Edinburgh Reviews: L.O.V.E (Assembly Rooms), Fleabag (Underbelly)

L.O.V.E, Volcano Theatre, Assembly Roxy ✭✭✭✭

Volcano Theatre bring their acclaimed production of L.O.V.E to the fringe, and it packs a weighty punch. Thrilling, visceral performances strips Shakespeare’s sonnets to expose the sex and sensuality beneath surface. Three actors take inspiration from the sonnets of Shakespeare and weave a passionate modern take on the Dark Lady, and the Lovely Boy. The ménage-a-trios is given full focus as the trio throw themselves around the stage, into the audience and into each other with wild abandon. Rarely, if ever, have the sonnets been given such a sweaty treatment, the actors smash into each other, locking lips and exposing flesh. This is Shakespeare for a modern generation, raised on Tarantino. Tibu Fortes and Joseph Reay-Reid speak the verse with passion, and perform the breathless physical choreography with wild flair and energy, but Mairi Phillips commands the attention with her sinewy body, perfect verse speak, and dangerously unbridled emotion. This Volcano erupts and leaves you breathless.

**** (4 stars)
Runs until 25th August
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Fleabag, DryWrite, Underbelly Cowgate ✭✭✭✭✭

Phoebe Waller-Bridge is a captivating and engaging storyteller, and DryWrite’s Fleabag offers a thoroughly delicious helping of her talents in this one-woman play. The world that Waller-Bridge inhabits is so acutely drawn, so full of dark, painfully observed humour that we are instantly drawn in. It is a world full of contradictions and juxtapositions, from the cute guinea-pig themed cafe she co-owns with best friend Boo, to her nightly trawl for sexual gratification online, in bars, or on the tube. Waller-Bridge brings character after character to life and has the audience eating from the palm of her hand, giggling helplessly, and even gasping on occasion. However, she can spin the world on a dime, and what is one second a gasp of laughter quickly turns to a catch in the throat, a stifled tear. In these rapid changes of gear Waller-Bridge is perfection, shifting from side-splitting humour to gut-wrenching agony in the blink of an eye. An unmissable masterclass in performance.

***** (5 stars)
Runs until 26th August
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