Fringe Benefits: Scots Whay Hae!’s Top 10 Picks Of The Edinburgh Fringe…

For many of us August means Edinburgh and its attendant festivals. As ever, the Fringe in particular has so much on offer that it can be tough to see past the big names, sort through the plethora of posters, and separate the wheat from the cultural chaff.

To help you do so here are Scots Whay Hae!’s Top Ten picks of the Fringe. There’s comedy, poetry, theatre, music and more – hopefully, something for everyone.

This Script – (Jenny Lindsay) – Scottish Storytelling Centre

At a time of schisms within feminism, where sirens are the soundtrack to our newsfeeds, This Script combines poetic memoir with a fierce call for empathy. With Jenny Lindsay’s trademark wit and lyrical dexterity, this is a show delving into often turbulent contemporary waters with an ultimate striving for understanding, empathy and action. From #MeToo to ageing in a gendered world: can she rewrite this script? Can you? ‘This Script is sharply written, charmingly performed, and needs saying’ (Luke Wright). ‘One of this year’s most necessary spoken word performances’ (TheWeeReview.com).This Script – (Jenny Lindsay), Aug 4 – 11 – Scottish Storytelling Centre

Big Wendy – (Emily Benita), Sweet Novotel – Novotel 3

2018 was going to be Emily’s year. Finally starting to do stand-up and on track to being more funny ha-ha than funny peculiar; maybe even become a fully functioning adult human woman. But when her mum’s cancer diagnosis becomes terminal, she finds herself on an awfully big adventure. Featuring grief, boys who never grow up and jokes, promise. As seen on BBC Scotland’s Short Stuff, one-third of sketch outfit Ambush, and co-host of Glasgow’s grassroots, idiosyncratic comedy night The Salon, this is Emily Benita’s debut solo Fringe hour.

Suffering From Scottishness – (Kevin P. Gilday), Assembly Roxy

Citizen Scotland cordially invites you to take part in a focus group that will define the very future of the nation – for better or worse. An immersive theatrical experience that confronts the unique absurdity of Scottish identity. Award-winning writer and spoken word artist Kevin P Gilday (Sonnet Youth, National Theatre of Scotland, BBC) turns a hilariously caustic eye on notions of nationhood and patriotism. From history to inventions, language to neighbourly relations, the independence referendum to the toxic mire of present political debate – we gleefully dissect the still-beating dark heart of the countrySuffering From Scottishness – (Kevin P. Gilday).

Bible John – (Poor Michelle and the Pleasance), Pleasance Courtyard

1969 at the Barrowlands Ballroom in Glasgow, three women are murdered by an Old Testament-quoting serial killer, nicknamed Bible John. He has never been caught. 2019, four women bound by their obsession with true crime want to change that. Immersing themselves in the world of Bible John and his victims, they try to solve the case, once and for all. A riotous, furious, joyful exploration of violence, gender and one of Scotland’s darkest mysteries from Poor Michelle (Samuel French New Play Award 2017). Recipient of Pleasance’s Charlie Hartill Theatre Reserve 2019. Previous praise: **** (Scotsman). **** (Stage).

Young Night Thought – (Kirsty Law), Pianodrome at The Pitt

How do you climb a tree without worrying about the fall? Why do you dream up the monsters in the shadows? Kirsty Law’s Young Night Thought binds Scots folklore, song, film, artwork and dance in an exploration of the inner child. Driven by an extraordinary live band this show leads you across the threshold of the supernatural and back again. ’Weaves a dexterous path between the animated vocal mannerisms of Ani Di Franco and the wide open instrumentation of early Massive Attack’ (Acoustic Magazine). ‘Spellbinding’ (Max Reinhardt, BBC Radio 3, Late Junction). www.madeinscotlandshowcase.com

From When I Wake The Want Is – (Kathryn Joseph), Summerhall

An intimate and provocative live performance that ‘evolves into a hypnotic whirlwind of warring emotions’ (Herald), Cryptic’s critically acclaimed, poignant staging of award-winning singer Kathryn Joseph’s second album returns by popular demand. Renowned for her spellbinding vocal style and strong lyrical aesthetic which showcases both vulnerability and strength, Joseph moves and engages in equal measure. Complemented by Cryptic’s ‘intense, intimate, immaculately stylised presentation’ (Scotsman), From When I Wake will ‘ravish the senses’ and reach right to the soul with a performance where ‘hearts are broken and stolen in equal measure’ (List). www.madeinscotlandshowcase.com. Seated.

Islander: A New Musical – (Helen Milne Productions), ROUNDABOUT @ Summerhall

Eilidh stares out to sea and dreams of a new life beyond her lonely island. Myth and reality collide when the tide washes a mysterious stranger onto her beach, changing her life forever. Epic storytelling, intimately staged with a contemporary Scottish folk-inspired score. The cast live-record and layer their voices to create an ethereal adventure for the ears and imagination. ‘Superb’ (Herald). ‘Lush, harmonic voices’ (List). ‘A real treat of a production’ (AllEdinburghTheatre.com). Originally developed in association with Comar. Part of the Made in Scotland 2019 showcase. www.madeinscotlandshowcase.com

Dreamboat – (Christopher MacArthur-Boyd), Gilded Balloon Teviot

The wee speccy future of Glaswegian stand-up returns to Edinburgh with a brand-new hour. As seen on BBC Scotland’s Up For It, and as heard on BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio 4 Extra. Live support for Kevin Bridges, Jason Manford and Russell Kane. Recently listed 59th on a list of the 60 funniest people in Scottish history. ‘Endlessly enjoyable’ **** (Skinny). ‘Genius writing’ **** (List). Intelligent, articulate, and incredibly funny’ ***** (TheWeeReview.com). ‘Downright impressive… no spare moment lacks a laugh’ ***** (ShortCom.co.uk).

#GIRLHOOD – (Cat Hepburn), Gilded Balloon Rose Theatre

Award-winning writer and spoken word artist Cat (BBC Radio 6 Music, BBC The Social, Radio Scotland, STV) debuts the stage adaptation of her hit poetry book. Nostalgic, hilarious and heartbreaking, her performance deconstructs and satirises the milestones, conventions and pressures that girls and young women face. ‘Hepburn’s new collection is the lovechild of slam poetry and the snatched rant over coffee or in the loo… Bittersweet, irreverent and to-the-point, these poems speak of life’s knots and identity pitfalls all too clearly’ **** (Skinny). ‘Cat Hepburn helped make poetry cool again’ (Scottish Sun).

DRONE – (Harry Josephine Giles, Rob Jones, Neil Simpson and Jamie Wardrop), Summerhall

A live jam of music, video and poetry, this multimedia theatre show tells the true story of a military drone’s life and fears. The Drone is a weapons system, an office worker, a background hum. The bleak humour and tender fury of Drone sees the unmanned aerial vehicle as the technology of a neurotic century, asking how anxious people can live as part of systems of such astonishing destruction. Drone is mixed new every night: a cabaret band of a video jockey, an electronic musician and a spoken word performer. ‘A state of the nation address’ (Scotsman). www.madeinscotlandshowcase.com

You can download the full Fringe programme here.

Sunday Service: A Review Of The Sonnet Youth Showcase At The Tron…

Sunday afternoons – for some of us they’ve never been the same since Archie McPherson, Glen Michael and Palladin hung up their boots. There’s only so much Bargain Hunt, Songs of Praise and old Bond films you can take, and these days there are more stall holders than punters if you fancy a wander round the Barras. Sunday afternoons have become a weekly dead-zone. We need change!

This Sunday, at Glasgow’s Tron Theatre, Sonnet Youth were in the house to save the day. It was the last event of their Tron Weekender where they had put on various poetry reading, theatre, spoken word events and more over three days. You could have expected that their Sunday Matinee Showcase could have been an excuse for everyone to relax and recover. Not a bit of it.

For those of you who don’t know, Sonnet Youth events are hosted and curated by Cat Hepburn and Kevin P. Gilday, both accomplished performance and published poets in their own right. They describe what they do as a Spoken Word House Party, but that description only scratches the surface.

Sunday’s Showcase was an exemplary summary of what they do. Sonnet Youth are driven by a love of the performing arts and poetry and a desire to share the best of it with like-minded folk. As well as the usual fine readings from our hosts there was a personal, poignant and often funny performance from the excellent poet Angie Strachan, music from the critically acclaimed singer/songwriter/guitarist Heir Of The Cursed (who is surely destined to be huge) before finishing with comedy from Christopher Macarthur-Boyd – fresh from supporting Jason Manford in Manchester.

If you missed it then you missed out as rarely has two hours passed so fast and entertainingly, particularly in the Twilight Zone of Sunday afternoon. Don’t make the same mistake again as Sonnet Youth have got the creation and curation of their events down to a fine art.

You don’t have to wait long as they have a shows at Drygate in Glasgow on 20th Feb, the Gilded Balloon in Edinburgh on 21st Feb, as well as being at Phillies of Shawlands on the 2nd Thursday of every month with Sonnet Youth Scratch which allows established artists to try new material and open mic slots for anyone who wants to perform. Listen up as Sonnet Youth deserve your attention – Scotland’s cultural landscape would be far less interesting if they weren’t around.

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