So yes, here we are at the very end of the Edinburgh Fringe for 2014, with just one and half days to go. Other Edinburgh festivities do run until next weekend, of course, though things very much start winding down after tomorrow.

Yesterday we presented our ThreeWeeks Editors' Awards at the Surgeons Hall Library. Thanks to everyone who joined us, it was a great occasion and you can read more about the winners below, or click here to see the photos.

And look out for a post-Fringe edition of the ThreeWeeks Podcast next Thursday, where my Co-Editor Chris and I will discuss the winners, plus there will be interviews with three of them.

Meanwhile, there is another batch of reviews below, and we'll have one more post-Fringe helping on Thursday too. And then we are done for Edinburgh 2014, though will see you back here next August for our twentieth year covering the Festival.

In the meantime, those of you based in London, don't forget we now cover great comedy, theatre, music, film, cabaret and more all year round at Check us out online or sign up here for our weekly bulletins.

Enjoy the Fringe finale!

Caro @ ThreeWeeks
As we enter the final two days of the Fringe, here are some last minute special ticket offers from the guys at C venues.

• Buy a ticket for 'Americana' or 'Departures' and get another musical half price.

• Buy a ticket for 'Chatroom' and get a ticket for either 'First World Problems', 'Notoriously Yours', 'The Baron Conspiracy', 'Verbatopolis or 'Working Title: The Orpheus Project' half price.

Full listings at

*Offers subject to availability.
We presented our Editors' Awards for 2014 at the Surgeon's Hall Library yesterday, and here are the winners and why we chose them...
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

The Cat In The Hat (Cat In The Hat UK Ltd)
A stage show based on Dr Seus's 'Cat In The Hat' was probably always guaranteed to drum up a significant audience, given the popularity and reach of the book, and there was certainly a large crowd. Perhaps we've been spoiled by the immediacy of children's shows in smaller venues, but this somehow seemed less personal, less fun. Yet, it's a good adaptation, very capably performed by a compact cast, supported by a nicely designed set that really does reflect the look of the book. It's only a short piece of work to base a show on, however, and there are times when things feel a little stretched. That said, the children in the audience are laughing and whooping with delight, and you can't say fairer than that.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Caro Moses]

Potted Sherlock (Dan and Jeff – Festival Highlights)
In this new show Dan and Jeff turn their attention to the entire canon of Sherlock Holmes stories (there are 60, don't you know, if you count all the short ones as well as the long ones...?) and although it doesn't seem like the most obvious author to 'pot' when there are kids in the audience, they do succeed amazingly well at creating a performance that is hilarious and accessible for all. The day we attended the audience seemed to comprise far more adults than children though, and it seemed fitting, because so many of the jokes and references fly above the heads of the average small child. It's not a problem though, because the slapstick and silliness appeal to everyone, regardless of age.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Caro Moses]

Duck, Death And The Tulip (Little Dog Barking Theatre)
This was a beautifully rendered, touching piece, the story of a duck who meets with Death; not a fearsome, frightening death, but an approachable and endearing Death, who comes not as a dark entity to share Duck's final days, but as a friend, armed with tea and sandwiches. The simple but highly effective black-stage puppetry effects make the show a mesmerising sight for anyone of any age, and it is guaranteed to engage young children for at least a time. It does move quite slowly though, and it's not every child that can cope with a slow moving theatre piece, no matter how brilliantly it is conveyed; I think that could prove a drawback for very little ones. Delightfully done, though, and really quite tear-inducing at the end.
Summerhall, until 24 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Caro Moses]

Pirate Gran (Scamp Theatre and Watford Palace Theatre)
'Pirate Gran' is based on the children's books of the same name, and this is a very bright and bubbly adaptation, though ultimately it doesn't feel as though there is quite enough plot or narrative force to make it really memorable. It's given life by a team of very able actors, whose great performances do credit to a highly polished and well designed production, while the interaction with the children and their carers works well, and there is lots to keep young minds engaged. Yet there were moments when the momentum dipped; the long sequence of events at the Pirate Games, for instance, ultimately dragged a bit. Still, they are a proven team, and this is as slick and professional a production as you would expect.
Underbelly Bristo Square, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Caro Moses]

Decomposed! My Brother's Turning Into A Zombie (The Pleasance and Classical Mayhem)
I hadn't read the blurb or a press release before attending this show, and to be honest, I was expecting something a bit gorier; I suspect there might have been others who hadn't especially read the blurb properly, either, given the preponderance of nine year old boys in attendance. Not that the lack of gore actually mattered, because this was a highly entertaining, silly show, even if the 'zombie' is more metaphorical than actual, and the title 'decomposed' is a punning one, for the story is about musicians, and the musical's numbers were all set to classical music. The cast of two give a delightfully endearing performance, and I feel sure they could be setting up a life-long love of classical in at least some of the children they perform to.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Caro Moses]


Emily Snee Is Bifurious (Emily Snee / Free Festival)
Emily Snee decided to give up comedy a month before the festival, but had already booked an hour slot. So instead, she's doing an hour of acoustic, folky songs on a tiny, tiny guitar. Not quite what the audience were expecting, but lovely nevertheless. Snee gives a little intro to each song (her refrain seems to be "and then I wrote a song about it..."), demonstrating natural stage presence and charm. Her songs mainly focus on past relationships going wrong, and about hoping for more from love. It's sweet, heartfelt stuff, strangely sedate amidst the noisy maze of the Three Sisters. With this quiet start to an inevitably frantic Fringe day, Snee will make your heart hurt a little bit.
Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters, until 24 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Gemma Scott]

The Twins Macabre - Small Mediums At Large (PBJ Management)
'The Twins Macabre' are the demonic, sadistic children of deceased (in tragic, and in no way deliberate, circumstances) circus performer parents. They don't have an audience, they have "hostages", and they're determined to make us watch their songs, sketches and incredible "psychic" abilities. There's plenty of black make-up and cute costumes, the stage littered with children's toys, puppets and weapons. It's all playful, silly stuff: sending up everything from 'Location, Location, Location' to those campy horror films with obligatory creepy children. The two performers wonderfully create these faux-naive, tongue-firmly-wedged-in-cheek little monsters, toying with their audience and rattling through an array of increasingly bizarre characters. You might not be genuinely scared, but you certainly don't want to turn your back on these two.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Gemma Scott]


Malasombra (Auments Visual Dance Theater)
This strange, hypnotic fairytale fails to convince. 'Malasombra' is a physical dance performance that explores the concept of your shadow becoming autonomous and taking control, and unfortunately this idea is much more interesting than the finished product. With no dialogue, the production struggles to communicate the plot, though the staging is good, and the use of shadow puppets is masterful. These creations are so vast, in fact, that the term 'shadow puppet' feels reductive - these are monsters- yet though the lighting technique to make these figures appear larger or smaller is impressive at first, once the novelty is gone it becomes repetitive. The evolution from spectacle to story is insufficient, and as spectacle alone the magic wears off fast.
Summerhall, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Hannah Cutting]


Asking Nicely (Hannah Chutzpah / PBH's Free Fringe)
Performance poet Hannah Chutzpah has had enough of asking nicely. She's tired of the way women are expected to be smaller, quieter, less. She's kicking back against that fiercely in this show, where she confidently tackles themes of feminism, body-confidence, self-care and learning when to say no. This is not just a political rant, however; it's both humorous and humane. Her poems are performed with an infectious energy, and she uses scientific studies and quotes to back up her points. For those who were mocked at school, for those who always feel the need to ask permission, Chutzpah's confidence and determination are inspiring: this is a gorgeous, life-affirming, empowering show. I left at least three inches taller.
Stafford Centre, until 24 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Gemma Scott]


Dracula (Action To The Word)
Let's get the obvious bit over with: this cast is very attractive. It's almost kind of ridiculous. Now on with the review... This show is brilliant fun. Having built a reputation for high energy, physical interpretations of classics, Action To The Word return to the Fringe with a steampunk rock musical, and they do not disappoint. More tongue-in-cheek than previous productions, this show frolics and crescendos as the fake blood pours. It's refreshing to see this incarnation of the eponymous character as jittery and childish, unlike the silent, brooding vampires of recent years; there hasn't been a Count this deliciously camp since Gary Oldman. Live instruments blast an unapologetic soundtrack including Britney Spears' 'Toxic'. As ostentatious as Rocky Horror, this is pure indulgence.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Hannah Cutting]

Head In The Clouds - The Peregrinations Of Marie Marvingt (Broken Spectacles)
Like a comedic ninja, the charm of this piece sneaks up on you. During the course of this one-woman show telling a true account of the life of Marie Marvingt, actress Helen Aldrich encourages the audience to go home and google the French pilot/nurse extraordinaire and I was happy to oblige. The wikipedia article is extensive, though: I can guarantee it's quicker and more fun to see Aldrich in action. To summarise, Aldrich uses mime, makes her own sound effects, and performs a costume strip-tease (revealing a succession of sporting uniforms to indicate Marvingt's athletic prowess) to tell her story. Simple, but effective, this is a well-constructed piece centred around a strong performer, and educational to boot.
Summerhall, until 24 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Hannah Cutting]

Honest (Organised Crime Theatre Company)
A man, tired of the Westminster wankers he's forced to work with, decides to stop lying to them, to stop pretending to care, and starts to tell the truth. 'Honest' follows him on a night of drunken excess, where words can't be taken back and what he really thinks is revealed in all its brutal honesty. Conor Mannion is a compelling performer in this one-man show, veering between furious and demoralised, expertly playing a man who refuses to play the game. The script is bleak - the opening full of swearing, swagger and bravado - but poignant in its take-down of the hypocrisy and ennui of office life. This will make you think twice about drinking with your colleagues.
theSpace @ Jury's Inn, until 23 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Gemma Scott]

Danny Ward - Infra Dig (Edcom etc)
Apparently 'Infra dig' is Latin for 'beneath one's dignity'. Danny Ward is trying to determine what exactly this might mean. With onion goggles, dust slippers and a device for vertically applying socks that should feature on Dragon's Den, this is observational comedy at its most pragmatic and endearing. Aimed at anyone who once felt something was beneath them, only to later discover this could not be further from the truth, this show is appropriate for pretty much everyone ever. Both slightly posh (Ward was Head Boy, don't forget) and rough around the edges, this show is reassuring and enjoyable. Enjoy a dose of 'we're all in this together' with this comforting, hilarious and slightly daft hour of respite from dignity.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 24 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Hannah Cutting]

The Canterbury Tales (Close Up Theatre)
This fresh-faced cast is more talented than they have any right to be, youthful as they are. Choosing the Royal Shakespeare Company and Mike Poulton's dramatisation of The Canterbury Tales, Close Up Theatre tackle this script with the prowess of seasoned performers long in the tooth. This slick and saucy imagining of Chaucer's beloved Tales doesn't miss a beat. Utterly committed, they embody horny millers, carpenters, wenches and a prioress with swagger and vivacity. Gorgeous chamber choir vocals are a welcome addition to the bawdy humour. Admittedly this production does not bring anything new to the table, and is marginally too long. Nevertheless, this is sexy, sordid storytelling from an accomplished cast of bright young things.
Greenside at Royal Terrace, until 23 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Hannah Cutting]

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