MONDAY 16 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, reviews and show recommendations below, and look out for more reviews going online here all the time.

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!


CLEMENTINE BOGG-HARGROVES: SKANK

One-person shows are a definite fixture up at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and we see lots of them every year, so we are always on the lookout for the great ones, especially those which feature new writing from up and coming artists.

One that leapt out at us from this year's Fringe line up is 'Skank' at the Pleasance, which promises to be rather dark, as well as boasting a witty and poignant script.

To find out more about the play I spoke to writer and performer Clementine Bogg-Hargroves.

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

'Skank' is on at Pleasance Courtyard from 17-29 Aug. See this page here for more.



OLGA PAVLOVA: FROM RUSSIA WITH NO LOVE
Two of the best things about the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, to my mind, are a) seeing the waves of newcomers who turn up each year oozing with talent and new ideas, and b) seeing artists from all over the world heading to the Scottish Capital to take part.

One such newcomer, here all the way from Eastern Europe, is Olga Pavlova. Born in Russia, and now resident in Bulgaria, she's busy forging a career in the world of stand-up comedy.

To find out more about Olga, her career, and what prompted her to perform in Edinburgh this year, I arranged a quick chat.

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

Olga performs 'From Russia With No Love' at PBH's Free Fringe @ Pilgrim until 29 Aug, and at PBH's Free Fringe @ Banshee Labyrinth on 20+21 Aug.



DAVID COLVIN: THUNDERSTRUCK
During the Festival month of August, the Scottish capital is flooded with voices and productions from all over the world, which is fabulous. But it's also fantastic to see more local work emerging and succeeding.

One such success is 'Thunderstruck', which won much acclaim back in 2019, continued on to Australia, and is back at the Fringe in 2021. It’s a one man show about the life of extraordinary piper Gordon Duncan, written and performed by David Colvin, who you may well recognise as a member of the original cast of the internationally acclaimed 'Black Watch'.

I spoke to David to find out more about the show and its inspiration.

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

David Colvin performs 'Thunderstruck' at the Scottish Storytelling Centre until 29 Aug. See the edfringe listing here for info and to book.



MARIA MACDONELL: MISS LINDSAY'S SECRET
As someone who is always interested in both historical stories and also dragging my family to folk museums, my ears pricked up when I heard about 'Miss Lindsay's Secret', which is currently doing a Fringe run at the Scottish Storytelling Centre.

The play follows the story of sweethearts separated by the Atlantic ocean, and explores - amongst other themes - how significant events in Scotland's history still have an impact on national identity.

The play has been written by Maria McDonell, who also performs in the show. I spoke to her to find out more about the piece, as well as what to expect from her in the future.

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

'Miss Lindsay's Secret' is on at the Scottish Storytelling Centre until 30 Aug. Click here for more information and to book tickets.



MICHAEL WALLER, TIM FRASER AND NICO PIMPARÉ: CANDY
As you all surely know by now, there is plenty of work to consume via digital means this edfringe, and there's a great programme to absorb from ZOO TV.

Amongst this year's offerings is 'Candy', a film from the Reboot Theatre Company, who had hoped to be at the festival in person last year, and then this year. However, in the face of uncertainty, they took a different approach, and created a shortened, cinematic version of their play.

The one man show - about a young man accidentally falling in love with his best friend - was written by Tim Fraser, directed by Nico Pimparé and stars Reboot producer Michael Waller. I spoke to all three of them to find out more.

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

You can view Reboot Theatre Company's filmed version of 'Candy' via Zoo TV until 28 Aug. See the listing on the edfringe website here.

Three To See tips recommending the best Fringe theatre, comedy and culture to see in London, at the Edinburgh Festival, and online...


THREE ONLINE SHOWS FROM EDINBURGH>>

Ember | online via Assembly Showcatcher | on demand
The Edinburgh Fringe continues and lots of it is online, so you don't have to be in Edinburgh to avail yourself of it. So let's talk about some of that online content, starting with 'Ember', an award nominated and rather dark comedy from Australia. "'Ember' is a window into the mind of a young woman who, waking up one day, realises she doesn't know who she is. Fleur lives the dream of any millennial, but instead of happiness and satisfaction, she is left with inescapable anxiety for the future. A deep dive into the Australian 'she'll be right' attitude". Details here.

Metamorphosis | Summerhall online | 21-29 Aug
"When Gregor Samsa woke one morning from unsettling dreams, he found himself changed into a monstrous verminous bug". Yes, I am sure you all know the premise of Franz Kafka's classic work, but this one should be a rather different experience, not least because it's live via zoom and presented by "a cast of twelve, all of whom awoke to a different world, confined to home, without work, forced to question their profession, their identity, their very worth to the world". The result is something rather good and, in fact, award winning. Find the listing here.

Ithaca | online via edfringe player | 6-30 Aug (pictured)
As you can probably tell from the last tip, we're big fans here of new takes on old classics, so let's great straight to another: a one woman adaptation of Homer's 'Odyssey' examining a host of social issues: fatphobia, bullying, domestic harassment, mental health, chronic illness and immigration. It sounds absolutely fabulous, click here for more. But also, there are lots and lots of other fab digital treats available to you via the Fringe and I'd love for you to browse them all, and you can do that here. Filter the search to narrow it down by dates, genre, etc.


THREE SHOWS AT CAMDEN FRINGE>>

The Bacchae | Camden Fringe at Hen & Chickens | 20-25 Aug
Okay, back to London and some real life in person stuff from the fabulous Camden Fringe. Oh, and it looks like there might be a couple more reinvented classics raising their lovely heads. "Dionysus is the god of drugs, debauchery and ritual madness and will stop at nothing to prove her divine heritage to the dissenters of Thebes. Set deep in the underground club scene where debauchery rules and idolatry reigns, The Bacchae run the show. Every. Night. Can the rule of law compete with the chaos and euphoria of Dionysus". Info here.

Juliet & Romeo | Camden Fringe at Upstairs At The Gatehouse | 17-22 Aug
Shakespeare this time and what sounds like a very interesting adaptation of the bardy favourite, which, like the previously tipped show, employs some very modern themes. "What do young adults do on a Saturday night? They go to a house party, get drunk and maybe make some questionable decisions. Follow Juliet as she tells the tale of falling for that poor fool Romeo, from Tybalt's party to that almost fatal end". Get tickets here.

Kiss Her | Camden Fringe at The Cockpit/CPT | 18-19, 27-29 Aug (pictured)
"History hasn't told the truth about women - about gay women. We're going to re-write history, re-write the rules. Spanning through time, this episodic piece highlights the ways in which we view feminine and queer bodies; how they are watched but not seen. 'Kiss Her' lifts those neglected stories to re-imagined presents and hopeful futures". This is the debut play from a new company, Jack The Lass, and it sounds rather promising. See the Camden Fringe website here for more info and to book.


THREE MORE THEATRE SHOWS IN LONDON>>

The Nobodies | Pleasance Theatre | 17-28 Aug
And of course, while there's loads of great stuff happening at the Camden Fringe, there's also lots of other theatre happening in the capital! Including at the Pleasance Theatre, which is where we find our next tipped show 'The Nobodies'. "A town is in turmoil. A hospital is closing. And an MP is dead on the train tracks... Accident? Or opportunity? When a local hospital announces its closure, panic ensues. Healthcare Assistant Rhea is forced to look for work elsewhere. Local lad Aaron worries about his mum's treatment in the cancer ward. And Curtis just isn't sure where he's going to sleep. But when the three witness a horrific accident, a rare opportunity presents itself". Head this way to find out more and book your tickets.

When Darkness Falls | Park Theatre | 18 Aug-4 Sep (pictured)
Anyone in the mood for something spooky? I bet you are. And in that case, we have the perfect show for you, a new play from James Milton and Paul Morrissey that promises to be a twisted and terrifying supernatural tale. "Set on Guernsey, 'When Darkness Falls' tells the story of a teacher who runs the local historical society: tonight, as part of the weekly vlog, a young paranormal expert is giving a talk on the island's incredible folklore and paranormal history. As the teacher films, the speaker regales horrifying stories. Stories that can only occur on a small, isolated island. Tonight, the teacher will learn exactly what happens when the wind blows, the seas swell and darkness falls". Book here.

Scab | Arcola Theatre | 18-21 Aug
"In the heart of northern England, an old man falls bleeding to the kerb outside his local pub. At the same time, a disenfranchised young man clocks off from the graveyard shift. What starts off as a chance encounter between two dilapidated souls transcends into something much deeper..." This is a show that's been waiting a while for its premiere, because its first showing had to be cancelled when the first lockdown started. Described as a "a visceral and comedic commentary on social responsibility", it's on as part of Arcola Theatre's Today I'm Wiser festival of outdoor art and performance. More here.


THREE MORE IN PERSON LONDON SHOWS>>

Dead Ringers Live | London Wonderground | 17-29 Aug
And now for something comedic, because frankly, we've had our heads a bit turned by all the fab fringey theatre. Over to London Wonderground for a special live run of the well loved Radio 4 series 'Dead Ringers', starring Jon Culshaw, Debra Stephenson and Duncan Wisbey. Great news for fans of the show, or indeed, any of you who enjoy political satire and comedy impressions and might inexplicably be unaware of this long running success of the airwaves. Anyway, expect a mixture of classic sketches and new material, and a marvellous show. See this page here to book yourselves in.

Everything Has Changed | New Diorama Theatre | 20-21 Aug (pictured)
I feel like we might have been ignoring the young ones a bit of late, not least because there's so much grown up culture to talk about. So here's one for children aged seven to eleven from the fabulous Rhum + Clay, made in consultation with a child psychologist and London-based children, a musical adventure about the tumultuous vagaries of the past year or so. "The world has ever so slightly shifted. Things are... different, skewed, off kilter and no one else has noticed. Time feels strange and no one day is the same. Wait. Was that an actual zebra crossing the zebra crossing?" Click here.

The Adventures Of Bo Peep | Greenwich Theatre | 19-21 Aug
And as that one was for the older children, here's one for the tots aged two to six, and it's a new show based on the nursery rhyme with an interactive story, puppets, sensory learning and original music. "Watch the adventures of Bo Peep unravel as she tries to rescue her woolly friends! Counting her sheep always sends Bo Peep off to sleep by bedtime, but with no sign of them yet she'll be up all night searching. Bo Peep needs you and your family's help to save her little lambkins from danger in time for bed!" Head to the Greenwich Theatre website here to find out more.


THREE THEATRICAL SHOWS IN EDINBURGH>>

Press | Pleasance Theatre | 17-29 Aug
Back up to Edinburgh now for some in-the-very-flesh theatrical experiences at this year's lively, if smaller-than-usual Fringe. Let's begin with 'Press', a satirical piece which sees a filmmaker couple desperately trying to avoid being 'cancelled'. "It's the big day. The announcement is in a few hours' time, and film producers David and Kate anticipate their prestigious Civil War epic 'Catch Me Some Freedom' will be nominated for plenty of Goldies. Until, however, they learn that the film's heroic lead role, played by a white actor, was in real life actually black". This one's from the excellent Black Bat Productions, who are also showing comical crime thriller 'Fear Of Roses' at Assembly Roxy, so honestly, see them both. Click here for 'Press' and here for 'Fear Of Roses'.

Corpsing/Wish List | theSpaceTriplex | 7-27 Aug
I've actually sneaked in two shows here, because they are from the same teamed-together companies performing in the same slot on alternate dates, so if you can't make one, maybe you can make the other...? But you know, you could - and I recommend this - also see both of them. 'Corpsing' is a comedy about a young man who inherits a thriving undertaker business when a distant uncle dies, but discovers that the company he's now in charge of is, um, problematic. 'Wish List', by contrast, is a hard-hitting and realistic look at mental health and class division, which sees a sister forced to make difficult choices when her brother's benefits are cut. See this page here for 'Corpsing' and this page here for 'Wish List'.

Brave Face | theSpace @ Symposium Hall | 23-28 Aug (pictured)
"How many times can a woman be objectified before deciding she's more human than that? More angry than that... more vengeful than that... And how on this patriarchal earth is she gonna make this bullsh*t fair? Em has had her womanhood threatened one too many times, and when her 'boyfriend' breaks her heart, she becomes a woman the world fears, who lies, blackmails and gets what she wants. But when her past catches up with her present, we question: is this what she deserves?" This is described as a "pitch black comedy" and given those themes, that's not surprising. I'm intrigued though - looks like an interesting approach to sex, trauma and "the female experience". Click here.


THREE COMEDY SHOWS IN EDINBURGH>>

Daphna Baram: Unmuted | Laughing Horse @ The Counting House | 19-29 Aug (pictured)
And now on to a whole section of comedy tips, because, after all, it does make up a large section, percentage-wise, of the ye old edfringe. Let's head first to The Counting House, a hive of comedy offerings. "A year indoors left Daphna Baram, a sociable animal even at the worst of times, compelled to spend the first year of her 50s chatting with her unforgiving self. When she ran home to mummy in Jerusalem, she found herself in the middle of a war". Altogether, a rather eventful set of circumstances that I feel sure will generate some rather interesting material from this vivacious Fringe veteran. See this page here for more.

Improvabunga The Improvised Movie Adventure | theSpace at Surgeon's Hall | 6-21 Aug
As you know, we are always looking for improv, because it's one of our favourite things, and there's rarely a shortage of it at the Fringe. This time we're going for this improvised movie extravaganza from a troupe that's won much critical acclaim in the past. Here's what they say you can expect: "Live musical accompaniment and buzzers that you can use to control the performers. There'll be songs, there'll be tears, there'll be kisses (or slaps) and there will be funny". All rather compelling. So what are you waiting for? Book here, quickly, there's only a few days left.

Billy Kirkwood: Notes From My Phone | Scottish Comedy Festival @ The Beehive Inn | until 28 Aug
"Brand new, uncensored and totally unrehearsed... award-winning comedian and presenter Billy Kirkwood has been busy filling his phone with random jokes and thoughts for the last two years... now it's time to open it up and see what's inside. Part stand-up gig, part workshop; all funny". I reckon the idea behind this show will be enough to intrigue you. But you should probably also know (in case you don't already) that Kirkwood is a hugely acclaimed act, not least by our own reviewers who've used phrases like "hugely original and downright hilarious", "one of Scotland's most innovative comedians" and "I honestly can't believe this show was free" when writing about him in the past. Book yourself in here.


MORE EDINBURGH STUFF>>

Carol Ann Duffy and John Sampson | Multistorey | 21-23 Aug (pictured)
"Carol Ann is one of the most respected poets in the English language. John is a virtuoso multi-instrumentalist with a highly individual, humorous touch. Two rare talents meshing and contrasting delightfully in performances, matured over many years of international touring, that leaven serious and profound themes with detours down the byways of absurdity. Wit, wisdom and wonder delivered through consummate verbal and musical dexterity". All true, that. Only three dates, don't miss your chance to see this fab pair in action. Click here.

We Came To Dance | Nicolson Square | until 28 Aug
One for the musical fans, possibly, this, but also for those of you looking for something a bit different: an immersive piece with some rather interesting themes. It tells the story of extra-terrestrial life arriving on Earth to warn its inhabitants of a climate crisis that their own planet has experienced, and audience members interact with these aliens, who were imagined with Dr Steve B Howell at NASA Ames Research Center, and they sing in their own language, created by linguist David Peterson. It was originally supposed to debut off Broadway last summer, but COVID got in the way. Book tickets here.

Edinburgh International Film Festival | 18-25 Aug
Yes, I've gone and done it again, I'm recommending an entire festival in one tip. But you know, it's because of our more limited edfest coverage this year, but also because our focus is generally more on the Fringe/theatre/comedy side of things, to be honest. Also, it would be quite hard to try and narrow the entire Edinburgh International Film Festival programme down to just one film or something, so you know, check it out yourself. There are plenty of films to go and see in the flesh, but quite a few of them are also available to view online on demand, so you don't even have to be in Edinburgh to see them. As you'd expect, there are lots of really interesting films, many of which are the sort that don't generally reach a more mainstream audience. Click here to see what's on.
Neu! Reekie! (Neu! Reekie!)
'Neu! Reekie!' originators Kevin Williamson and Michael Pedersen have been staging innovative, diversely programmed 'happenings' for over ten years. Tonight's headliner - following fine poetic supporting turns from Victoria McNulty and Darren McGarvey - is one they've coveted for most of that time, namely Scottish pop godfather Edwyn Collins. Splendidly accompanied by acoustic guitarists Carwyn Ellis and Patrick Ralla, Edwyn powers through highlights from a rich back-catalogue ranging from the first Orange Juice single 'Falling And Laughing' - through hits 'Rip It Up' and 'A Girl Like You' - to more recent solo material. Taking together Edwyn's own remarkable story of recovery from a serious stroke to the point of being able to perform again, and more recent global events, there's only one way to describe this: life-affirming.
Edinburgh Park, Edinburgh International Festival, run ended.
tw rating 5/5 | [Bruce Blacklaw]

Pashyanti On Guitar (Simon Thacker)
Inspiration and vibrancy bounced through this spectacular Made In Scotland showcase, both online, in a cinematic video featuring former Rambert dancer Aishwarya Raut in the Scottish countryside, and live, in the music itself. 'MunaSata' by Thacker was about striving vigorously towards a goal and finding the musical destination was not a booming chord but a tiny harmonic. His 'Tandava' was a whirling improvised sacred dance with his wonderful flamenco technique sparking his favoured hindu rhythms into rippling, leaping contrasts. This well thought out programme also included composers Rabindranath Tagore and Agustín Barrios Mangoré and showed the discipline behind Thacker's impressive playing. Finally, in Thacker's wonderful 'Nirjanavana', twenty-first century digital delay mesmerised the loyal audience reconnecting with this most original artist's bright tone and welcoming presence.
Summerhall, 15, 20, 22, 25, 29 Aug + on demand via Summerhall Online.
tw rating 5/5 | [Louise Rodgers]

C*nt (Becky Fury)
"How do I love thee / let me c*nt the ways". Thus begins Malcolm Hardee and Morecambe Fringe Award winner Becky Fury's take on the Browning classic, although one might be hard pressed to count the c*nts in this show too - sprinkled liberally as they are throughout the performance. "Roses are red / Violets are blue / You're a c*nt" is another such offering. This performance is neither slick nor neatly assembled, but Fury is instantly affable, and her explosively expletive monologue does offer some insightful observations and cheeky word play, as well as a meaty fist of genuine laugh out loud moments. More titillating than scintillating, 'C*nt' seduces, slowly but surely.
Fringe Online - Zoom, 11-13, 26-27 Aug
tw rating 3/5 | [Geoff Mills]

Vignettes Of A Pestilence (Actors Repertory Theatre Luxembourg)
Creating an emotional connection remotely, through video calls, is hard. One would expect an online drama, presented as a series of video-chats, to explore that issue; sadly, while these three short plays suffer from the digital disconnect, they seem uninterested in exploring it. The delivery is slightly stilted, which fits online chats, often filled with hesitations and staccato dialogue. But in a performance, it jars. Indeed, that's both the strength and weakness of these plays: they feel very relatable, an accurate reflection of living through the pandemic, separated from loved ones. A realistic slice of pandemic life. But they don't bring anything new or say anything about the experience, and in pursuing authenticity the script and performances feel ironically artificial.
[email protected], on demand.
tw rating 2/5 | [Andy Leask]

Charlie's A Clepto (Axis Ballymun and Dublin Port Company)
Claire Monnelly is the writer and performer of this intense, one-woman drama, chronicling the misadventures of young mother Charlie in the 24 hours leading up to a meeting about regaining custody of her baby. The performance is riveting, and the character of Charlie is believably flawed and endearingly sympathetic. It's a structurally complex narrative, and at times it can be a little choppy, as the script cuts from anecdote to flashback to dialogue in quick succession. I would have liked a little more variation in tone - there's plenty of scope for some black humour there - but neither script nor delivery steers into the laughs, keeping things straight, serious and intense. But a surprisingly honest and uplifting ending leaves things on a well-deserved high.
Assembly Showcatcher (Online), on demand.
tw rating 4/5 | [Andy Leask]

Sugar (Mabel Thomas)
'Sugar' follows the precocious May from the beginning to the end of her teenage years, in an addictive character study of a young woman discovering who she is. From encounters with boys on playgrounds to her first forays into the world of work, nothing ever quite goes to plan for May. It's both written and performed by Mabel Thomas, and her performance is the powerful driving force of this intimate and highly entertaining insight into the ambiguous choices of one teenager. Superbly performed elements of physical comedy bring this one-woman show to life, complemented by the sharp script and brilliant pacing. 'Sugar' is completely engaging from start to finish: witty, well-observed and at times devastating, this show is a must see.
Season 4 - [email protected], until 30 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Bethan Highgate-Betts]

Cash Point Meet by Niamh Murphy (Obstreperous Young Ladies)
'Cash Point Meet' follows Emma and Sinéad as they begin to flirt with the world of sex work, and the script offers a darkly funny and illuminating look at this varied world, managing to do so without ever being preachy. It's an ambitious and timely play that shows a slice of modern life that is too often ignored, and is a strong debut from writer Niamh Murphy. Both Murphy and Ava Hahessy Madigan's performances are compelling and bring a delicate empathy, yet the real triumph of the piece is its inclusion: it could have easily been a standard narrative about the two main characters, but bringing in narrative strands via video elements has created a diverse piece. One which will no doubt stay with the audience.
Fringe Online - Fringe Player, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Bethan Highgate-Betts]

Sweet FA (This Is My Story Productions)
This warm, witty and wonderful play won over the audience as it explored the importance and impact of women's football during World War One. The venue - a stage in the stands of Tynecastle Park - brings an irresistible energy, the excitement of a live match. The script is surprisingly sharp and satirical, despite the compassion of the human drama at its heart. The performances are all great, bringing depth and shade to the principal characters. The actors also play the male members of the 'Shady Football Authority', the pantomime villains of the piece. While their cartoonish presentation jarred at first (in contrast to the more grounded performances elsewhere), in truth caricature is the most effective response to misogynistic bigotry overcoming common sense and common decency alike.
Tynecastle Park, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Andy Leask]

Simon & Garfunkel Through The Years (Bookends)
Something special for Simon & Garfunkel fans! Bookends' Pete Richards and Dan Hayes have been staging tribute shows to the duo and their music for years, which showed in the tightness of their performance and professionalism. Opening with the emotive 'Homeward Bound' and finishing with the crowd pleasing 'The Boxer', it was a relaxed afternoon of twelve songs and good humoured storytelling. 'America' was an unexpected highlight because the light and shade of the duo's rendition added something special today. Pete Richards' guitar was spine tingling on the distinctive introduction to 'Sound Of Silence'. They were joined by Johnny Knight on piano for 'Bridge Over Troubled Water', which delighted the crowd who were so pleased to be back at a live gig with a feel good vibe.
theSpace @ Symposium Hall, until 14 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Louise Rodgers]

Deserted Shores / Negative Photographs (GalataPerform)
Written by Fredi Çetin and directed by Yeşim Özsoy, 'Deserted Shores / Negative Photographs' follows one woman's imagining of a dinner party that never happened. The forty minute play was designed during COVID-19 specifically to be filmed and shared with audiences all over the world, and uses a combination of video, sound, performance and installation elements which make for an intriguing piece. Performed in Turkish with English subtitles, this poetic monologue plays as the characters go about the dinner party and find themselves at several other locations. The nature of this, coupled with the lack of action on screen, can start to feel a bit monotonous. That said, although occasionally a bit stilted, the production is still a thought-provoking exploration of memory and loss.
Fringe Online - Fringe Player, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Bethan Highgate-Betts]

Cathedral Lunchtime Concerts - Free (St Mary's Cathedral)
Disney songs with a small audience member twirling spontaneously in the aisle - Kirsten Z Cairns (soprano) and Matthew Brown's (piano) first public concert since early 2020 was the 'spoonful of sugar' we needed. Cairns, an opera singer and producer by profession, excelled in the ballads. Her diction and resonance filled the cathedral and her empathy with recent experiences was heard in 'Feed The Birds' and 'When You Wish Upon a Star'. It brought a lump to the throat! Professional musician Brown radiated good humour and his accomplished playing jollied the upbeat numbers along. He played and sang to welcome us with 'Be Our Guest' setting the tone for this light hearted hour of splendid musicianship spiced with fun and a teensy bit of pathos.
St Mary's Cathedral, various dates and performers until 21 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Louise Rodgers]

How Do You Know You Are Home? (Aliki Tsakoumi)
What does home mean to you? That's the question posed by Tsakoumi at the top of 'How Do You Know You Are Home?' Is it a place, person or feeling? Each is explored in turn through a comedic lens. After relocating from Greece to Sweden in 2018, this comedian, filmmaker and immersive media producer began to think seriously about what home meant to her and this is the result. Utilising her varied creative experience, the show features elements of film, and - even in the context of a pre-recorded show - manages some audience participation. The performance plays on the universal experience of home in a creative and engaging way, and Tsakoumi's observations are both relatable and hilarious. It is a delightful way to spend half an hour.
Fringe Online - Fringe Player, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Bethan Highgate-Betts]

Call Me Elizabeth (Kayla Boye)
'Call Me Elizabeth' is inspired by real-life conversations between Elizabeth Taylor and writer Max Lerneras, as they discuss plans for a biography. Set in May 1961, the performance is an illuminating insight into what was arguably one of the most turbulent times in the icon's life. The minimal physicality onstage initially feels a little monotonous, but the pace picks up and builds to make an intriguing and engaging monologue from the half-way point. It's an impressive feat by director and dramaturg Erin Kraft, and an incredibly strong performance from writer, actor, producer Kayla Boye, who takes on the mammoth task of embodying Taylor and is captivating throughout. A brilliantly polished production, that is worth a watch regardless of whether or not you're a fan of Elizabeth Taylor.
Fringe Online - Fringe Player, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Bethan Highgate-Betts]

Funbox: Back At The Fringe (DH Productions)
In a car park looking up at Edinburgh Castle, Kevvy-wevvy-woo leads us through a perky series of songs, some familiar kids standards, other variants and original songs served with an agreeably silly and sometimes distinctively Scottish twist. There is a great deal of joining in: expect to be singing along and doing some occasionally challenging moves. A host of supporting characters appear, most prominently Bonzo the dog who does a tight three minutes stand-up by way of a change of pace. There's something of an old-fashioned kids TV feel about this, and it is - on balance - in a good way. The young audience members on our review day got right into it as a daft old hour fairly clipped along. 'Funbox' does what it says on the, um, box.
MultiStory, until 15 Aug.
tw rating: 4/5 | Bruce Blacklaw

You Choose (Nonsense Room Productions)
Drawing from the ubiquitous illustrated kids' book of the same name, 'You Choose' invites the audience to make the choices which will be familiar to parents and small readers. Where will we go? What pet will we take? Who are our friends? And so on. Each of the choices is made through a series of light audience participation-based games and challenges, neatly led by our genial hosts. Proceedings are punctuated by songs, comic asides and a lot of shouting from - and this is the important thing - a thoroughly engaged young crowd. Even if there were a full kids' events programme this year, you could still choose considerably worse than this. As it is, verging on a must see.
Assembly George Square, until 22 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | Bruce Blacklaw

El Greco Of Hornsey (Olga Thompson)
It is the decade of 'Dynasty' and thirteen-year-old Olga is convinced George Michael could pop into her mother's hairdressing salon in North London at any moment. 'El Greco Of Hornsey' follows Olga's transition from the awkward tween sweeping up hair to a confident boy obsessed teenager. It's a one-woman show that sees Thompson play a whole host of weird and wonderful characters, each one passing through the salon to get their hair done, catch up on gossip and sample some family delicacies. From chatty big tippers to creepy uncles, they all make an appearance. With crude costume changes giving it an enjoyably DIY, slap-stick feel, this delightful performance is a celebration of a family and community with an enormous amount of heart.
Greenside @ GreenScreen, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Bethan Highgate-Betts]

Music, Poetry & Silence For Healing At Greyfriars
Hard times? This might be for you. Definitely not a show, rather an interpretation of Celtic spirituality and meditation for those seeking peace in the silent company of other souls. We sat in a large circle - chairs and beanbags - and were invited to walk around if we wished or light candles. Mostly we sat and listened to modern folk inspired piano improvisations that were dynamic and expressive, full of movement and similar to the human voice. There were many periods of silence and a few spiritual readings, including an extract from the late Father John Donohue, a popular contemporary writer. Visitors to the island of Iona will feel familiar with this guided quiet time; a gentle hour without demands on energy or concentration.
Greyfriars Kirk, 12, 19, 26 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Louise Rodgers]

Laurel Canyon Legends (Night Owl Shows)
A dynamic showcase of marvellous seventies music introduced with a 1970s style power cut. Undaunted Dan Clews, Hannah Richards and Alex Beharrell played on and gradually the storm abated - but not on stage! It's a tale of ambitious, louche musical neighbours working together and immortalised by their songs - usually written about each other! Richards' version of Joni Mitchell's 'I Could Drink A Case Of You' was a passionate recollection of love lost and Beharrell's 'Heart Of Gold' a faithful interpretation of Neil Young's genius. Beharrell's outstanding bass playing on the excellent Clews' rendering of Jackson Browne's 'Doctor My Eyes' showed why there was much more to California than surfing! An uplifting show: the musicians' onstage camaraderie echoed the Laurel Canyon spirit and embraced the audience.
theSpace @ Symposium Hall, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Louise Rodgers]

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