Reviews & features: Edinburgh International Festival

272 reviews

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Gulliver's Travels

19 Aug 20124 stars

Savage and funny adaptation of Swift’s satire

The Victorians considered Gulliver's Travels a kid's book, chortling at the notion of a big man in a tiny world and quietly omitting Gulliver's horrified realisation that the bestial Yahoos are in fact human. That uncomfortable final part of the book is…

Batsheva Dance Company: Hora

19 Aug 2012

Learning the new language of dance

For most of us, the word ‘gaga’ means one of two things: an anthemic, hands-in-the-air Queen song, or a peroxide blonde dressed in meat. At Batsheva Dance Company in Tel Aviv, however, it has a whole other meaning. The brainchild of Israeli artistic…

Russia's Mariinsky Ballet bring Cinderella to Edinburgh International Festival

19 Aug 2012

Five reasons why you shouldn't miss it

The company You might know them as the Kirov, but back home they’re called the Mariinsky Ballet, and this St Petersburg-based troupe is widely recognised as being one of the finest classical ballet companies in the world. The choreographer A former…

Juilliard School bring upcoming dance stars to Edinburgh International Festival

17 Aug 2012

High profile American dance institution set for Playhouse performance

Each August scores of budding artists, many still studying their craft, flock to Edinburgh to test their performance mettle in what even die-hard professionals might regard as a dauntingly competitive market. It’s these same young people – a few of…

2008: Macbeth

14 Aug 20124 stars

Theatre of war re-imagined for the 21st century

The first we hear of Major Macbeth, he’s radio-ing in from his Scotland-52 helicopter saying he’s going to undertake a dangerous raid on Arab insurgents in an unnamed Middle Eastern country in defiance of his commander. The attack is successful, so we…

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Waiting for Orestes: Electra

12 Aug 20124 stars

Visually and aurally striking adaptation of Euripides’ Electra from Tadashi Suzuki

Five men, stripped to the waist and sitting in wheelchairs, circle the stage. Moving as one, they appear like a cross between an Ancient Greek chorus and the pitiful co-dependents of a Samuel Beckett play. For the first 18 minutes of the play, they say…

Sergio Diaz of Ballet Preljocaj discusses the company's performances at EIF

12 Aug 2012

The Edinburgh International Festival is hosting three pieces from the acclaimed French company

It’s lunchtime at Ballet Preljocaj’s headquarters in Aix en Provence, and dancer Sergio Diaz is taking a well-earned break. A few moments earlier, he and the rest of the company were rehearsing And then, one thousand years of peace, an extraordinary new…

Aditi Mangaldas reinventing Kathak dance at Edinburgh International Festival

12 Aug 2012

‘It’s interesting and challenging for me to explore the unknown,’ says Aditi Mangaldas, on the phone from her company’s base in New Delhi. Which is exactly what the Indian choreographer has been doing for the past 21 years, since the formation of the…

Gagaku, the ancient music of Japan, comes to the Edinburgh International Festival

11 Aug 2012

One-off performance to showcase the world's oldest orchestra tradition

If you think Western classical music is ancient – and let’s face it, even Bach dates back over 300 years – it’s a mere youngster compared with gagaku. The music of the Japanese imperial court, which gets a very rare British outing as part of the…

Behind the scenes at NVA's Speed of Light

10 Aug 2012

Account of walking participation in Edinburgh International Festival event

It’s been described as looking like the movie Tron, a human work of art and a sci-fi sports endeavour, against the most famous silhouette Edinburgh has to offer. Rhona Taylor takes to the hills, and investigates what NVA’s much-talked-about Speed of…

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Edinburgh Festival pre-sales increase in 2012 despite Olympic fever

10 Aug 2012

Olympic TV viewing figures thought to have little effect on final ticket sales figure

With the 2012 London Olympics drawing sky-high television ratings – 10.7 million viewers tuned in to watch Andy Murray win gold in the Olympic tennis final last Sunday afternoon while a further 10.1 million watched Chris Hoy take his second gold on…

Five electronica composers at the 2012 Edinburgh International Festival

6 Aug 2012

Terry Riley, Laurent Garnier, Craig Armstrong, Abel Korzeniowski, Isao Tomito and Ryoji Ikeda

So the Edinburgh International Festival can be regarded by some as... how does one put this delicately... highbrow? Scholarly? Of course that’s not the Festival’s fault. That’s the fault of us lowly plebeians who refuse to dive into the deep immersive…

Dance icon Deborah Colker brings Tatyana to 2012 Edinburgh International Festival

6 Aug 2012

Brazilian choreographer brings show based on Pushkin's Eugene Onegin to Edinburgh

When you approach the latest dance production by trailblazing, Olivier Award-winning Brazilian choreographer Deborah Colker, please jettison clichés of samba, sun and surf. The small, blonde dynamo, 52 this year, is hugely popular in her native country…

TR Warszawa's 2008: Macbeth relocates the Scottish Play to Iraq

4 Aug 2012

Artistic director Grzegorz Jarzyna brings the production to Edinburgh International Festival 2012

Grzegorz Jarzyna is something of a wunderkind in Polish theatre. Since being appointed artistic director at TR Warszawa – the acclaimed theatre company based in Poland’s capital city – in 1998, aged just 30, he’s become known for his genre-pushing…

Interview: Camille O’Sullivan on her 2012 Edinburgh Festival and Fringe shows

11 Jul 2012

Songstress on her ballsy, ballad show hitting Australia and Edinburgh

Camille O’Sullivan is the tireless workhorse and sultry glamourpuss who has Edinburgh in the palm of her hand. Kelly Apter meets the woman who is breaking new ground at this year’s festival

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Interview: NVA's Speed of Light at Edinburgh International Festival 2012

11 Jul 2012

Sport and art combine to cover Arthur’s Seat with light and colour

Arthur’s Seat will be a dramatic spectacle of light and colour thanks to NVA. Claire Sawers talks to Angus Farquhar and some of his runners ahead of this ambitious meeting of sport and art

Interview: Laurent Garnier and Angelin Preljocaj at Edinburgh Festival 2012

11 Jul 2012

Producer and choreographer collaborate on And then, one thousand years of peace

‘Laurent Garnier has been making the planet dance for 25 years.’ So states the opening line of the Frenchman’s personal website. While there’s a hint of hyperbole in that statement, it’s fair to say Garnier has filled a few floors in his time. From…

Théâtre du Soleil's epic Jules Verne-inspired 2012 Edinburgh Festival show

11 Jul 2012

Serge Nicolaï on Les Naufragés du Fol Espoir (Aurores)

Multi-talented actor Serge Nicolaï tells Mark Fisher why four hours is positively speedy in the egalitarian and epic world of Ariane Mnouchkine and Théâtre du Soleil

Edinburgh International Festival 2012 highlights

11 Jul 2012

Highlights from the 2012 International Festival programme

Batsheva Dance Company. They last stirred the festival in 2008 with the blazing Deca Dance, which featured the relatively rare sight of some members of an EIF audience on stage with the performers. Under the guidance of innovative choreographer Ohad…

Opera North bring The Makropulos Case to 2012 Edinburgh International Festival

11 Jul 2012

Janáček opera features soprano Ylva Kihlberg and Tom Cairns

As Opera North prepare to bring us a new version of The Makropulos Case, Kate Molleson recalls the history of a tale whose central character is either a nihilistic vixen or feminist icon

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Twenty top shows at the 2012 Edinburgh Festivals

11 Jul 2012

Highlights from the Fringe, Book and International Festivals

Having scanned the 23.6m shows, exhibitions and events across the festival in late July, August and early September, we pluck out the ones that simply cannot be missed

Interview: Soprano Sophie Bevan set for 2012 Edinburgh Festival

11 Jul 2012

Mendelssohn's A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Bach and Handel

‘Fun’, ‘wonderful’ and ‘luck’ are words which crop up regularly in conversation with Sophie Bevan. The 28-year-old soprano clearly enjoys her chosen career and the growing number of prestigious opportunities which are coming her way. They may be fun and…

Scotrail announce expanded Edinburgh Festival 2012 train timetable

4 Jul 2012

Additional night services to Glasgow, Dundee, Perth and North Berwick

New late-night train services to and from Edinburgh will make it easier for those outside the city to visit the 2012 festival. In Glasgow, there will be a Fringe box office at Queen Street station from July 27. Tickets bought online in advance can be…

How to visit the Edinburgh Festival

2 Jul 2012

A guide to getting the best from the Edinburgh Festival and Fringe

The phrase 'planned itinerary' might might be at odds with the spirit of chaos and wild abandon you associated with your visit to the Edinburgh Festival. The brutal truth is that shows do sell out, so book tickets to things you definitely want to see.

Re-Triptych

2 Sep 20115 stars

Mesmerising epic journey of dance

Even as we file into the auditorium, the mesmerising spectacle has begun. The dancers sit holding golden bowls, calmly anointing the final touches on a huge mandala - a geometric Buddhist symbol - made from blue and white confetti covering the whole…