Reviews & features: Reviews

4,449 reviews

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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…

FAILE & Båst: Deluxx Fluxx Arcade

1 Sep 20144 stars

Brooklyn based artists create luminous video games arcade for the Edinburgh Art Festival

Hidden deep in the bowels of Summerhall, the building’s clinically austere atmosphere gives way to a riot of colour and sound as Faile and Bast’s Deluxx Fluxx Arcade explodes against the senses. Those of a certain generation might remember the ambience…

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…

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…

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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…

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…

Sweet Mambo

2 Sep 20144 stars

Production by Pina Bausch’s Tanztheater Wuppertal at the Edinburgh International Festival

The difficulty in writing about a Pina Bausch work is that it sometimes seems impossible to find words to convey exactly what is being expressed; which is probably why the late dance theatre choreographer and director chose a mixture of words and dance…

Gnosis

2 Sep 20145 stars

Akram Khan's tale from the Mahabharata masterfully performed at the Edinburgh International Festival

Two thirds of the way into the first half of Akram Khan’s programme he stops to talk to the audience. Softly and carefully he explains that the rhythms of the Kathak dance he has been performing so virtuosically are based around mathematics. He…

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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…

Ubu and the Truth Commission

1 Sep 20143 stars

Handspring Puppet Company tackle abuses of power at the Edinburgh International Festival

A revival of the 1997 production that mashed up Alfred Jarry's anarchic satire Ubu Roi and episodes from the Truth and Reconciliation process in the aftermath of the dismantling of apartheid in South Africa, Ubu and the Truth Commission is an…

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…

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…

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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…

FRONT

1 Sep 20144 stars

Thalia Theater revive the spirits of Remarque and Barbusse at the Edinburgh International Festival

Thalia Theater's production, set in Belgium 1914-18 and based on classic anti-war literature by Erich Maria Remarque and Henri Barbusse, initially seems like a radio broadcast, until individual testimonies unfurl like battered flags. There are, among…

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…

Les Troyens

1 Sep 20143 stars

Mariinsky Opera delivers stylised Berlioz production at the Edinburgh International Festival

Anticipated as one of the must-sees of this year’s Edinburgh International Festival, Mariinsky Opera’s visit with Berlioz’s epic Les Troyens (The Trojans) was a mixed bag. Running for five and a half hours, admittedly with two extended intervals, the…

Oscar Guardiola-Rivera discusses Story of a Death Foretold at 2014 Edinburgh International Book Festival

29 Aug 20144 stars

Colombian historian delivers thrilling talk on Salvador Allende's last stand

In Story of a Death Foretold, Columbian historian Oscar Guardolia-Rivera chronicles the rise of Chile's socialist president Salvador Allende and the brutal CIA-supported coup which ousted him. In this electrifying hour, Guardolia-Rivera describes…

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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…

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…

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…

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…