Reviews & features: International Festival

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New Zealand dance and theatre company MAU visit 2014 Edinburgh International Festival with I AM

15 Jul 2014

Choreographer Lemi Ponifasio on the creative influences behind his new show I AM

‘Inspired by’ is a loose term for many creators, but when Samoan-born choreographer Lemi Ponifasio talks about his influences, it’s best not to expect a literal representation. Ponifasio’s New Zealand-based collective MAU was last seen at the Edinburgh…

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…

Akram Khan Company bring their show Gnosis to 2014 Edinburgh International Festival

15 Jul 2014

Dancer and creator Akram Khan is back on fighting form with work based a Hindu goddess

Touring the world for two years with one of Britain’s most revered theatre directors would be a dream come true for most performers. But when you’re 13 years old and accustomed to spending time watching Michael Jackson videos to perfect your dance…

South African play Ubu and the Truth Commission set for 2014 Edinburgh International Festival

15 Jul 2014

Team behind War Horse revive play to commemorate twenty years of post-Apartheid South Africa

The trial of Oscar Pistorius may go down as one of the biggest media spectacles in South African history. But 18 years ago – before 24-hour news and social media – the Truth and Reconciliation Commission created its own fair share of journalistic…

The New Zealand shows at the 2014 Edinburgh Festivals

15 Jul 2014

Including Generation of Z, Mau: I am, Witi Ihimaera, Black Grace anf The Troubles

The Generation of Z hurls you head first into a world ravaged by the undead. Fight for your future as you journey through a battle against extinction. Set within a maze-like security containment depot swarming with terrifying zombies, you're in the…

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Jazz, Juliette Binoche and a calendar change on cards for Edinburgh International Festival 2015

8 May 2014

Incoming director designate Fergus Linehan outlines his plans for change at the EIF

Fifteen months before the start of his first event, Edinburgh International Festival director designate Fergus Linehan has taken the unusual step of revealing some of his thinking behind the 2015 programme – as well as sharing details of a few of its…

War and peace announced as themes for Edinburgh International Festival 2014

18 Mar 2014

Programme highlights includes works involving The Kronos Quartet and Handspring Puppet Company

War and peace, conflict and conciliation are the grand themes being tackled in Jonathan Mills’ final year as director of the Edinburgh International Festival. The 2014 programme, announced today, explores music, dance, theatre and other arts not just…

Eh Joe

5 Sep 20134 stars

Atom Egoyan is a master at work as he brings Beckett from the screen to the stage

Atom Egoyan’s masterful staging of Beckett’s brief 1965 TV play Eh Joe, the first in a trio of the dramatist’s works from Dublin’s Gate Theatre at this year’s International Festival, is a thing of simple, ruthless beauty. Michael Gambon is the sole…

Dance Odysseys at the 2013 Edinburgh International Festival

30 Aug 20134 stars

An immersing four-day journey through dance

Sometimes it's nice to just dip your toe into the Edinburgh International Festival, other times it's fun to dive right in for full immersion. Happily last weekend's Scottish Ballet-led Dance Odysseys allowed audiences to do either, or indeed something…

The Poet Speaks: Homage to Allen Ginsberg - Playhouse, Edinburgh, 13 Aug 2013

30 Aug 20134 stars

Heartfelt tribute from two figureheads of modern American culture

The festival is awash with two-for-one deals, but you’d have to go some to surpass Tuesday night at the Playhouse: not just one colossus of modern American culture on stage but three – classical composer Philip Glass on piano, punk poet and singer Patti…

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Don Quichotte Du Trocadéro

30 Aug 20134 stars

A balancing act of dance and physical comedy Edinburgh International Festival

José Montalvo is a choreographer who likes fusion; and as if to make sure we get this idea early on, Don Quichotte's opening solo mixes hip-hop ripples, flamenco wrists, ballet poses and the burlesque humour that will go on to characterise this take on…

Ensemble MusikFabrik: A Tribute to Frank Zappa - Usher Hall, Edinburgh, 28 August 2013

29 Aug 20135 stars

Earthy and soaring concert of outrageously good musicianship to nourish the adventurous concertgoer

It takes a certain effort of imagination to accept that the man who wrote a song called 'Why Does It Hurt While I Pee?' was the greatest American composer of his time, but Ensemble MusikFabrik's A Tribute to Frank Zappa, played with the precision of…

Dido and Aeneas/Bluebeard’s Castle - Festival Theatre, Edinburgh, Sat 24 Aug 2013

27 Aug 20134 stars

Oper Frankfurt present a contrasting programme of warm, doomed love and psychological nightmare

In combining Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas with Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle, Oper Frankfurt have created a deeply powerful theatrical and musical experience for their audiences. Both productions are provocative but in quite different ways. While Barrie…

Interview: Composer Nico Muhly on his role in artistic collective LA Dance

22 Aug 2013

Collective perform at Edinburgh International Festival 2013

‘New York City is kind of like the Edinburgh Festival in August,’ composer Nico Muhly is explaining. ‘Except it doesn’t quit. There’s so much going on, great stuff – but it can get overwhelming at times.’ Muhly is familiar with that nagging F.O.M.O.

Hamlet

22 Aug 20134 stars

Enthralling reinterpretation of the classic text from the Wooster Group

In 1964 Richard Burton performed Hamlet on Broadway in a production directed by John Gielgud. It was recorded from 17 different camera angles and then broadcast to more than 2000 cinemas across the US, one of the first ‘cinecasts’ of its kind. New…

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Acclaimed comic actor Patrice Thibaud teams up with Jose Montalvo for Don Quichotte

21 Aug 2013

The famed Spanish novel is being transformed into a comedic dance piece for the EIF 2013

If he lived in the UK, it’s safe to say Patrice Thibaud would be a busy man each December. An acclaimed comic actor in his native France, Thibaud’s style lends itself perfectly to pantomime – which is why Jose Montalvo’s new show is pulling in audiences…

Thomas Bloch set for glass harmonica concert at 2013 Edinburgh International Festival

21 Aug 2013

Rare instruments specialist teams up with Scotland's Hebrides Ensemble

‘It looks like a horizontal kebab. But instead of meat, you have crystal glass bowls.’ It’s an odd description for a musical instrument, and what Thomas Bloch is describing is admittedly one of the world’s strangest: the glass harmonica. If a…

Five reasons to love Frank Zappa

21 Aug 2013

The maverick musician is the subject of a tribute by Ensemble musikFabrik at the EIF 2013

1. He was funny Most popular music isn’t funny. Even some of the best wallows in self-pity or angst. Zappa didn’t like wallowing. He wanted to stimulate people, so he makes you laugh. ‘Honey, Don’t You Want A Man Like Me?’, ‘Be In My Video’ and ‘Bobby…

The Edinburgh International Festival 2013 celebrates Samuel Beckett

21 Aug 2013

The strand's highlight is Eh Joe starring Michael Gambon and directed by Atom Egoyan

Beckett at the Festival is a major programme of the Irish author’s TV, radio and fiction works adapted for the stage. Inevitably, given the scale of the project and the affection Beckett commands in theatre, there are impressive names in the lineup…

Profile: Bang on a Can All-Stars perform Steve Reich work at EIF 2013

21 Aug 2013

The contemporary music collective count Steve Reich and Ryuichi Sakamoto among their collaborators

Who are they? Bang on a Can are a music collective based in Brooklyn. It was set up 26 years ago by three composers who were, and still are, dedicated to championing experimental classical music. Their vision was to create an international community of…

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Metamorphosis

20 Aug 20132 stars

Narcissistic interpretation of Kafka’s seminal text

The tantalising mixture of traditional Peking style opera, beautiful set design, and multimedia projections by Ethan Wang sounds like a play befitting the International Festivals Art and Technology theme, a special treat for the open-minded enthusiast.

Five choreographers discuss their contribution to Scottish Ballet's Dance Odysseys

16 Aug 2013

The EIF performance features new works from James Cousins, Martin Lawrance and Kristen McNally

James Cousins Which companies did you dance with before moving into choreography? Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures, then as a freelance performer with choreographers such as Marc Brew and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. When did you know that you wanted to…

Husband and wife team YMAP give dance a new look Madame Freedom

16 Aug 2013

Hyo Jin Kim and Hyung Su Kim blend live performance with striking visuals

While some dance shows at this year’s Edinburgh International Festival are going for the stripped back and bare approach, YMAP (Your Media Arts Project) is taking its performance to the opposite extreme. Named after the 1957 Korean film of the same…

Mitsuko Uchida - Usher Hall, Edinburgh, Tue 13 Aug 2013

14 Aug 20134 stars

The celebrated pianist performs Bach, Schoenberg and Schumann at the EIF

It doesn't get any more temple-of-high-culture than Mitsuko Uchida at the Usher Hall during the EIF, and everything suggested that tonight was going to obey the wacky rituals of the contemporary classical concert. The Usher Hall itself seemed to have…

Lin Zhaohua production of Coriolanus set for 2013 Edinburgh International Festival

13 Aug 2013

Lin Zhaohua arrives in Edinburgh with his take on Shakespeare's tale of heroism rejected

Although he would challenge any notion that he is an avant-garde director, or that his work has any distinctive style, Lin Zhaohua is no stranger to the sort of controversy and enthusiasm that accompanies any theatre-makers who reject the predictable.