20 must-see highlight shows from the 2013 festival programmes, covering Fringe, Books, International, Art and Jazz festivals
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
See classic shots from a landmark 20th century photographer who had a serious handle on the celebrity game.
Scottish National Portrait Gallery, until 22 Sep.
Whatever Gets You Through the Night
Cora Bissett’s show fuses theatre and music for a multimedia extravaganza.
Queen’s Hall, 20–25 Aug.
The duo who have helped shape modern electronica play a show which will feature some of their glorious crowd-pleasing hits.
Leith Links, 1 Sep.
The 2000 Booker winner is here for a series of events including a look at the dark side of Scottish literature.
Charlotte Square Gardens, 24–26 Aug.
Eight shows curated by Scottish Ballet focus on blurring the divides between dance forms. Featuring world premieres, historical genre-changers, celluloid classics and some of the form’s newest and most exciting dance voices, this series explores dance in a brand new way.
Festival Theatre, 16–19 Aug.
The Vanity Press from this popular YBA is an art exhibition that focuses on the power of words.
Summerhall, 2 Aug–27 Sep.
Proving that James Joyce’s unstageable novel can work in theatre, the Tron company deliver the goods.
Paterson’s Land, 9–26 Aug.
The Book Festival gets serious about graphic novels with a strand on the literary side of comics.
Charlotte Square Gardens, 10–26 Aug.
His wife may be worried about his legacy but it’s perfectly safe as the Alternative Comedy icon returns.
The Stand, 13–25 Aug.
Angel Blue pulls off a stunning performance in the tale of a harsh woman from Alban Berg’s unfinished 1934 opera. Radically reworked for the 21st century, and set against the backdrop of the US civil rights struggles of the 1950s and 60s, the opera transports audiences to the smoky jazz clubs of the Deep South.
King’s Theatre, 30 & 31 Aug.
The fabulous musical improv group do it for the kids with their spontaneous and hilarious Family Hour.
Gilded Balloon Teviot, 2–13 Aug.
Beyoncé’s sax player steps into the limelight with the keynote gig of this year’s Jazz Festival. Fuller grew up listening to John Coltrane and Charlie Parker in her parents’ basement before cutting her teeth on the New York scene, and now she brings a swinging, bop-based band to Edinburgh for a much-anticipated festival debut.
Queen’s Hall, 19 Jul.
The innovative French comedy/theatre/music troupe hilariously tell their story to a backdrop of mimed songs and reconstructed film clips.
Underbelly, 31 Jul–26 Aug.
The Wooster Group
The innovative New York theatre team do Hamlet as you’ve never seen it before. By remixing film footage of a legendary 1964 John Gielgud production starring Richard Burton, The Wooster Group attempt to reconstruct a challenging, hypothetical theatre piece for a live audience.
Lyceum Theatre, 10–13 Aug.
One of the true rising stars in dance brings his own company to the Fringe for a show based on Murakami’s novel Norwegian Wood.
Zoo Southside, 19–26 Aug.
Festival of Politics
Organisers have shifted the FoP focus to make more use of the parliament building.
Scottish Parliament, 23–25 Aug.
Brand New Ancients has poet and rapper Tempest whipping up, yes you guessed it, a storm.
Traverse Theatre, 20–25 Aug.
Another stirring bit of site-specific theatre from the people behind The Factory as they explore the death of journalist Anna Politkovskaya.
Summerhall, 2–25 Aug.
The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo
This August’s Tattoo celebrates the Year of Natural Scotland.
Edinburgh Castle, 2–24 Aug.
The young Canadian has supported Jerry Sadowitz and Doug Stanhope, which gives you a sense of his brand of stand-up.
The Tron, 1–25 Aug.