Reviews & features: International Festival

267 reviews

Sorted by popularity / date / title / rating

The 20 best shows at the 2014 Edinburgh Festivals

15 Jul 2014

Stuck to know what you must see this festival? Here's 20 suggestions from across the festivals

The James Plays. Edinburgh International Festival. Sofie Gråbøl, Blythe Duff and Jamie Sives are among the actors appearing in Rona Munro’s highly anticipated historical trilogy.

Edinburgh International Festival 2014: 10 unmissable programme highlights

22 Jul 2014

Featuring Kronos Quartet, Helen Lawrence and Ganesh Versus the Third Reich

Czech Philharmonic Two concerts from the orchestra conducted by Jiri Belohlavek. The first features Nicola Benedetti as they tackle Janácek, Korngold and Martinu together, while the second has mezzo soprano Bernarda Fink singing the powerful ‘Biblical…

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…

Interview: Sofie Gråbøl on The James Plays at 2014 Edinburgh International Festival

15 Jul 2014

The Killing star talks about why she chose her first project outside of Denmark to be in Scotland

It’s not a career path any Danish actor would dare to imagine. Even for the most celebrated of that country’s stars, the prospects of working abroad remain slim. So although Sofie Gråbøl was one of Denmark’s best-known actors long before being cast as…

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…

back to top

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…

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…

Five world-class sopranos appearing at the 2014 Edinburgh International Festival

15 Jul 2014

Featuring Susan Bullock, Claire Booth, Erin Wall, Anna Prohaska and Ute Lemper

Susan Bullock. It takes a rare kind of mental and physical stamina to tour the globe singing Ring Cycle after Ring Cycle. Maybe it’s pure survival tactics that make Wagnerians some of the most down-to-earth singers in the business and Susan Bullock is…

Music highlights from the 2014 Edinburgh International Festival

15 Jul 2014

Including Sweet Mambo, Czech Philharmonic, Ganesh Versus the Third Reich and Kronos Quartet

Sweet Mambo. Five years on from her death, Pina Bausch’s reputation as one of the most important choreographers of our age is only strengthening with time. Tanztheater Wuppertal, the dance ensemble she led from 1973, are carrying on her work and taking…

back to top

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…

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…

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.

Bal Moderne mixes dance, period dress and audience participation at 2014 Edinburgh International Festival

15 Jul 2014

Audience members learn dances at show inspired by the songs and dances of wartime Europe

The words ‘audience’ and ‘participation’ can still strike terror into the spines of punters and critics alike. If you add the word ‘dance’ into the equation, then that fear is simply heightened. But in recent years, dance shows that blur and break the…

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…

back to top

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…

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…

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…

back to top

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…

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…