Given we're called ThreeWeeks, we love the fact that the Edinburgh International Festival shifted its dates this year to run fully in sync with the Fringe, making the wider Edinburgh Festival a three week event once more. And hurrah for that!

But there is another major up side to this development too, which is that the magnificent fireworks concert that always appears as the climax to the International Festival will once again form a finale to the Fringe and other Edinburgh summer festivals as well.

Fringe old-timers and Edinburgh locals will tell you just how spectacular this firework display really is, with Edinburgh Castle as a backdrop and live orchestral music played by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra throughout.

It all takes place tomorrow night, Monday 31 Aug, from 9.30pm, with music from Brahms, Mozart, Lumbye, Dvorak and Strauss (E and J) set to soundtrack the 400,000 fireworks which will explode over the city.

Pick your viewing site well, or we hear there are still a small number of tickets available for access into Princes Street Gardens to put yourself at the heart of the action. Click here for info.

As International Festival Director Fergus Linehan says: "It's been a wonderful year for all of Edinburgh's summer festivals and we are delighted to be able to offer the closing finale to everyone".

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


Comedy Club 4 Kids
Bless you, 'Comedy Club 4 Kids', and all who sail in you. On this occasion the superbly relaxed and funny Deborah Frances White was at the helm, and steered us through only occasionally choppy waters with the ease of a truly experienced captain. I've said it before, and I will say it again: this is fabulous diversion for everyone who attends. It offers a double dose of fun for the kids, because as well as getting to sit, watch and laugh, they get lots of chances to get involved - super for your aspiring stand up, even if there are times when the children-and-animals adage starts to seem apt - and you get to chortle along with the hilarity while enjoying the sight of your young prodigies disporting themselves. Super.
Assembly Roxy, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Caro Moses]


Mat Ewins: Day Job (Mason Sisters @ PBJ)
This is the story of a man seeking to escape his day job in a pie factory by winning a talent contest. Mat Ewins, in character, seeks to convince us of his talents by way of an increasingly shambolic series of demonstrations. The feigned incompetence may deter some, but it shouldn't. Leaving aside the 'actual' shambles that he asked 'the Three Weeks reviewer' not to mention (so I won't - we're all pros here... ahem), this is coordinated chaos done very well. Ewins ranges widely from deft gags to outright slapstick, carrying things along at pace with charm, good silly fun, 'tech bullshit' considerably more accomplished than it first appears, and some choice slices of audience involvement.
Just The Tonic at the Caves, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | Bruce Blacklaw

The Wow Wow Show! with Dan Clarke (Live Nation)
Against the vast sea of stand-ups and sketch shows in Edinburgh every August, the concept of this comedy stood out. Set up like a late night chat show, with live guests and a house band, it promised to end my Fringe on a high. Disappointingly, the guests are simply poor parodies with little of interest to say or do. Host Dan Clarke starts off strongly but struggles with what he labels as a 'two star audience' – he's visibly disheartened at our lack of laughs. Instead of adjusting to our awkwardness he ploughs on with flat, scripted segments. If there were real guests (not necessarily famous, just genuine) and we'd seen more of the band, this might have been rescued.
Assembly George Square, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Stephanie Gray]

Will Durst: BoomeRaging From LSD To OMG (Will Durst/Gilded Balloon)
The baby boomers, or as US export Will Durst likes to puts it "the original YOLOs": the comedian offers an observational look at the developments of that particular generation, from the 'glory' years, to the disasters and then, to what most of them are up to now... "trying to fight off the instinctual groan as they lift off their armchairs". As you might infer from the title, this piece has an obvious demographic, and sadly the jokes do not always resonate with everyone in the room. Durst is in a relatively large (100+) venue, and not many to fill it on the night I was in attendance, but he pulled through: he has charisma, charm and resilience, and produces friendly if modest laughter throughout the show.
Gilded Balloon, until 31 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Zita Campbell]


Missa Solemnis Ludwig Van Beethoven (Edinburgh International Festival)
This was operatic in its attention to the contrasts of emotion of the sacred text. In a church mass, reverence is expressed not just by words and music but by gestures such as bowing or kneeling; concert performers only have sound to convey sanctity. The Scottish Chamber Orchestra attacked the score with conviction and the chorus both pleaded and triumphed; I loved the mighty Gloria. Describing the incarnation of Christ the choir and orchestra became hushed, almost holding their collective breath. The soloists seamlessly wove their parts into the unity of the mass, tenor Michael Shade was compelling, mezzo soprano Gerhild Romburge and soprano Genia Kühmeier glorious. The dignity of Georg Zeppenfeld, bass, was a sermon in itself.
Usher Hall, 29 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Louise Rodgers]


Asking Nicely (Hannah Chutzpah / PBH's Free Fringe)
It is hard not to love someone who is unapologetically themselves; most especially when it is Hannah Chutzpah. Charming, funny, and straight-shooting, Hannah stares gender, class and racial issues right in the face, as she dissects social conditioning in a whirlwind of beautifully crafted metaphors, alliterations and assonance. Permission? What is it? Are some people born with this privilege? In short - yes, they are, and Hannah cleverly educates us using a wide range of personal stories, and scientific research to wittily illustrate the complex (yet constantly mistaken for black and white) society that we live in. Hannah's brave exploration of self sparks the questions of your own baggage, conditionings, and social status: as she laughingly observes: "we are all damaged in our own special ways".
Pilgrim, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Zita Campbell]


Richard III (Close Up Theatre)
As his headline-hogging car park exhumation confirms, you can't keep a bad man down. Refreshed 'for the House of Cards generation', this lively production sees the sharp suited and impressive, if impossibly youthful (and numerous) cast tear keenly into a script which, while largely faithful to the text, finds neat ways of adding contemporary flourishes such as mobile phones and PR. The fact that Richmond ends the tyrant's reign by bottling him is possibly some sort of comment on the enduring legacy of the War of the Roses. Not all scenes wholly convince, but this is nicely staged and carried along by the energy and intensity of the fine young cast, Jake Deasy deservedly grabbing attention for his excellent Richard.
Greenside Royal Terrace, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | Bruce Blacklaw

Dead Letter Office (New Celts Productions and Some Company Productions)
Featuring an unpredicted plot twist, which will have you puzzled and intrigued, this is an original and innovative creation from a group of graduates from Edinburgh Napier University's new BA Acting and English program. 'Dead Letter Office' takes place in the middle of the night as a young man, James, is seeking to find a letter sent to him twenty years earlier by his deceased and unknown birth mother. Actor Blair Kincaid performs the character of James charismatically, and the script is beautifully woven to assist the audience in reaching catharsis. However there were some segments of the narrative that seemed superfluous and appeared to be explored only for the purposes of showcasing acting chops, instead of raising the narrative's impact.
theSpace On The Mile, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 [Zita Campbell]

Bold Girls (New Celts Productions and Laughing Hen Productions)
Rona Munro's portrayal of women in the Catholic community during the Troubles in Belfast has become a modern-day classic. New Celts Productions and Laughing Hen Productions have made it simple in its set-up, but it's too safe a choice: it's a linear play with no complications, almost to the point where you can predict what is coming next, and because of its comparative length, there are times when you feel it's drifting off into superfluousness. The production values are high, however; the set is quickly changed and creates a convincing environment, and these four young actors proved themselves to be highly skilful, despite momentary lapses in their Belfast accents. It's not a distinctive play, but it does have its instances of intrigue.
theSpace on the Mile, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Kieran Scott]

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