Top 5 Favorite Shows Seen At Edinburgh Fringe 2014.

Kweiseye is an art criticism blog written by Tom Kwei. If you enjoy this article, browse the archive HERE for more than 60 other critiques of both artists and exhibitions. Any questions/queries/use: tomkweipoet@gmail.com

Earlier this month I was lucky enough to stay in Edinburgh for the week, watching and reviewing shows for ‘A Younger Theatre’. Every day had 5 plays to see and 5 write-ups to follow. It was tremendous. And though it galls me as mere voyeur to say, really quite exhausting too. The city seems hillier on every visit.

What follows here are my favorite shows seen during my time in Edinburgh. As I personally saw 31/3000 shows on offer (some 1%! of all productions), these picks are in nowhere representative of any general trends of inclinations.

Nathan Penlington: Choose Your Own Documentary – @npenlington

Upon entry to Nathan Penlington’s creative homage to the compulsive page turner Choose Your Own Adventure Books, ‘Choose Your Own Documentary’ gives each audience member upon a entry a small clicker remote. At various points of this moving  tale, Penlington allows a democracy to bloom as we mere watchers are given opportunity to vote on the direction we want the narrative to follow. Told in excellent cinematography through various clips behind Penlington, the show’s 1566 possible journeys are presently concisely, always leaving you wanting more, allowing the somewhat novel clicker concept to become exciting and real:

Edinburgh Review: Nathan Penlington: Choose Your Own Documentary, Gilded Balloon

choose-your-own-documentary

Ablutions – @FellSwoopTheatr

Music is used so cleverly in this piece. The melodies and moods spewing forth effortlessly from a thread bare band made up of skilful character actors. Following Eoin Slattery’s bard barman finding no joy in the endless existence of endless pouring, the story is a twisty constantly downward spiral. The entire cast skilled, with the music as amorphous as their salubrious depictions of a familiar yet compelling downward America:

Edinburgh Review: Ablutions, Assembly Roxy

ablutions

Away From Home – @RobWardPlazy

Football can be a right fickle game. One that not only finds thousands of people despising thousands of others for no other reason than the team they support, but also one that forces homosexuals within its ranks to hide their true selves for fear of career suicide. In the superb Away From Home, Rob Ward’s wonderfully drawn Kyle begins by not caring about this one bit. He’s a male escort who sees the funny side to the occupation, filling the entrancing hour we spend in his warm company with various quips, “I went limper than Brazil’s defence”. It is only when Kyle, a dedicated football fan who demands Saturdays off for games, meets a professional footballer as a client, that things take a turn for the worse:

Edinburgh Review: Away From Home, Assembly George Square Studios

away-from-home

The Fair Intellectual Club – @loonabimberton

Intelligent and really well performed clever stuff here by first time playwright/comedian Lucy Porter. A look backwards to Scottish Bluestockings group who make multiple contemporary references despite the 18th century setting. Purely made up of a superb trio of women: a poet, a mathematician and, best of all, a gossip. Individual stories are told with grace and meaning, so much so that when the ladies take a selfie at the conclusion, it feels anything but anachronistic:

Edinburgh Review: The Fair Intellectual Club, Assembly Rooms

fair-intellectual-club

The Post Show – @TheBerserkerRes

You know you’re onto a winner when you’re laughing before you’ve even taken a seat. Upon entering for The Post Show, US comedy trio the Berserker Residents are already in full swing, finishing up the bombastic closing scene of their 6-hour tour-de-force Prodigal Father. We’re all late, and as the show’s cast, haunting Noh-style ghost included, bow out to applause, the troupe then turn to the audience inviting questions in what is now a post-show Q&A on a show we’ve but glimpsed.

The three hold microphones and sit on stalls like any other feedback session, however this one begins with ‘popcorning’, a technique encouraging us all to vocalise a word we feel encapsulates the entire six hours of Prodigal Father. With a set littered with clues of what may have happened, along with a hilarious programme given out beforehand, there is much ammunition in this free forum for the questions the skilled performers so eagerly invite:

Edinburgh Review: The Post Show, Assembly George Square Studios

the-post-show

@tomkweipoet

Click here to see a list of all the art reviews on Kweiseye.

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