Originally published to broadwaybaby.com
Journalist Lauren Booth’s first solo show, Accidentally Muslim, promises a journey from ‘Soho hedonism’ to a shocking revelation in a mosque. The journey she actually goes on – through life and through this performance – is fascinating in its own right but doesn’t match the one promised.
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.
Backup, a mix of puppetry and gestural object theatre, is a half hour of pure delight. Performers Julie Tenret, Sandrine Heyraud, and Sicaire Durieux are joined onstage by an absolutely stunning miniature set by Zoé Tenret and beautiful puppets by Waw Studios and Joachim Janin. Though suitable for children, there were very few in the audience and one took an understandable fright and had to leave halfway through the performance. The inner child of every adult in the audience, however, was in raptures.
By way of introduction, one of my first excursions into reviewing and recommending was a weekly roundup on Facebook during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2016. Over the course of the festival I saw 49 productions, and recommended about four each Saturday of the festival. Now, in 2018, I'm back at Fringe and so are the recommendations! Still primarily written for the audience of my uni friends on Facebook, here is the (slightly belated) first set of 2018 recommendations.
I'm going to recommend 4 of the 7 shows I've seen, which seems a but much, but 2 of the 4 are shows I'm op-ing and want to plug. So without further ado, Fringe Week One:
1. Love Song to Lavender Menace, Summerhall, 12:55 - After a successful run at the Lyceum last year, this love letter to Edinburgh's first gay bookshop has moved to Summerhall for the festival. It's beautiful, it's fabulous, it's touching, it's educational, and it provides some excellent food for thought on progress, loss, and how we are only ever able to exist in the present. Do NOT miss it.
2. TIMMY, Assembly Studios, 13:35 – A foray into more serious comic writing by the author of 2016’s In Tents and Purposes. TIMMY observes a mismatched relationship between a woman desperate for sex and commitment and a man who just likes things the way they are. It’s what a Fringe two-hander about a relationship should be, and it’s impressively nuanced. There’s no bad guy; there’s just fully drawn human beings trying to navigate their – and each other’s – lives.
3. Baby Daddy, Assembly Rooms, 18:20 (ENDS 13th) – A autobiographical one-woman musical romp through the joys and tribulation of single motherhood in your twenties. It’s funny, it’s rude, it’s shatteringly honest, and the musical support is fantastic. It’s absolutely worth the trek.
4. I’ll Have What She’s Having, Assembly Studios, 12:15 – Have you ever felt paralysed in a decision because the one that looks good and the one that actually is good are two different options? Victoria and Jess spend a multi-disciplinary hour filling you in on all the ways that dichotomy has fucked up their lives, and how they’re starting to pull it back together. There’s comedy, there’s dance, there’s bananas, and there’s a whole lot of fun.
Originally published on broadwaybaby.com
You know you’re at a good circus when you expect your jaw to drop, only to realise it’s already on the floor. My Land, produced by Recirquel Company Budapest in association with Müpa and playing until the 26th at Assembly Roxy, is one such performance. Absolutely stunning feats of strength and flexibility combined with the best technical design I’ve ever seen at the Fringe make for a captivating hour and a well-earned standing ovation.
I'm Alex, a theatre-maker based in the Bay Area with an outpost in Edinburgh, Scotland.