Edinburgh Festivals Guide 2010 WE TALK FESTIVALS WITH ALAN CUMMING, IAN RANKIN AND MANY MORE
! S U PL T
ITICS AL R C OUR F FESTIV O S PICK GHLIGHT I H
Contents Published by Time Out Magazine Ltd Universal House, 251 Tottenham Court Road, London, W1T 7AB Tel 020 7813 3000 Fax 020 7813 6001 www.timeout.com Editor Mark Frith Guide editor Laura Lee Davies Sub editors Edoardo Albert, Lewis Lyons, Emma Perry, Patrick Welch Contributors Tim Arthur, Bruce Dessau, Mark Fisher, Jonathan Lennie, Brian Logan, Chris Moss, Helen Sumpter Design Anthony Huggins, Patrick McNamee Christian Tate Picture research Emily McBean Group production director Mark Lamond Production manager Brendan McKeown Time Out Magazine Ltd is part of the Time Out Group: Chairman Tony Elliott Chief executive officer David King Magazine managing director Mark Elliott Group general manager Nichola Coulthard Online managing director David Pepper Guides managing director Peter Fiennes International managing director Cathy Runciman Group financial director Paul Rakkar Printed by St Ives Edinbridge This is a product of Time Out Brand Solutions: Derek Pratt 020 7813 6008 James Caley 020 7813 6040 © Copyright Time Out Group Ltd 2010. All rights reserved. All information was checked at time of going to press. The publisher and the organiser cannot be held responsible for any errors.
Picture credits Ned Stresen Reuter p6; Rankin
p7; Justin Griffiths-Williams p8; Avalon Pete Dadds/Avalon p8; Getty p9; Uwe Arens p9; Jeff Busby p17; VisitScotland/Scottish Viewpoint p18; Peter Sandground p19; Edinburgh Printmakers p20; The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo p26; Edinburgh-inspiringcapital.com p30; Hallem Foe p34
Welcome to the Festivals Festival people Time Out talks to some of the familiar faces and this year’s stars. Actor Alan Cumming talks about favourite memories on and off stage
Author Ian Rankin on the best Festivals in his home town
Comedian Al Murray and Edinburgh Comedy Awards producer Nica Burns explain the Fringe Factor
Artist and Turner Prize-winner Martin Creed previews his new work for this year’s Art Festival Baritone Simon Keenlyside looks ahead to his appearance at The Queen’s Hall
Edinburgh 2010 Highlights
The critics’ picks from this year’s programmes.
Edinburgh Festival Fringe Edinburgh international Festival Edinburgh Art Festival Edinburgh International Book Festival Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival
12-15 16-19 20-21 22-23 24-25
Insider’s Guide to ‘doing’ the Festivals
Festival City map
Eating & drinking
48 Hours in Edinburgh
The Festival Year
Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo Edinburgh Mela
Accommodation & travel
Find out more: www.edinburghfestivals.co.uk 3
Cover credits Ned Stresen Reuter; José Luiz Pederneiras; Lindsay Sneddon; Martin Creed/Hauser & Wirth; Pete Dadds/Avalon; The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo; Rankin
Welcome to the Edinburgh Festivals Every year, thousands of Londoners head up to Edinburgh to glut themselves on as much theatre, comedy, music and every other kind of human cultural activity they can cram in to their stay. Many get the Edinburgh bug and return year after year. Yet it seems there are still lots of Londoners who don’t even know the Edinburgh Festivals exists. So, in case there are a handful of you who don’t know, read on… The ‘Edinburgh Festival’ is now in its 64th year. And it’s a world turned upside down, a discomfort zone where great and awful experiences jostle for space. You’ll get wet, you won’t get tickets to Ross Noble, you’ll be assailed by students in fancy dress peddling dubious theatrical wares on the Royal Mile. But you’ll have the time of your life. The statistics tell part of the story: the Fringe (the largest of Edinburgh’s concurrent festivals) gets vaster from one year to the next. Last year, there were 34,265 performances of 2,098 shows in 265 venues, including Tim Key’s Comedy Award-winning ‘The Slutcracker’ (Edinburgh is incontrovertibly the major comedy festival in the world), the breakout shows of Nic Green’s naked feminist celebration ‘Trilogy’, sets by stars of global stand-up Rhys ‘Flight of the Conchords’ Darby and Janeane Garofalo, and an extraordinary son et lumière night walk in the Botanic Gardens, entitled ‘Power Plant’. 1.9m tickets were sold. More than 18,000 performers took part. The Fringe programme is unmanageably large,
‘LAST YEAR, THERE WERE 34,265 PERFORMANCES OF 2,098 SHOWS IN 265 VENUES. 1.9M TICKETS WERE SOLD’ a testament to the festival’s openaccess policy and democratic spirit. But don’t let the Fringe hog your festival. Many exhausted Fringe fans, not to mention Time Out critics, would have expired years ago if the Book Festival wasn’t there to provide restorative calm and sanctuary, with dozens of daily readings and talks by writers, politicians and provocateurs. Elsewhere, the International Festival – the festival that started them all, founded in 1947 to ‘provide a platform for the flowering of the human spirit’ and heal the wounds of post-war Europe – programmes
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theatre, dance and music from big-hitting global names. And the Edge Festival, part of the Fringe, has all that’s hip in rock and pop – including, last year, Jeffrey Lewis, Biffy Clyro and The Streets. These festivals – and the Art Festival, Jazz Festival, Mela and Tattoo – provide festival-goers with indelible and unique memories. Standout events, to pick just three from the last couple of years, have included the late Harold Pinter raging against the dying of the light in a tent on Charlotte Square in 2006, the Anchiskhati Choir of Tbilisi, two years ago, dedicating their haunting music to their wartorn compatriots in Georgia, and Anthony Neilson’s extraordinary 2006 play ‘Realism’ – ‘normality’ dismantled by psycho-vaudeville. The best Edinburgh experiences are less categorisable, however. This is a city whose every nook and cranny is co-opted in August: there are plays in offices, Portaloos, cars
and audience members’ living rooms. It’s a self-promoters’ paradise, where publicity stunts are theatre in themselves – witness comedian Doug Stanhope charging £7,349 for the solitary ticket to his one-off show in 2008. (He got lots of attention, but no takers – so the show was never performed.) Only in the Edinburgh hothouse does inspired nonsense like this get its due. It’s in Edinburgh, too, where entertainers try on different hats – where RSC actor Catherine Tate first thought she’d try stand-up comedy, and where Bart Simpson (or his alter ego, Nancy Cartwright) took to the stage. In Edinburgh, artists let their hair down, try new stuff. It’s where they make their names, or die on stage trying. August is a highlight of the locals’ year too. Year round, the city has its National Galleries and Usher Halls, but only once a year does it become a cultural hot spot of such intoxicating scale. It’s the
‘ARTISTS LET THEIR HAIR DOWN, TRY NEW STUFF. IT’S WHERE THEY MAKE THEIR NAMES, OR DIE ONSTAGE TRYING’
perfect city to host a festival. It’s walkable and easy to navigate – albeit more so on the avenues of its Georgian New Town than among the labyrinthine wynds of its Old. And in Edinburgh you can see a lot for free. Eighty-five per cent of Art Festival exhibitions are free, and the upward drift of ticket prices has been countered in recent years by the Free Festival and the Five Pound Fringe, which last year featured major stand-ups including Josie Long, Robin Ince and Carrie Quinlan. There were 465 free shows on the Fringe in 2009, and at the Forest Fringe, a dissenters’ alternative to the official event since 2007, you can see the most wild-eyed new theatre in Britain, and pay not a penny for the privilege. What’s happening in August that’s cheaper – or more fun, memorable, and all-consuming – than this? Dig out your Nurofen and your joie de vivre and book your tickets now.
Find out more: www.edinburghfestivals.co.uk 5
For thousands of Londoners, Edinburgh is simply the only place to be in August…
Actor, writer, producer, presenter, dog lover and party animal, Cumming returns to Edinburgh, where it all started
The author of the Edinburgh-set Inspector Rebus novels and longterm city resident shares Festival memories and tips
In a varied career, Alan Cumming has starred in the ‘X-Men’ franchise, launched his own perfume range and presented a TV show with his pet dogs, but Edinburgh has a special place in his heart. The 45-year-old from Perthshire first appeared at the Festival as a teenager in 1984. ‘I was still at drama school and just a baby when I did a show in the Harry Younger Hall off the Royal Mile. It was very full-on and intense. I remember being constantly drunk or exhausted or a combination of both.’ By the late eighties he had made his name as half of musical double act Victor and Barry with Forbes Masson. 1988 was his annus mirabilis. ‘I was doing Victor and Barry at the Assembly Rooms and then I had 20 minutes to rush to the Traverse and become a disaffected youth in ‘The Conquest of the North Pole’. It was schizophrenic but great – Victor and Barry were Perrier-nominated and transferred to the Donmar, and ‘Conquest’ transferred to the Royal Court.’ His career since has balanced blockbusters with arty projects and comedy with drama. And it all started in Edinburgh. Cumming is going back this summer, performing ‘I Bought A Blue Car Today’, his show that has already wowed crowds in New York, Sydney and London. The collection of anecdotes and songs will be a little less controversial than his last Edinburgh run, as Dionysus in ‘The Bacchae’ at the International Festival in 2007. Critics said the buttock-waggling, hell-raising lead was a role the extrovert actor was born to play. ‘I guess Dionysus was right because Edinburgh in August
What was your first experience of the Edinburgh Festival? My first memory of going dates back to student days. I was a student at Edinburgh University and I remember doing some reviewing work for the local radio station and also for a magazine called Festival Times. I’d be sent to draughty, damp church halls for 11pm performances by American high schools. Usually it was Shakespeare or Beckett or Pinter but each year there was also some sort of manufactured scandal to do with nudity or simulated sex on stage.
How does the city change?
is very bacchanalian,’ he giggles. ‘Edinburgh is not just about performance. It’s a party as well as a cultural thing. There’s no other festival in the world that has such excitement, energy and intensity, a real spirit of adventure.’ But he concedes that there are downsides to the Festival. ‘My worst experience was a three and a half hour solo play. I wanted to kill myself.’ Was he the performer? ‘How dare you! I was in the
audience. Though a few years later I was offered the same role. I turned it down.’ But that’s part of the Festival magic, stepping through the theatre doors into the unknown. When Cumming gets to Edinburgh he will have certain priorities. Getting a decent white pudding in Stockbridge, complete with deep-fried cauliflower, and strolling down the Royal Mile, remembering where it all started. ‘Just to see everyone handing out flyers trying to get you to come to their show. There is nothing more humbling than seeing a leaflet with your face on it in the gutter. It happened to me many times!’ Alan Cumming’s ‘I Bought A Blue Car Today’ is at the Assembly Hall on August 13-15 (www.edfringe. com, 0131 226 0000).
Your Edinburgh Festival Insider’s guide starts on page 10 6 EDINBURGH FESTIVALS GUIDE 2010
What’s your favourite event? My favourite bit of the festival – and I’m being biased here – is the Book Festival. There’s such an incredible range – truly something for everyone, from literary heavyweights to scientists and ecologists, plus tons of shows for kids. One of my best memories was hearing Muriel Spark discuss her work, and then read from ‘The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie’. I also remember the session with Harold Pinter when he was recovering from cancer. He was as astute and bloody-minded as ever.
You once described the Fringe as a ‘mental kaleidoscope’. I mean that there’s so much going
‘EDINBURGH UNDOES ITS GIRDLE IN AUGUST AND HAS A GOOD TIME. THERE'S A REAL BUZZ ABOUT THE PLACE’ on it can feel dizzying. You need to take some time to plan what you really want to see. Some shows, especially musicians, may only appear on one or two nights, so tickets sell quickly. On the other hand, you can just dive in – go out walking through the streets and look at the sandwich boards. Last year we saw a great ‘Antigone’ done by a girls’ sixth-form college.
As an author appearing at the festival, which events stand out for you? I interviewed Gordon Brown about his taste in books – the audience saw a very different side of the then Prime Minister. I remember the first sell-out panel I was on – I had third billing below Colin Dexter and Michael Dibdin. It was a blast.
What will you be up to this year? I’m doing a couple of solo shows at the Book Festival, and also interviewing Antonia Fraser about life with Harold Pinter. When I get hold of the programmes for the Book Festival and Fringe I’ll take a few hours to go through them, circling my wish list. I usually look at music and comedy first – music is the dark horse of the Fringe.
‘THERE IS NOTHING MORE HUMBLING THAN SEEING A LEAFLET WITH YOUR FACE ON IT IN THE GUTTER’
In August, Edinburgh undoes its girdle and has a good time. It becomes a 24-hour city – there’s a real buzz about the place. It’s great to be able to saunter down the Royal Mile and gorge on street theatre. But I also like its oases of calm. Even in August, you can walk along the Water of Leith at Dean Village and hardly see a soul.
For your guide to the Edinburgh International Book Festival see page 22
Find out more: www.edinburghfestivals.co.uk 7
Nica Burns & Al Murray
Martin Creed The musically-minded Scottish artist tells us what he’s got in store for us at this year’s Festival
‘THE STEPS AT THE FRUITMARKET ARE STILL SOMETHING OF A PROTOTYPE’
curated by the Fruitmarket Gallery, will open at the end of the year. Unintentionally, all Creed’s Edinburgh works relate to steps and scales. ‘These are all ideas that I’ve been working with for a while,’ Creed explains, ‘although the steps at the Fruitmarket are still something of a prototype. Pressure pads on each step will play notes that will go up the scale, but I don’t know yet how the public will engage with it. Part of the excitement in making a new work is to see how it functions in the real world.’ ‘Down Over Up’ is at the Fruitmarket Gallery, 10am-7pm (fruitmarket.co.uk).
For your guide to the Edinburgh Art Festival see page 20 FESTIVAL PEOPLE
‘YOU GET OFF THE TRAIN AND THERE IS A SENSE OF EXCITEMENT THAT YOU CAN TASTE’ in 1996 I couldn't believe it. Legends like Eddie Izzard and Lee Evans had been nominated, what was I doing on the list?’ But the main thing that amazes Murray is how much the Fringe hasn’t changed over the years. ‘It’s
bigger but it’s still the same as far as the experience is concerned. It’s people booking a room and trying stuff out. Comedy research and development.’ Like Burns, he embraces the fact that anyone can put on a show: ‘It’s weirdly democratic in a strange way. If you can afford to lose some money.’ This year he’s doing a cheap lunchtime quiz that won’t break the bank: ‘Tickets for a fiver and a frozen chicken for the winner.’ Murray has a tip for new Fringe attendees. ‘If you are going for the first time it is impossible to see only great shows. Be prepared to sit through some rubbish. Look out for teatime gems though, they could be anywhere. Maybe a nutty man in a cape in a graveyard.’ Al Murray’s Pub Landlord hosts ‘Compete for the Meat’ at The Pleasance Dome on Aug 16-28 (0131 556 6550, www.thepublandlord.com).
For your guide to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe See page 12 8 EDINBURGH FESTIVALS GUIDE 2010
Simon Keenlyside platform, and it is for the latter that he returns to the Queen’s Hall this summer to sing Schumann, Butterworth and Rorem. Keenlyside has a strong connection, not just with Edinburgh (he has been attending the Festival Simon Keenlyside is clearly a man who loves his job. ‘I spend my most of his adult life and even sang entire working life dealing only with at it on his honeymoon several beauty; I rarely sing with a piece of year’s ago), but with Scotland, too, having sung at Scottish Opera for music in front of me, so all of five years; he has even named his these beautiful songs are baby daughter Iona. committed to memory.’ Among other pieces, he’ll be At 50, the acclaimed English baritone has wowed audiences both singing George Butterworth’s Housman-settings ‘Six Songs on the opera stage and the recital from A Shropshire Lad’ and ‘Bredon Hill’. Interestingly, because of his fluency in German and French and his ‘bad Italian’, a result of having lived around Europe for much of his life, the
We asked the renowned British baritone why Edinburgh holds a special place in his heart
‘IT IS THE MOST AMAZING FESTIVAL I KNOW; I LOVE GOING’
singer has no bias towards English song. ‘I don’t tend to do a lot of English songs,’ he admits, ‘so I never get bored of them’. And will he be hanging around Edinburgh after the recital? ‘Yes, it is the most amazing festival I know; I love going. I don’t care if it’s rainy or sunny – I’m British for God’s sake.’ Simon Keenlyside performs at The Queen’s Hall, Aug 23, 11am
curated. Anybody who can scrape the money together can go. Every year new stars are discovered. You get off the train and there is a sense of excitement that you can taste.’ Winning a Perrier was important for Al Murray, whose monstrous creation the Pub Landlord helped him trouser the fizzy water bottle in 1999. ‘When I was first shortlisted
One of the things the Edinburgh Fringe is most famous for is the main comedy award, originally sponsored by Perrier and with a new sponsor this year in Foster’s lager. Lee Evans, Steve Coogan and Frank Skinner are past winners, but the person most closely associated with it is Nica Burns, who first came to the Fringe to act in a play at the Celtic Lodge in 1982 and took over running the Perriers two years later. Burns has seen dramatic changes on the Fringe since then. ‘The growth of comedy is the biggest change I’ve seen. When the Cambridge Footlights, including Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie and Emma Thompson, won the first Perrier there were 40 shows. Last year there were over 390.’ The award can make a performer. ‘Winning or even being nominated definitely gives you a big bump up. It took Lily Savage out of the drag clubs and made Steve Coogan cool.’ With all these acts, how can first-time Fringe visitors decide on what to see? ‘Go to the Pleasance Courtyard and talk to people in the queues,’ says Burns. ‘Fans are only too keen to give you tips about what they’ve seen.’ The Fringe remains special for punters and performers. ‘It’s not
Artist Martin Creed is one of the most acclaimed and controversial Turner Prize winners. His ‘Work No. 227: The Lights Going On and Off’ (all of his works are numbered) comprised just that – an empty gallery in which the lights switched on and off every five seconds. Creed’s minimal and often rhythmical re-orderings of the world through sculpture, film, music and performance, which include playing with his own band, have been shown worldwide. But, although brought up in Glasgow, the artist has rarely shown in Scotland.
Nica Burns has run the Fringe’s main comedy award since 1984. Al Murray won in 1999 and returns this year
All that will change for this year’s Edinburgh Festival, however, when Creed not only has a solo show titled ‘Down Over Up’ at the Fruitmarket Gallery (see p21), which includes turning the gallery’s steps into a synthesizer, but also performs his multimedia ballet ‘Work No. 1020’, at the Traverse Theatre (www.traverse.co.uk, Aug 7, 8, 10-15), as well as launching a major monograph of his work. A new permanent artwork for Edinburgh’s Scotsman steps, commissioned by the Edinburgh Art Festival with Expo funding and
For your guide to the Edinburgh International Festival see page 16
Find out more: www.edinburghfestivals.co.uk 9
Let Time Out be your guide to getting the best out of the Edinburgh Festivals season and everything the city has to offer. At Edinburgh there’s something for every taste – from standup comedy and theatre on the Fringe to all shades of stage performance at the International Festival, literature at the Book Festival and inspiring exhibitions at the Art Festival; from music at the Jazz and Blues Festival to the multicultural Mela and the traditional Tattoo. Just plunge in and enjoy.
August in Edinburgh is the ultimate win-win situation. If you can’t encounter a brilliant event and have a fabulous time in Scotland’s capital during the numerous different festivals that coincide with each other, you have no soul. For those who have already been regulars in Edinburgh during August for years, there’s usually only one regret: that they haven’t been going for longer; they wouldn't swap a minute of it. The sheer thrill of the Festival hits you as soon as you arrive. You won’t want to waste a second. The city might seem like a world away, but for Londoners it is closer than you might think. Leave the office in W1 at 6pm, get off the train at Waverley Station at 10.30pm and by 10.45pm you can be devouring a show – and a cold beer – at the Assembly Rooms. Main tip? Stay as long as you can. Unlike the performers and the crowds of arts critics, not everyone gets to linger for the whole month
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(and for many of them, it’s still not long enough). The excitement of the city in the grip of Festival fever is truly infectious. If you are going up for a short break, however, it is best to be reasonably prepared. All cultural human life feels like it migrates to Scotland for the summer. Which
‘THE SHEER THRILL OF THE FESTIVAL HITS YOU AS SOON AS YOU ARRIVE. YOU WON'T WANT TO WASTE A SECOND’ doesn’t mean you can never take a chance on the unknown (far from it) but just factor the unknown into your itinerary. All the important information is gatherered on the website www.edinburghfestivals.co.uk in one easily searchable place,
5 GREAT PLACES… FOR EXPLORING THE CITY The Hub Start the day with an Old Town breakfast. www.thehub-edinburgh.com
Artisan Roast Don’t miss the best coffee in town. www.artisanroast.co.uk
The Gallery Café Home-cooked specials among jaw-dropping art collections. www.nationalgalleries.org
Sheep Heid Enjoy an atmospheric ale beyond Arthur’s Seat. www.sheepheid.co.uk
Caledonian Hotel Take afternoon tea in style. www.hilton.co.uk/caledonian
Country wizard Bill Bailey. So stay focused and keep an eye out for late additions. Fringe hits often squeeze in extra matinees and midnight shows, and big stars in town for their own shows often appear on late-night bills elsewhere. Check the web or go to the main Fringe venues – such as Underbelly, the Gilded Balloon, the Assembly Rooms and the Pleasance, who have blackboards announcing the latest availability outside their box offices. The Art Festival also has guerrilla and pop-up events and happenings, sometimes evolving right up to the last minute; these are announced on www.edinburghartfestival.com. Being prepared doesn’t just mean planning gig-by-gig fun. It also applies to the essentials. Arrange accommodation before you go; whether it’s hostels or five-star hotels you’re after, there are plenty of choices (see p35). And once you’re settled, pack snacks, drinks and an umbrella, whenever you step outside. The weather might not always be glorious, but just embrace the four-seasons-in-a-day climate as part of the Festivals month’s playful unpredictability. Right, you’ve got your schedule. You’re sorted. You’re going to have a great time that you’ll never forget. And if you do end up at a dodgy show with mice running across the floor and more people on stage than in the audience, it’ll still be a memorable evening. As we said, Edinburgh is a win-win situation.
Find out more: www.edinburghfestivals.co.uk 11
Edinburgh Festivals insider’s guide
plus here you can book tickets for all the Festivals. So firstly, surf the sections that you might not normally prioritise. Look at the site's recommendations if time is tight. If you are a jazz fan try some comedy at Underbelly. If you are a comedy fan try some theatre at the Traverse. For example, a few years ago there was an unforgettable production of Ibsen’s ‘A Doll’s House’ by avant-garde troupe Mabou Mines. Not perhaps many people’s number one passion, but, intriguingly, the male roles were played by dwarves and the women were over six foot. Those who gave it a try were not disappointed. Finding something you like is not a tall order. This year Paco Peña’s Flamenco Dance Company at the Playhouse has a definite curveball appeal for anyone who is in possession of a pair of left feet. And because it’s at the International Festival, which starts towards the end of the Fringe and runs beyond it, it gives you an excuse to stay in Edinburgh until September. The internet has definitely made Edinburgh much more manageable. It will help anyone new to the city make the most of their time there and not be bamboozled by the sheer variety of thrills on offer. This year the streets will inevitably be dominated by tweeting iPhone users, but don’t chuck out those free and easily available brochures for each festival just yet. You may still find yourself without a wi-fi signal and need a backup plan. Likewise Twitter is becoming a useful a tool for finding out where the buzz is, but you cannot beat the good old-fashioned method of talking to people. And don’t worry if the hyped shows are sold out. There is so much to see, so much to do, you can hardly go wrong. Though it can happen. A few years ago American stand-up comedian Ben Bailey was doing a great show, but some people still walked out ten minutes into his act. Bailey paused and asked them why – they apologised and explained that they thought they’d bought tickets for West
FESTIVALS celebrity autobiography is the plague of the modern age, but a very funny plague in the hands of a changing line-up of comedians who read straight from the most preposterous examples of the genre. Michael Urie, Wilhelmina’s spiky assistant from ‘Ugly Betty’, is one of the regulars. JENNIFER COOLIDGE
edfringe.com). 5pm; £8-£9.50. In 1976, the top teams in Poland and Iran went head to head in a football match in the Montreal Olympics. The clash is the starting point in this site-specific play performed in a working pub by Mehrdad Seyf, an Iranian, and Chris Dobrowolski, born in Essex of Polish parentage. STEPHEN K AMOS: THE BEST MEDICINE
Aug 5-29 (not 16, 24) COMEDY
Aug 4–29 (not 11, 16, 17, 23, 24) COMEDY
The headline-grabbing, number-crunching, eye-popping, gob-smacking über-festival has to be experienced to be believed. Taking place in the back of campervans, in working pubs, in playgrounds, in basements, on the streets and – can you believe it – purpose-built theatres, the Fringe is what happens when artistic enterprise meets free-market competition in one of the most beautiful – and compact – cities in Europe. First-time performers arrive in the same spirit of hope and determination as seasoned celebrities. They leave, like audiences, exhilarated, exhausted and only too ready to return in 12 months' time.
Quirky physical comedy from the American company responsible for ‘All Wear Bowlers’, a tribute to silent movie clowns that was a hit in the same venue in 2005. This time, Geoff Sobelle and Charlotte Ford create a hallucinogenic Neverland and blur the line between workplace comedy and unnerving apocalyptic drama. LAURA MUGRIDGE: RUNNING ON AIR
FLESH AND BLOOD AND FISH AND FOWL
Aug 4-29 (not Mon) THEATRE
Aug 3-29 (not Mon) THEATRE
St Stephen’s Centre, St Stephen St, EH3 5AB (0131 226 0000, www.edfringe.com). 7pm; £17-£19, concs £12-£13.
Aug 4–20 (not 9, 16, 23) COMEDY
Pleasance Courtyard, 60 Pleasance, EH8 9TJ (0131 226 0000, www.edfringe.com). Times vary; £5-£10, concs £4.50-£9.50. Such is the demand for venues in Edinburgh that a comedian doing a show in the back of her Volkswagen camper van is just the kind of thing you expect. The Lancashire-born stand-up's hand-stitched gig has a capacity of four, so when you laugh, make sure you laugh loudly. BEAUTIFUL BURNOUT
covered with Alistair Beaton’s ‘Caledonia’, the National Theatre of Scotland stakes a claim on the Fringe with a collaboration with physical theatre specialists Frantic Assembly. Bryony Lavery’s play is about the brutal world of young boxers in a Glasgow gym. Catch it now before it tours to the Barbican in London. FIVE GUYS NAMED MOE Aug 4-29 (not 12, 27) MUSICALS
McEwan Hall, Bristo Square, EH8 9AL (0131 226 0000, www. edfringe.com). 5.15pm; £15£17.50, concs £14-£15. Before he was famous as Lester Freamon, arguably the coolest character in ‘The Wire’, Clarke Peters was known as the creator of ‘Five Guys Named Moe’, the musical tribute to Louis Jordan and the jive sound of the 1940s. Fresh off the set of ‘Treme’, David Simon’s forthcoming New Orleansbased TV series, Peters appears as the caretaker in this revival, keeping a curatorial eye on the song and dance shenanigans. IRAN 3, POLAND 2
Pleasance Forth, Pleasance Courtyard, 60 Pleasance, EH8 9TJ (0131 226 0000, www.edfringe. Aug 4–29 (not 9, 10, 16, 23) com). 7.30pm; £11.50-£14, THEATRE concs £10-£12.50. Thistle Street Bar, 39 Thistle St, Having got the International Festival EH2 1DY (0131 226 0000, www.
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Aug 4–30 (not 18) THEATRE
Gilded Balloon Teviot, Bristo Sq, EH8 9AL (0131 226 0000, www. edfringe.com). 2.30pm; £9-£10, concs £8-£9. David Benson is a Fringe regular best known for his striking impressions of Kenneth Williams and Frankie Howerd. Here he moves into more serious territory in a play about Dr Jim Swire, one of the parents bereaved by the terrorist plane explosion over Lockerbie and a man still fighting for justice. ANATOMY OF FANTASY Aug 5-29 (not 17) DANCE
Assembly Rooms, George St, EH2 2LR (0131 226 0000, www. edfringe.com). 5.25pm; £12£13.50, concs £11-£12.50. Provocative and highly physical dance theatre with stunning imagery by Germany’s DOTheatre, which has collaborated in the past with the similarly adventurous Derevo. Evgeny Kozlov’s production deals with conception, birth and death and was hailed as ‘a highlight among highlights’ in last year’s dance theatre festival in Graz.
Julien Cottereau, Aug 5-29.
BELT UP Aug 5-30 THEATRE
C Central, North Bridge, EH1 1SD (0131 226 0000, www.edfringe. com). Various times and prices. Belt Up is one of the most talkedabout young companies to have emerged on the Fringe in the past couple of years. Ever ambitious, it is taking over a whole floor of a busy theatre to present eight plays, including one for children. Don’t go if you expect to sit back and just watch what’s happening on stage: this York-based company is big on interactivity and breaking down theatrical barriers. JASON BYRNE Aug 5-30 COMEDY
Assembly Hall, 1 Mound Place, EH1 2LX (0131 226 0000, www.edfringe.com). 9pm; £9.50£19.50. A long-standing Assembly favourite, Byrne has a gift for freewheeling audience interaction which, if the mood takes him, can sustain a whole show. Able to spot the preposterous in the mundane, he can go places many can't, thanks to his genial Irish charm, quick wit and sky-high spirits. CELEBRITY AUTOBIOGRAPHY Aug 5-30 COMEDY
Underbelly Cow Barn, Bristo Square, EH8 9AL (0131 226 0000, www.edfringe.com). 7.25pm; £12.50-£16.50, concs £11-£15. It’s a sitting target and all it took was for someone to spot it. The
Aug 5-29 (not Mon) KIDS
Assembly, West Princes St Gardens, EH2 2BY (0131 226 0000, www.edfringe.com). 4.15pm; £15, concs £14. Extending its empire into the public gardens in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle, Assembly has lined up a day-long programme of popular entertainment. Typical of the bill is Cottereau, the star clown of Cirque du Soleil’s long-running ‘Saltimbanco’, with a family show that draws on the silent comedy of Chaplin and Keaton. RHYTHMS OF THE DRUM: SOUNDS OF THE CICADA Aug 5-29 (not 10, 24) MUSIC
New Town Theatre, Freemasons’ Hall, 96 George St, EH2 3DH (0131 226 0000, www.edfringe. com). 1.40pm; £10-£12, concs £6-£8. All the way from south-west China, the Guizhou Ethnic Arts Ensemble celebrates the culture of the minority Dong and Miao peoples in a spectacular show of percussion, dance and song. Wearing traditional costume, the 16 performers demonstrate Miao wood drum dances and Dongzu love songs.
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Edinburgh Festival Fringe
Pleasance Courtyard, 60 Pleasance, EH8 9TJ (0131 226 0000, www.edfringe.com). 9.40pm; £10-£17. With a decade of Fringe performances behind him, the suave Londoner was an Edinburgh favourite even before his multiple TV quiz appearances and his recent Feelgood Factor tour. Nine out of ten doctors recommend large doses of Amos at regular intervals. LOCKERBIE: UNFINISHED BUSINESS
Assembly Rooms, 54 George St, EH2 2LR (0131 226 0000, www.edfringe.com). 8.15pm; £12-£14, concs £11-£13. A rare chance to see this American performer best known for playing Stifler’s mum in ‘American Pie’ and therefore having the dubious honour of introducing the term MILF to the less attractive corners of the internet. A raucous stand-up, she has anecdotes aplenty, thanks to a career that embraces great characters in ‘Seinfield’, ‘Best in Show’ and ‘For Your Consideration’. JULIEN COTTEREAU
FESTIVALS SHAKESPEARE: THE MAN FROM STRATFORD Aug 5-30 THEATRE
places to perform, and none more so than Grid Iron, famed for its sitespecific productions in department stores and airports. This is a tenthanniversary revival of Douglas Maxwell’s 2000 Fringe First Award winner, a rites-of-passage drama, performed, naturally, on the swings of a children’s playground. GUTTED: A REVENGER’S MUSICAL Aug 6-29 (not Tue) MUSICALS
Assembly Rooms, George St, EH2 2LR (0131 226 0000, www. edfringe.com). 11.15pm; £15, concs £14. A few years ago, someone realised Edinburgh was full of comedians Aug 5-30 (not 16) with time on their hands and they THEATRE were in an ideal place to put on an Assembly Rooms, George St, all-celebrity show. While one bunch EH2 2LR (0131 226 0000, of stand-ups perform ‘Itch’, a www.edfringe.com). 5.25pm; selection of new scripts, at the £17.50-£19.50, concs £15.50Pleasance, another lot are doing £17.50. John Godber’s Olivier Award-winning this late-night ‘Rocky Horror’-type rugby comedy was highly popular in musical at Assembly. Check out the famous faces singing on stage for its day and is likely to remain so now it’s back for a 25th anniversary the first time. revival starring Abi Titmuss. The INSIDE Hull Truck production, with Godber Aug 6-14 at the helm, is about a man who DANCE takes out a ludicrous bet in the Zoo Roxy, 2 Roxburgh Pl, EH8 9SU belief an amateur rugby league (0131 226 0000, www.edfringe. team will defeat the reigning com). 6.25pm; £12. champions. Five men evoke the isolation and violence of a life in prison in this PHIL KAY: IN TWEED highly charged physical dance Aug 6–20 (not 16, 23) theatre piece by Jean Abreu Dance, COMEDY featuring music by instrumental Gilded Balloon Teviot, Bristo Square, EH8 9AL (0131 226 0000, guitar/noise band 65daysofstatic www.edfringe.com).7pm; £10-£11, and drawing on Brazilian and Latin American dance forms. Abreu was concs £9-£10. Wayward, wilful and wonderful, Phil a founder member of Protein Dance and is a Jerwood Award winner. Kay is gloriously unpredictable, as likely to head off on an audienceSTEWART LEE inspired riff for a whole show as he Aug 6-30 (not 16, 18) is to deliver his tried and tested COMEDY material. This year, he is promising The Stand 1, 28 York Place, to smoke the audience’s belly EH1 3EP (0131 226 0000, www. button fluff in a pipe and, with edfringe.com). 4.45pm; £10. this master of anarchy, you can He could command venues many well believe it. times bigger, but the man behind ‘Jerry Springer: The Opera’ loves DECKY DOES A BRONCO the attitude and atmosphere of the Aug 6-21 (not Mon) Stand too much. Catch him here as THEATRE Scotland Yard Playground, EH3 5EJ he develops material for his 2011 TV series, or head to the Edinburgh (0131 226 0000, www.edfringe. Festival Theatre on August 18 for com). Times vary; £17-£19, concs his ‘Silver Stewbilee’, a one-off £12-£13. variety show to launch his new Edinburgh Fringe companies show book, ‘How I Escaped My Certain great resourcefulness in finding 14 EDINBURGH FESTIVALS GUIDE 2010
Fate: The Life And Deaths of a Stand-Up Comedian’. ANDI OSHO: AFROBLIGHTY Aug 6-30 (not 16) COMEDY
The Stand 4, 28 York Place, EH1 3EP (0131 226 0000, www.edfringe.com). 5.35pm; £8, concs £7. Premiering her first-ever hour of stand-up in Edinburgh, Osho has been making a name for herself, not only on ‘Mock the Week’ and as co-host of ‘Click, Click, Boom’, a new talent show at Stratford Circus, but also as an actor, with parts in ‘Waking the Dead’ and ‘EastEnders’. PAUL SINHA Aug 6-30 (not 16) COMEDY
The Stand 4, 28 York Place, EH1 3EP (0131 226 0000, www. edfringe.com). 10.25pm; £9, concs £8. Cornering the market in Asian gay doctor comedy, Sinha is an Asian gay doctor with a love of quiz games and a gift for razor-sharp punchlines. This year he is promising some Extreme AntiWhite Vitriol, in response to being called a racist by a racist. STICK MAN – LIVE ON STAGE! Aug 7-30 (not 16) KIDS
Udderbelly, Bristo Square, EH8 9AL (0131 226 0000, www.edfringe. com). 12.30pm; £10-£11, concs £8-£9. There is a lot of children’s theatre on the Fringe, especially in the mornings, and most is on an intimate scale. ‘Stick Man – Live on Stage!’, however, is aiming for a bigger audience with this adaptation of Julia Donaldson’s story about the hazards of being a tree-dwelling stick man. The same creative team enjoyed West End success with ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’. SUB ROSA Aug 7-30 THEATRE
Hill Street Theatre, 19 Hill St, EH2 3JP (0131 226 0000, www. edfringe.com). From 10.20pm; £10-£15. Extensively nominated in the Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland after its first outing in
Glasgow last year, David Leddy’s ravishing promenade production takes the audience behind the scenes at the Hill Street Theatre for an unpleasant gothic tale of Victorian backstage intrigue. JOHN COOPER CLARKE
THE NEON BIBLE PROJECT Aug 20, 21, 23, 25 MUSICALS
Aug 13-19 POETRY
Udderbelly, Bristo Square, EH8 9AL (0131 226 0000, www.edfringe. com). 11.30pm; £11.50-£15. The lanky Salford punk poet has lost none of his wit nor any of his cult standing since his days as support act for The Fall, Joy Division and Siouxsie and the Banshees. He'll be reprising favourites such as ‘Beasley Street’ and ‘I Married a Monster from Outer Space’ in a fast-talking set that includes a wealth of new material. TEENAGE RIOT Aug 17-29 (not Mon) THEATRE
Traverse Theatre, Cambridge St, EH1 2ED (0131 226 0000, www.edfringe.com). Times vary; £17-£19, concs £12-£13. Belgium’s Ontroerend Goed has caused a stir not only with its disorientating one-on-one performances, but also with its performances by young people. After the teenage kicks of ‘Once and For All We’re Gonna Tell You Who We Are So Shut Up and Listen’ comes this first-hand report about the darker side of adolescence. TIME OUT LIVE'S EDINBURGH LAUGH OUT LOUD Aug 18 & 25
Assembly @ Princes St Gardens EH2 2BY. (0131 226 0000, www.edfringe.com). 9pm, 11.30pm. £15. After last year’s sell out shows Time Out Live’s highly-acclaimed ‘Laugh Out Loud’ returns to Edinburgh for two nights of manic mayhem at this new venue nestled in the shadow of the castle. Showcasing our choices of the hottest new comedy and cabaret talent as well as established headliners, these hi-octane late night shows are a mini-festival in themselves. Previous acts include Reginald D Hunter, Micky Flanagan, Stephen K Amos and Rhys Darby.
5 GREAT PLACES… FOR FAMILIES Edinburgh Zoo Chimps, rhinos, hippos and a penguin parade. www.edinburghzoo.org.uk
Assembly Princes Street Gardens Daytime family fun under canvas. www.assemblyfestival.com
Museum of Childhood Games your parents and grandparents played. www.tinyurl.com/nxa8kk
Church Hill Theatre, 33a Morningside Rd, EH10 4DR (0131 226 0000, www.edfringe.com). Times vary; £5. Ottawa’s Canterbury High School is an unlikely place for the debut of a musical that has attracted global attention, but it was here teacher Paul Griffin had the idea of turning Arcade Fire’s 2007 album ‘Neon Bible’ into a dystopian fantasy. He contacted bass player Richard Reed Parry, a former student at the school, who gave him the goahead. And here they are. BEIRUT Aug 22 MUSIC
HMV Picture House, 31 Lothian Rd, EH1 2DJ (0131 226 0000, www.edfringe.com). 7.30pm; £15. Switch to waltz time as Zachary Condon puts his band through their Balkan folk paces, not to mention sundry European, Gypsy, Mexican and lo-fi indie rock influences. EELS Aug 25 MUSIC
HMV Picture House, 31 Lothian Rd, EH1 2DJ (0131 226 0000, Travel to the planet’s past. www.edfringe.com). 7.30pm; £20. www.dynamicearth.co.uk Mark Oliver Everett’s American alt-rockers return to the public Gorgie City Farm gaze after the critical acclaim of Farm with goats, pigs and ducks. www.gorgiecityfarm.org.uk this year’s ‘End Times’ – their eighth album – recorded largely on a four-track machine and described as ‘close to a ERA SCHAEFFERA – masterpiece’ by Mojo. They FALLING ON DEAF EARS arrive in Edinburgh with their Aug 20-22 wistful acoustic reflections after MUSIC Edinburgh International Conference dates in Japan and Australia. Centre, 150 Morrison St, EH3 8EE MODEST MOUSE (0131 226 0000, www.edfringe. Aug 29 com). 7pm (and Aug 22, 3pm); MUSIC £15, concs £12. HMV Picture House, 31 Lothian In Poland they call Boguslaw Rd, EH1 2DJ (0131 226 0000, Schaeffer the father of new music, www.edfringe.com). 7.30pm; and to reflect his own avant-garde £16.50. orchestral compositions, jazz There’s good news for people pieces, electronic music and who love bad news as Modest theatrical plays, this 80th birthday Mouse arrive in Edinburgh hot on tribute is a multimedia spectacle. the heels of appearances at the As well as the Polish National Leeds and Reading festivals. Radio Orchestra and the Olga The intelligent Seattle indie band Szwajgier Quartet, the performance now features Grandaddy’s Jim features interactive and audioFairchild on the guitar parts visual elements. once played by Johnny Marr.
Our Dynamic Earth
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Assembly Hall, 1 Mound Place, EH1 2LX (0131 226 0000, www. edfringe.com). 3pm; £10-£12. One-person shows about famous figures are in plentiful supply on the Fringe, but when the person is Simon Callow and the figure is Shakespeare, it pays to take note. Written by Shakespeare scholar Jonathan Bate, it is a comedy that aims to capture something of the real playwright and some of his most enduring characters. UP ’N’ UNDER
Gershwin and Ives. Sponsored by Prudential. MONTEZUMA Aug 14, 15, 17 OPERA
King’s Theatre, 2 Leven St, EH3 9LQ (0131 473 2000, www.eif.co.uk). 7.15pm; £12-£35. Going from one continent to another and then back again, this Aztec spectacular was composed by Germany’s Carl Heinrich Graun in 1755 – using a libretto by, of all people, Frederick II, king of Prussia – and is now directed by Claudio Valdés Kuri, one of the hottest talents in Mexico. Just to add to the international mix, it is sung in Italian.
PORGY AND BESS
It launched in 1947 with a brief to allow visitors to ‘refresh their souls and reaffirm their belief in things other than material’. Even today, many decades after the trauma of World War II, the Edinburgh International Festival aims to do something more than simply put on world-class opera, theatre, dance and music. Under the directorship of Jonathan Mills, the programme makes explicit its historical and political connections, linking us this year to the New World and the Pacific and promising to turn our Eurocentric worldview on its head. With some of the finest artists in the world for company, it is a challenge worth taking.
EL NIÑO Aug 13 CLASSICAL Usher Hall, Lothian Rd, EH1 2EA (0131 473 2000, www.eif.co.uk). 8pm; £10-£46. Returns only. Opening the Edinburgh International Festival, this concert performance of John Adams’s oratorio gives a distinctively modern take on the nativity story. Performed by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, led by conductor James Conlon, the moving score will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 in September. Sponsored by Heineken UK.
hanging loose with Miles Davis. Elsewhere in the International Festival programme, he conducts Gil Evans’s reworking of songs from ‘Porgy and Bess’ with the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra (Usher Hall, Aug 26). Here, he conducts the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and pianist Steven Osborne in music by Copland,
RHAPSODIES IN RED, WHITE AND BLUE Aug 14 CLASSICAL Usher Hall, 71 Lothian Rd, EH1 2EA (0131 473 2000, www.eif.co.uk). 7.30pm; £10-£40. Gunther Schuller is a giant of American jazz, whose career has ranged from performing with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra to
16 EDINBURGH FESTIVALS GUIDE 2010
Quimeras, Sept 2-4.
Bliss, Sept 2, 4.
theatrical treatment. Stripping away the novelist’s descriptions of 1920s Parisian café society, the Spanish countryside and gory bullfights, the company is left only with his terse dialogue to tell the story of an impossible love affair between a journalist and an aristocrat.
TREASURES AND TRADITIONS AT GREYFRIARS
Aug 16-20, 23, 24 CLASSICAL Greyfriars Kirk, Greyfriars Place, EH1 MAU 2QQ (0131 473 2000, Aug 14, 15, 17, 18 www.eif.co.uk). 5.45pm; £17.50. DANCE One for musical archaeologists, this Edinburgh Playhouse, Greenside early evening series takes us as far Place, EH1 3AA (0131 473 2000, back as the 15th century, when www.eif.co.uk). 8pm; £8-£28. European composers first took Working with performers who have gravitated to Auckland from the great inspiration from South America. The arc of islands in the Pacific, Samoan exchange of ideas went two ways, as groups such as the Tallis Scholars choreographer Lemi Ponifasio and The Sixteen demonstrate this combines Shakespeare with Maori culture in ‘Tempest: Without a Body’ week. and asks urgent questions about the IDOMENEO environment in Birds with Skymirrors. Aug 20 The word ‘Mau’ means ‘revolution’. OPERA Usher Hall, Lothian Rd, EH1 2EA THE SUN ALSO RISES (0131 473 2000, www.eif.co.uk). Aug 14-17 7pm; £10-£40. THEATRE If you want to perform a myth, you Royal Lyceum Theatre, Grindlay St, need a man who has acquired nearEH3 9AX (0131 473 2000, legendary status himself. Conductor www.eif.co.uk). Aug 14-16, Sir Charles Mackerras, famed for his 7.30pm; Aug 15, 1pm; knowledge of period performance Aug 17, 2pm; £10-£27. and his brilliant grasp of Mozart, is Making its UK debut with a world premiere, New York’s Elevator Repair an Edinburgh Festival favourite, having been appearing since 1952. Service theatre company gives Ernest Hemingway’s novel a singular Tonight the 84-year-old is leading the
Scottish Chamber Orchestra through a concert performance of Mozart’s post-Trojan War opera.
KRONOS QUARTET Aug 21 CLASSICAL Usher Hall, Lothian Rd, EH1 2EA (0131 473 2000, www.eif.co.uk). 8pm; £8-£32. A provocative night of chamber music as the San Francisco ensemble tackles three extraordinary pieces. Aleksandra Vrebalov’s ‘…hold me, neighbor, in this storm…’ draws on Serbian folk; Steve Reich’s ‘Different Trains’ takes its lead from recordings of speech; and George Crumb’s unnerving ‘Black Angels’ is the piece that inspired the quartet’s formation.
THE GOSPEL AT COLONUS Aug 21-23 THEATRE Edinburgh Playhouse, Greenside Place, EH1 3AA (0131 473 2000, www.eif.co.uk). Aug 21, 22, 7.30pm; Aug 22, 23, 2.30pm; £8-£30. New York experimental theatre company Mabou Mines has charmed Edinburgh audiences with treatments of Ibsen’s ‘A Doll's House’ (featuring dwarf actors) and Barrie’s ‘Peter Pan’ (as a one-woman show). Now its director Lee Breuer revisits with a show in which Sophocles is given the Blind Boys of Alabama treatment. Greek tragedy rarely had so much soul. Sponsored by Standard Life.
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Edinburgh International Festival
Aug 14, 16, 17 OPERA Festival Theatre, 13-29 Nicolson St, EH8 9FT (0131 473 2000, www.eif.co.uk). 7.15pm; £14-£64. Returns only. The classic Gershwin summertime opera of Deep South romance is given a European makeover by Opéra de Lyon, directed by the choreographic partnership of José Montalvo and Dominique Hervieu, famed for combining large-scale video with live dancers. The livin’ just got easier. Sponsored by Lloyds TSB Scotland.
FESTIVALS VIEUX CARRÉ
SONGS OF ASCENSION
Aug 21-24 THEATRE Royal Lyceum Theatre, Grindlay St, EH3 9AX (0131 473 2000, www.eif.co.uk). 7.30pm; £10-£27. A brand new work by the archexperimenters of the Wooster Group, which adds some postmodern multimedia madness to one of the last plays of Tennessee Williams. The company blends early-’70s film techniques with the playwright’s reflections on his time in the French Quarter of New Orleans as a young man.
Aug 28-30 THEATRE Royal Lyceum Theatre, Grindlay St, EH3 9AX (0131 473 2000, www.eif.co.uk). 8pm; £10-27. They’ve listed it in the theatre programme, but Meredith Monk’s extraordinary show could just as well have found its way into the music line-up. The multifaceted American artist combines film, movement and whatever else takes her fancy in this ritualistic reflection on spiritual enlightenment.
CALEDONIA Aug 21, 22, 24, 25, 26 THEATRE King’s Theatre, 2 Leven St, EH3 9LQ (0131 473 2000, www.eif.co.uk). Aug 21, 22, 24, 25, 7.30pm; Aug 22, 25, 26, 2.30pm; £12-£27. At the end of the 17th century, Scotland decided it was time it had a colony of its own. Having raised a vast sum of money, it set sail for what is now the Isthmus of Panama. Ill-prepared for the climate and unsupported by the English, the colonists were all but wiped out by hunger and disease. Now satirist Alistair Beaton relives the high seas adventure with the help of director Anthony Neilson and the National Theatre of Scotland. Sponsored by the Scottish Government’s Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund.
ÁGUA Aug 27-29 DANCE Edinburgh Playhouse, 18-22 Greenside Place, EH1 3AA (0131 473 2000, www.eif.co.uk). 7.30pm; £8-£28.50. The late Pina Bausch is often
Calton Hill Short hike to panoramic peace.
Royal Botanic Garden Rare plants, tall trees, hothouses and no pressure. www.rbge.org.uk
Gilded Balloon Library Bar A calm corner amid comedy chaos. www.gildedballoon.co.uk
The Whole Works Massage, hypnotherapy and reflexology under one roof. www.thewholeworks.co.uk
Scotch Malt Whisky Society Become a member for a quiet dram. www.smws.co.uk remembered for her austere and violent choreography, but she had an exuberant side as well. ‘Água’, performed by her Tanztheater Wuppertal, draws on the colour and rhythms of Brazil to mix up a joyful cocktail of classical dance and wild humour. ˆ WILLIAMS LLYR Aug 28 CLASSICAL
Queen’s Hall, 85-89 Clerk St, EH8 9JG (0131 473 2000, www.eif.co.uk). 11am; £7-£27. Music lovers start the day at the Queen’s Hall, where this year’s recitals are picking up on the New World theme. That’s why pianist Williams is giving an airing to Charles Ives’s ‘Concord Sonata’, named after a New England town, as well as demonstrating the influence of Beethoven on the composer.
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SIN SANGRE Aug 28, 30, Sept 1, 3 THEATRE King’s Theatre, 2 Leven St, EH3 9LQ (0131 473 2000, www.eif.co.uk). 8pm; £12-£27. Spot the join as Chile’s Teatro Cinema crosses the celluloid divide to create a version of a novella by Alessandro Baricco that is neither theatre nor film but a genuine amalgam. ‘Sin Sangre’ is alternating with the company's latest work, a fantasy called ‘The Man who Fed Butterflies’, in the same venue. Sponsored by Pinsent Masons.
ROYAL CONCERTGEBOUW ORCHESTRA Aug 30, 31 CLASSICAL Usher Hall, Lothian Rd, EH1 2EA (0131 473 2000, www.eif.co.uk). 8pm; £10-£40. Mariss Jansons conducts the mighty orchestra from Amsterdam in two programmes. On the first night, we get Stravinsky, Bartók and Berio, then comes mezzo-soprano Anna Larsson in Mahler’s primordial Symphony No 3. August 30th: sponsored by City Inn, August 31st: sponsored by Lloyds TSB Scotland.
STEVEN OSBORNE Aug 31 CLASSICAL Queen’s Hall, 85-89 Clerk St, EH8 9JG (0131 473 2000, www.eif.co.uk). 11am; £7-£27. Watch those fingers go as pianist Osborne lets rip though favourite pieces by Joplin, Gershwin, Ravel and Rachmaninov, plus one of his own thrilling improvisations. The highly versatile musician has been hailed as a master of ‘space, sonority and silence’.
Sept 1, 2 CLASSICAL Usher Hall, 71 Lothian Rd, EH1 2EA (0131 473 2000, www.eif.co.uk). 7.30pm; £10-£40. Two performances by Australia’s leading orchestra, both conducted by Russia’s Vladimir Ashkenazy. The Elgar, Sibelius, Ravel and Strauss pieces you might recognise; less familiar are the works by Australian composers Ross Edwards, Peter Sculthorpe and Matthew Hindson.
DICIEMBRE Sept 2-4 THEATRE Royal Lyceum Theatre, Grindlay St, EH3 9AX (0131 473 2000, www.eif.co.uk). Sept 2-3 8pm; Sept 4 2.30pm, 8pm; £10-£27. Guillermo Calderón grew up under the Pinochet regime, but was little more impressed by the neo-liberal democracy that succeeded it. As a result, he and a generation of Chilean theatre-makers have remained dedicated to staging plays with a strong political bite. This blackly comic work deals with racism, emigration and war. Sponsored by The List.
BLISS Sept 2, 4 OPERA Festival Theatre, 13-29 Nicolson St, EH8 9FT (0131 473 2000, www.eif.co.uk). 7.15pm; £14-£64. Arriving on a high after picking up five-star reviews in Sydney and Melbourne, this is the European premiere of an opera based on the blackly comic novel by Peter Carey. Written by Brett Dean and Amanda Holden and sung by Opera Australia with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, it is the story of an advertising executive whose life is upturned after a near-death experience. One critic hailed it as a ‘Dante’s Hell for our times’.
QUIMERAS Sept 2-4 DANCE Edinburgh Playhouse, Greenside Place, EH1 3AA (0131 473 2000, www.eif.co.uk). 8pm; £8-£28. It used to be that Spain sent its people around the world. Now a wave of immigrants is landing on Spain. The lot of the economic
Bank of Scotland Fireworks Concert, Sept 5
migrant is a theme that works its way through the expansive flamenco choreography of Paco Peña in this world premiere directed by Jude Kelly. Sponsored by Standard Life.
SUSAN GRAHAM Sept 3 CLASSICAL Usher Hall, 71 Lothian Rd, EH1 2EA (0131 473 2000, www.eif.co.uk). 8pm; £8-£32. The mezzo-soprano is already a Festival favourite and this year, because of the New World theme running through Jonathan Mills’s programme, she has an excuse to turn her seductive voice to a number of American composers, as well as the songs of Mozart and Mahler.
MAHLER SYMPHONY NO 8 Sept 4 CLASSICAL Usher Hall, Lothian Rd, EH1 2EA (0131 473 2000, www.eif.co.uk). 8pm; £10-£40. Returns only. Donald Runnicles takes the baton to lead the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and a dizzying array of soloists through Mahler’s epic work, one of the largest in the repertoire, described by the composer as a ‘great joy bringer’.
SIMÓN BOLÍVAR STRING QUARTET Sept 4 CLASSICAL Queen’s Hall, 85-89 Clerk St, EH8 9JG (0131 473 2000, www.eif.co.uk). 11am; £27-£7. Associates of the sensational Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra, the aweinspiring product of Venezuela’s El Sistema music project, the spirited quartet plays music from South America alongside Bach, Brahms and Shostakovich.
BANK OF SCOTLAND FIREWORKS CONCERT Sept 5 CLASSICAL Princes Street Gardens, EH2 3AA. (0131 473 2000, www.eif.co.uk/bankofscotlandfirewor ksconcert). 9pm. £11-£26. Edinburgh’s world-famous castle will launch 100,000 fireworks as the spectacular finale to the Edinburgh International Festival. American film music – including excerpts from Leonard Bernstein's score for the classic ‘On the Waterfront’ – will be performed live by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, led by acclaimed conductor Clark Rundell.
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ALONZO KING LINES BALLET Aug 26-29 DANCE Festival Theatre, 13-29 Nicolson St, EH8 9FT (0131 473 2000, www.eif.co.uk). 8pm; £10-£28.50. A belated UK debut for San Francisco choreographer Alonzo King, who has been drawing on a very Californian blend of Latin and classical influences for nearly 30 years. Here his Lines Ballet play with Indian rhythms in ‘Rasa’ and with baroque choral works in ‘Dust and Light’. Sponsored by Lloyds TSB Scotland.
5 GREAT PLACES… FOR CHILLING OUT
SYDNEY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
There has always been a profusion of visual art in the city dubbed the Athens of the north, but only in recent years have the galleries clubbed together to present a united front as the Edinburgh Art Festival. Now in its seventh year, it presents work in established galleries both public and commercial, as well as in new places and found spaces, with a total of 48 organisations represented in 2010. The Scottish government’s Expo Fund has allowed the festival to up its game with high-profile commissions but, in such a walkable city, there is a simple joy in wandering from place to place, discovering prints, installations, photography and paintings as you go.
JUPITER ARTLAND: YEAR TWO July 1-Sept 12 (Thur-Sun only) ART Jupiter Artland, Bonnington House Steadings, Wilkieston, EH27 8BB (01506 889 900, www.jupiterartland.org). 10am-4.30pm; £8.25. One of the city’s best-kept secrets, Jupiter Artland is a stunning private sculpture park featuring major works by Charles Jencks, Andy Goldsworthy, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Antony Gormley and Anish Kapoor. If that wasn’t enough, they’ve just added pieces by Nathan Coley, Jim Lambie and Cornelia Parker.
of surrealist art brings together major work by Salvador Dalí, René Magritte, Pablo Picasso, Alberto Giacometti and Joan Miró, drawn from the gallery’s own world-famous collection and elsewhere. Also in the Dean is a new commission by Turner Prize winner Richard Wright.
JOHN SQUIRE: NEFERTITI July 9-Aug 19 ART
Henderson Gallery, 4 Thistle St Lane, EH2 1DA (0131 225 7464,
July 10-Jan 9 ART
20 EDINBURGH FESTIVALS GUIDE 2010
July 27-Oct 3 ART Inverleith House, Royal Botanic Garden, Inverleith Place, EH3 5LR (0131 248 2971, www.rbge.org.uk/ inverleith_house). Tue-Sat 10am5.30pm; free. The first UK museum survey of the work of the late Joan Mitchell, one of the most important American abstract expressionists of the post-war period, explores her love of nature and poetry.
July 30-Aug 15 ART City Observatory, Calton Hill, EH7 (0131 220 1260, www.collective gallery.net). Check for times; free. An Edinburgh Art Festival Expo commission, ‘Staged’ is a multichannel video installation that uses live and pre-recorded footage to turn Edinburgh into a theatre and the people into players. The piece will include real and stage-managed events, blurring the line between fact and fantasy in this most theatrical of cities.
PRINTS OF DARKNESS
ANOTHER WORLD: DALÍ, MAGRITTE, MIRÓ AND THE SURREALISTS Dean Gallery, 73 Belford Rd, EH4 3DS (0131 624 6200, www. nationalgalleries.org). Aug: daily 10am-6pm; all other times: 10am5pm; £7, £5 concs. The centrepiece of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art’s 50th anniversary celebrations, this survey
a dance work at the Traverse, an appearance at the Book Festival and a presentation on the outsize TV screen in Festival Square. His main focus, however, is this solo exhibition of new and recent work – including a staircase turned into a synthesizer – and an EAF Expo commission on the nearby Scotsman steps, due for completion after the festival.
Prints of Darkness
July 17-Sept 4 ART Edinburgh Printmakers, 23 Union St, EH1 3LR (0131 557 2479, www.edinburgh-printmakers.co.uk). Tue-Sat 10am-6pm; free. This is the first showing of original prints by 11 Scottish artists exploring the art of the record sleeve. Also featured is a newly commissioned LP of music by People Like Us, aka internationally acclaimed multimedia artist Vicki Bennett, famed for her musical and visual collages.
KIM COLEMAN & JENNY HOGARTH: STAGED
5 GREAT PLACES… FOR MEETING FRIENDS Cockburn Street Bistros, pubs, alternative shops and the Art Festival hub.
Traverse Bar Busy theatre, busy bar. www.traverse.co.uk/barcafe
WILLIAM WEGMAN: FAMILY Picnic table alfresco drinking. www.pleasance.co.uk/edinburgh COMBINATIONS
Spiegel Garden Lively corner with a touch of the big top. www.spiegeltent.net
Edinburgh International Book Festival Relax on the lawn with the wellread. www.edbookfest.co.uk
July 31-Oct 24 ART City Art Centre, 1-3 Market St, EH1 1DE (0131 529 3993, www.edinburghmuseums.org.uk). Mon-Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 12noon5pm; £8, £5 concs. One for dog lovers, this exhibition brings together 60 images of Wegman’s Weimaraners, a theme in his photographs and videos since the 1970s. Also on show at the City Art Centre, and included in the price, is a survey of 115 vintage prints by iconic American photographer Edward Weston.
Mon-Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 12noon5pm; Sept 7-25: Tue-Sat 10am-5pm; free. IRAN DO ESPÍRITO SANTO The Welsh artist, one of the most July 29-Sept 18 important of her generation, is ART known for her disturbing doll-like Ingleby Gallery, 15 Calton Rd, images and vibrant, two-dimensional IMPRESSIONIST GARDENS EH8 8DL (0131 556 4441, paintings that hark back to early www.inglebygallery.com). Mon-Sat July 31-Oct 17 20th-century domestic design styles. ART 10am-6pm, Sun 12noon-5pm; free. This latest exhibition explores the In his first-ever UK exhibition, National Gallery Complex, The theme of childhood. Brazilian master of minimalism Mound, EH2 2EL (0131 624 6200, Espírito Santo will be responding to MARTIN CREED: DOWN OVER UP www.nationalgalleries.org). Aug: the light-filled gallery behind Waverley July 30-Oct 31 daily 10am-6pm; all other times: Station with his trademark hypnotic Mon-Wed, Fri-Sun 10am-5pm, Thur ART patterns and layers of graphite and 10am-6pm; £10, £7 concs. The Fruitmarket Gallery, 45 Market paint, as well as showing marble and St, EH1 1DF (0131 225 2383, Don’t miss your only chance in the granite sculptures. UK to see this exhibition of garden www.fruitmarket.co.uk). Aug 6-30: paintings. Ninety works on show, daily 10am-7pm; all other times: JULIE ROBERTS: CHILD drawn from collections around the Mon-Sat 10am-6pm, Sun 12noonJuly 30-Sept 25 world, include pieces by Monet, 5pm; free. ART Pissarro, Renoir, Manet and Sisley, Step this way with Turner Prize Talbot Rice, Old College, South plus later paintings by Cézanne, winner Martin Creed, who has all Bridge, EH8 9YL (0131 650 2210, Van Gogh, Gauguin and Klimt. festival bases covered, thanks to www.trg.ed.ac.uk). July 30-Sept 5:
Find out more: www.edinburghfestivals.co.uk 21
Edinburgh Art Festival
www.thehendersongallery.com). Tue-Sat 11am-6pm; free. John Squire is best known as the guitarist with the Stone Roses, but before that he was an artist and modelmaker. Recently, especially since his Edward Hopper-inspired second solo album in 2004, he has pursued a career in visual art. ‘Nefertiti’ is a series of new works inspired by the music of Miles Davis. JOAN MITCHELL
FESTIVALS There are those of us who remember Woof from her Edinburgh Fringe performances in the early ’90s (a trilogy called ‘Sex’, seeing as you ask). Since then she’s become known for her roles in ‘The Full Monty’, ‘Velvet Goldmine’ and ‘The Woodlanders’. Now she has reinvented herself as the author of ‘The Whole Wide Beauty’, an acclaimed novel about a fatherdaughter relationship. Fellow debut novelist Sue Peebles joins her. LOUISE RENNISON
HILARY MANTEL Aug 23 BOOKS
Charlotte Square, EH2 4DR (0845 373 5888, www.edbookfest.co.uk). 11.30am; £8-£10. Mantel won last year’s Man Booker Prize with ‘Wolf Hall’, a dense and fascinating portrayal of Thomas Cromwell and his ascendancy during the reign of Henry VIII. So much more than a historical novel, it investigates the nature of power and what it means to be British. The author will talk about this and the ten books that preceded it. JOHN SIMPSON
Aug 18 BOOKS
The tented garden in Charlotte Square entices 220,000 visitors every year – roughly three times the numbers drawn to the Hay Festival – making the Edinburgh International Book Festival the largest public celebration of the written word in the world. With around 750 authors arriving from over 40 countries, the programme ranges from Nobel Prize winners to debut novelists, from scientists to children's illustrators, from poets to tomorrow's Man Booker Prize candidates. Above all, it is a festival of ideas, a place where historians, politicians, economists and distinguished writers of fiction share their insights with an audience primed for debate and discussion.
PHILIP PULLMAN Aug 14 BOOKS
Charlotte Square, EH2 4DR (0845 373 5888, www.edbookfest.co.uk). 11.30am; £8-£10. Having irritated Christians with the alternative mythology of ‘His Dark Materials’, Pullman has taken things a step further with ‘The Good Man Jesus And The Scoundrel Christ’, which considers the narrative power of the central Biblical story. The appearance of this learned and eminently reasonable humanist in the Book Festival will do nothing if not stir up debate. ANDREW O’HAGAN Aug 15 BOOKS
Charlotte Square, EH2 4DR (0845 373 5888, www.edbookfest.co.uk). 11.30am; £8-£10. Who would have guessed that an author who had written about missing people in ‘The Missing’ and a paedophile priest in ‘Be Near Me’ would turn his attentions to Marilyn
22 EDINBURGH FESTIVALS GUIDE 2010
Monroe’s dog? But that’s what Glasgow-born O’Hagan has done in ‘The Life and Opinions of Maf the Dog and his Friend Marilyn Monroe’. Here he is joined by actors Ian McDiarmid and Suzanne Bertish to perform scenes from the novel. FATIMA BHUTTO Aug 15 BOOKS
Charlotte Square, EH2 4DR (0845 373 5888, www.edbookfest.co.uk). 3pm; £8-£10. Her father was killed, her aunt assassinated and her grandfather executed. Belonging to Pakistan’s most famous dynasty is dangerous, but it’s one of the reasons for Fatima Bhutto’s ‘Songs of Blood and Sword’ being so compelling a testament. Expect her Book Festival appearance to be no less so. EMILY WOOF Aug 16 BOOKS
Charlotte Square, EH2 4DR (0845 373 5888, www.edbookfest.co.uk). 6pm; £5-£7.
Aug 21, 22 BOOKS
5 GREAT PLACES… FOR HIDDEN GEMS Craigmillar Castle Medieval fortress on the city outskirts. www.historic-scotland.gov.uk
Dean Village Fairytale corner beneath Telford’s Dean Bridge. www.edinburgh.org/villages
Charlotte Square, EH2 4DR (0845 373 5888, www.edbookfest.co.uk). Aug 21 6.30pm; Aug 22 3pm. £8-£10. If you want to make sense of the credit crunch, Stiglitz is your man. Author of ‘Freefall: Free Markets and the Sinking of the Global Economy’, the former chief economist at the World Bank is convinced we still have a long way to go before we fix the financial system. DBC PIERRE
Water of Leith
Aug 22 BOOKS
Aug 23 BOOKS
Charlotte Square, EH2 4DR (0845 373 5888, www.edbookfest.co.uk). 8pm; £8-£10. Having burst on to the literary scene with the scabrous ‘Vernon God Little’, a Man Booker Prize winner, the Australian-born, Mexican-raised, Irish-based writer is about to launch his third novel, ‘Lights Out in Wonderland’. It’s an odyssey about Gabriel Brockwell, a twentysomething poet, philosopher and decadent in search of the ultimate hedonistic experience. Expect a lively reading.
Charlotte Square, EH2 4DR (0845 373 5888, www.edbookfest.co.uk). 8pm; £8-£10. Since as long ago as 1970, Garry Trudeau has been working on his Doonesbury cartoon strip, which today is syndicated to hundreds of newspapers, including the Guardian, and is loved for its liberal politics as much as its humour. Despite his fame, Trudeau keeps a low public profile, so his presence at the Book Festival is a real coup. He is in conversation with fellow Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell.
Cross the city by foot or cycle. www.waterofleith.org.uk
Blackford Hill Walks, visitor centre and observatory. www.fohb.org
Union Canal Tranquil towpath strolls from Fountainbridge. www.waterscape.com GARRY TRUDEAU
Aug 26 BOOKS
Charlotte Square, EH2 4DR (0845 373 5888, www.edbookfest.co.uk). 8pm; £8-£10. The BBC journalist has recently turned his attention to the practicalities of how the 20th century was reported, what with tight deadlines, censorship and editorial bias standing in the way of the truth. This is the theme of ‘Unreliable Sources’, which suggests the British press is not as free as it likes to make out. RODDY DOYLE Aug 26 BOOKS
Charlotte Square, EH2 4DR (0845 373 5888, www.edbookfest.co.uk). 11.30am; £8-£10. With this year’s ‘The Dead Republic’, the Booker-winning Irish author has come to the end of ‘The Last Roundup’, a trilogy of novels about Henry Smart, a character with a knack of being on the scene at some of the 20th century’s key historical events. Here he reflects on his mammoth achievement. JULIA DONALDSON Aug 29 BOOKS
Charlotte Square, EH2 4DR (0845 373 5888, www.edbookfest.co.uk). 10am; £4. A personal appearance by the UK’s most successful picture book author, known especially for ‘The Gruffalo’. She’s promoting the recent ‘What the Ladybird Heard’, about the quietest creature in the noisiest of farms, and the soon to be published ‘Cave Baby’, featuring a ride on the back of a hairy mammoth.
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Edinburgh International Book Festival
Charlotte Square, EH2 4DR (0845 373 5888, www.edbookfest.co.uk). 4.30pm; £4. In the shops next month is ‘Withering Tights’, the latest teenage must-have from the ever popular Rennison. Kicking off a new series, it’s about the misadventures of Tallulah Casey, who signs up for a performing arts summer school in the hope of escaping her parents and meeting some boys. JOSEPH STIGLITZ
FESTIVALS jazzfestival.com). 6pm; £12.50. The Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival plays to the home team by presenting a major retrospective Aug 1 of the music of Edinburgh jazz JAZZ The Hub, Castlehill, EH1 2NE (0131 musicians over the last six decades. It pays tribute to everyone from the 473 2000, www.edinburghjazz late Sandy Brown, a clarinet player festival.com). 4pm; £12.50. who helped popularise traditional Belgium’s Fapy Lafertin pays jazz, to this concert by Tommy homage to his countryman and Smith, the celebrated saxophonist fellow Gypsy guitarist Django who recorded his first album in Reinhardt, whose classic 1930s 1983, when he was just 16. group set the marker for his own sound. The man described as ‘the KONRAD WISZNIEWSKI AND legitimate heir to Django’s crown’ BAPTISTE TROTIGNON TRIO will share a bill with the high Aug 4 theatricality of French quartet JAZZ Les Doigts de l’Homme. Assembly @ Princes St Gardens, EH2 2BY (0131 473 2000, TOMMY SMITH: KARMA www.edinburghjazzfestival.com) Aug 4 8.30pm; £10. JAZZ With the touch of Bill Evans and the The Hub, Castlehill, EH1 2NE drive of Herbie Hancock, pianist (0131 473 2000, www.edinburgh Trotignon is at the forefront of the new wave of jazz. Here he is with his sparkling Trio and with rising Scottish tenor star Wiszniewski, creating great international interest with his hard-driving yet lyrical sound. EDINBURGH JAZZ FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA Clandemonium, a showcase of Scotland-based bands. FAPY LAFERTIN
Nipping in a week before the city’s other summer jamborees, the Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival has an honourable tradition of showcasing outstanding Scottish musicians and setting them alongside some of the world’s greats, often forging once-in-alifetime collaborations in the process. Its musical palate is broad, embracing electronica, R&B and world music as well as jazz, improvisation and blues. FREDDIE KING July 30 JAZZ
The Hub, Castlehill, EH1 2NE (0131 473 2000, www. edinburghjazzfestival.com). 8.30pm; £12.50. Born in London to a Guinean father and a Ukrainian mother, King is a master of bebop and blues, as well as being the father of jazz-soul singer Niki and songwriter Tony. In Edinburgh, he appears with Frank Perowsky, better known as Liza Minnelli’s musical director.
FRED WESLEY AND THE NEW JBS July 30-31 JAZZ
July 30: HMV Picture House, 31 Lothian Rd, EH1 2DJ. 10.30pm; £15 July 31: Assembly@ Princes St Gardens, EH2 2BY. 9pm; £15. (0131 473 2000, www.edinburgh jazzfestival.com). An architect of funk, Wesley was the trombone player and musical director of James Brown’s backing band the JBs and was central in fashioning the sound that set the soul legend apart. A master of jazz, R&B and blues, he has worked for everyone from Ike and Tina Turner to the Count Basie Orchestra. CHINA MOSES July 31 JAZZ
The Hub, Castlehill, EH1 2NE (0131 473 2000, www.edinburghjazz festival.com). 8.30pm; £15. The Paris-based American ‘rough soul’ singer and MTV presenter released a number of soul-inflected albums before moving towards jazz with 2009’s ‘This One’s For Dinah’, a tribute to Dinah Washington with French jazz pianist Raphaël Lemonnier.
24 EDINBURGH FESTIVALS GUIDE 2010
JON CLEARY July 31 JAZZ
Assembly@Princes St Gardens, EH2 2BY (0131 473 2000, www.edinburghjazzfestival.com). 6pm. £15. Long a resident of New Orleans, Jon Cleary is well on the way to becoming the Crescent City’s first British-born piano professor. Tackling New Orleans classics and blending funk, soul and Caribbean beats in his own infectiously melodic songs, he’ll be in Edinburgh with a line-up of Doug Belote on drums, James Singleton on upright bass and multiinstrumentalist Matt Perrine. TOM BANCROFT July 31, Aug 5 JAZZ
(0131 473 2000, www.edinburgh jazzfestival.com). Clandemonium: Parliament Square: July 31; 11.30am; free. Band of Eden: The Hub, Aug 5; 8pm; £12.50. The winner of the 2007 BBC Jazz Award for innovation, Bancroft is presenting a jazz street party and introducing Band Of Eden, an offbeat jazz orchestra that the drummer and composer co-leads with Laura Macdonald, and
It’s fair to say the UK/Iranian jazz electronica scene has yet to go mainstream, but Edinburgh’s as-yet-unsigned GOL are trying to change that with their fresh and funky fusion of traditional Persian arrangements. The current line-up includes everything from sax to samples, congas and keyboards. ERIC BURDON Aug 6 BLUES
Queen’s Hall, 85-89 Clerk St, EH8 9JG (0131 473 2000, www.edinburghjazzfestival.com). Queen’s Hall, 85-89 Clerk St, 8.30pm; £22.50-£27.50. EH8 9JG (0131 473 2000, The ex-Animal from Newcastle www.edinburghjazzfestival.com). has a four-decade solo career Count Basie: Aug 4, 8pm; behind him and has fans ranging Colin Steele: Aug 7, 8.30pm; from Iggy Pop to Bruce Springsteen. £16-21.50. Other blues stars appearing in After making a splash with its the Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival inaugural performance last year, include Tam White, Lisa Mills and when baritone saxophonist Joe Alvin Youngblood Hart. Temperley led a tribute to Duke Ellington, the all-star orchestra kicks REFUGE TRIO off with a tribute to Count Basie on Aug 7 August 4, before turning its focus JAZZ on a new commission from Colin The Lot, 4-6 Grassmarket, EH1 2JU Steele. The Scottish trumpeter is (0131 473 2000, www.edinburgh known for his folk-influenced jazz jazzfestival.com). 6pm; £10. playing, as well as for composing Grammy-nominated singer Theo and performing theatrical scores, Bleckmann specialises in emotional including a production of ‘Look renditions of everything from Las Back in Anger’ starring a pre-‘Dr Vegas standards to bar-room singWho’ David Tennant. alongs, taking in Berlin cabaret and Charles Ives along the way. GOL As part of the Refuge Trio, an Aug 5 ensemble that includes drummer JAZZ Voodoo Rooms, 19a West Register John Hollenbeck and pianist Gary Versace, he throws new light St, EH2 2AA (0131 473 2000, on everybody’s favourite www.edinburghjazzfestival.com). singer-songwriters. 10pm; £10. Aug 4, 7 JAZZ
5 GREAT PLACES… FOR ATTRACTIONS Camera Obscura Surveillance society begins. www.camera-obscura.co.uk
Edinburgh Castle Chapel, prison, stone of destiny and the one o’clock gun. www.edinburghcastle.gov.uk
Holyrood Palace The Queen’s home, and gallery. www.royalcollection.org.uk
Scott Monument In honour of the Ivanhoe author. tinyurl.com/33npbnw
Greyfriars Bobby The monument to the most faithful of Skye terriers. www.greyfriarsbobby.co.uk
Find out more: www.edinburghfestivals.co.uk 25
JAZZ & BLUES
JAZZ & BLUES
Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival
Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo
Edinburgh Mela Drawing Festival crowds to the popular parkland of Leith Links, the Mela is a multicultural party that celebrates the capital’s diverse cultural roots. With a non-stop weekend line-up of music, food, dance and crafts, it is popular with families seeking a lively day out, as well as with dedicated fans of Asian music keen to catch the latest bhangra stars. ALL-DAY ACTIVITIES
In a city stuffed to bursting with performers of cuttingedge, left-field theatre, it’s worth remembering that the biggest crowds of all turn out for the Military Tattoo. This captivating display of regimental skills takes place in Edinburgh Castle, a location that can scarcely be matched anywhere. A guaranteed sellout, the spectacle combines the thrill of tightly drilled marching bands with the poignancy of the lone piper. EDINBURGH MILITARY TATTOO Aug 6-28 TATTOO
Edinburgh Castle, Castle Hill, EH1 (0131 225 1188, www.edintattoo.co.uk). Mon-Fri 9pm, Sat 7.30pm & 10.30pm; £16-£53. Gregory Burke’s hugely successful play Black Watch began with a blast of triumphal music, a swirl of spotlights across an empty central stage and a patrician voice
promising ‘the unforgettable first sight and sound of the massed pipe and drums’. The joke, after that big build-up, was the appearance of a solitary soldier looking sheepish in his civvies and giving us a timid ‘All right?’ All the references until that point in the National Theatre of Scotland’s international hit play, however, were to the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, the spectacular celebration of military colour and precision that has been attracting coachloads of spectators for 60 years. Taking place on the esplanade of Edinburgh Castle, one of the most atmospheric locations there is, it is a pageant renowned the world over. Unlike in Burke’s play, at the Tattoo you really do get to see the massed pipes and drums, as well as the music of the massed military bands. Turning up this year are the Swiss
26 EDINBURGH FESTIVALS GUIDE 2010
Highlanders, along with the South Australian Pipes & Drums, and the prestigious bands of the Grenadier and Coldstream Guards. Elsewhere in this year’s diamond jubilee event there are four continents’ worth of pipers, gymnasts, dancers and singers. Middle Eastern musicians rub shoulders with Highland dancers, and a New Zealand army band takes to the same stage as the Citadel Band from Charleston, South Carolina. Adding some highperformance tension is the Imps Motorcycle Display Team from London’s Docklands, with a 40th anniversary daredevil show. After all the thrills and spills, the invariably moving final fixture is the Lone Piper, playing a haunting lament from high on the castle ramparts, before the cosmopolitan cast leaves to the strains of the famous pipe melody ‘The Black Bear’.
Leith Links, EH6 7QR (0131 332 2888, www.edinburgh-mela.co.uk). All day; site pass £2 in advance (£2.50 on the door). Things burst into life all over the site at any time of day. Particularly busy is the programme for children and families, comprising arts and crafts, performances and workshops, supported by Forestry Commission Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage. Make sure you arrive hungry – the range of alfresco food from Asia, Africa and the Middle East is irresistible. CARGO Aug 6-8, 11-15, 17-22 MELA
Leith Links, EH6 7QR (0131 332 2888, www.edinburgh-mela.co.uk). Check website for showtimes; £2 in advance (£2.50 on the door). A huge outdoor spectacular directed by Douglas Irvine of Visible Fictions theatre company, based on the theme of migration. A co-production between the Mela and street theatre company Iron Oxide, it reflects Scotland’s multicultural make-up and considers the journeys of those who have left.
NATURALLY INSPIRED Aug 7 & 8 MELA
Aug 7: Leith Links, EH6 7QR. 4.45pm: £2 in advance (£2.50 on the door). Aug 8: Royal Botanic Garden, Inverleith Row, EH3 5LR. All day; free. (0131 332 2888, www.edinburgh-mela.co.uk). This collaboration with the Jazz and Blues Festival and the autumn Scottish International Storytelling Festival brings a breath of nature to the Mela and a rush of artistic life to the Botanic Garden. Indian sitar virtuoso and Ravi Shankar protégé Shubhendra Rao, and his wife, cellist Saskia Rao-de Haas, will perform new music inspired by birdsong, while poets, storytellers, singers and dancers respond to Scotland’s landscape, in conjunction with local communities. JAZ DHAMI Aug 8 MELA
Big Top, Leith Links, EH6 7QR (0131 332 2888, www.edinburgh-
mela.co.uk). Evening; site pass £2 in advance (£2.50 on the door). Hailed as the hottest Punjabi bhangra artist of 2010, Birminghamborn Dhami is a graduate of Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts and an expert in Indian classical music. With a bestselling album under his belt, he was named best newcomer at last year’s Asian Music Awards and best male performer at the 2010 Brit Asia Music Awards. TAZ Aug 8 MELA
Big Top, Leith Links, EH6 7QR (0131 332 2888, www.edinburghmela.co.uk). Evening; site pass £2 in advance (£2.50 on the door). The pioneer of British-Asian pop fusion, Taz, aka Johnny Zee, is the lead singer of Stereo Nation and the living embodiment of crosscultural music. He’ll be promoting his newly released album ‘Twist and Shout’, a characteristic amalgam of Bollywood and Beatles, Motown and club sounds.
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Aug 6-8 MELA
Festival City Map
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exhibition. Further afield, but equally unmissable, is Jupiter Artland, a stunning privately owned sculpture park in Kirknewton on the city’s outskirts. Rock fans are likely to find themselves heading to the Corn Exchange (not to be confused with the Corn Exchange Gallery), an industrial
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space near Slateford Station. If you fancy escaping the city for the day, you could do worse than take the train to North Berwick for Fringe by the Sea (August 10-15). And if you can’t make that, a walk up Arthur’s Seat is easier than it looks, offering fabulous city and sea views.
SITY R E IV
Bristo Square and the Pleasance are the busiest areas of the Fringe. Some never leave the Pleasance’s busy courtyard and packed programme of theatre and stand-up. No less lively are the venues around Bristo Square, where the Gilded Balloon, Udderbelly’s Pasture and more of the Pleasance offer stand-up and theatre. Close by is student drama at the Bedlam, experimentalism at Forest Fringe, jazz and classical at the Queen’s Hall, a laid-back tented vibe at the Spiegel Garden, theatre and dance at the various Zoo venues, and the grand Edinburgh Festival Theatre.
AROUND THE UN
FURTHER AFIELD Edinburgh is such a compact city, it’s easy to overlook places that are actually only a short distance from the centre. Art lovers should not miss the Gallery of Modern Art and the neighbouring Dean Gallery, both set in attractive grounds on Belford Road and celebrating 50 years in business with a major surrealist
Crowds throng to the High Street for day-long free entertainment, and to the nightly Military Tattoo at the Castle. The Hub is home to the International Festival and a venue for the Jazz and Blues Festival, and Underbelly is an atmospheric theatre and comedy hub near the grungy bars of Cowgate, where you’ll find Just the Tonic at the Caves and music venue Cabaret Voltaire. Greyfriars Kirk hosts the International Festival’s early music line-up, right by the splendid National Museum of Scotland. And there’s still more Fringe exuberance at busy theatre venues such as Augustine’s.
Find out more: www.edinburghfestivals.co.uk 29
South of the west end of Princes Street, Lothian Road is a good hunting ground for preand post-theatre eating, thanks to the large number of Italian, Indian and Chinese restaurants. Culturally, although it caters to the rock crowd at the HMV Picture House and attracts a lively club-going set at night, it’s the high-art end of town. You’ll come here for classical concerts at Usher Hall, arthouse cinema at the Filmhouse and the Cameo, quality Fringe theatre at the Traverse, International Festival drama at the Royal Lyceum and King’s, and big-name acts at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre.
FESTIVAL TICKET & INFORMATION OFFICES Tattoo 33-34 Market St, EH1 1QB Fringe 180 High St, EH1 1QS International Festival, Mela and Jazz Festival The Hub, Castlehill, EH1 2NE Book Festival Charlotte Square, EH2 4DR Art Festival Collective Gallery, 22-28 Cockburn St, EH1 1NY
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The Assembly brings a full programme to West Princes Street Gardens, from family entertainment to a club night, and the Pleasance has shows at new bar/restaurant/club Ghillie Dhu on Rutland Place. You’ll get a taste of the Fringe on the Mound, a popular site for street theatre, and the Assembly Hall is a top theatre, music and comedy venue. The National Gallery complex is a welcome respite from the bustle; to the east is glamorous backstreet music venue, the Voodoo Rooms, and down the hill towards Leith, the Edinburgh Playhouse hosts International Festival theatre and dance.
The home of the International Book Festival is in Charlotte Square, the epitome of the city’s Georgian grandeur. It’s also the official home of Scotland’s first minister Alex Salmond, so you can think of it as Downing Street with books. The canvas tents are the focal point of the festival’s more genteel side, although the Assembly Rooms and the New Town Theatre along George Street kick up a storm and, further east, the Stand is a classic basement comedy club. In between are upmarket shops and restaurants, a wealth of art galleries, and Fringe venues such as St Stephen’s and Hill Street.
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FESTIVALS MOTHER INDIA
A good stopping-off point between the Pleasance Courtyard and the several Bristo Square venues, Mother India offers a menu of starter-sized, tapas-style Indian dishes. Choices range from chickpeas and potatoes in yoghurt-based sauce to king prawns and spiced haddock. 3-5 Infirmary St, EH1 1LT (0131 524 9801, www.motherindia glasgow.co.uk).
The decor is simple (huge dog picture excepted), and the food is good value: three courses at dinner come in at under £18. An Italian version, Amore Dogs, is nearby. Good for the Assembly Rooms. 110 Hanover St, EH2 1DR (0131 220 1208, www.the dogsonline.co.uk).
Over the road from the Festival Theatre and in the same spot where JK Rowling set to work on Harry Potter, Spoon is a laidback and spacious café with long opening hours and an adventurous menu ranging from breakfast rolls to substantial main courses. 6a Nicolson St, EH8 9DH (0131 557 4567, www.spooncafe.co.uk)
Edinburgh food & drink RESTAURANTS Don’t expect fine dining in the pedestrian precinct around the Udderbelly, the Pleasance Dome and the Gilded Balloon, but you will find a range of fast food and drink to keep your energy levels up as you race from show to show. Bristo Square, EH8.
dishes such as poached salmon. It’s also a great place to have an alfresco beer. Castlehill, EH1 2NE (0131 473 2067, www.thehub-edinburgh.com). DAVID BANN
Among modern restaurants with wholly vegetarian menus, David Bann dominates. Try blue cheese and tomato tart to start, then aubergine and puy lentil with PLEASANCE COURTYARD STALLS On a sunny day, you can pass many mash and gravy. Well placed for the Pleasance and the Royal Mile. an hour on the picnic benches in 56-58 St Mary’s St, EH1 1SX (0131 the central courtyard of one of the 556 5888, www.davidbann.com). busiest Fringe venues, supplied by the bars and stalls that attend to all your carbohydrate needs. FRUITMARKET GALLERY 60 Pleasance, EH8 9TJ (0131 556 This light, airy daytime restaurant 6550, www.pleasance.co.uk). provides space to contemplate the Martin Creed exhibition along with excellent salads, sandwiches and CAFE HUB deli platters. Drinks run to a few The catering wing of the Edinburgh International Festival, Cafe Hub has wines and beers. a flexible menu, ranging from salads 45 Market St, EH1 1DF (0131 226 and sandwiches to more substantial 1843, www.fruitmarket.co.uk). 30 EDINBURGH FESTIVALS GUIDE 2010
In a grandiose former bank, Centotre produces high-quality Italian food, from pizza and pasta to Milanese-style veal. At the front, the Italian Bar caters to coffee fiends, wine-sippers and snackers. 103 George St, EH2 3ES (0131 225 1550, www.centotre.com).
Ideal for a speedy pre-Assembly Rooms meal, Henderson’s is Edinburgh’s original vegetarian restaurant – on the go since 1963. Hearty soups, stews, salads and desserts are served canteen-style. 94 Hanover St, EH2 1DR (0131 225 2131, www.hendersonsof edinburgh.co.uk). OLOROSO
This top-storey destination barrestaurant leads on its beef, lamb and seafood grills (premium prices) and a modish à la carte menu. The bar is usually buzzing. Chef Tony Singh also runs the cheaper Tony’s Table a couple of blocks away. 33 Castle St, EH2 3DN (0131 226 7614, www.oloroso.co.uk).
it into an instant bar to cater to the pre- and post-show crowd in one of the city’s busiest venues. George St, EH2 2LR (0131 623 3030, www.assemblyfestival.com).
In a prime location between the Assembly Halls and the Hub on one side and the Bedlam and Bristo Square on the other, the Outsider avoids starters and offers instead ‘chunky healthy lines’, such as chargrilled monkfish or vegetables, designed for sharing. 15-16 George IV Bridge, EH1 1EE (0131 226 3131).
A new Fringe venue for 2010, this handsomely fitted out bar and restaurant over three floors of a grade A-listed former church is a stylish West End destination, open from 8am until 3am, and offering Scottish-themed drink, food and cabaret entertainment. 2 Rutland Place, EH1 2AD (0131 222 9930, www.ghillie-dhu.co.uk).
Classy but informal, this upstairs retreat above the Traverse can pull off some of the best café-bar food in town: pork belly with an apple and black pudding tart tatin for example. There’s a large, open dining space at the front and a bar to the rear. 10 Cambridge St, EH1 2ED (0131 221 1222, www.bluescotland.co.uk).
BARS ASSEMBLY ROOMS BAR David Bann, see left.
Check out This Is My Edinburgh (www.thisismyedinburgh.com), a new website focusing on the contemporary, creative side of Scotland’s majestic capital. The website contains insider tips on the coolest places to go, as well as behind-the-scenes access to countless cultural happenings, photography competitions, promotions and the next big thing in social networking: location-based tagging to track where you’ve been in the capital.
In true Fringe style, the Assembly operation boxes in the lane down the side of the building and turns
Hidden down a close just a few yards from the main tourist street, this is one of the Old Town’s better-kept secrets. The other-worldly atmosphere is strong, thanks to the fairy lights and antique fittings. It’s a secluded place for a beer. Monteith’s Close, 57-61 High St, EH1 1SR (0131 557 0330, www.monteithsbar.co.uk). SANDY BELL’S
A folkies’ hang-out with nightly open sessions, Sandy Bell’s is a traditional Scottish pub that draws everyone from bus drivers to philosophers (the University of Edinburgh is nearby). 25 Forrest Rd, EH1 2QH (0131 225 2751). OXFORD BAR
The Oxford enjoys minor celebrity status as a favoured haunt of Ian Rankin’s Inspector Rebus (and, for that matter, Rankin himself) and is appropriately well positioned for the Book Festival. 8 Young St, EH2 4JB (0131 539 7119, www.oxfordbar.com). BENNET’S
An ideal place for a drink before or after a show at the King’s Theatre, this marvel of Victorian design has a long wooden bar down one side, with a huge selection of single malts, while the opposite wall has fitted red leather seats and more wooden fittings. 8 Leven Street, EH3 9LH (0131 229 5143).
Even with the recent outlandish bar and hotel additions to George Street, the Dome has the biggest wow factor. Converted from an 1840s bank, it has a striking classical frontage, the eponymous dome, and a number of bar and restaurant spaces. TRAVERSE THEATRE BAR 14 George St, EH2 2PF (0131 624 The essential bar for the theatre 8624, www.thedomeedinburgh.com). set, the Trav bar gets very busy. As well as drinking, it’s a good place for a casual meal, just as long as BLACK BO’S you can grab a table. This relaxed and bohemian little 10 Cambridge St, EH1 2ED (0131 howf (meeting place) has been around for more than 20 years, but 228 5383, www.traverse.co.uk). Find out more: www.edinburghfestivals.co.uk 31
FOOD & DRINK
FOOD & DRINK
BRISTO SQUARE STALLS
The Tower offers self-conscious chic, good views and a terrace, weather permitting. The menu has an emphasis on fresh seafood and well-sourced meat. The wine list is one of the best in the city. National Museum of Scotland, Chambers St, EH1 1JP (0131 225 3003, www.tower-restaurant.com).
with no style-bar flourishes in sight. The pub itself is a winning little spot; next door is an adventurous vegetarian restaurant. Well placed for Cowgate and Old Town venues. 57-61 Blackfriars St, EH1 1NB (0131 557 6136, www.blackbos.com).
If money is no object there are two classic restaurants – Oloroso (p31), with its rooftop views and The Witchery (Castle Hill, EH1 2NF, 0131 225 5613, www.the witchery.com) on the Royal Mile. Time your departure from the Witchery right and you will be inches from the regiments marching to the Castle’s Tattoo. 10.30PM: FIREWORKS
During August the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo kindly lays on a spectacular fireworks display at 10.30pm. You can see it from almost anywhere and you’ll hear the explosions even if you are in the bowels of the Underbelly venue watching a show.
MIDNIGHT: LATE ’N’ LIVE
The Gilded Balloon’s (Bristo Square, EH8 9AJ, 0131 622 6552, www.gildedballoon.co.uk) anarchic Late ’n’ Live shows sum up the boisterous side of the Fringe. These gigs are actually relatively tame these days but they are still an essential rite of passage for audience and performer alike.
So much to see, so little time to see it. In this rushed age, 48 hours may be all you can spare, so use it well. Here’s our advice on how to make the most of the city and its unbeatable festivals. DAY ONE 9AM: BREAKFAST/ARTHUR’S SEAT
Good places for breakfast include Cafe Hub and Centotre (for both, p30). After that, to clear the head for the madness to come and to get a visceral grasp of Edinburgh’s sometimes confusing geography, climb Arthur’s Seat, the 823-foot extinct volcano that looms over the city. Both the climb and the view are breathtaking.
concerts at 11am almost every day, with the Nash Ensemble and Pavel Haas Quartet among those playing this year. A blissful festival start. LUNCH
For a leisurely lunch, try David Bann’s classy vegetarian food, Mother India’s tapas-style southAsian dishes, and the National Museum’s Tower (for all, p30). For something quicker, check out the cafés, restaurants and pubs lining the High Street, all buzzing like at no other time during the year.
11AM: QUEEN’S HALL MORNING CONCERTS
85-89 Clerk Street, EH8 9JG (0131 668 2019, www.thequeenshall.net). The Queen’s Hall is a former church that retains its pews and is one of the hidden treasures of the Festivals. During August, it stages 32 EDINBURGH FESTIVALS GUIDE 2010
action include the various spaces working under the C venues label (www.cvenues.co.uk); Zoo (www.zoovenues.co.uk), which shows just about everything but majors on physical theatre and dance; and Sweet (www.sweetuk.net), also an all-rounder, but normally with a good sprinkling of children’s shows and music.
2PM: SHOPPING & READING
Combine cerebration and consumption with a stroll down George Street, Edinburgh’s classiest shopping drag, to Charlotte Square, the focal point of the Edinburgh International Book Festival (p22). Canvas tents are set up in the middle of the city’s most elegant square (designed by Robert Adam in 1791) and inside authors perform public readings and discussions. John Simpson (BBC man-of-war), Julia Donaldson (The Gruffalo) and Philip Pullman (His Dark Materials) are among the writers appearing this year.
DAY TWO 10AM: WALK & BREAKFAST
Clear the head with a gentle stroll along the Water of Leith (as recommended by Ian Rankin on p7), taking in the life-size figures sculpted by Antony Gormley standing in the river itself. For breakfast, head back to the Gallery of Modern Art’s excellent café (75 Belford Road, EH4 3DR, 0131 624 6200, www.national galleries.org) and, if the weather’s good, take your coffee out on to the terrace and read the reviews there. 11AM: ART IN THE MORNING
6PM: PLEASANCE COURTYARD
Time to prepare for an evening of culture, and the Pleasance Courtyard is the ideal place to start. Grab a bench, a Fringe programme and a drink, and watch the comedy world arrive. Most shows are only an hour long and there are over 20 venues in the Pleasance complex, so why not alternate between sipping pints and seeing performances?
Cross the road to the Modern Art’s sister gallery, the Dean Gallery (p20) for a Surrealist fix of Dalí, Magritte and Picasso in this year’s blockbuster exhibition ‘Another World’ or check out the new commission by Turner Prizewinner Richard Wright. LUNCH
The Fruitmarket Gallery (p21) provides excellent salads,
Not much time, so catch some food on the run from the bars and food stalls that line Bristo Square and Pleasance Courtyard (p30). sandwiches and art, and Spoon (p30) is the café where Edinburgh’s most famous literary daughter began writing Harry Potter.
7PM: END ON A HIGH NOTE
End your festival fling with the Festival that started them all, the Edinburgh International Festival (p16). The world’s best orchestras 2PM: FRINGE ACTIVITY The High Street is a noisy, colourful, and theatre, dance and opera companies appear in the city’s unmissable throng of street larger, year-round theatres (such as performers and young, aspiring the Usher and Queen’s halls, King’s artists giving it their all in the hope and Festival theatres) but, in true of their big break. If you’re not persuaded to buy tickets for a show Edinburgh style, without the black ties and high prices you’d expect there and then, reliable venues for seeing some great, grass-roots Fringe in other European cities. Find out more: www.edinburghfestivals.co.uk 33
48 HOUR ITINERARIES
48 HOUR ITINERARIES
48 hours in Edinburgh
always some red-carpet action, although short films, experimental novelties and animations feature prominently. Documentaries have also come back into fashion. Alongside the screenings are a range of talks and events featuring cast, crew, critics and EIFF patrons such as Tilda Swinton (pictured). SCOTTISH INTERNATIONAL STORYTELLING FESTIVAL
The Festival Year
EDINBURGH INTERNATIONAL SCIENCE FESTIVAL
Various venues (0131 558 7776, www.sciencefestival.co.uk). 2wks, early Apr. This hugely enjoyable festival gives an accessible slant on difficult subjects without dumbing down. Running for more than 20 years, it’s the UK’s largest science jamboree, attracting more than 60,000 people to its many talks, events and workshops.
BANK OF SCOTLAND IMAGINATE FESTIVAL
Traverse Theatre, 10 Cambridge Street, EH1 2ED (0131 228 1404, www.imaginate.org.uk). 1wk May. Imagine taking some of the best bits of all the other festivals and putting them on especially for children. This ludicrously popular festival for schools and locals presents the world’s best theatre for children and young people. In 2010, the festival took place at the Traverse Theatre, and then the best shows went on tour through Scotland. EDINBURGH INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
Various venues (0131 623 8030, www.edfilmfest.org.uk). 12 days in late June. Since moving from August to June in 2008, the Film Festival has found it easier not only to distinguish itself from the main shindig, but also to strike a clearer identity on the international circuit. There are many UK premières, often on show months before their general release, as well as retrospectives of cinema’s great names. There is
Throughout the city (www.edinburghshogmanay.org). 29 Dec-1 Jan. The world’s best New Year party. Four incredible days of cultural highlights, celebratory events and even a triathlon. Theatre, music, dance and street extravaganzas attract massive crowds from across the globe to the home of ‘Auld Lang Syne’. The street party on the evening of 31 December sees the city centre cordoned off for safety reasons, with a maximum of 80,000 ticket holders admitted; see the website for how to book tickets.
WIN A VIP EDINBURGH FESTIVALS EXPERIENCE The prize includes two nights’ bed & breakfast accommodation on August 8 and 9 at Edinburgh’s five-star Missoni Hotel and dinner for two at the Castle Terrace restaurant. The winner will also receive a VIP table package for 6 people
34 EDINBURGH FESTIVALS GUIDE 2010
at Bacaro nightclub, which includes a drinks’ tab of up to £150, as well as two festival passports allowing you to enjoy a tailored festival experience. The Competition closes July 16. Enter at www.timeout.com/edfest
Accommodation & travel ACCOMMODATION In Edinburgh, you can bunk with backpackers on the Royal Mile, share a modern apartment with friends, or sleep in fancy rooms attached to even fancier restaurants. But, fittingly for a city so steeped in history, it’s the hotels that stand out. Stay at the Howard (34 Great King Street, EH3 6QH, 0131 557 3500, www.thehoward.com) and get a taste of the Georgian high life in a New Town town house, or luxuriate Italian-style in the Old Town at Hotel Missoni (1 George IV Bridge, EH1 1AD, 0131 220 6666, www.hotelmissoni.com). If you’re coming for the Festivals, book ahead if at all possible. Edinburgh’s hotels tend to be busy year round, but in August occupancy rates reach 90 per cent, as performers, journalists, visitors, reviewers and general buzz hounds all search for somewhere to sleep. But even in August, it is still possible to organise a last minute break; the easiest way to do this is by calling the Visit Scotland National Information and Booking Line on 0845 22 55 121. The team of advisers have upto-the-minute lists of availability, can discuss your preferences and even make a booking on your behalf – leaving you free to concentrate on which shows you want to see during your trip. You can also book accommodation online at www.visitscotland.com. If you want to stay in the town centre, it’s worth checking out websites like www.lastminute.com and www.laterooms.com for deals. For longer stays look at www.gumtree.com or many of the short-term letting agencies that offer private flat rentals during August, although bear in mind that for these there’s normally a one week, minimum stay policy. But perhaps the best piece of advice we can provide is think suburban! Edinburgh is a small, compact and thoroughly walkable
city, so staying on the outskirts or in one of the adjacent towns – North Berwick, South Queensferry, Dunfermline, even Glasgow – is both feasible and surprisingly enjoyable when you need to clear your head after one too many latenight stand-up shows. And, while you won’t be in the thick of it, there’ll be more availability and you’ll save some cash. And if the idea of going to the Festivals and staying in Glasgow seems ridiculous, think on this: it’s just 45 minutes away by train (from £10.70 day return). Many people take longer getting to work each day.
Edinburgh Waverley Station (0845 711 41 41, www.network rail.co.uk) is right in the heart of the city, straddling the Old Town/New Town divide, a few minutes walk from the National Galleries and in the shadow of the rock on which the Castle sits. Step off the train and in to the middle of the festivals action. Edinburgh Airport (0844 481 8989, www.edinburghairport.com) is a short, shuttle bus journey away from the city centre. The Airlink 100 bus service (www.flybybus.com) is excellent and, as such, it’s not really worth taking a taxi unless you have a lot TRAVEL of luggage or your hotel is a long distance from the centre. Glasgow Most people get to Edinburgh Airport (0844 481 5555, www. by train, which is convenient as glasgowairport.com) is only an hour away from Edinburgh, with a shuttle bus connecting to Glasgow Queen Street Station (08457 11 41 41, www.networkrail.co.uk) for railway The Edinburgh Festivals connections to Edinburgh. It’s an Package combines preoption worth considering as the booked accommodation with an airfare to Glasgow might be Edinburgh Festivals Passport. considerably cheaper. Packages include tickets for If you choose to drive up to the three shows a day, handpicked festivals, there are park-and-ride by a festival critic. Prices start schemes throughout the city at £88 per person, which (www.parkandride.net), which are a good option as car parking in includes one night’s B&B; for the centre is not cheap. By doing details see www.edinburgh this, you’ll have more money left festivals.co.uk/packages. over to spend on tickets.
Find out more: www.edinburghfestivals.co.uk 35
ACCOMMODATION & TRAVEL
THE FESTIVAL YEAR
The concentration of events, performances and sheer razzmatazz transform Edinburgh in August into the cultural capital of the world, but the party doesn’t stop there. From hidden gems of festivals frequented by locals in the know, to the Film Festival (formerly alongside the other August festivals, but now taking place in June), to the world’s most famous Hogmanay celebrations, there’s always something happening in the world’s Festival City.
Scottish Storytelling Centre, 43-45 High Street, EH1 1SR (0131 556 9579, www.scottish storytellingcentre.co.uk). 22-31 Oct 2010. Scotland has a rich and enduringly vital tradition of storytelling, and there are events year round at the centre, ranging from tales of selkies (seals who can become human) to the memories of the past tenement dwellers in Edinburgh’s Old and New Towns. The International Storytelling Festival brings artists and performers from India, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, China and Japan to the city, to tell their tales and take home some new ones. Apart from stories, there are also films, discussions and workshops.