MONDAY 2 AUGUST 2021 THISWEEKCULTURE.COM
IT'S EDINBURGH FESTIVAL 2021!
The Edinburgh Festival is back - officially kicking off on Friday. Yes, it's in a somewhat streamlined form, but still with a great programme of in-person performances taking place across the festival city and even more shows available online.

We will be recommending both in-person and digital shows here in the TW Weekly, plus meeting some of our favourite performers, directors and producers. And later in the month, there'll be some reviews too. As well as keeping up to date here in the bulletin, you can also check all our Edinburgh 2021 coverage here online.

On top of all that, we'll also keep on recommending great Fringe theatre, comedy and culture happening in London and online - so, let's get going for another week...


RACHEL THORN: LOVEFOOL

I first had a chat with Rachel Thorn back in 2019 when we talked about her edfringe show 'Between Us' - an improvised two-hander focusing on a couple's relationship - I thought it sounded incredibly interesting and our reviewer gave it an excellent write up.

I had every intention of following her work after that. But, of course, the pandemic got in the way a bit. But I was excited when I heard that she would be heading Edinburgh-wards this summer for a run of her most recent project 'Lovefool'.

I thought it would be great to catch up - so we had a quick chat to find out more about the play and what to expect from her in the future.

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

'Lovefool' is on at Laughing Horse @ The Counting House from 18-28 Aug. See this page here for details.



KAREN TOFTEGAARD: #DANISH DIGITAL
When it comes to the Edinburgh Fringe, I always like to hear about strands - or collections - of shows. I feel as though it's something to get one's teeth into, like an elaborate dinner, with different courses to be devoured.

And I often get quite excited about them when they come from outside the UK - it's always fascinating to see what's happening artistically around the world.

The latest such strand to come to my attention is '#Danish Digital', a collection of three works, brought together online by The Danish Arts Foundation in association with Wildtopia, and hosted by Zoo TV.

To find out what to expect from '#Danish Digital', I spoke to Wildtopia's Karen Toftegaard.

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

You can see 'Champions' from 16-22 Aug, 'Two Men & A Plank' from 12-28 Aug, and 'Avatar Me' on 12-13 and 25-26 Aug. See the Zoo TV website here for more information and to book.



STACEY NORRIS: SH!TFACED SHAKESPEARE - MACBETH
I feel pretty sure that lots of our readers will be very much aware of the existence of Sh!tfaced Shakespeare, purveyors of partly drink-addled bardic productions, even if they've not yet seen one of their Shaky stagings. If not, then it's time you did become aware and make a date in your diary for an upcoming production.

Following the lifting of COVID induced restrictions, the company began a run of 'Macbeth' at London's Leicester Square Theatre, and they'll be there until September, so you've still got plenty of time to see it.

To celebrate the return to live performance of this talented bunch, I spoke to the group's Stacey Norris.

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

Sh!t-Faced Shakespeare's 'MacBeth is on at Leicester Square Theatre until 11 Sep. See the venue website here for details and to book tickets.
Three To See tips recommending the best Fringe theatre, comedy and culture to see in London, at the Edinburgh Festival, and online...


THREE ONLINE EDINBURGH FRINGE STRANDS TO BOOK AHEAD FOR>>

Shedinburgh Fringe Festival | 3-29 Aug (pictured)
So here we go with our first Three To See recommendations for Edinburgh Festival 2021. And those of you who tuned into last year's Edinburgh Fringe online stuff will surely remember the Shedinburgh Fringe Festival, which was full of lovely treats and, if I remember correctly, we tipped quite a few of them. It's back this year - yay - with a frankly fabulous line-up of events, featuring the likes of Mark Thomas, Rachel Fairburn, Jessie Cage and Joe Thomas, and lots of plays that we've tipped before because they are excellent. See the full line up here.

Fishamble Mini-Season | 10-29 Aug
Only three plays this, but definitely worth looking into, because, well, Fishamble is a fabulous Dublin-based theatre company specialising in new writing and development, and all the shows they are presenting in this digital season are excellent. In fact, we may well have previously tipped all three of them at some point. There's 'Mustard' by Eva O'Connor, which will stream via Summerhall from 16-22 Aug, 'On Blueberry Hill' by Sebastian Barry, presented via the Traverse Theatre's online programme from 10-16 Aug. And Pat Kinevane's 'Silent', which will have a digital run via Dance Base from 22-28 Aug. There's more information on the company's news blog here, or just click the links for each individual production.

Quebec Edfringe | from 6 Aug
We all know that the pandemic is horrible and we all wish it weren't happening, but one good thing to come out of it, as I keep saying, is the burgeoning of digital culture, which has allowed some companies to reach much wider audiences than they would when creating live, in-person shows. And now that you can be online and at the Edinburgh Fringe, that means that companies from all over the world can be involved without making the trip. I'm sure they'd like to make the trip, and I hope they do at some point, but in the meantime you can check out the work of all these Quebecois artists via Assembly's Showcatcher platform. There's a variety of genres, but a lot of it is physical theatre and circus and dance, I think. Lots of good stuff in any case, check it out here.


THREE CAMDEN FRINGE SHOWS>>

Tier Three Sisters | Camden Fringe at The Hope Theatre | 9-15 Aug
And from one Fringe Festival to another, this time the one happening in ye olde London towne, mostly live and in-person for Londoners (and visitors, no-one is excluded!) to enjoy. We start at The Hope Theatre with 'Tier Three Sisters' from Knuckledown, a modern adaptation of the similarly titled Chekhov play. "In a small back garden in Lancashire, the seasons pass in lockdown. Three siblings frustrate and fortify each other, reminiscing about precedented times as the world shrinks and crumbles around them, figuratively but also literally on stage. As the sisters pine for their near-yet-so-far equivalent of Moscow (Manchester city centre) the play itself yearns to wriggle free of its own formal origins, breaking the fourth wall and bending its own realist logic". Read more here.

Back To Berlin | Camden Fringe at Camden People's Theatre | 3-5 Aug (pictured)
"It's 1989. The Berlin Wall is coming down, the world is changing rapidly, and Bernhard is sat at home in England. But not for much longer. Grab yourself an ice cold German beer, and get ready for a whirlwind ride across the continent to witness history in the making. With just a projector, a shedload of cardboard boxes and a sense of playful optimism at their disposal, CB4 Theatre want to take you from Bernhard's front room, on the slow train across Europe and right to the centre of the action. David Hasselhoff will meet us there". This show - combining verbatim theatre, multimedia, and ensemble movement, and commemorating the fall of the wall - explores the past and the present and promises to be "part chaotic, part touching and always fun". Click here.

Bunker | Camden Fringe at Lion & Unicorn Theatre | 8 Aug
Our final pick of the Camden Fringe this week is 'Bunker', a post-apocalyptic thriller from Harpy Productions, which explores the cruelty and perseverance of the human mind: "In a desolate world, The Bunker is the last safe space. Two women are stuck inside. One is desperate to leave; the other will stop at nothing to keep them there". So that sounds rather compelling. But so too do myriad Camden Fringe shows and I just don't have time to tell you about all of them, so I really want you - as well as considering going to see 'Bunker' - to also go to the Camden Fringe website and just have a browse of all the intriguing and fabulous stuff on offer. Head this way for 'Bunker' and this way for all the Camden Fringe listings.


THREE ONLINE EDINBURGH FRINGE SHOWS>>

Fantastic Vehicles | Projekt Antihero/Fringe Player | on demand
Right, back to Edinburgh now, but don't tune out, people-who-won't-be-in-Edinburgh, because this is more online fare, so you can all access it wherever you are in the country. First up, 'Fantastic Vehicles', a one man show in verse based on a "bastardised" version of 'Hamlet'. "What do you get when a renowned psychoanalyst marries a hasty widow who relocates into the family estate, Elsewhere Manor - mansion slash mental ward - with her bastard son who just so happens to be haunted by his deceased father?" For more information and to view on demand (right now, in fact) head to this page here.

KlaxAlterian Sequester | Dutch Kills /Assembly Showcatcher | on demand
Well this play from Dutch Kills has a title you don't scroll past in a hurry, doesn't it? I am particularly susceptible to an interesting moniker, it has to be said, but I don't suppose I am the only one. Anyway, I can confirm that the themes seem equally intriguing: "Where are you? When are you? Messages from another species. Missives from an uncertain future. A mind-bending, time-travelling solo adventure that will reframe everything you thought you knew". It's certainly got my attention, if it has yours, head this way to view from 6 Aug.

Saved | Graeme Leak/Zoo TV | on demand (pictured)
Here's one hosted by Zoo TV, who brought us oodles of great digital stuff last year, and it's a very intriguing piece by Graeme Leak, and is part of the Made In Scotland showcase. I think it appeals to me a lot because of the retro element and the focus on home organs, and I feel pretty sure there'll be loads of you out there who will feel the same. "A multi-layered, retro-mechanical music show built around rescued 70s home organs. Turned inside out, their internal spinning speakers are exposed for us to see as well as hear as Leak weaves musical joy into the surprisingly beautiful mundanity of daily life". It's listed on the edfringe.com site here, and you can see all the other great shows Zoo TV has lined up here.


THREE IN PERSON LONDON EVENTS>>


Every Sinner Has A Future | Chelsea Theatre/Kensington & Chelsea Festival | 3 Aug
Right, London-based readers, we have some more London-based events for you, and the festival theme rather continues, in the first two tips at least. Because we start with a performance that's on as part of the Kensington And Chelsea Festival, and it sounds rather compelling, a one man show written and performed by Frank Skully, about his personal experiences of the criminal justice system. "From paperboy to prison, Frank Skully's life is a rollercoaster of humour and coincidences. The piece questions preconceptions of a criminal and whether it is nurture or nature that dictates Frank's destiny. The criminal justice system should be a place to rehabilitate, instead, it has become a system that churns out more criminals than it lures in". Read more about it here.

The Breakup Monologues | Underbelly Festival | 7 Aug
Regular readers will, I know, be familiar with 'The Breakup Monologues', not least because we keep mentioning it here, but also because you may well be a regular listener of Rosie Wilby's fab podcast. In keeping with our fest-y theme, she's appearing at London's Underbelly Festival for the latest recording, and she's joined by a truly fantastic pair of guests this time, Felicity Ward and Maisie Adam. Oh, and for those of you who haven't been paying attention, 'The Breakup Monologues' sees guests sharing their stories of love, heartbreak and recovery, and the result is poignant, bizarre, but also funny, and very probably cathartic. Click here to book.

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase | Greenwich Theatre | 5 Aug-5 Sep (pictured)
Greenwich Theatre has three great family shows for you over the next month or so, and this is the one that starts first. If I remember correctly, this one had an earlier run curtailed when we were forced into lockdown, and I am very glad to see it's getting a nice long run this time round, as it's a fab sounding adaptation of Joan Aiken's absolute classic. "A thrilling adventure set in an alternative history of England, 'The Wolves Of Willoughby Chase' tells the story of two brave and determined girls as they fight against ferocious wolves and battle their way through wastelands to defeat their very evil guardian, Miss Slighcarp". See this page here to book.


THREE IN PERSON COMEDY EDINBURGH FRINGE SHOWS>>

Isabelle Farah: Ellipsis | Assembly Roxy | 4-14 Aug (pictured)
Some readers may be wondering if it's our intention only to recommend the online Edinburgh stuff, given the focus of these tips thus far, but worry not, Edinburgh-based friends and other Fringe-goers, we do have quite a few non-digital recommendations for you and yes, they start here. With a recommendation for Isabelle Farah's show 'Ellipsis', which is in the theatre section, but its sub-genre on edfringe.com is comedy, so I am sticking it in the funny section. I'm expecting very good things from this exploration of "grieving, authenticity and being funny". Read more about it here and book your tickets.

Just These Please - No Worries If Not | Gilded Balloon Teviot | 5-21 Aug
We gave this lot a five star review when they appeared at the festival in 2019, so of course I was pleased to see that they are back in Edinburgh in 2021 and doing a show at Gilded Balloon. Would you like to know what our team member said about them? Yeah, you would. "The performances and the choreography are polished without being overly slick, with the transitions being particularly effective. The jokes and wordplay were consistently sharp, while the more dramatic sketches were not overplayed. There were countless highlights, and the closing song on the plight of the Lothian Buses drivers during the Fringe turned into a communal sing-along, bringing this first-rate show to a satisfying conclusion". Click here.

The Big Show from Monkey Barrel Comedy | Monkey Barrel | 6-29 Aug
Monkey Barrel is another Edinburgh venue that managed to make itself very much felt in an online manner for last year's virtual edfringe, and it's great to see it back this year with live in-person stuff. They've got loads of great short/one night run solo shows from a plethora of TW favourite comedy acts - but I can't choose who to tell you about - and I also think that taking in a mixed bill show as part of your edfringe experience is pretty much essential, so that's what we are focusing on here. And this is a great comedy club, so you can expect great mixed bills. Details and booking for this show here, link to all the shows on at Monkey Barrel here.


THREE IN PERSON THEATRICAL EDINBURGH FRINGE SHOWS>>

Love In The Time Of Lockdown | theSpace @ Surgeons Hall
Always great to peruse the line up of shows happening at theSpace venues, because it's always a fabulously diverse range, and this year, though obviously smaller than usual, there's lots of great stuff to take in. This is a show that's done rather well at Brighton Fringe, and sounds like it might well be quite cathartic for those who have recently been through a lockdown (anyone?). "A show that will have you laughing, crying and talking about how lockdown was for you, for your neighbour and for your friends. From harrowing to hilarious! Sex, cars and face masks! Love never stops, not even during lockdown, but it gets so much harder". Read more about it, and book tickets, right about here.

Jack The Ripper - My Life As A Suspect | Laughing Horse @ The Counting House/The Free Sisters
If you, like many, are fond of stories of true crime, this may well be the show for you this Fringe, especially if you have a special interest in this very famous (though anonymous) killer. The lure of an unsolved crime is quite strong, I think, and people will always want to solve them, to clear away mystery and name the perpetrator. And I like to think it's my sense of justice, not an unseemly interest in gory historical events, that draws me to this sort of show. Anyway, your host Robert Inston takes you through the mythology of the Whitechapel murders, through the voices of Queen Victoria, the Commissioner of Police and a suspect nicknamed Leather Apron. Read more about it here.

Swallow The Sea Caravan Theatre | Summerhall | 6-28 Aug (pictured)
"From the absurd to the moving, magical, funny and intriguing. 'Swallow The Sea Caravan Theatre' gives an escape from the norm, plunging audiences into a different world. Object theatre, shadow and tabletop puppetry and live soundscapes: intimate all-immersive theatre in the tiniest of settings with the smallest of audiences". A bite size theatrical experience staged in a 1970s caravan is really the kind of performance that makes the Fringe the very interesting beast that it is - especially when it involves puppets - and I always recommend to friends that they should go for something like this, especially if it's their first time at the festival. First timer or not, this is a short and sweet treat that's well worth a look in. See this page here for more.


THREE MORE IN PERSON EDINBURGH SHOWS>>

Interstellar Duo | Pleasance at EICC | 6-10 Aug
Yes, yes, yes: yet more in-Edinburgh in-person shows, and now we are taking a turn for the musical with this fab sounding show, which promises to take you on a journey around the world armed with a range of instruments and a range of genres. "Voices, violin, viola and piano create a sound which is totally original, drawing on their experience creating music for film, TV and audiobooks. Sisters Charlotte and Heather Sterland perform their work inspired by music from many genres, such as jazz, classical, dance and folk music". Only on for a few days, so make sure you don't miss it, head this way right about now to get your tickets booked.

Daniel Martinez Company - Flamenco Guitar Concert | Novotel - The Tap | 6-29 Aug (pictured)
More music in a style very close to my heart: I have always been a very big fan of flamenco (the music primarily but the dance tradition is very cool too and obviously linked) and, well, as you can read from the title, this is a concert focusing entirely on flamenco guitar. The artist behind it is Daniel Martinez, an award winning musician from Cordoba, where he completed fourteen years of study in Cordoba's Royal Conservatoire. He's joined by singer and accompanying guitarist Danielo Olivera, and I would love to see them in action. For more information and to book see this page here.

The Garden Of Delight | Duddingston Kirk Manse Gardens | 6-29 August
Finally, something from the children's show programme, and it's from a group we have loved for a long, long time, and also given a TW Editors' Award to: the wonderful Theatre Alba, who perform Fringe shows in Duddingston Kirk Manse Gardens, a really, really lovely location in a fabulously villagey corner of Edinburgh. In this promenade performance, children and their families will be led on a quest by jester Tumshie, encountering good and evil, and clear messages about the importance of looking after the world and its ecology. Read more and book your tickets here.
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