Reviews & features: Theatre

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I’m With the Band tackles Scottish independence from a different angle

29 Jul 2013

Welshman Tim Price's Fringe performance uses inter-band tension as an independence analogy

It’s not the subtlest metaphor: when a Scottish guitarist leaves successful indie-rock band The Union, its remaining members – an Englishman, a Welshman and a Northern Irishman – question their alliance. But with the independence referendum just a year…

Kevin Tomlinson charts man's progress through life in Seven Ages

29 Jul 2013

The erstwhile comedy performance is returning as a drama to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2013

Although last year Kevin Tomlinson’s extended improvisation on Shakespeare’s seven ages of man speech was a success under the comedy label, its return is firmly in the theatre section. ‘I didn’t just want to be judged by whether I was being funny,…

Gruffalo geniuses Tall Stories deliver My Brother the Robot

29 Jul 2013

The mechanical family story will appear at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2013

Annoying as siblings can sometimes be, having an in-house playmate has definite advantages. Unable to procure one through the usual route, the little girl in Tall Stories’ new show obtains one from her father, an inventor who knows a thing or two…

Tortoise in a Nutshell returns with Feral, a play animating the Trumpton Riots

29 Jul 2013

The performance, which is part puppetry, part film, will be staged at the Edinburgh Fringe 2013

Even leaving aside the subject matter, there can be few more potentially stunning Fringe plays in the pipeline than Tortoise in a Nutshell’s Feral. A co-production with Cumbernauld Theatre after the previous success of Grit and The Last Miner, Feral is…

Playwright David Harrower visits Glasgow the Dangerous in Ciara

29 Jul 2013

Blythe Duff takes the lead in Harrower's Traverse production for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2013

The Traverse’s programme during the Fringe is predictably solid: the theatre’s continued support for Scotland’s top playwrights is reflected in a new work from David Harrower, Ciara. Harrower remains most famous for his incendiary Blackbird, a complex…

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Playground politics take centre stage in kids' theatre production Hush

29 Jul 2013

The first work from Moon Mission Theatre Company will play at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2013

The first play from Moon Mission Theatre Company, Hush is a tale that all children can relate to. ‘The story is about playground politics,’ says Flemish writer and director Anne Stoffels. ‘It explores how a playground can be a great imaginative setting…

If These Spasms Could Speak is a touching account of everyday life as a disabled person

29 Jul 2013

The play, a big hit at the Arches in 2012, is coming to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2013

‘At its simplest, the show looks at how disabled people see their own bodies,’ says Robert Softley of If These Spasms Could Speak, a big hit at The Arches last year that returns for a full Fringe run as part of the Made in Scotland Showcase. ‘It does…

Irish company Big Telly gives Melmoth the Wanderer its theatrical debut at the Edinburgh Fringe 2013

29 Jul 2013

Charles Maturin's novel is a Gothic condemnation of the Catholic Church

Oscar Wilde’s uncle, Irish cleric and party animal Charles Maturin, wrote Melmoth the Wanderer in 1820. It’s strong stuff, a Gothic condemnation of the Catholic Church with a Faust-influenced hero who sells his soul to the devil and then decides he…

Florence Minder comes to terms with loss in Good Mourning! VOstBil

29 Jul 2013

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe comedy-drama examines the role of language in expression

Although the Institut Français has a year-round remit to champion the French language, it doubles as an intriguing Fringe venue. Florence Minder’s Good Mourning! VOstBil might be performed in English, but it connects to the grand European tradition of…

The best shows at the 2013 Edinburgh Festivals

16 Jul 2013

20 highlights from the 2013 festival programmes, covering Fringe, Books, International, Art and Jazz

We’ve scanned the thousands of shows, exhibitions and events across the festival in late July, August and early September, and highlight the ones that simply cannot be missed

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Strong food theme at 2013 North Berwick festival Fringe by the Sea

16 Jul 2013

Chef Neil Forbes, Moroccan cuisine and Belhaven Brewery set for town's harbour

The ice-cream cones on the front cover of Fringe By The Sea’s programme are the first hint at this year’s strong food theme. Besides the always-tempting option of braving the gallus seagulls of East Lothian, going al fresco and taking fish and chips…

Edinburgh Fringe shows explores stories of Anna Politkovskaya and Yulia Tymoshenko

15 Jul 2013

Ines Wurth and Badac Theatre present shows dealing with prominent women in Eastern Europe

Every year, Amnesty International gives an award to a play on the Fringe that presses the right artistic buttons and spreads the word about human rights. When the judges come to consider this year’s Freedom of Expression Award, two shows in particular…

Grid Iron perform Leaving Planet Earth at 2013 Edinburgh Festival

15 Jul 2013

Scottish theatre company's new show 'merges Battlestar Galactica and George Monbiot'

‘It was the merging of Battlestar Galactica and George Monbiot,’ laughs director Catrin Evans about the inspiration behind Leaving Planet Earth. In 2010, Evans’ mother sent her a clipping of an article about consumerism by The Guardian’s environmental…

Taiwan Contemporary Legend Theatre stage Metamorphosis at 2013 Edinburgh International Festival

15 Jul 2013

Actor Wu Hsing-kuo tackles Kafka's text in technology-heavy production

Wu Hsing-kuo knows all about transformation. In the Edinburgh International Festival of 2011, he morphed himself into all the key characters of King Lear. In his idiosyncratic one-man interpretation of Shakespeare’s play, Wu tackled each part in turn…

Performance poet and playwright Kate Tempest bring Brand New Ancients to 2013 Edinburgh Fringe

15 Jul 2013

Brand New Ancients is ‘everyday epic’ which finds heroism in the ordinary people

Kate Tempest doesn’t like to stay in her comfort zone. At only 26, she has already found success as a rapper, performance poet and playwright, gaining acclaim for her politically infused, impassioned writing coupled with a likeable, unpretentious stage…

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Theatre show Big Daddy vs Giant Haystacks explores shift in power in UK society

15 Jul 2013

Wrestling-themed show at 2013 Edinburgh Fringe on north/south power shift between 1976 and 1988

When British professional wrestling legend Mick McManus passed away in May at the age of 93, it was the end of an era that this cauliflower-eared villain helped to define. Two other icons of the original sports entertainment no longer with us are…

Whatever Gets You Through the Night set for 2013 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

15 Jul 2013

Award-winning theatre show from Cora Bissett features some of Scotland's most distinctive artists

What’s on your mind between midnight and 4am? Sleeping? Soul searching? Eating? Night walking? This award-winning show from artistic powerhouse The Arches asked the question and got back a batch of different answers from 20 writers, musicians and…

5 premieres at the 2013 Edinburgh International Festival

15 Jul 2013

New work from Meredith Monk, Peter Gregson and Teatrocinema

Madame Freedom From YMAP comes this merger of dance, film and digital technology. Histoire d’amour. A chilling multimedia tale from Teatrocinema about obsession and alienation.

Five body dramas at the 2013 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

15 Jul 2013

Mucus Factory, Melodic Dystrophy and How Hard Do You Hum When You Cum?

Mucus Factory. A one-off five-hour part reflection on illness, part physiotherapy session, and all-live art confrontation. How Hard Do You Hum When You Cum? Rousingly titled show that examines those bits of the self that always seem to be…

Five war plays at the 2013 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

15 Jul 2013

The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning, Grounded and The Trench

The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning. A soldier leaks secrets in an act of conscience. Grounded. A former fighter pilot struggles with a work/life balance of controlling drones by day, mothering by nigh • Grounded A former fighter pilot struggles…

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The Wooster Group rework Richard Burton's Hamlet at 2013 Edinburgh Festival

15 Jul 2013

Video screenings of New York’s theatre crew's shows including Rumstick Road and To You, The Birdie!

New York’s experimental theatre crew The Wooster Group embark on yet another challenging proposition, as they rework Hamlet for the 21st century. Nothing new in that, you might think, except they’re using footage of the legendary 1964 Broadway…

Five talks at the 2013 Edinburgh International Festival

15 Jul 2013

Brian Eno, Philip Glass and Patti Smith among those delivering talks at EIF

Philip Glass & Patti Smith These two US creative legends discuss another, Allen Ginsberg. Nam June Paik Resounds A gathering of curators muse upon the legacy of this counter-culture tech-artist.

Catherine Bennett is a Credible Likeable Superstar Role Model

10 Jul 2013

The new show from performance artist Bryony Kimmings attempts to create an alternative popstar

Catherine Bennett is a young pop star with a purpose. ‘CB’ doesn’t wear skimpy clothes and lots of make-up or sing about boys and sex and dancing in nightclubs, or anything else you might hear being bandied around in the charts. Instead, she works in a…

Physical theatre production BLAM! promises 'Die Hard meets The Office'

10 Jul 2013

The Danish production is coming to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2013

An elevator pings. Throaty laughter drifts round the corner and four beaming faces appear. ‘Coffee. We need coffee, please.’ Twelve hours ago, these caffeine-craving cohorts enjoyed a rowdy standing ovation in Reykjavik’s main theatre. Six hours ago…

Top five European theatre productions at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2013

10 Jul 2013

Featuring works from Belarus Free Theatre, Akhmeteli Theatre and Spain's Centro Dramático Nacional

Trash Cuisine Belarus Free Theatre’s first show entirely in English is, unsurprisingly, banned back home for its attack on human rights violations under the rule of Alexander Lukashenko. Partly taking the form of a grotesque cookery show, it takes in…