We present the ThreeWeeks Editors’ Awards 2018

By | Published on Saturday 25 August 2018

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: Zoo Co for ‘Sirens’
We begin with an award for a show that we really loved brought to us by a well-regarded company. We loved it not just because it was a brilliantly staged piece, but because we loved the themes and the sentiments it engaged with, and the fact that this group make their work so accessible. It’s told partly in British Sign Language, with creative captioning throughout, and every performance was a relaxed performance. Calling the show “an absolute joy” and praising its “talented cast”, our reviewer noted that: “It’s a silly heist movie spoof at heart, full of laughs and deliberately ridiculous exposition, but it has some serious points too: it’s explicitly feminist, while discrimination is explored from several angles”. Our first award goes to Zoo Co for ‘Sirens’.

02: Dyad Productions
Every year, there’s at least one – and sometimes quite a few – of our Editors’ Award winners who win their award not just for the show they did this year, but for the shows they’ve done at previous Festivals too. It’s what we privately refer to as a “cumulative body of work” award. Our next winners very much fall into that category. We’ve been watching and absorbing the fine work of this company for close to a decade, so it seems fitting to celebrate it now; especially in a year when our reviewer was moved to tears by their latest offering, declaring the show to be “outstanding” and awarding it an unequivocal five out of five. Our next award goes to Dyad Productions.

03: Andrea Baker for ‘Sing Sistah Sing’
As we have just seen, we often give awards to long term Fringe contributors whose shows we’ve been seeing for years. But that doesn’t mean we can’t also give our gongs to newcomers or acts we haven’t previously come across at the Festival. Our next recipient is a recent discovery for the ThreeWeeks team, despite the fact that she’s an internationally renowned performer. She transfixed our reviewer, who praised this acclaimed opera singer’s extraordinary versatility and ability to excellently perform a distinct range of different musical genres. Not only that, but her show tells an important story, of African American women’s fight for civil rights and artistic freedom. Our next winner, honoured alongside her pianist Richard Lewis and artistic director Carolyn Sittig, is Andrea Baker for ‘Sing Sistah Sing’.

04: Maddie Rice for ‘Pickle Jar’
I’d say that our next award winner is on our list for a number of reasons. Because although this award is for the new show she’s been performing at Edinburgh this summer, we have been watching her work in other capacities for a few years now. Her new one-woman show is excellent, as our review of it confirmed. “As the layers of the story build”, it reports, “it becomes apparent that there is something darker emerging, and when this is made clear it’s an emotional punch to the stomach. Although addressing themes of grief and consent, it’s full of humour too. Brilliantly written and highly relevant”. Our next Editors’ Award goes to Maddie Rice for ‘Pickle Jar’.

05: James Rowland
We feel like we’ve known our next winner for longer than we actually have – which probably speaks volumes about the ease with which he slipped into the hall of ThreeWeeks favourites. He first made an impact on us with an amazing show with a poignant subject – the death and final wishes of a friend – that managed nonetheless to be both funny and entertaining. The following year he moved us further with a new tale about love. On his return this year with a show about donating his sperm to friends, our reviewer declared him to be the perfect storyteller. “Funny, engaging, self-effacing yet cleverly perceptive”, he wrote, “There wasn’t a moment of the show where he didn’t have the audience entirely with him”. Our next winner is James Rowland.

06: Zach and Viggo and Thumpasaurus for ‘Where Did The Love Go?’
Every year we peruse the Fringe Programme and the flood of press releases we receive before the Festival on the look-out for the most interesting and innovative shows we can find. These are, after all, the very shows ThreeWeeks was set up to champion all the way back in 1996. We can safely say that when we heard about this next show, we definitely thought it sounded a little bit different: an “absurdist, avant-garde, funk opera”. We began by expecting good things – not least because its creators are well known in Fringe circles for their clowning brilliance – and good things definitely happened. One might view this show as a gamble, but it’s one that certainly paid off. Our next award goes to Zach and Viggo and Thumpasaurus for ‘Where Did The Love Go’.

07: Flabbergast Theatre
Our next winner is a theatre company whose work has been delighting our team since around 2012, earning glowing review after glowing review: if you put their name in the search box on the ThreeWeeks website you will see it, a long list of articles by writers who bear witness to this group’s excellence. And also to their inspired use of many disciplines – acting, puppetry, physical comedy, dancing and clowning. We’ve described their work as terrifying and grotesque, hilarious and creepy, sinister and irresistible, beautiful and enchanting, incredibly perceptive, funny and awe-inspiring. Our seventh award goes to Flabbergast Theatre.

08: James Dangerfield for ‘When You Fall Down’
We are always very interested in solo shows here at the Fringe and that’s generally reflected in our coverage and our past list of award winners. Another thing that always piques our interest is new musicals. So our next winner was possibly always in with a chance of making it onto our shortlist, given that he arrived in town with a one man self-penned musical. And it’s such a good one, too, a biography of a silver screen star that is described by our reviewer as “exquisite”. “His songs and singing technique are reminiscent of contemporary West End shows”, she wrote, “but it is the palpable intensity of his commitment that makes this show very special.” Our next award goes to James Dangerfield for ‘When You Fall Down’.

09: Indepen-dance 4 for ‘Four Go Wild In Wellies’
If you’ve been a parent at the Fringe and wanted to take your smallest children to a show, you’ll know that it’s not always easy to judge what will be the right one, because, if we’re truthful, some shows are a bit optimistic about the age range of the children their play is likely to entertain. Great shows for children under five are a very different beast from those that are great for seven year olds. But we found a really brilliant one aimed at three to five year olds this Fringe, created by an excellent and inclusive dance company, and described by our reviewer as “gently enchanting” and “spot on” for its target audience. We absolutely loved it. Our next winners are Indepen-dance 4 for ‘Four Go Wild In Wellies’.

10: Andy Zaltzman
We’re going to be honest and say that this next act has been on our mind every time we have put together a ThreeWeeks Editors’ Award shortlist over the last decade. And the reason why he’s not been on it…well, he seemed almost too venerable, too much of a stalwart, too much of a veritable legend of Fringe for us to bestow our lowly gong upon him. This year, we decided to get over that feeling of inadequacy and do it anyway. He’s been performing at the Fringe for not-far-off two decades and is a brilliant political satirist. And in these – well, let’s say interesting times – we really need this brilliant political satirist giving his spin on what is happening in our world. Our final recipient is Andy Zaltzman.