MONDAY 25 JULY 2022 THISWEEKCULTURE.COM
August is almost upon us, which means the 2022 Edinburgh Festival is very nearly here, with performers from all over the world heading to the Scottish capital for the first full-scale Edinburgh Fringe since 2019.

Next week we'll publish our Edinburgh Festival Preview Guide, which will be available to pick up at venues across the city as the festivities get underway.

We'll also be reviewing shows and interviewing our favourite performers online throughout the month of August - with a second bonus edition of the TW Weekly bulletin coming out every Thursday highlighting all the latest content.

Plus we even have a brand new TW Backstage podcast to share with you - look out for more details about that next week.

If you have any friends or colleagues who would be interested in all our Edinburgh Festival coverage this year, tell them to sign up to the TW Weekly bulletin here.
The ThreeWeeks review team is getting ready to start seeing shows from across the Edinburgh Festival next week, with their coverage appearing on our website.

We are still planning on adding a couple more people to that team - so if you work in the arts or have experience critiquing comedy, theatre, dance, musicals, cabaret or spoken word - and are planning on being in Edinburgh this August, why not do some reviews?

Click here for info on joining the ThreeWeeks review team this summer.
We are currently putting together our printed Preview Guide for Edinburgh Festival 2022, which will be available at venues across the city from next week. And there is still a last minute chance to include an advert in the magazine.

Taking an ad in the Preview Guide is a really easy and super effective way to get your shows in front of tens of thousands of potential ticket buyers just as they are deciding what productions to see this year.

A full page advert costs just £800 plus VAT.

A half page advert costs just £425 plus VAT.

And a display box advert costs just £150 plus VAT.

To book a spot today drop an email to [email protected]
TOM SKELTON: 2020 VISIONS (WHAT IF I HADN’T GONE BLIND)
If, like us, you're fans of improv comedy - and comedy in general, in fact - you'll no doubt be aware of Tom Skelton, who first came to our attention over a decade ago as a member of acclaimed improv troupe Racing Minds.

More recently, though, we've seen him performing solo shows to approving audiences, including his latest set, which has won much acclaim down under.

Tom brings said latest show - '2020 Visions (What If I Hadn't Gone Blind)' - to the Fringe this summer, and although there is a bit of a clue in that title regarding what it might be all about, I still wanted to find out more.

Not just about the show, of course, but about Tom's path through comedy, how blindness has affected his creative life, and about what to expect from him in the future. And, naturally, what he loves - and looks forward to - about spending his Augusts in the Scottish capital. 

I arranged to speak to him, ahead of his run in Edinburgh this summer. 

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

Tom Skelton performs '2020 Visions (What If I Hadn't Gone Blind)'' at Underbelly Bristo Square from 3-28 Aug. See the edfringe listing here.



SHANNON VITALI AND CHRISTIAN NIMRI: CHORES
When we're perusing the listings of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe programme, we always have our eye out for brilliant family entertainment, especially the sort that has a genuine appeal for all family members: it's fabulous when parents and carers are just as enthralled as the children they've brought to see a show. 

One such production - which was created with every age group in mind - is 'Chores', a comedy circus show from Australia featuring acrobatics, stunts and physical comedy in the style of the slapstick greats. 

It's been to the Fringe before, but returns this time with a new cast. I spoke to the stars of the show - Shannon Vitali and Christian Nimri - to find out more. 

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

'Chores' is on at Assembly Rooms from 3-28 Aug, see the edfringe listing here.
Shows to see in-person in London and online anywhere - including performances from people and companies we first discovered at the Edinburgh Festival.


THREE CAMDEN FRINGE SHOWS>>

The Party | The Hope Theatre | 1-3 Aug (pictured)
Hurrah, we're there! August is on the horizon and we have lots of Camden Fringe shows to look forward to. Our 'tipping week' dates only cover the first day of the festival, but despite that, I'm excited enough to be orchestrating a full section on it. Because, I can confirm, there is plenty to choose from happening on 1 Aug. This is one of them, a rather topical comedy. "The wine cellar of 10 Downing Street. Upstairs, the drink is flowing freely. But down here, two men are getting randy against the wine racks: sounds like a party to you, doesn't it? Well, you'd be wrong - it's just your average run-of-the-mill work drinks. With champagne. And cheese. In the Cabinet Room. In the heart of the government. In the midst of lockdown". More here.

Boiling Frog | digital via Camden Fringe | 1-28 Aug
This year, as last year, there are quite a few Camden Fringe shows that can be accessed digitally, and, given the fact that people all over the country may well be wanting to get in on some Camden Fringe action, I think that's a very good thing. 'Boiling Frog' is a play recorded on iPhones as a series of interlocking monologues, which follows the story of Bella, a young woman dealing with PTSD after witnessing the Australian Black Summer Bushfires of 2019/20. The piece deals with themes of climate crisis, politics and the state of the world, and of course mental health. For all the info, head to the Camden Fringe website here.

Colloquium | Hen & Chickens Theatre | 1-4 Aug
"Let me ask you a question: if this biscuit was the existence of an absolute truth, would you risk it for a chocolate biscuit?" This one intrigues me, a play written by 2020 Snoo Wilson Prize winner Katherine Stockton set amongst the lives of academics and academic hopefuls. "Meet undergraduate applicants at their mind-boggling first interviews, unsupervised seminars going off the rails, a PhD student's tragic academic review, and a counselling session for a post doctorate student who cannot cope with their pub-quiz winning step dad". Check it out here. Oh, and there are lots of other Camden Fringe options if you want to get planning, so do have a look at all the listings here.


THREE EDFRINGE PREVIEWS>>

Tom Mayhew: Trash Rich | Camden Comedy Club | 1 Aug
And speaking of other events on as part of the Camden Fringe, here's another one, but for our tipping purposes it fell out of the Camden Fringe section and into the edfringe preview section, for verily, it belongs in either. Because, yes, while Tom Mayhew will be performing 'Trash Rich' in Camden this week, he'll also be performing the show at The Stand in Edinburgh later in the month. According to the blurb, the comedian was "planning to write a show that's less frustrated, less political..." but "the cost of living crisis screwed that", so you can look forward to some pointed takes in Mayhew's charming and disarming style. Our reviewer called his 2021 show hilarious as well as full of heart and hope, and I'd expect more of the same with this one. Click here for info and tickets.

Bad Teacher | Bread & Roses Theatre/Theatre503 | 26, 28 + 29, 30 Jul (pictured)
A "surreal and dark comedy" about the experiences of a twenty-something teacher working in a sixth form college in London, 'Bad Teacher' was inspired by real life experiences and tackles some rather thorny issues around gender politics, mental health, and the pressure put on both teachers and students by our education system. It's a one woman show, written and performed by Erin Holland, and promises satire, poetry and hardcore d&b as central character Evie battles through her school day and parents' evening. For more information and to book tickets for performances on 26 + 28 Jul at Bread & Roses Theatre click here, and for the performances at Theatre503 on 29 + 30 Jul click here.

Paul Wady and George Steeves | Barons Court Theatre | 26-30 Jul
Over to Baron's Court Theatre now, where we have not one, but two Edinburgh previews in a fab neurodivergent double bill. First, there's Paul Wady, whose autism went undiagnosed for forty years, and who presents spoken word/stand up audience participatory show 'Guerilla Autistics Year 8 - Scenes From An Undiagnosed Life'. He's joined by Los Angeles-based gay autistic actor George Steeves - fringe-goers may remember his 2018 edfringe success 'Magic 8 Ball' - who performs his latest show 'Love & Sex On The Spectrum', in which he explores "all of the awkward firsts that come with dating, sex, and love from a late bloomer's perspective". Head to the venue website here for more info and to book.


THREE MUSICAL SHOWS>>

Tasting Notes | Southwark Playhouse | 27 Jul-27 Aug
And now for some shows connected by the fact that they all involve music. And let's make the first one a new musical by Richard Baker and Charlie Ryall that sees one day in the life of a number of different people played out. "LJ's tired. She loves her bar, which is lucky because she practically lives there these days, but what if this is it? Maggie's sick of working in hospitality. Joe is tormented by his memories. George is just fine, thank you very much. He's living his best life. He is, shut up. Eszter is... megküzdése. How do you say in English? She's coping. And Oliver... well. He's worried about his cat". Read more about the show and book tickets here.

L'Incoronazione Di Poppea | Arcola Theatre | 26-30 Jul
And now let's head to the Arcola Theatre, because the venue's annual and wonderful Grimeborn strand of excellently promising operatic treats is beginning and here is our first tip from it. This acclaimed production of Monteverdi's 'L'Incoronazione Di Poppea' - which tells the story of Nero's mistress Poppea and how she became empress - is by Ensemble Orquesta, who return to the festival for a fifth time. "The power games and machinations of Ancient Rome and timeless themes of ambition, love and lust are explored through glorious music and carefully crafted character interactions to create a fusion hailed as intimate, sensual, dramatic and compelling". Click here for more.

Jonny Feathers The Rock And Roll Pigeon | Park Theatre | 29 Jul-13 Aug (pictured)
"It's the day of Jonny's big gig but he's lost his guitar. Join us on the hunt as we retrace Jonny's steps trying to find it. On the way we're helped by Vicky the Vixen, Bale the Snail and many more". Our final musical selection is a show for the small people in your life - which may well interest you, especially just now, given that it's the summer holidays - but I reckon there's a high chance you'll really enjoy it yourself, not least because it promises to be "a hilarious and fun filled show for both young rockers and old rollers" dealing in the heartwarming themes of friendship and coming together. Find out more and get your tickets booked here.


THREE THEATRICAL SHOWS>>

Monster | Park Theatre | 27 Jul-20 Aug
And so to theatre time, and a play exploring the need for love, how much control we have over who we are, and whether our pasts must define our futures. "Glasgow. 2006. An abandoned playground. Troubled teenagers Kayleigh and Zoe are flirting, playing dare and fantasising about running away together to the Isle Of Muck. Despite being warned to keep away, teacher Miss Hastie is inexplicably drawn into the two girls' orbit of chaos. When Kayleigh's mother attempts to keep her daughter under her manipulative spell, the outcome is far worse than anyone could have ever anticipated". Head to the venue website here for more information and to book.

Letters | Jack Studio Theatre | 26-29 Jul (pictured)
"Josh lives in London and Mary in Argentina. They meet for a brief period in London and promise to write letters to each other and to never use Facebook, Instagram or emails. Their bond grows stronger as they share the most intrinsic details of their lives through letters. An unexpected event in Mary's life challenges the virtue of their friendship and makes them question what they really mean for each other". I miss writing letters, and that's partly what attracted me to this play by Indian writer Kashyap Raja, but I suspect it might have interesting things to say about the power of connection. Click here.

Dom - The Play | White Bear Theatre | 26-30 Jul
Hmm, if you're the sort that fancied the sound of 'The Party' at the top of today's Three To Sees, you may well also be interested in this, "a gossipy topical comedy about the most controversial figure to emerge in UK politics over the last decade". You can probably guess from that - and from the title - that this is about Dominic Cummings and the events surrounding his departure from the heart of government back in 2020, telling the story from his side. The script is based on political memoirs and research, and asks the question "Is Dominic Cummings a dangerous saboteur or a creative visionary?" Well, you might know the answer to that already, but I dare say it won't stop you enjoying this comedic take. See the venue website here.


THREE MORE THEATRE TREATS>>

Caligari | New Diorama | 26-27 Jul (pictured)
This week's final section is uncomplicatedly full of theatrical stuff and nothing else, though two of the shows would have fitted in the edfringe preview section too, plus one could argue that in many ways it's all the sort of theatre that's a bit unusual. 'Caligari' for example, by the award winning Chewboy Productions, reimagines the silent film of the same name, placing it in the hands of five actor-musicians: "Embracing the long shadows and broad brushstrokes of German expressionism, 'Caligari' exposes parallels between post-war Weimar and the UK today - an ever-widening class divide, a subconscious need for a tyrant, and an unwillingness to rebel against deranged authority". Read more about it here.

Blanket Ban | New Diorama | 29-30 Jul
Another show at Diorama, and another edfringe preview, and one that's focused on a really important topic that's actually been recently in the limelight due to a high profile news story: described as a "rallying cry" from its creators Chalk Line Theatre, it's about Malta's blanket ban on abortion. "Propelled by three years' of interviews with anonymous contributors and their own lived experience, actors and activists Marta and Davinia interrogate Malta's restrictions on the freedom of women". For more information and to book your tickets, head to the venue website here.

David's Play | The Space | 26-31 Jul
"David Grindley lives on the Isle Of Dogs and has decided that he will star in a show. We are powerless to stop David, even if we wanted to". Over to The Space - physically for the live performances, or digitally if you can't make it to the actual venue - for the subject of our final tip of week, 'David's Play', a "backstage comedy about being an actor with cerebral palsy and David's methods of communication", which explores friendship, acceptance, and the magic of theatre. The show combines live theatre, film and audience interaction, and looks like it will challenge notions of what a show about disability should be like. Read more about the show and book yourself in right about here.
At TW:CULTURE we champion the best in fringe theatre, comedy and culture.

Year round, we pick the best shows happening in London and online each week, providing handy Three To See recommendations and interviewing the people behind those productions.

Plus each summer we also cover the biggest cultural event in the world: The Edinburgh Festival.


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