The ThreeWeeks Editors’ Awards go to the ten things that we, the ThreeWeeks editors, believe make the Edinburgh Festival extra special in any one year. Winners can be people, plays, companies, venues or even whole festivals. The awards were presented in 2014 at a gathering at theSpace @ Surgeons Hall Library on the last Saturday of the festival.

1. Bec And Tom’s Awesome Laundry
For a couple of Fringes now, Bec Hill and Tom Goodliffe have been delighting both children, and the adults who accompany them, with their show ‘Bec And Tom’s Awesome Laundry’. It’s a show that has garnered a multitude of stars from the Festival media, and earned the adoration of the kids who have gone to see it. At ThreeWeeks, we have a special place in our hearts for comedians who do children’s shows, especially when they have their own grown up shows to attend to as well. Though sometimes such shows only just pass muster. But Bec and Tom create the perfect atmosphere for small people; funny, silly, irreverent, and with a reference to glittery poo. And as if that wasn’t enough, this year they did a one-off late night version for adults only as well, and frankly, that was worth an award by itself. Our first Editors’ Award winners this year are Bec and Tom for their ‘Awesome Laundry’.

2. Manuelita
Our interest in this show began back in June, with the very premise itself, not least because we too are quietly frustrated about the way so many significant women are written out of history. The show tells the story of Manuela Saenz, the nineteenth century South American revolutionary, celebrated during her lifetime, but later overlooked. The piece’s creator and performer, Tamsin Clarke, travelled far and wide to research the piece, with ambition of helping to correct this oversight in the history books. Having been so excited by the premise, we were then thrilled when our reviewer submitted his five star review of the show, calling it a “hilarious, moving, tragic and heartwarming piece of theatre”, and praising Tamsin’s passionate portrayal, charisma and charm. And it is Tamsin Clarke who wins our second Editors’ Award.

3. Cariad Lloyd
Here at ThreeWeeks we love an act who seems to be ridiculously busy, like non-stop busy, throughout August, because to us, hard work is kind of what the Fringe is, and always has been, about. When we hear about those who are running from show to show, our hearts glow and we think of that elusive something people often call ‘Fringe spirit’. Our next winner is appearing in three shows this year, and we bet she’s made a few guest appearances elsewhere across the Fringe too. And yet, this award is not just for her prolific number of Festival appearances. She’s a phenomenal talent. Over the last few years, our writers have been moved to say a range complimentary things about her various shows and performances: we’ve described her as “achingly funny”, praised her “excellent characters” and noted her unbelievably “quick, sharp wit”. Our third Editors’ Award winner is Cariad Lloyd.

4. Matt Panesh
And, talking of busy Fringe folk, here we have yet another Festival stalwart adding that Fringe spirit glow to our hearts, another tireless creative who seems to take little time to rest. This year not only has he performed two excellent shows in two different strands of the Fringe, spoken word and theatre, but he has also directed a number of shows too. Awarding his poetry show a 5/5 rating, our reviewer referenced “cheek-achingly funny lines, friendly banter and some poems which prompt laughs by the title alone”. Another ThreeWeeks writer, reviewing his play, ‘300 To 1’, praised its “biting script” and “mass of energy”. The Fringe would not be the same without our fourth winner this year, Matt Panesh, aka Monkey Poet.

5. KlangHaus
Every now and then a show comes along that seems to us to really sum up what the Fringe is, and ought to be about – a stage for the most inventive, different and ground breaking of performances. Shows that totally rethink the notion of what a show can be. In this case it was the music gig that was being reinvented, and on a grand scale. Capitalising on the many large empty rooms and corridors yet to be artistically exploited at the old Edinburgh University vet school we now know as the Fringe hub Summerhall, in this show The Neutrinos and Sal Pittman seemed to use the building itself as one of their tools, in a musical, multimedia extravagaza that crosses many genre boundaries. It was a collision of genres and styles that we described as an “avant garde, multi-sensory music experience”. Our fifth winner is KlangHaus.

6. Travesti
Our next winners also did something a little bit different with their Fringe production, putting the words of women into the mouths of men. At a time when such movements as the Everyday Sexism project are trying to acknowledge the ways in which women’s lives differ from men’s, this theatre piece created a great platform to explore these differences in a very compelling way. “There’s something bizarrely compelling about a man speaking the words of a woman who’s been the object of male intimidation, whilst stripping on stage and making himself up at the same time”, our reviewer wrote. “From sexualised pop routines performed with obvious and comical enjoyment, to the poignant realisations of a rape victim, the show shares the experience of being a woman, as told by young male actors. You know you’ve touched your audience when there are audible murmurs of agreement throughout”. Our next winners are Unbound Productions for ‘Travesti’.

7. Divallusion
“How good can an hour of diva impressions with more costume changes than Beyoncé actually be?” asked our reviewer? “The answer is: pretty darn good” she continued. Here at ThreeWeeks, we’ve been more than pleased to see the growth of the cabaret movement at the Fringe in recent years, to see the vast increase in the diversity of material on offer, and of course, the still relatively recent addition of a cabaret section to the Fringe Programme itself. From this year’s cabaret strand, our next winners really stood out. Praising the show’s stars and their impressive vocals, our writer concluded: “The duo’s onstage chemistry keeps the humour bouncing back and forth, and makes their obvious talent shine all the more brightly. Fabulous in every sense of the word”. Our next winning show was ‘Divallusion with Christina Bianco and Velma Celli’.

8. Jethro Compton and his actors
One of the stand-out theatre shows for us at Fringe 2013 was the brilliant ‘Bunker Trilogy’, taking over and transforming a corner of C nova to present three great plays. So this year we were thrilled to see that producer Jethro Compton was not only bringing the production back, but had a second trilogy to share too, the ‘Capone Trilogy’. So, six shows in total. Maintaining the quality on such a scale is no small task, but Compton and his team did it, all six shows receiving high acclaim, and all brilliantly performed immersive theatrical experiences. And what about the actors, each performing characters across three plays daily in their particular trilogy. You’ll remember we always notice the hard workers at the Festival, especially when they pull it all off so magnificently. So our next award goes to the cast and the crew of Jethro Compton’s trilogies.

9. Will Franken
It hasn’t taken long for the ThreeWeeks team to become collective fans of Will Franken’s clever, inventive, quick-fire, character comedy which has quite literally left several of our number breathless and open mouthed as they witness him flitting from character to character at high speed. Speaking of his often surreal, sardonic, observational brilliance, they’ve variously described him as “an arresting and devastating stage presence”, “clever, eccentric and hilarious”, and of course, “fucking awesome”. Will arrived at the Festival in 2012 for the first time with a full one-hour show, ambitious for a first-timer, even one who is an established performer back home. But he was immediately embraced by the Fringe audience, because his is comedy perfect for Edinburgh, innovative, clever and, just really, really funny. Our penultimate winner this year is Will Franken.

10. Ricardo Garcia
For our final award winner, let’s recap what we love about this Festival – the performers who never stop, those whose commitment to the Fringe is so undeniable through years of great shows, and those who are skilled in their art, yet never tire of experimenting with new ideas and genres. Tick all those boxes and you have a Fringe institution, like our final winner today, a super talented musician who has been coming to the Festival now for fourteen years. Over those years ThreeWeeks reviewers have been won over not only by his beautiful guitar playing at flamenco shows aimed at adults, but also his dance workshops for young children, as well as his many and various collaborations with other music practitioners from every genre and every corner of the globe. Our final winner this year is Ricardo Garcia.

Words: Caroline Moses – Award presentation pictures: Kat Gollock