SATURDAY 27 AUGUST 2016 THREEWEEKSEDINBURGH.COM
JOE DEROSA: MOVING FORWARD AT THE FRINGE
American stand-up Joe DeRosa keeps himself busy writing, performing, acting, podcasting and a whole lot more. Though you might recognise him from his recurring role in 'Better Call Saul'.

But comedy is his is first love, and this Fringe he has brought his show 'Zero Forward Progress' to Edinburgh for a new audience to enjoy. We caught up with Joe to discuss the show, his varied career, and what he's learned since arriving at the Festival. Read the interview here.

'Joe DeRosa: Zero Forward Progress' is on at Underbelly Cowgate until 28 Aug.



CASTING CALL WOE: AUDITION NIGHTMARES RELIVED
Casting Call Woe is a blog that gathers together some of the worst 'casting calls' to come out of the film and TV industries, as producers seek actors for upcoming projects. Some are funny, some are bizarre and some reveal the sexist thought processes that are too often employed by productions-in-development.

The anonymous actress behind the blog – who tweets as @ProResting – has teamed up with Tiff Stevenson to turn the whole venture into a live show. Which sounds pretty damn interesting. We had to find out more. Read the interview here.

'Casting Call Woe' is on at the Gilded Balloon Museum until 28 Aug. 
Three to see at the Edinburgh Festival tomorrow...

Philip Pullman's The Ruby In The Smoke | Pleasance Dome | 12.00pm

"Reprint Productions' staging of Philip Pullman's detective adventure novel exceeded all my expectations" says our reviewer of this show. "The set and sound design perfectly evoke the book's atmosphere", they add, making this "one of the most enjoyable hours I've spent at this Festival". Go enjoy.

Bethany Black: (Extra)Ordinary | The Stand 2 | 6.00pm (pictured)

Definitely on top form this Fringe, try and see Bethany Black's latest show before the Festival finishes. "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". Conclusion? "A total delight".

We Are Ian | Pleasance Dome | 11.00pm

OK, here it is, the final Three To See style tip of the Fringe, and it's some late-night theatre. "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" our reviewer explains. "The show is well-structured, with a strong emotional arc, and the sound and lighting design are fantastic. You need to experience it for yourselves". So, yeah, go experience it for yourself.
WEEK THREE ISSUE OF THE THREEWEEKS MAGAZINE IS OUT NOW - DOWNLOAD OR PICK UP YOUR COPY

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

CABARET

Colin Cloud: Exposé
Whatever your preconceptions of mental magic, this will surely prove to be a mesmerising hour of mind invasion, manipulation and control. Cloud is magnetic and quirky, without becoming a charade of himself, as he transfixes the audience with a masterful display of mentalism. Cloud's tricks are staggeringly elaborate, as he's able to extricate exact information from people's minds, ranging from their dates of birth to their most recent dreams. In an epic finale on the streets of Edinburgh, Cloud uses his mental ability to ultimately save his own life. It's very hard to describe how mystifying Colin Cloud is, you must simply go and see for yourself.
Underbelly Med Quad, until 28 Aug
tw rating 5/5 | [John Sampson]

COMEDY

Enter The Bagman (Brendan Murphy)
'Enter The Bagman' is a strange show. Having lived his entire life in a cloakroom (which causes him to take extreme interest in the audience's various bits of luggage, who knew you could tell so much from a holdall?) Brendan Murphy is forced out to explore the mean streets of Edinburgh and its colourful characters, all played by him and with an increasingly weird series of props. With voice and expressions as malleable as putty, Murphy leaps around the tiny stage playing a nervous daredevil, a hillbilly turned children's entertainer and a plummy, disillusioned actor. There's not much plot here, however, and Murphy might be better to dispense entirely with trying to thread a story through what is really a showcase for his fantastical, riotously funny characters.
Gilded Balloon @ The Counting House, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Francesca Peschier]

Hayley Ellis: FOMO (Hayley Ellis)
With around 3,500 shows going on, FOMO (fear of missing out) is a terrible affliction at the Fringe, so doing a show about it is pretty prescient: if you get it right. Unfortunately, Hayley Ellis didn't hit the mark. To me, FOMO is usually discussed in quite a lighthearted way, but Ellis came across as quite bitter as she told us about the ways social media leaves her feeling inadequate; although she quite rightly observes that Facebook is just a choreographed representation of other people's lives. Some of the jokes just felt a little tired, and at this festival you need to set yourself apart from the rest. Alas, no FOMO will result from missing this show.
Just The Tonic at The Community Project, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Daisy Malt]

Jordan Brookes: The Making Of (Show And Tell)
Jordan Brookes subverts traditional stand-up through sketch-based comedy and plenty of energetic, physical humour. Anyone can behave in a slightly eccentric way, but being genuinely funny with it is difficult; Brookes manages to strike a balance that has the audience hooked from the beginning. He gives us glimpses of his vulnerability, but shows us that, by acting out of character, he can deal with difficult situations. Unafraid of using long pauses and suspense, his comic timing is impeccable, as he flits around the stage dishing out punchlines you'll never expect. He harbours the sensibilities of a teenager who's never quite grown up, and he's all the better for it.
Laughing Horse @ The Cellar Monkey, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Daisy Malt]

Nazeem Hussain - Legally Brown (Nazeem Hussain)
You can make jokes about any subject as long as they're funny, so Nazeem Hussain more than gets away with jokes about Isis. Hussain explores the disconnect he feels about his Australian-ness and his Indian-ness, both mentally and physically. Joking about his cultural split identities, he keeps the laughs rolling through stories about the interrogations he's had and his experiences of internet anti-trolling, delivering a commentary on some of the world's shocking and bizarre views on race and identity. Occasionally his delivery becomes too slick, which loses some of the charm of live comedy, but Hussain is undeniably funny and has something to say.
Assembly George Square Studios, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Olly Jacques]

Zoe Lyons: Little Misfit (CKP)
In a nutshell, Zoe Lyons' 2016 show is about not fitting in. Lyons recognises the cliché in this theme, and is quick to address it; she has more reason than most, she says, to talk about being a misfit. That being said, her show does not ask for pity. Instead, it's an hour of intelligent observations and hilarious character comedy. Lyons has such great physicality on stage that whether she's impersonating a camp sabre tooth tiger or demonstrating a unique form of Zumba, she has the audience hooked. The Zoe tribe of South America probably wouldn't want her, but that's no bad thing - if they did, Edinburgh would be missing a fine comedian every August.
Gilded Balloon Teviot, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Stephanie Gray]

Stuart Laws: So Preoccupied With Whether Or Not He Could He Didn't Stop To Think Whether He Should (1hr show) (Laughing Coyote)
I'll be honest: I think Stuart Laws would probably have been wise to stop and think about whether he should. It's one thing to make up daft stories, but it's another to then perform them to an audience. Stand-up tends to work because the audience can sort of believe what they're being told, even if they know the stories are being embellished. Permeated with tales of working at a puffin sanctuary, Laws' show does feature nuggets of genuinely amusing observation, but they didn't help raise the experience to a satisfying level. He concludes by delivering a punchline to the whole narrative that you worked out long ago. I sort of feel at a loss as to what the point was.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Daisy Malt]

DANCE & PHYSICAL THEATRE

Tandem (Civilleri Lo Sicco)
Two scruffy, impish girls and one bicycle equal a wealth of dramatic variety in 'Tandem'. Italian group Civilleri Lo Sicco show how comic clowning, at its best, can turn the ordinary into a rampant, outlandish ride. Peddled with furious energy, the tandem bicycle, fixed to a giant spring, see-saws treacherously, turning almost horizontal at times before bouncing back. These expert mimes are ruthless in exploring the possibilities of their prop and their bodies. You know it's quality physical theatre when sweat might hit you in the front row! But if you can decipher the dense soundscape of mechanical clangs and human shouts, there is a touching story of about childhood, memory and grief.
C, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Jane Berg]

The Toad Knew (James Thierrée / Compagnie du Hanneton / Edinburgh International Festival)
"Let's live together, here, for a few moments, and perhaps foolish things can become meaningful," invites James Thiérrée in the programme of 'The Toad Knew.' As creator, scenographer, composer, lighting designer, director and performer of this indescribable piece, Thiérrée creates a world for our souls to explore. Design becomes alive while human beings surpass our expectations of "life", in a seamless creation that threads physical theatre, circus, clowning, magic and music so tightly you can barely ascribe them to any genre. While there is some sense of plot, there's a larger sense of mystery. You'll just inhabit Thiérrée's world, laughing and gaping in awe at the virtuoso performances; you'll inhabit it so intensely that you'll miss it when the show is over.
King's Theatre, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Aida Rocci]

MUSIC

Equilibrium (Drake Music Scotland)
Little did I realise, when I stepped into St John's Church, that I would see the most innovative music show so far, but that's what happened tonight. Traditional Scottish music ensemble Equilibrium's members are a mixture of able-bodied and disabled musicians on equal terms - conductor Rhona Smith uses technology linked to the other members' monitors to overcome limited physical movement. There were both traditional and digital instruments and an excellent singer; many pieces were their own compositions – what great tunes. They've had to deconstruct Trad music and reassemble it in a way that suits the digital instruments – they can't use a strict tempo – but the skill, inspiration and artistry that made this performance so enjoyable took my breath away.
Just Festival At St John's, 23 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Louise Rodgers]

Hans Zender's Wintereisse (Hebrides Ensemble in Greyfriars Kirk / Edinburgh International Festival)
This was Schubert's Romantic song cycle, of lost love and subsequent decline into illness and vagrancy, reimagined for orchestra and tenor. It's interestingly written– including wind machines, rasping brass and a string quartet. What I took from this well performed and staged version was not that it told me more about the hero than the original lieder but that it told me - through the musical styles used - a lot about Germany, where it is set. At times it seemed like a musical cartoon, everything explained loudly and endlessly by the orchestral score, with no room for the listener to use their imagination. But that's not the Hebrides Ensemble or Christian Elsner's fault, and to them I say "Bravo".
Greyfriars Kirk, 24 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Louise Rodgers]

MUSICALS

Paper Hearts The Musical (Moon Rock Productions)
'Paper Hearts' tells the intertwined love stories of aspiring writer Atticus and his fictional creations, Issak and Yanna. The plot is not completely new – 'You've Got Mail' already featured a love story/business rivalry between a small independent bookstore owner and the head of a bookshop chain. But 'Paper Hearts' ticks all the boxes of both romantic comedies and musicals; it has the sass, the backing singers, the devastating revelations that make love impossible. Its originality is more in the relationship between the two plots and the way the characters in Atticus' mind are brought to life on stage. The music is great and the cast is dynamic – lead Sinéad Wall has a formidable presence. Not exactly groundbreaking, but fun, energetic, touching and very enjoyable.
Underbelly Med Quad, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Pénélope Hervouet]

SPOKEN WORD

The Joy Of Spines (Greame Hawley)
What does working with 24 million-ish things feel like? Greame Hawley will tell you in this account of the National Library of Scotland's collection. I know what you're thinking, faced with a PowerPoint presentation my immediate response was: this is going to be dull. But within ten minutes the room was in hysterics at termite abstracts, alphabet abecendariums and 'The Romance of the Postage Stamp'. Hawley's speech is both witty and meaningful, as he explains the archive is a collective human story and we should be proud to be part of the species that created it. It's always a joy to see someone in their element, though that's not necessarily in dance or belting solos - sometimes it's collecting books.
National Library Of Scotland, until 26 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Jane Berg]

THEATRE

Dear Home Office (Phosphoros Theatre)
'Dear Home Office' is perhaps one of the best examples of art for a cause that you'll see this festival. Eight unaccompanied minors, who have applied for asylum in the UK, are here to tell you the story of Tariq, an amalgam of their collective experiences. They take turns acting Tariq, as he learns English and faces the confusing requirements of the Home Office. He becomes a substantial character, yet we still glimpse the individuality of every performer. As this is their first time on stage, it's a brave venture, and they deserve all credit for taking control of their own representation.
Underbelly Med Quad, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Jane Berg]

The Gin Chronicles: A Scottish Adventure (Interrupt The Routine)
On arrival at St Marks, each audience member is greeted with a complimentary gin and tonic. Accompanying the gin is a live radio play, set in the 1940s. Amateur detectives John Jobling and Doris Golightly are on a mission to solve the case of the missing juniper berries – and avoid a gin shortage in London. The numerous characters played by each of the four voice actors is impressive, and sound effects are provided to hilarious effect by a fifth cast member, who is more than willing to hit vegetables off his own head for the cause. The plot unravels a little towards the end, but by that point the audience was so charmed by the concept (or the gin) that they didn't seem to mind.
artSpace @ St Marks, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Stephanie Gray]

The Girl With The Hurricane Hands (And Other Short Tales of Woe), (Studiospace / Free Festival)
Life is not easy for the heroes of these stories. Alongside the girl with hurricane hands there's also a boy for whom time doesn't work, a girl with telescope eyes, even a "sofa-boy". Here are five parables about being different and finding acceptance, certainly one of the most popular and useful themes there is. The Dr Seuss-like rhyming couplets, delivered in unison by the actors, are just charming, and the choreography makes for good visual illustration. There are some humorously original moments, especially one involving teabags, which is my favourite part so I won't spoil it for you. This is first rate storytelling, positive and fun.
Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Jane Berg]

Infinity Pool: A Modern Retelling Of Madame Bovary (Bea Roberts)
With no spoken dialogue and only one performer (who could perhaps more accurately be called the show's operator), 'Infinity Pool' uses projections, photographs, short video clips and dialogue written out on a screen. In a modern take on Flaubert's 'Madame Bovary', it tells the story of Emma, a woman bored of her life. Obsessed with celebrities and glamour, she's sick of predictable nights in with her predictable husband, but when she meets Kick online, her life becomes an unending stream of flirtatious messages and new possibilities. While the written conversations can become a little boring to watch towards the end, this is nonetheless an incredibly inventive, unconventional way to tell a story.
Bedlam Theatre, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Gemma Scott]

Luna Park (StoneCrabs Theatre Company)
Somewhere in 1930s Brooklyn, on the night before his 21st birthday, a young man dreams of the fateful day his parents got engaged. I was deeply moved by this slightly Freudian vignette which, like the impoverished protagonists, does much with very little. The emotional yet understated acting had me instantly brimming with empathy for Rose and her son. Also, with such dexterous use of their space and props, the graceful scene changes are truly dreamlike and a wonder to watch. The programme says it's 55 minutes long but it seems much shorter. You're left wanting to know more but, like all the best short fiction, the brevity adds a poignancy that nothing else could.
Zoo Southside, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Jane Berg]

Still Here (Theatre For Justice)
Theatre feeds off political and social matters, and this year's Fringe has seen innumerable Brexit-themed acts. For a slightly different form of socially engaged theatre, 'Still Here' is a powerful narrative about pressing issue: the refugee crisis. In the Calais "jungle", a British journalist interviews an Eritrean refugee about his experiences and the religious persecutions in the country he fled from. This intense piece is full of life, despite its dramatic content. The bare set, combined with a verbatim narrative, plunges the audience into the reality of refugee camps. Both of the actors perform with a gripping sincerity and emotion, to the point where it just doesn't feel like acting any more. This is theatre with a real purpose.
Zoo at St Mary's South Lawn, until 24 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Pénélope Hervouet]

Waves (Alice Mary Cooper)
Alice Mary Cooper has done original and important work here, channelling the unwritten stories of pioneering female swimmers of the 1900s into a clear, captivating narrative. On the small island of Gabo, Elizabeth Moncello learns to overcome her fear of the water by studying fish, penguins and dolphins. Discovered by Olympian champion, Fanny Durack is offered the chance of a lifetime, only to do so she must give up her unique stroke and swim according to the rules. Cooper's writing and performance is marvellous to witness, as she paints a vivid picture of the Australian coastline. Furthermore, she really highlights the loss of women's histories in the last century and the need to re-imagine them.
Summerhall, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Jane Berg]

Wrecked (Fever Dream)
A unique performance in which audience and stage blend into one. Only six audience members at a time join Sam in her car, moments after a crash. Sitting in the vehicle with her, they embark on a dark, metaphorical journey as she desperately tries to collect her thoughts. Progressively, chaotically, her memories come back – her father's illness, her troubled friendship with Lizzie – everything until the crash. 'Wrecked' is an immersive, intimate experience with a highly emotionally charged narrative. The closeness to the performer effectively annihilates the fourth wall, heightening the intensity of Sam's story. A very good theatrical experience, mostly due to the distinctive setting.
Assembly George Square Gardens, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Pénélope Hervouet]

Yokes Night (Stay Up Late Collective)
It's not all fun and drugs for Harry on Yokes Night, 11th March 2015. Off to party on a budget, and not averse to finding the love of his life, he meets wild but traumatised Saoirse. This high energy look at Dublin's night life is just the thing to startle you out of those 'end of festival blues'. Actors Scott Lyons and Zoe Forrester are rampantly funny as they bounce on foam cubes and virtually off the walls of the Pleasance Bunker. And though there is tons of foolishness and black comedy, as the secrets begin to come out, in particular Forrester's shocking monologue about abortion, you'll see there's another dimension to this riot against the baby-boomer generation.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Jane Berg]

Absence Of Separation (Theatre Ellipsis / PBH's Free Fringe)
In a strange limbo between life and death, two men, an alienated businessman and a mysterious sprite, discuss the meaning of life. 'Absence of Separation' makes a strong, somewhat Taoist, argument against materialism and estrangement. It's refreshing to hear this perspective put forward in theatre, I only wish it had been done a little less directly - shown and not told. The stage design, music and bizarre costumes will lead you to think "Ah yes, this is going to be brilliantly wacky". But the script is overly simple and leans toward the didactic and, if you know the work of Alan Watts, it will seem fairly familiar. But if you want to hear some wisdom, maybe this show is for you.
Bourbon Bar, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Jane Berg]

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