We present the ThreeWeeks Editors’ Awards 2017

By | Published on Saturday 26 August 2017

Earlier today we presented the ThreeWeeks Editors’ Awards in the Fellows Library at theSpace @ Surgeons Hall. These go to the ten people and companies who we think made this year’s Edinburgh Festival extra special. Here we run through all the winners…

01: Theatre Re
Our first winner has been getting good reviews from ThreeWeeks for a good few years now, a number of them really glowing, top rated ones; so, unsurprisingly, they’ve made more than one appearance on the super-secret Editors’ Award shortlists in years past. This year we felt it really was time we acknowledged just how much we like their work, especially once we’d heard what our reviewer thought of this year’s offering, ‘The Nature Of Forgetting’. Not only did he give it 5/5 and a highly complimentary write up, but he went back to see it again and witnessed a second standing ovation. Crikey. Our first winner is Theatre Re.

02: Rob Auton
The winner of our next award has been a favourite with the ThreeWeeks team for some time. They are always impressed by his uniquely affecting, hilarious shows which fall somewhere between stand-up and spoken word. Back in 2009, he was singled out by one of our writers as the most promising act in a line up of newcomers; in 2012 our reviewer declared his work to be bizarre yet addictive; in 2013 he made one of our team cry with laughter; and in 2016 he made another ThreeWeeks reviewer cry, not with laughter this time, actually, but because of a sequence that was “utterly beautiful and life-affirming”. Finally, in 2017, he received yet more high praise for another great show full of daft observations and wonderful absurdity. For entertaining us so delightfully all this time, our second winner is Rob Auton.

03: Jordan And Skinner – ‘At A Stretch’
ThreeWeeks has paid attention to children’s shows at the Fringe ever since we launched in 1996, but it’s probably fair to say that as some of the team have aged – and as we have had reviewers and an editor bringing their own children to the festival – the magazine has offered more and more coverage of the work aimed at the youngest viewers. Yet, it’s still fairly rare to come across shows that impress us as much as our next winner’s did. Of this fantastic depiction of a love story between two women, our reviewer wrote: “This is a perfect example of every theatrical element coming together in just the right way: the lighting, sound and set design all combining to create a magical, colourful playground for the actors to explore,” finishing with this resounding endorsement: “This show is funny, heart-warming and just glorious, no matter how old you are.” Our third winners are Jordan And Skinner for ‘At A Stretch’.

04: Will Pickvance
It’s probably quite significant that the ThreeWeeks reviewers who don’t really review much music still want to go and see our next recipient’s work. He may be a hugely talented musician, but he is also a fabulous entertainer in other ways too, combining his virtuoso abilities on the piano with his skill as a raconteur. Since 2013, a number of our team have been blown away by his musical improvisation, his hilarious and intimate storytelling, and his 100% engaging style. This year’s show, ‘Pianologues’, built around Schubert songs and the theme of families, received a resounding 5/5 write up, which included the advice to “bring waterproof pants and a hankie”. Our fourth winner couldn’t be with us in person this morning because he is already half way across the world heading to a festival in New Zealand, but that doesn’t make him any less deserving – and that fourth winner is Will Pickvance.

05: Ian Smith
As this year’s proceedings have already revealed, many of our ThreeWeeks Editors’ Awards go to acts and companies based not merely on one show, but on what we call ‘body of work’ – the fact that they have returned to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe on a regular basis, bringing lots of shows that we loved, and this is definitely true of our next winner. This excellent comedian has never got a bad review from us. Most of them have been 5/5s – top marks – and contained words and phrases like “beautiful”, “funny”, “funniest”, “skilful”, “stylish”, “satisfying”, “hugely entertaining”, “perfectly executed”, “endearing” and “some of the finest granite material on the circuit”. To be honest, we’re not quite sure why he isn’t playing stadiums and hosting all of the panel shows. Our fifth winner is Ian Smith.

06: Hot Brown Honey
For a number of reasons we won’t go into, ThreeWeeks has had to reduce its coverage of the Fringe somewhat in recent years. Sadly that means we don’t always see those brilliant previously-unheard-of-shows first, like we used to, though we continue to monitor the festival grapevine closely. Which means that, although we didn’t see our next award winning show when it first arrived in Edinburgh last year, we certainly heard about it taking the Festival by storm. We were therefore determined to make sure we saw it this year. Listed in cabaret, but energetically defying genre categorisation, this extraordinary troupe offer an important and uncompromising exploration of race, gender, identity and culture that our reviewer called an “adrenaline-fuelled middle finger to repression and the patriarchy”. Our sixth award goes to ‘Hot Brown Honey’.

07: Prom Kween
As we often point out when we do our Three To See picks at the start of August, while it’s not hard to find productions of all the old favourite musicals here at the Fringe, what gets us excited is the brand new ones. Our next winner is just that: a new musical with contemporary themes, containing very snappy show tunes, pithy jokes, on-point pop culture references and superb surprises. Our reviewer called it a “life-affirming musical that fuses all your favourite high school movies with ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’” and we are all calling it… a ThreeWeeks Editors’ Award winner. Our seventh award goes to ‘Prom Kween’.

08: Niv Petel – Knock Knock
The one-person show is a fixture in Edinburgh for a reason: the venues are small, shows with large casts are more expensive, and it’s easier to take a monologue on tour in the autumn. As a result, over our two decades of covering the Fringe we’ve seen an awful lot of them, come to really value them, and cover as many of them as we can. Amongst this year’s batch was one that quite literally left one of our team breathless: “when the play ended”, he wrote “the audience didn’t move, didn’t breathe for what felt like an age; even now, hours later, I’m still reeling”. Our eighth winner, described by our reviewer as a “remarkable talent”, is Niv Petel, for his show ‘Knock Knock’.

09: Barry Crimmins
Every year a new batch of comedians make their respective debuts at the Fringe, and generally they’re quite young and largely inexperienced. So it was a bit of a surprise, if we’re being honest, to see a US legend putting on his first Edinburgh show after forty years in the business of comedy, and even more surprising to discover that he was heroically fitting said debut into his honeymoon. We don’t think it’s too dramatic to say that if there was ever a time that we needed to hear from this man, the time right now is it. And just like that, he turns up in Scotland to give us his “furiously funny and up to the minute” invective on Trump, anecdotes about Chomsky, Kissinger and Nicaragua, and welcome ranting about the NHS. The winner of our ninth award is Barry Crimmins.

10: The Edinburgh Renaissance Band
We’ve been sending reviewers to see our final award winners for a good few years now, but they have been performing at the Fringe for much longer than that – longer than we’ve been covering the festival, and this is our 22nd year! But this band of musicians have brought shows to the Festival for a hugely impressive forty-five years, and they stand out from all the other traditional, classical and contemporary music shows because of their rather magnificent USP: evoking the sounds of Mediaeval and Renaissance Europe, they play instruments from a bygone age. Have you ever heard music from shawms, cornetts, sackbuts, nakers, crumhorns, rackets and serpents? If not, make a date to see this excellent ensemble in 2018. Our tenth award goes to The Edinburgh Renaissance Band.

Photos: Kat Gollock

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