If you're looking for a menu of very different theatrical treats this Fringe, then 'The Populars' is definitely a show you should consider. Primarily because it's an immersive piece, but also because - despite being described as a dance party - it's also focused on current political themes.

I was intrigued by the sound of this show as soon as it was described to me and I feel pretty sure it will pique the interest of many. So I spoke to Paul Davies, its director, to find out more.

CLICK HERE to read today's Caro Meets interview.

'The Populars' is on at Summerhall until 25 Aug. Listing here.
Check out the Preview Edition of the TW magazine. You can pick up a copy from venues across Edinburgh. Inside you will find interviews with Chris Grace, Gabriela Flarys, Harriet Dyer, Lewys Holt, Louisa Fitzhardinge, Matthew Greenhough, Double Denim, Robin Morgan and Robyn Perkins. Plus 75 show recommendations!

Find out where to pick up a copy HERE or read it all online HERE.
This summer we are asking some of our favourite Fringe people to offer their advice - sometimes sensible, sometimes silly - for getting the most out of the Edinburgh Festival in eight steps, by answering our eight quick quiz questions. Today, it's comedian Ed Night on hand with the tips.

CLICK HERE to read today's TW:DIY interview.

Ed Night is performing 'Jokes Of Love And Hate' at Pleasance until 25 Aug.

Andy Field's Funeral (Andy Field)
Andy Field apparently thrives on one-star reviews, though it has only happened once at the Fringe. It won't be happening this time, sorry Andy. In 'Funeral', it's certainly not the end of days for Field. His intrepid storytelling, mainly deriving from his experiences with weed and hallucinogenics, is eccentric and quirky, while the anecdotes about his wild acid trips are well worth an hour of your time. His style is experimental, with an incoherent and erratic running order that differs daily. He is an unconventional and seemingly sloppy comedian, which is the most appealing aspect of his delivery. Though the characters he has devised are hit and miss, the hilarious ones really hit the chortle button.
Just The Tonic at The Caves, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 [Kieran Scott]

Alex Williamson: Sin On My Face (Alex Williamson)
Alex Williamson is a charismatic Aussie. His set covers gambling, porn, Tinder, drugs and alcohol; swearing frequently for the hell of it and spontaneously dropping brutal one-liners. However, we've all heard mainstream comedians make gasp-worthy jokes on topics such as natural disasters and paedophiles many times before. Call me old-fashioned, but 'Sin on My Face' feels like an attempt at outdated, circa 2015 LAD Bible jocularity, with Williamson giggling after every quip. When he isn't speaking about masturbating in the company of pets, he does exhibit some observational merriment about his fellow Aussies. Abrasive humour is extraordinarily effective when done right, but Williamson's berserk disposition and 'lad humour' material just isn't giving us anything new.
Just The Tonic at La Belle Angele, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 [Kieran Scott]

Ben Verth: Sh*tegeist (Ben Verth)
How do you market a show called 'Sh*tegeist'? Just say it's "white guy moaning" and the moody cynics will come crawling in. Ben Verth confesses he isn't living his best life and presents humorous anecdotes about his existential crisis, including an exceptional segment on global warming and experiences with vegetarianism. Some audience members leave seemingly bemused and verging on offended, but when certain vendors won't even display his poster because of the expletive in the title, you should expect it to be provocative. He decides at its conclusion to bin a quarter of the material, an indication that Verth is his own worst critic: no, he isn't living his best life, but he does know how to do risque observational comedy. He just needs to refine it.
Monkey Barrel Comedy, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 [Kieran Scott]

Buffering (Jenny Laville and Pauline Eyre)
"I'm buffering, I feel like I'm constantly waiting for stuff to happen," says Pauline Eyre - one of two performers in this middle-aged take on dealing with parenthood. Both she and Jenny Laville feel like they are the 'buffer' between their parents and their kids. Laville and Eyre are totally contrasting - the former is enduring a break-up phase while the latter is happily married; the former is collected and sharp in her comedy, whereas the latter's rowdy presentation can only bring a sing-song about pelvic floor exercises for entertainment. 'Buffering' includes loose instances of dialogue together, but the pairing in this double bill falls flat. This review would read very differently if Laville was doing her own show - and maybe she should.
Sweet Grassmarket, until 11 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 [Kieran Scott]

Darren Harriott: Good Heart Yute (CKP / Intertalent)
Darren Harriott began confidently and engagingly, playfully contrasting his working class upbringing with the "middle class arts festival" he was performing at. His performance was fluid and only very rarely did the energy level drop. Harriott's treatment of recent political and cultural controversies was consistently incisive and funny, and his sharpest lines were often delivered as throwaways which kept the audience members on their toes. As the show developed, Harriott confided that the exuberant personality he embodies on stage is not a true reflection of a life characterised by a long line of rejections and the insecurities these have brought. This accomplished performance suggests that the line of rejections (professionally at least) must be coming to an end.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Charlie Ellis]

Micky P Kerr: Kerr In The Community (Brett Vincent for GetComedy)
Micky P Kerr came to prominence through 'Britain's Got Talent' and, frankly, this show has all the hallmarks of light entertainment. Kerr's deep love of music shapes the show but his musical parodies were somewhat underwhelming, as were his attempts to make Brexit-related jokes. He had a tendency to ramble at times and was lucky to have had such a sympathetic audience. His Ed Sheeran inspired use of a looper pedal was a very nice idea stretched too far. The highlights were three well-crafted videos which best showed off his abilities - a video-based show might have worked better. Kerr was an affable presence on stage but this performance lacked conviction and verve.
Underbelly Bristo Square, until 26 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Charlie Ellis]

Sukh Ojla: For Sukh's Sake (Noel Gay Presents...)
In her debut stand-up show, Sukh Ojla opens up about her life and mental health. As she touches on sensitive topics such as suicide, there are moments early on in the set where it feels a bit like a therapy session; however, the show comes full circle in her journey of self-discovery, tying up all loose ends. While there are some moments of laugh out loud comedy, much of Ojla's set evokes smaller chuckles from the audience. Yet, her storytelling skills are unmistakable and she creates a safe environment, even having an audience member admit to using drugs. At the end of the routine Ojla shares her reason behind writing the show - it's incredibly heartwarming and honest, revealing of a very caring and kind person.
Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Natalie Holman]

Whose Mind Is It Anyway? (Whose Mind Is It Anyway?)
Improvised movies are nothing new at the Fringe, so it's not surprising to see a twist on the formula. The hook here is that half of this movie musical's actors supposedly haven't turned up, so the only thing to do is replace them with hypnotised audience members. Professional hypnotist Simon Warner leads proceedings, aided by a troupe of skilled improvisers, and last night we saw the tale of the fabulous Dame Janet, wealthy patron to a local chemist's. Though this is an understandable constraint of the format, the fact that the process of whittling the audience down to the hypnotisable volunteers takes, frankly, an age, does mean that the movie itself, while good fun, ends up feeling a little rushed.
Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose, until 26 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Jon Stapley]


Can You See Where I'm Coming From? (Melanie Branton / PBH's Free Fringe)
Being faced with a single audience member (and that person being a reviewer), plus having to battle significant sound bleed from the next room, must be a fairly nightmarish scenario for any solo performer. Despite this, Melanie Barton produced a brave and wholehearted performance. She delivered an interesting meditation on social class and cultural identity through well-crafted poetry, folksong and impassioned discourse. Unlike many performers, her recollections of the culture of her childhood were not an exercise in empty nostalgia, and her description of the boxed-in lives of her parents was tender and deeply moving. Though the show still requires a little more polish, it certainly deserves better audiences in future.
Bar Bados, until 24 Aug
tw rating 3/5 | [Charlie Ellis]


Collapsible (Ellie Keel Productions and High Tide)
A young woman sits atop a concrete slab, several feet in the air. Rubble is beneath her, and dust shifts and falls from her perch with every movement. This is the setting as, with vivid magnetism, performer Breffni Holahan tells the moving story of Essie, whose life seems to be crumbling around her after losing her job and girlfriend. Written by Margaret Perry, this is an emotional tale of disconnecting from your body, from those around you and of feeling as though you've lost yourself. Though the sudden change in style at the end felt anticlimactic and let the show down slightly, the otherwise intricate and well-crafted script is brought to life by Holahan, whose performance is an impressive tour de force.
Assembly Roxy, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Izzy Cutler]

Definitely Louise (Bethany Heath)
A young woman in her flat muses over life, love and friendship. It's a simple setting and premise for a one-woman show, which is saved from falling flat by an engaging and energetic performance from Bethany Heath. However, it's the script that holds the show back. Seemingly disjointed and somewhat cliched at times, the hour long show started to drag as we moved from one tale to another without ever really going anywhere, while the shock twist at the end didn't serve as a satisfying climax. Thankfully the humour throughout, as the central character pondered her failed acting auditions and delusions of being famous, made for an amusing watch at least.
Gilded Balloon Rose Theatre, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Izzy Cutler]

Wireless Operator (Silksheen Productions)
This tense, claustrophobic presentation of a flight team's final bombing run, set during the Second World War, captures the harrowing experience wonderfully. Thomas Dennis is fantastic as John, the sole presence on stage. Interacting only with the distant voices of his crew, he hangs from the set, alone in the darkness. As the mission progresses - and the tension rises - he experiences memories, flashes of dialogue with his pregnant sweetheart. Most effectively, at times the perspective switches, as though the mission (and the play) are the memories haunting John after the war, forcing him to relive the feelings of fear and guilt that torment him. A powerfully poignant tribute to those who lost their lives, and those who survived, albeit scarred.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 26 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Andy Leask]

Wrath Of Achilles (Bedivere Arts Company)
There are glimmers of quality in this well-meaning mess. The gender-flipped Aphrodite, for instance, was a great idea, very fitting for an exploration of the relationship between Achilles and Patroclus. But there are more misfires than hits. The bizarre soft-rock that blares whenever the Gods appear seems ripped from a low-budget 80s fantasy movie, and the droning dirge they sing while on stage was often inaudible (a blessing in disguise however, as when I could hear it, it was off-key). The biggest problem, though, is the script. The dialogue is pedestrian and prosaic - a poor fit for an epic tale of gods and heroes. And the point of it all is unclear. Neither gripping, nor timely: why tell this story, now?
Greenside @ Infirmary Street, until 24 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Andy Leask]

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