CoisCéim Dance Theatre's 'Missing' is a very impactful piece, exploring the high number of people who go missing each year, in the company's home country of Ireland in particular, but in general worldwide as well.

The focus of choreographer David Bolger's work is the impact a missing person has on the people they leave behind, who are left searching and hoping. We spoke to Bolger about what inspired him to turn this issue into 'Missing', and about the process he went through to bring the work to the stage. Click here to read the interview.
Undeniably Fringe favourites back in the day, The Nualas are back at the Festival for the first time in over a decade. To mark their marvellous return, we asked each Nuala to dig deep into their memory banks to recall some favourite Edinburgh Festival moments from years gone by. Things that may or may not have happened like this... [click here]
The Neutrinos have teamed up with artist and designer Sal Pittman to create a unique live music experience, reinventing what a gig can be in Summerhall's Small Animal Hospital. Check out some pictures of the KlangHaus crew in the confines of their stark performance space. [click here]
If you are planning to spend a day at the Fringe with your little ones, you might be feeling a little bit daunted – after all, it's a massive festival, and there's so much to choose from. Comedian and children's entertainer Maddy Carrick offers a few suggestions. [click here]
ThreeWeeks Editors' Award winning Hunt & Darton are back at the Fringe, though this time with a special competition that kicked off at the Forest Fringe Drill Hall yesterday.

The live art collaborators are staging the 'Not Great British Bake Off', which may have similarities to the BBC TV show that returned to screens this week, though the judging criteria is rather different. Asks the competition's blurb: "Is your cake tropical or absurd enough? Just how is its movement literacy? What is the concept behind your cream topping?"

The contest got underway yesterday with members of the public invited to take part in the baking, or simply to watch others bake. The judging starts today, with Hunt & Darton themselves assessing what's been created, alongside some "surprise guest judges".

Say the duo to ThreeWeeks: "The 'Not Great British Bake Off' is all about looking at other ways of making a 'good' cake, rather than it just being a good cake. You've seen the TV programme – you know about bouncy sponge, you know about the perfect mix of vanilla in your cream, and the danger of the soggy bottom – but we know you might not always care and that's why we are here".

"Can a cake illustrate something more profound?" they continue. "It is OK if it's just a cake, but a recreation of a Roman baths with Jelly Babies as oversized people and Polo mints as rubber rings, or an edible realisation of The Meadows on a wet weekend, that's where our hearts truly lie".

The great baking will continue at the Forest Fringe today and tomorrow, with a holiday at Pontins Camber Sands up for grabs for the overall winner. More info here.
The ThreeWeeks Podcast is fully up and running for Festival 2014, with Richard Tyrone Jones and Dean Friedman both guesting on the latest edition, which you can stream or download right now here.

And as if that wasn't exciting enough, here's some fun news. Our sister website ThisWeek London is launching its own regular podcast magazine this Autumn, also hosted by Chris Cooke and featuring a mix of interviews, performances and all-round chat.

The ThisWeek podcast team will be in Edinburgh this month recording interviews and performances, and they are inviting any Edinburgh shows who have London dates booked in for September and October to get in touch ASAP, with the opportunity to record now to promote London shows next month.

Anyone interested should email

The Snow Dog (Full House Theatre)
Beautiful and poignantly told, 'The Snow Dog' follows Evie as she retraces the steps of her beloved Grandfather's many adventures. The innovative stagecraft is wonderfully effective in creating the many exotic places Evie gets to visit. Every scene brings something new and fresh, keeping the audience gleefully surprised and mesmerised throughout. The songs are strong, and well performed by a brilliantly talented cast, who all deserve recognition for their endearing and versatile performances. This would all be nothing however without a solid story, and this exploration of grief and love so effectively comes together, that even the stuffiest adults in the audience could not fail to feel the magic of 'The Snow Dog'.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 23 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Patricia-Ann Young]


Beta Males: Happenstance (Ditto Productions)
'Happenstance' starts off well enough, providing a few chuckles here and there. But it's when the show accelerates into fifth gear that it becomes something really quite special. As the minutes and the sketches pass, the jokes become more frequent, more subtle and somehow more obvious at the same time. The Beta Males craft an entire comedy world together, and the chemistry between them makes even the less hilarious sketches worth watching. Between their attention to detail and pure physical exertion, the guys must be exhausted after each show, and deserved every second they overran (apparently they overrun a lot!). 'Happenstance' is a show that has it all: music, hunting humans, comedy and, of course, farce in spades.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [David O'Connor]

Brendon Burns And Colt Cabana Sit In A 150 Seater At 10pm And Provide The Commentary To Bad Wrestling Matches (Brendon Burns and Colt Cabana)
If you are even remotely familiar with how absurd (WWF/WWE) pro-wrestling can become, then you will thoroughly enjoy this hour. Brendon Burns is a great comedian. When paired up with pro-wrestler, podcaster and all-round funny man Colt Cabana, the laughs are inevitable. Add to that a different guest every night, and this unlikely tag team are guaranteed to put on a great show. A lot of the hilarity comes from the stunningly ridiculous clips of wrestling at its worst, but the true highlight is the camaraderie between our two hosts. It's obvious that Burns and Cabana really enjoy doing this, and that's reflected in their relaxed demeanour and the easy way they draw laughs from the crowd.
Stand In The Square, until 23 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [David O'Connor]

Jonny Lennard: Tale Blazer (So Comedy by arrangement with Troika)
Edinburgh newcomer Jonny Lennard uses his first solo show to right the many wrongs of children's literature. He spends much of the show dissecting classic children's stories, as well as his own, though his hilarious critical commentary says more about his own upbringing than anything else. His cool, calm persona and delivery provide the bulk of the show's humour, which is only interrupted by a barrage of one-liners late into the show. Ultimately, the show lacks the insight that one might hope for, focusing too heavily on Lennard's own issues. But as a performer, Lennard is confident and collected, happily waiting for the audience to catch up to his trail of thought before delving into something else.
Assembly George Square Studios, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [James McColl]

Overlooked (Lizzy Mace/ La Favorita Freestival)
A mostly funny but sometimes sad little show, Lizzy Mace tells the stories of those who are often overlooked, overshadowed by their noisier, flashier peers. The subject matter allows Mace to straddle solid comedy and touching poignancy at the same time - the audience laugh at the characters, while recognising the feelings of hurt and neglect that everyone encounters once in a while. This bitter-sweet quality gives the performance substance, showing Mace to be an intelligent and thoughtful comedian. Some sections of the show are much stronger than others, and the opening was a little messy and hard to follow, but once Mace hits her stride you'll be sorry that you ever overlooked the overlooked.
Cowgatehead, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Patricia-Ann Young]

Romesh Ranganathan: Rom Wasn't Built In A Day (Off The Kerb Productions)
It is easy to imagine Romesh Ranganathan as a substitute teacher, running out of patience with his career, children and society at large. Perhaps that shouldn't be a surprise, considering Ranganathan left his career as a frustrated maths teacher to become a comedian. In his new show he's on a quest to improve himself, and while you're probably familiar with shows like this - a dissatisfied 30-something airing grievances - Ranganathan does so with a certain style. Just when his anecdotes threaten to turn into rants, he pulls it back with the right punch-line, all while maintaining the kind of inoffensive offensiveness that makes this a very easy show to get into.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 24 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [David O'Connor]

Ian Smith - Flappable (CKP in association with DAA Managment)
As the temperature in the venue soared, I was preparing myself for a very long hour. However, Ian Smith's skilful pacing, stylish call-backs and generally amiable quality make the time fly by. He combines that familiar, self-deprecating style of comedy (BBC3, do you have Smith's number yet?) with good timing and some genuinely original ideas. The audience participation, though relatively infrequent, is good natured. It adds an enjoyable dimension to proceedings, particularly compared to other shows where a front row seat can fill even a seasoned comedy fan with terror. Smith has put together a great show here: it would be wise to see 'Flappable' before it moves to a bigger, less personal venue.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 24 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [David O'Connor]

Miss Glory Pearl: The Naked Stand-Up (Miss Glory Pearl)
Burlesque performer Miss Glory Pearl has "a load of balls", according to the person who heard she was doing her first ever stand-up show at the Fringe in the nude. She clearly doesn't (we really can see everything), but does well to de-sensationalise the fact that she is starkers onstage in a damp smelling room. It's less a stand-up show than a gentle, sweetly spoken discourse on the absurdity of indecent exposure laws; nudity versus nakedness and why anti-feminist women should be sent back to the 1950s to see how they like it. She talks eloquently and intelligently about unattainable beauty standards, feminism, and "real bodies", somehow making everyone in the room feel better about theirs. Nicely done.
Just The Tonic at The Caves, until 24 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Laura Kidd]

Tom Toal In Prequel (Glorious Management Presents / PBH's Free Fringe)
Nice-guy comedy is hard to get right, and it seems Tom Toal just doesn't possess quite enough killer instinct to seize anything more than a few affectionate titters. You want to give him more than that, you really do, but it would be forced. His show is far too personal: not that he shares too much, but he seems to be under the assumption that his friend-in-a-pub banter can cut it on stage. His is the kind of act (or rather soliloquy; there doesn't seem to be anything artificial about it) that you appreciate and wish the best for, but that doesn't mean you'll go and see him twice. Nice guys finish last. Well, not last, but not first either.
Cabaret Voltaire, until 23 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [George Robb]


Mock Tudor (by Lily Bevan)
If only Henry VIII's court was really this charmingly hapless and silly. 'Mock Tudor' follows a group of historical re-enactors, trying desperately to save their jobs from Google and the "future of the past". The script is witty, sharp and an endless buzz for any history buffs in the audience. Will Rastall as Sam and Sophie Bleasdale as Jess are wonderfully awkward in their courtship, with Bleasdale especially putting in an endearing performance with grace and ease. It is, however, writer, director and actor Lily Bevan's Katherine of Aragon who gets the biggest laughs in the show, showcasing what a brilliantly talented comedian she truly is. 'Mock Tudor' is a sweet (but bonkers!) ode to history and history lovers everywhere.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Patricia-Ann Young]

And The Horse You Rode In On (Cambridge University Amateur Dramatic Club)
This show is a depiction of soldiers from both sides struggling with their experiences of the First World War: we see a scene from the German trench, another from the British, and finally, one man from each side meets in No Man's Land. It's an excellently written and genuinely touching story which demonstrates respect for the soldiers who died as well as respect for the audience, who are captivated by the performance from beginning to end. The acting was engaging and heartfelt from all performers, and although some of the lines were spoken too quickly to be understood, it was a very moving and enjoyable production.
Paradise in Augustines, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Vicki Baron]

Animal Farm (Theatre Tours International, Guy Masterson, Tumanishvili Film Actors Theatre - Georgia)
The allegorical story of George Orwell's Animal Farm needs no telling, but the Edinburgh fringe production of it definitely needs seeing. This world premiere is performed by the prominent Georgian theatre company Tumanishvili Film Actors Theatre in their native language (with English subtitles). Using Georgian music and dance elements, the large ensemble exhibit the various individual animal characters, emitting realistic sounds and stylised movements. Set against an almost bare stage containing just hay bales and a signpost, the production follows Orwell's original story closely. It's an especially relevant production for the company, given that Georgia was Joseph Stalin's birth country, and powerful music and performances culminate in a beautiful and grasping piece of physical theatre.
Assembly George Square, until 24 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Keara Barnes]

The Art Of Falling Apart (Big Wow, Richard Jordan Productions, Unity in association with Pleasance)
This dark comedy opens with a scriptwriter, mid-breakdown, screaming at his producer: "all ideas are rehashed!" This may be true of 'The Art', but it rehashes Sartre and the well-worn genre of existentialism beautifully, uniquely and extremely skilfully. The production consists of nothing more than two actors, two chairs, standard lighting and a script, yet from these simple origins comes a visually stunning, heart-warming tale of a man stuck in a rut. Nightmarish, narcotic and hypnotic, this play poignantly depicts "that moment" in everyone's life with harrowing accuracy. Sentiments aside, the acting and direction are ridiculously impressive. You know you're watching something special when a plethora of realistic mindscapes are built with nothing more than lights and chairs.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [George Robb]

Belfast Boy (Purple Penguin Productions)
As the lights dim and then rise, and the applause rings out at the end of Declan Perring's performance as Martin Hall, the spell cast over the audience does not lift. The feeling that hangs in the room is testament to Kat Woods incredible writing of this startling, emotionally charged solo show. Armed with just one chair, Perring is perfectly suited to this script. He is a master, changing pace, character and mood all in a split second, and as the horrific extent of Martin's past comes to light this ability is called upon again and again. Although at times difficult to watch, Perring's exactly timed moments of humour provide laughter which somehow combats the very real tears of a truly captivated audience.
Spotlites @ The Merchants Hall, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Stephanie Gray]

The Bunker Trilogy: Agamemnon (Jethro Compton Productions)
The experience of this 'Agamemnon' is completely immersive. From the instant the audience step into the venue they are transported to a world war one trench where the shells are crashing down and a gravely injured Agamemnon (James Marlowe) recalls his wife, Clytemnestra (Bebe Sanders), to a fellow soldier (Sam Donnelley). Where the play succeeds is in blurring the line between fact and fiction thanks to a well-crafted script and subtle, but devastating performance. The production's greatest strength, however, is its ability to immerse the audience as much in the mind of Agamemnon as in the midst of war, even if this comes somewhat at the expense of characterisation. Ultimately, this production brings out the betrayal and bloodshed at the core of this enduring legend.
C nova, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Charlotte Taylor]

Can't Stay Away! (Fourth Monkey)
Immigration is a difficult issue, and this is a show that attempts to show audiences just how complicated that issue is. It's a combination of clowning, physically eccentric storytelling and genuinely interesting narratives, but unfortunately there are a few too many ingredients in this mixture; wonderful to see such a large cast work so cohesively and energetically as a team, but the ensemble as a whole do not seem to make best use of their performance space. Key moments of the story were lost due to vocal volume, and the overall message of the piece was unclear. An enjoyable but inconclusive show.
theSpace on Niddry Street, until 23 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Vicki Baron]

Claustrophobia (To The Moon in association with Theatre Bench)
A man and a woman are trapped in a lift with nothing but some Babybels and the demons they brought with them. Simply but tightly staged with an even tighter script, 'Claustrophobia' treads the line between comedy and looming threat. The actors are excellent, with Jessica Macdonald imbuing the role of a panicked woman with shades of grey, avoiding the one note trap it could have easily been. Tinto gets less to work with as the ex-soldier with PTSD, but comes to life in the final third when he's given something to get his teeth into. The end is ever so slightly anti-climactic, unfortunately, but 'Claustrophobia' is an otherwise enjoyable, well directed play with strong performances and a great script.
Zoo, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Andrew Bell]

The Day Sam Died (Armazem Theatre Company)
'The Day Sam Died' is dark, lonely and nightmarish, but also extremely moving. Part of the Brazilian Theatre Season, it is the story of six solipsistic individuals, divided by class and community. The hospital in which they find themselves is held-up by an enraged gunman, and although their lives don't ever fully converge, they touch. It is a masterful exploration of post-modern relativism and the disunity it induces. Visually vivifying, aurally astounding and philosophically well-rounded,'The Day Sam Died' begs the question: in a world where one ethical codes is as valid and justifiable as the next, how do we know which one to subscribe to?
The New Town Theatre, until 14 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [George Robb]

Doing Time With Number 5 (Late Bloomers Production)
In a story about the bond between a father and daughter, Clare Pickering's one-woman play documents the difficulties faced by families everywhere when confronted with long-term illness, but also the warmth and humour that can be found in even the worst situations. The show is an ode to her father's memory and life just as much as it is about raising awareness about Alzheimer's, and Pickering is a capable, charismatic and talented storyteller and performer. In fact, the show only stumbles when Pickering indulges in more theatre-esque tropes, such as fake quiz shows and chats with God. A bitter-sweet commentary about families in crisis, it is both a celebration of lives lived and the grief caused by those lost.
Spotlites @ the Merchants' Hall, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Patricia-Ann Young]

Medea (Big Shoes Theatre Company)
Medea must be Euripides' most brutal play to perform: the action is emotionally wrought, the violence is always threatening to erupt into disfigured acts of thwarted love. As such, this young, all-female company, Big Shoes Theatre Company, must be commended for crafting an adaptation which at times manages to bring these elements to the fore, and this is in no small measure due to the highly promising Georgina Graham Williams as Medea, who seamlessly blends bloodlust and vulnerability in her engaging portrayal. Unfortunately the production's reliance on music and dance is where it falters; those moments, and the rest of the cast, cannot match the rawness of the lead performance, and it leaves this production feeling oddly bloodless.
theSpace @ Northbridge, until 9 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Charlotte Taylor]

Queen B (Nottingham New Theatre)
This starts with an interesting premise: a 40 year old man falls in love with the damaged 19 year old girl he had earlier paid for sex. For a while the play does a good job mining this situation dramatically, finding romance and magic in those seedy circumstances. Simple, effective use of lighting on stage lends things a slightly unreal, fantastical air. Fittingly, authentically, things don't work out in the end - how could they? - but as things unravel for the characters, so too the verisimilitude breaks down: the lengths to which the rejected older man goes in pursuit of his fleeing lover seem wholly at odds with his demeanour earlier, and indeed later in the play.
C nova, until 24 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Andrew Leask]

Working Title: The Orpheus Project (Nomanstime Automatics)
If you've never read '1984,' or seen Terry Gilliam's 'Brazil,' you could have a worse introduction to dystopian sci-fi than this. Loosely based on the myth of Orpheus, the plot features all the genre's touchstones. There's a fascist surveillance state, an underground resistance, and an office drone yearning for intimacy, all depicted by two versatile actors. It throws together performance styles, too, combining multimedia, melodrama, chirpy storytelling and some stylishly sinuous choreography. There's a lot going on, and it feels like the company couldn't choose between their influences and decided to use everything. That said, its high energy and sense of fun keep the audience engaged throughout. With a little work, this interesting project will definitely reach its potential.
C too, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Dave Fargnoli]

Bitesize Chekhov (d'Animate)
D'animate and 'Bitesize Chekhov' make a welcome return to the Fringe. Chekhov is notoriously difficult to decipher, but this production provides an approachable and highly enjoyable introduction, with three of his one act plays. 'The Dangers of Tobacco' involves a pathetic man's already fragile self-esteem being torn asunder, while 'The Proposal' hysterically portrays a hypochondriac's attempts to pop the question. Finally, 'Swan Song' shows us an actor in his declining years. The production blends mime, physical theatre, farce and dance, and rests on the strength of its performers. Thankfully, they work together like the mechanisms of a well-designed clock: acting in perfect synchronisation, no movement is extraneous, and all is done with abundant energy to create a near perfect production.
Zoo Southside, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Charlotte Taylor]

Puzzle The Puzzle (Point View Art Association presents Made In Macao)
A figure dressed all in black floats around the stage, a book balanced on her head, while a man we assume to be the poet sits at his desk. It soon becomes apparent that the figure represents the poet's thoughts, as he struggles to complete his masterpiece. Often she acts out scenes from his head, but they're so poorly portrayed that the audience can be seen trying to contain their laughter, which is not ideal when you've obviously tried to create a serious piece of drama. To their credit the actors are meticulous, and obviously very well-rehearsed, but for me 'Puzzle The Puzzle' strayed to just the wrong side of weird, and never came back.
C nova, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 1/5 | [Stephanie Gray]

Sins of Seven Tables (The New Salisbury Players)
This new play from Tom Anderson examines what would happen if it were tables, rather than walls, which had ears. Unfortunately, the actual table used throughout this piece seemed to serve no other purpose than to give the actors something to lean on. The actors were committed to their roles and seemed to enjoy the piece, but the direction made no sense in relation to their location – nobody gets up in the middle of dinner to take a casual stroll around the bistro! The lines were garbled and breathy, and there were moments where the acting could only be described as melodramatic hysteria. Overall, a baffling and un-engaging exploration of a well-known metaphor.
Greenside @ Royal Terrace, until 23 Aug.
tw rating 1/5 | [Vicki Baron]

Sleeping Trees Treelogy (Sleeping Trees)
Three guys, three shows and about a dozen characters each; Sleeping Trees undoubtedly have their hands full this festival! The trio are doing three productions, each an interpretation of a different fictional story. I attended 'The Odyssey', an energetic show that strays from the original tale but is certainly entertaining. The actors are talented, engaging, and hilarious, portraying everything from a six-eyed monster to a talking table. Their performances are intense, physically and vocally, and the transitions and movements impressively choreographed. I would just have liked to see some semblance of a set or some lighting effects, as this would have contributed immensely to the aesthetic aspect of the show. Nevertheless, Sleeping Trees are a company to look out for this festival.
Pleasance Courtyard until 25 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Keara Barnes]

© ThreeWeeks is published by UnLimited Media

ThreeWeeks, Fl2 Unicorn House, 221 Shoreditch High Street, London, E1 6PJ.
t: 0131 516 8842 |