Reviews & features: Fringe

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Alison Jackson: A Story In The Public Domain

25 Sep 20144 stars

Hogarth for the 21st century from acclaimed filmaker at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Filmmaker Alison Jackson's satire using lookalikes Double Take propelled her to fame. In her latest project, aptly subtitled La Trashiata, she turns her attention to opera, of sorts. And what an opera. Jackson leaves no half measures in the bad taste…

Julian McCullough: Dream Girls

23 Sep 20142 stars

Meek comedy from American comedian at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

The mini-flood of American comics to this year’s Edinburgh Fringe didn’t really set much heather alight and the relatively low standard was encompassed perfectly in Julian McCullough’s Dream Girls. He may have a mischievous glint in his eye and Jim…

Fall Girl

11 Sep 20143 stars

Pleasant enough if not exactly earth-shattering musical theatre at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

How would you feel if you were being conned at every turn? It’s a question some Fringe audiences must ask themselves constantly. And it certainly seems to be the inexorable fate of Hayley in this spot of pleasant enough if not exactly earth-shattering…

Joz Norris: Awkward Prophet

11 Sep 20142 stars

Claustrophobic comedy hour lacking everyman appeal at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

When it comes to Joz Norris’ material, it’s unapologetically bright, colourful and not a little garish. Sadly, this particular material is related more to the Hawaiian-style garb on his back than the stuff that comes out of his mouth during the…

Eleanor Morton: Lollipop

11 Sep 20142 stars

Comedian at the early learning stage of her comedy development at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Making your audience uncertain as to whether they are in fact witnessing a well-defined comic persona in action is a real trick to pull off. The tension between what’s real and what’s not has stood many a fine comic creation in good stead, and Eleanor…

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Scott Capurro - Islamohomophobia: Reloaded

10 Sep 20143 stars

A comedy mish-mash of new bits with tried and tested material at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Entertainingly catty as ever, the San Francisco comic is proud to boast a new husband, but you wouldn’t know it given the amount of undermining of his betrothed that is uttered here. Scott Capurro’s chap is Brazilian and therefore an inspiration to…

Be-Dom

3 Sep 20144 stars

Percussion explosion that puts a smile on your face at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

It takes you a few minutes to realise, but when you do, your admiration for this Portuguese six-piece rockets even further. The realisation? That not s single percussion instrument on the stage (and there are a lot of them) could be bought in a music…

Dan Clark: Me, My Selfie and I

1 Sep 20143 stars

Enjoyably bitter observations about love and shame at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Richard Herring once did a show about how anxious he was feeling at having just entered his fifth decade. You can really sense that something similar is on the horizon from Dan Clark who can’t quite believe how he has managed to get this elderly (he’s…

The God Box: A Daughter's Story

28 Aug 20143 stars

Overtly emotive play based on Mary-Lou Quinlan's New York Times best-selling book

Mary Lou Quinlan’s The God Box is based on her autobiographical New York Times best-selling book, and is exactly what the subheading tells us: ‘A daughter’s story’. In this one-woman, deeply personal show Quinlan recounts her relationship with her…

Al Donegan: The Five Worst Things I Ever Did

1 Sep 20143 stars

Technical comedic skills and stories to burn at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

You have to admire the brave act who makes that their show title. It’s practically an open-goal invite to any cynical hack looking for an easy ‘in’ to give that show a kicking. Thankfully (or annoyingly), Al Donegan has technical skills (he’s a…

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The Devil Without

1 Sep 20143 stars

Faustus myth given fresh take at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Ian Harvey Brown is a mentalist. Unlike those who use their power for evil – persuading old ladies that their husbands are happy – or to celebrate their own brilliance like Derren Brown, Brown applies his tricks of the mind to reconsider the myth of…

Hayley Ellis: We Need to Talk About Kevin

1 Sep 20142 stars

Amiable hour too timid for impact at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

As amiable as they come, Hayley Ellis has a show which occasionally bears some rather sharp claws, but is ultimately a little too timid to hit home fully. Initially stunted early on in the run by not being in possession of a licence to have a dog on…

Charlie O'Connor: Dandyisms

1 Sep 20141 star

Limp musical comedy and flat jokes at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Charlie O’Connor is a guy who looks like a girl and is often mistaken as such. This leads to awkward moments with bigoted cabbies and confused women in supermarkets, and we seem to be off to a decent start. Even if he hadn’t told us, it becomes patently…

Claustrophobia

1 Sep 20143 stars

Evocative theatre production let down by disappointing climax at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Claustrophia, created by To The Moon theatre company in association with Theatre Bench, explores exactly what it means to be in control when two unnamed strangers become stuck in a lift together. Jessica Macdonald plays a neurotic woman on her way home…

The Grandees: BaBoom!

28 Aug 20142 stars

Childlike comedy in need of a revamp at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

A man who can make emit an earth-shattering sound. The parliament of owls. Projectors in hidden realms. Welcome to the wacky, wacky world of the Grandees. Perhaps BaBOOM! and its over-arching daftness is something you just have to get onboard with…

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Rhys Mathewson: Hombre Lobo

28 Aug 20142 stars

Charmingly likeable comedy in need of stiffer writing at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

It can’t be easy performing to three charity workers, your own dad, a reviewer and a dog. That might sound like the set-up to a decidedly poor joke, but it was the stark reality of his evening. At the tender age of 23, Rhys Mathewson has been up on…

Chris Coltrane: There's No Heroes Left Except All of Us

28 Aug 20143 stars

Strong political comedy from committed activist at Edinburgh Festival Free Fringe

There’s no denying that Chris Coltrane is a man who has the cojones to back up his beliefs. A self-proclaimed ‘Maltesers Marxist’, he has doorstepped the Daily Mail editor (he wasn’t in) and larked around relentlessly at a BAE Systems shareholders…

Ed Gamble: Gambletron 5000

28 Aug 20143 stars

Blokey but non-laddish stand-up from Almost Royals star at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

This feels a little like Ed Gamble’s break-out year. Having worked closely for years with Ray Peacock, he can now be seen on E4 screens in Almost Royal as a (very) minor heir to the throne making a posh twit of himself in the US while here he has come…

The God That Comes

28 Aug 20144 stars

Classical cult cabaret from Canadian performer Hawksley Workman at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Hawksley Workman does not lack ambition. The God That Comes reworks Euripides' Bacchae as a one man show, with Workman playing both the vengeful god of wine and his regal victim. Performed as a song-cycle, Workman also plays drums, keyboards and guitar…

Get Divorced and Join the Circus

28 Aug 20143 stars

Harp playing comedian unique to Edinburgh Festival Fringe

There’s little doubt that Ursula Burns has a unique selling point for a Fringe comedy show. She has a harp and she’s not afraid to use it. Remarking from the off that being placed in the comedy section is merely a ploy to get people into her show, Burns…

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Wuthering Heights

28 Aug 20143 stars

Bravely abstract take on the nineteenth century classic at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

This is not a faithful theatre adaption of Emily Brontë’s classic: from the beginning the all-male cast announce they will be playing various characters from the novel as well as themselves, taking Heathcliff’s temperamental disposition as the driving…

Miss Fletcher Sings the Blues

28 Aug 20143 stars

Hayley Sproull's monstrous music-teacher creation hits the right note at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Dubbed as the new Tim Minchin or Flight of the Conchords, it’s little surprise to learn that Hayley Sproull is of antipodean extraction and can bash out a mean tune on her keyboard. But her Miss Fletcher music-teacher creation is a more fully-formed…

Clever Peter: The Dreams Factory

28 Aug 20142 stars

Lukewarm sketches from comedy trio at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Clever Peter have been tagged as one of the brightest sketch trios to emerge in the past few years but there seems to be no real evidence to back up that claim here. The Dreams Factory is a hotchpotch of bits and bobs and predicated on pretty shaky…

And Blithely Spent the Gowden Day

27 Aug 20144 stars

Wounded Knee and Daniel Padden produce sonic smorgasbord at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Inspired by Edinburgh and the Pentland Hills, Wounded Knee – nom de plume of Edinburgh songwriter and artist Drew Wright – and Daniel Padden’s collaboration And Blithely Spent the Gowden Day is a sonic smorgasbord celebrating Auld Reekie. Padden and…

Tommy Rowson: Down and Out in Powys and London

27 Aug 20142 stars

Disappointingly mundane and occasionally mean-spirited show at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

While he wets the palette of an audience member by offering them a free shot of Jameson’s, Welsh comic Tommy Rowson’s deadpan delivery is dry as a bone. In itself, such a laidback presence and limited-tone presentation is far from a stand-up crime…