August 17, 2016 Natasha Tripney’s Edinburgh picks: August 17 The Stage / Natasha Tripney We’re hitting the midpoint now. A lot of shows have been watched. A lot of stars doled out. A lot of gin drunk (well, maybe that’s just me). There’s still a lot of digging to do, a lot of things left to see, but the below shows are all well worth your time. Joan – Underbelly, 7.20pm Derby Theatre and Milk Presents’ glorious retelling of the Joan of Arc story features an absolutely storming performance from Lucy Jane Parkinson – aka drag king Louis Cyfer – emotionally nuanced, funny, and warm. Skilled as she is as drag artist, she’s also a superb actor – hers is one of the best performances I’ve seen at the fringe so far. Letters to Windsor House – Summerhall, 1.35pm Sh!t Theatre’s latest show, Letters to Windsor House, is also its smartest. Rebecca Biscuit and Louise Mothersole use the mail delivered to former tenants of the east London flat they share as the basis for a funny, angry, and personal piece about the housing crisis – and about friendship. All the Things I Lied About – Roundabout, Summerhall, 4.40pm Katie Bonna’s surprisingly moving solo show, All the Things I Lied About, morphs from an exploration of the psychology of lying to something more emotionally complex about the damage people can do to one another. Scorch – Roundabout, Summerhall, 6.05pm Taking place in the same space, Stacey Gregg’s Scorch, about adolescence and gender identity (one of many pieces exploring the subject in one way or another this year), is a compassionate and considered piece of writing featuring a sensitive and endearing performance from Amy McAllister. Bubble Schmeisis – Summerhall, 3pm Nick Cassenbaum’s Bubble Schmeisis is a generous, funny and poignant piece exploring British Jewish identity and, in particular, the lost ritual of the schvitz, the steam-baths popular with Jewish men of an older generation. Team Viking – Just the Tonic Community Project, 2.55pm James Rowland’s debut solo show is an extraordinarily accomplished bit of storytelling. A tear-making, hear-breaking piece about loss, love, death and friendship that made me cry my first cry of the fringe and made me laugh louder than I have in a while. Electronic Voice Phenomena – Edinburgh International Book Festival, 9pm Theatremaker Harry Giles, and poet and performers Hannah Silva and Ross Sutherland are on the bill as Electronic Voice Phenomena at a one-off for Penned in the Margins’ experimental live literature night at the Edinburgh International Book Festival on August 19. Animal (Are You a Proper Person?) – Gilded Balloon, 5.30pm Tongue Fu is one of the best spoken-word nights around and Chris Redmond and Anna Freeman’s lively fringe show Animal (Are You a Proper Person?) makes for a really appealing hour of storytelling and song. There’s also a one-off Tongue Fu session in the Roundabout on August 21.