Reviews & features: Musicals

45 reviews

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18 Aug 20143 stars

Fun musical absurdism in pieces by Livingstones Kabinet at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

A disclaimer is displayed at the start of this show warns audience members not to attach any great depth or meaning to this performance. With that in mind, Denmark-based absurdists Livingstones Kabinet set the scene for a provocative hour of sound and…


5 Aug 20134 stars

Musical take on 2010 copper mine incident by The Wardrobe Ensemble

Book-ending Tom Brennan's production is an eccentric appearance by Edison Pena on legendary US chat show The David Letterman Show. Pena is one of the 33 miners who survived a major cave-in for 69 days in the Copiapo copper mine, San Jose in 2010 and who…

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…

The God That Comes

28 Aug 20144 stars

Classical cult cabaret from Canadian performer Hawksley Workman at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Hawksley Workman does not lack ambition. The God That Comes reworks Euripides' Bacchae as a one man show, with Workman playing both the vengeful god of wine and his regal victim. Performed as a song-cycle, Workman also plays drums, keyboards and guitar…

Milk Presents: Self Service

27 Aug 20143 stars

Clever experimental cabaret exploring queer identity at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Since the definition of 'queer' is contested (it tends to be a bucket for anything outside of the norm), a cabaret dedicated to explaining it is long overdue. The three performers, with added help from a musician and two audience members as compères…

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Rachel Parris: Live in Vegas

20 Aug 20143 stars

Charismatic musical comedy show at 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe lacks hilarity

It can be hard to strike the right note in musical comedy, but Rachel Parris is definitely in key as she returns to the Fringe with Live in Vegas. The premise of the show is a night of entertainment in a seedy hotel, with Parris playing an array of…

The Addams Family: The Musical

19 Aug 20143 stars

Song and dance with a touch of gallows humour at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

The company have gone as big as they dare for this musical take on the ghoulish television show with an orchestra, chorus line and a two hour running time. The set changes and choreography are slick, which is no mean feat on a reduced stage space, and…


19 Aug 20143 stars

Dynamic musical theatre based on Japanese drinking celebration at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Named for the Japanese drinking celebration – essentially an end of year blow-out designed for blocking out the past year's woes, Bonenkai is an energetic display with a cast that doubles as a vigorous live band. With little plot, or character…

In The Surface Of A Bubble

18 Aug 20143 stars

Ambitious allegorical study into human motivation and creativity at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Edward Day's play is nothing if not ambitious- an allegorical study into human motivation and creativity. In The Surface Of A Bubble weaves together Lecoq trained physical theatre, live music and puppetry with a dark, fragmentary structure. Michelle…

Interview: Lior Kalfo of Voca People on how he survives the Edinburgh festivals

10 Aug 2014

Director of Voca People show talks about the highs and lows of August in the capital

Can you sum up your show in five words? Kalfo: Out-of-this-world musical experience For anyone still on the fence, what’s a surefire selling point? Kalfo: The best music this earth has to offer in an innovative comical-theatrical framework.

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The Factory

9 Aug 20143 stars

Fun musical theatre piece with an edge of social consciousness, staged at the Edinburgh Fringe

Presented here as part of the NZ at Edinburgh showcase season, this fun musical theatre piece hits the right note both in terms of its light-hearted musical tone and its packaging of a slice of New Zealand's social history, which is doubtless largely…

50 Shades! The Musical: The Original Parody

5 Aug 20144 stars

EL James' BDSM adventure gets a Day-Glo makeover at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Since the novel set the bar so low in terms of characterisation, plot and prose style, this parody of Fifty Shades easily captures its thin eroticism and pornography of consumerism. There's no doubt that the musical has been designed to appeal to fans…


5 Aug 20142 stars

Action to the Word's gothic musical Edinburgh Festival Fringe production is like Twilight meets Glee

Before we start laying into Action To The Word’s gothic musical adaptation, let it be known: there were just as many audience members offering standing ovations as there were sneaking out mid-show. To find out which side of the dividing line you’re on…

Siddhartha: The Musical

2 Aug 20144 stars

Incredibly enjoyable take on Hesse novel is both mesmerising and ridiculous

A Buddhist musical about spiritual enlightenment, with lasers, fireball projections, porn heels and pounding Euro beats? And it all began as a rehabilitation programme in a maximum security prison in Milan? It’s unlikely you’d imagine any of that, when…

The weird and wonderful musical theatre shows at the 2014 Edinburgh Fringe Festival

30 Jul 2014

Shows including UCAS, Bonded by Blood, Jack and I and Nando's and Nandon'ts

We’re used to how ridiculous the Fringe can get. We’ve all accidentally ended up in a show with eighteen naked Australians throwing paint on a woman wearing a nappy. Still, serial killers, and chicken restaurants, getting the musical theatre treatment?

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Highlights of the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival 2014

15 Jul 2014

Featuring Abdullah Ibrahim, Van Morrison Christian Scott and BadBadNotGood

Mandela Day Concert. Abdullah Ibrahim, the pianist formerly known as Dollar Brand, leads this special show in tribute to the late Nelson Mandela. Approaching his 80th birthday, South African Ibrahim enjoyed a special link to the former ANC president…

Top 5 musicals based on true stories at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2013

7 Aug 2013

Featuring Blood Ties, Forest Boy, Bridge and Gilbert and Sullivan: The Musical

Blood Ties Based on a true event, this dark comedy features a murder, a wedding and a suicide as a group of girls are forced to address long-standing issues on a bachelorette weekend gone horribly wrong. theSpace @ Venue45, 510 2381, 12–24 Aug (not…

[title of show] fuses musical theatre and real life at 2013 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

30 Jul 2013

UK premiere of quirky US Broadway musical hit

Anyone who saw Daniel Kitson’s 2012 Fringe sell-out, about a writer writing a play about writers writing another play, will agree that the show-within-a-show format has grown serious legs in recent years. This year Patch of Blue Theatre stride out with…


17 Aug 20124 stars

Funny and intelligent jazz-inflected Western

Love and betrayal jostle for the starring role in this non-traditional Western from the talented cast of M&T Productions. Within the first two minutes of the fast-paced musical, murder, betrayal and cover-ups tumble forth, causing the sheriff of…

Clinton The Musical

17 Aug 20123 stars

Ex-president inspires high-energy, catchy musical from talented ensemble

Former United States president Bill Clinton should offer any theatre production – let alone an all-singing, all-dancing musical – some great inspiration for material is a given. But, from his inauguration through to his sexual relations with ‘that…

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Good Grief

17 Aug 20123 stars

Meandering musical hour of delightful schadenfreude

Gone Rogue’s likeable, funeral-set musical might start off in a subdued atmosphere of deep sorrow, but by the end of the show most of the mourners have ended up half naked, high on hash cookies or reeling from shocking family revelations. Using a family…

Through the Looking Screen

13 Aug 20123 stars

A black tale of loneliness and log-ins

The experience of turning The Office into an operatic extravaganza for Comic Relief in 2009 clearly gave Anne Chmelewsky a taste for the comedic possibilities of a musical form normally associated with grim tragedy. But the ‘high heels and high Cs…

Death Boogie

10 Aug 20122 stars

Political hip hop poetry musical is all sound and fury

Death Boogie is a political hip hop musical, performed by a dancing poet-rapper rhyming over his own beatbox loops, a double bass player and violinist, all against a backdrop of comic-strip visuals peppered with WHOAs, BIFFs and BOOYAKASHs. Sound like a…

Top 5 tech-related shows at the Edinburgh Festivals 2012

8 Aug 2012

Featuring Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs, Misha Glenny, Mark Restuccia and Through the Looking Screen

The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs A one-man theatre show detailing the working conditions in Chinese factories that manufacture the iPhone, highlighting the lengths we are willing to go to in pursuit of technological advancement. Steve…

Eat $hit: How Our Waste Can Save the World

7 Aug 20123 stars

A(n extremely odd) musical with an infectious message

The Poop Project are here to talk to you about your poo – loudly, clearly, and with songs and jazz hands. And if you’re the squeamish sort, it’s even more imperative that you listen. Let’s be straight: the five performers in this show aren’t the…