I think it's fair to say Ian Smith wowed our reviewer with his 2015 show 'Whereabouts', about which he declared "Not only do the show's threads intertwine in a very satisfying manner, but Smith continuously manages to produce laughs from a variety of sources. Theme tunes, Wikihows and one very expensive prop later, and everyone is on his side". Keen to find out more about the actor, stand-up and Fringe regular, we arranged a liaison in the local play park – as you do – and threw some questions in his general direction.

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

Traces (pictured)

"This is so mind-blowing that it evokes feelings that wake you up, and make you wonder: "what am I doing with my life?'". Which is quite a bold statement. But it's the bold statement our reviewer made about 'Traces', making this a highly recommended show.
Assembly Hall, until 31 Aug.

Adam Riches is Coach Coach
Our Week Two issue has gone to press now, though let's give a big recommend one more time to our Week One cover star Adam Riches, whose show this year is a definite top tip for any day of the Fringe. "This show casts the audience as a stadium crowd, and you'll be delighted to be part of the madness".
Pleasance Dome, until 30 Aug
Richard Gadd: Waiting For Gaddot
"If you are going to mess around with a genre, this is exactly how to do it. Gadd's show is billed as a comedy, but it's also a maelstrom of film, rage and panicked phone calls" says our reviewer. "One of the strangest and best shows you will see this Fringe". Basically, just go see this Free Fringe show.
Banshee Labyrinth, 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. 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
ThreeWeeks invites Fringe-favourite poets to put some words to paper – or a portable device of their choosing – to entertain you here in Poetry Corner. Elvis Mcgonagall This time, we hear from Elvis McGonagall.

Check out Elvis's ThreeWeeks column here
Two years ago, former Xfm DJ Marsha Shandur appeared here in the pages of ThreeWeeks reporting on interviews she'd been doing with comedians at the Festival as part of research for a new book on comedy. Shandur also used to host the hugely popular 'Marsha Meets' comedy podcast, each featuring a different top comedy name, and it was through that venture that she met her co-author on this project, Deborah Frances-White.

Two years on, that book, 'Off The Mic: Stand Ups Get Serious About Comedy', is being published this month, and Shandur is back in Edinburgh to co-host a special event at The Pleasance to celebrate that fact. Which seemed like reason enough to reconnect and find out more about the project.

"Deborah Frances-White asked me to do this book with her after we met via my Xfm podcast Marsha Meets", Shandur tells ThreeWeeks. "After the international success of her book 'The Improv Handbook', Bloomsbury had asked Deborah to write a similar one about stand up. After doing the 'Marsha Meets' interview, Deborah said I had pulled out of her, things about herself she didn't even know she knew, and that that had helped her to discover a whole new Edinburgh show. I love nerding out with stand ups about stand up, so when she asked me to join her in making this book, I leapt at the chance".

It quickly turned into a major project that has taken a few years to complete. "We interviewed stand-ups from all across the world" Shandur explains, "travelling to the Montreal and Edinburgh festivals, speaking to comics whenever we could, and we even asked Phill Jupitus to interview his friend Eddie Izzard for a chapter".

But having the conversations was the easy bit. "Then we had to transcribe the interviews and pull the different sections together. As you can imagine, most interviewees don't speak in discreet soundbites, so it took a long time! We had enough interview material to write five books, so it was then a case of choosing which parts fit well together, and keeping the editors at Bloomsbury happy".

That mammoth task is now complete though, allowing both Shandur and Frances-White to get on with the more fun task of launching the new work. "We're putting on a free show at the Pleasance Courtyard this Wednesday" Shandur reports. "Deborah and I will talk to a panel of stand ups – including Jo Caulfield, Alex Edelman and some very special guests – about many different aspects of being a comedian, including where their ideas come from, how they first started out and the best ways to deal with hecklers".

With the book now complete, what have been the most interesting things Shandur learned along the way? "My favourite interviewees were the ones who got very technical. Gary Delaney was fascinating throughout – talking about the specific effect on one-liner comics of social media, which is both good and bad, and the several stages he goes through to put a set together. He even walked us through his complex and fascinating method of remembering an hour's worth of one-line jokes".

"I also loved how Neal Brennan – who co-created Dave Chappelle's 'Chappelle's Show' – gets really into the psychology of it. When he realised he wasn't smiling enough on stage, he would give his girlfriend $200 before a show; then, every time he smiled on stage, he'd get $20 back from her. At first he kept losing $120 a show, then he learned to get it all back".

"Neal Brennan also has my favourite quote from the whole book" Shandur confirms: "He told us how he tells performers all the time, 'This shit is not radio, man, you got to fucking move, you got to be commanding'"

'Off The Mic: Stand Ups Get Serious About Comedy' is out this month, more info here. The book's launch event takes place at Pleasance Courtyard at 5.45pm on Wednesday, 19 Aug.

Anatomy Of The Piano (For Beginniners) (Will Pickvance)
Have you ever wondered how the piano got its teeth? Or why composers are so grumpy? Will Pickvance has. 'Anatomy Of The Piano' is highly entertaining and 100% engaging. It will have you laughing along, cheering for more and it might even teach you a thing or two. A single piano in the middle of the stage is all it takes to whisk the audience off on a musical adventure to the stars. It's cleverly set to a constant live score, which is a testament to Pickvance's talents, and the passion he has for his subject endears you to him right from the start. The children in the audience loved it and the grown ups were laughing along too. A real musical treat.
Summerhall, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Bethan Highgate-Betts]

The Falcon's Malteser by Anthony Horowitz (New Old Friends)
Cleverly staged and brilliantly acted, New Old Friends present this tongue-in-cheek take on renowned children's author Anthony Horowitz's comic mystery. Join Private Detective Tim Diamond and his quick-witted little brother Nick as they embark on their most dangerous case yet. The cast of four bring multiple characters to life - from Mexicans, Russian actresses and cleaning ladies, this fast-paced adventure contains enough twists and turns to keep you utterly engaged throughout. Original musical numbers punctuate the compelling plot, and perfect comic timing from the cast creates a show where even the set changes are hilarious. Ideal for a family outing, kids and adults can both share in the joy that is 'The Falcon's Malteser'.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 31 Aug.
t/w rating 4/5 | [Bethan Highgate-Betts]


Giraffe: Raisin' The Hoof (Giraffe)
With a musical number in the first five minutes, and a double male striptease in the first fifteen, Giraffe's blistering show lets you know what you're in for pretty quickly. The trio fire off more sketches in an hour than you'd think was physically possible, and if one joke isn't to your liking there'll be another along within seconds. What makes the show work is how much fun the performers are obviously having. Despite the relentless pace, Giraffe find time to improvise and go off-script - so much so that, in the performance I saw, one sketch had to be restarted due to an out-of-control digression. Nobody minded. It's ramshackle, but it's so enjoyable that you won't care.
Underbelly Cowgate, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Jon Stapley]

Adam Riches Is Coach Coach (The Pleasance)
This is a very familiar story: a high school sports team of underdogs, a frustrated coach haunted by former failures, and a desperate push for an unlikely victory against arrogant bullies. But, while the plot may have come straight from a dozen feel-good films, the execution is gloriously unexpected and wildly funny. Adam Riches is perfect as Coach Coach, filling the stage with energy and razor-sharp wit. His supporting cast are all phenomenal in their roles, but special mention must go to Richard Gadd, gliding across the stage in an office chair as the malevolent school principal. This show casts the audience as a stadium crowd, and you'll be delighted to be part of the madness.
Pleasance Dome, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Vicki Baron]

Milton Jones And The Temple Of Daft (Phil McIntyre Entertainments)
You can always rely on Milton Jones to deliver absurd one-liners. This time the eccentric comedian has opted for the inclusion of an Indiana Jones-style story, and comes equipped with appropriate jungle clothing and props. The bizarre storytelling and hilarious puns still exist in this show, but unfortunately the narrative prevents him from firing out the abundance of quips that normally get the crowd roaring from start to finish. There are hysterical witticisms about the archaeologist he aspired to be, but other moments in 'The Temple Of Daft' are flat. There's also an hilarious sketch that parodies Scottish independence – but don't worry, unlike others, this independence skit really will make you chuckle.
Assembly Hall, until 21 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Kieran Scott]

Nick Cody – Beard Game Strong (Brett Vincent)
Nick Cody arrives for his first ever Fringe with a confidence that suggests he's been performing here for the last ten years. 'Beard Game Strong' only actually talks about beards once, when Cody mentions his hero - Mark Donaldson, a recipient of a Victoria Cross. Donaldson has a ginger beard too, and Cody uses this mutual feature to compare the two of them in terms of manliness. Beyond this topic, Cody uses several hilarious personal anecdotes to highlight his self-confessed stupidity and his embarrassments over the years. From an hilarious incident with a toilet hose in Thailand, to the introduction of Cody's girlfriend to his "loose unit" parents, this Aussie thrills us with his intrepid style of performance.
Assembly George Square Studios, until Aug 30.
tw rating 5/5 | [Kieran Scott]

Tatterdemalion (Flabbergast Theatre)
How much fun can you have with one suitcase, some clothes and an audience? Flabbergast Theatre, creators of Boris and Sergey, prove that the limits are almost endless with this irresistible show. One man takes us through the contents of his suitcase, distributing items around the audience and using their involvement to create stories. As he plays, through mime and puppetry, the items take on their own personalities with our help - one audience member somehow ended up giving artificial respiration to a shoe! This performance allows the audience to play just as much as the performer. Seeing 'Tatterdemalion' is a beautiful and hilarious experience that will stay with you - clowning has never been so enchanting or absorbing.
Assembly Roxy, until 31 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Vicki Baron]

Aunty Donna (Electric Talent)
Aunty Donna really know how to put on a show. This sketch comedy is noisy, sweaty and hyper, with added bath caps. The Australian trio rap their way through the hour with barely a second of peace – even the ten second "interval" is far from serene. I get the feeling this comedy is love or hate; some of their sketches will leave you aching with laughter, but the constant noise becomes a bit much at times, when the show descends beyond their trademark chaos into unbridled carnage. Revisiting several earlier gags in a sketch towards the end was a particular success though, demonstrating just how much material these guys have. A fun hour, but definitely not for everyone.
Gilded Balloon, until 31 Aug
tw rating 4/5 | [Stephanie Gray]

Brett Goldstein: Burning Man (Mick Perrin Worldwide in association with Dawn Sedgwick Management)
Brett Goldstein is back after a year away from the Fringe. He spent last August at the Burning Man festival, and this show centres around his experiences there. He may not have "found himself" at the festival, but it did lead to some great material. Here, he has created a captivating narrative and a genuinely interesting take on several dark and often taboo subjects. Highlights include a routine discussing his involvement in "that TV appearance", and a fresh approach towards the whole Operation Yewtree situation. Incredibly likable and hilarious throughout, Goldstein's interaction with the audience was sparse but solid. 'Burning Man' is a show worth seeing, performed by a man who makes it all look very easy.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 31 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Ben Shannon]

Christian O'Connell: You've Ruined My Morning... And Other Fan Mail (So Comedy)
Christian O'Connell has long been the go-to guy for morning breakfast radio shows, and has collated numerous stories during his 25 years in the industry. However, during his time as a DJ, O'Connell has received many complaints, from the obscure to the offensive. Here, the award-winning radio presenter speaks frankly about his hate mail, and has a notebook to prove it. The audience is treated to stories about people creating Twitter accounts purely to insult him, certain individuals who complain about the slightest badmouthing of cats, and one listener who chases up his competition prize avidly. O'Connell does stand-up just as well as he does presenting, in this concise and engaging show of witty radio happenings.
Gilded Balloon, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Kieran Scott]

Expect The Unexporcupine (Michael Stranney and Olaf Falafel)
This is a satisfying, slick and silly way to spend an hour. There are two comedians, a spinning wheel of pun-based images, and a willing assistant (who will be named "Patricia" by the performers, regardless of gender). The absurdist musings of Olaf Falafel are skilfully delivered to bring the audience around to his perspective, and his home-grown alternative to astrology is especially entertaining. Between wheel spins and Falafel's sets, Michael Stranney appears in a variety of guises. Multiple characters take to the stage to deliver short stand-up routines, each of them with completely different personas and approaches to comedy. Sometimes the performers' energy seems low, but their stage presence and comic prowess is undeniable.
Cowgatehead, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Vicki Baron]

Nish Kumar: Long Word... Long Word... Blah Blah Blah... I'm so Clever (Phil McIntyre Entertainments)
In the sweatiest room at the Fringe, Nish Kumar puts on an outstanding display of middle class, sympathetic outrage. It's probably fair to say that Edinburgh is currently overpopulated with comedians lamenting the idiocy of politicians and British society at large, and to an already convinced audience. But Kumar is self aware enough and, most importantly, funny enough to stand out above the rest. While he's not reinventing the wheel, his stripped down performance is so good that it even distracts the sold out
audience from the unethical temperature in the venue. Kumar has put together a clever, consistently hilarious show and it's easy to imagine much bigger audiences in his future.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 [David O'Connor]

Richard Gadd: Waiting For Gaddot (Richard Gadd/PBH's Free Fringe)
If you are going to mess around with a genre, this is exactly how to do it. Gadd's show is billed as a comedy, but it's also a maelstrom of film, rage and panicked phone calls. Running almost an hour late for his hour-long show, Gadd communicates with his terrified technician (played wonderfully by Ben Target), as he attempts to get from his mother's home in a caravan park to his venue. The chaos is heightened by the appearance of Ian Smith, who steals the show as a furious ex-lover of Gadd's girlfriend. Gadd's eventual appearance, and the resultant madness, is the perfect end to one of the strangest and best shows you will see this Fringe.
Banshee Labyrinth, until 30 Aug
tw rating 5/5 | [Vicki Baron]


Eating Seals And Seagulls' Eggs (Little Wolf Productions)
Like Yeats and Joyce, Pheig Sayers is a literary figure of huge cultural significance. Disappointingly, Caitríona Ní Mhurchú's aesthetic reimagining of the folklorist's life is deeply frustrating. On one level, it asks fascinating questions about Gaelic as a shibboleth and about Irish national identity, but the narrative is incongruous and collapses into incoherence. As a young Pheig, Mhurchú is excellent, creating a captivating spirit of earthy romance, while Adam Gibney's set design is absorbingly atmospheric. Projected black and white visuals, depicting island life on Great Blasket, flicker hauntingly on the back wall of the stage. But despite moments of wonder, this philosophical piece is not a success. 'Eating Seals and Seagulls' Eggs' plods along far too slowly and stumbles into confusion.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Patrick Galbraith]

This Much (Or An Act Of Violence Towards The Institution of Marriage) (MOVING DUST)
The core of this play's success lies in three bold performances, with each of the actors baring all - both emotionally and physically - in service of the script. The play explores the often fractious relationships between Gar and two very different men; there are moments of searing honesty, harrowing emotion and genuine hilarity throughout and the script asks a lot of questions about relationships, love and commitment. Unfortunately, it is less interested in answering, or even properly addressing those questions. By the end of the play Gar seems to have learned nothing, yet he manages to get a happy ending that feels unearned. This may be an accurate reflection of life, but dramatically it was a little unsatisfying.
Zoo, until 31 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Andrew Leask]

When Blair Had Bush And Bunga (Bungabunga Productions in association with The Pleasance)
Every now and then you see a show so poor, so amateurish, so spectacularly devoid of any positive properties, that you have to wonder just how the hell it got made? Dozens of people must have been involved in this production, all of them in possession of eyes, ears and brains, yet at no point did anyone think to point out its many, many flaws. It fails on every level: as satire it's stale and toothless, thirteen years too late to be topical; as farce, it's lazy, just a couple of Benny Hill references; and as comedy, it's simply not funny. The whole thing feels half-hearted, from the poorly written 'jokes' to the dreadful 'acting'. Avoid at all costs.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 31 Aug.
tw rating 1/5 | [Andrew Leask]

© ThreeWeeks is published by UnLimited Media

ThreeWeeks, UnLimited Media, Kemp House, 152 City Road, London EC1V 2NX.
t: 0131 516 8842 |