Regular Edinburgh-goers may know John Pendal from his previous Fringe work, as he's got two Festival shows under his belt: his attention-grabbingly titled debut 'International Man Of Leather' and follow up 'How To Escape From Stuff'. He's heading back to the Scottish capital next month with a new show in which he takes a look at his family tree.

We're all fans and very much looking forward to his latest output, so I thought it was high time we made contact. I arranged a quick chat to find out more about the show and about John himself. Read the interview here.

'John Pendal: We Are Family' is on at Edinburgh Festival 2018 at Gilded Balloon Teviot from 1 to 28 Aug.
TW:DIY is talking to people who perform or work at the Edinburgh Festival each year to get their perspectives on what performing or producing at the world's biggest cultural event involves.

This includes the people who run the numerous venues that pop up each year at the Edinburgh Fringe. Our next venue director is James Mackenzie of ZOO Venues. Having first come to the Festival with his school theatre company in 1995, he has been running the ZOO venues since 2000. Read the interview here.
A blooming brilliant looking new show is going up over at Roundhouse this week, and you know it's going to be good for a number of reasons. Mainly, though, because it's been put together by the team that brought you the excellent and TW-award winning Hot Brown Honey, and because it stars a number of extraordinarily talented London based femmes of colour.

To find out more about the show, I spoke to cast member Krystal Dockery, and also got to find out a bit about her rather interesting and eclectic career. Read the interview here.

'Hive City Legacy' is on at Roundhouse from 10-21 Jul, see this page here for more information and to book your tickets.

TUESDAY 10 JULY 2018 >>

Alkaline | The Park Theatre | 10 Jul-4 Aug
"Sophie and Sarah have been best friends forever. Sophie is newly engaged to her fiancé Nick and wants to celebrate. Sarah also has a new fiancé, Ali, and some more big news - she has recently converted to Islam. One hot summer evening the two couples have a get together. Sophie is desperate to meet Ali and even more desperate to rescue her drifting friendship with Sarah". Ultimately, an uninvited guest turns up with life-changing news, in this play about change, friendship, faith and fear. See this page here for all the details.

Locked Up | Tristan Bates Theatre | 10-28 Jul (pictured)
A new play from up and coming playwright Heather Simpkin exploring issues of trust, betrayal and comradeship: "two men are trapped in a confined space which they interpret as their cell.  Since being taken against their will, the only world that exists for them is that cell and an enigmatic White Room where there are few clues to their immediate predicament". See the venue website here for more.

UMUADA | King's Head Theatre | 10-14 Jul
If this looks familiar, that's because we ran a Q&A with the writer of this, Justina Kehinde, just last week, ahead of these performances of the play on as part of the King's Head Theatre's Playmill Festival. It's an "an exploration of mental health, migration and motherhood in the urban African diaspora", and if you want to know lots more about it, see our article here. To book your tickets, head right this way.


Hamotzi | Theatre503 | 11-14 Jul
"Add one shamefully flirtatious violinist to a blend of interfering mother in laws and bland husbands, sprinkle a dash of patriarchal frustration and voila! It's the Sabbath dinner at Rochalle's, and you're all invited. So light the candles, salt the challah and let's dig in!" Another offering from Mountview's Catalyst festival of shows produced by the students from Mountview's MA in Creative Producing, this one written by Emma Zadow and performed by Elizabeth Schenk. See this page here for more.

Tom Allen - Absolutely | Soho Theatre | 11-21 Jul
You all know him, because he's all over the telly, appearing in shows like 'Mock The Week', '8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown' and 'The Great British Bake Off's Extra Slice' as well as popping up on some of my favourite radio shows - 'Just a Minute' and 'The News Quiz'. You all will therefore know that he's brilliant, but that means everyone else does too, and that's why tickets will be going like hot cakes. So head this way quickly to claim yours.

Tortoise | The Bunker Theatre | 11-14 Jul (pictured)
A story of escapism, grief and the pressures to succeed performed by young performers from the the National Youth Theatre's Playing Up company: "Sometimes things just go missing. And when the thing closest to Luna goes missing, she finds the perfect place to hide. Comet Canyon. A virtual landscape that she understands. A place where pixels allow her to be whoever she wants to be. A place where your friends are usernames and where the young can finally take some control". Details here.

THURSDAY 12 JULY 2018 >>

Bowjangles - The Legend Of Excalibow | Underbelly Festival | 12 Jul
This is just my kind of thing: a combination of sketch comedy and brilliantly performed classical music. "They dance whilst they play. They sing whilst they play. They leap, tumble, juggle and joke whilst they play. Intrepid sketch string quartet Bowjangles present their most magical show so far- a theatrical, musical journey through myths, folklore, legends and a portal in a cello case in the quest to find the most priceless relic of all- a magical violin bow known as Excalibow". See this page here for details.

Banana Crabtree Simon | Theatre503 | 12-14 Jul
"Alan has early-onset dementia. But it's okay. Alan only has to remember three words, that's all: Banana, Crabtree, Simon. They're the three words that make sure he hasn't gone completely doolally, despite what his wife and son think. Banana... Simon?" David Hendon's recently premiered one person play, back on stage as part of the previously mentioned Catalyst festival. See this page here for more.

Augmented | Ovalhouse | 12-14 Jul (pictured)
A one person show from Sophie Woolley, who details her own experience, firstly of becoming deaf, and secondly of having a cochlear implant and therefore becoming a 'cyborg'. As well as addressing the topic of what it's like to hear again, it explores what happens to a person's whole identity when the deafness that's affected them for twenty years suddenly disappears. See the venue website here for info.

FRIDAY 13 JULY 2018 >>

Katie Johnstone | Orange Tree Theatre | 13-20 Jul
"Katie Johnstone wants to help the town she loves. She wants to start a business that will make millions while writing poems like Alex Turner. Everyone else wants her to get a boyfriend and go work at Tesco. But Katie Johnstone isn't like everyone else". A new play from Luke Barnes, part of the venues Directors' Festival 2018. See this page here for all the details.

Hive City Legacy | Roundhouse | 10-21 Jul (pictured)
A new show from the creators of the excellent and TW-Editors' Award-winning Hot Brown Honey, featuring a range of London-based talent: "With a fresh coat of intersecting tales from a new London Town, this unapologetic, uncensored and genre defying experience brings together liberating live performance, redefined narratives and social activism to challenge, uplift, boundary break and celebrate". Sounds brilliant, doesn't it? Expect "a league of extraordinary Femmes of Colour in a riotous shake up embracing the unseen and the unheard". Click here.

Anna Nicholson - Woman Of The Year | Museum Of Comedy | 12-13 Jul
Another Edinburgh preview for you now (we have recommended quite a lot of them over the last couple of weeks) and this time it's Anna Nicholson with 'Woman Of The Year'. It has that title not because she's claimed it for herself, but because she's a character comedian and the concept is that the personalities she portrays are the nominees. See the venue website here for info.

SATURDAY 14 JULY 2018 >>

A State Of Mind | King's Head Theatre | 14-15 Jul
The Playmill festival is still going over at King's Head Theatre, and here's our latest pick from it: "There is never a dull moment with Billie. She'll have you laughing and crying through her daringly dark and wonky life! A 50 minute one woman verbatim play about the struggles in life and how we overcome them. Dealing with mental health, the use of medicinal and recreational drugs and how relationships form the ways in which we live and share ourselves with others. Billie bares all. The good, the ugly and the downright painful". Book here.

In The Night Time (Before The Sun Rises) | Orange Tree Theatre | 14-21 Jul
"Two new parents are up in the middle of the night and their baby daughter won't stop crying. They try to soothe her with stories, but the stories tell of a dark and hopeless world outside. Their fears and anxieties come to life and seep into the nursery through the cracks. Maybe bringing a child into this world wasn't such a good idea?" God, this sounds scarily familiar. Nina Segal's acclaimed play, which premiered at The Gate in 2016, staged for Orange Tree Theatre's Directors' Festival. See this page here for more.

The Glenda J Collective | Soho Theatre | 12-14 Jul (pictured)
The blurb describes The Glenda J Collective as "superheroes of improv" and I am very much on board with that notion given that the group comprises four legends of the genre: Josie Lawrence, Pippa Evans, Ruth Bratt and Cariad Lloyd. So, as you can imagine, it looks like tickets for these evenings of "improvised songs, sketches and japes created right there on the spot" are selling very quickly, If you head this way right this minute you might just manage to get a ticket for this last night of the run.

SUNDAY 15 JULY 2018 >>

Scene Gym Shorts | Arcola Theatre | 15 Jul (pictured)
One of those sorts of nights so much loved by me and my reviewers, a selection of tasty looking short plays, this time courtesy of Scene Gym, who run innovative workshop programme to offer writers, directors and actors a chance to work together on new plays. On view tonight: 'Never Have I Ever' by Caitlin Abra Middleton, 'Debris' by Joe James Stu, 'Lovesick' by James McDermott, 'Class mates' by Micah Smith, and 'Out of The Dark' by Suzy Gill. Head this way for more.

Eggshells | King's Head Theatre | 15 Jul
"Hannah can't take much more of Glen's strange behaviour and her best friend Jim thinks a Singapore Sling is the answer to all their problems. As the night unfolds Hannah and Glen's relationship, honesty and openness is tested to its maximum as the recent events in the city they love falls on top of them. A physical, lyrical comedy addressing a serious issue more common place than you may have first thought..." Another choice from King's Head Theatre's Playmill festival , see this link here to book your tickets.

John Pendal - We Are Family | Museum Of Comedy | 15 Jul
If you're headed up to the Edinburgh Festival next month, this is something you should definitely have on your to-see list. If you're not, look, you've got a chance to see it now! This is Pendal's third comedy hour, and I can assure you that the first two were very highly regarded. For more information, see this page here.

MONDAY 16 JULY 2018 >>

Damaged Goods | King's Head Theatre | 16-18 Jul (pictured)
More from the good old King's Head Theatre and their Playmill Festival, an interesting sounding play about three different women exploring pain, fragility and temptation: "Three lost and lonely women - retired lecturer Sal, trophy wife Annie and Rhona, an angry poet - are drawn to the charismatic leader of a new 'Spiritual Hub' in west London. But they're heading towards a deadly whirlpool .Their stories - and those of the men they love - begin to interweave. As they come close to being smashed on the rocks they have to pull together to get out of harm's way". Book here.

Half Me Half You | Tristan Bates Theatre | 16 Jul
"Jess and Meredith are a married, interracial, gay couple living in New York in 2017 - the era of Trump - weathering a new wave of intolerance, discrimination and oppression, which is sweeping the nation and seeping into their home. 16 years later, Maya, a biracial British teen is forced into American life, braving the aftermath of a second civil war, and changing Meredith's life irrevocably". A very topical look at the current global climate and its implications for future generations. See this page here for more.

Dido and Aeneas | The Albany | 16-20 Jul
Blackheath Halls Opera's intergenerational company and Trinity Laban students have work worked professional opera singers to create this production of the classic opera by Henry Purcell, starring German mezzosoprano Idunnu Münch, making a London debut as Dido and baritone Marcus Farnsworth opposite as Aeneas. It's one of the first operas I ever saw, and I've got a bit of a soft spot for it as a result. All the details are right about here.
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