We've been appreciatively following the work of Baba Brinkman since he first came to the Fringe. And we've been quite proactive in our appreciation of that work too: we gave him one of our Editors' Awards way back in 2007.

We like to celebrate new stuff at the Fringe, but also the veterans, especially when they don't rest on their laurels and instead keep coming back to Edinburgh with new shows that are always fresh, informative and challenging.

So I spoke to Brinkman to find out more about his newest show and all the other things he's up to at the Fringe this year.

CLICK HERE to read today's Caro Meets interview.

Baba Brinkman's 'Rap Guide To Culture' is on at Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose until 26 Aug. Listing here.

His rotating 'Rap Guides To...' Evolution, Religion and Consciousness are on at Gilded Balloon Teviot until 26 Aug. Listing here.

'Impulse Control' with neuroscientist Dr Heather Berlin is on at PBH's Free Fringe @ Revolution Bar until 25 Aug. Listing here.
The Review Edition of the TW magazine is out now! You can pick up a copy from venues across Edinburgh. Inside you will find interviews with Matt Parker, Kate Lucas, Keisha Thompson, Eloise Poulton, Cheong-euy Park, Dave Chawner, Isabella Soupart, Colin Granger and Tom Machell. Plus loads and loads of reviews, every single one of them a recommended show.

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 producer Tanya Agarwal from the theatre company Burnt Lemon on hand with the tips.

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

Burnt Lemon's show 'Tokyo Rose' is on at Underbelly Cowgate until 25 Aug.

Erth's Dinosaur Zoo (Underbelly and Erth)
Our host Scott, an Australian palaeontologist and our notional zookeeper, invites us to enjoy what proves to be a dinosaur TED talk supported by a pageant of impressive puppets. We start with a small, hand-held baby Triceratops, progressing through half a dozen mostly Antipodean species to the full (juvenile) Tyrannosaurus rex. Each 'bit' involves one or more audience participants and I'm not wholly convinced of Scott's bedside manner in this respect - they're not exactly put at their ease and some scenarios (a couple of which are slightly odd and/or scary) do ask a fair bit. The level of detail is admirably pitched without condescension, however, and the big beasts in particular do deliver a real spectacle.
Underbelly Bristo Square, until 26 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Bruce Blacklaw]


Aaron Chen: Piss Off (Just Kidding) (Fight in the Dog)
Aaron Chen always appears anxious and gawky, whether it's onstage or on television, and he begins by describing his hilarious and awkward TV appearances in Australia. 'Piss Off (Just Kidding)' lacks content but there is some effective material here, such as when he describes helping a Chinese lady to fill out a customs declaration form, or his fictional fantasy stories on 'Crazy Rich Aaron'. Chen works his way around the crowd pretty quickly, though these interactions don't provide many jokes in response to people's occupation or origin. His comedy style is very inconsistent, struggling to keep you attentive in the company of his conceit. However, at least he's enjoying himself.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Kieran Scott]

Amy Howerska: Serious Face (Amy Howerska)
Amy Howerska has moved to the US for marital reasons. Aside from culture clash observations, the first half of her set is mostly upbeat stuff about being happily in love, not only with her husband but also with his family, and Howerska owns it all winningly. The latter half contrasts the experience of her new extended family with her issues with her own folks. This is the 'serious face' bit from which the show derives its title. Things do lose their way (and the audience) a little then, though there's a pretty memorable coda. Howerska weaves engaging vignettes, punctuated with plenty of good and well-timed gags. It was worth her coming back over the pond, and not just so she could do a Shakespeare's Sister bit.
Laughing Horse @ Three Sisters, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Bruce Blacklaw]

Chris Washington: Raconteur (Phil McIntyre Entertainments Ltd Presents)
Chris Washington made his Fringe debut four years ago with a show called 'First Class', all about his postal service work. At the time, I thought his delivery had potential but lacked content, but now Washington exhibits an avalanche of ideas in this wonderfully assertive performance. 'Raconteur' is all about Washington's life in the last year, told with a real knack for storytelling. From free beer to looking for engagement rings to worrying about the local kebab shop closing, there's never a silence with the Wigan comic. Washington keeps the laughter going for the entire hour: it doesn't all have to be hilarious, just as long as everyone is chuckling quite nicely he's happy.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Kieran Scott]

Ed Night: Jokes Of Love And Hate (Mick Perrin Worldwide in association with IAM)
The suicide hotline for Edinburgh is called the Ed Night Line. Not the sort of thing you want to be mistaken for, but Ed Night brings it up anyway, as part of his wide-ranging stand-up hour. He's only 23 but speaks with such gravitas and well-considered words that make you think of someone like Stephen Fry. While the flavour of the humour is not like Fry's, the understanding that you're hearing someone who has really thought deeply about their subject matter certainly is similar. Sectarianism, gender politics, mental health and sexuality all pop up, with well thought out jokes and a humour which is never excluding and always punching up. Recommended.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Chris Lambert]

Fat Blast And Crackers: 101 Sketches In 50 minutes! (The Scribbling Ape)
Hold onto your hats - this is sketch comedy at a pace! Delivering a punchline every thirty seconds, the Scribbling Ape foursome keep everything moving onstage (and off) with well practised aplomb. Some of the sketches are very funny, some are not, and some move so fast that I missed the punchline, or the setup, or both. But with so many jokes you're always going to have the odd dud. I was surprised that they included some audience participation, expecting that the time invested would make it counterproductive, but they managed to hit the target with seconds to spare. The audience loved it - one guy turning red and almost unable to breath because he was laughing so hard.
Just The Tonic at The Caves, run ended.
tw rating 3/5 | [Chris Lambert]

Matt Winning: It's The End Of The World As We Know It (Matt Winning)
In this amalgam of lecture and comedy show, Matt Winning uses his experience as a climate change researcher to outline how its effects can at least be minimised. After a preamble disturbed by several late arrivals, Winning soon gets into his stride. Though clearly passionate about the topic he is never preachy or self-righteous. Jokes litter the show - many are good, though some drift into dad-joke territory. The basic thrust of his argument is also found in Andrew O'Neil's show, though Winning's measured style could hardly be more different from O'Neill's anarchic exuberance. Whether Winning's show can be considered comedy is a moot point, but it's certainly a refreshing counterpoint to some of the poorly-informed polemicising found at the Fringe.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Charlie Ellis]

The Golden Path (Vanessa Hammick)
Not quite a slice of life, more like the complete pie! Vanessa Hammick's engaging show loosely explores her relationship with her father but digresses wildly, to include moments when she condoled with an audience member about their obscure degree, an enjoyed spending time conversing with the youngest member of audience, a 12-year-old boy from the States. Hammick's material is personal and touching, which makes the show poignant without being saccharine, and she goes beyond just talking about her relationship with her father, relating some insights into her own life as well. 'The Golden Path' is a fulfilling and well-rounded show by a talented performer - I look forward to seeing more of her.
Just the Tonic at The Caves, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Chris Lambert]


Brass Tracks (Brass Tracks)
Monteverdi was a bold (and chronologically correct!) start to this professional brass quintet concert, though there were one or two small technical issues with it. However, the band quickly established a rapport with their audience by introducing singer William Williamson in their own touching arrangement of 'Annie Laurie' for brass quintet and voice. 'Night on Bare Mountain' was highly dramatic, displaying a good partnership between trombone and tuba in an atmosphere of booming menace. Bizet's 'Carmen' was enjoyable, and the chat between music was entertaining and informative. 'St Louis Blues', the original 12 bar blues, was also great- a memorable highlight during a lively concert. Brass concerts offer variety, joie de vivre and camaraderie - this one was no exception!
artSpace@StMarks, run ended.
tw rating 4/5 | [Louise Rodgers]


The Art Of Skipping (Purple Door Productions Limited)
Following a young astronomer on a journey of a lifetime as she discovers she is going blind, 'The Art of Skipping' is a very moving musical. Although slow to start, the pacing picks up and soon has the audience emotionally invested. The use of choreography to show the passing of time and the internal struggle of the characters is very effective, particularly as the protagonist finds out she is going blind; this gave me goosebumps. The incidental music played to cover scene changes also works well to retain the atmosphere. Although not a traditional 'feel good' musical, the simple keyboard music and the earnest acting from the cast combine to create an emotional and modern production.
Greenside @ Nicholson Square, until 24 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Natalie Holman]


Chain Of Trivia (Russell Clarke)
This trivia-packed trip through British and American music since the dawn of rock 'n' roll had some of the ingredients of a good show but ultimately underwhelms. In 'Chain Of Trivia', Russell Clarke connected ten classic artists and bands - from Elvis to Queen. Some of the material was genuinely interesting but the rather rushed presentation failed to make it truly engaging. There was virtually no attempt at audience interaction - it felt more like a podcast than a live show. Only when Clarke paused and played a few audio clips to illustrate the narrative did it come alive - but again it was all too hasty. Given the wealth of challenging and culturally rich performances at the Fringe, this workmanlike effort does indeed feel rather trivial.
theSpace @ Surgeons' Hall, until 24 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Charlie Ellis]


Last Life: A Shakespeare Play (The Box Collective and Piece of Yourself)
The fault, dear Brutus, lies not in the performances, but in the script. 'Last Life' is a play composed of lines lifted from Shakespeare's plays and poetry, stitched together to form something "new". And, sure, that sounds like an honourable plan, but the result is frustratingly disengaging. There is no cohesive plot, and no real sense of character - despite the best efforts of the excellent actors, who give an intensely physical performance - and so everything is, ultimately, meaningless. Each line immediately sparked its original context in my mind, pulling me away from these ciphers to the Shakespearean characters to whom those words belong. Inviting comparison with Shakespeare is risky; 'Last Life' can't help but pale in comparison.
Greenside @ Infirmary Street, until 17 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Andy Leask]

Ricky Riddlegang And The Riddlegang (Peracals Productions)
You've never seen cardboard being used so creatively until you've watched a Peracals Productions show. From the team behind 'Cream Tea and Incest', 'Ricky Riddlegang and the Riddlegang' sees the quartet solving mysteries, deciphering clues and chasing ghosts - all while being inexplicably keen on Michael Caine. This rather absurd production has a neat storyline and proficient acting from the team - particularly Tom Myles, who delivers some stupendous character changes at the click of a finger. While the accents are occasionally wonky and the laughs few and far between, the team are good at involving the audience with some nifty improvisation. However, this is meant to be a comedy, and it doesn't quite deliver on that front: it's all just rather peculiar.
Gilded Balloon Rose Theatre, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Kieran Scott]

Suffering From Scottishness (Kevin P Gilday)
I really wanted to love this. At its heart lies a beautiful message, a vision of a Scotland at peace with itself, where we can look past our differences and work together to make life here better. But, while there is much to admire here (some powerful poetry and spoken word, funny songs, excellent gags) it doesn't all hang together quite right. There's just too much going on. It's already balancing humour with the complexities of modern politics, while both celebrating traditional aspects of Scottish culture and transcending the tartan shortbread-tin clichés. And it's doing all this through the device of a faux-focus-group. Adding in a personal story, of our protagonist's strained relationship with his father, is just too much.
Assembly Roxy, until 26 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Andy Leask]

Arrivals (Twelve Twelve Theatre and New Celts Productions)
The concept behind 'Arrivals' is initially a clever one: Tony wakes up in Budapest Airport, unaware of how he got there after a drunken night out. Nobody else is around in the departure lounge except the vivacious Mel, who sporadically drip-feeds Tony hints (much to his dismay). The first half of 'Arrivals' contains a light-hearted dialogue; yet the second half evolves into something much deeper. Only two suitcases grace the stage alongside the actors, and transpire to be a major element of this production. While the acting is overall emphatic and impressive, the important link leading to the conclusion feels flippant and 'Arrivals' ends abruptly. Squeezed into 45 minutes, this production could benefit from broadening the length of its horizons to be less, dare we say it, turbulent.
theSpace On The Mile, until 24 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Kieran Scott]

Manual Cinema's Frankenstein (Underbelly and Manual Cinema)
I wasn't sure where to look during this impressive, technically complex performance. A combination of live performance, puppetry and shadow-puppets (innovatively projected through upcycled OHPs) is used to present the tale of Frankenstein, with a prologue and coda featuring Mary Shelley, as a pseudo-silent movie. Just as with live radio plays, where lots of fun is to be had watching the antics of the foley artists, here your attention is torn between watching the tale unfold on the big screen, and the immensely talented performers putting it together, live, underneath. They deftly manipulate puppets, layering projections and live performance, moving balletically amongst a tangle of equipment and musical instruments. The live soundscape is eerie and effective, enhancing the mood dramatically.
Underbelly Bristo Square, until 26 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Andy Leask]

A Wake In Progress (Fine Mess Theatre and Leila Sykes)
Don't let the title put you off - this is no maudlin sob story or grim, funereal presentation. Don't let the spectre of interactive theatre deter you either: it's honestly nothing to fear, here! Fine Mess take time to get to know their audience, soliciting ideas and anecdotes to be woven into their tale. The show is about a woman - Juniper, today - who knows she is dying, so is planning her own funeral rehearsal. This forms the moving, yet upbeat climax of the show. Cleverly, with our own memories forming part of the patchwork proceedings, we cannot help but be involved. I thought I wasn't moved, until suddenly, I was. Pretty much how grief works, I suppose.
Underbelly Cowgate, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Andy Leask]

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