SATURDAY 20 AUGUST 2016 THREEWEEKSEDINBURGH.COM
FRANCES M LYNCH: SINGING THE PRAISES OF SCIENTISTS
As soon as we heard about this show, we were drawn to it. It's the music of six contemporary female composers, written about the titular and often neglected 'Superwomen Of Science', performed by a talented soprano in possession of considerable theatrical skills.

We like it when science and art collide - and we like theatrical projects which address injustice - so this felt like a match made in heaven. To find out more about the show, we spoke to its creator and sole performer, Frances M Lynch. Read the interview here.

'Superwomen Of Science' is on at Valvona & Crolla until 28 Aug.



PHOTO SHOOT: MELANIE GALL & OPERA MOUSE
Internationally-acclaimed vocalist Melanie Gall has two shows at the Fringe this year, though in one of them, she's not the star. That role goes to Tilly, the opera house mouse who dreams of performing on stage.

We talk to Melanie about her show 'Opera Mouse' in the next edition of ThreeWeeks, and booked in a photo shoot ahead of the interview. See the results here.

'Opera Mouse' is on at theSpace @ Surgeon's Hall until 27 Aug. Melanie's other show 'Piaf and Brel: The Impossible Concert' is on at the same venue, also through to 27 Aug.
Three to see at the Edinburgh Festival tomorrow...

Superwomen Of Science - Minerva Scientifica | Valvona & Crolla | 1.00pm

Have a read of the Q&A at the top of today's TW Daily and then go and see the show! "A twenty-first century show, portraying notable but neglected historical women scientists", our reviewer explains, "with music from contemporary female composers and an electronic soundscape. These women deserve recognition - come and meet them". Indeed they do, and indeed you should.

Angel by Henry Naylor | Gilded Balloon Teviot | 4.30pm (pictured)
A real stand out in the Fringe's theatre programme this year. "Filipa Bragança is phenomenal as a brave young Syrian girl searching for her father", notes our review. "Important, frightening, and happening now, 'Angel' reminds us that the atrocities some of our generation are living through are not that far away".

The Blind Date Project | Zoo Southside | 10.00pm
This show "reveals the voyeuristic pleasure of watching intimacy develop between two strangers" says our reviewer, who notes that nothing is scripted here but "the key to the show is the brilliant production, which guarantees quality and spontaneity. The pace doesn't lag, there's humour and a surprising sense of realness to the evening". Go see.
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

Jellyfish (Intrepid Ensemble)
'Jellyfish' is an enchanting family tale, about a mysterious jellyfish that appears in the lives of a young family after they move to Wales. The cast of four excel in this vivid and imaginative story, with Nathan Allenby as eight-year-old Tom giving the stand out performance. Most impressive is the play's dynamic choreography, as the characters ingeniously utilise cardboard boxes, plastic sheeting and lamps to bring Tom's story to life, with the underwater scenes as a particular highlight. The magnificent jellyfish puppet adds a touch of magic and, combined with the stunning musical composition produced by Finn Anderson, captures the nautical ambience of the piece. All in all a transfixing spectacle.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [John Sampson]

COMEDY

Knightmare Live: The Game Has Changed (Electric Talent)
Not having seen the 90s TV show can initially make 'Knightmare Live' feel like you've turned up to a geeks' party carrying some dice with the wrong number of sides. However, the sheer exuberance of the presenters, who narrate the volunteer 'Chosen One' through good, evil and quite possibly death via the choices of guest comedians, has kept this show fresh on its third Fringe. It's refreshed by Paul Flannery and Zoe Hunn's colour-activated backdrop, which perfects the 90s low-fi aesthetic. So much more than a goblin, Brendan Murphy plays fantastical characters on and off the stage, with voices and an energy that reduced more than one audience game player to helpless giggles. A must for your not-so inner nerd, go forth and quest!
Pleasance Dome, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Francesca Peschier]

Norris & Parker: See You At The Gallows (CKP)
On the warmest day of the Fringe so far, the Attic at Pleasance Courtyard was somewhat sauna-like, but that didn't stop duo Katie Norris and Sinead Parker from launching with gusto into their all-singing, all-dancing hour of sketch comedy. This high-energy show introduced us to a selection of mirthful characters, including the Feminazis; an incompetent 1980s cop and his assistant; and a pair of boorish Australians who've set up their own cleaning business and are looking for new staff. With musical accompaniment from Tim Burton-esque pianist Chris, who plays an original score, 'See You at the Gallows' celebrates the weird, the wonderful and the downright daft, all tied together by a comic fracturing of the ladies' friendship.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Daisy Malt]

Paul McMullan: Alcopop (Bound And Gagged Comedy)
This is a stand-up show that grows on you rather than one which comes flying out of the blocks. Paul McMullan is a recovering alcoholic, and his set explores his journey from rock bottom to his current sobriety. Whilst McMullan doesn't provoke roaring laughter from start to finish, and often his jokes fall flat, there's subtlety to his stand-up. He's very perceptive about the British drinking culture, making astute observations about society's treatment of recovering addicts. There are undoubtedly elements of McMullan's set that could be dispensed with though; one or two default jokes that he returns too readily to. However, it's a thoughtful and affecting show, delivered with real candidness.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [John Sampson]

Sally Phillips And Lily Bevan: Talking To Strangers (Mick Perrin Worldwide)
Sick of the same clichéd characters being written for women, Sally Phillips and Lily Bevan decided that the best solution was to just create some of their own. From a hopeless yoga instructor to a clueless nutritional adviser, each is delivered as a monologue, and each has her own internal turmoil; we see a snapshot of their apparent existential crises. There were moments of eccentricity that you'd expect from Phillips and Bevan; an inexperienced guide at Hampton Court Palace attempting to speak in a Spanish accent was especially comical. However, while I enjoyed the theatrical representation of each individual, they were often caricatures that didn't quite deliver on the humour I was looking forward to.
Assembly George Square Studios, until 21 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Daisy Malt]

Samantha Pressdee: Sextremist (Love Muffin Production)
It is perhaps unsurprising that basing your liberation on Russell Brand leads to a confused manifesto. Whilst her conviction over #FreetheNipple (follow for upcoming topless protests on the Royal Mile) is commendable, Samantha Pressdee's strength and failure lies in her inherent vulnerability. Her unfocused delivery helps to expose the contradictions in a sex-positive overthrowing of the patriarchy, but also blocks any rapport with her audience, losing the agency of her message. For a supposedly feminist show, her journey of self-discovery is entirely underscored by men (including her celebrity conquests), with other women only appearing in her narrative as "catty" or "bitchy". Pressdee is a worthy activist, however being topless is not enough as a revolutionary or comic act.
Just The Tonic at The Mash House, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Francesca Peschier]

DANCE

Lїnger (Eriu Dance Company)
What is our relationship to those who are most like us and yet very different? Anguished and tender, two male dancers at opposite ends of their careers share an exquisite duet of contemporary Irish dance. This simple contrast of sameness/difference is complex terrain for the subconscious to contemplate whilst being transported by a choreography of breath-taking unison. Teacher, pupil, father, son, lovers, or perhaps the same person, the sensitivity of the work encompasses all these possibilities. However, while the backdrop of live drawing was interesting, the multimedia projections of the dancers seemed a touch repetitive and inadequate in such close proximity to the real thing. 'Linger' leaves you feeling that masculinity has been carefully disassembled and is now a little better understood.
Dance Base, until 21 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Jane Berg]

MUSIC

PanAcoustic (Paul Joseph Reynolds and Matt Solstone)
Step out of the hustle of the city into 'PanAcoustic' and breathe out - you're among friends. This guitar duo didn't sing, but they played their own instrumental compositions in a relaxed, amiable way that made no demands on the audience beyond sitting back and enjoying it all. Rhythms of dances from around the world - Brazil for the number 'Sao Paulo', Cuba for 'Rhumba Rosa', Malawi for 'African Sun' - mingled with their one cover, 'Rain Song' by Led Zeppelin. PanAcoustic are a new duo - this was only their second gig - but they have lots of interesting material. This wasn't a polished performance, but I was glad of that, because it felt like we met real people and not a stage act.
Acoustic Music Centre @ St Bride's, until 22 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Louise Rodgers]

THEATRE

All Aboard The Marriage Hearse (Joanne Heartstone)
With just two actors and minimal set, taking place during a single argument between a couple, 'All Aboard The Marriage Hearse' is understated but beautifully done - nothing is over-said or overacted. Matt Morrillo has a unique ability to write relationships that feel genuinely real, and this play feels more like a look behind closed doors into the life of a real couple. The play is an ode to modern love, its compromises and challenges. Anyone who has ever been in a relationship will see something of themselves in the characters - the audience laughs in recognition at the same arguments they've had themselves, and there is something universal in this portrayal of love.
Gilded Balloon Teviot, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Rosie Barrett]

Breakfast Plays: Tech Will Tear Us Apart (?) (Traverse Theatre Company)
It's early in the morning. Your body is present at the Traverse Theatre but your mind is barely there. Not to worry. After being greeted with a warm roll and longed-for coffee, you'll get a morning-size portion of ideas from the 'Breakfast Plays' to awaken your mind. This year's plays look at the growing role technology has in our lives. 'How To Ruin Someone's Life From The Comfort Of Your Own Beanbag' opened the series, exploring the murky line between real and virtual consequences and identity. Although the performance was a little rough around the edges, it was fresh and thought-provoking. This new play series ensures that you'll begin your morning with something that will remain with you for the rest of your day.
Traverse Theatre, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Aida Rocci]

Canon Warriors (Experimental Theatre Club)
An afternoon in a cellar with Thanet's premier (and only) feminist puppeteers sounds like scarily worthy Fringe fair, despite the promise of "feminist dick jokes", but your heart will be captured by this beach hut-dwelling menagerie. Using hand puppets to communicate so much unsaid, Puck-like Punch (Livi Dunlop) and anxious Fleur (Imogen Allen) try to save their home from the not-so faceless council (Matthew Shore). The three performers build a believable if bizarre world, with Ell Potter's direction avoiding any of the Radcylffe Hall-style wringing of hands that so often ruins LGBTQ romantic dialogue. A brilliantly crafted piece of new writing, puppets Dog and Sid deserve their own show, if only to complete Punch's ode in song to Shakespeare's penis metaphors.
Paradise in The Vaults, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Francesca Peschier]

Circleville, Circlevalley (Experimental Theatre Club)
I've never been to a dramatherapist (one word, apparently), but if it's like this then sign me up! We're dropped straight into one client's imaginary session and, while the Freudian undertones are clear to see, they're not the focus, or the point, really. Instead, the audience is an extra member of the session, invited into all of the characters' safe spaces to hear their thoughts and share their feelings. And it is a brilliantly liberating, profoundly cathartic experience; this kind of topic, with limited audience interaction, could easily be pretentious, or awkward, but instead it feels sincere throughout, even when played for laughs. The play's ending brings just the right amount of closure, too, without unrealistically solving everyone's problems.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 21 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Andy Leask]

Dusty Horne's Sound And Fury (Honourable East End Company)
Credit where it's due, the finale was actually pretty entertaining: we all joined in, live dubbing the sound effects to a scene from Hitchcock's 'The Birds'. But the journey to get to there was less effective. The show takes the form of a sometimes interactive demonstration of foley artistry (movie sound effects), led by "legendary" artiste and diva Dusty Horne. There are some early laughs from the over-the-top performance and intentionally awkward flirting with an audience member, but the misjudged plot running through the show - Dusty's heartbreak over the end of her relationship with Jack Foley - is melodramatic, sucking the energy out of the room every time the actress moves from the comedy to the 'serious' plot.
Pleasance Dome, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Andy Leask]

Grimm: An Untold Tale (Fiercely Spun)
This is a story about stories, but one that doesn't get bogged down in self-indulgent meta-commentary; rather, it explores the stories of the real women who provided the brothers Grimm with their tales. Within those lives there are echoes of their fictional counterparts - a strong, nonconformist girl; a sickly woman locked in a tower - the comparisons are clear, but handled with a deft, light touch. In this delightfully playful show, the three actresses, with live musical accompaniment, embody a series of roles, maintaining a tight grip on the audience's attention and emotions. The threat of Napoleon's army hangs over proceedings, but really it's the unfairness of patriarchy - represented here by the credit-stealing Grimms as much as the soldiers - that is the true villain.
Underbelly Cowgate, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Andy Leask]

Jerry Finnegan's Sister (CAT Productions)
In 'Jerry Finnegan's Sister', Brian immediately breaks the fourth wall, talking the audience through his relationship - or lack thereof - with Beth, the archetypal girl next door and his best friend's sister. He clearly loves her, but has always been unable to tell her how he feels, getting tongue-tied and making a fool of himself. The plot could have been lifted straight from a John Hughes movie ('Sixteen Candles' even gets a namecheck), but it's none the worse for that. Indeed, the script uses that familiarity to get even more laughs in a play already bursting with humour. A feel-good comedy with genuine heart, every member of the audience left with a smile plastered on their face. I'm still smiling now.
C Nova, until 24 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Andy Leask]

Karen Hobbs: Tumour Has It
When Karen Hobbs was 24 she was diagnosed with cervical cancer. So she did what any ordinary person would do and made a Fringe show about it. Journey with Hobbs through her diagnosis, treatment and post-cancer life. From almost being on morning television, to her Dad's emotionally stifled reaction to the news, Hobbs recreates it all with a sense of disbelief that something so terrible could be so ridiculously funny. She is a confident and endearing performer, challenging the stigma of cervical cancer with wit and a determination to see the funny side. This is quirky, heartfelt comedy at its best - an honest and hilarious show with a lot of heart.
Underbelly Med Quad, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Bethan Highgate-Betts]

The Lounge (Inspector Sands)
This care home lounge is a nightmarish limbo of nauseating mealtimes, patronising carers and ghoulish, remote-hogging residents. In this atmosphere of visceral tension, it's almost a relief to discover that its nonagenarian Marsha Hewitt's last day alive. The performers deliver a menagerie of characters through expert physicality, supported by excellent sound and set design. But this new work by Inspector Sands doesn't just deliver surreal, dark humour. As the actors make liquid shifts from young to old it's hard to resist harrowing moments of realisation, about mortality, and about the need for revolution, a "silver rising" in the care industry. Be brave and confront the future in this dreadful lounge: it's a moving and important story.
Summerhall, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Jane Berg]

The ME (The Sun Apparatus Theatre Company)
One of this company's aims is to "play with the absurdities of life" and they certainly achieve that, as they pointedly skewer society's obsession with youth and faddy miracle cures. The early scenes featuring a self-centred woman and her maid are funny, spiky satire with bite and humour. Things get increasingly bizarre over the course of the play, as a disgraced geneticist and the maid's murderous sister turn up. There are plenty of funny lines and moments in the play, and at times the elements of satire, farce and surreal humour work well. But for me the sheer silliness of events undercut the satirical edge, which is a shame, as that was by far the strongest element.
Zoo, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Andy Leask]

More Scouse, Saddam? (Sad Ham Productions)
The true story of Liverpool decorator David Thelwell, held hostage by Saddam Hussein whilst renovating the dictator's palace, is a remarkable one, sadly let down by this lazy production. Little care is taken with mimed props or historical accuracy (references abound to "hashtagging" despite it being 1990) and female characters are reduced to dolly bird stereotypes that not even a hilarious Salt-N-Pepa dance number can redeem. Whilst writer Mike Howl has shoehorned some classic Scouse humour into the script, the show never dares look at the darker side of Thelwell's captivity or its complex politics. Neither does it allow itself to descend into the full on farce that it clearly longs to be, despite claiming "this is anything but a pantomime".
theSpace @ Symposium Hall, until 20 Aug.
tw rating 1/5 | [Francesca Peschier]

Pale Imitations (AMLD Theatre Company)
Love, success, art: these are big topics to grapple with in just 50 minutes. While the script touches on these themes, what really holds the play together are the complex relationships between the characters. All three actors deliver excellent performances, with Jerome Wise's Ramone a particular standout. Between them they convey a realistically 'lived in' chemistry in their characters' complex, often acrimonious relationships. I really bought into the ten-year history of these lives. Less successful, though, is the motif of art - visual, and musical - running through the play. It's a nice stylistic touch, but the attempts to marry it thematically to the plot don't quite work, giving the play the air of a sketch, rather than a finished masterpiece.
SpaceTriplex, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Andy Leask]

Remember To Breathe (Figure 8 Productions / Scary Biscuits Promotions)
A surprisingly powerful show, this play explores some of the complexities of emigration, and the strains that puts on familial relationships. In Maeve's journey - from Ireland, to Asia, to New Zealand, and into a new life - we see echoes of everyone who has left home and moved abroad. The dialogue comes thick and fast - at times a little too fast, given the echoing venue - but is wonderfully crafted and delivered, especially the conversations between Maeve and her father, which are often heart-breaking to watch. Liz Fitzgibbon as Maeve gives a particularly mesmerising performance. Humour is used expertly throughout to release tension, and it all builds to a beautifully transcendent final monologue that left the audience breathless.
Summerhall, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Andy Leask]

The Rules Of Inflation (Balloons Theatre)
'The Rules Of Inflation' is set up as a children's party. Performers hand out cake. The stage is littered with balloons. The ensuing 50 minutes is made up of twisted party games, dictated to the characters - Pink, Yellow, Green and Blue - by a clown that emerges from a giant, wrapped box. Unfortunately, it is just not that entertaining to watch the performers playing musical chairs. The show gestures towards important points about sexual power dynamics - some disturbing things are done with balloons, including a simulated labour - and politics, but is ultimately vapid. Clowning, the selling point of the show, is not used to its full potential. A deflating late night show.
theSpace @ Surgeons Hall, until 20 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Hannah Greenstreet]

Swivelhead (Pipeline Theatre Company)
Drones and weddings have become tragically associated in our recent history, so it's unavoidable to see the connection in 'Swivelhead', the story of a drone operator who turns into an owl the night before his sister's wedding. It sounds absurd, yet the play is addressing the complicated topics of modern warfare, masculinity, mental health and changing ethics, all without neglecting the personal side of the story. It's a highly symbolic, complex piece that sometimes becomes confusing, inaccessible, or hard to empathise with, but Pipeline can only be commended for what they are trying to achieve. With remarkable performances, detailed direction and an evocative design, this daring, symbolic new play is not perfect but worth attention.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Aida Rocci]

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