Reviews & features: International Festival

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Twenty top shows at the 2012 Edinburgh Festivals

11 Jul 2012

Highlights from the Fringe, Book and International Festivals

Having scanned the 23.6m shows, exhibitions and events across the festival in late July, August and early September, we pluck out the ones that simply cannot be missed

Scotrail announce expanded Edinburgh Festival 2012 train timetable

4 Jul 2012

Additional night services to Glasgow, Dundee, Perth and North Berwick

New late-night train services to and from Edinburgh will make it easier for those outside the city to visit the 2012 festival. In Glasgow, there will be a Fringe box office at Queen Street station from July 27. Tickets bought online in advance can be…

How to visit the Edinburgh Festival

2 Jul 2012

A guide to getting the best from the Edinburgh Festival and Fringe

The phrase 'planned itinerary' might might be at odds with the spirit of chaos and wild abandon you associated with your visit to the Edinburgh Festival. The brutal truth is that shows do sell out, so book tickets to things you definitely want to see.


2 Sep 20115 stars

Mesmerising epic journey of dance

Even as we file into the auditorium, the mesmerising spectacle has begun. The dancers sit holding golden bowls, calmly anointing the final touches on a huge mandala - a geometric Buddhist symbol - made from blue and white confetti covering the whole…

Scottish Ballet

1 Sep 20114 stars

An evening of contemporary classics

For a programme dominated by music from the great canon of composers, the opening to Finnish choreographer Jorma Elo’s Kings 2 Ends, a silent dynamic solo, comes as a surprise. But it’s curiously pleasing. It lets the clean stretched lines of the dance…

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Scottish Ballet at 2011 Edinburgh International Festival

25 Aug 2011

Ashley Page and Jorma Elo on the EIF programme

Ashley Page maintains that, when putting together Scottish Ballet’s new double bill for the Edinburgh International Festival, pairing the legendary Scottish choreographer Kenneth MacMillan’s neo-classical 1965 piece Song of the Earth with a completely…

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

24 Aug 20114 stars

Haruki Marukami's novel is given multimedia stage adaptation by Stephen Earnhart

Toru Okada is 29 and shares an apartment with his wife, Kumiko and their cat. When both the wife and cat vanish and don’t come back for several days, Toru tries to work out what’s happened to them, with the help of a spiritualist who doubles as a…

Drought and Rain (Re-creation 2011) at Edinburgh International Festival

24 Aug 2011

Ea Sola dance piece gives voice to the pain of war

In 1995, when Vietnamese choreographer Ea Sola created her original version of Drought and Rain, she cast elderly women who were once dancers in their youth. Due to circumstances – a war raging through their country – the women had swapped dancing shoes…

Ravi Shankar - Usher Hall, Edinburgh, Mon 22 Aug

24 Aug 20114 stars

A mesmerising show of classical Indian music as part of 2011 EIF

Ravi Shankar crossed over into popular culture with his associations with various 60s musicians, working with and/or influencing the likes of The Beatles, The Kinks and The Byrds. Going on to play at iconic festivals such as Woodstock and The Monterey…

Shen Wei Dance Arts perform Re-Triptych at 2011 Edinburgh International Festival

24 Aug 2011

Five reasons why missing it is not an option

1: The Inspiration Shen Wei made a personal pilgrimage to Cambodia, Tibet and his birthplace, China to create Re (i), (ii) and (iii). Now the three works have been sewn together to form Re-Triptych, they form a diverse, largely abstract emotional…

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24 Aug 2011

Ancient dance in a modern era

Studying for ten hours a day, six days a week for six years, the dancers at the Nrityagram school near Bangalore know that to truly absorb Indian classical dance takes time. The first student to emerge from the residential course, Surupa Sen graduated…

One Thousand and One Nights

22 Aug 20114 stars

Flagship EIF production feels like a rediscovery of a lost classic

There’s a tremendous life force pulsating through director Tim Supple’s reclamation of these ancient folk tales. It’s a life force that exists, most palpably, for Houda Echouafni’s Shahrazad, whose survival depends on her ability to spin a yarn and…

Interview: Hiroshi Sugimoto

16 Aug 2011

Renowned photographer on his EAF exhibition

Is this your first visit to Edinburgh? I did pass through here once in the late 90s. I was shooting seascapes around the Scottish coast. Which wasn’t so successful: mostly, I saw many oil towers, so I couldn’t get clear seascapes. I thought it was a…

Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra at 2011 Edinburgh International Festival

16 Aug 2011

Programme of Messiaen, Tchaikovsky and Unsuk Chin

When it comes to Edinburgh’s festivals, most Koreans have an upside-down view. Thanks to enormous hit shows from Korea such as the Matrix-style circus spectacle Jump! and last year’s Chef!, the Fringe has a huge profile back in South Korea. What goes on…

The Qatsi trilogy at the 2011 Edinburgh International Festival

15 Aug 20115 stars

Godfrey Reggio's film trilogy with Philip Glass Ensemble live score is a masterpiece

It’s been twenty-eight years since I saw Koyaanisqatsi, twenty-odd since I saw Powaqqatsi, and almost a decade since Naqoyqatsi. The first two I saw in empty art house cinemas on wet afternoons, I watched the third in a somnambulistic state from my sofa…

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The Tempest

14 Aug 20115 stars

Anarchic comedy showcases Korean theatrical traditions and retains spirit of the original

Shakespeare’s swansong enjoys a unique status in the playwright’s canon. Part magical realist fantasy, part forerunner to the absurdist tragicomedy, part wry comment on the nature of playwriting itself, The Tempest floats outside of the classifications…

King Lear

14 Aug 20113 stars

Engaging spectacle gives Shakespeare a Jingju interpretation at 2011 EIF

Two artforms, alike in their lengthy traditions and explorations of familial and martial subjects but divergent in their aesthetic, are brought together by their areas of commonality. Wu Hsing-kuo (Contemporary Legend Theatre) adapts aspects of…

Interview: Stephen Earnhart - Director of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

11 Aug 2011

Haruki Murakami adaptation centrepiece of Edinburgh International Festival

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Stephen Earnhart’s stage adaptation of a novel by Japanese author Haruki Murakami, epitomises the International Festival’s desire to explore connections between East and West, writes Mark Brown

Opera Die Frau Ohne Schatten set for 2011 Edinburgh International Festival

7 Jul 2011

Russia's Mariinsky Theatre and Jonathan Kent bring Strauss opera to EIF

To say Jonathan Kent's EIF opus is 'a bit' epic is like saying Edinburgh gets 'a bit' busy in August. This summer the Brit director joins forces with Russia's Mariinsky to stage the little-seen Die Frau ohne Schatten (The Woman without a Shadow). A cast…

Uncompromising take on One Thousand and One Nights at 2011 EIF

7 Jul 2011

Centrepiece theatre production of Edinburgh International Festival 2011

It begins in classic once-upon-a-time style. 'A long, long time ago lived two kings who were brothers,' goes the opening line of One Thousand and One Nights. 'The elder, King Shahrayar, ruled India and Indochina. The younger, Shahzaman, ruled…

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Amjad Ali Khan to perform set of morning ragas on sarod at EIF 2011

7 Jul 2011

Edinburgh 11am concert accompanied by Ravi Shankar's evening ragas

The sarod may not be as familiar an instrument to western audiences as the sitar made famous by Ravi Shankar, but virtuoso player Amjad Ali Khan is happy to establish its proper context. 'Ravi Shankar's teacher was a sarod player,' says Khan on the line…

Dance trilogy Re-Triptych journeys from Tibet to China at 2011 EIF

7 Jul 2011

Shen Wei piece features music of Ani Choying Dolma and John Tavener

Re – (i) Shen Wei was standing in a record store in New York City when he felt the power of Tibetan spirituality. Despite having made three trips to the region, exploring its temples, it was not until he returned home to America that the music for Re…

Music highlights from the 2011 Edinburgh International Festival

7 Jul 2011

Melvyn Tan and Bamberg Symphony Orchestra among picks

Melvyn Tan. The Queen's Hall morning concerts can usually be relied on for a few Festival surprises. Hearing perfectly formed piano music by 18th century Italian composer Domenico Scarlatti alongside Sonatas and Interludes by 20th century American John…

Theatre, music and dance highlights from the 2011 Edinburgh International Festival

7 Jul 2011

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Semiramide and King Lear among picks

The Edinburgh International Festival (EIF) has been a benchmark for quality and innovation in the performing arts since its inauguration nearly 65 years ago. This year artistic director Jonathan Mills builds his programme around the multi-faceted…

Qatsi trilogy with Philip Glass live score highlight of Edinburgh International Festival

5 Jul 2011

EIF 2011 screening of Koyaanisqatsi, Powaqqatsi and Naqoyqatsi

One of the earliest Edinburgh screenings of Koyaanisqatsi, the first of Godfrey Reggio’s remarkable trilogy of films scored by minimalist composer Philip Glass, was in an old porn cinema opposite what is now the Festival Theatre, then a bingo hall.