MONDAY 15 AUGUST 2022 THISWEEKCULTURE.COM
Here we go into Week Two of the Edinburgh Festival 2022 - so much happening, so much to see. But where to start?

Well, we're here to help with all the latest ThreeWeeks interviews and reviews gathered together in this bulletin - plus you can also check out every single one of our interviews here and every single one of our reviews here. Oh, and if you are in Edinburgh, make sure you pick up a free copy of our Preview Guide.

For updates on the latest new content, follow us on Twitter or Facebook. Or for short and concise summaries of some of the shows recommended by the ThreeWeeks review team this year, why not follow TWittique on Twitter?

But it's not all about Edinburgh in the TW Weekly during August. We've also got some Three To See recommendations for those of you outside the Scottish capital, honing in on great things happening in London in the week ahead.

Don't forget, during August we also have an extra edition of the TW bulletin each Thursday afternoon - so we'll see you back here in your inbox for that later in the week!
JOANNA LIPARI: ACTIVITIES OF DAILY LIVING
The latest one person show to attract our attention here at TW Towers is 'Activities Of Daily Living' by US actress and writer Joanna Lipari.

When I heard about one of the primary motivations and themes for the show - the invisibility of older women - it struck a real chord with me, because I have heard so often from older friends and relatives about the sudden sense they had, at a certain age, that people were not really seeing, hearing or acknowledging them any more. 

Joanna's show explores these themes through a mixture of storytelling, poetry and even some animation. As it's been created and is performed by such an experienced actor with a long history of work both on stage and screen, I feel sure this show will be an entertaining and thought provoking experience.

I spoke to Joanna to find out more about the show and its creator. 

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

Joanna performs 'Activities For Daily Living' at Gilded Balloon Teviot until 29 Aug. See the edfringe listing here.



HANNAH FAIRWEATHER: JUST A NORMAL GIRL WHO ENJOYS REVENGE
It's probably no surprise to hear that it was the title of Hannah Fairweather's debut Fringe hour that jumped out at me. I mean, who could ignore the words 'Just A Normal Girl Who Enjoys Revenge'? That's a definite hook. 

And, as it turns out, as well as having an interestingly titled show, Hannah was a really interesting person to chat with.

She's done really well in all the comedy newcomer competitions in recent times, she's written for 'The Now Show' and 'Mock The Week', and it sounds like she has some great stories to tell this August. 

I spoke to her to find out more.

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

Hannah Fairweather performs 'Just a Normal Girl Who Enjoys Revenge' at Just The Tonic at the Caves until 28 Aug. See the edfringe listing here.



JAMES NOKISE: GOD DAMN FANCY MAN
It's not James Nokise's first time at the Fringe, so it's possible you're already well aware of this award-winning comedian from New Zealand, who - as well as entertaining crowds with his stand-up - is also a writer, playwright and highly acclaimed podcaster. 

His show 'God Damn Fancy Man' promises much in the way of entertaining tales from a somewhat unconventional background. I arranged a quick chat to find out more about both James and his show. 

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

James Nokise performs 'God Damn Fancy Man' at Laughing Horse @ City Cafe from 17-28 Aug. Find the edfringe listing here.



FAYE TREACY: WHERE'S YOUR HEAD AT?
We know that there are plenty of fans of musical comedy and storytelling among our readership and - luckily for you - there's a fair bit of it about. Our latest interviewee is a purveyor of such things, performing her new show 'Where's Your Head At?' here at edfringe until 27 Aug. 

As you may already be well aware, Faye Treacy is a highly acclaimed act, who has toured the world as a musician and won the Musical Comedy Awards Best Newcomer gong in 2015. And if you're not aware of that, well, it's time you found out a bit more about her. To help you out, I arranged a quick chat to get the lowdown on both the performer and her new show. 

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

Faye Treacy performs 'Where's Your Head At?' at PBH's Free Fringe @ Banshee Labyrinth until 27 Aug. Find the edfringe listing here.


CAMDEN FRINGE>>

Rajesh And Naresh | Camden People's Theatre | 21-23 Aug (pictured)
"When handsome, successful, mummy's-boy Rajesh is sent on a visit to India, he encounters Naresh in a steamy Mumbai nightclub. Naresh is an awkward yet endearing craftsman - and definitely not the wife Rajesh's mother hoped he'd find". This feel-good love story is following its run at edfringe with a run at Camden Fringe, and because it was on at edfringe we know how good it is: our reviewer praised the strong performances of its stars Brahmdeo Shannon Ramana and Madhav Vasantha, and described the play as "a heartstring-tugging show of wide-eyed optimism and joy". So honestly, what are you waiting for? Head to this page here for info.

Crone | The Hope Theatre | 19-21 Aug
Here's one that's doing that Fringe thing in reverse - it heads to Edinburgh for the last few days of the Festival after this run at The Hope Theatre. And it looks like a lot of fun: "Since the dawn of time, human beings have ventured into deep, dark, woods to gain supernatural knowledge and treasures from the creatures within. Tonight, it's you who enters the witch's lair in a horrifying and hilarious interactive horror comedy show. Spells will be cast, rituals performed, and the ether will be read". And if you're not intrigued and keen to see this after reading that, I don't know how to help you. Find out more about it here.

Phaedo | Etcetera Theatre | 15-19 Aug
Another interesting one - not surprising, this is Camden Fringe, after all - this time a "playful and poignant" take on the trial and death of the Greek philosopher Socrates, based on Plato's 'Phaedo' and 'Apology'. "A cast of four reimagines and relives Socrates' final hours in an Athenian prison cell as he philosophises on the nature of forms and vividly describes the afterlife that awaits him. Realised on stage, Plato's words take on an urgency lost in the classroom; Socrates' sacrifice becomes tragedy, not mere abstraction. This show is a celebration of the intellectual life". For more info and to book, head to the Camden Fringe website here.


MUSICAL STUFF>>

The Magic Flute | Arcola Theatre | 17-20 Aug
And now for a whole section of musical fun, with a bit of an operatic bias. It's been a frequent turn of events in the last few weeks, so it shouldn't surprise you that we're headed over to Arcola's Grimeborn Festival for our first choice, and it's something of a classic. Opera Alegria present Mozart's 'The Magic Flute' with new English libretto by Lindsay Bramley, and I reckon you can count on a great production. "Tamino and Pamina find themselves caught between the machinations of the Queen Of The Night and her enemy Sarastro, on a quest for truth, honesty, love and balance". Find out more here.

Diva: Live From Hell! | Turbine Theatre | 17 Aug-3 Sep
This is where we depart from the opera theme, as we head Turbine Theatre-wards for the UK premiere of this one-person musical starring Luke Bayer, a "riot of a show" that promises to "take you beyond the darkest depths and demonstrate exactly what it takes to earn the title of diva". Not sure how musical fans could possibly resist the opportunity. "Join Desmond Channing in the Seventh Circle - hell's most squalid cabaret club - as he recounts the grisly events that led him there. Inspired by 'All About Eve', this blood-stained love letter to Broadway will have you laughing hysterically and lusting for revenge". More here.

what the dog said to the harvest | King's Place | 18 Aug (pictured)
Back to the operatic theme now, over at King's Place, and a really interesting event: an immersive, experimental promenade experience that promises to confront the current climate emergency using film, opera, dance, spoken word and documentary. Presented by lisa luxx + jasmin kent rodgman, it's on as part of Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival 2022, and tackles climate migration, racism and human displacement while promising to combine "the immediacy of live performance and the intimacy of installation". For more info and to book, check the venue website here.


THEATRICAL TREATS>>

Where We Are Now | Old Red Lion Theatre | 16-20 Aug
And finally, some theatrical work for your delectation, and first up is the debut play from Blue Room Theatre Company, a group of recent Manchester School Of Theatre graduates. "Florence and Miles are forced to face the fallout of their failed relationship when locked in a music shop together over the course of one pivotal day. With a phantom of their past looming over them, this one act show explores what it means to grow up whilst exploring themes of grief, addiction and failed dreams. With laughs, lows and original music throughout, become a fly on the wall as they uncover the truths of their doomed romance". Read more and book your tickets here.

Treasure Island | Greenwich Theatre | 19 Aug-4 Sep (pictured)
Now, here's a treat for parents with kids who are now actually quite bored of being on holiday, and also with kids who insist that they are not bored but clearly are. It's a staging of TW fave Le Navet Bete's acclaimed adaptation of 'Treasure Island', which is suitable for everyone over the age of six and promises much: "This riotously chaotic adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's beloved tale of pirates and buried treasure is full of physical comedy, daft jokes and thrilling adventure". Don't delay, head to the venue website here for all the info and booking.

Brawn | King's Head Theatre | 16 Aug-3 Sep
"What if the lads at work poke fun at you for your chicken legs? What if the girl of your dreams goes off with popular lad James Robinson? What if you're sick to death of looking in the mirror and hating what you see? You get ripped, that's what. Locked away in his dad's garage Ryan puts his body through a gruelling regime - determined to bulk and cut, until he reaches perfection". This sounds like an interesting piece exploring body dysmorphia and mental health issues in men, written and performed by Christopher Wollaton. Head this way to find out more.

1/5 bad | 2/5 mediocre | 3/5 good | 4/5 recommended | 5/5 highly recommended


CHILDREN'S SHOWS

Doktor Kaboom And The Wheel of Science (Doktor K Worldwide And Something For The Weekend)
Pretty Ronseal title this - Doktor Kaboom comes on, spins the wheel and does some science. Solid. Where this show really shines, in amongst the excellent, fun and clearly explained science demos, is when the good Doktor addresses the kids directly, going beyond platitudinous 'woo, science is cool kids' stuff to really passionately exhorting, encouraging and, dare I say, inspiring both those who join him onstage for various larks as well as the general audience. Chuck in a smattering of decent gags for the parents and you have a foolproof formula for success. Tempting to do a pithy conclusion about the decision to catch this show not being rocket science but, thanks to Doktor Kaboom, I now know better.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 21 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Bruce Blacklaw]

Everything Has Changed (Rhum + Clay in association with New Diorama Theatre)
It's been a tough time, especially so, in some respects, for our children. That's what this tender, smart and affecting show, loosely allegorical to both the pandemic and the climate crisis, is all about. The central concept is that a quasi-mythical Rhythm Factory has kept everything ticking along until, one day, it goes awry, making our days endlessly weird and ultimately requiring the heroics of our characters Max and Lakeisha to figure out, and the input of our young audience to set right. From an intriguing start, it builds on itself cleverly, scenes repeated with subtle variations adding narrative layers. The performances of the cast and the direction make for a compelling, sophisticated and truly engaging piece of children's theatre.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 16 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Bruce Blacklaw]



COMEDY

2022 The Beginning Of The End - Vladimir McTavish (Vladimir McTavish/The Stand Comedy Club)
When he came up with this show title, Vladimir McTavish had in mind a twist in which the message would be one of hope, ie, the beginning of the end… of lockdown. Since then, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has caused him to question things, not least his own choice of stage name. Still, after a dark litany of the events of the last couple of years, he just about gets there in the end. While some tangents land weakly, there is some truly laugh out loud stuff in here - an absurd riff on Communion being worth the admission alone. For cultural tourists seeking a Scottish take on the state of it all, the inimitable Vlad is a pretty good place to start.
The Stand, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Bruce Blacklaw]

Chris Turner: Rap God (AEG Live)
He may be an unlikely gangster rapper, but Chris Turner is a natural entertainer. It's clear that the audience would go wild if the show did have a mic drop moment, even though that feels incredibly at odds with his middle class sensibilities. And his slick rhymes make up for the volume of phallic jokes that Turner is gleeful over. 'Rap God' packs in freestyle, poetry, and diss tracks with so much ease that Turner's observational setpieces almost feel like a set up for a track later down the line. There is, however, annoyingly, a sense that the show is crafted almost too meticulously. A tech hiccup surprisingly unearths Turner's strength: he's well suited to audience interaction and his freestyles are joyful.
Pleasance Dome, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Louise Jones]

Mary Beth Barone: Silly Little Girl (Show And Tell)
We begin with some family film of the precocious Barone looking to show off, a trait carried on through a potted early-life history of Mary Beth, the youngest of six, seeking opportunities to break into popular culture, whether as model, singer, influencer, whatever. That's the silly little girl of the title who enables a lot of this layered show: some of the shallower references are straight-up gags, others have afterthoughts where the jokes of today-Mary - English teacher and actress - land and build cumulatively towards frank discussion of sexuality and (what I hope I read correctly as) a cleverly depressing and unique climax. Candid, thoughtful, thought provoking, provocative and, more importantly, funny throughout, and silly only in a good way. Go see.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Bruce Blacklaw]

Pear (Indigo Productions)
Maybe there is in fact a perfect formula for creating the perfect Fringe show? Overarching this abundance of sketches is a premise that the twins Hugo and Patrick McPherson have been mentored by the legendary director Sam Mendes and have found that perfect Fringe comedy formula. From a punchy opening to the ultimate climax, the show is relentlessly packed with jokes that had the audience laughing. It's fast paced, but you're never confused about what's going on because of the strength of the show's premise. The twins know how to tease the audience, do brilliant call backs, and can make repeated gags remain funny, which ensured that this promising pair had the room's full attention throughout.
Underbelly Cowgate, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Andrew Melrose]

Simon Munnery: Trials And Tribulations (Show And Tell)
There are few more pleasurable Fringe staples than Simon Munnery's perennial mid-afternoon slot at The Stand. Foolishness abounds as ever: in amongst a fabulously daft top and tail, there is the best Roe vs Wade joke I've heard. In between, this is perhaps a more anecdotal serving than usual - the trials are legal proceedings, the tribulations fall entirely under the specific subject heading of muggings. There's a wonderful tale featuring the great Arthur Smith and a shit-housing of Steve Coogan which - if it feels like it's been brewing a while - it's because it has. How he gets from there to an (anti) 'Archers' finale beats the hell out of me, but then that's why he remains, as ever, well worth seeing.
The Stand, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Bruce Blacklaw
]


DANCE + PHYSICAL

EGG (Erin Fowler Movement)
What an egg-quisite show! This clever performance flips between more fantastical elements and some harsh realities, highlighting the difficulties women face when deciding to have children at a certain age, the expectations put on them and much more. Erin Fowler is electric in owning every inch of the stage while showcasing her dancing, musical and acting skills. The standout moments come when classic pop music is cleverly mixed with Fowler's physical comedy - they are hilarious but also successful at getting her points across. Her command of scripted comedy is also really good, giving us many 'Fleabag'-esque moments, even though it occasionally fails to hit the mark. Towards the end, the craziness gives way to some incredibly moving choreography. An egg-cellent, packed show.
House Of Oz, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Andrew Melrose]



THEATRE

Alphonse (Theaturtle / Richard Jordan Productions / The Pleasance)
We live by stories. A truth not contradicted by science, but nowadays we are uneasy because stories can also be false, lying, dangerous. Alphonse is a boy who tells beautiful stories which no-one - perhaps including himself - knows whether to believe. This top-quality, layered and ambiguous play by Wajdi Mouawad enables an exceptional performance by Gabe Maharjan which constantly invites questions. Is it only children who can inhabit stories? Don't adults too, even if unaware of it? Does it give comfort that the twinkling stars are born from cosmic dust and die a cold death after billions of years? The genius of this play is that you scarcely notice its gentle but profound probing of the life of the imagination.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Alan Cranston]

Death Of A Disco Dancer (Ultraviolet Productions)
The words "chaotic but beautiful" perfectly encapsulate this show. The edfringe site had it tagged as immersive, however, upon viewing, this felt like a more standard performance. A group of four friends are partying the night away but - as expected - things start unravelling. Blaring music and an overload of light ensues, with the actors' energetic performances creating multiple moments of havoc. This sometimes worked well but at times it hindered the story, as it became difficult to know what was going on, or indeed where to look. There are some beautiful moments, though, with impressive visuals and captivating choreography. All good parties end somewhat badly but this one got a little too messy.
Greenside @ Infirmary Street, until 13 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Andrew Melrose]

False Start (Lucilia Caesar, Performing Arts Laboratory)
Four performers enter an empty stage. They are dressed in running kit, they are focused. They do not acknowledge each other as they begin a sequence of actions which show each individual's race preparation. Audio of commentators and competitors is the only sound that fills the space. The lighting is a highlight, framing tableaux of anticipation and defeat. Although initially visually intriguing, with the same movements throughout, it quickly becomes repetitive. Despite this sense of repetition being evocative of what the athletes are feeling, it lacks the emotional connection to be engaging for the entire 55 minutes. This may be because the piece was originally conceived to be a five minute performance for runners at a marathon and later transformed into a full-length piece.
Summerhall, until 14 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Raphael Highgate-Betts]

Manic Street Creature (Maimuna Memon)
Composer/performer Maimuna Memon (renowned for 2018's 'Electrolyte') floods the Roundabout tent with warm-toned folk music and a gut-wrenching rollercoaster of a love story. Supported by two musicians, under the conceit of recording an album, she plays Ria: a singer/songwriter moving to London seeking gigs and thrilling singledom. When Ria falls in love she admits "vulnerability is my weakness". This gets a laugh of recognition - vulnerability is an intimacy-builder - but the nature of this vulnerability is revealed in a stark series of incidents depicting the manic depression insinuated in the show's title. Through Ria we experience the pressures of caring for a mentally-ill loved-one. The album-recording is a thin framing device, but Maimuna Memon's writing and performance are riveting.
ROUNDABOUT @ Summerhall, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Bizz Holmes]

One Of Two (Jack Hunter / Birds Of Paradise Theatre)
The title of Jack Hunter's autobiographical show references growing up as 'One Of Two' twins with different types of cerebral palsy. Their bond is familiar to anyone with a beloved sibling - silly in-jokes, caustic jibing, uncanny synchronicity and a willingness to fight to the death to defend them (in this case, fighting ableist attitudes). Quirky props are pulled from boxes, but feel clutter-y, offering less personal insight than audio and projections featuring the other one of two, sibling Bec. A multi-talented writer/performer with a compellingly wry comic voice, Jack Hunter doesn't need to share the stage with a Mr Potatohead to guarantee laughs. 'One Of Two' mixes comedy with spoken word and blistering political diatribe - and these elements could be more unified, for even greater impact.
Summerhall, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Bizz Holmes
]

Opal Fruits (Holly Beasley-Garrigan / Pleasance / Bristol Old Vic)
There are many good autobiographical solo shows on the Fringe. For me, this is a cut above: wider-ranging and more deeply theatrical, subversive and challenging. For sure there is a well-told story here about writer-performer Holly Beasley-Garrigan's upbringing in poverty. She wants us to feel the warmth, humour and toughness of it, but even more to avoid theatrical cliché and untruthful sentiment. In this skilled, funny, angular performance she seeks to contextualise her own success, constantly stepping outside the role to question herself - and implicitly the audience too - about theatre's own role in an unequal society. She's clear she has no full answer, but this entertaining and cleverly constructed show declines some familiar escape routes. Excellent.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Alan Cranston]

Palimpsest (What About The Woo Productions)
What happens if characters fall out of a play? When Jess and Jim can't take the (actually quite amusing) romcom they're in, they jump ship - only to find themselves in a strange, plotless limbo where they're unsure who they are or why they're there. There's a lot of wit and potential in this meta-theatrical two-hander from Alex Lacey (who also stars) - well, three-hander if you count the reluctant contributions of tech guy Steve. Lacey and Rob Kemp spark off each other memorably in a vivid, very watchable performance. But, perhaps inevitably, 'Palimpsest' loses some of its impetus and direction once the characters have made their leap - there are great ideas here, but they warrant a more thorough investigation.
Gilded Balloon Teviot, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [David Kettle]

Rajesh And Naresh (ŠITE Productions)
High-flying banker Rajesh feels he's viewed as Asian first, gay second, and as a result struggles to be seen or heard in London's competitive gay scene. On a hastily arranged trip to Mumbai, however, he stumbles into bumbling, good-natured cricket bat-sculptor Naresh, and finds he's suddenly able to be truer to himself. Arjun Singh and James Ireland's feel-good two-hander isn't without its faults: characters could be more fully 3D (Rajesh's overbearing mother, in particular, draws too heavily on stereotypes), issues more deeply explored, scenes longer and more developed. But it's a heartstring-tugging show of wide-eyed optimism and joy all the same, with strong, supple performances by Brahmdeo Shannon Ramana and Madhav Vasantha across a range of vivid characters.
Summerhall, until 14 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [David Kettle]

The Gods, The Gods, The Gods (Wright & Grainger / Hartstone-Kitney Productions)
Time to dust off my dancing shoes. This is how you do immersive theatre: the 360 stage, the audience singing and dancing, lights flashing and performers interacting with a lively crowd. This trio creates an electric piece of gig-theatre that features fourteen tracks covering different stories exploring gods, and demonstrates a masterclass in integrating both spoken word and song, as every sentence could be plucked apart and analysed. The only drawback is that the fast paced nature of the performance made it feel like it was impossible to truly keep up, as - like with any song - multiple listens are necessary to fully appreciate it. Though, during an unforgettable final act that I found myself genuinely empowered by, I became fully immersed in the party atmosphere.
Assembly Rooms, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Andrew Melrose]
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