Side by Side Theatre Company, serving learning disabled performers from the West Midlands, returns to Paradise in Augustines this year with their adaptation of As You Like It, the Summer of Love-themed As We Like It. Adapted by founder and Artistic Director Susan Wallin, As We Like It condenses the story, adds music, and tailors the play to the talents of the actors.
It goes so fast and also so slow! The depressing nature of last week's recs has been made up for in spades in this delightful week:
1. Attrape Moi, Assembly Hall, 17:30 - If you, like me, think that circus should be fun, and that hyping up the audience shouldn't be necessary, and that circus weirdos should be friends, WATCH THIS CIRCUS that is by and about friends who are just having fun and make no effort to convince you to clap except by their BOSS CIRCUS SKILLS. Fast paced, wall-to-wall awesome, and with a bunch of acts that you don't usually see at the Fringe. Don't miss it. (It is the same show as in 2016 if you saw that, but also, see it again, why wouldn't you, joy is fun)
2. Stick By Me, Dance Base, 12:30 - Yes, it is for children. Yes, it is incredibly delightful. Yes, I did giggle through the whole thing. A man explores the confines of the stage with his popsicle/ lolly stick friend. It's cute af. He uses up like, a whole roll's worth of tape just for fun. The kids in the audience like to give running commentary on the action. It's great.
3. YUMMY, Assembly Roxy, 21:40 - Admittedly this is the only drag show I've seen thus far but it had it all - it was funny, awesome, weird as hell. A cast of seven Australian queens doing their thing for an hour. What more can you ask for?
4. WHITE, Pleasance Courtyard, 11:30 - Okay so this one breaks theme a little but it is a really well done and important solo show about being mixed race in Britain, and all the ways in which that is and isn't it's own thing. It's not the most polished thing I've seen but it really builds on itself well and the music/ looping that's central to the production was really really good, as well as the lyrics/script. Highly recommended.
I can't believe there's only a week left... start packing in those things you meant to see, kids!
If you’ve ever felt stuck between two groups, both suspicious of you and neither accepting of the other, you may have the slightest indication of what Koko Brown is trying to communicate in WHITE, her solo show about being mixed race in modern Britain.
There is nothing so delightful as watching something you assume to be impossible done before your eyes. Attrape Moi, by Quebecois company Flip FabriQue, perfectly captures this delight in every single moment of its packed Fringe offering returning from 2016. The fast-paced acts and character driven transitions eschew grandstanding and fishing for applause in favour of keeping the show going, but the audience has no trouble interjecting to show their appreciation.
We all remember the feeling of temptation to open the box that we’re not supposed to open as a small child. Judging by his excellent performance in Stick By Me, Andy Manley does too. On a minimal but hugely effective set, he goes on a complete adventure with a cast of other characters – all of them lolly sticks.
How to Spot an Alien might seem like an obscure skillset for 21st century children, but for Jelly and Jonjo, the two protagonists of Paines Plough’s annual offering for young audiences, it becomes a matter of life and death. The intensely inquisitive young siblings, played by Charlotte O’Leary and Jack Wilkinson, awake one day to an announcement that their mother has “disappeared never to return again” and go to live with their Aunt Lena, a strange woman they’ve never heard of before. She had strange rules, too – like “No questions,” “No thinking inside the house,” and “No leaving the house.”
Reposted from Facebook, originally published Saturday 8/11/18
NGL, you guys, I was a little worried about having enough material for this post and was considering putting it off until after I'd seen Sunday's shows, but I've seen some real corkers in the last few days, so this post is on time but will be coming at you in an uncharacteristic three parts only.
1. Huff, CanadaHub, 16:15 - This is a hard show to recommend because it's got trigger warnings coming out of its ears (suicide, substance abuse, child physical & sexual abuse) and it took me about half an hour to walk it off and feel normal again. Nevertheless, the solo performance is one of the best I've ever seen and if you, like me, come from a colonial heritage, I think that it's important to bear witness to the havoc colonialism has wreaked on Indigenous life.
2. Island Town, Roundabout, 11:30/14:30 depending on the day - And this is... another show about children and substance abuse... yay...? Set in a nondescript town in England or Wales (my accent detection isn't that good) that has nothing to offer 3 sixteen year old mates just out of school. It's a Paines Plough show, so expect deep, beautiful acting of a tiny cast in the Roundabout. Also one I had to walk off before talking about. Just go see it.
3. Until You Hear That Bell, Summerhall, 20:55 - I thought this post was just gonna be those two and then I stumbled across this gem last night and starting opping it (thanks Kyle)! It's a solo show about a youth spent in boxing, and in addition to featuring a really lovely performance and a fun concept - every scene is either 3 minutes or 1 minute long and fits into the bells of a continuously running boxing clock - it's also a really good view into athleticism and what it's like to be an athlete in a way that reminded me of my own (much more casual) time in martial arts, and also of theatre in the way it is it's own little world. Definitely add it to your list!
That's all for this week, folks! Wish me a stronger pool to choose from next week, and pass on the best things you've seen lately!
If you’re wandering around Edinburgh this August looking for a glimpse into year-round Scottish culture, it might be worth popping into the Scottish Storytelling Centre on the Royal Mile for Mairi Campbell’s second solo show, Auld Lang Syne.
The Paines Plough Roundabout is an incredibly versatile venue. Though its playing space is small and surrounded by audience seating, it often feels expansive – inclusive of the characters’ whole worlds. In Island Town, it – like the oft discussed horizons of the three characters – feels tiny, and shrinks smaller by the minute.
It’s hard to tell you to go see Huff at Summerhall’s CanadaHub, but I absolutely must. Playwright and solo performer Cliff Cardinal gives a virtuosic performance that brings painful life to facts and figures that are relatively unknown and, for the more privileged among us, almost unfathomable. It’s one thing to hear that the suicide rate for First Nations youth is five times the national Canadian average. It’s another thing to watch a fellow audience member struggle to tear off a Ziploc bag duct-taped over a man’s head. It’s one thing to know that solvent abuse is an epidemic among children and teenagers on reservations, and another to hear a convincingly prepubescent voice explain to you what it’s like to huff gasoline.
I'm Alex, a theatre-maker based in Chicago with outposts in the Bay Area and Edinburgh, Scotland.