I can't help thinking that almost anyone who attends this here Fringe Festival on a regular basis - whether as a punter or a performer - has probably had a brush with amateur dramatics at some point. Whether it was here in Edinburgh or somewhere else entirely.

Those of you with an amdram connection will, I am sure, be intrigued by the sound of this show. But I also feel sure that a lack of experience in this area won't diminish your enjoyment of the play, given that it deals with some fairly universal themes.

'I, AmDram' is the work of Hannah Maxwell, writer, performer, storyteller, podcaster and stand-up comedian. I spoke to her to find out more.

CLICK HERE to read today's Caro Meets interview.

'I, AmDram' is on at Pleasance Courtyard until 26 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 writer and actor Alex Gwyther on hand with the tips.

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

Alex Gwyther is performing his new play 'Ripped' at Underbelly Cowgate until 25 Aug.

Frank Foucault: Desk (Frank Foucault and Shmuck Theatre)
After a playfully absurd start, Foucault (played by Luke Smith) settled into a lurid, fan fiction-style narrative about James Corden, interspersed with bizarre, surprising interludes and flights of fancy. Particularly effective were his conversations with his own subconscious. The narrative itself was well written, the final part delivered with Foucault teetering precariously on the top his chair in danger of collapsing...rather like the show itself. Halfway through he voiced the thoughts of many in the audience by asking rhetorically "where is this going?" But what the show may lack in coherence it makes up for in creativity and zest: it's probably too niche for most but will appeal to connoisseurs of the absurd.
Paradise In The Vault, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Charlie Ellis]

Lost Musical Works of Willy Shakes (The Lost Works)
William Shakespeare is concerned that his works will be forgotten, so the night before showing them all to James I he decides to put them to music. This premise demands brevity, which tightens the performance of this madcap collision of musical and Shakespearean theatre. Guy Hughes and Joe Leather delight in boiling down the oeuvre of the great bard to its core, then skewering it with pitch perfect music and dance. This shows off their musical abilities and knowledge of the source material, and is coupled with lashings of humour. My only complaint was that the opening song went on a bit but that's more a quibble - an opinion clearly shared by the rest of the audience, as the night concluded with a protracted standing ovation.
Assembly Rooms, until 24 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Chris Lambert]

Men With Coconuts (Men With Coconuts)
Spoiler alert: there are no coconuts. In their seventh year at the Fringe, Edinburgh-based improv troupe Men With Coconuts create a musical on the spot, with only a single audience suggestion to germinate it. As with all improv the results are a lottery, but the quality of the performers ensures that even when there's a lull or a misfire the entertainment value is still there. The standout performers on our night were Will Naameh, who wiped the floor in the rap battle, Sam Irving, who was the glue holding it all together and Nick Lauener on the piano, who would not let himself be left out. Marvellous fun and worth a second visit!
Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose, until 26 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Chris Lambert]

Rhod Gilbert: The Book Of John (Blue Jeans Management)
Since his last stand-up tour seven years ago, Rhod Gilbert's life has been a whirlwind: his mum died, his dad had a heart attack, he battled with infertility, and he had a stroke while sitting on the toilet. With Gilbert now medically unfit to drive, his chauffeur John is introduced to assist with the comedian's hectic lifestyle, and it's John's stubborn, dopey behaviour that inspires Gilbert's latest stand-up routine. John's inane beliefs incense Gilbert, which translates into an ardent comedic display where he doesn't know whether to laugh or cry. Some segments are overstretched and perhaps hyperbolic - such as his confusion over whether he's masturbating in a cup in the correct room at the fertility clinic - but this comeback was well worth the wait.
Pleasance at EICC, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Kieran Scott]

Sunil Patel: White Knight (Sunil Patel)
Sunil Patel is genuinely funny and 'White Knight' contains some great laugh-out-loud moments. His observations of growing up Asian in Bath are both funny and touching: my favourite story has to be the one about his dad going to Disneyland. He exudes a quiet confidence right from the beginning, and his laid-back delivery really draws the audience in, leaving us hanging on every word for the first half of the show. The second half doesn't quiet live up to promise of the first half, however, with the universal humour replaced by less visceral, intricately crafted stories with subverted punchlines, resulting in a more cerebral conclusion. Still an enjoyable night out though, and definitely worth the visit.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 26 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Chris Lambert]


Free Fringe Music (National Museum Of Scotland)
Every day of the Fringe, Live Music Now Scotland and The National Museum Of Scotland work together to put on an excellent free concert in spectacular surroundings. Today the emerging artists were Alla Voce Duo, comprised of mezzo-soprano Sarah Pistorius and pianist Alina Horvath. Pistorius placed her voice well and had an impressively lovely tone, while Horvath was a clever, supportive accompanist. They made a busy programme of Britten, Beethoven and traditional songs appear effortless! The theme was 'Romantic Scotland', though my favourite Britten song 'A Charm' from 'A Charm of Lullabies' somehow snuck in (and was rather good), so this Scot forgave the duo for straying from the Scottish theme!
National Museum of Scotland, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Louise Rodgers]


White Girls (Laughing Mirror)
Two painfully naïve but well-intentioned middle class girls want to make a difference, or at least do something meaningful with their gap years to annoy their Tory parents. With buoyant enthusiasm, they set off for a stint of voluntourism in Calais, the white cliffs of Dover disappearing into the distance along with their first world problems. Once in the Jungle, Leah and Eve become a captivating clowning duo, caricaturing ignorant politicians to much comedic effect and breaking into "fun informative dance routines" that reveal the scale of the refugee crisis. Full of infectious energy throughout, not many plays can evoke both humour and pathos around an important issue so effectively. Through poignant performances and writing, this highly emotive piece will remind you of the humans behind the headlines.
Gilded Balloon Teviot, until 26 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Amy Bonar]

Cardboard Citizens: Bystanders (Cardboard Citizens)
This unflinching, humane and powerful production examines the harsh realities for homeless people and the often fatal consequences that we - the bystanders - all too often prefer to ignore. As the show unfolds like a piece of investigative journalism, the actors explain that this semi-verbatim, often speculative play will explore the lives of vulnerable people and what led to their deaths. From a former British boxer who is exiled to Jamaica and unable to return home, to the callous attack of a man begging outside a shop and his subsequent suicide, these entwining accounts - filled with dark humour and poignant performances - reveal the injustices of an apparent 'welfare' system. Putting humans at the heart of these stories, 'Cardboard Citizens' will challenge your perceptions about where responsibility really lies.
Summerhall, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Amy Bonar]

How To Save A Life (Glass Half Full Theatre)
With a dreamy boyfriend, a cracking best pal and some popping dance moves, Melissa is ready to embark on adult life, whilst retaining her quirky, childlike enthusiasm. However, what happens when a certain smell in the nether regions puts a halt to all of that? This fast-paced three-hander explores a young woman's suppressed distress at her cervical cancer diagnosis, as she plasters over it with all the fervour and glitter she can muster. Despite her high energy and quirky characterisation, the protagonist is difficult to engage with; certain sections seemed overacted while vulnerable moments were under-explored, meaning the piece sustained a similar emotional level throughout. The narrative skimmed the surface of her experiences as a cancer patient, albeit in a comical way, with confetti and cancer certainly making a tragic yet endearing pair.
Underbelly Bristo Square, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Ella Dorman-Gajic]

(I)sland T(rap): The Epic Remixology Of The Odyssey (Lyrical Therapy University and Aztec Economy)
Sassy lobsters, wise cheaters and sadistic snakes: this quirky and eclectic retelling of 'The Odyssey' sees one man's quest across an island, racing against the clock to reach the mountain top. Austin Dean Ashford's skilled multi-rolling and distinct characterisation (particularly the personification of many animals) creates some exciting nuances in this mystical yet bizarre new world. Although some obstacles don't reach their dramatic potential, he certainly takes us on an action-packed journey, weaving in rap, poetry and some ukulele for good measure. Deeper political messages regarding the protagonist's experience with racial discrimination were explored, but weren't built through the narrative, and so ended up feeling shoehorned in. Despite the cliched ending, this was an entertaining and highly energetic show, with many wacky, comedic moments.
Assembly Checkpoint, until 26 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Ella Dorman-Gajic]

My Love Lies Frozen In The Ice (Dead Rabbits Theatre)
The true story of the explorer Solomon Andre, the first person to fly to the North Pole in a hydrogen balloon, is brought to life in this highly inventive production. Cleverly utilising the simplest of props and physicality, Dead Rabbits Theatre transport us to sublime landscapes and perilous conditions. Most visually striking was the huge white sheath enveloping the stage, one minute resembling the rough arctic seas and the next, an impenetrable wall of ice. As epic as their expedition may have been, however, it felt like there was more to explore here - not just in the arctic but within the narrative itself. Nonetheless, the storytelling is boundlessly creative, making for the most heart-warming and enjoyable time you're likely to experience in that frosty region of the world.
Pleasance Dome, until 25 Aug.
tw Rating 4/5 | [Amy Bonar]

The Struggling Life Of An Artist (Hitting Heads Productions)
A semi-autobiographical show about two friends striving for a career in the arts, written and performed by two friends striving for a career in the arts, could hold a mirror up to the Fringe, revealing something profound. Or, it could lose itself in self-indulgent tedium... The show starts badly, with stilted dialogue, and gets worse, with off-key singing and a ludicrously ill-judged attempt at a Scottish accent. It's a pity, as there's a strong concept at its heart: the tension between sticking to your principles or compromising them for a job. But it's squandered, and when the protagonists conclude that they must make their own show - about them, and their struggle - I could feel the audience's collective silent scream: please, don't.
C aquila, until 26 Aug.
tw rating 1/5 | [Andy Leask]

Broken Funnies (Martin Bearne)
Martin Bearne explains that 'Broken Funnies' is something different to his usual stand-up routines, and it does feel like it's half sketch show, half theatrical comedy. He starts off with a spiel about theatre, then a Milton Jones-style segment littered with tasteless quips follows. Bearne displays different characters throughout, like the one on a Tinder date, or the one making his therapist laugh, but these will struggle to make you chuckle. Bearne is gratingly boisterous at times and occasionally puerile, so 'Broken Funnies' almost verges on embarrassing and feels like a desperate attempt to spice up the comedic landscape. On a more positive note, however: this is a personal story and he can be commended for highlighting the importance of mental health awareness.
Scottish Comedy Festival @ Nightcap, until 26 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Kieran Scott]

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