Hello there. So, the Edinburgh Festival is reaching its conclusion once again, and here we are with the final TW Daily of the year. We have one more Three To See for tomorrow, the final day of the festival, plus another batch of reviews.

Don't forget you can read all our reviews and interviews from this year's festivities on the website. And to find out who won our ThreeWeeks Editors' Awards this time, click this link here.

Also don't forget that we tip shows to see in London all year round via ThisWeek London. To get all those tips in a weekly email, alongside my Caro Meets interviews and the TW:TALKS podcast, make sure you sign up for the TW Weekly bulletin here.

Have a great festival finale!

Caro Moses
Editor, ThreeWeeks Edinburgh

Three recommended shows to see on Monday 28 Aug...

The Giant Jam Sandwich | Pleasance Courtyard | 10.20am
We kick off our final Three To See of Edinburgh Festival 2017 with this "talented trio of actor-musicians who expertly multi-role a whole village of characters". Says our reviewer: "This show had a room full of under-fives enthralled for an hour, which is no small feat".

Rachel Parris: Keynote | Pleasance Dome | 8.20pm
The set up: "Having been invited to go back to her school as a guest speaker, Rachel Parris is trying to figure out what advice she can give to the next generation". Concludes our reviewer: "Naturally funny and I reckon she's a pretty good role model too".

Edinburgh International Festival Fireworks Concert | Princes Street Gardens | 9.00pm (pictured)
The traditional finale to Edinburgh's festival month from the Edinburgh International Festival. The Scottish Chamber Orchestra play beneath Edinburgh Castle as the fireworks light up the skies above. Plus this year the proceedings begin with Scottish folk singer Karen Matheson performing traditional Scottish tunes - and a new work from Capercaillie founder Donald Shaw - with the SCO.


ForniKATEress (Kate Smurthwaite / PBH's Free Fringe)
Kate Smurthwaite is probably better known to you, me and producers of 'TV chat' for excoriating take-downs of the manifold idiocies of the patriarchy. This year, though, she is mostly advocating the merits of the polyamorous lifestyle in what she describes the most honest show she's ever written. Smurthwaite is indeed remarkably candid as she leads us through a sort of polyamorous FAQ, detailing the logistical emotional considerations involved. That structure starts well, but ends up constraining things slightly: too many 'Q's and/or not enough time to develop ideas. That aside, the idiot patriarchy still gets its deserved kicking in amongst a defence of a lifestyle (if one were needed) which is cogent and, at times, very funny indeed.
Banshee Labyrinth, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Bruce Blacklaw]

Will Duggan: Perspicuator
Being thirty and (achingly, recently) single, Will Duggan reckons it's time to up his career game from stand-up comic and part-time Harvester server to, naturally, benevolent world dictator. And so this show is his pitch for the job, as he spins anecdotes to prove his diplomacy skills and also to confess historical blemishes on his character so that no unexpected scandals should emerge as and when he lands the gig. It's winningly silly, albeit peppered with more than enough sharp lines and dark tangents to keep things interesting, and Duggan has a nice touch both in pace and language. World domination may not be immediately on the cards but, on this evidence, he's very welcome to carry on stating his case.
Just The Tonic at the Mash House, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Bruce Blacklaw]

Francesco De Carlo: Comfort Zone (Mick Perrin Worldwide Artist Management)
Since his debut here in 2014, Francesco De Carlo has been learning and adapting to the point that he moved to the UK... the week before Brexit. Those who've come to see an Italian stand-up on the last Saturday of the Fringe probably aren't the reason for much of that and he wonders aloud what to do about it beyond our collective comfort zone. In between, there is more standard stand-up fare about drink, drugs, religion and social media, enlivened by a continental perspective and occasionally idiosyncratic delivery, playing knowingly on those cultural divisions which also, weirdly, bind us. Charming, funny and, in some ways, a poignant embodiment of something that 'we' are in the process of chucking away.
Underbelly George Square, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Bruce Blacklaw]

Andy Stedman - Parental Guidance (Andy Stedman)
In this show, about learning to be a parent, Andy Stedman presents a mixture of musical comedy and stand-up with audience interaction. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the show is welcoming to families and Stedman has some particularly endearing interactions with the one baby in the audience. However, his jokes don't come thick or fast enough, and the self-deprecating jokes he makes about his set being weak only serve to further undermine it. The attempt to get parenting guidance from the audience is an interesting premise, but he doesn't interact enough to make the most of it. This is a nice idea for a show, but it doesn't yet have enough jokes for a solid stand-up set.
Laughing Horse @ The Counting House, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Lizzie Milton]

Frankie Boyle - Prometheus Volume I (Chambers Touring)
One of Scotland's most controversial sons is back, with his first stand-up show at the Fringe for several years. Fresh off his new BBC show, Boyle's material has become increasingly political, but that isn't to say he's cooled down what some would call his twisted view of the world. Boyle certainly appears to be enjoying himself on stage and his often sharp (if still a bit dark) analysis of his chosen topics highlights the unique approach of this incredibly successful comedian. Some followers consider him to be some sort of twisted genius and these fans will not feel short changed, however Frankie Boyle will forever be an acquired taste. This show sees him at his very best, if only for those who enjoy him.
Venue 150 @ EICC, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Lewis Frain]

Becky Lucas: Little Bitch (Century Entertainment)
Becky Lucas' material is spread too thinly across this debut hour. There's a hostility attached to her delivery, a passive-aggressive tone implying Lucas expects a response to her jokes' premises alone, even before we reach the punchlines. For a show styled around being a "little bitch", Lucas cares a bit too much about audience reaction for her persona to really take hold. There are some astute observations to be found here, though her anger toward "clever" shows means her own takes on a broader bulk of material can often feel rote. A self-admittedly anti-climatic ending hints at some cyclical theming, but Lucas seems so against engaging with bigger themes that her overall show suffers.
Assembly George Square Theatre, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Louise Jones]

Julio Torres: My Favourite Shapes (Rabbit Rabbit)
What people find funny is, of course, subjective, and of all the shows I've reviewed this year nowhere was this more evident than in El Salvador comedian Julio Torres's debut show. I don't think I even chuckled once during the hour, but many around me were laughing throughout. Torres spends the show showing us various shapes (starting with a square and moving onto more complex objects) on a screen he has connected to his iPhone camera, talking a bit about each one. Much of his patter is surreal or absurdist, which did amuse about half of the audience but, for the rest, his slow delivery and flights of fantasy meant this felt like a long and somewhat bewildering hour.
Underbelly Cowgate, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Richard Levinson]


Circa: Humans (Closer, Beyond, Wunderkammer)
'Humans' offers an earthy and sensual examination of humanity and its limitations, using the human body itself to get to the bare essence of what being 'human' is. The ten acrobats demonstrate spectacular endurance, flexibility, and grace in their routines, which are filled with incredible chemistry and moments of beautiful tenderness. In contrast with the flawless way the acrobats fluidly and unflinchingly contort themselves into extraordinarily physically demanding poses, both Yaron Lifschitz's choreography and the simplicity of his staging gives 'Humans' a feeling of incredible rawness and grit. The show's soundtrack features the piercing, emotionally expressive sounds of Romani violinist Lajko Felix, a well-chosen accompaniment to mirror the sense of awe-inspiring suspense and beauty that 'Humans' inspires.
Underbelly Circus Hub.
tw rating 5/5 | [Stephanie Stapleton]


Fleabag (DryWrite and Soho Theatre in association with Underbelly)
An award-winning show first brought to the Fringe in 2013 starring its writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge, 'Fleabag' is an effervescent joy of frank, vulgar and subversive proportions. In this solo piece, the central character updates the audience on her recent life developments: the break up, the death of her best friend, and the constant embarrassments. While these details are shocking and entertaining, it's the way she breaks down each event with wry, playful humour that is so captivating. Caught in a paradoxical storm of narcissism and self-hatred, Fleabag's view of the world never fails to appal or amuse. Performer Maddie Rice commands the stage throughout, with a detailed and exacting performance. This is a raucous and provocative show of real excellence.
Underbelly George Square, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [James Napleton]

La Maladie De La Mort D'Après Marguerite Duras (Collectif Or Normes)
'La Maladie De La Mort' is based on an 1982 novella by French writer Marguerite Duras, about a man who hires a woman so he can "learn how to love". It uses multimedia and live music, and this evening was performed in English. The narrator reads from a script throughout, often sounding halting and stilted. He stands in the corners, as dancer Alexandra Naudet uses the rest of the space. She is a graceful performer, for the most part naked, stretching and writhing on the floor. Unfortunately, this soon starts to feel like little more than objectification, as we hear his repeated descriptions of her body, her breasts, "her sex". We watch him, voyeuristically watching her, and it all starts to feel rather sordid and grubby.
Institut Français d'Ecosse, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Gemma Scott]

Did I Choose These Shoes (Rhythm Theatre Company)
Spoken word meets physical theatre, in a resonant performance that explores what it really means to grow up and live as a female in twenty-first century Britain. This piece was written and performed by poet Ella Dorman-Gajic, alongside Amy Bonar and Niamh Brangwyn, who together form a talented trio, at times moving mesmerisingly in unison, to deliver an hour of everyday starting points for feminist discussion. Think body image, catcalling and period problems, all expressed with beautiful lyricism. It's something that you'll find painfully relatable or else somewhat enlightening. It doesn't cover all the complexities of feminist issues, or delve deeper into intersectionality, but it doesn't claim to - it's simple in its honesty, directly expressing personal experiences.
theSpace @ Jury's Inn.
tw rating 4/5 | [Emily Mildren]

Service! (Clock Tower Theatre)
As a restaurant manager preparing for maternity leave assesses her waiting staff for a temporary successor, this situation comedy focuses on the resulting machinations and intrigue as the employees all vie for the job. The performances are lively and energetic, but the play draws almost entirely on exaggerated characterisations and typical stereotypes for comic tension, and so the resulting comedy is lacklustre. Lacking substantial jokes, this live sit com never really builds up a rhythm and so the constant focus on plot twists and character developments grows tedious. This show does capture some elements of real life in the service industry, but fails to build on these observations. While reminiscent of classic British comedy, this show fails to hit the mark.
theSpace @ Jury's Inn.
tw rating 2/5 | [James Napleton]

Awake (Miranda Colmans)
The torture of twisting restlessly in bed is an occasional blight for most people, but for some it is a daily trauma. This sleep-deprived drama follows a group of insomniacs, all members of the I'm Awake internet forum, a space to meet and chat at the dead of night. It's a solo performance that explores the effects of prolonged wakefulness on different personalities through expressive role-switching, while some tension is brought to the script when there's an investigation of the web based group. It's unfortunate, but the narrative about police scrutiny feels heavy-handed, disrupting the flow of the piece and detracting from the individual characters' storylines. Nonetheless, it's an interesting look at the impact of sleep-deprivation and the dynamics of online social communities.
The Cuckoo's Nest, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [James Napleton]

Mission Abort (Therese Ramstedt)
'Mission Abort' is a one woman play about Therese Ramsted's own experiences having an abortion, following her story from the moment she falls pregnant to the aftermath of the procedure. She speaks truthfully and without judgement, adding nuance to the cultural conversation around the subject, while it's the small practical details that make this piece work - from feeling unable to have a gin & tonic, to unhelpful conversations with counsellors. The soundtrack didn't always successfully support the narrative, but the moments where Therese Ramsted sings herself are full of grief and heartbreak. The audience interaction is for the most part stilted and unnecessary, and the show is sometimes lacking theatrically, but 'Mission Abort' opens up an important conversation with bravery and honesty.
Gilded Balloon at Rose Theatre, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Lizzie Milton]

Venus And Adonis (Noontide Sun and Christopher Hunter)
Shakespeare's Venus and Adonis is a good poem, a great poem even. But it's not a play. So the decision to stage it as such is a strange one, but one I found intriguing. Unfortunately, what we get is not really a dramatisation, as much as a dramatic reading, albeit a powerful one. Christopher Hunter demonstrates undeniable skill: the precision of his articulation, and the resonance of his voice are compelling, and at times the performance has real impact. But ultimately it's not a one man play, it's a man reciting one long poem for an hour, and despite my interest in the material, I found my mind wandering. A wasted opportunity.
C Primo, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Andy Leask]

Dickless (Fundamental Theatre Project / Salt 'n' Sauce Promotions)
Taking place over one night in Dunningham, 'Dickless' by Aisha Josiah captures life in this small English town from the perspective of two different characters, both played by one person, with actors Tessa Jane Fairey and Lauren Downie performing on alternate dates. It's an entertaining production which takes a look at gender and the stereotypes and expectations that we put on ourselves as well as the ones that are put on us. The show only really skims the surface of its subject matter, but given its verging-on-absurd twists and turns - from sexual conquests to planned out revenge, with a couple of decapitations thrown in for good measure - this is an hour and ten minutes you won't forget in a hurry.
New Town Theatre, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Bethan Highgate-Betts]

Communism: The Musical! (Lancaster Offshoots)
Lancaster Offshoots deliver this original musical with admirable energy and evident talent. In the promising blurb, it seems amusing that they've taken historical events and figures and rebirthed them in 'Dollaropolis,' a newly imagined island dominated by capitalist villains 'the broker,' and 'hot dog guy.' Unfortunately, it did end up falling short of its potential, as even the best of casts couldn't have made up for the fatal lack of plot. It wasn't about communism, but it wasn't recognisably about anything else either, making it difficult to stay engaged, though it was superficially funny. Perhaps like Communism itself, this play in theory had a lot of promise and appeal. The reality was that it just couldn't have succeeded in practice.
Greenside @ Infirmary Street.
tw rating 2/5 | [Emily Mildren]

The Charlie Question - Je Ne Sais Quoi Theatre (Theatre, Political, Verbatim)
Jonathon Hendry's 'The Charlie Question' is a semi-verbatim piece of theatre, exploring the January 2015 attack on satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. Aside from a few fictional scenes, the main narrative and text consists of a series of interviews conducted in the UK and France, using Charlie Hebdo as a vehicle for exploring further questions concerning the nature of Free Speech. Theatrically, the production feels a little lacking; the cast mainly acted as narrators, and due to the substantial amount of dialogue, it had the tendency to become a little repetitive and monotonous. Nonetheless, this is undeniably a strong piece of work, which is highly intelligent and raises stimulating and thought-provoking discussion regarding the complexities of Free Speech in our society.
theSpace On The Mile.
tw rating 3/5 | [Amy Bonar]

Noose Women (Bear Faced Moon Company and New Celts Productions)
In our fame-obsessed world, where the likes of 'Love Island' and 'Big Brother' dominate our screens, it doesn't seem infeasible that reality TV could go down some darker routes, just to maintain those high viewer ratings. This is the idea that 'Noose Women' explores, as a cult leader proposes an extreme, gruesome dating show to two cut-throat producers. The concept? Women sacrificing themselves on live television, with death as a gateway to reaching the cult's promised Heaven. It's a grizzly, and undeniably gripping premise, but ultimately, fails to deliver. A combination of a jarring script, one-dimensional characters, and some unconvincing performances results in a dystopian tale that sets out to shock, but ends up dragging and feeling underwhelming.
theSpace On The Mile.
tw rating 2/5 | [Amy Bonar]

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