The Museum of the Recently Named

3 stars

In my opinion, you haven’t really “done” the Fringe until you’ve tried something a little bit weird.  This show is one of those things.  Standing in a basement of a pub on Western Road, you’ll be transported to the eponymous Museum Of The Recently Named – shepherded around the exhibits by a pleasant but somehow-threatening tour guide, and surrounded by officious notices suggestive of a totalitarian state.

Review by Richard Stamp published on Monday 9 May | Read more

Sex and God

4 stars

This finely-wrought ensemble piece demands a certain amount of concentration, but pays you back with superbly-structured performances and an involving, thought-provoking storyline. It captures key moments in the lives of four separate women: a proud Scottish servant from the early 1900’s, an Irish woman seeking escape from a controlling relationship, an Italian mother who struggles to care for her family and a French traveller, exploring the world. These four women never meet, and their stories never intertwine, but Linda McLean’s masterful script finds insightful parallels between their seemingly unrelated tales.

Review by Richard Stamp published on Sunday 8 May | Read more

The Wedding Reception

5 stars

It's the perfect setting for a wedding reception: we're sipping drinks on the patio, as the sun comes down over the immaculately mown county cricket ground. We've all been invited to the 'after do' of the nuptials between Kate and Will… and if you imagine your worst nightmare of a wedding reception going wrong, then you'll have an idea of what to expect from this immersive dinner show. Relatives from hell, catering hiccups and bad dad dancing are just the tip of the iceberg for our unfortunate happy couple.

Review by Tig Land published on Sunday 8 May | Read more

The Marked

2 stars

This review’s a tough one. The Marked tackles an important topic – the life of rough sleepers on the streets of London – and its central device, drawing a parallel between modern-day vice and fairytale evil, is well-conceived. What’s more, Theatre Témoin have an excellent pedigree, and the quality of their acting and puppetry is clear for all to see. Unfortunately however, none of these positives can overcome a fundamental problem… I simply couldn’t follow what was going on.

Review by Richard Stamp published on Sunday 8 May | Read more

Care Takers

4 stars

In this two-hander by Billy Cowan, you could say that much of the real action takes place off-stage – but the play is no less tense for that. The writing is crisp and direct, and while the characters are instantly recognisable from everyday life, nuanced performances ensure they are never caricatures.  The script delivers important messages, but it’s also involving and very watchable; the often-witty dialogue holds your interest in the developing relationship between the two protagonists.

Review by Bill Parslow published on Saturday 7 May | Read more

Operation Love Story

4 stars

OK, I’ll admit it: this one’s a rom-com. But it’s a thoughtful, subversive, meaningful rom-com – which takes the usual fare of preposterous romantic misadventure, and gives it a creative, disturbingly credible twist. A one-woman show, it’s also a bittersweet exploration of what happens when you believe in the wrong kind of dream: of the hopefulness and the emptiness which will inevitably follow, if you’re gullible enough to conduct romance according to the rules of the silver screen.

Review by Richard Stamp published on Saturday 7 May | Read more

Peter Antoniou: Happy Medium

3 stars

Happy Medium is, indeed, a thoroughly happy show. Starting with the upbeat musical mash-ups which welcome us into the theatre, and continuing into a the wilfully-overblown build-up to Peter Antoniou’s appearance on stage, the impression is of cheerful camaraderie matched by gentle self-parody. And that relaxed feel is important, because Antoniou will soon reveal our secrets: things about ourselves which only we could know, written down at the beginning on folded scraps of paper, and displayed throughout the show for everyone to observe in a seemingly tamper-proof goldfish bowl.

Review by Richard Stamp published on Friday 6 May | Read more

The Bula Loop

3 stars

A family sits at a dinner table: Mum and Dad, their two sons, and a neighbour who might well be a girlfriend. The dialogue is ordinary and everyday – praise for the cooking, debate about the football, worries over A-level results. But one of the teenage boys sits with his back to the group, passing up the chocolate brownies in favour of munching on cereal. This is Adam, a young man with autism – and we soon discover that his comfort depends on familiar objects, and well-known routines.

Review by Richard Stamp published on Friday 6 May | Read more

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