MONDAY 9 AUGUST 2021 THISWEEKCULTURE.COM
IT'S EDINBURGH FESTIVAL 2021!
The Edinburgh Festival is under way once again with shows happening across the festival city and also online. Check out all our latest edfringe interviews and show recommendations below, plus look out for reviews going online here very soon.

On top of all our Edinburgh coverage, we're also still recommending great shows happening in London - including at the marvellous Camden Fringe - and across our tips you'll find plenty of productions and events happening online. Enjoy!


ISOBEL AND ANNA HUGHES: A PLACE TO FALL TO PIECES

'A Place To Fall To Pieces' is a show we recommended when it was on at The Space in London back in February, so we were excited to see it amongst the shows lining up for the online programme of this year's Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

A blend of music and storytelling, original composition and spoken word, it's the work of sisters Isobel and Anna Hughes. I spoke to them both, to find out more about the show and the talent behind it.

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

'A Place To Fall To Pieces' is available on demand via C Arts. See this page here for more.



ELLA POUND, BEN JAMES AND JOE VENABLE: ON YOUR BIKE
There is usually a fair number of musicals at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, often new stagings of old favourites, but we are always especially on the look out for the new work.

This year Cambridge University Musical Theatre Society - whose members have been responsible for such previous successes as 'Rust' and 'SiX' - are in the Scottish capital with another new musical.

'On Your Bike' focuses on the world of delivery riders and features a jazzy musical theatre sound. To find out more about the show, I spoke to producer Ella Pound, composer Ben James and writer Joe Venable.

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

'On Your Bike' is on at theSpace @ Surgeon's Hall until 28 Aug. See this page here for info and to book.



LILA CLEMENTS: LOOK, NO HANDS
There's a really interesting show coming up at London's Pleasance Theatre this week that's about a cyclist who ends up in a road collision and what happens to her in the aftermath. Inspired by a true story, it explores the idea of Post Traumatic Growth and the female cycling experience.

Following its run in London, it's going to be available online at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. To find out more about the play and the creative behind it, I spoke to Lila Clements, writer and performer.

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

'Look No Hands' is on at the Pleasance Theatre in London from 10-14 Aug, book your tickets here. You will also be able to watch the show digitally via edfringe from 23 Aug, click here.
Three To See tips recommending the best Fringe theatre, comedy and culture to see in London, at the Edinburgh Festival, and online...


THREE EDINBURGH FRINGE STRANDS>>

From Start To Finnish (pictured)
As I may well have said to you before, we like to talk about interesting strands at the Edinburgh Fringe. We did it last week, in fact, and now we're doing it again. We start this week's selection with From Start To Finnish, which - I am sure you clever people will have guessed - is a strand of work from Finland. It's all happening online and there are six fab shows, all of which fall into the dance, physical theatre and circus category. There's 'Kvartetto' and 'Receptionists' via Summerhall online; 'Opia', 'Fugue In Two Colours' and 'Closed Doors' via ZooTV; and 'O'DD' via Assembly Showcatcher. More here.

Korean Season
Next up is a classy looking Korean season via Assembly's Showcatcher platform. There are three shows in this line up: '13 Fruitcakes' is a multimedia show about drag queen Orlando, who inspires people to fight oppression by telling the story of historical gay figures; 'Ensemble Su' is a musical treat, a quintet performing their work on a mixture of traditional Korean instruments and western instruments; the final show is a dance/physical performance telling the story of a journey through dreams for an eighty year old woman. For more information about all the shows, see the website here.

Black Box Live
Our final recommended season is one from Adelaide Fringe and edfringe veterans Hartstone-Kitney Productions. Black Box Live offers five productions, two of which are theatre pieces - 'The Girl Who Jumped Off The Hollywood Sign' and 'The Reichstag Is Burning'; and two of which are in the dance/physical/circus category - 'Egg' and 'Spaces Between Us And Satori'. The final production, 'Still Alive and Kicking', is an award winning cabaret/variety show offering an immersive insight into life and death. For more information on all of these, see the edfringe website here and click through to each show.


THREE CAMDEN FRINGE SHOWS>>

Existential Fish And Dread | Camden Fringe at The Cockpit | 12-15 Aug
As you are all surely aware, there may be a now-fairly-big-festival-actually going on up there in the Scottish capital, but there's also a fairly-big-fringe festival going on in that other capital too. Camden Fringe is ongoing and there is SO MUCH good stuff to avail yourself of if you are a London resident. Let's start with the intriguing 'Existential Fish And Dread': "Stephen Hawking's dead. Martin's having a breakdown. And Ellie? She's feeding the fish. When Martin hears that the world's greatest scientific mind has died, he's tipped over the edge. Who will figure out where we came from, and why we're here?" More here.

Tick Tick | Camden Fringe at Etcetera Theatre | 9-13 Aug (pictured)
Interestingly, since we selected this show because it's on at the Camden Fringe, we discovered that it's also on at the Edinburgh Fringe later in the month. So this tip works on two whole levels, which is exciting for me, at least. Anyway, this is a one-woman show dealing with themes around anxiety, being a student, and online sex work. "Robin's in her second year, loves her tutor, has a job, Robin's great! But Robin's ticking. Robin sells feet pics. Robin chose violence. Robin's sorry". Details here.

No Cure For Love | Camden Fringe at Lion & Unicorn Theatre | 12-14 Aug
"Inspired by the music of Leonard Cohen, this piece examines the truth behind love songs. Can love ever be like that? Would we want it to be? Does love age with us or do we always fall like teenagers? Join musicians Scott and Rose backstage at the Broadstairs Folk Festival as they try to discover if there is - in fact - a cure for love". A show about love between older people - which, as the blurb points out, is a bit rare. Find out more here.


THREE DIGITAL EDINBURGH SHOWS>>

Grin | Summerhall Online | on demand from 13 Aug
Back to Edinburgh now for some more digital treats from some of our faves. Edfringe aficionados will know just how good Summerhall is at programming fab shows and this year's online line up - both live and on demand - is full of goodies. But this is one that jumped out at me, so here we are. It's "a digital fruition of performance, sound, visuals and choreography which subverts hyper sexualised notions of African and Caribbean dance. 'Grin' is a masquerade of dance sculptures where body and costume are accompanied by a pulsating sound score". More here.

Planet Of The Grapes | ZooTV | 8-24 Aug (pictured)
"The Victorian era's toy theater movement collides with digital theater in this critically acclaimed, epic, table-top, sci-fi adventure. An astronaut crew crash lands on an unfamiliar planet in the distant future and are enslaved by a society where grapes have evolved into speaking creatures with human-like intelligence". Yeah, it sounds crazy, but you're in good hands with Peter Michael Marino, who first stole our TW heart at the 2012 Fringe, and will surely have only got better since then, you know, like a fine wine. Head to this page here and scroll down.

Outta The Books | online via Fringe player | 6-30 Aug
And finally, a show for the kids, one that promises to present your favourite fairy tales as you have never seen them before… "Witches, wolves, fairies, frogs, princes… and pop music?! It's time to think outside the books with a magical new musical! Set in the 2D world of books, we meet a motley crew of unsung fairy-tale characters who audition in a singing competition to become the voice of the Land Of Once Upon A Time. Their mission… to save the world one fairy tale at a time". It's listed on the edfringe website here.


THREE LONDON COMEDY SHOWS>>

Aaron Simmonds - Hot Wheels | Soho Theatre | 13-14 Aug
Aaaaand we are back to London for some live and in person comedy for those of you within easy distance of central London. So let's get straight over to Soho Theatre for a comedy performance from the critically acclaimed Aaron Simmonds. "Five years ago, Aaron gained a nickname based solely on being in a wheelchair. Understandably this upset him as there is much more to him than his disability. Annoyingly though it's actually a really cool nickname. Discover the positive side of being disabled, from having a blue badge to sex in disabled toilets, meeting 'Jesus' and everything in between". Click here to book.

Katharyn Henson - Ew Girl, You Nasty | Camden Fringe at Comedy Cabin | 12, 14, 26, 28 Aug
Well, we have done it again: this is a show you can catch in both London and Edinburgh this summer, though on this occasion I knew full well that it was the case. This show is also on at Camden Fringe, so you may well be wondering why it's not in that section. And it's basically because the Camden Fringe section got full of theatre so I shifted this to the comedy section. Anyway, enough talk about tip logistics and more talk about Katharyn Henson, who is another critically acclaimed comedian, and she is going to make you laugh. See this page here for more info.

Rob Auton - The Time Show | Soho Theatre | 16-28 Aug (pictured)
TW favourite and TW Editors' Award Winner Rob Auton always commands our attention with his quirky comedy/spoken word. Don't miss him, seriously. "Following on from his critically acclaimed shows about talking, hair, sleep, water, faces, the sky and the colour yellow, 'the Fringe's comedian laureate' (British Comedy Guide) now turns his attention to time. He will be asking questions such as "What time is it?" and "What is it time?"" Head this way to sort out your tickets.


THREE LONDON THEATRE SHOWS>>

A Rat, A Rat | Golden Goose Theatre | 10-28 Aug
And now, some more in person London shows for all you theatre-lovers, and we begin with this award-shortlisted play from Chloe Yates. "Charlie has just turned eighteen. Whilst most would be out enjoying their newly-found adult liberties, Charlie is stuck in a white room with a bed without sheets, a window that doesn't open, and a rat. She has to adapt fast to this new, sterile world of the adult psychiatric unit if she is to convince anyone that she is well enough to go home to her waiting mum, Vicky. Under the care of her over-worked and under-trained key worker Jenny, she learns quickly that she is pretty much on her own. Until Kim turns up". Details here.

Patricia Gets Ready (for a date with the man that used to hit her) | Pleasance Theatre | 11-13 Aug (pictured)
And yes, it's yet another show happening in London this week that will be heading edfringe-wards later in the month. It's quite exciting, to be honest, knowing we can recommend all these shows to people both in Scotland and in London. Anyway, this show sounds amazing and I want to see it. "Patricia has spent a year crafting a kick ass speech while recovering from an abusive relationship. But when she bumps into her ex on the street, and accidentally agrees to dinner with him that night, she's got some big decisions to make: What to wear? What to say? And whether or not to go?" Details right about here

Hop! |The Space! | 10-14 Aug
"It's late on the eve of Gina's daughter's birthday. Gina should be wrapping up gifts and blowing up balloons; and she would be doing so, if her hands weren't covered in blood… Whose blood is it? How did it get there? And what has it got to do with a Boots Christmas advert?" This sounds like a rather fun murder mystery, and it's also set in Stockport where I used to go shopping when I was young, and that fact should have you flocking. Seriously, though, it sounds great, and like many of the shows that have been on at The Space these last few months, there's an opportunity to watch from home as well as turn up in the flesh. Click here for more info and to book.


THREE LONDON FAMILY SHOWS>>

Zog | Rose Theatre Kingston | 4-11 Aug
Well, we're a couple of weeks (or is it more?!) into the summer holidays so I reckon many of the parents and carers reading this may well be thinking "what can I do to keep the children entertained this week?" Well, some of you might be organised and have the whole summer planned out but for those of you who don't, here are some theatrical options for the next week. You've only got a couple of days left to see this one - an adaptation of the well loved children's book from creative pairing Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler - so head this way right away to book yourself in.

Nightshade | Bridewell Theatre | 13-14 Aug (pictured)
This one, happening later in the week, is not a children's show, but it may well be a good option for a family outing with musical-loving teens. "Nestled amongst the backstreets, taverns and alleyways in the downtown district of Disturbia, stands a small apothecary on Wolf-Bane Lane. A herbal sanctuary and workplace to a team of young herbalists… with a vigilante agenda. Can their light fight the ever-growing darkness infiltrating the city? What are the strange afflictions hitting its people? Who is the White Wiccan? And who is the silhouetted figure on the rooftops? A comic-book musical about darkness and light, good and bad, revenge and redemption… and one girl's fight to uncover her true identity". Book here.

Pinocchio | Greenwich Theatre | 13 Aug-5 Sep
"When a children's game of hide-and-seek leads to the discovery of a talking log in the forest, Mr Cherry is quick to see the potential in the strange situation. However, when he delivers the log to Gepetto the carpenter to carve, under the watchful eye of his talking cricket, none of them can imagine the adventures that lie ahead…" Yeah, I think you all know where this is heading. And yes, it's another fab sounding production from Greenwich Theatre, where you can also see (as previously recommended) 'The Wolves Of Willoughby Chase' this summer. This one is suitable for children aged six and over, see the venue website here for more information.


THREE IN PERSON THEATRICAL EDINBURGH SHOWS>>

1902 | Leith Arches | until 30 Aug
Right, well, we've talked a lot about the digital Edinburgh Fringe so far, so now it's time for some recommendations for those of you who are actually in town for the Festival. First up '1902', a critically acclaimed production from Saltire Sky Theatre, which depicts working class life in Scotland and follows four young wannabe football hooligans on a quest to see Hibs win the Scottish Cup Final. It's an immersive production that's graced the Fringe before with a lot of success - I can see that tickets are selling quickly so don't miss out, head this way now to book yourself in.

Tunnels | Army @ The Fringe | until 22 Aug (pictured)
"Paul and Freddie want to escape East Berlin; the only thing in their way is a 20-metre 'death strip', 100s of landmines and the East German secret police. With live musical accompaniment and based on the real-life escape stories of the men and women who made it to the other side, 'Tunnels' tells of their struggle to burrow under the Berlin Wall. Will their plans lead to freedom or bury them under an avalanche of dirt?" I love historical theatre, and so do Further Theatre, the company behind this show. I reckon this is going to be a good un. Head this way for more.

Eugene | Pleasance Theatre | 10-15 Aug
A comedy theatre show with slightly futuristic themes that promises to show what happens when we give technology power over us, and it comes with integrated captioning, delivering part of the story through smart devices, making the performance deaf friendly. "In the not too distant future, millionaire and inventor (think Elon Musk with a further attitude problem) Hugh from Hu-Bris industries is launching the first superhuman artificial intelligence. And you're invited. Think The Terminator does a TED Talk with Steve Jobs". Well, I'm sold. Click here.


THREE IN PERSON COMEDY EDINBURGH FRINGE SHOWS>>

Alex Farrow - Philosophy Pig | Laughing Horse @ Counting House | 6-30 Aug (pictured)
Yet more live in person shows for you now, and this time the focus is comedy. And we are keen to lavish some of our attention on Alex Farrow. Do you blame us? His show is called 'Philosophy Pig', and it claims to be a hilarious investigation into animals and philosophy. Not sure entirely how I feel about philosophy (I can't claim to have enjoyed that logic option I took in my first year of university) but I love animals and especially pigs. And also, Farrow has won no small amount of critical acclaim of late, so it's just all adding up to a recommendation, isn't it? Click here.

Blind Mirth presents Sex With Me | theSpace at Surgeon's Hall | 6-14 Aug
As regular readers will know, we are always interested in taking in a bit of improv comedy here at TW towers. It's one of our very favourite types of performance. So we always have an ear and an eye out for any such shows making their way to the old edfringe. Popping up and grabbing my attention this week with the promise of improper conduct is student troupe Blind Mirth, St Andrews' "oldest, funniest and - incidentally - only improv comedy troupe", so let's give them a go. Especially as we haven't reviewed them for years and years. See this page here to book your tickets.

Tom Little Makes A Triumphant Return To Stand-Up | PBH Free Fringe at Subway | 9-29 Aug
I expect lots of you will be entirely aware of the existence of Tom Little. He's a past winner of the Leicester Mercury Comedian Of The Year award, a past finalist in the BBC New Comedy Award, and he was nominated for an Amused Moose Award too. But you don't just have to take it from the awards people, he's had loads of critical acclaim from reviewers and the like. And he (like many other comedians) is making a post-lockdown return to comedy. And I'd suggest considering taking in this show, because I would expect it to be very good. See this page here for more.


THREE MORE EDINBURGH THINGS>>

Niqabi Ninja | The Lyceum | 12-28 Aug (pictured)
OK, one final section of stuff happening in Edinburgh and then that's it for this week. And, as thus far we've largely been focusing on all things Fringe, it's about time we took a look at some of the stuff happening at other festivals. So let's head over to the Lyceum for some International Festival fare, an intimate experiential performance to be absorbed in pairs or small groups. "Combining street artwork, audio-story performance and a walk through your city, 'Niqabi Ninja' is a graphic-novel style revenge story written in reaction to the 2012-2014 mob sexual assaults in Tahrir Square, Cairo". It's selling out quickly though, so be quick about it, head this way.

Edinburgh International Book Festival 14-30 Aug
Normally I would select individual events from the Edinburgh International Book Festival to tip, but our coverage is happening on a much smaller scale than it usually does, so I'm just going to go ahead and tip the whole event, right here. There's lots happening, a huge online programme but also loads of live events, with the usual high number of recognisable names and faces. Lots of events, as ever, for children, and lots of different themes for the adult events - feminism, poetry, migration, environmental politics. And some of my very favourite-est writers, like Maggie O'Farrell and Kazuo Ishiguro, will be appearing. Take a look at all of it here.

Kinnaris Quartet | Old College Quad | 12 Aug
And for our final recommendation, another International Festival show, and this time it's music. I'm really excited by the sound of Kinnaris Quintet, which takes its name from Southeast Asian mythological creatures, combining the head and body of a woman and the wings and tail of a swan, and whose music combines Scottish and Irish folk music with bluegrass, classical, Scandinavian and Appalachian influences. A must for lovers of traditional music, see this page here for all the details and to book.
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