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What to see at Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2014: some highlights

In my previous blogpost I talked through my top five shows of this year's Edinburgh Fringe Festival. We saw so many wonderful shows that I couldn't just leave it at that (even though there's now only a few days left to go).

So, here's a speed through of most of the other things we saw...

Five shows that I really loved

Private View at Just The Tonic at The Mash House
I saw a work-in-progress of this feminist physical theatre piece from Plunge Theatre about a year ago. It's changed a lot since then and is structurally so much stronger - and was one of my favourites of the Fringe.

Private View looks at how it is to be a young woman and all the pressures that involves. Playful and provocative, it looks at the serious by examining the ridiculous. There's cake, there's Destiny's Child, there's relatable lady confessions that make you laugh and want to scream "yes". What's not to love? Super exciting work.

Loud Poets at the Scottish Storytelling Centre
I love a bit of performance poetry and the Loud Poets do it so well. There's powerful, emotive pieces, one of which had me on the brink of tears, and some really nice comedy pieces too. Also an impressively timed two-minute slam.

If you go, go to the cocktail bar a few doors down (Monteiths) and get the Parisienne Breakfast Cocktail. It was gorgeous and came with toast and jam. Very odd, but I loved it.

Danny Bhoy: 12 Nights, 12 Charities at The Assembly Rooms
Now finished, but see him if you ever get the chance. Hilarious, observational, charming comedy.

Frankenstein: Unbolted at Just The Tonic at The Caves
A new, outrageous take on Frankenstein from Last Chance Saloon, with pop songs. It's silly, classic British humour but without ever being cringey. The energy is high and the jokes thick-and-fast. Pure entertainment.

Bridget Christie: An Ungrateful Woman at The Stand
Having heard so much about her from last year, I was pretty hyped to see Bridget Christie. Inevitably, it was brilliant - with a frenetic energy that is somehow the perfect medium to talk serious issues in a comedic manner (reminded me of Bill Hicks). I'm excited to see last year's award-winning A Bic For Her at The Marlowe Studio next month.

Some more things that I really enjoyed...

Broke at Pleasance Dome
Another heartfelt verbatim piece from The Paper Birds, this time about debt. With a simple but inventive and playful theatrically, it'll bowl you over if you haven't seen their work before, or feel trademark if you have - though that is not at all a bad thing. Definitely a good thing. Love them.

Blackout at Thistle King James Hotel
A powerful piece of theatre around alcoholism - created from one of the actor's experiences alongside others that have suffered. I found it moving without being sentimental, it was just very honest - and actually very hopeful. (Click here to read my blogpost on alcoholism).

Tom Toal in Prequel at Cabaret Voltaire
This one-hour free show is hecka funny but also such a lovely, heartwarming watch. Observational with a hilarious self-referential tone. You'll get what I mean when you go, and you'll love TT!

Leaving Home Party at Summerhall
A gorgeous contained piece from Irish singer/performer Catherine Ireton - on the process of moving away, and never feeling quite at home. She perfectly captures the odd mix of determination and feeling lost that comes with your early twenties. Her voice is stunning and reminiscent of Regina Spektor.

The Big Bite-Size Breakfast Show at Pleasance Dome
If a show comes with free tea, croissants and strawberries - I'm in. It's also a really great show with an interesting selection of short plays. We saw this last year too (though obvs different) - it's just a really nice way to start the day.

Some things I saw and enjoyed...

Advice For Humans at Hendrick's Carnival Of Knowledge
A talk from Matt Haig, author of the brilliant The Humans. A one-day event so I am more recomending to say, read the novel if you haven't, but also get to this venue. It's very odd - there's a polar bear, and also a puffer fish turned into a lamp. Bit grim. Bit cool. Mostly unsettling, but you have to see it.

The Noise Next Door's Comedy Lock-In at Pleasance Courtyard
Improvisational fun from a comedy group that feel like they're a pop band. High-energy and they really know what they're doing, which is great but it did have a slightly odd feeling as if it was being televised, perhaps tied into use of guest comedians.

Be Kind To Yourself at Banshee Labryinth
A free show from "hyper-anxious stand-up poet Tim Clare" - Tim is really skilled and completely engaging. The anxiety is genuine, but you feel safe in his hands.

Swimming at Pleasance Dome
Three teenagers are working in a cafe on the Isle Of Wight - through boredom they push each other's limits. In the beginning the characters were quite annoying and provocative in a way which was borderline offensive. It got more interesting as the play progressed, with a particularly strong performance from the male actor.

Notoriously Yours at C Venues, C South
An interesting play exploring surveillance. The use of multimedia was simple but effective, though it frustrated me when the performers would stand on a level, putting themselves in front of text, which we needed to see! I think I would love this piece if they took the noir style and ran with it, going in a much more stylised direction.

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