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Review Round-Ups

Edinburgh festival: the shows we love so far

As the Edinburgh festivals move into full swing, check out which shows we're enjoying (and you should be booking) this month

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How To Win Against History

★★★★★
How to Win Against History

From our review: "Paget is gloriously – and ambiguously – resuscitated in Davies' helium-balloon of a mini-musical... It makes for something utterly accessible, apparently familiar and radically progressive."

Until 28 August, Assembly George Square. To read the full review, click here.

Lucy, Lucy and Lucy Barfield

★★★★
Lucy Grace
© Michelle Wormleighton

From our review: "Lucy, Lucy and Lucy Barfield is an extraordinary story of a normal person. It's also a sweet and painful tale told by someone searching for answers. Don't miss it."

Until 29 August, Pleasance Courtyard. To read the full review, click here.

(I Could Go on Singing) Over the Rainbow

★★★★
FK Alexander and Okishima Island Tourist Association in (I Could Go on Singing) Over the Rainbow
© Jannica Hone

From our review: "The song might not drown it out, but it makes it bearable. Beautiful, even. Art as a respite. Hope against horror."

Until 28 August (except 23), Summerhall. To read the full review, click here.

Once

★★★★
Once

From our review: "Once is a show with a heavy heart and, as its hapless clown pines his life away, it makes clear both how easily romance can hit the rocks and that we're all lighthouses on the lookout.

Until 29 August (except 15 and 22), Assembley George square. To read the full review, click here.

Katie Brennan's Quarter-Life Crisis

★★★★
Katie Brennan performs in her show Quarter-Life Crisis

From our review: "It's positively brimming with warmth and humour and, unless you have a heart of stone, it will send you out into the Edinburgh night with a spring in your step and a yearning for a big drink with your best buddies."

Until 29 August, Underbelly George Square. To read the full review, click here.

Counting Sheep

★★★★
Counting Sheep

From our review: "This is no mere theme park ride: "Pay your pound; play revolution." It's a primer for protest, even for revolution. In its midst, you get a sense of what the reality might be like. Counting Sheep takes you a small step closer to the thing itself, arming you with the tools you might need; knowledge, experience, perhaps even courage."

Until 28 August (except 15 and 22), Summerhall. To read our full review, click here.

Tank

★★★★
Tank

From our review: "It's funny and bizarre and then very tragic... Tank is a chilling, unsettling look at what happens when we strive for progress at all costs."

This show ran until 20 August at Pleasance Dome. To read the full review, click here.

Lucy McCormick: Triple Threat

★★★★★
Lucy McCormick

From our review: "It's an exercise in extreme bad taste, intended to both satirise the hollow-eyed bump-and-grind plastic sex that's become a mainstay of mainstream culture, and to smash past it by taking everything to grotesque, absurd extremes. It's one of the most audacious things I've seen on stage, and I adored it."

Until 28 August (except 15 and 22), Underbelly Cowgate. To read the full review, click here.

Wonderman

★★★★
The cast of Wonderman
© Kirsten McTernan

From our review: "It's a fluid, non-stop journey through the mind of [Roald Dahl] and his weird and wonderful stories."

Until 28 August, Underbelly. To read the full review, click here.

Travesty

★★★★
Lydia Larson and Pierro Niel-Mee in Travesty
© Claire Haigh

From our review: "Travesty is nevertheless consistently funny, while packing quite an emotional punch... an interesting and satisfying debut."

Until 28 August (except 15), George Square. To read the full review, click here.

Bucket List

★★★★★
Bucket List
© Jack Offord

From our review: "What I love about the Edinburgh Fringe is the opportunity it offers to see something that you would never normally have come across - something that you remember and think about long after it is over. This show is one of those."

Until 29 August (except Tuesdays), Pleasance Dome. To read the full review, click here.

Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs

★★★★★
Alan Cumming
© Tre

From our review: "Alan Cumming is extremely good company. Even if he didn't sing a note, ninety minutes spent listening to what he describes as 'hilarious showbiz anecdotes' and carefully crafted personal revelation - "have a hankie ready later" - would be time well spent."

Until 27 August (except 10, 14, 15, 22), The Hub. To read the full review, click here.

The Glass Menagerie

★★★★★
Cherry Jones in The Glass Menagerie
©Michael J. Lutch

From our review: "The entire production has the satisfying effect of making people behave in ways that are entirely understandable and so sheds dazzling new light on a great, great play. Catch it while you can."

This show ran until 21 August at King's Theatre. To read the full review, click here.

Blush

★★★★★
Charlotte Josephine in Blush

From our review: "Blush is essential viewing for anyone that owns a computer or mobile phone and, just like Bitch Boxer, it packs a heavy punch."

Until 28 August, Underbelly. To read the full review, click here.

Daniel Kitson: Mouse – The Persistence of an Unlikely Thought

★★★★
Daniel Kitson: Mouse – The Persistence of an Unlikely Thought

From our review: "Mouse is a typically multi-layered, hugely engaging piece that asks questions about the inevitably of the way our lives go; about friendship and solitude and the impossibility of finding people who are like us. It's also about fiction itself: the way it makes the impossible happen."

Until 28 August, Traverse Theatre. To read the full review, click here.

Travesty

★★★★
Lydia Larson and Pierro Niel-Mee in Travesty
© Claire Haigh

From our review: "Travesty is consistently funny, while packing quite an emotional punch... this short piece [is] an interesting and satisfying debut."

Until 28 August (not 15), Assembly George Square. To read the full review, click here.

Wind Resistance

★★★★
Karine Polwart

From our review: "Ideas of motherhood, of both the harshness and the healing of the natural world, the delicacy of our health care and ecosystems, somehow bundle together and give birth to something beautiful."

This show ran until 21 August at the Lyceum. To read the full review, click here.

Heads Up

★★★★
Kieran Hurley in Heads Up
(© Niall Walker)

From our review: "Offering hope through reconnection, Heads Up suggests that the end of our world – as inconceivable and terrifying as it seems – might just be necessary. It might be the start of a new one."

Until 28 August, Summerhall. To read the full review, click here.

Growth

★★★★
Andy Rush in Growth
© Matt Humphrey

From our review: "Norris' script is very funny, throwing laugh-out-loud one-liners out at a rate of knots. It is also eloquent on the way men are more likely to bury any health worries surrounding their knackers and how that can have terrible consequences."

Until 27 August, Summerhall. To read the full review, click here.

Diary of a Madman

★★★★
Guy Clark (Matthew White) and Liam Brennan (Pop Sheeran) in Diary of a Madman
(© Iona Firouzabadi)

From our review: "I liked the way that Smith holds together the genuine humour of the piece with its tilt into tragedy; even in the final scenes, when Sheeran has lost his grip on reality, the play combines jokes about Nicola Sturgeon as a new Scottish hero with the vertiginous sadness of his fall."

Until 28 August, Traverse Theatre. To read the full review, click here.

Mark Thomas: The Red Shed

★★★★
Mark Thomas: The Red Shed
© Sally Jubb

From our review: "Thomas, with his super-fast, friendly delivery and some great audience interaction, tells a story that is not sanctimonious nor sentimental, but it is very, very funny. In a little over 90 minutes Thomas shows us how important the little things are, how easy it is to forget and what a disaster it would be if we did."

Until 28 August, Traverse Theatre. To read the full review, click here.

Love, Lies and Taxidermy

★★★★
Fiona Beasley, Richard Corgan in Love, Lies and Taxidermy

From our review: "Harris masterfully builds up to a chaotic ending that is a joyful, surprising tribute to love, hope, community and big ideas. It will have you walking away with a spring in your step."

Until 28 August, Summerhall. To read the full review, click here.

Letters to Windsor House

★★★★
Rebecca Biscuit and Louise Mothersole in Letters to Windsor House
© Claire Haigh

From our review: "Letters to Windsor House briefly tilts at the moral impossibility of metropolitan living in a housing crisis: they acknowledge that people who need council homes should have them, and yet have no desire to leave… It serves as yet another reminder that we are stuck in a system that's absolutely screwed."

Until 28 August, Summerhall. To read the full review, click here.''

The Duke

★★★★
Shon Dale-Jones in The Duke

From our review: "This is art that practices its preaching: made for nothing, but doing something. And delighting as it does, just as art should. You won't find a show with a bigger, better heart anywhere on the Fringe."

Until 29 August, Pleasance Courtyard. To read the full review, click here.

Nina Conti - In Your Face

★★★★
Nina Conti
© Idil Sukan

From our review: "The genius in this act is that we all love to laugh at our peers doing silly stuff, most of the time they're not actually that funny, but with Conti in control they gain her quick wit and improvisational prowess, the mundanity of everyday life becomes instantly watchable."

Until 28 August, Pleasance Courtyard. To read the full review, click here.

Ghost Quartet

★★★★
Ghost Quartet
© Ryan Jensen

From our review: "The whole thing is almost literally entrancing, as you strain to catch meaning while simultaneously revelling in the sheer fertility of creation on offer. The performers are superb musicians and compelling performers. "

Until 28 August, Summerhall. To read the full review, click here.

My Eyes Went Dark

★★★★
Cal McAnnich and Thusitha Jayasundera
© Sally Jubb

From our review: "[Cal] MacAninch is superb. The less he does, the more he transfixes. He breathes, he blinks, and he burns up inside. Koslov's numbness – he develops a taste for dark chocolate, so dull are his senses – is beautifully echoed in the minimalism of Wilkinson's staging.

Until 28 August, Traverse. To read the full review, click here.

Only Bones

★★★★
Only Bones
© Aurélia Tassafi

From our review: "On the surface it seems like there's not much to Only Bones; a chair, a lamp and a circle painted on the floor. But [Thomas] Monckton uses these low aesthetics to provide something that feels all-encompassing, and I could have watched it for a lot longer."

Until 28 August, Summerhall. To read the full review, click here.

For all our festival coverage, click here to head to our Edinburgh page

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