10 Edinburgh Festival Fringe shows that shine a new light on Shakespeare

This article is from 2019

10 Edinburgh Festival Fringe shows that shine a new light on Shakespeare

2Elfth Night

Including Ophelia is Also Dead, 2Elfth Night and Noir Hamlet

Productions of Shakespeare at the Fringe are variously desperate attempts to attract an audience with a familiar name; a daring re-imagining of a classic script; or a subversion of the obsession with the Bard that has encouraged British theatre to skulk around in the shadows of the first Elizabethan era for the past couple of centuries. Yet it is possible that some productions step out of the predictable and find ways to make Shakespeare resonate …

Lucrece
The Shakespeare Edit
theSpace @ Niddry Street, 12–24 Aug (not 18), 12.15pm
It's as if there aren't enough scripts left behind by the Bard; The Shakespeare Edit are offering a three person version of his epic poem which features sexual violence – from the Roman world, via the Elizabethan and through the company's vision, into contemporary life. With the voice of the victim clearly heard through the text, modern preoccupations mesh with Shakespeare's poetic power.

Ophelia is Also Dead
Sightline Productions
theSpace @ Niddry Street, 19–24 Aug, 10.20pm; theSpaceTriplex, 12–17 Aug, 4.55pm
Despite the frequent claims to the contrary made by optimistic directors, it is difficult to reclaim Shakespeare as a feminist author. Sightline are, at least, aiming to give voice to the character who ended her career after being told to get to the nunnery by a certain self-obsessed Prince of Denmark.

2Elfth Night
Keane and Doyle
Paradise in Augustines, 12–25 Aug (not 18), 8pm
This time the audience gets to be part of the performance, as a clown duo take on the romantic, cross-dressing and puritanical backlash that make up one of Shakespeare's better known, and often serious, comedy of manners and identity.

Last Life: A Shakespeare Play
The Box Collective & Piece of Yourself
Greenside @ Infirmary Street, 2–17 Aug (not 11), 6.30pm
An off-Broadway success: taking elements from the Bard's sonnets, poems, songs and scripts, three performers offer the first new Shakespeare play for four centuries. Shakespeare emerges as a proto-feminist in this examination of a relationship and gender dynamics. While the press release claims that he 'wrote strong parts for women', it might be telling that the company needed to create a modern mash-up to prove it.

Apologies to the Bengali Lady
Dia Theatrical
Greenside @ Nicolson Square, 12–24 Aug (not 18), 5.15pm
Shakespeare acts more as a prop to this analysis of the place of women in colonial Bengal. A woman fascinated by this history discovers that she must fight her interior Shakespeare to articulate her own sense of identity.

Come Dine with Mr Shakespeare
Roo Theatre Company
theSpace on North Bridge, 20–24 Aug, 3.05pm
Mashing up characters from across the plays, Roo imagine how the Bard's protagonists would get on if they were plunged into a reality TV show to compete for 'a thousand gold crowns'.

Death by Shakespeare
HurlyBurly
theSpace @ Niddry Street, 5–9 Aug, 1.40pm
Now on its fourth visit to the Fringe, this is a compilation of Shakespeare's greatest death scenes. With a focus on the language, but given dynamic physical interpretations, this selection is overseen by a 'chorus of bawdy spirits' to comment on the action.

Fifty Shades of Shakespeare
HurlyBurly
theSpace @ Niddry Street, 5–9 Aug, 2.25pm
Not content with death, HurlyBurly have edited together the 'sexy and salacious' parts of the canon, mixing up poetry with music and physical theatre moves to examine Shakespeare's interests in love, relationships and sex.

Noir Hamlet
Yasplz LLC
theSpace @ Venue45, 12–17 Aug, 12.40pm; theSpace @ Niddry Street, 19–24 Aug, 1.15pm
The transplantation of Hamlet into the 1940s, with the prince becoming a wise-cracking PI, is probably inevitable. Having won 'The Best of Boston', this imaginative take on a far too familiar script promises laughs and a twisting crime plot.

Macbeth
Choin Theatre Company
C South, 1–26 Aug, 6.55pm
One of only three Macbeths this year, Choin arrive from Korea to give Macbeth the one actor, dance, music and puppetry treatment. The balance between the performer and Macbeth's character is never stable, and will the fiction devour the person?

Lucrece

The Shakespeare Edit Lucrece is raped by Tarquin, the King's son. She chooses to tell her story and demand justice and revenge rather than remain silent. Her courage leads to the overthrow of the monarchy and the founding of the Roman republic. Following a critically acclaimed co-production with the National Centre for…

Last Life: A Shakespeare Play

  • 2 stars

A new theatre work made from the words of Shakespeare.

Noir Hamlet

Yasplz LLC Passion, jealousy, and murder never got so many laughs! John Minigan's new and wild reimagining of the Shakespeare classic has more twists than a gallows necktie. Hamlet is a wise-cracking private eye, his pal Horatio is now a complicated gal Friday named Rae Chio and the rotten state of Denmark is transformed…

Fifty Shades of Shakespeare

HurlyBurly Shakespeare at his most sexy and salacious! A physically dynamic ensemble perform a musical, lyrical mash-up that explores love, sex and relationships in some of the Bard's most famous scenes. With plenty of Grey moments, the cast take you on a journey through all things naughty, nice, nauseating and, at…

Come Dine with Mr Shakespeare

Roo Theatre Company Reality TV lurches onto the stage, with four familiar Shakespearean characters competing to win a thousand gold crowns. Lovesick Duke Orsino (Twelfth Night), Cordelia (King Lear’s former favourite daughter), Petruchio (tamer of small animals, such as shrews) and the nefarious Lady Macbeth each take…

Ophelia Is Also Dead

Sightline Productions Ophelia is Also Dead follows Ophelia telling us the story of her whole life. The show offers kaleidoscopic scenes of her alone, the raucous party life at Elsinore and a boy’s boarding school production of Hamlet done in drag, hauling the cast of Hamlet with it. Ophelia is Also Dead is about girlhood…

2Elfth Night

Keane & Doyle Keane & Doyle have been spies, wizards, witches and cosmological assassins. Now they embark on their most ambitious adventure yet: Twelfth Night! Unfortunately, upon arriving at the festive fringes of Edinburgh-land, they find that the rest of their company has been detained by security or lost to…

Death by Shakespeare

HurlyBurly A chorus of bawdy spirits lead you through this physically dynamic amalgamation of Shakespeare's finest death scenes. Witness the madness of Ophelia, the conniving Lady Macbeth, the hilarious Pyramus and the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, amongst others. A fresh look at the Bard's beautiful words through physical…

Noir Hamlet

Yasplz LLC Passion, jealousy, and murder never got so many laughs! John Minigan's new and wild reimagining of the Shakespeare classic has more twists than a gallows necktie. Hamlet is a wise-cracking private eye, his pal Horatio is now a complicated gal Friday named Rae Chio and the rotten state of Denmark is transformed…

Apologies to the Bengali Lady

  • 4 stars

dia theatrical Cook and clean and not be seen. Step into the mind of a British-Bengali woman writing the history of Shakespearean prostitute-actresses in colonial Bengal. But as academic fixation turns into existential crisis, where does Shakespeare end and the Bengali Lady begin? Apologies puts the Bengali Woman front…

Macbeth

  • 2 stars

Choin Theatre Company (Korea) in association with C theatre In this uniquely Korean retelling of Shakespeare's story, an ambitious actor dreaming of greatness is captivated by the role of Macbeth. Using puppets, music and dance, he embodies Macbeth's story in a chameleonic, humorous, high-octane physical performance. But…

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