Reviews & features: Mark Fisher

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Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014 interview: Miles Allen delivers his One Man Breaking Bad

25 Jul 2014

'I’m glad I get to be a part of that experience: you can come up and say “bitch” at me all you want'

Miles Allen is doing all the voices and I’m wondering how I’m going to write it down. ‘Yo, it’s kinda my thing, bitch,’ he says, with the back-of-the-throat stoner growl of Aaron Paul’s Jesse Pinkman. Then he switches: ‘One of the characters I didn’t…

Interview: Sofie Gråbøl on The James Plays at 2014 Edinburgh International Festival

15 Jul 2014

The Killing star talks about why she chose her first project outside of Denmark to be in Scotland

It’s not a career path any Danish actor would dare to imagine. Even for the most celebrated of that country’s stars, the prospects of working abroad remain slim. So although Sofie Gråbøl was one of Denmark’s best-known actors long before being cast as…

Interview: Diana Rigg on making her Edinburgh Festival Fringe debut with No Turn Unstoned

15 Jul 2014

Diana Rigg on Games of Thrones and her 2014 comedy show based on bad theatre reviews

Something fishy is going on in theatreland. There’s a meeting of the Critics’ Circle but one of the members hasn’t shown up. Every time a concerned journo goes to investigate, they disappear too. At the mystery’s heart is Edward Lionheart, an actor in…

Opinion: Edinburgh Fringe audiences need to venture beyond the city centre

23 Jun 2014

The 2014 programme, with more and more venues in the north of the city, could shake things up

About 15 years ago, Mark Thomson staged a Fringe show called A Madman Sings to the Moon. It starred Tony Cownie as a loner who laid siege to a café. By the end of the festival, the production had won a Herald Angel and Cownie had won the Stage Award for…

Circus ensemble Circa bring Wunderkammer to 2013 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

30 Jul 2013

Quantum acrobatics from Australian circus group

If you’re not sure where to look when Wunderkammer begins, don’t worry. It’s intentional. Yaron Lifschitz, artistic director of Australia’s Circa, is aiming for sensory overload. ‘It’s based on the idea of quantum instability and the superposition of…

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Edinburgh Fringe shows explores stories of Anna Politkovskaya and Yulia Tymoshenko

15 Jul 2013

Ines Wurth and Badac Theatre present shows dealing with prominent women in Eastern Europe

Every year, Amnesty International gives an award to a play on the Fringe that presses the right artistic buttons and spreads the word about human rights. When the judges come to consider this year’s Freedom of Expression Award, two shows in particular…

It’s So Nice explores relationship between Mary Queen of Scots and Elizabeth I

23 Jul 2012

French performers are aiming to throw light on history at Edinburgh Fringe

Talk about coals to Newcastle. Barbara Sylvain and Lula Béry are a French/Belgian double act who thought it’d be a good idea to bring a show about Mary Queen of Scots and Elizabeth I to Scotland. The 16th-century tale of the francophone Mary and her…

Peter Michael Marino discusses Desperately Seeking the Exit

23 Jul 2012

The writer/performer who’s hoping to turn a stage disaster into a Fringe success

It’s a classic case of triumphing in the face of disaster. In 2007, Peter Michael Marino’s adaptation of the Madonna movie Desperately Seeking Susan, opened in London’s West End and, after devastating reviews, crawled through 13 days before closing…

How to make your Edinburgh Fringe show a success

19 Jul 2012

Author of The Edinburgh Fringe Survival Guide Mark Fisher dispenses good advice

A couple of years ago, I was commissioned by Methuen Drama to write The Edinburgh Fringe Survival Guide, a 280-page manual published earlier this year and described by Lyn Gardner of the Guardian as "a wonderfully practical but also inspirational book…

Théâtre du Soleil's epic Jules Verne-inspired 2012 Edinburgh Festival show

11 Jul 2012

Serge Nicolaï on Les Naufragés du Fol Espoir (Aurores)

Multi-talented actor Serge Nicolaï tells Mark Fisher why four hours is positively speedy in the egalitarian and epic world of Ariane Mnouchkine and Théâtre du Soleil

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Interview: Playwrights David Greig and David Harrower share a bill at Edinburgh Fringe

11 Jul 2012

Scottish playwrights share a bill at Edinburgh for first time

It took centuries of endeavour before the first man ran a four-minute mile. Yet as soon as he did, it happened again just two months later. Since Roger Bannister broke that barrier in 1959, many athletes have done the same. That, says playwright David…

The tragic number - Fringe shows charting the musicians who died aged 27

11 Jul 2012

Trio of Edinburgh Fringe shows explore the haunted number

John Kielty is sitting in an Edinburgh bar, listing the supernatural properties of the number 27. ‘It’s the cube of three; three being the original magic number,’ he says. ‘The moon orbits the earth every 27 days. The sun revolves on its axis every 27…

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…

(g)Host City

18 Aug 20113 stars

Edinburgh audio tours from spoken word performers

First thing in the morning, I’m standing on top of Calton Hill looking out to Arthur’s Seat, Princes Street and the Pentlands. It’s a view I never tire of, but on my headphones Jenny Lindsay is giving a different message. ‘Edinburgh, you old tart,…


17 Aug 20113 stars

Death becomes the Pachamamas

It’s always tricky to deal with grief on stage. By its nature, it is an emotion that comes after the fact, making an audience feel it has missed out on the main event. It cannot be resolved in the way any other dramatic conflict is resolved. This…

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17 Aug 20112 stars

Tough play with the meaning stressed out

Howard Barker is a playwright loved by academics for the challenges thrown down by his knotty ‘theatre of catastrophe’ and by actors for the chance to get their tongues round his muscular language. His writing is tough, poetic and…

The Golden Dragon

12 Aug 20113 stars

Global stories to take away

Roland Schimmelpfennig’s 2009 play, a bit hit in Germany, is a gift for a director. His characters are blank canvases with names such as ‘The Young Woman’ and ‘The Man Over 60’. Much of their dialogue is written in the third person, stage directions…


11 Aug 20114 stars

Sweetly observed play taking place on a real allotment with free cup of tea

Whatever happens to Dora and Maddy, the chalk-and-chips sisters at the heart of Jules Horne’s sweetly observed play, you know they will be outlived by their surroundings. The soil beneath their feet, the weeds that have persisted for millions of years…


8 Aug 20114 stars

Group hugs, cult chants and it’s all your fault

Back with three new immersive scenarios after causing a stir last year, the 101 team show just how compelling theatre can be with the most elementary of resources. No special effects, no set, scarcely anything you’d call a costume and yet the young…


8 Aug 20114 stars

Moving story of a flight from persecution

The last time Douglas Rintoul was in Scotland was to direct a revival of David Greig’s Europe at Dundee Rep. There’s something of the flavour of that migratory play in this powerful production for the internationally minded Transport company, as actor…

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Man of Valour

8 Aug 20112 stars

Mime and punishment

Haven’t we been through this before? Wasn’t it some time in the 1970s we stopped being dazzled by mime artists? Didn’t we pretty quickly realise the means of telling a story are never as interesting as the story itself? It seems not in the case of…

The One Man Show

5 Aug 20113 stars

Late-night high-tech deconstruction with Jaffa Cakes

So post-modern it hurts, The One Man Show is a piece of theatre about watching a piece of theatre. It has a mysterious start, a set of emotional states, a philosophical moment where we cough and eat sweets, a cheesy musical interlude and a point when we…

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…

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…

Porgy and Bess

22 Aug 20103 stars

French company take Porgy and Bess to the Deep South

When Opera de Lyon’s Porgy and Bess is remembered, it will be for the extraordinary multimedia staging by the directorial double-act of Jose Montalvo and Dominique Hervieu. It isn’t only that we get 50-odd performers on stage - the dancers giving it…