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Edinburgh Festival

Shift, Circus Hub on the Meadows, Review

Pros: Playful and inventive acrobatics from award winning circus company Cons: Transitions between set pieces were sometimes meandering, and spoken text got lost in the large tent space. Award-winning circus company Barely Methodical Troupe’s latest show has a cool, other-worldly feel about it. Four performers, dressed in blue, manipulate what looks like a long tension-band (also blue), as the soundtrack of drips and static reinforces the dreamy, unstable atmosphere. The tension-band was fascinating to watch – catching acrobats like spiders ...

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Bag for Life, Greenside @ Infirmary Street (Olive Studio) – Review

Pros: The topic is weighty. Cons: The show didn’t make me feel any wiser. Suicide is a particularly important issue in Britain, where it is the leading cause of death for men under 45. That’s why it has become an increasingly recurrent topic in fringe theatre, where it is covered from many different angles. In this new piece, written and directed by Eve Walton, the subject is developed in the form of a dark comedy, with a quite unexpected final twist. ...

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The Spider Glass, TheSpace Triplex, Edinburgh Festival Fringe – Review

Pros: A topical issue – men’s mental health and the influence of toxic masculinity – that invites further discussion and suits a one-man play dynamic. Cons: The first 20 minutes feel less tight and less thematic; some sub-plotting could be cut. James is a single man in his mid-thirties, sorting his childhood possessions in the attic of the family home, prompted by his mum’s fresh start with irritating new man Roger. Writer and performer Craig Malpass brings all these characters ...

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Portraits in Motion: Volker Gerling, Summerhall, Edinburgh – Review

Pros: Accessible storytelling by a fascinating creative. Cons: The simple format can often feel more like a lecture, so might not appeal to everyone. This is a show about the moments when we’re caught off guard: the photos taken when we drop our poses and show our real selves, baggage and all. Volker Gerling, a trained filmmaker, began making flipbooks in 1998 as an experiment. Soon he was touring cafes and bars in Berlin, showing flipbooks from a hawker’s tray ...

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When the Friendship Has Sailed, C Venues: C Aquila, Edinburgh Festival Fringe – Review

Pros: A versatile cast, clever props and a well-rounded piece that delivers lots of humour alongside the take-home message. The cast and crew should be proud. Cons: None. Loneliness is a hot topic that can leave you out in the cold. We’ve known for decades that it affects the elderly, but the media has only discussed loneliness in millennials and upwards in the last few years. Carrie, the protagonist of When the Friendship Has Sailed, has a goldfish to talk ...

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Mad Women in My Attic!, PQA Venues @Riddle’s Court (PQA One) – Review

Mad Women in My Attic!, Edimburgh Fringe 2018 - Courtesy of Roberto Ricciuti

Pros: The fin-de-siècle atmosphere generated by a superb combination of production elements. Cons: The raked stalls tend to obstruct Salvi’s flamboyant interaction with the audience. Often typecast in the role of a mad woman, Royal Academy of Music graduate Monica Salvi started to develop a strange sympathy for her characters, which eventually led to a nervous breakdown. Now safely locked away in a mental asylum, she makes the most of her recreational hour by introducing her fellow inmates to the ...

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The Vanishing Man, Pleasance Courtyard (Pleasance Two) – Review

Pros: Simon Evans’s close-up magic tricks are brilliant. Cons: Those who are led to believe that there will be a vanishing act performed on stage might feel disappointed. Drawing from the life of Edwardian magician Hugo Cedar, theatre veterans Simon Evans and David Aula try to deconstruct on stage with The Vanishing Man the greatest magic trick ever performed and never revealed. In the early morning of June 20th 1930, Cedar stood silent and motionless on London Bridge for over ...

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Angry Alan, Underbelly, Big Belly – Ed Fringe Review

Pros: Fascinating glimpse of real-life misogynists Cons: The narrative is not always convincing A large projection screen in this cavernous venue scrolls through cherry-picked Twitter tweets of anti-feminist whinges. It’s an effective – if rather un-nuanced – way for writer Penelope Skinner to set out the stall of her latest play: as the ancient patriarchy starts to crumble, some men are biting back in a desperate attempt to perpetuate the status quo. The show stars Donald Sage Mackay (Skinner’s real-life ...

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BLUE HEART @ C Venues, C Too Ed Fringe Review

Pro’s: Two exceptional Caryl Churchill scripts Con’s: Committed but inexperienced actors With thousands of shows competing to make an impact in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, it’s a bold move for a student ensemble to dive into the fray, pitching their production up against veterans and professionals. The young players of the University of Greenwich’s Bathway Theatre Company deserve kudos for taking the plunge with a pair of challenging Caryl Churchill plays. They realise this project with no shortage of commitment ...

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My Land, Assembly Roxy – Ed Fringe review

Pros: Jaw-dropping acrobatics Cons: Turgid music and relentless po-faces sapped the energy I went to see My Land on a word-of-mouth recommendation, and I’m really glad I did. The seven performers of Hungarian company Recirquel were awe inspiring. In the opening solo a figure clad in rags floated languidly into a one-armed handstand, then tilted over to one side, his sacrum swinging like a slow-motion pendulum. The skills were consistently breath-taking: an audacious duet by acrobat twins created a beautiful ...

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