Reviews & features: Issue 663

88 reviews

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Allan Brown will discuss Inside the Wickerman

12 Aug 2010

His batty book analyses the cult classic

Inside the Wicker Man is a cinema lover’s dream. The book is packed with fascinating trivia from the horror classic it explores, along with in-depth analysis and humour; and it’s a pleasure to find its author Allan Brown just as funny in everyday…

Step inside a payphone booth for a spot of storytelling

12 Aug 2010

The Invisible Dot provides audiences with a new form of entertainment

What with the Fringe being the Fringe, it’s only right and proper that some of this year’s shows should crop up in the most unlikely of places. And so it is that The Invisible Dot have brought four old British Telecom payphone booths to this year’s…

John Harris at the Book Festival

12 Aug 2010

Hail Hail Rock'N'Roll: expect full audio-visual support

‘I will talk about rock moustaches, Elvis’ jumpsuits and James Blunt’s lyrics,’ proclaims John Harris, author of Hail Hail Rock’N’Roll, his vintage rock, pop and counter-cultural almanac. ‘The aim is to navigate through 50-odd years of rock history…

Lee Kern opens with Filthy Raucous Soul Bitch

12 Aug 20103 stars

Promising debut from cheeky Londoner

Inviting critics to the very first performance of his Fringe debut run, as opposed to giving himself time to ease in, could have gone either way for Lee Kern. On the one hand, he’s got a better chance of receiving a write-up, which becomes more…

Wau Wau Sisters' Last Supper bribe The List

12 Aug 2010

With a magnet, thong, tea towel, fridge magnet and hip flask

We received this bribe bounty at the very last minute, so unfortunately didn’t have time to track down a spokesperson from the show, but we think the bribe speaks for itself. The Wau Wau Sisters sent us a bundle including: a pair of pants, a thong, a…

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Greek Myths For Kids by the new Backhand Theatre

12 Aug 20103 stars

A bit too few tales of Kings, Heroes and Monsters

This is the debut show from the newly-formed Backhand Theatre company, and to a certain extent, it shows. There’s nothing new or overly exciting here, and the performances are solid rather than outstanding. That said, the company shows promise, and…

Atsuo Okomoto: Faraway Mountain

12 Aug 2010

Japanese stone sculptor presents 12 pieces sculpted from same block

The first UK solo exhibition by Japanese stone sculptor Okomoto showcases the technique of ‘war modoshi’, or splitting and returning, and features 12 pieces sculpted from the same block which can then be pushed together to reform the original piece. The…

Courtyard Readings

12 Aug 2010

Read and listen to poetry at these outdoor readings

One of the loveliest annual events of the Festival season, these outdoor readings (don’t worry, they go indoors if/when it rains) hosted by the School of Poets are open to all poetry lovers. Come and read your own work, or a personal favourite poem, in…

Moira's five ways to ensure you survive the festival

10 Aug 2010

'Falkirk's hardest woman' hands out tips on surviving the Fringe

Being on tour can be a stressful business, what with staying away from home, forgetting your lines onstage and, erm, setting off the fire alarm in the venue. Scotland’s newest stage superstar, Moira, shares her tips on how to survive a fortnight at the…

Jonno Katz - Cactus: The Seduction

8 Aug 20103 stars

A manic one-man love story

After an unnecessarily lengthy preamble that includes a lesson in cultural and linguistic differences and enforced sexual fantasising for the audience, Australian Jonno Katz weaves a love story of a man, another version of himself, an enigma wrapped in…

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LuckyMe decamps to Cabaret Voltaire for the Festival

6 Aug 2010

David Pollock talks to the Glasgow-based record label/art collective

This has been the most important year yet in the evolution of Scottish electronic label LuckyMe, and this third annual Edinburgh Festival event featuring their friends, collaborators and signees should be the perfect showcase for local supporters and…

David Strassman: Ventriloquism taken to a whole new level

6 Aug 20105 stars

Duality brilliantly wrong-foots audience and may blow minds

American entertainer David Strassman continues to single-handedly revive and redefine the ancient art of ventriloquism for the 21st century with this hilarious mind-bending psychodrama which might have been written by Charlie Being John Malkovich…

Lars Husum and his novel My Friend Jesus Christ

6 Aug 2010

A wild and bizarre slapstick farce

Given that My Friend Jesus Christ reads like a Dogme movie, you can’t help but feel Lars Husum’s time working as a dramaturge at Lars von Trier’s Copenhagen film production company Zentropa fed into his debut novel. ‘It’s not conscious, but I see your…

Emily Woof at the Writer's Retreat

6 Aug 2010

The ex-actress conducts a deep involvement with language

Emily Woof first graced Edinburgh nude and on a trapeze for a trilogy of one-woman Fringe plays, under the Sex umbrella. And throughout The Whole Wide Beauty (the debut novel by The Full Monty and Wondrous Oblivion star), the loss of physical expression…

Garth Nix kicks off this year's Book Festival

6 Aug 2010

What he has in store and why fantasy is making a comeback

Garth Nix, the bestselling Australian author of young people’s fantasy fiction, is both honoured and alarmed that he’ll be kicking off this year’s Book Festival with its very first session. ‘I’m not entirely sure what I’ll be talking about yet!’ Nix…

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Natasha Walter's fight for women's equality

6 Aug 2010

She presents her new book Living Dolls: The Return of Sexism

Following sold out events at Brighton, Dublin, the South Bank and Latitude, writer and campaigner Natasha Walter is hitting the Edinburgh International Book Festival to stress that the struggle for women’s equality is as important as ever. To some…

Philip Pullman - The Good Man Jesus and The Scoundrel Christ

6 Aug 2010

'The Most Dangerous Author in Britain' comes to the Book Festival

You will know him by the horns, of course, and the casual air of unholy sin. For Philip Pullman is the anti-God and ‘The Most Dangerous Author in Britain’, according to the modern gospel of The Mail on Sunday. To most of us, however, he is the avuncular…

Laura Barton talks about Twenty-One Locks

6 Aug 2010

The author describes why and how she wanted to write her novel

Born and raised in Lancashire, Laura Barton migrated south a decade ago, and found gainful employment with The Guardian. ‘I started writing a music column [Hail, Hail, Rock ‘n’ Roll] in a style that was quite different to most journalism at the time,…

Gary Younge visits the Edinburgh Book Festival

6 Aug 2010

Exploring issues of identity across this mad world

Returning to Edinburgh holds bittersweet memories for Gary Younge. He was in the city as a student in the late 80s, studying Russian and French at Heriot-Watt and was awestruck by the geography of his new surroundings. ‘Having grown up in Stevenage…

Alberto Manguel will discuss All Men Are Liars

6 Aug 2010

And why we should step back from the over-reliable narrator

Alberto Manguel’s latest book, All Men Are Liars, is ‘a tribute to falsehood’ in which no one is a reliable source; not the enigmatic figure whose death is being investigated, not those who knew him, nor Manguel himself. It’s a concept that challenges…

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Candia McWilliam will discuss her memoir at the EIBF

6 Aug 2010

The festival veteran considers her own difficult story

‘I have loved the Edinburgh International Book Festival all its 22 years,’ says Charlotte Square Gardens veteran Candia McWilliam. ‘It makes an annual conversation about books and about thinking, about what it is to share in the examined life. It is…

Tinchy Stryder to take over the HMV Picture House

6 Aug 2010

The East London grime boy done good, and Third Strike is on its way

If Tinchy Stryder’s second long-player, Catch 22, saw him vault the grime underground and snare the pop mainstream (number one hits, collaborations with N-Dubz and a Sugababe, the best-selling UK solo artist of 2009), you wonder what level of stardom…

Radio 1 DJ Nick Grimshaw set challenge with Fringe comedy show

6 Aug 2010

Champion of new music finds comedy feet

Radio 1 returns to the Fringe following last year’s Scott Mills The Musical. DJ Nick Grimshaw was set the challenge of writing a one-man show, with five weeks to prepare. Here, he explains the show he’ll perform this week. ‘Don’t get me wrong – I…

Top five Scottish crime writers to catch at the EIBF

6 Aug 2010

The city that embodies vice and virtue welcomes the authors

With its Jekyll and Hyde nature, Edinburgh is the perfect spot for the portraiturists of good and evil to congregate. Here’s a quintet of Scottish scribes to catch this week Tony Black. Gus Drury is Black’s flawed bobby and in Long Time Dead, he’s…

Flesh and Blood and Fish and Fowl

6 Aug 20103 stars

Look busy, it’s the end of the world

When the human race has all but died out, when the Earth has erased almost all evidence of our existence, the last redoubt of our once great civilisation will be … the back office of a microwave meal manufacturer. As a premise, it sounds half-baked…