Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2019 - done. Outoing Theatre Editor Daniel Perks picks the five-star shows to watch out for during the rest of the year:

Another year, Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2019 successfully completed. Creatives from across the world descended on the festival with over 3,800 shows, as well as offerings from the Edinburgh International Festival, the Edinburgh Book Festival and the Edinburgh Art Festival.

At the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2019, the British Council Showcase, This Is Wales Showcase and the Made In Scotland programme made this a strong year for returning theatre productions. And continuing to celebrate its international reputation, companies from Finland, South Korea, Taiwan and Switzerland commissioned pieces to bring over in force – just a few of the 63 countries represented this year.

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2019

Here at Miro Magazine, we were blown away by the talent at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2019. Barely scratching the surface of what was on offer, our four-strong team together reviewed 82 shows and gave out a total of 306 stars, at an average of 3.7 stars per show.

We highlight our 10 ★★★★★ Edinburgh Festival Fringe shows, ones to watch out for on tour in the future:

Sh!T Theatre Summerhall
Sh!t Theatre Drink Rum With Expats (image courtesy of Charlie Cauchi)

Sh!t Theatre Drink Rum With Expats

Sh!t Theatre specialize in patchwork style shows, expository pieces sewn together by a tantalizing yet grounded charm.

And it’s this genuine kindness that makes us feel so utterly secure and totally willing to go wherever Rebecca Biscuit and Louise Mothersole venture. Their relationship and interaction is the lynchpin of a very complex, multi-faceted narrative.

It’s just madness. But then, would I ever go to a Sh!t Theatre show and not expect madness?

Maggie Kelly

Backbone Pleasance Dome
Gravity and Other Myths’ Backbone

Backbone

It is clear that the Australian circus troupe, Gravity and Other Myths, are not bound by mere rudimentary law. In Backbone, they seek to drive the physical body to its absolute limit and exercise a mental agility to match.

Gravity and Other Myths serve up a smorgasbord of stunts, with no one moment the same as the next. During the silences preceding a particularly ambitious trick, the apprehension is tangible. Roars of delight sound upon each safe landing, with cries of disbelief lost amid a flurry of expletives.

Ultimately, Backbone is a triumph. A celebration of one race: the human race.

Josephine Balfour

Raven Assembly Roxy
Raven (image courtesy of Daniel Porsdorf)

Raven

‘Rabenmutter’ is a peculiarly German concept. Not really translating into any other languages, ‘raven mother’ is an insult hurled at women (always women) who have dared to try and continue in their career while looking after a couple of wee’uns at home.

Raven’s battle against these outdated, patriarchal preconceptions is feathery and ferocious. But the true wonder of Raven is how hard it bites home, how horrifically relatable it is.

Maggie Kelly

Crocodile Fever Traverse Theatre
Crcodile Fever’s Lisa Dwyer Hogg & Lucianne McEvoy (image courtesy of Lara Cappelli)

Crocodile Fever

On paper, the epilogue to Crocodile Fever should NOT work in the slightest. It should completely throw away what is a beautifully intricate piece that combines Gareth Nicholls’ visionary direction with layered performances on Grace Smart’s realistic, homely and inviting set.

But Rachael Canning’s puppetry capitalises on the groundwork lain so diligently by Meghan Tyler’s script. Every aspect is precisely judged, the absurdist concept completely mad but so believable.

That final scene is the most astonishing thing about Crocodile Fever. It may be the most impressive single piece of theatre that this reviewer sees in the whole of Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2019.

This is genre-defining.

Daniel Perks

Islander Roundabout Summerhall
Islander: A New Musical’s Bethany Tennick & Kirsty Findlay (image courtesy of Jassy Earl)

Islander: A New Musical

Islander is a coming-of-age tale with a stormy sea breeze. It weaves a story very much like a school of fish, its beauty in the ease of the movement and the gentle sparkle of light. Bethany Tennick and Kirsty Findlay are exceptional in this new musical.

The talent and timing in Islander is breathtaking, a production that subtly injects a thread of magic into every single vein.

There is nothing as mesmerising as effortless talent. Quiet, simple and utterly effortless.

Maggie Kelly

War Worlds Pleasance Courtyard
The War Of The Worlds’ ensemble (image courtesy of Richard Davenport)

The War Of The Worlds

This isn’t the traditional retelling of the H.G. Wells classic. Isley Lynn’s script shifts deftly between past and present, England and America in all its various iterations and combinations – from the original radio broadcast to a starkly real Sky News alien invasion.

The War Of The Worlds is an incredibly polished production in every aspect.  Excellent performances from the four-strong cast are well balanced.

It shows what could have been and what might still be.

Katherine Knight

Canary Crow Roundabout Summerhall
The Canary And The Crow’s Daniel Ward (image courtesy of The Other Richard)

The Canary And The Crow

Ok, this is getting ridiculous. Middle Child have been a staple at Paines Plough Roundabout for three fringes now, churning out a heartwrenching, bass-thumping-blood-pounding winner every single year. Surely this can’t be another hands-hurting, shriek-from-your-seat kind of success.

As well as starring in the production, The Canary And The Crow is Daniel Ward’s writing debut – and what a ferocious start to a playwrighting career.

The Canary And The Crow picks out the differences and trouble between ethnicities and classes with a steady hand and an open heart. It gently encourages its audience to listen, empathize, laugh, cry and leave with a heart more open, more accepting than before.

Maggie Kelly

Until Flood Traverse Theatre
Until The Flood’s Dael Orlandersmith (image courtesy of Alex Brenner)

Until The Flood

There is so much pain, so much violence, so much anger. It seeps through the cracks of Dael Orlandersmith’s production Until The Flood spills forth from my eyes, erupting as an emotional, undammable torrent.

I am part of a majority, sat too comfortably in a theatre predominantly full of white people. We are listening to the story of black teenager Michael Brown, who was shot and killed by white police officer Darren Wilson in Missouri, 2014.

And I am complicit in this imbalance, in the injustice.

Daniel Perks

Table Tennis Play Underbelly Cowgate
A Table Tennis Play’s Rosa Robson & Euan Kitson (image courtesy of The Other Richard)

A Table Tennis Play

Sam Steiner’s A Table Tennis Play is swarming with the unsaid, so delicately understated that the silences grate against the bone.

A Table Tennis Play is less about language itself and more about the suspension of communication – playing games to avoid making painful decisions.

It’s rare to find such a delicately-woven piece that feels comfortable in its naturalism, one that is completely happy to just be about people. A Table Tennis Play has no gimmick, no big movement sequences, no huge sound sections. It’s just quietly beautiful.

Maggie Kelly

Bobby & Amy Pleasance Courtyard
Bobby & Amy’s Will Howard & Kimberley Jarvis (image courtesy of Cam Harle)

Bobby & Amy

The beauty in Emily Jenkins’ script is in the combination of simplicity and complexity. Everything is from a 13 year-old’s perspective. Everything is hinted at but nothing explicitly said.

Domestic abuse, sexual violence, even suicide are all dealt with through the quiet and observant eyes of the kids, faced with a big world full of words and people that they don’t necessarily understand.

Bobby and Amy is quiet, tactile and all-engrossing.

Maggie Kelly

For more information about Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2019, please visit the festival website.