Reviews & features: Theatre

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Cape Wrath

13 Aug 20133 stars

Intimate and heartfelt show set on a minibus

‘It’s not compulsory but if you want a more authentic experience you’re welcome to buckle up’, says Alexander Kelly as 12 audience members clamber onboard a minibus outside St Stephen’s Church. The bus doesn’t move an inch in the next hour but…

Leaving Planet Earth

13 Aug 20132 stars

The future is filled with promise, but its delivery throws up some awkward truths

Grid Iron has previously demonstrated itself as a master of the site-specific play, with 27 awards in 18 years. Working on a massive scale for the Edinburgh International Festival, their latest show Leaving Planet Earth is a dystopian science fiction…

How to Occupy an Oil Rig

13 Aug 20133 stars

A useful guide for popular protest against unecological fuels

In these troubled times, with so much to protest against, we could all do with some tips. Enter Dan Bye with a news-you-can-use show full of interesting advice on bust cards and anti-tear gas remedies for those of us who would like the Arctic to stay…

How I Do Edinburgh by Michelle McManus

13 Aug 2013

Pop Idol winner talks about refreshing drinks, her days off and festival memories

Can you sum up your show in five words? One hell of a singsong. For anyone still on the fence, what’s a surefire selling point? It's a one-way ticket to musical heaven. What part of the Edinburgh festival do you most look forward to? I just…

Death and Gardening

13 Aug 20132 stars

Disappointing physical theatre about death and beyond

Wet Picnic take a quotation from painter Edvard Munch (‘from my rotting body, flowers shall grow’) as an inspiration for this slight study of one man’s death. While the incidental details of David’s life most ordinary are movingly expressed through…

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Hope, Light and Nowhere

13 Aug 20133 stars

Three men discuss alienation after an apocalypse

Consisting of a series of conversations between three men in a dystopian future, Andrew Sheridan’s script is well structured and he has an ear for the telling, brutal phrase. The three actors are professional, convincing and appropriately disturbing.

Pirates and Mermaids: A Fairytale for Adults

13 Aug 20133 stars

A clever mix of legend and 21st-century alienation

Cameron is sitting on a bench in Central Park in his kilt. By a happy coincidence he has brought his manbag filled with with props; using these he unfolds the tale of how he comes to be swigging whisky and lurking around in full highland regalia instead…


13 Aug 20133 stars

Self-referential Hollywood satire

Sergio is a method actor, successful in mainstream filmmaking but dissatisfied with his type-casting as a one-dimensional villain. Self-centred himbo Joe, a former classmate of Sergio’s, has disregarded his classical training in favour of becoming an…


13 Aug 20133 stars

A performance lecture on the great scientific mind

Sir Isaac Newton: unarguably one of humanities greatest figures. Radical thinker and inventor, Newton literally changed our understanding of the world. Even now, hundreds of years beyond his death, his impact is still felt. Jack Klaff’s monologue is a…

Made For Each Other

13 Aug 20132 stars

Can we really be honest with the ones we love?

Made for Each Other is another play returning to the Fringe after a successful 2012 run: a one-man show about Alzheimer's and gay marriage, it has John Fico take on four roles. Throughout the show, he restlessly jumps between the ‘fag over 50’ science…

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Dinner is Swerved

13 Aug 20133 stars

It’s a feast for the senses, pending good company and a taste for adventure

The definition of theatre is becoming more open, leading to works like Dinner is Swerved. Having more in common with a surrealist happening or a middle-class dinner party than Shakespeare or Pinter, this late night party serves food with short sketches…

Donal O'Kelly's Brace - Skeffy

13 Aug 2013

Political monologue

Meet Francis Sheehy-Skeffington, Donal O’Kelly’s hero in his latest monologue. Presented as the greatest fighter for Irish independence you’ve never heard of, O’Kelly not only plays the character but also those who knew, admired and persecuted him. A…

How To Make A Killing in Bollywood

13 Aug 20132 stars

Glasgow theatre company NLP disappoint with this poorly-scripted show that starts out as a fun musical-comedy but comes unstuck as it attempts to develop more serious themes. The highlights by far are the joyous song and dance sequences that appear out…


12 Aug 20134 stars

Compelling monologue charting female pilot's transition from work to domestic life

Snared in a murky glass cage in the middle of the room, a pilot, mother, wife soars through a compelling monologue of how she ended up in her grey, concrete trap. The Pilot - fierce, ambitious and in love with the sky - becomes pregnant, married and…

The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning set for 2013 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

11 Aug 2013

National Theatre of Wales' award-winning production on US soldier accused of spying

National Theatre of Wales is winning awards for a piece of political theatre that could not be more timely. Gareth K Vile catches up with playwright Tim Price to find out about the Radicalisation of Bradley Manning

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Meredith Monk: A handy CV break-down of one of America’s most distinctive composers

11 Aug 2013

Composer brings new work On Behalf of Nature to 2013 Edinburgh International Festival

Meredith Monk is renowned for works which combine vocal-led music with elements of theatre, dance and performance art. As she has said, ‘I work in between the cracks, where the voice starts dancing, where the body starts singing, where theatre becomes…

Snap Out Of It!

11 Aug 2013

Sensitive verbatim theatre

The representation of mental health on stage can be insensitive: many scripted dramas use it as a shorthand to explain a character’s behaviour. Snap Out Of It is the culmination of a project to give voice to those suffering, and blends poetry, music and…

Captain Amazing

11 Aug 20133 stars

Struggles a super hero's civilian life

Captain Amazing is one of the superest of superheroes: he can fly safely into the surface of the sun, save helpless innocents strapped to world-ending bombs and conduct a war of words with a villain in a burning house. It’s the everyday stuff he has a…

Shakespeare’s Cymbeline

11 Aug 2013

An outing for one of the Bard’s less celebrated scripts

Full marks to FreeRange Productions for bringing one of the bard’s least performed works to the festival, and in an admirably clear and concise stripping-back that focuses with precision on the play’s central themes of jealously and the loss of…

An Actor's Lament

11 Aug 20133 stars

Performance maverick Steven Berkoff complains about the problems of theatre

An Actor’s Lament holds no real surprises: Steven Berkoff lambastes the egos of theatre in a three-handed conversation that is delivered in high flown language and with cheeky irony. His voice is powerful and his complaints are precise, if over…

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The Various Lives of Infinite Nullity

11 Aug 20134 stars

A Cheeky Peek Into the Void from Clout Theatre

Following on from their success last year with the wonderful How A Man Crumbled, Clout Theatre return to the Fringe with their new Lecoq-trained bouffon show. As ever, a conventionally linear narrative is not an option, and this show borrows (loosely…

Donal O'Kelly's Brace: Fionnuala

11 Aug 20133 stars

A political monologue better in the telling

Ambrose needs to confess. Exhausted with an air of desperation, Ambrose takes his time working towards his confession, first speaking about past bad judgements but soon admitting to complicity in crimes, both at work and when he was at school. The more…

Cherry on Top

11 Aug 20133 stars

The interweaving live of two women revealed

Some shows manage to give a pretty misleading impression in their own publicity blurbs. Cherry on Top from South Africa’s Mustard Seed Productions is a case in point. The publicity hints at a bitchy, catty squabble between a wife and a mistress over…

Mercy Killers

11 Aug 20133 stars

Broadway's Michael Milligan gives heart-breaking performance

This searing one man show manages to make politics personal, largely thanks to a heart-breaking performance from leading man and Broadway actor Michael Milligan. What could have been painfully simplistic or horribly over-played, is executed with…


9 Aug 20135 stars

Glorious movie-based mayhem

In the world of Blam! the underdog is King. And this right royal ruckus has more than a few loyal servants, as a pumped-up crowd leap to their feet – after a high octane hour – to show their appreciation. Set in a bland office space, three men, and…