Edinburgh review: Everything I Do – Summerhall

First published in The Times, Friday August 23 2019

Three Stars

Zoe Ní Riordáin’s solo show is one of those Fringe oddities that defy neat classification. From the moment the doors to Summerhall’s Demonstration Room open to reveal the performer wearing a gleaming spacesuit and bouncing on a trampoline, we know we’re in for something a little out of the ordinary.

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Edinburgh review: The Afflicted – Summerhall

First published in The Times, Thursday August 22 2019

Four Stars

Groupwork is a new Scottish theatre initiative led by the co-directors Finn den Hertog and Vicki Manderson, who collaborated on last year’s Fringe award-winner Square Go. On the basis of this unnerving, atmospheric dance-theatre piece, the company appears to have arrived fully formed.

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Edinburgh review: Bystanders – Summerhall

First published in The Times, Wednesday August 21 2019

Four Stars

Cardboard Citizens has been making theatre for and about people with experience of homelessness for 25 years. Lately the company’s work has acquired an increased sense of urgency. In a poignant moment during this new show the cast passes around a list of the nearly 600 people who died on the streets or in temporary accommodation in England and Wales in 2017.

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Edinburgh review: Four Woke Baes – Underbelly Cowgate

First published in The Times, Friday August 16 2019

Three Stars

At various points during Jonathan Caren’s new play (set at a bachelor party on the Colorado River) the simmering tension that the writer and his cast work hard to sustain threatens to boil over. The script even includes its own backwoods equivalent of Chekhov’s gun: a hunting rifle that gets waved around with intent, only to finally go off in the most apologetic of ways.

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Edinburgh review: F.Off – Underbelly Cowgate

First published in The Times, Thursday August 15 2019

Four Stars

This ensemble piece from the National Youth Theatre, which addresses burning issues of social networking and misappropriation of data, began life as a workshop participated in by 30 members of the company. Its origins can be seen in the show’s freewheeling structure and multiple narrative threads, but the playwright Tatty Hennessy has done an admirable job of focusing these conversations and experiences into a chewy, compelling production.

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Edinburgh review: The Last of the Pelican Daughters

First published in The Times, Wednesday August 14 2019

Two Stars

The fraught relationship between parents and their offspring has proved fruitful subject matter for many writers. This new play from the Wardrobe Ensemble is prefaced with a series of quotations on the theme of intergenerational dependency and conflict, ranging from Philip Larkin’s “They f*** you up, your mum and dad”, to Emily Dickinson’s far sunnier “Hold dear to your parents”.

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Edinburgh review: Conspiracy – Underbelly Cowgate

First published in The Times, Saturday August 10 2019

Two Stars

Occam’s razor — the philosophical principle that the simplest explanation is the most likely — is increasingly going out of fashion. Conspiracy theories abound, fuelled by online communities and jet-propelled by a growing distrust of conventional news and a general sense that the world is going to hell in a handcart, steered by shadowy powers with sinister agendas.

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Edinburgh Review: House of Hundred – C Aquila

First published in The Times, Friday August 9 2019

Three Stars

Chronicling 100 years of Turkish history in a single hour is a tall order. This multimedia piece created by Yesim Ozsoy packs enough material into its running time to fuel a dozen Fringe shows. If the premise is ambitious, the storytelling is unconventional. Ozsoy’s history lesson is delivered through the prism of an Istanbul mansion, with the writer-performer incarnating everything from furniture to ornaments to create a layered, multifaceted narrative.

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Edinburgh Review: Bible John – Pleasance Courtyard

First published in The Times, Wednesday August 7 2019

Three Stars

The demand for true crime has never been greater. Television schedules are saturated with documentaries based on real-life murder cases, from The Staircase to Making a Murderer, while blockbuster podcasts such as Serial and Dirty John have bequeathed the genre to an ardent younger audience.

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Review: Achilles – Summerhall, Edinburgh

First published in The Times, Saturday August 25 2018

Four Stars

We tend to associate adaptations of The Iliad with scale, visual riches, casts of thousands. As recently as 2016, Mark Thomson chose to mark the end of his tenure as artistic director of Edinburgh’s Lyceum with a lavish production of Homer’s epic, as reworked by Chris Hannan, the Scottish playwright.

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