Best of the Fest: Claire’s Picks

After four phenomenal weeks, and over two hundred shows, the Fringebiscuit team is packing up as Edfringe 2016 comes to a close. Need help deciding what to see in the last few days? Our writers are on hand with their favorites from this year’s fest.

1. Kieran Hodgson: Maestro

When Kieran Hodgson first walks out on stage, he shushes the audience so that he can finish a shaky violin solo, a two-part joke – composer/comedian Hodgson is not a novice violinist nor has he planned a comedy hour where he actually expects his audience to keep quiet. It is impossible not to laugh at Hodgson’s witty asides, sly self-depreciation and hilariously built characters. Not only is Maestro a masterful show of character comedy, but it’s also structured around the four-part symphony that Hodgson has recently finished composing. However it’s neither the snappy jokes nor the powerful music that makes Hodgson’s show so worthwhile; he’s an idealistic storyteller who has built a show with deep insight and tremendous heart. There’s a reason why getting into Maestro requires waiting in massive lines and why Hodgson added mid-day performances of the show at other venues: it’s simply the best.

Kieran Hodgson: Maestro is on at Voodoo Rooms until August 28.

2. Life By The Throat

This one-woman show by Most Wanted Theatre tells the life of a man from life in the womb until the moment of his death. Eve Steele’s performance as James Joseph Patrick Keogh is empathetic and emphatic. As James, she becomes a grammar school running star, a petty thief, a jailbird, a recovering alcoholic, and a loving father. Her performance is unadorned and humble – she has no set, no conceit, no costume other than a simple tank top and track pants. Life By The Throat is a pure, undisguised investigation of life; James tries his best to navigate it and sometimes fails to do so. Steele’s writing is attentive, giving James a distinctive, eager, and lively voice. The play allows the audience to explore the different ways in which a man and woman walk in through the world while suggesting that gender doesn’t create such different experiences after all. The tenderness of James’ story will stir your soul and moved me to tears.

Life By The Throat is on at Underbelly Cowgate until August 28.

3. Foehn Effect

This one-woman show by Spanish company Res De Res En Blanc is more an intimate conversation than play. The confessional style of Christina Gavel’s story is unexpected and unique. The block and movement is nearly inexistent, but that’s possible because the contents of the show are so immobilizing. Gavel describes the day that she was robbed and raped, and the psychological effects that it has had on her life. Poetic word choice and Gavel’s decision to spare nary a detail make Foehn Effect an incredibly powerful experience. The set design is minimal as well; it’s a distorted projection of the very scene before us – Gavel in a chair beneath a lap, a few tissues under her thigh for the heavier moments. Foehn Effect is both an unexpected piece of theatre and an exceptionally brave one.

Foehn Effect is on at C Nova until August 29.

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