Best shows to see at Edinburgh International Festival 2016
Featuring The Glass Menagerie, Songlines, Barry Humphries' Weimar Cabaret and Youssou N'dour
Sure, we all know Alan Cumming is Singing Sappy Songs, and that Mogwai, Sigur Rós and Godspeed You! Black Emperor are the must-have music tickets at this year's International Festival. Beyond these in demand shows, however, EIF spreads its wings with another hugely ambitious programme marked by artists taking a journey way out of their comfort zones. Here's our highlights …
With Hopelessness, Anohni (the artist formerly known as Antony Hegarty) has delivered a dance album with powerful social messages. Aided by Ross Birchard (Hudson Mohawke) and Daniel Lopatin (Oneohtrix Point Never), the Playhouse will be home to a spectacular sonic and visual volcano.
Edinburgh Playhouse, Greenside Place, 17 Aug, 8pm, £20–£30.
The Glass Menagerie
Directed by John Tiffany (Black Watch, Alan Cumming's one-man Macbeth), this is the work that catapulted Tennessee Williams towards global fame. Riddled with unreliable narrators, his iconic 'memory play' stars Cherry Jones (24, I Saw the Light) as faded Southern belle Amanda Wingfield.
King's Theatre, Leven Street, 7 & 8, 10, 12, 14 & 15, 18, 20 Aug, 7.30pm; 11, 13, 17, 19 Aug, 2.30pm; 21 Aug, 1pm, 6pm; £14–£38. Previews 5 & 6 Aug, 7.30pm, £12–£32.
An ambitious city-wide project, Songlines brings organised and ad hoc singing groups together for a celebration of the musically expressive human voice.
Various venues, 21 Aug.
BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra conductor Donald Runnicles' association with the EIF stretches all the way back to the mid-60s as a schoolboy singer in the Edinburgh Festival Chorus. Schoenberg's epic Gurrelieder has been chosen as the moment he brings down the curtain on his duties as BBC SSO Chief Conductor.
Usher Hall, Lothian Road, 28 Aug, 7.30pm, £14.50–£47.
Natalia Osipova and Guests
The guests in question include choreographers Russell Maliphant, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Arthur Pita who have choreographed one new work each for this show. The Osipova in question is a major star in classical ballet who is dipping her pointed toes into the world of contemporary dance.
Festival Theatre, Nicolson Street, 12–14 Aug, 7.30pm, £12–£32.
Barry Humphries' Weimar Cabaret
A little touch of Oz arrives on Lothian Road as Barry Humphries puts Dame Edna well behind him to curate and present two nights of 'degenerate' music from inter-war Germany. He'll be joined by the Australian Chamber Orchestra and post-postmodern diva Meow Meow.
Usher Hall, Lothian Road, 8 & 9 Aug, 7.30pm, £12.50–£45.
Last year, 59 Productions stunningly opened the EIF with the Harmonium Project and they're back to propel us fully into festival season with a music, lighting, animation and art spectacular which ambitiously draws on 350 million years of the capital's history.
Edinburgh Castle, 7 Aug, 10.30pm, free but ticketed.
Still fondly remembered by many for his '7 Seconds' duet with Neneh Cherry, Senegal's Youssou N'Dour has proved to have many strings to his musical bow. Rumba, hip hop, soul and funk have all been utilised with an eye always firmly fixed on his African roots.
Usher Hall, Lothian Road, 24 Aug, 8pm, £15–£34.
The Toad Knew
The grandson of Charlie Chaplin and great-grandson of Eugene O'Neill, James Thierrée made his screen debut aged 15 as Ariel in Peter Greenaway's Prospero's Books. His circus, theatre and clowning background come to the fore in this bold production merging reality with dreams.
King's Theatre, Leven Street, 24–28 Aug, 8pm, £12–£32.
Virgin Money Fireworks Concert
This spectacular finale to the festival season is never anything less than a musical and pyrotechnical extravaganza, and this year, Prokofiev, Bernstein and Shostakovich will be helping the month end with a sonic and visual explosion. Estonia's Kristiina Poska takes on the conducting duties.
Princes Street Gardens, 29 Aug, 9.30pm, £13.50–£30.