The Edinburgh Fringe One-Weeker 2019 – F. Off, 22nd August 2019

F. OffHere’s something that should be top quality and challenging. It’s the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain’s production of F. Off, at Belly Button, Underbelly, Cowgate, at 12:50 on Thursday 22nd. Read the blurb: “As the extremes of social media kick up an unsettling and unsavoury stink, Evening Standard ‘One to Watch’ writer Tatty Hennessy, National Youth Theatre Artistic Director Paul Roseby and Britain’s best young talent are kicking off in response in true interrogatory style to put Mark Zuckerberg and his social network colleagues on trial. The question is who really is to blame, and who is following who? So we ask you, the audience, to be the jury and the NYT company will be the disrupters. Served with a heavy helping of humour, some knitting and hardcore experts.”

This sounds like an ambitious production, but if anyone can do it, the National Youth Theatre can. Check back around 2.30 pm to see if we enjoyed it. By then the next preview blog should be available to read too.

The Edinburgh Fringe One-Weeker 2019 – The Believers are but Brothers, 22nd August 2019

The Believers are but BrothersAn unfortunately early start for us but this first play sounds gripping. It’s Javaad Alipoor’s The Believers are but Brothers, at Assembly George Square Studios 2, at 11:00 on Thursday 22nd. Here’s the blurb: “From the postcolonial Middle East, to the EU and USA, old orders are collapsing. Tech-savvy extremist groups are ripping up rulebooks while a generation of young men burn with resentment and unfulfilled self-entitlement whilst falling into online worlds of fantasy, violence and reality. Fresh from the UK premiere of it’s BBC4 adaptation, this Scotsman Fringe First (2017) winner returns for a limited run. ‘Complex… masterly… one of the most fascinating shows I have seen in an age’ ***** (Financial Times). Part of the British Council Edinburgh Showcase 2019. Originally co-commissioned by HOME, Transform and Ovalhouse.”

After yesterday’s late night I hope we’re able to get our act together and get out to see this morning play because it sounds totally fascinating. There’s a WhatsApp element to watching this play which sounds extremely curious! Check back shortly after 12.15 pm to see if we enjoyed it. By then the next preview blog should be available to read too.

A fascinating and gripping show, not only because of its horrendous subject matter but also its brilliant use of multimedia. The thing I got most out of it was that this depicted possibly the greatest use of the Internet for evil. Superb, thought provoking experience.

The Edinburgh Fringe One-Weeker 2019 – The People’s Boat, 21st August 2019

The People's BoatTime for another comedy play, and hopefully, it’s a good’un. It’s Moaning Toad Productions’ The People’s Boat, at Olive Studio @ Greenside @ Infirmary Street, at 21:00 on Wednesday 21st. Here’s the blurb: “One dinghy. Lost at sea. Four disillusioned knobheads. Join Britain’s most dysfunctional quartet as they attempt the impossible mission of towing the UK away from the continent. This new comedy follows the intrepid but ignorant explorers as they grapple with life on the ocean and the futility of their existence. On a crusade to somewhere sunny, they encounter rough winds, soggy pasties and trouble with their neighbours. After weeks and weeks of parlour games and pissing overboard, food is running out and patience is wearing thin. Wherever it is they’re headed, they’re taking Britain with them…”

I’m sensing a Brexit analogy here! With any luck it will be pithy and revelatory – and not just depressing. Check back shortly after 10 pm to see how much we enjoyed it. By then the next preview blog should be available to read too.

Four young actors act out an allegory about Brexit, interspersed with scenes of them planning the play that they’re currently performing. Nice idea. The scenes of the planning actors work much better than the actual “play” scenes, which are for the most part shouty and a bit gross. Shame – I really wanted to enjoy this because it’s heart is so in the right place; but it doesn’t really work, I’m afraid.

The Edinburgh Fringe One-Weeker 2019 – Come Dine with Mr Shakespeare, 21st August 2019

Come Dine with Mr ShakespeareReality TV and the Classics meet and life is never the same again. It’s Roo Theatre Company’s Come Dine with Mr Shakespeare, at Perth Theatre @ theSpace on North Bridge, at 15:05 on Wednesday 21st. See the blurb: “Reality TV lurches onto the stage, with four familiar Shakespearean characters competing to win a thousand gold crowns. Lovesick Duke Orsino (Twelfth Night), Cordelia (King Lear’s former favourite daughter), Petruchio (tamer of small animals, such as shrews) and the nefarious Lady Macbeth each take their turn hosting a dinner party for the others. The kitchen capers of this volatile collection of unhinged individuals result in the inevitable mix of triumphs and disasters, for which they score each other out of 10. Who will ultimately be declared the winner and how will they celebrate their victory?”

Yet another Shakespearean parody – second one today! At this rate, we’re going to go home talking in iambic pentameters. Check back around 4.15 pm to see how much we enjoyed it. By then the next preview blog should be available to read too.

Oh dear. One thing it achieved was it reminded me how much I dislike Come Dine With Me! Under-rehearsed, under-delivered and under-funny. A great idea but it just doesn’t work. Sold out…. so they’ve done something right, not sure what…

The Edinburgh Fringe One-Weeker 2019 – Trump Lear, 21st August 2019

Trump LearYet another show that’s borrowing from the Good Bard, I hope Shakespeare’s charging royalties for all these shows! It’s Project Y Theatre and Richard Jordan Productions’ Trump Lear, at Bunker One, Pleasance Courtyard, at 11:40 on Wednesday 21st. Here’s the blurb: “Last year’s ‘chaotically enjoyable’ (Spectator) sell-out hit Shakespeare adaptation returns. Actor and impersonator Carl David – aka David Carl – is locked up for performing his hilarious Trump-inspired version of Shakespeare’s King Lear. Forced to play for an audience of one – the US President himself – Carl’s life depends on making the bard great again and giving the performance of a lifetime without offending the audience. ‘A surreal, grotesque send-up of The Donald by brilliant American impressionist David Carl’ (Daily Mail). ‘It’s quite damning’ (New York Times). Time Out NY Critics Pick!”

In this world of strife and turmoil, both international and domestic, thank God for a bit of political satire. It got great reviews last year so I’m hoping for something fantastic! Check back by 1 pm to see if it worked. By then the next preview blog should be available to read too.

If ever the words tour de force meant anything…. hilarious, savage, merciless, grotesque and absolutely outstanding! Not mere impersonation, but a warning shot to the world not to accept the emergent alt right. We loved it, so much, I mean, bigly. A must-see!

The Edinburgh Fringe One-Weeker 2019 – The Lost Musical Works of Willy Shakes, 20th August 2019

The Lost Musical Works of Willy ShakesHere’s something that could be very funny – or a total disaster (I’m hoping the former.) Next up is The Lost Works’ production of The Lost Musical Works of Willy Shakes, at the Assembly Rooms – Front Room, at 22:40 on Tuesday 20th. Here’s the blurb: “It’s 1616. Shakespeare and his Fair Youth – bent on being remembered through the annals of history – have set about spicing up his plays with one missing ingredient: showstopping musical numbers. Creators Guy Hughes and Joe Leather bring a wealth of Bardy experience, including The RSC, The Globe, and of course The Best of George Michael. Straight outta Stratford with a noughties pop twist, join The Bard for busting tunes, scandalous backstories and hot Tudor gossip. Think Flight of the Conchords with an Elizabethan makeover: two bawdy bros in doublet and hose.”

Is this our third, or fourth show to spoof Shakespeare so far this week? I’ve lost count. Don’t know much about this one, so it’s a fingers crossed punt, but often they’re the best. Check back around midnight to see how good it was. By then the next preview blog should be available to read too.

Sometimes all the elements of a show come together and create something that’s 100% joy. If you love your Shakespeare and your musical parodies, this is utter genius. Would happily see it again tomorrow night!

The Edinburgh Fringe One-Weeker 2019 – And Then They Died, 20th August 2019

And Then They DiedAfter an afternoon catching up with old friends, our next play is Riddled Image’s And Then They Died at Ivy Studio @ Greenside @ Infirmary Street, at 19:35 on Tuesday 20th. This is what the blurb says: “Riddled Image have been invited to a funeral, but something quickly becomes clear when they arrive: the funeral is for one of them. Through an arresting collision of live music, storytelling and flamenco striptease, And Then They Died takes its audience along for a fast-paced, anarchic account of five friends trying to tell their last story the right way, whoever’s story it may be. Riddled Image is an emerging company from the South West of England with a passion for silly ideas and strange stories: unhinged, evocative, hilarious. Part of University Centre Weston Graduate Showcase.”

Well who knows what to make of that description? Done well this should be highly entertaining. Check back around 8.45 pm to see what we thought of it. By then the next preview blog should be available to read too.

So…. they had the germ of a great idea, and the performers are incredibly likeable and versatile, but, really, the material they gave us went absolutely nowhere. I’d love to see them perform a decent play written by someone else!

The Edinburgh Fringe One-Weeker 2019 – Level Up, 20th August 2019

Level UpNext is a very intriguing and potentially superb play. It’s Full Breakfast Productions and New Celts Productions’ Level Up at Space 3 @ TheSpace on the Mile, at 14:05 on Tuesday 20th. This is what the blurb says: “Newly engaged Jimmy and Natasha feel they’re the perfect match. However, the state-controlled social credit system thinks otherwise. Jimmy has two weeks to improve his score or the couple face eviction. Is it possible to be both model citizen and model partner? And how far is Jimmy willing to go to become the person the state wants? Inspired by China’s social credit system, Level Up explores a near-future utopia where real love is impossible to measure, doing good becomes an obsession and not everyone plays by the rules.”

This sounds like a very creative and alarming mildly futuristic play – a reality that could be just around the corner. Hope they do a good job of it! We’ve seen New Celts Productions before and they’ve always been excellent. Check back around 3.30 pm to see what it was like. By then the next preview blog should be available to read too.

Nicely constructed and performed, the play shows how a totalitarian state can get way out of hand and destroy the relationships of its inhabitants. Smart work by all and very enjoyable!

The Edinburgh Fringe One-Weeker 2019 – The Good Scout, 19th August 2019

Good ScoutTime for another serious, meaty play. It’s Boys of the Empire Productions’ The Good Scout at the Grand Theatre @ theSpace @ Surgeons Hall, at 20:20 on Monday 19th. This is what the blurb says: “Inspired by true events. In the 1930s, Baden-Powell and Von Ribbentrop, Hitler’s ambassador, decreed that British boy scouts and Hitler Youth should learn from one another. In Bassington, England, the local troop play host to a cycling party of Hitlerjugend – but are the German boys cyclists or “spyclists”? For Will and Jacob, two Rover Scouts on the cusp of manhood, it is a visit that will change their lives forever. As war looms, a heart-wrenching, darkly humorous drama about espionage, scout’s honour and forbidden love unfolds. From writer/director of Kids Play ***** (Bobby Award winner,”

This could be a really stunning experience; searing, unsettling, challenging drama. Can’t wait! I think this is the longest production we’re seeing this year, at One hour Twenty minutes long. Check back around 10 pm to see what we thought of it. By then the next preview blog should be available to read too.

Another very cleverly written play that conceals its big twist right till the end. First rate performances throughout; and you sense it has something of a message for today as well. Highly recommended!

The Edinburgh Fringe One-Weeker 2019 – Bismillah! An ISIS Tragicomedy, 19th August 2019

BismillahHere’s something that I’m really looking forward to because it sounds challenging but hilarious. It’s Wound Up Theatre’s production of Bismillah! An ISIS Tragicomedy at Belly Button, Underbelly, Cowgate at 18:40 on Monday 19th. Let’s read the blurb: “Radicalisation, disenfranchisement and the rock band Queen. Dean joined the army, ‘Danny’ joined ISIS. One’s from London; the other, Leeds. Bismillah! is their hour together in an Iraqi cell. ‘A Black comedy of the highest order’ ***** ( Discussing Islamophobia, Wetherspoons and the increasing price of a standard meal deal, which circles an awful truth – they just want to go home. Fresh from a national tour, Pleasance run and sell-out 2018 VAULT Festival run, the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award-shortlisted show returns, with its hilarious and compassionate look at modern Britain.”

This could be very special and very exciting; I can’t wait to find out. Check back around 8pm to see what we thought. By then the next preview blog should be available to read too.

Very powerful and cleverly written and with highly charged, spirited performances. Perhaps a little shouty, which occasionally made it hard to understand everything that was said. But it went down very well with the audience and we enjoyed it!