Auditorium C When Guy finds an audience in his bookshop, he kicks off an ambitious but fatally flawed experiment, which marries farce with audience interaction. The best laughs in this overlong show come not from the script but from devil-may-care audience members. (Matt Boothman) C Chambers Street, 0845 260 1212, until 25 Aug. 9.05pm, £7.50—£9.50 (£6.50—£8.50). Bombay to Beijing By Bicycle COO Russell McGilton’s one-man show amounts to a travelogue incorporating featuring encounters with spirits, ranging from Hindu Gods to ghosts of the Empire and his deceased father. There's a vulgar verve to his performance, but whether we learn anything new from these observations about the gastric effects of Indian cuisine and the attitudes of the indigenous populations to promiscuous Westerners is a moot point. (Steve Cramer) Gilded Balloon Teviot, 668 1633, until 25 Aug (not 13), 5pm, £8.50—£10(£7.50—£8.50) Borough Market see The tourists are rife in the city, but tragedy in a wealthy student flat reveals Edinburgh’s dark side. Breaking Butterflies company shows potential in a brisk and cleverly structured show, full of dark humour. (Sarah Redhead) Pleasance Dome, 556 6550, until 24 Aug, 3pm, £7—£8 (£5.50—£6.50).

Bouncy Castle Dracula e

The Bouncy Castle Project returns to the Fringe to subject Dracula to typically blunt treatment. After a nanosecond of excitement at the concept, you are left with a production so dire it would be near criminal for someone to fork out £9 to see it. (Miles Johnson) Rocket @ Demarco Roxy Arthouse, 0871 750 0077, until 25 Aug, midnight, £9 7.50). Cleansed CO The late Sarah Kane’s writing is so spare and savage that it lends itself to multiple approaches. Sadly, the cast of this production by the University of the West of England’s drama department drift through the playwright’s tale of a torturer and his drug-addicted victims at a single pace, their lack of commitment rendering the dialogue meaningless. (Allan Radcliffe) The Space @ The Thistle, 556 0476, until 9Aug. 8.05pm, £4—£5 (£2.50—£3). Dad’s Money see A father’s death reunites two estranged brothers, before his inheritance drives them apart. Writer/director Richard Fry, the man behind last year's Greedy Scratchers, has a keen eye for moments of comic pathos as the brothers reflect on their many regrets. (Miles Johnson) Pleasance Dome, 556 6550. until 25 Aug, 1.40pm, £8—£9 (£6.50—£ 7.50).

Diary oi a Nobody so The minutiae of life in Victorian suburbia is the subject of this gentle social satire, but the script does not maximise its wry potential and constant costumes changes slow up the action. (Natalie Woolman) C Chambers Street. 0845 260 I 2 I 2, until 25 Aug (not 11), 3.40pm, £7.50—£9.50 (£6.50—£8.50).

The Elephant Man eee Mary Swan and Saul Jaffe’s play confronts us with the true story of Joseph Merrick, charting his struggle from circus freak to medical marvel. Jaffe uses his physicality to manoeuvre himself around Sam Pine's inspired set, which comes complete with trapeze. It’s a moving story that

continues to capture the imagination. (Greer Ogston) C Soco, 0845 260 1234, until 25 Aug (not I l, 18), 4.45pm, £8.50—£10.50(£5.50—£8.50).

Faeries O. " In 1917, two little girls took pictures of fairies in their garden, sparking nationwide interest in the existence of these tiny folk and inspiring this bright - at times Disneyesque musical. Faeries sprinkles just enough fairy dust for anyone who loves a song, but the narrative lacks cohesion and it’s a touch too long. (Susan Wright) Musical Theatre @ George Square, 662 8740, until 10 Aug, 11.45am, £8.50—£9.50 (£7.50—£8.50). Feast of the Ants so This overlong Japanese comedy is too bogged down in moral messages to be enjoyable. The inhabitants of Arizuka Town are presented as brimming over with foolishness and cowardice. It’s a premise that makes for a tedious play, though the exquisite lighting and vivid costumes mean that at least it‘s nice to look at. (Yasmin Sulaiman) Rocket @ Demarco Roxy Arthouse, 0871 750 0077, Until 25 Aug (not [0, 17), 5.20pm, £10 (£8). Gilbert, or Death by Obituary DC. How can an obituary writer find self-fulfilment when he lives in a town where nobody dies? When he‘s befriended by a lonely old woman, we learn of the three worst deaths of his life in this multi-character black comedy skilfully performed by one actor. (Katherine Adam) The Space @ The Thistle, 556 04 76, until 16 Aug (not [0), 5.10pm, £5 (£4).

Hippos in the Shower ee

Taxi driver George and his strange musical crew sing of life’s wonders and weirdnesses in this eccentric, psychedelic and silly piece of entertainment. (Katherine Adam) George Square Theatre, 662 8740, until 10 Aug, 2pm, £8—£9 (£6—£ 7).

Living with Johnny Depp ee There‘s some amusing physical comedy in this well-observed one-woman show about an academically challenged, Depp- obsessed l5-year—old convent school girl, but it loses focus in the middle and ultimately feels pointless and unsatisfying. (Susan Wright) The Zoo, 662 6892, until 25 Aug (not ll, 18), [2pm, £7—£8 (£5-£6).

Lucidity 0 Imagine One Flew Over the Cuckoo ’s Nest adapted by the kids from Skins, but worse. Hysteria is the order of the day when suicidal posh nob nihilist Julian gets sectioned. Stock characters are wheeled out, while Oliver James’ Aflluenza is filtered through playwright James King’s adolescent script. At one point, one of the unconvincing barmy army emotes, ‘You think this is entertainment? This is black comedy, morbid, shit.‘ It's hard to disagree. (Paul Dale) C Soco, 0845 260 [234, until 16 Aug, 12.15pm.

£ 7.50-£8.50 (£6.50—£ 7.50).

Not Everything is Significant O” This latest work from respected Fringe writer and performer Ben Moor would perhaps have been more effective as a short story. The serious discrepancy between the quality of the writing and the poor central performance sadly reduces the impact of a script that exhibits occasional moments of dazzling virtuosity. (Miles Johnson) Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 25 Aug.


3.15pm, £8.50—£9.50 (£7—£8).

The Open Couple eeee This re- improvised restaging of Dario F0 and Franca Rame's superb, oft overlooked I983 two-hander is a delight. Though too young for their roles (F0 and Rame played them in their 50s), Stuart Brennan and Jennifer Dean are brilliantly convincing as the philandering husband and wife, while Peter Snee’s direction is imaginative and seamless. Recommended. (Paul Dale) The Bongo Club, 557 2827, until 24 Aug (not I 7). times vary (1.30pm or 3pm ), £6.50 (£5). Pebbles on the Beach eee' Leo’s in his late-20s and would be one of your mates down the pub if he wasn't stranded on Brighton beach facing past lovers and demons with the universe warping around him. Decent performances and a clever time-shifting narrative work to deliver a tale that spins around issues of life, death, family and Star Wars without being po-faced. (Susan Wright) Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 25 Aug (not l3, 19), 2pm. £7—£8 (£5—£6).

Pierrepoint: The Hangman‘s Tale 0... The story of Albert Pierrepoint, the most prolific chief executioner of the 20th century, has fascinated audiences for years. This stark, sobering, well-written and excellently acted new play, low on production values but strikingly effective as a morality tale, looks behind the bluff self-justification of a man who convinced himself he was merely a mechanism of the judicial system. (Kirstin lnnes) Sweet Grassmarket, 0870 241 0136, until 12 Aug, 3.50pm, £8—£8.50 (£7—£7.50). Plastic eee Mehrdad Seyf‘s exploration of gender identity descends quickly from a damp, fetid and warm ground-level cellar to cool, white vaults as the audience is encouraged to consider how the body we inhabit determines our sexuality. Like an underworld imagined by Cocteau, each expressionist scene battles the frustrating sightlines of a venue that might otherwise enthral with the surreal comedy of this talented Iranian team. (David Laing) Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 24 Aug (not 12, I 9), times vary, £9.50 (£8.50).

The Positive Hour eeee Braindead Theatre Company performs April de Angelis’ play, which explores notions of happiness in a modern world that isn't quite the fulfilling place the women‘s movement thought it would be. The show gradually warms up to become a moving and absorbing piece, sprinkled with moments of humour, with Lucy Marshall giving a paticularly touching performance. (Sarah Redhead) C Soco, 0845 260 1234, until 9Aug, 7.15pm.

£5. 70—£9. 50 (£6.50—£8. 50).

Bed Peter C.” Spurred on by a captivating central performance, this one- man staging of Franz Kafka‘s short story is a theatrical treat. it‘s the story of a monkey who faced with the prospect of a lifetime of captivity teaches himself to emulate man. The eponymous hero is a mesmerising figure, though the production can get a little suffocating in its intensity. (Yasmin Sulaiman) Sweet ECA. 0870 241 0136, Until 9Aug. 2.40pm, £7.50 (£6.50).

The Third Condiment see The Third Condiment is a charming, often amusing tale of a group of

twentysomethings trying to get on in an increasingly corporate world after one of them invents and tries to market an alternative to salt and pepper. Despite the frequently witty script, it’s overburdened by gratuitous contemporary musical references, while the unsatisfying, abrupt ending doesn’t sit right with its sitcom light-heartedness. (Yasmin Sulaiman) The Zoo, 662 6892, until 25 Aug (not 1 7), 9.05pm, £7—£8 (£6—£7).

Tied Up In Knotts .0 Having spent her career trying to escape the shadow of her prominent Hollywood dad, Don Knotts, Karen’s one-woman show is, ironically enough, all about her famous father. Knotts attempts to engage with her audience by conjuring up characters from her past and recreating nostalgic television extracts. Her routine is endearing at times but this is ultimately a fluffy biography performed by an indulgent daughter. (Greer Ogston) Gilded Balloon Teviot, 668 I633, until 24 Aug (not [1), 3pm, £8—£9 (£7—£8). Time Bomb .0 It‘s 20l7 and Westminster wants to go nuclear on Iran, but MP Victoria Clarke and her middle English family hold a secret that could change the vote forever. There's some nice ideas about where the personal and apocalyptic meet in Tim Burton’s one-act play, but with its largely amateurish performances and crass invocations of Oppenheimer‘s HUAC humiliations, David Kelly’s death and Claire Short’s cabinet resignation, this is drearily unengaging fare. (Paul Dale) Sweet Teviot, 0870 241 0136, until 10 Aug, 3pm, £8.50 (£7.50).

Upstart Crows eee Young Pleasance performs Michael Punter’s exploration of the life of Christopher Marlowe, and the writing that shook English theatre and politics. The energetic cast gives its all in elegant period costume, with Matt Jessup particularly likeable as Philip Henslowe. However, despite the thrilling events depicted, the piece feels rushed, and fails to completely engage with its audience. (Sarah Redhead) Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 16 Aug, 1.20pm, £7—£8 (£5.50—£6.50).

What’s Wrong With Angry?

DC. This energetic show explores the well-charted territory of growing up gay in a disapproving world. Sixteen- year-old Steven Carter from Basingstoke falls in love with the head boy at his school. As the two begin a genuine romance, Steven struggles to keep their relationship a secret. Skilful puns, punchy dance music and well-timed choreography keep the audience more than satisfied. (Theresa Munoz) C Chambers Street, 0845 260 1212, until 25 Aug, £9.50—£l 1.50 (£8.50—£10.50). Women of Troy eee Belt Up‘s production casts its audience as Trojan POWs. Being manhandled into a darkened room by Greek officials promises an immersive, Punchdrunk- style experience, but inside the audience returns to its typical spectator role. While the constant blackout makes Cassandra's prophecies all the more chilling, the only noteworthy performance comes from Queen Hecuba, who is commanding even in her admissions of defeat.

(Matt Boothman) C Central, 0845 260 1234, until 25 Aug, 8.30pm. £7.50—£9.50 (£6.50—£8.50).