In 'SpectreTown' playwright Elspeth Turner explores the traditions, history, dialect and folk songs of North East Scotland from over a century ago, before bringing things bang up to date, and considering how that history still impacts on the present day.Along the way she mined an archive of so called bothy ballads, gathered stories about the secretive Horseman's Word, and workshopped her emerging script with the community from which she was inspired. We spoke to Elspeth about the inspirations for her new play, the fascinating process she went through to write the piece, and the challenges of writing, producing and acting in a new play.

ThreeWeeks' Chris Cooke chats to Elspeth about her show here
Three recommended shows for Friday at the Edinburgh Festival 2015.

Fills Monkey – Incredible Drum Show

Tipped pre-Festival by Caro, and now back here again to be heavily tipped by our reviewer. "It leaves you hitting out rhythms on tables and knees long after it finishes" says he of this drumtastic show. Though do ask before using other people's knees for your subsequent rhythm hitting, won't you?
Pleasance Courtyard, until 31 Aug.

The School Of Night – Rhapsodes

"Witty and educational to an equally impressive degree, 'The School of Night' is improv at its zany best" says our reviewer of 'The School Of Night – Rhapsodes'. It's an improv show in the theatre programme, though there are plenty of laughs to be had alongside all the theatrics and literary references. This show only runs till Monday, so get in quick.
C, until 17 Aug.

Scaramouche Jones (pictured)

Best known to us as a former ThreeWeeks reviewer (many many moons ago), but probably better known to you as both a Penny Dreadful and a regular in both the Fringe's comedy and theatre programmes, it's Thom Tuck in 'Scaramouche Jones' "a perfectly balanced hour of storytelling that continues to raise its own standards every five minutes", says us.
Underbelly, 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. Or check it all out online here.

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
Partly to reassure any Fringe performers who have experienced some walk outs this Festival – and partly to provide festival-goers which something to aspire to – Samuel Brett Williams of the Camisade Theatre Company presents a top ten theatre walk-outs, based on his own experiences and those of his colleagues.Camisade Theatre Company present 'Derby Day' at the Gilded Balloon this year, a show to see, but not storm out of. Though there are sure to be good storm-out shows elsewhere at the Festival this month.

Check out Samuel's ThreeWeeks column here
Promote your show online through an advert in the ThreeWeeks Daily email bulletin - essential reading for Festival-goers - daily rates are £25+VAT with hefty discounts for block bookings.

Advertise online on the ThreeWeeks website - either through a 300x250 box or 300x125 banner.

We are offering the 300x250 pixel banners on a daily tenancy - 25% share of the spot starts from £10+VAT each day. 300x125 banners on a daily tenancy with 50% of the spot starts from £15+VAT per day.

Again - we offer keen discounts on longer bookings with these adverts, so please email to discuss your booking.
So, OK, a little bit of self promotion from Team ThreeWeeks today. Because tomorrow ThreeWeeks co-founder and co-editor Chris Cooke will take to the Fringe stage for the first time to deliver a free speech about free speech.

It's a brand new spoken word show inspired by a debate he had in 2014 in his other guise as co-founder and Business Editor of music business news service CMU, in which he argued that British radio should have refused to play the Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams hit 'Blurred Lines'.

The one hour show 'Chris Cooke's Free Speech' will explore what UK law actually says about freedom of expression and why free speech is so often in the news, identifying and discussing the top five free speech controversies of recent years: privacy, protest, bullying, belief and the right to offend.

Where controversy occurs, Chris – a journalist and publisher for two decades – will usually put free speech first. Yet, when organising a debate at The Great Escape music conference in 2014 he found himself arguing that British radio should have refused to play Thicke and Pharrell's controversial record. At the conclusion of his 'Free Speech' he will explain why.

Says Cooke: "Edinburgh was the first university to ban 'Blurred 'Lines' on campus back in 2013. I know if that had happened when I was a student there in the 1990s, presenting shows on the college radio station and promoting club nights in the union, I'd have led the campaign against such censorship. But twenty years on, I'm not so sure the free speech argument beats other concerns in this regard. I thought it would be interesting to challenge myself as to why that is the case".

He adds: "This is the twentieth year I've been covering the Edinburgh Festival as Co-Editor of ThreeWeeks, so it seemed like the right time to take the plunge and perform myself. The evolution of the Fringe's spoken word programme in recent years provided the platform, to stage a kind of performance journalism, a free speech about free speech".

Chris will deliver his free speech about free speech at the exciting new SpaceTriplex venue just off Nicolson Square on Friday 14, Saturday 15 and Sunday 15 Aug at 11.15am, and again next door at theSpace @ Surgeons Hall on 21 an 22 Aug. Admission is free, but tickets can be reserved via the Fringe website or, or collected from the box office on the day.

The Bookbinder (Trick Of The Light Theatre)
With storytelling of the highest quality, Trick Of The Light have created something truly beautiful here. This one-man show tells the tale of an apprentice bookbinder's adventures, after a seemingly simple job turns into an epic, perilous quest. Actor and writer Ralph McCubbin Howell is utterly captivating and engaging, believable whether playing an old crone or an innocent young boy. Visually stunning, 'The Bookbinder' uses shadows, puppetry and paper art to create a magical world where imagination is key. It also displays the most ingenious use of a desk lamp I've ever seen, subtly altering the mood and atmosphere with every sweeping shadow. At times lyrical and witty, this gentle, thoughtful piece examines the gaps between fiction and reality.
Assembly Roxy, until 31 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Gemma Scott]

Flossy And Boo's Curiosity Shop (Flossy And Boo)
'Flossy and Boo's Curiosity Shop' takes the audience on an incredibly whimsical journey. I feared that this could be one of those overly enthusiastic children's shows, but I was pleasantly surprised - these big personalities have jokes for all ages. They're effortlessly witty, there's great banter between them and the audience, and they even cause accidental laughter with their spontaneous commentary. Flossy and Boo tell of their adventures from all corners of the globe through song, dance, and luminous imaginations. Singing in beautiful harmonies, these multi-talented performers really show their skills when playing a diverse range of personalities. Even tackling the basics of French, Spanish and German- these women are smart, with enough observational wit and charm to cater for the whole family.
Bedlam Theatre, until 16 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Zita Campbell]


Aidan Goatley's 10 Films With My Dad (Aidan Goatley/PBH)
This is Aidan Goatley's fifth year bringing this heartwarming show to Edinburgh, and it's a lovely journey, questioning the relationship between fathers and sons, plus he really has polished it over close to 200 performances. It's a very approachable hour, a show for all ages which looks at several important films that most people will have seen. He manages to captivate the audience throughout with well-timed clips, featuring friends from the circuit and his 4-legged partner in crime. '10 films With My Dad' is a show to get people thinking about the relationships in their own families and how they communicate. To quote the man himself - it's a long build up, but worth it.
Voodoo Rooms until 30 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Ben Shannon]

Alun Cochrane: A Show With A Man In It (Alun Cochrane)
Alun Cochrane starts his show by telling us just how boring he is. Stand-up can certainly take boring experiences and find the humour in them, but Cochrane's work as a "corporate after dinner speaker" seems to have weakened his material. He has the genial, relaxed manner of a highly experienced comedian, and there's genuine warmth between him and his audience, but for the most part it's incredibly generic: overpriced minibars; t-shirt preferences; dinner parties and arguments with his wife over 'Antiques Roadshow'. This is observational comedy at its most gentle and unchallenging (despite the occasional routine about kidnapping). It is funny. I did laugh, though not as much as his mostly middle-aged audience, who were clearly having a lovely time.
The Stand, until 30 Aug
tw rating 3/5 | [Gemma Scott]

Austentatious: An Improvised Jane Austen Novel (Austentatious and Underbelly Productions)
We're told that there are over 900 hundred unpublished and little-known works by the 18th century novelist. Here, the Austentatious crew perform a fully improvised rendition of one of them, whose title is suggested by a member of the audience. We were treated to 'The Notorious Transvestite from the Isle of Mull', in which a lighthouse keeper's long-lost brother returns to Mull accompanied by his new wife Consuela (who has a surprisingly deep voice). A tale of misunderstood love and enlightenment, this was a hilariously engrossing performance. The cast are fantastically sharp, reading one another remarkably well and, with virtually no props, their only limit was their imagination. It's a wonderful hour of silliness that offers the ultimate in expecting the unexpected.
Underbelly George Square, until 31 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Daisy Malt]

John Hastings: Marked From The Start (CKP)
Three months premature, John Hastings is proud of having even survived birth. As the predictably unpredictable member of the family, he recounts growing up in Canada with parents living on opposite sides of the country, being a self-confessed awkward child and how his father's single, terrible joke held their relationship together. He starts a series of threads and, just when you think he's gone off on a tangent, he ties them all up neatly. As he pokes fun at his own afflictions – he can't tell left from right and his mouth can work faster than his brain sometimes – the audience is transfixed by his anecdotes and self-deprecating character. This charming, loveable comic is truly engaging and well worth checking out.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Daisy Malt]

Stewart Lee: A Room With A Stew (Stewart Lee)
"No one is equipped to review me," suggests Stewart Lee, who can't help but continue to have a dig at the press – and, more specifically, the Telegraph. He spends time tearing apart his audience for being "lacklustre", while humorously stating that the show would be better at The Stand with his proper fans. Lee, with his dry wit and mostly expressionless face, quickly warms up, presenting disdain for fellow comics – involving ten minutes of increasing laughter as the comedian tries to fathom how Graham Norton beat his 'Comedy Vehicle' to a BAFTA. The final section on Islamophobia went off on a tangent, which included a hilarious mocking of Roy Chubby Brown, but this work-in-progress is certainly close to TV standards already.
Assembly Rooms, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Kieran Scott]

George And Co (The Solo Tour) (George Dimarelos)
A low-key opening from George Dimarelos sets the tone for the following 50 minutes. Gradually the Australian moves into his material but, though he is likable on stage, the show itself failed to really engage us. At times you could feel the audience agreeing with him, wondering where he was about to take us, only for him to shut the gate and wander down another path. Though he shows real promise, especially in a memorable routine discussing the etiquette of travelling Aussies, there were more nods than belly laughs here. Dimarelos clearly has talent and parts of the show are very well written, but the consistency is missing. Perhaps it will be achieved upon his next return to Edinburgh.
C nova until 31 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Ben Shannon]


64 Squares (Rhum and Clay)
Rhum and Clay return to the fringe with their aesthetically pleasing adaptation of Stefan Zweig's 'The Royal Game'. Told in a series of flashbacks, one man (whose schizophrenia has split him into three actors and one percussionist) tries to piece together fragments of his distorted memory, to work out why he's on a ship and playing the chess world champion? The company's skill is fascinating; fluidly moving as one body, they give a master-class in ensemble work. They utilise comic and playful devices, creative manipulation of light, and choreography that reads like visual poetry. Occasionally the dialogue seems a little disjointed in comparison to the physical sequences, but overall this fusion of musicality, movement and storytelling is one to catch.
Underbelly, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Stephanie Withers]


Clickbait (The Red Chair Players)
An insightful exploration of the fame - and infamy - that going viral can bring, this new work speaks directly to contemporary online experience. Kony, ice-bucket challenges and #bringbackourgirls are all referenced in this fictional depiction of a viral phenomenon blowing up around a teenager with a debilitating medical condition. Though there's lots to love in the confident performances and engaging script, I found the frequent scene changes interrupted the narrative flow. Perhaps that was intentional, reflecting society's consumption of media in vine-sized chunks, but I found it off-putting. Overall, there's something oddly reassuring in seeing a group of teenagers so clearly aware both of the dangers of the internet and the fundamental flaws in human nature.
C, until 15 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Andrew Leask]

Phantasmagoria (Hookhitch Theatre)
When does reality stop and the story begin? From merely waiting in line I was swept into this tale, which broke all boundaries of narrative. Charles Alderdice is an extraordinary storyteller, bringing Lewis Carroll's surreal story 'Phantasmagoria' to life in the most imaginative way. I'm still not entirely sure I know what I witnessed, though in the best way possible - stepping into this set feels like entering the subconscious of a most unusual man. Only open to eight people at a time, this short 20 minute performance slips in and out of your life, but will leave you questioning the difference between reality and fiction for a long time afterwards.
C nova, until 31 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Zita Campbell]

The Empire Builders (Theatre Hayal Perdesi - Turkey)
Our pasts are inescapable; they consume us. That is what I took from Theatre Hayal Perdesi's frightening production of Boris Vian's 1959 absurdist drama. The Dupont family live in a nondescript tower block and are always moving, forever followed by "the noise". In each new apartment the same bandaged, nightmarish girl lies on the floor and is mercilessly beaten, whilst her existence is denied to the Dupont child. The brilliantly choreographed performance of the grotesque, writhing figure and the menacing, deranged masculinity of the father are enthralling. This production was one of indefinable excellence, characterised by paranoid energy and nonsense. Though I'm not sure I entirely understood 'The Empire Builders', I haven't stopped trying to since I left.
C, until 18 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Patrick Galbraith]

The River (Brodrick Productions)
There's nothing particularly bad about 'The River': the performances are solid, the direction clear and the dialogue authentic. It's a tale of a young man who keeps bringing different women to a cabin for a romantic weekend. The action cuts back and forth between two different time frames and we watch these relationships develop and disintegrate in tandem. That's a clever enough device, but it's not servicing any greater theme; the audience is left no wiser about the heart or motivations of the man. Is he callous? Is he damaged? Is he supposed to be emblematic of men in general? Ultimately, it's impossible to know and, sadly, hard to care.
C, until 31 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Andrew Leask]

The Night Watch (Antonia Goddard Productions in association with Jethro Compton Productions)
There's a strong grasp of what makes good drama on display throughout 'The Night Watch': unity of time, place and action, coupled with three complex characters and the resultant interpersonal conflicts. The arrival of a Spaniard in an English army encampment kick-starts both the plot - just who is she? - and a number of surprisingly sophisticated debates on the morality of warfare, and the justification of Britain invading a foreign country. The setting may be Napoleonic, but the contemporary parallels are clear to see. It's these blistering exchanges between the Captain and Delilah that really spark on stage, and writer/director Antonia Goddard deserves credit for trusting the audience and leaving subtext as is, resisting the urge to explain everything.
C nova, until 31 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Andrew Leask]

Acts Of Redemption (Unrestricted View)
"A curate's egg" is an expression I've gone my whole life without using, but it seems appropriate to this stylish performance of Ken Jaworowski's 'Acts of Redemption' - it was "excellent in parts". I laughed a lot. Joe Wredden's role as the drunken suburban Romeo, beneath Juliet's window, with a dead dog in a bin bag, was terrific farce. Frustratingly, the opening monologue was the strongest of the six by far - fluffs in those that followed glared in comparison to the seamlessness of the first. 'Pulse' and 'Luck of the Draw' were markedly overshadowed by the emotional wattage Akila Christiano managed in her portrayal of a thirty-something, socialite bitch, who is healed by the redemptive power of love.
Underbelly, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Patrick Galbraith]

Clairvoyant (Bettine Mackenzie)
"I AM ME!" she cries, desperately. But 'me' is talentless, cringey. Of course, that's the point: 'Clairvoyant' shows us the awkward audition of an aspiring pop star. But, as the title suggests, she has insight into others' minds – and they're much more interesting than her attempts at Madonna. These interludes are solid, self-sustained bits of characterisation: a biscuit incident; Terence the macaw, and a magic trick gone wrong. However, 'Clairvoyant's trick has gone wrong too: although the apparitions are compelling, it's unclear how they fit into the frame narrative. It comes across as a flimsy premise to link the episodes, and although the cringe and desperation are deliberate, the audience still has to endure it, gyrations and all.
C nova, until 31 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Lucy Diver]

The Stolen Inches (The Small Things Theatre Company)
An exploration of family, public image and the human psyche, 'The Stolen Inches' demands much of its audience. It's hard at first to understand what exactly is going on, as the concept behind the play is quite complicated: in a bid to project an image of domestic bliss, a TV mogul has permitted a camera crew to interview him and his family. Simultaneously, however, his son is taking his parents to court on the grounds that their emotional neglect has stunted his growth. Despite this confusion, the actors and the small, intimate set work well together, creating a sense of claustrophobia which evokes the secrets and tensions that hide just below the surface in every family.
C Nova, until 26 Aug
tw rating 3/5 | [Megan Wallace]

Bortle 8 (Chris Davis)
A one man play about the quest for absolute darkness, 'Bortle 8' takes us on a journey through space, to the depths of the ocean, and into the self. This could easily have been indulgent and pretentious, but amazingly, fantastically, it isn't; there's something disarmingly sincere about writer/performer Chris Davis that keeps things grounded. It's funny and interesting, and seemingly without effort he forges a bond with his audience, so that we're right there with him as he soars through the firmament, climbs up stars, or as he plunges into the Atlantic Ocean. It all builds to a mesmerising climax, a tour-de-force of spoken word rhythms and stream of consciousness wordplay that left me reeling.
Laughing Horse @ The Counting House, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Andrew Leask]

Splitfoot (Piper Theatre Productions)
An intimate, minimalistic black set that explodes into all colours, spirits and expressions of humanity. Watch these passionate performers snap their bodies and souls into all vibrancies of the universe. This beautiful piece of physical theatre immerses the audience into the mindset of mid-nineteenth century America, with the tale of the Fox sisters. These three women convinced people that they could talk to the dead, and played an important role in the rise of the spiritualist movement. In this intimate and communal-feeling environment, the cast had their entire audience enthralled. The acting is so demanding, so physical and so real, that the actors themselves seem possessed, further adding to this meta-theatrical and fourth wall-breaking production.
C Nova, until 22 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Zita Campbell]

Cartography (The Lincoln Company)
Quirky, cute and low-key, 'Cartography' offers us a look inside the mind of Sarah, a young woman battling with the loss of her father and the threat of her own premature death from the same heart condition that killed him. The play's intimate cast encourages a high level of audience participation, cleverly establishing an emotional involvement with what's taking place on stage. However, this element of the show, coupled with the occasional musical interludes, can make it feel as if too much is going on at one time. The theme of maps, travelling and cartography highlight the real message of the play; that we all have the power to make our own paths.
C Nova, until 31 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Megan Wallace]

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