Once again, the Scottish capital has opened its doors to thousands of performers and lovers of the arts for the month long Edinburgh Festival Fringe. It is home to comedians, actors, dancers, singers and artists from around the globe, making it no surprise that it is the largest arts festival in the world.

Of course, whilst visiting this artistic medley, we sought out a bunch of Sheffield-based performers to see just what they can do outside of the Steel City.

Can’t Stop Can’t Stop by Sam Does Theatre

Five stars

Samuel Ross is a theatre-maker and performer studying at the University of Sheffield. As a member of Sheffield University Performing Arts Society (SUPAS) and Sheffield University Theater Company (SUTCo), Ross knows a thing or two about putting on a show.

Photo Credit: Matt Giles

Can’t Stop Can’t Stop is a solo show about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), a condition that Ross himself lives with. The show outlines the triggers many with OCD fear and, with help from Ross’ deeply personal performance, gives an insight into the exhaustion and pain this disorder causes.

Energetic and liberated, Ross’ transparent performance is enthralling and emotive. The show addresses serious questions surrounding our current understanding of mental health disorders and the quality of help that is currently offered. Occasionally it was difficult to distinguish whether Ross had genuinely been triggered within the show but this only speaks volumes about the sheer talent on display. If you’re looking for a memorable and authentic performance, look no further.

Details of the show can be found below: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/can-t-stop-can-t-stop

Buried: A New Musical by Colla Voce Theater

Five stars

Buried: A New Musical has returned to the Fringe for a second year running after sellout shows last summer. Written by Tom Williams and Cordelia O’Driscoll in their final year at the University of Sheffield, this unorthodox musical displays the wonders a creative university atmosphere can inspire.

When two serial killers, Rose and Harry, meet on a date, they quickly learn they share a lot in common. The audience become innocent bystanders to their criminal joint ventures, and watch their developing relationship as they become increasingly vulnerable to each other.

Colla Voce Theater certainly achieves their aim of breaking the mould of musical theater. It’s quirky, clever and guilty of more than murder. Despite the obvious heavy themes in this musical, it is full of comical, serendipitous moments. Played by a cast of six SUTCo and SUPAS alumni, the experience and confidence of each actor shine through, putting the audience at instant ease. A strong vocal range from each actor, paired with an excellent ensemble playing folk and jazz on stage, makes each number a treat to listen to. Most surprising is the size of the stage and capacity of the lecture hall in which Colla Voce Theater perform. Buried: A New Musical is capable of broadway, so jump at the chance of seeing it now.

To find out more, visit: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/buried-a-new-musical

Beaker’s Place by Only Lucky Dogs

Four stars

Image Credit: Only Lucky Dogs

Recluse Beaker runs an illegal body disposal service in the cellar of his pub. The only company he has is cat Paul. When Paul dies, Beaker’s grief is unbearable. Just as he is about to take his own life, he receives one last body that he must dispose of. However it is with that final delivery Beaker finds himself with a new acquaintance: Drew.

Only Lucky Dogs is an independent theater company comprised of Sheffield University students who have all been involved with SUTCo. As their first ever show hits the Fringe, they successfully start as they mean to go on. Taking on themes of loneliness, grief and revenge, this dark comedy strikes the right balance between the thought-provoking moments and the comedic wit that audiences yearn for.

Image Credit: Only Lucky Dogs

As a two man show, Beaker’s Place is composed as a series of monologues and dialogue between the two protagonists, which are always delivered at the perfect pace. Halfway through this performance the plot slows, and could use more movement or an in depth side story to keep it enticing throughout. But for a whole show using just one set, it can be forgiven.

See below for more details on Only Lucky Dogs debut Fringe show: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/beaker-s-place

I Apologise for My Recent Behaviour by Sean Morley

Four stars

Sean Morley is an alumni of the university and the founder of The Sheffield Revue. Since graduating he has become an established, alternative solo comedian, featuring on BBC Radio 2 and BBC Radio 4 Extra. I Apologise For My Recent Behaviour was listed by the British Comedy Guide 2018 as a top show at this years Fringe, and it’s not hard to see why.

Image Credit: Sean Morley

This absurdist show does not follow a simple set. It begins with a focus on the feelings of the audience. Forced to admit where we stood on a numbered scale of emotion, Morley analyses the crowd and begins to apologise to those with high expectation of his show. By the end, after experiencing a random turn of events, it feels as though you are part of a strange cult built on guilt and forgiveness.

Morley is an expert at audience manipulation, and has the ability to persuade you into an anxious frame of mind. The beauty of this show is that you just don’t know what is coming next.

Image Credit: Sean Morley

Each performance may differ depending on who is in the crowd, but Morley takes this in his stride. His expertise serves him well, as he works well with (and often encourages) vocal crowd member’s playful heckles.

Surreal and refreshing I Apologise For My Recent Behaviour stands out amongst general current affairs stand up that crowd the Fringe. And for that: there is nothing to apologise for.

For more information, visit: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/sean-morley-i-apologise-for-my-recent-behaviour

It’s safe to say Sheffield is smashing the Fringe.

Fancy seeing some of these shows yourself? Edinburgh Festival Fringe is on until 27th August. See the website to browse all of the shows on offer.

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