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Edinburgh Fringe sell-out play from new young Swedish playwright – upcoming London debut Oct 24-28

Happy Yet?
Happy Yet?

Happy Yet?

Following a sell-out run at Edinburgh’s 2016 Fringe, where it was awarded 4 stars from The List, Happy Yet? comes to London’s Courtyard Theatre Oct 24-28. The dark comedy set in Stockholm combines elements of Nordic drama and farce, to offer a fresh take on depression, anxiety and mental illness.

“…an important addition to the discussion about mental health and an education to those weary of the subject. A striking, beautiful and heartbreaking production.”

✭✭✭✭ – The List (2016)

THE STORY
From an attic flat in Stockholm, Torsten wages battle not only with his brother and his sister-in-law – but with his own mercurial mind. Happy Yet? is the story of the Sandqvist family and their struggle to understand Torsten and his disordered moods and dysfunction. As a permanent guest in his brother’s home, Torsten is constantly reminded of his inadequacy and inability to live up to conventions of Swedish society. Relying on his intelligence, quick wit and unnerving charm, Torsten fools and flirts his way in and out of trouble: he toys with the law, his brother’s hospitality, and ultimately his family’s love. Torsten’s decisions become more extreme and increasingly irreversible – will he and his family survive his antics and unravelling mind?

ABOUT KATIE BERGLÖF
A fresh voice to theatre, 22-year-old Swedish playwright Katie Berglöf wrote her first play Happy Yet? from personal experience. Berglöf grew up watching a close family member endure years of depression, mood swings and misunderstanding. The play uses humour to turn tragedy into a source of understanding, dignity and hope.

Above the Moon Productions was created to address the epidemic of anxiety, depression and mood disorders amongst millennials. Happy Yet? its first play, tackles the stigma and humiliation of being labelled mentally ill.

Showcased at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2016, Happy Yet? has been revised and extended for its London debut at Courtyard Theatre, October 24 – 28.

WHERE The Courtyard Theatre | Bowling Green Walk | 40 Pitfield Street | London, N1 6EU

WHEN Oct 24-28, 7:30pm

TICKETS £12, £10 Concession |http://www.ticketweb.co.uk/search/?keyword=Happy+Yet%3f

Twitter @AboveTheMoonPrd

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/happyyet2017/

Bristol wins big at Edinburgh Fringe – Bristol Old Vic Ferment supported shows triumphant at iconic festival

Bristol Old Vic is heralding a bumper year of success for Bristol and South West artists who have each been supported by the theatre’s Ferment initiative – a year round quest to find, support and nurture local talent. Ferment provides local artists with an opportunity to explore their theatrical ideas in an ongoing dialogue with audiences and recent projects have proved a triumph with critics and audiences north of the border at the iconic Edinburgh Fringe festival.
Ferment supported successes this year include:
  • A Fringe First and The Stage Edinburgh Awards for Made in Bristol success story The  Wardrobe Ensemble with Education, Education, Education, which returns to Bristol Old Vic in November
  • Bertrand Lesca and Nasi Voutsas’ Palmyra wins Total Theatre Award while their second piece, Eurohouse is labelled a must-see
  • Viki Browne’s Help! tackles mental health at the Fringe and heralded a 4-star hit.
  • Idiot Child’s What if the plane falls out of the sky? reviewed as “a wee gem of a show”
  • Christopher Harrisson’s The North! The North! scores a flurry of brilliant reviews and described as “intelligent, exhilarating and strikingly original and moving”

Each of the shows has been supported in bespoke ways by Bristol Old Vic’s Ferment initiative – whether though financial support, free rehearsal space, creative feedback or a professional platform during the highly respected and often imitated Ferment Fortnights which occur each January and July at Bristol Old Vic. These nights allow work at various stages of development to be presented in front of an audience for feedback before being taken to the next stage.

By inviting artists whose work spans genre and form to experiment, play and make the theatre of tomorrow, Ferment continues to develop these vital local voices by offering tailored advice to creatives both emerging and established, and works closely with them through the development process.

Emma Bettridge, Ferment Producer said: “I insufferably bang on about the importance of supporting an artists’ process. For an artist to be given the space around an idea to let it breathe, and for Ferment to be able to properly support that process, the idea really does become the very best it can be. I’m so, so thrilled with the work we’ve backed this year. These works are proudly shining in a sea of over 3000 other shows A DAY. This is epic. It is proof that the recipe works; discover the idea, flesh it out, give it space and support and time and belief and there you have it – work of exceptional quality standing tall amongst the very best out there.

Bristol audiences can see The Wardrobe Ensemble’s award-winning Education, Education, Education at Bristol Old Vic this November.

Education, Education, Education runs from 1-4 November at Bristol Old Vic Theatre.
Tickets £15-£10. 7.30pm 

www.bristololdvic.org.uk / 0117 987 7877

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What the critics said…
PALMYRA
Total Theatre Award WinnerInnovation, Experimentation and Playing with Form.
“Smashing fable about power, ego and war” 4 stars, The Guardian – Lyn Gardner
“Sublime” 4 stars, Whatsonstage.com
“Weird, wonderful” 4 stars, The StageEDUCATION, EDUCATION, EDUCATION
The Wardrobe Ensemble won The Stage Edinburgh Award for the second year running.
Fringe First award for Education, Education Education. 
“something special” 4 stars, Time Out – Andrzej Lukowski
“Smartly entertaining” 4 stars, The Guardian- Lyn Gardner
“slick, polished and highly entertaining” The Stage, 4 stars- Natasha Tripney

WHAT IF THE PLANE FALLS OUT OF THE SKY?
“a wee gem of a show” The List, 4 stars
“endearing” The Stage, 3 stars
“Hilariously absurd” Exeunt

HELP!
“do yourself a favour and get down to see Help!” 4 stars, Broadway Baby
“a brave and refreshing production” 4 stars, To Do List

EUROHOUSE
wonderfully playful, intimate and ultimately moving show” 4 stars, The Guardian – Lyn Gardner
timely and refreshing” 4 stars, The Reviews Hub

THE NORTH! THE NORTH!
intelligent, exhilarating, strikingly original and moving, I cannot recommend this play enough” 4 stars, Edfest Magazine
It’s a darkly twisted version of a revenge story… with enough mythical aspects and a good dollop of humour to lift it far above the pack” 5 stars, British Theatre Guide

Pleasance Celebrates 33 years at Venue 33 with an Award-Winning, Landmark Festival

Pleasance Theatre Trust celebrated 33 years at Venue 33 and 70th anniversary of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this August with an ambitious, multi-award winning programme of theatre, comedy, dance and circus: an incredible 5074 performances of 258 shows in 27 venues, including a new addition of the Edinburgh International Conference Centre.

Ticket sales were up every day of the Festival compared to 2016 with total ticket sales up by 5 per cent compared to 2016 (12 per cent including the tickets sold for EICC shows). This represents a record number of tickets sold at the Pleasance!

A registered charity, showcasing the best of established and discovering new talent in the arts industry since 1985, the Pleasance invests over £130,000 every year in young talent on and off the stage through various Pleasance Futures initiatives, including Young Pleasance, XYP (ex-Young Pleasance), Media Futures, Pleasance Scratch, Kidzone and the Charlie Hartill Special Reserve Fund for theatre and comedy.

Recipients of the Fund for theatre, Unpolished Theatre, were awarded a highly coveted Fringe First award for their debut show, Flesh and Bone as well as Holden Street Theatres Award which guarantees a 5 week long run at the Adelaide Fringe next February. A Super Happy Story (About Feeling Super Sad) by Silent Uproar and Education, Education, Education by The Wardrobe Ensemble topped Pleasance’s award list with a Fringe First each. The latter also received The Stage’s Best Ensemble Award whilst political comedy for children, Me and My Bee, received the Stepladder Award from Les Enfants Terribles as well as the Fringe Sustainable Practice Award 2017!

The magnificent Theatre Re received the ThreeWeeks Editors’ Award, following glowing reviews of their latest offering, The Nature of Forgetting.

Lauren Pattison and Sophie Willan won a Herald Angel each with Terry Alderton scooping the Malcolm Hardee Award for Comic Originality.

Almost half of all lastminute.com Comedy Awards nominees were presenting a show at the PleasanceJordan BrookesSophie Willan and John Robins were all nominated in the Best Comedy Show 2017 category with Darren HarriottEd Night, Kwame Asante, Lauren Pattison and Natalie Palamides getting a nod in the Best Newcomer 2017 category.

The Best Comedy Show went to John Robins (co-shared, for the first time ever, with Hannah Gadsby) and Best Newcomer to Natalie Palamides for LAID.

Ken Cheng won the 10th annual Dave’s Funniest Joke Of The Fringe with: “I’m not a fan of the new pound coin, but then again, I hate all change.”

This August saw the Pleasance launching its own in-house award, The Indies. Named after Christopher Richardson’s (founder of the Pleasance) beloved dog, Indie, the award is voted for by the companies and artists themselves. This year’s winners are:

Best Comedy, Cabaret or Variety Show – Joseph Morpurgo: Hammerhead

Best Theatre, Family, Music or Dance Show – Testosterone

Best Comedy Cabaret or Variety Newcomer – Evelyn Mok: Hymen Manoeuvre

Best Theatre, Family, Music or Dance Newcomer – Poll Function

Best Poster Design – Skin

Spirit Of The Pleasance – The Dreamer

Pleasance shows received a record number of four and five star reviews: 454 four stars (and 7 four-and-half stars) and 163 five stars! Lauren Pattison topped the comedy chart with 3 five star reviews and 8 four stars (Phil Wang takes the second spot with 11 four stars!) and Nature of Forgetting took the theatre’s top seat with 8 five stars and 4 four stars (A Super Happy Story trails in second position with 7 five stars and 4 four stars).

This year, Pleasance Theatre Trust, a charity itself, supported various charities through special, one-off events. Requiem for Aleppo, a dance show at the EICC with music by David Cazalet and choreography by Jason Mabana raised £15,000 for Syria Relief. As education is the main priority for the charity, the money will support the building of the sixth training centre for teachers in Syria.

Last year marked 25 years of the Pleasance’s partnership with Waverley Care, Scotland’s HIV and Hepatitis C charity which has now raised over £460,000 and is in the running for the Best Partnership Award at the Scottish Fundraising Awards! All proceeds from ticket sales from both the Pleasance’s annual Tartan Ribbon Comedy Benefit as well as Amusical, a special night of comedy celebrating all things West End, also went to support Waverley Care.

Anthony Alderson, Pleasance Director said: “The 70th anniversary of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe has been one of the best festivals I can remember. The quality of the work created is unprecedented with 3 Pleasance Fringe Firsts and a Pleasance act winning in both Comedy Awards categories in this landmark year.

Our incredible staff have pulled off an amazing festival and we look forward to sharing another brilliant programme with you next year!”

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Edinburgh Festivals Diary: Day 6

Edfringe Festival Diary-Day 6

It’s 9.45am at Hotel Du Vin, Edinburgh and I am having a coffee with the Times Theatre critic: Ann Treneman. Ann was the Times political sketch writer for 12 years. We are talking about navigating the wonderful arena of theatre.

‘The theatre world is much crazier than the world of politics… Seriously,’ she tells me.

‘Amazing. We must go out for a drink before I fly home,’ I said.

‘Some of us have reviews to write, Carl,’ she replied with a smile.

IMG_3390

Ann Treneman

We talked about the various things, shows we’d seen etc, etc and so on.

‘Well, I always think of that terrific Michelle Obama quote: ‘When they go low, we go high,’ she smiles. 

I made my way over to the Traverse for Gary McNair’s one-man piece about the writer’s teen years when he chose Morrissey as a confidante. Letters to Morrissey is the theatre equivalent of a chunky chocolate bar. The audience was mostly male and mostly 25 to 44-years old. I can’t remember much else to be honest.

I head over to Pleasance for Cardboard Citizens’ remarkable version of the TV drama ‘Cathy’. Beautifully written by Ali Taylor, ‘Cathy’ is a new forum theatre show which looks at how life might be like today for the protagonist of Cathy Come Home. The show speaks stridently and is one with that comes with a pain at its heart.

Ed

Cirkopolis / Letters to Morrissey

I check my emails.

‘This looks like the kind of thing you’d like to crash,’ it read.

Attached was an invitation to the 2017 Federation of Scottish Theatre – Festivals Reception on Tuesday 22 August at 5.30pm at Dynamic Earth. It soon became clear that Scotland has got it right. The level of joined-up thinking and networking in the room was palpable: bringing the sector together and starting proper conversations. Brilliant.

After giving up on Google maps in this city I finally arrive at the EICC for Quebec company Cirque Éloize take on Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. Cirkopolis is never less than interesting. Dazzling acrobatics build up a remarkable parade of imagery, yet this lively show never quite touches the heart. ‘Entertaining’, is how I would describe this show. In an ideal world, the music wouldn’t be so loud, but nothing in life is ideal.

WHO DOESN’T LOVE ACCESSIBLE CIRCUS.

Anyway, the last show of my Edinburgh Fringe was Toxic Avenger at Pleasance Courtyard. I loved this show at Southwark Playhouse. I didn’t in Edinburgh. The cast are seriously talented and I think it’s the perfect venue and time slot, the show still boasts exquisite performances and is still really well sung. Hopefully some of the dumbed-down changes will be reversed, which includes but is not limited to squirting the audience with a water pistol.

This was my third time in Edinburgh and I don’t think I’ve ever seen the city so busy.

I’ve had a terrific time but now I must go. 

Thank you to the beautiful people of Edinburgh who treated me with such equanimity and friendliness. To all, great thanks.

I’ll be back…

CLICK HERE TO BOOK YOUR TICKETS FOR LETTERS TO MORRISSEY 

CLICK HERE TO BOOK YOUR TICKETS FOR CATHY

CLICK HERE TO BOOK YOUR TICKETS FOR CIRKOPOLIS

CLICK HERE TO BOOK YOUR TICKETS FOR  TOXIC AVENGER

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Edinburgh Festivals Diary: Day 5

Edinburgh Festivals Diary: Day 5
Edinburgh Festivals Diary: Day 5

Edinburgh Festivals Diary: Day 5

A Hangover from the depths of hell ahoy!

My first show was The Nature of Forgetting” at The Pleasance, which, it’s fair to say, is not messing about. The charming production is part of the British Council Edinburgh Showcase 2017 and follows a sell-out run at the London International Mime Festival. I don’t think we’ve seen the last of this lot.

During the afternoon I arranged to meet the writer of the sublime ‘All We Ever Wanted Was Everything’ – Mr Luke Barnes. It all went swimmingly.

As the day marched on I made my way down to the Churchill Studio Theatre for ‘Flight’. A highly imaginative production that is an adaptation of Caroline Brothers’s 2012 novel Hinterland and part of the International Festival. Sadly, though, it was 45 minutes of my life that I’ll never get back. (I mean I would have preferred to have a nap but what can you do).

Thankfully my spirits were lifted at Henry Naylor’s Fringe First winning play: ‘Borders’ at the Gilded Balloon. This is all pretty grown-up stuff, and is done with the rackety humour and invention that we’ve come to expect from Naylor’s work. Very moving.

Later that evening I arrived at Edinburgh Playhouse for Nederlands Dans Theater (Sol León and Paul Lightfoot / Gabriela Carrizo). The slick show contains a gently rippling score by Philip Glass and has some of the finest dancers on the planet in it’s company.

During the interval there was a press drinks reception thing.

‘Having a good Festival season, Donald?’ I asked the Independent dance critic: Donald Hutera

‘Yes! I’m on show 91 now!’, he replied.

‘Jesus wept,’ I exclaimed.

During the second interval it all got rather humid in the Mezzanine bar and Donald decided to strip to a blue vest. At first I thought it was a leotard.

Incredible scenes.

I ended the evening with friends at a bar.

Arriving back at my Hotel I explain the day I’ve had. The staff fall about, and soon after, I fall into bed.

Keeping a daily diary has been more demanding than I would have expected; deploying metaphor and hyperbole; attempting to capture in words the work I’m seeing and the emotions I’m feeling. I’m nearly ready go home. I don’t know how these proper critics do it.

One more day, folks.

On balance, I’ve had more productive days.

Note: Nothing to declare.

CLICK HERE TO BUY YOUR TICKETS FOR THE NATURE OF FORGETTING

CLICK HERE TO BUY YOUR TICKETS FOR FLIGHT

CLICK HERE TO BUY YOUR TICKETS FOR BORDERS BY HENRY NAYLOR

CLICK HERE TO BUY YOUR TICKETS FOR NEDERLANDS DANS THEATER

 

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Edinburgh Festivals Diary – Day 4 

Edinburgh Festivals Diary - Day 4

Sunday 20 August 

Edinburgh Festivals Diary - Day 4

Edinburgh Festivals Diary – Day 4

I was happily queuing for ‘All We Ever Wanted Was Everything’ at Summerhall yesterday evening.

‘You’re a disgrace,’ said the boyfriend of a young lady who was in a play I didn’t think was very good.

‘Pardon?’, I asked, puzzled.

‘I watched you at the play the other day and read what you wrote. You call yourself a Theatre Specialist! You’re disgusting’, he replied.

‘Oh! The misogynistic, offensive & borderline homophobic play?,’ I said.

‘It isn’t offensive, you’re a disgrace’, he snapped.

‘Look, I’m more than happy to discuss the play and what I wrote about it after this show?,’ I said.

‘Nah mate. You’re a disgrace,’ he mumbled and stomped off.

The whole encounter was as classy and as subtle as orgy night on Love Island. I’ll try not to lose any sleep.

Very sad. (Translation: not particularly sad because it is, after all, only theatre.)

Sunday was a punishing day. It started at The Pleasance Courtyard: Kafka and Son. The relationship between Franz Kafka and his father is put under the microscope in a solo show that tested my patience. For me, this play falls carelessly into the dreaded theatre deadzone of “lovely but a bit boring”. I just couldn’t emotionally connect with this show. Not awful.

At lunch time I went to the shops and picked up a Matcha Face Mask and a small bottle of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. There is a God!

Worklight Theatre’s new show Monster finds Joe Sellman- Leava once again surfing the rollercoaster of the sixty minute mixed-metaphor as he is simultaneously Patrick Stewart, his girlfriend and Mike Tyson calling the shots in the front, rather than the back, seat. His new show examines masculinity in a searingly honest and autobiographical way. Worth a look.

‘All We Ever Wanted Was Everything’ really floated my boat. Middle Child’s gig-theatre show is a life affirming call to arms at the Edinburgh Fringe and really feels like a shot in the arm. The dissection of consumerism and capital culture. Luke Barnes’ play sensationally looks back and ahead at Broken Britain. Outstanding stuff!

Later that evening I head up to The Hub for cabaret star Meow Meow’s take on ‘The Little Mermaid’ for the International. This is a wickedly funny and entertaining 70 minute show that was the perfect way to round off the week. Meow Meow makes performance art with a sensibility that makes you want to head out in search of a dancefloor. (See if any of your friends are around before you go out, though, it’ll be rubbish by yourself.)

‘Tough crowd tonight?’, I said

Seiriol Davies and Carl Woodward

Seiriol Davies and Carl Woodward

‘Bloody Sunday audiences… Pretty bleak crowd tonight‘, said Meow Meow herself, fresh off the stage grazing on wasabi and clutching a half-pint of beer in the after show bar.

‘Well, quite. I had fun though! I thought you did a great job, for what it’s worth’, I smiled. Seriously, What a woman.

The night finished at 5am on the steps by the Edinburgh castle with Seiriol Davies.

Far too much white wine was consumed, I can’t remember much else to be honest.

Note: Fringe Fatigue is setting in – thank God there is a bath in my hotel room. Let’s see what joys tomorrow will bring.

CLICK HERE TO BUY YOUR TICKETS FOR ALL WE EVER WANTED WAS EVERYTHING

CLICK HERE TO BUY YOUR TICKETS FOR KAFKA AND SON 

CLICK HERE TO BUY YOUR TICKETS FOR MONSTER

CLICK HERE TO BUY YOUR TICKETS FOR THE LITTLE MERMAID

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Edinburgh Festivals Diary – Day 3

Edinburgh Festival Diary -Day 3

Saturday 19 August

Edinburgh Festival Diary -Day 3

Edinburgh Festival Diary -Day 3

My Saturday morning began at the Traverse Theatre for Zinnie Harris’ beautifully devastating ‘Meet Me At Dawn’. Harris’ gorgeous play for the Edinburgh International Festival is a take on the Orpheus and Eurydice myth and sees two women washed up on a beach after an accident at sea. At first I thought I was in for a Waiting For Godot sequel – with all the flourishes you’d expect from a Beckett piece. However, the play evolved majestically, is extremely beautiful and by all accounts ‘worth a watch’.

I made my way up to the EIF Hub with some cookies for the press manager and her team.

‘How are you all?’, I asked mischievously.

‘We’re doing fine… Over half way now,’ she responded.

‘Shall we eat the cookies?’ I asked.

We did.

I did some writing over lunch and ended up sitting next to a classical music critic.

‘Have you seen The Divide?’ I asked.

‘Oh yes,’ he replied. ‘I don’t want to talk about it!’

So there we are.

Summerhall

Summerhall

I made my way to Summerhall with anticipation to Selina Thompson’s ‘Salt’. A play that tackles Europe’s involvement in the slave trade with an iron fist. (This play is fucking great). Genuinely political, satirical, provocative, innovative and completely brilliant. A decadent, astute theatrical triumph and I loved it. This one woman show deserves all the praise.

As Saturday afternoon wore on and the streets filled with boozing, I found myself at The Space on Niddry St for ‘Penthouse. Sober.

A play that started off better than I could have expected and ended up being far worse than I could ever have feared. The blurb says it offers ‘an insight into the world of bankers and the pressure they face that can lead them to take their own lives’. It is clumsy in the handling of the subject matter, though, and in dealing in outdated stereotypes will leave you in a state of delirium. Depressing stuff, but what can you do.

By the end of this 38 minute fiasco (advertised: 55 mins) I wanted to jump off the roof. It’s not very good, i’m afraid.

(Yes I know it’s not polite to dwell on awfulness but know your enemy and all that).

My evening ended at the Churchill Theatre for ‘Krapp’s Last Tape’. Barry McGovern’s performance at Church Hill Theatre confirms him as the leading interpreter of Beckett. This haunting play examines age and memory and lasts less than an hour; ideal.

Overall — a good(ish) day.

Plenty of food for thought, readers.

Note: According to my pedometer I did 18, 535 steps (12 kilometres)

CLICK HERE TO BUY YOUR TICKETS FOR MEET ME AT DAWN

CLICK HERE TO BUY YOUR TICKETS FOR SALT

CLICK HERE TO BUY YOUR TICKETS FOR PENTHOUSE
CLICK HERE TO BUY YOUR TICKETS FOR KRAPP’S LAST TAPE
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 Edinburgh Festivals Diary – Day 2 

Friday 18 August

 

I started the day at the Pleasance for The Scotsman’s Fringe First awards – a ceremony recognising outstanding new writing premiered at the Fringe.

The winners are announced each Friday morning. The last time I was in this particular venue, somebody stripped to a thong and sang ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’. Anyway, there was plenty of coffee and thankfully the crowd (journo/media types) remained clothed for the duration.

The second group of 2017 winners are as follow:

ADAM 

How To Act 

Borders 

A Super Happy Story (About Being Super Sad)

The Shape of Pain

Woke 

£¥€$

(Congratulations to all the winners!)

Rendered Retina / HTWAH

My first show of the day was ‘Form’ by Rendered Retina Theatre Company at 10 Dome. Rendered Retina is made up of the extremely talented Tom Mangan, Alex Mangan & Jordan Choi. As well as the show being wonderful on its own merits, ‘Form’ was good and the crowd reacted quite positively to it, ie they were engaged and laughed in the right places.

Having known the lads for several years, it was exactly how I’d expect it to be: a polished performance, attention to detail, all ‘on point’. Rendered Retina were recipients of the LET Award 2017 and selected to receive a performance slot at the Pleasance, a cash injection of £1000 plus industry mentoring from Les Enfants Terribles. Well done, boys!

I spent the afternoon at my rather nice hotel, mostly hydrating and arranged to meet a friend.

‘Why are you watching that?’, said Lyn Gardner.

‘Aaaaghh!’ I cried, wrestling the tickets out of my pocket. She laughed.

We compared schedules and had a cup of tea.

Later I got chatting to a friendly lady called Annette. We talked about shows and I shared my schedule concerns.

‘Be ruthless’, she said.

‘How so?’, I asked.

‘Your time is limited here — if you have a bad feeling or word of mouth about a show – don’t go. Time is too precious.’

‘Right you are’, I said.

Perhaps this is news to you, but How To Win Against History’ is back at the Fringe. Unfortunately for them and their PR, all their attempts at creating a buzz –  the giant colourful posters, Oberon Books publishing its first musical score, social media blitzing etc – have been generally ignored, which is a shame.

I am of course employing sarcasm for ironic effect because this show is all everyone’s talking about. This musical about a cross-dressing Marquess is certainly at home at Assembly George Square Gardens.

How To Win Against History is astouding and Seiriol Davies is a genius.

Note: I went to bed early with a Moroccan Mint Green Tea with Rose. Bleak.

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Edinburgh Festivals Diary: Day 1 

Day 1 – Thursday 17 July 

Royal Mile

Royal Mile

Edinburgh is right in the middle of celebrating the 70th anniversary of it’s world-famous festivals, the Scottish capital has rightfully become known as the world’s best festival city.

What better time to turn up and get involved?

With my luggage dropped off and a ham sandwich partially consumed I decided to start my Edinburgh odyssey. As is tradition, I wandered through the Royal Mile. The anticipation was high: would I witness three actors kissing while dressed as nuns? Would a performance artist reveal their pregnancy live on the cobbles? Would a comedian frighten a defenceless civilian? Anything is possible.

Whatever was about to happen I had a feeling that there would be surprises (ideally involving Quentin Letts and a glitter canon, but this is just a pipe dream of course).

Seanmhair

Seanmhair

My first show was at Bedlam Theatre: a gorgeous, 90 seat theatre housed in a former Neogothic church at the foot of George IV Bridge for Seanmhair‘. Director Kate Wasserberg’s production has a sinister aesthetic beauty while the remarkably gifted performers avoid the easy path of desolation. It was a total joy to witness this stunning coming of age story set in 1950s Edinburgh. In every respect, though, Seanmhair is a puzzling production but one that warrants a visit. Cardiff’s The Other Room is not messing around with this one, offering direction from Kate Wasseberg, Hywel John doing the writing bit, neon light strips and opaqueness throughout and, as a result, a renewed sense that — hey, do you know what — Fringe theatre might be alright after all.

CLICK HERE TO BUY YOUR TICKETS FOR SEANMHAIR

Butt Kapinski

Butt Kapinski

Later, a volunteer at the Pleasance Dome Press Office tells me: “Go and see Butt Kapinski; it’s amazing… I went twice.” So I did just that. Kapinski is a cod-detective, a ‘comedy character’ that doesn’t make any sense, but is often engaging. The meta-theatre interactive piece packs a pretty entertaining punch and Deanna Fleysher’s alter-ego relies on the audience *a lot* for LOLs with mixed results. (I’m sure the Pleasance volunteer is a really nice guy and that’s all I have to say about this episode.)

CLICK HERE TO BUY YOUR TICKETS FOR BUTT KAPINSKI

With an abundance of choice in a connected theatre ecology, you’re likely to be influenced by blogs, friends or word of mouth. It’s probably worth pointing out that both Fringe and International Festival have plenty to offer. You should never believe that theatre-going has any rules and if there are any rules, you should break them all.

Note: I ended the evening with a large glass of Pinot Grigio.

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Producers celebrate the ongoing success of ‘Big in Belgium’ at Summerhall

£¥€$ by Ontroerend Goed (c) Michiel Devijver

£¥€$ by Ontroerend Goed (c) Michiel Devijver

£¥€$ by Ontroerend Goed (c) Michiel Devijver


Following the huge success of the four previous seasons at Summerhall which have included the award-winning Us/ThemOne Hundred Homes and The Great Downhill Journey of Little TommyBIG IN BELGIUM producers Big in Belgium, Richard Jordan Productions and Theatre Royal Plymouth are celebrating a fifth year at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Ontroerend Goed today winning a Fringe First for £¥€$ (LIES).

Each of the shows in this season featuring some of the most significant theatre companies from the Flemish part of Belgium have previously been very successful on the European mainland and are now presented for the first time to Edinburgh audiences, some translated and adapted, ready for breaking new grounds in English-speaking territories.

This year BIG IN BELGIUM is also presenting four of its productions within a brand new theatre space adapted for them within Summerhall in association with RBC/Upper-Church.

 Richard Jordan, the UK based Producer of Big in Belgium said, ‘Over the past five years Big In Belgiumhas secured an important position on the Edinburgh Fringe affording audiences the chance to discover some of Belgium’s most exciting theatre artists and productions.  For the artists and companies taking part there is the opportunity to gain a valuable international audience for their work by appearing at the world’s largest arts festival, often leading to further local and international touring and co-productions.  When my colleague David Bauwens and I started Big in Belgium five years ago we had no idea of what would happen in the UK with Brexit.  The season has become an example of the vital role the arts is paying within the country’s current climate, where such sharing if ideas and community has never been more important.’

 Simon Stokes, Artistic Director of the Theatre Royal Plymouth said, ‘The Big in Belgium season allows us to meet and collaborate with key Belgian artist and companies – Belgium being a particularly insightful and challenging artistic leader just now across all the arts disciplines.  It provides a refreshing opportunity to hear a variety of new voices reflecting European traits, styles and concerns.’

Old boyfriend photos, emails, texts, audio recordings and poetry. Struggling with her love life, Julie Cafmeyer experiences orgasms, despair, rejection and heaven. In an intimate setting, and with you the audience, she strives to create a genuine connection. A show that is both vulnerable yet utterly fearless, giving an insight into the heartaches that we all share. More than just another coming of age story, Bombastic Declaration of Love redefines what theatre can be as we are taken along on a journey to find out what it is that we all define as love.

Can art really save the world? Belgian theatre-maker and performer Enkidu Khaled’s award-winning show Working Method is a unique form of creative interaction. His audience is complicit inanalysing and simplifying the complex process of making theatre through artistic expression and reflection. A workshop and a performance all in one, Enkidu combines participatory actions with his own history, emphasizing the power of imagination and during the performance, analyses and simplifies the complex process of making theatre.

Three years ago, Suzanne Grotenhuis won a prize at the Belgian Theatre Festival with her first solo show. The money was meant to be spent on making a new show but realising she couldn’t afford this, bought a plastic ice skating rink and a pair of white figure skates with the money instead.

On Ice tells the story of why a young theater performer decides to buy an ice-skating rink. Why the ice skating rink somehow forms the solutions to a broken heart.

Its a story of loneliness, of bravery, and of complete absurdity.

Multiple Fringe-First winners Ontroerend Goed invite you to get under the skin of the well-to-do, the 1%, the super-rich, the ones who pull the strings, the faces we never get to see when they return to the Fringe with their latest production, £¥€$ (LIES).

For one night, you can take their chairs. You call the shots. You’re in the centre of our economic system.  You shape the course.

And who knows, you might make the world a better place, more fair, more responsible,

because you’ll do things differently, for sure.

 Mireille & Mathieu unpack their paraphernalia at a flea-market. The objects and toys they pick up turn out to be bursting with stories. These little scenes, sometimes gentle and poetic, but more often cruel and comical, follow each other in quick succession. ARM is an introduction to Flemish humour: uncomplicated, excessive, nuts, and surreal – a performance bursting with delightful absurdities, original finds and hilarious scenes about love, violence and playing in its broadest meaning.

 Timeau De Keyser, Hans Mortelmans and Simon De Winne – together known as Tibaldus are one of Belgian’s most exciting and innovative young theatre companies, producing work that is fierce, surprising and thrilling. They have joined with five other actors and dancers to create a bold and radical contemporary reworking of Witold Gombrowicz’s (‘The Shakespeare of Poland’) ground-breaking masterpiece Ivona, Princess of Burgundia the story of a royal family and its household which loses its grip when Prince Filip suddenly becomes engaged to Ivona.

Julie Cafmeyer – Bombastic Declaration of Love

Enkidu Khaled – Working Method

Suzanne Grotenhuis – On Ice

Ontroerend Goed – £¥€$ (LIES)

Mireille and Mathieu – Arm

Tibaldus – Ivona, Princess of Burgundia

LISTINGS INFORMATION

Venue:                                                Summerhall, Summerhall Place, EH9 1PL

Julie Cafmeyer

Bombastic Declaration of Love      4 – 27 August at 10.30 (11.30)

(not 7, 14, 21, 28 August)

 Enkidyu Khaled

Working Method                               4 – 13 August at 15.45 (17.00)

(not 7 August)

 Suzanne Grotenhuis

On Ice                                                 4 – 27 August at 14.30 (15.45)

(not 7, 14, 21, 28 August)

Ontroerend Goed

£¥€$ (LIES)                                        4 – 27 August at 18.30 (20:00) and 20.30 (22.00)

(not 7, 14, 21, 28 August)

Mireille and Mathieu

Arm                                                     4 – 27 August at 16.25 (17.15)

(not 7, 14, 21, 28 August)

Tibaldus

Ivona, Princess of Burgundia         15 – 27 August at 15.45 (17.20)

(not 17 August)

Box Office:                                        0845 874 3001