Reviews & features: Edinburgh Festival Fringe

4,462 reviews

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The Adventure

21 Aug 20134 stars

An interactive kids' show that starts (intentionally) weakly but improves steadily throughout

It’s not unheard of for a show to start well, then descend steadily downhill – but The Adventure does the exact opposite. From a fairly lacklustre start (intentional, as it turns out), it just gets better and better. In the interest of making it as…

Briefs: The Second Coming

21 Aug 20133 stars

Aerial trickery, vaudeville, smuttiness and muscles combine for a brilliant bonkers show

Elaborate dick pouches, man-dogs and defecation are just some of the high – and low – lights of a Briefs show, as occasionally brilliant as it is totally bonkers. A fabulous Priscilla, Queen of the Desert-inspired opening sets the tone for an all-male…

The Tiger Lillies

21 Aug 20134 stars

The 'Brechtian punk cabaret' godfathers show no signs of slowing or losing their wild creative edge

Despite the exploding popularity of cabaret at the Fringe (and beyond), this London trio remains the high watermark below which all others will inevitably sink and drown. Now in their 14th year, and widely considered as godfathers of the genre known as…

YurtaKids: Unleashed

21 Aug 20132 stars

Scarlattine Teatro's dance piece for under-5s lacks structure

Given that human beings are said to develop more between birth and the age of five than at any other point in our lives, creating a show that appeals to everyone in that age bracket is a task-and-a-half. And sitting next to those kids, of course, is an…

Parkin'Son

21 Aug 20134 stars

Heartbreaking tribute from dancer Giulio D'Anna to his father

Simple beginnings give little indication of the painful honesty to come in Italian choreographer Giulio D’Anna’s love letter to his 63-year-old father, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease. By the end of the show, both men will have mirrored…

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Starbird

21 Aug 20133 stars

Mara Menzies' colourful puppetry and storytelling lights up the night

There are a few key ingredients you need to entertain young children, and this show has pretty much got all of them. An engaging storyteller, Mara Menzies interacts with the children as if they were sitting in the library at school, instantly taking…

A Simple Space

21 Aug 20134 stars

Up-close acrobatic thrills from Australian company Gravity & Other Myths

Hailing from South Australia, Gravity & Other Myths is a wonderfully strong, fit young company who want the audience to be close enough to see the pleasurable prowess, and the occasional strains or tensions, underlying their acrobatic games.

Spiltmilk Say Dance

21 Aug 20133 stars

An informative and entertaining mash-up of old-school social dances with incongruous backing music

This show by Spiltmilk Dance is as much about education as it is entertainment. Did you know that the twist was the first social dance that didn’t need a partner? Or that the hand jive came about so people could dance in busy bars? All this and more…

Stuart: A Life Backwards

21 Aug 20134 stars

A touching meeting of minds in adaptation of Alexander Masters’ acclaimed story

The tale of an unlikely friendship, which blossoms in the most unlikely of situations, Stuart: A Life Backwards has leapt from book to TV film to stage, making a smooth transition at every turn. Partly, this is because of the quality of writing and…

The Three Lions

21 Aug 20134 stars

A satirical stab at the power of politics, celebrity and notoriety

Set in a hotel in Zurich in December 2010, William Gaminara’s The Three Lions presents an imagined account of what happened during England’s failed bid for the 2018 World Cup. However, the focus of this piece isn’t on the politics of the bid but on the…

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Adam Page

21 Aug 20133 stars

Multi-instrumental comedy from the hirsute, high-spirited Aussie

Adam Page has an almighty beard and he’s not afraid to use it. The high-spirited Australian’s show starts with a cacophonous demonstration of loop pedals and a request that the house lights go down because people – apparently – make him nervous. If…

Tourniquet 2013

21 Aug 20134 stars

Belgian company Abattoir Fermé offer some unsettling, nightmarish sessions

Tourniquet contains all the ingredients of dark European visual theatre: nudity, ritualistic behaviour, a preoccupation with the startling image over precise meaning and a fascination with taboo subjects. Here DIY exorcism forms the basis for a lengthy…

Fringe comedy debut: Phil Ellis

20 Aug 2013

The comedian appears for the first time at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2013

What do you think might work out as the best piece of advice you receive ahead of your Fringe debut? ‘FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, DON’T DO IT!’: most comedians. What do you expect will be the least useful piece of advice? ‘Always remember that the…

Fringe comedy debut: Jacob Edwards

20 Aug 2013

The comedian appears for the first time at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2013

What do you think might work out as the best piece of advice you receive ahead of your Fringe debut? Make sure you take sun cream. As everyone knows, the Edinburgh Festival is usually a month of prolonged and intense sunshine. During previous visits…

Fringe comedy debut: Ivo Graham

20 Aug 2013

The comedian appears for the first time at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2013

What do you think might work out as the best piece of advice you receive ahead of your Fringe debut? The show is hardly going to benefit from any work in the last couple of weeks before the Fringe. Devote all your time to thinking up funny answers to…

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Comedy Fringe Debut: Al Lubel

20 Aug 2013

American Comedian appears for the first time at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2013

What do you think might work out as the best piece of advice you receive ahead of your Fringe debut? Showing up is 80%. So you better do more than show up. What do you expect will be the least useful piece of advice? Showing up is 80%. So just show…

Fringe comedy debut: Paul Currie

20 Aug 2013

The comedian appears for the first time at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2013

What do you think might work out as the best piece of advice you receive ahead of your Fringe debut? Never mix up ‘flyering’ and ‘fisting’ up the Royal Mile What do you expect will be the least useful piece of advice? Fisting works just as well as…

Fringe comedy debut: Chris Fitchew

20 Aug 2013

The comedian presents his debut solo show at the Fringe 2013

What do you think might work out as the best piece of advice you receive ahead of your Fringe debut? Avoid the late night bars! What do you expect will be the least useful piece of advice? Avoid the late night bars! Imagine this is September…

Fringe comedy debut: Dan Cook

20 Aug 2013

The comedian appears for the first time at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2013

What do you think might work out as the best piece of advice you receive ahead of your Fringe debut? Remember to change your pounds to Euros. What do you expect will be the least useful piece of advice? Crying in front of an audience elicits…

Dilemma

20 Aug 20134 stars

Extraordinary dance solo through turmoil and grace, by Russian performer Olga Kosterina

Hill Street Theatre is flying solo this Fringe, offering a programme consisting entirely of shows with one performer. But while the monologue is familiar festival fodder, it’s rarer to see a dancer command the theatre alone for a full hour. Enter…

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Joke Thieves

20 Aug 20133 stars

A decent mixed line-up of performers nicking each other’s sets

The practise of joke-stealing is so frowned upon in modern comedy circles, it’s bewildering to think that it’s become the central concept in a show – and a successful one at that. On the evening of this sold-out performance (many audience members had to…

Alexei Sayle

20 Aug 20135 stars

A masterclass from the alternative comedy pioneer

Without naming any names, a number of British comics who were big in the 80s and 90s have returned to the stand-up stage. Their comeback appearances merely proved that they made a wise move stopping in the first place. With this breath-taking hour…

Birdhouse

20 Aug 20133 stars

A comedic take on Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds by physical theatre company Jammy Voo

In the half-light live four elderly women, old-fashioned spectacles casting shadows across their faces, birds’ eggs nestled in their hair and white splashes of bird excrement running down their shoulders. Around them are clumps of bird feathers and, in…

Squally Showers

20 Aug 20132 stars

Little Bulb's kitsch 80s satire is lacking in quality material

Little Bulb’s previous Fringe entries were surprising hits that offered a bold, witty approach to theatre. Their musical about a Christian rock band, Operation Greenfield, was charming and adventurous. This time, the company are looking back to the…

Brendon Burns & Colt Cabana

20 Aug 20133 stars

Enjoyable hour of wrestling-themed entertainment

Brendon Burns and Colt Cabana Sit in a Fifty-Seater Around Midnight and Provide the Commentary to Bad Wrestling Matches is, as Burns quickly points out, not a misleading title. Aussie comedian Burns is right at home with his audience of Lycra-loving…