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Review Round-Ups

Edinburgh Festival 2019: all our reviews in one place

Catch up on all our reviews so far from this year's Edinburgh Festival Fringe and International Festival

Frankenstein: How to Make a Monster
© Joyce Nicholls


Five Stars

Frankenstein: How to Make a Monster, Traverse Theatre, times vary
Alex Wood: "It's novel, unmissable and expertly crafted. And a total breath of fresh air." Read more.

A Table Tennis Play, Underbelly Cowgate, 12.30pm
Alex Wood: "Steiner's return to the Fringe solidifies his status as a writer with the keenest ear for dialogue, finding magic among a sea of memories. An absolute ace." Read more.


Four Stars

Are We Not Drawn Onward To New ErA, Zoo Southside, 11:00 Alex Wood: "The tricky thing is that, after the company pulls off its awesome theatrical coup, you start to become numb to the sheer brilliance of it all." Read more.

Everything I Do, Summerhall, 16:30
Daisy Bowie-Sell: "With a sly smile and an eye twinkle, Ní Riordáin keeps us guessing as to what the show is. But once you stop questioning and start listening, it all really comes into its own." Read more.

Baby Reindeer, Roundabout @ Summerhall, 18:25
Alex Wood: "Cruelly cool and pitched perfectly, Richard Gadd has transitioned from comedy to theatre with a disgraceful grace." Read more.

Oedipus, King's Theatre, times vary
Nikki Yirenkyi: "This is a slick production with a well thought out modern-day setting, that adds immediacy to a well-known tale." Read more.

Louder is Not Always Clearer, Summerhall, 14:30
Sarah Crompton: "The conclusion is liberating fun. It's a charming, engrossing show." Read more.

The Secret River, King's Theatre (EIF), 19:30
Alex Wood: "A mammoth production that takes a small family story and projects it onto a narrative of nations." Read more.

Until the Flood, Traverse Theatre, times vary
Sarah Crompton: "A work that extends beyond the specific, to a more universal questioning of the terrible and enduring legacy of racism and the way it has blighted the lives of generations." Read more.

Frances Barber in Musik
© The Other Richard

The Patient Gloria, Traverse Theatre, times vary Alex Wood: "Mixing the eccentric and phallocentric, the production rips into misogynistic behaviour." Read more

Musik, Assembly Rooms, 21:40
Simon Thompson: "Frances Barber is a tour-de-force. This is her first one-woman-show, but you wouldn't guess it from the way she holds the audience." Read more.

Total Immediate Collective Imminent Terrestrial Salvation, The Studio (EIF), times vary
Alex Wood: "This is a Tim Crouch play, and any initial ideas can only last so long before they're distorted and twisted out of shape." Read more.

Islander, Summerhall Roundabout, 10:00
Daisy Bowie-Sell: "It's a beautiful, carefully crafted folk fairytale with harmonies that transport you to the sea and back." Read more.

The War of the Worlds, Pleasance Courtyard, 15:20
Alex Wood: "The show may be more of a war of words than a war of the worlds but it's all the better for it - Liam Neeson can keep his hologram." Read more.

Pops, Pleasance Courtyard, 18:35
Daisy Bowie-Sell: "It's not an easy hour, but it is beautifully performed by Sophie Melville and Nigel Barrett and brilliantly written by Josephine." Read more.

The Last of the Pelican Daughters, Pleasance Courtyard, 16:40
Alex Wood: "It's hard not to be seduced by this oddball family drama... with its heart firmly in the right place." Read more.

How Not to Drown, Traverse Theatre, times vary
Sarah Crompton: "So inspirational. Here, standing before us, is a boy who grew into a man who grew into a playwright because people finally listened to him and showed a little kindness." Read more.

I'll Take You to Mrs Cole!, Pleasance Courtyard, 13:45
Daisy Bowie-Sell: "A new show from Complicité and Polka Theatre, which combines a skankilicious soundtrack, a teeny bit of politics and a lot of fun." Read more.


Mika Johnson in Pink Lemonade
© Max Zadeh


Pink Lemonade, Assembly Roxy, 15:45
Daisy Bowie-Sell: "It's all staged with charm and many laughs – including a simulated sex scene which is hilarious – and the disparate elements combine to create a fluid, engaging whole." Read more.

Cruel Intentions: The '90s Musical, Assembly George Square Gardens, 20:30
Daisy Bowie-Sell: "Its intention, cruel or otherwise, is a massive nostalgia-fest. And that is exactly what you get." Read more.

Birth, Pleasance Courtyard, 12:00
Alex Wood: "It's a quietly charged watch, at times uncomfortably cerebral." Read more.

Bystanders, Summerhall, 11:30
Daisy Bowie-Sell: "Cardboard Citizens returns to the Edinburgh Fringe with a new show that once again shines light on the little-heard stories of the homeless and the vulnerable." Read more.

Backbone, Underbelly Bristo Square, 17:00
Alex Wood: "It seems increasingly the case at the Fringe that the best circus shows are those with a sense of humour." Read more.

I'm a Phoenix, Bitch, Pleasance Courtyard, 17:30
Jo Caird: "Bryony Kimmings really outdoes herself in terms of emotionally challenging topics in this ambitious new solo piece, a show that tells the story of her experience of post-natal depression following the birth of her son." Read more.

Collapsible, Assembly Roxy, 13:20
Alex Wood: "There are no ways around it – while a pretty solid text, this is a production that lives or dies on its central performance – something that is no problem at all for Holahan in what is a staggeringly deft turn." Read more.

It's True, It's True, It's True, Underbelly Bristo Square, 13:00
Sarah Crompton: "The story of Artemisia Gentileschi is one of the most inspiring in art history." Read more.

dressed., Pleasance Courtyard, 12:10
Matt Trueman: "How does art heal? Can it make do and mend? dressed. does – and it does so with real love and care." Read more.

The Claim, Roundabout @ Summerhall, 12:50
Daisy Bowie-Sell: "The Claim is a masterclass in the pitfalls of language, a taut, funny but ultimately massively unsettling piece of work." Read more.

Mouthpiece, Traverse Theatre, times vary
Alex Wood: "Kieran Hurley makes theatre like a magic trick – spellbinding, full of misdirection, and blindsiding audiences with his final reveal." Read more.


Javaad Alipoor and Peyvand Sadeghian in Rich Kids: A History of Shopping Malls in Tehran
© Pete Dibdin


Three Stars

Unfortunate: The Untold Story of Ursula the Sea Witch, Underbelly Bristo Square, 18.55
Alex Wood: "it's a joke-laden romp that will be lapped up by Disney aficionados in droves, though perhaps not the everyday layperson." Read more.

You and I, Underbelly Bristo Square, 17:10 Alex Wood: "A big-hearted musical that suits the Fringe to a t and, though by no means groundbreaking, proves that O'Driscoll and Williams have a long way to go with what should be lengthy careers. Some solid laughs packed into the hour's runtime." Read more.

The Incident Room, Pleasance Courtyard, 16.30
Sarah Crompton: "Its documentary form means it might work better on TV, though the dramatic touches where Megan records the increasing deaths by pulling items of clothing out of pieces of furniture has the theatrical impact of a nightmare. And it is great that this young company wants to tell stories with such scope, meaning and import." Read more.

Rich Kids: A History of Shopping Malls in Tehran, Traverse Theatre, times vary
Daisy Bowie-Sell: "There's a lot of multi-media used in this interactive, tech-heavy play, including live streaming on Instagram and in-app face distortion. But there's just too much being said about a world which has gone too far, and not enough about what's to be done." Read more.

Daughterhood, Summerhall Roundabout, times vary
Alex Wood: "The difference between caring about something and caring for someone is brought into blistering focus in Charley Miles' new play." Read more.

Where to Belong, Summerhall, 10.10
Daisy Bowie-Sell: "The piece is sweet and sad and a story many will recognize, and Esses engages with the audience in a way that provokes understanding and empathy." Read more.

Crocodile Fever, Traverse Theatre, times vary
Sarah Crompton: "Crocodile Fever is a blast while it lasts, a bold piece that feels good pouring from the pen of a female writer." Read more.

Since U Been Gone, Assembly Roxy, 13:45
Daisy Bowie-Sell: "It's a slightly messy, if charming slip of a thing, which never really varies from its one note, but still offers some real insight into queer stories of growing up and coming out." Read more.

Red Dust Road, Lyceum Theatre, times vary
Simon Thompson: "It's undoubtedly an interesting story but it's told in an unsatisfying way, and as it ended I was left wishing they'd done more with it." Read more.

Bible John, Pleasance Courtyard, 15:50
Alex Wood: "...an hour that is chock full of questions, never daring to settle for simple answers, but ultimately feels a bit patchy." Read more.

Enough, Traverse Theatre, times vary
Sarah Crompton: "Stef Smith is a writer of uncanny precision. Her new play presents two air hostesses in their middle years and in the centre of their own mid-life crises." Read more.

Burgerz, Traverse Theatre, times vary
Sarah Crompton: "It's a good piece, a passionate plea, full of feeling." Read more.

Laura Dalgliesh in How to be Brave
© Kirsten McTernan

How to be Brave, Summerhall Roundabout, 15:45
Daisy Bowie-Sell: "...there's no denying that it's highly refreshing seeing a story about the realities of motherhood." Read more.

On The Other Hand, We're Happy, Summerhall Roundabout, times vary
Alex Wood: "A bloody nice piece of writing that glitters underneath Peter Small's twinklingly sepia lighting."

Superstar, Underbelly Cowgate, 17:30
Daisy Bowie-Sell: "[Nicola Wren] is a caustically funny writer and a very enjoyable to watch actor and this piece is an excellent showcase for her talents." Read more.

Rust, Assembly Roxy, 12:40
Nicole Acquah: "It doesn't deliver the exciting, blood-rushing atmosphere one might expect from a show that explores the nature of lust." Read more.

Peter Gynt, Festival Theatre (EIF), 19.00
Sarah Crompton: "Despite running at over three hours (with two intervals), this version is never boring (which Peer Gynt can be) but it doesn't ever quite resolve the mad veering between fantasy and reality that characterises the original." Read more.

Dexter and Winter's Detective Agency, Summerhall Roundabout, times vary "Dexter and Winter's Detective Agency'' is short, with punch, and ultimately ends up being slightly too sickly sweet. But kids and adults alike will find much to enjoy in this very enjoyable hour." Read more

What Girls Are Made Of, Assembly Hall, 14.30
Sarah Crompton: "For all its skill and charm, not to mention some fine pop songs from everybody from Patti Smith and PJ Harvey to the Sultans of Ping FC, it feels a bit thin." Read more.


Oedipus
© Jan Versweyveld


Art Heist, Underbelly Cowgate, 13.55
Daisy Bowie-Sell: "It's all performed with a real sense of beguiling silliness by the company. But whilst it's an enjoyable time, the themes running through it don't penetrate." Read more.

Roots, Church Hill Theatre, 19.30
Alex Wood: "The quick skits mean nothing ever really has a chance to get too heavy or revelatory – like a perfectly satisfying selection of creative canapés." Read more.

Tokyo Rose, Underbelly Cowgate, 18.55
Daisy Bowie-Sell: "Although Tokyo Rose doesn't have the same sort of sass appeal as Six the Musical, it does use some punky, funky, well written song-narratives to tell a complex, real her-story that will make you gasp." Read more.

Tricky Second Album, Pleasance Dome, 23.00
Alex Wood: "There's some intense sh*t going on in In Bed With My Brother's newest piece Tricky Second Album." Read more.


The cast of Friendsical
© Dale Wightman


Two Stars

Friendsical: A Parody Musical About Friends, Assembly Rooms, 13:00
Daisy Bowie-Sell: "Miranda Larson's piece sits very uncomfortably between a cute fan homage and a ripping-the-piss take-down and can't decide which one it wants to be." Read more.

Hold On Let Go, Summerhall, 20:40
Daisy Bowie-Sell: "Unfolding Theatre's Hold On Let Go has all the ingredients for a really great Fringe show. It's such a pity then that it's still a bit half-baked." Read more.

The Burning, Pleasance Courtyard, 15:15
Alex Wood: "It ends up feeling like an A Level history lesson mixed with an episode of Riverdale." Read more.

La Reprise: Histoire(s) Du Théâtre (I), Lyceum Theatre (EIF)
Sarah Crompton: "For all its skill, this is a cold-hearted and masturbatory production." Read more.


One Star

Drowning, Pleasance Courtyard, 14:30
Daisy Bowie-Sell: "Everything about this show is horribly heavy-handed and the characters involved are awful caricatures." Read more.


Read all our Edinburgh Festival coverage here