The Human Ear (Roundabout at Summer Hall, Monday August 10th 2015) *****

I recently caught up with Nick Payne’s Constellations and was in awe of both the writing and actors’ technique. The Human Ear is another tightly written piece that relies on the two actors working extremely closely together. This is a Paines Plough production and is an example of the very high standard of most of the work at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

The dialogue is carefully plotted. The human ear is literally an image that appears in the play, but it is also an image for the attention that the audience has to pay to listening to what is being presented to them. As an audience member you have to do a lot of the work in piecing together what you hear.

I only went to this because the production I had booked for had been cancelled and I was so pleased that I managed to see what was a thrilling piece of drama.

My Verdict: *****

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Going Viral (Northern Stage at Summer Hall, Monday August 10th 2015) ****

Going Viral was a really interesting piece which explores myths around viruses and how they might spread. It’s a monologue and Bye takes on the different characters. It’s a lovely structured piece and it’s very easy to follow the narrative. What I would say is that the piece is also an engaging lecture and there is clearly an educational agenda here as well.

Daniel Bye is an energetic and engaging performer who keeps the audiences’ attention for the full hour.

So as well as being entertained, I also learnt a lot.

My verdict: ****

Cinema (Northern Stage at Summerhall, Monday 9th August 2015) ***

Having learnt my lesson from previous years, I booked most of the shows each day in one venue. Today was the start of my Northern Stage at Summerhall day.

The first show was a monologue about a horrific fire which took place in August 1978 at the Cinema Rex in Abadan, Iran. The story is told by a cat who has used her nine lives up. The whole hour is very moving, and well performed. The issue, I had was that the cat concept just didn’t work for me. I didn’t ever believe that the cat could experience the human emotion to make the whole thing work. The cat’s back story just wasn’t interesting enough.

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My verdict: ***

Weekend Rockstars (Underbelly, Sunday 8th August 2015) *****


It was the end of my third day and I’d had two late nights, so why not a third?

This is a piece by Luke Barnes who is an exciting young playwright and the author of Chapel Street and Visitor. Barnes’ writing and Middle Child’s energetic performance is thoroughly entertaining.

The production is a mix of dialogue and music, telling the story of Terry who is living through the worst week of his life. Each day gets worse, but as the weekend arrives, Terry is going to be a rockstar. Though Terry loses his girl, his job and more, there is a positive, optimistic feel and ending to the piece.

I was enthralled by the lead singer’s performance as Terry. He had a habit of making eye contact which drew me into the piece.

When I went to see this, early in the run, the audience was sparse. Maybe it was the venue and the slot combined, but I hope word spreads and more people get to see this show.

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My verdict: *****

Confessions of a Redheaded Coffeeshop Girl (Gilded Balloon, Sunday 8th August 2015) ****

Rebecca Perry performs this monologue with humour and some song. The show does what it says on the tin (title in this case). The show is the story of a girl (Joanie Little) working in a coffee shop because she can’t get a graduate job. Joanie has got a degree in Anthropology and puts that to good use in the coffee shop where she observes all the customers and colleagues. There’s the owner a bit like a gorilla, the jogger like a turkey and her ex who is like a peacock.

Joanie dreams of working with her idol Jane Goodall. She even has a picture of Goodall in her flat and talks to her on an evening.

I couldn’t help liking Joanie, and it’s the kind of piece that you know nothing bad will come of it.

Like many Festival ticket buys, I bought the ticket on the basis that the title of the show sounded good. I was glad that I did.

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My verdict: ****