Earlier today we presented the ThreeWeeks Editors' Awards in the Fellows Library at theSpace @ Surgeons Hall.

These go to the ten people and companies who we think made this year's Edinburgh Festival extra special. Here we run through all the winners...

01: Theatre Re
Our first winner has been getting good reviews from ThreeWeeks for a good few years now, a number of them really glowing, top rated ones; so, unsurprisingly, they've made more than one appearance on the super-secret Editors' Award shortlists in years past. This year we felt it really was time we acknowledged just how much we like their work, especially once we'd heard what our reviewer thought of this year's offering, 'The Nature Of Forgetting'. Not only did he give it 5/5 and a highly complimentary write up, but he went back to see it again and witnessed a second standing ovation. Crikey. Our first winner is Theatre Re.

02: Rob Auton
The winner of our next award has been a favourite with the ThreeWeeks team for some time. They are always impressed by his uniquely affecting, hilarious shows which fall somewhere between stand-up and spoken word. Back in 2009, he was singled out by one of our writers as the most promising act in a line up of newcomers; in 2012 our reviewer declared his work to be bizarre yet addictive; in 2013 he made one of our team cry with laughter; and in 2016 he made another ThreeWeeks reviewer cry, not with laughter this time, actually, but because of a sequence that was "utterly beautiful and life-affirming". Finally, in 2017, he received yet more high praise for another great show full of daft observations and wonderful absurdity. For entertaining us so delightfully all this time, our second winner is Rob Auton.

03: Jordan And Skinner - 'At A Stretch'
ThreeWeeks has paid attention to children's shows at the Fringe ever since we launched in 1996, but it's probably fair to say that as some of the team have aged - and as we have had reviewers and an editor bringing their own children to the festival - the magazine has offered more and more coverage of the work aimed at the youngest viewers. Yet, it's still fairly rare to come across shows that impress us as much as our next winner's did. Of this fantastic depiction of a love story between two women, our reviewer wrote: "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," finishing with this resounding endorsement: "This show is funny, heart-warming and just glorious, no matter how old you are." Our third winners are Jordan And Skinner for 'At A Stretch'.

04: Will Pickvance
It's probably quite significant that the ThreeWeeks reviewers who don't really review much music still want to go and see our next recipient's work. He may be a hugely talented musician, but he is also a fabulous entertainer in other ways too, combining his virtuoso abilities on the piano with his skill as a raconteur. Since 2013, a number of our team have been blown away by his musical improvisation, his hilarious and intimate storytelling, and his 100% engaging style. This year's show, 'Pianologues', built around Schubert songs and the theme of families, received a resounding 5/5 write up, which included the advice to "bring waterproof pants and a hankie". Our fourth winner couldn't be with us in person this morning because he is already half way across the world heading to a festival in New Zealand, but that doesn't make him any less deserving - and that fourth winner is Will Pickvance.

05: Ian Smith
As this year's proceedings have already revealed, many of our ThreeWeeks Editors' Awards go to acts and companies based not merely on one show, but on what we call 'body of work' - the fact that they have returned to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe on a regular basis, bringing lots of shows that we loved, and this is definitely true of our next winner. This excellent comedian has never got a bad review from us. Most of them have been 5/5s - top marks - and contained words and phrases like "beautiful", "funny", "funniest", "skilful", "stylish", "satisfying", "hugely entertaining", "perfectly executed", "endearing" and "some of the finest granite material on the circuit". To be honest, we're not quite sure why he isn't playing stadiums and hosting all of the panel shows. Our fifth winner is Ian Smith.

06: Hot Brown Honey
For a number of reasons we won't go into, ThreeWeeks has had to reduce its coverage of the Fringe somewhat in recent years. Sadly that means we don't always see those brilliant previously-unheard-of-shows first, like we used to, though we continue to monitor the festival grapevine closely. Which means that, although we didn't see our next award winning show when it first arrived in Edinburgh last year, we certainly heard about it taking the Festival by storm. We were therefore determined to make sure we saw it this year. Listed in cabaret, but energetically defying genre categorisation, this extraordinary troupe offer an important and uncompromising exploration of race, gender, identity and culture that our reviewer called an "adrenaline-fuelled middle finger to repression and the patriarchy". Our sixth award goes to 'Hot Brown Honey'.

07: Prom Kween
As we often point out when we do our Three To See picks at the start of August, while it's not hard to find productions of all the old favourite musicals here at the Fringe, what gets us excited is the brand new ones. Our next winner is just that: a new musical with contemporary themes, containing very snappy show tunes, pithy jokes, on-point pop culture references and superb surprises. Our reviewer called it a "life-affirming musical that fuses all your favourite high school movies with 'RuPaul's Drag Race'" and we are all calling it... a ThreeWeeks Editors' Award winner. Our seventh award goes to 'Prom Kween'.

08: Niv Petel - Knock Knock
The one-person show is a fixture in Edinburgh for a reason: the venues are small, shows with large casts are more expensive, and it's easier to take a monologue on tour in the autumn. As a result, over our two decades of covering the Fringe we've seen an awful lot of them, come to really value them, and cover as many of them as we can. Amongst this year's batch was one that quite literally left one of our team breathless: "when the play ended", he wrote "the audience didn't move, didn't breathe for what felt like an age; even now, hours later, I'm still reeling". Our eighth winner, described by our reviewer as a "remarkable talent", is Niv Petel, for his show 'Knock Knock'.

09: Barry Crimmins
Every year a new batch of comedians make their respective debuts at the Fringe, and generally they're quite young and largely inexperienced. So it was a bit of a surprise, if we're being honest, to see a US legend putting on his first Edinburgh show after forty years in the business of comedy, and even more surprising to discover that he was heroically fitting said debut into his honeymoon. We don't think it's too dramatic to say that if there was ever a time that we needed to hear from this man, the time right now is it. And just like that, he turns up in Scotland to give us his "furiously funny and up to the minute" invective on Trump, anecdotes about Chomsky, Kissinger and Nicaragua, and welcome ranting about the NHS. The winner of our ninth award is Barry Crimmins.

10: The Edinburgh Renaissance Band
We've been sending reviewers to see our final award winners for a good few years now, but they have been performing at the Fringe for much longer than that - longer than we've been covering the festival, and this is our 22nd year! But this band of musicians have brought shows to the Festival for a hugely impressive forty-five years, and they stand out from all the other traditional, classical and contemporary music shows because of their rather magnificent USP: evoking the sounds of Mediaeval and Renaissance Europe, they play instruments from a bygone age. Have you ever heard music from shawms, cornetts, sackbuts, nakers, crumhorns, rackets and serpents? If not, make a date to see this excellent ensemble in 2018. Our tenth award goes to The Edinburgh Renaissance Band.

Three recommended shows to see on Sunday 27 Aug...

Out Of Love | Roundabout @ Summerhall | 10.25am
In our penultimate Three To See of Edinburgh 2017 we recommend this "sincere, honest examination of female friendship in all its intensity". Says our reviewer: "This is theatre at its most intimate, which grips your heart and mind long after the show has finished".

Spontaneous Sherlock | Liquid Rooms Annexe | 7.50pm
The set up: "Each audience member is given a piece of paper saying 'Sherlock Holmes and the...' We fill in the gap. The pieces of paper are drawn out of a hat, and from there, the utterly bizarre improvisation ensues". The result? "With ridiculous plots and a constant stream of gags, these witty performers induced side-splitting laughter across the entirety of the performance".

Jordan Brookes: Body Of Work | Pleasance Courtyard | 11.00pm (pictured)
In this show, notes our reviewer, "erratic, fast-paced humour is mixed with awkward, drawn-out scenes that take you to the brink of discomfort through over-exaggerated gestures". In summary, this "borders on the grotesque but remains genuinely hilarious".


Eaten (Mamoru Iriguchi)
If you woke up with your head poking out of a lion's mouth, you'd probably feel terrified (and pretty hostile that you'd just been eaten!) The gentle-natured and endearingly inquisitive Mamoru Iriguchi, however, takes it as an opportunity to strike up a friendship with the lion, before he disappears down its digestive tract for good. 'Eaten' explores complicated ideas about the food chain and the conflicting emotions that come with being animal-loving omnivores. Iriguchi's creation is unpretentiously intelligent, warm, and as honest as it is silly. There aren't many people that can pull off a show that is conceptually and visually beautiful but also laden with poo-jokes; 'Eaten' had me laughing harder than all the kids put together.
Summerhall, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Stephanie Stapleton]


Bruce (Underbelly and The Last Great Hunt)
It's possible to pinpoint the exact moment in 'Bruce' where the narrative throws out such a twist that the show transforms from an entertaining romp into an incredible epic of a tale. It's a plot game-changer, like those in the blockbusters that 'Bruce' pastiches so perfectly. All this, with a sponge. Tim Watts and Wyatt Nixon-Lloyd create a fully-realised array of characters, using puppetry with an impressively emotive edge. Flashbacks, montages and feats of coincidence follow the mould of so many biography flicks, but rendered through what is essentially a crude Muppet, this show's all the more entertaining. There's such a mastery of technical touches, mime and humour here - a lot of love is put into 'Bruce', and is poured out again from sponge lips.
Underbelly Cowgate, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Louise Jones]

All My Friends Are Dead (Conor Drum)
Conor Drum is an anecdotal comedian who, in this set, tells us what it's like being the only single person when all your friends are getting married. Despite it being an overdone subject matter, Drum constructs entertaining jokes and times his punchlines well. He riffs off the audience naturally, making light of some of the harsher constraints of Fringe venues. There are a handful of poorly judged and lazy jokes relying on stereotypes, but these are few and far between. The show has a strong ending, but this was sadly hampered by Drum seeming to lose his confidence and swallowing his words. Overall it's a well written set, albeit not a wholly original one.
Laughing Horse @ Bar 50, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Lizzie Milton]

Shit I'm In Love With You Again (Crowning Monkey)
Rachelle Ellie has been on a magical whirlwind romantic adventure, ever since losing her virginity in her twenties and having to experience the wonders of blue-balled, pony-tailed poet lovers. Now married to a doctor (with kids that sometimes she'd frankly like to orphan), Ellie certainly hasn't lost the ability to poke fun at her love life, bringing buckets of cheeky playfulness and a mischievous twinkle in her eye. With plenty of garish costume changes and live-accompanied tracks, including 'F*ck First' and 'I'm Breaking Up With Jesus', Canadian comedian Ellie is a master of tongue-in-cheek glitz. But don't be fooled, because behind the bawdy lyrics is a brilliant performer full of character and charm.
theSpace @ Surgeons Hall, until 26 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Stephanie Stapleton]

Planet Caramel: Hot, Sexy And Kind Of Desperate (Planet Caramel)
Planet Caramel are a fairly typical trio of sketch comedians, offering a range of hit-and-miss sketches performed with energy and gusto. There are some funny jokes, but too often these came in the middle of a sketch, leaving the punchlines feeling weak. Some sketches felt immature and, at times, even insensitive. However, there were moments, such as a bleakly hilarious scene about recycling, which felt genuinely new and presciently funny. They also segued well, moving fluidly from one scene to the next. The final sketch certainly had the right energy, but wasn't a strong enough joke in itself to be a solid ender. I would have liked a few more hits than misses from this show.
Bar Bados Complex, until 26 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Lizzie Milton]

Trump'd! (Two Thirds Comedy)
One of several shows about Donald Trump at this year's Fringe, this is a comedy musical about two Americans' journey across the country, hoping to convince him not to build the Mexican wall through their town. Along the way they pick up a group of Mexican Resistance types, Hillary Clinton, and the remains of Isis - each with their own reason for wanting to see the President. Trump is an obvious, easy subject for satire, but this show doesn't offer more than a simple "Trump is bad" message. The actors' lack of vocal projection means that much of the dialogue and lyrics aren't clear, while the confusing plot (why are the Americans siding with Isis to beat Trump?) results in an underwhelming experience.
C, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Richard Levinson]

Amy Howerska: Goddess Unless Tired Or Hungry (Amy Howerska)
Amy Howerska has a sound sense of structure, but the frustrating lack of material means the show is all signposting and no filler. Howerska's got a charming confidence when she's in the flow: on stage is clearly where she flourishes, keeping audience interaction light and snappy. When it comes to prepared material, however, that mischievous sparkle dims, as if Howerska herself knows that the material's a little rote. A segment on mansplaining reaches a fantastic natural conclusion but then feels milked for diminishing returns. A little too late we learn the show is apparently themed around family, but there's little anecdotal proof to back up this claim. A promising premise, but too fluffy in the middle.
Laughing Horse @ The Counting House, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Louise Jones]

Colin Hoult / Anna Mann In How We Stop The Fascists (Berk's Nest)
The limelight loving, fabulously flirtatious, diva actress Anna Mann has returned, and this time it's with her hilariously shameless musings about the recent rise of the extreme political right. Colin Hoult's creation is like a posh, sassy Helen Mirren wannabe, who has no qualms about letting you know exactly what she thinks. Hoult's sketches are filled with a quirky mix of deliciously offensive characters, like the white male fascist Nick Crippen (the former BNP leader's twin brother, who has Tourette's). Though there may be a few similarities with Hoult's previous show 'A Sketch Show For Depressives', I couldn't help but become absolutely enamoured by the charismatic Anna all over again. As Anna would lovingly say - "oh fuck off that's good!".
Pleasance Courtyard, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Stephanie Stapleton]

Sisters: White Noise (Sisters)
For a Fringe debut, Sisters are on the right track. Serving up sketch comedy mingled with an overarching narrative, they're attempting to draw in a wider audience: the show opens with them projected onto a screen, apparently cold-calling people around the world to promote themselves. The sketches themselves range from witty and original to somewhat patchy, and feature, in all honesty, some pretty cheap jokes. They're very aware that their comedy can be a bit disturbing and somewhat confusing, two things that tend to tickle me. They poke fun at all manner of potentially taboo topics, but the superficiality of it often results in the aforementioned cheap jokes, teetering precariously on that fine line between dark and offensive.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Daisy Malt]

The Harry And Chris Show 2 (Harry Baker and Chris Read)
Harry Baker and Chris Read describe themselves as a "comedy-jazz-rap duo" and their second Edinburgh show flies by with a series of clever and uplifting songs. 2012 World Poetry Slam Champion Baker raps and jazz guitarist Read sings about pandas, turning vegetarian, and time travel, wonderfully exploiting the natural chemistry between the two of them. The 'Robot Wars' song lost some of the audience, but the quality of rhyming and wordplay in the others (including Baker's freestyling) makes this a minor quibble. When many shows are about how depressing the world is at the moment, it was nice to finish on a song with a positive message, which some were still singing as they left the venue.
Just The Tonic at The Mash House, until 26 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Richard Levinson]


This Really Is Too Much (Gracefool Collective in association with Underbelly Untapped)
Part of the Underbelly Untapped season, 'This Really Is Too Much' takes on the ridiculous realities of what it means to be a woman today. As the audience filter in, the four performers are already sitting on the stage watching us, and from there we are treated to political speeches, crafts and a lot of salad. Taking a frank look at the stereotypes and power struggles women face in the world, this show calls out the absurd double standards. The choreography is slick, the punchlines dark and the laughs constant. This is a remarkable, genre-defying performance, superbly written and fantastically performed: it should be right at the top of your list of things to see.
Underbelly Cowgate, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Bethan Highgate-Betts]

Dollhouse (Bill Coleman and Gordon Monahan)
Walking out onto an object-heavy stage at the beginning of this performance, Bill Coleman could just be any man in a suit. It's not until the room quiets and you begin to hear the cracking from under his clothes that you realise there is a lot more going on than meets the eye. From this point on we get to bask in his endurance, as everything around him falls apart. Joined on stage by composer Gordon Monahan, Coleman spends the 50 minutes being engulfed by the destruction of everything around him. Both visually and audibly appealing, the piece is accompanied by its own unique score. 'dollhouse' is a compelling show that fills the senses but occasionally allows the mind to wander.
Dance Base, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Bethan Highgate-Betts]


Shake, Rattle 'n' Roll (Ian Munro)
Percussion is power, but always in a fun way! That's the main lesson I took away from this recital/workshop. It's intended for children, but there were definitely some unattended adults in the audience enjoying the drums and stories. The concert was just Munro and played entirely on drums (kit and snare), glockenspiel, xylophone and "the toys" - the little instruments such as tambourine and castanets. I learned more about percussion here than I did in five years at music school! My favourite piece was Benson's exhilarating snare drum composition, 'Fandango'. Naturally, we were deafened when the children took over the instruments and it was a joy to see a baby - held by her dad - playing a kit cymbal with a drum stick.
artSpace@St Marks.
tw rating 4/5 | [Louise Rodgers]

Jamie McDowell And Tom Thum (Hey Boss)
This duo, a beatboxer and a singer songwriter, combine for an hour of stunts and songs in this flashy musical exhibition. Tom Thum, the vocal artist, flaunts his diverse range of sounds and mimicry, from jazz trumpet to Dubstep. However, Thum fails to distinguish himself from other beatbox talents and invariably falls foul of the 'once you've seen one' trap. He and McDowell also play some original material together, but the songs themselves are generic and similar, and although this is partially disguised by the duo's musical tricks and constant showmanship, these gimmicks wear thin quite quickly. Overall, this is a lively and shamelessly sensational show, but one that feels more like a street performance than a concert.
Assembly George Square Studios, until 22 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [James Napleton]


Cathy (Cardboard Citizens)
Written by Ali Taylor, this play is inspired by Ken Loach's film 'Cathy Come Home'. In it we see Cathy, played fiercely by Cathy Owen, struggle with zero-hour contracts and an uncaring landlord, until she and her daughter are forced into emergency accommodation. From there, the situation worsens, as repeated interactions with the housing authorities are unsuccessful. The reality of just how easy it could be to get lost in the system is disturbingly realistic, poignant and often hard to watch. The play is well performed, though occasionally shouting replaces more nuanced delivery. Followed by a brief audience discussion about what laws could be introduced to change this situation, the show Cardboard Citizens have created is a brave, challenging exploration of homelessness and vulnerability.
Pleasance Dome.
tw rating 4/5 | [Gemma Scott]

Certain Young Men (Cambridge University Queer Players)
An intimate and honest look at queer male culture, this production of Peter Gill's 'Certain Young Men' certainly brings the heart. With gender-blind casting, the show goes even further in asking what it is to be a man against the backdrop of the burgeoning mainstream queer culture. The performances are strong and believable, portraying an array of characters with sensitive delicacy. With beautifully simple, domestic staging, it really does feel like you've had an insight into the lives of these couples and friends, while the lighting design adds to the intensity of the unfolding stories with ever-adapting brightness and change. This production quite literally shines a light onto the complexities of queer relationships and friendships within a heteronormative culture.
theSpace @ Venue45, until 26 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Bethan Highgate-Betts]

Me and My Bee (ThisEgg)
This year references to president Trump are ubiquitous, but it is the last thing one expects when at a bee party. This brief wigged cameo is indicative of the the novel approach ThisEgg take to children's theatre, where they fuse ebullient sillyness with a more serious subject matter. The party is led by a bee and his two human companions, who are using this gathering to promote their new political project: The Bee Party. This multi-layered performance engages with all ages, but it isn't too serious; after all it is a party, there are hats, jokes, music and occasionally some statistics. Totally unpredictable and engrossing, this show sets a strong example of how children's theatre can simultaneously playful and provoking.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [James Napleton]

Egg (Theodora Van Der Beek / PBH Free Fringe)
The Fringe is known for showcasing avant-garde, boundary-defying work, but this piece of performance art about an egg's journey is utterly bizarre, even by Fringe standards. Theodora Van der Beek hatches before our eyes, encased in a plastic membrane, and waddles innocently around. But, as she embarks upon different endeavours, a disembodied voice tells her that she's just a "stupid whore". This is biting satire, as egg becomes a poignant symbol for all the women who fail to reach their potential under the patriarchy. Although this piece of performance art feels more like a work in progress, and is perhaps an acquired taste, have you really done the Fringe if you haven't seen an anthropomorphised egg on stage?
Bourborn Bar, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Amy Bonar]

An Evening With An Immigrant (Inua Ellams and Fuel)
"To this day I think of the Irish as the Nigerians of Europe." Inua Ellams knows his audience: in fact, he holds us in the palm of his hand, coolly overrunning his ninety-minute, late-night slot. In poetry and prose, now whispered into the microphone, now almost sung, he tells his family's immigration story. We hear of the crushing daily struggles of life as an asylum seeker: filling out forms that are lost or rejected; waiting endlessly; living in fear of a letter from the Home Office that will rip your world apart. But Ellams finds humour, and beauty, in the darkest situations. His verse is tripping and lyrical, performed with an easy grace, a wink, and a smile.
Traverse Theatre, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Alexander Hartley]

Five Encounters On A Site Called Craigslist (YesYesNoNo)
Craigslist describes itself as "local classifieds and forums - community moderated, and largely free". It was through Craigslist that Sam had his first sexual experience with a man. This, and four later Craigslist hookups, are the basis of this conversational play, which scrunches up Sam's experiences and unfolds them into reflections about sex and emotional intimacy. Audience participation is used heavily, but no one's put on the spot; Sam works hard to keep us comfortable and engaged, and never hectors. The gentleness of his interactions with us forms a theatrical counterpart to the difficulty he faces in forming sustained emotional attachments with others. It's a beautiful piece, the kind of theatre that is visionary, purposive and unpretentious.
ZOO, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Alexander Hartley]

The Starship Osiris (Willis & Vere)
'The Starship Osiris' sends sci-fi parody into hyperdrive as it devolves into meta-farce. On the surface, this 'Star Trek' knock-off serves up a sound pastiche, ignoring the shaky American accents. Adam Willis is a highlight as put-upon engineer Evans, juggling hammy awkwardness and full-blown aggression as he quits the show after a line flub. From here the show turns on its own genre's gender roles: gone are the Starettes' sugar-pop sweetness, instead actor Molly Bird rants and Jo McGarry actively strips off her lack of agency. What sours it is the sheer chaos of the fights and arguments breaking out: they're not finely tuned enough, and the ending feels tacked onto an over-long exploration of behind-the-scenes bickering.
Underbelly Cowgate, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Louise Jones]

Sam Shaber: Life, Death And Duran Duran (Sam Shaber)
Sam Shaber is a talented musician with a raw, husky voice. The story of her life is bittersweet, as she remembers the deaths of friends and family. This show is somewhere between a gig and a piece of storytelling, but not quite either and this, unfortunately, works to its detriment. The storytelling isn't crafted or compelling enough to stand by itself, and there just aren't enough songs to keep up the momentum. Shaber is clearly a more confident musician than storyteller: she owns the stage when she sings, but when she talks she quickly retreats into a much more stilted performance. The stories are heartfelt and her singing is stunning, but I left needing a little more from this show.
Gilded Balloon at Rose Theatre, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Lizzie Milton]

Syd And Sylvia (Claudia Jefferies)
Starting off as a parody of a couple performing in a working man's club, this show quickly devolves into something much more interesting. With many twists and turns, it becomes a fascinating exploration of the feelings of anger, humiliation and shame that can follow street harassment and assault. It's a visceral performance that can be a difficult watch at times, but well worth it. Claudia Jefferies is a talented writer and performer, who captures the voices of different characters extremely well. She plays with the audience expertly and, most of the time, to the benefit of the show. 'Syd and Sylvia' makes an important contribution to the continued conversation about street harassment and assault.
Silk, until 26 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Lizzie Milton]

Pistorius: A Shakespearean Tragedy (The Mermaids Performing Arts Fund)
Oscar Pistorius, Paralympic champion and Olympic competitor, shot and killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in 2013. Here we see his life reimagined as a Shakespearean drama, from his frustrations and troubled family life to his eventual imprisonment. The use of language is intriguing, and the show has some clever elements, like Macbeth's witches being transformed into three chat show hosts. But the courtroom scene drags on far too long, and doesn't consider the later change in Pistorious' verdict from culpable homicide to murder. Reeva Steenkamp is never seen, never given a voice, so Pistorius - a deeply unlikeable character here (and let's not even start on non-disabled actors playing disabled roles) - remains the star of the show.
Greenside @ Infirmary Street.
tw rating 2/5 | [Gemma Scott]

All We Ever Wanted Was Everything (Middle Child)
Hurtling across a time span of three decades, from 1987 to 2017, we immerse ourselves in the lives of Leah and Dan. The two children grow up under very different social circumstances, but both read Harry Potter, and are told they can be anything they want. But, as an asteroid hurtles towards earth, this becomes a simultaneously heartwarming and heart-wrenching tale of dreams failing to materialize. It's an imaginative production, that combines witty, poetic writing with adrenaline-inducing live music, all played by the multi-talented performers. Although it's a familiar story - almost cliched - this show still manages to resonate, as it hits every single fibre of your being. Prepare to leave the theatre reeling.
Roundabout @ Summerhall, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Amy Bonar]

How to Be A Sissy With Percy Q Shun (South By Northwest)
'How to Be a Sissy' combines parody lessons with a real-life account of what it was like growing up gay in the southern states of the USA. This dual persona device is compelling and, when utilised best, extremely effective. However, our teacher Percy is very one-note and I found him less entertaining as the show went on, whereas, by contrast, Brian's story only gets more compelling. Even if you haven't personally dealt with the same issues, the story of hardship, healing and trying to forgive those who have wronged you is pertinent to many. Whilst the structure of the lessons is contrived, Brian's own story shines through in this memorable and moving evening.
C Royale, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Lizzie Milton]

DIGS (Theatre With Legs)
'DIGS' is a darkly funny look at shared living and the space we take up in our own homes. Theatre with Legs gives us an insight into the good and bad elements of house sharing, from the perspective of the 'Rent Generation'. With musical interludes and beautifully physical, visual explorations, this hour-long show offers a frank look at what it means to live with other people, and how sharing a space can all too often become sharing a life. The theatre space was used to its full potential, whilst still mimicking that of a traditional 'living space'. Two brilliant performances bind the show together, the scope of the characters allowing both actors to show their capabilities as versatile, endearing performers.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Bethan Highgate-Betts]

A Hunger Artist (Sinking Ship Productions)
To be judged, ridiculed and humiliated for your body feels like part of the age we live in now. In Kafka's story, the maestro has elevated self-starvation to a high art, albeit one that has sunk in popularity; where once Europe's grandest theatres were filled with audiences eager to watch his 40 days' "hungering", now he sits starving in an American circus yard among the animals and peddlars. In this solo show, puppetry and audience involvement are skilfully employed to capture the ambiguous, allegorical feel of the story. The hunger artist and his sleazy manager are portrayed by Jonathan Levin in a virtuoso solo performance of astonishing dexterity, though the production design doesn't quite manage to excite as Levin does.
ZOO, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Alexander Hartley]

Dates - At The Speed Of Sound! (Ace-Production / From Start To Finnish)
There are two parts to this show - two short comedies about awkward dates, followed by an opportunity to have one-minute chats with your fellow audience members. The theatre elements definitely need work; couples meet for first dates in a restaurant but the characters are so over the top that it feels a bit of a farce. The laughs were pretty rare as I think we were all a little baffled by the totally jarring pairings. The speed dating is really just a chance to have a chat with fellow festival-goers, which would probably work better just as an event in itself. The night I went the audience was very small; it might be more fun with a larger crowd.
Summerhall, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 1/5 | [Daisy Malt]

Not I (Touretteshero and Battersea Arts Centre)
Jess Thom is bloody brilliant. She performs Samuel Beckett's short monologue exactly as required by the stage directions - eight foot in the air (still in her wheelchair), with only her mouth visible. It's a tumbling, frenetic, mesmerising stream of words, designed to be 'felt' more than understood intellectually. Afterwards there's a video and a chance to discuss both the show, and how Thom's Tourettes became an integral part of it. The performance has fully integrated audio description and British Sign Language interpretation (in itself beautiful and poetic during the monologue), and we're encouraged to move around, make noise - whatever makes us feel comfortable. Thom is an incredible, passionate advocate for the social model of disability, and this is theatre at its most accessible, the most relaxed of 'relaxed performances', and it's an absolute joy to be a part of.
Pleasance Courtyard.
tw rating 5/5 | [Gemma Scott]

Burnt Toast (Place Productions)
A show about relationships and how even the smallest of interactions can mean so much. 'Burnt Toast' is a compelling piece - the story of Polly and Alfred, their seemingly happy life in a small village, and how things can be turned upside down by the sudden return of a familiar face. For a play that looks so closely at the complexities of relationships, it would have been nice to see the supporting characters a little more fleshed out. The Spanish pub-owning brothers and the waitresses' caricature personas felt more like they belonged in a daytime soap. A stand-out performance by Laure Stockley, as Polly, captures all the uncertainty of commitment and betrayal in a beautifully fragile performance. Overall, an intriguing but confused piece.
Assembly Rooms.
tw rating 3/5 | [Bethan Highgate-Betts]

City Love (Illuminate Productions / PBH's Free Fringe)
People don't dare to make eye contact on the tube, because god forbid we actually make a genuine human connection with a stranger, so it's a wonder anyone actually manages to find love in twenty-first century urban environments. But in 'City Love', rather miraculously, two London professionals meet on the night bus and hit it off. The writing is self-aware, and certainly doesn't glorify relationships, instead examining them with an honest, humorous approach. Both the writing and performances really do shine in places, but the promising premise soon veers into classic rom-com territory. It's a shame: it feels like there's the potential for this production to make some really interesting points but, ultimately, it just becomes another slightly bland, generic love story.
Bourbon Bar, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Amy Bonar]

Trashed (Lab Rats)
In this one-man show, bin man Keith 'Goody' Goodman (played by David William Bryan) has reached rock bottom, struggling with the death of his daughter, which has triggered his descent into alcoholism. Downing cheap cider throughout the performance, for real, Goody is filled with anger at the world around him. It is a commendable portrayal of male depression, and of how a series of troubling events can lead a life to spiral out of control. Bryan's performance and commitment to his character is faultless, and, ironically, is quite sobering. The script, however, is a little confusing, with comedic moments that you're not sure you should laugh at, alongside a dramatic denouement that feels like it's gone out of its way to shock.
Underbelly Cowgate, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Daisy Malt]

Professional (CUSP)
Some teachers are formidable, all-seeing and authoritative - but when the students leave do they turn into normal, happy people? As the automatic doors seal shut unexpectedly on a Friday afternoon, four teachers are trapped together and, much like their students, are forced to integrate. The characters are well-defined and thoroughly explored, from the severe deputy head who is surprisingly sexually liberal, to the enthusiastic drama teacher who recounts a harrowing experience. However, besides this the script feels thin - while the constant focus on professionalism and conduct does help to structure the script, it also feels one-dimensional and inert. The performances are decent but do little to thrill. 'Professional' is a competent attempt but one lacking in narrative depth and theatrical vigour.
theSpace on the Mile, until 26 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [James Napleton]

The Waiting Game (Snowy Owl)
'The Waiting Game' is a compelling piece of new American writing, about a man questioning whether to end the life of his husband, who is in a coma. There are some interesting power dynamics in the play, which are performed well, while Marc Sinoway does an excellent job of playing the vulnerable yet stand-offish Paolo. Some moments of conflict didn't read particularly well, but this may be due more to cultural differences than to any fault in the writing. Also, the ending didn't have the pay-off I hoped for - I wanted to know more about how the characters had been transformed by their experiences, but was left unsure. Overall, though, it was a thought-provoking play with some great performances.
Greenside @ Infirmary Street, until 26 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Lizzie Milton]

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