Reviews & features: Edinburgh Festivals

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Adam Strauss: The Mushroom Cure

20 Aug 20133 stars

Erudite and affecting script with a note-perfect rendition

Adam Strauss offers up a confessional monologue about his struggles with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and his attempts to overcome it with therapy, medication and, naturally, psychotropic drugs. With a note-perfect rendition of an erudite and affecting…

The Coin-Operated Girl: A Sex Workers Real Life Revelations of Frivolous Fornications!

20 Aug 20133 stars

Miranda Kane's warmly and enthusiasticly introduces us to the world of escorts

Whatever else this show is, it's certainly uniquely interesting. Since Belle De Jour's revelations about the sex industry, stories of escorts have piqued the interest of both sexes. The room is full and (presumably) not for titillation purposes - though…

Eilish O’Carroll: Live Love Laugh

20 Aug 20133 stars

A funny look at human drama from the Mrs Brown's Boys star

Fans of Mrs Brown’s Boys might go into Live Love Laugh expecting the shenanigans the hit TV programme has become known for - Elish O’Carroll’s Winnie McGoogan is the centre of some of the crudest and outrageous moments. So it’s actually a surprise in…

Gavin Crawford - A Bummer Abroad

20 Aug 20134 stars

Canadian character comedian mixes impressions, music and monologues with great success

This Canadian character comedian presents a disparate and unexpected show with impressions, music and monologue. Taking its inspiration from all sorts of areas, the only linking factor it seems is that they simply draw from Crawford's own points of…

Colin Hoult: Characthorse

20 Aug 20134 stars

Animated and multi-talented performer manages to tap into the innocence of a child's imagination

Colin Hoult regresses back to his childhood self in order to take us all on a highly amusing action packed adventure through the town of Snottingham, accessed through his old bedroom wall. He paints quite the vivid picture of his journey, frequently…

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Jessica Fostekew: Moving

20 Aug 20133 stars

Assured and bubbly performance on the travails of setting down and domesticity

Domesticity and the travails of settling down are the topics of Jessica Fostekew's show. She takes us through meeting and moving in with her boyfriend, who happens to be a hoarder (operating at a television reality show level, she tells us), and their…

The Diary of a Dress

20 Aug 20132 stars

An unmemorable memoir directed by Hillary Wood as part of ‘Discover Georgia in Edinburgh’

Georgia is justly renowned for the lyricism and boldness of its theatre, and the skill of its actors. So, Tamara Bartaia’s one-woman play The Diary of a Dress, which is performed by young actress Tamara Bziava and directed by Hillary Wood as part of the…

Stand-up for Russia and PaulMooners celebrate good causes at the Fringe 2013

20 Aug 2013

John Bishop, Ed Byrne, Stephen K Amos and Joe Lycett among charitable comedy performers

PaulMooners, A Fullmooners Moontacular  This week a benefit gig is being thrown for the highly regarded comedy director, Paul Byrne, who was recently diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma and is currently undergoing treatment in London. The line-up includes…

Foil, Arms and Hog - Late Night Irish Sketch Comedy

20 Aug 20133 stars

Lovable Irish cheeky chappie trio

Sketch trio Sean Finegan (Foil), Conor McKenna (Arms) and Sean Flanagan (Hog) have made a decent name for themselves in their native Ireland. And it’s easy to see why, their hyperactive knockabout comedy is an hour of solid entertainment with a decent…

Breakfast Plays: A Respectable Widow Takes To Vulgarity

20 Aug 20134 stars

Douglas Maxwell's script finally proves that swearing is both big and clever

Although a barrage of f-words and c-words is a tough call first thing in the morning, Douglas Maxwell’s plea for a more tolerant attitude to bad language is hidden beneath a fast-paced and witty comedy. Following one woman’s attempt to come to terms…

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Major Tom

20 Aug 20134 stars

A funny look at people's competitive nature and the judgemental society we live in

Performer Victoria Melody got the idea of entering her basset hound Major Tom into competitions but quickly became disheartened by how low he scored with judges. Another brain wave hits: she too will enter competitions, but as a beauty queen. The play…

The Bravery Test

20 Aug 20134 stars

Touching spoken-word comedy show about sibling worship

Angus Dunican is not your average stand-up. Not for him are casual observations about electrical appliances or the difference between the sexes. Instead, he litters his deeply personal story about growing up aspiring to be his brother with such astute…

Dustpan Odyssey

20 Aug 20134 stars

Kitchen utensils take a life of their own in inventive recounting of Homer's Odyssey

Philippe Genty’s puppetering company has gained international renown thanks to its imaginative use of a wide range of cultural influences and upbeat performances that captures the audience’s full attention. His latest piece ‘Dustpan Odyssey’ is a…

Roll it in Sequins

20 Aug 20132 stars

Largely painful character sketch from the Heffernan/Fletcher duo

While the jokey revelation of the show’s title provides a mild hint of satisfaction, it really is much too little and far too late for this largely painful character sketch affair from Megan Heffernan and Sophie Fletcher. They introduce us to the…

Damian Clark in G'Damo!

20 Aug 20132 stars

Boundlessly enthusiastic Autralian comedian can't help being likeable

On paper it doesn't look like stand-up Damian Clark talks about much. This hour features birds and how annoying they are, cats and how inscrutable they are, buses and how uncivilised they are and the difficulties of finding affordable, desirable flats…

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An interview with award winning author Sue Peebles

18 Aug 2013

The Arbroath-born author talks about success, psychology and inspiration

Sue Peebles was born in Arbroath in 1955 and spent some of her childhood in Detroit before returning to Scotland, where she now lives. Since graduating in psychology, she has worked as a social worker and university lecturer. Her debut novel, The Death…

Five choreographers discuss their contribution to Scottish Ballet's Dance Odysseys

16 Aug 2013

The EIF performance features new works from James Cousins, Martin Lawrance and Kristen McNally

James Cousins Which companies did you dance with before moving into choreography? Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures, then as a freelance performer with choreographers such as Marc Brew and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. When did you know that you wanted to…

Fringe comedy debut: Birthday Girls

16 Aug 2013

Former Lady Garden members perform Edinburgh Fringe 2013 debut

What do you think might work out as the best piece of advice you receive ahead of your Fringe debut? ‘Don’t read reviews!’ We read this in an article by Josie Long on advice when coming to the Fringe and we think it’s a good idea as it makes it easier…

John Fardell, Neil Gaiman and Grant Morrison among the highlights at Stripped 2013

16 Aug 2013

The Edinburgh International Book Festival's events series celebrates the medium of graphic novels

John Fardell Edinburgh cartoonist and writer John Fardell is a favourite with two very different audiences. Many know him for his work on adults only comic Viz where he draws The Modern Parents and The Critics amongst others, skewering the pomposity of…

Fringe comedy debut: Neil Hickey

16 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? To just do your show your way and not worry what others think. For example, it would be terrible to gear myself toward what I assume the Foster’s Award…

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Fringe comedy debut: Terry Clement

16 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? I've been told to avoid the local marijuana for fear of potency. What do you expect will be the least useful piece of advice? Being told to avoid…

Gabriel Orozco: thinking in circles

16 Aug 20134 stars

Not a show of results but rather a show of exercise

Unlike that of the equally dot-obsessed Damien Hirst and Yayoi Kusama, this career-encompassing display of Orozco's circle-based fascination veers far away from pop art and firmly into the pedantic, discursive and other unattractive terms. Not a display…

The Lock In

16 Aug 20135 stars

The Demon Barbers' hip hop and folk fusion raises the roof

Oh to be locked up in a pub with this lot. Some shows demonstrate great skill and technique, some offer strong musicianship, and some create the kind of atmosphere and energy that leaves you high on life. The Lock In does all three. Going out on a…

Husband and wife team YMAP give dance a new look Madame Freedom

16 Aug 2013

Hyo Jin Kim and Hyung Su Kim blend live performance with striking visuals

While some dance shows at this year’s Edinburgh International Festival are going for the stripped back and bare approach, YMAP (Your Media Arts Project) is taking its performance to the opposite extreme. Named after the 1957 Korean film of the same…

Cinefringe brings international and experimental screenings to the Edinburgh Fringe 2013

16 Aug 2013

'It's the middle ground between a film festival and the spontaneous, edgy feel of the Fringe'

Although it wasn’t founded specifically for that reason in 2010, one advantage of CineFringe (tagline: ‘The official film festival of the Edinburgh Fringe’) is that it brings a film presence back to August in Edinburgh, ever since the International Film…