2014 has been a big year for Jason Hewitt, with his debut novel just published, and now his first full-length play on the stage. The latter is 'Claustrophobia', a tightly staged drama focused on two strangers trapped in a lift, presented at the Fringe by To The Moon.

Having enjoyed the show very much, we spoke to Hewitt about the play, his debuts on page and stage, and why sometimes a good playwright should leave some words out. Click here to read the interview.
We put the same question to all three members of a Fringe trio. A question for Fascinating Aida: What do you wish you'd known before you started coming to the Edinburgh Festival? [click here]
The second ThreeWeeks cover stars of 2014 are Janey Godley and Ashley Storrie, as mother interviews daughter to celebrate the two stand-ups appearing in the same Fringe show this year. Look out for the interview on Wednesday, and check out some of the pictures from the photoshoot right now. [click here]
Yesterday we published a bunch of our favourite doodle and rhyming plugs as supplied by the Fringe community at Meet The Media at the start of the Festival. You can check them out online here, and follow us @ThreeWeeks to see more doodles and rhymes later today.
For newer acts at the Festival a daily dose of flyering the streets of Edinburgh is as much a part of the Fringe experience as warm-ups, scene changes and curtain calls. Each year a forest of flyers are distributed across the Festival City, but does all that effort actually result in any ticket sales? Well, many a Fringe veteran will tell you, that depends on how you go about your flyering.

"Last year I came to the Fringe as a punter and I was shocked at how many performers seemed to be putting people off their show as opposed to attracting them" says actor Fionn Gill, who's done his own fair share of flyering over the years as an actor in, amongst other things, the ThreeWeeks Editors' Award winning show 'Keepers' in 2010.

"There was actually one girl in particular who was shouting 'Five Star Sell-out Show' outside the Pleasance Dome whilst furiously waving flyers around. She was getting through to no-one and I wanted to help her. Then I started to think about all the other ineffective flyering you see. The subtle flyer drop on your table. The 'sales pitch'. The mimed performance piece. The loud performance piece. Or worst of all, looking bored, looking anxious and just handing someone a flyer".

Wanting to help those failing at flyering, Gill has now launched a new company that sets out to do just that. "Having seen 'Five Star Sell-out Show' girl last year, and with many years flyering on the Fringe under my belt, not to mention a background in street charity fundraising, I decided to start Flare Flyering. I'm now in my first year of training people to be much better at flyering and it's going well".

Gill offers a variety of training sessions for those bound for flyerer duties, and reckons people can come on leaps and bounds in just an hour or two. He told ThreeWeeks: "We run training that is sometimes behind doors or on the street, or both, and either as a group or with just with one person or company. We look at how you can best sell your show, what are the best things to say, how should you say it, how do you 'hook' people, and much more".

For more information on Gill's services check, meanwhile here he provides his top three tips.

1. Have fun and enjoy yourself. If you're having fun you're more likely to engage people because warm positive energy is attractive.

2. Connect with people. Establishing a rapport includes someone in what you are doing and makes them feel much more special. Just handing out flyers or rattling off a spiel leaves people feeling cold and bombarded.

3. Choose the right places at the right times. Learn where your audiences are for your show. Where do they hang out? At what time? Are they waiting to see or coming out of other similar shows? Blanket flyering on the Mile, or around Bristo Square, may hit numbers but fewer, more targeted interactions will always be more effective.

Madame Magenta - Libros Mystica (Lindsay Sharman / PBH's Free Fringe)
Like all good psychics and mediums, Madam Magenta has a book to plug, and has created this one hour cabaret show to promote it. In this ragtag and slightly chaotic show, we experience a combination of poetry, mind reading and the most un-relaxing relaxation techniques known to man. Character comic Lindsay Sharman haphazardly weaves through the proceedings a mad energy that is both endearing and a little frightening, and despite having trouble with her sound system, didn't let the lack of music in her cabaret show stop her! She dealt with the issue with a quickness and dexterity that only a naturally talented entertainer could manage. Who cares if Madame Magenta is a massive crook when she's this much fun?
The Voodoo Rooms, until 24 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Patricia-Ann Young]


Bits & Box ('AndOn Theatre)
'Bits & Box' is an endearing show, even if it doesn't know whether it wants to be a children's show about being childish, or a grown-up show about no longer being a child. The central story, about facing adulthood and putting away childish things, is rather touching, but bores the little ones in the audience at times. Meanwhile, the mucking about with a cardboard box sections are inventive and fun, but not quite enough to sustain the children's interest through the talking. If 'AndOn Theatre had picked one age group to appeal to and stuck to it, this could have been a great wee show. As it stands, though, both halves are good but don't quite work together.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 17 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Andrew Bell]

The Magic Quest (Theatre Alba)
Ye always ken weel whit yer gonnae git wi Theatre Alba's shaw fur weans. Alricht actin', bonnie environs in the shape o' Duddingston Kirk Manse gairdens an' some sort o' theme. This year, it's Scots (apologies to those who actually speak it for those last two sentences), a quest to find a "draigon" and an environmental message. 'The Magic Quest' is honest, wholesome family fun – lots of singing and hammy acting – even if the Scots does get in the way at times. Exploring the gardens is fun, but stops the play from really getting a rhythm going, meaning it never fully transports us. Dinnae fash yerseel aboot that, though, awa' an' enjoy the weans haein fun.
Duddingston Kirk Manse Gardens, until 10 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Andrew Bell]


Robin Ince's Blooming Buzzing Confusion (Robin Ince)
Robin Ince has at least six times more material than this hour-long show allows for. Sometimes it seems his mouth works faster than his brain, while his brain works faster than the brains of his audience members. In what is ostensibly a show about the aforementioned human brain, he jumps from particle physics to Brian Blessed impressions, frenetically pacing the stage. He's constantly near-purple with fury or shaking with excitement - Ince seems to have no middle ground. Towards the end he speeds up dramatically, desperately trying to fit in the 400 ideas still bouncing around his brain. He repeatedly berates himself for the weird, unpredictable nature of the show, but this is actually what makes it so exciting. His fascination and curiosity are infectious: I'm off to read some Carl Sagan.
The Stand III and IV, until 12 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Gemma Scott]

Surname & Surname: Bang! (Ditto Productions)
At the start of their show Paul Foxcroft and Briony Redman take a minute to express their surprise at the size of the crowd. It's one of many off the cuff remarks that soon become accepted as part of the duo's routine; these two aren't afraid to go off script. Their personalities shine through fairly consistent during each sketch, meaning that as an audience we get to know the comedians as individuals as well as the characters they play. By the end of the hour Surname and Surname have managed to not only produce a sketch show worthy of selling out, they've also passed the near-insurmountable challenge of creating real atmosphere inside a tiny shipping container.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Stephanie Gray]

Susan Calman - Lady Like (Lakin McCarthy)
Susan Calman is on a mission: she's attempting to like herself more. With an honesty that almost borders on uncomfortable, she talks candidly about her mental health, her recent marriage and her response to Twitter critics. Thankfully, she's already so likeable (to the rest of us, anyway) that it's easy to laugh along with her, without feeling like it's at her expense. Though gentle tales about family quirks, awkward childhoods and unusual travel experiences may not be the most innovative or exciting comedy at the Fringe, it's all delivered with such warmth and genuine humour that you can't help giggling. If you're looking for a lovely hour with a lovely comedian, Calman's your lady.
Underbelly Bristo Square, until 24 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Gemma Scott]

Des Clarke - The Trouble With Being Des (Des Clarke)
Glasgow boy Des Clarke laments the social awkwardness of modern living in this very funny, very Scottish stand-up show. From the start, he has the audience openly guffawing and manages to maintain that pace without dropping momentum or losing support from the crowd. Though the material is clearly influenced by his Glaswegian upbringing and culture, Clarke keeps it accessible for those outside his catchment area while still retaining a nice Scottish twist to the proceedings. It's always satisfying to see a comedian deliver a straight stand-up show, without having to add frills or distractions to keep the audience interested, but Clarke pulls it off with easy grace and aplomb. 'The Problem with Being Des' is a solid hour of hilarious homespun comedy.
The Assembly Rooms, until 24 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Patricia-Ann Young]

Josie Long - Cara Josephine (Josie Long with Show And Tell)
Last summer, Josie Long had her heart broken. What arose from that trauma was 'Cara Josephine', a show that manages to deal with themes of ageing, self-doubt and rejection while never letting the gut-busting laughs let up for a moment. Long uses the show as an opportunity to examine herself and her issues with relationships in some of the most sincere and heartfelt material she's ever produced. But there's no moment that can't be punctured with a joke, a silly voice, or a perfectly pitched profanity. Despite not being as political as some of her previous material, this is undoubtedly Long's most mature show yet, combining the professionalism of experience with the emotional daring of youth. A sincere, wonderful, hilarious, life-affirming triumph.
The Stand Comedy Club, until 24 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Jon Stapley]

Laurence Clark - Moments of Instant Regret (CKP in association with Beyond Compere)
Lawrence Clark's latest show sees him relive some of his most head-in-hands awkward and embarrassing moments - those that haunt him to this day. The theme is instant regret, which for Clark usually means saying something that doesn't turn out to be quite as righteous and justified as he first thought. This is a focused, tight and most importantly hilarious show, that sees Clark regaling the audience with tale after tale. Equipped with a slide show and some fantastic one-liners, he shares with us his frustrations and the anger that sometimes get the better of him. Laurence Clark is a delight to spend an hour with and it's his charisma that really holds this show together.
Assembly George Square Theatre, until 24 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [James McColl]

Bec Hill - Ellipsis (Ditto Productions)
Bec Hill has written an award-winning comedy show...perhaps. It's a fun premise for a Fringe performance, and this one-woman variety show certainly displays her wide ranging skills. Careening from rambunctious mime to chatty stand-up to amusing punnery to wonderfully inventive paper puppetry set to music, Hill ensures there is never a dull moment. The bright-eyed creative energy on display is impressive but she is not just a show-off - her exuberant silliness is balanced by an emotional core to her storytelling, unless that really is a ploy to trick comedy award judges... yet, I think not. For fans of chair dancing, paper crafts and free cheese.
Gilded Balloon, until 24 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Laura Kidd]


Camille O'Sullivan - 10 (Camille O'Sullivan)
Camille's tenth Fringe finds her perfectly at home on a stage decorated with fairy lights, candles, a mini disco ball, bunny rabbit lamp, treasure chest and red glittery high heels. During a set as eclectic as the decor, she and her accomplished three piece band sail exuberantly through a stellar selection of covers, including Nick Cave ('God Is In The House'), Dillie Keane ('Look Mummy'), David Bowie ('Moonage Daydream') and Jacques Brel ('Amsterdam'). A comedically batty version of Tom Waits' 'God's Away On Business' proves a sharp contrast to the highlight of the night - a moving, stripped down performance of Radiohead's 'True Love Waits', complete with mesmerising light rays. Unforgettable.
Assembly Rooms, until 24 Aug
tw rating 4/5 | [Laura Kidd]

Picnic In The Cemetery (Point View Art Association Presents Made In Macao)
This cutting edge performance has come from Macao and is well worth experiencing if you enjoy the avant garde. It combined props, physical theatre, film and music in a set that felt like a front room where audience and cast all hung out together. Sometimes the cast silently wandered around unsettlingly, or watched with us, blurring the line between performer and audience. Most interesting of all was that the music was acoustic, not electronic or computer generated: piano, violin and cello were all very well played. There was a lot to see and discover, some of it puzzling, and there was no spoken dialogue. 'Picnic In The Cemetery' is touching, endearing and witty, and this is what made its strangeness feel non-threatening.
C nova, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Louise Rodgers]

Metropolitan Cathedral Choral And Organ Vespers (St Mary's Metropolitan Cathedral / Cantors Of The Holy Rood)
Even if you love this beautiful evening prayer service don't clap – it's not a concert - but if you enjoy plainchant and polyphony then this is for you. This was well sung, dynamic plainchant in its proper context; the lead cantor shaped and shepherded the music, constantly moving it along to fulfil its function of communicating the Latin words. A second choir sang Renaissance polyphony in the organ gallery above, providing passages of contrast, bringing a little flourish of Venice to Edinburgh, and showcasing the cathedral's own singers. The service of Vespers ended with an accomplished Duruflé organ solo. I enjoyed hearing all of this lovely music in its natural habitat, not chained up in a concert hall.
St Mary's Metropolitan Cathedral, 16 and 23 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Louise Rodgers]

Fusion Guitar - Classical And Percussive Guitar (Declan Zapala)
It wasn't just flawless technique and superb artistry that make this a five star show – although that helped - it was the way Zapala communicated with his audience. His funny, confiding anecdotes as he changed the complex tuning of his guitar made the audience feel they already knew and liked him very much. In addition, he displayed raw emotion through his playing – particularly during 'Philomena', a composition he wrote for his mother. His programme included recent pieces that used the guitar as a percussion instrument and had a whiff of the experimental about them, as well as Bach preludes from the baroque era: all were breathtaking. Go see this man while he's still playing smaller venues, he's brilliant!
C too, until 16 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Louise Rodgers]


The Most Serious Aliments Of St Krank's (Babolin Theatre in association with Worboys Productions)
This all-singing, all-dancing theatre group pump some much needed silliness and energy into a production that examines both life and death. The quirk factor is through the roof here which, when combined with a heavy nostalgia for end-of-the pier entertainment, makes for a show that seems out of touch with contemporary issues. There is enough good will and light-hearted humour from the very talented cast to still make for an enjoyable and funny show. However, after the fifth or sixth time poking fun at an English seaside town for being an English seaside town, the joke really has worn thin. By the end of the show, any comment on the health care institution seems muddled or lost.
Bedlam Theatre, until 9 Aug.
tw ratings 3/5 | [James McColl]

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