reviews of the best theater shows to see

Theater Reviews Edinburgh Fringe 2022, Venues, Pleasance, Traverse - Thea Courtney

Theater Reviews Edinburgh Fringe 2022, Venues, Pleasance, Traverse – Thea Courtney

Age is a feeling ★★★★★

Where: Summerhall (Anatomy Lecture Theatre)

When: 12.10

For: August 28 (not 15)

In a nutshell: Now based in London, Canadian artist Hayley McGee continues to produce extraordinary work, steeped in ingenious imaginings. After impressing in Edinburgh in 2016 with I’m Doing This For You – a tragic-comic surprise party thrown for a partner who never materializes – and The Ex-Boyfriend Yard Sale (also a book), which explored the value of artefacts from past relationship, here she delivers a tender, wry, wise, gut-wrenching monologue from a ladder-shaped child’s chair addressing her 25-year-old self about the life ahead of her, right up to the last moment. The audience gets to choose a selection of the stories heard along the way; but will not be able to show the toughest reflections. Sample line: “You will find that you have designed a life that is one part what you want and one part a prison of duties and obligations and playing a version of yourself that you have twice outgrown but cannot run away. ” Adam Brace directs a marvel. DC


Dick ★★★☆☆

Where: Greenside @ Infirmary Street (Ivy Studio)

When: 4 p.m

For: August 27 (not 14, 21)

In a nutshell: Perhaps the bravest show at the Fringe – in which fifty-something Richard Stamp, with remarkable good humor and clear, empathy-inducing nervousness, talks his audience through the saga that followed when he was diagnosed with penile cancer in 2018. Fun times in Cambodia turned to days of despair after a brutal diagnosis in Australia (“You won’t be able to be a man like that, so put it out of your head”) and a long road to reconstructive surgery (still undergoing treatment) in London. There are some graphic images that some may find too much, offset by light-hearted videos that spoof 1970s public health ads and male denial (“Use Ignore-It – our cream works with pride and confidence to keep you out of medical hands!”) . It’s not the prettiest hour, but it encapsulates exactly what the festival is for: sharing and, against the odds, caring. DC


    Jon Culshaw as Les Dawson - Andy Hollingworth Archive

Jon Culshaw as Les Dawson – Andy Hollingworth Archive

Read Dawson: Flying High ★★★☆☆

Where: Assembly George Square (Gordon Aikman Theatre)

When: 4:30 p.m

For: August 28 (not 16)

In a nutshell: The jarring, rough-voiced funnyman Les Dawson is happily recalled, and expertly impersonated, almost 30 years after his death, in this career-recap solo written by Tim Whitnall and starring Dead Ringers regular Jon Culshaw. What is important in plays of this kind is to feel that you are not only getting a sense of the famous aura, but behind the facade and into psychological terrain. Here are some great gags – to wit: “Look there’s Joan Collins, going to New York, obviously to attend the birth of her next husband” and “I’m a social drinker, when someone says “I’ve a drink’, I say ‘so-I’ll’.” But while he admirably describes Lawson’s frustrated literary ambitions and cleverly replicates his florid turns, the tribute has barely rolled down memory lane (the drivel performed aboard Concorde) before the show is over. It is directed by Bob Golding who had a hit here a few years ago starring Eric Morecambe; this will pack them in too but it’s not in the same league.


EastEndless ★★★★☆

Where: Pleasance Courtyard (The Cellar)

When: 11.40

For: August 27 (not 17)

In a nutshell: James Holmes was the darling of Fringe in the early nineties, playing a nerdy train spotter in the hit monologue Anorak of Fire. Now the former Miranda fast performs a knock-out mid-life solo by Tim Fountain that has even wider appeal. With expressive élan, he plays a two-part actor (“Tony Coventry”) whose followers’ obsessive knowledge of EastEnders proves quietly devastating after he lands a small but seemingly significant role in the Square. This is more than an acting dream come true: he has had “actual dreams of living there. I don’t get duff-duffs, I’m just there and I’m a small part of it all.” Packed with valuable one-liners and trivia-filled asides, the show brilliantly pays homage to the soap’s enduring value while excavating loneliness in the age of social media. DC


Good meal ★★★★☆

Where: Traverse Theater (Traverse 2)

When: Times vary

For: August 28 (not 15, 22)

In a nutshell: At a time when there is a lot of heated and toxic debate in the media and elsewhere about trans issues, it is very useful, even urgent, to go, through drama, into first-hand experience. Happy Meal, written by non-binary performer Tabby Lamb (they/she), takes us into the world of two young people who struggle with trans identities and societal pressures, over nine years. It takes place online as Sam Crear’s Alex, “trans masc,” befriends Allie Daniels Bette (“trans femme”) first on the computer game Club Penguin; gradually trust is exchanged, trust is sorely tested and something emotionally significant blossoms. It’s a remarkably light, playful show – directed by Jamie Fletcher – but cuts deep into themes of alienation, courage and self-acceptance: “I was born in exactly the right body. You were born in exactly the right body. These journeys were journeys we were meant to take… to find ourselves.” Highly recommended. DC


Poet Luke Wright stars in The Remains of Logan Dankworth

Poet Luke Wright stars in The Remains of Logan Dankworth

The Remains of Logan Dankworth ★★★★☆

Where: Pleasance Courtyard (above)

When: 15.45

For: 29 August (not 15-17)

In a nutshell: Essex bard Luke Wright has reached 40 and his progress as a cultural figurehead, taking risks, pushing performance poetry into the mainstream, honing his versifying skills. Here he satirically takes aim at our hysteria-married age, and weighs the political and personal outcome of chasing cliques and increasing division. Logan Dankworth, a fictional Essex boy turned troublesome political influencer, revels in the run-up to the referendum, handing it out to the populists, but, more torn than he can say, runs a vicious, anonymous blog to take himself down. The language has a joyous alliterative swagger (“Bar rooms pop like boxing rings – I’m a one-man munitions factory in the biggest battle Britain has seen in bloody years”). More specificity about the attitude taking would have been welcome, but the vision of career mania bringing a marriage to the brink comes across loud and clear. DC


Hiding Anne Frank ★★★☆☆

Where: RSE Theater – Wolfson Theatre, George St

When: 4 p.m

For: August 28 (not 15, 22)

In a nutshell: Amidst a flurry of small theater performances and look-at-me comedy classes, there is something hearteningly serious about this solo by American actress Prudence Wright Holmes, who conveys the story of Miep Gies. Gies was the Austrian-born secretary to Otto Frank and helped hide the Franks from the Nazis in his Amsterdam office until their sordid discovery after D-Day in 1944. It’s a simple play (with some very variable video projection assistance) but filled with poignancy vignettes of Anne Frank, girlishly enthralled by the idea of ​​Hollywood, determined to write in her diary and hopeful to the end. Given the atrocities in Ukraine, too, a very timely outing. DC


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