Reviews & features: Theatre, David Kettle

49 reviews

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Return to the voice

12 Aug 20143 stars

High-impact musical theatre fraught with raw emotional honesty at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Return to the Voice by Wroclaw-based music / theatre company Song of the Goat was always going to have a lot to live up to. Following the universal eulogising of the company’s remarkable Songs of Lear back in 2012, this new work was specially…

Israeli theatre company Incubator perform silent protest show at Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014

11 Aug 2014

The show, which receives public state funding, attracted attention from pro-Palestine protesters

A ‘silent’ protest performance by Jerusalem-based Incubator Theatre was itself the focus of pro-Palestinian protests in Bristo Square on Saturday. Hip hop opera The City had been cancelled by Underbelly following noisy protests outside the McEwan Hall…

Out of Water

10 Aug 20144 stars

Magical seaside evocation by Helen Paris and Caroline Wright, part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

It's 6.30am. The Shipping Forecast plays through our headphones as we walk across Portobello beach to a group of mysterious figures waving and pointing out into the water, gently lit by the pinkish dawn sun. Music and narration in our ears merge with…

Binôme – Souris Chaos

10 Aug 20143 stars

Frenetic French obesity farce staged at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

The ‘chaos mouse’ of the title is one that’s been genetically modified so that certain brain receptors controlling appetite and pleasure are never satisfied – part of a scientific experiment looking at the causes of human obesity. It’s quite a leap from…

The Domino Effect

7 Aug 20143 stars

Touching collaborative drama from Fin Kennedy at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Playwright Fin Kennedy has produced some astonishingly mature, resonant work with the girls of Tower Hamlets’ Mulberry School in recent Fringes, in shows such as Mehndi Night and the Fringe First-winning The Unravelling. Their latest collaboration has a…

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A Walk at the Edge of the World

5 Aug 20144 stars

A restrained walk and lecture on memory and power at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Part mindfulness meditation, part painful personal recollection, Edinburgh-based theatre company Magnetic North’s lecture-with-walk is a thoughtful, slow-moving, ultimately quite moving exploration of solitude, freedom and power. He’s just recovered…

SmallWar

5 Aug 20144 stars

Powerful verbatim WWI work at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Flemish actor and writer Valentijn Dhaenens’ follow-up to 2012’s Bigmouth looks at the little people caught up in conflicts enacted by his previous production’s world-leading figures. But don’t expect a tear-drenched memorial for the fallen, nor a…

Kate

5 Aug 20143 stars

A smoothly and effectively delivered WW2 Icelandic drama at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

When Britain invaded Iceland in 1940, to prevent Germany securing the strategic stronghold, the UK troops were generally greeted warmly – with some young Icelandic women, as Agnes Þorkelsdóttir Wild’s play remembers, seeing either a romantic escape…

City of the Blind

5 Aug 20144 stars

A deeply unsettling, unforgettable experience

Theatrical iconoclast David Leddy’s online thriller is an astonishing achievement, in technical and dramatic terms. It delves into some of the rawest, most distressing areas of human activity and forces you to confront them in detail and at…

Electra: An American Gothic

5 Aug 20143 stars

Ancient Greek myth transferred to 1880s US by Slippery Rock Theatre for Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Pennsylvania’s Slippery Rock Theatre has been bringing nastily effective little tales of horror to the Fringe for several years now, and although this year’s offering tones things down a bit, there’s still the trademark fevered intensity that’s made…

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Black Faggot

3 Aug 20143 stars

Samoan gay showcase drama

Victor Rodger’s powerful two-hander is a high-energy (and, it has to be said, rather overlong) race through Samoan gay culture in New Zealand, from closeted football players to scheming rent boys, desperate teenagers to regretful older men, looking at…

Scratch: Lands of Glass

2 Aug 20143 stars

Fusing theatre and live music soundtrack beautifully

It’s the musical instruments that are the real stars of Newcastle-based Unfolding Theatre’s whimsical show – gleaming glass marimbas, bells, bottles and oversized brandy glasses that are struck, bowed or rubbed by the five-strong cast to produce the…

The Importance of Being Earnest as Performed by Three F*cking Queens and a Duck

2 Aug 20144 stars

Filthy farce of vivid performances and an infectious sense of mounting hysteria

Filth, filth and more filth: Fringe stalwarts, Melbourne’s Out Cast Theatre, deliver a gleeful 50 minutes of breathtakingly inventive profanity as three bitchy queens attempt to stage Oscar Wilde’s ‘handbag’ play. It’s frenetically paced, pantomimey in…

The Curing Room

1 Aug 20144 stars

Bold, brave, powerfully disturbing Edinburgh Festival Fringe show about WW2 cannibalism

Seven actors performing a 90-minute drama entirely naked might draw the curious, but that isn’t even the bravest thing about this dark and at times distressing show – that accolade goes to the unflinching honesty and unashamedly unsensationalist way…

Sleeping Beauty

1 Aug 20144 stars

A dark and deeply personal take on the classic fairytale, performed at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

If you thought you knew the fairy story, think again. Liverpool-born, Normandy-resident Colette Garrigan has a dark and deeply personal take on the well-worn tale, finding in it a bleakly lyrical vehicle for telling her own early life story in 80s…

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Talk About Something You Like

1 Aug 20143 stars

A raw and sincere solo show about madness, performed at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

The show’s title refers to the fifth positive activity encouraged by doctors in the mental institution where solo performer Byron Vincent was once sectioned – but ironically, as he points out, that’s what got most of the residents put there in the first…

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014 interview: Colette Garrigan on Sleeping Beauty

30 Jul 2014

The Ken Loach-inspired reinterpretation deals with gritty issues of drugs, abuse and delinquency

‘I ended up putting myself at the centre of my own fairy story. What comes across in this show is me as a teenager, growing up in a broken home in Liverpool, and all these years later living and working as a puppeteer in France. How did that happen?…

Interview: Chris Goode on bringing his urban hymn Men in the Cities to 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

15 Jul 2014

The writer, director and actor on the volatile writing process behind his new show

‘I’m in the kind of mood where I’m lobbing a brick through the window and running off, and I’m interested in what people do with the mess I’ve left behind.’ It’s hardly the kind of wanton act of violence we might expect from writer, director and actor…

Jazz, Juliette Binoche and a calendar change on cards for Edinburgh International Festival 2015

8 May 2014

Incoming director designate Fergus Linehan outlines his plans for change at the EIF

Fifteen months before the start of his first event, Edinburgh International Festival director designate Fergus Linehan has taken the unusual step of revealing some of his thinking behind the 2015 programme – as well as sharing details of a few of its…

War and peace announced as themes for Edinburgh International Festival 2014

18 Mar 2014

Programme highlights includes works involving The Kronos Quartet and Handspring Puppet Company

War and peace, conflict and conciliation are the grand themes being tackled in Jonathan Mills’ final year as director of the Edinburgh International Festival. The 2014 programme, announced today, explores music, dance, theatre and other arts not just…

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Eh Joe

5 Sep 20134 stars

Atom Egoyan is a master at work as he brings Beckett from the screen to the stage

Atom Egoyan’s masterful staging of Beckett’s brief 1965 TV play Eh Joe, the first in a trio of the dramatist’s works from Dublin’s Gate Theatre at this year’s International Festival, is a thing of simple, ruthless beauty. Michael Gambon is the sole…

Last One Out

23 Aug 20134 stars

A non-traditional opera featuring text from Johnny McKnight and music from Gareth Williams

Last One Out is hardly an opera in the traditional sense – it’s more of a poignant, highly evocative mystery tale that happens to be sung. In any case, much of its music comes from an onstage radio – in the form of composer Gareth Williams’ masterful…

Killers

16 Aug 20133 stars

An insight into murderers' minds

Bathed in harsh white spotlights, three of Britain’s most notorious killers – Dennis Nilsen, Ian Brady and Peter Sutcliffe – sit in front of the audience, reading letters they’ve written to admirers from their prisons or secure hospitals. But if you’re…

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…

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…