

Three To See and Stream 17-23 Aug: Online Edfringe, Camden Fringe, More London Stuff, In Person Edinburgh stuff

By | Published on Monday 16 August 2021


Ember | online via Assembly Showcatcher | on demand
The Edinburgh Fringe continues and lots of it is online, so you don’t have to be in Edinburgh to avail yourself of it. So let’s talk about some of that online content, starting with ‘Ember’, an award nominated and rather dark comedy from Australia. “’Ember’ is a window into the mind of a young woman who, waking up one day, realises she doesn’t know who she is. Fleur lives the dream of any millennial, but instead of happiness and satisfaction, she is left with inescapable anxiety for the future. A deep dive into the Australian ‘she’ll be right’ attitude”. Details here.

Metamorphosis | Summerhall online | 21-29 Aug
“When Gregor Samsa woke one morning from unsettling dreams, he found himself changed into a monstrous verminous bug”. Yes, I am sure you all know the premise of Franz Kafka’s classic work, but this one should be a rather different experience, not least because it’s live via zoom and presented by “a cast of twelve, all of whom awoke to a different world, confined to home, without work, forced to question their profession, their identity, their very worth to the world”. The result is something rather good and, in fact, award winning. Find the listing here.

Ithaca | online via edfringe player | 6-30 Aug (pictured)
As you can probably tell from the last tip, we’re big fans here of new takes on old classics, so let’s great straight to another: a one woman adaptation of Homer’s ‘Odyssey’ examining a host of social issues: fatphobia, bullying, domestic harassment, mental health, chronic illness and immigration. It sounds absolutely fabulous, click here for more. But also, there are lots and lots of other fab digital treats available to you via the Fringe and I’d love for you to browse them all, and you can do that here. Filter the search to narrow it down by dates, genre, etc.


The Bacchae | Camden Fringe at Hen & Chickens | 20-25 Aug
Okay, back to London and some real life in person stuff from the fabulous Camden Fringe. Oh, and it looks like there might be a couple more reinvented classics raising their lovely heads. “Dionysus is the god of drugs, debauchery and ritual madness and will stop at nothing to prove her divine heritage to the dissenters of Thebes. Set deep in the underground club scene where debauchery rules and idolatry reigns, The Bacchae run the show. Every. Night. Can the rule of law compete with the chaos and euphoria of Dionysus”. Info here.

Juliet & Romeo | Camden Fringe at Upstairs At The Gatehouse | 17-22 Aug
Shakespeare this time and what sounds like a very interesting adaptation of the bardy favourite, which, like the previously tipped show, employs some very modern themes. “What do young adults do on a Saturday night? They go to a house party, get drunk and maybe make some questionable decisions. Follow Juliet as she tells the tale of falling for that poor fool Romeo, from Tybalt’s party to that almost fatal end”. Get tickets here.

Kiss Her | Camden Fringe at The Cockpit/CPT | 18-19, 27-29 Aug (pictured)
“History hasn’t told the truth about women – about gay women. We’re going to re-write history, re-write the rules. Spanning through time, this episodic piece highlights the ways in which we view feminine and queer bodies; how they are watched but not seen. ‘Kiss Her’ lifts those neglected stories to re-imagined presents and hopeful futures”. This is the debut play from a new company, Jack The Lass, and it sounds rather promising. See the Camden Fringe website here for more info and to book.


The Nobodies | Pleasance Theatre | 17-28 Aug
And of course, while there’s loads of great stuff happening at the Camden Fringe, there’s also lots of other theatre happening in the capital! Including at the Pleasance Theatre, which is where we find our next tipped show ‘The Nobodies’. “A town is in turmoil. A hospital is closing. And an MP is dead on the train tracks… Accident? Or opportunity? When a local hospital announces its closure, panic ensues. Healthcare Assistant Rhea is forced to look for work elsewhere. Local lad Aaron worries about his mum’s treatment in the cancer ward. And Curtis just isn’t sure where he’s going to sleep. But when the three witness a horrific accident, a rare opportunity presents itself”. Head this way to find out more and book your tickets.

When Darkness Falls | Park Theatre | 18 Aug-4 Sep (pictured)
Anyone in the mood for something spooky? I bet you are. And in that case, we have the perfect show for you, a new play from James Milton and Paul Morrissey that promises to be a twisted and terrifying supernatural tale. “Set on Guernsey, ‘When Darkness Falls’ tells the story of a teacher who runs the local historical society: tonight, as part of the weekly vlog, a young paranormal expert is giving a talk on the island’s incredible folklore and paranormal history. As the teacher films, the speaker regales horrifying stories. Stories that can only occur on a small, isolated island. Tonight, the teacher will learn exactly what happens when the wind blows, the seas swell and darkness falls”. Book here.

Scab | Arcola Theatre | 18-21 Aug
“In the heart of northern England, an old man falls bleeding to the kerb outside his local pub. At the same time, a disenfranchised young man clocks off from the graveyard shift. What starts off as a chance encounter between two dilapidated souls transcends into something much deeper…” This is a show that’s been waiting a while for its premiere, because its first showing had to be cancelled when the first lockdown started. Described as a “a visceral and comedic commentary on social responsibility”, it’s on as part of Arcola Theatre’s Today I’m Wiser festival of outdoor art and performance. More here.


Dead Ringers Live | London Wonderground | 17-29 Aug
And now for something comedic, because frankly, we’ve had our heads a bit turned by all the fab fringey theatre. Over to London Wonderground for a special live run of the well loved Radio 4 series ‘Dead Ringers’, starring Jon Culshaw, Debra Stephenson and Duncan Wisbey. Great news for fans of the show, or indeed, any of you who enjoy political satire and comedy impressions and might inexplicably be unaware of this long running success of the airwaves. Anyway, expect a mixture of classic sketches and new material, and a marvellous show. See this page here to book yourselves in.

Everything Has Changed | New Diorama Theatre | 20-21 Aug (pictured)
I feel like we might have been ignoring the young ones a bit of late, not least because there’s so much grown up culture to talk about. So here’s one for children aged seven to eleven from the fabulous Rhum + Clay, made in consultation with a child psychologist and London-based children, a musical adventure about the tumultuous vagaries of the past year or so. “The world has ever so slightly shifted. Things are… different, skewed, off kilter and no one else has noticed. Time feels strange and no one day is the same. Wait. Was that an actual zebra crossing the zebra crossing?” Click here.

The Adventures Of Bo Peep | Greenwich Theatre | 19-21 Aug
And as that one was for the older children, here’s one for the tots aged two to six, and it’s a new show based on the nursery rhyme with an interactive story, puppets, sensory learning and original music. “Watch the adventures of Bo Peep unravel as she tries to rescue her woolly friends! Counting her sheep always sends Bo Peep off to sleep by bedtime, but with no sign of them yet she’ll be up all night searching. Bo Peep needs you and your family’s help to save her little lambkins from danger in time for bed!” Head to the Greenwich Theatre website here to find out more.


Press | Pleasance Theatre | 17-29 Aug
Back up to Edinburgh now for some in-the-very-flesh theatrical experiences at this year’s lively, if smaller-than-usual Fringe. Let’s begin with ‘Press’, a satirical piece which sees a filmmaker couple desperately trying to avoid being ‘cancelled’. “It’s the big day. The announcement is in a few hours’ time, and film producers David and Kate anticipate their prestigious Civil War epic ‘Catch Me Some Freedom’ will be nominated for plenty of Goldies. Until, however, they learn that the film’s heroic lead role, played by a white actor, was in real life actually black”. This one’s from the excellent Black Bat Productions, who are also showing comical crime thriller ‘Fear Of Roses’ at Assembly Roxy, so honestly, see them both. Click here for ‘Press’ and here for ‘Fear Of Roses’

Corpsing/Wish List | theSpaceTriplex | 7-27 Aug
I’ve actually sneaked in two shows here, because they are from the same teamed-together companies performing in the same slot on alternate dates, so if you can’t make one, maybe you can make the other…? But you know, you could – and I recommend this – also see both of them. ‘Corpsing’ is a comedy about a young man who inherits a thriving undertaker business when a distant uncle dies, but discovers that the company he’s now in charge of is, um, problematic. ‘Wish List’, by contrast, is a hard-hitting and realistic look at mental health and class division, which sees a sister forced to make difficult choices when her brother’s benefits are cut. See this page here for ‘Corpsing’ and this page here for ‘Wish List’.

Brave Face | theSpace @ Symposium Hall | 23-28 Aug (pictured)
“How many times can a woman be objectified before deciding she’s more human than that? More angry than that… more vengeful than that… And how on this patriarchal earth is she gonna make this bullsh*t fair? Em has had her womanhood threatened one too many times, and when her ‘boyfriend’ breaks her heart, she becomes a woman the world fears, who lies, blackmails and gets what she wants. But when her past catches up with her present, we question: is this what she deserves?” This is described as a “pitch black comedy” and given those themes, that’s not surprising. I’m intrigued though – looks like an interesting approach to sex, trauma and “the female experience”. Click here.


Daphna Baram: Unmuted | Laughing Horse @ The Counting House | 19-29 Aug (pictured)
And now on to a whole section of comedy tips, because, after all, it does make up a large section, percentage-wise, of the ye old edfringe. Let’s head first to The Counting House, a hive of comedy offerings. “A year indoors left Daphna Baram, a sociable animal even at the worst of times, compelled to spend the first year of her 50s chatting with her unforgiving self. When she ran home to mummy in Jerusalem, she found herself in the middle of a war”. Altogether, a rather eventful set of circumstances that I feel sure will generate some rather interesting material from this vivacious Fringe veteran. See this page here for more.

Improvabunga The Improvised Movie Adventure | theSpace at Surgeon’s Hall | 6-21 Aug
As you know, we are always looking for improv, because it’s one of our favourite things, and there’s rarely a shortage of it at the Fringe. This time we’re going for this improvised movie extravaganza from a troupe that’s won much critical acclaim in the past. Here’s what they say you can expect: “Live musical accompaniment and buzzers that you can use to control the performers. There’ll be songs, there’ll be tears, there’ll be kisses (or slaps) and there will be funny”. All rather compelling. So what are you waiting for? Book here, quickly, there’s only a few days left.

Billy Kirkwood: Notes From My Phone | Scottish Comedy Festival @ The Beehive Inn | until 28 Aug
“Brand new, uncensored and totally unrehearsed… award-winning comedian and presenter Billy Kirkwood has been busy filling his phone with random jokes and thoughts for the last two years… now it’s time to open it up and see what’s inside. Part stand-up gig, part workshop; all funny”. I reckon the idea behind this show will be enough to intrigue you. But you should probably also know (in case you don’t already) that Kirkwood is a hugely acclaimed act, not least by our own reviewers who’ve used phrases like “hugely original and downright hilarious”, “one of Scotland’s most innovative comedians” and “I honestly can’t believe this show was free” when writing about him in the past. Book yourself in here.


Carol Ann Duffy and John Sampson | Multistorey | 21-23 Aug (pictured)
“Carol Ann is one of the most respected poets in the English language. John is a virtuoso multi-instrumentalist with a highly individual, humorous touch. Two rare talents meshing and contrasting delightfully in performances, matured over many years of international touring, that leaven serious and profound themes with detours down the byways of absurdity. Wit, wisdom and wonder delivered through consummate verbal and musical dexterity”. All true, that. Only three dates, don’t miss your chance to see this fab pair in action. Click here.

We Came To Dance | Nicolson Square | until 28 Aug
One for the musical fans, possibly, this, but also for those of you looking for something a bit different: an immersive piece with some rather interesting themes. It tells the story of extra-terrestrial life arriving on Earth to warn its inhabitants of a climate crisis that their own planet has experienced, and audience members interact with these aliens, who were imagined with Dr Steve B Howell at NASA Ames Research Center, and they sing in their own language, created by linguist David Peterson. It was originally supposed to debut off Broadway last summer, but COVID got in the way. Book tickets here.

Edinburgh International Film Festival | 18-25 Aug
Yes, I’ve gone and done it again, I’m recommending an entire festival in one tip. But you know, it’s because of our more limited edfest coverage this year, but also because our focus is generally more on the Fringe/theatre/comedy side of things, to be honest. Also, it would be quite hard to try and narrow the entire Edinburgh International Film Festival programme down to just one film or something, so you know, check it out yourself. There are plenty of films to go and see in the flesh, but quite a few of them are also available to view online on demand, so you don’t even have to be in Edinburgh to see them. As you’d expect, there are lots of really interesting films, many of which are the sort that don’t generally reach a more mainstream audience. Click here to see what’s on.

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