Reviews & features: Theatre

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Theatre director Lucy Pitman-Wallace discusses The Shawshank Redemption

31 Jul 2013

Stephen King's novella is heading for the stage at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2013

The film version of Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption initially flopped back in 1994, but since then, the story of Andy Dufresne’s battle for survival in a tough penitentiary has wormed its way into the most revered echelons of pop culture. And now…

Kubrick³ and Colour Me Kubrick spin two stories around the same man: Kubrick impersonator Alan Conway

31 Jul 2013

The London real estate agent successfully impersonated the director in the early 1990s

Surely the most astounding – and hilarious – true story to be dramatised at the Fringe this year will be Kubrick³. The PIT theatre company production, written and directed by David Byrne (not that one), tells the story of a conman who passed himself off…

5 highlights from the Fringe-specific Hunt and Darton Cafe

31 Jul 2013

The venue/eatery puts an emphasis on making the audience part of the show

Hunting for the Perfect Show Hunt & Darton changes its mood in the evenings, becoming a venue for the sort of work that the long runs and the tight turnarounds of the Fringe doesn’t usually include. Their performance selection is a handy guide to…

Non Nova brings l’Après-midi d’un Foehn to 2013 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

30 Jul 2013

Company Non Nova's imaginative use of carrier bags set to the music of Debussy

Many dancers have been described as ‘dancing on air’. But the stars of l’Après-midi d’un Foehn really do. Unlike other dancers, they’ve had no formal training, don’t attend class, never rehearse and wear no costumes or make-up. Largely because they’re…

How I Do Edinburgh - by The Blue Bunny from La Clique

30 Jul 2013

The giant gay rabbit in Spandex on partying, resting and comfort-eating

Can you sum up your show in five words? Children’s birthday party for adults. For anyone still on the fence, what’s a sure-fire selling point? A giant gay rabbit in Spandex, twirling a baton is not enough? I think this year’s La Clique is going to be…

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Off-kilter puppets Boris and Sergey return to Edinburgh Festival Fringe with Perilous Escapade

30 Jul 2013

Puppets recount their tribulations in the underworld

Last year, Boris and Sergey were a late night success: a pair of seditious puppets, out to bilk their audience while spoofing Kate Bush and The Matrix, they provided wild hilarity right up until their souls were dragged down into hell. Artistic…

Little Howard returns to the Edinburgh Fringe with his Big Show for Kids

30 Jul 2013

Howard Read combines toilet humour and tech to great effect

The old showbiz chestnut about not working with animals and children might still hold good, but there’s no rule against using material that kids inadvertently offer grown-up entertainers. In Howard Read’s case, his son Sammy provided some lines that…

[title of show] fuses musical theatre and real life at 2013 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

30 Jul 2013

UK premiere of quirky US Broadway musical hit

Anyone who saw Daniel Kitson’s 2012 Fringe sell-out, about a writer writing a play about writers writing another play, will agree that the show-within-a-show format has grown serious legs in recent years. This year Patch of Blue Theatre stride out with…

Playful adaptation of Michael Morpurgo's I Believe in Unicorns explores freedom to read

30 Jul 2013

Theatre director Dani Parr is adapting the book for Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2013

War Horse might be his most famous work, but Michael Morpurgo’s 2005 novel I Believe in Unicorns is just as powerful. In it, a boy called Tomas discovers the joy of reading through a local library storyteller called the Unicorn Lady, before the arrival…

Echolalia show explores Asperger's via clowning at 2013 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

30 Jul 2013

New-Zealander clown show tackles taboos of autism

‘I don’t know if I would categorically say clowning is the best medium for the subject of Asperger’s,’ says Jen McArthur, performer in New Zealand-based Kallo Collective’s show Echolalia, ‘but I do think it is an excellent medium.’ McArthur developed…

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Shaun Tan’s ‘book without a story’ The Red Tree takes to the stage

30 Jul 2013

Featherweight theatre company are adapting the kids' book for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2013

Figuring out how to dramatise a book described by its author as ‘without any particular narrative’ might seem impossible. But for Featherweight’s artistic director, George Wigzell, the challenge was irresistible. ‘Once my copy arrived, I instantly…

Big Bite-Size Play Factory’s Family Creatures offers five, family-friendly plays

30 Jul 2013

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2013 show promises 'not to patronise'

The Big Bite-Size Breakfast Show has been delighting Fringe audiences for years with short plays in the morning, but in 2013 the group brings its first show for children to Edinburgh: The Big Bite-Size Play Factory’s Family Creatures. ‘Big Bite-Size…

Big Wooden Horse theatre company adapting picture book Aliens Love Underpants

30 Jul 2013

The extra-terrestrial adventure is coming to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2013

Author Claire Freedman and illustrator Ben Cort may have come up with some fiendish rhymes and colourful illustrations in their popular picture book Aliens Love Underpants, but at just a couple of hundred words long, there’s not much in the way of…

Nirbhaya, Ban This Filth! and The Fanny Hill Project highlight feminism at the Fringe 2013

29 Jul 2013

Theatremakers Yael Farber, Alan Bissett and Tess Seddon tackle the subject from three perspectives

There used to be a time when feminism had to be disguised or excused in order for it to be palatable to the general public. ‘I’m not a feminist, but... ’ became a line used by those who were feminists in all but name, and a reminder that the word still…

Interview: uncategorisable Fringe 2013 performer Red Bastard

29 Jul 2013

Red Bastard is a charming, thrilling, terrifying mix of comedian, performance artist and clown

Caught in the corner of the stage, a stray audience member is pinned down by an impossible logic problem. Another audience member is invited to explore the performer’s costume, discovering hard cash in a soft place. When Red Bastard hit Glasgow as part…

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Einstein, Higgs and Feynman provide the scientific basis for Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2013 shows

29 Jul 2013

Andrea Brunello, Jan van den Berg and John Hinto adapt their physics heroes for the stage

For Rob Drummond, award-winning playwright of Quiz Show and the chair of Big Bang Theatre – a panel discussion on the relationship between science and theatre – the connection between the two is simple. ‘Both theatre and science are concerned with the…

Theatre company Northern Stage provides a ‘festival within the Festival’ at the 2013 Fringe

29 Jul 2013

This year's programme considers themes of 'dissent, protest and the need to ask questions'

‘Curated programmes are making a comeback at the Fringe,’ explains Lorne Campbell, the new artistic director of Northern Stage. Last year the company took up residence in St Stephen’s, where – under the directorship of his predecessor Erica Whyman…

Interview: live art duo Hunt and Darton discuss their pop-up café installation

29 Jul 2013

The project, in which the audience are part of the performance, is taking place at the Fringe 2013

Go looking for a snack in Edinburgh city centre during August and you might just stumble upon some unexpected art. For a second year, live art duo Jenny Hunt and Holly Darton are offering festival-goers food for the stomach and the eyes at the Hunt…

The legacy of legendary French mime Jacque Lecoq endures at Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2013

29 Jul 2013

Red Bastard, Clout, Theatre Ad Infinitum and Rhum and Clay all bear marks of his influence

Physical theatre is on the rise: last year, Doctor Brown won the Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Award with a show that displayed his remarkable mime skills, and a generation of graduates from the Lecoq School arrived at the Fringe to reclaim the clown from…

Top 5 shows about ageing at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2013

29 Jul 2013

Including comedy from Viv Gee, music from Webster & Bourgein and theatre from Paper Birds

Age Against the Machine Viv Gee’s seventh stand up show sees her continue her pursuit of coming to terms with being a self-proclaimed “middle-aged teenager”. Whether it’s constantly evolving technology, fuzzy felt or dealing with ageing itself, Viv is…

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Theatre of Widdershins bring Rumpelstiltskin and the Wheel of Fortune to Fringe 2013

29 Jul 2013

Widdershins' Andy Lawrence appreciates 'strong sense of darkness that runs through' the fairytale

Stories told in childhood stay with us forever, and there can’t be many parents out there who don’t recall the weaselly wonder of little old Rumpelstiltskin. It’s a tale ripe for theatricality, and if ever there was man to do it, it’s Andy Lawrence. In…

The value of art in society is under fire in Banksy: The Room in the Elephant

29 Jul 2013

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2013 show is inspired by a true story

For their tale based on a real-life event, the team behind Banksy: The Room in the Elephant – director Emma Callander (of Theatre Uncut), writer Tom Wainwright and actor and former Eastenders star Gary Beadle – have lucked out with a story that provides…

Young Fringe stars Little Bulb explore new territory with Squally Showers

29 Jul 2013

'We’re exploring the world of dance theatre and dance logic' says artistic director Alex Scott

Between 2008’s Crocosmia and 2010’s Operation Greenfield, Little Bulb Theatre have won most of the major theatre awards at the Edinburgh Fringe. This year, they return with the third in their trilogy, Squally Showers. ‘The characters aren’t related at…

Gecko Theatre Company bring childhood memories to life in Missing

29 Jul 2013

The physical theatre show is being staged at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2013

For their last visit to the Fringe, Gecko reinvented Gogol’s The Overcoat as an expansive parable about how the quest for material comfort can become a deal with the devil. Missing has an original story – a woman, Lily, feels her soul being eaten away…

Cadre examines the meaning of the fight for freedom

29 Jul 2013

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe production is by South African playwright and actor Omphile Molusi

With the world’s media camped outside Mandela’s hospital, it’s an important time to revisit the history of his nation’s civil rights movement. In his follow-up to 2008’s Fringe First-winning Itsoseng, playwright and actor Omphile Molusi presents an epic…