Story Pocket Theatre charmed their debut Fringe last year with their award-winning production of 'Arabian Nights'. This year they return with not one, not two, but three shows in the children's programme. 'Arabian Nights' is back, while the company also put their spin on all things Grimm. And then, in a quirky twist, the storytellers who lead both those shows meet head to head in their third show 'Storyteller, Storyteller'. We spoke to the company's writer and co-director Adam Forde to find out more.

ThreeWeeks' Chris Cooke chats to Adam about his shows here
Three recommended shows for Sunday at the Edinburgh Festival 2015.

The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Family
We'll be chatting to Ben Norris about his excellent show in the Week Two edition of ThreeWeeks, but in the meantime let's give it a big recommend for your Sunday viewing. "This is a great show from a truly talented performer with genuine presence and charisma to burn. I urge you all to catch it while you can".
Underbelly, until 30 Aug.

The Last Kill
Meanwhile, look out for an interview with Gary Quinn, the writer and performer of this show, on the TW Podcast later this month. "A tricky subject matter is supported by an outstanding script and thoughtful direction: Contemporary Theatre Scotland accurately places an audience inside a deteriorating mind to intelligently negotiate the mental aftershocks of war" says our reviewer.
Greenside at Nicholson Square, until 29 Aug

James Acaster (pictured)
So earlier this week that there Josh Widdicombe had us dig out our review of his 2009 Fringe show, which featured him, Nick Helm and James Acaster each doing a stint on the mic. "Their jokes, while not funny exactly, at least showed potential to one day become funny, given a little more work" the 1/5 critique read. Oh dear. But we were right about the potential. "His hour of highly scripted drivel is the best structured and most intelligent set I've seen this year" say we of Acaster's 2015 show. Which is good news for both him, and, perhaps even more so, for anyone performing a 1/5 show with potential at the Fringe this year.
Pleasance Courtyard, 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.
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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
"Science comedy phenomenon" no less, Festival Of The Spoken Nerd are back, and this time "they're off the chart!" Which got us thinking. What would the Fringe look like in chart form? The comedy nerds have the answer. Look out for their Fringe Charts in each edition of ThreeWeeks this year, and here is the Week One chart.

Check out the latest Fringe Chart here
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Lucie Pohl: Cry Me A Liver (Great Pretender Productions)
In 'Cry Me A Liver', Lucie Pohl becomes six distinct New Yorkers, from a homeless man to a fame-hungry Sia wannabe. Unfortunately for Pohl, however, she lost the crowd right at the start, as they appeared bewildered by the first character, which was followed by a procession of ill-conceived, clichéd stereotypes, and not particularly funny ones. There were occasional titters amongst the audience, with the biggest laugh coming as she introduced herself as one of Putin's sperm, but afterwards I actually had to check that it was a comedy gig I'd just been to. To her credit, Pohl immersed herself in her characters, continuing to perform as if she was basking in applause, rather than silence.
Gilded Balloon, until 31 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Daisy Malt]

Pierre Novellie is Anxious Peter (CKP)
As an Italian/South African immigrant who grew up on the Isle of Man, there's a foreign yet familiar twang to everything Pierre Novellie talks about in his stand-up show. Through his culturally dislocated roots he manages to make the exotic and extraordinary feel very ordinary, allowing me to relate to Johannesburg home invasions in exactly the same way as other members of the audience, I'm sure, related to eating a whole pizza alone by themselves. Yet Novellie rarely lets his jokes build up, hardly giving them time to breathe. It's only when his routines are fully fleshed out that he really shows his potential. He's certainly a comedian to watch, but unfortunately not quite yet.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 30 Aug
tw rating 3/5 | [Robert Stevens]

Shazia Mirza: A Work In Progress (Shazia Mirza)
Shazia Mirza's show is a combination of comedy, social commentary and informed declarations.  Her intelligence and conviction are evident throughout her performance, whether talking about Radio 2 or the controversies surrounding ISIS. Regularly re-assuring the audience that she understands their position as "white middle-class Guardian readers", she discusses the labels associated with being a Muslim woman, describes what it means to be a Muslim woman, but also talks about why people get offended by political incorrectness. This combination is confusing and I suspect the audience is left wondering whether or not they are allowed to have formed an opinion, and it makes the set difficult to engage with, even though Mirza's assertive style is fascinating. Challenging and intriguing, but too confrontational to be wholly comfortable. 
The Stand Comedy Club 3 & 4, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Vicki Baron]

Shut Your Cakehole (Quinn Patrick/Free Festival)
Quinn Patrick's one man show is a charming trip down memory lane; his persona is warm and welcoming, and his stories are told with captivating joy.  He alternates between taking the audience through selected stories from his childhood and bringing to life a few of the main characters from that part of his life, some of whom prove especially appealing: his impression of an overbearing and malicious dance teacher is particularly entertaining. Ultimately, though, while Patrick's stories are interesting, they are not immediately accessible to people from different generations and some of his references to growing up in Basildon are difficult to relate to. The meandering narrative makes for an amiable natter of a show, which would be compelling if it had been more ruthlessly edited.
Laughing Horse @ Espionage, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Vicki Baron]


Liberation (The Alchemist Theatre Company)
Feisty, Freudian, frantic, this hour tries to earn its title with a lot of paint throwing and nakedness. But it switches around on whether the paint they smear themselves in is the constrictive trappings of society, or the true liberated state of humanity. At times clothes are the enforced norm, and at others naked paint throwing is represented as standard behaviour. There are some great vignettes: a love affair from flirtation to final abandonment, a family dinner table, a housewife preparing for her husband's return. These are interspersed in occasional didactic monologues which are unnecessary and unoriginal. Not dissimilar to the choreographic ideas, which are too well-worn and get too confused in the contradictions to hit any message home.
Zoo Southside, until 19 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Lucy Diver] 


Clare Ferguson-Walker's California Scheming
With only a toe dipped in poetry, Clare Ferguson-Walker's spoken word set about a family trip to California is mostly very high prose which happens to rhyme. It follows the mother of a nuclear family on the fringes of the middle class bubble, and it was interesting to see her 'normal' life clash with the personae of excess and perfection found in Los Angeles, as well as heart-warming to see her find her feet later on in the show. Its simple premise worked well, though sometimes it spilled over into verbosity; yet at its best 'California Scheming' felt so honest in its simple message that, in comparison to fake and gaudy America, an hour with Ferguson-Walker felt refreshingly real.
The Stafford Centre, George Next Door, until 18 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Robert Stevens]


Excuse Me, You're Sitting On My Penis Again (Lou Sanders)
During her quest to get into Eton College For Boys, Lou Sander's was told many things, perhaps the most profound being "your age and gender are against you". This single sentence perfectly sets the tone for her show. Sanders enthusiasm is abundant and her energy alone is entertaining to watch, as she presents a good show with moments of greatness. It's often silly and some what juvenile, but also highlights the hypocrisy of one of England's oldest college, and while it isn't the most polished piece – Sanders had to refer to her notes several times when I saw it - this doesn't take anything away from her performance. Plus, it culminates in a spectacle that I would defy any audience not to smile at.
Laughing Horse @ City Cafe, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Bethan Highgate-Betts]

I, Elizabeth (Dyad Productions)
This is solo show taking the form of a confessional, in which Elizabeth the First unburdens herself to the audience, and I found it hard to enjoy. She ranges over her feelings on marriage and succession, her neighbours in Scotland and Europe, and on the influence of the divine on her sovereignty: weighty topics indeed, but it's when the facade slips and the human frailty that lies behind can be glimpsed, that the performance comes alive. Sadly this is all too rare, and the quiet, introspective moments are marred by shrill, bombastic outbursts. Elizabeth's own words are used, and it certainly adds authenticity, but it means the piece also presents a distinctly one-sided account of events, one that jarred with my understanding of history.
Assembly Roxy, until 31 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Andrew Leask]

Impossible (The Spontaneity Shop)
A new play by Robert Khan and Tom Salinsky, 'Impossible' is loosely based on the real-life friendship of Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle and Harry Houdini and their mutual interest in spiritualism. The Sherlock Holmes author firmly believes that contact can be made with the dead, yet Houdini is unconvinced: a dispute that eventually proves the undoing of their friendship.  Alan Cox performs Houdini with charisma and likeability, emerging as the star of the show. Meanwhile as Conan-Doyle, Phill Jupitus simply doesn't feel like the right man for the role, and let's not dwell too much on his attempt at a Scottish accent..! While not the most fulfilling piece of theatre, it was very watchable and unfolded at a respectable pace.
Pleasance Dome, until 31 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Daisy Malt]

Lennon: Through A Glass Onion (GO Productions)
John Lennon has been dead for nearly 35 years now and his musical legacy still remains, albeit too potently. This two-man, hour-long show, which has already toured the world, rattles through personal John Lennon anecdotes, songs written with the Beatles, and his solo work. The men behind 'Through a Glass Onion', John R. Waters and Stewart D'Arrietta, perform the songs with their own blues rock interpretation, and with some, it works - 'Imagine' and 'Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds for example - but others are graceless. Waters' Liverpudlian accent is spot on, but annoyingly John Lennon is built up as some faultless hero in this; yet at least this show doesn't waver on the lines of tragic impersonator tribute show territory.
Assembly Hall, until Aug 28.
tw rating 3/5 | [Kieran Scott]

Much Further Out Than You Thought (theMolinoGroup)
The past hovers ominously, a spectre, throughout this haunting production. A soldier, veteran of the Afghanistan campaign, is delivering a message to his son, trying to explain the effects of war, to justify the toll it has taken on their relationship. The staging is simple, yet profoundly effective: armchair, table, TV, set upon the barren sands of Helmand province. Unfortunately, to me the delivery, though emotional throughout, feels a little overly performed at times. Tragically - and appropriately - it is at its best during flashbacks to the war. A fitting directorial decision, but one that slightly diminishes the rest of the play. The plot holds few surprises, but the tragic inevitability is powerful, adding to the dreamlike tone of the play.
Underbelly, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Andrew Leask]

Project Haha (RemoteControl Theatre)
What is happiness? Can we measure it? Can we even really recognise it? These are the questions asked by international company RemoteControl Theatre in 'Project Haha', a raw and provoking exploration of the way we think about happiness. Two performers move each other around the stage, whilst a video of a third, a woman in a sparse living room completing menial tasks, is played; a fourth performer can occasionally be heard over a loud speaker. The physicality of the presentation is something that stays with you, and something that lends itself completely to exploring the abstract concept of happiness. An intriguing show of few words, this darkly-humoured piece is a must see.
Summerhall, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Bethan Highgate-Betts]

Scattered (Triptych Theatre)
For the most part, 'Scattered' is a successful dark comedy touching on issues of family, grief and jealousy. The performance of all three cast members is to be commended; the play particularly comes to life when tensions in the family are running high. The banter and pace with which comic lines are delivered carries an otherwise struggling plot. It's difficult to find depth in the characters beyond the predominant anger of the men, who seem more concerned with bickering than grieving for their father, and it's that which ultimately hinders the piece. It's a shame too that things unravel towards the end – unnecessary twists are introduced and the whole thing becomes less believable, losing much of its meaning.
C Nova, until 31 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Stephanie Gray]

Teaset (Amy Molloy and Kibo Productions)
'Teaset' is a theatrical attempt to look after the generation that's being left behind. Through a very frank discussion of the isolation that can occur in old age, Gina Moxley's play looks ahead to our final years where, if forgotten, the loud are dismissed as mad and the quiet shrink into silence. The subject matter is poignant and thought provoking, yet the script never quite hits its emotional targets. In spite of powerful acting by (a perfectly cast) Amy Molloy, the writing felt very slightly too shallow for its subject matter. That said, it wasn't too wide of its mark, and themes of depression and loneliness were very close to being done justice in this moving play.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 31 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Robert Stevens]

The 56 (FYSA Theatre)
Hard-hitting and goose-bump inducing, 'The 56' is very much worth adding to your to-see list. Written in commemoration of the fifty six fans who lost their lives in the Bradford City Fire, this production adapts interviews from over sixty witnesses of the disaster at Valley Parade Football Ground and adapts them into three distinct character voices. The FYSA theatre group, originating from Yorkshire themselves, tells this story with an admirable level of sensitivity and respect. Not only a way for the group to pay respects to the victims of this horrible accident, the production also examines the role of football in community building and, most pertinently, the resilience of the human spirit.
C, until 31 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 [Megan Wallace]

Traces (Les 7 Doigts de la Main)
This is so mind-blowing that it evokes feelings that wake you up, and make you wonder: "what am I doing with my life?" These performers are at the peak of their athleticism; they are witty, charming, and surprisingly... human; this is what set them apart from any other circus show. The cast of 'Traces' use song, dance, and acrobatics, to reveal the personalities and dynamics of their performance troupe, while their movements are so fine-tuned and exquisite that they provoke emotions so heightened, and so beautiful, that we did not know we were capable of feeling them. In-tune with everything human, this show could bring the most medicated and numb person, back into feeling. What am I doing with my life; I want to join the circus.
Assembly Hall, until 31 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 [Zita Campbell]

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