Despite giving Mark Watson one of our Editors' Awards in 2005, we somehow forgot to ever put him on the cover.

This despite our love for his numerous Edinburgh shows, those 24 hour plus marathon Fringe performances, 'Mark Watson Makes The World Substantially Better' and all his other Radio 4 outings, the telly projects, the many collaborations with the equally marvellous Tim Key and Alex Horne, and whatever bit of his biog we just missed out.

With Mark somehow managing to fit an entire Fringe run into the 84 date tour of his current show 'I'm Not Here' – while also staging another stint of his Olympics-themed 'Edinborolympics' – this seemed like the year to address the never-had-Mark-Watson-on-the cover oversight. So we had a chat with the man himself. Read the interview here.

Mark Watson's 'Edinborolympics' is on at Pleasance Courtyard from 18-22 Aug. His solo show, 'I'm Not Here', is on at Pleasance Courtyard until 28 Aug.

Chris Stokes' show this year may be called 'The Man Delusion', but he's also been worrying that some of you Festival-goers might just fall for some of those all-too-common Fringe delusions this month.

To stop that from happening, he's identified the five things you might think during the Fringe that you MUST do the opposite of. Just so that, when you do indeed think these things, you will know you MUST do the opposite. So here goes...

‘Chris Stokes – The Man Delusion’ is on at Underbelly Med Quad until 28 Aug.
Three to see at the Edinburgh Festival tomorrow...

Poggle | Dance Base | 1.30pm
A 5/5 show from the children's programme to kick things off. "A magical, gently riotous forty minutes of dance and music – from samba to Shooglenifty – choreographed and executed very well indeed" says our reviewer, who notes that his co-critic, 21 month old Connie, "sat enraptured throughout. Her considered view afterwards was 'good fun' and, given her current vocabulary, there is literally no higher praise".

Tomorrow, Maybe | C Nova | 3.15pm (pictured)
"The musical numbers are exceptional, and the harmonies will send shivers down your spine", says our reviewer of this top tip musical at C Nova. "A thoroughly modern musical exploring thoroughly modern themes, the show is heart-warming, familiar, and laugh out loud funny, casting an extraordinary light on ordinary lives". Basically, go see, we say.

Finding Joy | Assembly Hall | 4.30pm
This "truly moving play" is only on until the weekend, so you should definitely see it soon. The performance is "delivered without a word of dialogue", our reviewer explains, "just a caricature mask and distinct mannerisms bring the characters to life, while music and sound clips drive each scene forward". Highly recommended.

The Week One 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 Mark Watson, Goodbear, Holly&Ted, Hui-Chen Tan, Jonny & The Baptists, Martha McBrier, Njambi McGrath, Robert Shaw and This Glorious Monster, plus columns from Bob Slayer, Henry Maynard and Yeti's, and lots of reviews.

CLICK HERE to check out the Week One edition online


Peter And Bambi Heaven – The Magic Inside (Sharon Burgess Productions)
In 'The Magic Inside', Peter And Bambi Heaven take care to play to your expectations to the point of parody, before subverting them almost immediately. Asher Treleaven as Peter is Will Ferrell-esque with a hint of Austin Powers, while Bambi (played by Gypsy Wood) is a doe-eyed ex-cage dancer now "living the dream". Their energy is enormous, their physical comedy hugely creative, and their jokes increasingly surreal throughout the show. Occasionally there were misogynistic reactions on Peter's part and, while of course they were playing characters, the jokes themselves felt unnecessary and rooted in sexism (did we really need another men-find-periods-disgusting joke?) But mostly, 'The Magic Inside' is an immensely enjoyable and hugely inventive cabaret.
Assembly George Square Gardens, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Nina Keen]


Chris Gethard: Career Suicide (PBJ Management in association with AGI Entertainment and APA Agency)
The flyer promises depression, alcoholism and attempted suicide. And, as they say in Gethard's native USA, he totally goes there. As such, with grim scatological summaries of the side effects of certain medications, this won't be for everyone. It is still a comedy show, however, and on that level it's a success, with Gethard's easy stage manner leavening the confessional moments, with entertaining anecdotes about some of his excessive behaviour and his various attempts to address it. As Gethard reminds us, there are those who still don't understand that depression is an illness rather than a lifestyle choice, and many inconsistencies in how those affected are treated in every sense of the word. So, thinking about it, maybe this should be for everyone.
Pleasance Dome, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Bruce Blacklaw]

Ed Gamble: Stampede
Ed Gamble delivers a strong hour of stand-up, which is surprising considering how much of it is about cauliflower. The routine mostly centres around Gamble's attempts at, and frustration with, clean eating, a topic so relatable it immediately gets the audience on board. But it's not just that the material is sound, as Gamble's commanding, energetic stage presence and on-the-spot funniness carry him through even when a joke doesn't easily land. The latter half of the show is where he really hits his stride though – his delivery becomes smoother and more confident as he comes into his strongest material. 'Stampede' is a fun and funny show that starts slow but builds up to a full pelt.
Gilded Balloon at the Counting House, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Patricia-Ann Young]

Eric Lampaert – Alien Of Extraordinary Ability
The first part of Eric Lampaert's new show comprises well-observed and fairly straightforward material on the well-trodden comedic ground of cultural differences, winning the audience onside immediately with Apollo-ready material. But as the show develops, it grows into anything but standard. Material that started off nowhere near as "weird" as his own persona seems to grow, and soon we're watching a hilarious, unique show with a huge variety of styles of humour blended so seamlessly they often all fit into one bit. Lampaert's character is complex too, a blend of self-deprecation, ironic hubris and occasional nutjobbery, with self-references sparse enough for each one to be belly-laugh hilarious.
Laughing Horse @ City Cafe, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Nina Keen]

Goodbear (DugOut Theatre)
Hilarious duo Goodbear zip through the some of the biggest moments in their characters' lives in this highly polished hour of comedy. It's a series of sketches loosely tied together by the aforementioned theme – important days in the life of a vast array of colourful personalities – and the pair rely on tightly choreographed sound and lighting cues to hit comedic notes with a impressive professional deftness. Their dynamic together is however the strongest part of the show, with Henry Perryment's talent for delivery beautifully complemented by Joe Barnes' well timed physical comedy – he can have the audience in stitches with as little as a highly arched eyebrow. An excellent show that clearly demonstrates that good sketch comedy needs off-the-chart chemistry to make it side splittingly funny.
Bedlam Theatre, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Patricia-Ann Young]

Le Bossu (withWings)
withWings certainly have quite the reputation to uphold, having had a sell-out run and a smattering of five star reviews with previous show 'The Duck Pond', and 'Le Bossu' certainly does not disappoint. When enchanting Esmerelda comes to Paris, the entire city is enthralled, even Archdeacon Claude Frollo who, driven mad by lust, loses his faith to temptation. As funny as it is heartbreaking, this mesmerising retelling of 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame' perfectly blends tragedy with humour. Whilst physical theatre can be a risk, here it is beautifully staged, working effortlessly to shed insight into the inner workings of the mind of Quasimodo. The fantastic original music will still be playing in your head days later. Seriously seductive, 'Le Bossu' is a must-see.
Bedlam Theatre, until 21 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Rosie Barrett]

Robert Newman: The Brain Show (Phil McIntyre Entertainments)
Robert Newman has a bee in his bonnet. And cephalopods on his stage, but that's another story (which also has Jean Michel Jarre in it). His bugbear is brainless interpretations of brain science, which he started reading up on after taking part in a brain imaging study and being cross at the result. He skips through some modern popular 'science', Freud, Sartre, Darwin, Newton and, er, Paul Weller, via a turn on the ukulele, some character comedy and impressions. It sounds like a lot to get through in an hour and actually it probably is – not all of the gags or the ideas have time to develop as they might, but overall it's good, brainy stuff. And it's funny.
Summerhall, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Bruce Blacklaw]

Simon Munnery: Standing Still (Show And Tell)
Although certain parts of 'Standing Still' were really funny, most of it was crushingly disappointing. Most of the first section was essentially a history lecture and a rant about capitalism, but unfortunately being right about something doesn't make it automatically funny. His later joke about his daughter not being old enough for make-up was strangely reactionary as well as deeply uncomfortable, and a lot of the better jokes were also a few years old. 'Standing Still' did have its moments; the final joke about skiing enthusiasts on a first date served as an unfortunately pertinent reminder of why Munnery is one of my all-time favourites. It's a shame these reminders were so few and far between.
The Stand Comedy Club, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Nina Keen]

10 Things I Hate About UKIP (Joe Wells / PBH's Free Fringe)
This year, Joe Wells' intelligent political comedy has taken a turn for the bleak as fuck. He begins with a rant about UKIP and how "everything is fucked," followed by a consciously simplistic explanation of why right-wingers are bad and left-wingers are good. He then subverts this simplicity by exploring the inner turmoil that comes with being left wing, while weaving in smart political points. Coming to the show as a leftie, these jokes feel like ones we've been waiting to hear, so they're seldom surprising, but they're always well-written, likeable and, crucially, sensitive. He handles heavy topics with the care they require and shows comedy doesn't need to harm people: indeed, it's all the better for not doing so.
T-Bar, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Nina Keen]

Thrones! The Musical Parody (Baby Wants Candy)
'Game of Thrones' is such a huge phenomenon that you could slap its name on a roped-off turd and it would still attract avid fans for a look. So it's refreshing to discover that this parody musical is so much better than it ever had to be. 'Thrones!' is jam packed with clever jokes, visual gags, catchy songs and a lot of heart, clearly coming from a place of love for the TV show and books. Every member of the cast is excellent and hilarious, but Chris Grace's touching ode to a popular bygone character is a complete stand-out. Its source material might often be bleak, but this fan service musical is anything but.
Assembly George Square Studios, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Patricia-Ann Young]

Pierre Novellie Is Cool Peter (CKP)
I am almost embarrassed by the amount of involuntary noise that came out of my face during Pierre Novellie's hysterically funny show. This old-before-his-time comedian's style has hints of Tony Law's joyful silliness, as he begins his set with a gleeful put-down of some persistent hecklers. He talks honestly about his depression, about his nerdy teenage pursuits, his continuing video game addiction and his South African heritage. His overriding theme is his attempt to be more laid back, whether it's better to be "cool and sad, or happy and a nerd", though his glorious phrasing suggests there's nothing laid back about his incredibly precise script. A genuinely hilarious comedian, Novellie seems pretty cool to me.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Gemma Scott]

Sofie Hagen: Shimmer Shatter (Sofie Hagen / PBH's Free Fringe)
"I hope you didn't come wanting to be cheered up", Sofie Hagen jokes near the end of her set, about love and rejection with a touch of mental illness, aka what Sofie Hagen does best. Hyper self-aware and enormously insightful, 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. Her masterful delivery often reflects her confident ownership of her own pain, and she's brilliant at doing 'creepy' jokes without actually making people uncomfortable. No wonder she had to turn away about twice the room's capacity at the door; word must be getting out that she's one of the best comics you could hope to see.
Liquid Room Annexe, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Nina Keen]


Australian Chamber Orchestra Alice Coote and Stuart Skelton Sing Mahler (Edinburgh International Festival)
This concert about rejoicing and mourning opened with Richard Wagner in gentle mood, with 'Siegfried's Idyll', his tribute to his wife and new son. There was only one of each instrument so everyone was a soloist, and they were all superb. Unusually there was no percussion, so double bass and cello were a vital partnership. Song cycle 'Das Lied von der Erde (Song of the Earth)' was written a year after the death of composer Gustav Mahler's child, and the spicy orchestration of this arrangement included celesta, harmonium, mandolin and unusual piano techniques. Mezzo-soprano Alice Coote drew the audience in with her confiding singing – a telling of truths, whilst tenor Stewart Skelton blustered magnificently in drunken denial.
The Queen's Hall, 6 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Louise Rodgers]

The Opening Concert Sir Antonio Papano Conducts Italian Operatic and Choral Masterpieces (Edinburgh International Festival)
Passion and excitement emanated from the Orchestra dell'Accademia Nationale di Santa Cecilia in the first half comprising of Shakespearean themed opera pieces. Gioachino Rossini's 'Otello, overture' was disconcertingly cheeky for a tragedy but such was the custom of the early eighteenth century! Later, the orchestra assumed a dark intensity for Rossini's choral masterpiece, 'Stabat Mater'. The Edinburgh Festival Chorus gave everything to this performance; it was confident and assured, conveying the majestically tragic beginning of one of the world's great religions. The soloists swooped and soared alone and together; they sang both as a perfectly blended ensemble and shone powerfully during their solos. Santa Cecilia, patron saint of music for whom the orchestra was named, was present tonight.
Usher Hall, 7 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Louise Rodgers]


Buzz: A New Musical (Fat Rascal Theatre)
Who knew a musical about female masturbation was something we needed so desperately? 'Buzz' pays homage to the history and science that have enabled the sexual liberation for which main character Angie searches. Attempting to make empowering art is risky though, and unfortunately 'Buzz' just misses the mark. It's hard to stomach a 'feminist' show so dated in its humour and attitudes that it calls a gay character "hardly male" and 'liberates' its main character by having her punch her ex. The historical musical numbers were often brilliant, particularly the part about Masters and Johnson, and the ending was infectious in its joy. But just because it's a show about history doesn't excuse it from outdated attitudes.
Greenside @ Infirmary Street, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Nina Keen]

Holmes For Rent (Music Theatre Warwick)
Against the backdrop of Victorian melodrama, a battle of egos threatens to break apart the most beloved of hero-sidekick partnerships. Dr Watson stages an impromptu play to convince us that Holmes is merely a decoy and that he is the true mastermind... but Moriarty is waiting in the wings to disrupt the show. Whilst the play is light-hearted and enjoyable, it lacks real depth, and amid a culture gripped with Sherlock mania, 'Holmes For Rent' lacks the originality to compete in a fringe scene overcrowded with adaptations. The play boasts an alternative ending each night, but this leaves the final scene chaotic and rushed, with many questions unanswered. Robert Madge deserves praise, however, for his flamboyant, charismatic interpretation of Holmes.
C Venue 24, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Rosie Barrett]

Tomorrow, Maybe (ACJ Productions)
Set in a local coffee shop, 'Tomorrow, Maybe' tells the stories – through a series of vignettes – of the familiar faces we pass by each day: their loves, losses, dreams and disillusionments. A thoroughly modern musical exploring thoroughly modern themes, the show is heart-warming, familiar, and laugh out loud funny, casting an extraordinary light on ordinary lives. The production boasts an exceptionally talented cast, with performances that would be more at home on a Broadway stage than a tiny room at the Edinburgh Fringe. The musical numbers are exceptional, and the harmonies will send shivers down your spine. A delight more than deserving of the critical acclaim it has already received. Faultless.
C Nova, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Rosie Barrett]


Captured (White Slate Theatre)
Sparse staging and projected photographs enhance the impact of this taut two-hander. The story of two ex-lovers reconnecting, one a photographer, the other his erstwhile subject, is wonderfully rich; the depth and texture to the characters is a testament both to the naturalistic dialogue and the actors' committed performances. The big questions about art – can a photographer both chronicle a relationship, and live it? – are wrapped up in more pressing, more personal questions about Sophie and Isaac's relationship: can he stop trying to shape her into his vision, can she stop worrying about how she is perceived? Gripping and moving, this play walks the artistic tightrope well. Like a perfect photograph it offers something both beautifully composed and emotionally authentic.
Underbelly Cowgate, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Andy Leask]

Deal With The Dragon (First Sprout Theatre)
If a gay German dragon offered to handle the difficult things in your life, you'd say yes, right? Frustrated artist Hunter did, and in Kevin Rolston's one-man show he has to live with the consequences. Writer and actor Rolston skilfully draws distinctive and memorable characters, and in the standout scene, where Hunter's art rival Gandy tells his rehab story, he is simply superb. His Gandy is endearing but pitiful, funny but mannered – a mess of deeply human contradictions whom I could have watched for an hour. The show itself is similar parts flawed and admirable: its story is delightfully weird, but overly digressive and doesn't quite fill its seventy minutes. Still, Rolston's skill as an actor should not be understated.
C Nova, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Jon Stapley]

Erik Satie's – Faction (Avalon Promotions Ltd)
What goes on inside a genius composer's mind? In this intimate and introspective piece, Alistair McGowan skilfully juggles music and speech as he brings to life the Nineteenth Century French composer Erik Satie. Somewhere between theatre, concert, spoken word and comedy, this unique piece offers a heartfelt, face-to-face insight into the man behind the artist. Excerpts of letters, poems and reflections from the composer are crafted into an hour-long monologue, punctuated by stunning renditions of some Satie's most famous compositions such as 'Gymnopédies'. McGowan's portrayal was understated at times, yet managed to convey the composer's delicate, troubled and anxiety-ridden personality. Classical music lovers rejoice!
Pleasance Courtyard, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Pénélope Hervouet]

Frankenstein (Canny Creatures and Fringe Management)
Like Frankenstein's creature, this adaptation of Shelley's novel is crudely stitched together and the seams are bursting. Condensing the text to one hour was always going to be hard, but rather than compress the action, focusing on a few key scenes, instead we embark on a breathless race through the plot, never alighting anywhere long enough to catch our breath. Combined with often melodramatic performances, this robs the characters of all pathos. Worse still, the already overstuffed narrative is further muddied by a romantic subplot between Henry and Elizabeth, and by the creature's attempts to wear the faces of Frankenstein's family, like a bargain basement Hannibal Lecter. I found myself, like Victor, lamenting the creation of this grotesque monstrosity.
Gilded Balloon Teviot, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 1/5 | [Andy Leask]

Frenemies (Sedos)
Frenemies is a show that doesn't seem to know who its real frenemies are. A collection of sketches each written by a different writer explore a range of 'frenemy' scenarios, like two shipwrecked men stuck on a raft, or the horror of having a bitchy sister-in-law, but because each sketch is no longer than ten minutes long, none manage to capture a true, slow burning, death-by-a-thousand-cuts, toxic friendship. Having so many writers also means the show lacks one coherent voice, which leaves the show feeling disjointed, especially as the quality of the writing varies from sketch to sketch. Excellent comedic timing from the energetic cast elevates the uneven script and lands some solid laughs, but disappointing writing and poor structure makes the show its own worst frenemy.
Greenside @ Infirmary Street, until 13 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Patricia-Ann Young]

Made Up (Fast Food Collective)
Do I have something in my teeth? What underwear am I wearing again? 'Made Up' gives a hysterically unglamorous account of your average club night. It's an energetic, youthful piece that tackles the common issues of nightlife – heartbreak, seduction, drugs – as we follow four girls attempting to make the most of their evening. What follows is spot-on in its portrayal of teenage anxieties, such as Kate's 'FOMO' (Fear of Missing Out), or the emotions of the heartbroken Ashley, who claims she loves being single. 'Made Up' is fun, insightful, unpretentious and completely relatable, whether you still hit the dance-floor every weekend or if wild, endless nights of partying are now but a hazy memory.
Underbelly Cowgate, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Pénélope Hervouet]

Northanger Abbey (Box Tale Soup)
Jane Austen with puppets – how quintessentially Edinburgh Fringe. This premise allows performers Antonia Christophers and Noel Byrne to pilfer Austen's vast range of quirky characters with aplomb, only putting the puppets down to act as the romantic leads Catherine and Henry. The puppets are a charming oddity that allow both actors to display their range, but they do bring a childish quality to a story that certainly isn't for children. The clash between the puppet gimmick and the narrative becomes increasingly grating, but there is still plenty here for lovers of Austen's work, nailing her wry humour whilst also being sweetly romantic. An interesting take on a classic, 'Northanger Abbey' is ultimately as charming as it is jarring.
Underbelly Cowgate, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Patricia-Ann Young]

Shakespeare In The Garden: Twelfth Night, Or What You Will (C Theatre)
Charming as ever, Shakespeare In The Garden returns to the Fringe to breathe folky new life into another of the Bard's classic comedies. Ukuleles, flower crowns, and functioning VW camper vans could have made this adaptation of 'Twelfth Night' too twee to function, but director Oliver Stephens strips it back and allows the garden at St. Peter's to create the desired whimsical, romantic feel. It's also really, really funny due to solid comical performances from all the cast, the stand-outs being Sydney Aldridge's dry Maria and Jonathon Cobb's scenery chewing Malvolio. Being so close to a main road does occasionally break the spell the production sets up for itself, but endearing surroundings and charming performances make it a joy to watch.
C South, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Patricia-Ann Young]

Ghost Quartet (Ghost Quartet)
Dave Malloy's 'Ghost Quartet' feels like a dream and a nightmare: overwhelmingly beautiful, complex, soulful and gripping. I'm still not sure what it's about though, as the narrative itself is kept purposefully vague. From song to song unravel interwoven stories of death, loss and haunting, centred around two women, Rose and Pearl, and their consecutive reincarnations. This emotional resonance is backed up by incredibly talented musical orchestration. The show brilliantly oscillates between musical genres, displaying an incredible variety of instruments and stunning vocal abilities. It has the soul-shaking quality of gospel, the purity of a capella and lyrical singing, the disturbance of Gothic novels, all wrapped up with a modern twist. Absolutely lost for words.
[email protected], until 28 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Pénélope Hervouet]

Mairi Campbell: Pulse (Greengold Projects and Authentic Artist Collective)
"Fall in love with Scotland. Take your time." That's the advice Mairi Campbell's grandmother gave her, and these words also encapsulate the audience's experience in 'Pulse': a slow but deep falling in love alongside Campbell as she searches for her voice. Through music, theatre, poetry and movement, Campbell weaves a carefully detailed story of her relationship with music and her culture. From the first moment of this journey, the award-winning Scottish musician's bare and unabashed honesty captivates you, and every time she plays the viola, an unspoken sense of belonging inundates the room. Even if you've never heard her music before, or never listened to Scottish folklore, by the end of 'Pulse' you'll feel transformed.
Summerhall, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Aida Rocci]

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