We presented our ThreeWeeks Editors' Awards at the Surgeons Hall library this morning, celebrating the ten things that we feel made the Edinburgh Fringe extra special this year. Read on to find out more about the winners.
1. Michael Legge
ThreeWeeks reviewers have said lots of good things about our first winner in the past. They've described him as "passionate", "reliable", "constantly professional", "gloriously funny", "hilarious", "ferocious" and "oddly uplifting". Meanwhile, as well as ably entertaining our team with his live shows in August, he's been making at least one ThreeWeeks Editor laugh every day of the year via Twitter and/or Facebook. So he's been on our possible-award-radar for a while now, but we felt that this year was the year: partly because of a brilliant show, and partly for being the highly active force behind something called #LetsSellThisGigOut, a social media movement designed to give as many acts as possible a sell-out night at the Festival that really took off this year. That's what we call Fringe Spirit. Our first winner is Michael Legge.
2. Japan Marvelous Drummers
In the twenty years we have been covering the Fringe (yes, twenty) we have seen a fair few drumming shows and it's always fabulous to see the exponents of this kind of music making their way to Edinburgh. However, we are particularly keen to reward our next winners for their contribution to the Fringe, because of their flawless record with our enthusiastic team; our writers have given them two consecutive 5/5 reviews, and praised not just the musical ability of the players, but also their humour, co-ordination and physical strength. This year's reviewer spoke of their "astounding skill and stamina", and the show's "explosion of raw power and noise", calling their performance "big, loud and utterly wonderful". Our next winners are Japan Marvelous Drummers.
3. Story Pocket Theatre
Next up, the creators of superb entertainment for children. Well, we say children, but, as any fool knows, the real secret of a brilliant children's show is in the appeal it has for everyone in the room – the children, yes, but also their carers and companions. We first came across this highly capable company last year when we were bowled over by their excellently realised production of 'Arabian Nights'. We were then even further impressed this year when they returned with that show and two new ones too: 'Storyteller Storyteller' and 'A Pocket Full Of Grimms', and demonstrated again the same high quality of performance, cleverly thought out and sequenced scripting, and beautifully aesthetically pleasing and inventive set design. What a wonderful way to introduce your children to the theatre. Our next winners are Story Pocket Theatre.
4. Sofie Hagen
When our next winner turned up to perform a run of her debut Fringe hour earlier this month, she was expecting to perform in a 70 seater space. Unfortunately someone had neglected to build the venue. Luckily another performance space was found, but its capacity was more than 300; unexpectedly playing a room that big might have proved too much for some, but this comedian rose to the challenge, filling those seats again and again, and performing a show that earned full marks from our reviewer, who was impressed by her consistency, and her well crafted yet relaxed and accessible set, pronouncing it a "gem" of the Free Fringe. Our next winner is Sofie Hagen.
5. Contemporary Theatre Of Scotland
Our next winners are a new theatre company whose 2015 Fringe project tackles a serious topic in an uncompromising way, and whose aim as a company is to bring such social and political issues to the stage. Exploring the problem of post-traumatic stress disorder in soldiers, the show elicited no small amount of praise from our impressed reviewer. "It's an excellently rendered look into the beaten mind of a war-trodden soldier", he wrote, commending the "outstanding script and thoughtful direction". For their impressive Festival debut 'The Last Kill', our next winners are Contemporary Theatre Of Scotland.
6. Familia de la Noche
At Fringe 2013, the recipients of our next award thrust their way into the collective ThreeWeeks consciousness with 'The Greatest Liar In All The World', a show which wowed our reviewer, who pronounced its blend of shadow theatre, masks, music and magic to be "flawless". Two years on, and another of our reviewers was blown away by their 2015 show 'The Very Grey Matter Of Edward Blank', which she considered an "extraordinary" piece of work. Commending all aspects, from set design to consistently brilliant performances, she concluded: "A look at just how colourful the dark parts of our minds can be, this nightmarish fantasy might keep you up past your bedtime". Our next winners are Familia De La Noche.
7. John Hinton
Here at ThreeWeeks, we love science. We love good theatre. We love good actors. And we love any actor who manages to write, perform and complete a trilogy of plays within a few short years at the Edinburgh Festival. We are even more impressed when that actor performs all three plays during just one Fringe. Over the last few years, our next winner has been putting together an informative 'scientrilogy' of plays, in each one portraying a different giant of science. He played Charles Darwin in 'The Origin Of Species By Means Of Natural Selection Or The Survival Of (R)evolutionary Theories In The Face Of Scientific And Ecclesiastical Objections: Being A Musical Comedy About Charles Darwin (1809-1882)'; he played Albert Einstein in 'Albert Einstein: Relativitively Speaking', and he played Marie Curie in 'The Element In The Room: A Radioactive Musical Comedy About The Death And Life Of Marie Curie '. Phew. He deserves a medal. Or, perhaps, a ThreeWeeks Editors' Award. Our next winner is John Hinton.
8. Buzz Brass
We can't help feeling that the history of music can be a dry old topic in the wrong hands, yet it really is the sort of thing one would like to communicate in an accessible way to children. Step forward our next winners, who this year have been doing just that. "This show is great fun", said our reviewer, "musically excellent and completely enjoyable for both children and adults, who will enjoy the daftness whilst romping through a tour of the history of music. The musical examples are played and acted out by a first class brass quintet, with a likeable flair for humour". We're a team that includes music lovers and child-rearers, so we are all inclined to approve, and to agree with our writer's conclusion: "I can't praise this show highly enough for imparting sophisticated information in a way that both teaches and amuses children", she declared. "It demystifies the musical mystique with a big smile!" Our next winners are Buzz Brass for 'The History Of Music'.
9. Sh!t Theatre
Our next winners have been hard at work for a number of years now, creating important, politicised yet entertaining work. The topics they tackle are weighty, serious, pertinent, concerning – and these performers manage it in an uncompromising yet hilarious way. In this year's show, said our reviewer, the duo set out to "deconstruct the way women are presented by the media, wielding comedy like a hammer against the ridiculous constructs and constraints that are associated with womanhood. Visual, physical, frantically funny and unapologetically forceful, this show isn't just a must see, attendance should be compulsory." Our next winners are Sh!t Theatre.
10. Stuart Bowden
And so to our last award. If you search the ThreeWeeks archives for the name of our next winner, it throws up a sizeable fistful of enthusiastic 4 and 5 star reviews, because he's been a huge favourite with our reviewers ever since he first came to our attention. "Full of wit and charm, this is low-fi DIY storytelling theatre at it's very best", said one review. Another praised his work's "sparks of surreal brilliance and moments of touching melancholy". And it goes on: "Richly emotional, quietly beautiful, and an absolute joy to watch". " A courageous and lyrical hour of joy". I think we at ThreeWeeks HQ are all agreed that he is one of the true stars in our Festival firmament. Our final winner is Stuart Bowden.
Words: Caroline Moses - Award presentation pictures: Suzy Moosa
Look out for copies all over Edinburgh or read the online version here.

Inside: Sofie Hagen, Luke Wright, Ally Houston, Henry Maynard, Eddie Nixon and Christina Elliot from The Place, Emma Hall, Keith Farnan, Ria Lina Chris Betts, The Kinsey Sicksplus Festival news and lots of reviews.
It's the TW Podcast at the Edinburgh Festival. This week, we chat to the Giraffe comedy group and hear two of their sketches, ThreeWeeks co-Editor Chris Cooke talks to magician Chris Cook, plus enjoy snippets from 'Man To Man' and 'Let's See Jen Carnovale'.

Listen and subscribe to the TW Podcast here
The Edinburgh Festival awards keep on coming, so let's round up some of the comedy winners shall we?

First up, the Edinburgh Comedy Awards, where Aussie Sam Simmons took the top prize, hot on the heels from winning the Barry Award at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival earlier this year.

The Newcomer Prize went to the marvellous Sofie Hagen, cover star of the Week Three issue of ThreeWeeks, while the annual Panel Prize went to Gilded Balloon chief Karen Koren as she celebrates thirty years of her Fringe venue enterprise.

Before all that malarkey, last night the Malcolm Hardee Awards took place over at the Counting House, where Michael Brunström took the Award For Comic Originality and Laurence Owen was declared The Act Most Likely To Make A Million Quid.

Meanwhile the always interesting Cunning Stunt prize went to Matt Roper for hacking into comedy critic Kate Copstick's Facebook account and writing a post to the effect that her three star review of his show in The Scotsman had been a misprint, and that five stars should have been awarded.

And finally for now, a quick big up for Luca Cupani who won Gilded Balloon's So You Think You're Funny? new talent competition earlier this week. Consider yourself bigged up.


Joe Stilgoe: Songs On Film – The Sequel (Emma Brunjes Productions)
Paying homage to the big screen once again, Joe Stilgoe and his band return to the Fringe to perform a selection of jazztastic interpretations of songs from the movies. Stilgoe has a beautiful tone to his voice that makes listening to the crooner a real pleasure. Drawing on a broad range of films from across the decades, we're treated to songs from the likes of 'Jaws' and 'Groundhog Day', then on to 'Reservoir Dogs' and 'Three Men and a Baby', plus plenty in between! It features fast-paced medleys and some of Stilgoe's own compositions, while the band's camaraderie brings humour and fun to the performances. Amongst the hustle and bustle of the Fringe, this is a wonderful 70 minutes of escapism.
Assembly George Square Gardens, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Daisy Malt]


A Pocket Full Of Grimms (Story Pocket Theatre)
When we heard that Story Pocket Theatre were headed back to Edinburgh for Fringe 2015 we were delighted, and made an immediate plan to make a bee line for this show, after seeing and loving their brilliant 'Arabian Nights' last year. The company did not disappoint; they've returned with a selection of Grimm's tales that are beautifully scripted, intelligently connected, and skilfully performed against the backdrop of an ever-changing, cleverly constructed set. It's a perfectly judged show, pitched just at the right level to appeal to everyone in the room regardless of age, and entirely cements our conviction that this talented group are producing some of the best children's theatre we have seen.
Gilded Balloon, until 31 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Caro Moses]

Funny Bones Trash (Funny Bones)
I wish I could have seen this show earlier in the Festival, and urged far more people to go and see it for themselves. This simple yet prop-heavy performance features mime, clowning, dance, juggling and magic - oft times botched for comic effect - presented by two extremely talented players who have been honing their considerable skills with street theatre displays all over the world. With routines involving the likes of bottled water, sticky tape, a musical broom and amazingly tall puppets, the result is an inventive and side-achingly funny show which is as much a joy for the adults as it is for the kids (even if they wrinkle their noses a bit at the more scatalogical content). Chris and K-Bow are a wonderful pairing; equally funny, equally endearing, equally fabulous.
Gilded Balloon, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Caro Moses]

The Unbirthday Party (Paperfinch Theatre)
This is a nicely interactive show for children of pre-school age, and perhaps a little older, which takes 'Alice's Adventures In Wonderland' as its inspiration, though goes off at quite a tangent while imparting its message about being brave together. All your favourite characters are there – the March Hare, the Mad Hatter, the Cheshire Cat, the Dormouse, etc – and are gathering for an unbirthday party. No-one has invited the Queen Of Hearts, however, and that way trouble lies. The company involve the children into the action by sitting them down to join in the tea-party, which is lovely, but the Queen Of Hearts is a bit scary, and there are times when the size of the cast causes some overly chaotic and noisy moments.
C, until 31 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 [Caro Moses]

The Nutty Professor And His Amazing Magic Bubble Show
One bubble man has pretty much dominated the Edinburgh bubble scene over the last few years, so it was a great surprise to see a couple more bubble shows gracing the bubble - I mean, children's - section of the programme this year. It has to be said that the Nutty Professor doesn't exactly scale the heights of the greatest technical bubble wizardry, but on the other hand, this friendly, somewhat pantomimic show (there's quite a bit of slapstickery and the professor's assistant is called Miss Squeaky Bottom) is possibly a better option for younger/pre-school children than other, slicker, more scientifically approached bubble shows (yes, you know who I'm talking about). Everyone had a good time at this performance, and the little ones got happily involved with the proceedings.
theSpace @ Surgeon's Hall, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Caro Moses]


Chris Betts: Social Animal (EMX Management)
Chris Betts has an incredible beard. If I could write an entire review on it, I would. Once I got past the beard though, I found some stand-up. Drawing on thirteen years of bar-tending experience, and his resulting belief that the job shows the best and worst of humanity, Betts takes us through some of his observations and discoveries. From extracts from his toilet graffiti collection, to his preferred approach to dealing with bar fights, Betts draws out plenty of laughs with his observational comedy. Sometimes larger sections of reasoning are too lengthy to hold much interest, but the great moments come when Betts becomes animated, particularly during his impressions. The beard is good, the laughs are good – what's not to like?
Pleasance Courtyard, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Stephanie Gray]

Stand Up & Slam! - Free (Chatback Comedy / PBH's Free Fringe)
Comedy or poetry: which one's better? That's the question to be answered in this show, where stand-ups and poets are pitched against one another, "like '8 Mile' had been set in Waitrose". Team Comedy's Rich Wilson and Team Poetry's Dan Simpson did their best to excite a lukewarm crowd, before introducing the guests (a changing line-up every night, though the white, male performers did point out the lack of diversity on the stage). The genres were cleverly interwoven, as poet Steve Larkin took the piss out of overly-sincere poets, while comedian James Brown was a real highlight, doing all of his jokes in haiku form. This is a great show, showcasing some real talent.
Cowgatehead, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 [Gemma Scott]

Ally Houston: Shandy (Ally Houston)
Ally Houston has an inner 'pet clown' called Shandy, and this show is a musical which depicts their relationship. It may sound a little bizarre, but the resulting performance is a fascinating look at the two sides of this performer, which utilises the tech on offer to full effect. Houston has his diminutive audience entirely captivated from the start with a set that has clearly been tirelessly worked on to create the perfect structure. The songs are well written and contain some particularly niche yet hilarious lines that help illuminate the world Houston creates for his audience; meanwhile, his traditional stand-up segments go some way to showing these different sides of the same coin, and how one cannot survive without the other. This adds to the often-dreamlike absurdity of the piece and makes for an interesting debut hour.
Just The Tonic At The Mash House, until 30 Aug
tw rating 4/5 | [Ben Shannon]

Totes Inappropes! (Totes Inappropes Productions)
Two likeable characters come together to produce a comedy-filled hour tackling the contemporary issues inherent in the world of dating and - more specifically - the joys and flaws of Tinder. The duo's incorporation of morph suits into their exuberant production adds to the comical and theatrical nature of the performance and real life anecdotes - which reveal some almost unbelievable stories - leave the audience in stiches, while Doyle and Darmody even find the time to integrate a bit of unexpected but welcome audience participation which proved to be both entertaining and hilarious. It's a fun production for anyone, but should especially chime with those who have had the pleasure of experiencing internet dating.
Laughing Horse @ Jekyll & Hyde, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Suzy Moosa]

Felicity Ward: What If There Is No Toilet? (Brett Vincent for Get Comedy – by arrangement by Independent Talent)
In this pacy hour, Felicity Ward shares her experiences of Irritable Bowel Syndrome and mental illness, inviting us to laugh at these issues. Brutally open about her anxieties and trouble when there is no toilet, Felicity Ward introduces us to her inner demon, Beryl. Depicted as a strange, whining character that we take great pleasure in laughing at, Beryl pops up when Ward's trying to sleep or needing the toilet. Ward is describing the thoughts that we've all experienced at one point or another, and the laugh is one of recognition. Bursting with manic energy and eccentric quirks, Felicity Ward's show is brilliantly funny, truthful, and important in the de-stigmatisation of mental illness... and of talking about one's bowel movements.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 31 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Stephanie Withers]

Jamie Wood – O No! (Jamie Wood)
This will either be your favourite show of the year, or you'll want to hunt me down for recommending it. I'm not sure there are any alternatives for this gloriously weird show. Jamie Wood, taking inspiration from Yoko Ono's performance art pieces, presents a genuinely surreal experience. Like some sort of enlightened guru, Wood invites his audience to get naked with him in a duvet cover, to cut pieces from his dress with a pair of scissors, to consider the relationship between a pair of clouds. It's hilarious and it's loving and it's wonderful. The constant audience participation is joyful and silly, though the anticipation can be a little terrifying: the house lights are always on, there's no escape.
Assembly Roxy, until 31 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 [Gemma Scott]

Kieran Hodgson: Lance (Berk's Nest / PBH's Free Fringe)
A story about a Yorkshire lad, inspired then betrayed by the colossal achievements and even more colossal cheatery of Lance Armstrong, doesn't promise rich comedy pickings. But, as the queues testify, Kieran Hodgson has nailed it. He's good acting as his younger self, recounting memories of being a young cycling enthusiast in Yorkshire before heading south - the subject of a terrific musical interlude - to study, then fail to launch a showbiz career (though that's probably about to change). He also flips seamlessly into portraying a hilarious supporting cast of friends, associates, Oprah and Armstrong himself. It's rare to see such an entertaining narrative, high winning gag count and superb delivery in one show. He must be on something...
Voodoo Rooms, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Bruce Blacklaw]

Off The Top (Baba Brinkman / PBH's Free Fringe)
Rapper Baba Brinkman and neuroscientist Dr Heather Berlin are a couple in real life (a fact Brinkman endearingly reminds the audience of throughout) and their chemistry on stage is fantastic. 'Off The Top' is essentially a humorous lecture and it achieves exactly what it sets out to, entertaining and informing simultaneously. Though asking an audience member to come onstage and rap 15 minutes into a show is risky, it works in this environment, where the goal is to see how the brain works during improvisation. The hour-long performance is broken up well by two guest spots, the second, from SYTYF 2014 winner Aidan Strangeman, being a real highlight. You'll learn a lot here, with plenty of laughs along the way.
Canon's Gait, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Ben Shannon]


Dreaming In Code (2Faced Dance Company)
Connect to your humanity and become entranced with mesmerising movement: 2Faced Dance Company's visceral production of 'Dreaming in Code' is deeply engaging, and hypnotic. This all male dance group touches upon emotions that cannot be articulated in words, as they explore the concept of what the future could look like, in a combination of theatre, dance and film. These performers exert energy that exchange as far as the audience members, but what makes this piece so engrossing, is their emotional intellect. An attribute that is not praised often enough, and in an age that wallows in depression, self-harm and self-medication; these men are role models, and incidentally through this performance, these dancers are exercising the exact future that needs promoting.
ZOO, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Zita Campbell]


Ticket To Bollywood (Ferriswheel Entertainment Pvt. Ltd.)
All the way from Mumbai, this spectacular production encompasses traditional dances from all over India but with a 'Bollywood Twist', featuring remarkable and vibrantly coloured outfits and props reflecting the true glitz and glamour of Bollywood. The hour is filled with uplifting, energetic and well-choreographed traditionally styled work, accompanied by slightly more contemporary Bollywood tracks, which surprisingly don't detract from the authentic feel of the show. This culturally enlightening and entertaining production is the best of its kind, and it's obvious that a great deal of planning and thought has gone into it to make it so extraordinarily magical. Words can't do it justice.
New Town Theatre, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Suzy Moosa]


A Divine Comedy (Mike Maran Productions)
Performing Dante's 'Divine Comedy' with one cast member and some toga-wearing puppets is no mean feat. As an audience, we'd expect a fairly ironic tone, some tongue-in-cheek acknowledgement of the sheer impossibility of the task. So we humoured Mike Maran's self-deprecating, bookish act - "I'll cut the script down," he repeats, "it's far too long as it is". But the persistent rambles and anticlimaxes of the script just couldn't withstand a two-hour show. When a moment of passion finally arrived, it was two hours too late, ringing schmaltzy rather than sincere - I almost wished he had just sustained his downbeat tone until the end. This well-meaning anti-drama was lacking in Dante-esque spirit, and sadly failed to captivate.
Valvona & Crolla, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Sarah Murphy]

A Fine Line (Ronnie Dorsey Productions)
A love letter that's also a goodbye, this is the story of a love that lasted decades, but a love that had to be kept silent in polite society. Actor Judith Paris is competent and understated in this one-woman show, but is let down by a meandering, rather trite script. We learn about the woman's life – births, deaths and marriages – and are introduced to the other characters, using the lazy device of representing each one with a piece of clothing. The foreshadowing, however, is thoroughly heavy-handed – you'll see every plot point coming from a mile away, so there's no emotional engagement with the more poignant moments. This is a nice story, poorly told.
Assembly Hall, until 31 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 [Gemma Scott]

A Game Of You (Ontroerend Goed)
If you have plans to see 'A Game of You,' stop reading now: this tricksy little show functions best if you go in blind. Technically the final part of a trilogy by provocative Belgian collective Ontoerend Goed, it's a theatrical experiment that turns each ticket holder into both the watcher and the watched. You're led, one by one, through heavy red curtains into a series of cramped rooms. As quickly becomes clear, this is a house of (two-way) mirrors. You'll meet a few people, and you'll have a few puzzling conversations. It's a disquieting, strange experience that asks you to examine how you see strangers – and how they might see you. Some people will adore it. Others will want to flee.
Traverse Theatre, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Rebecca Jacobson]

Iphigenia In Splott (Sherman Cymru)
Gary Owen's blisteringly smart, savagely poetic new play centres on Effie (Sophie Melville), a no-bullshit, sharp-tongued young woman with a habit of heavy drinking and three-day hangovers. That booze-induced brain haze is what gets Effie through a bleak existence in modern-day Cardiff – until she falls for Lee, a soldier with a wounded leg. Melville brings the script's slant rhymes and throbbing beats to vivid life: her melodic, motormouth delivery will leave you breathless. In a pitch-perfect move, the stage is left mostly bare, save a few red chairs and some fluorescent strip lights, askew like collapsed venetian blinds. The final-act political awakening is a bit hard to buy, but that's a minor niggle in a tremendous production.
Pleasance Dome, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Rebecca Jacobson]

Mrs Dalloway (Theatre Paradok)
A confused, character-based drama, this adaptation of the classic novel explores the character's private lives through their phones and computers, but to little effect. Theatre Paradok project messages, emails and Internet browsing and their intention is clear - to show how we live through, and use, technology very intimately. However, this distracts us from the acting, not only because the projections are visually very attention-grabbing, but also because the script and the quality of performance is poor. Though there are some lighthearted moments and a few interesting scenes, on the whole the sparse connection between characters and the lack of resolution in any of their journeys makes this piece more of a display of techniques than a story-led piece of theatre.
theSpace @ Surgeons Hall, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Stephanie Withers]

Tar Baby (Desiree Burch and Platt Productions)
Setting herself up as a carnival performer – a canny move, given the history of minstrelsy – Desiree Burch takes us down a mind-bendingly long list of racial issues. In 90 minutes, the US-raised, London-based Burch tears through slavery, Facebook activism, Michelle Obama, the myth of post-raciality, Rachel Dolezal, police brutality, affirmative action, internalized racism, and how white people always want to touch black people's hair. She incorporates a good bit of audience participation, too: we become sugar-harvesting slaves, or try our strength at carnival games. Yet Burch is so commanding, and so often hilarious – behold her audition medley of black stereotypes – that 'Tar Baby' feels neither overstuffed nor facile. And just wait for the monologue near the end, a galvanising tirade about black rage.
Gilded Balloon, until 31 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Rebecca Jacobson]

This Is How We Die (Christopher Brett Bailey)
Holy bloody hell, does Christopher Brett Bailey have a way with language. Starkly lit, a stack of pages on the small table before him, the Canadian delivers a searing torrent of words and images. It's a throwback to the beat poets that still feels achingly current. It's an assault on your imaginative capacities. It's a surrealistic surge that cannot be contained: there's a cartwheeling swastika of a man, a cigarette-smoking mouse, a priest in the desert who may be an assassin. And then there's Bailey, squirming in his seat and spitting consonants into the microphone. It's about love and life and sex and death, and about language itself. And at the end, your brain will quiver, and the floorboards will vibrate.
Forest Fringe, Out of the Blue Drill Hall, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Rebecca Jacobson]

Tonight I'm Gonna Be The New Me (Made in China)
Made In China return to this year's Fringe with their latest show, where relationships are hard and power is everything. It's an uncomfortable look at power dynamics and who really has control –the writer or the performer? Real life couple Jess and Tim put their relationship on stage. Well, they put Jess on stage, in a box. Tim's there too, but only in the background. He's the writer though. "Sort of," says Jess. Our unreliable narrators digress and disagree at every opportunity, even roping the audience into their games and playing to aspects of the human condition we'd rather not think about. Brilliant theatre, uncertain and uncomfortably familiar.
Forest Fringe, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Bethan Highgate-Betts]

To Sleep To Dream (EarFilms)
I didn't want to wake up from 'To Sleep To Dream'. Rude reality seemed dull in comparison to this immersivea "earfilm". I was blindfolded and left to create the story's visuals in my mind, while a rich 3D soundscpe played and crashed around me. This is the type of concept-show that is the core of the Fringe. As for the narrative, think 'Inception' meets '1984' meets magical realms. In some ways the plot resembles many a YA dystopian fantasy novel, and could perhaps be more sophisticated, but I liked its childlike character. Some of the recorded voice actors weren't entirely convincing, but live narrator, writer and director Daniel Marcus Clark is to be applauded – such magical sounds!
Summerhall @ Tom Fleming Centre, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Lucy Diver]

The Happy Warrior (Quarter Too Ensemble)
I wept through this play, which has one of the most upsetting battle scenes I've ever seen. By telling the story of a bear that became part of the Polish army in WWII, the horrors of war are given a fresh impact – sad though it is, we've become desensitised to human suffering. Embodied by the cast members themselves, Wojtek the bear is so sympathetic that he charms the audience, as he charms the army superiors who allow him to become Private Wojtek. The physicality of the actors is impressive, and the integration of music and multi-use props makes for a bustling, lifelike production. 'Wojtek: The Happy Warrior' is polished and moving, but far from happy.
New Town Theatre, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Lucy Diver]

Current Location (Fellswoop Theatre)
Fukushima, lost in the haze of our busy, distracted lives, is too easily forgotten about. Do we have the luxury to be so blind-sighted? Fellswoop theatre begs this question in a reconstructed version of Toshiki Okada's play 'Current Location'. This production is uncomfortable and wonderfully confronting, yet the set is mundane; there are no special effects or stage lighting. You are not sitting in a dark room witnessing something that feels removed from your life. Instead, you are in a lit room with the actors sometimes sitting and watching with you. Though the show lacks visual interest, the acting and thought provoking narrative carries the production. It feels all too real, and confronts us with issues that urgently need addressing.
Summerhall, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 [Zita Campbell]

Feast (Clout Theatre)
Watch the creation of civilisation turn from naivety, confusion and survival into gluttony, arrogance and consumerism, in Clout Theatre's absurd and surreal production of FEAST. When it begins with an almost bare stage, blanketed in mud, three barely clothed actors, and a pile of cornflakes falling from the ceiling, it seems remarkable that this is merely the start of this mind boggling creation. The acting trio of Jennifer Swingler, Sacha Plaige and George Ramsay impress with a variety of performance styles, and leave the onlooker shocked, surprised and disturbingly, pleased, as these entrancing performers' interpretation of humanity's truly ridiculous relationship with food grows in its absurdities at an alarming rate.
Pleasance, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Zita Campbell]

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