Reviews & features: Reviews

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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…

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…

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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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…

We Will Be Free

16 Aug 20134 stars

Charming resurrection of folk theatre tradition, with political insight to boot

Mummers plays – informal folk performances with hundreds of years of British history – are seeing something of a renaissance in smaller British theatres, with Townsend Productions leading the charge. The chandeliers of the Assembly Rooms Ballroom jar…

Alex Horne: Lies

16 Aug 20132 stars

A blip in a largely flawless Fringe career

For many years, Alex Horne has been one of those reliable Fringe comedy acts. With his natural stage presence allied to a fierce intelligence, he always produced shows that would make you think before the inevitable laugh came out; at its peak, the…

Seann Walsh

16 Aug 20133 stars

Some truly inspired moments amidst material very much by the numbers

There are a few moments in Seann Walsh’s set – which, predictably, is about how difficult blokes find it to grow up – where he seems to want more from his audience. He gestures to a guy in the front row who ‘hasn’t laughed since the wanking bit’; when…

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The Rubberbandits

16 Aug 20132 stars

Difficult transition from Youtube to stage for the Irish rapping duo

Irish comedy rappers The Rubberbandits are a Youtube phenomenon, their song “Horse Outside” has been seen over 10million times. So how do you go about translating internet notoriety into a full festival set? Not one would argue by playing all your best…

Out of His Skin

16 Aug 20133 stars

2Faced Dance Company explore dark side of life

Each time 2Faced Dance Company returns to the Fringe, it has stepped up a gear. From a slightly immature start, it has blossomed into a professional company with strong dance technique and ambitious ideas. But in some ways, Out of His Skin is a bit too…

Jerry & Tom

16 Aug 20133 stars

Tarantino-esque hitman dramedy

There’s a shiver that runs down every critic’s spine when s/he hears the name ‘Tarantino’ in reference to a stage production. This word is invariably not used to describe something the Hollywood director has actually written; rather, it is shorthand for…

Boris & Sergey II Perilous Escapade

16 Aug 20134 stars

The Balkan bad boys go straight to Hell in this unmissable comedy sequel

After the dramatic finale of their previous adventure, Boris & Sergey II Perilous Escapade, accompanies the infamous brothers on an unforgettable journey to the underworld that tests their unique brotherly bond to its limit. A mixture of physical…

Shelby Bond

16 Aug 20133 stars

Easy-going, affable and inclusive stage persona is a late-night hit

Given he’s got a late night spot in a dingy subterranean room in a city centre drinking hole, one assumes this American stand-up will be loud and brash and foul-mouthed enough to deal with anything a difficult, drunk nocturnal crowd will throw at him.

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Garrett Millerick: Does it Matter?

16 Aug 20133 stars

Safely left wing and pretty obvious rhetoric from the angry comic

It's a wonder that Garrett Millerick doesn't burst a blood vessel during his show; particularly as he has to get this annoyed every night for almost a month. He's a very angry young man. He's 30, unmarried (though he came close), lives with a bunch of…

Ménage à Trois

16 Aug 20134 stars

Claire Cunningham’s dance piece is an ode to love not yet found

Claire Cunningham’s exploration of her 20-year relationship with crutches is a bold piece of theatre. Not because Cunningham brings to the stage a style of dance that many won’t have seen before, but because she shares her own feelings about her…

Shirley Gnome

16 Aug 20132 stars

Not-so-well-crafted filthy material leads to a dull show

After the third song focused on below the belt activities you start to wonder whether the whole show's going to be like this. The answer is quite simply, yes. The level of the filth isn't the problem, there are many good acts on the Fringe gloriously…

Micheal Che: Cartoon Violence

16 Aug 20134 stars

The New York comic shows skill at delivering solid material in front of a tough crowd

At the end, this tough, young, sharp comic who came up from New York City’s projects apologises for it being a ‘strange show’. Michael Che is referring to the row of humourless hecklers in the front who piped up intermittently, occasionally in a…

Shit-faced Shakespeare

16 Aug 20133 stars

Enjoyable contrast between robustly delivered performance and cackhandedly mangled drama

Of all the comedy twists the works of the Bard have been given over the years, this inspired one is a potentially perfect fit for a late night at the Fringe. The idea is simple: a Shakespeare play is staged in an entirely serious manner by the cast…