The extraordinary yet ultimately tragic life of early Twentieth Century Russian ballet dancer and choreographer Vaslav Nijinsky has been widely documented in books and film, but this summer Company Chordelia use his story as inspiration for an entirely new piece of dance theatre. We spoke to the company's Kally Lloyd-Jones about that life story and how it inspired her new show 'Nijinsky's Last Jump'.

ThreeWeeks' Chris Cooke chats to Kelly Lloyd-Jones about her show here
Three recommended shows for Wednesday at the Edinburgh Festival 2015.

Valiant (pictured)

"Horribly uncomfortable, but in a good way" says our reviewer of this verbatim piece from Handan Productions, which is adapted from the interviews of thirteen women about their experiences of war. Read the full review in the Week One weekly edition of ThreeWeeks, out tomorrow, but just know this one is TW recommended.
C Nova, until 31 Aug.

Ali McGregor's Jazzamatazz!
There are a number of former ThreeWeeks Editors' Award winners performing at the Fringe this year, including the multifariously talented Ali McGregor (as we called her last week). A top tip for those entertaining younger Festival-goers, Ali is back with Assembly in George Square this Festival, and read our interview with her here.
Assembly George Square, until 30 Aug

Jonny Awsum – Everything Is Awsum
"Awsum really is, erm, awesome". And OK, Fringe regulars probably don't need us to tell them that fact, but Jonny Awsum is on top form again this Festival, though go ready to join in. "You'll be doing it because you want to" our reviewer insists.
Gilded Balloon, until 30 Aug.

Look out for a daily Three To See each day in the ThreeWeeks Daily, and for Three To See recommendations all year round in London click here.
Pick up your copy from venues across the city from tomorrow morning.

Inside: Adam Riches, Doug Segal, Hannah Chutzpah, Story Pocket Theatre, Goose, A Tiger, Chris Kent, Spectretown, Nijinsky's Last Jump, Juan Vesuvius, John Hinton, Clair Whitefield, Stand Up & Slam, Festival Of The Spoken Nerd, plus Festival news and lots of reviews.
It's the TW Podcast at the Edinburgh Festival. This week, as the Festival gets properly up and running again, ThreeWeeks Co-Editor Chris Cooke chats to Harry Deansway about his 'Audience With' show, and Lucy Danser and Dan Simpson about 'Stand Up & Slam'. Plus hear show snippets from Laughing Stock, Tom Allen and Grey & Green Theatre.

Listen and subscribe to the TW Podcast here
Adam Riches is Coach Coach this Festival, keeping a whole team of Fringe types in check each night as "the greatest frickin' sports movie you ever done saw" unfolds live on stage. Find out who makes up the team as Coach Coach himself files a short report on each of them.

Check out Coach's ThreeWeeks column here
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Over 400 Chinese school children are performing in Edinburgh this week in a series of shows under the banner of 'Oriental Fairy Tales', presented by the China Young Cultural Ambassadors programme. And alongside performances at the Acoustic Music Centre will be a very big show indeed, taking over the Edinburgh Playhouse for one night only on Thursday, 13 Aug.

That production is the ballet show 'Wild Zebra', originally created by one of the team behind the Beijing Olympic's Opening Ceremony in 2008, and subsequently gifted to the Beijing Education Commission for exactly this kind of project. The Edinburgh performance of 'Wild Zebra' follows a London outing of the show later tonight.

"'Wild Zebra' is a full ballet corps and a full symphony orchestra" explains the show's UK Coordinator David Ferguson. "There are about 150 kids involved in all, and the production values are very high indeed. It is such a big show, we have had to scale it back a little because of the logistics of presenting it at the Edinburgh Festival – even when using the Playhouse – but it will still be very spectacular".

Ferguson now lives in Beijing and has supported CYCA for a few years now, ever since it came talent-scouting at his son's school, and also advised on the organisation's last visit to the Festival. This time his role has involved not only liaising with the Edinburgh Fringe, but also another of Edinburgh's summer festivals, the Military Tattoo.

"The head of CYCA, Jiang Tao, or Oscar, is a man who doesn't know the meaning of 'an ambition too far'" Ferguson tells ThreeWeeks. "About eighteen months ago he came to me full of enthusiasm: 'One of my contacts at the Beijing Education Commission was at the Tattoo this year. He thought it was great and he wants to find out how he can get one of the top Beijing school marching bands into the show in a future year'"

"I explained gently to Oscar that the Tattoo is one of the most exclusive events in the world" Ferguson goes on, "and you don't just phone up and ask if your school band can join in. But he kept on pestering and pestering me till eventually I agreed to phone the Tattoo office. I was put through immediately to their CEO – Brigadier David Allfrey – who proved how much I know about the world by expressing great interest in the idea, and offering to meet us on his next visit to Beijing. David already had plans in China and we have been working with him since then to help move things along".

With that relationship ongoing, when the 'Wild Zebra' project came on the horizon earlier this year, Ferguson consulted Allfrey for advice and, as a result of those conversations, the children taking part in the Playhouse show will also cameo at the Tattoo this week, alongside one of the special guest groups performing as part of the event this year, the Lotus Dragon dancers from Changxing.

"The plan is that the kids will arrive in Edinburgh from London tomorrow lunchtime, and will then meet the Lotus Dragon team, choreograph and rehearse the joint performance in the afternoon, and stage it that evening. Speaking as someone who knows nothing about choreography and directing, it sounds like a total nightmare, but it's a chance of a lifetime for the kids and one that's too good to miss".

After the Tattoo guest slot, 'Wild Zebra' will be staged at the Edinburgh Playhouse on Thursday night at 7pm. Plus look out for other 'Oriental Fairy Tales' productions at the Acoustic Music Centre this week each day at 6pm, including a performance featuring symphonic highlights of 'Wild Zebra' on Friday.


Minor Delays (Lee Martin for Gag Reflex)
It can sometimes be difficult to distinguish between the many sketch shows the Fringe has to offer, but 'Minor Delays' should have no problem standing out. Their minimalism is a joy to witness - no costumes or props, just three forward-facing chairs, which are the focus of the show. The trio's unique approach of always facing the audience could have introduced communication difficulties, but in fact it works incredibly well. Recurring sketches throughout the set are particularly successful, and the theme of awkward moments allows for a few controversial jokes too. There's a steady scattering of laughs throughout, although they never quite achieve the hilarity that could earn them five stars.
Gilded Balloon, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Stephanie Gray]

Simon Munnery: And Nothing But (Simon Munnery with Show and Tell)
Simon Munnery wrote the blurb for this show several months ago to make the programme deadline. After trying out a series of openings for the show, which branch into tangential anecdotes and rambles, he eventually gets round to trying to deliver on some of what he promised. It sounds chaotic but, as ever with Munnery, it is for the most part finely-crafted chaos, ranging merrily and largely hilariously across a wide range of topics and targets. The rarely mined seam of racist Canadian gags was fun, although points off for a truck driver/prostitute gag which, frankly, wasn't that far from Jeremy Clarkson's offering on that topic. But, other slices close to the bone are more effective and overall, it's a deeply funny hour.
The Stand, until 31 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Bruce Blacklaw]

So That's What We Voted For? (Mark Nelson, Keir McAllister and Vladimir McTavish)
Keir McAllister and Vlad McTavish were early adopters in trying to get to comedic grips with the whole referendum thing. Now they're back, joined by Mark Nelson, to blether about the aftermath of that and the UK elections from a Scottish perspective. The satire is crude, occasionally very: "Jim Murphy – fucking hell, what a numptie", and are we really still doing stuff about Maradona's hand of god? But the three have a good rapport, which runs pretty well on their sustained efforts to get each other corpsing, and there's plenty of sharper stuff. Ten minutes given over to a guest turn made for an odd ending but, if you want a witty (albeit heavily loaded) primer on Scottish political sentiment, then this is your show.
Assembly Rooms, until 30 Aug
tw rating 3/5 | [Bruce Blacklaw]

Jessie Cave: I Loved Her (Pindippy)
Jessie Cave holds her audience in the palm of her nervous hand. The one that isn't holding an iPhone. Or a baby. 'I Loved Her' spoke to me, as though one of the voices in my brain was up there on stage. It's a voice most millennials know: the one that wonders about filters, scoffs at niche hashtags and knows that it's not real stalking if it's on the internet. But this iteration has shadow puppets and dance routines, and is certainly a lot more entertaining - I was in stitches, and so was everyone else. Acutely self-conscious, self-consciously quirky and quirkily cute, this is a show for anyone who's ever stalked their partner's ex on Facebook. Which is everyone, obviously.
Underbelly, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Lucy Diver]

Justin Moorhouse: Destiny Calling (CKP)
"Middle aged guy does stuff about mid-life crises" is perhaps not an easy sell. Sounds like one of those (largely) god-awful themed confessional shows, leaden with sentiment and threatening some sort of redemptive 'journey'. Showing admirable commitment to the cause or, in fact, to one slightly limp gag by wearing a tank top in a sweltering room, Justin Moorhouse rips through a smorgasbord of shaggy dog stories, riddled with a fine mix of straight zingers and deft wordplay. So, fear not. There is a journey, but it's not the spiritual sort, and it ends with nothing more harrowing than a spot of undignified defecation. In short, Moorhouse takes a topic heavy with comic potential and, well, makes it bloody funny.
Gilded Balloon, until 30 Aug
tw rating 4/5 | [Bruce Blacklaw]

Mark Steel: Who Do I Think I Am? (Off The Kerb Productions)
Mark Steel has always known he was adopted as a baby. Prompted by parenthood to realise that his natural mother would probably remember the fact of his birth, he resolved to find out about his parents. Steel already knows who he is – a mouthy, lefty Londoner, comic and activist (who often gets mistaken for Mark Thomas). And that, he maintains, all comes from environment and upbringing. Except, when the remarkable results of his researches are revealed in a cracking yarn which encompasses world backgammon championships, the Perthshire village of Dunkeld and Lord Lucan (no, really), it seems things are maybe less clear cut. This fascinating tale becomes a great show by the interweaving of lyrical writing and belting gags throughout.
Assembly George Square Studios, until 30 Aug
tw rating 5/5 | [Bruce Blacklaw]

Mark Thomas: Trespass – Work In Progress (Mark Thomas)
Following on from '100 Minor Acts of Dissent', Mark Thomas is back to encourage further outbreaks of good humoured civil naughtiness. This time he's discussing private ownership of what you might reasonably think is public land (urban land, that is: he has some hilariously trenchant views on rural life). It's both a call to action and a lament about the impact of largely unfettered global capitalism on the very streets we all walk. He's obviously preaching to the converted, but he does it so very well. Making you laugh, making you think and making you angry is a fine mix, one which Mark Thomas perfected long ago. Making you do something about it? That's up to you.
Summerhall, until 30 Aug
tw rating 4/5 | [Bruce Blacklaw]

Michael Legge: Tell It Like It Is, Steve (Michael Legge)
Finally, after all this time, Michael Legge has that coveted noon slot at The Stand that so many comedians crave. A slot that has a history of housing very successful shows with influential messages - so what's Legge's message? You'll find out during this thoroughly enjoyable show, peppered with references to other comedians from the circuit. He's a constant professional, reliable and passionate about his subject matter(s). The hour simply flies by, packed with strong routines and building on the theme of the regret you can feel after meeting your heroes. Though the show seems rather loose at times, as Legge inevitably goes off on tangents, one thing's for certain: you won't regret meeting Michael Legge.
The Stand, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Ben Shannon]

Reginald D Hunter: Bitchproof (Mick Perrin Worldwide)
Unfortunately, 'Bitchproof' misses the mark: this is far from Reginald D. Hunter at his best. That's not to say that the show didn't have its moments, but patchy is not what you expect from one of the big names in comedy. When it's good, the delivery itself is close to flawless, building up jokes and throwing in a punchline further than you expect. But much of the time is spent flitting between disconnected tales and themes. A confusing section questioning why people dislike Gwyneth Paltrow just feels out of place (and not especially funny). I'm a Hunter fan, so I hope this is just a bad patch, but the whole thing just seemed poorly conceptualised and I left feeling underwhelmed.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Daisy Malt]

Showstopper! The Improvised Musical (The Showstoppers – Something For The Weekend)
This is a show that defies you to be sad. Six performers make up a musical based on the audience's suggestions, and the entire experience is contagiously delightful. An international dentistry convention might not sound like the ideal plot basis for a musical, but given 'Sweeney Todd' and 'The Lego Movie' as styles to work with, The Showstoppers somehow manage to create an intelligent and hilarious narrative. The cast work together as an irresistible whirlwind of energy, and the only slight problem with the production is that it is baffling! Improvisation is being taken to new heights by performers whose lungs, frankly, should not be able to work like that.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Vicki Baron]

Yianni: Why Did The Chicken Cross The Line? (Yianni)
ThreeWeeks favourite Yianni returns to Edinburgh with a witty show exploring that 'line' that comedy can cross. Prior to a gig, he received an email that requested he specifically not do gags about paedophilia, rape or Lady Diana, and that got him thinking about the ways in which people react differently to jokes. An engaging performer, Yianni questions where the line is, and how it shifts from one person to the next in different contexts. He treads the line (or does he?) and really makes you wonder about why we find some things risqué. The show is full of insightful, sharp social commentary that takes nothing too seriously and had the audience in fits of laughter.
The Stand, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Daisy Malt]


The Elephant in the Room (Cirque Le Roux)
How do you measure a circus show? In gasps. And giggles. There were plenty of both here – and a standing ovation too. Often the missing element can be narrative: pretty pictures, but no story. Cirque Le Roux give us that, in a 1930s film noir love plot. Acrobatics represent fights, seduction techniques and lovemaking, in a deft balancing act between comic, sexy, tender and heartbreaking. Fumbling butler Bouchon, Gatsby-esque Mr Chance, desperate Mr Barick and much put-upon seductress Miss Betty – from these four, two couples and a death. The tension and passion rise, and the physical art gets better and better. Top-quality technical work, the hooks of romance, and a cultivated aesthetic – that's what gets the gasps.
Underbelly's Circus Hub on the Meadows, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Lucy Diver]

Clown Macbeth (Ryukyu Cirque)
Don't let the title fool you; this is not funny, and you can hardly make out the Shakespearean tragedy. Mime should allow you to picture the story performers tell and envision the world inhabited: this piece did neither. Performers work with neutral faces, physically telling the story, relying heavily on recorded sound to set the scene, but overall the intentions were unclear. Though both performers obviously have skill in movement, this piece was uncomfortable and did not engage me. Importantly, this show's rating is PG, which I find ill advised: young audience members were audibly scared and left. A clown blankly staring, miming to ominous music and enraged laughter, is something that I found unnerving, let alone a child.
C, until 31 Aug.
tw rating 1/5 | [Stephanie Withers]

The Trepidation Of The Tower Traipsing Troglodytes (Theatre Bang Bang)
Katie-Rose Spence and Hannah Pascoe are exuberant performers, with all the energy of Dr. Seuss' Thing One and Thing Two. This piece aims to use comedy to confront the concept of isolation in the digital age; however, as an hour-long skit their narrative lacks substance. Although the performers can be witty and physically goofy, the repetition and use of gags is too drawn out and one-tone. The characters are constantly falling back on the same cracks of "what's in the box?" and pop-cultured YouTube videos for laughs, which gets a bit tiresome after a while. It definitely has potential, and is an interesting concept, but more needs to happen to these characters to sustain my interest.
C Nova, until 31 Aug
tw Rating 2/5 | [Zita Campbell]


Bathtime (Richard Purnell)
Warped, nihilistic and hilarious, I wish that Richard Purnell would turn dark new comedy 'Bathtime' into a novel so I could lie back beneath the bubbles and read it over and over. Harry Garner, a lower-middle class call centre worker, unnervingly acted by Purnell, lies in the bath reflecting on falling in love, falling out of love and the small matter of his wife being bludgeoned to death. The rich, wry, intelligence of Purnell's writing is outstanding - think Updike with a Southend accent. He killed his wife, I'm sure he did, but I love him anyway - Harry Garner is one of the most psychologically compelling characters I've encountered at this year's Fringe.
C Nova, until 22 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Patrick Galbraith]

Broken Windows (Piú Theatre)
'Broken Windows' is based on verbatim interviews with teenage girls, and it paints a vivid picture of how those girls differ while growing up. Writers Caitlin Ince and Matthew White are a match made in theatrical nirvana: White's prolific musicianship combined with Ince's assertive acting ability are certainly a pleasure to watch. The overall message is that all girls are different and have varying degrees of confidence, insecurity and even naivety – though it's stressed that being naïve is not recommended. It's certainly thought-provoking, and has all the early fundamentals of being an extremely powerful show, but the poignant moments are not frequent enough. Some further development could create something really special here.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 31 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Kieran Scott]

Scaramouche Jones (EMX Management)
The tale of ancient clown 'Scaramouche Jones', pushed around the world since birth, is a convincing rendition of a life lived in the underbelly. Thom Tuck's ability to seamlessly switch between a huge range of characters and settings is highly impressive, and the story is not afraid to explore the filthiest and most putrid areas of the 20th century. This clown's life story is narrated in lyrical prose, adding a further richness to an already vivid world. Although the writing risks slipping into melodrama, Tuck's acting is strong enough that it never loses any of its gravity. This is a perfectly balanced hour of storytelling that continues to raise its own standards every five minutes.
Underbelly, until 30 Aug
tw 5/5 | [Robert Stevens]

The American Soldier (Douglas Taurel)
This is a striking one-man show, exploring the sacrifices made by American servicemen and acknowledging the terrible impact of war on soldiers and their families alike. It's powerful and moving, even if at times it seems to be drawing on the pop culture cliches of tough sergeants and stoner veterans in Vietnam. The greatest strength of the piece is that the stories - ranging from the American Revolution to the current conflict in Afghanistan - are drawn from the accounts of actual soldiers. This undoubtedly lends the script immediacy, authenticity and poignancy. Unfortunately, it also means the whole thing lacks a coherent overarching narrative to hold it together, which dulls the impact ever so slightly.
Zoo Southside, until 22 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Andrew Leask]

At The Break Of Dawn (Red Queen Theatre)
Many political plays claim to "provoke discussion", but few actually turn up the house lights at the end and force the audience to talk. Our group debated: what's the difference between a terrorist and a revolutionary? The play presents three such liminal figures, on the eve of the revolution they've been plotting for years. They're three cliché types: the fiery poet-intellectual, the soulless computer programmer and the likeable middle-of-the-road reformer who brings them together. I wondered if there was a love triangle brewing, but it never blossomed. The acting is often weak and the plot is hard to follow, but it does bring up issues worth discussing – it's just a shame I found the discussion more compelling than the play.
C nova, until 15 Aug.
tw 2/5 | [Lucy Diver]

Mistaken: A Quartet Of Plays For One Actor (Hidden Bell Productions)
The title of this show is well-chosen, as the four plays offer actor William McGeough ample room to show off his range. He plays four different characters, and it is a testament to his abilities that each is fully rounded and entirely distinct from the others. The script is equally impressive, unravelling some of the complexities of modern life with a deft skill, at times funny, tragic, moving and surprising. For me, the first of the four - 'Friends Like Steve' - was the highlight, as it very subtly played with the audience's feelings towards the protagonist, but such is the nature of the quartet that I suspect everyone will have their own favourite.
C nova, until 31 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Andrew Leask]

Trainspotting (In Your Face & King's Head Theatre)
This is a bold, brave and hard-hitting adaptation of Irvine Welsh's cult novel about drug addiction. Situated in a unique theatre venue with the action taking place all around, this immersive piece is a long way from a traditional performance - the intensity only magnified by an almost claustrophobic atmosphere. The cast are absolutely fearless in their delivery; from the opening monologue to that infamous toilet scene and beyond, they portray the darker side of Edinburgh all its gruesome detail. There are times when it's all wonderfully awkward, but the fact they shy away from nothing makes this show stand out as theatre of the highest calibre. Just don't take anyone too sensitive.
Assembly George Square Studios, until 31 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Stephanie Gray]

Fills Monkey: Incredible Drum Show (Stories in Theatre Productions)
A show consisting solely of a large drum set may sound monotonous, but when the show is as incredibly fun and energetic as this, it leaves you hitting out rhythms on tables and knees long after it finishes. The two French 'drum monkeys', Sébastien Rambaud and Yann Costen, have profound drumming mastery and make it look completely effortless, allowing them to connect with the audience of all ages. They begin with conventional drumming, then advance onto playful competition with each other. The duo broaden their drum experimentation with unfamiliar percussion along with crowd interaction, which builds throughout the show. The exploration is endless in 'Fills Monkey', as the crowd's curiosity builds throughout an exhilarating hour.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 31 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Kieran Scott]

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