Unusual highlights from Edinburgh Festival 2012 programme

Barges, a spoken word section, free shows from big names and more


This article is from 2012.

Unusual highlights from Edinburgh Festival 2012 programme

Canal route

Dip in for some watery goings-on at the Art Festival as Tania Kovats invites you on a canal boat trip on 3 August. The vessel sets sail from behind Cargo on Fountainbridge at 9am, making the return voyage from Jupiter Artland at 3pm. Call 01506 889 900 for details.

Nights at the proms

The entire top floor of the Underbelly (Cowgate arm) will be devoted to London’s site-specific cabaret company, Boom Boom Club. This ‘promenade performance space’ will be the perfect spot to enter a debauched, dangerous and eccentric world of after-hours revelry.

Touching Edinburgh with a barge

The Pleasance Theatre Trust give us a comedy relay on a narrow boat as a crew of stand-ups embark on a journey from London with Edinburgh as the barge’s final destination. Impromptu gigs will be performed along the way with Janey Godley, Reg D Hunter and Jenny Eclair among those getting on board.

Olympic mind games

Is it possible to predict the medals tally of select countries at the London Olympics? Mind-reader Doug Segal certainly thinks so with his prophecies under lock and key at the Gilded Balloon before being unveiled after the closing ceremony. Red faces or hot flushes are guaranteed on the 12th.

North poles

The Adam Mickiewicz Institute is helping Polish culture make a mark across the festival as part of the Cultural Olympiad. Among those appearing are the Marcin Wasilewski Trio (Jazz Festival), Robert Kusmirowski (Art Festival), 2008: Macbeth (International Festival) and Aleksandra Borys (Fringe Dance).

Speak up

Last year, the Fringe programme welcomed a whole new category for Cabaret. For 2012, Spoken Word gets its own slot across four busy pages. Among those acts breaking out of their ill-fitting comedy or theatre categorisations are Luke Wright, Liz Lochhead, Mark Grist and Superbard.

Turing show

This year’s Turing Festival has an element of mystery to it with some exciting names being kept under wraps. But we can tell you that this celebration of digital culture runs from 23–25 August and features events on future medicine, hackathons and Higgs Boson. See list.co.uk/offers for your chance to win tickets to the festival.

Lines judged

The fifth Edwin Morgan Poetry Competition prize will be awarded during the Book Festival. Those who entered could create their poems in English or Scots but they had to be 60 lines or less. The entrants need to impress journalist and poet Gillian K Ferguson, and Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, Don Paterson.

Cry freedom

Given the disquiet at some prices on the Fringe, free entertainment is on the increase once again. Among those hot names doing it for nowt are Phil Kay, Kunt and the Gang, and the filth-tinged storytelling show, Shaggers. Our favourite innovation is that Cowgate venue The Three Sisters has been renamed, you guessed it, The Free Sisters.

French evolution

Spreading a little Gallic charm on the Fringe is the city’s Institut Français with a full programme of kids shows, cabaret, musicals, theatre and dance. Among their highlights are an interactive play about the Elephant Man, a puppet show called Lapin Wants Ice-Cream and Rock, a musical about 1970s New York.

Raising hopes

Featuring a collection of inspirational quotes from famous Scots (Alan Cumming, Lorraine Kelly, Ian Rankin for three) and members of the public about their dreams for a future Scotland, the Hopes of a Nation book project comes to Charlotte Square Gardens. Young people have a chance to get involved by putting their thoughts onto the Wall of Hope in the RBS Children’s Bookshop.

Jazz up

On the afternoon of 22 July, the centre of the capital will be awash with colour and sound for the official opening to the Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival. Among those entertaining the crowds will be French funksters Jazz Combo Box, New Orleans’ brass band The Stooges, and Liverpool’s reggae-samba drumming group Batala.

Reid all about it

Britain’s Got Talent 2011 semi-finalist Edward Reid makes his Fringe debut at the Assembly’s Salon Elegance venue. The Coatbridge drama teacher wowed McIntyre, Holden and The Hoff with his idiosyncratic medley of nursery rhymes. Living the Dream One Song at a Time will head out on a Scottish tour post-August.

This article is from 2012.

Edward Reid

The Britain's Got Talent semi-finalist tells his life's story through song, stories and laughter.

Marcin Wasilewski Trio

Exceptional Polish jazz trio with a couple of highly regarded ECM albums behind them.

Turing Festival

Amidst the cornucopia of arts events in Edinburgh in August, this festival focuses on technology and can be relied upon for some appearances by big names from the digital community. For 2016's programme Day 1 tackles 'Product / People'; Day 2 looks at 'Full Stack Marketing'.

2008: Macbeth

  • 4 stars

Set in a contemporary and brutal Middle Eastern conflict, TR Warszawa's 2008: Macbeth is unflinching in its depiction of the machine of violence that, once set in motion, works faster and ever more efficiently. With spectacular pyrotechnics, immersive video effects and an extraordinary, layered soundscape that plays…

Robert Kusmirowski: Pain Thing

Polish artist Robert Kusmirowski specialises in transforming spaces and making installations of iconic buildings and places; here he responds to Summerhall's previous life as a veterinary hospital by making an installation in which an unsuccessful experiment starts a life of its own. Part of Edinburgh Art Festival.

Doug Segal: How to Read Minds and Influence People

  • 3 stars

Mindreading show from comedy mind reader Segal.

Elephant Man

After his first Fringe experience in Two Johnnies Live Upstairs in 2011 ★★★★ (Scotsman), Benoit Hattet returns to the Institut français as Joseph C Merrick, the famous British monster better known as Elephant Man. In this intimate and interactive show, you are invited to the creature’s room and welcomed by his nurse…

Künt and the Gang

'Lowbrow comedy songs' by their own admission and popular Fringe stalwart, KatG are not for the easily offended.

Lost in Details

Delicate and mysterious Polish dancer and choreographer Aleksandra Borys weaves threads of movement through golden 1970s inspired lighting, designed by Lukas Kedzierski, to a haunting music score by Goncalo Almeida. Carroll’s timeless classic, Alice in Wonderland, is at the heart of this haunting work. ‘Humpty Dumpty…

Shaggers - Free Festival

Nik Coppin. The international hit show returns after more sell-out shows around the world. A revolving line-up of all types of comedians doing anecdotes, jokes and musical comedy based around sex. 'The perfect way to close a night at the fest' ★★★★★ (Melbourne International Comedy Festival). 'A tour-de-force of…

Jazz Combo Box

The party continues with this amazing French street band playing a mix of hot jazz, hip hop, and some funky 70s soul. Nine high-energy musicians with an unusual line up: scratchophone, tuba, accordions, drums, saxophones – and you get music that is so damn infectious it’ll leave you smiling. Fun incorporated!

The Stooges Brass Band

New Orleans’ premiere Brass Band! In the classic tradition, they play funerals and parades, but once they’re on stage, it’s party time. Jazz, funk, hip-hop and R&B played with high energy, solid grooves, loads of passion and great musicality. Downtown Carnival New Orleans live in Edinburgh!

Canal boat trip with Tania Kovats

Boat trip from behind Cargo along the Union Canal to Jupiter Artland, in which artist Tania Kovats discusses her latest work Rivers. Part of Edinburgh Art Festival. Booking is essential.

Edwin Morgan Poetry Prize: 2012 Prize-Winners Announced

Now in its fifth year, the Edwin Morgan Poetry Competition has become one of the best respected poetry prizes in Britain. With a first prize of £5,000, it attracts more than 1,000 entries each year, and for 2012 it is judged by two award-winning Scottish poets, Gillian Ferguson and Don Paterson. In today’s event the…


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