Marx in Soho by Howard Zinn

2 stars

At one point during this lecturing one-man show, the reincarnation of Karl Marx asks: "Is there anything more outrageous than an honest critic?" OK then, Brighton. Prepare to be outraged.

This play gives us plenty of facts about Karl Marx's life, but very little nuanced insight, and even less about his fascinatingly prescient political philosophy. Instead, we have an accusatory rant at the world's ills – a crowd-pleasing sermon which will persuade no-one and change nothing.

Review by Richard Stamp published on Thursday 24 May | Read more

Ensonglopedia of Animals

4 stars

Ensonglopidia is an awkward name – but it's perfectly descriptive of this informative, scientific, musical show. It's the latest production from Fringe favourite John Hinton, best-known for his musical biographies of famous scientists, who this time leads us on an encyclopaedic A-to-Z gallop through the wonders of the animal kingdom. Billed as suitable for children aged 5 and older – but perfectly enjoyable for grown-ups too – it's an hour of unashamed natural-world trivia, bundled up in a series of witty songs.

Review by Richard Stamp published on Wednesday 23 May | Read more

My Father Held A Gun

4 stars

Sahand Sahebdivani is of Iranian descent, while Raphael Rodan's family is Israeli. Together they tell a series of stories, attempting to answer the question: Why do men make war? Brought up in Amsterdam, the two men are friends, but their journey to adulthood involves understanding their identity through the eyes of their fathers and forefathers. One is a Jew, the other an Arab – and while they try to frame their debate in a European context, their own ethnic and racial heritage may not let them go.

Review by Roz Scott published on Tuesday 22 May | Read more

Always, With a Love That's True

4 stars

I always enjoy Wired Theatre's unconventional site-specific work – partly because they're so willing to break theatrical rules, and partly because they invariably surprise me with something different and new. Set in a real house in Hove, with scenes in the lounge, hallway, kitchen and conservatory, this one certainly preserves Wired's reputation for performing in unusual spaces. But after years presenting shows which hop back and forth in history, this time they gave me the one thing I least expected: a traditional linear storyline.

Review by Richard Stamp published on Tuesday 22 May | Read more

Wan In Wan Oot

3 stars

One in, one out: it's a rule that works for busy nightclubs, not generally for life. But this heartwarming two-hander tackles both ends of life's journey, as central character Leanne says goodbye to her ageing grandmother and sees the birth of her own longed-for baby, too. It's a gently humorous and very watchable family story, with a few stand-out emotional scenes.

Review by Richard Stamp published on Tuesday 22 May | Read more

Antigone Alone

3 stars

Plays built on Greek myths are intimidating for many – but there's really nothing to fear from Antigone Alone. It's clear, accessible, and engaging; a strong solo performance of an easy-to-follow script. It focuses, as the title suggests, on the story of Antigone, whose brothers fought for control of Thebes in days of legend. The winning man refused to allow his defeated brother to be buried… blocking his way to the afterlife, and forcing Antigone to take matters into her own hands.

Review by Richard Stamp published on Sunday 20 May | Read more

Space Doctor

1 star

There are some one-star reviews which actually sell tickets: which make a show sound so unique, so iconic in its badness, that you can't resist going to see it. This might, just might, be one of those. Space Doctor is truly terrible, but it's the kind of terrible of which cults are made.

Review by Richard Stamp published on Sunday 20 May | Read more

All Work, No Play

3 stars

All Work No Play is visibly a work in progress: it runs for just 30 minutes, is a little light on storyline, and could certainly do with tightening here and there. But it's an entertaining, diverting way to spend half an hour, and a promising Fringe debut for solo performer Alexander Grieve. Drawing on elements of clowning with a dash of physical theatre, Grieve evokes a monotonous office and a burgeoning romance – and throws in some witty meta-theatrics too.

Review by Richard Stamp published on Saturday 19 May | Read more

Bear North

4 stars

A show with a dancing bear might sound barbaric… but relax, this particular bear wants to dance. There it stands at the side of the stage, the broadest of smiles on its big brown head, elegantly shimmying its big brown paws in time to Cajun folk songs. The songs are provided by a trio of musicians, who come from Brighton but tell us they're somehow in Canada, and a travelling poet has also tagged along. Oh – and did I mention that the bear is wearing a cheerful summery dress?

Review by Richard Stamp published on Saturday 19 May | Read more

The Polished Scar

4 stars

I'm sure you know the Philip Larkin poem: the one about how your parents mess you up, because their parents did the same to them. Never has that process been laid out more clearly than it is in The Polished Scar, written and performed by Duncan Henderson. This is a one-man display of acting virtuosity, with a couple of interesting themes to explore.

Review by Richard Stamp published on Friday 18 May | Read more

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