I don't see quite as many children's show as I used to - I think I hit a peak when my daughter was seven or eight - but I am always on the look out for good ones. Especially up in Edinburgh, where some of the most innovative children's shows do tend to turn up, or, like this show, make a start here.

'Joyce', by Turtle Company from Korea, is an international collaboration, the work of a number of creatives who have put the show together despite being based in disparate locations - including Seoul, New York and London - and it sounds brilliant.

To find out more about the show, I spoke to two of those involved, co-directors Yossef K Junghan and Stevan Mijailovic.

CLICK HERE to read today's Caro Meets interview.

'Joyce' is on at Assembly Roxy until 26 Aug. Listing here.

We are currently putting together the Review Edition of ThreeWeeks, the print magazine that hits the streets on Wednesday, 14 Aug, available to pick up at all the key venues.

Advertising inside is a great way to get your shows in front of thousands of festival-goers just as they are deciding what to see. And we have a very small number of last minute ad spots available at very special prices.

We have one full page available at just £400 plus VAT, a half page at £250 plus VAT and two sixth pages at £125 plus VAT each. 

We'd need artwork by tomorrow, Sunday, at 5pm - though for sixth pages you could simply send us your A5 or A6 flyer design. Email to book.

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 Samantha Pressdee on hand with the tips.

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

Samantha Pressdee is performing 'Covered' at PQA Venues @ Riddle's Court until 26 Aug.

Beetlemania: Kafka For Kids (The Kafkateers)
As we are reminded by our 'serious' opening, Kafka's stories are almost all about unhappy men, often with health problems. Not exactly fertile ground for a round of smart, knockabout child-friendly comedy, you might suppose. You'd be wrong. Things take a meta-Kafka turn early on with the - as it turns out - recurring intervention of officialdom. The show is co-opted by two rather more obviously child-friendly performers, who undertake to do a series of Kafka shorts, building up to the grand finale of 'Metamorphosis'. Or will they? Gags, props and references scattergun across the age range in the room - mostly landing somewhere or other. The closing number rhymes "mess" with "Kafka-esque" and, frankly, if that's not got you on board, I can't help you.
Underbelly Cowgate, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Bruce Blacklaw]

Splash Test Dummies (Underbelly and Dummies Corp)
My trusty small co-reviewer and I saw this Antipodean soggy clown show last year and agreed to split our differences at a fair-to-middling three stars. However, on viewing the 2019 programme, it was the first thing she picked out to go and see. To settle the beef, we enlisted the help of the Big Boy Cousins from Glasgow, who know quality knockabout when they see it. Having settled things in the fashionable form of a popular vote, I am obliged to relate that, whilst it remains true to say that you will see more accomplished physical theatre this Fringe, the will of the (small) people is that 'Splash Test Dummies' is winningly anarchic, tremendously silly and ridiculously good fun.
Underbelly's Circus Hub on the Meadows, until 24 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Bruce Blacklaw]


Abbie Murphy: Eat Sleep Shit Shag (Hatch Talent)
Former showgirl Abbie Murphy is accustomed to feathers, sequins and tassels on the stages of cruise ships; she's even been to Bollywood. Expect anecdotes about the lack of glamour when you're sharing every waking (and sleeping) moment with your colleagues, but you're still expected to be delightful to holidaymakers at all other times. She also shares some insight into her childhood, family and life beyond performing. Growing up and growing older, she's feeling the pressure to live up to society's norms. Her personality does much of the heavy lifting in this show, with the jokes and anecdotes just amusing rather than deeply funny. She's got some gems in there, she's just got to polish them a bit more.
Gilded Balloon at Old Tolbooth Market, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Daisy Malt]

Archie Henderson: Jazz Emu (Archie Henderson)
In his opening number, Archie Henderson proclaims his ability to do a wide range of things to an adequate standard. In fact, it's mostly comedy about music and that's where this works best, using music variously as parts of set-up and punchline. There's conviction and pleasing originality there. The rest is variously unconnected bits about anxiety, social media and, whilst there's a jazz spirit in the way that Henderson dots about, it doesn't always work over the course of the hour. There's a lot to like, and a lot to admire - just not necessarily at the same time. Kind of like jazz, I guess. Useless poster quote, I know, but already better than adequate, and bound to improve.
Gilded Balloon at the Old Tolbooth Market, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Bruce Blacklaw]

Connie Wookey: Denied (Constance Wookey)
Connie Wookey's unfortunate (real life) circumstances take the audience on a journey with musical parody, storytelling and comedy throughout. From losing her US visa to nearly dying in a plane crash, there is never a dull moment in the show. However, she does not shy away from more painful moments, including her friend's sexual assault. Wookey chats to the audience with ease and confidence, while the musical parodies are inventive and certainly add to the overall production. With recognisable songs from an array of genres, the lyrics are witty and pithy, moving the show along at a good pace. Finishing with the audience making foam aeroplanes and throwing them across the room, 'Denied' is a feel-good show, excellently performed and engaging the audience throughout.
Underbelly Bristo Square, until 26 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Natalie Holman]

Demi Lardner: Ditch Witch 800 (Century)
I think it's fair to say that you should expect the unexpected with Demi Lardner. She takes her sketch comedy clowning to the extreme and it's not for the faint-hearted. Making her entrance by appearing from the womb sets the tone for this hour of daft one-liners, absurd skits and displays of her artwork (which is of course as weird as it should be). Fans of Aunty Donna will love her grotesque caricatures and the fast-paced onslaught of comedy. It's all very DIY and chaotic and the lack (or total rejection) of polish is what makes it so much fun. Some jokes won't always land but it's the daftness that makes it work; and when she hits the sweet spot we're all rolling in our seats.
Gilded Balloon Teviot, until 26 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Daisy Malt]

Double Denim: Adventure Show (Hey Boss)
Once cruise attendants Michelle and Laura have ushered us onto the imaginary ship upon which the plot is somewhat loosely anchored, they whip off their nautical gear to reveal the eponymous denim. A giddily high-paced, gag-packed hour ensues. Reference points include Atomic Kitten, 'Lost', Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson - who should totally stop by and do the audience participation bit one night - and, er, crabs. All delivered through a mix of songs, physical comedy, clowning, daft props, sharp one-liners and, despite the silliness, compelling character comedy. For all the apparent anarchy, they are a tremendously slick double act, scarcely missing a beat (despite several attempts to make one another corpse). Do climb aboard the good ship Double Denim.
Underbelly Cowgate, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Bruce Blacklaw]

Lucy Pearman: Baggage (United Agents)
I'll be honest; I'm not entirely sure what just happened. A woman wearing a suitcase has tried to rid herself of her excess baggage. There's a message in there somewhere, about all of us carrying around emotional baggage that we try to shift but never quite manage to, but it gets a little lost in the ridiculousness of the concept. Pearman's clowning is on the absurd end of the spectrum, with the laughter often fueled by bafflement. That said, at a time when it feels a bit like everything is going to shit in the world, a bit of escapist stupidity is no bad thing at all. You're unlikely to see anyone else trying to do the same thing at this year's festival.
Monkey Barrel, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Daisy Malt]

Rob Auton: The Time Show (Show And Tell in association with Avalon Management)
Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. That's another four seconds of your life gone. It's amazing how we assign so much meaning to the passing of time, in so many different ways, but who even decided what it is? Rob Auton is trying to make sense of it, as only he can. Deconstructing the concept of time is deeply philosophical but, as he always does, Auton finds the funniest side of the things we take for granted. His ability to make you rethink what you know, delivered in his unique style - a cross between deadpan and awe at human behaviour - hits the mark every time. From eye-wateringly funny one-liners, to meandering musings on what it means to live in the moment, 'The Time Show' is beautifully uplifting.
Assembly George Square Studios, until 26 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Daisy Malt]


You And I: A New Musical (Colla Voce Theatre)
Think 'Black Mirror' meets 'LaLa Land' and you've got 'You And I: A New Musical'. The show follows the tale of one woman's adventures with a very intelligent robot that turns up at her door one day. The soft, lullaby vocals of the cast took the audience on a gentle journey; although the songs are not catchy in the traditional musical theatre sense, the melodies and harmonies are beautiful nonetheless. And a special mention must go to performer Laurence Hunt, whose robot voice remained steadfast and realistic throughout. If you like 'LaLa Land' you'll love this music; it truly is a beautiful mix of soulful folk and near-future technology, all brought to life by a talented cast.
Underbelly Bristo Square, until 26 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Natalie Holman]

Elton John: Rocket Man Live! (Liquid Lunch Productions)
This could not be described as recreating the "iconic live sound of the original rocket man" unless they meant the late Yuri Gagarin singing in the shower. Elton John can sing in tune; this singer was persistently flat and his voice lacked timbre. All the usual Elton John songs were there, but the vocalist was woefully under rehearsed and at times seemed to be sight reading. He explained between numbers that he'd had to learn most of the songs from scratch and indeed the emphasis on the words was often wrong. There was no attempt at a theatrical costume or much showmanship either. Tonight the audience was full of Elton John fans who knew the songs better than the performer.
theSpace @ Niddry St, until 23 Aug.
tw rating 1/5 l [Louise Rodgers]


The Empathy Experiment (Rose Condo / PBH's Free Fringe)
I would hope the average Fringe-goer could forego their phone for an hour; though judging by the panicked looks when Rose Condo asked volunteers to seal their phones in envelopes, I may be wrong. Those who did participate, who did focus on the show, were rewarded with an engaging, spoken-word performance exploring empathy, encouraging us to put our devices away (for a bit!) and concentrate on where we are and what's around us. Condo eschews Luddite clichés, noting the benefits of mobile devices and never lecturing or patronising her audience. She models true empathy, by engaging honestly with the complexities of the modern world. Catch it if you can, and afterwards, enjoy a quiet lunch without your phone, like I did.
PBH's Free Fringe @ Banshee Labyrinth, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Andy Leask]


Between Us (Rachel E Thorn and Alex Keen)
This intimate, improvised play is remarkably sincere, and authentic. The performers take one meaningful fact or anecdote from the audience, about a Rachel or Alex that they know, and spin it out into a full play. There's a loose structural frame that I assume is consistent - dialogue scene / monologue / dialogue scene / monologue etc. - but the content, the words and the narrative are all developed from the plot hook taken from the audience. In our performance, a family cruise ship rental became the catalyst for a relationship torn apart by class-based anxiety. That's where this differs from most other improv shows: while there were laughs (a lot of them!), they were contained within a serious, moving drama.
theSpace @ Surgeons' Hall, until 17 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Andy Leask

Blodeuwedd Untold (Jo Blake / Pleasance / Royal & Derngate Northampton)
A feminist hero, sidelined by generations of male storytellers, is reborn in a piece which combines physical theatre and spoken word. Almost ritualistic in nature, the piece attempts to take us back to the very roots of storytelling and myth and creates, in a very Tolkien-esque way, a new mythology for the present day. Moving easily between the story of Blodeuwedd and what she may represent, writer and performer Jo Blake's methods are certainly unusual. Although reflective of the story she is telling, the piece can tend towards disjointedness in parts, but it is by no means difficult to follow. Being a modern bard is a difficult calling, but this play shows that the art is still very much alive.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 26 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Will Norris]

Conversations With Van Gogh (Echoes Theatre)
Mental health is a subject which is, thankfully, often covered at the Fringe. This is a very brave attempt by writer and actor Hannah Aine-Smith to come to terms with their own mental health, through the art and letters of Vincent Van Gogh. It's a simply staged show, and there are times when the show lacks enough definition between its various scenes and characters in order to properly differentiate them. However, where it is most compelling is in its moments of openness, when all pretence is dropped - here, Aine-Smith's charm and honesty shines through. While it is not quite successful as a piece of theatre, it is, more importantly, a means of personal expression and catharsis, and there it thrives.
Zoo Southside, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Will Norris]

Fix Us (Bareface)
Three actors with one thing in common - they're all "fucking awesome". 'Fix Us' is a frank and honest play, starring three disabled actors who take over the stage after a delayed performance of 'The Merchant of Venice'. What ensues is a fairly madcap tale. Using film, voiceover and acted scenes, the performers show the audience their alter-egos, who help to maintain their confidence, despite living with an often judgemental society. As a theatre production, there is room for improvement: the script would benefit from more structure and the physical theatre moments could do with more work. However, as a piece to bring attention to the lack of diversity in theatre and the representation of disabled actors, it was a compelling watch.
Underbelly Cowgate, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Izzy Cutler]

HoneyBee (Eleanor Dillon-Reams)
At once beautifully, intricately wrought and yet entirely honest, 'HoneyBee' has a truth at its pulsing heart that you cannot help but be moved by. Billed as "Fleabag meets Kate Tempest", it is written and performed by the brilliantly talented Eleanor Dillon-Reams. We follow a young woman through the hedonistic last night of a festival, her narrative interspersed with meditations on the complexities of modern life, on how to be a good person - specifically, a good woman - and the ethical, cultural and emotional pressures we impose on ourselves, and each other. Just as you put a spoon of sugar-water out for a dying bee, Dillon-Reams offers us something we need: nourishment for the psyche, something sweet, but not cloying. We leave united, uplifted, inspired.
Gilded Balloon Rose Theatre, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Andy Leask]

Ticker (Fight in the Dog in association with United Agents)
Spencer sits in a cafe, smartly dressed, but sporting a black eye. He's there, he tells us, to meet his girlfriend, Gabi, who he is madly in love with, and proceeds to fill us in, drawing a detailed portrait of Gabi's character and of their relationship. Along the way, he introduces us to more of his friends and family in the same way, each depicted with their own distinct voices and personalities. As Spencer begins to unravel, it's apparent that all is not well. Written and performed by Fringe regular Tom Machell, 'Ticker' is excellently presented with simple but effective staging, and offers a truly arresting exploration of grief, mental health and toxic masculinity, balanced by dark humour and punctuated by unexpected twists that keep you guessing.
Underbelly Cowgate, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Daisy Malt]

Leave A Message (Jessica Rose McVay Productions and Bad Thursday)
For most of this play, I thought the problem with the writing was that I didn't care. I didn't care about the death of Ed's father, or Ed's nascent alcoholism, or his reluctance to speak to his mother. By the end, though, I did care. I was angry: angry that the play decided to ignore Ed's problems with drink. He blacks out, wakes up on the street, misses social occasions regularly through drink, and constantly swigs from his father's leftover vodka bottles... all dismissed with a 'you're not an alcoholic, let's drink some more vodka and dance to A-ha'. Perhaps this is a too-subtle critique of an addict's denial, but I suspect it's simply lazy and stupid writing.
Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose, until 26 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Andy Leask]

With Child (Claire Pointing)
Only one of the six short monologues presented actually relates to pregnancy, which left me nonplussed. If the point was that pregnant women are still women - with vastly differing perspectives and experiences - well, sure: point made. Each of these monologues is fantastic: well written, excellently performed, with really strong voices. But there's nothing tying these six disparate voices together, which leaves the hour feeling frustratingly fragmented. Some were nice (a woman who found strength through Zumba, and the proud, dignified single mum-to-be); some less so (the transphobic Brexiteer and the judgmental gym-goer). Any one of these monologues, unpacked, would be worthy of four or five stars. The whole, sadly, is less than the sum of its parts.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Andrew Leask]

At TW:CULTURE we champion the best in culture.

ThisWeek London is your guide to culture in London.

ThreeWeeks Edinburgh is your guide to Edinburgh's festivals.

TW:DIY is your guide to doing cultural stuff.

© UnLimited Media, a division of 3CM Enterprises Ltd

UnLimited Media, Kemp House, 152 City Road, London EC1V 2NX
t: 020 7099 9050 (editorial) 020 7099 9060 (sales)

Send Edinburgh press releases to

Send London press releases to

You can read our Privacy & Data Policy here |