After winning much acclaim with her 2012 show 'Lullabies To Make Your Children Cry', Lucy Ayrton returns to the Fringe with a modern day reworking of 'The Little Mermaid' that explores issues around child bearing and reproduction.

We caught up with Lucy to find out more about the new show, her Fringe experiences, and the spoken word scene. Click here to read the interview.
A young musician searches through his late grandmother's trunk and discovers mementoes of her life, which together tell the story of two people, from different sides of an ocean, brought together through the turmoil of World War II. That world is recreated through video, sound and dance in 'The Warriors: A Love Story', and we spoke to Artistic Director Curtis Uhlemann about the show. [click here]
'A Nifty History Of Evil', one of three shows featuring a John Robertson at the Fringe this year, promises "2000 years of humans, sinister elephants, Polynesian zombies and Mickey Mouse". But where did Robertson's interest in history and all its evil doings come from? Childhood of course. The man himself explains. [click here]
We put the same question to all three members of a Fringe trio. We ask Massive Dad: "What is the best life advice you've ever been given?" [click here]
I've always thought it would be useful if we gave each weekend of the Fringe a name, creating markers with which to refer to each stage of the festivities. And I'm nominating 'The Weekend Of Uke' for this one coming, because Tricity Vogue is hosting her 'Uke Of Edinburgh Awards' once again, and this time at a much bigger venue.

For those unfamiliar with this Fringe institution, Vogue brings together all the ukelele players of the Festival – from those whose shows revolve around the instrument to more secretive uke strummers. Various uke-based contests then occur, with the overall winner granted permission to play the ukelele that dons Vogue's hat. Yeah, that's right, her hat.

Speaking ahead of this weekend's events, Vogue told ThreeWeeks: "It's surprising what you can do with a ukulele. Every year I'm gobsmacked that people can do such jaw-dropping things with a small four-stringed instrument".

This year's shows take place on Saturday, 16 Aug, at the New Empire Bingo Hall on Nicolson Street. It's a considerably bigger venue for the annual uke celebration, about which Vogue muses: "It's so exciting to be at the New Empire Bingo Hall. For the past four years we've been playing to packed houses of 100 or more, so it's high time we moved to a bigger home, and the venue on Nicolson Street is perfect. It's gorgeous".

Amongst the uke-ists due to appear this Saturday are Amy G, Helen Arney and Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer (the latter of whom you'll also find in the Week Three issue of ThreeWeeks next week). The show takes place at 4pm and then again at 10.30pm, and admission is free, though it's recommended to book seats online via - info here.

The Snow Queen (C Theatre)
'The Snow Queen' has made many an appearance in theatre programmes over the years, and the recent release of 'Frozen' can only have made it a more popular choice. The classic Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale follows Gerda and her quest to release her friend Kai from the wicked Snow Queen. In this low tech production, the real star of the show was the dance, the Snow Queen manipulating Kai's body as the pair glided beautifully around the stage. For me, this version of the story was too basic; the piece, although short, was too long for the amount that happened. However, the important ones in the audience loved it: the children giggled and gasped their way through the performance, and were very vocal at the end about how good it was.
C, until 19 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Bethan Highgate-Betts]


Andy De La Tour Stand-Up Or Die In New York (Gilded Balloon)
Andy De La Tour was in at the start of 'alternative comedy', and opens by sticking his V's up at Rik Mayall in "comedy heaven": a fitting tribute. He retired from comedy in 1990, but 20 years later went to New York and started from scratch, blagging slots at open mic nights. Maybe it played better over there, an affable English guy doing quaint observations: Tea Party supporters, the fuss about Obamacare, that sort of thing. Mind you, it wouldn't have been four year-old 'topical' material then. If this were, say, a Book Festival Q&A it'd be perfectly amiable. As stand up, if Rik Mayall was watching, even with eternity to contemplate, he'd have probably still ended up checking his watch.
Gilded Balloon, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Bruce Blacklaw]

Beth Vyse - Get Up With Hands! (Mike Leigh Associates)
Daytime TV presenter Olive Hands is having a meltdown; we're caught in the crossfire and there's no opting out. Beth Vyse's creation is teetering on the very edge of sanity and is desperate for fame at any cost, recruiting audience members for moral support and speaking parts as her show crashes down around her ears. A truly immersive and not unenjoyable experience, at times it's like being trapped in a surreal nightmare; the shrieking, leg humping, and throwing of oddball props creating a sensory overload that's almost too much to bear. As the show finishes the relief from the audience is palpable, but intelligent work doesn't always have to feel good.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 24 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Laura Kidd]

BongoLicious (Njambi McGrath)
A welcome lesson in history is undoubtedly taken from Njambi McGrath's production 'BongoLicious.' Commencing as a comedy act and concluding as a drama, it is difficult to classify the show as one or the other. Njambi takes the audience on a journey of her life growing up in Africa and, in turn, her family's background and history. It's a horrible history in parts, exposing the British ruled gulags in Kenya where Africans were tortured, raped and killed. She understandably expresses her fury and emotion over the hardships her people and country went through, slipping a joke or two in between. The interludes of African song and dance are beautiful, and upcoming performer Njambi is a big personality whose heritage and cultural identity help in the creation of this interesting show.
Just The Tonic at The Mash House, until 22 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Keara Barnes]

Dan Nightingale Is Trying His Best Not To Be A Dick (Lee Martin for Gag Reflex)
Dan Nightingale is doing a daytime show developed in the night-time, and worries that the audience will be a couple of G&Ts short of where he needs them to be, chiefly during the dirty sex bits. In fact, there isn't much of that. Nightingale is a warm stage presence and a skilled performer, going from the mundane subject matter of driving and jogging to the age-old question of when it's ok to do a Parkinson's gag (answer: when you nick the punchline from your Parkinson's suffering dad). One thing remains unclear at the end of an entertaining hour - the title has little connection with the show, but if he's fishing for a "really didn't seem that much of a dick at all" quote for the poster, he's welcome to it.
Pleasance Dome, until 24 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Bruce Blacklaw]

Eleanor Morton - Lollipop (Eleanor Morton)
Arriving on stage issuing enthusiastic high fives, Eleanor Morton sweeps us along through an hour of conversation around mental health issues, anxiety and social awkwardness. Stories about her therapist and attempts to talk to attractive people are punctuated by humorous songs played on ukulele and keyboard ('I'm Really Good At The Clubbing' is particularly good), and she's unfazed by a series of latecomers crashing in to the small room at the start of her set. Her endearing nature is an excellent counterpoint to her intelligence; a swift aside to some American guests about the Middle East was so sweetly delivered it almost went unnoticed. Go for surreal humour, great songs and free Pringles.
The Stand Comedy Club, until 24 Aug
tw rating 4/5 | [Laura Kidd]

Francesco De Carlo - Italians Do It Later (Mick Perrin Worldwide in association with Eddie Izzard)
This Fringe, Italian comedian Francesco De Carlo is doing his first shows in English. Having confirmed that the audience's first reaction to the name Berlusconi is 'bunga, bunga', he goes onto a rather deeper satire about his country's ills – unemployment, corruption, clergy, laziness - riddled with pithy observations and cracking lines. Football stuff about when Fabio Capello was 'our' coach – Edinburgh during the Fringe is still technically part of Scotland – and the USA being rubbish are off target, but suggestions for golf brawls and hippo twister bring us happily back on track. English may not be his first language – he has several good gags for moments when he knows he's making an arse of it – but he is fluent in comedy.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Bruce Blacklaw]

The Voyage Of The Narwhal (The Awkward Silence)
This show starts so promisingly. With a deliberate nod to 'Titanic', sketch group The Awkward Silence tell the perilous tale of the Narwhal, a ship with an increasingly eccentric cast of staff and guests. Despite a script edit from 'The Thick of It' writer David Quantick, I still feel this show could have done with a more heavy-handed red pen, as the characters soon went from being amusing to just deliberately weird. The crudely homoerotic moments clash uncomfortably with the PC sea shanties (a genuine highlight of the show) about trans rights and equal pay. Though they don't have quite enough material to fill an hour, this is still a promising Fringe debut from this oddly-minded group.
Just The Tonic at the Caves, until 24 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Gemma Scott]

Imran Yusuf - Roar Of The Underdog (Live Nation)
Riffing on his international ancestry and upbringing with witty insight, Kenyan-born, British-raised Muslim Imran Yusuf has plenty of source material on cultural differences and whether you can ever fit in anywhere. It's uncertain whether his background qualifies him to be quite so barbed about various nations and some jokes fall shy of the funny line. This said, his gags about the perils of Catholic god-parenting, the daft inadequacy of Western fundraising efforts and just how many African people that bathtub of baked beans could feed hit right on target. The room is a little slow to warm up, and Yusuf's rapport-building attempts have mixed results but his genuine warmth and desire for equality comes across well enough to have me on his side by the end of the set.
Underbelly Bristo Square, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Laura Gavin]

Japanese Samurai Don Quixote Challenging Giant English Windmills! (Hiroshi Shimizu / Free Festival)
When Hiroshi Shimizu strides onstage in an orange tracksuit and immediately announces that he is "weird" and "eccentric", you could be forgiven for thinking this is all a bit much for nine in the morning. However, Shimizu does well with this unforgiving timeslot. He starts out strong, with some excellent material about a house fire and the dire straits of English teaching in Japan. The second half does lose momentum though, with some stories that go on too long and cause the gag rate to slip. Had it ended fifteen minutes earlier, I would have come out happier. Still, if you're up early it's fun, and Shimizu is a likeable host. And no, the title is never explained.
Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters, until 24 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Jon Stapley]

Katia Kvinge presents Karacters (Katia Kvinge)
'Katia Kvinge presents Karacters' is a cluster of new material that Katia is working on for next year's Fringe. She is obviously a talented performer with a great knack for comedy characters and stand up, but this show is simply a number of characters cobbled together to see what works. There is no attempt to structure this as a cohesive show, which is explained at the start, but of course this still affects the tenor of the performance. Some characters work better than others and some fall completely flat; her material is well observed in places, yet relies on heavy stereotypes in others. Forty-odd minutes of rough and raw character comedy that is fast paced and delivers some great off-the-cuff one liners, but it's not yet a fully formed set.
The Globe Bar, until 23 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [James McColl]

Kraken (Underbelly Productions)
Mutating his lithe, expressive gestures from one thing into another in a physical stream of consciousness, Trygve Wakenshaw has created a bizarre and absurdist hour of adult mime. His gurning face, his bleats and squeals and, once or twice, actual words accompany the precise movements of his body as he mimics, among many other things, a juggler, a dinosaur, a knife thrower and a baby bird. The narrative progresses with unfathomable logic. Very occasionally he is too repetitive, but more often he is brilliantly funny and fearless. Unexpected twists and twisted turns towards grotesquery or filth make Wakenshaw very much a clown for grown-ups. But, despite the puerility, 'Kraken' oozes intelligence and flaunts a mastery of form.
Underbelly Cowgate, until 24 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Tim Bano]

Naton Caton - Teenage Mutant Nathan Caton (Off The Kerb Productions)
After a two year hiatus from the Edinburgh Festival, Nathan Caton has returned for another go. This turtle power fuelled hour is full of stories from his life so far and on the whole makes for easy listening. A strong start is sadly undermined towards the end of his set, however, where the anecdote-based material loses its comic edge and is at times in danger of becoming an only occasionally funny, slightly too heart-warming life story. A punchline at the end does redeem the set slightly, but by that point it has been a good five minutes since the audience laughed properly. Caton's attitude and performance can't be faulted, but overall his material lets him down.
Pleasance Dome, until 24 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Stephanie Gray]

No Strings (Pot Kettle)
"Hooray, an Oxford Revue troupe", said no sane reviewer ever when handed the assignment. Just saying; it was a tough crowd, at least in this chair but, you know what? Won over. It's a sketch show, so detailed description is redundant: all you can ask is that the good outweighs the bad, which it certainly does. A loose narrative thread woven throughout is a smart device to make the cast more than just interchangeable parts of the joke machine. The cast are self-evidently clever and talented (if possibly a little too pleased with themselves in that respect at times), but there's plenty of inventive, playful stuff, fun musical numbers, good ideas and laughs. So there you go, a good review for a good revue.
Just The Tonic @ The Caves until 24 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Bruce Blacklaw]

Playing With Myself - The Trials And Tribulations Of Drama Practitioner Gregory Bike (PBH's Free Fringe)
Parodying the world of theatre, this comedy show focuses on the pompous theatre director Greg Bike and his quest to put on a successful play. It has a very broad sense of humour that unashamedly tries to get a laugh from a fart joke no less than three times, and suffers from a poor structure and central performances that are more volume than substance, making the show feel rushed in places and painstakingly long in others. There are some glimmers of hope in the show, hints of subtlety and witty writing which make a brief appearance before being swept away in favour of a return to baser gags. Awkward musical number and sex acts with a CPR dummy routine included.
Dragonfly, until 23 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [James McColl]

Rosie Wilby - Nineties Woman (Rosie Wilby / PBH's Free Fringe)
Former 'Funny Women' finalist Rosie Wilby had a plan: to interview all the women who wrote alongside her for nineties York University feminist newspaper 'Matrix', and the result is this intriguing show. This nineties woman takes us through the story of her student days – bad perms, fruitless crushes and too sincere student demos included – but what she really wants to know is whether these girls have stuck to their principles and remained true to the feminist cause. The stand out thing about the show is the former Brit-popper herself, who is a likeable figure and a natural story teller. Her tales of student (not quite) hedonism engage you from the off, and her willingness to gently self-deprecate allow the audience to happily laugh at her as well as with her.
Voodoo Rooms, until 24 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Charlotte Taylor]

Skimprov (Masters Of None)
Skimprov: sketches and improvisation. See? Having whipped the crowd into a frenzy of interest, they deploy a mixed bag (or, more accurately, pint pot – that being the vessel from which audience members draw the sketch titles to determine the running order) of quickfire sketch material. They are pleasingly keen and silly with plenty of fun ideas, even if not all of them translate to a successful execution, while the improv is fairly limited at this showing. There are good bits about Facebook and a hospice for neglected words, while the Olympic wildcard sketch, necessitating several minutes' improv to cover an elaborate costume change in pursuit of a single silly (but good) punchline is time daringly well spent. However, the big musical finale is pretty horrendous.
Just The Tonic @ the Caves Until 24 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Bruce Blacklaw]

Tiff Stevenson – Optimist (Avalon Promotions Ltd)
Tiff Stevenson believes we are in the grip of an "asshole apocalypse". How can we be optimists, she asks, in a world where the Kardashians exist? Her hour begins with a promise that she can cater to both the cultured and uncultured sides of the audience, with niche film references accompanied by mentions of everyday vodka and pregnancy tests scattered throughout the show. Although her observations are good, her material feels a bit all over the place; sometimes her darker stories and revelations come too suddenly, taking the audience by surprise and pushing the room into silence. It's all very well being honest, but it is a stand up show and during these parts, and beyond, there are very few laughs.
Gilded Balloon, until 24 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Stephanie Gray]

The Walking Dead
Stay inside. Lock your doors. Run the bath. These are just three starter tips on how to survive what some would say is the inevitable zombie apocalypse. Comedian Dan Willis takes audiences through a short history of zombie representations in cult film and television shows, and describes the necessary steps to how to survive a zombie attack in real life. Through audience suggestion a survival team is chosen and ideal weapons discussed. With his humorous antecdotes from his real life, Dan Willis has an informal, easy air about him and is a pleasure to watch. A lighthearted, free and funny show for anyone, but especially fans of The Walking Dead, Zombieland, or just zombies in general.
The Liquid Room, until Aug 24
tw rating 4/5 | [Keara Barnes]

I Am Not Malala (Sadia Azmat)
As you might infer from the title, Sadia Azmat is an unassuming comedian, strolling up to the mic without even announcing herself first. As she covers the tricky business of establishing an identity when you're British-Indian, the highlights come when she's talking about how people expect her to relate to education activist Malala Yousafzai, and how her white friends are disappointed that she doesn't play the sitar. Billed as an everyday account of being an Asian woman, it's a shame that her observations don't always rise above the obvious. Azmat raises titters rather than belly laughs, and the show seems to peter out instead of building to a climax at the end. Thankfully, her low-key style and self-deprecating wit show great potential, and still make Azmat good company for a morning.
SpaceCabaret @ 54, until 23 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Laura Gavin]


The Hat Pack (New Town Theatre)
First things first: the show contains surprisingly few hats. Maybe two. A music variety evening with a constantly shifting lineup, 'The Hat Pack' offers a fun, if slightly disjointed, evening of jazz and cabaret. The rotation of performers means it's pot-luck as to what you'll get – the show description lists world music, folk and hip-hop, none of which I saw, and does not list spoken poetry against a soundscape, which I did. We're initially presented with a 1920s Berlin theme, which is quickly abandoned and by the end when we're enjoying 'Hit The Road, Jack' (1960) with nary a thought of the Golden Twenties. It's good fun, but at ninety minutes is a little long. Avail yourself of the cash bar.
New Town Theatre, until 24 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Jon Stapley]

Lillian Boutté - The Delta Queen (Outhouse Productions)
It's raining in Edinburgh, but jazz and gospel legend Lillian Boutté is ready to welcome us. With eyes twinkling and a voice lighter than air, she's a warm presence; bopping and shuffling her way through a superb set. 'C'est Si Bon' is a highlight, enlisting her superb band on vocals to great effect. A stately cover of 'What A Wonderful World' provides a moving ending as Boutté travels the room thanking everyone in turn. She may have been unsuccessful in getting this sleepy Sunday audience to get up and dance out of their seats, but that's just because they're transfixed. With hugs all round afterwards, she warms us up and sends us back out in to the cold night.
Outhouse, until 24 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Laura Kidd]


Austen (Old Hall Theatre)
Jane Austen is one of the most renowned female authors in history, penning such classic literary love stories as 'Pride and Prejudice' and 'Sense and Sensibility'. The author famously never married, however, despite having numerous relationships; 'Austen' is a new musical examining these various love interests in her life, before her untimely death at the age of 41. The production alternates between past and present and follows Jane's struggle to attain publication in an industry and historical period ruled by men. A wonderful performance by Annie Kirkman as Jane and a hilariously varied one by Toby Osmond hold the show, but ultimately, despite its charms, this short, simple musical unfortunately fails to really excite or inspire.
theSpace on the Mile, until 16 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Keara Barnes]

Out Of The Lens (Dragon Literature)
An attempted change in perspective, a quick narrowing focus, a capturing of a moment. 'Out of the Lens' is a new musical, a world premiere in fact, that focuses on two characters attempting to find and define themselves within their own realities. The initial connection is made at a coffee shop, and progresses into a work related photoshoot, through which a relationship develops between the two men. Andrew Walker and Guy Woolf star in this two hander as two young men from vastly different backgrounds. Guy gives a natural and charming performance as Joseph, while Andrew's singing dominates his performance. A story of friendship, of overcoming prejudice, and of acceptance; a new production with promising performers.
Sweet Grassmarket, until Aug 24.
tw rating 3/5 | [Keara Barnes]

Riptide - The Slasher Musical (Porgy Productions)
It's 'Scooby Doo' meets 'Scream' meets 'Baywatch'; a group of 20-somethings embark on the spring break of a lifetime, each with a different objective in mind. Heading to a secluded beach cabin with the aim of partying themselves into oblivion, the characters slowly get picked off one by one. The production is reminiscent of the majority of 90s horror films: predictable, over-sexualised and bloody. 'Riptide' manages to be an entertaining musical, however, with some catchy tunes from a live band and some stellar performances, despite being completely over the top and with no substance whatsoever. This is a production to attend if you simply want some silly, sexy, outrageous entertainment.
Sweet Grassmarket until 24 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Keara Barnes]


Love & Rabbits (The Underground Clown Club)
Love & Rabbits is a witty and wonderful 45 minute long free fringe show, performed by Underground Clown Club duo Katie Overstall and Andrew Skipper. It's an intimate set, fuelled by good will for the performers, who create a warm atmosphere that is very welcoming and enjoyable. The duo's material champions the magic and wonder of words, having a playful and charming quality not too dissimilar to 'Dr. Seuss'. Themes of nostalgia and a fondness for childhood curiosity make for an inoffensive piece that would best appeal to a family crowd - it is not so much that the two fall short of making any commentary on contemporary issues, rather, they turn there, and run in the opposite direction.
Electric Circus Lizard Lounge, until 15 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [James McColl]


Bannockburn (Two Sassenachs)
Not being a fan of audience participation I was somewhat dubious about this at first, a show in which the audience must help retell the historic battle of Bannockburn with a table top battle field and marker pens. However, to my surprise come the end of the show, I found that I enjoyed myself and gained a very basic understanding of the battle itself. This show only works if the audience is willing, as you are only going to get out of it what you put in, but given that this is a pretty niche event, it seems likely that those who choose to attend will put in the effort. The two hosts' warm and engaging approach helps to bridge the gap between the limitations of the venue and the subject, making this a successful event.
Quaker's Meeting House, until 16 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [James McColl]

Guttermouth (Richard Barton Company)
As a man in an odd hat stands on stage in a wheelie bin, eating a banana and eyeballing the audience, I can't help but wonder what I've stumbled upon. Soon though, this one man show comes to life as Greg Shewring relates through contemporary verse the stories of the streets on which his show is set, and we're taken on a journey through a night of youthful indulgence. An infamous free party is taking place down the road, and through the voice of the streets we watch as events unfold. All the while, Shewring rarely leaves the confines of his wheelie bin. It's an unexpected triumph, combining physical theatre, an original soundtrack and a clever script.
Venue 13, until 16 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Stephanie Gray]

Henry V: Here & Now (King Cobra Theatre)
'King Cobra Theatre' presents a contemporary adaptation of Henry V, re-worked as a clash between England and Scotland. After Henry's uncle dies, he is forced into a property dispute that he cannot afford, and to save on costs, decides that the best way to secure his cottage would be to woo the landlord's daughter. This is a fairly successful modern adaptation of the classic play that offers simplistic character interpretations and a streamlined plot; the stripped-back narrative makes it easy to understand the core story of the dense and complex source material. This is naturally at the cost of the character examination that the play would usually offer, but for new comers and family audiences this might be beneficial.
Gryphon@WestEnd, until 16 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [James McColl]

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