Reviews & features: Theatre

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Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014 interview: theatremakers Rachel Chavkin and Chris Thorpe on Confirmation

24 Jul 2014

‘The last thing that I want this piece to be is a narrative retelling of my adventures with a Nazi'

Separately, Rachel Chavkin and Chris Thorpe have been behind some of the most exciting Fringe shows of the past decade. As artistic director of New York’s the TEAM, Chavkin’s impressed audiences and critics alike with genre-bending triumphs like…

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014 interview: Kim Noble discusses performance and mental health

24 Jul 2014

The comedian and performance artist is working with 'the vacuum cleaner' on new play Mental

An audience member tried to have him institutionalised and he once filmed his own arrest for stalking, but controversial comedian and performance artist Kim Noble is back in Edinburgh with not one but two shows. Five years after he discussed his own…

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014: Poland's Song of the Goat immerses itself in Scotland's vocal music traditions

24 Jul 2014

Theatrical choral performance Return to the Voice will be performed in St Giles Cathedral

The great Indian cultural theorist Homi Bhabha writes of ‘hybridity’, a cultural phenomenon in which artists bring together aesthetic influences from different times and different places to create new art forms. It is an idea that could almost have been…

Longlist announced for the Edinburgh Fringe Sustainable Practice Award 2014

23 Jul 2014

The award recognises Fringe shows that encourage audiences to consider their environmental impact

The shortlist for the Edinburgh Fringe Sustainable Practice Award, which celebrates the greenest and most sustainable shows of the fringe that encourage audiences to take responsibility for their own environmental impact, has been announced, with 22…

Comedians take on dramatic roles at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014

22 Jul 2014

Lucy Porter, Richard Herring, Suki Webster and Russell Kane discuss swapping comedy for drama

‘It must be irritating for actors and directors because comedians muscle in everywhere,’ Lucy Porter muses. ‘We’re like, “yeah we’ll have a go at that, why not?” I think we are naturally quite reckless.’ It’s a good year for recklessness. Stand-up…

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Interview: Cora Bissett and Peter Arnott discuss Edinburgh Festival Fringe show Janis Joplin: Full Tilt

22 Jul 2014

The play stars Angie Darcy as the iconic 60s singer-songwriter and member of the infamous 27 Club

The way in which this part-concert part-play came together is fitting tribute to both the free and easy spirit of the age it remembers, and the wonderfully no-nonsense manner in which the late David MacLennan ran Òran Mór’s A Play, A Pie and A Pint…

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…

Verbatim theatre exploring sensitive issue at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014

22 Jul 2014

‘It accesses an emotional honesty, an immediacy that is rare in conventional scripted performance'

Max Stafford-Clark, former artistic director of the Traverse and collaborator with writers as diverse as David Hare, Mark Ravenhill and Caryl Churchill, regards verbatim as ‘the last great pulse in theatre’. Often used in a documentary format, it takes…

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014: 10 strange, site-specific venues

22 Jul 2014

Featuring phone shops, police boxes, rickshaws, caravans and a boxing gym

A boxing gym An amateur boxing club becomes the set for this verbatim theatre piece based on interviews with Muslim female boxers, using a cast of 16–18-year-olds. No Guts, No Heart, No Glory, Sandy’s Boxing Gym, Craigmillar, 226 0000, 18–25 Aug…

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014: 5 shows that straddle contemporary dance and physical theatre

22 Jul 2014

Featuring Maria Addolorata, Pss Pss, Missing, Malasombra and Origin

Maria Addolorata Italian duo Carlo Massari and Chiara Taviani are C&C Company, and here they deliver an intense investigation into coping with pain. This piece has already won an award in France, and is the first chapter in their proposed Trilogy of…

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Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014: 5 family-friendly circus acts

22 Jul 2014

Featuring The Little Big Show, Freedom Family Circus and Comedy Allsorts

The Little Big Show A global assortment of clowning and comedy promising ‘ginormous laughs’ in a small space. For ‘kids and very big kids’. That’s you lot. Assembly George Square Gardens, George Square, 0131 623 3030, 31 Jul–24 Aug, 10.45am, £10…

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.

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…

Interview: Diana Rigg on making her Edinburgh Festival Fringe debut with No Turn Unstoned

15 Jul 2014

Diana Rigg on Games of Thrones and her 2014 comedy show based on bad theatre reviews

Something fishy is going on in theatreland. There’s a meeting of the Critics’ Circle but one of the members hasn’t shown up. Every time a concerned journo goes to investigate, they disappear too. At the mystery’s heart is Edward Lionheart, an actor in…

Anne Archer stars in controversial show The Trial of Jane Fonda at 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

15 Jul 2014

Academy-award nominated Anne Archer plays actress at the height of her anti-Vietnam protesting

Jane Fonda is famous for plenty things. Writhing around in wet-look silver as a coquettish space traveller in thigh boots for Barbarella. Lunging and reaching through aerobics workouts, shrink-wrapped in Lycra leotards and building up her own fitness…

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Interactive zombie theatre piece The Generation of Z set for 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

15 Jul 2014

Immersive horror-action play invites audience to participate as survivors of a zombie apocalypse

If the zombie genre didn’t keep coming back from the grave, we’d have to find a way to kill it. Myths of the undead have survived for longer than we might have realised (in Christian mythology for a start), but ever since George A Romero’s fresh horror…

Female muslim boxers challenge stereotypes in No Guts, No Heart, No Glory at 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

15 Jul 2014

Common Wealth theatre company return to the Fringe with a play to be performed at Sandy's Boxing Gym

The inspiration for what would eventually become No Guts, No Heart, No Glory reached Common Wealth theatre company co-founder Evie Manning from an unlikely source: her next-door neighbour, a 35-year-old Muslim and mother-of-nine. ‘She said to me that…

Site specific theatre highlights at the 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

15 Jul 2014

Conventional theatre spaces too run-of-the-mill? How about a boxing gym, a beach, bed or bus?

Out of Water. Live art clashes with music and rubs up against theatre in probably the earliest show at the Fringe. Stories of endeavour are interwoven with haunting music, lifeguard drills, calls for help and struggles for breath featuring a score by…

Shows inspired by key women in history at the 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

15 Jul 2014

Shows based on Jane Fonda, Margaret Thatcher, Bette Davis, Janis Joplin and Zelda Fitzgerald

Margaret Thatcher: Queen of Soho. You’d think there might have been a section of the Fringe programme solely dedicated to the Iron Lady by now. But until then, the true blues can go purple with fury at Matt Tedford’s interpretation of Lady Mags as a…

Oliver Postgate’s classic Noggin the Nog comes to 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

15 Jul 2014

The Sagas of Noggin the Nog brings viking from vintage children's TV programme to stage

Some years ago, in an innocent time before the Game of Thrones hegemony, there was a converted cowshed in leafy Englandshire. Therein, two men created an animated fantasy adventure set in the craggy Northlands, starring a simple, kindly Norse prince…

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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…

The unique reworkings of Shakespeare lined up for 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

15 Jul 2014

Shows include Billy's Birthday Bash: Let's Party Like Its 1564, Blind Hamlet and Et Tu Elvie

‘It’s hard to separate the existence of British theatre from the fact of Shakespeare. After all, there isn’t another culture that can boast not only the world’s greatest playwright but one of the greatest writers ever to have lived,’ says Ramin Gray…

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: Chris Goode on bringing his urban hymn Men in the Cities to 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

15 Jul 2014

The writer, director and actor on the volatile writing process behind his new show

‘I’m in the kind of mood where I’m lobbing a brick through the window and running off, and I’m interested in what people do with the mess I’ve left behind.’ It’s hardly the kind of wanton act of violence we might expect from writer, director and actor…

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…