Edinburgh Fringe Festival fever begins

This article is from 2008

Fringe press launch outlines shows for 2008

Fresh from attendance at the Fringe press launch this morning, we can bring you news of a jam-packed programme for August featuring more performances than ever before - 31,320 to be precise - spread across 247 venues throughout the capital and making for another summer in Edinburgh brimming with culture.

Given the continued strength and variety of the programme, it's no wonder the festival continues to increase in popularity. With 2088 different shows featuring in this hugely diverse international cultural showcase, there will most definitely be something for everyone on offer.

Of course, the big names are here as ever. Joan Rivers, Jimmy Carr, Ruby Wax, Simon Callow, Michael Barrymore, and Jill Halfpenny (to name but a few) will reel in the audiences, but aside from these guaranteed audience magnets, the compelling themes found throughout the shows that constitute this year's Fringe programme makes for interesting reading.

The threads that emerge after an initial browse of the programme include London's Olympic bid, the continuing Afghanistan situation, American high school massacres, Mugabe's dictatorship and Burma's struggle with democracy, with several of the many thousands of performers taking these issues as the basis for their shows.

Comedy is the by far biggest element this year, as ever, now with fresh opportunities to get even darker as it tackles issues such as carbon emissions, Middle East politics and the credit crunch. If all this is seems a bit weighty, fear not, for we still get chance to berate Britain's transport system in 'The Comedy Bus', and, for all us children (or victims, if you prefer) of the digital age, there are many, many shows concentrating on social networking, whether it's MySpace, YouTube or Facebook, and its impact on communication, .

Audience participation is also all the rage in 2008. We're pretty sure chocolate-tasting murder mystery show 'Death by Chocolate' will get even the most reserved members of the crowd out their seats with little persuasion.

And, of course, where there's sun (hopefully), there's music and dance. Edinburgh won't be short of these in August. The Edge music festival headliners hoping to blow our minds this year include Tricky, Maximo Park, Dizzee Rascal and Kate Nash. Meanwhile, headphone rave-up The Silent Disco is back for those who would prefer their own rhythms (on shuffle). If you can't dance, don't worry. Just watch the many professionals coming to town, including rooftop-waltzing dance group The Free Runners.

Year after year, the Edinburgh Fringe flies the flag for emerging artists, provides a democratic platform for those with talent to flourish upon and continues to prove itself to be a major player in the cultural world. So, grab your programmes and start planning. And if it all seems too expensive, with 350 shows available absolutely free, you'd be mad not to come on down and see what gems you can find.


1. CalFringeFan6 Jun 2008, 6:38am Report

Joan Rivers is bringing the same show to the Fringe that I saw earlier this year at the Geffen Theatre here in L.A. As a subscriber I had no choice about seeing her, but you do: Don't.

Rivers appears with two cardboard-fake characters, a young pseudo-Russian cosmetician and a total-nebbish young male aide. Hey, nobody is going to upstage her. She tells a sanitized life story while they prepare her for an event. Celebrity followers (and the L.A. Times) were unhappy because no choice morsels were dropped. She is not funny (a few smiles at best); you don't learn what makes her tick, or even life lessons that she wants to share with you. I left thinking that either she had nothing to tell me, or that she wanted to tell me nothing. Perhaps both.

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