Three recommended shows to see on Monday 21 Aug...

Quarter Life Crisis | Underbelly Cowgate | 2.40pm
In this recommended comedy theatre show "highly amusing anecdotes explore the confusion millennials face, alongside more personal stories". The resulting performance is "genuinely moving, comical and particularly easy to relate to".

Simon And Garfunkel: Through The Years | theSpace @ Symposium Hall | 8.50pm
A top tip from the music programme, Dan Haynes and Pete Richards faithfully reproduce the earlier sound of Simon And Garfunkel in this "relaxing, good natured show". Notes our reviewer: "'The Sound of Silence' gave me a shiver to hear it live".

Whalebone | Pleasance Courtyard | 1.00pm (pictured)
"'Whalebone' expertly walks a very fine line", says our reviewer, "balancing serious, impactful discourse with a cheeky sense of fun. The three actors mine the comic potential in the audience's sense of awkwardness, forcing us to confront these feelings even as they put us at ease". Go see.
It's the latest TW:TALKS podcast from Edinburgh Festival 2017. This time ThreeWeeks Editors' Award winner John Robertson, who is back at the festival with both a new stand-up show and the Fringe institution that is 'The Dark Room'. We chat to John about his career in comedy from the very start to the latest show, with lots of Edinburgh experiences along the way.

CLICK HERE to tune in to this edition of TW:TALKS - going live very soon!

John Robertson performs 'Dominant' at The Stand, 'The Dark Room' at Underbelly Cowgate and 'The Dark Room For Kids' at Just The Tonic at The Community Project, all three shows until 26 Aug.


The Lulu Show: Life On The Never-Never (Gilded Balloon Presents...)
Multi award-winning Norwegian actor and singer Hilde Louise and her jazz trio would like to talk to you about finance...and shoes. In this dimly-lit basement, the mix of traditional jazz cabaret performance and lessons on the history of the financial crisis go hand in hand. Perfectly in time with her very talented three-piece band, 'The Lulu Show' is a slick performance from start to finish, with countless onstage costume changes and even a magic trick or two. With amazingly distinctive vocals and inventive routines, Louise is an irresistible performer with a talent for pulling her audience in, even when discussing the most seemingly mundane topics. A fantastic cabaret show, by the end you might even have learnt something about your investments.
Gilded Balloon at Rose Theatre, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Bethan Highgate-Betts]

The Remains Of Tom Lehrer (Performed by Adam Kay) (Amateur Transplants presented by James Seabright)
Tom Lehrer was my introduction to musical comedy and satire, so I went into this show with some trepidation. Working chronologically through Lehrer's life and career, Adam Kay performs many of the better-known songs, though in an hour he can't cover everyone's favourites. He has updated some lyrics to be more relevant to 2017, and written his own version of a couple of songs, but the real treat for fans is the material Lehrer never recorded, including his application poem to Harvard and a version of 'The Elements' according to Aristotle. For newcomers this is a nice introduction to Lehrer, for others a rare chance to see his songs performed live, though I still prefer watching Lehrer himself on YouTube.
Gilded Balloon Teviot, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Richard Levinson]


Alexander Fox: Ringo (Alexander Fox)
Alexander Fox tells us towards the end of 'Ringo' that he rewrote this show in July and, unfortunately, it shows. It starts promisingly, with a sketch about that advert with the drumming gorilla, but once the show proper starts it's not quite sure what it's trying to be: part homage to The Beatles' drummer; part exhibition of Fox's self-taught drumming; part story of forming a band at his private school; and part parody of the movie 'Whiplash'. It has its moments, and I left appreciating Ringo Starr's drumming more than before, but it felt baggy, especially during sketches that crowbarred in impressions rather than advancing the story. There's a good show in here somewhere but Fox hasn't found it yet.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Richard Levinson]

Barry Crimmins: Atlas's Knees (Barry Crimmins / Lakin McCarthy / The Stand Comedy Club)
Barry Crimmins has been a leading light of the American satirical left for 40 years, so his invective on Trump et al is furiously funny and up-to-the-minute fresh. He can also draw from a formidable kitbag of anecdotes, including an awkward green room encounter with Henry Kissinger and the time he had to step in and interview Noam Chomsky for CNN. That long view lets him knock down any thought of nostalgia for Presidents past, whilst weaving in elements of his own harrowing personal experience to make a plea for kindness and decency. Admittedly I saw this early in the run, but it was far from tight, overrunning by 20 minutes due to occasional shortcomings of focus and pace. At its best, though, absolutely peerless.
The Stand Comedy Club, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Bruce Blacklaw]

Goose: Amphetawaltz (So Comedy by arrangement with Troika)
Goose do "one-man sketches" (that include a live band and several other actors) and 'Amphetawaltz' tells the story of Adam Drake trying to clear his name for a crime he can't remember. So much is crammed into the hour: songs, audience participation, puns, callbacks, self-referential jokes, sketches and impressions only begin to cover it. This is an incredibly ambitious show, the pace is frenetic, and in other hands it could have ended up a mess. Being heavily dependent on both the technology and audience participation, there's a lot that could go wrong too, but when it did all come together, this brilliantly crafted show and Drake's breathless performance fully deserved the standing ovation at the end.
Assembly George Square Gardens, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Richard Levinson]

Organ Freeman (Jarlath Regan)
If your brother rang up asking you to fly across the Atlantic to donate your kidney, would you? Jarlath Regan narrates his thought process from the perspective of the non-favourite son, divulging some family drama along the way. Is it really a completely selfless act, or an attempt to compete for the favourite title and become the ultimate "sound" guy? Humorously and thoughtfully exploring topics like the Irish and their potatoes, stagnant relationships, and London lad culture, Regan seamlessly ties together different material with a humble intelligence. Although at points I found the show a little slow-paced, family-man Regan has a superb knack for telling thoughtful stories with emotional depth and warmth. A genuinely sound set.
Just The Tonic at the Tron, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Stephanie Stapleton]


Edinburgh Renaissance Band - Musical Migrants (Edinburgh Renaissance Band)
This intrepid band have been playing glorious ancient instruments at the Edinburgh Fringe for forty-five years; their programme today highlighted how free movement in Europe was essential to musicians hundreds of years ago. Susato's 'La Battaille' accompanied the musicians' procession down both aisles to the stage - they were at their most intriguing when divided into two parts, answering each other's musical phrases. My favourite song 'El grillo' (the cricket) by Josquin des Pres began with a marvellous crumhorn quartet representing the cricket, though the alto shawm and tuned bells were notably good today too. But there's more to the Renaissance than crumhorns, as Galileo may have said, and this well-researched, authentic programme - including an interesting commentary - both informed and entertained.
artSpace@StMarks, until 18 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Louise Rodgers]

Prévert: Piano And Poetry (Alexandre Prévert)
This varied musical programme travelled though the music of two centuries (including Liszt and Gershwin) and - unusually - was interspersed with appropriate poetry readings from various authors read out by the musician. An exceptional pianist, Prévert began deftly and delicately to interpret Mozart, later transforming into a bombastic 'Firebird' for Stravinsky. The highpoint, for me, was his beautiful performance of Ravel's 'Odine', preceded by the reading that inspired the composer. The readings were interesting and gave another insight into Prévert - I particularly enjoyed the Puckish humour of his final reading, as he put on a hat and coat, claiming that the concert had not been successful. His wonderful playing, and the clapping and stamping that followed, cast doubt on that particular claim!
Palmerston Place Church, until 18 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Louise Rodgers]

L'Orfeo - English Baroque Soloists, Monteverdi Choir, Sir John Eliot Gardiner (Edinburgh International Festival)
Composer Monteverdi's 450th anniversary was celebrated in great style in this triumphant, exhilarating concert performance that drew the audience irresistibly into this well-known story. Revelling nymphs and shepherds - portrayed sensuously by the Monteverdi choir - gave way to Orpheo's descent into the underworld. In his quest to bring back his dead wife, Eurydice, he met bass Gianluco Buratto singing wonderfully as Charon, the slow, murky boatman of the dead. The orchestra played an extravagant collection of early instruments perfectly and interacted with the singers - Orpheo, shocked by the sudden death of Eurydice, leant on a harpsichord player and Charon reached out to touch the harp, baffled by its unfamiliar sweetness. I wasn't baffled, but I was stunned by such a magnificent event!
Usher Hall, 14 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Louise Rodgers]


Hotter (Transgression Productions)
A frequently funny, endearingly frank show, 'Hotter' is two performers - Mary Higgins and Ell Potter - and the voices of lots of female and non-binary members of the public, aged from 13 to 97. It's not for the easily embarrassed, as these people discuss their bodies - physicality, sexuality and the ageing process - in vivid detail. It's an admirably broad range of voices to include, and by and large the performers do them justice. One particular highlight is a heartfelt response to a teenage girl lacking confidence, in which the tears in Potter's eyes are clearly sincere. Juxtaposed with its many hilarious sections, 'Hotter' does cover a lot of bases; indeed, its only real fault is a slight lack of focus.
Paradise In Augustines, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Andy Leask]

Knock Knock (Niv Petel)
Ilana is a single mother, and an army liaison officer: specifically, it's her job to talk to the families of fallen soldiers. Over the course of the play, we watch her relationship with her son Elad, from infancy until he too joins the army. The script wisely avoids becoming mired in any geopolitical issues or military clichés, by focusing on the intimate details of a believably human story, crammed full of perfect imperfections. Writer/performer Niv Petel is a remarkable talent, and his marvellously controlled performance somehow extends beyond his body to fill the stage completely. When the play ended, the audience didn't move, didn't breathe for what felt like an age; even now, hours later, I'm still reeling.
C Primo, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Andy Leask]

Like Blood From a Cheap Cigar (Genevieve Joy)
Spanning from beginning to end of a troubled relationship, 'Like Blood From a Cheap Cigar' takes an intimate look at the lives of couple Margo and George. Beginning at the end, we see a jaded Margo who has taken to lurking in George's driveway at night, while the ageing, drug-addled George still acts like a bad-boy. Occasionally predictable, and with characters that can fall into stereotypes, the story can often become familiar. But the writing is thoughtful, building with fast-paced intensity throughout. Writer/performer Genevieve Joy plays Margo, with Joseph Reitman as George, and both performances can get a little overexcited. The intensity of their performances outweighs any overeager stumbles, however, and creates an intriguing look at two flawed characters.
theSpace @ Surgeons Hall, until 26 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Bethan Highgate-Betts]

The Road That Wasn't There (Trick of the Light / Zanetti Productions)
After last year's well-intentioned but underwhelming musical, Trick of the Light have returned to form with this gorgeous show, all about tall tales and fabulous fabrications. They use live actors, along with visually stunning puppets and shadow puppetry, to tell the story of a young man's attempts to stop his mother's "odd" behaviours, and of the mother's attempts to make him believe her improbable stories. We travel with the puppets up a "paper road" to a mystical land full of surprises. All three actors are wonderfully witty and playful, portraying a range of well-defined characters, though the performances always feel sympathetic to the subject matter. This is beautiful storytelling - lyrical, poignant and mysterious - which might just leave you believing the unbelievable.
Assembly Roxy, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Gemma Scott]

The Unmarried (Lauren Gauge)
'The Unmarried' is very clever. A pulsating verse monologue, accompanied by live singing and beatboxing to a series of 90s club anthems, the performance is so inventive that at times it risks drowning in its own artifice. There is a weakness at the heart of this otherwise strong piece: Luna, the protagonist. Her fear of commitment and domesticity are clichéd and predictable, making her come across as unsympathetic, even juvenile; it's a shame, as this thin caricature is unworthy of the obvious skill on display elsewhere. Clearly Lauren Gauge is both a gifted performer and a highly skilled writer - I kept hoping for her character to reveal some depth to match the complexity of her lyricism, but it never happened.
Underbelly Med Quad, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Andy Leask]

Victim (Bruised Sky Productions)
Perhaps it is unfair to compare 'Victim' to last year's predecessor, the superior 'Villain', yet there are myriad similarities and connections between the pieces, both stylistically and within the plot. This time the one actor plays two parts - an uptight prison guard, and a malevolent, manipulative inmate - and she does so with aplomb, each character wholly distinct, her very features seeming to shift as her voice, accent and body language alters. There is a weighty sense of inevitability in the plot, the audience fearing the unpleasant climax before it comes to pass, yet despite this growing, gnawing fear the play lacks impact. It is an interesting representation of human frailty, but it doesn't say much about it.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Andy Leask]

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