MONDAY 24 JUNE 2024 THISWEEKCULTURE.COM
GEORGE RENNIE: HAMSTRUNG
I've been covering the Edinburgh Festival Fringe for longer than I would care to tell you now and one thing you can pretty much always be guaranteed to see listed in the programme is plays by Shakespeare and plays that are not by Shakespeare, but do interesting riffs on Shakespeare. 

I confess that my favourites of all the Shakespeare-connected stuff tend to fall into the category of not-actually-Shakespeare, because it's very much in the spirit of the Fringe to do something new and fresh, while acknowledging, or using, time honoured ideas, stories and themes. 

So, it felt extremely appropriate to begin our series of 2024 edfringe Q&As by talking to George Rennie, who is bringing his show 'Hamstrung' - a play about Yorick, the dead court jester from 'Hamlet' - to the Pleasance Courtyard this year.

The show sounds amazing, so obviously I wanted to find out more about both the piece and the creative brain behind it. 

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

'Hamstrung' is on at The Pleasance Courtyard from 31 Jul-26 Aug. Find the edfringe listing here


Shows to see in the week ahead - including performances from people and companies we first discovered at the Edinburgh Festival.


FUNNY STUFF>>

Stuart McPherson - Love That For Me | Soho Theatre | 1-2 Jul (pictured)
Yay, I'm quite happy to be starting with some comedy this week, not least because it's really putting me in the mood for all that edfringe comedy we have to look forward to in a month or so. Speaking of which, here's a show that's already had a very successful run at the Scottish festival. It's about a rollercoaster year following a breakup, and it won lots and lots of enthusiastic praise last summer. Find out more here.

Phil Green - Guilt | The Pen Theatre | 29 Jun
And from one act that did very well at last year's Fringe to another act who did very well at last year's Fringe. For lo, it's Phil Green, who entertained us in 2023 with 'Four Weddings And A Breakdown', and is back with another show 'Guilt', which I believe he is taking to Edinburgh this year. You can get a sneak peek at it in London though, by heading toot sweet to the Pen Theatre. See this page here for details.

Fool's Moon | Soho Theatre | 1-2 Jul
And finally, back to Soho Theatre for 'Fool's Moon', which is a genre-bending cabaret night hosted by clown Paulina Lenoir that features a fabulous line up of acts from the disciplines of clowning, music, dance, drag and live art. "Expect extravagant costumes, elaborate props and multiple left feet that may alleviate, if only momentarily, your existential crisis". And a lot of fun, I am assured. Head to the venue website here.


SHOWS WITH LOVE>>

The Voice Of The Turtle | Jermyn Street Theatre | 27 Jun-20 Jul
Right, three rather different shows, only connected in the vaguest way by the fact that love is there as a theme. First up is this revival of an older Broadway comedy, returning to the West End for the first time since it was on at the Piccadilly Theatre back in 1947. Two people bruised by love, with only cocktails for company, are thrown together for a weekend. What do we think will happen? Find out, book tickets here.

Chilli Con Carne | Lion & Unicorn Theatre | 29-30 Jun (pictured)
"At sixteen, Ash and Sonia fall in love. But their young queer relationship hits an awkward brick wall: their respective parents have fallen for each other too. When Sonia's father dies, she runs off to London, only to come back to Newcastle ten years later". An exploration of two women's repressed love, as they rediscover each other while dealing with grief and regret. For more information see the venue website here.

Sepoys | The Space | 29 Jun
This is a drama set during World War I that explores the story of Rani and Benoy, two young Indians navigating love, duty and identity during British rule, following their emotional journeys: Rani volunteers in a London hospital, while Benoy lives the brutal life of a soldier, dealing with discrimination as well as the horrors of war. Presented by Nalini Theatre Company, a South Asian led company. Click here.


MYSTERY PLAYS>>

It's A Mystery | Bread & Roses Theatre | 25-29 Jun, 2-6 July
A new one-man show by Tim Benzie that promises an amusing "deep dive" into the appeal of murder mysteries, as the creator examines the clues that first drew him to the genre - not least the thing where he read the entire works of Agatha Christie as a teenager. I have a feeling that it's definitely a show that will appeal to all you fans of the whodunnit genre, so if that's you, head to this page here.

Prince/David | Golden Goose Theatre | 25 Jun-6 Jul (pictured)
A murder mystery that to me seems to have definite echoes of real life stories behind it: the story begins in the late 90s, when a young woman, Amber, vanishes without a trace from West London. She is never found, but more than twenty years later, a detective who worked on the case is convinced that a man convicted for the murder of a woman in Newcastle was responsible for the killing of Amber too. Info here.

Exit Who? | Hen & Chickens Theatre | 1-3 Jul
No murder, here, as far as I can tell, but a staging of a hilarious farce by late US playwright Fred Carmichael is definitely in the offing. "Mystery writer Crane and her secretary Kate become entangled in a new mystery while renting a country holiday home. It is revealed the house is a dropping place for a micro dot containing important government information. But who is the enemy spy?" More here.


MORE GREAT STUFF>>

Windrush, The Journey | The Albany | 26-28 Jun
A vaguely mixed bag genre wise, as the last section of the tips sometimes is. But to be fair, the other two could definitely be described as theatre, whereas this is a tribute to Windrush, created by a favourite company of ours - Pegasus Opera - celebrating black classical composers Chevalier de Saint Georges, Richard Thompson and Des Oliver. Expect a fusion of storytelling with classical music, jazz and blues. Click here.

Nevernatal | Theatre503 | 27-28 Jun (pictured)
Another funny show, this one, and it's about five women at a friendship-testing baby shower. And although it's a comedy, there are serious points to be made and explored here: it looks at what happens when friends don't hit the important milestones - like wanting marriage and children - at the same time, and questions whether it's possible to stay friends when you're on different trajectories. Find out more here.

The Giant Killers | Wilton's Music Hall | 27-29 Jun
One of our reviewers loved this play when he saw it at the Edinburgh Fringe a few years ago, and it's one I'd really like to see. It's set in the early days of association football, when the game was dominated by posh boys, until that was challenged by a group of mill workers from Darwen in Lancashire, who became the first working class team in the country to play in the FA cup. Read more and book tickets here.
At TW:CULTURE we champion the best in fringe theatre, comedy and culture.

Year round, we pick the best shows happening in London and online each week, providing handy Three To See recommendations and interviewing the people behind those productions.

Plus each summer we also cover the biggest cultural event in the world: The Edinburgh Festival.


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