With the final curtain just come down on the Fringe Festival, Theatrenow lists the cream of the crop with this year's Edinburgh Fringe Firsts in full. Fringe First awards were inaugrated in 1973 by Allen Wright, then The Scotsman's arts editor, to reward and encourage new writing for theatre.
Gagarin Way, (winner of the first Scotsman Best of the Fringe Firsts Award), written by Gregory Burke, opened to rave reviews Aug. 1 and performed to packed houses thereafter. The show is transferring to the National Theatre in London in September.
Wiping My Mother's Arse by Iain Heggie and presented by the Traverse Theatre Company. Complicated and clever, Heggie's four-hander explores the mistreatment of old people in a mounting power struggle with "hundreds of brutally brilliant laugh-lines".
Ferdydurke, presented by Teatr Provisorium and Kompania Theatre, based on the novel by Witold Gombrowicz, translated by Allen Kuharski, at the Komedia St Stephens. "Authoritarianism, masculinity and furtive but fervent sexual rebellion in mid-20th century Poland" in a colourful show.
Like Thunder by Niels Fredrik Dahl, translated by Steven T Murray at The Gilded Balloon. Scandinavian claustrophobia as an ever-absent father leaves his family strangled under a veneer of fictitious domestic affection, in Dahl's interwoven lyrical passages and gritty fables. Runt by Michael Philip Edwards and presented by The Production Line at the Gilded Balloon. A one-man show, performed by writer Edwards, exploring his roots as a Jamaican-born émigré to North America, combines "sincerity, heartfelt emotion and sensitive, raw intelligence."
Bedbound by Dublin Theatre Festival writer Enda Walsh at the Traverse Theatre. "The hidden violence of a society and way of life rushes to the surface with appalling, almost comic, force" in intertwined monologues.
Neutrino by Unlimited with Chris Goode and presented by Unlimited Theatre at The Pleasance Dome. The search for contact with a missing half is presented in a show "both hard-hitting and lyrical; on the cutting-edge and beautiful."
Man in the Flying Lawnchair, written from improvisations with the 78th Street Theatre Lab at The Scotsman Assembly. A "very funny, visually spectacular and touching" account of one man's dream to float above Los Angeles in his lawnchair.
Raw by Chris O'Connell, presented by Theatre Absolute at The Pleasance Courtyard. This "riveting portrait of young lives on the edge" from 1999 Fringe First winner Chris O'Connell was lauded for its violent energy.
Jesus Hopped The A Train by Stephen Adly Guirgis and directed by Hollywood actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, presented by Assembly Theatre and Gilded Balloon Productions at Gilded Balloon. This "loud, abrasive, upfront" play set in a New York penitentiary mixes "roaring high-pressure dialogue and quieter, watching monologues."
Moving Objects by David Mark Thompson, presented by Brunton Theatre Company at Brunton Theatre. Acclaimed performances in this three-hander which offers "a complete picture of the impulse to violence in our society" and, most startlingly, the glimmer of a happy ending.
School for Fools Adapted by Andrey Moguchy from the novel by Alexandr Sokolov and presented by Formalny Teatr/Baltic House Teatr at the Komedia St Stephens. This "breathtakingly beautiful" 90-minute show is "full of spectacular and haunting visual images". Alexandr Mashanov and Dmitri Voroblev perform two halves of a young boy.
Upside Downco-directed and co-created by Evgeny Kozlov & Alexandr Bondarev, presented by Do Teatr at the Komedia St Stephens. From the company that brought Hopeless Games, this "gruesomely funny" play on Frankenstein and the Promethean myth uses pantomime and physical theatre to create a macabre dance.
Cracked by Skye Loneragan performed by The Royal Scottish Academy of Music & Drama at Venue 13. This "tiny but almost perfect show" is a 35-minute monologue written and performed by Skye Loneragan. Director Zinnie Harris creates a small-scale tragedy about Hope and her relationship with her father.
Mental by Lynn Ferguson and Stephen Powell and presented by Glynis Henderson Productions at The Scotsman Assembly. New play about two cash-strapped psychiatric nurses and their search for meaning in life is a "near-perfect vehicle for Lynn Ferguson's characteristic mix of wry comedy and slow-burning tragedy."
Midden by Morna Regan, presented by Rough Magic with an all female cast at Traverse Theatre. "Full of a rich, exuberant energy", this production is a lively human portrait of life in Derry for the women of the Sweeney family.
— by Theatrenow