The question All By Myself at the Vault Festival leaves you asking is would you still be curating your personal life for just one online click if it was the end of the world? Co-writers Charlotte Blandford (who also performs the piece) and Jessica Bickel-Barlow (who directs) have created an intriguing piece that shows that Part of the Main continue to explore the boundaries which drive fringe theatre.
The subject of Aoife Kennan’s Scratches is a tough one for many reasons – one of which is that, for very good reasons, she can’t actually talk openly about it. And so a sort of code develops between performers and audience over the course of this courageous, devastating and yet simultaneously very funny one-hour show, in which any reference to its core topic is described only as “the Thing”.
Project Atom Boi follows the story of Yuanzi (Xiaonan Wang), a doomer who, pressured by a self-indulgent Filmmaker (Francesca Marcolina), starts re-exploring the memories of her childhood in China. Yuanzi grew up in Factory 404, a Cold War ghost town in the Gansu province that was built in the fifties with the sole purpose of hosting a nuclear weapon. As Yuanzi travels back in time, we also meet her childhood best friend Erdan and her grandfather (both played by Kelvin Chan).
After the success with Anita Luna THE DIVA at Clapham Fringe last year, award-winning Italian cabaret artist Anita Giovanni is back at the festival this year, debuting her new show Full of Shit, which runs for one performance only on 26 September 2022. It’s a love affair: in London, Anita found her artistic heart. Time to get booking!
Inspired by her own experience of clothes hoarding, the monologue Breathless by Laura Horton at Pleasance Courtyard is a gentle story of accepting and managing mental health issues.
The Rest Of Our Lives at Summerhall, Edinburgh ends in a remarkable moment of mass dancing as the audience descends on the stage, suddenly finding themselves at full emotional stretch thanks to an unashamed expression of personality from these two delightful performers.
Nouveau Riche, creators of the hit show Queens of Sheba that confronts systemically ingrained misogynoir, now focuses on the experience of being a Black woman actor in Caste-ing. Using music, beatboxing and spoken word to expose the micro-aggressions and racism that shape their working lives, the show is a rallying cry for change within theatre and film.
Antigone, Interrupted is exceptional and thrilling dance and, like several productions at this year’s Fringe, reverts to Greek myth to provide stories for our trouble times, with remarkable results.
Linus Karp’s deconstruction of the relatively unpopular movie adaptation of Cats, How to Live a Jellicle Life: Life Lessons from the 2019 Hit Movie Musical CATS, is a one-person cabaret show which combines everything bad and partly good about the star-studded film based on the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical of the same name.
Sarah-Louise Young is brisk, charming and authoritative, engaging the audience in vocal warm-ups as they take their seats. Her confident stage demeanour sets the scene for one-woman show The Silent Treatment at Summerhall that becomes remarkably revealing and painfully honest.
Just An Ordinary Lawyer is one of two shows which Tayo Aluko and Friends have available both live and online on-demand at the Edinburgh Fringe this year, and this one focuses on Nigerian Tunji Sowande (1912-1996), concert singer, cricket fan and Britain’s first Black judge.
Musical comedy Kathy & Stella Solve a Murder by Jon Brittain and Matthew Floyd Jones at Roundabout @ Summerhall is a hilarious caper that embraces the genre’s fans, life’s unexpected heroes and the quest to find yourself.
Sara Joyce’s production of The Last Return for Druid Theatre at the Traverse is carefully choreographed and absorbing. Sonya Kelly has re-imagined Ionesco for the post-colonial era, and leaves us feeling we’ve seen something we won’t forget in a hurry, even if its exact meaning is elusive.
Eoin McAndrew’s script for The Girl Who Was Very Good at Lying at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe is borderline cruel in that Rooney is required to deliver the frenzied prose in only an hour. But it is watertight. Hysterical in tone, speed, and funniness, and Fay Lomas’ direction ensures the writing is done justice. The Girl Who Was Very Good at Lying is slick, moving, and an absolute gem of the Fringe.
Hayley McGhee has created an absolute gem of a solo show in Age is a Feeling at Summerhall Anatomy Lecture Theatre, Edinburgh. A day after seeing it, some of the lines (and feelings evoked) are still zinging around my mind (and heart). In other hands the concept of this show might feel cliched and presumptuous but McGhee’s mesmerising presence on stage and terrifyingly insightful script are beautiful, compelling and moving from start to finish.
A Zoom performance by Beverley Bishop, directed by Peter Beck, Finding Magic includes an audience recorded at the time of the livestream, to give a sense of interactivity.
Coming of age biopic Rob Madge: My Son’s a Queer (But What Can You Do?) at the Underbelly George Square, Edinburgh is truly a thing of beauty, its life affirming and will leave you crying like a baby. Quite frankly the entire show needs to be shown in schools to educate both the children and the teachers.
In transphobic discourse, trans people are feared and consequently monstered. In these bigots’ brains, they are positioned outside the gender binary and labelled ‘not normal’. Canadian trans nonbinary theatremaker SE Grummett (they/them) first satirises what is considered normal within traditional gender roles, then creates a simple folktale where trans people as superheroes. They uses puppetry, audience interaction and live feed video projection along with monologues to both hilarious and profound effect.
Rinkoo Barpaga has created a fascinating and unsettling show in Made in India/Britain. An honest and clear-eyed exploration of his own experiences and reactions to navigating life as a deaf person of Indian heritage in modern Britain, it did that rare and precious thing of opening my eyes to a world of which I knew very little.
Tamás Milhofer brings his show The Late Harness Rebellion to the digital strand of the Edinburgh Fringe with the collaboration of Unmuted Participants.