Monday August 26th, 2013 17:28

Fringe concludes with record number of tickets issued

Edinburgh Fringe

And so the Edinburgh Fringe draws to its official close for another year with confirmation that this was the biggest one yet, with more performances of more shows and more tickets issued.

Whilst, because of hard-to-fully-track free show attendance and those productions that sit outside the official programme, ticket sale stats won’t ever be fully accurate, the Fringe Society estimates that 1,943,493 tickets have been issued as the festival enters its final few hours, 5% up on this time last year, and higher too than in 2011 (last year saw a slight slip in tickets being distributed, mainly as a result of the Olympics).

Of course there’s some interesting maths to be done comparing the number of shows and seats with numbers of tickets issued, and it would be interesting to know how free shows compare to paid-for shows in attendance terms, and how many paid-for show tickets were sold at a discount. Though such number crunching is for another day (and, again, on free shows it would always be estimates).

Nevertheless, the Edinburgh Fringe was once again the world’s biggest ever cultural event, and while the economics of performing at the festival will remain a hot topic of debate, it can’t be denied the Scottish capital still boasts the biggest gathering of performers and culture fans each August.

Commenting on the ticket figure estimates, and this year’s festival, Fringe Society chief Kath M Mainland told reporters: “Our loyal and enthusiastic audience has once again been treated to the most amazing cultural experience and has been both challenged and entertained by a programme of spectacular work across all artforms from all around the world”.

She added: “Over the past 25 days, audiences from Edinburgh, Scotland, the rest of the UK and across the globe have been inspired by world-class performers, writers and artists in the largest celebration of art and entertainment in the world. I would like, on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of people who visited the Fringe this year, to thank them for showing us their incredible talent and courage by bringing so many extraordinary shows and events to our capital city”.

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Monday August 26th, 2013 14:02

More gongs: Malcolm Hardee, Herald and Stage awards presented

Adrienne Truscott

It’s a busy weekend for awards, the one at the end of the Fringe, with plenty of gongs being dished out. In addition to the previously reported Edinburgh Comedy Awards and ThreeWeeks Editors’ Awards, also presented were the Malcolm Hardee Awards, the final batch of Herald Angels and the Stage Awards. Which was a lot of ‘awards’ for one sentence.

There were three prizes to present at the previously reported Malcolm Hardee Awards on Friday night. Adrienne Truscott (pictured) won the award for Comic Originality for her free feminism-themed show tackling rape jokes, a show that later on Saturday afternoon also picked up the Panel Prize from the Edinburgh Comedy Awards judges.

Meanwhile Barry Ferns got the Cunning Stunt Award for his spoof editions of the ThreeWeeks and Broadway Baby daily sheets, filled with joke reviews and a 6/5 rave critique for his own show. The final winner we already knew, Gareth Ellis picked up the Pound Of Flesh Award (replacing the Act Most Likely To Make A Million Quid gong) for having his comedy partner punch him in the face to score some press.

At the final Herald Angels event of the year, the Glasgow broadsheet presented prizes to the following:

• Kate Tempest and Battersea Arts Centre for ‘Brand New Ancients’ at the Traverse.
• Gandini Juggling for ‘Smashed’ at Assembly Hall.
• Rant at Acoustic Music Centre @ St Bride’s.
• Christine Tobin for ‘A Thousand Kisses Deep’ in the British Vocal Jazz Festival at Le Monde.
• Christophe Roussett for ‘Les Talas Lyriques’ at the Edinburgh International Festival.

And to The Stage Awards For Acting Excellence, which are focused on professional acting talent at the Festival. And the winners were:

• Best Actor: Patrick O’Kane for ‘Quietly’ at the Traverse.
• Best Actress: Robyn Scott for ‘London Road, Sea Point’ at Assembly George Square.
• Best Ensemble: Theatre Ad Infinitum for ‘Ballad Of The Burning Star’ at Pleasance Dome.
• Best Solo Performer: Phoebe Waller-Bridge for Fleabag at Underbelly Cowgate.

Well done one and all.

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Saturday August 24th, 2013 15:41

Bridget Christie wins Edinburgh Comedy Award

bridgetchristie

In what is sure to be a popular decision (it certainly pleased Team ThreeWeeks), Bridget Christie has won this year’s Edinburgh Comedy Prize. She is only the third woman to win the big comedy gong at the Edinburgh Fringe in the award’s 33 year history, past female winners being Jenny Eclair and Laura Solon.

Christie took the prize with her feminism-themed show ‘A Bic For Her’ which is performing at The Stand. There has been a noticeable number of shows dealing with feminist topics on the comedy Fringe this year, and numerous brilliant shows delivered by female comedians, which made some question the male dominated shortlists that Edinburgh Comedy Award organisers published earlier this week. Christie’s win, therefore, seems particularly fitting at the end of Fringe 2013, above and beyond the fact she had a very fine show indeed this year.

Another performance with a feminist theme, Adrienne Truscott’s provocative show tackling rape jokes, ‘Asking For It: A One-Lady Rape About Comedy’, won the Panel Prize, while John Kearns picked up the Best Newcomer award. Both Truscott and Kearns are performing free shows this year, and their victories illustrate another theme of Fringe 2013, the increased importance of the free-show strands at all levels of comedy. Again the ‘big four’ dominated shortlists didn’t seem to represent this, but two free show winners does.

Well done to all the winners, and check out our interview with Bridget from the start of the Festival here.

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Saturday August 24th, 2013 11:30

ThreeWeeks Editors’ Awards presented

ThreeWeeks Editors' Awards

The winners of this year’s ThreeWeeks Editors’ Awards have been announced at an event at theSpace @ Niddry Street. These go to the ten things that the ThreeWeeks editors think added that extra little special something to the Festival just gone. There are no categories and no specialisms, the awards go to the people, the performances and the programmes that the ThreeWeeks team believe made this year’s Edinburgh Festival particularly brilliant.

ThreeWeeks Co-Editor Caro Moses explains: “Once again we worked our way through the hundreds and hundreds of reviews our team have written this Festival, as well as considering nominations direct from the review team, and checking our archives for critiques from Fringes past, to decide our ten Editors’ Award winners. We believe all of these performers have contributed something special to this year’s Festival, and in most cases to a number of Festivals over recent years. We also hope that, with an eclectic mix of people, genres and projects, our winners again represent all of what it is that makes the Edinburgh Fringe such an exciting event”.

And the winners are…

John Robins
This comedian has long been a favourite with ThreeWeeks’ reviewers. At Festival 2007 we named him as one of the higher-lights of that year’s ‘Comedy Zone’ and in 2009 we gave his solo show a four star review. But it was in 2011 that the start of a special five star relationship began; in that year, ‘Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven’ was awarded a tw rating of 5/5. The following year, he achieved another 5/5 for ‘Incredible Scenes!’. We waited, on tenterhooks, to see how he did this year… and yes, yet again, it was full marks for ‘Where Is My Mind’. For his enduringly popular appeal to our writers, and his consistently great shows, John Robins is our first winner of 2013.
Pleasance Courtyard at 9.30pm until 25 Aug.

The Les Clöchards
Another act who have endeared themselves to two years worth of ThreeWeeks staff (and that’s frankly quite a lot of staff) is a music group, praised for their eccentric approach and their innovative take on well known songs and pop classics. Last year’s reviewer waxed lyrical, calling them “hugely charismatic and side-splittingly hilarious” (as well as “certainly insane”), while this year, our 5/5 review made special mention of their high energy, their musical skill, and the anecdotes that they tell between songs. There’s no doubt that they have the capacity to become a regular 5/5 fixture at the Fringe… and (dare we say it…?) possibly even Fringe legends one of these days. Our next award goes to The Les Clöchards.
Assembly Checkpoint at 9.10pm until 25 Aug.

Ali McGregor
If there’s one thing that makes us happy at ThreeWeeks, especially since the arrival of our youngest reviewer six years ago, it’s those folks who find time to do a show for children as well as one for the grown ups. Often, however, one of those shows is much better than the other. So it’s utterly delightful to come across someone delivering very good goodies at both. We described her 4/5 children’s show as “an absolutely delightful way to spend an afternoon”, while the reviewer who awarded her grown up show a 5/5 score praised her wit, magical voice, and her brilliantly picked selection of guests. Add to this the fact that in the past few years McGregor has earned a sizeable fistful of glowing four and five star reviews from our team, and you’ve got a plethora of great reasons why our next winner is Ali McGregor.
‘Jazzamatazz’ at The Famous Spiegeltent at 4.00pm until 25 Aug and ‘Late-Nite Variety-Nite Night’ at Assembly Checkpoint at 10.40pm until 25 Aug.

2Faced Dance Company
Our next winner are a company who have been attending the Edinburgh Fringe off and on for many years, and during that time have earned critical acclaim for their specific brand of contemporary break and hip-hop fusion choreography, always earning at least a 4/5 review from our team: this year’s reviewer described how ‘Out Of His Skin’ combines “the fragility of contemporary ballet, with rough hip hop and breakdance steps, and breathtaking acrobatic stunts”. When we spoke to group leader Tamsin Fitzgerald this summer, she described how much this group enjoy their forays to the Fringe, saying that it’s an event which propels them forward. Tamsin’s brilliant shows, and her brilliant attitude towards the Festival, are what have made us choose 2Faced Dance Company to be the recipients of our next Editors’ Award.
‘Out of His Skin’ at Zoo Southside at 3.15pm until 26 Aug.

Jack Klaff
The next award winner is someone whose one-man powerhouse performances have been delighting our team for a number of years. This Fringe, he performed two shows, and received glowing reviews for both of them. Our reviewer who had the pleasure to see ‘Newton’ wrote afterwards that “one cannot resist being immediately and inherently captivated by his allure and the carefully constructed chaos that characterises his storytelling, furthermore enhanced by his remarkable ability to engage with every single member of the audience”, while the writer who attended ‘Out To Lunch’ described the show as “something really special” and praised the riveting and mesmerising performance of our next ThreeWeeks Editors’ Award Winner – Jack Klaff.
‘Out To Lunch’ at Summerhall at 1.45pm until 25 Aug and ‘Newton’ at Summerhall at 5.00pm until 25 Aug.

ROSL Arts Festival music programme
Back when ThreeWeeks first began, back in the dark depths of Festival history, the Royal Over-Seas League at 100 Princes Street became C Venue for the duration of the Fringe. These days, C has moved on but ROSL still plays an active part in the Festival, each year programming a series of classical music events that are as accessible for those who are new to the genre as they are to classical aficionados. Their short but sweet concerts – with names such as ‘Mozart At Teatime’, ‘Chopin After Lunch’ and ‘Beethoven For Breakfast’ – routinely receive four and five star reviews from our writers, who enjoy the talent on display and the acoustics of the rooms these events are presented in. Our next award goes to Royal Over-Seas League’s Festival music programme.
This year’s programme is now over. More information on future programmes at www.rosl.org.uk.

Kate Smurthwaite
Our next winner is one of those people we at ThreeWeeks tend to label a ‘Fringe Institution’. This title usually goes to people who not only come back year-on-year, but who we feel also have an important place in the Fringe, because of their influence, or because they are doing something really worthwhile. Our next winner is a comedian who is also a political activist, and you will no doubt have come across her via one of her many appearances on television and radio; this is a performer who won’t just entertain you, she will make you really think. Described by one of our reviewers as “comedy that cuts through the crap”, her veteran Fringe show ‘The News At Kate’ has been receiving praise from our critics since 2009, and she has also won plaudits for a number of other shows too. Our next deserving winner is Kate Smurthwaite.
‘The News at Kate 2013: World Inaction’ at The Canons’ Gait at 3.40pm until 25 Aug and ‘The News at Kate 2013: My Professional Opinion’ at Ciao Roma at 8.20pm until 24 Aug.

Daniel Cainer
Next, a cabaret practitioner who first drew our attention in 2009, when one of our writers gave him a 4/5 review and described his combination of music and stories, informed by his Jewish heritage, as “charming, intimate and funny”. Since then, we’ve seen him go from strength to strength; every year he arrives at the Fringe with offerings praised for their artistic brilliance and charm, this year earning a 5/5 rating from our reviewer, who described this winner’s show as “poignant and bitter-sweet without being schmaltzy” and the star himself as “an unsurpassed storyteller”. Our next award winner is Daniel Cainer.
Gilded Balloon Teviot at 12.45pm until 26 Aug.

Yianni
Our next award winner is a comedian who has been a regular on PBH’s Free Fringe for quite some time, and has generally received nothing but positive comments from our writing teams. Over the course of the last few years we’ve called him “accomplished and charming”, “vivacious, witty and intelligent”, “funny and informative” and a “bloody nice bloke”. His show this year explores aspiration and following your ambitions; and, in a bid to practice what he preaches, his last Fringe performance of the year will take place at Edinburgh’s EICC, in the largest performance space at the Festival. If you haven’t got your tickets for this Sunday’s performance yet, get them now. Our next winner is Yianni Agisilaou.
The Dram House at 4.45pm until 24 Aug and at Venue150 @ EICC on 25 Aug at 6.00pm.

Bryony Kimmings
We are always intrigued to hear what will be coming next from our last award winner. Her shows always deal with fascinating subject matter and are brilliantly performed; we weren’t surprised, then, this year, to see her tackling another interesting topic, an important one, and doing it superbly. Realising that young girls are constantly being presented by pop and popular culture with overtly sexualised role-models, in collaboration with her nine year old niece, she set out to create, and become, an alternative kind of pop-star. Her show this year’s tells the story of that journey. “Every now and then a piece of art speaks the truth”, said our reviewer, “so deep and so raw that it tears you apart”. Our last winner is Bryony Kimmings.
‘Credible Likeable Superstar Rolemodel’ at Pleasance Dome at 5.45pm until 25 Aug.

Check photos and podcast interviews from the event.

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Friday August 23rd, 2013 16:00

Flurry of awards presented alongside last batch of Fringe Firsts

bryonykimmings4

There was a flurry of award giving at Assembly Hall this morning as The Scotsman handed out the final batch of Fringe First awards to the producers of the new plays its critics most rated; because once the Fringe Firsts had been dished out, five other awards were then presented.

The final batch of Fringe Firsts went to…

• Untied Artists for ‘For Their Own Good’ at Summerhall.

• Undeb Theatre for ‘Gardening: For The Unfulfilled and Alienated’ at Pleasance Courtyard.

• Bryony Kimmings for ‘Credible Likeable Superstar Rolemodel’ at Pleasance Dome (pictured).

• CYOD Ltd for ‘Choose Your Own Documentary’ at Gilded Balloon Teviot.

• Harold Clurman Lab Theater for ‘Mercy Killers’ at Assembly Hall.

• Big In Belgium, Richard Jordan Productions, Drum Plymouth and Theater-aan-Zee for ‘Freeze!’ at Summerhall.

And the other gongs presented in this particular awards splurge were as follows…

• The Carol Tambor Best Of Edinburgh Award, which considers every show that receives a four or five star review from The Scotsman, and invites one to perform all-expenses-paid in New York, went to Actors Touring Company, Young Vic Theatre, Brageteatret and Schauspielhaus Wein for ‘The Events’ at the Traverse Theatre.

• The Holden Street Theatre Award, which invites one Edinburgh production to perform at the Adelaide Fringe, went to Snuff Box Theatre and Richard Jordan Productions for Bitch Boxer at Pleasance Courtyard.

• The Brighton Fringe Emerging Talent Award, which invites one production to perform at the Brighton Fringe, went to Gagglebabble and Theatr Lolo for The Bloody Ballad at Assembly Roxy.

• The Arches Brick Award, which invites productions to perform at The Arches in Glasgow, went to Bryony Kimmings for ‘Credible Likeable Superstar Rolemodel’ at Pleasance Dome and Sh!t Theatre for ‘JSA (Job Seekers Anonymous)’ at Gryphon Venues at the Point Hotel.

• And finally the sightly random Jack Tinker Spirit Of The Fringe Award went to Northern Stage for their ‘The Bloody Great Border Ballad Project’.

Well done one and all.

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Friday August 23rd, 2013 14:42

Musical Theatre Network Awards presented

Fine Chisel

The What’s On Stage-supported Musical Theatre Network Awards (formerly known as the Musical Theatre Matters Awards) were presented last night celebrating, well, musical theatre on the Fringe, obviously.

And the winners were…

Best Music: ’The Bloody Ballad’ from Gagglebabble and Theatr Iolo at Assembly Roxy. Music by Lucy Rivers

Best Lyrics: ’The Bridge’ from Benjamin Scheuer (New York) at C nova. Lyrics by Benjamin Scheuer.

Best Musical: ’The Bloody Ballad’ from Gagglebabble and Theatr Iolo at Assembly Roxy.

Award For Innovation: ’Dumbstruck’ from Fine Chisel at Zoo.

MTN Newcomer: ’I Need a Doctor – The Unauthorised Whosical Adventure’ from Stormy Teacup Theatre Ltd at Pleasance Courtyard.

Commenting on this year’s awards, Caroline Routh, Executive Producer for the Musical Theatre Network, said: “Over 70 shows seen at the start of the Fringe were whittled down to a shortlist of 12; we then had some really tough decisions to make so that we could be sure that we were reflecting the best of musical theatre on the Fringe this year. There’s been such energy and inventiveness in some of the work we’ve seen that we’re really excited about what the future holds”.

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Friday August 23rd, 2013 11:30

Total Theatre Awards presented

jsa

The Total Theatre Awards were presented yesterday, the annual awards celebrating those shows that deliver a ‘total theatre’ experience. There were three categories for which over 360 shows were assessed and 32 shortlisted. In the end six awards were presented across the three categories, as follows…

Shows By An Emerging Company/Artist
• Sh!t Theatre for ‘JSA (Job Seekers Anonymous)’ at Gryphon Venues (pictured).

Best Physical/Visual Theatre
• Company Non Nova and Crying Out Loud for ‘L’Après-midi d’un Foehn – Version 1′ at Summerhall.
• Pirates Of The Carabina and Crying Out Loud for ‘Flown’ at Underbelly.

Innovation, Experimentation & Playing With Form
• Berlin, Big In Belgium, Richard Jordan Productions and Drum Plymouth for ‘Bonanza’ at Summerhall.
• Brokentalkers for ‘Have I No Mouth’ at the Traverse Theatre.
• Scottee Inc for ‘The Worst Of Scottee’ at Assembly George Square.

A Significant Contribution Award was also presented to C!rca, performing this year at Underbelly Bristo Square.

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Friday August 23rd, 2013 09:12

First ever tie at ‘So You Think You’re Funny?’

Demi Lardner

Gilded Balloon’s big new comedy talent contest ‘So You Think You’re Funny?’ reached it’s grand conclusion last night and, for the first time in the competition’s 26 year history, there was tie for first place, meaning two winners. And those winners were Demi Lardner (pictured performing at the final) and Edd Hedges, while Laura Mclenaghan was declared runner-up.

In a statement, organisers of the competition said: “The two winners had very different styles, Demi who is alternative and surreal and Edd who is self deprecating and hilariously awkward brought the judges to a total standstill, and they simply couldn’t decide on one winner. So the only thing to be done was to call it a tie! All the finalists were of such a high standard and we’re so proud to have been a part of the launch of a new generation of comedians”.

Judges in this year’s ‘SYTYF?’, which included a nationwide search for new comedy talent, including Gilded Balloon boss Karen Koren and c’leb judge Sarah Millican.

Photo: Steve Ullathorne

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Thursday August 22nd, 2013 14:09

Lynn Ruth Miller is the TO&ST of the Fringe

Lynn Ruth Miller

Fringe legend and long-time ThreeWeeks favourite Lynn Ruth Miller won the TO&ST Edinburgh Cabaret Award last night for her 2013 show ‘Granny’s Gone Wild’.

It was a close run thing for the second year of the Fringe’s own cabaret prize, run by Time Out and the Soho Theatre, with other finalists including Ben Hart, Briefs, Die Roten Punkte and Twonkey’s Blue Cadabra. But in the end the judging panel – including Time Out’s Ben Walters, Soho Theatre’s Steve Lock, Glasgow Cabaret Festival’s Frodo McDaniel, Roundhouse Circus Producer Leila Jone and journalists Kate Copstick and Claire Smith – unanimously decided the prize should go to Miller.

Walters told ThreeWeeks: “The wonderful aspect of Miller’s set is that she utterly embraces her age, mining the experience of getting older for material on everything from sex and drugs to failing bodies and seizing the day, without the slightest shred of sentimentality or solemnity – and in terms of demanding and rewarding an audience’s conversational engagement, she could write the book”.

‘Granny’s Gone Wild’ runs until 26 Aug at C Nova. Meanwhile Lynn joins ThreeWeeks Co-Editor Chris Cooke on the penultimate edition of the ThreeWeeks podcast for Festival 2013, recorded just before her TO&ST win, to help pick our favourite podcast extra performance of the Festival. Listen in here.

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Wednesday August 21st, 2013 16:00

ThreeWeeks Editor’s Letter: Week Three edition is out!

caromoses2013

So, with our Week Three edition now on the streets, this is traditionally the point in the Festival where I write something along the lines of “the end is in sight”, or “ooooh, I’m tired”, or “lots of great shows this time”, or “I wonder who is going to win the Comedy Award”, or “thank God it’s all over”. And I see no reason to innovate this year.

I will steer clear of trying to predict a Comedy Award winner, because although in the last couple of years my ‘gut feeling’ turned out to be correct, I can’t help thinking that the one time I talk about it in print will be the year when that particular act crashes and burns. And I wouldn’t want to jinx them and ruin their chances. So really, my silence on this matter is entirely philanthropic. But I will tell you that the nominations are online here.

And I’ll also acknowledge the extraordinary number of totally brilliant shows we’ve seen in Edinburgh this Fringe. And I am going to say that I am super tired, that the end is in sight, and that this time next week I’ll be relieved to be lying on a sofa eating grapes and not editing reviews. Though, actually, this time next week, I will in fact still be editing reviews. Because we keep on reviewing shows right until the very very end, and only stop when the International Festival stops on 1 Sep.

And then, it will mean a well-earned break for our team of reviewers, admins, photographers, podcasters, and sub-editors, who have worked enormously hard on putting together all our content. They’ve done a great job in 2013, helping to put together all our media, not least the aformentioned Week Three weekly edition, which you can pick up at venues all of the city right now, or check out in one or another digital forms here.

This week’s edition, as you might hope, contains a new and sizable batch of reviews, as well as oodles of great features, starting with an ace Letter To Edinburgh from Axis Of Awesome’s Lee Naimo and Luke Wright’s weekly poetry instalment. We also have columns from Jack McNemara, from 5/5 show ‘The Boss Of It All’, and Marsha Shandur, who has some comedy insights to share from a book she is researching.

In the Q&A department, this week we’ve spoken to our cover star John Hinton, star of ‘Relativitively Speaking’, the team behind ‘The Greatest Liar In All The World‘, and the folks responsible for ‘Mammoth‘. We’ve also communed with rising comedy star Matt Okine, super sketch purveyors Birthday Girls, and Tomás Ford of ‘Midnight Cabaret’ fame. Plus there are features on The Wrong Crowd, who are the, er, crowd behind ‘Hag’ at Underbelly; on new musical ‘Between Empires‘; and on ‘Smelly Feet’, the children’s musical brought to you by Fringe veteran and pop icon Dean Friedman.

And with that, all there is left to say is – enjoy your final days of the Fringe.

Caro Moses, Co-Editor, ThreeWeeks

PS: If you are a performer chasing a review – we’ve put some useful information for you at www.ThreeWeeks.co.uk/maq

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Wednesday August 21st, 2013 15:21

Edinburgh Comedy Award noms announced

Edinburgh Comedy Award

Ladies, gentlemen, boys, girls, Fringe-goers, comedy fans and Foster’s drinkers, here they are, the shortlists for this year’s Edinburgh Comedy Awards (with their 2013 venues in brackets). Winners announced on Saturday.

Best Comedy Show Nominees: Bridget Christie (The Stand), Carl Donnelly (Pleasance Courtyard), James Acaster (Pleasance Courtyard), Max And Ivan (Pleasance Dome), Mike Wozniak (The Stand), Nick Helm (Pleasance Courtyard) and Seann Walsh (Pleasance Courtyard).

Best Newcomer Nominees: Aisling Bea (Gilded Balloon Teviot), John Kearns (PBH’s Free Fringe/The Voodoo Rooms), Liam Williams (Just The Tonic at The Tron), Matt Okine (Underbelly Bristo Square) and Romesh Ranganathan (Underbelly Bristo Square).

And while you’re processing all that, maybe read our interviews with Bridget Christie or Matt Okine, not that we’re playing favourites or anything.

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Wednesday August 21st, 2013 10:33

Malcolm Hardee Award nominations announced

Malcolm Hardee

The nominations are out for this year’s Malcolm Hardee Awards, which honour those acts with the best publicity stunts and most original shows at the Fringe, in honour of the late godfather of comedy Hardee.

Up for the Cunning Stunt Award this year are…

• Richard Herring at Pleasance Courtyard for not printing posters this Festival, and instead using the money to give punters a free DVD of his past performances.

• Lewis Schaffer in the Free Festival for responding to that stunt by also giving away free Richard Herring DVDs to his audience (well, technically he sold them, but at a fiver a time for charity).

• Gareth Morinan in the Free Fringe for listing his show eleven times in the Fringe Programme, because doing so was cheaper than buying a quarter page ad and got him more page space.

• Barry Ferns in the Free Festival for printing up fake editions of the Broadway Baby review sheet and our very own Daily Edition, both including six star reviews for his show. The ThreeWeeks spoof was realistic enough for a couple of people to ask if we were in some way involved!

Meanwhile, up for the Comic Originality honour this time are Red Bastard (Assembly), Ursual Burns (Free Fringe) and Adrienne Truscott (Bob’s Bookshop).

The third Hardee gong, for Act Most Likely To Make A Million Quid, won’t be presented this year, and instead a new Pound Of Flesh Award will be given to Ellis & Rose, after Rose punched Ellis in the face four times, so his comedy partner could claim he’d been beaten up in the street after a member of the public took offence at their second show ‘Jimmy Savile: The Punch and Judy Show’. They even blamed the review of said show by Chortle Editor Steve Bennett – which revealed the duo were behind the performance – for helping the fictional attacker.

The winners of this year’s Malcolm Hardee Awards will announced on Friday night during the ‘Aaaaaaaaaaaaarrghhh! Free! It’s the Increasingly Prestigious Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards Show’ at The Counting House from 11pm.

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Wednesday August 21st, 2013 08:09

ThreeWeeks gets ready for the Editors’ Awards

ThreeWeeks Editors' Awards

As the Festival draws to a close once again we are well and truly into awards season, as various media and institutions dish out gongs to the great and the good of this year’s Edinburgh season. And that includes ThreeWeeks. Once again we will present our Editors’ Awards on the final weekend of the Festival, this time on Saturday 24 Aug at 11am at theSpace @ Niddry Street.

ThreeWeeks Co-Editor Caro Moses explains: “We launched the Editors’ Awards at the end of our tenth festival back in 2005. There was already a plethora of great Edinburgh award programmes focused on one genre or another – and more have launched since – and we didn’t want to compete with any of them. Nor did we want to find that one genre that had so far gone un-awarded and launch something very niche to fill the gap. We wanted the freedom to celebrate anything that we felt made any one festival particularly brilliant”.

And so that is how the Editors’ Awards work. Each year the ThreeWeeks editors simply pick ten things that they think added that extra little special something to the Festival just gone. There are no categories and no specialisms – awards can go to shows, performers, producers, venues, even whole festivals. In past years awards have even been presented to apps, promotional campaigns, and people who have turned Fringe turmoil into Fringe triumph.

Caro continues: “There is no formal entry process. Before we sit down to draw up the shortlist we take input from our vast reviewing team – via both their published reviews and their internal recommendations – looking for excellent and innovative shows and ventures that have excited and impressed multiple reviewers, either in the festival just gone, or over successive years. We then add into that our own Festival experiences past and present to decide which ten individuals or groups are most deserving that specific year”.

Find out who this year’s winners are by joining us at theSpace @ Niddry Street at 11am on Saturday. Or follow us on Twitter @threeweeks or check out www.ThreeWeeks.co.uk/awards.

And for news on all the other Festival awards being presented this week, go to www.threeweeks.co.uk/festivalawards

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Wednesday August 21st, 2013 07:00

Yianni Agisilaou thinks big for Fringe finale

Yianni Agisilaou

It seems pretty clear now – in case there had ever been any doubt – that the free-show strands at Edinburgh’s Fringe boast shows of all kinds: newcomers trying out their first full hours, big-name stand-ups who enjoy the informality of a free show venue, and Edinburgh favourites who have simply worked out they are financially better off going that route. And across all that there is no shortage of ambition.

Though the Free Fringe act perhaps showing the most ambition this year is Yianni Agisilaou who, having opted to call his show ‘Think Big’, decided to practice what he preaches, and book the Fringe’s biggest venue for his final night, Venue 150 at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre. “I felt my show last year – ‘Numb And Number’ – was good, but I felt that I had stayed inside my comfort zone artistically”, Agisilaou told ThreeWeeks, explaining the background to the ‘Think Big’ venture.

“So this year I wanted to do a show about comfort zones, self belief and what’s possible if we can push outside our self imposed limits. That was where the idea for the Free Fringe show came from. Doing a night at the EICC came out of a desire to not just talk about these things, but to actually DO something to illustrate them. Living my lyrics so to speak”.

Agisilaou, who has performed ‘Think Big’ at The Dram House for the duration of the Festival, will take to the stage at the EICC at 6pm on Sunday 25 Aug. He was able to secure a slot at Venue 150 via a chance conversation. He had originally thought of trying to book the biggest spaces operated by Pleasance or Underbelly, but then took part in one of the roadshow events organised by the Fringe Society earlier this year and mentioned the project to Fringe producer James Seabright.

“We went for a drink after the roadshow, and James told me I should ask Richard from the EICC for a slot, because he was turning up for a beer too. I ran it by him, he told me to send him some information about it, and a week later they’d sent me a contract. They’ve been so supportive of the idea”.

Despite the supportive venue partner for that big final show, it’s still a risky venture for Agisilaou. “Of course there’s a financial risk”, he admits. “I have to pay a guarantee like at any venue, so yes, if I don’t sell enough seats I will lose money. And there’s also the risk of egg on my face if no-one turns up, but I’m not so worried about that. And inside my own mind and heart this is already a success. Though my accountant MAY disagree, the double entry ledger system lacking, as it does, columns for ‘mind’ and ‘heart’”.

If you’d like to prove an accountant wrong – and who wouldn’t? – you can join Yianni for ‘Think Big (The Big One)’ at the EICC on 25 Aug. Tickets are £10 (£8 concession).

And if you help make this the big Fringe finale hit it deserves to be, don’t worry, that won’t result in Agisilaou turning his back on PBH’s Free Fringe. “Performing at the Free Fringe is a choice for me, not something I’m doing because I can’t perform at a paid venue”, he adds. The economics of paid venues are really difficult when you’re under a certain level of fame. I never say never with regard to performing at a paid venue, but if I did that it would be in addition to performing at the Free Fringe”.

LINKS: www.ycomedian.com

Photo: Holli Dillon

Sections: ED2013 Comedy - ED2013 News - ED2013 Week3 Edition | Tags: , ,

Tuesday August 20th, 2013 18:00

Rob Auton wins Fringe’s best one-liner prize

Rob Auton

So people, ready for ten one liners pulled from the collective shows of this year’s Fringe comedy line-up? Yes, the winner and final ten have been announced for this year Dave’s Funniest Joke Of The Fringe award, with Rob Auton – performing as part of PBH’s Free Fringe this year – taking the top prize for a chocolate-themed gag. And why not?

Here are the ten best jokes (with joker) at this year’s Fringe, according to the Dave judges…

Rob Auton – “I heard a rumour that Cadbury is bringing out an oriental chocolate bar. Could be a Chinese Wispa”

Alex Horne – “I used to work in a shoe-recycling shop. It was sole-destroying”

Alfie Moore – “I’m in a same-sex marriage… the sex is always the same”

Tim Vine – “My friend told me he was going to a fancy dress party as an Italian island. I said to him ‘Don’t be Sicily’”

Gary Delaney – “I can give you the cause of anaphylactic shock in a nutshell”

Phil Wang – “The Pope is a lot like Doctor Who. He never dies, just keeps being replaced by white men”

Marcus Brigstocke – “You know you are fat when you hug a child and it gets lost”

Liam Williams – “The universe implodes. No matter”

Bobby Mair – “I was adopted at birth and have never met my mum. That makes it very difficult to enjoy any lapdance”

Chris Coltrane – “The good thing about lending someone your time machine is that you basically get it back immediately”

Sections: ED2013 Awards - ED2013 Comedy - ED2013 News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday August 20th, 2013 15:21

Lubel and Ward share Amused Moose Laughter Award prize

Al Lubel

Two comedians have been declared winners at this year’s Amused Moose Laughter Awards, with Al Lubel (pictured) winning the main prize and Danny Ward being named People’s Champion.

The Laughter Awards are a newer sister event to the previously reported Laugh Off talent competition organised by Amused Moose. Whereas the Laugh Off contest champions brand new stand-up talent, the Laughter Awards are open to more established comedians who are yet to sign a DVD deal.

A judging panel selects a shortlist of ten acts based on their latest Fringe shows, who then all perform at a Festival final, which took place last Sunday. There both industry judges and the audience vote for their favourites. Lubel and Ward share a £5000 prize plus win the opportunity to produce a commercial-standard DVD release.

On winning Lubel told reporters: “I’m pleased the Moose was amused. My low self-esteem is going to have a bit of problem with this”. Meanwhile Ward added “I didn’t know there was a People’s Champion so this is a fantastic surprise. I don’t know how I’m going to get my Moose trophy home on the train!”

The final ten, who all performed at the final on Sunday, were as follows…

John-Luke Roberts
Al Lubel
Luke Toulson
Martin Mor
Danny Ward
Jonny & the Baptists
Mae Martin
Milo McCabe
George Ryegold
Nathaniel Metcalfe

Sections: ED2013 Awards - ED2013 Comedy - ED2013 News | Tags:

Monday August 19th, 2013 12:39

City Glimpses brings dance to the Festival streets

City Glimpses

The second week of the City Glimpses dance project kicks off later today, staging impromptu dance sequences at three sites around the Festival, which can be watched live (they each take place inside, but close to a window visible from the street) or via a stream online.

Conceived and directed by choreographer Sophia Lycouris, this is a site-specific dance project. Three dancers perform each day, creating a unique piece of movement to accompany pieces of writing submitted by the public about city living. Musicians from the Edimpro group then improvise music on top, so that, unusually, the music fits with the dance, rather than the other way round.

Writing about the project, Lycouris said: “As the Principal of the Royal Conservatoire Of Scotland, John Wallace, said recently in a Fringe event, ‘dance is a universal language’ – the most accessible art form. What really fascinates me as a choreographer is the potential of movement to communicate at a visceral level”.

She adds: “When we watch dance, we often feel the movement in our own bodies. The artistic message travels directly from the bodies of the dancers to the bodies of the audience – it becomes a physical sensation. In this new project, I want to bring momentary but intense dance sensations straight into the streets of Edinburgh”.

The improvised performances take place each day at three Edinburgh University sites, Evolution House on West Port, St Leonard’s Land on Holyrood Road and Inspace on Crichton Street, near the Fringe’s Bristo/George Square hub. Or people can watch the performances from the comfort of their own home via a live stream.

You can watch last week’s performances in an archive here, or follow future performances as they happen live here.

Sections: ED2013 News - ED2013 Physical | Tags:

Saturday August 17th, 2013 07:52

Second batch of Fringe First and Herald Angels presented

Fine Chisel

What’s that, another batch of Fringe First and Herald Angel awards being dished out? Why, yes, I think it is. The former presented by The Scotsman yesterday, and the latter by The Herald earlier today. Good times.

Latest Fringe First winners…

• Landmark Productions for ‘These Halycon Days’ at Assembly Hall

• Traverse Theatre for ‘Theatre Uncut’

• Supporting Wall for ‘Dark Vanilla Jungle’ at Pleasance Courtyard

• Fine Chisel for Dumbstruck at Zoo Venues (pictured)

• DryWrite for ‘Fleabag’ at Underbelly Cowgate

• Armazém Theater Company for ‘Water Stain’ At Venue 150 @ EICC

Latest Herald Angel winners…

• The Wooster Group at the Edinburgh International Festival

• Patti Smith at the Edinburgh International Festival

• The Wau Wau Sisters at The Famous Spiegeltent

• Mirenka Cechova from ‘S/He is Nancy Joe’ at Zoo Venues

• Circa: Wunderkamer at Underbelly Bristo Square

Photo: Tom Bateman

Sections: ED2013 Awards - ED2013 Cabaret - ED2013 Music - ED2013 News - ED2013 Theatre | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thursday August 15th, 2013 14:08

Edinburgh’s short-film strand returns

CineFringe

Helping to ensure that pretty much every genre is represented at the world’s biggest cultural festival, CineFringe returns to Edinburgh this weekend for its fourth year, presenting four collections of short films selected from submissions from nearly 500 film-makers. Meanwhile organisers of the annual event have launched a Kickstarter campaign, in a bid to secure the funding to help the Fringe’s own film strand grow and develop at future festivals.

“CineFringe was conceived in 2009 out of frustration, when I couldn’t find any event to screen my own short about the Fringe”, explains Director John Lynch. “Rather than hire an entire Fringe slot for a six minute film, I decided to put out a call for other people with shorts and return in 2010 with a tiny band of volunteers and a fully(ish) fledged film festival!”

Since that first outing, CineFringe has grown, not least in terms of the pool of films from which the event’s curated collections of shorts are selected. 35 filmmakers submitted work in year one, while this year nearly 500 from 45 countries put their pictures forward. “We try not to limit our film-makers too much” Lynch says about the selection process, with only length (less than 30 minutes) being a requirement; “Our screenings are very eclectic as a result!” he adds.

“In general we look for raw talent over slick visuals, but we’ve had plenty of beautiful films too. The main thing is that we want to champion independent film, like the Fringe itself we provide a platform for art that you might not see anywhere else. That’s also why we make it free for film-makers to put forward their work”. It’s a commitment to keep the selection process that way that has led Lynch and his team to go the Kickstarter route to try and fund the future growth of CineFringe.

“Despite us building a sizeable following over the four years, the event is still organised by the same four people who launched it in 2010. We’ve been running the festival in our spare time and funding it with our spare change for four years, but the truth is with the amount of people now entering films we simply can’t afford the overheads ourselves anymore. We’re determined to not charge directors to submit their films, so instead we’re offering some awesome incentives via Kickstarter to try and raise £5000 to sustain the whole festival and grow it over the next few years”.

Lynch admits that the funding is necessary to ensure CineFringe remains part of Edinburgh’s festival month. And while the Fringe isn’t especially known for movies, there is definitely an appetite for quirky and innovative films amongst its audience. “People who come to our screenings often say they wish they’d known about us sooner! And lots of people return each year. And some people just like the novelty of sitting in a dark room watching a few films in comfort, after four hours straight of theatre or comedy in a moist cave!”

CineFringe is based at Sweet Grassmarket, with one screening this year at Summerhall. For info on the programme and Kickstarter campaign check www.cinefringe.com

Sections: ED2013 Festival People - ED2013 News - ED2013 Words & Events | Tags: , ,

Wednesday August 14th, 2013 16:00

ThreeWeeks Editor’s Letter: Week Two edition is out!

caromoses2013

And so it’s Wednesday again, which means yet another Weekly Edition of ThreeWeeks hit the streets this morning. It’s only the Week Two issue, but, because we have the preview edition in late July, it’s actually the third ThreeWeeks Weekly we’ve done this summer.

So, that feels like quite a lot already, because in terms of ThreeWeeks Weekly editions, we’re three quarters of the way through. And, of course, with our Week Two issue out, that means we’re are now half way through the month of August, and half way through the Fringe, if not the whole Festival (the International Festival runs into September, of course).

It’s going quickly, isn’t it? If you’ve been here since it all kicked off just a couple of weeks ago, you’ll be wondering where the time went, and if you’ve just turned up, you’re probably looking at your watch and realising that actually, you’ve only got about ten days to get everything you want to get done, done. Am I giving you the fear? Am I?

Well, it’s probably entirely appropriate because there’s a lot of it going around in the Week Two issue of our esteemed organ. As well as the sweaty dread that’s afflicting me at the moment at the thought of the massive amount of reviews we still have to put out there, that Keith Farnan has put the wind up me with his Top Five Fears column. And then, as if I weren’t clammy enough, we’re dealing with yet more trepidation in our interview with theatre director Amy Kilmartin about her fear-focused show ‘Globophobia’.

If you’ve read this far, you must be terrified. So now I’ll soften the fearful blow with news of all the features we have for you this week that aren’t at all scary. We have our regular poem from Fringe institution Luke Wright, and this week’s Letter To Edinburgh from the most excellent Asher Treleaven. Then we’re into Q&A heaven with the super Diane Spencer, this week’s cover star Will Franken and favourites The Real McGuffins.

There’s a beautiful column from David Morgan, plus we talk to Paper Birds about their theatre piece ‘On The One Hand’, to cabaret stars Die Roten Punkte, to piano deviants Worbey and Farrell, to the team behind new musical ‘Facehunters’, and to playwright Oliver Emanuel about children’s show ‘Titus’. And, as you might expect, we’ve got lots and lots of reviews for you to peruse. Enjoy!

Which should keep you all very busy, and that’s before you even start scheduling in shows!

And don’t forget there is even more online, with the regular podcast and all those podcast extra performances, plus regular guest columns that you won’t find in print. Do keep an eye on our daily email updates (tell friends to sign up at www.threeweeks.co.uk/subscribe) for news of other features to check out, and follow us on Twitter for all the latest bits n pieces.

Keep enjoying the Festival!

Caro Moses, Co-Editor, ThreeWeeks

PS: If you are a performer chasing a review – we’ve put some useful information for you at www.ThreeWeeks.co.uk/maq

Sections: ED2013 Columns - ED2013 News - ED2013 Week2 Edition | Tags:

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  • ThreeWeeks Editors’ Awards presented
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