Reviews & features: Theatre

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Fight Night

6 Aug 20134 stars

Ontroerend Goed returns with another bold political production

Fight Night follows Belgian company Ontroerend Goed’s previous look at the complicity of the bystander, Audience, by again making the spectator get involved. The set-up is simple: there are a series of voting rounds with each stage allowing the…

The Tin Ring

6 Aug 2013

True life tales of surviving the Holocaust

The Tin Ring is a story of hope that doesn't reach for sentimentality: Jane Arnfield's solo monologue presents selected episodes from the life of Zdenka Fantlova, holocaust survivor, with an admirably sparse aesthetic. Adapted from Fantlova's own…

Making News

6 Aug 20133 stars

Phil Jupitus, Sara Pascoe and Dan Starkey in decent take on BBC news

To say it’s been a bad year for the BBC is to note that Edinburgh gets a bit busy over the festival. So the inspiration for Making News couldn’t be clearer. That it was penned by the scribes behind Coalition, last year’s smart take on the government…

The Shawshank Redemption

6 Aug 20133 stars

Omid Djalili and Kyle Secor in Stephen King's tale adapted for the stage

Given the warmth felt for the film adaptation of Stephen King’s prison-based novella, it’s little surprise that The Shawshank Redemption is one of the hottest tickets at this year’s Fringe. A tale of friendship and hope in the face of adversity, King’s…

High Plains (A Western Myth)

6 Aug 20134 stars

Drifting through the secrets of the past in Brian Watkins's solo play

He’s had a few drinks, young drifter Jake explains to us at the start of Brian Watkins’s quietly gripping solo play – but he needs them to recount what he’s about to tell. What begins as bar room recollections about growing up in the prairies of…

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The Events

6 Aug 20133 stars

David Greig play looks at the aftermath of an atrocity

Claire is a priest who leads a choir that welcomes vulnerable individuals. One eventful day a gunman bursts in during practice and kills several of the group. In the aftermath Claire attempts to understand what has happened. In David Greig’s latest…

The Maharajah and the Kohinoor

6 Aug 20133 stars

Family-friendly show covering some home truths about the British empire

If you’re not already familiar with Britain’s behaviour towards India during the Victorian era, then prepare to come out of the theatre with any sense of national pride a little bruised. This is a story that deserves to be told; a piece of history lost…

On the Beach

6 Aug 20133 stars

Quiet and thoughtful monologue reflecting on the British seaside

This love letter to the British seaside from John Osborne, creator of previous Fringe success John Peel’s Shed, is an hour of spoken word theatre meditating on the romantic and sometimes melancholy relationship we have with our beaches. Accompanied by…

Our Friends, the Enemy

6 Aug 20133 stars

Ambitious one-man, spoken-word WWI drama

The spontaneous and unofficial armistice that broke out along the Western Front over Christmas 1914 and briefly interrupted the mechanised bloodshed of the First World War forms the basis of this ambitious one-man, spoken-word show. The story of the…

The Veil (Le Foulard)

6 Aug 20134 stars

Analysis of the subconscious disguised as slapstick comedy, and a terse satire on self-indulgence

Her training in French mime – and having won Best Performer at Adelaide Fringe 2013 – gives Lucy Hopkins the perfect position to deconstruct the pomposity of the contemporary artist. With only a scarf, and a range of personalities fighting for…

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The Bunker Trilogy: Morgana

6 Aug 20134 stars

Claustrophobic drama of three friends trapped in a bunker

All the elements fall into place in the first of The Bunker Trilogy. The recreation WWI bunker that provides the series’ tiny stage is used to full effect, its claustrophobic confines reflected in the story of three school chums who find themselves…

It’s Dark Outside

6 Aug 20134 stars

Mesmerising adventures in a surreal shadow world

Perth Theatre Company, the team behind the award-winning Alvin Sputnik: Deep Sea Explorer present another dark theatrical adventure. Comprised of animation, dance, live action, shadows and puppetry, It’s Dark Outside takes the audience on a mesmerising…

You All Know Me – I’m Jack Ruby!

6 Aug 20134 stars

Killer portrait of Lee Harvey Oswald-murderer from writer-performer Clifford Barry

Do we really know the man who shot the man who shot President Kennedy? Was the eponymous Dallas nightclub-owner part of a Mafia-organised plot to whack Lee Harvey Oswald, as history generally credits him to be, or was Ruby acting under other…

Somnambules and the 7 Deadly Sins

6 Aug 20133 stars

Eye-catching physical theatre from Karavan Ensemble

It starts in dramatic fashion: a scientist in a lab coat, singularly lit at the side of the stage and hunched over a desk, begins twitching violently. It’s the first clue that we are entering the realm of the subconscious, as our somnambulist of the…

Omega

5 Aug 20132 stars

Russian carnivalesque curiosity at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Fringe First and Total Theatre Award winners blackSKYwhite promised that Omega would take the audience into a twilight world of the circus side show and mysterious freaks. Russian physical theatre has a reputation, thanks to the likes of Derevo, for…

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Bunker Trilogy: Macbeth

5 Aug 20133 stars

Challenging adaptation of The Scottish Play set in World War 1

That the set is the centerpiece of The Bunker Trilogy is far from hidden: it’s where the trio of plays gets its name. Rows of benches two deep line the walls, creating a miniscule in-the-round stage with audience and cast sheltered inside a recreation…

Banksy: The Room in the Elephant

5 Aug 20135 stars

Volcanic performance from Eastenders’ Gary Beadle

‘I guess y’all wanna hear about Banksy,’ says Titus Covington (Eastenders’ Gary Beadle). It’s a reasonable assumption – the artist’s name is, after all, in the show’s title, and anything he touches is guaranteed to generate fervent interest from his…

The Bloody Ballad

5 Aug 20133 stars

Foot-stompin’ gig with dramatic interludes

A redneck, rockabilly gig-cum-musical, The Bloody Ballad tells the story of Mary (Lucy Rivers), a Southern gal whose upbringing has left her with scars both physical and emotional. Salvation seems to present itself in the arrival of Connor, a swaggering…

Anna

5 Aug 20134 stars

Badac Theatre present a brutal tour de force

A lift opens and we step inside. Emerging moments later, a stark, sterile basement corridor lies ominously before us. Bright strip lights buzz overhead, as a woman ushers us to stand against the walls. And so it begins: Badac Theatre Company’s…

Seven Ages

5 Aug 20133 stars

An improvised journey through every life, with plenty of stops for laughs

This theatrical improvisation from Kevin Tomlinson is a series of scenes inspired by each of the seven ages of man, as defined by Shakespeare. Mostly a one-man show (with occasional help from a game assistant or member of the audience), Tomlinson…

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Laquearia

5 Aug 20132 stars

Verbose performance that lacks theatricality

It’s unlikely that there is a more cerebral event at this year’s Fringe than Laquearia. Based on the ideas of Marcel Duchamp, John Cage, and Samuel Beckett, it follows a chess game based on one played within Beckett’s novel Murphy. Here moves trigger…

Dirty Water

5 Aug 20133 stars

Filthy Glasgow-set comedy

In this lewd, crude and very broad comedy set in an unnamed Glasgow housing scheme, four lads fiddle about day in and day out in their scummy, low-paid job working for an independent cleaning company. The company is called Eager Beaver Cleaners, which…

Undone

5 Aug 20132 stars

South African in-character life-story dealing with family issues

Appearing as part of the Assembly’s South African Season, writer/director and performer Wessel Pretorius is an actor with a commanding stage-presence, all the more for being introduced stark naked, lying in a tin bath. Over the following hour, Pretorius…

Austen's Women

5 Aug 20133 stars

Rebecca Vaughan brings Jane Austen’s heroines to life

A one-woman show bringing to life Jane Austen’s heroines might sound like heritage theatre of the most staid kind. It should therefore be a truth universally acknowledged that Austen’s Women turns out considerably livelier than anyone might expect…

The Bunker Trilogy: Agamemnon

5 Aug 20133 stars

Unexpected perspective on a wartime relationship

For the second chapter of The Bunker Trilogy, it’s the ancient Greek legend of Agamemnon that gets translated to a first world war setting, putting the titular character overseas in Germany while his wife, Clytemnestra, languishes at home in England.