Flabbergast Theatre wowed us and the Fringe at recent festivals with their 'Boris & Sergey' shows, featuring the titular puppets and their crazy antics. This year they return with a totally new show, 'Tatterdemalion', where one silent man, with his suitcase of props, interacts with his audience to tell delightful stories. We caught up with that one man, Henry Maynard, to find out how you go about creating a show like this, how 'Tatterdemalion' has evolved, and what Flabbergast has planned as it pursues world domination.

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

Go see this show. Say we: "Cabaret circus and Hitchcock aren't an unlikely pair; both share a taste for mind games of the uncanny, vertigo-inducing type. 'Hitch' brings Hollywood thrills to the big-top in this beautiful shriek of a show".
Big Sexy Circus City, until 30 Aug.

Japan Marvelous Drummers
This show really wowed our reviewer, and he'll be delivering his top marks review in our Week Three issue later this week. "The drummers deserve to pack out the George Square Theatre before the end of their run, and I sincerely hope they do".
Assembly George Square Theatre, until 30 Aug.

Stuart Bowden: Wilting In Reverse
And here's another show due to get a top marks write up in our Week Three issue. "A courageous and lyrical hour of joy". And don't forget to check out our interview with Stuart from the start of the Festival.
Underbelly Cowgate, 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.
Look out for copies all over Edinburgh or read the online version here.

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. This week we chat to Lisa Gornick about her live drawing show combining theatre, storytelling and visual art, and to Gary Quinn about his impactful play 'The Last Kill'. Plus we get a snippet of immersive theatre production 'To Sleep To Dream', and a poem and a rap from the Zoo Venues show 'Easy For You To Say'.

Listen and subscribe to the TW Podcast here
The grand final of the annual Amused Moose Awards took place at theSpace @ Symposium Hall last Sunday, with Richard Gadd taking the overall prize for his much acclaimed show 'Waiting For Gaddot', part of PBH's Free Fringe at the Banshee Labyrinth.

Amused Moose runs two separate awards each year, one for brand new talent, and then this one for more established comedians already presenting full-hour shows at the Fringe, but who are yet to pick up another major comedy award, making it something of a breakthrough prize. Or, as Amused Moose boss Hils Jago explains, "this one is for comedy performers with Fringe shows who are on the cusp of being noticed, and getting opportunities from the comedy industry beyond the stand-up circuit".

There is a long list of eligible comedians for this award each year, who are then shortlisted down to just ten finalists, who each performed a snippet of their show at the grand finale last weekend. "All entrant shows are initially watched online by a big panel of international and UK comedy industry people", Jago explains of the first stage of the judging process. "Then once the Fringe starts panellists who are in Edinburgh watch as many of the shows live as they can, partly focussing – though not at all exclusively – on the shows which scored highest online. From that process a longlist emerges, which then gets sifted to a shortlist".

It was a very strong shortlist this year, and from it Richard Gadd emerged victorious. "This award has such a great history behind it", Gadd told ThreeWeeks shortly after his win, "with lots of comedians I really enjoy having come through it. And I was picked alongside the circuit stalwarts, and a lot of comedians I have respected and admired for a very long time, so to win feels really good".

Asked to tell us more about 'Waiting For Gaddot', Gadd cautions, "I cannot tell you much about my show without pretty much giving away the whole premise! But I will say that the clue is in the title. I can also say that it is the absolute antithesis of what you would see on 'Live At The Apollo'".

From what we know about Gadd's show, we assumed it was hard for him to pick just ten minutes to perform at last Sunday's final. And we were right. "My show makes absolutely no sense over the course of an hour. Now I am getting asked to condense it into ten minutes? Man oh man, I have to admit I did not think it would work".

"So", he went on, "I decided to just do the last ten minutes of my show – you know, just to confuse them even more. Start with the end, work your way back, throw enough of your own – well, I won't swear – at the wall and hope some of it sticks. It was cluster bomb comedy at its sloppy finest!"

Obviously it worked, given the industry judges awarded him the overall prize. "Funnily enough, about four years ago I entered the Amused Moose new act award and died on my hole" Gadd mused, reflecting on his victory this time. "Then I got reviewed by one4review who said I was 'ten minutes of their life they were never getting back'. So to come full circle from that tragedy is a nice feeling at least. It was also nice to thank all the people who have worked on the show with me. Winning is never a bad feeling, you just cannot let it go to your head. Though I am the best!"

In addition to the main prize, the audience at the final also gets to vote for its favourite act of the afternoon, and the People's Choice Award this year went to Jess Robinson, whose show 'The Rise Of Mighty Voice' is on at the Pleasance Dome.

But what makes a really good breakthrough show in comedy? Jago again: "A great show which has the go-to beginnings of potential cult status, or simply a very well-crafted show by a charismatic performer who in it demonstrates their comedy chops".

Pictured, Richard Gadd with Ben Target, who also appears in 'Waiting For Gaddot'

Mad Women In My Attic! (Monica Salvi)
Along with her psychotherapist on piano, Monica Salvi's one-woman cabaret is set in an imaginary psychiatric unit, where she performs to her fellow patients. A grand church doesn't seem like the most obvious venue for such a show, but it actually works rather well and creates a mysterious atmosphere. We meet Salvi as she rises from the pulpit, giving a taste of the mischievous fun to come. Through song and speech she reminisces about her life as an actress, and the curiosities of the characters she has played. It's a rather unusual storyline, but Salvi's quirky character and flawless vocal performance bring it all together, topped with some audience participation and even a pair of handcuffs...
Just Festival at St John's, until 31 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Daisy Malt]


The Biggest Marionette Circus In The World (Theatre Klinika Lanek)
This is a children's show which engages youngsters without patronising everyone else, and doesn't try to improvise a hammy moral halfway through. There's a classiness in operation here - I put it down to that Eastern European taste - and a sturdy, old-fashioned colour palette, too. Some top-hatted twin buffoons straight out of 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang' feature, alongside sad-eyed mimes in bowler hats - ever wondered what Charlie Chaplin manning a life-sized marionette giraffe would look like? Whilst it all feels a bit chaotic, what do the children care, when there are flying toothy fish? And steeple-high giraffes! 'The Biggest Marionette Circus' is a happy, haywire frolic - I've never had such fun in a church.
Momentum Venues @ St Stephens, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Sarah Murphy]


Steve Hall: Zebra (Steve Hall)
He's one third of We Are Klang and a writer on Russell Howard's Good News, so you might already know the work of Steve Hall. A specialist in witty delivery and perfectly timed humour, he proves his comedy expertise in 'Zebra'. Warm and welcoming, his style is simple and self-deprecating, and fantastically amusing. The show explores how things have not always worked out quite as he expected, yet often lead to happy endings. Armed with photographs captured throughout his life, his observations on childhood, parenthood and family life reduced the audience to fits of giggles and tears of laughter. You should just go and go and see him, he definitely won't disappoint. Frankly, it's worth it merely for the painfully adorable ending.
The Stand Comedy Club 5 & 6, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Daisy Malt]

Alex Edelman: Everything Handed To You (Phil McIntyre Entertainments)
A Boston Jew, who won last year's Fosters Best Newcomer award, Alex Edelman has since become something of an Anglophile, with his own distinctive appreciation of Greggs and 'Blue Peter'. This genial show is a series of anecdotes, with tangents leading to mostly very good gags. If there is a theme, it's loosely about being Jewish and American in various places: here in the UK, gigging in 'cleansed' Estonia, holding a Jewish family Christmas back home to make a bereaved friend feel better and finally in airports, where threads are drawn together in an unusual family reunion. Edelman is warm and witty, engaging and funny. It sounds like we'll be seeing plenty of him over here, and that is a good thing.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Bruce Blacklaw]

Chris Dugdale: Sleightly Dishonest (Something For The Weekend)
Clearly talented at what he does, Chris Dugdale presents an hour of deception and sleight of hand, and certainly manages to captivate the majority of the audience throughout the show, despite a lack of jaw-dropping moments. Dugdale is professional in his approach, and occasionally impressive in his delivery, but he simply doesn't come across as likeable. His assistant offers a refreshing change of pace, if only to take away from the overpowering smugness of the host. The milking of almost every applause break became tiring and repetitive, and this was reflected in a few expectant looks from the audience. The narrative arc of the show is different, at least, but it doesn't do enough to distract from the forced feel of the hour.
Assembly George Square Studios, until 31 Aug
tw rating 2/5 | [Ben Shannon]

Elvis McGonagall: Countrybile (Elvis McGonagall)
Serving up some wonderfully acerbic left-wing verse, stand-up poet Elvis McGonagall delivers his views on all things topical. From Cameron, Osborne and Merkel, to hipsters, talent shows and the Queen, no one is safe from his rhymes. With the air of an old-school rocker and sporting a dapper tartan teddy-boy blazer, his presence and charismatic delivery bring the poems to life. McGonagall is a lyrical master, weaving in plenty of Scottish colloquialisms and bags of humour. He perfectly critiques all the things that are wrong with the world, focusing on his experiences of life in Scotland, London and rural Dorset. Catch him while you can, this is exactly the sort of thing the Fringe was made for.
Stand In The Square, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Daisy Malt]

Funmbi Omotayo: Legal Immigrant (CKP)
It's rare to see a comedian so laid back in their debut hour, but the phrase "calm and collected" seems made for Funmbi Omotayo. As a ten-year-old he moved from London to his family's native Nigeria, and back again a few years later, and 'Legal Immigrant' tells of his struggle to find an identity. Omotayo's outlook on race and belonging is wonderfully honest, and he's a great storyteller, but he does start to lose pace halfway through. He uses his charm and warmth to get away with riskier jokes towards the end, comfortable in the conviction that the audience is on his side. An interesting guy with stories to tell, it's just a shame his material didn't last the hour.
Gilded Balloon, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Stephanie Gray]

Ria Lina: Taboo Raider (Ria Lina)
Ria Lina's hour of taboo-raiding is an interesting and amusing exploration of political correctness and social boundaries. She claims to be a bitch, but seems more curious about the effects of language and identity, as well as enjoying saying controversial things to make people laugh. Some of the taboos she takes on don't feel wildly provocative – at least not to me – which therefore made some of the jokes feel a little shallow. Ultimately, she toys with the weight of terms deemed offensive, but misses the 'why' part that would make the show stronger. That said, she's a great comic, offering up a blunt honesty that had the room squirming with laughter when she did tickle the right taboo nerve.
The Stand Comedy Club 2, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Daisy Malt]


Fold (Dance Kho)
If origami is the artistic engineering of paper, dance uses the human body to create the same effect – beautiful shapes. The choreography of 'Fold' draws from origami, emphasising the angularity and straight lines of the two dancers. This doesn't restrict the scope too much: there is stylistic variation, but also variation in quality. Some that integrated the hanging set were conceptually impenetrable and had more clumsy moments. Much better were a duet with much folding around each other, and another with actual on stage origami. Overall, 'Fold', like its inspiration, creates some beautiful shapes, but it's unclear what it might amount to sometimes and moments of imprecision throw it off. On the other hand, it's almost meditatively calming and lovely.
theSpace on Niddry St, until 22 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Lucy Diver]

Seven (Ballett am Rhein Düsseldorf Duisberg)
This is a recent work from Ballett am Rhein, choreographed specifically for Mahler's Seventh Symphony. As you'd expect from the EIF, both dancers and orchestra are international standard while Martin Schläpfer's choreography is mostly austere and dramatic, though there are moments of play and humour, violence and menace. This collage of mini-narratives is driven and held together strongly by the music – though the introduction of chairs at the very end came somewhat unexpectedly. Notably and more successfully there is also the use of boots alongside bare feet, soft ballet shoes and pointe shoes. This is razor sharp modern ballet, which fans of classical music and ballet alike will enjoy, as a cut above more populist works like Balletronic.
Edinburgh Playhouse, until 22 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Lucy Diver]


UKIP! The Musical (Hell Bent Theatre Company)
Something worth noting about UKIP! The Musical: there's a song in the first ten minutes called "Europa, you raped her" that's accompanied by an on-stage gang-rape. I wouldn't blame anyone for not making it past that. Charting the rise of a fictionalised Nigel Farage, the show's astute observations about UKIP's rise are buried amidst a muddle of class stereotyping and gay jokes. The actors give the catchy tunes their all, and the audience will stroll out singing 'Fuck off back to your own place', for whatever that's worth. However, the satire already feels dated, with Miliband and Clegg jokes that would have been a hoot back in April. Even Farage himself has shrunk in prominence, rendering it all rather toothless.
theSpace @ Surgeon's Hall, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Jon Stapley]


Monkey Poet: Spaceage Simian (PBH's Free Fringe)
What differentiates Matt Panesh from other performers who like to push the boundaries of social acceptability, is that rather than spiralling downwards into a dark, irrecoverable vortex of offensiveness, he somehow travels upwards instead. And I'm not just referring to his '2001: Space Odyssey' conspiracy theory. He'll approach a topic like porn, do a little irreverent dance with it, like a beery matador, then surprise us with a golden flash of intuition. Try as he might to bury his fearsome intellect underneath crude poo jokes, it's there, the force electrifying his performance into a weird, will'o'the'wisp wank-sonnet. I won't say this is poetry like you've never seen it before, because Panesh would read that sentence and laugh at me.
Banshee Labyrinth, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Sarah Murphy]


Blake Remixed (West Yorkshire Playhouse)
'Blake Remixed' starts off as you'd expect for a show with a beatboxer and live DJ - after making some noise we confirmed our readiness, and then confirmed it again. But 'Blake Remixed' isn't your average hip-hop show: rapper Testament, inspired by William Blake, was told to rap by God. Consequently, the impressive beatboxing skills and innovative visuals are awkwardly slotted in alongside a proud and preachy plot. Although a lot of the egotism is intentional, I could never shake off the feeling that Testament felt he was humbling himself by performing to us. The whole show felt self-indulgent, like therapy: he talked the audience through his vices and virtues then, right at the end, he cried.
Underbelly, Cowgate, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Robert Stevens]

Chopping Chillies (Clair Whitefield / PBH Free Fringe)
Clair Whitefield's 'Chopping Chillies' is an international narrative of coincidence and charm. It's just unfortunate that it that only really picks up in the second half. In the first half, Whitefield doesn't really manage to present the Indian Kalari (martial arts) house in a relatable fashion, instead relying on its exotic locale to impress. However, later – despite an inadequately explained shift between Southern India and Camden - the show's most interesting characters begin to interact and satisfyingly mesh together. It's a solid example of a modern day fairytale: quaint in tone, yet timely enough to sustain interest. Whitfield's show is wonderful to watch, and for the most part carries itself quite well. Audiences will be highly rewarded for waiting until the show's conclusion.
Cowgatehead, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Robert Stevens]

Cleansed In Blood (Thom Jordan)
I'm not religious in any way, so I was unsure how well I would relate to 'Cleansed in Blood'. I needn't have worried, though; what I found was a thought-provoking and thoroughly unexpected hour of intense performance. Aussie actor Thom Jordan, as preacher and cancer sufferer Paul, is so impassioned and utterly convincing on stage, that right up until the final moments I honestly believed he was telling the true story of his own experiences. Paul's life and motivations are engaging even to a non-believer, telling of the lengths people will go to in order to achieve God's will, and the way we can so easily become caught up in a web of cancerous lies.
Thistle King James Hotel, until 31 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Stephanie Gray]

Man To Man (Wales Millennium Centre)
Inflation is crippling Weimar Germany. Boys show their political loyalties by pissing swastikas into the snow. Against this backdrop, Ella (Margaret Ann Bain) makes a daring move: when her husband dies, she adopts his identity - working as a crane driver and enlisting when war arrives. German dramatist Manfred Karge's 1982 play is a fractured prose-poem, unfolding with hallucinatory bleakness. This production, all shades of grey and brown, is appropriately dreary. But the technical effects - dramatic video projections, thundering sound effects – suggest Wales Millennium Centre don't trust their audiences' intelligence. More than that, they don't trust Bain, who moves between roles with phenomenal lyricism and vigour. Scampering up walls or dropping into a deep vocal register, she needs none of the accompanying fireworks.
Underbelly Potterrow, until 31 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Rebecca Jacobson]

Nina Simone Black Diva Power (Arts Events Australia)
The jazz diva, the revolutionary, and the pianist sit like a constellation, joined up by the three corners of the grand piano. Can life ever be as simple as a jazz song? A black artist is an ambassador for blackness whether she likes it or not - an injustice no less true today. The subtle, smouldering Ruth Rogers-Wright, who played Simone, sang 'Sinnerman' stripped bare of music, nothing but voice and thunder. She made an unforgettable appearance post-show, no longer as Nina but as herself – a powerful assertion of her own existence as an artist when stripped of Simone's glittering robes. I hope that in the not-too-distant future, an actor playing the legend of Ruth Rogers-Wright will do the same.
New Town Theatre, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Sarah Murphy]

Flight Lessons
The makeshift stage is a balmy, nearly airless hotel room, but the conditions are fitting: the two main settings in 'Flight Lessons' are a long-haul flight from London to Johannesburg, and a dusty Afrikaans town somewhere in the veld. Written by South African playwright Amy Jephta and performed by Saria Steyl, it's a show about friendship, leaving home, and the interminable quest to construct (and reconstruct) our sense of self. Steyl inhabits the roles of two childhood friends: former top student Maya, who's lived in London for nine years, and bad-girl Anika, who's just attempted suicide - the event that sends Maya back home. Steyl has energy to spare, but the cliché-hampered script lacks freshness - which is to say nothing of the schmaltzy piano music soundtracking the more poignant moments.
theSpace @ Jury's Inn, until 22 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Rebecca Jacobson]

Dylan Thomas – The Man, The Myth (Theatre Tours International / Guy Masterson Productions)
What's Dylan Thomas like, according to his grandchildren? We catch a privileged glimpse in this peep-show biography, narrated documentary-style by Hannah Ellis (D.T.'s granddaughter), with Guy Masterson lending a formidable voice to Dylan's diaries, letters, poems. This collaboration carries an irresistible sense of fate: Masterson is the nephew of Richard Burton, whose baritone became synonymous with Thomas after performing 'Under Milk Wood'. There's something alchemical to the Welsh poet's self-inventing language, and this is channelled by Masterson, who doesn't 'enact' poetry but inhabits, possesses, is possessed. A treat of music, honey, impishness – in supernova-brief appearances. Says Hannah, e.e. cummings was so moved by one of Dylan's performances that he walked the streets for hours. I might just do the same.
Assembly Roxy, until 22 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Sarah Murphy]

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (Rebecca Crookshank)
In this autobiographical show, actor and writer Rebecca Crookshank shares her experiences as a young woman in the RAF. There are moments of humour peppered throughout, but these are neither consistent nor sophisticated enough to really win the audience over - with the exception of some drunk RAF personnel who found everything hilarious. Too much time is spent on her basic training and early experiences, without much comedic or dramatic impact. The more profound, traumatic events are glossed over and left unexplored: loneliness, attempted suicide, repeated abuse suffered as the only woman in a remote radar station. These glimpses are interesting and appalling in equal measure, yet Crookshank seems uninterested in exploring their significance, always moving swiftly on to another story.
Underbelly, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Andrew Leask]

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