Thursday, 31 January 2013

White Rose by Peter Arnott

Last time out, Firebrand toured Iron: a claustrophobic tale of parenting and criminality, it was give a sparse, effective rendering that emphasises the moral complexities of Rona Munro's script. Keeping with the theme of great, contemporary Scottish authors, Firebrand are following up with White Rose by Peter Arnott.

Although White Rose was a hit in its debut at the 1985 Edinburgh Festival, this is the first revival of the tale of female Russian World War II fighter ace Lily Litvak, the so-called ‘White Rose of Stalingrad’. Not only was she part of the USSR's heroic female pilot corps (thirty Citations of Hero of the Soviet Union went to women pilots, and three regiments of the Air Force were made up entirely of women), Litvak became a legend in her own right.

Firebrand’s director Richard Baron follows the tale of war in the sky and in the bedroom: White Rose offers an insight into the spirit of the warrior and the pull of patriotism. He also responded to my questions...

First of all, can I ask you a little about the company: you've been pretty busy lately, and are located outside of the usual locations. How did Firebrand come together, and how important is your "home" venue to the company's development?
Firebrand came together through a series of happy accidents: the actors Janet Coulson, Ellie Zeegen and I originally met in London but all ended up living in close proximity in the Scottish Borders. We found it an area rich in history and full of writers, artists and musicians but with little theatre going on. Having got some local businesses to sponsor us, we tested the water with a couple of productions at the 80 seat Wynd Theatre in Melrose and having been told we'd fill one night if we were lucky, managed to sell-out five performances each of David Mamet's Oleanna and David Greig's Being Norwegian.

This response convinced us that there was a Borders audience enthusiatic to see the sort of challenging plays we were excited by and we also saw that the work itself benefited from being produced in intimate theatre spaces. Having achieved Creative Scotland funding we now rehearse and open our shows in the 110 seat Tower Mill theatre, at the impressive Heart of Hawick arts complex, before touring across the breadth of southern Scotland and exporting our work to the Tron in Glasgow and Traverse in Edinburgh.

It was fantastic to be able to produce a weighty, rarely seen show like Iron in our home territory (sponsored by the new Scottish Borders Brewery and with a set built by local craftsmen), to attract an actor of the calibre of Blythe Duff to come and rehearse with us in Hawick and then to sell-out every performance both to our developing audience in the Borders and in the big city.

2. You've also gone for two pretty impressive scripts in the past two years. does this attention to classic scripts reflect a policy of the company?

Firebrand's simple guiding principle has been to seek-out plays that we think might work to advantage in an intimate space and to produce them to the highest possible standard: hence Oleanna, set in an office; Being Norwegian, a bed-sit; Iron, a claustrophobic prison. Other defining features are that they are all superbly written and intensely theatrical; they stir the mind and the emotions and provide great acting roles, particularly for women. 

We are also very interested in Scottish plays that have been unfairly neglected or are overdue a revival. As a director, for the most part I've worked with large casts in large spaces, from the Edinburgh Lyceum to Nottingham Playhouse, and with Firebrand it's been fascinating to reduce the palette a bit and concentrate in finer detail on the storytelling: the script and the actor and the relationship with a new and inquisitive audience, some of whom are new to theatre full stop. White Rose pushes all these buttons: it's beautifully written, takes on the epic battle of Stalingrad with a cast of three, has terrific acting roles (the original cast featured Tilda Swinton and Ken Stott), is seen from a female perspective and hasn't been revived since its debut in 1985.

When you stage something like White Rose, how far do you have contact with the author, Peter Arnott? Is he involved at all?

In researching White Rose I eventually hunted down two different typed versions of the script in Glasgow University's Scottish Theatre Archive and on contacting Peter learnt that despite its critical acclaim in 1985, the play had never been published. Peter has now sent me a revised version of what was his first play and has said: "I'm looking forward immensely to what an audience today makes of not just the conflict the play is about, but the atmosphere of conflict and optimism in which it was written. Can't wait."

This play hasn't been staged for a while... but is very well respected. How did you approach the interpretation of White Rose, and what inspired its selection?

I was intrigued by the fact that the play had had such a great reception in 1985, "Dazzlingly clever...unbearably moving" to quote The Guardian, had made Tilda Swinton's name and had been part of the most successful Edinburgh Festival season the Traverse had ever had and yet still had not been revived for 27 years!

I also really liked the idea that it was a Scottish play about Russian history (it tells the story of legendary World War 2 female fighter pilot Lily Litvak); bold and ambitious in its European style and outlook, taking on big themes about modern warfare and sexual politics but relating them to the intimate personal relationships of its three main characters: the brilliant, rebellious Lily, her friend and female mechanic Ina and her Squadron Commander and lover, Alexei.

I wanted to see if in our production we could achieve this marriage of the epic and the personal. I am very optimistic that with our cast of Alison O'Donnell, Lesley Harcourt and Robert Jack, and with the help of the set designer Edward Lipscomb and the theatre filmmaker Tim Reid, we have the right ingredients.

The themes in the play are timeless, but it is also located in a specific period of history. Does it have much to say to a contemporary audience, and how does your interpretation enhance this?

The play was written in the wake of the Falklands War, at the height of Thatcherism, the Greenham Common protests and the miner's strike and before the Berlin Wall was pulled down. What is fascinating is that its issues will now be seen through a different political and historical filter but I believe that its passion and commitment are visceral and its analysis of the politics of modern warfare and the battle of the sexes, seen from a female point of view, still has the power to engage and enrage.

Listings Information

Tower Mill, Heart of Hawick, Thursday 21 – Saturday 23 February 2013 7.30pm

Tickets: (preview) Thursday 21 February £10

Friday 22 & Saturday 23 February £12

Box Office: 01450 360688

Tron Theatre, Glasgow, Tuesday 26 February -Saturday 2 March 7.45pm
Tickets: Tuesday - Thursday £12/£7

Friday & Saturday £15/£12

Box Office: 0141 552 4267

Lochside Theatre, Castle Douglas, Sunday 3 March 7.30pm Tickets: £10/£8

Box Office: 01556 504506

Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh, Wednesday 6 - Thursday 7 March 7.30pm

Tickets: £11.50 (£9.50) £6.50 under 18s

Box Office: 0131 665 2240

Eastgate Theatre, Peebles, Friday 8 March 7.30pm

Tickets: £14, Friends of the Eastgate/Registered Disability/Carer £12, U16s £5

Box Office: 01721 725777

The Wynd, Melrose, Sunday 10 - Tuesday 12 March 7.30pm

Tickets: £12

Box Office: 01750 725480

Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Wednesday 13 - Saturday 16 March 8.00pm
Matinee: Saturday 17 November 2.00pm

Tickets: £15/£11.50/£6

Box Office: 0131 228 1404


Escaping from the traditional division between the audience and actor - like in the great punk rock experiment, when the theatricality of the audience reflected the on-stage energy the music, Vision MechanicsDark Matter invites viewers to wear stereo headphones and black capes.

Although Chris Lee's script is performed as a monologue by Emma Anderson, Vision Mechanics are going wild on the theatrical bells and whistles. Sound architect Tam Treanor is setting up microphones around the secret garden location, mixing live sounds and city noise to break the clear boundary between the real and the recorded, a light installation shapes the show as Anderson follows a journet from loss into insanity.

“Gardens are a metaphor for life” says Director, Symon Macintyre, “They represent a constant struggle between nature and nurture and sometimes, like ourselves, if left untended-unloved, they grow out of control. “

You are advised to dress warmly.  Contains themes of an adult nature.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Comic Con IV

There is a moment in Comic-Con IV: A Fan's Hope that captures the ambiguity of contemporary geek culture. Before Kevin Smith signs off with a stupid comment about emo chicks, or Stan Lee gives a self-conscious encomium to the joy of meeting the fans, a complaint is made. Comics, which started the San Diego Convention back in the 1970s, have been reduced to a side-show at their own event. Throughout the film, the sight of Hollywood studios using the Convention as an expensive focus group for the new products obscures the struggles of young artists to get their work seen, or Mile High Comics to save the business by making a Big Sale. Sure, the geeks have inherited the earth, but only on the terms of the businesses who have been dominating the industry for decades.

In theory, the synthesis of Big Money and Emerging Artists ought to be fertile. The large companies keep their art fresh by the influx of new talent, and get a bonus of currency within the hip world. Small artists get the platform they need to present their work, and everyone has an enhanced Comic Convention. A parallel exists with the National Theatre of Scotland's policy of supporting artist led projects: in recent years, they have engaged with young theatre-makers, supported them and got back some fascinating shows (Pony Pie's Santa Muerta, for example).

But it doesn't seem to work like that. More likely, the majors develop diluted versions of the emerging artists' vision, and the emerging artists imitate the major's style rather than find their own voice. While comic books have become more complex, more self-conscious, superhero films are languishing in the "might makes right" stage, and the crop of artists and writers who have come along in comics in the past decade are frequently imitating styles of the previous generation. 

By titling the film A Fan's Hope, Morgan Spurlock identifies with the fundamental tension around the san Diego Comic Convention, and tells a story that is moving and funny. There is a romance - that culminates with Kevin Smith acting like a priest (which is a rare moment of charm from Smith). There is a high drama as the owner of Mile High comics considers selling a rare comic to save the company. There are talking heads from the business, including Grant Morrison (who continues his war with Alan Moore by mocking a Dr Manhattan cos-player). And there's co-producer Stan Lee, giving it his Uncle Stan routine, trying to remind us that he is the writer of the Fantastic Four and a genius, and not the increasingly desperate character who spent much of the last decade trying to write comics based on large-breasted female celebrities.

This is both a film for the comic fan (the range of guest commentators is superb) and fans of Spurlock's documentary style (the narrative threads are elegantly weaved together). It does celebrate the comic book without losing sight of the irony contained in a community that is delighted to have become a free focus group for the film industry.

The big theme of the film is, ultimately, love. Many of the creators who appear still have the same joy in the Convention as the fans and Stan Lee, despite his detractors, is maturing nicely into the grand old man of comicdom. And throughout it all, the spirit of enthusiasm will find a way to propose to its beloved...

20 Feb (GFT)
21 Feb (CCA)

Transcript of Buzzcut Chat....

On the announcement of their participation in this year's manipulate, I contacted Buzzcut's founders - "two artists making space for other artists" to see how their own vision integrated with that of Puppet Animation Scotland. As we race towards the opening night, a few words from Nick Anderson and Rosana Cade explain how emerging artists can get visual...

What made you decide to hook up with a visual theatre festival?

Following Buzzcut festival last year, we were approached by Simon Hart, who was keen to hear more about what we were up to over here in Glasgow. One of our aims with Buzzcut is to always be bringing Live Art to new audiences, and we saw working with Manipulate as an exciting way to bring great work to a new group of people who may not have come along to Buzzcut in March.

It felt like an appropriate way to be broadening and strengthening the performance community within Scotland. Perhaps Visual Theatre and Live Art mean different things to a lot of people, and we are interested in exploring the parallels and intricacies of these distinctions by placing the work alongside each other in the same programme.

Does manipulate share anything with your own ethos in terms of how they programme?
Manipulate has a core purpose of showcasing an alternative form of work that has less of a platform in Britain, not least Scotland. This is an ethos that we'd find parity with as we both believe in the importance of the work we're passionate about having a supportive home. The work that interests both of us is contemporary and less likely to be seen regularly by audiences, and it's clear we are both inspired by the chance to see this work in Scotland.

When we met up last May to speak about this collaboration, Simon shared our excitement about blurring the barriers that might exist between Glasgow and Edinburgh audiences. Both cities have great audiences and different qualities, so it's exciting to be working with this intention!

Are you going to see anything else in the programme- or what has intrigued you?

We're fairly excited by the film programme. It seems like a rare treat to have such an interesting range of animated films from across the world. Big Man Japan in particular sounds like it's going to be a lot of fun, and we're also looking forward to some of the darker screenings like Consuming Spirits, which was apparently fifteen years in the making! I think we'll be aiming to get a film festival pass and see all the screenings if we're able to.

What is also really exciting about the programme is having the chance to see live performances from all over the world, and to engage with the styles and techniques these companies are experimenting with.


Love Buzzcut x

Soho Theatre: Season 2013

Looking over the season for Soho Theatre, I continue to ponder the mechanics of programming. Having watched Tim Nunn build Tramway's latest season Rip It Up, and admired the aesthetic vision of both Svend Brown for Minimal  and Simon Hart at manipulate, Soho Theatre's artistic director Steve Marmion seems to be another programmer who is exploring the idea that a venue's identity can be consolidated by the nature of the artists who perform there, rather than its location.

Rather like the Tron in Glasgow, which is currently occupied by Celtic Connections and has frequent visits from comedians, or The Arches which is comprehensively used by multiple art forms, Soho Theatre does a nice mixed bill. They have also got a deal going on with the nearby restaurant, Quo Vadis, so there's probably a nice mixed grill too

They do comedy - of a more interesting bent, as my ventriloquist hero Nina Conti is turning up this season, next to Doctor Brown, the man who made mime cool (and slightly disturbing) in 2012. They have a competition for emerging writers - the Verity Bathgate Award, which has provided Pastoral for this season (winner 2011, by Thomas Eccleshare), suggesting a commitment to the future of scripted drama, and plenty of cabaret - Lady Rizo, a Fringe hit, is making her London debut.

There's supposed to be a trend for socially and politically engaged theatre going on at the moment - in Scotland, that often takes the line of being about national identity. A few pieces in the programme back this up - God's Property (Arinze Kene) homes on the tribulations of mixed race brothers, Pastoral has a city turning feral, My Daughter's Trial is all about a Muslim barrister. And Man 1 Bank 0 is all about the nasty businessmen taking a beating.

Certainly, there are a different set of assumptions in these works about what important issues are ripe to be tackled in the theatre. Another entry - Glory Daze draws parallels with Blackwatch, but matters of race and urban life are far more present than in Scottish works.

There are, however, plenty of pieces honing in on identity politics - Bitch Boxer has some fun with gender stereotypes while still being a gritty slice of life. There's a coming of age tale, Bottleneck, and A Dirty Great Love Story

In traditional Vile format, I shall now revert to the press release and add comments. 

By Charlotte Josephine
Tue 19 February – Sat 9 March, 7pm


2012 in Britain was the year of the Olympics, and for the first time in history, women were allowed to compete in the sport of boxing. As one woman trains for the fight of her life – a chance to represent her country in the sport she loves – she is left winded by two life-changing events. In a man’s world, can she still prove she’s worth the title?

Charlotte Josephine is a writer and actor. She began working in the Soho Theatre Bar and got involved in Soho Theatre Writers’ Centre workshops, developing Bitch Boxer at our writer’s clinics, subsequently winning the Soho Young Writers Award. She took the play to Edinburgh and received fantastic reviews and sell-out shows. Charlotte trains at Islington Boxing Club and has fresh ambitions to be fighting fit for this season of ABA bouts.

Charlotte is one third of Snuff Box Theatre, a bold new theatre company dedicated to telling good stories on stage. Snuff Box have recently been appointed the Apprentice Company of the Redbridge Drama Centre and are developing their new piece Altitude Brothers.

As reviewed in The Skinny by the ever marvelous Rebecca Paul. 

By Luke Barnes
Starring James Cooney I Directed by Steven Atkinson
Tue 19 February – Sat 9 March, 8.30pm

Am I a virgin? I think I am. I mean it went in her but it was floppy and it wasn’t very nice so I think I’m a virgin. I’m going to say I am. Will look better on my uni applications.

Liverpool, 1989. Greg is fourteen. He has just started secondary school. He earns pocket money sweeping up hair in a barbers. Girls are aliens. Liverpool FC is everything.

Bottleneck is a vibrant coming-of-age story about becoming a man through adventures both big and small. It is about a notorious city; Liverpool. How the outside world views it, and how it views the outside world.

From the production company that brought Ella Hickson’s hugely successful play Boys to Soho Theatre.

Recent LIPA graduate James Cooney performs following his acclaimed breakthrough performance in Island at the National Theatre.

Luke Barnes is a northern-born emerging playwright; both a unique and exciting wordsmith. His first play Chapel Street was selected as one of the top 5 new plays off the West End in 2011 by The Stage and he was shortlisted for an OffWestEnd award for most promising playwright.

Steven Atkinson directs. His previous productions for HighTide at the Edinburgh Festival include Dusk Rings A Bell by Stephen Belber (Assembly) and Lidless by Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig (Underbelly, Fringe First 2010 winner).

By Arinze Kene
Directed by Michael Buffong
Tue 26 February – Sat 23 March, 7.30pm


It’s 1982. London is restless, gripped by spiralling unemployment and inner city riots, Ska beats dominate the airwaves and in a flat in Deptford, South London two brothers are re-united unexpectedly. But notions of family and belonging are put to the test when a pack of hostile neighbours gather outside to deliver some rough justice.

In 2011 Arinze Kene was one of the inaugural Soho Six; a selected group of six writers who are commissioned and are in residency for a six month period to work on a new play for Soho Theatre. During his residency at Soho Theatre, Arinze wrote God’s Property, which was given a rehearsed reading in October 2011 at the end of the Soho Six residency period. The piece was taken to full commission with dramaturgical support from Soho Theatre Associate Director Nina Steiger.

Talawa Theatre Company is one of the UK's foremost black-led theatre companies.
Led by Artistic Director Michael Buffong, the company creates work informed by the wealth and diversity of the Black British experience, with the mission to invest in talent, build audiences and inspire dialogue with and within communities across Britain.

Written and Rhymed by Richard Marsh and Katie Bonna
Directed by Pia Furtado


Two hopeful, hapless romantics get drunk, get it on and then get the hell away from each other.

In her eyes, he’s a mistake. A mistake who keeps turning up at parties. In his eyes, she’s perfect. He’s short-sighted. This achingly funny romantic catastrophe fuses poetry and prose to ask - can a one night stand last a lifetime? A very human tale of good intentions and bad timing.

Richard Marsh Plays include: Dirty Great Love Story (Pleasance Edinburgh & Soho); Skittles (BAC & Pleasance, Edinburgh); Nicked (HighTide & Criterion); Westminster Side Story (Coalition at Theatre503); Khaliq’s Story / 2007 (Decade at Theatre503); Fairytale of New Cross (Theatre503); Dad’s Money (Pleasance Edinburgh & London, also directed).  Richard was one of the inaugural 503/5 writers-in-residence at Theatre503.

Katie Bonna is an actor, writer and performance poet. Acting credits include: Lucia in Underlay (nabokov at Soho Theatre); Eliza Doolittle in Pygmalion, Ginny in Relatively Speaking, Hazel in Up ’n’ Under (Chesterfield Pomegranate); Lucy in The London Merchant, Elizabeth in The Celebrated Mrs Inchbald (Bury St Edmunds and on tour) and Helen in Trojan Women (Actors Of Dionysus).

Pia Furtado – Director Pia directs theatre, opera and multi-disciplinary work. She adapted and directed Hillaire Belloc's Cautionary Tales with composer Errollyn Wallen, for Opera North (revived and toured in spring 2012). She also devised and directed the 2012 Scottish Opera Highlights tour, revived a musical with nabokov at BAC composed by Arthur Darvill and directed a monologue for an evening curated by Eve Ensler at the Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue for V day.

Before they won their Fringe First, I interviewed them. Always there before anyone else, it's the Vile Blog. 

Mon 01 Apr - Sat 20 April, 7.15pm (Sat matinees 3.30pm)

Nominated for ‘Best New Play’ at the Irish Theatre Awards and off the back of a hugely successful Edinburgh and Dublin run, Fringe First-winning Irish theatre company 15th Oak are delighted to present The Life and Sort of Death of Eric Argyle, a play about a man who barely lived enough to have regrets. Developed and directed by Soho Theatre Associate Artist Dan Heard.

By Gulshana Choudri
Mon 08 – Wed 24 April, 7.30pm
Browns Courtrooms (above Browns Restaurant) 82 St Martin’s Lane  Covent Garden  WC2N 4AG
Tickets £10 - £20
Parveen, an ambitious young Muslim barrister faces her own trial when she must decide whether to section her mentally ill mother against her family’s wishes. This compelling and humorous new play moves rapidly from courtroom battle to domestic turmoil as Parveen juggles her professional and personal responsibilities. These become even more complicated when her opponent in court turns out to be the love of her life...

My Daughter’s Trial will be presented in the atmospheric former Westminster County Court above Brown’s Restaurant with the audience acting as jury and public gallery as they judge both the defendant and Parveen.

Award winning Kali Theatre presents ground breaking new theatre writing by South Asian women.  They have earned rave reviews, sell-out performances and inspired audiences all over the UK with work that reflects and comments on our lives today.

Tue 23 April – Sat 11 May, 7.15pm

Tickets £15
I’ve seen people whose whole lives are about tryin’ to put food in their gobs and tryin’ not to get blown up… How d’yer go from that to watchin’ X Factor with a plate of Chinese on yer knee?

Ray’s been fucked up since Afghanistan but tonight at the pub, he’s going to win his ex-wife back. A darkly comic and acerbic look at the impact of war upon returning soldiers, developed with ex-servicemen prisoners at HMP & YOI Doncaster.

Glory Dazed is produced by Second Shot Productions, a theatre and film company based within the walls of HMP & YOI Doncaster.

By Thomas Eccleshare
Directed by Steve Marmion


Moll thinks she's going on holiday but something more sinister is afoot. As menacing cats and strutting voles advance, a dangerously fertile countryside just keeps on growing - humanity is on the brink. A darkly funny, powerful and highly original first play by Thomas Eccleshare, the winner of the Verity Bargate Award, starring Anna Calder-Marshall (In The Republic of Happiness, Royal Court Theatre; Salt, Root & Rose, Trafalgar Studios; The House of Bernarda Alba, The Royal Exchange).

The Verity Bargate Award is Soho Theatre’s national competition for the best new play by an emerging writer.

Directed by Soho Theatre Artistic Director Steve Marmion.


Mon 18 Feb – Sat 9 Mar, 9.45pm

TO&ST Cabaret Award Winner 2012 and New York star Lady Rizo makes her London debut. Rizo, the cabaret superstar, comedienne and chanteuse revives the genre by combining vintage arrangements and theatrical explorations of pop songs from every decade with original material. Revel in the luscious vocals of this Grammy-winning diva as she combines glamour, wit and insane charm.

Mon 4 Mar – Sat 16 Mar, 7.15pm

Amazing, hilarious and true. Patrick Coombs deposited a fake $ 95,093.35 junk mail cheque into his bank account as a joke.  It cleared.  This outrageously funny David and Goliath tale of Man vs Bank is told by the man it actually happened to and it's a must-see comedy adventure that will appeal to anyone who has ever wanted to get one over on the bankers.

Mon 11 – Sat 30 Mar, 9.30pm / 9pm

As seen on BBC 1’s Live at the Apollo, now a regular on Channel 4’s Stand Up For the Week, twice nominated Best UK Headline Act at the Chortle Awards 2010/11, also a former double Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee; audiences can expect Lawrence to deliver an evening of top class stand-up.

Tue 12 – Sat 16 March, 9.45pm

Loretta Maine returns to Soho Theatre with her new hour of amazing sexy woe. Fresh from trawling the comedy clubs of Britain, Loretta has new songs to sing, new tales to tell and new pain to unleash. With numbers like “These Ain’t My Tits” and the infamous “Chicken Shop” how can you even be questioning your ticket purchase? Don’t you like laughing at other people’s misery? You should be here.

Another one The Skinny saw back in the Fringe. 

Tue 19 – Sat 23 Mar, 7.45pm

Piff's back! But more importantly, so is Mr Piffles! Can the World's First Million Dollar Chihuahua (TM) cheat death on a nightly basis as he is laminated live on stage, escapes a flaming straight jacket and flies from the cannon of certain death?

There is a better review of his show on The Skinny site, but this blog proves I saw him first

Fri 29 & Sat 30 March, 1pm
Soho Theatre
Tickets:£10, £30 for family ticket for 4 people
Join Dr Brown and his Singing Tiger on a madcap adventure from breakfast to bedtime with a ski race, tennis match and slightly spectacular BMX finale. Physical comedy at its best from two world-renowned performers.

Mon 25 Mar – Sat 20 Apr, 7.30pm
Soho Theatre Main House
Doctor Brown’s triple award winning show Befrdfgth has become an international sensation. With unrivaled success and sell-out runs in Australia and London, following his previous sell out runs at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, in Prague, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, New York, Toronto, Dubai and Hong Kong.

I so totally saw Doctor Brown at Latitude before him, but Bernard O'Leary is a good comedy writer. 

Wed 27 – Sat 30 Mar, 9.30pm
Soho Downstairs
Founded in New York City in 2004, the FFF is a one-of-a-kind event featuring VHS tapes discovered at thrift shops and garage sales throughout North America. Hosts Joe Pickett (The Onion) and Nick Prueher (Late Show with David Letterman) host each screening in-person and provide their unique observations and commentary on these found video obscurities. A lively celebration of all things found.

Thu 28 – Sat 30 Mar, 7.45pm
Soho Downstairs
Award-winning musical comedy and stand-up from Vikki Stone (MTV’s Flashprank, BBC3’s Britain In Bed and Most Annoying People) following her 2011 smash hit debut. Top 5 Acts of 2011 (Observer) and Top 10 To Watch (Independent).

Paul Mitchell knows his way round a critique, too. 

Mon 1 – Sat 20 Apr,  9pm

Pappy’s return with a brand new show full of sketches, songs and silliness! But is this really the end for "the funniest sketch troupe on the fringe"? (Scotsman) After appearances on Channel 4, Radio 4 and BBC3; 5 hit Edinburgh shows; 3 national tours and 2 award winning podcasts are they finally throwing in the towel?

Tue 2 – Sat 13 Apr, 9.30pm
Soho Downstairs
In this new hour of comedy, and his UK debut, Paul F. Tompkins tells tales of haunting one’s own house, disastrous attempts at pretend fatherhood, carrying a learner’s permit to kill, and marrying a woman who used a fine-print loophole to breach a castle.

Wed 4 – Fri 6 April, 9.15pm
Soho Upstairs
Tickets: £10 - £12.50
Ever wondered what really goes on in a prison? Then you would watch Louis Theroux’s documentary on prisons. For some lighter entertainment, watch Totally Tom (also set in a prison).

Wed 17 – Sat 20 April, 9.30pm
Soho Downstairs
Fearsome iconoclast Simon Evans is back with a brand new show, and nothing and no-one is safe from the critical glint of his tiny, tiny eyes. Join him as he dismantles the lies – from Fairy Tales to post-match analysis – that confound us all.

Thu 18 – Sat 20 April, 9.15pm
Soho Upstairs
Winner of the prestigious 2012 Spirit Of The Fringe Award, Tiffany Stevenson will be making her Soho Theatre debut following on from appearances on BBC2’s Never Mind The Buzzcocks, SKY 1’s John Bishop’s Only Joking and ITV2’s Fake Reaction. The battle against ageing is more than skin deep. Tiffany goes beneath the grimy epidermis to uncover class hatred, racism and sexism. Maybe it’s time to start giving a shit…

Tue 23 Apr – Sat 4 May, 9pm
Come and see Frank Skinner back on stage doing work in progress.  A rare opportunity to see a comic legend develop original material in an intimate setting.

Tue 9 & Wed 10 April, 9.15pm
Gareth's parents could not afford to take the whole family to Disneyland, so they went without him. Gareth has never recovered, always feeling that he has been shut outside of life's theme park. Join Gareth Richards, 2010 Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Award Best Newcomer nominee, for his critically acclaimed  show of jokes and songs about being an introvert stuck in an extrovert's world.

Mon 22 – Sat 27 April & Mon 13 – Sat 18 May,  9.45pm
Following the sell-out Carpet Remnant World, the acclaimed writer and comedian presents a mixed stew of unrelated ideas-in-progress, some read off crumpled pieces of paper, in preparation for his Autumn tour and 2014 TV series. 

Mon 29 April – Sat 4 May, 7.30pm 
Soho Downstairs
Tickets £10 - £15
A  toe-tapping-rocking-rolling-chills-n-spills-blood-curdling journey of murder and mahem! Grimms meets Tarantino in this brutal love story set around Memorial Day celebrations in 1950’s America.  Featuring original live music inspired by Blues, Rockabilly, and Americana.  Part gig, part slasher movie, part road movie, part murder ballad and a whole lotta fun!   Music theatre like you’ve never seen before.

Mon 29 April – Sat 4 May, 9.30pm 
Soho Downstairs
TO&ST (Time Out & Soho Theatre cabaret award) 2012 NOMINEE
Following a sell-out season at Edinburgh Fringe 2012, and fresh from performing around the Fringe Festival run in Australia, including the Famous Spiegeltent at the Melbourne Arts Centre, EastEnd Cabaret are unashamedly risqué and unforgettably funny international purveyors of playfully perverse musical comedy.

Thank God: another one I saw.

Mon 6 – Sun 12 May, 7.30pm & Wed 15 – Sat 25 May, 9.30pm (not Sunday)
Soho Theatre
Groundbreaking ventriloquist Nina Conti introduces her daughter, her handyman, her gran, her oldest friend and a stray dog in a show that refuses to go as rehearsed. Expect a thoughtful mediation on love, life and the edge of existence. And once you've bought your ticket, let that expectation go.

A fine theatre writer at The Skinny showing that Conti ain't just for comedy.

Mon 6 – Sat 25 May, 7.45pm (not Sundays)
Eddie Pepitone is an Apocalyptic-American (with a conscience) and a master of the dark art of comedy.  Hailed as Don Rickles meets Eckhart Tolle, “The Bitter Buddha” is a force of nature onstage, switching between social rage and self-doubt.  Eddie’s been seen in programs like Flight of the ConchordsHouse M.D.ConanCommunity and the feature Old School opposite Will Ferrell. 

Tue 7 – Wed 8 May, 9pm
Five time sell-out veterans of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and one of the country’s most sought after comedy club headliners, The Noise Next Door leave audiences everywhere in awe of their lightning quick wit and totally original comedic talents. With a perfect blend of ludicrous characters, witty one-liners and musical extravagance, this exhilarating new show from the UK’s premier improve troupe simply cannot be missed!

Thu 9 – Sat 11 May, 9.30pm
Expect razor-sharp observations and scandalous one-liners as Jo asks; Why are drunken girlfriends so much fun? Which hotel has the best porn? What constitutes an airtight alibi? Is friendliness overrated? Star of Radio 4’s critically acclaimed It’s That Jo Caulfield Again and recently seen on Michael McIntyre’s Comedy RoadshowMock The WeekHave I Got News For YouNever Mind The BuzzcocksBest of The Comedy Store and The Apprentice: You’re Fired.

Thu 9 – Sat 11 May, 9pm
One half of double-act Ford & Akram, Louise Ford presents her debut solo show Jenny Fawcett. Catch Louise live before she hits our screens later this year, with Vic Reeves and Dan Renton Skinner as a regular cast member on The Ministry of Curious Stuff, and It’s Kevin, Kevin Eldon’s new BBC sketch show.

Wed 15 – Sat 25 May, 9pm (No show Friday 24 or Sundays)
‘Cuckooland’ - Anyone can be anything, do anything and say anything. Who cares what anyone thinks you're going to say it anyway! You have to be a bit deluded but some people are just living in Cuckooland! Hilarious brand new show from internationally acclaimed award winning stand-up comedian Shazia Mirza.

Perhaps not representing where her art is at now, but this was my first interview of a comedian.

Tue 4 – Sat 8 June, 9.30pm
Mid life crisis. Check. Koran jokes. Check. Husband. Check mate. In Islamahomophobia, Scott Capurro inches closer to self lynching with his tirade against bigotry, fag bashing and Cardiff.

Fri 24 May – Sat 21 June, 9.45pm (not Mondays & Sundays)
Award-winning Tranny Superstar Jonny Woo brings a host of surreal characters, songs and tongue twisters in this rollercoaster hour of modern cabaret. The Scouse Pope, Spam Ayres and Wonder Woo-Man are interspersed with hilarious tales from his club kid days, a show-stopping lip-synched finale plus the best legs in the business. The ultimate one man/woman variety show.

"The Miles Davis of Drag"