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Edinburgh Festival 2017 review round-up

All our reviews from the Edinburgh Festivals in one place


A Super Happy Story (About Feeling Super Sad), Pleasance Courtyard, 14.20

Ben Hewis: "Brittain and Floyd Jones' enrapturing musical refuses to gloss over the gut-wrenching destruction of Sally's all-encompassing sadness, nor does it ever let its audience get bogged down with it."


Adam, Traverse, times vary

Holly Williams: "It is not an easy journey, but this is a big-hearted, moving show that explores both the human urgency of living your truth and the cost of that transformation."

A Hundred Different Words for Love, Summerhall, 16.30

Ben Hewis: "It's an ebullient, endearing 60 minutes in which the wordsmith never forgets his audience, riffing and relating to every single person sat in front of him."

All We Ever Wanted Was Everything, Summerhall, 20.45

Daisy Bowie-Sell: "It's a rousing and invigorating call to arms that speaks directly to anyone trying to find their place in the world. Which, I think, is probably just about everybody."

Anyone's Guess How We Got Here, Zoo Venues, 15.05

Matt Trueman: "Perkins' text is gripping and unsettling. It's teeming with intricate images of absence. An inventive and unnerving hour that counts the cost of debt."

The Bearpit, Zoo Southside, 15.05

Matt Trueman: "The Bearpit is brilliantly (and unusually) co-written. McQuillan and Marston combine a whiplash cruelty with a crafty sense of humour, and their text rattles off like a runaway train, then slams into plainspoken, heartfelt simplicity."

The Believers Are But Brothers, Summerhall, 12.45

Daisy Bowie-Sell: "For many, the things touched on in Believers will be a revelation. Much of it feels vital to understand in a world where the internet is fast becoming the most powerful thing on the planet."

Circa: Humans, Underbelly Circus Hub, 19.00

Holly Williams: "These are astonishing performers at the top of their game, and a bare stage is all that's needed to prove just what incredible feats human beings are capable of."

DollyWould, Summerhall, 21.15

Holly Williams: "DollyWould may not have much of a narrative, but it's enjoyably slippery. Their brilliant comic timing ensures proper guffaws too. Great stuff."

Education, Education, Education, Pleasance Dome, 17.20

Matt Trueman: "Wardrobe Ensemble lure us in with nostalgia – Encarta and shag bands and The Big Breakfast before school – then use that same recognition against us."

Krapp's Last Tape, Church Hill Theatre, 20.00

Daisy Bowie-Sell: "Michael Colgan's careful direction is subtle and precise and enables McGovern to fly in this role. It's a short but beautiful watch."

Letters to Morrissey, Traverse Theatre, times vary

Matt Trueman: "The show's a fine piece of pop criticism; an examination of Morrissey as a role model – working class anti-hero, pub corner poet, a different sort of male role model."

Meow Meow's Little Mermaid, The Hub, 22.30

Holly Williams: "This is a jolly romp of a show. There's a cracking live band, crowd surfing, blow-up sex-doll alter egos, Radiohead covers... It's a hoot."

Mouthpiece, King's Hall, 15.30

Matt Trueman: "Mouthpiece is an excoriating performance piece; an evisceration of the way women are gagged and voiceless. It's a gauntlet of a show: Speak Up! Listen In!"

Offside, Pleasance Courtyard, 15.40

Daisy Bowie-Sell: "It's an engaging, enthralling watch, a potent reminder of the struggles we still face when it comes to equal rights."

Palmyra, Summerhall, 13.15

Matt Trueman: "Stressful, yes, but sublime as well. Palmyra's played with the lightest of touches, and, actually, the utmost of control."

Pike St., Summerhall, 15.00

Daisy Bowie-Sell: "Though the ending falls off a little, you nevertheless feel as though you have spent 75 minutes with an extraordinary collection of people."

Rachel Tucker: Unplugged, Pleasance

Daisy Bowie-Sell: "After only an hour of winning banter, stories, songs and laughter you are absolutely left wanting more."

Salt., Summerhall, 14.30

Holly Williams: "As well as confronting personal grief, Salt. also offers a powerful, potent reminder to its audiences – at the fringe, largely white – of the history of our continent."

Wild Bore, Traverse Theatre, times vary

Matt Trueman: "Ursula Martinez, Adrienne Truscott and Zoe Coombs Marr have had their share of bad crits. Wild Bore gets its own back – and in some style too."


£¥€$, Summerhall, 18.30 and 20.30

Holly Williams: "As an interactive experience it is genuinely exciting, and Ontroerend Goed prove once again to be very much on the money."

The B*easts, Underbelly, 18.00

Daisy Bowie-Sell: "This is an accomplished, insightful and unnerving debut, which shows Dolan's talents lie not just on the stage but on the page too."

Black Mountain, Summerhall, 13.25

Matt Trueman: "It's a slight piece, almost too self-aware for its own good, but one with a dark heart."

Cirkopolis, [email protected], times vary

Matt Trueman: " Half an hour in, Cirkopolis settles into a parade of circus skills. It's as if it forgets its sense of purpose, dropping Lang's shadowy world for the bright lights of a television talent show."

Foreign Radical, Summerhall, 13.00

Holly Williams: "There are interesting ideas here but, despite its enjoyable format, Foreign Radical never quite takes off."

Frogman, Codebase, times vary

Daisy Bowie-Sell: "The story itself is compelling: a lovely, well-told coming-of-age tale about mistakes, hatred, small-town life and who your real friends are."

Heather, Summerhall, 17.55

Matt Trueman: "Thomas Eccleshare's nifty theatrical triptych finds inspiration in the public profile of J.K. Rowling and the unwarranted unmasking of Elena Ferrante."

The Humours of Bandon, Dance Base, 18.30

Holly Williams: "Produced by Irish company Fishamble, it's a small story. But it's delivered with fired-up assurance by Margaret McAuliffe, who also has some cracking moves."

Instructions for Border Crossing, Summerhall, 18.40

Holly Williams: "Daniel Bye's show is a pleasingly equivocating look at activism and resistance, the lengths we can or should go to disrupt unjust systems."

Jelly Beans, Pleasance Courtyard, 15.15

Holly Williams: "It makes for a propulsive, compulsive hour's viewing, motored by a relentless performance as the character charges wildly through the town and towards the ocean."

Lilith: Jungle Girl, Traverse Theatre, times vary

Matt Trueman: "This is a show that refuses to conform to old genre binaries – and, while it takes time to come together, it's all the better for it. One of a kind."

Mark Thomas: A Show That Gambles on the Future, Summerhall, 18.00

Ben Hewis: "The comic is at his best when he's decrying the hypocrisy of that DUP deal or the idiocy of that reality TV star turned world leader. But the whole thing does get a bit repetitive."

Martin Creed: Words and Music, The Studio, 22.30

Matt Trueman: "Words and Music is a ragbag collection of little speeches and songs; the stage equivalent of an artist's sketchbook... Beneath the scatty surface, this is a sharply political show."

Me and Robin Hood, Pleasance Dome, 16.00

Holly Williams: "There's lots to enjoy in this slippery story: even fuelled by rage at the inequality of our world, Dale-Jones is a hugely warm and appealing figure, and an hour listening to him spin a yarn is time (and, yes, money) well spent"

Meet Me at Dawn, Traverse Theatre, times vary

Matt Trueman: "Meet Me at Dawn does sometimes feel meandering, even wilfully oblique in keeping its cards close to its chest, but even so, Orla O'Loughlin's eloquent and elegiac production is exquisitely performed"

Nassim, Traverse Theatre, times vary

Holly Williams: "Nassim Soleimanpour's new play repeats the trick of his best-known work, White Rabbit, Red Rabbit. While this is all very charmingly done, it's not always not terribly profound."

Prom Kween, Underbelly, 20.35

Matt Trueman: "Here's a cult hit and a half – a riotous High School Musical spoof that keys into real world gender politics."

No Show, Summerhall, 16.15

Matt Trueman: "For all it subverts and sidesteps expectations, it struggles to stop your breath as the best circus can... Some of its arguments feel fairly routine, but when it finds its own footing No Show finds its voice as well"

Out of Love, Summerhall, 13.25

Holly Williams: " It's rare to wish for a play to be twenty minutes longer, but I'd happily spend more time with these women."

Sigma, Assembly Hall, 13:30

Daisy Bowie-Sell: "I would have loved a little more spectacle but still, Sigma is no let-down. It is a quietly moving meditation on movement, music, tradition and freedom."

The Shape of the Pain, Summerhall, 19.30

Daisy Bowie-Sell: "For all its fascinating demonstration of how this person deals with pain and what pain actually is, for me, the piece became too focused on the love story."

Sugar Baby, Summerhall, 18.05

Daisy Bowie-Sell: "Sugar Baby is a lot of fun, but ultimately it feels improbable. And if you've seen much else in the Roundabout tent or even by Harris, the story will feel recognisable."

Thus Spoke, King's Hall, 19.30

Matt Trueman: "It can be wilfully perplexing one moment, then unabashedly sexy the next. It's rare to see philosophy this embodied. Let's get metaphysical."

Tumble Tuck, Underbelly, 13.30

Daisy Bowie Sell: "It's not the most unique show... But it's beautifully woven with dialogue that feels real.

The Whip Hand, Traverse Theatre, times vary

Holly Williams: "It all goes at a cracking pace, and the writing is sharp... yet the psychology often feels shaky here... there are too many improbable twists and turns."

You, Me and Everything Else, Zoo, 17.45

Matt Trueman: " This is a nimble account of a fascinating project, one that affords us a real sense of wonder as it zooms in and out."

You've Changed, Summerhall, 20.30

Matt Trueman: "It's quite remarkable, actually, how much has changed in 14 years, and You've Changed takes stock. It celebrates progress without losing sight of past struggles."


Brexit the Musical, C Venues, 18.55

Ben Hewis: "There's simply nothing clever about it and when Andrea Leadsom (who is she?) sings her third song, I find myself longing for my own Brexitexit."

Cosmic Scallies, Summerhall, 18.30

Matt Trueman: "Hagan's writing has some small fireworks displays, little bursts of spoken word sparkle. But there's too little of that in a slight play that fails to take off."

The Divide, King's Theatre, times vary

Matt Trueman: "Ayckbourn has, in effect, written a passable novel for young adults and somehow – somehow – it's ended up on stage. All six hours of it."

Eve, Traverse Theatre, times vary

Holly Williams: "The bottom of Clifford's long pale dress is inky too, as if it's soaking up the colour. It's apt; the show feels like it is dragging through the blues."

Party Game, Wee Red Bar, 14.00 and 20.30

Holly Williams: "The audience interaction too often feels like a disjointed distraction rather than part of a cohesive whole – these sections are fun, and well executed, but don't have much resonance with a story that just feels too insubstantial."

Rhinoceros, Lyceum Theatre, 19.30

Matt Trueman: "Rather than root out its resonance, they seek to restore its original absurdism, so we get pitter-patter comedy and front-facing gags – mostly old-fashioned and unfunny."

Performers, Assembly Rooms, 16.45

Holly Williams: "Queasily, many of the jokes also rely heavily on racist, sexist and homophobic sentiments or terms that used to be the norm in the Sixties."

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