Behold! My Edinburgh 2013 highlights.
The Worst of Scottee is an incredibly touching story, delivered with beautiful vulnerability. Tight and considered, Scottee tells us stories, some of the worst things he has done. Highly recommended.
The Way You Tell Them is what happened when Rachel Mars tried to understand funny. She broke down the structure of joke telling, and looked out how, when and why we use comedy in our daily lives. The show is heartbreaking and hilarious and should not be missed.
My Pregnant Brother and S/He is Nancy Joe are two shows that bring transgender stories to the stage, which is refreshing and encouraging to see at the fringe. The first was the story of a trans man who fell pregnant, told by his sister. The story is fascinating, but it’s unambitious execution did not impress me. It is self-indulgent; the performer tells the story through jaded, bitter eyes. It turns into her story, and that is not what I came to see.
S/He is Nancy Joe is a beautiful dance piece at Zoo Southside, which assertively addresses gender identity. I felt a little spoon fed at times, however there are moments that are so sensitively delivered I could have cried. The show is not perfect, it illustrates a number of points with cartoon style animated illustrations on large projection screens, the drawing style is ugly and detracts from the simplicity of other stronger elements of the show. It is a solo show by a female performer, she is androgynous and wears a binder; we are led to believe that it is the performer who is questioning her gender identity. However it is not until the end that we discover this is not her story; it is her brother’s. I felt a bit betrayed, I had invested a lot into her and her story, so this was a disappointment. For me, both of these shows assert that we really need more transmen and transwomen telling their own stories on stage.
We, Object by Figs in Wigs is at thespace@ Surgeon’s Hall all month and is a must see. I really, really love this company, they are totally nuts and incredibly smart and this show delivers that in one fell swoop. Deadpan comedy at its absolute finest (but also so much more.)
ANTLER’s Where The White Stops is one of the most joyful hours you will spend at the fringe this year. The company make devised theatre, very bloody well. Their on stage physicality is simply outstanding and it’s also brilliantly funny. People need to be paying attention to ANTLER.
Bonanza by Berlin is glorious. It tells the story of a tiny town in America with only seven residents. 5 projections sit beneath a large beautiful set depicting the desolate town. I think it was the best show I saw at the fringe this year. Just, see it yeah?
Others to look out for include Made In China with Gym Party – a chaotic and colourful show about competitiveness, with outstanding performances from one of my favourite companies. From what I have seen so far the show is really great.
Bryony Kimmings is a Credible Likeable Superstar Rolemodel every day at the Pleasance Dome, the show charts Bryony’s attempts to protect her niece from the mysognisitic horrors of provocative popular culture and it has some beautiful moments, you also get to learn the dance to this - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4lmHKNv301I.
Victoria Melody’s Major Tom (aka ‘The Show With The Dog In It) – Vic is outrageously charismatic and tells the story of her fumbling attempts into the world of beauty pagents. Definitely worth catching.
Solfatara at Summerhall is a playful Spanish piece where the surtitles are a character in themselves. It’s passionate and funny and I would highly recommend it.
Hunt and Darton Café should be everyone’s festival hub – great food, awesome entertainment and just the kind of wonky place the fringe needs. Their evening programme is also excellent, H&D’s new show Boredom is deadpan brilliance, also Chris Dobrowolski’s All Road’s Lead to Rome, Dot Howard’s How To Avoid Making an Entrance of Yourself and Richard DeDomenici’s Popaganda are all fantastic shows. Plus the MAGNIFICENT Buzzcut lot are programming there 3 times a week, it’s a MUST.
Other shows I’d recommend – Bitch Boxer, La Merde, I Could’ve Been Better and most of the Forest Fringe programme, especially Ella Good and Nicki Kent with Wild Thing I Love You which is gorgeous and perfect and a little bit twee but in a really OK way, and Motor Vehicle Sundown by Andy Field is not to be missed. Walking:Holding by Buzzcutter Rosana Cade is like a making a really simple loaf of bread – if you put in a small amount of really good quality ingredients the end product will be uncomplicated and perfect. It is complex and political in its simplicity.
It seems so throwaway and luke warm to say ‘ground breaking’ and ‘cutting edge’; those phrases are tossed about so much, but there are some seriously inspiring and innovative shows and companies in this list. So do support them and please see their shows so they can continue to do spectacular things.