FRIDAY 19 AUGUST 2016 THREEWEEKSEDINBURGH.COM
ZAZU: PUNNING IN A PARALLEL UNIVERSE
We first heard about the comedy theatre troupe that go by the name of zazU back in 2014, when they delighted our reviewer with their "parallel universe sketch show". They've gone from strength to strength since then, honing their style, and returning with two puntastically titled shows: 'A Fête Worse Than Death' last year, and 'Raisins To Stay Alive' this time round, both set in their self created land of zazU.

We thought it was about time we had a zazU chat, to find out more about this year's offering, and about the team behind it all: Harrie Hayes, Tom Machell, Nick Read, Maddie Rice and Katharine Armitage. Read the interview here.

zazU perform 'Raisins To Stay Alive' at Gilded Balloon until 29 Aug



RORY O'KEEFFE: THE POST-BREXIT GRIEF OF A MONOGLOT
Rory O'Keeffe may be a monoglot, but he's also a proud European, not to mention a resident of cosmopolitan Islington North, local MP one Jeremy Corbyn. As he arrived in Edinburgh, we provided Rory with a pen and notepad so he could pour out his post-Brexit grief. Read his column here.

Rory O'Keeffe's reasonably priced show 'Monoglot' is on at Pleasance Courtyard until 29 Aug.
Three to see at the Edinburgh Festival tomorrow...

TW:Talks Live with Mark Watson | theSpace @ Symposium Hall | 10.30am
So, it's the final TW:TALKS podcast recording tomorrow, with the brilliant Mark Watson. Don't forget you can listen in to the first edition of the all-new TW:TALKS podcast with Mark Thomas right now. Don't want to wait a month to hear the Mark Watson edition? Well, pop along to theSpace @ Symposium Hall tomorrow and hear it live! Free tickets for thisweektalks.com

Letters To Windsor House | Summerhall | 1.35pm
We gave Sh!t Theatre an Editors' Award for their show last year and look at this, they've done it again with another brilliant production. "Dancing letterboxes, brass instruments and a (great) slide show all feature in Sh!t Theatre's hilarious new show about the housing crisis" says we. Go see.

Margaret Thatcher Queen Of Game Shows | Assembly George Square Gardens | 9.00pm and 1.15am
"Bursting with political satire, this comedy musical extravaganza features cameos from the likes of Nigel Farage, Nicola Sturgeon and Owen Jones", our review notes. "The jokes come thick and fast, and with a wonderful mix of song dance, this brilliant camp spectacle is nothing short of a comedy masterpiece". And we like comedy masterpieces. So consider this show highly recommended.
WEEK TWO ISSUE OF THE THREEWEEKS MAGAZINE IS OUT NOW - DOWNLOAD OR PICK UP YOUR COPY

The Week Two 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 Patrick Monahan, Juliette Burton, Andrea Walker, Bethany Black, Frances M Lynch, Shôn Dale-Jones, zazU, Tim Renkow, Delia Olam, Stephanie Jayne Amies and Teddy Clements, plus columns from Guy Masterson, Laura London and Clair Whitefield, and lots of reviews.

CLICK HERE to check out the Week Two 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

The Owl And The Pussycat (Not Cricket Productions)
You probably know the story of 'The Owl and the Pussycat', but have you ever seen it brought to life? Join Owl and Pussycat on their adventures, as they journey across the ocean in their beautiful pea green boat. With songs, rhymes, and lots of interaction for younger audience members, 'The Owl And The Pussycat' is a charming show and a wonderful way to start the day. The children in the audience were engaged for the whole 50 minutes, giggling along throughout. There's dancing, puzzles and plenty of opportunity to get up on stage with the characters. Cheerfully charming family entertainment with heart, take your little ones on an adventure they'll never forget.
C Nova, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Bethan Highgate-Betts]

COMEDY

AART (Andy Bridge)
There's something quite appropriate about AART (with two A's) taking place in a giant inflatable igloo: the show is as weird and quirky as the venue itself. Inside the igloo, instructor Mikey is here to help you realise your dreams through the medium of aart – and it's not like normal art. Let him take you on a journey of self-actualisation through his unique perspectives on the world. Be ready to immerse yourself in this one: participation is compulsory, so leave your inhibitions at the door. It's a wonderfully funny parody of artistic education, but there are moments of surprising profundity, which may be entirely unintentional. Make the aart, be the aart, but go along for the endless giggles.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Daisy Malt]

Minky: A Sketch Show (Minky Comedy)
Sketch group Minky deliver their first show as a comedy trio and the Cambridge comedians don't disappoint. Starting with a 70s living room tableau as the audience enter, they saunter through their sketches with very relaxed and confident performances. Henry Wilkinson in particular has a fantastic couple of characters, including the commander aboard a 'Star Wars' style space ship and the employee who retches his way through all his menial tasks. A few of the sketches don't feel particularly original, but the cast still manage to wring laughs out of them. Definitely ones to watch out for in future, just make sure you've read up on your Robert Galbraith first.
Just The Tonic at The Caves, until 20 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Olly Jacques]

Princes Of Main: Cool (Princes Of Main)
I know that BBC Three now exists online, but I think I found some remnants of it nestled in a little dark box in a corner of the Underbelly Med Quad. Billed as a TED talk on how to be cool, sketch trio Princes of Main serve up snippets of humour that will certainly appeal to the 18-24 age bracket. Their greatest sketches are the shorter, pithier ones, including a conversation conducted as if scripted via Google Translate, and there's an excellent use of an e-cigarette to create atmosphere in another. I was utterly confused by some sketches, but I can't decide whether it was just the weirdness itself that was meant to be funny. Maybe I'm just not cool enough yet.
Underbelly Med Quad, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Daisy Malt]

DANCE

Contemporary? (Arts Printing House)
Three bodies on the floor. Organic, broken-down moves, sombre music. "I was a seed growing!" Between rehearsals, performance and artistic disagreements, 'Contemporary?' ironically explores the work in progress of a Lithuanian dance company. Bringing theatre and comedy into dance, it gently mocks the over-conceptualisation so often found in contemporary art. This parody brings together three skilful dancers in the act of creation. The dance pieces really give the hilarious impression of being improvised and confused, with the mistakes seeming completely unintentional, particularly during the dynamic duet of Paulius and Mantas. 'Contemporary?' breaks the fourth wall with a disarming simplicity, although the ending, an explanation of Lithuanian dance culture, sadly stalls the piece.
Zoo Sanctuary, until 19 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Pénélope Hervouet]

Grace (Emma Serjeant and dddames.eu)
Love circus, but want a story? Emma Serjeant finds her own style, conveying a simple honest story through theatrical devices, movement and circus. This physically, emotionally and technically exhausting solo performance highlights Serjeant's many talents. The most aesthetically appealing images remain circus-based, but there's space for the performance to increase in theatricality, as the story remains simple and at times repetitive. Movement and tempo interchange from dynamic and loud, to slow and calm, but without any clear meaning. The performance also has several abstract features; the constant abstract projections shown on a screen, for example. If you're interested in the mixing of styles then this should definitely be on your list as it's a pretty clever attempt.
Assembly Checkpoint, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 ⎪ [Lucrezia Pollice]

Molhados&Secos - Wet And Dry (ParaladosanjoS)
Four real life accounts are reconstructed by four Brazilian directors, creating an intriguing, episodic physical struggle for survival against natural disasters. Two extremely vibrant, slick performers fight fatal floods, conveying human powerlessness. Confusion, distress and vulnerability emanate in this hour, powerfully portraying a struggle for survival. There are moments of beauty carefully contrasted with the moments of pain: stunning images of furniture flying around the space, blue glittered paper exploding out of a huge plastic ball as a man manages to swim to the surface, and a divine love-making acrobatic scene which is sadly ruined. Unfortunately, these moments of genius are inconsistent, slightly fleeting, and repetitive. However, this is overall an extremely interesting and powerful new work.
Zoo, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 ⎪ [Lucrezia Pollice]

Teatro Delusio (Familie Floz)
Thirty characters, over an hour and not a word. An ambitious and brilliantly executed concept, 'Teatro Delusio' invites the audience on a journey behind the scenes of a theatre. And, while we may only be backstage, the show is very much on! A mix of mime, masks and music makes it difficult to pin down this piece to a single genre. The three actors and puppeteers bring to life an extraordinary diversity of characters: despite the still faces of the masks, they convey a wide emotional range, and each character has their own story and personality. Between technical mishaps, rehearsals, love, artistic rivalries and even sword fights, 'Teatro Delusio' is a charming, comic and poetic journey.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Pénélope Hervouet]

MUSIC

Cycling From Land's End To John O'Groats With A Piano (Mike Hatchard)
Mike Hatchard is fundraising for Children in Need and paused his journey to play his travelling companion, the piano, at the Fringe. Hatchard played this, and the fiddle, and covered a mixture of light-hearted material, including his own. The community singing number was 'You've been doing something wrong; I can tell by the way you smell'. I liked it, and sang along. Other favourites were the instrumental 'Steeplechase Rag' and 'Have Some Madeira M'dear', while Victoria Wood's 'Let's Do It' was a fitting tribute. The self-penned 'Frozen Poo', about a house in Essex hit by airline waste, really made me laugh! This concert for a good cause definitely had a touch of music hall about it; good fun.
Acoustic Music Centre @ St Bride's, until 20 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Louise Rodgers]

Women Of The Hebrides (Caitlin Downie & Yshani Perinpanayagam)
This was folk music, though the style was classical – in English - and very well done. I was reminded of my childhood, not gazing into a peat fire flame but rather watching popular TV programmes, in black and white, of music graduate Moira Anderson singing Scottish songs. Caitlin Downie interpreted the songs skilfully and Yshani Perinpanayagam was an excellent accompanist. Downie convinced as a flirtatious fairy in 'A Fairy's Love Song' and was strongly dramatic in 'The Ballad of MacNeil of Barra'. 'The Christ-Child's Lullaby' was new to me, and also very lovely. These were songs about perilous days gone by, in places where the veil between different worlds was very thin indeed.
Acoustic Music Centre @ St Bride's, 14 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Louise Rodgers]

MUSICALS

The House Of Edgar (The Argosy Theatre Company)
'The House of Edgar' is a new musical that really packs a punch. In it, Edgar Allen Poe's estranged friend, Rufus Griswold, takes over his estate after his death. But when strange things start to happen in the run-down house, could there be more to the story then meets the eye? The strong and (for the space) surprisingly large cast are joined on stage by a band, who complement the show with a beautiful live score. The simple set design is used elegantly throughout the performance, with unnoticed objects bringing to life unexpected scenes. The soundtrack is brilliant and, although the story is occasionally confused, it does mimic Poe's structure. A must see for any Poe fans.
theSpace on the Mile, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Bethan Highgate-Betts]

SPOKEN WORD

A Show Of Two Halves (Somethings Old, Somethings New) (Liz Lochhead With Steve Kettley)
Scotland needs Liz Lochhead, she writes poetry about our lives in a way we can understand, and if you'd been there tonight you'd have understood too. Lochhead's warm delivery and perfect diction ensured that everyone got the jokes and felt the sorrow. Steve Kettley played masterly saxophone and I loved 'A Bit of Class', where he set up a looped rhythm using squeaking toy pigs and played over it! In addition to her celebrated poetry, Lochhead performed character monologues, including a naive schoolgirl with a manipulative teacher and a mother sick of her teenager dressing in black; these felt both funny and worryingly truthful. This was an outstanding night of Scottish culture that anyone could enjoy.
Acoustic Music Centre @ St Bride's, 15 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Louise Rodgers]

Strange Face – Adventures With A Lost Nick Drake Recording (Michael Burdett/Glynis Henderson Productions)
Composer Michael Burdett takes to the stage to talk about an unreleased Nick Drake recording that he found in a skip. Having had the recording for 30 years without ever listening to it, when Burdett finally played it he was surprised to find a piece of music he'd never heard before. After informing the Nick Drake estate, Burdett set about travelling the country to randomly select people to photograph listening to it. The show is just one man sitting in the dark, flicking through a PowerPoint presentation and making bad jokes, but if you're a Nick Drake fan it's unmissable. However, if you're not then there are definitely better ways to spend an hour.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Bethan Highgate-Betts]

THEATRE

Blank (Aurora Nova)
Nassim Soleimanpour challenged convention with his acclaimed 'White Rabbit Red Rabbit.' Like a distant puppeteer, he played with both performer and audience, as the actor had to perform without having read the script beforehand. The game is similar in 'Blank' but with an added feature: the audience fills in blanks in the script. The roles get further mixed here - playwright, actor and audience are all part of a team as "ignorance propels us forward," and Soleimanpour acknowledges the other side of the conversation he started. Capitalising on our hunger for stories, and questioning what 'character' means, the play is enjoyable and enlightening. 'Blank' aims like a sniper, not only at your mind, but also at your heart.
Summerhall, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Aida Rocci]

Boris: World King (KPS Productions and Seabright Productions present Three's Company)
With wig, waffle and even audience participatory wiff-waff (that's ping pong to those not from Eton), David Benson embodies Boris Johnson as a buffoon, without being clownish. Yaz Al-Shaater's direction resists cartoonish parody of the unlikely foreign secretary, reminding us of his Machiavellian ambition. Benson is at his best when a sneer accompanies Boris's seemingly harmless xenophobic or misogynist 'banter', as he and long suffering director/researcher Helen (Joanna Bending) try to keep his quest for The Edinburgh Comedy award and subsequent world domination on track. Whilst the flashback scenes can be woolly, the current post-referendum material and politician patter is consistently funny. 'Boris: World King' reminds the audience of the very danger of Boris ... you can't help but like him.
Pleasance Dome, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Francesca Peschier]

Broken Fanny (Emma Jerrold / Something For The Weekend)
Had your first baby, planning to? Then you'll enjoy Emma Jerrold's original work, 'Broken Fanny'. If not, you can still appreciate her cleverly written, albeit familiar, narrative of a first time mum navigating the expectations set by perfect "Scandi" friends, or just from her front door to a cafe with her baby. In a desperate search for her maternal instinct, all while plotting escape and hearing voices, Jerrold toys with confessions that in retrospect seem quite dark with quirky fun. I liked her paranoid interactions with Google and in another scene, a well lip-synced opera aria. The least successful part perhaps was the title reference, which felt like an afterthought, but on the whole it's a sincere and amusing piece.
theSpace @ Jury's Inn, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Jane Berg]

Deep-Fried Language (7blue)
'Deep-Fried Language' is absurdist to the point of farce. It follows bewildered protagonist Alan, played by Jack Versace, through a bizarre sequence of bureaucratic encounters after being arrested for shoplifting. Its surreal script is packed with cliches and buzzwords, in an attempt to mock these modern day platitudes. Whilst it's an impressive achievement to pack a script full of so many hackneyed phrases, its comedic value is more worthy of a sketch or two than a full play. The cast do their best to deliver this weak material and Myles Horton particularly stands out, with a performance brimming with physicality and dynamism. However, it's just not enough, and by the play's sinister climax we're all just as confused as Alan.
C Nova, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [John Sampson]

The Inevitable Heartbreak Of Gavin Plimsole (Sharklegs)
Gavin Plimsole is a tinkerer who, inviting us into his shed, tell us his story and allows us to alter it. Using our heart rates, measured by monitors and projected onto Gavin's shed, we choose the scenes we see and ultimately decide the ending. Good use of puppetry makes for a light hearted, entertaining performance. Considering the finite number of heart beats we have is a fantastic idea, however, the show doesn't live up to its potential. Rhys Lawton's Gavin is incredibly likeable, and the show works best when it sticks to the story, but it becomes swamped with too many ideas and it can be difficult to connect with Gavin's struggle. An entertaining hour, which struggles to capture us emotionally.
Pleasance Dome, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Olly Jacques]

Mimes In Time (Dream Gun)
Dream Gun have created a light-hearted, humorous production, with great comedic timing and physical presence. In this fictional reality, mimes are the keepers of time, who unsuccessfully attempt to create the perfect historical time line. As with most time travelling stories, things get catastrophically out of hand, but the satire grows strong and this Irish company maintains a clear story. It's a slick performance, and the actors own the stage with great presence and storytelling skills, but the narrative is pretty simple and only fleetingly captivating. And if you're looking for an actual mime performance, you're in the wrong place, as that's not what this show is about. Overall, you can expect a comedic, funny and slightly nonsense hour of fun!
Underbelly Cowgate, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 ⎪ [Lucrezia Pollice]

Shakespeare Syndrome (Mermaids: The University Of St Andrews Performing Arts Fund)
Have you ever wondered how Shakespeare's most famous characters would fare in an appointment with a psychiatrist? Well look no further than 'Shakespeare Syndrome', as psychiatrist Will Bard sees some of his more over-the-top patients, and attempts to sort out their murdering, drug-taking ways. All the favourites are here, from Mr and Mrs Macbeth, who've been having issues with hallucinations, to Richard the Third, Hamlet, Juliet Capulet and more. It's an interesting idea, and it's exciting to see your favourite Shakespearean characters in a new context, but unfortunately the staging lets it down a bit. Showing two rooms on stage at the same time, with only the lighting to distinguish between them, makes it hard to tell when each scene has finished.
Greenside @ Infirmary Street, until 20 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Bethan Highgate-Betts]

Torch (Flipping The Bird)
Jess Mabel Jones's character in 'Torch' is having a bad night out. One of those nights when you end up in the club toilets hiding from the world. From this setting, Jones regales the audience with a rundown of her past relationships, in an attempt to capture the experience of a nearly 30-year-old woman. Although 'Torch' is more successful than Phoebe Eclair Powell's other Fringe show, 'Epic Love and Pop Songs', I struggled to see what the point of it was. Why is the character telling this story at this moment? Jones's performance of the monologue, and the nightclub classics that punctuate it, is superb, as is the design. However, the glitter sparkles brighter than the script.
Underbelly Cowgate, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Hannah Greenstreet]

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