Reviews & features: Theatre

2,062 reviews

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The Great Gatsby

15 Aug 20143 stars

The American classic gets a Broadway makeover at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

There are many literary parties that catch the imagination and inspire dreams of what it might have been like to be there. Satan’s Ball in The Master and Margarita and Kitty’s first dance in Anna Karenin stand out but the lavish scale of the extravagant…

The Initiate

15 Aug 20143 stars

Tense Edinburgh Fringe drama about the effect of Somali pirate kidnapping on London community

This intense, snappy drama from Alexandra Wood is an affecting tale of how the high profile Somali pirate kidnappings have affected London’s Somali community. Andrew French plays a cabbie who has lost his job for ‘talking too much’ – though it’s implied…

Margaret Thatcher: Queen Of Soho

15 Aug 20143 stars

Uproarious, campy fun taking in key moments of political career

Revisionist history has seen ex-PM Margaret Thatcher absurdly transformed after her passing into a feminist icon. But Matt Tedford – who has the Iron Lady’s braying condescension down to a T – has now provided the ultimate makeover for Thatcher, turning…

Sirens

15 Aug 20144 stars

Ontroerend Goed's symphony of female rage, staged at the Edinburgh Fringe, is impossible to ignore

If previous Summerhall favourite Silvia Gallerano's La Merda was a personal howl of anguish, Ontroerend Goed's Sirens is the symphonic rage of Everywoman. Using humour, song and a guttural roar rising to a blood-curdling scream, six women in evening…

Starchild: The Little Prince Reborn

15 Aug 20143 stars

Physical theatre with an Asian touch based on classic Antoine de Saint-Exupéry tale

As demonstrated by this likeable, if occasionally meandering, adaptation of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s world-famous fable, Shanghai-based ex-pat theatre company Urban Aphrodite International use drama and movement styles derived from influential…

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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…

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…

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…

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…

Edinburgh Forest Fringe 2014 interview: Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping

15 Aug 2014

Theatremaker Bill Talen takes an anti-consumerist view at the fringe-of-the-Fringe festival

He's been banned from every Starbucks in the US, performs exorcisms in Tesco, and now he's in Edinburgh, on a mission to save bees from the agriculture industry. Reverend Billy is a pastor with a difference – he's more interested in saving the planet…

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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 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…

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…

Mark Thomas: 'According to the police, I’m a domestic extremist – that’s my category'

15 Aug 2014

The comedian and actor, performing at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, discusses being spied upon

It seems to me that one of the key issues of the moment is privacy and data protection. For instance, I won’t have a loyalty card – I don’t want some supermarket knowing whether I bought porridge on a Friday or not. Also, I’m not loyal to them – I shop…

Big Fat Fringe Bribe blog 2014: Misa-Lisin

14 Aug 2014

Langasan Theatre company buy some easy exposure with traditional Taiwanese jewellery

Since receiving our rubber duckie from WithWings, the incessant tide of Big Fat Fringe Bribes had ceased almost immediately. Perhaps it was because all the other Festival performers sensed they wouldn't be able to top a visit from a metaphysical entity…

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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…

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.

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…

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…

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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…

True Brits

13 Aug 20143 stars

The trials of gowing up Gujarati in Blair’s Britain, staged at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

True Brits switches between narrator Rahul’s experiences at school in 2005 and the 2012 Olympics. Juxtaposing the shock of the terror attacks on 7/7 against the national unity of the games seven years later, the script uses these iconic moments to…