Chris Martin is back with a brand new show at this year's Fringe – 'Responsibilliness' – an exploration of the responsibilities that come with age, or more to the point the lengths he goes to in order to shirk them.

We caught up with Chris to find out more about the show, his admirably complete knowledge of the McDonalds staff rating system, and why a move into musical comedy ain't likely to happen. Click here to read the interview.
If you're looking for a break from the Festival frenzy, and fancy kicking back for a couple of hours with a good movie, well, how about renting/streaming/downloading something with a Scottish connection? With him having two film-themed comedy shows at this year's Fringe, we asked Aidan Goatley to make some suggestions. [click here]
If you're bored of all this reading, why not download or stream the ThreeWeeks Podcast, our weekly magazine programme with interviews, performances and tunes? This week's podcast features Dean Friedman and Richard Tyrone Jones, while on the Week Zero edition you'll find Baba Brinkman discussing his return to the Fringe [click here]
Last weekend at the Meet The Media event we asked performers to sell their shows through a doodle or rhyme. This weekend we'll be sharing some of our favourites via Twitter. Follow us @ThreeWeeks to see them.
And so we're off with the Festival awards train. The Scotsman presented its first batch of Fringe First gongs on Friday, the awards that celebrate the best productions of brand new theatre at the Festival.

And, as is seemingly written into the Fringe First constitution, the first round of winners is dominated by shows at the Traverse, with Mark Thomas's 'Cuckooed' (pictured), Chris Goode's 'Men In The Cities' and John McCann's 'Spoiling' all getting some Fringe First love.

Away from the Trav, there were prizes for Chris Thorpe's 'Confirmation' being performed at Northern Stage's new venue at King's Hall, plus Henry Naylor's 'The Collector' at Gilded Balloon and Sabrina Mahfouz's play 'Chef' at Underbelly.

Commenting on that little lot, a rep for The Scotsman said: "Last year we celebrated the awards' 40th anniversary, but their purpose is the same as it was when our late Arts Editor Allen Wright founded them four decades ago: to recognise – and support – outstanding new writing premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe. We highly recommend you see these six shows".

So there you go. The Scotsman will hand out another two sets of Fringe First prizes before the end of the month. Meanwhile fellow broadsheet The Herald will present its Festival award, The Angels, on 16 and 23 Aug this year.

EastEnd Cabaret: Sexual Tension (East End Cabaret in association with Underbelly Productions)
EastEnd Cabaret are on a mission: to relieve you of any sexual tension or frustration, along with any inhibitions you may have walked in with. This is a completely off-the-wall, frankly bizarre show that's as good as it is raunchy- which is very, by the way. There's no hiding from vixen Bernadette Byrne, who will literally climb through the audience to find her prey, the tamer the better. Then there is one woman/man band Victor Victoria, who is sweet, charming and definitely criminally insane. The original songs are terrifically catchy, and the easy chemistry between the two puts a potentially skittish audience at rest. If you like your sexual tension weird and in musical form, this is the cabaret for you.
Underbelly Bristo Square, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Patricia-Ann Young]


Alasdair Tremblay-Birchall: Success Arms (Don't Be Lonely)
Make no mistake, this is a funny show. But with a few changes (and perhaps a slightly bigger crowd) it could be a great one. Our host is a very funny man, but the Canadian-Australian stand-up plays the charmingly awkward card just a little too often. His best material comes from his interaction with his audience, and this provides a lot of belly laughs, but of course this can be incredibly challenging when there are not many people there to chat to... With more of the quick-witted interchanges and original observations, and fewer long pauses and intentional awkwardness, Tremblay-Birchall has the potential to create an incredible hour of comedy.
Underbelly Cowgate, until 24 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [David O'Connor]

Clever Peter: The Dream Factory (Ditto Productions by arrangement with Troika)
Clever Peter return to the Fringe to deliver a cynical satire of the cynical, sleazy world of advertising. But from this double dose of cynicism comes a heart-warming triumph of love and humanity. Astonishingly dark and ingeniously funny, the show thrusts laughter and despair at you in equally high doses. They already have a critically acclaimed R4 sketch show under their belt, but they're such convincing ad men I'd have sworn they'd just stepped out of the boardroom. There's nothing superficial about 'The Dream Factory': this sketch act have created something truly clever and wonderful. If they ever did get into advertising, we'd finally have something worth plastering on the billboards we see on our commute to work.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [George Robb]

Sameena Zehra: Homicidal Pacifist (Sameena Zehra)
To combat life as a pacifist, Sameena Zehra imagines a cull of the human race. Anyone who fails her specially designed questionnaire will be offered three years to "fix themselves". I'm sure it's nothing personal; she just can't stand idiots, and who can blame her? That said, the explanation of how she plans her husband's funeral in detail each time they argue was a little concerning. Cynicism takes a back seat towards the end of Zehra's show, however, with a heart-warming story of the triumph of a peaceful protest, and the revelation that she's donating half of her festival proceeds to charity. She's a cynic, certainly, but she's also very intelligent and determined to maintain hope in humanity.
The Stand Comedy Club III & IV, until 24 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Stephanie Gray]

Celia Pacquola: Let Me Know How It All Works Out (PBJ Management)
Celia Pacquola did extremely well in her school exams, visits (many, many) psychics to feel better about her life and shouldn't have name-checked her now ex-boyfriend in her comedy DVD; these are just three things we learn about her during a whizzbang hour of warm hearted wit. So open that she treats the audience like a trusted best friend, Celia zooms enthusiastically through tales of irresponsible palm readers, fertility concerns, her penchant for TV hoarder shows and the best uses for the empty side of a single person's double bed. Goofy, big hearted and sweet with a brilliant bawdy streak - she's a delight.
Gilded Balloon, until 24 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Laura Kidd]

FanFiction Comedy (FanFiction Comedy)
'FanFiction Comedy' may be one of the most silly, nerdy and hilarious hours I have ever spent. Created for geeks, by geeks, the show sees the cast writing and performing several brand new stories for every performance, each involving beloved figures from popular fiction. From Harry Potter to 'Life of Pi', nothing is safe from their comedic talons: the night I attended we were treated to the moving tale '12 Years an Oompa-Loompa'. The show presumes a certain level of familiarity with the material, and clearly delights in coupling the ridiculousness of fanboy delusions with a nerdy level of detail. There's a little too much time wasted at the start and end of the show, but it's still very smart and frequently hysterical.
Assembly George Square Theatre, until 24 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Charlotte Taylor]

Feminism For Chaps (Andrew Watts)
As a woman and a feminist, I am clearly not the sort of 'chap' that Andrew Watts is aiming his material at. He also warns his (mostly female) audience that the cricket jokes may go over their heads. They do. It took becoming a father to make Watts realise he was a feminist, and in this show he tells a well-honed series of anecdotes and attempts to educate his fellow men on some (worryingly) basic facts about feminism. The result is not laugh a minute stuff, but you cannot fault Watts for his earnest attempt to enlighten through comedy. He is insightful enough, not at all self-congratulatory, and does manage to wring a few laughs out of the audience, but this is more soapbox than stand-up.
Laughing House @ Counting Horse, until 24 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Charlotte Taylor]

Harvey, Garvey And The Kane (Bound And Gagged Comedy)
This comic trio manage to retain a sense of freshness and originality in this very funny sketch show. Every year the Fringe is flooded by comedians from around the UK, and a shared national sense of humour can lead to very similar shows, all attempting to do 'British' humour. This production, however, manages to retain that dry, affable comedy traditional to the UK while also bringing a sense of individuality and innovation. This keeps things surprising and ensures that it stands out from its many peers. All three comedians are evenly matched, and all possess an easy charm and boundless energy that immediately gets an audience on board. A solid comedy sketch show with an offbeat twist.
Underbelly Bristo Square, until 24 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Patricia-Ann Young]

Lizzie Bates: Reprobates (Lizzie Bates)
Be it the boozy housewife or the over zealous co-worker, Lizzie Bates burns through her gaggle of rascals and reprobates with morally corrupt abandon. She bristles with an energy that never lets up, creating a sense of intimacy and camaraderie with her audience, making them an integral part of her show. Her confident reliance on audience participation shows what a capable comedian she is. She uses every response to build up to a punchline, without ever taking a mean shot at those taking part for an easy laugh. Her characters could be accused of being a little too similar to one other, but this is cushioned by the fact that they are all absolutely hilarious. 'Reprobates' is frothy, funny, and tweely debauched.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Patricia-Ann Young]


Out Of Water (Helen Paris & Caroline Wright / Escalator)
Silent figures stare out to shore, arranged in a row behind a length of rope strewn like a tidal mark in the sand. With a series of sunrise and sunset performances at Portobello Beach, this piece of performance art is married to its surroundings, as tales of chasing the retreating tide (and instructions for rescuing half-drowned swimmers) play in our audio headsets. The performers interact wordlessly with the audience, inspiring a feeling of connectedness, as we hear that migrating birds in formation can fly much further than those on their own. Though some elements go on longer than they should, the slow, rhythmical movements and a lilting score from Jocelyn Pook really work together to emphasise the real star of the show: the sea.
Summerhall @ Portobello Beach, until 10 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Laura Gavin]

Before Us (Stuart Bowden)
Stuart Bowden is a curious man. He has the odd charisma of Jarvis Cocker and the dance moves of Napoleon Dynamite. His mix of deadpan delivery, charming lo-fi songs and bizarre stage antics help create a magical world that he invites us all to inhabit. 'Before Us' takes a surreal and heart-warming look at the life of a nearly extinct insect, though a somewhat sombre second half sees fewer laughs and more melancholy, as the isolated Bowden explores themes of loneliness and trying to find our place in the world. The songs build to a powerful last number, though it wouldn't work as well without the audience's willingness to participate. Overall, a tight one man show that will delight and entertain. 
Underbelly Cowgate, until 24 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [James McColl]

Drunk Lion (Chris Davis / Free Festival)
A one man show about getting drunk with a Mexican lion? Yes, it's as weird as it sounds, but it's also incredibly compelling. Chris Davis performs this homage to his time spent in Mexico with wit, poignancy and a flair for the absurd. His style of storytelling is cheeky and amusing, although there are points which could be developed further and paced more effectively. This show also manages to include personable philosophy, which feels natural and logically conclusive. He engages gently and amenably with his audience, responding to their unpredictable replies with good humour and genuine interest. An excellent and thought-provoking show which makes a metaphor come alive.
Laughing Horse @ The Newsroom, until 24 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Vicki Baron]

The Generation Of Z: Edinburgh (New Zealand Season / Royale Productions)
86% of the world's global population has been infected with The Z syndrome. You are among the last known group of survivors. Everyone is at the mercy of the military now, who are the only ones with training, technology, and weapons. The experience is intense at times, with actors screaming and shoving the audience, attempted zombie attacks and explosive noises (which were much too loud). The experience was disappointing, however, as I was expecting the audience to have more much more of an impact on the outcome. Instead, we were left standing and watching scenes the vast majority of the time, with few adrenaline pumping moments. An ambitious production, with impressive set decoration, that ultimately needs more thrills.
Assembly George Square Theatre, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Keara Barnes]

The House Of Bernarda Alba (Fourth Monkey Theatre)
Lorca's classic play, about heat and longing, fails to get past a simmer in Fourth Monkey Theatre's new adaptation. After the death of her husband, Bernarda Alba enforces an eight year mourning period on her five daughters, but before long bitterness and resentment begin to brew between the feuding sisters. The show relies on atmospheric music to create tension, but the sound design lacks subtlety and at times is even cartoonish. Perhaps because of a lack of set, any sense of claustrophobia and cabin fever is absent. All performances are solid, with Claudia Errico and Georgia Cornick putting in especially strong turns as Poncia and Martirio. Regardless, the production lacks the right materials to truly create a fire.
theSpace on Niddry Street, until 23 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Patricia-Ann Young]

Pentimento (Denise Stephenson)
'Pentimento' is a one woman show about the decline in health and ultimate death of the performer's mother. A sad but ultimately moving and uplifting story, this piece is accessible but not lovable. Denise Stephenson impersonates her mother with evident love, admiration and respect, however, it feels more like a drama therapy session than a show in its own right. The audience is left feeling that they have been moved incidentally, and that the performer is mainly serving her own interests rather than seeking to entertain. With a very well-told and compelling narration, this show is written and performed excellently, but it lacks any real points of connection with the audience.
Gilded Balloon, until 24 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Vicki Baron]

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