Edinburgh Fringe theatre reviews

The Time Out theatre team pass judgement on Edinburgh's theatrical Fringe Festival offerings

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Pioneer review

  • Rated as: 4/5

It's probably written down somewhere in an old dusty book of Edinburgh Fringe Rules that staging a big-scale sci-fi thriller with a complex set is Not Advisable. Science-focussed theatre company Curious Directive have clearly ignored all the rules.

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Mmm Hmmm review

  • Rated as: 3/5

There are three exceptionally strange beings in Verity Standen’s piece ‘Mmm Hmmm’.

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Little on the Inside review

  • Rated as: 4/5

How do you escape the same four walls, when they're all you have to look at for the next 20 years? Alice Birch’s two hander play ‘Little on the Inside’ has the answer: with your imagination.

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Early Doors review

  • Rated as: 3/5

Pint after breakfast anyone? Noon may sound a little early to be drinking, but you’d feel out of place if you didn’t join in with the regulars during this play staged in a small Edinburgh boozer.

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Lands of Glass review

  • Rated as: 3/5

The haunting and otherworldly sound of a finger being drawn round the rim of a wine glass is put to good use in this show.

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A Journey Round My Skull review

  • Rated as: 4/5

This unhappy love story is wedged between the stark contrasts of pure feeling and pure science. And it really gets inside your head.

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Where We Live & What We Live For review

  • Rated as: 3/5

It’s rare to see a piece as open, vulnerable and personal as this one from Kings of England.

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Tales from the MP3 review

  • Rated as: 3/5

In a neat twist to the verbatim genre – where the script is created from interviews with real people – 'Tales from the MP3'is performed by them too.

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The Initiate review

  • Rated as: 3/5

Greed, altruism, identity, mistrust and prejudice are all wrapped up in Alexandra Wood’s new play.

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Nothing review

  • Rated as: 4/5

Struggling to find work, bored, angry and obsessed with technology and sex: a bunch of today’s Generation Y speak to us in this series of monologues.

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KlangHaus review

  • Rated as: 4/5

So it turns out that the greatest gig venue in the world is the former small animal hospital at the hulking medical school-turned-arts megalopolis that is Summerhall…

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The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha review

  • Rated as: 4/5

You could say that the decision to stage Miguel de Cervantes’s seventeenth-century novel should not be taken lightly…

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Every Brilliant Thing review

  • Rated as: 4/5

Surprisingly, for a play about depression, ‘Every Brilliant Thing’ is filled to the brim with joy.

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Our Teacher's a Troll review

  • Rated as: 3/5

Not content with unsettling us adults with his dark TV show ‘Utopia’, he’s decided to redress the balance and see how much the kids can take. Kelly’s sublimely naughty RSC adaptation of ‘Matilda’ showed how he understood that kids tend to love the grotesque aspects of a character.

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The Future For Beginners review

  • Rated as: 3/5

It's rare to hear an opera about a question as mundane as who has just answered the phone, or how it was going in your data planning job. But Liveartshow’s ‘The Future for Beginners’ doesn’t care about your preconceptions, or any of the usual opera rules.

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Dead to Me review

  • Rated as: 4/5

There’s something eerily, convincingly vague about Tessa Parr’s performance as a psychic in Gary Kitching’s new play ‘Dead To Me’.

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I Killed Rasputin review

  • Rated as: 3/5

This new historical comedy from obsessive compulsive funnyman and diarist Richard Herring is funnier and more illuminating than much work on the Fringe.

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Hiraeth review

  • Rated as: 4/5

A combination of single-minded intent, outsider art naivety and sheer funniness all serve to lend lo-fi comedy 'Hiraeth' a sense of total freshness.

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Symphony review

  • Rated as: 3/5

An indie rockin' triple-header from three of Britain’s hottest young playwrights: Ella Hickson, Nick Payne and Tom Wells.

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Chef review

  • Rated as: 3/5

Sabrina Mahfouz’s popular monologue is served with great flair, but the meal feels a little conventional.

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Hug review

  • Rated as: 5/5

It's worth making the walk to the new HQ of beloved live art curators Forest Fringe to catch this remarkable polyphonic show from Verity Standen.

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SmallWar review

  • Rated as: 3/5

Hovering on your last thread of consciousness, on the boundary between life and death must be a remarkable experience. Certainly that’s how it appears in Valentijn Dhaenens’s ‘SmallWar’, which serves as both the follow up to and polar opposite of his bombastic 2011 show, ‘BigMouth’.
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Sister review

  • Rated as: 3/5

The compatibility or otherwise between sex work and feminism has been a matter of heated debate for decades now; the message from this gutsy show is that it can work, for the right woman.
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Stand By for Tape Back-Up review

  • Rated as: 4/5

I don’t think it’s going out on a limb to suggest that poet and performer Ross Sutherland’s ‘Stand By for Tape Back-Up’ probably features the most profound use of the opening credits of ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ in theatre history.
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Mark Ravenhill: Product review

  • Rated as: 4/5

If Mark Ravenhill’s cryptic ‘Show 6’, which just premiered at the Summerhall, is the playwright at his most obtusely experimental, then this ferocious revival of 2005’s monologue ‘Product’ is a reminder of how thrilling his work can be with a mainstream sensibility applied to it.
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Lippy review

  • Rated as: 4/5

Bush Moukarzel and Mark O’Halloran’s ‘Lippy’ is an extraordinary and challenging piece of theatre that will probably infuriate as many people as it moves. But I loved this Irish production’s strange, sinister odyssey to the outskirts of human comprehension.
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Blind Hamlet review

  • Rated as: 2/5

Iranian playwright Nassim Soleimanpour caused a deserved stir at the 2011 Fringe with ‘White Rabbit Red Rabbit’, a piece performed script in hand by a fresh actor every night, with each only seeing the text for the first time as they read it.
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Bloody Trams review

  • Rated as: 4/5

One Fringe show we probably can’t expect to see in London anytime soon is the Traverse’s delightful and damning verbatim play about the Edinburgh trams system, the £760m white elephant  project that laid waste to swathes of the city centre for a walloping seven years.
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Show 6 review

  • Rated as: 3/5

Playwright Mark Ravenhill is so staggeringly prolific that he’s probably already written one play today, and is contemplating whether to go out for dinner this evening, or write a second play.
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Light review

  • Rated as: 3/5

Theatre Ad Infinitum’s breakthrough Fringe hit was 2011’s ‘Translunar Paradise’, a graceful silent weepie about an elderly couple that reduced pretty much all who saw it to fits of hysterical blubbing.
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Cuckooed review

  • Rated as: 3/5

The story behind activist comedian Mark Thomas’s new show really brings home just how humdrum your own life is. A longterm thorn in the side of arms industry, just over 10 years ago Thomas discovered that one of his best friends was being paid to spy on him by representatives of said industry.
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The Eradication of Schizophrenia in Western Lapland review

  • Rated as: 4/5

I’d be impressed if experimental humorists Ridiculusmus could themselves offer a concise explanation of exactly what’s going on in ths magnificently-monikered new show.
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Unfaithful review

  • Rated as: 4/5

 If Owen McCafferty’s 2013 Traverse smash ‘Quietly’ was a play about truth and reconciliation in Northern Ireland, then his follow-up, ‘Unfaithful’, concerns truth and reconciliation in the bedroom. The difference is, we get to see the war here first. 
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Awkward Conversations with Animals I've F*cked review

  • Rated as: 3/5

Rob Hayes’s new play has such a wonderful title that you’d forgive the playwright if the words ‘Awkward Conversations with Animals I’ve Fucked’ wrote a cheque that the actual content didn’t cash.
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The Generation of Z review

  • Rated as: 3/5

I’m not sure that being a theatre critic strictly speaking speaking qualifies me to appraise an interactive zombie-based survival game. But I did play quite a lot of ‘Resident Evil’ back in the day.
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Men in the Cities review

  • Rated as: 4/5

Amidst a fairly conservative Traverse Fringe line up, this new show from mercurial theatre maker Chris Goode stands out a country mile, a smeared, soulful, messy, impassioned rant that tries to do too much, goes on too long, and has moments of such staggering potency that it feels like the air is on fire.
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Spoiling review

  • Rated as: 2/5

Those in the market for a spot of fiery Scots separatist rhetoric will perhaps enjoy this chippy two-hander from Dundee-based Northern Irish playwright John McCann. But like last year’s misfiring ‘I’m with the Band’, I can’t help but feel the powerhouse Traverse Theatre has again blown an opportunity to contribute a really substantial work to the Union debate.
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A Series of Increasingly Impossible Acts review

  • Rated as: 3/5

When the Lyric Hammersmith’s Secret Theatre rep project debuted last year, it instantly attracted a sort of crazed cult of anonymity, with certain fans getting furiously angry at anybody who revealed any identifying details of productions that were initially only billed as ‘Show 1’, ‘Show 2’, etcetera.
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I Promise You Sex and Violence: review

  • Rated as: 1/5

A trip to the Edinburgh Fringe isn’t a proper trip to the Edinburgh Fringe without seeing at least one show during which you silently scream ‘WHY WAS THIS ALLOWED TO HAPPEN?’ But it’s not an experience I’d expected to be having so early on.
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Confirmation: review

  • Rated as: 4/5

Well this was a full-on start to the Fringe: the new show by poet Chris Thorpe – for which he’s largely jettisoned the actual poetry – wallops you like an axe to the neck.
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Tales From the MP3

A group of teenagers discuss religion, sex, race, friendship and family and their stories are relayed live by actors onstage. Featuring beat boxing and video projection, 20 Stories High's production intends to play with our ideas of cultural identity and reveal some challenging perspectives.

  1. Unicorn Theatre Tooley Street, SE1 2HZ
  2. Thu Sep 11 - Sat Sep 13
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