FINAL WEEKEND RECOMMENDATIONS!!! I've seen some great stuff in the last week and you should too before it all ENDSSSSSSSS
The Claim - Roundabout - 12:50: Look, I know we're all tired. But there's the general, cynical outrage that seems totally unavoidable in this dystopian hellscape we inhabit, and then there is the sort of visceral anger that burns in your chest and threatens to shoot out your fingertips as you, for example, dismantle the Home Office brick by brick with your own two human hands. We have waaaaay too much of the former and waaaaay to little of the latter. I honestly had forgotten that the latter was even possible, let alone good and powerful, until I saw this show. Go see The Claim. Put yourself in the shoes of a refugee. Get FUCKING ANGRY. Memorise the feeling, and channel it.
Too Pretty to Punch - ZOO Southside - 13:25: Edalia Day is a solo performer and projection designer and nb trans femme *wonder*. This is a phenomenal show both for queer & trans people who just want to be fucking seen for a second AND for people who are slightly embarrassed that they don't have a good handle on what all this trans stuff is about. It's spoken word and singing and banjo (!!) and like, genuinely some of the most creative and well-executed projection work I've seen in... like... ever? See it. (Full Review)
Parakeet - Roundabout - 17:05: It's gig theatre about fuckin weird teenage girls starting a punk band and protesting to save a parakeet nesting tree in Margate. It's such a good reminder of how weird and great teenagers are. The music is dope. The energy is electric. Just go.
The 900 Club - Scottish Poetry Library - 18:15: Four ex-uni mates from Glasgow reunite five years after the suicide of their mutual friend and try to reconnect. And it's all in verse - spoken word verse, not hip-hop verse. Gotta love a play in verse. I think they're only on till Saturday, but this was just such a beautiful, quiet little story and tickets are literally a fiver (which leaves you with more money to spend on poetry books!!).
There are 36 shows at the Fringe by trans performers, according to the TransFringe hashtag on Twitter, and Edalia Day’s Too Pretty to Punchmight be the only one that’s both centrally about trans issues and specifically wants an audience that doesn’t already know everything that’s about to be said.
There is something deeply human and inherently charming about imperfect dance. It goes directly to the heart of so many things that are hard to put into words – our fundamental embodiment, and the ways in which our bodies are imperfect messengers for our intentions, but perfect messengers of ourselves. It gets to the very basis of our connection with each other – trust and fondness and love, and also embarrassment and self-consciousness and that doing-it-anyway-ness that can be our greatest gift to each other.
Circus is inherently exciting to watch – the whole point of it is to see human bodies interact with the world in a way you didn’t think was possible. What makes it even more exciting is the introduction of custom equipment, where the rules and limits are unknown and left to be dictated and discovered by the performer. You can imagine, then the palpable potential when the entire stage is that custom equipment, as it is in Staged by Circumfrence.
If you’ve ever looked at a field of unbroken snow and wanted to run across it, or a blank piece of paper and wanted to color it, La Galerie is absolutely the circus show for you. Though the set is minimalist, you can’t mistake the pure white posh gallery aesthetic, nor the behavior of the seven circus performers, who begin the show ‘politely’ shoving each other out of the way to get a good look at the imaginary art.
Le Coup, in the Underbelly Circus Hub’s ‘The Beauty’ tent, is perfectly programmed. The dim lighting, roving spotlights, and tight-packed audience up close to the round stage perfectly evokes the ‘neo-Vaudevillian’ atmosphere set by the production. Six circus performers and three musicians roam the space in character, chatting to the audience and bouncing off each other. Then, the show begins.
Seeing circus never gets old – there’s always something magical about watching human beings doing things you can barely imagine with their bodies. But after a while, it starts being rare to see something done you’ve never seen before. If it’s that novelty you’re seeking, Backbone is the circus for you.
I can guarantee that you aren’t ready for For Only An Hour, the brain- and body- and life- and love- child of dancer Phil Sanger. I don’t know that there’s any art out there that could prepare you. But I can equally guarantee that it is the most creative piece of work I have ever seen.
We are living through a renaissance of plays in verse, and if you need proof I can furnish few better than Fires Our Shoes Have Made by Fringe newcomers Pound of Flesh Theatre. Writer Oscar Sadler’s electric new script is rightly billed as ‘gig theatre’, the latter-day musical of the 21st century, featuring live instruments and sound mixing on stage, along with original music and lyrics by Mollie Tucker. Unlike traditional musicals, and even the defining works of the emerging genre, the songs of Fires Our Shoes Have Made take a backseat to the relentless drive of the story, told primarily by Joe Matty as the thirteen-year-old Jay, entirely in rhyming verse – and if that sounds stodgy and old-fashioned to you, it’s not. Less Shakespeare, more hip-hop.
What’s better than a one-woman show? A one-woman show with a trapeze hanging from the ceiling, like Chekov’s gun over the mantelpiece. Nicole Burgio’s devised, autobiographical, solo circus show, xoxo moongirl, makes a lot of promises – and the ones it delivers on are brilliant.
I'm Alex, a theatre-maker based in the Bay Area with an outpost in Edinburgh, Scotland.