The theatre shows to look out for at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2011
Dance Marathon, Ten Plagues and Tuesdays at Tescos among highlights
This article is from 2011.
As ever the theatre programme of this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe is overflowing with keen ideas, exciting stories and risk-taking. The Traverse Theatre maintains its position as the beating heart of the Fringe, with Dominic Hill’s final programme as artistic director covering such diverse delights as Dance Marathon, the four-hour show by Canadian company Bluemouth, in which audience members are invited to dance and are gradually eliminated until the last hoofer standing is declared the winner. Meanwhile, 80s chart-topper Marc Almond appears in a new piece of music theatre called Ten Plagues by Mark Ravenhill and Conor Mitchell set in 17th century London. Hill himself is also directing Futureproof, the first play by Lynda Radley, in association with Dundee Rep. These headline grabbers will be jostling for attention alongside new works by Scottish playwrights David Harrower, Zinnie Harris, David Greig and Mark Thomson.
The Fringe is nothing if not a home for the offbeat, unusual and groundbreaking, and this year is no exception. Greg McLaren’s Doris Day Can Fuck Off explores how the performer spent two months singing every word to people he met, even in everyday conversation. Shakespearean thesp Simon Callow appears in drag in Tuesday at Tescos, an adaptation of the French play Le Mardi à Monoprix while Hollywood star John Malkovitch directs Julian Sands in A Celebration of Harold Pinter, which features work taken from the poems and political writings of the late, great playwright. Another big name returning to perform in the Fringe for the first time in 14 years is theatrical enfant terrible Steven Berkoff, whose Oedipus also starts erstwhile EastEnder Anita Dobson as Jocasta.
Free Run is the first ever stage show to focus on the dynamic, high-octane sport of free running and features the UK’s number one free running team, parkour pioneers and 3RUN, who hold the Guinness World Record. On a similarly sporting theme Tonight Sandy Grierson Will Lecture, Dance and Box does pretty much exactly what it says on the tin. Meanwhile, the Belarus Free Theatre finds the internationally acclaimed exiled Belarusian theatre company presenting the first performances of a new show in development in their first visit to the Fringe. Another exciting overseas company heading north of the Border are Jasmine Gwangju from South Korea, whose six-night run at the EICC tells the story of the country’s uprising against military dictatorship in 1980. And let’s not forget the ever-enjoyable mix of the crazy, experimental and envelope pushing that is the Forest Fringe.
This year’s Fringe also welcomes back a number of companies who first garnered praise and awards in Edinburgh before going on to phenomenal success elsewhere. A particular highlight is The Animals and Children Took to the Street, a startling mix of live music, performance and animation from the multi-talented 1927 company. Analogue Productions, who previously wowed audiences with their compelling blend of narrative theatre and technology in Beachy Head and Mile End, return with 2401 Objects, a new show about how memory shapes our understanding of who we are. New York’s TEAM are heading across the pond with Mission Drift, exploring American capitalism through stories drawn from every corner of the United States. And tireless young company Belt Up are bringing not one but three new shows to the Fringe, Outland, The Boy James and Twenty Minutes To Nine, including plays based on the work of Lewis Carroll and JM Barrie.