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 ThreeWeeks Editors' Award winner Eric, who first performed his popular 'Tales Of The Sea' show at the Fringe in 2008.

CLICK HERE to read Eric's answers to the Quick Quiz.

Eric's 'Tales Of the Sea - A Submariner's Yarn' is on at Just The Tonic at The Caves until 26 Aug.
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.

Three recommended shows to see on Tuesday 22 Aug...

£¥E$ (LIES) | Upper Church @ Summerhall | 6.30pm & 8.30pm
Another very fine Fringe production from Ontroerend Goed. "Grouped with strangers, you begin by playing simple gambling games, but things grow in complexity", our reviewer explains. "Money stacks up, bonds fly from table to table, and it seems as though the good times and profits can never end". Intrigued? Go experience it for yourself.

The Gardener | Summerhall | 2.30pm & 4.30pm
This show is inspired by Cumbernauld Theatre's community arts work with older people and their wish to express ideas about grief, love and death. "Perhaps this is how it so perfectly achieves its moving honesty", reckons our reviewer. "It'll first warm your heart, then touch it, and ultimately break it".

Yianni Agisilaou: Pockets Of Equality | Banshee Labyrinth | 2.00pm (pictured)
In his latest show, ThreeWeeks Editors' Award winner Yianni Agisilaou addresses the inequalities and paradoxes around gender and sexuality. "There's always a risk that a man discussing feminism could feel patronising", observes our reviewer, "but not here: there's no condescension or mansplaining".


Courtney Act: The Girl from Oz (Working Management)
Making her Edinburgh debut, 'RuPaul's Drag Race' royalty Courtney Act takes you down under, performing some of her favourite Aussie songs. Looking stunning in a signature blonde wig and selection of increasingly glitzy outfits, this is a masterclass in slick showgirl drag. From a comically Edinburgh-ised rendition of Men At Work's 'Down Under', to Gotye's 'Somebody I Used To Know' with added xylophone, to a slowed-down, stripped version of the Bee Gee's 'Stayin' Alive' that gave me goosebumps, she makes each song her own. Between songs she recounts tales of her life, and of course throws plenty of shade on her contemporaries. A warm, funny and deliciously naughty slice of cabaret that 'Drag Race' fans won't want to miss.
Underbelly George Square, until 26 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Daisy Malt]

Hot Brown Honey (Briefs Factory)
Join the rebellion at the church of 'Hot Brown Honey' in this adrenaline-fuelled middle finger to repression and the patriarchy. This is 90s girl power brought right up to date: these ladies are brimming with attitude, fierce and fearless as they sing, dance, beatbox and bash men around the head with giant boobs (no, really!) in an exploration of race, gender, identity and culture. By way of some beautiful aerial work, the message of the show arrives like a punch in the face and, although jarring, it is absolutely perfect. Unapologetically female and intensely proud of their heritage, they're angry but they're using it for good. An empowering and unique act, this is a rallying call to unite and make noise.
Assembly Roxy, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Daisy Malt]


Dr Zeiffal, Dr Zeigal And The Hippo That Can Never Be Caught (Mouths of Lions)
We are all delegates at a conference, which is not your everyday start to a kids' show! Anyway, Dr Zeigal's running late, but Dr Zeiffal is here to talk us through all the things we'll need to try and find one of the many hippos apparently running wild in the UK. And so we run through the tools of that 'trade', with the assistance of young volunteers to help with things like reading the map, operating the hippo-calling device and unfolding the invisible hippo-catching cape. Farce and slapstick ensue as the hippo makes its presence known to the audience. The kids are sharp enough to cotton on to a rather gaping plot hole but, that aside, this is a good dose of silly, interactive fun.
Assembly Roxy, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Bruce Blacklaw]

Oskar's Amazing Adventure (Theatre Fideri Fidera)
You know when you pick up a couple of soft toys and have them act out some silliness or other? This is basically that, with some nice home-made scenery and join-in songs. And you know what, for pre-schoolers, it's not half bad. Oskar the dog slips out of his Alpine house for a play, along the way annoying an owl, fleeing a fox, falling down a hole and landing on a hibernating marmot who helps him out. It's acted out nicely by Natasha Granger (whose dad wrote the book and whose mother made the set), as she keeps on top of a lot of soft toy admin alongside some animated storytelling, dressing-up and suitably unpredictable audience participation. "Amazing" is probably stretching things, but certainly diverting.
Gilded Balloon Teviot, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Bruce Blacklaw]


Demi Lardner: Look What You Made Me Do (Underbelly and Laughing Stock)
Demi Lardner (23) plays Gavin (46) - an entry-level suspension of disbelief for the madcap vignettes ahead in 'Look What You Made Me Do'. This is character comedy at its most bizarre: in Gavin's basement, anything goes. And he isn't merely a gruff voice and a love of the film 'Borat', he's a fully realised character in Lardner's control. She's been directed by Mark Bonnano of sketch troupe Aunty Donna, and the trio's influence on Lardner's humour is evident, particularly in her extreme physicality. Her investment in the show is what makes the strange so enjoyable, so her few self-conscious moments shine a glaring light on the more under-prepared segments. Visual gags are wildly entertaining and the fourth wall is demolished within seconds.
Underbelly Cowgate, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Louise Jones]

Nick Cody: On Fire (MZA in association with Century Entertainment)
Nick Cody commands this long, thin lecture hall with the confidence of a man who did well at sports in high school. That's his line, and it reflects the tone of an hour containing part daft, laddish excess and part self-deprecating mockery of same. The opening anecdote about pissing himself is, on reflection, a fairly bold starting point for the audience interaction bit. The rest of the show jaunts merrily - with occasional, slightly incongruous darker turns - through tales of general daftness to the main event of his year, his marriage. He is self-evidently blissfully happy about that, and his wife is a constant reference point through the show. Accomplished, funny and, very much in its own way, a tender(ish) reflection on manhood.
Underbelly Med Quad, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Bruce Blacklaw]

Nick Revell vs Lily, Evil Cat Queen Of Earth Planet And The Laughing Fridge (Nick Revell/The Stand Comedy Club)
Soon whatever remains of humanity will be adapted to live without such fripperies as punctuation and word counts and I know this one's missed the print deadline so in the infinite indulgence of the internet I'm just gonna knock it out in a single sentence both as a gift to the future and to give a sense of what Nick Revell does as he starts by apologising for not having a show on account of having to take a cat to the vet before delivering at least two maybe three shows in impossibly impressively breathless short order starting from purposely standard cat gags which seem a bit shit but then they're so popular on the web and that's the start of the point as an unpromising anecdote grows arms and legs and paws and whiskers and fangs and shit as the dystopian future of the growth of artificial intelligence is mirrored by the diminution of the human sort and before we know it we end up needing our fucking hoover to help us sort out saving the world from carnivorous rats and even among this the call backs are Wittgenstein and medieval sheet music alongside the Kardashians and Kanye and Kim Jong Un and in short fuck me there's a lot going on in a short time in a small room but without doubt the best shaggy cat story on the Fringe and if you like cats on the internet you should go and see this because you and specifically you deserve all of what's coming.
The Stand Comedy Club 3 & 4, until 26 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Bruce Blacklaw]

Police Cops In Space (The Pretend Men)
If you can't be the best police cop on Earth, you can be best the best police cop in Space. That's according to The Pretend Men, who return to the Fringe with the space edition of their spot-on, all-American police blockbuster parody. In a bid to save the galaxy from the evil corporation 'Futuretech', good-for-nothing, son-of-the-best-police-cop-in-town Jack reluctantly teams up with the constantly bragging fighter pilot Ranger, to kick some serious criminal butt. The trio, who share brilliant on-stage chemistry, deliver hysterically exaggerated and physically mesmerising scenes with unfaltering energy levels and monumentally punchy delivery. These kids have got some serious gusto, Sergeant.
Pleasance Dome, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Stephanie Stapleton]

Simon Amstell: Tour Previews (Work In Progress) (Mick Perrin Worldwide)
As the show's title suggests, this was indeed a work in progress; though if Simon Amstell hadn't told us this, or taken to the stage with his notebook, his 700 strong audience might never have known. He often referred to this book, marking down the some of the best audience reactions (of which there were many) and seemed to use it regularly to direct his flow of speech. His style of stand-up is incredibly personal, light-hearted yet heartfelt, and never failed to charm the audience. He covered topics such as his own sexuality, his coming out story, parental relationships, and marriage - always managing to strike the perfect balance between witty humour and poignant honesty.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 19 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Emily Mildren]

Tony Law: Absurdity For The Common People (Tony Law/The Stand Comedy Club)
Weird is an overused term, but it's really hard to describe Canadian comedian Tony Law's stand-up performance without it. He enters the stage in questionable costume (I shan't give spoilers) and the eccentricity only escalates from there. Law's style of comedy seems to play on the fictional; he's a big fan of less than relevant tangents, and a lot of what he says may seem like nonsensical rambling. However, this nearly always comes back to a cleverly devised, if a little absurd, starting point. As long as you're prepared to embrace the silliness, and could consider yourself enjoying the more eclectic kinds of bizarre entertainment, this multi award-winning comedian should certainly win you over.
The Stand Comedy Club, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Emily Mildren]


The Narrator (Spitfire Company)
A performance that chronicles the story of intimate secrets, womanhood and physical history, 'The Narrator' is a highly visual piece with an outstanding physicality. Part of the Czech Showcase 2017, performer Cécile Da Costa takes to the stage and then rips it up in this loud and violent retelling of her intimate story. From award-winning company Spitfire, the show mixes haunting visuals with brilliantly timed live music. Every action has a meaning, every movement and its accompanying sound is meticulously thought out, all coming together to create one whole, tangible experience. Even the stage itself is superbly designed, extending and evolving to allow more and more visually compelling explorations of Da Costa's astonishing endurance. An astonishingly beautifully designed, breathtakingly powerful performance.
ZOO Southside, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Bethan Highgate-Betts]

Perhaps Perhaps Quizás (Gabriela Muñoz in association with Aurora Nova)
Perhaps you have felt lonely. Perhaps you've sat at home wondering just when "the one" is going to jump out of the pages of a gossip magazine and into your life. Perhaps you've even felt lonely enough to don a white dress, fabricate a church aisle from a roll of toilet paper, and hum Mendelssohn's wedding march ("da, da, de da-da dum dum ..."). That's the set-up for Gabriela Muñoz's wordless solo clown act, in which her character, who would be pitiable if she weren't so wickedly funny, turns a member of the audience into the squirming Mr Right. Muñoz combines manic energy with genuine emotion; the result is raucous, ebullient fun. Who knew loneliness could be such a laugh?
Assembly George Square Theatre, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Alexander Hartley]


The Damned United (Red Ladder Theatre and Unity Theatre Liverpool)
Football is the beautiful game, but for some it can be a truly bleak existence. 'The Damned United' examines both realities in this play, adapted from the novel by David Peace. What sets this production apart from other versions is the more intense focus on the relationship between main characters Brian Clough and Peter Taylor, played by Luke Dickson and David Chafer respectively. The two leads are excellent, particularly when Taylor acts almost as a voice in Clough's head during their time at Derby, and as the latter struggles without his former assistant as manager of Leeds United. This is an intimate character study of one of sport's biggest personalities and is a brilliant production for both football fans and theatre lovers.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Lewis Frain]

Derailed (Little Soldier Productions)
Fun and politics don't often go well together. However, 'Derailed' succeeds in giving its audience a good time, largely due to the infectious personalities of its lead performers Merce Ribot and Patricia Rodriguez. The show focuses on the two Spanish women, throwing a leaving party as a result of Brexit. During the party they both, alongside cast mates Thomas Abela and Dan Lees, reminisce about their previous political activism, as well as doubling up as a rock band. The audience is involved from the outset but at no point is it uncomfortable. In fact, despite important issues being tackled, the atmosphere is certainly an enjoyable one. With great humour, real talent and warm personalities, 'Derailed' is a truly entertaining hour with a positive message.
Pleasance Dome, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Lewis Frain]

Fix (Worklight Theatre)
'Fix' is the result of two years of research, speaking to those who have experienced addiction. This performance aims to share some of the stories heard through this project, not verbatim, but with the creation of three fictional characters: Robyn, Zach and Maggie. An addiction counsellor, a gambling addict, and the wife of a sex addict - these individuals provide a diverse perspective on some of the behavioural aspects of addiction. Perhaps the most stimulating part of this piece is the persistent narration of the chemical processes in the brain that lead to addictive behaviour. Essentially, 'Fix' breaks down an often inaccessible subject, one clouded with stigma, and forges a window through which to look in, and understand.
Underbelly Cowgate, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Emily Mildren]

Power Ballad (Zanetti Productions)
A wide-ranging exploration of the body, the voice and the performance space that contains it, 'Power Ballad' is Julia Croft's follow up to last year's 'If There's Not Dancing At The Revolution, I'm Not Coming'. Part theatre, part performance art and part karaoke session, Croft emphasises the symbolism of language and gender through simple routines that build to become something much more insightful. The use of voice effects and loops build soundscapes that envelope the audience, and through very few words her representation of facts versus feelings is extraordinarily powerful. Maybe I've been watching 'Twin Peaks' too much lately, but the fusion of dark aggression jutting up against humour feels very Lynchian. It's an astonishing performance that I am still processing.
Summerhall, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Daisy Malt]

A Girl And A Gun (Louise Orwin)
Bluebeard, in the legend, fills dungeons with bloody bits of his murdered wives. Fitting then, that the actor in this piece about violently sexualised depictions of women in film, has a dyed-blue stripe across his chin. This actor, who appears alongside the energetic Louise Orwin, has been selected online to perform in this show for one night only and reads his lines cold, from an autocue. But, even as he squirms, our pity for him is tempered by revulsion at his savage character. It's we, the ones off-camera, whom the piece catches in its glare; seeing Orwin through his eyes, we're forced to feel complicit. We squirm too, but also fidget - the piece is too saggy and over-long to quite land its punches.
Summerhall, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Alexander Hartley]

1917: A Phantasmagoria (Michael Daviot)
"Remember me", intones the spirit of 1917, our narrator and guide, at the end of this one-man show. Unfortunately, while the performance of the erudite spectre is excellent - by turns haunting, harrowed and hateful - the show itself is rather forgettable. A whistle-stop tour through the year's lowlights (war, revolution, a lynching), nothing really ties these disparate events together beyond their taking place in the same year: 1917. Many of the hilarious/horrifying details are of historical note - it's full of the kind of quirky factoids that would be right at home in an episode of 'QI' - but as a play, it's somewhat lacking.
Sweet Holyrood, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Andy Leask]

Paper Doll (Weird Sisters)
There was something off about most of the dialogue in 'Paper Doll'. I can't be entirely sure if it's the fault of the script or the delivery (or both), but it felt forced and unnatural. At first I hoped this was intentional, reflecting the tensions between the characters (a childless couple, bearing scars both physical and emotional), as their dark desires and dangerous fantasies were explored in an uneasily heightened reality. Something changed in the middle, though. As the husband's unorthodox plan unfolded the script briefly came alive, only for things to unravel at the climax. The conclusion managed one impressive feat: it made clichéd, predictable gender stereotypes feel artificial and inauthentic.
Greenside @ Infirmary Street, until 26 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Andy Leask]

Tense Vagina: An Actual Diagnosis (Sara Juli)
Sara Juli has set herself an admirable goal: to educate us about just some of the things that can go wrong with your reproductive parts. Unfortunately she does this through weak parody song, inexplicable dance, crass monologues and an awful lot of audience interaction. Surprisingly, the vagina chat was the least uncomfortable part of this show. The tiny audience (which Juli made reference to on at least four occasions, an excruciatingly awkward whisper of "there's usually more"), made this so embarrassingly cringey that it was hard to feel anything but panic. Is she going to touch me again? I genuinely felt for Juli, trying her best to inform and entertain, but it's hard to make nervous laughter sound anything close to convincing.
Underbelly, Cowgate, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 1/5 | [Gemma Scott]

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