If you read our preview issue earlier in the month, and in particular the Three To See section, you might be aware that we've had our eye on new Hijinx production 'The Flop' since before the Fringe began. Since then we've sent a reviewer along to check it out, who confirmed my suspicions that this show was one to watch.

To find out more about the play and its source material, as well as the inclusive group behind it, I arranged to have a chat with Ben Pettitt-Wade, director of 'The Flop' and artistic director of the company.

CLICK HERE to read today's Caro Meets interview.

'The Flop' is on at Summerhall until 26 Aug.
The Review Edition of ThreeWeeks is out now! Inside you will find interviews with The Apricity Project, Colette Redgrave, Egg, Faye Treacy, Neema Bickersteth, Patrick Eakin Young, Rosie Jones, Sid Singh and Victoria Firth. Plus 50 reviews - every one a recommended show - and a guide to past ThreeWeeks Editors' Award winners back at the Festival. Look out for the Review Edition available around Edinburgh from today.

Find out where to pick up a copy HERE or read it all online HERE.
Don't forget, we are putting together a TW:DIY Guide To The Edinburgh Fringe this month based on interviews with lots of people performing and working at the Festival and packed with practical advice on how to get the most out of doing a show in Edinburgh.

We've already heard from some producers, some PR people, a stage manager, a production manager, a street performer, a Free Fringe performer and eight venue directors. Look out for many more interviews going live during the Festival month.

Plus you can check the guide we've compiled so far here on the website.
Three recommended shows to see on Thursday 16 Aug...

Jan Tait And The Bear | Summerhall | 1.00pm
This 5/5 music show is "a full-on scary Norse Saga in theme and costume". Today is your last chance to see what our reviewer describes as an "excellent acoustic chamber group consisted of fine post-modernist instrumentalists who also doubled as the chorus".

The Myth Of The Singular Moment | Summerhall | 7.45pm
Something else both musical and theatrical. This one is "a show about choices and the multiverse, set to beautiful live folk music", explains our review. There are no costumes and few props, the focus being "two exceptional musicians patiently weaving their story together".

Jordan Brookes: Bleed | Pleasance Courtyard | 8.30pm (pictured)

Back in the comedy programme, our reviewer declares of Jordan Brookes: "He's getting inside our heads, giving us a glimpse of what it's like to be inside his. A clever trick is used to try to take us there, and it's a headfuck in more ways than one". Intrigued? Then go see!

Four Go Wild In Wellies (Indepen-dance 4)
Four little camping tents sit in a row. They start to shake and sway, one jumps up and down. Then the zips are pulled up and our campers emerge into an autumnal scene to get dressed and ready for a good old play (in wellies, natch). A game of musical statues ensues, and (gasp!) someone cheats, leading to a little light conflict resolution through play, and a particularly nicely done bit of meaning conveyed through movement. Inclusive theatre company Indepen-dance 4 have come up with a gently enchanting little show about which everything - music, set, story, themes and length - is spot on for the target 3-5 age range. Lovely.
Dance Base, until 26 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Bruce Blacklaw]

Kaput (Koral Chandler Presents)
Our film projectionist hero is about to show the matinee of 'Love Story'. His projector breaks down. In his attempts to fix it, he bursts the screen. In trying to fix that he breaks, well, pretty much everything else. A heady mix of slapstick clowning, visual fart gags, extraordinary audience participation and highly accomplished comic physical theatre ensues, with light homage to the stars of silent film. Now, that kids show bit where you talk about "enough to keep the grown-ups amused?" Wee bit actually filthy here, but it's all non-verbal so, er, you're *probably* fine. The closing segments are slightly harder work for younger audience members - 3+ is possibly pushing it - but overall, 'Kaput' is a brilliantly imagined and superbly executed bit of work.
Assembly George Square Gardens, until 26 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Bruce Blacklaw]

Kika's Birthday (Wizard Presents)
It's not every Fringe show where your host bakes you a cake (more's the pity!) Having canvassed the young audience as to what sorts of things should be in a cake, Danyah Miller sets about making it. This leads into a tale about Kika, a French mouse (I don't know why French - nothing in the story or the set up require it), and her mice pals. Imagine a Fingermouse-based interlude in 'Bake Off', only without the smut. Four seasons pass up to Kika's birthday and, through inventive use of simple props and puppets, a birthday party does indeed unfold. There's probably a thread too many for the youngest listeners but, hey, it produced a mostly engaged young audience and free cake.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 13 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Bruce Blacklaw]


Adrian Minkowicz: Tango Tales (Double The Bet / PBH's Free Fringe)
One thing about doing a comedy storytelling routine about the tango is that, even here at the Fringe, the field is pretty clear. So, we have a show which is part storytelling, part performance, as Minkowicz punctuates the spoken word with three tango standards played on an acoustic guitar. It's also informative, as he explains the meaning of the songs, the roots of tango and the passion it inspires in his homeland (and why that makes 'Strictly', in his view, somewhat ludicrous). There is a twist, of course, in the tale - effectively the punchline - and it's something of a let down, possibly a language thing that makes it come off more mean-spirited than intended. Otherwise, engaging and amusing stuff.
Banshee Labyrinth, until 26 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Bruce Blacklaw]

Stevie Martin Vol 1 (The Pleasance)
It is a truth universally acknowledged that good intros are um... 'Volume 1' is a one-woman sketch comedy show, predicated entirely on the premise of opening scenes for comedy shows. Slick meta-sketchery aside, Stevie Martin is tremendously accomplished, using a variety of props, prods and studied daftness to poke fun at established comic tropes. And yet, the initial apparent cleverness of the format also proves to be the show's slight undoing. The constraints of the premise start to chafe and so the big finishes (well, finishing openings) somehow don't quite have the impact they should. Ultimately, any sketch show stands or falls on its hit:miss ratio and, as a debut show, this is not a bad opening volume at all.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Bruce Blacklaw]

David O'Doherty: You Have To Laugh (Lisa Richards in association with Chambers Management)
I mean, you don't have to laugh, O'Doherty isn't forcing you; although, he sort of is, because he's really good at saying (and singing) such entertaining stuff. From procrastination to trying to make sense of the somewhat bleak times we're living in, he helps us to find the funny side of life. Even having his wallet stolen provides him with enough material to give us a giggle. Along with his trusty 1986 children's keyboard, this latest hour of comedy is as assured as he's ever given us, and he even seems more confident than in previous shows. He tells us that he loves performing at the Fringe, and it seems safe to say that the audience loves him too.
Assembly George Square Theatre, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Daisy Malt]

Tilda Swinton Answers An Ad On Craigslist (Tilda Co)
There's nothing cryptic about the title of this fabulously absurd show. Walt's boyfriend is moving out, so he's posted an ad on Craigslist looking for a new flatmate, and it's Tilda Swinton (played by Tom Lenk, who you may know from 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer') who's come to stay. Although, she's actually there to observe Walt for an upcoming film role. Tilda is brilliantly aloof and mischievous: wonderfully daft one-liners abound, and the tales of her acting career (she's been in everything, as everything, it transpires) are hilarious. A sort of fairy godmother/ghost of Christmas past character, she helps Walt to make sense of his life and stand up for himself. A gem of a show that's downright hysterical, this must be seen to be believed.
Assembly George Square Theatre, until 26 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Daisy Malt]


Triptych (Gal Sabo)
'Triptych's thematic concern is a little nebulous; it touches on identity, embodiment and childhood memories. At certain moments it strives for the serenity of a folded medieval panel; at others, for the surreal anguish of a Francis Bacon canvas. Yet the composition is often crude and cluttered: it's badly paced, front-loaded with direct audience engagements that could have been more interesting if they were scattered throughout, and is studded with repetitive, overlong movement sequences. Still, there is a charm to 'Triptych', and it dwells in the piece's lovely flourishes; there are moments of genuine connection and warmth between the three performers, some thrilling reveals that come courtesy of the costume design, and touches - like the opening - of genuine stagecraft.
Sweet Grassmarket, until 26 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Alexander Hartley]


The Bacchae (Mermaids: The University Of St Andrews Performing Arts Fund)
There's a lot of potential on display in this take on Euripides' classic drama. The young cast are enthusiastic and engaging, but there's an imbalance in the script and direction that is insurmountable. Case in point: the use of dance to represent the Bacchanal orgies - all sinuous motion and driving bass - is inspired, but these scenes are overlong, overstaying their welcome and stalling the narrative. The decision to stage the play as a piece of metatheatre is smart, but it lacks the courage of its conviction, vacillating back and forth between the actors' disagreements over staging the play and lengthy speeches lifted straight from the text. Either approach could have worked, but in striving for both, they achieved neither.
Greenside @ Infirmary Street, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Andy Leask]

Dreamland (Hyperdrive Theatre)
The moral of 'Dreamland' is almost astonishingly facile: the financial industry is bad, as are those who ruthlessly pursue money at all costs. Well, duh. Coupled with inconsistent characterisation, it's clear why the play drags, despite its relative brevity. The trading floor interludes - complexly choreographed movement set to a migraine-inducingly discordant soundtrack - are effective, and the main highlight. Sadly, the ear-splitting volume of the music renders the mid-sequence monologues all but inaudible. There are a few moments of humour, some improvised, but the tone jumps around as unpredictably as the stock market. When it limped to its inevitable end, I was left wondering what the point of this play was, and why they bothered.
Zoo Southside, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Andy Leask]

[insert slogan here] (YESYESNONO)
It's rare to come face to face with theatre that feels totally honest, but '[insert slogan here]' comes close to that with a show structured as an advert. It sounds ironic, but this show teases apart the complexities of advertising, all through gentle conversations with audience members. I have never seen audience participation done so well before - it feels unobtrusive, quiet and personal. The questions create a sense of space, while the music and visuals inject things with new meaning. Every element of this performance is just so. The fresh writing, understated performances and well-placed, evocative sound and visuals all seem to point to something profound that you knew about yourself all along, but couldn't quite put your finger on.
Zoo Charteris, until 19 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Ela Portnoy]

Jasper Red: Press Play (Natalie Walmsley)
If your chakras are due a clean, Jasper Red is here to help. Part drag queen, part "energy healer", Red (the comic creation of Natalie Walmsley) is a relentlessly cheerful spiritual guru, whose love for crystals is matched only by her devotion to Britney Spears. Her debut show is fun in parts, but the whole doesn't hold together that well. A conceit where Red's WhatsApp chats keep appearing behind her is more confusing than anything, and the show is short to the point of feeling unfinished - Greenside's guide lists the show as an hour, but it runs significantly shorter. The unexpectedly emotional ending indicates that Walsmley is someone with a great show in her future - but this isn't quite it.
Greenside @ Nicolson Square, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Jon Stapley]

Lights Over Tesco Car Park (Poltergeist Theatre)
Conspiracy theories, 1980s pop culture and the reality of feeling alone on a big planet are all explored in this brilliant show. The narrative sees four young people seeking to tell the story of Robert, the latest in a long list of people who claim to have had contact with aliens. This is interspersed with re-tellings of past abductees, David Bowie music, and musings on the meaning of these encounters (whether fictional or not), which all makes for a fresh and heart-warming piece. The line between what is true and what is false is made insignificant, as the talented cast jump from laugh-out-loud humour to hypnotic narration. This is a performance not to be missed.
Pleasance Dome, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Lucy Caradog]

Pickle Jar (Fight In The Dog and United Agents)
Miss, a well-meaning high school teacher who lacks self-confidence, is trying to keep things together in this excellent one-woman show. Devoted to her students, school means everything to her, while her love life is fairly paltry. Things slowly start to unravel as she reveals more about herself, and her struggles with recent events. Maddie Rice is superb as she portrays each of the characters, with Miss, in particular, utterly convincing. As the layers of the story build, it becomes apparent that there is something darker emerging, and when this is made clear it's an emotional punch to the stomach. Although addressing themes of grief and consent, it's full of humour too. Brilliantly written and highly relevant, 'Pickle Jar' has stuck with me 24 hours on.
Underbelly Cowgate, until 26 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Daisy Malt]

Private Peaceful (Scamp Theatre)
Based on the novel by Michael Morpurgo, 'Private Peaceful' tells the story of Tommo Peaceful, first recounting his rural childhood with his beloved older brother Charlie and their friend Molly, before exploring the two brothers' experiences of fighting in the First World War. The first part is joyful and sweet; however, when the action moves to the trenches, it loses some of its emotional connection. Andy Daniel gives an extraordinary, tireless performance in the role of Tommo, yet still I struggle to be moved by the end of the play. Learning about the experiences of those who fought in the war is important, but this production doesn't really offer anything new - it feels like stomping over old ground.
Underbelly Bristo Square, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Marni Appleton]

Theatre Uncut: Women On Power (Theatre Uncut)
Every year, Theatre Uncut commissions short plays based around a political theme, and three of these plays are then given readings in the Traverse bar. Each play interrogates female power in a different way: 'Mortar' is a chilling look at a woman in financial difficulty who takes a free room - in exchange for once-weekly sex; 'The Power Of Plumbing' is a stirring monologue about a successful female plumber in a dystopian drought; while 'Nobody' sees students rebel against archaic institutions of power. Each play is thought-provoking and followed by a fascinating panel discussion. The only problem is that the audience is not at all reflective of society. Theatre Uncut should be finding ways to make these powerful performances accessible to a much wider range of people.
Traverse Theatre, until 13 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Marni Appleton]

What Girls Are Made Of (Traverse Theatre Company, Raw Material in association with Regular Music)
Boy, does Cora Bissett have a story to tell. Not many people can say they were signed to a record label at the age of seventeen, before playing gigs with the likes of Blur and Radiohead. Drawing on material from her teenage diaries, Bissett shares the ups and downs of her extraordinary life, with strong support from her band - who also play all the other roles. The autobiographical nature of this play could cause it to feel a little self-indulgent at times; however, Bissett has a way of making the personal universal through her genuine honesty and vulnerability. She gives an utterly electric performance in this feel-good adventure made of stories, fun, rock music and the enduring strength of girls.
Traverse Theatre, until 26 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Marni Appleton]

The Archive Of Educated Hearts (Lion House Theatre)
Casey Jay Andrews is an incredible storyteller, a fact made clear as she takes us through the memories and tales of families affected by breast cancer. Told through family photos, voice recordings, and Andrews' own stories, 'The Archive' explores what it means to live with the prognosis, for us and for our loved ones. It's a unique experience that leaves one feeling both heartbroken and incredibly privileged to have taken part in the intimate installation. 'The Archive' is a show exploring memory and nostalgia, for what or who we have lost, and for what we have not yet lost; a series of snapshots built on the moments that make up a lifetime.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Lucy Caradog]

Power Play: Funeral Flowers (Power Play Theatre and Emma Dennis-Edwards)
Angelique wants to be a florist, but life isn't easy for a working class person with ambition. Leading us through her flower-filled flat, she movingly describes the sexual violence she experienced at the hands of someone she loves but, despite this betrayal, Angelique is resilient and determined. Writer-performer Emma Dennis-Edwards creates a nuanced character in Angelique, exceptionally capturing the uncertainty of adolescence, the struggle of social mobility and the vulnerability of a person in the care system. The sour note at the very end of the play jars a little - but that aside, I admire the vivid writing and the way the play confronts societal failures whilst exhibiting the strength of women.
Pleasance Pop-Up: Power Play HQ, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Marni Appleton]

Signals (Footprint Theatre)
The Fermi paradox runs something like this: if it's so likely that intelligent life exists out there, why haven't we yet received a knock on our cosmic door? 'Signals' follows two of the functionaries waiting in the hall for the proverbial doorbell to ring. They are data analysts, crunching the numbers generated by a massive radio telescope. Eve Cowley and Immie Davies give crisp, witty performances; their characterisation is sharp, the rapport between them easy to watch and believe. This is good because, Benjamin Thapa's understatedly sumptuous design excepted, there isn't really much else here. In its latter stages, 'Signals' becomes almost outlandishly circuitous, its lightness and humour swamped by the odd and scarcely believable manoeuvres intended to raise the emotional stakes.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Alexander Hartley]

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