You may be more familiar with Mary Lynn Rajskub for her TV work, not least as Chloe from '24'. But this August it's all about the comedy, as she imports her stand-up for the Edinburgh audience with a debut Fringe show '24 Hours With Mary Lynn Rajskub'. We caught up with Mary Lynn to find out about the show, and how stand-up and acting compare. Read the interview here.

'24 Hours With Mary Lynn Rajskub' is on at Assembly George Square Studios until 28 Aug.

'Paper Hearts' is, and I quote, an "uplifting new British musical set in a high street bookshop". With books on the mind, the show's writer Liam O'Rafferty wondered what advice the characters of some of his favourite novels might offer as he embarked of his first Edinburgh Fringe production. Read his column here.

'Paper Hearts The Musical' is on at the Underbelly Med Quad until 29 Aug.
Three to see at the Edinburgh Festival tomorrow...

Hamlet In Bed | Pleasance Courtyard | 2.10pm
OK, let's start with something Shakespearian themed, shall we? "Numerous parallels are cleverly established between the 'real' story and the Shakespearian one", says our reviewer of this show, "and the actors brilliantly develop and embody both". Conclusion? "A phenomenal take on Shakespeare's play".

How (Not) To Live In Suburbia | Summerhall | 4.50pm (pictured)
In this "relatable and surprisingly uplifting show about loneliness and living", you follow Annie Siddons' "strikingly honest" account of "what happened when the 'walrus of loneliness' came to call, following a move to the suburbs with her daughters and the breakdown of her marriage". Packed with zany touches, it's definitely one to see.

Guitar Multiverse | C too | 7.30pm
How about something musical to finish off with? Declan Zapala is a virtuoso and – says our reviewer – "watching him play was just as entertaining as listening to him". Concludes the review: "In what universe is Zapala a star? All of them!"

The Week Three 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 Mary Lynn Rajskub, Gideon Irving, Joe DeRosa, Melanie Gall, Phil Dunning, Phil Jerrod and Casting Call Woe, plus columns from Jarlath Regan and Jojo Bellini, and lots of reviews.

CLICK HERE to check out the Week Three edition online


Beards! Beards! Beards! (Trick Of The Light Theatre)
'Beards! Beards! Beards!' is a strange beast. It's delightfully liberal, as a young girl with two dads sets out on a quest to get her own beard. It ends, as you'd expect, with the cheerful realisation that we live in a "socially progressive world" and we're all free to present ourselves however we choose. The problem, unfortunately, is in the execution. It's incredibly wordy for the 8+ rating, and Trick of the Light try to do too much in an hour: from a rapping Henry the Eight and a petulant Darwin, via Shakespeare, Rasputin, Lincoln and many more. The songs (particularly the appropriately barbershop harmonies) and constant beard puns are a nice touch, but this production is in need of a serious trim.
Assembly Roxy, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Gemma Scott]

The Tiniest Frog Prince In The World (Brush Theatre)
Puppetry, princes and projectors combine to create the enchanting 'Tiniest Frog Prince in the World'. From Korean group Brush Theatre, comes a joyous retelling of the famous fairytale. The cast beautifully explore the story with such dynamic vitality that its predominantly Korean script doesn't impede the audience's understanding. The prince/frog is a particular stand-out, as the actor magnificently captures the amphibious essence of a frog; hopping, swimming and croaking around the stage. It's a sublime technical achievement from the sound technician, who masterfully controls the performance's atmospheric shifts with a host of different sounds, whilst simultaneously filming the majestic puppet staging for its projection onto the big screen. A charming delight, that'll be cherished by children and parents alike.
C Venues, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [John Sampson]

Hup (Starcatchers in association with the RSNO and Pleasance Kids)
Two violinists, a cellist and a dancing raccoon-lady welcome the audience into the imaginary forest of their performance area. The audience is seated on the floor, intimately among the players, leading to a lovely opportunity to be transfixed by myriad pleasures; the props and interactions, colourful scenery and, first and foremost, the music, a lovely original score played with amiable confidence. Raccoon-lady gradually transforms the musicians into imitations of herself, with striped garments, tails and coloured noses, all bar one who resists until (spoiler alert) she too joins in the fun as, ultimately, does the crowd. My little co-reviewer did wander off once or twice (for which there is welcome space and indulgence) but was fulsome and sincere in her applause at the end.
Pleasance Kids at EICC, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Bruce Blacklaw]


Aatif Nawaz: Aatificial Intelligence (Aatif Nawaz / Free Festival)
Aatif Nawaz is a man on a mission with 'Aatificial Intelligence', not to promote cybernetics but to teach people how to say his name right. But beyond improving our Pakistani pronunciation, Nawaz's comedy exposes the bias and assumptions he deals with every day, in society and the media, in his role as soapbox Muslim, available for comment. Nawaz is a pro at putting his audience at ease, navigating what could be an old-fashioned, "where are you all from?" opener with real warmth. Though the show could be tighter, he tells stories with candour but without presenting them as 'issues'. There is nothing controversial or scandalous in Nawaz's show, but there are some good gags and great camaraderie.
Laughing Horse @The Newsroom, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Francesca Peschier]

Bethany Black (Extra) Ordinary (Lee Martin for Gag Reflex)
Bethany Black is a comedienne teetering on the edge of stellar stardom but previously she's had a rough couple of years with multiple bereavements, a broken engagement and enough horrific injuries to put you off roller derby for life. A self-proclaimed cat-loving Sapphic stereotype, Black pulls laughs out of the unlikeliest, often tragic, places with the command of a pro who has been headlining the Apollo for twenty years. Her journey to Channel Four, 'Doctor Who' and steadily rising star status makes for hilarious if sometimes incredulous listening. A total delight. It's a safe prediction that Black's audience won't fit in the intimate space of The Stand 2 for much longer so don't miss this small show with heart and laughs, like her beloved Tardis, bigger on the inside.
The Stand Comedy Club 2, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Francesca Peschier]

Mark Smith: Old Smudge (Berk's Nest / PBH's Free Fringe)
Performing to a packed-out audience, there's something incredibly endearing about Mark Smith, as he leaves the stage before his set to find a chair for a man standing up; "If there are any reviewers in, that's got to be two stars already." There's nothing ground-breaking about Smith's routine – his style is conventional, observational comedy. He bemoans the awkwardness of small talk and pokes fun at everyone from estate agents to A-list celebrities, but he has an instinctive talent for delivering a joke. It's nothing you haven't seen before, but it is done so well you won't mind; why be innovative when you've mastered the classic? For simple, good quality stand-up, you can't go wrong with 'Old Smudge'.
Cowgatehead, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 [Rosie Barrett]

Best Boy (Best Boy)
Best Boy are sketch duo Charlie Mizon and Dan Smith, whose comedic personae have them bickering about each other's relative comedic merits throughout this lively show. They have a nice line in audience participation and muck about merrily with the fourth wall to deconstruct their own stuff; both elements come back in a finale which constitutes a pretty memorable call-back. It's rather darker than the jaunty mid-afternoon slot might lead you to expect – once or twice to a needless fault in fact. Dunno about "best", but with a fun recurring riff of sponsored routines, a belting card 'trick', lots of good gags (a few clunkers too, mind) and cracking timing, it's pretty good.
Underbelly Cowgate, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Bruce Blacklaw]

Tom Neenan; Vaudeville (Berk's Nest)
'Vaudeville' begins with a hapless security guard attempting to tell the horrible history of an old vaudeville theatre and the intriguing (often murderous) characters that once inhabited it. Tom Neenan plays all the characters with a mischievous, hilarious enthusiasm. From the pompous Shakespearean actor, to the suave European knife-thrower, to the ventriloquist in constant conflict with his dummy – the characters aren't new, but Neenan's glorious pastiche of actors, critics and other performers is a master class in arch, tongue-in-cheek, but still incredibly clever comedy. The Fringe is the ideal location for this piece, as it's filled with in-jokes, like the classic about threes reading like fours. Neenan's skewing of theatrical conventions and affectations is ideal viewing for the theatrical types currently filling the city.
Underbelly Med Quad, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Gemma Scott]

Felicity Ward: 50% More Likely To Die (Brett Vincent for Get Comedy in association with Phil McIntyre)
We're about half way through the festival now, but Felicity Ward shows no sign of slowing down. She practically fizzes with energy during this show- she bounds around the stage, laughs at her own (chicken-based) musical interludes and talks like she could keep going for hours. She essentially tells one story, about a time when she left her bag on the bus, but the hour is filled with amusing anecdotes about life as an anxious Aussie living in London. It's loud, it's brash, and Ward is certainly not afraid of making herself look ridiculous. The title is a reference to her mental health issues, something she talks about openly and regularly during her set. Anxiety has never been this funny.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Gemma Scott]

Lou Sanders – What's That Lady Doing? (Berk's Nest and the Pleasance)
In both content and execution, Lou Sanders is gloriously all over the place. The surrealness of her humour, reinforced by the bizarre stage decorations, often has a real intensity to it. She constantly switches her tone, from self-deprecating to "ironic bravado" (her words) to a wild sort of confusion, never letting us settle into any particular 'feel'. Even her (rare) straightforward observations feel weird within the context of the show because they're part of her constant wrong-footing of the audience. Bouncing from childhood memories to tips for life to character-based sketches, and complete with weird jingles that somehow get stuck in your head, this show is the absolute best kind of bonkers.
Pleasance Dome, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Nina Keen]

Jayde Adams: 31 (Berk's Nest / PBH's Free Fringe / United Agents)
Strange things happen during Jayde Adams's show: there's competitive freestyle disco, smoothie making and an extremely unexpected musical number. This performance may be titled like an Adele album, but this highly personal show is no tribute act. This is a buckle-yourself-in hour, with Adams warmly taking the room from hysterical laughter to audience members offering her impromptu hugs. Autobiographical stand-up can be stale and self-indulgent, but Adams has a highly original voice and is unafraid to mix lowbrow, explicit anecdotes with the emotionally intimate. A truly generous entertainer, Adam's deserves a long queue emptying their wallets into her bucket in exchange for her voiding her warm and funny heart.
Voodoo Rooms, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Francesca Peschier]

Myra DuBois: Self AdMyra (So Comedy by arrangement with Gareth Joyner)
With so many celebrity deaths in 2016, Myra DuBois sees plenty of vacancies to fill, so she's here to showcase her talents. She'll sing, perform poetry, crack out a few dance moves and even prove her game show hosting skills. Although at times this feels a little like a checklist of drag clichés, DuBois drew the best laughs when she went off-script and dished out her razor-sharp wit. If there's a line in comedy, Myra DuBois likes to dance dangerously close to it in her heels. There are moments of brilliantly caustic humour that are delivered with a punch of shock-factor, which I'm sure converted a few more adMyras to her fan club.
Gilded Balloon Teviot, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Daisy Malt]

A Taste Of Planet Caramel (Planet Caramel / PBH's Free Fringe)
Through quick-fire sketch comedy, this trio is rather good at delivering weird little snippets of fun. With a few simple props and plenty of energy, they draw you into their strange world. There are glimmers of comedy genius, particularly in a skit about weight-conscious whales and in a brilliantly dark song from a bin with an inventive new method of recycling. With no sketch lasting longer than 90 seconds, the ones that don't work so well are quickly forgotten – some are just downright baffling. Reminiscent of the surrealist trio Clever Peter, Planet Caramel definitely show promise. Oh, and if you need more persuading, you'll get a Tunnock's Caramel Wafer just for being there.
Opium, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Daisy Malt]

Yaseen Kader: Smile (Tweedle Comedy/Pembroke Players)
Yaseen Kader's depression led him to drop out of university, go to New York and, indirectly, to write this show. There's some admirably candid stuff about mental health issues here, and some funny stuff about online dating, where his self-confessed nerdiness provides the bulk of the comic substance. Unfortunately, those two elements don't quite join up. The depression bit is light on laughs (I know, I know – but it is a comedy show and that takes up about half of it) and, where that seeks to establish narrative, the second half is a series of comic anecdotes. Kader himself acknowledges that he is finding his feet and, with his awkward charm and nice attention to comic detail, he definitely could. Worth encouraging.
Gilded Balloon at the Counting House, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Bruce Blacklaw]


Closer by Circa (Underbelly Productions)
Acrobatics with a comical, refreshing twist, this fast-paced show contains a variety of apparatuses and styles. All of the performers have incredible strength, balance and flexibility, and seem to perform all the roles traditionally found in acrobatic shows. Mixing aerial acts with floor gymnastics, 'Closer by Circa' has the audience on the edge of their seats, shocked and amazed as the performers push the limits of what the human body can do. The thrilling cast perform with an innocence and excitement that is contagious, and they even bring in audience members to participate! If this review isn't convincing enough, the full standing ovation at the end of the show really speaks for itself!
Underbelly George Square, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 [Pénélope Hervouet]


Gobsmacked (Underbelly Productions, Nic Doodson, Andrew Kay, Phil Bathols, TCB Group)
During last year's Fringe, Gobsmacked firmly established themselves as the a-cappella act to beat. This year they look set to retain that crown, presenting top-notch vocals alongside the work of world champion beat-boxer Ball-Zee to create a top class, well rounded show. While other a-cappella sets can feel stale, trudging from one song to the next with no innovation, Gobsmacked never fall into that trap. Short skits utilising the incredible talents of Ball-Zee link each piece, helping the show to become a slick, choreographed and almost theatrical hour. Everything is planned and executed perfectly – right down to creative use of live looping techniques. Undeniably, this show is a huge success.
Underbelly George Square, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Stephanie Gray]


Techies: The Musical (Guild Musical Theatre Group)
Rehearsals have started and the technical team are...well, mostly pointing screwdrivers in the general direction of a lightbulb. There are few laughs to be had from this new musical – the performances are of varying quality, but it's the script that really lets this young cast down. The characters are all lazy stereotypes, from the pushy director to the lighting designer who's sick of being ignored. And if you're expecting techie jokes then you'll be disappointed – there's not even the slightest mention of Gaffa tape. The writer seems to lack any understanding of what goes on backstage in a professional theatre, which meant that most of the plot just made no sense. If you're a techie you'll feel insulted watching this.
theSpace on the Mile, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Gemma Scott]

Unseal / Unseam & Erwartung (CalArts Festival Theatre)
'Unseal / Unseam' is a dark creation, combining both visual and sound elements to create a unique sensory experience. It's supposedly a story of domestic abuse, featuring various tragic female characters, but the complete absence of narrative makes it difficult to understand that intention. Objects such as chains and wire are used both as visual symbols of the woman's suffering and to create sound. Combining different musical genres, such as opera and minimalistic electronic music, this piece is obviously attempting to extend the boundaries of what is defined as music. Despite soprano Micaela Tobin's impressive vocal abilities, the piece is daunting and sometimes cacophonous. The creators are evidently talented and conceptual but this piece will only appeal to a specific audience.
Venue 13, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 [Pénélope Hervouet]


Animal: Are You A Proper Person? (Tongue Fu in association with No Ordinary Experience)
A pig and a flamingo make an unlikely pair in 'Animal: Are You a Proper Person?'. Chris Redmond and Anna Freeman chart the evolution of their spirit animals in this beguiling show that blends spoken word, sketches and music. It's a wacky hour full of hilarious encounters with the performers' spirit animals, from the first appearance of Redmond's pig at a childhood drum lesson, to Freeman's flamingo taking flight at a stuffy novelist's party. The brilliant musical accompaniment helps to capture the energy of these creatures, and compliments the production perfectly. This is an infectious show that will have you roaring and singing to the tune of your own spirit animal.
Gilded Balloon Teviot, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [John Sampson]


Adler & Gibb (Tim Crouch / Royal Court Theatre)
What makes a person? The memory that loved ones maintain? The testimony left in letters? The corpse buried in an unmarked grave? The image held by the public? Their art? Most importantly, who has a right to that identity? 'Adler & Gibb' asks these questions while bombarding the foundations of theatre and art. Highly theatrical and surprisingly gripping, the piece challenges the audience with its exploration of form and its visceral content. It is the story of Janet Adler, a famous artist who died mysteriously, and an actress who breaks into the artist's house hoping to unearth her past for an acting role. With a powerful script, compelling structure and knockout performances, 'Adler & Gibb' will not leave you indifferent.
Summerhall, until Aug 27.
tw rating 5/5 | [Aida Rocci]

Discretion Guaranteed (Gingerly)
'Discretion Guaranteed' blends the humorous with the harrowing, in a bold satire from writer Shamim de Brun. Driven by a cast of four, the play tackles issues surrounding femininity in the modern work place, with a predominant focus on sex workers. However, at times it's a little too fast paced, leaving some scenes slightly underdeveloped. Despite this, it's a poignant piece, encapsulated by one character's sarcastic line: "women think talent and education are enough to become successful". The play's strength is its ability to fully confront sensitive issues such as gender discrimination, sex work and rape. It's a daring, thought-provoking début that won't necessarily come good on the promise outlined by its title.
Paradise at The Vault, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [John Sampson]

I, Who Have Hands More Innocent (Innes Wurth Presents)
For acclaimed Croatian poet Versa Parun (1922-2010) language was an "abiding and passionate intimacy". Her verse is profound existential nostalgia wrapped in raw intensity, selected here to show her coming of age as an artist and of Croatia in her youth. Reading the poetry, projected in English during the show, while hearing the gorgeous texture and cadence of the original language seemed to help reduce what is necessarily lost in translation. Vesna Mataĉić's delivery of this vocally and physically demanding role is remarkable, as is fact that the two artistic mediums augment one another so well. I can only thank the Innes Wurth Presents for introducing me to this incredible poet.
Zoo, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Jane Berg]

One Day Moko (Portable Union)
Tim Carlsen's 'One Day Moko' was first performed in New Zealand in 2014. Carlsen masterfully inhabits his character, Moko, a happy-go-lucky homeless man, who repeatedly checks in with the audience and asks for song requests. There are some exciting theatrical moments here in Moko's interactions with the audience; we become the police, a bouncer, and other characters in his life. In a nice touch, Moko does all the tech himself, running round the back of the audience to turn the lights on and off. Unfortunately, the show does not hang together very well, something acknowledged by Moko at the end of the show, which is quite frustrating. Come for the character work rather than the story.
Gilded Balloon Teviot, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Hannah Greenstreet]

Putting The Band Back Together (Unfolding Theatre)
'Putting the Band Back Together' is a dedication to the forgotten musical instruments we all have hidden away. With The Futureheads frontman Ross Millard on guitar heading up a core band, the show explores the power of music and our relationship with it. Each performance also features a unique house band, made up of musicians found in the hours before the show. The attempted mix of storytelling and music works fairly well, but for me the format is confused. Unfortunately, obscure sections of physical theatre serve only to undermine the emotional telling of a poignant story – that of late artist Mark Lloyd, and his dream to reunite his old band for a charity gig in the final months of his life.
Northern Stage @ Summerhall, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Stephanie Gray]

Blush (Snuff Box Theatre in association with Underbelly Untapped)
"I'd like to take out each and every one of their eyeballs," says one character in 'Blush', after her sister's naked photos have been uploaded to the internet and viewed 30,000 times. Charlotte Josephine's important new play explores, in a multifaceted manner, the implications that digital technology has for relationships and intimacy. Josephine and Daniel Foxsmith skilfully take on five characters that are involved in different ways in online shaming. The parts when they speak in turn but not in dialogue are particularly powerful, conveying the isolation of individuals. My only criticism is that the characters were not differentiated enough, which meant the beginning was difficult to follow. This timely pay makes us feel pity and disgust, but also rage.
Underbelly, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Hannah Greenstreet]

Yuri (August012)
I'm a fan of the anarchic, of the wilfully illogical, but 'Yuri' was a little too much even for me. It uses its bizarre premise – a childless Welsh couple suddenly have a silent, possibly Russian, teenager thrust upon them – to raise some interesting questions. The pressure to have children, and the strain that can put on a marriage, segues into the myriad tensions and resentments that parents may feel towards their partners. And it's funny too, for the most part, though some gags don't land, and I found the implicit mocking of the mentally ill a little off colour. Mostly though, it was too incoherent, too bizarre for me; not quite a curate's egg, perhaps, but certainly niche.
Underbelly, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Andy Leask]

Callisto: A Queer Epic (Forward Arena)
'Callisto' is an ambitious play. It tells four stories simultaneously, all focused on queer relationships through history. From a woman living as a man in 1675; to Alan Turing mourning his first love; to a Midwestern woman who falls in love with a porn star; to a futuristic human/artificial intelligence romance. Though the connection between these separate stories is unclear, they all demonstrate genuine, believable relationships, and the comparisons to 'Cloud Atlas' are not unfounded. Catheine Pilsworth's costumes are fantastic, really setting each story in context without the need for a set. The performances too were uniformly brilliant, with Phoebe Hames and Mary Higgins as particular stand-outs. Though slightly too long, this is an intriguing set of stories.
Pleasance Dome, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Gemma Scott]

Dead Awaken (CalArts Festival Theatre)
A re-imagining of Henrik Ibsen's final play, 'Dead Awaken' is a loud, beautiful concert drama from The Californian Institute of the Arts. It focuses on The Artist, whose success has put a strain on his existence, as he struggles with the life he had and the life he thinks he wants. Looking at our animalistic qualities, the visuals are raw and compelling. The original music, composed by director Brian Carbine and lead actor Preston Butler III, is incredible, as the four performers tear through the intricate, poetic language accompanied by blasting music. An elusive but engaging tale, 'Dead Awaken' is a passionate and beautiful mash up of hip hop, neon-soul and equally beautiful, tender prose. A must see.
Venue 13, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Bethan Highgate-Betts]

Family Values (Ghost Light Theatre Group)
Can anyone really escape their past? Trent and Liam are two brothers with Mafia ties, who go to extreme lengths to leave their bloody history behind. But when two strangers appear on their doorstep, old wounds resurface. With an engrossing plot and a fantastically talented cast, the play is powerful and engaging. It begins in the midst of the action and only slowly does it reveal what has come before. Not for the squeamish, the realistic, bloody fight scenes will leave you cowering in your seat. Luckily, unlike many other action dramas, this is not mindless violence added to support a weak script. This gripping thriller will keep you enthralled – there were audible gasps from the audience.
theSpace on the Mile, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Rosie Barrett]

Finders Keepers (Hot Coals Theatre)
'Finders Keepers' is a great piece of physical theatre, about a father and daughter living in a junkyard, whose lives are changed when they find an abandoned baby. The two main characters, played by Jo Sargeant and Claire-Louise English, are delightfully, unapologetically ugly – scraping armpit hair off with a knife and spraying nail clippings. The puppet-baby is manipulated with great skill, though the loud crying becomes increasingly grating after a while. Told entirely without words, the play is designed to appeal to both hearing and D/deaf audiences, and it does this admirably, with visual cues to indicate the sound effects. Hot Coals Theatre have found the perfect balance between humour, sadness and sincerity in this heart-warming show.
ZOO, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Gemma Scott]

The Other (Gaël Le Cornec / Footprint Project)
'The Other' is a story of war and migration, told through magic realism. A young girl called Mana, and her living doll Manita, must walk from the violent Red and Yellow planet to the safe Blue planet. Her quest is a veneer of juvenile simplicity over a dark subtext of slavery and deprivation. This disturbing juxtaposition allows the play to mostly avoid the pitfalls of allegory, but it's Gaël Le Cornec's stellar performance that pulls it all together. She is completely absorbed by the role, using her multiple props and shadow puppets with effortless grace. This macabre fantasy does admirable work in highlighting how a child's mind should never have to encounter monsters.
Institut Français d'Ecosse, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 [Jane Berg]

Save + Quit (Hairpin Productions)
Sometimes you only need an empty stage and two chairs to create a full city. Set in London and Dublin, 'Save + Quit' tells the stories of four people who could well be commuting with you in the morning. With a beautiful script by Sophia Chetin Leuner and incredibly natural, nuanced performances, the lives of these strangers become real on the simple stage. You'll get drawn into these stories of connections and missed opportunities, moments to "save" and moments to "quit", which somehow seem to encapsulate the experience of a generation. 'Save + Quit' is unexpectedly moving – a confident piece of theatre that reveals its characters' worlds to the audience through honest, high-rate storytelling.
Assembly George Square, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Aida Rocci]

The Toyland Murders (Kite Tail Theatre Company)
'The Toyland Murders' is a classic New York noir thriller, as we see Inspector McGraw attempt to find the culprit in a series of increasingly grizzly murders. She interrogates the city's most notorious, hardened criminals. Except...the characters are all puppets, all bright colours and huge button eyes. Suitable for children and adults, there are lots of toy-based jokes here, and it has real similarities to Jasper Fforde's 'Nursery Crime' novels. The puppeteers themselves are highly skilled, very expressive and animated, so that you're sometimes not sure whether to watch them or the puppets. 'The Toyland Murders' is a highly inventive and creative piece from this young company, with lots of laughs and clever parodies of noir film clichés.
Bedlam Theatre, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Gemma Scott]

E15 (LUNG)
Walking into LUNG's production of 'E15' is like walking into a political campaign. Colourful banners are everywhere, loud music plays while performers belt out slogans: "social housing, not social cleansing". 'E15' is a piece of documentary theatre about a protest movement, launched by 29 young mothers when they were threatened with eviction and relocation from their homes in Newham. It tells of their extraordinary response to an all-too common situation, interspersed with interviews about the housing crisis. This is theatre at its most politically engaged and engaging – it is a call to action, with reverberations well beyond the stage. The performers remind the audience that "these are real people," and encourage us to "do something". This outstanding company deliver an angry, empowering production, catalysing change.
Summerhall, until 27th Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Hannah Greenstreet]

Wil Greenway: The Way The City Ate The Stars (NJC Productions)
Wil Greenway's solo show has sold out every night so far. And rightly so, as the Australian storyteller is back with the kind of uplifting yet heartbreaking show he does so well. It's about a woman he loves getting pregnant by someone else, but it also interweaves stories about birds fighting, old people grieving, fast cars and summer Christmases – small details building to an evocative, joyful whole. Though his charming manner can feel a little too rehearsed, Greenway has a sense of magical realism that means you'd happily listen to him telling the tallest of tall tales. He talks about blushing and flailing for words around a woman he likes, but Greenway's beautiful, lyrical script suggests he's someone who could never be lost for words.
Underbelly Med Quad, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Gemma Scott]

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