TUESDAY 9 AUGUST 2016 THREEWEEKSEDINBURGH.COM
ROBERT SHAW: INSIDE INTELLIGENCE ON THE FRINGE'S NEW PLAY THRILLER
Inside Intelligence is a company that has been pushing boundaries with new theatre for over two decades.

This Fringe it presents 'Poena 5X1', a new political thriller from playwright Abbie Spallen exploring "sex, politics and the power of love".

The play was commissioned by Inside Intelligence's Robert Shaw who also directs the show. We caught up with him to find out more. Read the interview here.

'Poena 5X1' is on at the Underbelly Med Quad until 29 Aug.



RECIPE CORNER: COOKING WITH YETI'S – SCOTTISH EDITION
Psychedelic-clown-musical-sketch-comedy duo Yeti's (who you might also recognise as EastEnd Cabaret) are bringing their debut show to the Pleasance Courtyard this year, inviting you to spend an hour propping up the bar at the strangest little dive in town!

Promising a cast of characters to rival the Addams Family – from the overly-amorous yeti who owns the bar, to a sleazy severed head and some cosmic rock stars called the Psychedelic Nuns – there's sure to be plenty of dark and delicious sketch as well as some relentlessly catchy songs.

To celebrate their new show, the duo have put together some Fringe-flavoured recipes for their very own three-course meal – with a very Yeti twist! Check it out here.

'Yeti's: Demon Dive Bar' is at the Pleasance Courtyard until 29 Aug.
Three to see at the Edinburgh Festival tomorrow...

Sofie Hagen: Shimmer Shatter | Liquid Room Annexe | 7.50pm (pictured)
Having won much acclaim and the Edinburgh Comedy Awards' newcomer prize last year – oh, and a ThreeWeeks Editors' Award too – Sofie Hagen is back at the Free Fringe with a new show. And the 5/5 review for 'Shimmer Shatter' in the ThreeWeeks Week One edition (out tomorrow) notes how "she weaves this year's stories expertly in and out of each other with immense narrative talent, every arc and every joke crafted to perfection". Go see, though get there early if you want to get in.

Ghost Quartet | Summerhall | 9.00pm
Another 5/5 show that appears in our Week One edition, our reviewer notes that this show "feels like a dream and a nightmare: overwhelmingly beautiful, complex, soulful and gripping". Described as a "haunted song cycle about love, death, and whisky", 'Ghost Quartet' is highly recommended.

Pierre Novellie Is Cool Peter | Pleasance Courtyard | 9.45pm
In another of the 5/5 reviews to be found in our Week One issue, our reviewer says of Pierre Novellie: "I am almost embarrassed by the amount of involuntary noise that came out of my face during this hysterically funny show – a genuinely hilarious comedian, Novellie seems pretty cool to me". Cool and recommended.
PREVIEW ISSUE OF THE THREEWEEKS MAGAZINE IS OUT NOW - DOWNLOAD OR PICK UP YOUR COPY

The preview edition of the ThreeWeeks magazine is out now! Pick up your copy from a Fringe venue of your choice.

Inside you will find interviews with Ball-Zee, Amée Smith, Sarah Hehir, Lucy Garland, Matt Winning, Helen Duff, Amelia Ryan, Tim Carlsen and Kid Carpet, plus columns from Stephen Greer, Jinx Yeo and Penny Ashton, and plenty of Three To See show recommendations.

CLICK HERE to check out the preview edition online
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5/5 HIGHLY RECOMMENDED | 4/5 RECOMMENDED | 3/5 GOOD | 2/5 MEDIOCRE | 1/5 BAD  

CHILDREN'S SHOWS

Poggle (Barrowland Ballet and Macrobert Arts Centre)
"Mischief maker, maker of fun" as the refrain has it, the eponymous Poggle is a friendly woodland creature who helps fearful Vince explore the forest (after a preamble in which he feather dusts most of the audience and blows bubbles while standing on his head in box). A magical, gently riotous forty minutes of dance and music ensues - from samba to Shooglenifty - choreographed and executed very well indeed. My co-reviewer Connie (aged 21 months), sat enraptured throughout. Her considered view afterwards was "good fun" and, given her current vocabulary, there is literally no higher praise. If you have a little one, they'll love this. If not, borrow one for an hour and pop along to 'Poggle'. You'll love it too.
Dance Base, until 21 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | Bruce Blacklaw

COMEDY

Adam Rowe: Bittersweet Little Lies (Adam Rowe)
It was strange watching a comic as csonfident as Adam Rowe tell jokes that were for the most part a bit, well, nothing. His likeable persona seemed to resonate with the audience, but if you happened to find the recurring claim "I'm only honest when I'm onstage or drunk" or the her-indoorsy discussion of his ex-girlfriend off-putting, he was grating as hell. He also used his own weight to justify a fatphobic routine that was at the expense of others rather than himself and this, like most of the show, was extremely light on the punchlines. The humour instead came from simply saying things with good delivery; rare were the actual jokes.
Just The Tonic at The Caves, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Nina Keen]

Ambition (Froglet Productions Ltd)
'Ambition' represents a great opportunity to inventively explore how we can resurrect our forgotten childhood dreams, but regrettably it's an opportunity missed. Instead what we get is a half-baked motivational lecture, akin to something that you'd hear at a mundane business conference. Its anecdotal structure looks at encounters with celebrities such as Myleene Klass and Marco Pierre White to illuminate the path to success, but merely becomes an exercise in name-dropping for performer Rachel Bridge. Bridge's ten step structure to success all gets rather lost in monotonous melee of samey stories, quips and cliches. Unfortunately, it is a show that fails to approach its subject with any of the ambitious thinking that its title might suggest.
Gilded Balloon, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 1/5 | [John Sampson]

Austentatious: An Improvised Jane Austen Novel (Austentatious and Underbelly Productions)
To leave your fate in the hands of the crowd is bold, but the cast of 'Austentatious' is more than ready for the challenge. From an audience suggestion selected at random, they performed 'Daft and Delirious', a tale of family struggles, love and polygamy. In it, the ribbon-selling Carstairs siblings encounter the mysterious Lord Stanley, who harbours an unhealthy love of his Maypole (and Decemberpole...one for each month in fact). In this entirely improvised show, the cast take a simple concept and execute it gloriously. Their ability to maintain momentum and devise a coherent, yet hilarious, narrative without knowing what bizarre line their colleagues will come out with next is impressive. It's eye-wateringly funny afternoon entertainment, with no two shows ever the same.
Underbelly George Square, until 21 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Daisy Malt]

Goose: Hydroberserker (So Comedy by arrangement with Troika)
A one-man sketch show with a love story at its heart, Goose's 'Hydroberserker' is as funny as it is sweet. The comedy duo are represented on stage by only one half of the equation, the exceedingly energetic and exceedingly sweaty Adam Drake, who carries the show on sheer force and charisma. Drake's delivery is jittery but endearing, perfect for the role of romcom hero, but underneath the persona is a capable comedian who can deal with any odd curveball thrown at him by the audience participation. Helped by a live band, lighting cues and a projector adding visual gags, 'Goose' is a bombastic, fully sensory and ultimately romantic sketch show that will split your sides and pull at your heart strings.
Assembly George Square Gardens, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Patricia-Ann Young]

Nick Cody: Come Get Some! (Brett Vincent for Get Comedy)
If you're looking for a light-hearted, inoffensive laugh, then Nick Cody is your man. 'Come Get Some!' features stories from the everyday life of a 28-year-old, white, heterosexual, Australian male comedian travelling the world. Jokes are frequent and human, quick ongoing reminders build up the humour without getting old. Cody owns the stage with a charming, relaxed delivery which draws audiences in with its friendly, familiar style. However, if you're looking for something a bit dark, clever irony, or hard hitting satire then this might not be what you are looking for. Probably an excellent stand-up choice for a Fringe first timer, but veterans might exit feeling slightly disappointed.
Assembly George Square Studios, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Lucrezia Pollice]

Sarah Kendall - Shaken (Mick Perrin Worldwide)
Sarah Kendall's new storytelling show, about telling stories, is as enthralling as it it hilarious. Her characterisation is perfect, each personality believable, despite how outrageous most of them seem. I particularly loved the running joke about her mum's non sequiturs, which added a surreal element to the humour of the story. And for the parts that don't have any jokes but build tension instead, Kendall's compelling delivery has her audience utterly rapt. Only the meta gags took away from it a bit, breaking that spell for something that didn't feel funny enough to justify it. For the most part though, 'Shaken' is captivating, side-splittingly funny and full of heart.
Assembly George Square Studios, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Nina Keen]

Suzi Ruffell: Common (Off The Kerb Productions)
It's hard not to find yourself endeared to a comic who welcomes you at the door, as if welcoming you into her home. Then, from the moment she arrives on stage she absolutely owns the room and the audience is with her from the very start. Despite what the title of her show might suggest, Suzi Ruffell has found that you can slide up the social hierarchy; but she has by no means forgotten her colourful roots – she is fiercely proud of where she comes from. Exuberant and affable, her anecdotes bring her family and friends to life. Ruffell has a great talent for telling a story then hitting you with punchlines you didn't see coming.
Just The Tonic at The Mash House, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Daisy Malt]

Tom Allen: Indeed (Off The Kerb Productions)
There's no doubt about it – Tom Allen is a showman. Suave, confident and charismatic, he looks totally at home on the stage as he delivers an hour of booming anecdotes about living with his parents in suburbia. Animated and self-assured, he switches between stories with ease – seamlessly entwining many narratives around one central story about the time he got locked in his neighbour's newly decorated bathroom. His delivery is impressive: the perfect mix of dry humour and camp flamboyance to keep the audience on their toes, though the most successful moments come when the pace quickens, and Allen becomes totally absorbed in his characters. And what's the point of the show? Well it's all about him, of course.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Stephanie Gray]

Steve Bugeja: Unpronounceable (Steve Bugeja)
Steve Bugeja (pronounced Boo-Jay-Ah) begins his hour as an awkward, geeky mummy's boy. Initially you get the sense that his persona is going to be sickly sweet throughout, but do not be fooled. Much like his two contrasting names – the solid, reliable 'Steve' and the exotic, Maltese 'Bugeja' - this comedian has two very different sides to his act. Though always retaining the slightly awkward delivery, Bugeja demonstrates that he's a master of the curveball by throwing in bold, controversial material. These sections are an excellent shake up, adding a much needed edge to the all too familiar self-deprecating British comedy act. Occasionally the material and the delivery don't quite come together, but on the whole the approach works well to ensure this hour never becomes predictable.
Just The Tonic @ The Tron, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Stephanie Gray]



EVENTS

Deep Time (59 Productions / Edinburgh International Festival in association with The University Of Edinburgh and Edinburgh Castle)
Imagine using a castle built on an extinct volcanic plug as a massive projection screen – it happened tonight and it was seriously impressive. Accompanied by recordings from the band Mogwai, the geological history of Edinburgh exploded across the castle and its rock to an awestruck crowd of thousands. The technology was spectacular and the theme appropriate; Edinburgh is where the science of geology began and was formerly host to a Geology Festival. Deep time? Well, yes. Concepts about the meaning of time and the universe were introduced, flitting in 3D across the ancient monument. That made standing around in the cold wind worth it for me – both spectacle and education. Welcome to Edinburgh!
Johnston Terrace, 7 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Louise Rodgers]

MUSIC

Orchestra Dell'Accademia Nationale Di Santa Cecilia Boris Berezovsky Plays Rachmaninov's Paganini Rhapsody (Edinburgh International Festival)
Even without knowing the story I would have realised things had ended badly because of the sombre perfection of this performance of Tchaikovsky's 'Fantasy Overture, Romeo and Juliet'. There was a respite from tragedy, however, before I was overwhelmed again by the sorrowful magnificence of Schoenberg's 'Pelleas und Melisande' with its extravagant orchestration including nine French horns. Next, Boris Berezovsky was the solo pianist for the energetically delightful 'Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini' by Rachmaninov. Berezovsky let the music speak directly to the audience, shunning theatrical devices and simply playing wonderfully. Overall, this was a memorably happy evening; the artists' rapport with the audience and each other - together with the jokes and encores - made me smile through the tears.
Usher Hall, 7 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Louise Rodgers]

THEATRE

All Quiet on the Western Front (Incognito Theatre)
Remarque's novel is a classic, a perfect representation of the horrors of the First World War. Incognito's timely adaptation draws out the universal humanity of the characters, instantly forging a bond with the audience. Less a rollercoaster than a whirlwind of emotions, the scenes flit from humour to horror, camaraderie to chaos, drawing the audience in to the desperate lives of the young men sentenced to fight and die on the Western Front. The play includes the novel's key scenes, joined with a connective tissue of excellent physical movement, and the battle scenes are an assault on the senses, noise and light threatening to overpower the audience. Enthralling, moving and fundamentally, beautifully human.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Andy Leask]

Daffodils (Bullet Heart Club)
Two microphones, two stretches of carpet, two extremely talented performers and one hell of a band! 'Daffodils' is a tale of love set in 1960's New Zealand, a heartfelt and honest portrayal of two characters that are ultimately endearing and believably honest. Their flaws propel the story, through pop-culture references and music that transports the audience through the swinging 60's right up to the dawn of the millennium. The live score is exceptional. With the three-piece band onstage throughout and perfectly accompanying the performers, the show features music from Crowded House to Bic Runga. I urge you to meet Rose and Eric down by the daffodils and join them as their romance blossoms.
Traverse Theatre, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Bethan Highgate-Betts]

Escape From The Planet Of The Day That Time Forgot (Company Gavin Robertson)
It's exactly what you'd guess from that title. In this fun, silly pastiche of sci-fi adventure serials, a professor, his plucky lab assistant and his young ward head out to space on a grand adventure, their rocket remarkably resembling an ironing board. Drawing on classics of the sci-fi genre (and, for whatever reason, Norse mythology), the show's dialogue zips along at about six jokes-per-minute, leaning heavily on the flimsy fourth wall. This is the show's strongest card – it's no coincidence that the weakest moments are the lengthy mimed 'action' sequences, which in the performance I attended caused noticeable dips in the laughter. Luckily, the committed performances of the talented and impressively game cast generally rescues things.
Assembly Roxy, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Jon Stapley]

Finding Joy (Vamos Theatre)
Centred around 83-year-old grandmother Joy, whose dementia is becoming of increasing concern, 'Finding Joy' is a truly moving play. It's delivered without a word of dialogue: just a caricature mask and distinct mannerisms bring the characters to life, while music and sound clips drive each scene forward. As her family learns to adjust and understand how to care for her, the show explores Joy's personal history and identity, serving as a reminder of the person behind the illness and the dignity she deserves. Heart-warming, yet heart-breaking at the same time, this stirring physical performance combines humour with sympathy for the challenges of an illness that I am sure many will be able to relate to.
Assembly Hall, until 14 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Daisy Malt]

Happy Together (The Lincoln Company)
'Happy Together' wants to be a really clever play, but its pseudo-musings and convoluted delivery just make it seem kinda dim. It takes a simple concept - unravelling the dark dynamic between a young couple - but bloats it by repeatedly cutting back to the present day, where the pair read dull prose from cue cards, a device that starts to grate early. Writer Kate Newman is evidently talented, and the dialogue sparks when she lets the characters interact and unfurl. Yet she spends so much time experimenting with storytelling techniques that there's no time for character development, and the finale sadly flops. 'Happy Together' is all style over substance, with an unhealthy and rather uninteresting lack of sense.
C Cubed, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Patricia-Ann Young]

Mark Thomas: The Red Shed (Lakin McCarthy in association with West Yorkshire Playhouse)
The Red Shed is a Labour club in Wakefield. A young student activist called Mark Thomas did his first live stuff there, at the epicentre of the miners' strike that shaped his political consciousness. Three decades later he presents this show, partly reminiscence, but also a reflection on what we remember, and how, in these ephemeral times. Having told stories from those days so often, he wonders what impact narrative embellishment has had on his own memories, and embarks on a quest to find others who were there to separate fact from romantic fiction. Thomas and friends regarded rehearsal as a bourgeois affectation. Not so now – this is slick, crafted, compelling, poignant and bloody funny, capped off with a singalong and a deserved ovation.
Traverse Theatre, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Bruce Blacklaw]

This Is Not Culturally Significant (Out of Spite Theatre)
Raw, crude, harrowing – 'This Is Not Culturally Significant' shows it all. This original one-man play by Adam Scott-Rowley confronts us with the madness of reality we often choose to ignore. In short and extreme snippets, it explores breaking point moments in the lives of twelve different characters, their stories intertwining and complementing each other in this brilliantly deconstructed narrative. With a truly Beckettian feel to it, this piece unites the comic and the tragic, the real and the absurd, with a remarkable intensity. Scott-Rowley's performance shows real versatility as he oscillates between drastically different characters - his acting is passionate, organic and simply captivating throughout. A gripping piece, and a brilliant showcase for this creative talent.
Pleasance Forth, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Pénélope Hervouet]

Trainspotting (Kings Head Theatre and In Your Face Theatre)
The first ten minutes of this stage adaptation of Irvine Welsh's novel 'Trainspotting' offers some of the most arresting, exhilarating theatre you'll probably see in years, never mind just at this year's Festival. Pushed together in a claustrophobic space, the audience are pushed, prodded, cuddled and screamed at by the cast, an experience so immersive and riling one audience member stormed out. But the manic highs of the first half give way to the terrible, soul breaking lows of a life shackled to addiction, with Gavin Ross' central, electric performance as Renton pulling the audience into that emotional turmoil. A show worthy of its hype, 'Trainspotting' is more of a sensory experience than a theatre production.
Assembly George Square Studios, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Patricia-Ann Young]

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