The O.S. Map Fan Club

4 stars

I love to look at Ordnance Survey maps: the iconic plans of the British countryside, which have served as faithful guides to generations of walkers. It's a form of geekdom I'm proud to admit to, and the nicest thing about this warm-and-fuzzy show was that it proved I'm not the only one. On the night I attended, the Dukebox was full of navigators of all ages – united by our readiness to laugh at jokes involving contours, and cheer at a shelf stacked with Landranger sheets.

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

Pickman's Model by HP Lovecraft

2 stars

This disappointing adaptation of an HP Lovecraft story aims for creepy horror, but ends up more soulless than terrifying. The tale involves a painter, the eponymous Pickman, who's been kicked out of a New England art club; which isn't all that surprising, since he keeps drawing ghoulish figures feasting on human flesh. An English visitor called Thurber is entranced by Pickman's talent, and follows him to a tumbledown building in the oldest part of Boston. Down in the cellar, he finds a deep dark well…

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

1984

4 stars

Based on George Orwell’s famed novel, 1984 is a compelling piece of theatre about an oppressive regime in a fictional super-state called Oceania – where big brother is watching you all the time and loyalty to the Party is paramount. The central question for protagonist Winston Smith and his sweetheart Julia is – whom should they trust?

Review by Roz Scott published on Thursday 17 May | Read more

Honey

2 stars

Honey is the last of a series of three plays exploring the relationship between the self and other environments. I watched the first part Fishhead back in 2014, and loved it – so I was excited about seeing this follow-up work. Sadly however, I was disappointed.

Review by Tig Land published on Wednesday 16 May | Read more

Caitlin

5 stars

I'm ashamed to say that I'd never heard of Caitlin Macnamara; ashamed, because this engrossing one-woman play is an hour-long rebuke for that oversight. The wife of poet Dylan Thomas, blamed by some for feeding his self-destructive reliance on revelry and alcohol, Mike Kenny's 2004 script urges us at last to see Caitlin in her own right. Speaking directly to us as she swigs from a bottle of whisky, she tells a story of poverty, betrayal, lust and abuse – yet also of love and fellowship.

Review by Richard Stamp published on Wednesday 16 May | Read more

The Impossible, Improbable & Unlikely Adventure Of...

4 stars

This lively, uncomplicated, perfectly delightful show is just the thing to round off a fun day at the Fringe. The venue is a guest house – if I understood it right, some of the performers actually live there – but the action's spread across the globe, from the depths of the sea to the edge of space. In a small group of up to six people, you'll move from room to room to meet a procession of charismatic characters, each of whose lives is intertwined with a figure known only as the Explorer.

Review by Richard Stamp published on Tuesday 15 May | Read more

Circus'sission: Those That Made the Cut!

3 stars

The atmosphere was lively for this variety show, and the compère made it seem as if we'd been invited to a party – a party which included, amongst other things, acrobats, magicians, comedians, and lots of hoops of various sizes. The programme is different each night, but it's always hosted by acrobats from Aussie company Head First.

Review by Tig Land published on Tuesday 15 May | Read more

Bumper Blyton: The Improvised Adventure

4 stars

From the first moment of this improvised show, you sense the presence of dear old Enid Blyton. All of the actors are dressed in suitable adventure attire – knee-length shorts, long white socks and smart tank tops. Oh, and the audience are all of a certain age!

Jonah Fazel bounces onto the stage, larger than life, and introduces the clever way the performance will unfold. There are two large dice with suggestions from the audience attached. Once rolled onto the stage, they are used as material for the story.

Review by Tig Land published on Tuesday 15 May | Read more

The Imagicarium of Mr Dickens

2 stars

Here's a true fact: alongside his rather more famous writing career, Charles Dickens was an enthusiastic amateur magician. This one-man show, from Fringe regulars Quids In, uses that fact as a jumping-off point for their trademark combination of theatre and stage magic. Alone on the stage, Kreestan Sennakie presents a series of Dickensian figures, and performs a trick in character as each one.

Review by Richard Stamp published on Tuesday 15 May | Read more

After

4 stars

After is very much a theatrical experiment, with not one but two unusual cards to play. First of all, the 20-minute script is performed twice, once with two female actors and then with two male ones. And secondly, each of the pairings is made up of a real-world family – one a mother and daughter, the other a father and son.

Review by Richard Stamp published on Tuesday 15 May | Read more

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