ThreeWeeks Editors’ Awards presented
By Chris Cooke | Published on Sunday 28 August 2011
The ThreeWeeks editors this morning presented their annual Editors’ Awards at the Carlton Hotel in Edinburgh, celebrating the ten things they felt made Edinburgh Festival 2011 extra special. Here are the winners, complete with the editors’ notes about why they presented each award.
01. ROBIN INCE
Our first winner is an extremely well-loved comedian who seems to live by the Fringe ethos twelve months a year, constantly coming up with great new ideas, many of which draw in and involve other comedy talent. At the Fringe, his many shows always prove popular with the ThreeWeeks review team. And this year more than ever he proved himself a true Festival hero by staging no less than four shows, three of them in the Free Fringe, another great Edinburgh institution that he continues to support. The first winner is Robin Ince.
02. RIVER PEOPLE FOR ‘LITTLE MATTER’
We love shows that use unusual spaces at the Festival, and this year this company’s production, staged in a wagon parked in a hidden car park in the centre of Edinburgh, particularly caught our attention. Of course anyone can choose a quirky venue, but these guys have also staged a brilliant show, creating a warm and intimate experience for their audience, and a story which, our reviewer said, while new felt “as though it had been told around campfires, under open stars for millennia”. Our next winners are River People for their show ‘Little Matter’.
For parents, one of the most difficult things about introducing young children to theatre is the fact that they might embarrass you by running on stage, or something similar. Our next winners reduce that fear by getting children as actively involved as possible throughout their shows. We also rate their decision to not pretend their shows are suitable for all children, and rather to tailor and promote their shows to narrower age ranges, ensuring that they are fully suitable for each age group. With their own venue at Merchants Hall, our next winners truly enhance the Fringe’s children’s shows programme every year. Our next winners are Spotlites.
04. EDINBURGH BOOK FRINGE
Although best known for theatre and comedy, the Fringe is also home to a number of other cultural events, which help make this festival totally unique. Our next winners are behind a whole strand of such events, designed not only to complement the Fringe, but another of the city’s August festivals. A plethora of performers and authors visit the Word Power book shop each August to take part in talks and debates in a wonderfully intimate space. A hidden gem of Edinburgh’s festival month, the next winners are the Edinburgh Book Fringe.
05. I HATE CHILDREN CHILDREN’S SHOW
Our next winners are the creators of a children’s show that was brought to our attention last year by an appreciative ThreeWeeks reviewer, who awarded it a 5/5 rating. They returned this year and got the same rating from another reviewer, who said “Paul Nathan is a superb performer who has a sarcastic ease rarely found outside late night comedy. Sinister yet avuncular, he even manages to involve every child in a magic trick, important to parents wanting to avoid arguments later. It would be worth going just to see him banter with accompanying musician John Anaya, but the tricks too were performed flawlessly”. Our next winners are Paul and John from the ‘I Hate Children Children’s Show’.
06. CASUAL VIOLENCE!
In a year when many of the big sketch comedy troupes chose not to do a full run, we, like many others, were looking out for the next stars of the genre. And with our next winners we may have found them. Says our reviewer: “This group’s warped and perverse characters are so brilliantly constructed, and performed with such comic finesse, that the audience are in danger of unwittingly revealing their own most disturbed sensibilities in their reactions. Atmospheric musical accompaniment complements the dark and twisted writing and contributes to the more subtle, heart-wrenching scenes of tragicomedy”. Not only did they score at 5/5 rating, they won more than one fan on the ThreeWeeks team this year. Our next winners are Casual Violence!
07. CIRCLE OF ELEVEN FOR ‘LEO’
In a festival as big as Edinburgh, there will always be a number of shows which truly blow you away, but in terms of theatrical spectaculars, our next winner stood out. In their 5/5 review, our reviewer said: “The joy of this show is partly seeing the performer’s gravity-defying antics as his world and ours collide. Mostly, however, it’s from watching the amazing performance put in by Wegner as he presents an utterly convincing impression of altered gravity, dancing brilliantly and even playing the sax. Then, just when you think it can get no better, it amazes once more by introducing CGI effects that only we can see but with which Wegner interacts perfectly. Absolutely brilliant”. That says it all really. Surely one of the shows that Fringe 2011 will be remembered for, our next winners are Circle Of Eleven for ‘Leo’.
08. THE FUDGE SHOP
This is another show performed in an interesting venue. As our reviewer said, “A play about fudge, performed in a fudge shop, with free fudge – surely a winning concept”. And we couldn’t agree more. But once again, this show wasn’t just about the quirky performance space, the show was really good too, and everyone we’ve spoken to agrees with our reviewer, that it was simply very, very funny. Their ThreeWeeks review continues: “The cast of four enjoy themselves as much as the audience, as they gleefully shatter the fourth wall and ad lib their way around an already very funny script. They frequently make each other laugh as well the punters, which in other shows might be irritating, but with the audience firmly on their side, here it just adds to their charm”. Our next winners are the guys behind ‘The Fudge Shop’.
09. THE HORNE SECTION
The Fringe wouldn’t be the Fringe without the late night shows which bring together performers from across the Festival. Such shows come and go, but every so often one comes along that stands out above the rest, normally because of an interesting concept or an engaging host. Our next winners score highly in both those areas. Although both times I saw the show the guests were of a high calibre, it was the MC and his band, their games, songs and interaction, that really made this a memorable experience. For us the late night Fringe of 2011 was led by our next winners, Alex Horne and the Horne Section.
10. THEATRE ALBA
Some of our reviewers are new to Edinburgh, and the first time we provide them with bus routes to Duddingston to review a show, they are little confused and sometimes distressed. But without fail they relish the experience once they get there, because we are sending them to one of the multiple shows staged each Fringe by our next winners. We love open air theatre at ThreeWeeks, and Duddingston Kirk Manse Gardens are the perfect venue. This company always maximise the potential of their beautiful performance space, and always garner highly positive reviews from the ThreeWeeks team for their diverse range of shows. Our final winners for 2011 are Theatre Alba.