Reviews & features: Brian Donaldson

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Mark Watson: The Information

5 Aug 20124 stars

Another top show from the pointedly non-Welsh Fringe veteran

Ever since making his breakthrough on the Fringe in the mid-Noughties, Mark Watson’s ethos has remained constant: deliver solid, frequently hilarious stand-up amid an audience environment in which things can kick off at any moment. The more offbeat a…

Brendon Burns: Home Stretch Baby

5 Aug 20123 stars

The former comedy bad boy reflects with faded glory and bruised emotions

Like many hard-living, taste-baiting rock’n’roll comedians of the 90s and 00s, Brendon Burns is slowly coming to terms with the fact that he’s now over 40 and the law requires him to slow down. Turns out he’s pretty comfortable with that and having…

Edinburgh Book Festival 2012 day planner

3 Aug 2012

Julia Donaldson, AC Grayling, AL Kennedy, Alexander McCall Smith and more

Saturday 11 Julia Donaldson The Glasgow-based Children’s Laureate kicks off the Book Festival with a performance-based show in which she brings life to stories such as The Gruffalo and Superworm. Hubbie Malcolm will be on hand to help things along.

Q&A: Geoff Dyer on new book Zona at 2012 Edinburgh International Book Festival

2 Aug 2012

Dyer sets out to unlock Andrew Takovsky's Stalker in new book

Give us five words to describe Zona? My thoughts on Tarkovsky’s film Stalker [Ed: OK, that’s six, but we’ll let Geoff off]. Which author should be more famous than they are now? John Jeremiah Sullivan who wrote Pulphead. He is a great stylist and…

Top 5 books and their authors coming to 2012 Edinburgh International Book Festival

2 Aug 2012

Michael Palin, Simon Callow, Paddy Ashdown, Gordon Brown and more

Michael Palin It’s a whole quarter of a century since the former Python took his place at the Book Festival, but you have to say he’s seen quite a lot of the world in the interim period. His next book and TV travel show is about Brazil, but he’s here…

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The best of comedy at the 2012 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

2 Aug 2012

Dylan Moran, Tim Key, Russell Kane, Jimmy Carr amongst stars

Dylan Moran The first of three winners on this list of the big Edinburgh comedy award in its various guises shows that he’s no less grumpy on stage now as he was when he scooped the Perrier back in 1996. Edinburgh Playhouse, 0844 871 3014, 15, 23 Aug…

Sarah Hall talks of new book Beautiful Indifference at 2012 Edinburgh International Book Festival

2 Aug 2012

Cultured finesse in Booker shortlisted authoress' new work

The Scottish writer Douglas Dunn once gave Sarah Hall a crucial piece of advice while she studied Creative Writing under him at St Andrews: ‘Sarah, why don’t you try writing in sentences?’ Dunn must be very proud of her now given the quality of…

Barry Fantoni’s Top 5 Detectives

1 Aug 2012

The crime author lists his favourite fictional crime-solvers

Philip Marlowe Marlowe is everything the genre demands.The Bay City PI is sardonic, laidback and self-deprecating. His creator, Raymond Chandler, is, in my book, not only the greatest crime writer of all, he is one of the greatest writers, period. A…

Top 5 sketch comedy shows at the Fringe 2012

30 Jul 2012

The Silky Pair, Hennessy & Friends, Beard, The Pin and Graham Rex among the best Fringe sketch teams

Essex girls Kathryn Bond and Lorna Shaw debuted with a free show in 2011, but good hard cash is required to see them do their musical comedy thing this year. Miranda (good comedy name, that) introduces us to some pals for a jaunt through A History of…

Conchords man Rhys Darby courts the apocalypse in 2012 Fringe show

27 Jul 2012

New Zealand comedian's show on how to survive Armageddon

Whatever lies ahead in Rhys Darby’s career, one showbiz stat might continue to haunt him: he may never be as popular as Zippy. Or rather, not Darby himself, but one Murray Hewitt. The feckless Kiwi band manager he played in 22 episodes of Flight of the…

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Five Kids TV stars to catch at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2012

27 Jul 2012

Seen these folks on the box before? You must be a parent then

Dan Wright Fans of Big Cook, Little Cook might have difficulty recognising Mr Wright who played the latter given that he has shed his specs and is no longer three inches tall. Curiously, his Fringe show has a sort-of childlike theme given that it’s…

Life is a cabaret: 7 cabaret shows at Fringe 2012

27 Jul 2012

Featuring Auntie Myra, Bourgeois & Maurice, Damsel Sophie, Ria Lina and more

Auntie Myra’s Fun Show As the legendary Jeremy Lion showed, reluctant children’s entertainers make for bleak but blisteringly funny comedy. We suggest that Rotherham’s Myra Dubois may be in the same vein. The Voodoo Rooms, 226 0000, 3–26 Aug (not 6…

Universal humour: 5 international comedians at the 2012 Fringe

27 Jul 2012

Featuring Naz Osmanoglu, Trevor Noah, Michael Mittermeier and Marcel Lucont

Naz Osmanoglu Given the damp evidence of his debut solo affair last year (he’s also a core member of the WitTank crew), this Turkish prince will provide an energetic sweat-fest like no other. This year, he’s an Ottoman Without an Empire. You getting…

Five of the best free comedy shows this Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2012

25 Jul 2012

Cariad Lloyd, David Mills, Trodd en Bratt, Sam Fletcher, Mace & Burton

Austentatious Best Newcomer nominee Cariad Lloyd takes time out from her solo character show thing with a return to her free roots. In which a crew of similarly expert improvisers make up an hour-long tale in the style of Jane Austen purely from…

Five of the best magic shows at 2012 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

25 Jul 2012

Sleight of hand and scary tricks are the chosen paths for these Fringe acts

Pete Firman Middlesbrough’s number one magic man and author of Tricks to Freak Out Your Friends, Firman will be a Hoodwinker this August. Expect an hour of highly impressive/potentially quease-inducing illusions. Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, 4–26 Aug…

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Young comedian James Acaster returns to Fringe with Prompt

25 Jul 2012

‘Daft and whimsical' Edinburgh show after introduction to comedy via Scouting

Stand-ups get their first taste of the comedy stage in different ways. Some might be forced by their long-suffering partner into doing an open mic night, others might have done some stand-up in their student days, a few have ditched their well-paid but…

Return of the Lumberjacks reunites three Canadian comics

23 Jul 2012

Glenn Wool, Craig Campbell and Stewart Francis at 2012 Edinburgh Fringe

Glenn Wool. What’s the best thing about working with Craig Campbell? The complimentary massages. Tell us one thing that might surprise the world about Stewart Francis? How easy it is to trick him out of his massage vouchers. Tell us your favourite…

Denise Mina reads from Gods and Beasts in Edinburgh

18 Jul 2012

The Scottish crime maestro will read from new Glasgow-based thriller

When Denise Mina arrived on the literary scene back in 1998, she already had a pretty varied CV behind her. Having worked in a meat factory, as a barmaid and in auxiliary nursing for terminally ill patients, she eventually studied law and taught…

2012 Edinburgh Festival of Politics highlights

11 Jul 2012

Talks on George Wyllie, the music industry, Canongate and Scotland's wood cabins

Singin’ I’m No a Billy, He’s a Tim. The difficulties of overcoming ignorance associated with the issue of sectarianism in Scotland were perfectly highlighted last season when one football radio pundit accused Des Dillon’s play of actually promoting…

Edinburgh Art Festival 2012: Highlights

11 Jul 2012

Surrealists, symbolists and Scottish colourists at this year's art festival

Leslie Hunter: A Life in Colour. This major study of the Scottish Colourist’s output features over 70 important works throughout his career, with pieces created in venues from Fife to France. If the life and work of Hunter is your bag, then why not also…

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Edinburgh International Festival 2012 highlights

11 Jul 2012

Highlights from the 2012 International Festival programme

Batsheva Dance Company. They last stirred the festival in 2008 with the blazing Deca Dance, which featured the relatively rare sight of some members of an EIF audience on stage with the performers. Under the guidance of innovative choreographer Ohad…

Edinburgh International Jazz and Blues Festival 2012 highlights

11 Jul 2012

Kyle Eastwood, Dr John, Jeremy Pelt, Joakim Milder and Floex

Kyle Eastwood. The rugged demeanour, surname and love of jazz surely give the game away as to this guy’s heritage. But if anyone is wrong-headed enough to think Kyle has simply been given a leg-up by his legendary dad, they might want to reflect on an…

2012 Edinburgh Festival Fringe: Comedy highlights

11 Jul 2012

Tim Key, Andrew Doyle, Andrew Maxwell, Dylan Moran and more

Andrew Doyle. Last year, Doyle’s show featured some pretty ripe comedy bravado during a Crash Course in Depravity, while for this August he’s doing Whatever it Takes. Bold words from a daring comic. Andrew Maxwell. One of the most reliably gifted…

Great Scots: Home-grown comedy talent at the 2012 Edinburgh Fringe

11 Jul 2012

Let's not forget home-grown talent this Edinburgh Fringe

Scott Agnew. With Tales of the Sauna, we can be guaranteed some bawdy material, blistering repartee and belly-altering laughs as the former Scottish Comedian of the Year reveals just about everything about the world of gay saunas.

Kristine Levine brings debut Fat Whore to 2012 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

11 Jul 2012

From Portland pornclerk to stand-up with a difference

They’re not backward in coming forward in Portland, Oregon. Once dubbed among the greenest cities in the world, boasting over 90,000 acres of green space and more than 70 miles of hiking, running and biking trails, its citizens take a fierce pride in…