Reviews & features: Edinburgh Festival Fringe

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Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014 interview: Swedish comedian Tobias Persson

22 Jul 2014

'I'll be discussing life, death, money, love, marriage. Though I might have the inevitable knob gag'

In vitro fertilisation might seem like a cold, clinical and invasive subject for stand-up. But as Tobias Persson explains, his show is about ‘the basic human struggle to achieve a goal. Discussing life, death, money, love, marriage etc. Though I might…

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014 interview: Russian comic Igor Meerson

22 Jul 2014

‘If you say “My wife left me because I drank all her perfume” in Russia, no one knows you're joking'

As one of the first Russians performing stand-up, Igor Meerson elaborates on the difficulties of introducing the new art form at home. ‘If a man stands on stage and says “hello, my name is Peter. My wife left me because I’m an alcoholic and yesterday I…

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014 interview: Parisian comic Yacine Belhousse

22 Jul 2014

'My major inspiration comes from Monty Python. And Eddie Izzard as far as stand-up is concerned'

Lately supporting Eddie Izzard on tour, Parisian comic Yacine Belhousse specialises in ‘surreal stand-up based on everyday life. I start with a simple idea and digress. I’ll always tell a story and sometimes play with dialogue or characters, like say, a…

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014 interview: comedian Paco Erhard on being the Worst. German. Ever.

22 Jul 2014

'A lady called me “the worst German ever”. Which was funny as, historically, I do have competition'

Paco Erhard’s return to the Fringe balances irreverent, provocative social satire with more personal insight, such as his formative decision to hitchhike out of Germany: ‘the most pivotal hours of my life; intense fear, hope, doubts and dreams’.

A bit of the hard stuff: six controversial comedy shows at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014

22 Jul 2014

Featuring Dangerfield: Sex with Children, AIDS: A Survivor’s Tale and Kitten Killers

In the maze that is the Edinburgh Fringe, sometimes the best plan for an act is to simply think up a controversial title in order to sell tickets. Gavin Webster clearly couldn’t come up with one, so the popular Geordie comic brings us, quite literally…

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Interview: DJ Tom Loud re-installs his Hot Dub Time Machine at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014

21 Jul 2014

'I want to hear The Beatles and Beyonce and maybe a bit of Skrillex all in the same night'

The secret is very much out. Now on its third Fringe appearance, if you’ve not already been, you might have had someone telling you that you ‘really, really should’ – and that someone could be from any variety of walks of life, too. But that’s the thing…

Big Fat Fringe Bribe blog 2014: Chelsea Manders - Don't Tell My Dad

21 Jul 2014

The Canadian comedian buys some exposure with a classy bottle of icewine

Despite trying to emphasise the tongue-in-cheek nature of our Big Fat Fringe Bribe, there are always one or two performers who go above and beyond with their payola. Possibly not realising that she could get away with an ornamental bottle-stopper…

The 20 best shows at the 2014 Edinburgh Festivals

15 Jul 2014

Stuck to know what you must see this festival? Here's 20 suggestions from across the festivals

The James Plays. Edinburgh International Festival. Sofie Gråbøl, Blythe Duff and Jamie Sives are among the actors appearing in Rona Munro’s highly anticipated historical trilogy.

Interview: Diana Rigg on making her Edinburgh Festival Fringe debut with No Turn Unstoned

15 Jul 2014

Diana Rigg on Games of Thrones and her 2014 comedy show based on bad theatre reviews

Something fishy is going on in theatreland. There’s a meeting of the Critics’ Circle but one of the members hasn’t shown up. Every time a concerned journo goes to investigate, they disappear too. At the mystery’s heart is Edward Lionheart, an actor in…

Anne Archer stars in controversial show The Trial of Jane Fonda at 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

15 Jul 2014

Academy-award nominated Anne Archer plays actress at the height of her anti-Vietnam protesting

Jane Fonda is famous for plenty things. Writhing around in wet-look silver as a coquettish space traveller in thigh boots for Barbarella. Lunging and reaching through aerobics workouts, shrink-wrapped in Lycra leotards and building up her own fitness…

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Interactive zombie theatre piece The Generation of Z set for 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

15 Jul 2014

Immersive horror-action play invites audience to participate as survivors of a zombie apocalypse

If the zombie genre didn’t keep coming back from the grave, we’d have to find a way to kill it. Myths of the undead have survived for longer than we might have realised (in Christian mythology for a start), but ever since George A Romero’s fresh horror…

Edinburgh Comedy Awards 2014: Past winners reveal what the top comedy prize means to them

15 Jul 2014

Featuring Brendon Burns, David O'Doherty, Tim Key, Russell Kane, Adam Riches and Bridget Christie

Brendon Burns (2007) Before winning the Edinburgh Comedy Award, what was the best thing you had ever won? I’m not sure I’d ever won anything before that, beyond sporting trophies as a kid. Of the other nominees on your shortlist, can you name one…

Interview: Andy Bell of Erasure on bringing Torsten the Bareback Saint to 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

15 Jul 2014

Erasure vocalist makes Fringe debut with a song cycle about a Dorian Gray-type character

Andy Bell’s Twitter account declares that he is ‘loving 2014 so far’. It’s a productive time for the flamboyant singing half of Erasure, with collaborations aplenty. But he can explain all that. ‘It’s the year of the horse,’ he says. ‘I looked it up and…

Female muslim boxers challenge stereotypes in No Guts, No Heart, No Glory at 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

15 Jul 2014

Common Wealth theatre company return to the Fringe with a play to be performed at Sandy's Boxing Gym

The inspiration for what would eventually become No Guts, No Heart, No Glory reached Common Wealth theatre company co-founder Evie Manning from an unlikely source: her next-door neighbour, a 35-year-old Muslim and mother-of-nine. ‘She said to me that…

Site specific theatre highlights at the 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

15 Jul 2014

Conventional theatre spaces too run-of-the-mill? How about a boxing gym, a beach, bed or bus?

Out of Water. Live art clashes with music and rubs up against theatre in probably the earliest show at the Fringe. Stories of endeavour are interwoven with haunting music, lifeguard drills, calls for help and struggles for breath featuring a score by…

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Shows inspired by key women in history at the 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

15 Jul 2014

Shows based on Jane Fonda, Margaret Thatcher, Bette Davis, Janis Joplin and Zelda Fitzgerald

Margaret Thatcher: Queen of Soho. You’d think there might have been a section of the Fringe programme solely dedicated to the Iron Lady by now. But until then, the true blues can go purple with fury at Matt Tedford’s interpretation of Lady Mags as a…

Oliver Postgate’s classic Noggin the Nog comes to 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

15 Jul 2014

The Sagas of Noggin the Nog brings viking from vintage children's TV programme to stage

Some years ago, in an innocent time before the Game of Thrones hegemony, there was a converted cowshed in leafy Englandshire. Therein, two men created an animated fantasy adventure set in the craggy Northlands, starring a simple, kindly Norse prince…

Lenka Vagnerová brings two dance pieces to 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

15 Jul 2014

Czech dance star's Riders and La Loba features singer Jana Vébrová and actress Tereza Voríšková

As the judges take to the stage, the tension starts to mount. The 20th annual Czech Dance Platform (CDP) has just come to a close, and here in the Ponec Theatre on the outskirts of Prague, this year’s award-winners are about to be announced. In keeping…

Interview: Pamela Stephenson Connolly on bringing dance show Brazouka to 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

15 Jul 2014

Brazouka uses dance lambazouk and other Brazilian dances to tell life story of dancer Braz Dos Santo

While the world’s eyes have recently been fixed on Brazil’s football stadiums, a troupe of that nation’s dancers are limbering up to showcase a different kind of intricate footwork in Edinburgh. Brazilian dance show Brazouka, written and lead-produced…

Cabaret highlights from the 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

15 Jul 2014

Featuring Miss Behave’s Game Show, Voca People, Stop Killing People, Sonics in Duum and Hard Time

‘Liza Minnelli and Bob Fosse? A mixed bill of burlesque, circus skills, singing and comedy, aka variety? Singer droning on about the Weimar Republic? A renegade night of genius at the end of a festival day? This, and not yet this.’ Such is Miss Behave’s…

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Behind the scenes at the Edinburgh festivals

15 Jul 2014

Insiders reveal the preparation put into one of the world's largest cultural events

Jamie Mitchell. Fruitmarket Gallery manager on getting art into the space. The process of an exhibition coming together can spread over a long time frame. Early on it’s about broad strokes, but the closer it gets, it’s more about specifics and we’ll be…

Sketch comedy duo The Pin return to 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

15 Jul 2014

Double act of Alexander Owen and Ben Ashenden return to Fringe

If you consider some of the great double acts in comedy history, you might notice a significant disparity in height. Vic Reeves towers above Bob Mortimer; not for nothing did Eric Morecambe continually call his partner Little Ern; and Bernie Winters was…

The unique reworkings of Shakespeare lined up for 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

15 Jul 2014

Shows include Billy's Birthday Bash: Let's Party Like Its 1564, Blind Hamlet and Et Tu Elvie

‘It’s hard to separate the existence of British theatre from the fact of Shakespeare. After all, there isn’t another culture that can boast not only the world’s greatest playwright but one of the greatest writers ever to have lived,’ says Ramin Gray…

Glenn Wool bring's greatest hits set to 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

15 Jul 2014

Wool's Gold features material from comedy troubadour's 20-year career

Of no fixed abode, Glenn Wool is one of a select band of stand-ups who ply a global comedy circuit, travelling continent to continent, acquiring cautionary tales of exotic misadventures and invasive customs officials as he goes. Just back from Japan…

Interview: Robert Newman brings his Theory of Evolution to 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

15 Jul 2014

The writer and comedian on why taking down Richard Dawkins is just funny

Rob Newman has a theory. Contrary to popular scientific scripture, it’s not the fittest who will survive this harsh thing we call life, it’s the misfits. This is the idea that powers his formal-forenamed touring show, Robert Newman’s New Theory of…