Reviews & features: Reviews

4,449 reviews

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Civil Rogues

14 Aug 20144 stars

Laurie Davidson and Lowrie Amies star in hilarious 17th century drama at the Edinburgh Fringe

It is 1649, and Oliver Cromwell's Roundheads are rounding up theatre actors, declaring them 'civil rogues'. Problem is, the actors in question, playing Shakespearian women, are rather too fond of their feminine counterparts, and the soldiers woefully…

Trainspotting

15 Aug 20143 stars

High energy theatre performed in promenade captures bleak, scatalogical humour and morality of novel

Twenty-one years since Irvine Welsh's iconic novel Trainspotting was first published, it's appropriate that young Scottish company In Your Face Theatre should now offer their stage adaptation to the "rich Edinburgh Festival cunts" so despised by Renton…

James III: The True Mirror

15 Aug 20144 stars

The king goes bling in the third of Rona Munro’s plays at the Edinburgh International Festival

The king gets some bling in the third of Rona Munro’s historical trio of plays: the huge dagger digging into the stage at the Festival Theatre has shining jewels embedded in the handle, and James (Jamie Sives) is keen to pimp up his reign. He wants a…

Tom Rhodes: Colussus

13 Aug 20143 stars

American funnyman delivers confident performance at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

With the swagger of an over-confident prize-fighter, American comic Tom Rhodes roams his stage ready to land punchline after punchline. But first he has some business to attend to regards his history with the Gilded Balloon, reminiscing the time he…

The Carousel

15 Aug 20144 stars

Second play in Jennifer Termblay's triology is truimphant torrent of emotion at the Edinburgh Fringe

Stellar Quines ’ production of The List at the Fringe in 2012 was a quiet sensation, for the quality of the writing, by French-Canadian playwright Jennifer Tremblay, and for the team brought together by Muriel Romanes, including Maureen Beattie as the…

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The Pure, The Dead and The Brilliant

15 Aug 20143 stars

Entertaining if simplistic caricature of a complex political problem from Alan Bissett

Set in the fairy world, Alan Bissett's script conjures some convincing characters from popular myth and legend and places them in Scotland 2014 at the heart of the campaign for independence. With Bissett's own enthusiasm for a big yes well known, this…

Bette Davis Ain't For Sissies

15 Aug 20144 stars

Jessica Sherr inhabits the infamous Hollywood actress at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

It's 1939, and the night of the Oscars. Double Oscar winner Bette Davis has lost to Vivien Leigh, for Gone With the Wind, and she is having a major hissy fit. Initially, this piece seems like an unprepossessing and thinly-veiled tirade against the…

James II: Day of the Innocents

15 Aug 20142 stars

The second of Rona Munro's historical plays at the Edinburgh International Festival has too much fat

Halfway through the second part of Rona Munro's trilogy, there is a banquet sequence. The cast chant and demand 'meat, meat, meat’: yet meat is absent from this episode, with too much gristle to chew on. Munro charts King James' transition from…

James I: The Key Will Keep The Lock

15 Aug 20144 stars

The opening chapter of Rona Munro's Edinburgh International Festival trilogy has pace and energy

Henry V makes a cameo appearance in the opening scene of Rona Munro’s trilogy of history plays, a canny nod to Shakespeare’s iconic historical drama. These plays move confidently out of the shadow of the great Shakespearean history cycles, capitalising…

Beefheart 'n' Cheeze - Henry's Cellar Bar, Edinburgh, Sun 3 Aug 2014

14 Aug 20144 stars

Orange Claw Hammer pay tribute to avant-garde weirdo rocker, Captain Beefheart

Captain Beefheart has become synonymous with avant-garde rock. An innovator who rejected the boundaries of genre, an explorer who blasted into the sonic soundscape. 1969's *3Trout Mask Replica*2 has become the go-to album for lovers of the weird and…

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Come Heckle Christ

14 Aug 20143 stars

Josh Ladgrove's Edinburgh Festival Fringe comedy show is entirely dependent on audience interaction

You get no prizes for guessing that Come Heckle Christ is a show dependent on the quality of its audience. Character comedian Josh Ladgrove props himself on the cross for (almost) the entire duration, responding to a mix of insults, theological queries…

Haruki Murakami - Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage

14 Aug 20143 stars

Welcome addition for fans, but one that never quite reaches the heights it could do

There aren't many writers whose novel launches can be classed as an event, but Haruki Murakami is one of the few who fit the category. When Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage, his 13th novel, launched in Japan last year it sold a…

Lady GoGo Goch

14 Aug 20144 stars

Frankie Fox combines music and theatrics to explore her Welsh heritage at the Edinburgh Fringe

Performed mainly in Welsh and a smattering of English, Lady GoGo Goch blends traditional and contemporary song with theatrical performance and live instrumentation to create a fluid, intense, and ultimately trippy exploration of Welsh culture. Funny…

Night Bus

14 Aug 20142 stars

Linda Marlowe & Sarah-Louise Young examine the life of a night bus at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Taking the world of late-night transit as their petri dish of humankind, Linda Marlowe and Sarah-Louise Young examine the ragtag lot who take a London bus on any given night through a series of vignettes, using a minimal set and only a handful of props.

Rhythmic Circus: Feet Don’t Fail Me Now

14 Aug 20145 stars

Joyous show fusing superb musicianship and slick dance routines raises the roof

It’s impossible to know for sure, but the final song in Rhythmic Circus’ set might just be the most joyful five minutes at this year’s Fringe. Admittedly, we’re already in a very happy place by the time they play it, having spent an hour in the…

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Sophie Willan: Novice Detective

14 Aug 20142 stars

A mish-mash of theatrical narrative and comedy skits at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Sophie Willan presents a theatrical hour about the search for her estranged father. The detective genre is her theme, and the opening set-piece is a campy nod to the genre from Inspector Clouseau to the board-game Cluedo. After a promising opening…

Soweto Afro-Pop Opera

14 Aug 20144 stars

Slow jams and joyful bursts of township song from South African a cappella group at Edinburgh Fringe

Walking onto the stage decked out in sharp grey suits with crisp white shirts, the four tenors of this South African a cappella group look every inch the 90s R&B act, and while their Soweto Afro-Pop Opera confirms that they do love a good slow jam, they…

Spencer Brown

14 Aug 20142 stars

Repetitive sex obsessed show becomes tiresome at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Spencer Brown reads as a sex-obsessed thirty-something offering a whole load of gags about doing the deed laced with an exposé of contemporary society. Naturally, all this is framed with observational anecdotes about his wife, young daughter and dinner…

Tender Napalm

14 Aug 20143 stars

Malta’s Unifaun Theatre give a confident rendering of Philip Ridley’s tale at the Edinburgh Fringe

Tender Napalm, as its title suggests, is a piece characterised by the exploding, the sharp, the intimate, and the human sensitivity to pain. This fantastical two-hander written by Philip Ridley takes its characters through a series of increasingly…

Art Rooms

13 Aug 20144 stars

Black Cube Collective's less orthodox encounter with contemporary art showcases brilliant new talent

Set in the 17th-century Cockenzie House, 30 minutes out of Edinburgh, the Black Cube Collective’s Art Rooms offers a less orthodox encounter with contemporary art. As well as an exhibition, with artists displaying work throughout the house and garden…

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Dan Schreiber: C*ckblocked from Outer Space

13 Aug 20143 stars

Lively and engaging hour of geek comedy at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

The term ‘geek’ has enjoyed singular meanings in the past, such as a sideshow act involving biting the heads off chickens, which draw on its etymology as meaning ‘fool’. This flipped in the latter half of the 20th century, becoming a pejorative term for…

Ganesh Versus the Third Reich

13 Aug 20144 stars

Thoughtful, elegant show unfolds its ideas slowly at the Edinburgh International Festival

Ganesh and the Third Reich has all the ingredients for controversy. A Hindu god represented on stage, actors with disabilities, Australians appropriating Indian mythology and a European holocaust, a series of arguments between director and actors…

Six Billion Suns

13 Aug 20143 stars

Poignant experimental theatre about Alzheimer’s disease at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Directed by Eva Rysová in conjunction with the Czech Centre London and Theatre NoD, Six Billion Suns is a brave and experimental production exploring the terrifying reality of living with Alzheimer’s disease, from diagnosis to death and all the…

Super Tramp

13 Aug 20143 stars

Michael Rivers delivers one-man show of homelessness and tragedy at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

This one man show is based on the true life story of Shane Fox, a schoolboy who ended up living on the streets after his dad was imprisoned for shooting his Mum during a drunken argument. Starting with a speech of regret at a hospital bedside, solo…

Tony and Mike - The Country Owl and the City Squirrel

13 Aug 20142 stars

Confused reworking of the Town Mouse and The Country Mouse at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Fringe First winners Tom Frankland and Laura Mugridge return to Edinburgh with their first attempt at children's theatre. In theory, this has taken its inspiration from The Tale of The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse, but equally it may well have taken…