This August the Edinburgh Festival celebrates its 70th anniversary. To mark the occasion, we have asked a plethora of performers about their personal Fringe experiences. Today the magnificent Simon Evans.

CLICK HERE to read Simon Evan's answers to the Quick Quiz.

Simon Evans performs 'Genius' at Assembly George Square Studios until 22 Aug.
With the Edinburgh Festival still in full swing we have more TW:TALKS podcasts coming your way direct from the Fringe. This week a former winner of a ThreeWeeks Editors' Award, the brilliant Yianni Agisilaou, who TW:TALKS about his many Edinburgh shows, from his first stint at the Gilded Balloon all the way to new show 'Pockets of Equality'

CLICK HERE to tune in and sign up for the TW:TALKS podcast.

Yianni Agisilaou performs 'Pockets Of Equality' at Edinburgh Festival 2017 at Banshee Labyrinth until 27 Aug.

Three recommended shows to see on Wednesday 16 Aug...

Lost Voice Guy: Inspiration Porn | The Stand Comedy Club 5 & 6 | 1.15pm (pictured)
"Lost Voice Guy is Lee Ridley, who delivers the audio content of his show through a communication aid, as his Cerebral Palsy makes him unable to talk", explains our review. The result? "An entertaining and thought-provoking hour on how people with disabilities are seen by others".

(FEAR) | ZOO | 7.10pm
This recommended show "explores the way we are conditioned by discourse - by religion, school, family, the government - to be afraid, and to conform to that fear". Our reviewer reports that "the performance is engaging, especially when he ad-libs with the audience".

Graham Dickson Is The Narcissist | Underbelly Cowgate | 8.10pm
Go see this show of which our reviewer reported "playing on the pretentiousness of overly theatrical performers, Dickson's showcase features increasingly daft caricatures". The outcome? "This show tickled me to the point I almost choked on my own laughter". Go see.


At A Stretch (Jordan And Skinner)
At its heart, 'At A Stretch' is a simple, wordless story about two women who fall in love, but it's so much more than that. This is a perfect example of every theatrical element coming together in just the right way: the lighting, sound and set design all combining to create a magical, colourful playground for the actors to explore. For much of the show, the whole stage is criss-crossed by neon elastic threads, which the actors must play with and negotiate. The movement, by performers Melanie Jordan and Emma Anderson, is fluid and dynamic, whether they're hanging upside down from a scaffolding pole or tenderly holding hands. This show is funny, heart-warming and just glorious, no matter how old you are.
Scottish Storytelling Centre, until 15 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Gemma Scott]


Andy Daly: Monsters Take Your Questions (Rabbit Rabbit)
Andy Daly is best known from the Comedy Central series 'Review' and the 'Comedy Bang! Bang!' podcast. For his Fringe debut he performs three of his most monstrous characters: cowboy poet Dalton Wilcox; theatre director Don DiMello and founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard. Each gives a short monologue before the audience is invited to ask the character questions, giving Daly the chance to show off his renowned improv skills. The performances are strong and, if you're already a fan, you'll love seeing Daly perform known characters live in an interactive show. But if, like me, this is your first experience of the American and you don't warm to the characters, you may leave feeling a little underwhelmed.
Gilded Balloon Teviot, until 13 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Richard Levinson]

D'Arcehole (Jo D'Arcy)
Swearing, extremely inappropriate jokes and a string of technical glitches, or is this the winning recipe for Jo D'Arcy's colourful school lessons? The "D'Arcehole", as her pupils lovingly called her during her short-lived teaching career, brings you the lesson you always wanted but never had. Using a "basic" powerpoint presentation, the "D'arcinator" will teach the kind of uncensored lessons that got her in the shit back in Stoke-on-Trent. She's hoping that by the end someone can help her decide whether to stay in comedy or go back to school. What D'Arcy's act may lack in refinement, she makes up for by being undeniably likeable, sincere and, as Miss Trunchbull once wisely said, "too good for children".
Dropkick Murphys, until 27 Aug
tw rating 3/5 | [Stephanie Stapleton]

James Adomian: Lacking In Character (Live Nation)
This is a tricky one. I don't think that Adomian is a bad comedian, I just think his material was all wrong for an Edinburgh show. Hailing from California, much of his act centered around American quirks that were often lost on his audience. Jibes often felt superficial and stereotypical, and even pretty good impersonations of political figures, including Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, could only go so far without a nuanced understanding: mere familiarity wasn't enough. The 'I'm gay and I have sex' schtick was also a little exasperating; it's 2017 and homosexuality alone isn't enough of a reason to make people laugh. Unfortunately, Adomian's set was lacking in context, and totally missed the mark for me.
Gilded Balloon Teviot, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Daisy Malt

Pity Laughs: A Tale Of Two Gays (Straightup)
Mark Bittlestone is a gay orphan. Will Dalrymple is, in his own words, "just gay". Together they craft a show that's a blend of fact and fiction, as one explores his grief through honest comedy, while the other explores his comparatively easier time through outrageous fibbing. It's good, well-paced fun - the pair banter well and switch between each other's segments fluidly. The clear highlight is Dalrymple's reading of his (again, wholly fictional) coming-out story, which features some of the most depraved, disgusting filth I've ever heard in my life, and is hysterical. Some segments don't work, most notably a bizarre Nicola Sturgeon-themed segue, but it's funny, different and worth seeking out. Just don't go with your kids. Or your parents.
Just The Tonic at the Caves, until 26 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Jon Stapley]

Ben Fogg: How I Won Best Newcomer 2017 (Brett Vincent for Get Comedy)
This is a mediation on the nature of success, on growing older with a father who had what turned out be a pretty illusory veneer of success and, as a 30-something, fretting about the prospect of children of his own. If you're reading this in, like, the future, spoiler alert: he didn't win. Ben Fogg is an affable presence with some nice lines, and he's clearly been working hard on his stand-up technique. Actually maybe that's the thing - that hard work is a little too visible. But, as he himself says halfway through, delivering a competent hour of stand-up is hard. So, on those terms, this is a successful - if not award-winning - beginning.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Bruce Blacklaw]

Danny O'Brien: RaconTour (Danny O'Brien by arrangement with Corrie McGuire for ROAR Comedy)
Danny O'Brien inherited his uncle's motorbike on condition that he do something with it and so, naturally, he decided to ride it to Edinburgh and make a show out of that adventure. This is sort of a travelogue, albeit with some unexpected diversions, and O'Brien is a fine comic storyteller, drawing vivid pictures and memorable characters. Less successful, awkwardly, is the story itself. A very long time is spent discussing the test to even ride the thing, then there's a bit of knockabout rural Irishness, before an abrupt flip into a parallel, biographical story of his tangled and difficult family.
As we flip between the two, neither strand is quite resolved, nor develops as a truly satisfactory piece of storytelling.
Underbelly Cowgate, until 27 Aug
tw rating 3/5 | [Bruce Blacklaw]

Jack Barry: High Treason (Berk's Nest in association with Avalon Management)
There's some inconsistency between legal and public policy approaches to some drugs (eg, alcohol) compared to others (y'know, those nasty illegal ones). The attendant legislative and social hypocrisies throw up a whole range of questions and conflicts. Jack Barry sets out some of these arguments, in engaging style, through anecdote and analogy - some sharp and biting, some purposefully silly. Only thing is, he's a very long way from being the first comic to point any of this stuff out. So, whilst it's entertaining and amusing, well enough delivered and certainly a subject worthy of continuing discussion, it's not quite the radical polemic that the presentation or the show title would suggest.
Just The Tonic at the Mash House, until 27 Aug
tw rating 3/5 | [Bruce Blacklaw]

Maddy Anholt - Herselves (Maddy Anholt/Corrie McGuire for ROAR Comedy/Moneybox)
Maddy Anholt presents ten diverse characters in this one-woman sketch show, including a reality TV star, a cleaner and a TV makeover show host. She clearly has a big future as a character comedian but, while these characters are well-defined and superbly performed, the script doesn't allow her to fully do them justice. The timing of the show doesn't help either: its early afternoon slot seems to miss the younger, BBC3-watching demographic these characters would appeal to most, resulting in more chuckles than proper laughs from this audience. The Vagina Vlogologues sketches also make me question the show's PG suitability, and Anholt herself seems to realise this mid-sketch after spotting a group of teenage girls in the front row.
Underbelly Med Quad, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Richard Levinson]

Paul McCaffrey: Suburban Legend (Paul McCaffrey / Off The Kerb Productions)
Paul McCaffrey was asked by the Welsh Big Issue to write a letter to his 15 year old self, telling him not to worry and that everything works out okay. This has caused him to reflect on how his life is going and how, now in his forties, he can't be bothered with the things he used to enjoy when he was younger: big nights out replaced by evening trips to the local supermarket. Looking at McCaffrey's recent experiences, including a car boot sale, a boat show and some fitness classes, this is a solid hour of stand-up about getting older from a confident performer, but it doesn't offer anything that hasn't been covered before.
Laughing Horse @ The Counting House, until 26 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Richard Levinson]


The North (Joan Clevillé Dance)
Joan Clevillé Dance returns to the Fringe after their highly acclaimed 2015 debut 'Plan B for Utopia'. In 'The North', we see a young man journey to an unfamiliar place to find meaning, only to discover that the place itself is empty of meaning. The young man's confusion is brilliantly depicted in the strange and unpredictable movements of the other dancers. Beautifully staged, this highly visual, whimsical story uses light and props to create wonderfully creative elements: the shadows on the wall of the dancers themselves become a breathtaking part of the performance. The three performers give strong and engaging performances, lacing their movements and characters with a vulnerability that could so easily be missed in a piece so movement based.
Dance Base, until 13 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Bethan Highgate-Betts]


Ukelele Death Squad (Ukelele Death Squad)
"The ukulele is a small but passionate instrument", we're told. Tonight's gig opened with local learners, The Ukelele Orchestra of Sunny Leith, and some very funny banter. Australian Ukelele Death Squad comprises electric ukuleles in many sizes and a saxophone, banishing comparisons with George Formby straight away (although admittedly they did include a Formby homage).They played with energy and head-banging - Grieg's 'In the Hall of The Mountain King' was spectacular. As is customary at ukulele events, there was lots of audience interaction - ukuleles appeared from all corners of the room for the final number. It was a wide ranging programme (even including a Sonny and Cher number) and they created a frantic, euphoric atmosphere which left everybody smiling.
Leith Depot, until 13 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Louise Rodgers]


Beadledom: Alpha (Familia De La Noche)
I'm a huge fan of Familia De La Noche, but much of the joy in their work has come from the range of weird, colourful characters and their interactions. So a wordless, one man show was certainly unexpected and, sadly, it lacked much of the company's usual magic. Max (in a business suit and clown make-up) is a meticulously tidy employee on Alpha-Shift, routinely creating life and sending it out into the cosmos, until something unexpected happens. Unfortunately, the repetitions soon start to feel, well, repetitive, and the story lacks focus, while the technical aspects too felt badly executed. Malik Ibheis is a talented clown with very expressive mannerisms, but he was let down here by an underwhelming story.
Underbelly Cowgate, until 26 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Gemma Scott]

The Hero Who Overslept (Bravebeard Productions and Fringe Management)
How do you inspire people to confront the most urgent crisis of our time? A ridiculous question, but apparently a necessary one. Actor Philip Woodford and scientist Stephen Peake appeal to both the head and the heart in a show devoted to the reality of climate change, with enough charm and charisma that the show survives some unbearably corny jokes. The digressionary banter gets a little much at times - you find yourself wishing they'd just get on with it. However, this is a laudable and largely successful attempt to tackle the unimaginable, and I'd recommend seeing it for that alone. We owe it to ourselves to be informed, to not lose hope, and this is the show's most resonant message.
Gilded Balloon at Rose Theatre, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Jon Stapley]

Kafka And Son (Theaturtle, Threshold, Richard Jordan Productions in association with the Pleasance)
"Dearest Father", begins Franz Kafka's famous unsent letter to his father, a sentimental salutation that, as the letter proved, bore little resemblance to their actual relationship. This production dramatises that letter, on a stage strewn with wire-frame structures that could have been lifted straight from Kafka's pages. Sole actor Alon Nashman's mannered interpretation feels perfectly pitched - you can readily believe this neurotic, fragile man created such hapless put-upons as Gregor Samsa and Josef K. It'll polarise, I think - an hour and change of grandiloquent prose is a tough ask for any audience, and you may struggle to stay engaged throughout the lengthier digressions - but as a portrait of a toxic, destructive relationship, it is thorough and exacting.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Jon Stapley]

Lilith: The Jungle Girl (Sisters Grimm)
Lilith is discovered living feral with a pride of lions in Borneo. Transported to Holland - naked, in chains and covered in pink paint - she is immediately defined as female (despite being played by actor Ash Flanders, whose body would typically be identified as male). What follows is a Pygmalion-style transformation, with Candy Bowers particularly hilarious as the uptight, rational doctor Charles Penworth. As Lilith's pink paint is smeared across the floor, all the performers end up sliding around, which causes an amusing but (almost) unprofessional amount of corpsing. The production does struggle a little under the weight of all the different themes, however - gender, sexuality, colonialism, immigration - which means it can be hard to find real meaning under the absurdity.
Traverse Theatre, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Gemma Scott]

Stiff Dicky (JunkBox Theatre)
Take a group of friends and siblings with a tangled web of resentments and infidelities. Now add a corpse. Junkbox Theatre wring plenty of laughs out of this setup in a fast-paced show filled with raunchy jokes and snappy one-liners. The result is part witty relationship comedy and part farce, and these elements at times sit a little uneasily alongside each other - everyone quips like sitcom characters despite the gravity of the situation. More than once a bit of fiery interpersonal drama is interrupted by a character suggesting - quite justifiably - that maybe we ought to get back to the corpse issue? It's consistently buoyed, however, by the uniformly excellent cast, which ensures that things are never less than entertaining.
SpaceTriplex, until 19 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Jon Stapley]

Perfectly Imperfect Women (Wizard Presents)

Exploring ideas of perfection through fairytales and biographical retrospective, Danyah Miller takes the audience on a journey through her childhood, as well as that of her mother and her mother before her. A talented storyteller, Miller uses familiar and simple devices found in children's theatre, but with enough humour to keep an adult audience interested. Easily engaging with her audience, Miller breaks the ice with a short participatory game to gage the audience's own feelings towards ideas of perfection. Although a strong premise, 'Perfectly Imperfect Women' can occasionally feel unfinished as a whole piece. It's a simple show, looking into the complexities of the mother/daughter relationship and how that affects our strive for perfection.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Bethan Highgate-Betts]

Pornography by Simon Stephens (The Lincoln Company)
Written in response to the 2005 London bombings, Simon Stephens' play interweaves several disparate stories while following a fictional attacker on his final journey from Manchester to London. A handful of lives - including, among others, a besotted schoolboy and an incestuous pair of adult siblings - are brought together by a single act of devastating violence. The Lincoln Company's sparse, clinical staging commits to the dark, uncanny perversions of the script, but ultimately struggles to engage, despite the clear talent of its cast. The show is leadened by repetitive choices - too many movements and devices are used over and over, while the monotonous sound design quickly becomes grating. It's a slick production, but ultimately it doesn't draw you in emotionally.
C Too, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Jon Stapley]

Taiwan Season: Ever Never (Co-coism)
A beautifully surreal, dreamlike atmosphere pervades 'Ever Never', eschewing logic in favour of a fluid sequence of experiences and memories, plucked from the memories and experiences of the director. The use of supertitles for dialogue was a necessary evil, but it was the physical aspects of the performance that most captured the audience's attention. One scene in particular, using movement to reflect the process of crying, was particularly effective. Manifesting a character's grief physically, the company splintered apart and pulled together, their disparate tempos realigning with great synchronicity. Despite touching on themes of grief, loss and isolation, I'm not sure it actually told us much about these feelings, but when a show is this well-crafted, it doesn't really matter.
Summerhall, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Andy Leask]

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