MONDAY 23 AUGUST 2021 THISWEEKCULTURE.COM
IT'S EDINBURGH FESTIVAL 2021!
It's the final week of the Edinburgh Festival, and we have more edfringe interviews, reviews and show recommendations for you in this week's TW Weekly. Plus 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 magnificent Camden Fringe - and across our tips you'll find plenty of productions and events happening online. Enjoy!


BIANCA MASTROMINICO AND JOHN DEAN: FLANKER ORIGAMI

The 2021 Edinburgh Fringe will be over before long, but there are plenty of shows beginning in this final week, and lots to see in both the in-person and online spaces. And lots of it is really exciting.

And that includes 'Flanker Origami', coming to you live via Zoom this week. It's a show whose rather interesting moniker very much reflects its intriguing content. When I heard about it, and its creators, I was determined to investigate...

The show is the work of Organic Theatre, aka Bianca Mastrominico and John Dean. I spoke to them to find out more.

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

'Flanker Origami' is performed via Zoom until 30 Aug. See the edfringe site here for more information and to book.



EMILY HEAD: THE SYSTEM
The growth of digitally delivered culture has been a facet of lockdown life this past year and a half, and that growth hasn't significantly slowed in recent months, despite the fact that people are out seeing shows in person again.

It's great to see, especially when it's something as exciting as a one-off, single shot livestream, like this show. 'The System' is a psychological thriller written by and starring Emily Head, a performer most of you will probably be most used to seeing on your TV screens.

It sounds like it's a very intriguing and compelling work, and I really wanted to find out more about it. I spoke to Emily ahead of the live broadcast this week.

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

'The System' will be livestreamed from the New Wolsey Theatre on 27 Aug via Original Theatre Online. See this page here to book your tickets.



NICK LLEWELLYN AND EMMA SELWYN: THE INTERROGATION
The Greenwich And Docklands International Festival begins this week and, as usual, there's lots of very interesting work taking place in the open air.

One such event is 'The Interrogation', which, as it happens, comes from a company we are always interested in hearing about - the brilliant Access All Areas, purveyors of theatre and performance by learning disabled and autistic artists.

To find out more about what to expect from 'The Interrogation', I spoke to its co-directors, Artistic Director Nick Llewellyn and trainee director Emma Selwyn.

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

'The Interrogation' is on as part of The Greenwich and Docklands International Festival on 29 Aug, and returns to London from 28 Sep-3 Oct with simultaneous runs at Battersea Arts Centre and Rich Mix. It also calls at The Marlowe in CanterburyThe Lowry in Salford, and at Bristol's Tobacco Factory Theatres in September.
Three To See tips recommending the best Fringe theatre, comedy and culture to see in London, at the Edinburgh Festival, and online...


THREE ONLINE EDFRINGE SHOWS>>


Till Love Do Us Part | Fringe Player | until 30 Aug
Not much longer to go, really, at this year's Edinburgh Festival, but still plenty to take in. And even for those of you who aren't up in the Scottish Capital, because of the plentiful levels of online entertainment available. So let's start with a few of those things, first up being 'Till Love Do Us Part', which tells the story of couple Jen and Simon, and charts their journey through starting a life together: dating, marriage, attempting to start a family and beyond. The question appears to be whether or not they're able to "play by society's rules". Find out more right about here.

Science Adventures - The Power Pickle | Pleasance Online | until 30 Aug (pictured)
Here's one for kids to watch at home - and goodness knows, this far into the summer holidays, they are probably ready for theatrical stimulation, and this offers some scientific content as well as fun and adventure... "Our team are in a right pickle! Professor McGuffin's groundbreaking Sub-Nuclear Optical Transmitter (S.N.O.T.) has stopped working and it's jeopardising the whole mission! Now it's our job to find a way to power it! Join our intrepid scientists on an adventure like no other... Prepare to travel to the deepest depths and soar to the highest heights!" Click here.

The Dream Train | Summerhall Online | until 29 Aug
And a final online choice from edfringe, hosted by one of the festival's favourite venues. And this one's probably of interest to theatre and music lovers alike, a revival of this show by the late Tom McGrath. "'The Dream Train' weaves together a quartet of characters with JS Bach's 'Goldberg Variations' in a play that has the clarity and strangeness of a particularly convincing dream. Bach is said to have written the 'Variations' to help an insomniac nobleman sleep, and the play uses this story and the structure of his composition, threading the music and text together and slipping between real and dream worlds". More here.


THREE CAMDEN FRINGE SHOWS>>

Norris & Parker - Fever Dream | Hen & Chickens Theatre | 23-26 Aug (pictured)
Meanwhile, back in London, the Camden Fringe also enters its final week or so, but again, there's still plenty to take in, both in person and online. Remember to check out everything happening this week here, but also consider our suggestions, including this work in progress by a duo well loved by the TW team, Norris & Parker, whose shows we have enjoyed at past Edinburgh Fringes. "Step into Piscean comedy duo Norris & Parker's fever dream for a surreal hour of wild, watery madness. Debauched late night comedy for lovers of the strange, the sordid, the musical and the dark". Click here.

Hold Me Close | Camden Fringe at Canal Cafe Theatre | 29 Aug
"'Hold Me Close' is the farewell tour that Sophie and Jade are throwing for their friendship. Friends throughout their teenage years, they've grown together but now apart. Wanting different things from life, feeling differently about their class roots and differently about what home means to them. This is their chance to showcase their favourite parts of their friendship, from the dance they made when they were twelve, to how they blagged their way into the press section of a premiere, to dealing with grief and loss". Lots of themes there, but generally speaking, it's always interesting to meditate on what brings people together and what makes them grow apart. See this page here.

Growth Of The Silk | Upstairs At The Gatehouse | 23-26 Aug
This is an intriguing sounding mixture of dance and opera exploring themes of social pressure and conforming to accepted standards of beauty: "'Growth Of The Silk' is the feted fable of a woman's misguided wish to escape crushing pressure to fit into the social structure of her world. Succeeding in this, she realises her wish was a mistake, leaving her ultimately crushed under the weight of the unstoppable growth of her new beautiful locks". Info here.


THREE THEATRE THINGS IN LONDON>>

Salome | Southwark Playhouse | 25 Aug-11 Sep (pictured)
And on to more in person performances in London, specifically more theatre, and we begin at Southwark Playhouse, where Lazarus Theatre Company are staging their 'Salome', a production that got a very positive critical response when it was staged at the Greenwich Theatre back in 2019. It's an interesting re-working of Oscar Wilde's play, set in more modern times, in which Salome is played as a male character, which makes me wonder (because I haven't seen it) how that affects the power dynamics. For more information and to book tickets see the venue website here.

Truth/Reconciliation | Old Red Lion Theatre | 26-29 Aug
A play from producing company Elegy, which I think may have been on at Old Red Lion Theatre previously, but that's only a vague memory so don't ask me to back it up. Anyway, it's a two-hander by Matthew Gouldesbrough, featuring a couple - also played by a real life couple - who are negotiating with the difficulties of their own relationship whilst also examining the vagaries of success in the performance industry, something I suspect might be extra pertinent given the struggles of many creatives over the past year and more. See this page here for more information.

Penny | Pleasance Theatre | 24-28 Aug
"Adelaide wants to make her mom's life-story mythic. But when she invokes the help of Penelope, the legendary queen from Ancient Greece, it soon unravels as they unpick the systems of storytelling that have trapped women for millennia. A mother's biography told by her daughter with the help of a live, long-distance phone call to the States. Exploring the value of the myths we inherit, Maude's devised show stitches together a kitschy, camp patchwork of folksy Americana, old Hollywood cinema, and oral tradition that will make you want to call your mom". Yeah, I'm sold on this. See the Pleasance Theatre website here.


THREE MORE THEATRE SHOWS IN LONDON>>

Dancing To Disco | The Space | 24-28 Aug (pictured)
Yes, another section of theatre in London. There were so many good and interesting sounding productions going on this week that I couldn't narrow it down. This one also works for those of you not able to make it to the venue, as it's being streamed on 27 Aug. Anyway, what is it? Well, a coming of age tale exploring class and identity: "Flashing lights. Sticky floors. The grooves of Donna Summer. Tommy, a young working-class Mancunian, has been accepted into Oxford. He's the first in his family to go to uni - the first on his street in fact... Join him on his last big night in Manchester before leaving the city he loves and disappearing south". See this page here.

Sticky Door | Pleasance Theatre | 30 Aug-1 Sep
And back over to the Pleasance Theatre for a play from the team that brought you 'Sexy Lamp', a show we saw and loved in Edinburgh in 2019, and which we've tipped a couple of times since when it appeared elsewhere. Like that play, this is by Katie Arnstein, and it originally premiered at Vault Festival 2020, but has of course been stymied by the pandemic until now. "In 2014 Katie was very sexually active. She was also extremely depressed. Join her as she examines whether the two things are connected. A storytelling show with songs about sex, stigma and cystitis". Click here for more information and to book.

Statements After An Arrest Under The Immorality Act | Orange Tree Theatre | 28 Aug-2 Oct
"Frieda and Errol meet in darkness. Theirs is a love story that can never thrive in the light. A relationship interrupted, by white supremacist law. And then at the end as at the beginning, they will find you again. Guilty. A play about then that speaks to now." You're all no doubt more than aware of the work of South African playwright Athol Fugard and his part in the anti-apartheid movement. Here's a chance to see a rare revival of this play, both in the flesh and at a distance: it will be livestreamed on 23 and 24 Sep, and will be available on demand from 5-8 Oct. More here.


THREE MORE LIVE THINGS IN LONDON>>

21Soho Comedy Grotto All-Dayer | 21Soho | 28 Aug (pictured)
Okay, we've had a lot of theatre so it's definitely time for some comedy, and what better way to console yourself if you didn't make it to Edinburgh this year than by heading down to 21 Soho for an entire day of shows from some of your comedy favourites? This all day comedy fest sees seven top quality comedians previewing their shows in advance of upcoming tours. There's Phil Wang, Bridget Christie, Ahir Shah, Shaparak Khorsandi, Fern Brady, Glenn Moore and Alex Kealy, and every one of those is, frankly, a significant TW fave. Click here to book.

Alcina | Arcola Theatre | 25-29 Aug
"From hot-blooded to heart wrenching, Alcina falls from a self-centred reign of terror to the depths of despair". So now for some opera, courtesy of Arcola's fab Grimeborn 2021. Grimeborn regulars Ensemble OrQuesta promise an innovative interpretation of George Friedrich Handel's opera featuring a cast led by OFFIE nominee Helen May in the title role of the "dangerous seductress". It's a production which promises to delve into the very contemporarily relevant themes of sexual harassment, sexual fluidity, addiction and toxic behaviour, and it sounds fab. Read more and book tickets here.

Boys Cry | Omnibus Theatre | 30 Aug-9 Sep
Ok, just sneaking one more bit of theatre into a section you thought wasn't a theatre section, but I'm not sorry, just glad I have brazenly created a slot for this piece exploring the boundaries and constraints of modern masculinity. "When Mark is mugged on the way to college, his reality is shattered. This life-changing event forces him to confront some of his deepest issues. On his journey towards healing he realises that interrogating his connection to masculinity might be key to finding a way forwards. For Mark being a boy has meant closing up when it comes to processing complex emotion. However, through reassembling himself, Mark starts to get a sharper image of the person he wants to be". Click here.


THREE IN PERSON COMEDY SHOWS AT EDFRINGE>>

Boorish Trumpson | Assembly Roxy | 24-29 Aug (pictured)
Okey Doke, time to get back up to the Scottish Capital (all this running around would be frankly exhausting if I weren't doing it from my desk) for a host of promising shows from the real-life, in-person, in-the-flesh Edinburgh Fringe. And first up is some clownery from fab and funny Claire Parry. "An interactive, music and clowning-filled interrogation of power and those wielding it. You are the orchestra. Boorish Trumpson is your rehearsal conductor, just your rehearsal conductor, no other ambitions. Boorish just wants to Make Music Great Again". More here.

This Is Your Trial | Monkey Barrel Comedy | until 29 Aug
"Looking for justice? Cos we've plenty of it. Our comedy courtroom hears accusations from audience members against their friends. Top lawyer-comedians argue cases. Everyone else does jury service, deciding verdicts". We've tipped this show before and by gum we will tip it again. Not least because of all the TW favourites who get involved. Do not, repeat, do not, be put off by the showing off in the blurb: "Nothing is prepared. It's our eighth Fringe. We know what we're doing. Nearly 500 shows done, awards won, critical acclaim received, tours of Australia, Ireland, the UK, and inspiring the hit CBBC show 'Monster Court'; we're returning home to where it all began". Head this way to book, and do make sure you do it well ahead, cos they will sell out.

A Tale Of Two Beards | Scottish Comedy Festival @ The Beehive | until 28 Aug
Yes, yes, I was charmed by the title, as often I am. But that's not all that's good about this show from Brian Gallagher. I know this because I have heard a lot of grapeviny whisperings that it's very much worth seeing. Anyway, here's the gen: "Turning 33, Brian quit his job, packed his beard and took off on a six month round-the-world adventure. He quickly discovered that there are only two kinds of beard in the world and he wasn't sure which one offended him more - hipster or terrorist! Drug dealers, Black Power, Peruvian rebels, corrupt police, the IRA, Iraqi refugees, angry Vietnamese tour guides and more!" Click here.


THREE IN PERSON THEATRICAL SHOWS AT EDFRINGE>>

It All | Assembly Roxy | 25-29 Aug (pictured)
Hurrah for edfringe theatre. Not as much as there usually is, but still lots of shows to choose from, which is great for everyone currently in the Scottish capital, and, well, I don't know, people who might want to pop up for the last few days...? There's still time! Especially for an acclaimed show like 'It All' - previously seen at Vault Festival and the Soho Theatre - by an acclaimed performer like Cameron Cook. "Join him on an intense, dreamlike ride through vivid characters who stream forth in moments of absurdity, satire, and tenderness". Head this way for more.

The Bank Job | theSpace @ Symposium Hall | until 28 Aug
Okay we're now running over to theSpace at Symposium Hall for a bit more theatrical fun, for lo, indeed, we have another comical play for you: "The motive: gold. The target: the Bank Of England. The mission: to pull off the ultimate heist. The show: James Bond meets 'Oceans Eleven' gone bankrupt in this farcical comedy that is 'Mission Imposs- ...wait, that's not right. The farcical comedy that is 'The Bank Job'..." Head to this page here for more information and to book.

You're My Jury | theSpace @ Symposium Hall | until 28 Aug
Well, look at that, we've picked a court themed show for the edfringe theatre section, as well as having selected a court-themed show for the comedy section. Would telling you I'm a court-room drama addict be enlightening...? Anyway, enough about me and more about this show: "Allison Miller is on trial pleading not guilty to all charges held against her. She is accused of tax evasion, bribery, fraud, murder, smuggling drugs into the US, and selling and transferring nuclear weapons. Allison is desperate to prove to you, her jury, that she is innocent. She claims to have been used by the rich and powerful men around her, that all these crimes were committed by them, she was just their alibi. What will be your verdict?" Click here.


THREE MORE INTERESTING THINGS HAPPENING AT EDFRINGE>>

Laura Horton - Theatre Stories | 23-27 Aug
This is an interesting one, and it's not a show, but it is something that theatre-lovers up in Edinburgh ought to hear about. You might recall that earlier in the year Caro spoke to Laura Horton about her 'Theatre Stories' digital campaign, which she began during lockdown and the consequent theatre black out. Her aim? To collect and publicise the stories of people from across the UK who are engaged with theatre, but whose perspectives are rarely heard, in the hope of changing public perceptions about who theatre is for. She's heading up to Edinburgh this week and will be at The Snug Bar at Assembly Roxy every day around lunchtime hours collecting new stories. If you would like to tell her yours, you need to book an appointment - email [email protected] to do that - and see the 'Theatre Stories' website here for more information.

The Golden Fly | Scottish Storytelling Centre | 25-27 Aug
These last two are actual shows, ones from categories other than the two most dominant ones (theatre and comedy, obv) and this first one is from the spoken word programme. It sounds rather good: "'The Golden Fly' is an epic wonder tale of a shape-shifting goddess in search of her truth. Transformed by sorcery into a golden fly, the goddess Ethaun is condemned to wander the worlds until her heart changes. Storyteller Alice Fernbank and musician Graham Dickson carry you on this mythic voyage of story and music, as the goddess Ethaun journeys over crashing oceans and into kingdoms unknown". See this page here for details.

Vest-igios | Assembly Roxy | 24-29 Aug
Our final pick of the week is from the dance, physical theatre and circus programme, and I think it falls fairly squarely into the circus camp. Devised by renowned company Circolombia, it promises a sensory experience combining physical performance and original music. "This is a story about brotherhoods and a journey through a dystopian wasteland, infused with jaw-dropping circus, extravagant visions, terrifying acrobatics and unthinkable magic moments. A circus that changes circus - you'll not come out unscathed". Head to this page here for info and to book tickets.
Tom Mayhew: From Rags to Slightly Newer Rags
After his most successful year ever, Tom Mayhew was finally able to call himself a professional comedian. Then the world stopped. From inequality in the arts, to dealings with the job centre, this show is a refreshingly open take on something which is glossed over by so many. Made for the new era of comedy, it is well structured with a mix of live Zoom stand-up and pre-recorded videos. A honed and sharp performer, Mayhew somehow still manages to be disarming and relatable, something which works really well with the tone and themes. It is a hilarious sixty minutes, with subject matter that is extremely relevant and much needed. But more than that, it's a show full of heart and hope.
Laughing Horse Online, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Bethan Highgate-Betts]

Cathedral Choir Concert: Fauré Requiem (St Mary's Episcopal Cathedral Choir)
For once Gabriel Fauré's gorgeous 'Requiem' was upstaged in this programme of lovely French sacred music by César Franck's 'Panis Anglicus'. It was perfectly ethereal, truly "a still small voice" floating through the lofty cathedral. Louis Vierne's pleading 'Kyrie' from 'Messe Solennelle' was sung with the confidence and surety of those who knew that, as members of one of the UK's best regarded choirs, they would be heard! The 'Requiem', today accompanied by the organ, was a pleasing mixture of contrasting moods and disciplined musical textures delicately sung until the singers were required to express the drama of 'Libera Me' with its account of anguish, terror and uncertainty, before the singers entered paradise with the calm 'In Paradisium' and its promise of eternal rest.
St Mary's Cathedral, run ended.
tw rating 4/5 [Louise Rodgers]

Metamorphosis (Hijinx)
When I first read Kafka's 'Metamorphosis', the sheer creative audacity of the story blew my mind. This excellent Zoom-based adaptation from Hijinx does the same. There's a lot to unpack, with proceedings taking on a distinctly meta feel as we observe both an online adaptation of the story, and the writing and devising process. Unlike some other online offerings, the medium is part of the message here, an exploration of (dis)connection, inclusion and isolation. There's an interactive element - blessedly optional - and the structuring of both narrative and meta-narrative into chapters cleverly keeps the audience's attention - so easily lost in Zoom webinars! Layers of meaning and subtext accrue throughout the performance, which balances absurdity and existential horror (the new normal?) with grace and style.
Summerhall Online, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Andy Leask]

The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano (Los Rivax Project)
Things begin to change for fourteen year old Evelyn Serrano when her grandmother moves in with her and her mother in Spanish Harlem. It's not long before her eyes begin to open to a whole new way of seeing her own community. Based on Sonia Manzano's award winning novel, and featuring incredible original music and songs by Sartje Pickett, Tlaloc Rivas's exuberant new play is an impassioned lesson on Latino heritage and the shaping of Nuyorican identity. From The Young Lords, a Puerto Rican activist group, to Evelyn's own family ties, the backdrop of unrest and revolution run throughout. Even so, this heart-warming play is crammed full of joy and hope, a testament to Rivas' writing and direction. An absolute must see.
Fringe Online, until 30 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Bethan Highgate-Betts]

When Judas Met John (Brothers Broke)
A welcome return of this interesting show to the Fringe. This informal yet earnest folk club-like performance was not a tribute to either John Lennon or Bob Dylan, rather it was an exploration, with musical examples, of how Brothers Broke consider that these two artists influenced each other. As young men they had thinly veiled musical spats about plagiarism ('Norwegian Wood' and 'Fourth Time Around') but at least, unlike George Harrison, no-one was sued! There was no attempt to sound like Dylan or Lennon here, and this Irish duo's own arrangements gave integrity even when some of the points seemed debatable. 'Like A Rolling Stone' was a highlight; it was enjoyable to hear these well-loved songs in the company of fellow enthusiasts with the addition of something to think about!
theSpace Triplex, run ended.
tw rating 4/5 | [Louise Rodgers]

Sacred Arts Festival At St Vincent's: Olivier Messiaen's Quartet For The End Of Time (Calum Robertson, director and clarinet)
This year there was no familiar coughing or throat clearing during this impressive chamber concert; that alone was reminiscent of Messiaen's famous quotation, "Never have I been listened to with such rapt attention and comprehension", pertaining to the premiere performed before fellow POWs in Stalag VIII-A during WW2. The standard of playing was exceptional - another echo of that night in 1941 when all seemed lost. The balance of the instruments interpreted Messiaen's intentions well and the musicians moved together through the music precisely, conveying the end of time suggested by his difficult rhythms and tonal structures. Messiaen's "little servants of immaterial joy" - birdsong - provided the melodies and we left the chapel reminded why this is one of the most significant works of the twentieth century.
St Vincent's, run ended.
tw rating 5/5 | [Louise Rodgers]

Leo Kearse: Cancel Culture (Leo Kearse)
Full disclosure: I was never likely to find myself in total agreement with 'right wing comedian' and Reclaim electoral candidate Leo Kearse. First, the comedy. It's funny. Gags, story-telling, darkness, provocative observations and a liberal - libertarian, even - dose of filth, all well delivered. Some bits might well cross some people's lines: so be it. The polemic... hmm. Freedom of speech and the causing, receiving and indeed seeking of offense are live issues which it's right - and Kearse absolutely has the right - to critically scrutinise and there are some fair points. However, the tendency to wrap up various absurdities as what 'woke people' say in order to set up an army of straw men to be torn down kind of undermines the pretence of nuance. So no, I didn't agree. Totally. But, this is a comedy review, and there are enough laughs here that you could always go along and decide for yourself...
Laughing Horse @ Free Sisters, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Bruce Blacklaw]

Paul Currie: Teet
We humans like to think we're evolved, but we're not really. There's a long way to go. For now, we suckle at the teat of mother nature whilst doing her and ourselves untold harm. That's the serious bit of Paul Currie's show, the rest is relentless, fun foolishness. Kind of a one-man sketch show with a series of props, pop song riffs and surrealism, there's a lot going on, to the extent that he has a 'set list' on the floor to keep him right. As he says himself, "been ages since I've done this. How do you even rehearse this shit?" Fair enough. It's up and down and sometimes on the edge of all over the place, but there's plenty of amusement to be had.
The Hive, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Bruce Blacklaw]

Through Bush, Through Briar (Achy Bits Productions)
This earnest adaptation of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' gets points for trying something different, transplanting the action to a forest under threat by a ruthless developer. There's an interesting use of space, filming in a forest, using trees as staging, but a lack of technical expertise reduces the effectiveness. There are issues, like inconsistent sound levels, sometimes muffled or with background noise impeding clarity. Some of the acting is a little 'big' for a recorded production, but this is easily forgivable, given the circumstances, and the company's energetic, youthful performances are charming. The play within the play and Bottom's overacting therein was the highlight... but then it always is, and most of the credit there has to go to Shakespeare.
Fringe Player, on demand.
tw rating 3/5 | [Andy Leask]

Hip-Hop Orchestra Experience (Ensemble Mik Nawooj)
Hip-Hop Orchestra Experience is Ensemble Mik Nawooj's Edinburgh Fringe debut and it doesn't disappoint. The California based hip-hop orchestra present five music videos from their new album 'Death Become Life', which seamlessly fuses hip-hop and classical. They've leant into the film aspect of this year's Fringe, with two exceptional young dancers' mesmerising performance punctuating the music's live recording. Filmed at the Asian Art Museum, the backdrop only adds to the gravitas of the pieces. There's a consistent flow to the performance that elevates the film above five separate pieces and creates a sense of a whole and complete piece. If you're into hip-hop, classical music or both this is a must see. It's a beautiful way to spend 30 minutes.
Season 4 - [email protected] until 30 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Bethan Highgate-Betts]

The Carole King And James Taylor Story (Night Owl Shows)
Order a drink, relax into the mellow vibe but come prepared to sing! Hannah Richards' yearning version of 'Will You Love Me Tomorrow' was followed by 'Natural Woman', a commission for Aretha Franklin. In addition to the beautiful music, these committed performers told great stories about good friends King and Taylor's complicated personal lives and stellar careers. After 'It's Too Late', Dan Clews switched from backing vocals to full on James Taylor - shut your eyes and there was the singer/songwriter himself! 'Night Owl', naturally, was a highlight; 'Fire And Rain' and 'You've Got A Friend' transfixed the audience pulling us into the visceral shared experience of live music and, as the man sitting next to me said, "That was worth coming up from London for".
theSpace @ Symposium Hall, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Louise Rodgers]

Sounds On Saturday - Organ Colours 4 (Jordan English)
This entrancing organ recital programme, like the mighty Rieger organ itself, was a blend of old and new. The positioning of the instrument in the south transept gave a feeling of intimacy absent in many cathedrals and Jordan English's sensitive playing exploited this to the full. JS Bach's early 'Prelude And Fugue In C Minor BWV 549' dominated with its expressive resonance. 'Berceuse À La Mémoire De Louis Vierne' by Pierre Cochereau, touchingly based on the lullaby 'Dodo, L'enfant Do', gave an impression of light following dark. Herbert Howell's 'Master Tallis' Testament' was gently melodic and 'Evocation 1' by George Baker tranquil. However, the joie de vivre of Louis Vierne's 'Final (Symphonie VI)' interrupted the reverie and prepared our return into the jostling Royal Mile!
St Giles' Cathedral, run ended.
tw rating 4/5 | [Louise Rodgers]

Meet Astrid Lindgren's Pippi Longstocking (Wizard Presents)
Astrid Lindgren's 'Pippi Longstocking' has been translated into over 100 languages. So, how about the language of the stage? This one-woman show sees Sofie Miller take on the roles of narrator, Pippi, the boy and girl next door, and a host of other characters over the course of a genial storytelling session. A vintage flight case packed with props serves as set and stage, and there's just about enough audience interaction to prevent young minds wandering during what occasionally seem like slightly lengthy passages of narrative. Still, these are good stories, and Miller tells and acts them out engagingly. Overall, turns out that little is lost in translation.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Bruce Blacklaw]

Comedy Club 4 Kids
Host and compere Eleanor Morton kicks things off with a bit of stand-up for kids. Relatable observational stuff, like "have you ever noticed how your parents are always tired" and numerous references to mummy and daddy's wine, before doing a bit of audience banter. Do your parents have any weird hobbies? Apparently mine is "being annoying"... The first act she introduces is Log, a two-person extended sketch which is honestly tricky to describe as anything other than a bit of a headfuck. Then Mister Fibbers comes on and does a short set of silly songs with some enthusiastic crowd participation. Now, I'm not sure I actually saw many kids laughing a lot but still, a pleasingly chaotic hour.
Assembly Roxy, run ended.
tw rating 3/5 | [Bruce Blacklaw]

Just These Please: No Worries If Not (Just These Please)
August traditionally heralds the great northerly migration of the sketch troupe. This year, though, there are only a couple in the Fringe programme. Just These Please are surely amongst the best of them. No, really - they are good. Smart transitions, whimsical highlights including the Last Supper, the Beatles and middle-class orgies, among many others, all interspersed with silly songs - including a memorable paean to the pillar in the middle of the venue - and clever gags. Not everything lands just right, and it's not just the orgies which come off phenomenally middle class, but still, well worth catching. (And I didn't end this with 'no worries if not'...)
Gilded Balloon, run ended.
tw rating 3/5 | [Bruce Blacklaw]

The Big Birthday Show with Magic Gareth (Magic Gareth)
Party hats on the tables on entry; the big, beautiful wheeze here being that everyone has had a birthday over the last year which has, to some greater or lesser extent, been rendered shit by COVID. Magic Gareth wants to make up for that. He's quite well placed, being a birthday party magician by trade, and translates all this into a show which is warm and funny, full of jokes (including some for the oldies), silliness, audience participation and, here and there, some properly impressive magic tricks. So, if you or yours have had a birthday in the last year or so, get along and see Magic Gareth and celebrate in merrily foolish style.
Pleasance Courtyard, run ended.
tw rating 4/5 | [Bruce Blacklaw]

The Garden Of Delights (Theatre Alba)
The gardens of Duddingston Kirk are a delight any time, even more so just now if you can get yourself along to this outdoor promenade play performed entirely in Scots. We are welcomed at the entrance by the Jester, who takes us back in time to a faraway land where, guided by him and the charming Fairy, we learn about the nasty Boggarts, who can't stand for anything to be nice, and so are setting out to pollute and poison the land. The young audience are conscripted to assist by discovering their senses, singing along and banishing the Boggarts. Along the way, there's a grumpy bear, a wonderfully revealed Kelpie and Mother Nature herself. All in, delightful.
Duddingston Kirk Manse Gardens, until 29 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Bruce Blacklaw]

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