We've been busy chatting to all sorts of people at this year's Edinburgh Festival, both on and off the stage. There are 49 interviews already on the website, with number 50 coming your way very soon!

Come say hello to Allegra Marland and Georgie Oulton, Ben Pettitt-Wade, Bryony Twydle, Colette Redgrave, Dan Coleman, Egg, Faye Treacy, Fringe Wives Club, Hot Brown Honey, Ian Smith, Jake Howie, John Pendal, Katie Mahon and Molly Rumford, Marny Godden, Neema Bickersteth, Oliver Lansley, Patrick Eakin Young, Peter Hudler, Roman Fraden, Rosie Jones, Ryan Napier and Courtney Oliphant, Sid Singh, Victoria Firth, Will Close and Rose Robinson, Yianni Agisilaou and Zach & Viggo.

Meanwhile on our all-new behind-the-scenes website TW:DIY we talk to Alison Pollard-Mansergh, Brett Vincent, Caro Moses, Dean Penn, Emma Jordan, Gemma Scott, Giles Moss, Hils Jago, James Seabright, Jen McGowan, Jo Crowley and Becki Haines, Madelaine Bennett, Nick Doody, Paul Nathan and Russell Dean, plus the directors of Fringe venues Bedlam, Greenside, Paradise Green, Pleasance, Sweet, theSpace, Underbelly and Zoo.

We'll be publishing a few more Q&As this week alongside the latest reviews and our Three To See tips - keep an eye on the TW Daily for more info!
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 designer - and mask and puppet maker - Russell Dean.

Russell has worked in a design role for a number of great theatre groups and also heads up his own company, Strangeface Theatre, where he is Artistic Director. A writer, director, performer and teacher, as well as a designer, he is best known for his work with masks and puppets, and is at the Edinburgh Fringe this year presenting a fascinating puppet show called 'The Hit' at Summerhall.

We spoke to him to find out more about his career in theatre design, and how he came to specialise in mask and puppet making.

CLICK HERE to read today's TW:DIY interview.
Three recommended shows to see on Tuesday 21 Aug...

Armour: A Herstory Of The Scottish Bard | theSpace @ Jury's Inn | 2.10pm (pictured)
"This new musical play, with an exclusively female cast, is a marvellous addition to Scottish theatre", declares our reviewer, before adding: "It's a historical drama about the perils of celebrity, with beautifully nuanced writing and acting, as well as heart-lifting music". Oh, and it's also "gloriously funny"!

Why Even Bother | C Royale | 7.55pm
This "witty, nifty, funny" show is "possibly unlike anything you've ever seen before", reckons our reviewer. "The beleaguered protagonist – a twenty-something Norwegian millennial battling through English life – interacts with the vocal incarnations of his imagination with a physicality that is exhausting to watch". But exhausting in a good way, obviously!

Kiri Pritchard McLean: Victim, Complex | Pleasance Courtyard | 8.00pm
Finally, today's top comedy tip. "After discovering that a messy break-up was the result of her ex gaslighting her, which led to years of anguish, Kiri Pritchard-McLean is angry", notes our review of this 5/5 show. "This is comedy for the #MeToo age, fusing humour with biting reality in a way that is very powerful".

Seen And Heard (Becky Lou/Crowded)
From 'classic' burlesque, to a woman dressed as a caveman performing a comedic striptease, 'Seen And Heard' exhibits a variety of burlesque dancers in a show that explores the female definition of family. The range in the dancing is superb: the show explores different forms and levels of burlesque, from tone to degree of nudity, showing the audience just how versatile it is as an art form. The dance segments connect wonderfully with the spoken parts of the show, in which the five women discuss their thoughts and feelings around family, from motherhood to daughterhood, mothers to fathers, making 'Seen And Heard' a show that is both thought-provoking and easy to watch.
Underbelly Cowgate, until 26 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Lucy Caradog]


The Little Musician (Brush Theatre LLC / Korean Season presented by AtoBiz Ltd)
A quest to find the sunshine - finally, a plot we can all relate to this Edinburgh Fringe! Fighting against the cold and darkness of the world, Brush Theatre pour warmth and light into this whimsically dreamy show. Following a girl with a flute and her tiny polar bear on their quest to find the sun, we meet new friends, harsh weather conditions, and a number of unexpectedly surreal elements along the way. This show transports you to a kind-spirited, dream-like universe filled with live music, song, and beautifully imaginative foley effects. The only bad bit was having to leave once it had finished and return to the grey, dreary, cobbled streets of Edinburgh.
Assembly Roxy, until 26 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Stephanie Stapleton]

Chores (Cluster Arts Pty Ltd)
Two little boys are told to tidy their room. And, eventually, they do. That's your plot, right there, in full. The 'boys' in question are in fact a pair of tall bearded Australians in dungarees who spend a manic, amusing and at times impressive hour of slapstick, clowning, physical theatre, acrobatics and juggling whilst spraying water and toilet roll with abandon. The audience are variously involved in the foolishness, and children get into shouting out as the boys hide from each other in the crowd, or make an obvious mess of their tidying efforts. The performers successfully channel their own inner little boys to make this an endearing, enjoyable and funny show for reluctant chores-doers of all ages.
Assembly George Square, until 26 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Bruce Blacklaw]


Andy Zaltzman: Right Questions, Wrong Answers (Andy Zaltzman)
Satirically challenging, is one way to consider 2018. Everything's both too stupid and too rapidly evolving for structural rigour or nuance. Comedic firefighting. The joke written yesterday has already had its day. Time, then, for one of the masters. And, it's interesting. I mean, it's a great, funny show: "Writing, delivery and cricket bantz are all totally on point. Go see him" - that's the review. But, when the normally super-glib Zaltzman looks up from his exceptional craft to say 'that's the bleakest joke I've ever written', and wonders aloud whether he can do it when his daughter comes to see him perform: I know there are more obvious indicators of the state of the world, I know, but still... fuck.
The Stand, until 26 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Bruce Blacklaw]

Joe Sutherland: Toxic (United Agents)
Growing up a millennial in the Midlands, Joe Sutherland was acutely aware of his discomfort with defined structures of gender and sexuality, his failure to 'fit in'. He reflects here on growing up to be an adult, and the extent to which that has, or has not meant growing up to be 'a man' in the context of the limiting nature of traditional binary gender categorisation. The result is sometimes affecting and insightful as he reflects on how his own choices and personality were received by family and friends. More importantly, it is very funny indeed. Sutherland's delivery and timing are excellent, dropping more than enough good gags and snappy anecdotes to carry along the more thoughtful, occasionally poignant undertones.
Underbelly Bristo Square, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Bruce Blacklaw]

Rachel Fairburn: The Wolf At The Door (Live Nation)
We open with a take-down of the tat you find in garden centre shops; fridge magnets with asinine homilies, scented candles and similar. The gag rate is very high, very good and, incidentally, provides a once-in-a-Fringe opportunity to praise Fairburn's 'pixie's clit' call backs, which I'm not about to pass up. This deceptively light, frothy opening sets up intros to characters who'll recur throughout. It also gets the audience warmed up and, importantly, onside for what is nevertheless still a fairly abrupt gear-shift into darkness as Fairburn describes a series of relationship and friendship catastrophes which send her to the very brink. The resolution just about brings together the light and the dark to conclude a fine show.
Underbelly Bristo Square, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Bruce Blacklaw]

Enter The Dragons (A&E Comedy)
You can forget about Prince Charming because the dragons are here to save the heroine from drowning in the 'sea of apology'. Thank god for Abigail Dooley and Emma Edwards, the divinely bonkers dragons stroke kick-ass godmothers and their totally unapologetic and brilliantly outrageous take down of the judgements ageing women face. A flawless show, featuring costumes and set as monstrously surreal as they are beautiful, this is a cunning and poignant fight-back delivered with a fantastically wicked sense of humour. Imagine Ab-fab and the Mighty Boosh on a mad bender in a 'Shrek' inspired fairytale tavern and then some. Anyone expecting a lovely fairytale with a heroic prince rescuing a young beautiful princess from a mad spinster can do one. Sorry not sorry.
Pleasance Dome, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Stephanie Stapleton]

Clara Saves America (Clara Bijl)
What do you get when you combine French and American humour? The answer isn't always French fries. Marketing herself as an "internationally unknown French stand-up comedian", Clara Bijl explores her status as a French woman living in America, and as an American in today's political climate. The set consists of dark, self-deprecating observational humour, including jokes about being a mother that hates her husband and kids, attending funerals, and leaving aggressive notes on car windscreens. Although the show was generally quite sharp and peppered with some genuinely funny jokes, the overall energy felt a little flat, and I also found Bijl's repeated insistence on referring to women as "bitch" grating by the end. Sadly, it would appear that America remains unsaved.
Greenside @ Infirmary Street, until 18 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Stephanie Stapleton]

Garry Starr Performs Everything (Damien Warren-Smith)
As I watched this fiendishly funny show I thought it might be one for aficionados of theatre - those who'd appreciate the Chekhov, Pinter and Mamet references, for example - but a quick glance behind me revealed that even the kids were rocking with laughter. Recently outed from the RSC for 'artistic differences', Garry Starr's hubristic mission to rescue the stage from extinction involves a parodic gallop through every genre of theatre. He bares his theatrical soul, not to mention his arsehole (several times), getting about as up close and personal with selected audience members as it's possible to be. Damien Warren-Smith's performance skills are as impressive as they are varied. This is a show of clownish but clever comic chaos.
Underbelly Cowgate until 24 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Geoff Mills]

Zach & Viggo And Thumpasaurus: Where Does The Love Go? (Stamptown)
It's the future, and things aren't looking promising for the human race but they are looking funny! This multimedia, geeky play with songs and music entertained me thoroughly; it had seriously satirical elements, but was bereft of any subtlety or a fourth wall, so I enjoyed the late-night adult pantomime vibe. LA based band Thumpasaurus were excellent and reacted to the onstage action to comedic effect. The star for me was Jonny Woolley as Amazon founder Jeff Bezos who, with many movie and tech references, convincingly portrayed the leader of an evil empire. Zach Zucher as Alexo, the sweet AI assistant, gave us enjoyable physical theatre and when the audience laughed... he did it again! This knock-about production ain't slick but it is accomplished.
Underbelly Cowgate, until 26 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Louise Rodgers]

Speechless (Cambridge University Performance Technology Society)
What might comedy look like in a world where comic speech is banned? This is the loose premise for 'Speechless', a sketch show that (as you might expect) is filled with movement, mime and music, as its five performers concoct a diverse series of scenes without saying a word. Well, sort of - if you're a stickler for the premise you might consider the abundant voice-over to be cheating somewhat, but honestly who cares, it's really damn funny. Standout sketches include a vignette on the existential pain of thinking someone was waving at you when they weren't, a GCSE drama interpretation of 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar' and a man playing a human penis. It's polished, inventive and really good fun.
Underbelly Cowgate, until 26 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Jon Stapley]

Struan Logan: Struan All Over The World (Struan Logan)
Being trapped with someone at a party talking about their life-changing travels in Southeast Asia can be an excruciating experience, so it's fortunate that Struan Logan is charming enough to get away with it. His 18 months of backpacking around Australia, Myanmar, Kuala Lumpur and others form the basis of his likeable hour of standup, which keeps its audience chuckling appreciatively even if it never quite takes off. His anecdotes of minimum-wage bar work, dealing with hecklers and having his beard stroked in foreign cities are always good fun, but start to feel digressionary, even rambling, as the hour goes on. Logan is an affable guy with great comic delivery, but his show is definitely wanting tighter focus.
Laughing Horse @ The Counting House, until 26 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Jon Stapley]


360 All Stars (Onyx Productions)
I think I just died, and went to a 13-year-old skater kid's urban video game heaven. Inspired by street culture, this circus features world champion breakdancers, a two-time world champion BMX flatlander, basketball freestyling, beatboxing and a roue cyr artist. Imagine the energy of 50 incredibly active children harnessed into actual talents, presented within a tightly choreographed talent show for extraordinarily skilled show-offs, against a pretty psychedelic backdrop of video game visuals. An electrically charged, flawlessly choreographed and energising experience, great for families or anybody that regrets leaving their skater champion dreams behind. The 360 All Stars are the cool kids I aspired to be like back in my hardcore Avril Lavigne fangirl phase.
Assembly Hall, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Stephanie Stapleton]


Rachmaninov Vespers (Rock Festival Choir)
This show is why the Fringe started: an ambitious amateur choir performing in a city centre venue at the same time as the greatest musicians in the world hold court at the EIF, and sharing the same audiences. The Rachmaninov Vespers can be daunting to perform but this chamber choir, from a small Northumbrian town, tackled it with a palpable enthusiasm that communicated well to the audience. The dynamics were sensitively observed and there was plenty of light and shade; when all the voices sang together it was both bright and sonorous, an impressively joyful sound. Finally I would like to single out tenor Nicholas Brown for his solos and also the basses for underpinning this lovely unaccompanied music.
Greyfriars Kirk and Canongate Kirk, until 19 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Louise Rodgers]

Sing Sistah Sing! (Andrea Baker)
Andrea Baker seized my attention and didn't let go for an entire hour! She sang everything from Wagner to Gospel and had complete, transfixing command of each genre; at no point did she sound like an opera star doing Disco, rather she transformed into a Disco diva. This was an informative celebration of female African/American singers through the ages and not only was I educated, but I also had a damn good time! An international opera singer, her acting and performance were outstanding, particularly in 'Women be wise' and 'Habanera', though what really stirred my soul was to hear her singing Spirituals; but then within a few songs she became a frolicsome minx! What a gal!
Assembly Rooms, until 26 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Louise Rodgers]


Living With A Dark Lord (Mighty Pen Theatre)
Three sisters have gathered to celebrate the birthday of their autistic brother, Shaun, who lives under the persona of a medieval, sci-fi-esque 'Dark Lord', always wears a black cloak and speaks like Gandalf from 'Lord Of The Rings'. Written, directed and performed by the real life O'Sullivan sisters, this true story takes us through the highs and lows of life with Shaun through his sisters' anecdotes. With a beautifully written script and great songs, the O'Sullivans have created a deeply touching image of family life. By turns hilarious, heartbreaking and outrageous, 'Living With A Dark Lord' is a fresh new take that deserves to be heard. Its Fringe run has already sold out - and rightly so.
Paradise In The Vault, until 18 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Ela Portnoy]

Queens Of Sheba (Nouveau Riché)
'Where are you from? No, where are you from from?' is a question these women are tired of hearing, and is just one of the many ways in which they experience misogynoir (prejudice directed towards black women) on a regular basis. In this entirely stripped down show, it's their lyrical words, acapella soul singing and flawless choric movements that really take us on their journey. Through their keenly felt satire, they depict the deeply ingrained forms of prejudice within our society with a bold, fiery energy that electrifies the stage. Funny, heart-wrenching and ultimately empowering, this is the kind of intersectional feminism that needs to be seen and heard everywhere.
Underbelly Cowgate, until 26 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Amy Bonar]

Testament (Chalk Line)
In a beautifully put together show that blends reality, memory, and hallucination, Chalk Line's play explores love, loss, and what it means to be left behind. 'Testament' focuses on Max - in the hospital after a car crash and questioning what happened to his girlfriend. Writer Sam Edmunds excellently displays a mind torn apart by grief and a brain injury, blending happy memories with flashes from the accident, and dream sequences where modernised depictions of biblical figures attempt to either show Max the truth or lead him astray. With heartfelt performances from an excellent cast, 'Testament' explores survivors' guilt in a creative and unique manner, making this a touching and memorable piece of theatre.
Zoo Charteris, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Lucy Caradog]

When The Friendship Has Sailed (Weird Sisters Theatre)
A show that explores the impenetrable task of making friends as an adult, as we follow Carrie in her potentially lifesaving quest to make even a single friend in her new life in London. The show tackles what it is to feel lonely in a big city with your family far away, at times as an upbeat comedy featuring a singing goldfish and the antics of an awkward millennial, and at others a touching piece on alienation in the age of social media, 'When The Friendship Has Sailed' manages to touch the audience's hearts with an important message: loneliness kills, and friends save lives.
C Aquila, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Lucy Caradog]

Year Without Summer (Cast Iron Theatre)
Set during the celebrated weekend that birthed works such as Mary Shelley's 'Frankenstein' and John Polidori's 'The Vampyre', Cast Iron Theatre's play explores concepts such as creation and dependency in a tremendous show of intrigue and coming-of-age. Looking at three almost mythical characters: Lord Byron, Mary Shelley, and the sister that history forgot, Claire Clairmont, the cast both literally and figuratively go round in circles as they consider mourning, rebirth and reinvention. The three actors masterfully convey a breadth of emotions, shedding light on the intricacies of the relationships between these characters, and the dark undertones in play that led to the conception of those beloved literary works.
Sweet Grassmarket, until 26 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Lucy Caradog]

The Swell Mob (Flabbergast Theatre)
It's rare to find shows that really commit to blurring the lines between audience and performer, making you forget you're watching a show altogether, as they transport your imagination to another dimension. Down to the depths of a dingy Victorian taproom - also known as the basement of the Assembly Rooms - you make your own journey guided by the inhabitants of this seedy, depraved world. Along the way, we encounter every gothic character imaginable, from harlots to mystics, and gamblers to puritanical maidens, who, we're told, have a 'dark past'. It's all very sinister, made only more foreboding by a man lurking around with the creepy puppet that no one dares talk about. At times, you can feel a little in the dark, but delve deeper, and you will find that everybody has a story to tell, even if those stories do come at a price.
Assembly George Square Studios, until 26 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Amy Bonar]

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