This year's Edinburgh Fringe includes its first ever showcase of Korean work, presenting dance, comedy and theatre through five shows performed by a hand-picked selection of companies based in South Korea. The season has been curated by Angella Kwon, who first produced at the Fringe seventeen years ago, presenting the first Korean show to ever appear at the festival, 'Nanta'. We spoke to Angella about her aims and ambitions for this new showcase, and about the shows that appear this year.

ThreeWeeks' Chris Cooke chats to Angella about her showcase here
Three recommended shows for Wednesday at the Edinburgh Festival 2015.

Off The Mic (pictured)
'Off The Mic' is a brilliant new book in which stand-up comedians get serious about comedy, and tomorrow its authors - Deborah Frances-White and Marsha Shandur - will launch it at The Pleasance with a free panel discussion on comedy featuring a number of the comics who appear in the book. Read more here and book your tickets here. It kicks off at 5.45pm.
Pleasance Courtyard, 19 Aug.

Simon Thacker
If the snippet of his performance at the end of the first TW Podcast of the year didn't get you interested, hopefully the 5/5 glowing review in our Week Two issue will. "Relaxing and invigorating in turns, the interweaving of punk, funk, flamenco and soul with Baul ensured it was not too unfamiliar for western ears".
Summerhall, until 23 Aug.

The Very Grey Matter Of Edward Blank
Don't tell anyone, but there's a glowing review for this show in our Week Two issue, out tomorrow. "The actors are consistently brilliant ... a look at just how colourful the dark parts of our minds can be, this nightmarish fantasy might keep you up past your bedtime". Actually come to think of it, tell everyone. And go see.
Assembly Roxy, 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.
Look out for copies all over Edinburgh from tomorrow morning, plus read the digital version online from first thing.

Inside: Michael Legge, Ian Smith, Puddles Pity Party, Ben Norris, Angella Kwon, Ali McGregor, Moby Alpha, Stephen Tobolowsky, Barely Methodical Troupe, Elvis McGonagall, James Bran, Chris Dugdale, 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. This time, we hear from James Bran.

Check out James's ThreeWeeks column here
If you, like I, rent a flat in Edinburgh each Festival, and then buy lots of food at the outset with grand plans of cooking healthy dinners every day of the Fringe, and then eat almost exclusively at the Central Fish & Chicken Bar for the month, resulting in a stack of unused food in your rented kitchen, well, comedian Simon Caine (pictured) has come up with a solution.

And if you made it through that long sentence alive, here is Caine's explanation. "Every year I buy food to eat during Edinburgh and I never get through it all. I either leave it in the place I was staying or throw it away... this is such a waste and has to stop. So I am in contact with a food bank to do a big collection somewhere in the centre of the city".

Which seems like a very good plan indeed. The Free Festival has organised a collection point for this otherwise wasted food in the courtyard of the Three Sisters on 30 Aug from 10-4pm. Full info here. And now you can carry on with the deep fried Fringe diet at least knowing that healthy food back at the flat won't go to waste.

Stephen Bailey: Should've Been a Popstar (So Comedy by arrangement with PBJ Management)
Being a gay, ginger, Northern stammerer, Stephen Bailey turned to stand-up as a means of building his self confidence. It has certainly enabled some boldness as, with a practised but generous stage manner, he successfully runs a fair bit of the show off the crowd. He plays, flirts and outright propositions members of the audience, which I guess counts as getting folks involved. His cheery, cheeky delivery and cherubic visage lets him glibly get away with some deceptively dark stuff, as well as more straightforward knockabout filth. Things sag a little in places with the reading out of various correspondence, not all of which is worth the trouble but, all in, Bailey has every reason to be confident.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Bruce Blacklaw]

Tats Nkonzo: the African with Wi-fi (Mick Perrin Worldwide)
From getting the crowd involved with the sound check, to the beauty of music and some stuff about pop stars (including a Whitney bit very much worth it for the closing callback), into an AIDS bit followed by a polygamy bit – this is an opening combo you don't see every day! Flights of fancy ensue, as Nkonzo lets us into his head for three extended one-man sketches. Each one has a point to make, and the world disease awards sketch is tryingly long, but things improve with skits on the limitations of democracy and the idolising of sports 'personalities'. While the quality of the material is a little uneven, the winning presence is a constant and his fresh perspectives make for an entertaining hour.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 31 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Bruce Blacklaw]

Tony Law: Frillemorphesis (Tony Law)
"It's a one star show or a five star with me", says Tony Law. In fact, it's both, in this skilfully shambolic and splendidly silly hour (and a bit – I did say it was shambolic?). Most of the one star stuff is deliberate, as is (probably) most of the five star material, as Law ploughs through several comedy 'no-nos', signposted just enough to show that he knows exactly what he's doing. He does it all with enough bluff charisma to carry along folks who maybe aren't entirely on board with this...what is this? Kafka-esque stand-up? Given the title, is it a spoiler to reveal that he puts on a horse-head mask halfway through? Hard to say without, like Law, overrunning...
The Stand Comedy Club 3 & 4, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Bruce Blacklaw]

BEASTS: Live DVD (DAA Management)
BEASTS' premise for this show is that they are filming their sketches for a big name Hollywood producer, but their plans to impress him go awry in a rapid and spectacular fashion. These are three men with a lot to prove, and an unfeasible amount of bread to throw around. Owen Roberts desperately attempts to keep the show on track, while Ciarán Dowd and James McNicholas "help" in their own inimitable styles. Each sketch is performed and re-performed with increasingly frantic energy, and the audience is completely absorbed into the comedians' uninhibited world. Despite the chaotic nature of the show, the writing and execution is incredibly slick. Expect to be attacked with carbohydrates, hairdryers and magnificent humour.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 31 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Vicki Baron]

Charles Booth: Deer In The Spotlights (Charles Booth)
It's safe to say that Charles Booth has a rather unorthodox comedy style, one that also incorporates acting and even ballet into this articulately performed and well structured show. But then again, this is a comedy show, it's meant to be humorous – and humorous it is not. Most of the characters he has developed are more bonkers and flippant than actually funny, and most sketches could be simplified to actually make the audience laugh. The only character of notable mention in 'Deer In The Spotlights' is the raspy voiced, sketchy man who hates his illiterate wife. Expect, at best, only a handful of laughs.
Just the Tonic at The Mash House, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Kieran Scott]

Chris Martin: This Show Has A Soundtrack (So Comedy by arrangement with Troika/Free Festival)
No, not that Chris Martin. And no, the soundtrack in the title has no connection to Coldplay....basically, a musical score accompanies this otherwise straightforward hour of observational stand-up. Initially, running alongside a bit about action films, particularly Liam Neeson's 'Taken', it all ties together nicely. However, as things progress, the connection with the music grows less apparent: in the absence of further signposting, you have to listen out, making it more distracting than complementary to the spoken material. It's a nice idea with plenty of potential, and it seems a shame to be going on about it when there was some good, polished, affably-delivered comedy going on; but then, it really was distracting.
Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Bruce Blacklaw]

Gein's Family Gift Shop Volume 2 (Lee Martin for Gag Reflex)
"Just a group of idiots from Manchester with a slightly warped sense of humour," they say at the end. Slightly warped is understating things, but they're certainly a funny bunch.
They gleefully gallop through a series of sketches that merge into each other which, as they note, saves on punchlines. They centre largely on "blood, poo and bumholes" and if that sounds puerile, well, it is. But it's also sharp, witty and playful, as they muck about nicely with the conventions of sketch comedy. This talented cast establish their own characters as personalities running through the show, and share the limelight through cracking lines, silly mime and comic timing. It's top quality fooling, but they're clearly no idiots.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | Bruce Blacklaw

Lloyd Griffith, Grimsby's Great Big Turn On (Live Nation in association with Lisa White at Glorious Management)
So, Grimsby. Or, to give it its full title, Great Grimsby. Still not selling it? Well, you're wrong. Lloyd Griffith was once invited to turn on the town's Christmas lights but couldn't due to a prior choral singing engagement (as he demonstrates, he is also a fine chorister). Except it turns out he was ninth in line to be asked, so in this show Griffith explains why he's better than the other eight, with an increasing (in character) desperation, by way of song, specialist knowledge of cathedrals and impressions (of a sort). None of it sounds like much, but with a fine array of gags and measured silliness, talented Griffiths puts at least the very good into Grimsby.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Bruce Blacklaw]

Murder, She Didn't Write (Degrees Of Error)
Last night a quarrel between glass blowers turned deadly, as the murder mystery got an improv makeover from Degrees of Error. Lively, energetic fun ensued, but it struck me afterwards that the audience didn't have much bearing on what happened. We randomly assigned the murderer, but since we didn't find out their identity until the end, the effect was mostly lost on us. We also had no influence on the highly stylised characters that emerged among the suspects – the 22-year-old manchild and the glass blower with a rather unpleasant penchant for domestic violence just sort of... happened. The performances were at least consistently entertaining – it's an unquestionably talented cast – but the clear potential for something really special wasn't reached.
Sweet Grassmarket, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Jon Stapley]

Sophie Pelham: Country Files (Sophie Pelham)
Sophie Pelham takes a look at a handful of country residents who all share the same postcode. Older aristocrats, young horse enthusiasts, small town do-gooders and even a rapping badger are thrown in for good measure. Pelham's performance is endearing and her interactions with the audience make for the sort of awkward comedy a roaring crowd loves. The quick character changes aren't always neat, but it's all part of the chaotic charm. The audience didn't stop laughing for a full hour, except for one rather tense moment before a mouth to mouth demonstration. Character comedy at its warmest, and what other comedy show would offer you a glass of sherry and a sausage roll on your way in?
Pleasance Courtyard, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Bethan Highgate-Betts]

Amy Howerska: Sasspot (RBM)
There's no getting away from it: even if her tales are as watered down as she leads us to believe, Amy Howerska's life, and family, are bizarre. She grew up on a sky diving drop-zone, prefers funerals to weddings, and had plenty of near death experiences as a child, much to the amusement of her family. Excerpts from childhood diaries break up the show well, though her high-pitched impressions, funny the first few times, can become a bit grating. On the whole though, this is a fascinating insight into life as a child from a military family. With such an eventful life it's really a miracle she's standing on stage for us at all.
Gilded Balloon, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Stephanie Gray]


Drum Tribe (Drum Tribe)
"Welcome to Drum Tribe, here's your bongo." Now that's a good way to start a day. My hands still hurt and my ears are ringing, but it was worth it for this raucous hour of percussion and dance, courtesy of four preposterously talented South Africans. The consummate polyrhythmic skill on display is a joy, and the engaging quartet do a grand job of rousing the audience to participate. The only minor problem is that it could use some variety – an hour of call-and-response is a lot to take, and I'd have loved more like the astounding tuned percussion solo we see early on. One last thing: if you can drum, know that above-average competence may have consequences. That's all I'll say.
Gilded Balloon, until 31 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Jon Stapley]


The Final Act (RopeWalk Productions)
It's always a shame to see a truly wonderful cast working with sub-par material. RopeWalk Productions have amassed a charismatic, talented set of actors and singers for this musical about writing a musical, but the script does them no justice at all. The president of a university theatre society is tasked with putting on a sell-out musical to save the theatre from closure, and from there things unfold with few surprises. The set-up feels as though it's primed to deliver a parody of musicals, but that isn't what we get – most of the tropes are played straight. The songs are peppy but don't stick, and the ending comes as an abrupt anti-climax, leaving unresolved plot lines flapping in the wind.
theSpace on Niddry St, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Jon Stapley]


Greyhound: Journey Through The Dark Heart of America (Matt Panesh/ PBH Free Fringe)
Told with a 'chap telling you a story down the pub' kind of vibe, Matt Panesh gives a riveting account of the American character that reeks of personality. This verbatim tale of his experience on a Greyhound bus in the deep American middle held me utterly transfixed, with every character convincingly formed. He breaks down the compulsive lie of the American dream - that hard work always results in success- by bringing to life those who have been spat out by a prejudiced machine, and the vibrant characters he introduces us to open our eyes to the social problems of America. Panesh's narrative is so gripping that is never feels like a performance or a monologue; it's like living it.
Banshee Labyrinth, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Robert Stevens]


Comfort Slaves (Immersive Acting)
'Comfort Slaves' is a dark, graphic and inevitably enigmatic experience, but one which paints a vivid picture of modern day society. It deals with two intertwining story lines: one in which a couple, Peter and Gillian, accuse an MP of rape while the MP abuses his power; and another about Peter's sister who is appearing on a talent show and has a boyfriend struggling with debt. Particular aspects seem needless and gratuitous, such as the talent show narrative and tempered communication with the audience. Nonetheless, the acting from the majority of the cast is profound and the kitchen setting is imposing. However, if you're squeamish, expletive-reluctant or against violence, this play is certainly not for you.
New Town Theatre, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Kieran Scott]

It would have been easy for Andy Duffy's poetic one-man play to simply demonise its financial trader protagonist; it's not as though the world has any spare love for bankers. The play, however, is smarter than that. Over an hour we see the trader attempt to rebuild his shattered life, actor Jamie Michie patiently constructing a portrait of a man rendered incapable of meaningful self-expression. It's not an easy watch – save for some subtle lighting and sparsely effective sound design, we are alone with just the banker and his story. As it builds and builds towards something dark and terrible, Michie allows that icy self-possession to crack and we glimpse the possible humanity within. The final line will linger with you.
Traverse Theatre, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Jon Stapley]

Derby Day (Camisade Theatre Company)
The Ballard brothers have gathered on Derby Day after the recent death of their father. As they see him off in style, with a luxury box and an exasperated waitress catering to their every need, family secrets are spilled and the reunion of Ned, Johnny and Frank is far from harmonious. Towards the second half of the show you can't move for fight scenes; they certainly use every inch of the stage (and the furniture). The fighting is so ridiculous it verges on farce – but it does become a bit tiresome. Samuel Brett Williams has written a script that touches on real issues, but this family has so many of them that it's difficult to take them seriously.
Gilded Balloon, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Stephanie Gray]

Submarine (Popcorn Productions)
Oliver and Jordana: two young people whose worlds literally revolve around them, as twitching mothers and corduroy-wearing bullies move about them, solemn and monk-like. The cramped stage is put to creative use as neat piles of props, each belonging to a different character, dot the edge. Piles of cardigans and phones – the melancholy sum of a domestic life? This is a nice compliment to the 'mockumentary' style, certainly, which is pleasingly more 'Amélie' than Woody Allen. Fans of the original Ayoade film will especially appreciate this, because it's basically the film on stage, plus one track suspiciously resembling Desplat's score for 'The Grand Budapest Hotel'. Yes, this is a 'cover'– but a fiercely, sweetly acted one. Lots of angst. And corduroy trousers.
theSpace on Niddry Street, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Sarah Murphy]

The Temptation Of St Anthony (The Mechanical Animal Corporation)
There's a word that I'm trying to avoid using, see if you can guess it. It's the word to describe a play which treats the phrase "he's off to find himself" with only half-irony, where a character becomes a tree to "be one with nature". I'm scared of using it though, because then you might think this review is that word, too. But 'The Temptation Of St. Anthony' definitely is that word - about spiritual possession, the play is far too ambitious for its modest actors and feels melodramatic whenever it tries to shock. It's a play wrought with ego - its energy makes for some brilliant dance and music scenes, but it takes itself far too seriously to be enjoyable.
Summerhall, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Robert Stevens]

Wasted (No Prophet Theatre Company)
Oli and Emma meet in a pub. They drink, they click, they go on to a club and, many shots of tequila later, they wake up together. What seems like an innocent, ordinary encounter becomes something darker and more complex in this layered drama from writer/director Kat Wood. Actors Will Merrick and Serena Jennings multi-role with skill as they swap from the central pair to friends, family members and, as things escalate, police officers. The play asks us how we define the capacity or incapacity to give consent but, though some may be dissatisfied with the lack of resolution, this isn't an issue where there are any easy answers. This is important drama, adroitly drawn by its talented cast.
Gilded Balloon, until 31 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Jon Stapley]

Heart Of Darkness (Scandal And Gallows Theatre)
The outdated often offends ('offend' is such a feeble verb, isn't it?) How might a modern playwright adapt a novel as problematic as Joseph Conrad's 'Heart of Darkness', which tails the white coloniser up the Congo River, squeamishly recording the black presences along the way as "shadows" and "savages"? He might interrogate it but, sadly, George Johnston's adaptation of Marlowe is dog-loyal, adopting a cute hyper-Englishness to excuse that cute, hyper-English racism. A white actor assuming the voice of a Congolese native – practical restrictions of one-man show aside – is parodic. Nevertheless, Guy Clark captained the stage tirelessly, his grieving widow pleasingly evoking 40s movie-star histrionics, and Johnston does deserve praise for brightening Conrad's barnacley prose.
SpaceTriplex, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Sarah Murphy]

Wendy Hoose by Johnny McKnight (Birds of Paradise and Random Accomplice)
We live in a world where love, or short-lived intimacy, can be found with the swipe of a phone application. 'Wendy Hoose' deals with two people who match each other on a dating app, purely looking for "a shag". Jake travels to Laura's home miles away hoping to get lucky, but during the show he unravels aspects of Laura's life and character that he hadn't immediately picked up on. The love-hate relationship is fascinating, as we see them develop an awkward affection towards one another. The narrative is also detailed by an audio describer, who comically ridicules both characters. But it's the Glaswegian slang and crudeness of it all that ultimately brings in the laughs, in this wonderfully constructed and hilarious show.
Assembly Rooms, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Kieran Scott]

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