'Brenda's Got A Baby' is a new play centred on two working class sisters. One is sixteen and pregnant, the other is the first in her family to go to university. The play explores their interactions as they each tackle very different challenges.

The piece, which is premiering at the Festival, has been created by Katie Mahon and Molly Rumford - both until recently theatre students at the University Of Leeds - and their company Blooming Buds. It is based on a series of interviews involving local students and local communities and aims to put the spotlight on the struggles and pressures faced by young working class women who are pursuing an education, or starting a family, or both.

It's an interesting production from an interesting company. So obviously we wanted to find out more.

CLICK HERE to read today's Chris Meets interview.

'Brenda's Got a Baby' is on at theSpace on North Bridge until 25 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 all around Edinburgh.

Find out where to pick up a copy HERE or read it all online HERE.
We're talking to people who perform or work at the Edinburgh Festival each year to get their perspectives on what performing or producing at the world's biggest cultural event involves, and top tips on how to get the most out of the experience. This time, we are talking to director Emma Jordan.

Emma is Artistic Director of Belfast-based theatre company Prime Cut and this year has also directed one of the shows it is presenting at the Fringe, the one-man play 'East Belfast Boy'. She has worked with Prime Cut for two decades, as Artistic Director since 2007, and has experience as an actor and a producer as well as, more recently, a director.

We spoke to her about her role with the company and as a director of specific theatrical productions.

CLICK HERE to read today's TW:DIY interview.
Three recommended shows to see on Friday 17 Aug...

Orlando | Assembly Roxy | 11.30am (pictured)
In this 5/5 theatre show "Rebecca Vaughan's performance is never less than magnetic, she perfectly captures the nuances of the character". Our review goes on: "At the gripping climax, tears were rolling down Vaughan's face, mirrored in the eyes of much of the audience, this cynical reviewer among them".

Tabarnak | Underbelly's Circus Hub on The Meadows | 7.00pm
Another 5/5 show, this time from the Fringe's circus programme. "The word 'tabarnak' is an expletive with religious connotations in the French-Canadian language", our reviewer explains, "and the troupe play heavily on religious themes throughout". Concluding: "It's bold, naughty and a hell of a lot of fun"

Questing Time | Pleasance Courtyard | 11.00pm
Comedy now, and a concept show. "Every night, three guest comedians join host Paul Foxcroft on a 'Dungeons & Dragons' adventure, which we get to watch", our reviewer explains. "Our audience - mostly gaming enthusiasts, granted - wept with laughter", they add.

David Baddiel's Animalcolm (Story Pocket Theatre)
The stage adaptation of David Baddiel's novel for children 'AniMalcolm' follows a boy who doesn't share his family's love for animals. However, one trip to the farm and a goat's spell later, Malcolm finds himself trapped in the bodies of different beasts. Before long he has a whole menagerie joining him, as he attempts to find a way back to his human form. The performers work hard and switch between parts well, but the story becomes repetitive after a while. It is a fine show with an ultimately sweet message, but it mysteriously lacks humour and none of the songs are particularly lively, which causes the energy to dissipate quickly. As a result, a fair few under 10s make their exit before the finale.
Gilded Balloon Teviot, until 19 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Marni Appleton]


Alice Fraser: Ethos (Get Comedy by arrangement with Mushroom Comedy and TGA)
The 'Ethos' of the title refers to an AI that Alice Fraser has constructed (not really) for the purposes of teaching it about humanity through the lens of a comedy show. It explicitly echoes the Jewish folklore tale of the golem, a creature given life from clay. While Fraser's comedy is often like this - cerebral and well-read - she's not above doing something as gleefully silly as reworking Kenny Rogers' 'The Gambler' to be about unwanted penises either. Fraser can't resist seeing how far she can push things - some material, especially on #MeToo, simply elicits stunned gasps. You can't quite believe she said that, and neither can she. The show could do with tightening - she digresses and overruns. But it's a bloody good time.
Underbelly Bristo Square, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Jon Stapley]

George Lewis: A Man, a Plan, A Girl With Fake Tan (George Lewis)
This is a charming stand-up show with a strong autobiographical strand, namely, 12-year-old Lewis's crush on a schoolmate and his subsequent foolhardy attempts to woo her. Lewis has an affable persona and he beams goodwill towards his audience. His comedy takes on an upbeat, anecdotal quality and there are some cunningly constructed punch lines. The format, though - the childhood nostalgia journey, strung together with the occasional PowerPoint slide - feels very familiar, and the material verges too much on the side of twee to be truly satisfying. This is chamomile comedy, gently poured, and for many it will quench. Those who need something with an edge, however, will have to look elsewhere.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 26 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Geoff Mills]


The Sauna (Teatteri Metamorfoosi in association with From Start to Finnish)
It is exciting to see a show that is implicitly rather than overtly feminist, exploring the condition of being a woman. Based on Finnish mythology, 'The Sauna' followed the memories of an old woman who is preparing to die, looking at different stages in her life through physicality, sound effects and props. I quickly stopped noticing that there were no words: the masks were surprisingly expressive and the emotion conveyed in the eyes was incredible, while the live foley-style sound effects added a cinematic layer to the performance. Whilst there was no clear plotline, this was a very special piece of theatre that should be seen by both adults and children.
Summerhall, until 26 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Ela Portnoy]


Cathedral Bach By Candlelight (Peter Hill - Piano)
The programme calls Peter Hill "one of the finest pianists of his generation" and tonight's performance confirmed that. It excites me that there is an unbroken line of great teachers growing like a family tree in music, for among Hill's tutors was the highly influential Nadia Boulanger. It was wonderful to listen to his sensitive interpretation of JS Bach's 'The Goldberg Generations' as the night darkened, and the piano rippled like a stream or cascaded waterfall-like through the stones of the cathedral. During the quiet passages and pauses there was a profound silence of rapt attention for this wonderful music, originally composed to hold the attention of a sleepless Eighteenth Century aristocrat. This was a touching and significant evening.
St Mary's Cathedral, 3 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Louise Rodgers]

Joan Baez: A Tribute By Miss Irenie Rose (Irenie Rose)
Joan Baez has an outstanding back catalogue, an Edinburgh-born mother and an intriguing life story (heavily featuring Bob Dylan). Irenie Rose's voice is memorably beautiful, especially in her high register, and the programme included my personal favourites 'The Night We Drove Old Dixie Down' and 'Five Hundred Miles (Away From Home)'. There were some mistakes in the guitar accompaniment but I got over it and settled down to enjoy the tunes. The narrative was hesitant in parts, but the content was interesting and I especially liked the story about offering tea to Janice Joplin, who naturally only wanted whisky. Rose's sister, previous ThreeWeeks Editors' Award winner Elsa Jean McTaggart, joined her for the final song - a nice touch.
theSpace Surgeons Hall, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Louise Rodgers]

Stitch In Time: A Knitting Cabaret (Melanie Gall Presents)
Professional soprano Melanie Gall's warm, confiding style lent itself well to this interesting showcase, featuring personally researched songs about knitting from the First and Second World Wars. Knitting during the show was actively encouraged among the audience, as indeed it was during the wars; knitting for the troops even acquired a double meaning in one of the songs which was presumably understood by listeners at the time! Gall had a bad throat, so her voice wasn't at its peak, but the show went on. The commentary was rich in social history and because these songs slipped rapidly into obscurity the repertoire felt fresh, contributing to a friendly show that eased me gently into a hectic Fringe day.
theSpace @ Surgeons Hall, until 17 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Louise Rodgers]

007 Voices Of Bond (Night Owl Shows)
This was an hour of Bond-themed cabaret from singer Phoebe Katis who, together with a backing band, guided us through the variety of musical styles that make up the themes of the film franchise. Katis sang well and played keys with flair and enthusiasm during 'Live And Let Die'. Another highlight was 'The World Is Not Enough' - she and the guitarist clearly enjoyed performing the Garbage song with great energy, carrying the audience along with them. The band was good but there was no live brass, woodwind or strings and I missed that in the earlier themes. It was very loud, but it's not volume that makes Bond atmospheric, it's the arrangements and performance.
theSpace @ Surgeons Hall, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Louise Rodgers]


Armour: A Herstory Of The Scottish Bard (Fearless Players)
What would have happened when Robert Burns' wife, Jean Armour, met his mistress after his death? What real trauma is concealed by the artifice of the Burns' Supper and the tartan shortbread tin? This new musical play, with an exclusively female cast, is a marvellous addition to Scottish theatre. It's a historical drama about the perils of celebrity, with beautifully nuanced writing and acting, as well as heart-lifting music. It's also gloriously funny, and I recommend it to those who remember the great days of Wildcat Theatre Company. Everyone excelled, but Bethany Tennick was particularly good as Burns' motherless young granddaughter Sarah, and as Nancy's inquisitive maid Agnes, trying to maintain propriety in a situation with no rules.
theSpace @ Jurys Inn, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Louise Rodgers]


The Mariner's Song (KinkyFish)
Traditional storytelling is difficult: in a world dominated by screens and special effects, it's no easy task for one man and his words to captivate an entire audience's attention, yet Rajan Sharma does so beautifully in this spoken word piece. Slowly but surely winding a story of love, adventure and the sea, Sharma creates an intimate atmosphere that aids him in his minimalist storytelling. In taking themes from classical mythology and lyrical poetry, as well as using his family history as an influence, Sharma explores the ancient traditions and tropes that surround this art, as well as weaving commentary on the storytellers themselves, in a style that is both beautiful and hypnotic.
Paradise In The Vault, until 18 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Lucy Caradog]


Blackthorn by Charley Miles (InSite / West Yorkshire Playhouse)
The play takes its title from a conversation between the two protagonists, as they discuss how the roots that lie beneath the earth mean that what appear to be separate plants are really part of the same organism. It's a clear metaphor for their relationship with one another, and also for the connection between an individual and their community. We witness a series of snapshots of their lives in a rural village as they grow up, come together and fall apart - one staying at home, the other pulling away. It's a strong narrative hook, and well-acted, but it feels rushed. The episodes are too brief, leaving too many unanswered questions for the emotional climax to really pack a punch.
Summerhall, until 26 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Andy Leask]

Breakfast Plays: Youthquake (Traverse Theatre Company)
If you can get up early enough, the 'Breakfast Plays' are a great opportunity to discover new writing talent. Young playwrights at the Traverse are paired with established British writers, and we see a script-in-hand reading of a play by each of them. This year, the theme is the word "youthquake", and first up is 'Grout' by Ella Hickson, which explores how three people react in the aftermath of a tragic incident. The writing is clever and taut, yet the premise is not as exciting as that of 'Old Enough' by Laurie Motherwell, which imagines a future where the age of adulthood is to be legally changed to 25. While the writing is obviously not quite as polished as Hickson's, this intriguing play is a great showcase for Motherwell's fresh, intelligent voice.
Traverse Theatre, until 26 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Marni Appleton]

Hug The Bunny (Pits N Clits Theatre Company)
We all have that little voice that nags incessantly in the depths of our mind. And often there's a whirlwind of voices, all clashing in turbulent waves of rage. And so we meet Rage, Nymphomania, Numbness and Ecstasy - the physical manifestations of the emotions inhabiting Nina's subconscious. We soon learn of Nina's predicament; pregnant, and unsure of whether to keep the baby, or to toss societal expectations aside and follow her darker instincts. Although ambiguous in places, it's an imaginative, intelligent exploration of female "hysteria", which for so long has been examined through a male lens. And this female-led theatre company certainly reclaims it - the combination of lyrical writing, slick choreography and stunning performances makes for an exciting theatrical debut.
Greenside @ Infirmary Street, until 18 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Amy Bonar]

No One Is Coming to Save You (This Noise)
We are headed for environmental ruin and economic collapse, and two young people express the masochistic fantasy that this disastrous future will come not in a slow, sagging descent, but in a flash of sudden violence. The play mostly consists of a list of their particularly aggressive dreams, several of which, it must be said, are fairly compelling. The writing desperately wants to be counterbalanced by inventive staging, but promising elements - microphones, a television monitor, audience suggestions - are less than the sum of their parts, underused in favour of static talking. The impotence of this play's politics lies in its implied suggestion that the thing really missing from our lives is the certainty we'll be richer than our parents.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Alexander Hartley]

Power Play: Next Time (Power Play Theatre and Jess Moore)
Whilst I appreciate the intention to raise awareness, I nevertheless find this play deeply problematic. It is an unconvincing portrayal of a female victim of domestic violence, a nameless woman with hardly any lines. Does it pass the Bechdel test? Probably not. We hear more from her husband, though he's not even present (he leaves voicemails), as he takes us on a painting-by-numbers journey of abuse. The script is virtually non-existent; instead there's a lot of moaning and sobbing. This happens, yes - it's horrendous. But I want to know this woman's name, to hear her story; I don't want her identity erased by victimhood. Far from a 'power play', this does a disservice to those who have experienced abuse.
Pleasance Pop-Up: Power Play HQ, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 1/5 | [Marni Appleton]

Power Play: Somebody (Power Play Theatre and Matilda Curtis)
Girl traces her life backwards through the flat in which the play is set, from an adult woman with a marriage proposal and an uncertain future, back to the site of a trauma she experienced as a ten year old. As a child, Girl believes she can do anything; as an adult, she is powerless - life has boxed her in. I resent the fact that Girl has no name, that she seems to have no choice in her own life and that she spends most of the play talking about men, leaving us wondering about the much more interesting and complex relationships with her mother and best friend. Dani Moseley gives a wonderfully intimate performance, but this script lacks the power it promises.
Pleasance Pop-Up: Power Play HQ, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Marni Appleton]

The Providence Of Neighboring Bodies (Dutch Kills Theater Company)
From the moment the endearingly delusional Dora opens her mouth, I'm hooked by the quirky charm of this play. As the programme mentioned beavers - at length - I was nonplussed while watching the story of Dora's burgeoning friendship with her awkward neighbour Ronnie. But when Ronnie's Airbnb guest arrives in the form of Jane, an anthropomorphic beaver, things started to make sense. Kind of. As much as a story about two women and a talking beaver could make sense. Beneath the fantastical silliness, however, there beats a heart of social commentary. Rhode Island's historical disdain for beavers is an analogue for racial and cultural intolerance, and I was impressed by how such a serious issue was handled in a manner both sensitive and whimsical.
Underbelly Cowgate, until 26 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Andy Leask]

Urban Death (Zombie Joe's Underground Theatre Group)
As an endurance horror show, 'Urban Death' plays on shock value, exposing the audience to scenes that range from necrophilia to genocide to child abuse. In this regard it did not disappoint: playing with the audience's expectations and inhibitions, Zombie Joe's Underground Theatre Group gave us a thrilling, atmospheric experience. Although I feel the piece would have had a more pervasive effect if it had been more structured or thematic, it partially made up for this through the talents of the cast and crew. The direction was superb and the actors both brilliantly cast and incredibly skilled. The disturbing nature of many of the scenes, although they appeared to be included only for shock factor, nevertheless made the show hauntingly memorable.
Sweet Grassmarket, until 26 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Lucy Caradog]

Waiting For Godot (DRUID / Garry Hynes / Edinburgh International Festival)
What can you do with 'Waiting For Godot'? Edward Beckett, the arbiter of licensing rights for his uncle's work, forbids any substantive departures from the good old traditional ways of staging the plays. Garry Hynes's production succeeds within the narrow parameters any Beckett production is allowed, which basically amount to - as Sam might have said - finding the rhythm of it. Marty Rea's Vladimir sets the tempo while Aaron Monaghan's syncopated Estragon stirs things up. The design, by Francis O'Connor, is delightful: you can't quite tell whether the backdrop is a cloudy expanse opening to infinity, or a concrete wall shutting everything out. It's not trying to put its own stamp on Godot's mysteries, just trying to give them attractive expression.
Lyceum Theatre, until 12 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Alexander Hartley]

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