A roundup of the Roundabout, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

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Paines Plough’s flatpackable Roundabout theatre is one of the most exciting new writing venues of the fringe. Tucked in the rear courtyard at Summerhall, the intimate, domed space features several plays spotlighting Britain’s working class this year. From Scottish school gates to a Yorkshire village, the best writing here this fringe wrenches theatre’s narratives away from the privileged classes.

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Flesh and Bone, Soho Theatre

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by guest critic Amy Toledano

This tour-de-force of a show is a love letter to the last of the East End geezers and birds alike who, just like everybody else, want to live their lives the way they please, free from societal pressure and judgement. Written, directed and performed by the brilliant Elliot Warren and Olivia Brady, the story has been brought to life through many a real life experience, as they detail the grit, violence and love they dish out and take in everyday.

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The Daughter-in-Law, Arcola Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

Men are immature and women are cruel.

With this damning premise, D H Lawrence condemns straight couples to lives of vengeful misery. Minnie and Luther are newlyweds, but the cold viciousness of married life has already sunk its claws in. Both feel trapped. Luther’s lack of ambition to progress in his job down the coal pits winds up Millie, who just wants him to love her as much as he loves his mother.

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Isaac Came Home From the Mountain, Theatre503

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by Laura Kressly

Bobby’s a bright, enterprising young man, so when his dad demands he get a job and do something with his life other than get stoned, he does. Desperate to impress his elders but with little sense for his actions’ consequences, Bobby’s series of bad decisions leads to catastrophe. But this new play, laden with thematic complexity, cuts the story short before it has the chance to fully resonate.

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A Gym Thing, Pleasance Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

Will is having a rough time so isn’t inclined to leave his Playstation. His worried mate Jay convinces him to join the gym with him, in the hope that it pulls him out of his funk. Unknowingly, Jay creates a monster. The gym gives Will not just new-found purpose, but triggers an addiction that totally transforms him from quiet and shy into a vain, self-absorbed and destructive force.

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Albatross, Gate Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

There aren’t many writers who conjure stories the way Isley Lynn can. Her innate instinct for achingly human characters in situations rarely – if ever – seen on stage sets her well apart from most young playwrights. Her oeuvre includes Skin a Cat, a hilarious and necessary story of a young woman navigating dating and sex whilst unable to be vaginally penetrated, and Tether, the journey of a blind woman and her guide training for a marathon. These intimate stories leave a huge impact when set on stage, their echoes long reverberating with her audiences.

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Nest, VAULT Festival

by an anonymous guest critic

Nest is a beautiful two-hander by Katy Warner, which was understandably shortlisted for Theatre503’s playwriting award. Travelling through an unconventional, council-estate couple’s journey, the play invites the audience into snippets of their relationship, through a series of non-chronological scenes.

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