Phil Jerrod is back at the Fringe with new show 'Hypocrite', in part inspired by him being mugged in a phone box. With hypocrisy the theme, he sounds like just the chap to give us some honest and consistent answers in an interview, so we threw some questions in his general direction. Read the interview here.

Phil Jerrod: Hypocrite is on at Pleasance Courtyard until 28 Aug.

Internationally-acclaimed vocalist Melanie Gall has two shows at the Fringe this year, though in one she shares the stage with an ambitious mouse and a diva of an ostrich.

Children's show 'Opera Mouse' aims to introduce its young audience to classical music while keeping them very much entertained. We caught up with Melanie to find out more about the show, and her many other musical projects. Read the interview here.

'Opera Mouse' is on at theSpace @ Surgeon's Hall until 27 Aug. 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...

Adler & Gibb | Summerhall | 5.15pm
Looking for something "highly theatrical and surprisingly gripping"? Well, this show will do it, as it "challenges the audience with its exploration of form and its visceral content". Says our reviewer of the thought-provoking piece: "With a powerful script, compelling structure and knockout performances, 'Adler & Gibb' will not leave you indifferent".

E15 | Northern Stage at Summerhall | 6.30pm (pictured)
This piece of 'documentary theatre' about a protest movement launched by 29 young motors in Newham, East London is definitely recommended. "This is theatre at its most politically engaged and engaging", reckoned our reviewer. "This outstanding company deliver an angry, empowering production, catalysing change".

Doug Segal: I Can Make You Feel Good | The Voodoo Rooms | 7.50pm
Finally, a long-term TW favourite and former Editors' Award winner. "Although billing himself as a comedy act, there is something deeper to Segal's act that encourages finding happiness in human connections and communication" says our reviewer of this year's show. Oh, and "one feat of mind reading, conducted blindfolded, is so impossibly impressive".

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


States Of Time (Damián Ortega)
The Mexican artist Damián Ortega comes to Edinburgh's Fruitmarket Gallery in a new exhibition, exploring how the human and natural worlds have changed and developed, as well as how they have impacted upon one another. Ortega utilises clay, the most elemental of materials, in order to create, amongst other things, icebergs, waves and an array of man-made tools. There is a thrilling sense of experimentation and spontaneity to the work, with many pieces being unfired or unglazed, making it clear that Ortega is an artist more concerned with process and play. Indeed, the profoundly unstudied and effortless pieces seem to reflect the natural processes with which the exhibition is concerned — the flowing, fluctuating forces of time and weather.
Fruitmarket Gallery, until 23 Oct.
tw rating 4/5 | [Megan Wallace]


London, Paris, Roam! (Sarah Tullamore accompanied on piano by John Florencio)
Self–styled chanteuse Sarah Tullamore is back from Paris and is keen to share the international experiences of "a woman of a certain age" in this one woman musical, co-written by James Burn. Tullamore is clearly an accomplished cabaret singer, with a powerful voice that fills the room without being hammy. This production is the Fringe version of the longer original and it feels like details have been skipped over to cover all of her adventures. This is a shame, as it's in the details that Tullamore's narrative glitters, especially during a musical number on the Gallic shrug of French waiters. It's a little sentimental and cheesy at times but, with a glass of vin rouge in hand, all the more enjoyable for it.
theSpace @ Jurys Inn, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Francesca Peschier]


Bedtime Stories (Upswing)
It's bedtime in the circus tent, so lie with your family on one of the beds or beanbags and wait for a bedtime story. This one is about a little girl full of ideas, her imaginary friend and her busy mother, and it's a dream-like story about what happens when it's time to go to sleep. Grown-ups and children get closer together in this wondrous journey, told with the help of mesmerizing projections and playful acrobatics. Although the narrative loses power in some moments - I could sense children getting fidgety towards the end - 'Bedtime Stories' creates a charming experience, with something for everyone in the family.
Underbelly's Circus Hub on the Meadows, until 22 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Aida Rocci]

Ribbet, Ribbet, Croak (Moulded Theatre)
Grandma and Grandpa frog are planning a surprise party for their grandfrogs. In a manner in which this reviewer is gradually becoming accustomed, with respect to stories for the very small, they do take their sweet time about it. And so the key to a show aimed at the tiny, as well as PMLD and ASD audiences, is how well that merrily wasted time is spent. Well, there are bubbles, songs, plenty to see, things to touch and lots of sensory audience participation. My little co-reviewer is still grappling with some theatrical conventions, but she gave it her full attention throughout – which, as parents and carers well know, is no faint praise - and greatly enjoyed the jumping at the end.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 21 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Bruce Blacklaw]


Short And Curly: A Curly Night In (Short And Curly)
Curly is going to be an actor and he's going to show us his acting chops while Short helps him out. Using a format of long sketches punctuated by appearances from "the world's greatest actor Kevin Spacey", this double act throw everything at it. With loads of prop, costume and physical gags they keep us laughing consistently throughout. In his attempt to demonstrate Curly's range, the pair parody a number of film genres, coming up with the likes of '28 Days Later' musical, and lampooning Batman's impractical call outs. If you don't know all of the films you may struggle with some jokes, but there's plenty that isn't film related to keep you laughing, not least thanks to these two performers' endless comic energy.
Gilded Balloon at the Counting House, until 29 Aug
tw rating 4/5 | [Olly Jacques]

John Robertson: Arena Spectacular! (John Robertson)
John Robertson reckons he's ready for his own mass-appeal arena show, complete with rhinestones and merchandise stalls aplenty but seeing as he's got a room capacity of 45 (he quickly disposes of the surplus microphone) he will do the best with what he's got... and his best is incredible. No one is safe from his cartoon villain attacks as he cavorts around, and on occasion, across the audience. Robertson is concerned that he is just too bizarre and not angst-ridden enough to achieve actual stadium success but based on the sheer volume of uncontrolled laughter in the room, and the glee he inspires in his audiences being that usually reserved for enigmatic cult leaders, I would say he's well on his way.
The Stand Comedy Club 2 until 27 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Francesca Peschier]

Chris Davis: Chinchilla Coats (Chris Davis)
Chris Davis is living the dream. Specifically the dream of a child, foretold by an atavistic chinchilla, that he would one day be the greatest comedian ever to wear a chinchilla coat.
His delivery is good, so is some of the material, with a nice turn of phrase. He has a stack of cue cards with back-up 'proper' jokes to deploy when things drift, which they do from time to time, and the audience has to do a bit of work to meet him half way to his occasionally dark places. So, greatest chinchilla-clad comedian? Sure, why not? Granted, the competition is thin on the ground, but Davis gamely goes for it in this surreal, if somewhat meandering hour.
Laughing Horse @ The Cellar Monkey, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | Bruce [Blacklaw]

James Veitch: Game Face (Live Nation in association with MHA)
James Veitch signs off with the same signature as so much of the faceless spam we clear from our in-boxes each day - "Your feedback is important to us" - and this fast paced, facetious show certainly deserves a five star response and possibly its own Tripadvisor page. Veitch navigates the frustrations and banality of modern life by playing games with (or 'winding up', to be less kind) everyone from traffic wardens, to his flatmates to unsuspecting folk on Gumtree. With quick fire, professional visuals complementing his rapid presentation, Veitch manages to somehow even make a PowerPoint funny. No one is safe from his geeky over-analysis and inability to let things go which, luckily for us, means he has a lot to pack into this one hour show. In short, do please feed this Troll.
Pleasance Dome, until 29 Aug
tw rating 5/5 | [Francesca Peschier]

Erich McElroy's (US) Electile Dysfunction (Erich McElroy)
Current politics on both sides of the pond are making it look as if reality really is stranger than fiction. And it's a brave soul who bases their show on something that seems to change on a daily basis. American ex-pat Erich McElroy focuses on three of the main protagonists in the US election: Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and their race to the White House. It isn't laugh-a-minute, and there are the occasional cheap, slightly crass jokes (references to post-menopausal Clinton, especially), but, having said that, there are some great observations, highlighting some of the reasons that even the most obnoxious politicians can get away with far more than they should.
Laughing Horse @ Bar 50, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Daisy Malt]

Pat Cahill: D.O.T.T (PBJ Management / Heroes of Fringe PWYW)
Pat Cahill arrives on-stage in a home-made Morris dancing kit. He introduces his proposed show of an hour (at least) of amusing adaptations of medieval English musical numbers. However, his Siri is playing up and so it becomes a 'pretend it's all going horribly wrong' show - those can either disguise a lack of depth or reveal a meta-comedy genius. There's probably a bit of both in this chaotic, uneven hour, where Cahill is 'forced' to fall back on some variable stand-up and comedic song. Overall, it's just about carried by some really good absurdist stuff and a smattering of very funny songs. It's almost certainly the only Fringe show you'll come out of singing about coconuts.
Heroes at the Hive, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Bruce Blacklaw]

The MMORPG Show (Electric Talent)
The title stands for Massively Multiplayer Onstage Roleplaying Game. Still reading? Righto. The excellent host and Dungeon Master Paul Flannery warms up the sort of crowd who can be warmed up by stand-up material about elves and hobbits. He then invites three volunteers from the audience to take the part of player characters in an improvisational adventure, driven in part by audience suggestions appended to a wafer thin plot. The story then resolves, in time-honoured fashion, according to the roll of an outsized 20-sided dice. It's 'Dungeons and Dragons'-themed improv, peppered with in-jokes and revelling in its gleeful, geekish absurdity. Some entry-level knowledge would help in understanding much out of it but, thanks to Flannery's deft, sharp, running of the game show, it works.
Gilded Balloon at the Counting House, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Bruce Blacklaw]

Sleeping Trees: SciFi? (Sleeping Trees)
Evil threatens the the accident planet of Plutopia, and only one person can save its people, a pig shit farmer from middle of nowhere. Sleeping Trees return with another laugh a minute filmic show. Using hilariously simple physical theatre to play more than twenty five characters the three man group follow the story of Charlie Sprog as he strives to save the Galaxy. Joining the actors on stage are two incredible musicians who – in sound - create barren wastelands, space ports and galactic council chambers for the performers to play in. All this supports the superb comic writing, which recalls the style of 'Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy' or Simon Pegg's Cornett Trilogy. A company set to rocket to stardom.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Olly Jacques]

John Pendal: International Man Of Leather (John Pendal)
It's always the quiet ones, isn't it? Raised a conservative Baptist, becoming an International Sex Ambassador for a year didn't exactly top John Pendal's list of career choices when he was growing up. In this show, he shares his story of learning about his sexuality, and about the kinky underworld he now likes to inhabit. In case you're easily shocked, he's got pictures of his cats to soften the blow, but I think he could have risked being a bit more filthy in his jokes; although I'm perhaps less easily shocked than others. It's certainly an interesting insight into how a softly-spoken man from Watford became the winner of the US based International Mr. Leather competition.
The Stand 4, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Daisy Malt]

Doug Segal: I Can Make You Feel Good (Doug Segal)
"It's a lot easier to sell a show called 'I Can Make You Feel Good' than one called I can make you shit your pants", Doug Segal wisely intones, looking every inch the Victorian illusionist. Despite a small mid-week audience, Segal follows through on his title promise: any other ways of feeling quite that great in an hour for just over a tenner are definitely illegal. One feat of mind reading, conducted blindfolded, is so impossibly impressive that he has to continually call for verbal assertion that he's on the money, as the audience are too stunned to cheer. Although billing himself as a comedy act, there is something deeper to Segal's act that encourages finding happiness in human connections and communication. Just go, he guarantees you will be happy you did.
The Voodoo Rooms, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Francesca Peschier]

Masud Milas: Routes (Phil McIntyre Entertainments)
Masud Milas describes himself as being "as fly as a Blaxploitation cop," and I can't put it any better. Just when you think comedy about complex identity issues is getting stale, along comes Milas with this hilarious debut, laying out his Hong Kong via New Zealand formative years, with his terrifying Maasai warrior mother and repressed Peterborough father. The set could do with a touch more refinement, as some points are repetitive (there are only so many gags you can get out of a 70s leather jacket), bur Milas is consistently charming and funny. Although he fears the wrath of his mother when she finds out about his impersonation, I think she'll be laughing too much to "reach for her machete".
Underbelly Med Quad, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Francesca Peschier]

Farewell Tim (The Good News)
Tim has died in a freak accident, so Charlie Robb and Sam Knights decide it would be most fitting to devise a sketch show in his honour. Over an hour of highly accomplished comedy, we get to know Tim and his two friends well. Weaving in discussions about their sketches and performance, akin to 'That Mitchell and Webb Look', their use of a narrative to tie together their hilarious observations and anecdotes works extremely well. There's a twist that sees the story take a surprising turn, and one of the best forms of audience participation I have seen for a while. Daft, confident and genuinely funny, 'Farewell Tim' is one of my highlights of the Fringe so far.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 22 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Daisy Malt]

Woody Allen(ish) (Simon Schatzberger)
'Woody Allen(ish)' is the sort of tribute act that you don't expect to see until the entertainer impersonated is long dead. Simon Schatzberger has the voice spot-on, but Allen's physicality is overplayed as repetitive tics. I had expected that your enjoyment of this show would heavily depend on how you much you love the real Allen but, even for a diehard fan, this tribute to him in his 60s heyday is problematic. Although iconic, much of the material is dated and even the famous 'Moose' routine fails to deliver the renowned punch. It might well be that, no matter how good the recreation, these routines just don't work when taken out of their original context. I fear that possibly in this case, you just had to be there.
Frankenstein Pub, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Francesca Peschier]


The Pianist (Aurora Nova presents Circo Aereo & Thomas Monckton)
Thomas Monckton is quite simply a one-man lesson in clowning, who should be on the curriculum of every drama school. In this brilliantly paced, non-speaking show, Monckton blends mime, circus and physical theatre, utilising every part of his body: using all of it to execute back-flips, delivering a whole section performed only by his spotlit fingertips. As a hapless concert pianist - reminiscent of Rik Mayall at his most slapstick - in battle with his seemingly possessed piano, Monckton generates a child-like joy from his audience that makes this show brilliant for Fringe visitors of all ages. From his initial battle with the curtains on entering the stage, building up to a riotous conclusion, 'The Pianist' is without doubt more fun than any concerto I've ever seen and its performer completely mesmerising.
Assembly Roxy until 29 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Francesca Peschier]

And Now... (plan B)
"When you grow up you can be anything." 'And Now...' is a dance and theatre piece, where adults embody children and their aspirations for the future. The performers really manage to create a sense of childlike wonder as they seem to discover the set for the first time. Between dance numbers, they play with the toys on stage and jump from chair to chair. The choreography is graceful and flows very well but is quite repetitive. Overall, the pace of this piece is quite slow, up until the closing number which is more energetic. The combination of electronic, minimalistic music with a live musician and percussionist gives a contemporary edge to this 'Neverland' story. A good performance but too stretched out.
Zoo Southside, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 [Pénélope Hervouet]

Taiwan Season: The Sacrifice Of Roaring (Hsu Chen Wei Production Dance Company)
Two seemingly dead, screaming bodies resembling spirits dance to the instructions of a wild woman. Inspired by Taiwanese rituals, young choreographer Hsu Chen Wei has created some interesting dances, conducted with masterful technique, which are mildly hypnotic: the repetition of floaty movements and the sole red pool of light have a transfixing effect. The performance, although not scary, resonates with certain kinds of horror: discomfiting images run into one another without intervening lightness, but it also creates a bizarrely relaxing, meditative spell. There is a problematic lack of purpose to this piece that left me confused, but it's nonetheless an interesting and spooky, dark and trance-like experience.
The Zoo, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 ⎪[Lucrezia Pollice]


The Slimy Stuarts And The Glorious Georgians (Eboracum Baroque / Terry Deary)
A book brought to life! Children's author Terry Deary narrated this tale of rich and poor with authority, compassion and – naturally – humour. No funny voices or costumes, but there was the wonderful Eboracum Baroque, a group of young professional musicians who played period instruments and sang beautifully. Their repertoire was baroque music – plenty of Purcell and Handel – but accompanied by the sort of stories you don't usually hear at concerts. For example, when Handel's 'The Music for The Royal Fireworks' was first performed, a firework ignited a lovingly constructed pavilion, and so the architect punched the person in charge of the fireworks! Musically, I loved 'Wondrous Machine', a witty ode by Purcell to the organ, king of instruments – allegedly better than the lute!
Canongate Kirk, 20 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Louise Rodgers]

Scunthorpe Cooperative Junior Choir (Scunthorpe Cooperative Junior Choir)
Want to sing in a community choir, live in Scunthorpe, aged 3-19? Well, you should join this one; there are no auditions and the training is professional. The standard is high – they are a former BBC 3 Choir of the Year - and this was an enjoyable concert. The children tackled the modern, upbeat programme with enthusiasm and polish. A special mention for the two soloists who did 'Popular' from 'Wicked and 'Practical Arrangement' from Sting's recent album; they performed expressively and sang well. I especially liked 'Alice' – sung by the whole choir with lots of personality and gestures. They generated a welcoming, happy atmosphere and it was a lovely evening in good company.
Canongate Kirk and St Giles' Cathedral, 21+22 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Louise Rodgers]


The Harry And Chris Show (Harry Baker / PBH's Free Fringe)
"You can find them in a pair like pear seeds," as the lyrics of their introductory song says. And indeed, the partnership between Harry Baker and Chris Read seems just as natural. David Hepworth noted that what people like about double acts is that they're watching "the non-sexual version of sexual chemistry". Baker and Read certainly have this and, what's more, make their differences into central strengths, as a good friendship should. Baker is the poet, sparking most of the laughs with his fresh insights on ordinary subjects, like monopoly. Read provides melodic arrangements on the guitar, smooth enough to make the audience actually want to sing along. Their work will leave you heart-warmed and encouraged.
Pilgrim, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Jane Berg]


Bildraum (Atelier Bildraum)
As the audience filter in, the stage is already set. Some tiny buildings here, a ladder there, to one side an electric guitar. A man enters and begins to slowly place tiny pieces of furniture onto one of the blank stands, eventually creating a tiny mock up of the theatre. A woman then enters and begins taking pictures, which are projected straight from the camera onto the back wall and, with musical accompaniment, the story begins to unfold.
An incredibly ingenious way to create a live story on stage, this is a spectacle to behold. Unfortunately, with no dialogue the story can be very hard to follow and the action, although initially impressive, very quickly becomes laboriously slow.
Summerhall, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Bethan Highgate-Betts]

A Boy Named Sue (Sue Productions)
Lewis is homeless, Ian rages against obscurity yet can't communicate, and Sue doesn't go outside. The three confessions by LGBT characters break over the audience almost simultaneously in this fast paced, witty montage of anger and alienation. I liked its unapologetically pessimistic presentation of an impassable divide, because, as Sue says: "The barrier between me and the world is my body". The writing is immediate and sharp, with entirely believable characters portrayed by the three strong performers. If the ingredients seem familiar, this serving of them dishes up something new. Judging from the full house, word has already got out about this play, if you haven't seen 'A Boy Named Sue', you should.
C Nova, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Jane Berg]

Camille (Kamila Klamut)
Kamila Klamut delivers a searing performance as Camille Claudel, best known as Rodin's muse despite being a talented artist in her own right. Drawing on Claudel's letters, the performance combines live music and sculptured costumes, as well as more traditional theatrical techniques, to deliver an intimate portrayal of the artist's life. Exploring historical patriarchal structures, gendered notions of insanity and the systematic exclusion of women from the art historical canon, the thematic content is rich and interesting. It can seem as though the Fringe programme is inundated with productions broadly classed as 'feminist' but, rather than feeling stale, 'Camille' approaches these issues from an original slant and, in doing so, provokes overwhelming empathy in response to the protagonist's plight.
Summerhall, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Megan Wallace]

The Craig Chalmers Experience (Sometimes How)
'The Craig Chalmers Experience' is a strange medley of a show. Billed as "song, magic, comedy, dance, poetry and beer," it's all there, except maybe magic. Chalmers reluctantly takes to the stage and is an incredibly charming performer, using projected elements to (literally) talk himself into performing. I didn't think I would ever enjoy the sight of a grown man wobbling his belly at me, but I really did! It's the poetry where he really gets you though, his heartfelt, tender prose resonates as he muses on the futile parts of life and death. There's no narrative, and this can become shambolic and confusing in parts, but Chalmers is an endearing performer that you can't help but laugh with.
SpaceTriplex, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Bethan Highgate-Betts]

Dame Nature: The Magnificent Bearded Lady (Havoc Theatre)
In this solo show, written and performed by Tim Bell, Dame Nature (a bearded lady) desperately tries to convince the audience that she is "more than just a beard". She does (failed) magic tricks and a heroic interpretative dance number. Sadly, too much time is taken up with the meta-theatrics and deliberately bad performance, which fail to entertain. There are darker elements to the show too: Dame Nature is afraid of her husband and dissatisfied with her life, and the circus is gradually revealed to be an oppressive regime. Pushing these elements further would have made for a far more interesting show, exploring the male gaze and what it means to be displayed as a "freak". Unfortunately, Bell only hints at this.
Assembly George Square Theatre, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Hannah Greenstreet]

Fémage à Trois (Loquitur Theatre)
Loquitur Theatre's show, 'Fémage à Trois', promises three "charming, dark, sometimes hilarious, and desperately normal" stories told by women. The problem with staging normality is that it easily lapses into cliché and boredom. 'I Don't Care' by Charlotte O'Leary, performed engagingly by Cat Van Dort, is about a 16-year-old coping with her father's dementia. 'Closure' by Anna Jordan is a one-sided conversation between an obsessive girlfriend, amusingly captured by Gemma Harvey's performance, and her ex. 'And, Breathe' by Nick Cox, the best-written monologue, tells the story of a woman about to go to Dignitas, and it also features the stand-out performance of the evening from Meryl Griffiths. Nonetheless, the show needs a stronger concept than just women speaking to bring it together.
theSpace on Niddry St, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Hannah Greenstreet]

Happy Dave (Smoke And Oakum Theatre)
In his 20s, Dave spent his time filling fields with thousands of revellers at illegal rave parties. Now 45 and working in advertising, that period of his life is long gone – until he meets a group of 20-somethings and convinces them to make a change. Writer Oli Forsyth has weaved an intricate play of two simultaneous parts, telling the story of both the young, adventurous Dave and his modern-day counterpart. 'Happy Dave' is a dedication to the rave era; a time when young people lived life to the full. It successfully makes a powerful statement about the youth of today, so driven by the need for a career and a home that life is passing them by.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Stephanie Gray]

Lemons, Lemons, Lemons, Lemons, Lemons (Walrus)
What would you say if you only had 140 words per day? Couple Oliver and Bernadette must now wring all possible emotional expression out of their limited words. "Every couple has their own language," Bernadette says, but we see here how speaking it is not always easy. The "hush law" shows up their doubts and differences, and also what they've left unspoken. The central thought experiment is so neatly woven into this delicate human story that it never feels forced, and performers Beth Holmes and Euan Kitson deserve the highest praise for their nuanced work here. I don't know when I last saw as insightful an exploration into interpersonal communication. 'Lemons' provides a unique lens through which to view our common flaws.
Summerhall, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Jane Berg]

The Master And Margarita (Sleepless Theatre Company)
As I walked to St Cuthbert's church, I couldn't believe I was going to see 'The Master And Margarita'; the venue seemed either a perfect fit or perfectly profane. This immersive, site-specific adaptation of the Russian novel was mind-blowing, and not just because of the venue. Sleepless Theatre Company manages to honour the source (famous for being impossible to adapt), keeping its magic and weirdness with only a few props, lanterns, and a great deal of talent. As in the novel, the plot is hard to follow, but the balance of narrative, dramatisation and visuals lured the audience into Bulgakov's quaint world, despite the complicated logistics and acoustics. This production is one of those Fringe gems you'll remember for years.
Zoo at St Cuthbert's, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Aida Rocci]

Nowhere Now (At Large Theatre Company)
'Nowhere Now' defines itself as "nonsensical" and "absurd", and this is quite right. From beginning to end, the underlying plot is barely existent- something about a group of ministers waiting to make a trade deal. Three of the characters are never introduced, and seem to constantly change roles. They have a story of their own – or rather a series of incoherent and unrelated interactions – and sometimes interfere with the main plot without any form of transition. As a result, the piece is messy and incomprehensible. The actors often block each other and talk at the same time. A gradual descent into madness could have underlined the satirical aim, but constant madness is simply confusing.
Sweet Grassmarket, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 1/5 | [Pénélope Hervouet]

Nuclear Family (Sunday's Child and Fever Dream)
"What would you do?" says the poster for 'Nuclear Family'. That is the hook of this show: you, along with the other audience members, get to decide how the performance will play out. However, destiny is fixed and it's a dire destiny indeed - nuclear catastrophe and death. You'll follow the story of two siblings, who work as guards at a nuclear plant, on the night of the tragedy. A hybrid between theatre and an escape the room game, 'Nuclear Family' comes from an exciting, well-developed idea, although the plot is not very plausible. Be prepared to participate, argue, resent the process of democracy (even if you cannot avoid the fatal end) and leave feeling responsible for a nuclear disaster.
Assembly Roxy, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Aida Rocci]

Overshadowed (Sunday's Child)
"It's my body I want to disappear, not my mind," declares Imogene, the teenage protagonist of 'Overshadowed'. But in this unflinching exploration of the suffering caused by eating disorders, both mental and physical damage are starkly apparent. Anorexia itself is personified as Caol, a demon-like creature who becomes Imogene's closest companion. Caol's creeping presence, combining haunting physical theatre with rhythmic lines of persuasion, provides the visual thrill needed for the audience to swallow the play's uncomfortable subject matter. The result is an arresting production, which puts a dangerously hidden and misunderstood illness centre stage. Finding moments of humour amidst individual and family breakdown, 'Overshadowed' is as engaging as it is instructive, building to a powerful conclusion as its central character fades.
Assembly Roxy, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Sarah Richardson]

Queen Lear (Ronnie Dorsey Productions)
Ever wonder why the patriarchal world of Shakespeare's 'King Lear' is so bleak? 'Queen Lear' gives us the unwritten story of Cordelia's mother, a woman like her daughter in almost every respect: innocent and betrayed, tortured and doomed. Accompanied onstage by her nurse and priest, we see Queen Lear in the final moments of a fatal childbirth, contemplating her life. Unfortunately, the play does not live up to the implicit promise of giving an additional perspective into the bard's masterpiece. The writing is all emphasis and invocation, without significance, and the critique of misogyny is one I think we have all heard before. I was left wondering if the Shakespearian connection did more harm than good to this play.
Assembly Roxy, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Jane Berg]

We Are Ian (In Bed With My Brother / The Pleasance)
It's a rare feat to get an entire audience dancing onstage. But In Bed With My Brother's new show 'We Are Ian', winner of the 2016 Charlie Hartill Award, does just that. Performers Kat Cory, Dora Lynn and Nora Alexander recreate their friend Ian's experience of the 1989 Acid House movement through music, dance and clowning. Recordings of interviews with Ian, a 46-year-old Mancunian with a great sense of humour, are incorporated into the show, along with his favourite tracks from the era. The show is well-structured, with a strong emotional arc, and the sound and lighting design are fantastic. 'We Are Ian' demonstrates how having a dance can be a defiantly political act. You need to experience it for yourselves.
Pleasance Dome, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Hannah Greenstreet]

Diary Of A Madman (Gate Theatre)
In 1835, Nikolai Gogol wrote 'Diary of a Madman', the journal of a man in tsarist Russia descending into madness because of his hunger for notoriety. Almost two centuries later, Al Smith updates this famous story, in a genius adaptation that preserves the brilliance of the classic yet also feels new and relevant. In a post-Brexit Scotland (yes, it's that current), Pop Sheeran's job, like his ancestors', is to permanently paint the Forth Bridge. But the weight of tradition might make his foundations crumble. Insightful and mordant, Smith's 'Diary of a Madman' is more than a critique of Nationalism. It feels like a parable: there's a bit of Pop in all of us, waiting to crack under our own beliefs.
Traverse Theatre, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Aida Rocci]

Girl's Night Out (Eme Essien)
It's Saturday night, long awaited but never as planned, as a string of interruptions prevent this girl from preparing to party. It's a topic ripe with comic potential, but here it only manages to draw a few dry chuckles. Eme Essien is personable and relaxed onstage, but there are problems. Mainly with pacing: too much time is given to the voice-overs of characters on the phone, and her interactions with them don't feel believable. I would have preferred to see her act out these characters herself, that might have got more laughs and would have also shown range, which is an important part of a solo show. The material itself could work, but maybe with less tech and more energy.
theSpace @ Jury's Inn, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Jane Berg]

Hero Worship (Sonic Boom Theatre Company)
Comic book references are laced through 'Hero Worship', like the adamantium coating Wolverine's skeleton. If that made no sense to you, then you may struggle with this play, as the superhero tropes fly thick and fast throughout; that being said, even without the pop-culture knowledge there is much to admire in this one-man show, which invites us to find our own powers, and to overcome the villains: depression, self-doubt and anxiety. If I had to find fault, the third act – like that of many superhero movies – is perhaps a little erratic, but writer/performer Kenny Boyle delivers something special. 'Hero Worship' is charming, witty and effortlessly entertaining, by turns funny and moving. Just like a good comic book, really.
C, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Andy Leask]

Lucy, Lucy And Lucy Barfield (How Small How Far)
Lucy Grace loves 'The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe'. From the moment she first read it in 1996, to reaching the age of 26 and finally realising that Narnia wasn't real, and that she'd probably never find a wardrobe leading to a patiently waiting faun. But this realization didn't stop Grace from loving the book, it just made her want to find the magic of Narnia in the real world. The show sees Grace share the story of how she went in search of Lucy Barfield – the goddaughter of the book's author C.S. Lewis, and the person to whom the book is dedicated. Brilliantly written and performed, this is a heart-wrenching story within a life-affirming show.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Bethan Highgate-Betts]

600 People (Third Angel)
'600 People' is an hour-long lecture which will blow your mind! Is there extraterrestrial intelligence or are we completely alone and insignificant, as predicts Fermi's paradox? It might be a terrifying concept for some people to face, but I found it very relaxing and exciting. In the mist of neoliberalism, we forget our scientific composition and the fact that we are all, in the end, only atoms. We forget the other fascinating species that live around us. Alexander Kelly manages to make science interesting, making complex concepts feel straightforward and the bursts of humour make the information easily digestible. If you're ready, '600 People' is going to change the way you understand the universe and our place in it.
Summerhall, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 ⎪ [Lucrezia Pollice]

Stamp (Spun Glass Theatre)
Want to go back to being a child? Love games and competition? Then join the ultimate game show, where the clever, enthusiastic and friendly Helen White hosts a ridiculous, audacious, and challenging hour of fun. Your aim: to discover which gender is superior, will it be men or will it be women? The entire game is a satirical reflection on how society boxes us into preconceived gender roles, with specific normatives of how women and men should behave. The audience participation and interaction creates a strong sense of unity; we all feel part of something, a game, a show, whatever it is. I left feeling wonderful. An hour of laughter, competition and teamwork which will fly by.
Zoo Southside, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 ⎪ [Lucrezia Pollice]

Three Jumpers (Unearthed Theatre)
Remembering that "the view is beautiful when the mist clears" is the key to good mental health, proclaims Unearthed Theatre in their Fringe debut. As three nameless men collect at a bridge barrier, intent on ending it all, they discover their collective despair all links back to one woman. The dialogue is not surreal enough to be comic, yet is far from naturalistic: Young Man 2 (Jack Hesketh) seems to talk entirely in phrases from a 'Little Book of Philosophy Quotes' . There are some over-emotive performances here, but the real issue is the insensitive script, which plays with themes of mental health but ultimately roots these young men's depression in concrete cause and effect.
Greenside @ Infirmary Street, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Francesca Peschier]

Philip Pullman's The Ruby In The Smoke (Reprint Productions)
A good adaption has a lot of work to do. It should be accurate, to both content and style, yet condense and interpret where necessary, and also rekindle your affection for the original. Reprint Productions' staging of Philip Pullman's detective adventure novel exceeded all my expectations. The story of Sally Lockhart's investigation of her father's death, with its many characters and intricate plot, unfolds with captivating pacing, while the set and sound design perfectly evoke the book's atmosphere. All of the actors are strong and though playing multiple roles, each one rings true. It was a pleasure to see Pullman's creation in such capable hands, in what was one of the most enjoyable hours I've spent at this festival.
Pleasance Dome, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Jane Berg]

The Starship Osiris (Willis & Vere)
Captain Harrison has it all, the muscles, the brains, the women, and 'The Starship Osiris' tells the story of his perilous journey to the ends of the universe. Accompanied by his crew, all - in his own words - very "minor" characters, nothing can resist him. Well, that is until the cast members, tired of his arrogance, decide to rebel against him and jeopardise his show. What starts off as a sci-fi parody then turns into a chaotic mess as George Vere desperately tries to regain control of the performance. Expect skimpy costumes, pop songs, hilariously poor special effects, and quite a lot of swearing! Possibly one of the funniest shows running at the Fringe!
Underbelly Med Quad, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Pénélope Hervouet]

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