In his "one-man show about love, loss and motorways" – 'The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Family' – writer and performer Ben Norris recounts the story of the time he took off on a hitch-hiking tour of all the places his emotionally distant father had lived – most of them just off the M1 – in an attempt to understand him better. The resulting show wowed our reviewer, who noted that "Norris is a tremendous performer, demonstrating his skill at slam poetry through subtle rhythm and dexterous wordplay. He does this without ever breaking the intimate rapport he forges with his audience through friendly and sincere interaction". With a concept this interesting, and a review that good, we had to track down Ben to find out more.

ThreeWeeks' Chris Cooke chats to Ben about his show here
Three recommended shows for Monday at the Edinburgh Festival 2015.

The Monday of Week Two is a day off for many Fringe shows. And it's that day off that usually results in half of all Fringe performers falling victim to Fringe Flu, so be careful performers, and eat some vegetables. And then go see these three shows which are performing tomorrow.

"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" said our reviewer. But he hasn't as yet, so you'll just have to make sure you see the show before it finales on 22 Aug.
C Nova, until 22 Aug.

Says our wowed reviewer: "Balletronic is experimental without being pretentious, and goes from modern to classical, surprising to familiar, crisp to gutsy, from one twirl to the next. Purists can have their pirouettes and point shoes, and the rest can have a violin solo delivered as if it were classic rock guitar". What more could you ask for?
Pleasance Courtyard, until 31 Aug.

"From aubergines and wrinkly peppers to stage combat fighters and the detectives who can't wait for the ways in which their latest case is going to mess up their lives, prepare for some sublime slapstick comedy". Indeed. Get prepared and go see.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 31 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. And a little bit later than advertised (host Chris had a show to perform, OK?) here comes the very latest edition featuring Neil Henry, Penny Ashton, 'Wendy Hoose', Mid-Brow and 'Jesus Camp: The Musical Comedy'.

Listen and subscribe to the TW Podcast here
Science stand-up and "Belgium's funniest physicist" Lieven Scheire is at the Fringe this year promising to talk you through "from the special relativity of Einstein to Belgians being the hobbits of Europe". But first, he takes a few moments out to celebrate the new era of science as entertainment, and the increased stage and air time once again being given to the nerds.

Check out Lieven's ThreeWeeks column here
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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.

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Bec Hill: Caught On Tape (Ditto Productions )
Bec Hill bounces around the stage with an almost childish energy and infectious enthusiasm (it's no wonder last year's children's show was so popular). 'Caught On Tape' is based around the theme of regrets, via Bond impressions, fake news reports and some of the worst accents ever performed on stage. This leads to some hilarious 'drunk regret' stories, both hers and from people on the internet, who were surprisingly frank about their experiences. It builds to a beautifully poignant ending, and I left far more emotional than I was anticipating from a comedy show. Her handmade flip chart stories and songs are an art form in themselves, the show is worth seeing just for them alone.
Gilded Balloon, until 31 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Gemma Scott]

Eleanor Morton: Allotted Mucking Around Time (Eleanor Morton)
The innocence of youth makes 'Allotted Mucking Around Time' a wonderfully whimsical experience. Eleanor Morton, a young Scot, combines stand up and cheeky sketches with great effect. Part psychic, part tour guide, she certainly keeps us on our toes. She amusingly depicts young city life, house party dilemmas, feminism and her bizarre relationship with her pets - even the regular techie genuinely laughs. Morton's vivid imagination and variety of entertaining accents are fabulous. With insight beyond her years, she successfully and inoffensively nods at the Scottish referendum and Margaret Thatcher. Gagging on the dirty word "London", she uses her Edinburgh heritage to her advantage. Appealing and natural, Morton delivers a very accessible, very British comedy show.
The Stand Comedy Club, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Louise Mason]

First Class (Chris Washington)
In his first year at the Fringe, Chris Washington has decided to make a change - from delivering mail, to using his job as a basis for comedy. The title 'First Class' comes from a heckler at one of his shows, and rather aptly fits his tales of the last eight years as a postman. Washington's delivery is assured, the Mancunian humorously derides his home town of Leigh while interacting frivolously with the small crowd. Half an hour of material is enough for this postman though, who seems to almost run out of ideas. His video raising awareness about tips for postmen is a limp conclusion and, while the mocking of a friend's CV gets a laugh or two, it needs major improvements.
Cowgatehead, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Kieran Scott]

Laura Lexx: Lovely (EMX Management in association with Andrew Roach Talent)
Laura Lexx has had a good life so far. But she's not smug about it, because how does one tackle a debut stand-up hour without a bit of personal tragedy to talk about? In her optimistic, exuberant style, Lexx covers everything from Disneyland to animal mating habits on a quest to prove it's okay to lead a happy, successful life. Even as a typically miserable Brit it's difficult not to love her just a little bit, as she bounces her way through the hour. Even when broaching more difficult subjects there's still a swing in her step, as well as a humbling recognition that she's very lucky. Lexx adores her job, and so she should; comedy really suits her.
Underbelly Med Quad, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Stephanie Gray]

Morgan Berry: Watership Down (PBH's Free Fringe)
To his credit, comedian Joe Rowntree has developed an entirely unique character in Morgan Berry, a pet bereavement counsellor who specialises in rabbits. Unfortunately that's where my compliments for this show must end. Everything Berry does is a means to an end as he tries to help us "get over our grief". At one point he suggests he try some impressions, and I found myself glad, thinking maybe they would be his forte, only to find that they were deliberately obscure in an attempt to prove an unamusing point. A long, drawn out mind reading gag was along the same unfunny lines. Berry really did throw everything at this show, but he was trying too hard to force laughs that were never going to come.
Banshee Labyrinth, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 1/5 | [Stephanie Gray]

Nina Conti: In Your Face (PBJ)
Nina Conti uses improvisation to create a different comedy experience every night. She also uses half-face masks which, when placed upon the faces of willing audience members, allows Conti to use her considerable ventriloquist skills to create comic characters. Her style of comedy is innovative and an enormous amount of fun for participants, but no one enjoys it more than Conti herself. The audience participation is limited to those in the front row, and while this allows for some amusing moments – at one point Conti unknowingly picks out a friend of her father's – it isolates the rest of us from the fun. This show is entertaining but limited in terms of its appeal to a large crowd.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Vicki Baron]

25 Stories (Alex Watts)
Arty-farty, tweed wearing and with a devilish appetite for books, Alex Watts is both theatrical and engaging - think David Tenant in 'Doctor Who'. Watts shares twenty five entertaining stories, including his own, with sincere passion. The aim? To end all human suffering. The rapid delivery requires constant alertness, as the audience are submerged into a literary storm. Earnest Hemingway told a powerful story in six words but Watts goes ones better! Here, punctuation comes to life and vaginas swallow people. In possession of a folder and a fabulous memory, Watts delivers a mixture of dark and humorous tales. Laughs abound in this show by an assured, funny and intelligent bookworm.
Sweet Grassmarket, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Louise Mason]


Kitty's Bound For Broadway (Kerry Miller)
Do inspiring stories ever get old or stop encouraging others? As we watch Kitty Adler follow her dreams and talk us through her anxieties on her journey to Broadway, the answer should be no. The aim in this unfortunately bland musical is a lovely one, but a nice message isn't quite enough. The musical score is quiet and unassuming - the eleven songs are perfectly pleasant, but not different enough to create sufficient variety. A number of wacky costume items, including a studded bra, are donned in an attempt to build Kitty's confidence, so there is some humour present. Kerry Miller's performance is pleasing – both her singing voice and speech are sweet and soft. Sadly though, Broadway doesn't provide enough sparkle.
theSpace @ Surgeons Hall, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Louise Mason


The Alphabet Girl (Moxie Under Fire in association with Oldham Coliseum)
"They fuck you up, your mum and dad," said Philip Larkin. Or your mum and grandma, if the men in your family have a habit of not sticking around. This is the story of three generations of a family, told through monologues from the daughter, mother and grandmother. Actor Kaitlin Howard is great, portraying each character as convincingly rounded. We see how each generation shapes the next, how problem relationships can have an impact well after the suitcase is packed and the door slammed. Despite an incredibly disappointing twist ending, which undermined the emotional punch of the rest, this was a clever character study into how romantic and familial relationships can build us or destroy us.
theSpace on the Mile, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Gemma Scott]

Can I Start Again Please (Sue MacLaine and Nadia Nadarajah)
This show looks, predominantly, at language: how we use it, manipulate it, interpret it, and how we can use it to describe childhood trauma. Using Wittgenstein quotes and subtle humour, this poetic piece makes us question how we can make ourselves understood. It's performed in spoken English and British Sign Language, however it's not simply a direct translation. Differences in what is being spoken and signed make me wonder how accessible this would be to audience members who understand only one of the languages. While Nadia Nadarajah is wonderfully expressive, Sue MacLaine's voice can become monotone. It can also be difficult trying to follow two narratives at the same time and, while the repetition helps, after a while it becomes, well, repetitive.
Summerhall, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Gemma Scott]

Complex (My Complex)
Watching a fifty-minute monologue, directed entirely at a laptop screen, I felt disengaged. This one-man drama is about a Skype interview for an unknown, mysterious job, but the motive behind the performance is also a mystery. It's as if it's some sort of catharsis for the actor, rather than an experience intended to move an audience. Yuuya Ishizone, the writer, director and actor of the piece, emotionally gives a lot, occasionally injects a little humour and exposes dark truths about his character; but overall it feels like exposition with no reason or resolution. Perhaps its aim is to alert people to mental heath issues. However, the lack of solution or narrative left me unaffected.
theSpace @ Jury's Inn, until 22 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Stephanie Withers]

Dicing With Dr Death (Dr Philip Nitschke)
"I'm going to teach you how to kill yourself," he says. Dressed in a Hawaiian shirt and the obligatory white coat is Philip Nitschke, aka Dr Death, who legally assisted in the suicide of four patients in the Nineties. Alarm over the implications of this controversial show almost saw it cancelled, amid concern that it violated assisted suicide laws; consequently, it is laden with legal disclaimers. In an eerie vault nestled in the Old Town, Nitschke tackles one of the last taboos, and is very matter-of-fact in his belief in the right of the terminally ill to take control of their deaths. Although it takes a little while to warm up, 'Dicing With Dr Death' is engaging and highly thought-provoking.
Just The Tonic at The Caves, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Daisy Malt]

18 Foot Story (Z Theatre Company)
John is writing. The only problem is, the characters won't stop interacting with him, usually in violent and unpleasant ways. From gangsters to Western shoot-outs, John can't seem to keep his characters under control. This show explores how writing, putting words to our experiences, can help us deal with traumatic events. There are some lovely repetitive, physical moments, and the young cast are clearly talented, despite a slight tendency to overact. But the abrupt ending, after only 35 minutes (much shorter than the advertised running time) meant that '18 Foot Story' was lying about its height. Had the narrative been more fully developed, the mystery and suspense of the piece would have been much stronger.
theSpace @ Surgeons Hall, until 20 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Gemma Scott]

Fault Lines (Phantom Owl Productions)
Bill and Jim, old friends, are catching up. It's been a while; Jim's mother has passed away, Bill has concerns about his marriage, and yet these old friends, best friends, haven't spoken in months. The tensions - the fault lines - in their relationship are there from the start, hidden beneath the surface, but it's not until abrasive stranger Joe butts in that the cracks become visible. This is a taut, intense drama with naturalistic dialogue, believably flawed characters and genuine moral ambiguity; your sympathies shift constantly as the plot unravels, aided by some excellent, convincing performances. Even now I'm not quite sure which character, if any, was in the right.
Basic Mountain, until 31 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Andrew Leask]

For The Ground That Grew Me (Wil Greenway)
Wil Greenway tells a story about stories, and how they become part of us. Deliberately digressive and elaborately elusive, Greenway weaves his words back and forth through a series of stories that 'made' him. Joined by two musicians and set to guitar, xylophone and song, Greenway fills the hour with words. His storytelling skills takes us back to Melbourne and to the wet, dark streets of London. As we journey with him through moments of his life, we are also greeted by honest observations about what happens to us when we die, and what will remain. The show is not only funny, but hugely entertaining and beautifully life affirming. Even it does start with a funeral.
Underbelly Med Quad, until 30 Aug
t/w rating 4/5 | [Bethan Highgate-Betts]

Garden (Lucy Grace)
A moving story told by a loveable character, Lucy Grace's one-woman play stems from one plant and grows into much more. A lonely and dissatisfied office worker feels trapped within the nine-to-five slog. She then takes responsibility for the office plant, which sparks a need to connect, both with nature and with people. Grace's performance is a breath of fresh air, watching her character ardently turn her East London flat into a garden sanctuary is a charming story that audiences will emphasise with. Visually, the stage is compact and the set utilitarian; similarly the performance style is simple but still gets the necessary emotions, humour and pathos across. This is a heart-warming and sweet production.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 31 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 / [Stephanie Withers]

My Beautiful Black Dog (Brigitte Aphrodite and Boom Shakala Productions)
Looking like she could take on the world, in towering heels and an avalanche of glitter, Brigitte Aphrodite swaggers about the stage. In this play/gig/confessional, she takes depression, a subject often kept silent, and makes it really fucking loud. Flitting between gritty slam poetry and riot grrl screams, she shows that depression is more than just lying around your bedroom feeling sad. It's a powerful statement, and the music, accompanied by collaborator 'Quiet Boy' is equally fierce. While some of the technical aspects are a little clunky, the voicemails from concerned friends and family have a real emotional impact on the audience. Like 'Hedwig and the Angry Inch', this show contains just the right amounts of pathos and chaos.
Underbelly, until 16 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Gemma Scott]

Portrait (Fuel)
"Through form, you can create 3D from 2D..." This series of linked monologues deals with growing up but, apart from a few original twists and a particular focus on race issues, this is bread and butter coming of age content. What creates a 3D texture from all this is the form: the lyric monologues are rhythmic, poetic, seemingly inspired by spoken word. Enough rhyme to make you realise there's reason. Racheal Ofori is a fantastic performer, making it look easy to singlehandedly captivate an audience for an hour. She nails each character and switches between accents effortlessly. I look forward to seeing her turn her considerable writing and acting talents to material with even greater depth.
Pleasance Dome, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Lucy Diver]

The Wonderful Discovery Of Witches In The County Of Lancaster (Dawn State Theatre Company)
A delightful follow up to last year's masterful 'The Man Who Would Be King', Dawn State's new play is a fantastic envisioning of witchhunting, lawmaking and lawbreaking. The acting is superb, and manages to project both subtle nuance and loud majesty at the same time. As with last year's production, this latest play is layered into productions within productions, and the shifts of character are amusingly and skilfully performed. The relationships between characters are sometimes stifled by their own complexity, but are usually sustained by strong performances from the actors. It's an engaging hour that, while never entering the realms of true brilliance, is nonetheless an expertly sculpted piece of theatre.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Robert Stevens]

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