Reviews & features: International Festival

255 reviews

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Meredith Monk: Songs of Ascension

7 Sep 20104 stars

There is so much beauty here

It’s difficult to begin describing Songs of Ascension, a new(ish) work by composer, musician, artist and mercurial force of nature Meredith Monk, because it doesn’t fit cleanly into any of the nice, regular boxes we use to describe different kinds of…

Myth of the far-left agenda in Alastair Beaton's Caledonia

1 Sep 2010

Steve Cramer's Festival blog

In my last blog, I accused many of the companies engaging in the Fringe of lacking courage, and I’m sticking by it. You can always tell when there’s a political elephant in the room at a fringe, since invariably the more pusillanimous companies visiting…

The Gospel at Colonus

23 Aug 20103 stars

Greek tragedy set in an African-American Pentecostal church

That this is a spectacle worth seeing, there can be no doubt. That the cast consists of an incredible collection of highly talented singers is equally apparent. That the idea of transporting a Greek tragedy to the setting of an African-American…


23 Aug 20104 stars

History repeating itself

There is a moment in Alistair Beaton’s new play that creates a collective audible intake of breath from its audience. It is the point where Paul Higgins’ deluded huckster of a banker announces that his private corporation is now bigger than the state…

Vieux Carré

23 Aug 20103 stars

Bold, intelligent and intermittently entertaining play

The Wooster Group pulls apart Tennessee Williams’ late play set in a New Orleans boarding house and painstakingly reassembles it, adding references to the work of Warhol collaborator Paul Morrissey’s avant-garde films of the 60s and 70s and the work of…

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Porgy and Bess

22 Aug 20103 stars

French company take Porgy and Bess to the Deep South

When Opera de Lyon’s Porgy and Bess is remembered, it will be for the extraordinary multimedia staging by the directorial double-act of Jose Montalvo and Dominique Hervieu. It isn’t only that we get 50-odd performers on stage - the dancers giving it…

Why The Sun Also Rises is the least successful transatlantic crossing since Titanic

19 Aug 2010

Steve Cramer's Festival blog

I suppose the one compensation of sitting through the unforgivable The Sun Also Rises at the Lyceum was that it provided a little relief from the endless prurient sex obsessions of the Traverse next door, where one leaves every other show with the…

Meredith Monk’s Songs of Ascension set for EIF

17 Aug 2010

The multi-disciplinary american composer on her Edinburgh show

Meredith Monk’s Songs of Ascension is a characteristic multi-disciplinary work that combines music, film and movement to create an uplifting ritual. She tells Claire Prentice about her background and career – and why she’s so excited about visiting…

Pina Bausch’s Tanztheater Wuppertal

17 Aug 2010

The late great choreographer Pina Bausch lives on through her work and company, as the dancers of Germany’s Tanztheater Wuppertal arrive in Edinburgh to perform Água. Inspired by Bausch’s time in Brazil, the work is filled with striking video images…

The Sun Also Rises

15 Aug 20102 stars

Overlong and unsympathetic Hemingway adaptation

This bloated, gargantually overlong production from US company Elevator Repair Service should, at over three and a half hours, really provide its audience with a shower and a change of clothes as part of the ticket. An adaptation of Hemingway’s classic…

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Tribute concert to Sir Charles Mackerras at EIF

15 Aug 2010

Fantastic celebration of a wonderful man

One of the leading lights on the EIF, Sir Charles Mackerras has long been synonymous with the talent and the creativity at the heart of the Edinburgh International Festival. Fitting then, that they should celebrate his passing earlier this year with a…

Alonzo King Lines Ballet

14 Aug 2010

Modern classical dance with an Indian beat

It’s part of our make-up to search for the meaning in things. So it’s no surprise that when an audience sits down in front of a piece of modern dance, the big question in most people’s heads is ‘what’s it all about?’. Bringing two works to this…

Grupo Corpo - 'in Brazil dance is a way of living'

12 Aug 2010

Grupo Corpo’s International Festival performance will showcase all of the dance company’s determined creative spirit, and touch on the beliefs and traditions of their native Brazil. Kelly Apter talks to choreographer, Rodrigo Pedernerias.

Sarah Connolly

12 Aug 2010

Mezzo soprano returns to jazz roots

Among other things, 2010 is likely to be memorable as the year of the mezzo-soprano at the Edinburgh International Festival. Joyce DiDonato, Petra Lang and Christine Brewer, who replaces the indisposed Susan Graham, are just three of the famous names…

The Gospel at Colonus reveals authentic traditions at its heart

11 Aug 2010

Reworking of Greek tragedy takes centre stage at EIF

His celebrated version of Ibsen’s A Doll’s House cast dwarf actors opposite Amazonian women performers while his reimagining of Peter Pan using pint-sized puppets made audiences look anew at JM Barrie’s classic children’s tale. Now theatrical maverick…

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EIF show Caledonia discusses banking and Scottish nationalism

11 Aug 2010

Darien colony tale retold at Edinburgh International Festival

The last time the National Theatre of Scotland was on an Edinburgh International Festival stage they told, in 365, small, beautiful half-stories about teenagers, played by unknown actors - living in the forgotten corners of public life. That was in…

Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra play Carl Nielsen's Fourth Symphony

5 Aug 2010

Helsinki-based orchestra bring two nights of romance and drama

In a festival blockbuster of an orchestral programme at the Usher Hall, the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra’s pair of concerts stands out as a triple celebration of one of Scandinavia’s greatest composers, Wagner and the human voice. In putting on…

Jonathan Biss opens EIF Queen's Hall series

5 Aug 2010

Young American talent will bring passion to EIF launch

Whether volunteering for Barack Obama in the Primaries or traversing the globe with his intimate piano recitals, the young Jonathan Biss has long proved he’s no run-of-the-mill talent. Light on pomp and heavy in enthusiasm, the Indiana-raised pianist…

The Sun Also Rises performed by New York's Elevator Repair Service

5 Aug 2010

World premiere adaptation of Ernest Hemingway's novel

The Edinburgh International Festival’s theatre programme kicks off with this world premiere adaptation of Ernest Hemingway’s first major novel by acclaimed New York ensemble Elevator Repair Service. The company apply their trademark stylised…

Norrington to step in for EIF concert

30 Jul 2010

Conductor to replace Sir Charles Mackeras for Idommeneo performance

Following the sad news last month that Sir Charles Mackerras had passed away, the Edinburgh International Festival has announced that Sir Roger Norrington will now conduct the performance of Idomeneo with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra on Fri 20 Aug.

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Porgy and Bess takes centre stage at Edinburgh International Festival

16 Jul 2010

Opéra de Lyon's production of Gershwins' crossover classic

As operas go, it’s fair to say that Porgy and Bess blew in like a hurricane. When George and Ira Gershwin’s self-styled ‘American folk opera’ featuring a libretto by DuBose and Dorothy Heyward appeared on the New York stage in 1935, its cast of…

New York stories: The Sun Also Rises and Vieux Carré hit Edinburgh 2010

16 Jul 2010

Elevator Repair Service and Wooster Group head up International Festival

If the world of theatre was like a finely crafted china shop, then two very impressive bulls are preparing to charge at this year’s International Festival. As leaders of the experimental pack, Elevator Repair Service and the Wooster Group perform, not…

Diciembre finds dark humour in Chile's Pinochet years

16 Jul 2010

Teatro en el Blanco go back to basics with politically engaging EIF production

The Pinochet years continue to leave a deep scar on the Chilean psyche. Playwright Guillermo Calderón tells Mark Fisher why Diciembre tackles some dark memories but still finds humour in his nation’s tortured past

Pina Bausch's Tanztheater Wuppertal to run at Edinburgh Festival

16 Jul 2010

The legacy of the German choreographer at the 2010 International Festival

The death of Pina Bausch has left a gaping void in European dance. Kelly Apter introduces her final work for the EIF and discusses the German innovator’s legacy with those who were both influenced and moved by her

The Gospel at Colonus promises rousing theatre experience

16 Jul 2010

EIF soul and gospel take on Sophocles' tragedy sure to impress

If there’s a more roof-raising theatre experience at the entire festival, never mind just at the International end of things, we can’t wait to hear about it. Lee Breuer and Bob Telson’s The Gospel at Colonus merges rock’n’roll, soul and gospel to fire…