Reviews & features: Edinburgh Festivals

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Edinburgh Art Festival group show Garage is a way of ‘getting people together and having some fun’

18 Aug 2014

Artist Emma Bowen discusses the show, which also features work from Denis Uster and David MacDiarmid

Each weekend during the Edinburgh Art Festival, Garage, a mini art festival located inside and outside of 51a Northumberland Street, will open to the public. The project has ben organised by artist Emma Bowen, who has invited guest curators and sundry…

Twins

17 Aug 20144 stars

Laidback, freewheeling comedy from Annie McGrath and Jack Barry at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Annie McGrath and Jack Barry patently aren't twins. This misguided assumption that people can't tell them apart is a running joke throughout their show. It's simple and silly but they just about manage to keep the notion weird and quirky rather than…

Walking Dead comic artist Charlie Adlard set for 2014 Edinburgh Book Festival events

17 Aug 2014

Artist also appears with Robbie Morrison to discuss WWI graphic novel White Death

Born in Shrewsbury in 1966, comic artist Charlie Adlard first arrived on the UK scene with work for 2000AD’s enduring monthly anthology spin-off the Judge Dredd Megazine, and has continued to work for publishers Rebellion on series in both publications…

Miranda Sings

17 Aug 20143 stars

Colleen Ballinger performs deft, tone-deaf character comedy at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

‘Haters back off!’ screams the back-drop before Colleen Ballinger aka YouTube superstar Miranda Sings takes to the stage. Later, the scatty Miranda will read out some of the nastier comments that have accompanied her online videos, which have to date…

Peter Ross on his new book Daunderlust ahead of 2014 Edinburgh International Book Festival

17 Aug 2014

Scottish journalist talks about his storytelling style and hidden spots in Scotland

Five words to describe your storytelling style. Rather than high-five myself, I'll quote the reviews of my book: ‘Funny’; ‘Beautiful’; ‘Full of heart’. None of those were written by my mum, the landlord of my local, or anyone else who has cause to be…

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Highlights from 2014 Edinburgh International Book Festival: Fri 22 – Mon 25 Aug

17 Aug 2014

Martin Amis, Gruff Rhys, Haruki Murakami and Peter Ross among guests at Charlotte Square

Friday sees a joint event with two of the literature’s bright young things, Ned Beauman and Clemens J Setz discussing their recent work. Beauman will be speaking about Glow, his follow-up to 2012’s Booker Prize-longlisted The Teleportation Accident, and…

The Hibrow Hour

17 Aug 2014

Multi-media arts for smart audiences including Alison Jackson and Jonny and the Baptists

The Hi-Brow Hour, which takes over an afternoon slot at Summerhall for the third week of the Fringe, is more inclusive than the average show. Not only are the individual events be recorded, they are being streamed on BBC Arts Online and shown at Odeon…

Symphony by Ella Hickson, Tom Wells & Nick Payne

17 Aug 20143 stars

Three delightful theatre pieces exploring growing up and falling in love

Individually, Ella Hickson, Tom Wells and Nick Payne have seen their fair share of theatrical success. Hickson's had a number of hit plays since her 2008 Fringe debut, Eight, brought her to nationwide attention. Payne's Constellations recently won the…

Victoria Crowe: Real and Reflected

17 Aug 20144 stars

Solo show transforms the Scottish Gallery into a tranquil haven at the Edinburgh Art Festival

Stepping in to Victoria Crowe’s exhibition out of the bustle of Edinburgh mid-festival is like finding an oasis of calm. Her delicate, multi-layered paintings, with titles like ‘Considered silence’ and ‘Ordered Reflection’, are still and thoughtful…

Dead Letters

18 Aug 20144 stars

PropUp Theatre's charming Edinburgh Festival Fringe production explores the secret life of mail

In this charming anti-Bartleby, newly appointed post office worker George crouches down to a pile of undelivered messages in the dead letter office. As paper rains on his head, he is overwhelmed by the potential heartbreak and sorrow the stranded post…

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The Big Bite-Size Plays Factory Goes Down the Toilet

18 Aug 20143 stars

Toilet-obsessed public information kids' show at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Parents of kids who've hit potty training age will be aware there's unlimited capacity in their wee brains for repeating the word 'poo'. The Big Bite-Size Plays Factory has turned this compulsion into a gold-mine with their short set of variations on a…

Klip

18 Aug 20143 stars

Fun musical absurdism in pieces by Livingstones Kabinet at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

A disclaimer is displayed at the start of this show warns audience members not to attach any great depth or meaning to this performance. With that in mind, Denmark-based absurdists Livingstones Kabinet set the scene for a provocative hour of sound and…

Clown Slut

18 Aug 20144 stars

Feminism redefined through clowning, dancing and kebabs at Edinburgh Festival Free Fringe

Joanna Griffin's semi-autobiographical one woman show Clown Slut initially seems like a jolly romp through the indignities of university life, but slowly reveals itself as something much sharper. She plays a gauche protagonist, desperate to dance and…

Icarus Falling

18 Aug 20144 stars

Physical theatre meets performance poetry in strong solo from Australian performance poet

’I am all words and nothing more,’ or so declares the aptly-named Australian performance poet Scott Wings at the start of this strong, concentrated solo show. He’s speaking in character as Icarus, the lad from Greek mythology whose manufactured…

John Robertson: A Nifty History of Evil

18 Aug 20143 stars

A hour of manic, horror-themed comedy storytelling at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

John Robertson begins his routine with its own prequel, a whacked-out retelling of the universe’s creation. The Aussie stand-up then launches into several manic stories involving the Marquis de Sade, Rasputin and Filipino vampires during A Nifty History…

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Josie Long: Cara Josephine

17 Aug 20144 stars

A flawless hour, unequivocally delightful

Josie Long’s handcrafted blend of upbeat whimsy, curiosities and earnestness has attracted a lot of ardent fans and netted her the Best Newcomer award in 2006. Detractors dismissed her as too fluffy and then, when she started to take on more political…

Nathan Caton: Teenage Mutant Nathan Caton

17 Aug 20144 stars

Edinburgh Festival Fringe comedy show exploring what it means to be a man and a role model

At the top of the show Nathan Caton chats to the crowd making amiable jokes about a few topical subjects such as Scottish independence, the Commonwealth Games and UKIP. It looks like we're in for an hour of solid and accomplished club-style stand-up.

Woyzeck

17 Aug 20144 stars

Splendid Productions' energetic and playful hour finds new meaning in the great unfinished play

In their rendering of Büchner’s unfinished text, Splendid Productions adopts a playful timbre that sees them skip between scenes, co-opt the audience as the rumour mongers, and gleefully demonstrate the mechanisms behind their skilful stagecraft: as…

Iain Stirling: Everything

17 Aug 20142 stars

Tighter writing needed to elevate likeable comedian

Former CBBC presenter and Chortle Student Comedian of the Year, Iain Stirling is so keen to take the stage that he springs about in the wings impatiently waiting for his crowd to take their seats. He’s a relative youngster at 26 and is disarmingly eager…

Mildred and the Midnight City

17 Aug 20142 stars

Adventurous children's theatre piece that feels a little crowded

There are plenty of understated heroics in HookHitch Theatre's overly quaint tale of a little woman who has adventure thrust upon her. And there is plenty of puppetry, involving clever duel-screen shadow projectors, a peculiarly poodle-like Polar Bear…

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John Ruskin: Artist and Observer

17 Aug 20142 stars

An all too comprehensive overview of the painter's practice shows him to be less than outstanding

John Ruskin: Artist and Observer at first appears to be an unassuming display of watercolours, sketches and photos, appealing only to enthusiasts for either the media or the natural or architectural subjects that form its visual content. Yet by the time…

Exhibit B

17 Aug 20145 stars

A deeply moving and confrontational work staging the hidden Curiosity Cabinets of European racism

It's the eyes that get you first when you step into South African artist Brett Bailey's searing damnation of historical and modern-day racism. Set up as a series of tableaux vivants in the most quietly ornate of human zoos, the audience are invited to…

Like Fireworks, Like Butterflies

17 Aug 20143 stars

A Korean legend revisited through dance, storytelling and puppetry

Once described as 'the Isadora Duncan of Korea', Choi Seung-Hee's vibrant career is explored here, through dance, storytelling and puppetry. Performer Kim Kyungmin selects an audience member to help her carry a suitcase, in which a box of letters is…

I Do, Do I

17 Aug 20144 stars

Musician Greg Sinclair creates profound nonsense with kids at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Is I Do, Do I even a kids’ show? Well, yes and no. Edinburgh-based cellist and actor Greg Sinclair’s multi-layered, deceptively simple offering is actually for anyone – there’s nothing aimed directly at children here, although its free-thinking…

Broken Dolls (Razbitye Kuklu)

17 Aug 20142 stars

Strong performances in sex trafficking drama let down by unresolved plot lines and poor set

Broken Dolls tells the story of Narcisa, a young girl from Moldova who is sold into sex trafficking and imprisoned in a Turkish brothel. The play explores the brutal psychological abuse inflicted on women in order to desensitise them and trap them in a…