Reviews & features: Edinburgh Festivals

7,454 reviews

Sorted by popularity / date / title / rating

New Media Scotland: Alt-w

17 Aug 20143 stars

Works by Donna Leishman, Calum Stirling and Mehrpouya and Powell on show at Edinburgh Art Festival

Bringing traditional aesthetics and digital programming together, the artworks showcased in Alt-w approach ‘new media’ in a variety of ways. Two large sculptural works by ~ in the fields are first over the threshold, though they sit uneasily in the…

Can't Stay Away!

17 Aug 20141 star

A messy experiment which feels more like an under-rehearsed work-in-progress

Some Fringe shows thrive on experimentation, with a loose structure which well serves an atmosphere of seeming spontaneity. Some merely fail. Sadly, Fourth Monkey's Can't Stay Away! falls into the latter category. Examining an asylum seeker's…

21 Things You Should Know About Toronto's Crack-Smoking Mayor

17 Aug 20143 stars

Rob Ford-themed political theatre at 2014 Edinburgh Fringe that credits audience with intelligence

Canadian politician Rob Ford had a non-existent profile on the world stage until May last year, when clickbait news website *3Gawker*2 published evidence of him smoking crack cocaine. When Ford’s eventual admission only made things worse (‘Yes, I have…

Title and Deed by Will Eno

17 Aug 20144 stars

Brilliantly unsettling piece of Edinburgh Fringe theatre questioning the essence of humanity

In 2005 the New York Times described American playwright and Pulitzer Prize winner Will Eno as a Samuel Beckett for the Jon Stewart generation. Almost a decade on, it seems Eno lives up to that weighted description with his monologue Title and Deed, a…

Marie-Michelle Deschamps: Don’t trip over the wire!

17 Aug 20143 stars

An information overload undermines deliberately enigmatic work at the Edinburgh Art Festival

Marie-Michelle Deschamps’ Don’t trip over the wire! is the latest work produced for the Collective Gallery’s ‘Satellites Programme,’ a development programme for emergent artists in Scotland. Deschamps has produced a sound installation, which emanates…

back to top

Jamaica Farewell

17 Aug 20143 stars

Solo Fringe performance presents thrilling journey across political turbulence and street violence

Jamaica Farewell is a solo performance by Deborah Ehrhardt in which she recounts episodes from her childhood in her beloved Jamaica and her conflicting desire to one day move to America, the place she thinks of as the land of opportunity. In the…

Shakespeare, His Wife and the Dog

17 Aug 20144 stars

Joyous celebration of language and proof there is still life in scripted theatre

Shakespeare, his Wife and the Dog, is a joyous celebration of language, despite the underlying themes of senility and death. Finding himself unfashionable, Shakespeare retires and makes his household's lives miserable. Challenged by his wife, he goes…

Reduced Shakespeare Company in The Complete History of Comedy (abridged)

17 Aug 20143 stars

A playful and clever retelling of the history of comedy from the Reduced Shakespeare Company

The Reduced Shakespeare Company are famous for their irreverent wit and quick-fire comedic stagecraft. To see them turn their efforts to a history of their own profession presents a treat in unexpected ways. Alongside countdown lists of history’s least…

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014 interview: BJ Novak of the US Office on debut short story collection One More Thing

15 Aug 2014

'There’s a story in my book called “Regret is Just Perfectionism Plus Time". That’s how I feel'

If you’ve ever watched the US series of The Office, BJ Novak’s face will be instantly recognisable as obnoxious temp Ryan Howard. A producer, writer and actor on the show (he landed the gig aged just 25, after producer Greg Daniels saw him at a comedy…

Edinburgh International Festival 2014: 10 things you should know about Pina Bausch

15 Aug 2014

Sweet Mambo, one of the final pieces by the late choreographer, will be performed at this year's EIF

1. Critics weren’t always her biggest fans Today Pina Bausch is recognised as one of the most influential choreographers in contemporary dance but it wasn’t always that way. Critics were divided when her work was first unleashed. It was seen as being…

back to top

Edinburgh International Festival 2014 interview: Jonathan Mills on his Sandakan Threnody

15 Aug 2014

The outgoing artistic director of the festival discusses his WWII memorial piece

Back in March, Jonathan Mills announced the theme for this year’s Edinburgh International Festival. He wanted the programme to look at the relationship between conflict and culture – how war and political unrest leave their mark on art. It probably…

Interview: Rachel McCrum and Jenny Lindsay talk poetry at the Edinburgh Festivals 2014

15 Aug 2014

Poets are popping up all over the capital this august, including Luke Wright and Hollie McNish

Between the crowds, the queues, the small-hours bedtimes and the daytime drinking, moments of poetic transcendence don’t necessarily come high on the August-in-Edinburgh agenda. But those familiar with Edinburgh’s dynamic live literature and spoken word…

Chaos Walking author Patrick Ness set for 2014 Edinburgh Book Festival appearance

15 Aug 2014

Key writer in British young adult fiction scene discusses new novel More Than This

Chaos Walking author and Book Festival favourite Patrick Ness will soon deliver the first Siobhan Dowd Trust Memorial Lecture. He tells Paul Gallagher why truth in storytelling is more important than ever. Patrick Ness is one of the shining lights of…

Dystopian graphic novel IDP 2043 events set for 2014 Edinburgh Book Festival

15 Aug 2014

Collaborative work featuring contributions from Irvine Welsh, Denise Mina and Pat Mills

Charlotte Square went mad for comics last year – so much so, they’ve collaborated with Freight Books on a new graphic novel. David Pollock finds out more.

Edinburgh Forest Fringe 2014 interview: Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping

15 Aug 2014

Theatremaker Bill Talen takes an anti-consumerist view at the fringe-of-the-Fringe festival

He's been banned from every Starbucks in the US, performs exorcisms in Tesco, and now he's in Edinburgh, on a mission to save bees from the agriculture industry. Reverend Billy is a pastor with a difference – he's more interested in saving the planet…

back to top

Edinburgh Art Festival 2014 interview: Yann Seznec on his fan-based work, Currents

15 Aug 2014

'I had to call it the Yann Seznec Fan Club, because I’m basically a giant dork’

‘At its most basic, sound – whether it’s someone making music, or the act of speaking – is basically the physical movement of air. What we hear, is the motion of air molecules.’ To explain his latest project, Currents, Edinburgh-based sound artist…

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014: a guide to the best in-venue eating

15 Aug 2014

Have a full-on foodie's festival with the help of Smoak, Valvona & Crolla, Nusou, Whydo and more

It’s not entirely true to say you can judge a Fringe venue by the quality of its food offerings, but many of the more culinarily discerning of those audience members in attendance will certainly form an opinion. You’ll certainly get an idea of what a…

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014 interview: Beardyman

15 Aug 2014

The beatboxer extraordinaire discusses his new creation, Beardytron 5000, and first ever TED talk

Beatboxer Beardyman has spent the last few years working on a bespoke system (‘two laptops, loads of buttons, knobs and touchscreens’) to translate sounds from his brain to his listeners’ ears. He reasons it’ll forever be a work-in-progress but he…

This weekend at the 2014 Edinburgh International Book Festival: Fri 15–Sun 17 Aug

15 Aug 2014

Highlights include Julian Cope, Katy Brand, Gordon Brown and Maggie O'Farrell

Friday’s highlights include Julian Cope, one of contemporary music’s most interesting chaps – as well as one of the busiest, judging by his output as a musician, author, historian, antiquarian, cultural commentator, and now, novelist. He'll be talking…

Jim Davidson: No Further Action

15 Aug 20143 stars

Solid old-school comedian draws on recent scandal for precisely formed jokes

Few comedians arrive at the Fringe facing the sort of scrutiny aimed at Jim Davidson. It’s easy to forget he was once the mainstay of Saturday night television, a family entertainer who fronted BBC One’s primetime family game shows. These days his…

back to top

Mark Thomas: 'According to the police, I’m a domestic extremist – that’s my category'

15 Aug 2014

The comedian and actor, performing at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, discusses being spied upon

It seems to me that one of the key issues of the moment is privacy and data protection. For instance, I won’t have a loyalty card – I don’t want some supermarket knowing whether I bought porridge on a Friday or not. Also, I’m not loyal to them – I shop…

Sweet Potato and Callaloo: Voices from the Caribbean Diaspora

15 Aug 20145 stars

Project exploring Scotland's role in slave trade, featuring Dorothea Smartt and Millicent AA Graham

Fresh from their appearances at The Empire Cafe, a remarkable project exploring Glasgow and Scotland's under-acknowledged role in the transatlantic slave trade, come four poets from the Caribbean Diaspora. Warmly introduced by Scottish poet Jackie Kay…

The Capone Trilogy: Vindici

15 Aug 20144 stars

Betrayal and brutality in Chicago fuses Jacobean melodrama and film noir

Jethro Compton has become a firm Fringe favourite over the past few years: Vindici, part of his Capone Trilogy, is a fine example of his ability to bring together diverse influences into a coherent whole. The audacious melding of Jacobean melodrama and…

Alfie Brown: Divorced from Reality (And My Wife)

15 Aug 20144 stars

Comedian is back on top form with intoxicating, meaningful comedy at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

It would be rude to say that Alfie Brown had a gap year last Fringe, but after a blinding 2012 hour, something didn’t quite seem right about his follow-up. For those of us who trumpeted him loudly as one of the natural torch-bearers for stand-up’s…

James III: The True Mirror

15 Aug 20144 stars

The king goes bling in the third of Rona Munro’s plays at the Edinburgh International Festival

The king gets some bling in the third of Rona Munro’s historical trio of plays: the huge dagger digging into the stage at the Festival Theatre has shining jewels embedded in the handle, and James (Jamie Sives) is keen to pimp up his reign. He wants a…