TUESDAY 16 AUGUST 2016 THREEWEEKSEDINBURGH.COM
TIM RENKOW: A VERY BRIEF HISTORY OF HIM
US import Tim Renkow has been making quite a name for himself in recent years. He's won the title of Leicester Square New Comedian Of The Year, been nominated for Best Newcomer at the Chortle Awards and won the Amused Moose Laugh Off Award. And, as his publicity notes, he has also been awarded severe cerebral palsy, by God.

Given all this attention he's been getting – and with him in town with his show 'King Of The Tramps' – we thought it was about time we had a very quick chat with him. Read the interview here.

Tim performs 'King Of The Tramps' at Heroes @ The Hive until 28 Aug.



GUY MASTERSON: THE DOS AND THE DON'TS OF GOING SOLO
Every year the Edinburgh Fringe's theatre programme offers a plethora of one-person shows. As a performer, taking to the stage alone is a daunting task, though if it works, a particularly rewarding one too. For any actor considering that challenge, we asked the Fringe's very own expert of the format – Guy Masterson – for some top tips. Read his column here.

Guy Masterson is presenting three solo shows at Edinburgh 2016. He performs in 'Shylock' and 'Love And Canine Integration', and directs Clair Whitefield in 'Chopping Chillies', all at Assembly Roxy until 28 Aug.
Three to see at the Edinburgh Festival tomorrow...

TW:Talks Live with Brendon Burns | theSpace @ Symposium Hall | 10.30am
We are recording the second of our special podcasts to mark 21 years of ThreeWeeks covering the Edinburgh Festival tomorrow, this time with the brilliant Brendon Burns. Don't forget you can sit in on the recording and ask your own questions – get your free tickets from thisweektalks.com.

Whiteout (Barrowlandballet) | Zoo Southside | 5.00pm
A really great show from the Fringe's dance programme, "the topic of race is confronted without shying away" reports our reviewer. "A playful, passionate and enthusiastically positive representation of blackness, which intoxicates audiences with pleasure" they add. Go see.

AAA Batteries (Not Included) | Just The Tonic at The Caves | 2.35pm
A Fringe favourite that is hotly recommended once again. "When family shows try to appeal to all ages, they'll have some jokes for adults and some for kids, but the humour in 'AAA Batteries' was for everyone", says our wowed review. "The show ended with Chris Turner showcasing the most impressive improvised rap I've ever seen. I can't recommend it highly enough".
WEEK ONE ISSUE OF THE THREEWEEKS MAGAZINE IS OUT NOW - DOWNLOAD OR PICK UP YOUR COPY

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
.
5/5 HIGHLY RECOMMENDED | 4/5 RECOMMENDED | 3/5 GOOD | 2/5 MEDIOCRE | 1/5 BAD  

CABARET

Lynn Ruth Miller: I Love Men (Lynn Ruth Miller)
Fringe favourite Lynn Ruth Miller is back once more, with her quirky mix of songs and autobiographical tales. Taking a look back at her relationships with men and how they have shaped her life, you can imagine that a psychoanalyst would have a field day with her. "At 48 I discovered recreational sex", is not something you'd expect to hear from most 82-year-olds, but this feisty lady is ready to share all. Poignant at times and heart-warming at others, the show demonstrates her wonderful ability as a storyteller, and I couldn't help but find myself engrossed as she spoke. Definitely something a little different, Miller's old-school cabaret is a nice break from the hubbub of the Fringe.
C Nova, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Daisy Malt]

Oh My Dad: Christ On A Bike (Chris JS Wilson)
It can't be easy being Jesus. He's only got twelve Twitter followers after all. Clad in hotpants and bringing an exercise bike, Jesus returns to tell us about his life and pick up a few new followers in the process. He's accompanied by his bumbling assistant Peter and his wife Mary Magdalene, who can only speak in words people have sent her on Twitter (the tag is #GiveMaryAVoice. Feel free). The trio use song, dance and plenty of corny jokes to chronicle JC's life and the many misunderstandings that have been attributed to him. It's a high-energy hour with plenty of laughter and silliness, the highlight being a segment where Jesus explains just what happened with Judas. Halle-berry-lujah indeed.
Voodoo Rooms, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Jon Stapley]

Triple Entendre: Love, Life And Other Stuff (Triple Entendre)
Wickedly funny trio Triple Entendre perform a selection of original songs that you'll be singing in your head long after the show, interspersed with fabulous tongue-in-cheek poetry. They're billed as the Andrews Sisters meets 'Smack the Pony', and I can't sum them up more perfectly. And yes, they definitely cover love, life and other stuff – serving up quirky tunes, in a variety of musical styles, about working in a call centre, being a cat lady and a jazz singer's inability to sing scat. With impressive vocal talents projecting their comedy, each woman's character shone through and I loved their camaraderie. Confident, sassy and fantastically witty, these ladies delivered 50 fun-packed minutes that were over too soon.
C Nova, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Daisy Malt]



IT'S THREEWEEKS' 21ST YEAR COVERING THE FESTIVAL
We are celebrating by interviewing five former cover stars for the TW:TALKS podcast
Come watch us interview Brendon Burns on Wednesday (17 Aug) at 10.30am
TW:TALKS Live at theSpace @ Symposium Hall - Get your free tickets here

COMEDY

Ahir Shah - Machines (Ahir Shah / Free Festival)
Though clearly smart, Ahir Shah hasn't yet mastered the skill of self-editing. His premises, largely observations on sometimes-political themes, are often good, but his overly-wordy execution means his punchlines simply take ages to get to, ending up not feeling worth their build-up. A throwaway line gets the biggest laugh of the first ten minutes, simply because it's so quick and unexpected. Long build-ups are obviously fine, but they need more mini-jokes (technical term) woven in and/or a truly kickass punchline. He also calls girls "precious pearls" to "lay claim to", and tries to excuse a xenophobic joke by saying he's joking. He treats us like idiots for not being immediately on board, but not without benefiting from its harmful value first.
Laughing Horse at Cabaret Voltaire, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Nina Keen]

Bella Younger's Deliciously Stella (Electric Talent)
One day tomatoes will give you cancer, the next they'll cure it. Knowing what you should be eating is a confusing game, but Deliciously Stella is here to help with her own, somewhat unorthodox, healthy way of life. Terry's Chocolate Oranges count as one of your five-a-day, Malibu is her preferred form of coconut water and spinning doesn't require an exercise bike. Clad in her gym kit and armed with a spiralizer and a Nutribullet, her 'Smug Is A Lifestyle Not A Diet' seminar is all about helping you to glow. She's a wonderfully clueless character who brilliantly parodies the trend for clean eating, inspirational quote sharing and over-indulgent use of hashtags.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Daisy Malt]

The Free Association Presents... (The Free Association)
As Michael Brunstrom flicked through a PowerPoint about Lake District enthusiast Alfred Wainwright, confusion grew among our Sunday afternoon audience. This was an improv show – surely they couldn't improvise on... hills? Well they could, and they did. In 'The Wunderkammer' (the second of three formats this group is performing this year) Do Not Adjust Your Stage are inviting two guest speakers to discuss their area of expertise each day – and then they're turning that material into theatre. Initiating a switch of scenes with a shoulder tap, the troupe displayed full trust in one another, as each member took their turn to lead the plot in a new direction. Although they lost their way a little in the dying moments, that was a very minor fault in an otherwise impressive show.
Gilded Balloon at the Counting House, until 20 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Stephanie Gray]

Happily Never After (The Maydays)
The Maydays look like a group that could provide a suitably spooky homage to Tim Burton, but their show sadly lacked any of the substance. Instead, what prevailed was a stultifying, improvised musical about a farmer, with the plot meandering along the path of a classic boy-meets-girl love story. It was surprising to see that the company didn't take any improv suggestions from the crowd, which would have helped to spice up proceedings, though they found a small salvation in their snappy musical accompaniment. Overall, whilst there were fleeting moments of humour, the piece generally came across as silly and banal. Maybe their title was onto something after all.
Just The Tonic at the Caves, until 14 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [John Sampson]

Jack Barry: You Don't Know Jack (Jack Barry)
All scrappy and skitty, London-based comedian Jack Barry returns to the Fringe. Barry is a frank and honest stand-up, brimming with nervous energy that instantly endears him to the crowd. The show focuses on the modern phenomenon of the quarter life crisis and, as a twenty-something, Barry wittily unpicks the subject engulfing his generation. His show has hits and misses but generally the laughs outweigh the quieter moments. Barry's fluency in Chinese brings something different to his stand-up and is definitely material that's ripe for expansion. However, as a comic who confesses that he can't talk about 'big issues', Barry's set lacks the substance needed to set him apart from other comedians at the Fringe.
Just The Tonic at The Mash House, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [John Sampson]

IT'S THREEWEEKS' 21ST YEAR COVERING THE FESTIVAL
We are celebrating by interviewing five former cover stars for the TW:TALKS podcast
Come watch us interview Susan Calman on Thursday (18 Aug) at 10.30am
TW:TALKS Live at theSpace @ Symposium Hall - Get your free tickets here

MUSIC

Music Of Dowland, Purcell And The Stuarts (Part One) (James Laing, Susanna Pell, James Akers)
The purity of counter tenor James Laing's voice was a rare and wondrous thing; even rarer were the historical stringed instruments –Susanna Pell on bass viol and Jame Akers on theorbo – that accompanied him, in John Dowland's songs and solo lute music. Counter tenor, the highest of the male voices, conveyed perfectly the melancholy love songs that made John Dowland the pop star of the Stuart Court. The concert began with Dowland's biggest hit, 'Flow My Tears', which established his reputation for sad songs so permanently that the composer joked he was "semper dolens" (always sorrowing). And so, through the centuries, it has proven to be true. This was a treat for admirers of early music, even those not crossed in love!
St Andrew's and St George's West Church, 10 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Louise Rodgers]

Music Of Dowland, Purcell And The Stuarts (Part Two) (James Laing, Susanna Pell, James Akers)
Court musician and influential composer, Henry Purcell, kept his job and his head during the turbulent reigns of four British monarchs, leaving behind works that have shaped the music of the modern era. For me the unexpected star of this show was bass viol player, Susanna Pell. Aside from accompanying songs, she played solo pieces together with the spectacular looking theorbo of James Akers. A suite of four pieces from 'A Collection of Scotch-Tunes (Full of the Highland Humours)' showed off this versatile early instrument (sounding very close to a fiddle), and when she played 'Division' by Gottfried Keller I almost gave an uncharacteristic whoop! Her relaxed artistry belied the difficulties of the instrument, and impressed this amateur double bass player enormously.
St Andrew's and St George's West Church, 11 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Louise Rodgers]

Louise Adler And Dunedin Consort Perform Handel (Edinburgh International Festival)
Soprano Louise Adler was a last minute substitution, because Danielle De Niese was indisposed, but she certainly got out there and scored goals! The sprightly, impish accompaniment provided by the Scottish Baroque ensemble, Dunedin Consort, conducted from the harpsichord by John Butt, permitted Adler's extensive operatic background to come to the fore. It transformed this concert performance of Handel's music into a complete theatrical experience. Adler exploited the Baroque ornamentation of the music to the full, conspiratorially flirting and twinkling throughout her arias to a storming reception. Dunedin Consort was much more than Adler's backing band, however, and played concertos with verve and aplomb – Huw Daniel particularly excelled in rapid, complex violin solos, filling the Queen's Hall with energy and excitement.
Queen's Hall, 13 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Louise Rodgers]

Pierre Boulez - A Festival Celebration (Edinburgh International Festival / BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra)
This was like watching someone conduct rockets bursting in the sky; Matthias Pintscher gestured and there was an instant explosion of sound. It can't have been easy for Pintscher – he was a friend of Pierre Boulez, who died in January – but tonight was an intense yet disciplined tribute. The two Boulez pieces each featured a soloist: Yeree Suh, soprano in 'Don' (Gift) and Charlotte Ashton on flute in 'Mémoriale (...explosante-fixe...Originel)'. They had a mastery of the unusual techniques demanded by these contemporary works that was marvellous to hear. But again, I return to conductor Matthias Pintscher who, with an elegant economy of movement, had this world class orchestra in the palm of his hand.
Usher Hall, 12 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Louise Rodgers]

IT'S THREEWEEKS' 21ST YEAR COVERING THE FESTIVAL
We are celebrating by interviewing five former cover stars for the TW:TALKS podcast
Come watch us interview Lucy Porter on Friday (19 Aug) at 10.30am
TW:TALKS Live at theSpace @ Symposium Hall - Get your free tickets here

MUSICALS

Carmen High (Opera Posse)
The story of a joke gone wrong, big-cast musical 'Carmen High' presents the lives of teenagers in an American high school. With one word in mind – popularity – the characters bully, ignore and sometimes help each other. The piece is centred around Carmen, a mean and sensual cheerleader who jokingly dates Jose, the school outcast. With an air of 'Spring Awakening', the scenes are punctuated by solos in which some of the teens share their thoughts and struggles in their quest for identity. Bizet's music – along with other musical genres – is adapted to this typical teenage story, giving it an interesting twist. The vocals are unequal, and the piece needs some polishing, but it's a good performance nonetheless.
Spotlites, until 12 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Pénélope Hervouet]

IT'S THREEWEEKS' 21ST YEAR COVERING THE FESTIVAL
We are celebrating by interviewing five former cover stars for the TW:TALKS podcast
Come watch us interview Mark Watson on Saturday (20 Aug) at 10.30am
TW:TALKS Live at theSpace @ Symposium Hall - Get your free tickets here

THEATRE

A Common Man: The Bridge That Tom Built (The Flanagan Collective / Dominic Allen)
How well do you know your American revolutionary history? Dominic Allen races through the life of Thomas Paine in this well-constructed and entertaining solo show. Thomas Paine, a corset-maker by trade, became one of the founding fathers of the United States through his radical journalism. Allen's impressions of various historical personages, including George Washington, Robespierre and Benjamin Franklin, are a highlight. He connects well with the audience through his ad-libs, and many members of the audience were vocal in their appreciation. I found it difficult to engage with the subject matter though, and thought Allen could have given an earlier and fuller explanation of why Paine is still relevant today. However, American history buffs will enjoy this show.
C Nova, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Hannah Greenstreet]

Cosmic Fear Or The Day Brad Pitt Got Paranoia (Empty Deck)
It's the great question of our time: can Brad Pitt save the world? Empty Deck explore this and more in a strange, beautiful and bleak show that frankly examines the looming threat of climate change and our collective paralysis over it. From their flat, three people tell us of Brad Pitt, as he tries to get a film made that will get people taking the problem seriously. It's both blackly funny and deeply depressing: we know our way of life is unsustainable, so why don't we change anything? The fearlessly performed show tackles this head-on, forcing us to look at ourselves (literally at one point) and asking pointed questions about our behaviour. It's tough and uncomfortable, as it should be.
Bedlam Theatre, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Jon Stapley]

Early Doors (Not Too Tame)
"I won't forget you but I will forget myself," are the lyrics of the Elbow song that opens 'Early Doors'. It sounds like a promise, a familiar desire that tends to hang in the air in pubs, and that hazy atmosphere is energetically recreated every noon in this small pub off the Royal Mile. Here patrons and hosts, a quirky, endearing community that you're now part of, will find "the plot to bury their broken hearts". Combining songs, spoken word-style storytelling, some Tina Turner and a pub quiz, 'Early Doors' is like a good whisky: it might take a little time to kick in, but once it does you'll find it heartwarming, complex, sweet, funny, bitter, moving... and, naturally, served in a pub.
Pleasance Pop-Up: The Pub, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Aida Rocci]

Epic Love And Pop Songs (Phoebe Eclair-Powell / Jamie Jackson / Pleasance in association with Showroom)
'Epic Love and Pop Songs' was not the show the blurb led me to expect: the promised mic and backing vocals are metaphorical. The "greatest love songs of all time" take a back seat to a haphazard tale of friendship and teen pregnancy, although, in fairness, the play does avoid stereotypes. Given the plot of the story, it is unclear why Doll and Ted are onstage together, and their meta-banter is funny but ineffective. The script is like a less violent and less humorous version of 'Disco Pigs' by Enda Walsh. However, writer Phoebe Eclair-Powell does succeed in creating likeable and idiosyncratic characters, helped by strong performances from Norah Lopez-Holden and George Caple.
Pleasance Dome, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Hannah Greenstreet]

Hamlet In Bed (Richard Jordan Productions and Brian Long Productions)
Abandoned by his mother at birth, Michael is desperately looking for her and for a way to fill the void left by her absence. A frail and anguished actor, he is obsessed with the character of Hamlet. Convinced that he has found his birth mother, a once famous actress, Michael attempts some sort of twisted catharsis: inviting her into a production of 'Hamlet', centred around the bed scene between Hamlet and Gertrude. Numerous parallels are cleverly established between the 'real' story and the Shakespearian one, and the actors brilliantly develop and embody both. Annette O'Toole's performance is dark, sensual and magnetic. The Oedipal confrontation between these two drastically different yet so similar characters is electric. A phenomenal take on Shakespeare's play.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Pénélope Hervouet]

Hang (Yellow Jacket Productions)
Set in a future where capital punishment has returned to the UK, 'Hang' sets out to explore the futility of words in the face of a life-changing decision. Simply staged, the show lives and dies through the dialogue of its three characters - and what dialogue it is. While two professionals struggle to balance the contrasting requirements of their job – displaying empathy whilst following legal protocol – we watch the third woman battle to make a final, impossible choice. Though the subject matter will forever divide opinion, 'Hang' isn't a show that forces a conclusion on its audience, instead only subtly prompting us to consider life in such a world. Dark, intense and personal, this play is utterly absorbing from the outset.
C Nova, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Stephanie Gray]

I'm Doing This For You (Never Mind the Noise / Haley McGee)
You answered an ad on Gumtree and now you're complicit in a woman's grand romantic gesture for a man. She's organised a surprise stand-up show for him and you're the audience, just as soon as he turns up. This is a fiercely original piece from writer-performer Haley McGee, who constructs a vivid and layered character throughout the hour. Our host is funny, pathetic, tragic, effusive and passionate all at once, a tribute to the quality of both the writing and the acting. We learn more and more about her and the relationship as things progress, and everything we learn changes our perspective a little. Layered, intelligent and unique, this will challenge and excite in equal measure. Plus there's cake and vodka.
Summerhall, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Jon Stapley]

Just Let The Wind Untie My Perfumed Hair...Or Who Is Tahirih? (Joanne Hartstone)
Have you heard of Tahirih? Delia Olam's solo show (co-written with Hera Whinfield) tells the story of this nineteenth-century Persian poetess, who was executed for refusing to wear a veil and for calling for equality between the sexes and religions. Olam embodies various characters to talk about Tahirih, from her father to her executioner. We never hear from Tahirih directly, except through her hauntingly beautiful poetry, set to music and sung by Olam from behind a curtain. This clever device conveys the restrictions women faced on their behaviour. Although the story is fascinating, I couldn't help feeling that the play could have done with a few more actors, as the characters are not sufficiently delineated.
Assembly George Square, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Hannah Greenstreet]

Paperclips And Ammunition (7blue)
Sensibility clashes with bureaucratic rigidity in this original writing by Australian company 7blue. Failed teacher William attempts to get a job in the navy and, faced by a stern interviewer, he reflects back on his own school years. The piece switches between past and present, to reveal the schoolboy desperately trying to define his career choices with an unhelpful and unscrupulous headmaster. The idea is interesting but doesn't come across on stage clearly enough. Well written, if a little verbose, the text is full of puns and absurd humour, displaying a large variety of literary techniques which create some comical moments. Overall, it's a good attempt from these young writers and actors but there's definitely room for improvement.
C Nova, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Pénélope Hervouet]

Taiwan Season: Solo Date (Tainaner Ensemble)
As technology starts playing a larger role in our lives, some questions about identity, mortality and humanity arise. We've already seen the media try to assess these questions, for instance in 'Black Mirror' or 'Her.' In 'Solo Date,' technology is physically between you and the performer. Trapped in a box where the stunning projections are reflected, Tsai Pao-Chang, creator and solo performer of this piece, interacts with the projected virtual world. It's a story of love, mourning and personhood, where technology is depicted as a character opposite to humanity, but things soon becomes more complicated. The show's not high science fiction, but it is a worthy piece of theatre, beautifully and effectively integrating technology into an exploration of who we are.
Assembly George Square Studios, until Aug 29.
tw rating 4/5 | [Aida Rocci]

Us / Them (BRONKS)
Set during the 2004 Beslan school hostage crisis, this show takes a look at the devastating and traumatic event from the viewpoint of two children. 'Us / Them' is funny, profound and chilling in places as, from the eyes of innocence, we see the disaster from a whole new angle. The performers cleverly mark out their space from the beginning, and the intricate choreography lends itself to the intimacy of the piece. With a DIY feel throughout, the set is created as they go along using chalk, balloons and rope. An ingenious way of looking at an unimaginable tragedy, this endearing piece is a must see for younger and older audiences alike.
Summerhall, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Bethan Highgate-Betts]

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