Our Glass House, Edinburgh 2013

Edinburgh 2013: Our Glass House - Common Wealth’s potent exploration of domestic violence

"We are here as witnesses." These words stare down at you in large white letters from the back wall of a neighbouring house, and they’re apt: in Common Wealth’s site-specific production, you walk through a small home on an estate in Wester Hailes, on the outskirts of Edinburgh, witnessing the impact of domestic violence on six different people. The words are also a potent reminder - as is the whole production, explicitly and intentionally - that should we be aware of such violence, we should speak up, speak out.

Edinburgh 2013: Holes - A new play from Tom Basden, one of the UK's most talented young comedy writers

There's an invigorating flair and ambition to Holes, and not just because it begins with a walk along a blustery beach. Audiences are bused out of town to a "secret seaside location", where, following that bracing stroll, they end up seated around a super-sized sandpit, lit by a huge, throbbing orange sun like something out of Tate's Turbine Hall.

Al Lubel

Edinburgh 2013: Al Lubel is Mentally Al - His performance is like an elongated beat poem

If you see Al Lubel you'll never forget his name. That's because the middle-aged New Yorker spends much of his mostly captivating hour playing with the sound of it - though not quite as much time as he spends describing how his over-protective Jewish mother smothered him.

Labour adviser turned stand-up comedian Matt Forde

Acerbic Ed Miliband jokes have Jack Straw rolling in the aisles

The Labour adviser turned stand-up Matt Forde came face-to-face with one of his subjects when Jack Straw showed up at his show this week. "I was just kicking my shoes off in my dressing room after the show and the former Foreign Secretary popped his head around the door", he said.

A hair sculpture by Stuart McCaffer who has set up a hairdressing hut in the back garden.
No media svengali: Nate Silver
Anoesis at the Edinburgh 2013 Fringe

Edinburgh 2013: Anoesis - This school-based drama from Junction 25 fails to reach its potential

The young Glaswegian company Junction 25 return to Edinburgh with a devised show that plunges the audience into a world many of us have happily left behind: school.

Bo Burnham

My Edinburgh: Bo Burnham on changing venues and the Golden Age of the Fringe

What a shame. A lot has changed at the Edinburgh Fringe since 2010 (the last year I was here). Three years can do foul damage to things like comedy festivals and milk. I'm sure most of you reading this are too young to remember the year of 2010, but I can assure you, those were the good ol' days.

James Acaster

Edinburgh 2013: James Acaster: Lawnmower

Last year James Acaster beguiled his way on to the Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Awards shortlist with an artfully crafted study in mild lunacy. This year offers something similar, equally well-shaped, and equally kooky, but it sails so close to the wind of being inconsequential that a cloud of uncertainty hangs over the room for portions of the show.

Paul Merton

My Edinburgh: Paul Merton - At least I haven't been beaten up this year

I have been coming to the Edinburgh Fringe for 29 years and I've had some dramatic times. In 1986, I was attacked in the street as I helped Neil Mullarkey from the Comedy Store Players to put up posters. We were in the wrong place at the wrong time - midnight - and we were English. I got kicked in the head. Then in 1987 I broke my leg playing football, which led to a blood clot on my lung. And then I contracted Hepatitis A, which the doctor told me I probably caught from the hospital food. It was a pretty grim place then.

Ardal O'Hanlon at the Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh

Edinburgh 2013: Ardal O'Hanlon - A 47-year-old little boy lost

Ardal O'Hanlon closes his show on a sweet and poignant note as he confesses: "I don't have a big finish. I've never been one for 'fireworks' like some comedians." Having described stand-up as the best way to make sense of the world, it's understandable if the 47-year old little boy lost feels a little deflated in not making the most of it and flatlining. 

My Village and Other Aliens, by Terence Blacker

My Edinburgh: Terence Blacker on white lies and shark-infested waters at the Fringe

It’s great. No, really, the show couldn’t be going better. In fact, the main problem is keeping up with the demand for tickets.

Gemma Whelan in Dark Vanilla Jungle

Edinburgh 2013: Dark Vanilla Jungle - Philip Ridley's latest meditation on misery starring Game of Thrones' Gemma Whelan

One of these days, pigs might fly and Philip Ridley will write a play full of joy, laughter and sparkling merriment. Meanwhile, he follows the dark and murky byways of lives that have gone lyrically wrong in language that lacerates any vestigial sense of well-being and “all’s right with the world” in an audience.

Anna, by Badac Theatre company

Edinburgh 2013: Anna, a harrowing, uncomfortable drama from Badac Theatre; and Who Wants to Kill Yulia Tymoshenko?

Anna, Summerhall

Who Wants to Kill Yulia Tymoshenko?, Assembly Roxy

Leaving Planet Earth

Edinburgh 2013: Leaving Planet Earth

What kind of people would inhabit a brave new world, leave behind the war and pollution of old earth and start again on a fresh planet? If Grid Iron’s site-specific, immersive piece for the International Festival is anything to go by, not terribly endearing ones.

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