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Your FREE Festival Guide

Festival Preview

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2017 Previews | City Guide | Venue Map


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Meet Helga, cabaret diva extraordinaire! At least, she

K ALLO COLLECTIVE

used to be... Through mime, clowning and circus, this poignant physical comedy reflects on how it feels when our bodies don’t do what they used to.

HELGA

3 – 27 AUG

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13:30 · 50 MIN

C SOUTH

– LIFE OF DIVA EXTRAORDINAIRE

is torturing whom? How does

SADSONGSKOMPLEX:FI

it feel to be poor? Why is the water calling out? Where are you now, Woyzeck? Brand new from award-winning Finnish playwright/director Jari Juutinen.

A sparkling comedy about first dates, followed by

I AM FARANSIS W. ACE-PRODUCTION

supersonic speed-dating to find that soul mate/casual partner/festival pal or bunch of unforeseen encounters (delete where applicable). All genders and ages (18+)

DATES

welcome!

6 – 27 AUG 17:45 · 75 MIN

SUMMERHALL

2 – 27 AUG 19:45 · 75 MIN

SUMMERHALL

AT THE SPEED OF SOUND

A live report with the Egyptian protest singer Ramy

VIIRUS THEATRE

Essam. He was an iconic figure of the revolution during the Arab Spring and now tells the story of his life and his fight for a better world.

RAMY

2 – 13 AUG 20:40 · 75 MIN

SUMMERHALL

– IN THE FRONTLINE

@ STA RT TO F I N N I S H

STARTTOFINNISH.FI

festmag.co.uk

Is the world out of joint? Who


“COMEDY OF A RARE SCOPE” TIMES

Director George Sully   Editor Evan Beswick  Deputy Editor Jo Caird 

Additional Design Kyle McPartlin Artworker Silvia Razakova Production Manager Jess Hardiman

Lead Theatre Critic Matt Trueman

Sales Executive Sebastian Fisher

Concept Designer Sigrid Schmeisser

Cover Illustration Raj Dhunna

Writing Team Theo Bosanquet, Marissa Burgess, Polly Checkland Harding, Paul Fleckney, Si Hawkins, Lauren Hunter, Laura Kressly, Catherine Love, Becca Moody, Francesca Peschier, Lewis Porteous, Stewart Pringle, Lucy Ribchester, Jay Richardson, Alice Saville, John Stansfield, Ben Venables, Tom Wicker, Holly Williams Radge Media Publisher Sophie Kyle Editor-in-Chief Rosamund West Media Sales Manager Sandy Park Media Sales Executives Issy Patience, Keith Allan Bookkeeping & Accounts Rebecca Sweeney

Fest Street Dates 2017 8, 11, 15, 18, 22 August

ED I N B U RGH

2 01 7

22:30 • 3-27 AUGUST

BY ARRANGEMENT WITH MANDY WARD ARTIST MANAGEMENT

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(Not 9, 15, 21 August)

mickperrin.com

Advertising sales@festmag.co.uk Contact festmag.co.uk hello@festmag.co.uk @festmag Published by Radge Media Limited., 1.9 Techcube, Summerhall, 1 Summerhall, Edinburgh, Scotland EH9 1PL. Every effort has been made to check the accuracy of the information in this magazine, but we cannot accept liability for information which is inaccurate. Show times and prices are subject to changes – always check with the venue. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or in part without the explicit permission of the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within this publication do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the printer or the publisher. Printed by More Ltd., Glasgow. Distributed by doortodoordelivery.co.uk


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Contents

Comedy 24 Hannah Gadsby

70 years ago, the first Edinburgh International Festival happened. We think this is cause for celebration

The Great Big Comedy Takeover

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The Fringe also kicked off in 1947. Ben Venables dug through the archives to find out how it became a byword for comedy

Come One, Come All

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The Edinburgh Festivals have started to take accessibility seriously. We’ve a few pointers

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Dance, Physical Theatre & Circus 66 Outside the Ring Gender and relationships through the lens of contemporary circus

Cabaret & Variety 72 How Cabaret Got Serious Think cabaret is just flim flam and glam? Think again. Hard.

Musicals & Opera 75 Sasquatch: The Opera Ever thought you’d see an opera from Faith No More's Roddy Bottum? Nor did we.

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The Aussie comic and art expert might honestly be in Edinburgh for the last time

80 What to do with the wee ones Some expert advice on things to see and places to go

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Flowering of the Human Spirit

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Flowering of the Human Spirit Can the 70th Edinburgh International Festival remain true to its roots in a changing political climate, asks Theo Bosanquet

Harris says the Greek trilogy, which centres on a cycle of familial revenge, “speaks of the danger of n 1947 Rudolf Bing, then general manager of holding grudges, and how we must come at difficult Glyndebourne Opera, and Henry Harvey Wood, situations with forgiveness”. head of the British Council in Scotland, came Alongside marquee productions such as Oresteia: together to organise the first Edinburgh International This Restless House and Alan Ayckbourn’s two-part Festival. In the wake of the devastation of World War epic The Divide, Linehan has also programmed a Two it would, they said, “provide a platform for the strand of smaller events this year under the banner flowering of the human spirit”.  ‘Spirit of ’47’, honouring the founding partnership Now, on the eve of the 70th festival, its current with the British Council. Based at The Studio on Potartistic director is reflecting on that founding terrow, it will feature a series of performances and ideology. “It was largely about countering the chaos platforms celebrating international collaboration. of the post-war period,” says Fergus Linehan, who Elyse Dodgson, the Royal Court’s international succeeded Sir Jonathan Mills in 2014.  director, is overseeing a series of six staged readings “People were looking for some sort of compass titled New and Now. She says it’s a unique opportutowards a civilised life again, and arts and culture nity to highlight the venue’s global outlook. “Having was a guiding star. Also, considering the context a presence at the EIF is having a presence in the of the war, any celebration had to be international, whole world.” it had to be secular. It was an extraordinary act of reconciliation.” But what does this harmonious sentiment mean in a contemporary Britain riven by political division, inequality and Brexit? The mood of the nation currently feels more ’39 than ’47. Does the internationalism of the EIF now run counter to our times? Is it a relic of a bygone age?  Linehan, who aligns the original festival with the beginning of the “European ideal”, admits the current climate is a challenge. “We’ve got to redefine our relationship with Europe… But nobody as far as I can see wants us to pull up the drawbridge. There’s That notion of showcase, of providing a window an enormous enthusiasm to restate the international to the world, is an important component of the EIF’s networks that currently exist.” continuing appeal, and of the many festivals now in This year’s programme features several classical its orbit. It’s no empty boast to say that for the month works that Linehan says can provide a steer on of August, Edinburgh is the centre of the arts world. contemporary events. Among them is Zinnie Harris’s Artists come not just to reach new audiences but adaptation of Aeschylus’s Oresteia, one of three to put their work in a global context – in Dodgson’s works Harris is presenting in this year’s programme words, “to start an international dialogue”. (the others are Meet Me at Dawn and a new version Renowned Beckett interpreter Barry McGovof Ionesco’s Rhinoceros).  ern is marking his third appearance this year

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“People needed a party in ’47. The lights had been turned off, there was rationing, there was a desperate need for celebration”

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Features

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It’s fair to say that the EIF has inspired others to come together in a celebration of the arts – most obviously in 1947 when a group of artists were refused entry to the Edinburgh programme so, undeterred, went ahead with the first Edinburgh Festival Fringe. It’s now the world’s largest arts festival. So there. Fast forward to 2017 and skip through 135 degrees longditude, and you’ll find the second largest festival in the world: the Adelaide Fringe Festival. Running for a whole month in February/ March, the Adelaide Fringe has definitely taken on the Edinburgh vibe, scraping together venues from any passably habitable space and turning the city into an arts hub for the whole world. With added sun. It’s also got the multi-festival theme that makes Edinburgh such an exciting place in August, with the Adelaide Festival, Writers’ Week and WOMADelaide happening at the same time. Edinburgh take note: Adelaide has a free opening night. And cool mascots. Closer to home, Edinburgh is not the only location in Scotland hosting an arts festival in August. The Pittenweem Arts Festival on the coast of Fife is exactly half the age of the EIF (35), and has grown so popular it has even borne its own Fringe. Created by a small group of artists in the local community, it now hosts over 100 artists and makers who exhibit in various studios, homes and public spaces around the picturesque village.

festmag.co.uk

so do its arts institutions. But whatever the political backdrop, says Linehan, the original vision of Rudolf Bing and Henry Harvey Wood will remain. “We will, we must, always stay open and available to the world’s greatest artists.”

The Mother of All Festivals

with Krapp’s Last Tape. What keeps him coming back? “It’s a festival like no other, in that it has such a range of the performing arts. There’s a huge cross-pollination. As well as theatre I’m also big classical music fan, so for me it’s not just a busman’s holiday.” In terms of politics, McGovern isn’t convinced the EIF has the capacity to change people’s views. But the mere act of coming together to enjoy performance, he says, “helps to stop people becoming polarised”. For all the emphasis on artistic themes and programming choices, it is perhaps this simple act of collective enjoyment that holds the key to the festival’s longevity. Linehan agrees. “People needed a party in ’47. The lights had been turned off, there was rationing, there was a desperate need for celebration. That created a very strong foundation, because it was less about celebrating the arts and more about using the arts to address a fundamental need for us to come together.” With this in mind he’s programming a much broader range of music this year: PJ Harvey, Martin Creed and Meow Meow alongside Wagner, Britten and Mozart. This is partly a recognition, he says, of the fact cultural lines are becoming ever more blurred. Categorisations of ‘pop’ and ‘classical’ increasingly feel anachronistic. But after so much reflection, it’s time to look forward. What does he feel the next 70 years might bring for the EIF? “If I really looked into my crystal ball, I’d say there are questions around whether the profile of tourists will change, as well as the shifting geography of the city. But though everyone is always interested in evolution, a sense of continuity is also vital.” One thing he is certain of is that the Edinburgh Festivals are set to keep growing, though he cautions about the impact of a possible post-Brexit recession. As the country enters unchartered territory,


The Great Big

Comedy Takeover

In 1946 there was nothing. Then, in 1947, eight theatre groups arrived uninvited to Edinburgh. Ben Venables spent this summer cooped up in the archives, and found out what happened next

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dinburgh’s late summer clean-up operation scrubs away the Fringe like a master criminal clears evidence from a crime scene. From discarded flyers to spiegeltents, little trace is left. It seems that what happens in August, stays in August. It was with such seize-the-day spontaneity that the first eight theatre groups arrived in 1947. No-one had asked them to come. Unlike the new International Festival, there wasn’t any coordination or plan. These were groups subsidised only by enthusiasm, a desire to create and have something to say. They made an open access festival outside a closed door. It is this ethos that the often used term “spirit of the Fringe” attempts to capture. What started as a celebration of theatre became dominated by comedy. It’s a twist in the Fringe’s 70-year history that some see as corrosive, even “degrading”. Richard Demarco is co-founder of Traverse Theatre. “It is about everything being turned into a competition,” he says. “If you want to do something really distasteful, turn the world of art into the world of entertainment.” However, the idea of an artistic Fringe that has become sullied by commercial interests is not a new one. Donald Pleasence is best known for playing the Bond villain Ernst Blofeld. In 1952, he adapted Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Ebb Tide. Unfortunately, one critic declared it a “slow moving melodrama”. Pleasence and the New Drama Group had something less ponderous to perform – a series of late night sketches. Titled After the Show, it was the first sign of comedy, created for its own sake, at the Fringe. Thirty-four years later Karen Koren founded the Gilded Balloon. She turned the Fringe on its head by

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prioritising comedy over theatre. Part of her success was managing to secure a late drinking licence (and the social scene along with it). The Balloon also introduced a raucous cabaret titled Late‘N’Live. But, Koren knew, even with a 3:00am bar, the night was only so long. To establish comedy she’d have to guide comedians into burning the candle at both ends. “The fight I had getting comedy on before 7:00pm, because none of them wanted to do it. They believed comedy was a late thing. Now comics perform in the afternoon and do very well.” Rewind to the early 1950s – revues became the principal vehicle for comedy. By 1960, such was its popularity, the International Festival decided to strike back. Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, Alan Bennett and Jonathan Miller’s Beyond the Fringe was an enormous success. Yet the title cemented comedy and the word ‘Fringe’ in the public mind, more than it did anything for the official Festival. Oxford and Cambridge revues flourished and respective members, such as John Cleese, Michael Palin and Terry Jones, went on to form Monty Python. The Pythons’ Edinburgh path was an inspiration to a young Eddie Izzard, who when studying accountancy at Sheffield University in 1981 pitched up at the Festival Fringe office unannounced. He recalls in his memoir: “I thought, I have to go and sit in that office and beg them to advise me what to do.” And that is exactly what he did. The unannounced and uninvited nature of Izzard’s visit to the Royal Mile office is not unlike the original theatre groups rocking up in 1947. And around the same time as Izzard’s visit, standups from London’s Alternative Cabaret crowd started trickling


1981 Cambridge Footlights: The Cellar Tapes

Features

What the programme said...

St Mary Street Hall

“The annual revue: one of the strongest casts for several years, has already toured in southern England with great success” 1987 Arnold Brown, Barb Jungr and Michael Parker: Brown Blues Gilded Balloon

Two ‘86 sellouts for the price of one – and why not? (Brown was the first standup and the first Scot to win prize, and the last Scot until Richard Gadd in 2016)

1992 Steve Coogan in Character with John Thomson Gilded Balloon

“Spitting Image’s top voice brings a coachload of his new characters to his stonking new show” 2000 Rich Hall is Otis Lee Crenshaw Pleasance Courtyard

“Voice like six miles of gravel road, songs like a hangover. Otis returns. New show” 2002 Daniel Kitson: Something Pleasance Courtyard

“Everyone said he was good last year. You should come if you like self-indulgent whimsy on the verge of critical backlash” 2005 Kopfrapers Syndrome: One Man and his Incredible Mind Holyrood Tavern

“Imagine not knowing if what you knew was knowledge. Now imagine that’s not true and you can’t remember why. Living with Kopfrapers is like that, but worse. Stigmas are born through ignorance” (This is Laura Solon. It doesn’t mention her name and the show was changed after her comedy partner dropped out)

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up to Edinburgh. ‘Alt Cab’ is really the starting point of modern UK standup, with comedians moving away from sketches and gags to establish their own voice and point of view. The first Fringe ‘super venue’, the Assembly Rooms, put venue sharing onto a more commercial footing and created a comfortable and convenient place for people to stick around. An Assembly success in that first year was titled Alternative Cabaret, featuring some of the main players from that scene, but the ‘super-venue’ was primarily for theatre. It just happened that standup comedy was cheap to stage and attracted an audience. This was true of comedy generally. The Cambridge Footlights broke from their theatre group some years earlier, fed up with their popularity subsidising serious drama. Ivor Dembina is co-founder of the Comedy Boom, the first venue in Edinburgh specific to standup, which started in 1985. “What you have to understand is, in those days it was very easy to do. You just walked into a bar and said, ‘Can I run a comedy club here?’ We were just getting up on stage, telling a few jokes. People were coming in droves, and paying good money to see us, and television people were turning up.” The Comedy Awards were also not set up with the idea of a competition in mind. In many ways it simply responded to an established trend in theatre - the Fringe Firsts had started in 1973, and did not count revues as eligible. In 2016, the Awards’ Panel Prize—given for the ‘spirit of the Fringe’—went to Iraq Out and Loud, the continuous reading of all 20 volumes of the Chilcot Report. It is hard to imagine that the aim of this undertaking—run by volunteers, taking place in a shed— was to win prizes or to lure TV producers. One of its architects was promoter Bob Slayer. “I really hate some competitions put in place by the industry. But I don’t include the Comedy Awards because they gave me £5,000 last year (well, we shared it out). If you look at the people who win—like Funz and Gamez, Adrienne Truscott, John Kearns, Richard Gadd, Sofie Hagen—I don’t think there’s an agenda.” There was a spell in the 1990s where comedians in big venues, backed by big management, seemed to catch all the breaks. But, it is easy to forget that now famous names, such as Frank Skinner, Steve Coogan and Jenny Eclair, all had long apprenticeships before they received any recognition at all. The recent comedians that Bob Slayer identifies all combine their comedy instincts with shows that push the form in myriad ways. These artists have all found the Fringe a place where they can turn up and express themselves, much in keeping with its original spirit.

Award winners of Fringes past

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Come One, Come All

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n the 70 years that they’ve been growing and learning, the Edinburgh Festivals have become a markedly changed experience for people with different access needs. Both the Fringe and the Edinburgh International Festival (EIF) offer supported booking services, and the Fringe Society is working with ‘Gig Buddies’ this year to pair music fans with learning disabilities up with fellow gig goers. Also new this year: a ‘Mobiloo’ mobile changing place open 10:00am-10:00pm on Windmill Street to help make festival going a bit more feasible and dignified for people with profound and multiple learning disabilities, as well as people with other physical disabilities. So, what about some good shows? Here’s a start...

Three Half Pints Present The Three Musketeers Gilded Balloon Teviot, 12:45pm – 1:45pm, 2–27 Aug, not 21, 22, £6 – £11

Kids shows can be lively affairs – a fantastic, energetic, creative space for some, but a bit much for others. There are plenty of kids shows offering relaxed performances for people with sensory or communication disorders, or people on the autistic spectrum, for example. The Three Musketeers has the benefit of being utterly hilarious, too. Very, VERY loosely based on the Dumas classic, this is mostly silly fun. Relaxed performances on 9 and 23 August.

The Divide Part 1 and Part 2 Part 1, King’s Theatre, times vary, 8–20 Aug, not 9, 10, 14, £10–£32 Part 2, King’s Theatre, times vary, 9–20 Aug, not 10, 14, £10–£32

19 August sees audio-described and BSLinterpreted performances of Alan Ayckbourn’s beguiling new play, while the 20th is captioned. This is a mammoth of a drama, in two parts, which imagines a dystopian future where men and women are segregated. It’s a world premiere, and a co-production between the EIF and the Old Vic.

Ray Bradshaw: Deaf Comedy Fam Gilded Balloon Teviot, 4:00pm – 5:00pm, 2–28 Aug, not 14, £6 – £10

There’s a lot more BSL-interpreted comedy now – expecially at the bigger venues. But this one’s a first. Ray Bradshaw grew up with two hearing-impaired parents, so has been signing all his life. And now he’s doing it as he performs, essentially doing comedy for British Sign Language (BSL) users, rather than it being ‘translated’. And this ain’t no gimmick. Bradshaw is a two-time Scottish Comedian of the Year finalist.

Joan Underbelly Med Quad, 7:20pm – 8:20pm, 21–27 Aug, not 26, £10.50

Lucy Jane Parkinson’s recasting of the French heroine as an outsider looking for a space to exist hit last year’s festival. It was awesome, so if you get a chance to see it, don’t pass it up. Fortunately, that’s an option open to more punters, with a relaxed staging on the 24th, and captioning for all performances.

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WHITE FACE CREW - LA DANS UNE MARIONETTE BINGE CULTURE - VIE WHALES

Features

DISCOVER NEW ZEALAND AT THE EDINBURGH FESTIVAL FRINGE 2017

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GILDED BALLOON AT THE MUSEUM @ 10:30

“A remarkable happening” “Superb…Marvellous…Sublime…So good!…Absolute joy…World class” Theatreview - Theatre Scenes

BINGE CULTURE - WHALES MODERN MAORI QUARTET: THAT’S US! ASSEMBLY SATS & SUNS @ 12:30

“Hilarious and harmonious entertainment at its best” “A remarkable Theatreview happening” - Theatreview

MODERN QUARTET: US! JULIAMĀORI CROFT - POWERTHAT’S BALLAD ASSEMBLY @ 14:25

“More of this please ★ ★ ★ ★” (on 2016’s If There’s Not Dancing at the Revolution,I’m Not Coming) “Hilarious The List and harmonious entertainment at its best”

- Theatreview

TRICK OF THE LIGHT - THE ROAD THAT WASN’T THERE BINGE CULTURE - ANCIENT SHRINES AND HALF TRUTHS

ASSEMBLY “One @ of14:35 the country’s most exciting and original theatre

“… companies” the pick of the NZcrop” Herald

- The Advertiser (Adelaide, Australia) ASSEMBLY @ 15:00 gems and heartbreaking moments” “… comedic

“… Theatre insightful, powerful and must not be missed” Scenes

- NZ Herald

BINGE CULTURE SHRINES AND UNE HALFMARIONETTE TRUTHS WHITE FACE- ANCIENT CREW - LA VIE DANS

SUMMERHALL @ 15:15 & 18:15 “Superb…Marvellous…Sublime…So good!…Absolute joy…World class” “One of the country’s most exciting and original theatre companies” Theatreview - NZ Herald

BINGE CULTURE - BREAK UP (WE NEED TO TALK) JUAN VESUVIUS - I AM YOUR DEEJAY

“Bizarre, sexy and very, very funny” Broadway Baby SUMMERHALL MONDAYS @ 18:00

“… ★ comedic heartbreaking moments” ★ ★ ★ gems ★ Theand Skinny

- Theatre Scenes

TRICK OF- THE LIGHT - THE ROAD THAT WASN’T THERE JULIA CROFT POWER BALLAD

SUMMERHALL @ 19:30 “… the pick of the crop” The Advertiser (Adelaide, Australia) “More of this please ★ ★ ★ ★ ★” - The List

(on 2016’s If There’s Not Dancing at the Revolution, I’m Not Coming)

ELEANOR BISHOP - JANE DOE JUAN VESUVIUS - I AM YOUR DEEJAY

“… insightful, powerful and must not be missed” ASSEMBLY @ 23:00 NZ Herald “Bizarre, sexy and very, very funny” - Broadway Baby

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ - The Skinny

Find out more

www.nzatedinburgh.com

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ELEANOR - JANE DOE UP (WE NEED TO TALK) BINGEBISHOP CULTURE - BREAK


Festivals 2087 We can all agree that the first 70 years of the Edinburgh festivals have been excellent. But what of the next 70? We asked artists to look into their crystal balls and tell us what to expect from 2087

Lucy Roslyn Goody, Pleasance Courtyard, 2:15pm, 2-28 August, not 15

Edinburgh festival 2087 will centre around a Thunderdome in which performers fight to the death for a glass of water. The Bobby Award will include safe passage to the Human Ark where they will provide entertainment for an underground generation. In the confusion of a seasonless year, the festival will last for three months. After 70 years of female and ethnic minority dominance, a straight white male finally wins the Comedy Award. Kitson’s show is sold out.

Caroline Mabey Quetzals, Just the Tonic at The Caves, 7:40pm, 3-27 August, not 14

Scotland is independent, but entirely Tory. Belle and Sebastian have just released their 107th album. Every Edinburgh resident is now a Fringe venue, able Now Who’s a Comedian?, Just the Tonic at The Caves, 12:00pm, to accommodate up to 40 audients remotely via 8G 3-27 August, not 14 dongles embedded in their frontal cortex. This offers In 70 years, the Royal Mile will have been renamed the the ultimate “Authentic Edinburgh Experience” to Royal Fifteen-Thousand, Eight-Hundred-and-Forty fringe-goers who now watch shows from the comfort Hands to acknowledge Scotland’s post-Brexit accept- of a beach holiday/tropical city break on a different ance of this ancient form of horse measurement. It continent. The real winner of course is Edinburgh City won’t just be the student scene that’s saturated; by Council, which tracks each view and takes a sweet 2087, comics and punters will be at a ratio of 36:1. 16 Scotpunds (0.000007 Bitcoins) whether or not the We’ll be forced to rut like deer to win an audience. I’ll show is officially ticketed. be performing from an iron lung – and what’s worse is I’ll still be described as “up-and-coming”.

David Ephgrave

Conor Drum All My Friends Are Dead, Laughing Horse @ Bar 50, 6:00pm, 3-27 August

In 2087, paid Fringe shows will be in a cream form and administered orally by the performers while the punter is in stasis; free shows, on the other hand, will be in the form of suppositories. Shows—or “trips”, as they will become known—can last years. Thanks to bioengineering, James Acaster will finally win the Trump Fringe Award at the tender age of 102

Gráinne Maguire Gráinne with a Fada, Gilded Balloon Teviot, 6:30pm, 2-28 August, not 15; What Has the News Ever Done for Me?, Laughing Horse @ Cabaret Voltaire, 12:30pm, 3-27 August, not 15

The year is 2087 and the country is entering the 70th year of Brexit talks. Theresa May, now just a wig in a shoe box, reminds Brussels that the UK will take no deal over a bad deal but once again, only gets an out of office reply. Longing for distraction, the nation turns to the Fringe, now held in the People’s Republic of Edinburgh.

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The Reunion, 8:20pm, Pleasance Dome, 2-13 August, not 9

Ahh, 2087. Things are looking up after the second Eurasian War, and those in Human Colony #2 can still enjoy the Festival, which now takes place in a giant lead-lined shipping container and lasts for 55 minutes. Concept-driven standup shows fizzled out after everyone’s dad died (in the Great Culling of 2039), and the Guns.com Comedy Award now goes to whichever act emerges victorious from The Shooting Range. Due to hyperinflation, Free Fringe tickets cost 8,000 oxygen credits. Mervyn Stutter’s Pick of the Fringe is just “some food”.

“After 70 years of female and ethnic minority dominance, a straight white male finally wins the Comedy Award. Kitson’s show is sold out”- Lucy Roslyn

Joe Sellman-Leava

Glenn Moore

Fix, Underbelly, Cowgate, 5:40pm, 3-27 August, not 16

The Very Best of Belinda Carlisle, Just The Tonic at The

The world’s oldest android has made her Fringe debut: she’s struggling to break even, but having the time of her life. An ancient but tireless Bryony Kimmings is still wowing audiences, with a weird and wonderful mashup of virtual reality and opera. Lyn Gardner has uploaded her mind into a computer, and continues to review an absurd number of shows each day, watching them via an army of drones the size of bumblebees. We all agree: Edinburgh in August is still the best place on earth.

Tron, 6:20pm, 3-27 August, not 14

Brennan Reece Everlong, Pleasance Courtyard, 6:00pm, 2-27 August

The once great Edinburgh Festival Fringe is now just a tiny dystopian arts weekend. The Royal Meter is a few old Fringe performers handing out their homemade paper flyers; university a capella groups have been made illegal (long time coming); and the art of standup comedy has been replaced with videos of cats. The last Edinburgh Comedy Award winner was a man doing armpit farts and traditional standup doesn’t exist... although Ken Dodd is still alive.

Sarah Fornace Lula del Ray by Manual Cinema, Underbelly Med Quad, 4:30pm, 2-28 August, not 14

Thanks to Edinburgh’s prescient Climate Change Adaptation Action Plan, the festivals continue in 2087! A renowned Russian clown troupe will present their latest augmented reality performance taking audience members through Dante’s Inferno. Immersive shows blanket the city, directly beaming actors and locations into our mobile data implements, so as always: watch out for audience members running blindly down the Royal Mile. Great news: rapid transit will be free of charge this year between all one-woman shows!

The Fringe in 2087 will be the first of its kind to exist entirely in tablet form. In order to experience the sensation of having seen a show, festival-goers will simply take three tablets (the instructions will read like a four though). The effects will last around 45 minutes, or 50 if the show’s creator wants their tablet to be eligible for the main tablet award. The overwhelming majority of tablets at this point are university productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and everyone longingly remembers the days when burgers at the main venues were only £29.

Evelyn Mok Hymen Manoeuvre, Pleasance Courtyard, 6:00pm, 2-27 August, not 14

A dystopian future ruled by hyper-intelligent computers was predicted in the ‘50s, yet the only progress humanity’s made is how to send photos of our genitals to each other at hyperspeed. Comedians will still pilgrimage to this mecca of liberal arts, offering up funny but emotional narratives for a chance to win the prestigious Snapchat Edinburgh Comedy Award. And I’ll still be here, 100 years old, hawking jokes about my vagina for anyone who will listen.

Monica Dolan The B*easts, Underbelly, Cowgate, 6.00pm, 3-27 August, not 14

I imagine in 2087 there will be a Fringe of the Fringe, or even a Fringe of a Fringe of the Fringe. Time travel and transport will have cohered in such a way that Fringe-goers will be able to beam themselves from the end of one show directly to the beginning of another, eradicating the problem of rushing from one show to the next, so they can truly live as a continuous 24-hour audience member.

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Max & Ivan

Features

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The Ones to Watch: Comedy Who will be funniest at this year’s Fringe? Ben Williams selects the best of the bunch

Joseph Morpurgo: Hammerhead Pleasance Courtyard, 2-28 Aug, not 14, 8:00pm Following his VHS adventures, faux verbatim theatre and a very intimate episode of Desert Island Discs, this ingenious character comic is back with more high-concept, multimedia wizardry. Morpurgo’s last show—2015’s Soothing Sounds for Baby—was an absolute triumph, bagging an Edinburgh Comedy Award nomination and winning three Chortle Awards. No pressure this year, then.

Alexei Sayle Underbelly Med Quad, 2-11 Aug, 6:45pm The political status of this

Fern Brady: Suffer, Fools!

word, an absolute shitshow. Who better, then, to pick apart this government’s many mishandlings than everyone’s

not 3, 14, 15, 12:05pm

favourite Marxist comic Alexei

Evelyn Mok: Hymen Manoeuvre

Sayle? Along with a few others,

Pleasance Courtyard, 2-27 Aug,

Straight-talking Scottish

he pretty much invented alter-

not 14, 6:00pm

standup Fern Brady has had

native comedy. This Swedish standup is one

years, and 2017’s show looks

of our top newcomer tips. The

set to be another from day one.

29-year-old’s abrasive pres-

you know—tackles weighty topics with an unfussy, unapologetic manner that forces audiences to hang on every word. A proper talent.

Credit: Steve Ullathorne

word-of-mouth hits in previous

and former Fest reviewer, don’t

Comedy

has been, for want of a better

The Stand Comedy Club, 2-27 Aug,

The Bathgate-born comic—

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country over the past few years

ence and blunt observations (often about her vagina) have brought comparisons to Amy Schumer. But in her debut solo show, Mok reveals her persona is more of a shield to hide her lack of confidence.


Top Picks

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Aditi Mittal: Global Village Idiot Underbelly Med Quad, 2-27 Aug, not 14, 6:35pm Aditi Mittal—star of Radio 4’s A Beginner’s Guide to India— was one of the first women to perform standup in her home country, where she’s now a huge star. This is the Mumbai-based comic’s Fringe debut, and with a Netflix special recently announced, who knows when she might next be in town.

Found Footage Festival Underbelly, Cowgate, 3-27 Aug, not 14, 10:40pm This cult US show—where adorably nerdy comics Joe Pickett and Nick Prueher showcase strange clips from old VHS tapes they’ve found in thrift stores and garage sales—is

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so much fun. Who knew old exercise videos, bizarro public access shows and corporate training montages could be so entertaining?

John Kearns: Don’t Worry They’re Here Heroes @ Monkey Barrel, 4-27 Aug, not 16, 7:00pm Kearns is the only comic to win both Edinburgh Comedy

Mat Ewins Presents Adventureman 7: The Return of Adventureman Heroes @ The Hive, 3-27 Aug, 8:45pm

quite a feat, yet this tonsure wig

For pure laugh-a-minute silli-

and false teeth-donning comic

ness, Mat Ewins is hard to beat.

managed it. The 30-year-old

His video-based mischiefs pack

standup’s absurdist tales hide

more jokes into one frame of

a deep, meaningful truth about

footage than most comics put

life’s many obstacles under-

into their entire shows. So much

neath screechy meanderings

so, you’ll want to see it again

and imaginative metaphors.

just to look out for the gags you

Genius? Absolutely.

missed first time around.

Credit: Howard Read

Awards in consecutive years –


Just the Tonic at The Caves,

Top Picks

Rob Auton: The Hair Show

Credit: Matt Crockett

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3-26 Aug, not 14, 3:55pm Rob Auton really commits to his art. Not only is The Hair Show a gentle, whimsical comedy show all about manes and moustaches, locks and mops, the poet/comedian isn’t shaving or cutting his hair until the final performance of the show. Considering it’ll probably tour, that could be this time next year.

Sara Pascoe: LadsLadsLads Pleasance Courtyard, 2-27 Aug, not 14, 7:00pm You don’t need us to tell you that Sara Pascoe is a must-see. But, hey, we’re going to add to the praise. In her solo shows

Credit: Téan Roberts

regular tackles highbrow ques-

Desiree Burch: Unf*ckable

tions and intelligent topics with silliness, smart wit and pertinent pop culture references.

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Heroes @ Bob’s Blundabus,

2-27 Aug, 9:15pm

3-27 Aug, not 15 or 22, 10:00pm There ain’t much this NebrasSex, race and capitalism are the

ka-born comic can’t do. He’s

topics of choice for this smart,

a superb standup, a talented

fiery standup, who’s popped up

improviser and a master

on 8 Out of 10 Cats and The Guilty

character comic. You might’ve

Feminist Podcast recently. The

heard him on the Comedy

New York-born, London-based

Bang! Bang! podcast or seen

comic is quickly rising up the

him playing Bernie Sanders

comedy ranks thanks to her

in various viral videos. At the

candid tales, well-informed

Fringe, his character creations

opinions and slickly-crafted

are wrestling with his true self

jokes.

(not literally).

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the inquisitive comic and TV


Cally Beaton

Don’t Give Up the Day Job Doctor by day, standup by night? A funny media exec? A Late Night Gimp Fighter-cum-barrister? The world of comedy is moonlighting central, as Si Hawkins finds out

Comedy

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his could be an awkward few weeks for Cally Beaton, even if her Fringe show is a huge, sellout success. The problem: many of those seats might well contain fellow comedians, all wanting a quick, loaded chat afterwards. Beaton is in a unique position. A relatively new standup, she’s also a senior vice president at Viacom, the media giant behind Paramount Pictures, MTV, and other major channels. Which makes socialising with contemporaries tricky. “On the circuit I don’t talk about what I do by day,” Beaton admits. “Not least because I don’t want everyone going, ‘Can you get me a show on Comedy Central?’” It shouldn’t be a huge surprise that many standups hold down second jobs, as performing is a famously precarious existence. But those jobs—and their compatibility with comedy—can vary wildly. Beaton uses a sort of alter ego—Caroline at work, Cally on stage—but opens up about the day job in her debut Fringe hour, Super Cally Fragile Lipstick. Now 40-something, she started gigging two and

Kwame Asante

a half years ago, after hosting glitzy launches so successfully that some stellar associates—notably Joan Rivers—urged her into standup. Corporate slickness might not cut it at her new base, Just the Tonic, but in person Beaton sounds like any keen new comic. As the title suggests, her show explores how execs can be vulnerable too. “I don’t in any way want to come across as alienatingly high status,” she says. Moonlighting media bigwigs are rare, but certain careers seem to actively push people towards comedy. Teaching, for example. Greg Davies, Micky Flanagan, Geoff Norcott, Romesh Ranganathan: all switched to barking at boozy, heckling adults instead. Clearly transferable skills apply: preparing material, holding the attention. And August holidays help, Fringe-wise. Paul Revill still teaches, although his debut Edinburgh hour, Revillations, reveals that he was previously in perfume, and put a £10,000 bonus towards a punt on comedy. Teaching arrived later, and he became a cover supervisor, which involves taking random lessons. Improv, basically. “Thinking on


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Abigoliah Schamaun

up: he’s a barrister and one fifth of popular sketch maniacs Late Night Gimp Fight, who return for 12 shows this Fringe. During previous Fringes, Campbell brought paperwork along, “so a month away wasn’t too disruptive”, but opted out when the Gimps hosted Impractical Jokers, on the aforemen- Abigoliah Schamaun tioned Comedy Central. “I just knew I couldn’t do a He took a year’s sabbatical to concentrate on hidden camera show with my job,” he says. comedy, but is most amused by Fest’s query about He’s back for the live stuff though, and has only which path he’ll eventually pick. “Six years of Lonbeen spotted in court once, when the opposite coundon student debt! If anything, I need a third career.” sel recognised him from a kids’ gig the day before. “It So does it work the other way? Can second jobs helps that as a barrister I get to wear a wig and gown, relieve performance anxiety? Ohio-born Abigoliah which is essentially a full-blown disguise.” Schamaun moved to New York to act – but also What occurs in comedy clubs isn’t always suitbecame a Bikram yoga instructor. It features in able for workplaces. “I’ve had kids find a video of her show, Namaste, Bitches, which delves into me doing standup, and it made life tricky,” says Paul wellness and happiness, and she’s certainly happier Revill. Different stages call for different personas. now. Part-time instructing fits nimbly around an “You can tell Terry the mechanic to shut the fuck up increasingly busy comedy career, but doing both was in a comedy club,” Revill agrees, “but if you said that painful initially. “I had to balance 11pm New York to his 15-year-old son Jimmy in a GCSE maths class open mics with teaching 6am classes,” she says. “I you’d be kicked out. And punched by Terry.” was tired and dehydrated for years.” As for Caroline/Cally Beaton, she’s confident Does Schamaun teach during the Fringe? All that the jobs are mutually beneficial. Standup is those stressed out comics... “I’m not in a very good honing her hosting skills, and the experienced exec headspace to lead people in a moving meditation has introduced movie studio methods to recent there,” she says. “I’m too busy Googling my own Edinburgh previews. name and being impossible.” “I’ve been giving out index cards, for feedback,” Sometimes the other career wins, even when TV she admits. “You can take the woman out of the comes calling. Richard Campbell has a particularly corporation, but you can’t take the corporation out diverse double life, although both involve dressing of the woman.”

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“I’m not in a very good headspace to lead people in meditation at the Fringe. I’m too busy Googling my own name”

Features

your feet and confident delivery are vital,” he says. “It’s like a comedy crowd: kids can smell fear and if they smell it, you’re in trouble.” Is it good for material though? “I still do various bits,” he says. “My first sort of decent routine was about taking sex education class. Eye-opening and embarrassing.” Hospitals are also fertile ground for spawning comics: Harry Hill, Paul Sinha and Adam Kay all swapped patients for paying customers (insert your own NHS privatisation joke here). Fringe 2016 also saw two current doctors—Phil Hammond and Ed Patrick—do NHS-related hours, and this year Kwame Asante talks junior-doctoring in his show Open Arms. Comedy must do them good. “It offers a unique kind of release,” Asante agrees. “With standup you get to take big chances. Sometimes you can go on stage with no plan at all, the complete opposite to working in a hospital.”


Focus on:

Born in Iraqi Kurdistan to parents who fought against Saddam Hussein’s regime, Kae Kurd’s sense of perspective extends way beyond the odd bad night. Jay Richardson finds a Fringe newcomer with a lot to say

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ae Kurd has the classic observational comedian’s personality of the insider-outsider: “Never able to fit in completely anywhere, but because of that, I’ve been able to fit in everywhere.” As assured speaking in the Houses of Parliament as he is “going into a room with ‘roadmen’, gangsters or whatever”, the 27-year-old arrived in the UK as a six-month-old asylum seeker, his Iraqi-Kurdish family having fled Saddam Hussein’s genocidal regime. Born Korang Abdulla, he is, he ventures, a “chameleon”, performing gigs in mainstream comedy clubs, on the black circuit and on a Muslim comedy tour, all in a single weekend. He was brought up in Brixton, south London, where his “primary school alone had 300 different languages”, he recalls. “You’re seeing people of every single colour, race and nationality and you’re able to talk to them and understand their culture. “When I do jokes about any sort of culture, to various different audiences, people can tell by my confidence it’s not coming from malice or a place where I’m trying to punch down,” he says. “If it’s talking about the urban community, they understand I’m part of it. So it’s almost like I’m taking the mickey out of myself.” He’s chosen a timely moment for his full Edinburgh debut. “We’re in the middle of one of the

Credit: Steve Ullathorne

Kae Kurd

biggest humanitarian crises since the Second World War,” he says. “It’s the right time to hear a different voice talking about the refugee struggle.” As someone “without an independent country, your whole existence is about trying to find an identity or to speak up for your identity,” he adds. Having spoken for Kurds at the start of the war against ISIS, helping to launch the emergency appeal fund in Westminster for refugees displaced by the conflict, he’s sanguine about representing his community. “I have to portray my family heritage positively.” Both Kurd’s parents fought in the resistance against Saddam Hussein. His father was in the Peshmerga (Iraqi Kurdistan’s military forces) and suffered chronic lung damage from chemical weapons. Consequently, the comic jokes about the moral authority his father has over him. “Only when I got older did I appreciate what they went through,” he admits. “So when I think about my career, I just think ‘fuck it’, things will work out. My parents survived bigger things than a 20-minute set in Oxford not going well.” SHOW: VENUE: TIME: TICKETS:

Kurd Your Enthusiasm Pleasance Courtyard 5:30pm – 6:30pm, 2–27 Aug, not 16 £6 – £12


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Onwards and

Upwards

She’s not kidding. Hannah Gadsby is due to hang up her mic after this year’s Fringe. Paul Fleckney finds a comedian ready to step offstage at the height of her powers

Comedy

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atch her while you can. Australian comic Hannah Gadsby is signing off from standup comedy, and it appears that she’s going out on a high. Critics and punters have lauded her latest show, Nanette, which won this year’s Barry Award, the Melbourne equivalent of Edinburgh’s Best Show. But it was the reception from her audiences that has stayed with her. “I’ve never had this type of response before,” she says, speaking from Smithton, the Tasmania town of her childhood, and which she recently moved back to. “I’ve never known the like of the ratio of positive to negative. Emails, social

media, notes given to ushers,” she goes on. “People saying they’ve had actual conversations not about the comedy and not about the show, but the subjects I talked about, and what it meant in their own lives. That’s not what I set out to do, but I’m proud of that, to make a positive impact in a small way.” One of the biggest themes of Nanette is individuality, which Gadsby says is not celebrated as much as is often claimed. The cool kids are “normal”, she says, and she has had to accept that she will never be stereotypically “normal” herself. And so she embraced her leftfield side, interested to see where it might lead her. A number of unusual projects followed. There was her attempt to convert the cubby house in her backyard into a scale model of her favourite renaissance chapel (Gadsby is an art buff), with bonus skylights so that it doubled as a greenhouse. There was her melon jam production


SHOW: VENUE: TIME: TICKETS:

Nanette Assembly George Square Studios 5:30pm – 6:30pm, 2–27 Aug, not 15 £7.50 – £12.00

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line, started with the sole purpose of being able to give people a jar of ‘John Cougar Melon Jam’. So if you like a little silliness, Nanette has it. But Gadsby, 39, is a comic of depth and intelligence, and has earned her profile as one of the Australia’s finest standups today. What gives Nanette an extra lift is the move from the personal to the political. Gadsby’s experiments in solitary projects didn’t just allow her to thrive in herself; she says they also gave her the strength to deal with a divisive and ugly conversation that has been going on in Australian politics. Debates have been taking place in the Australian parliament and in the media about same-sex marriage and, for Gadsby, the thinly veiled homophobia that accompanies those debates has been a distressing reminder of the 1990s, when Tasmania resisted the decriminalisation of homosexuality. Gadsby has talked a lot onstage about her life as a queer woman, but in Nanette there’s as much outright anger as there is comedy.  “I’m not an angry person,” she says, “and it’s dangerous to be angry onstage as it can be toxic, and comics have a responsibility. But I am angry about this whole debate, that there’s the same framework as I saw 20-30 years ago. It hasn’t evolved at all. If anything it’s worse, the way people talk about difference, as the hostility can spread much faster. We’re educating a generation of kids to be intolerant.” Gadsby speaks openly about the trauma she has suffered at the hands of other people’s intolerance, and it seems being a comedian hasn’t helped deal with that. “I thought it was empowering, because it gave me a voice, but it’s ceased to be a positive and empowering thing for me. As a comedian you suspend yourself in a permanent adolescence, and the way that manifests itself in my life is with mental illness, body image, gender and sexuality. I’ve failed to address the trauma I had. I need to stop now and think, and be more careful.” So some time away from standup looks likely for Gadsby. When speaking about her comedy career, which began in 2006, she is already doing so in the past tense. But with a new art documentary in the pipeline and following her acclaimed role in the drama Please Like Me, perhaps more TV roles will emerge. For now, she comes to Edinburgh with a swansong to be proud of.

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Keeping it in Comedy

the family 26

Jay Richardson talks to Sooz and Luke Kempner about sibling rivalry, laughing over hard times and being upstaged by their pets


“Before turning to comedy, the pair played the lead roles of mother and son geese” At 30, impressionist Luke is the better known of the siblings, his hit live show The Only Way Is Downton turning him into a mimic-in-demand for shows like Celebrity Big Brother’s Bit On The Side. He recently shot a panel show try-out for ITV with Alexander Armstrong and Rory Bremner and had his own pilot for ITV2. Two years his senior, his character comic and standup sister jokes about the distress of witnessing her younger brother follow her into performing, only to surpass her. But beyond suggesting that she owns a voodoo doll of him, there’s little obvious sibling rivalry. Sooz was thrilled to play a nonplussed customer in a sketch showing her brother’s starchshirted Downton Abbey servants running a greasy spoon café for Luke Kempner’s Impression of 2015. It was “the first time we’d been filmed together since we were caught fighting in the background of a family wedding in 2003,” she recalls. Before turning to comedy, the pair played the

lead roles of mother and son geese in a production of the musical Honk!. Sooz dismisses this as a potential trigger for therapy, “because there’s just been a lot of that in general over the years; it was nothing new”. Indeed, when she tells you that her latest show, Sooz On Film—about a screenplay she genuinely sent Martin Scorsese at 16, to star her and Robert De Niro—is her most personal, you believe her, despite her 2014 debut being about their parents’ divorce. Sooz’s relationship with her estranged actor father is a knotty, troubled one which she’s referenced in a number of shows. She even played a version of him in her character showcase last year, complete with wig and facial hair. Now though, Mark Kempner also gets played by his son in his most personal show to date, Take a Long Hard Luke at Yourself, inspired by Kempner Sr. presenting him with a sat nav on which his father had recorded his own voice. “Part of why I became an impressionist comes from my experiences with him. I talk about the father-son relationship and which direction that pushed me,” Luke says. “I talk a lot about how my life is very sorted, how I have a wife, a little dog and I’m very happy. But then I have another side of my life which is unresolved, the relationship with my father and our parents’ divorce in general.” Amidst all the celebrity impersonations, he says, “I explore that a little bit, in a funny way hopefully”. From their horse-riding mother meanwhile, the Kempners inherited their love of animals. Sooz has gone on to become a handler on films such as last year’s Oscar-winning The Danish Girl, which made her “feel very unattractive, because Alicia Vikander is very beautiful. And I was covered in dog hair”. Both accept though, that neither they nor their parents are the highest achievers in their family. “Our pets have better CVs than us,” Luke admits. His dog Pongo starred in the Legally Blonde musical, their childhood pooch was in a Nissan advert, and their cat Boris was Jonesy in Aliens. Sooz sighs. “I’ll never be as iconic as my own cat.” SHOW: VENUE: TIME: TICKETS:

SHOW: VENUE: TIME: TICKETS:

Take a Long Hard Luke at Yourself Pleasance Courtyard 4:45pm – 5:45pm, 2–28 Aug, not 14 £6.00 – £12.00 Sooz on Film Underbelly Med Quad 6:50pm – 7:50pm, 2–27 Aug, not 16 £6.50 – £10.50

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L

ike any self-respecting showbusiness dynasty, the Kempners enjoy their fair share of dysfunctionality. Fortunately, standup affords them an outlet to laugh about it. Born to a dressage rider and Groucho Marx impersonator, Suzanna and Luke began their careers in musical theatre. But comedy was always going to be their destiny. Sooz points to her buying Auschwitz: The Nazis & ‘The Final Solution’ on DVD for her brother’s birthday as evidence of a shared sense of humour. “It’s amazing!” she protests. “An extremely good, sixpart BBC series. And anyone with Jewish heritage is obsessed with the Holocaust ...” In retaliation, Luke bought her “a full-size Zippy from Rainbow costume”. Which was “pretty annoying actually”, Sooz confirms. “I felt it when the presents were all laid out. I thought ‘ooh, he’s doing pretty well at the moment, it’s a nice coat’. Then it turned out to be fucking Zippy!” “Miles better.” “Now it sits stuffed in a plastic cube in the corner of my room and every time I pass it, it’s like Zippy’s pleading, ‘please help me!’”

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Fringe Faves

If you like your improv home-grown… The Improverts 12:30am – 1:30am, 4–30 Aug, £7.00 – £8.00

Produced by the Edinburgh University Theatre Company, this bright-eyed bunch of improvisers perform weekly during term time and have been storming the Fringe for the last 25 years, making their show the festival’s longest running improv extravaganza. As a vital piece of the Fringe’s comedy history, it’s well worth catching one of these one-off, totally off-thecuff spectacles.

Credit: Alex Elena

T

he Edinburgh Fringe is obsessed with the new, from buzz around the young comics making their debuts to breathless anticipation of fresh material from big name acts. But the festival isn’t just about novelty, and there’s a reason why a select handful of showcases and shows—from improv to musical comedy—return year on year. For a start, they’re bloody good fun – tried and tested formats that leading comics and newcomers slot into effortlessly. These Fringe favourites are also a great opportunity to truly experience the spirit of the festival, a fantastic route in for those willing to stay up late and jostle with a sometimes rowdy crowd. / Becca Moody

If you like improv…

Credit: Pete Smith

Baby Wants Candy: The Completely Improvised Full Band Musical 9:30pm – 10:30pm, 2–27 Aug, £10.00 – £15.00

Baby Wants Candy begins with a single phrase shouted out by an audience member. This random line then triggers a whole improvised musical show. There is something thrilling and exclusive about an evening of fully improvised comedic lunacy and, as the title suggests, there’s even a full band to help bring this off-kilter extravaganza to life.

If you like satirical sketches... NewsRevue2017 Pleasance Courtyard 6:30pm – 7:30pm, 2–28 Aug, not 15,

NewsRevue seems like a good idea every year: it’s a chance for four talented minds to pick apart and poke fun at the latest year in politics. But the political landscape (both at home and abroad) has left a fair few of us more exasperated than ever this year, so perhaps this evening of satirical sketches and songs is the perfect antidote.

Credit: Robert Viglasky

£10.00 – £17.50

If you like Jane Austen...

Comedy

If you’re into nocturnal comedy madness...

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Austentatious

Late‘n’Live

Underbelly, George Square, 1:30pm – 2:30pm,

1:00am – 5:00am, 5–29 Aug, £10.00 – £16.00

3–28 Aug, not 15, £9.00 – £14.50

Late‘n’Live is a standup show that’s about as unpredictable as they come. It’s four hours of (most likely) boozed up comedy fun, with space for music and dancing as well. As hinted at in the title, this show goes on very late indeed, from 1:00am-5:00am, so is perfectly suited to hard-core fans of the Fringe.

Austentatious are an improv group unlike any other. Dressed head-to-toe in era-appropriate clothing, the group take an audience suggestion as the title of each show before embarking on a Jane Austen-inspired whirlwind of a journey. Comedy that doesn’t take itself too seriously, with no previous knowledge of Austen required.


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9.45pm 2-27 AUG

@PIERRENOVELLIE


Winner

Winner

Winner

Winner

Fringe World 2017

Adelaide Fringe 2016

Adelaide Fringe 2017

Brighton Fringe 2014

20:00

2 - 20 AUG (not 9,15)

featuring The music of

Frank

Comedy

Turner

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STUDIO ONE

Sam Underwood

Losing Days


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31

Ooh, the Horror Comedy and horror: two genres at opposite ends of the spectrum, right? Well, as Jay Richardson discovers, for some performers there’s barely a cobweb between them

W

ith its history of illicit secret societies, grisly grave robbing and blood-curdling novels, Edinburgh has a reputation as one of the world’s most haunted cities. Yet every year Fringe audiences willingly shuffle into spooky churches, pubs that once housed witch-torturing dungeons and dank, airless vaults that stored the corpses of plague victims, an uncanny sense of foreboding creeping over them... “Whenever you take a chance on a show, you’re already a bit scared it’s going to be horrific and you’re trapped for an hour,” says Nick Coyle with a laugh. The Australian comic, whose previous shows featured such terrors as death by snake, evil goblins and meditative audience participation, is performing his “most macabre” show yet, Queen of Wolves, in the gloomy Underbelly. “The others had dark elements. But with this one I’ve really opened the trapdoor!” he enthuses. Inspired by classic Gothic literature, the novels of the Brontës, Rebecca and The Turn of the Screw, Coyle is pastiching well-known horror tropes. In a forbidding mansion, “poor, scared and plain” governess Frances Glass is haunted by the spirits of children she was meant to look after. Coyle acknowledges that the show’s other characters are chiefly ghosts. “Which made casting easy as I simply have things falling over.” Aspiring to as much BBC period drama gloss as a “little Australian man in a bonnet” can project,

the “state-of-the-art 18th-century theatre effects” are “mainly just strings”. But while he thought the “crappiness of the effects would be part of the joke, they’ve genuinely scared people. It’s a surprise I’m really pleased about.” Twisted sketch group Gein’s Family Giftshop initially forged their friendship over a shared love of horror movies. According to Ed Easton, that’s partly because “there’s such a large crossover between horror and comedy, both in terms of emotional reactions to it and how you play it. Laughter and screaming are both instinctive. Smart laughs might take longer to land. But my favourites are definitely those gasps-followed-by-laughs.” Both are “visceral”, agrees storytelling comic Will Seaward, whose Spooky Midnight Ghost Stories IV is just his latest festival instalment of the show. Almost from the start, crowds have joined in with “wooooh!” noises, he says, “so I’d describe it as a kind of ghost panto really”. Framed as campfire stories, this year the ebullient Seaward is sharing a Gothic tale based on Frankenstein, “predominantly set in a glassware-strewn laboratory”. In it, he invites the audience to join him in a live séance, before relating a dinosaur yarn “that’s a splicing of tight-metre, Edgar Allan Poe-type poetry and blood-soaked zombie horror”. Genuine screams in his hour are rare. Instead continues

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Gein’s Family Giftshop


› he “revels in the trappings of fear rather than the emotion”. Far from being the bastard, stitched-together offspring of two critically underappreciated genres, comedy-horror can draw on a “history and imagination other genres just don’t hit”. Ghost stories in particular are “so much fun because iconographically they’re so rich”, says Seaward. Great writers and filmmakers “have done the imaginative gymnastics for you”. Indeed, his work isn’t so much parody as “super-charged, surrealist rendering”, Seaward clarifies. “Because they’re less preachy than fairytales and less rule-bound than love stories, they lend themselves to surrealism in a way that other genres don’t. Because they’re supernatural you can bend physics. You can do almost anything!”

Comedy

“The others had dark elements. But with this one I’ve really opened the trapdoor!” - Nick Coyle

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Easton certainly appreciates horror’s visceral, visual palette. Few things are as shocking as fake blood splattered over children’s PE kits, especially when unsettlingly sported by grown adults like himself, Kath Hughes and James Meehan. The idea of the group’s name, suggestive of ‘The Butcher of Plainfield’ murderer Ed Gein selling face lamps and skull mugs from a little mom and pop store, is a great advert for their dark yet relatable humour. Because Gein’s are less about “ghosts and ghouls” than the “bleakness of reality”, Easton says. One of their previous skits featured him being attacked by the devil. But it was based on physical assaults that group members had actually experienced. Their demons are personal. “A lot of the darker aspects are things that come from our own lives we want to make light of,” he explains. “It’s almost like therapy. Maybe it’s more psychological horror. Me moving into my dead mother’s house is part of my reality. It’s become mundane and stopped being horror. It’s not amazing, obviously. But I’m in a privileged position to be able to make comedy from it. “I understand some people wouldn’t want to make light of that. But I’ve spoken to audience members afterwards and we’ve shared that thing of, ‘oh, your mum’s dead too’. You bond in a nice way. It’s like wearing a special badge.”

Nick Coyle

SHOW: VENUE: TIME: TICKETS:

SHOW:

VENUE: TIME: TICKETS:

SHOW: VENUE: TIME: TICKETS:

Nick Coyle: Queen of Wolves Underbelly, Cowgate 5:30pm – 6:30pm, 3–27 Aug, not 15 £6.00 – £10.00 Will Seaward’s Spooky Midnight Ghost Stories VI Gilded Balloon Teviot 12:00am – 1:00am, 2–28 Aug, not 9, 14, 21 £6.00 – £10.00 Gein’s Family Giftshop: Volume 3 Pleasance Courtyard 10:20pm – 11:20pm, 2–28 Aug £8


festmag.co.uk

Features

33


Meet my Mentor

They say you should never meet your heroes. Well, we think they’re wrong. Fest paired up three Fringe newcomers with the comics who’ve inspired them

Joseph on Ken

Ken on Joseph

What did you talk about? I mainly asked him about his first show and what that was like. It was a strictly Fringebased chat, if anything too much. Why did you pick Joseph? I admired his last show, Soothing Sounds for Baby, just for how much work went into it. What did you learn from Joseph? Mostly to prepare yourself for getting through the month. He talked about going into a hermit-like “survival mode” which I may adopt if I can’t handle it.

Comedy

What are you most excited about in advance of your debut Fringe? Just the challenge of it and having something to work for, but I’m mostly excited about the many venue passes I get this year. The amount I’ll save on shows will very slightly offset the cost of doing a show and that to me is very important right now.

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And most scared about? The psychological upswings and downswings, the physical exertion, not having time to enjoy myself, the prospect of not actually being good enough. All the usual things. Ken Cheng: Chinese Comedian, Pleasance Courtyard, 4:45pm – 5:45pm, 2–27 Aug, not 16, £6 – £10

First impressions? Smart, good egg, impeccable phone manner. If I had a daughter, I would happily let Ken escort her to prom.

Ken Cheng meets Joseph Morpurgo

First impressions? Very friendly and forthcoming. He was taking time away from preparing for a preview tonight which was very nice of him, unlike me who was pausing a session of Lego Star Wars.

What did you talk about? Edinburgh (cf: all conversations between all comics) Did you know about Ken beforehand? Any preconceptions? We’ve met in passing a few times before, so I already knew he was smart and a good egg. (The impeccable phone manner was an ancillary bonus). I’d also seen his “two birds” routine online, which is really excellent. Any missteps? Patchy phone reception. Ken had to stand outside for most of the conversation and we had to compete with a low throb of bus atmos. What excites you about someone like Ken doing their first Fringe? He’s got the enviable trinity of being very talented, having worked hard, and knowing the Edinburgh ropes a bit already. And what scares you? That Ken’s phone interviews will continued to be scarred by dodgy reception. What did you learn from Ken? Truths too cryptic and numinous to be expressed in the base coin of language. Joseph Morpurgo: Hammerhead, Pleasance Courtyard, 8:00pm – 9:00pm, 2–28 Aug, not 14, £7 – £12


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Athena on Bec

Bec on Athena

Why did you pick Bec? She’s done several hours and has created an audience for herself. I admire that. Also we’ve met before and she said she seemed to like my comedy. I thought it would be best to talk to someone who doesn’t potentially think I’m rubbish. Most fun moment? Wanting to end the call so as not to intrude on her day further, but Bec kept coming up with more advice! What did you learn from Bec? That Edinburgh is an emotional rollercoaster, no matter who you are. Try to arrange something to look forward to do on most days, even if it’s just eating at a place you like. And flyer people in queues because it’s easier to start a conversation! What are you most excited about in advance of your debut Fringe? Finding that Japanese restaurant Bec recommended. And finally getting to perform my show. And most scared about? Running out of shea butter and that no one will come. Though I think audiences will be easier to find than shea butter in Edinburgh. Athena Kugblenu: KMT, Underbelly Med Quad 5:50pm – 6:50pm, 2–27 Aug, not 14, £6.50 – £11

What did you talk about? The importance of routine and having a support network throughout the month. Edinburgh is such an emotional rollercoaster, it’s integral to give yourself something to look forward to every day that isn’t just your show and to surround yourself with people you can speak to honestly. Did you know about Athena beforehand? Any preconceptions? I had seen Athena at a new material night recently and was blown away that we hadn’t crossed paths before. I was actually suprised to find this will be her first hour, as she comes across as a seasoned pro. What excites you about someone like Athena doing their first Fringe? Athena is tackling the Fringe in a way that I sort of wish I had. In Australia, we tend to get our first hour out of the way as soon as possible, because festivals are the easiest way to get stage-time. But over here, there are so many places you can perform, people tend to hone their craft and fine-tune their act until their first hour is this beautiful shining gem of a show. I can’t wait to see how this patience pays off for Athena. What did you learn from Athena? Not to judge new acts. Many of them are smarter than me and are not making the mistakes I made when I first started. Bec Hill: Out of Order, Gilded Balloon Teviot, 5:15pm – 6:15pm, 2–27 Aug, not 15, £5 – £9.50

festmag.co.uk

What did you talk about? Loads! Whether the Fringe is actually enjoyable (we decided it is and it isn’t), good Japanese restaurants, the importance of flyering for your own show, three star reviews, what you learn after your first hour, performing previews to four people, good photography, press...

First impressions? Athena seems a lot more prepared for Edinburgh than most debut acts I’ve spoken to over the years. I think this is because she has visited the Fringe in the past and therefore has a better idea of what to expect.

Athena Kugblenu meets Bec Hill

First impressions? So experienced, open, happy to talk, down to earth.


Rachel on Tiff

Tiff on Rachel

Why did you pick Tiff? I think us being actresses as well as comedians means I am on a very similar path to her. I definitely see her as an inspiration. To me she has a really varied and fulfilling career. I have my fingers in a few pies too and think its the most fulfilling and exciting way to live. What did you learn from Tiff? Not to read any reviews during the actual run of the show. It’s good to not let anything, good or bad, affect your show every night and I wouldn’t want to become too aware of what reviewers were thinking about me during the run! To me, all that matters is making sure the audience are enjoying it each night. And that I am.

Comedy

What are you most excited about in advance of your debut Fringe? Just getting to do what I love every night for a month. And to be debuting what’s been a work in progress for a few years. Getting to do it all in my hometown is the cherry on what’s already a very exciting cake.

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And most scared about? Obviously I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t afraid about bad or nasty reviews. You are putting your soul on trial every time you step out on stage. If people don’t like it, it feels personal. But at the same time, you have to take some comfort from knowing how brave you are, too.

Rachel Jackson: Bunny Boiler, Pleasance Courtyard, 10:30pm – 11:30pm, 2–28 Aug, not 24, £6.50 – £9.50

Rachel Jackson meets Tiff Stevenson

First impressions? I’ve thought Tiff was cool since I went to see her show Seven at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe. She is very smart and quick witted and also kind. There was never an awkward silence!

What did you talk about? About agency and owning your material, never apologising for it. There is a bit of a habit in reviewing of telling female comics what they can talk about. Policing us or reducing our material to ‘boyfriend stuff’, ‘single stuff’, ‘vaginas/periods’, ‘feminism’, ‘having kids/not having kids’, ‘body issues’, etc. as if men ever get told what topics they can talk about. I said talk about whatever you want and don’t apologise for it. Any preconceptions? That she was blonde, Scottish, quite funky, and had clearly watched Fatal Attraction. Also that she was a nice friendly person who wasn’t afraid to give a compliment. Some comics think giving a compliment somehow reduces them. I don’t like those comics. What excites you about someone like Rachel doing their first Fringe? It’s heartening to see women getting signed, getting opportunities to fly or fail like the men. It was so much harder when people like myself, Sara Pascoe, Andi Osho etc. started. We had to fight for every inch and could never learn on the job like the boys could. I can’t imagine how much worse it was for Jo Brand, Lucy Porter, Zoe Lyons etc.. And what scares you? Your first Edinburgh is such a baptism of fire. You realise how marmite you are and take it very personally. What did you learn from Rachel? That the Fringe still matters, which is great seeing as I will be there! That it’s beautiful to see someone’s eagerness and enthusiasm for doing their first show. Tiff Stevenson: Bombshell, Gilded Balloon Teviot, 5:30pm – 6:30pm, 2–27 Aug, £6.00 – £12.00


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ADELAIDE FRINGE BRINGS YOU...

Features

GooSecHasE ‘The FriNge GAmE’

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2 - 28 Aug

Gilded Balloon Teviot Sportsmans

5.15pm

2 - 28 Aug

Gilded Balloon Teviot Balcony

5.45pm

2 - 28 Aug

Gilded Balloon Teviot Wee Room

festmag.co.uk

6.45pm

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Credit: Baptiste Morel & Anais Wulf

Focus on:

Trygve Wakenshaw Kiwi comedian Trygve Wakenshaw is, as of about a year ago, part of a double act. John Stansfield finds a star ready to be upstaged

Comedy

A

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ward-winning mime artist Trygve Wakenshaw is wary that during his new show he may well get some heckles; it’s unlikely that they’ll be any you’ll have heard before however. “‘Don’t rock him!’ ‘Let him be!’ ‘He’s hungry!’ ‘He’s too hot!’ Everyone’s going to have an opinion,” he says. Although Wakenshaw believes his offspring, co-star of his new show, Trygve vs a Baby, to be a consummate professional, he acknowledges that one-year-old Phinneas does have something of a tendency to go off script. “I had some ideas with things that he’s done when we’ve been playing together, and then I tried it out in front of a small audience and he had no interest in doing that stuff at all.” Phinneas is a good bet for the youngest performer at the Fringe this year – does Wakenshaw have any concerns about the potential for turning the whippersnapper into a comedy diva? “That’s what I’m really worried about. He loves people though; we take him on flights and he’ll get a bit fussy with us in the seat so we’ll hold him a bit higher and he can see everyone behind us and he’ll start waving and

blowing everybody kisses. He loves it.” There is also the worry that working with such an inexperienced performer might bring with it some rookie errors, leading to the odd tantrum. “I do have a bit of a contingency [plan] but if he’s really not enjoying himself I’ll just stop and do some nice parenting. No one wants to see you push through a show that the baby clearly isn’t enjoying.” It’s not just the mime performances that Phinneas is taking over; he has become the focus of the whole family’s business dealings, as Wakenshaw’s wife, Lisa, has begun teaching baby yoga. “He’s a feature of her job now,” Wakenshaw gushes. “We’ve got him working for us. We’ll give him extra pocket money when he can understand it.” With Phinneas calling the shots, it’s sure to be an interesting Fringe for the Wakenshaws. SHOW: VENUE: TIME: TICKETS:

Trygve vs a Baby Assembly Roxy 3:00pm – 4:00pm, 3–27 Aug, not 14, 21 £8.00 – £12.50


Political plotting

Get out of your echo chamber! Simply place yourself on Fest’s arbitrary political axis and hunt out some comics over at the other end. In their own words...

Features

39

Summerhall, 6:00pm – 7:15pm, 2–27 Aug, not 3, 14, 19

Alex Kealy The Art of the Keal “Not a socialist, more socialish” Just the Tonic at The Caves, 4:20pm – 5:20pm, 3–27 Aug, not 14

Andrew Doyle Thought Crimes “Trotskyist without the Red Army stuff”

Simon Evans Genius “Fiscally fascist, socially totalitarian”

The Stand Comedy Club, 6:30pm – 7:30pm, 3–27 Aug, not 14

Assembly George Square Studios, 8:20pm – 9:20pm, 2–27 Aug, not 14

Njambi McGrath Breaking Black “Brits travelled miles for Brown Labour. Now brown comes willingly. Relax!” Laughing Horse @ The Counting House, 12:05pm – 12:55pm, 3–26 Aug

Alice Fraser Empire “It’s less left vs right, more who tweets the best” Gilded Balloon Teviot, 10:00pm – 11:00pm, 2–28 Aug, not 14

Shazia Mirza With Love from St Tropez “The middle ground sustains power. Not in power, you can’t change anything”

Ayesha Hazarika State of the Nation “Trying (and failing) to get Labour into power” Gilded Balloon at the Museum, 7:30pm – 8:30pm, 14–20 Aug

Gilded Balloon Teviot, 7:30pm – 8:30pm, 2–28 Aug, not 16

Erich McElroy Tops Trump “In America: commie Red. UK: bit blue” Laughing Horse @ Espionage, 3:45pm – 4:40pm, 3–27 Aug

Geoff Norcott “Right-leaning but well-meaning” Underbelly, George Square, 6:40pm – 7:40pm, 2–27 Aug, not 14, 16

Ivo Graham Educated Guess “A greasy private school hypocrite”

Leo Kearse I Can Make You Tory “Beat hippies with truncheons”

Pleasance Courtyard, 8:15pm – 9:15pm, 2–27 Aug, not 14

Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters, 7:30pm – 8:30pm, 3–28 Aug, not 15

festmag.co.uk

Mark Thomas A Show That Gambles on the Future “Just joined Labour because of Corbyn”


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An award winner and now familiar face on TV, Dane Baptiste has conquered both the urban and mainstream scenes. But he’s not done yet

D

ane Baptiste has certainly been creating a name for himself over the past couple of years. He was the first black British act to be nominated for an Edinburgh Comedy Award when he received a Best Newcomer nod for his Fringe debut show, Citizen Dane, in 2014. He followed it up in 2015 with the acclaimed and thematicall wide-reaching Reasonable Doubts. This year’s G.O.D. (Gold. Oil. Drugs.) is set to be just as epic.

my opinion, is still one of the purer forms of artistic expression.” Despite the award nod, the Fringe is still whiter than a polar bear sucking a mint imperial in a snowstorm. Does Baptiste feel the weight of that nomination and being one of the few black acts at the Fringe? That he’s seen as ‘representing’ his culture? “I don’t feel the obligation to do so; but I am aware that irrespective of my intentions, for those people at the Fringe who rarely interact with black people, they can potentially see me as a benchmark. I’ll endeavour to create as rounded and balanced a picture of the black experience as possible… but I can only talk from my own perspective.” So the future looks positive for Baptiste, but what would he like to do in the future, given half a “While the last show was about me being afraid chance? “I’d like to open for Chris Rock’s new tour, of losing my soul, the general trend [now] is that meet him and pick the brain of my idol. I’d also most people are pricing theirs up. What seems to be like to continue touring the world. Plus writing and the common link between most of the places I’ve performing in some more box-set-worthy scripted been [on tour to] is that everybody wants everything, projects.” Hope you’re listening, telly producers, and so that was the catalyst – how we’ve taken the idea Chris Rock too if he should happen to pick up a copy of being made ‘in God’s image’ to trying to acquire all of Fest. / Marissa Burgess of Earth’s heavenly delights.” SHOW: G.O.D. (Gold. Oil. Drugs.) Baptiste chose comedy because “so far as enterVENUE: Pleasance Courtyard tainment, it’s the only thing I think I could do TIME: 9:00pm – 10:00pm, 2–27 Aug, not 16 well. My musical ability doesn’t even include the TICKETS: £7.00 – £14.00 recorder. Comedy offered the opportunity to do a job I loved, but say what I actually think. Standup, in

“My musical ability doesn’t even include the recorder”

festmag.co.uk

Dane Baptiste

Credit: Steve Ullathorne

Focus on:


The Ones to Watch: Theatre Matt Trueman sorts the dramatic wheat from the hackneyed chaff. These are Fest’s top recommendations

Celebration ZOO, 15-28 Aug, 5:45pm The big hit of this year’s National Student Drama Festival, Celebration is just that: an attempt to throw off the shitstorm of the last year and make like Kool and the Gang. Emergency Chorus are out to find the light

Not I Pleasance Courtyard, 22-26 Aug, 12:00pm Irish actor Lisa Dwan got

Credit: Tim Morozzo

in life. By all accounts, this one’s a joy.

through Samuel Beckett’s motormouth monologue in a record-breaking nine minutes. Jess Thom has left herself an hour – but then, she does have Tourette’s Syndrome. It’s a neat

Jamie Wood: I Am a Tree

idea – a shot across the bows of

Oresteia: This Restless House

artistic excellence, exactness and expression. All perfor-

The Lyceum (EIF), 22-27 Aug,

mances are relaxed.

6:00pm

Assembly George Square Theatre,

There was a rash of Oresteias

14-27 Aug, not 21, 6:25pm

a few years back. Its cycle of violence and vengeance, an upright family tearing itself

a clown. He’s a lovably anarchic

apart, caught the mood of the

presence, warm and unruly,

moment. Some were political,

whose shows are as playful as

some personal. Zinnie Harris’s

Theatre

they are philosophical. Having hymned Björn Borg and Yoko Ono in the past, he turns his attention to his own granddad. His roots, you might say.

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Credit: James Lyndsay

Jamie Wood is much more than

version is psychotic – horror from the mouth of Hellas. Dominic Hill’s award-winning production closes the International Festival.


Top Picks

43

A Hunger Artist ZOO, 4-28 Aug, not 8, 15, 22, 5:45pm Dubbed “the next new thing” by the New York Times, Brooklynbased company Sinking Ship mix physical theatre and puppetry – perfect Fringe fare. With this little-known Kafka short, about an artist fasting for 40 days in public, it might have a tale for our times: an austere life lived out under public scrutiny.

Jelly Beans Pleasance Courtyard, 2-28 Aug, not 6, 13, 20, 3:15pm

Credit: Oliver Holms

of the most exciting new writing indies around. They had a big hit with BU21, a twisted, terror plot rom-com, and now comes director Dan Pick’s study of masculinity in crisis. Sloshing lust into self-loathing, it’s been likened to Phoebe WallerBridge’s Fleabag – but for boys.

An Evening With an Immigrant

Foreign Radical

Traverse Theatre, 21-25 Aug,

Canada Hub @ King’s Hall, 2-27 Aug,

Performance poet Inua Ellams was the toast of the National Theatre earlier this year. Barber Shop Chronicles wove black Londoners into their African roots. This intimate ‘evening with’ is a more personal piece – a reflection on growing up in a new nation, and the implications on one’s identity. Vital and humane.

1:00pm From Canada, a complete one-off – a theatrical game-show about rooting out radical extremism online. Theatre Conspiracy, one of the intrepid production company Aurora Nova’s finds, splits its audience and asks us to judge an outspoken Iranian Canadian activist. Are there limits to free speech?

Credit: Stoo Metz

times vary

festmag.co.uk

Kuleshov have fast become one


Un Poyo Rojo Dance Base, 4-27 Aug, 7:15pm It takes two to tangle. This Argentine clown show, set in a ribaldries and rivalries at the heart of male friendships. Another of the Aurora Nova stable, it’s been touring the world for seven years before this, its UK

Credit: Phil Rees

men’s locker room, looks at the

premiere.

Seagulls Leith Volcano, 8-26 Aug, 6:00pm It’s Chekhov, Jim, but not as you know it. Volcano Theatre’s physical explosion of the

Circa: Humans Underbelly, 4-26 Aug, 7:00pm

Credit: Ishka Michocka

Credit: Pedro Greig

Russian’s first major play takes

Real Magic The Studio (EIF), 22-27 Aug, 7:00pm

Theatre

Forced Entertainment

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Circa are the global superstars

are among Britain’s best

of contemporary circus. Direc-

theatremakers, and Real

tor Yaron Lifschitz kickstarted

Magic ranks alongside their

the movement, pushing the big

best shows. It’s loopy light

top into high art. He’s slammed

entertainment that’s, by turns,

strongmen into Shostakovich

infuriating, infantile and yet un-

quartets, and turned Ibsen’s

expectedly profound. A magic

plays into tumbling acts.

trick gets stuck on repeat – but

Humans pushes bodies to their

an impossible one. No magic

limits and asks just how much

words. No-one to break the

we can bear.

spell. Ta-da.

place in a flooded, abandoned church way out in Leith. It’s all too easy to get stuck in central Edinburgh all month. Here’s reason enough to jump on a bus.


45

Kneehigh & Bristol Old Vic present

WRITTEN BY DANIEL JAMIESON DIRECTED BY EMMA RICE

★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★★

★★★★

“Wraps you in the soaring giddiness & deep solace of overwhelming love”

TIMES

OBSERVER

TIME OUT

kneehigh.co.uk WeAreKneehigh

15-27 August 0131 228 1404 | TRAVERSE.CO.UK Part of British Council Edinburgh Showcase 2017

FINANCIAL TIMES


Credit: Mihaela Bodlovic Orla O’Loughlin

“The world is changing at a rate of knots” Orla O’Loughlin and Zinnie Harris talk to Theo Bosanquet about the political undercurrents in Meet Me at Dawn, a co-production between the Traverse and EIF

Theatre

“I

46

t’s simply one of the best plays I’ve ever read,” says Traverse artistic director Orla O’Loughlin of Zinnie Harris’s Meet Me at Dawn, recalling her first reading of the piece. “I remember feeling emotionally and intellectually overwhelmed by it. It’s Shakespearean both in its landscape and its poetry.” The play, which O’Loughlin is directing as a co-production between the Traverse and the Edinburgh International Festival (EIF), features two women who wash up on an unfamiliar shore following a boating accident. Harris’s starting point was the Orpheus and Eurydice myth, in which Orpheus descends to Hades to visit his beloved late wife. Meet Me at Dawn is one of three projects Harris has written for this year’s EIF, alongside new versions of the Oresteia and Ionesco’s Rhinoceros. How does it feel to be given such prominence in the festival’s 70th anniversary programme? “It’s

Zinnie Harris

extraordinary,” says Harris. “I feel very honoured and overwhelmed. I’m particularly pleased the plays all showcase different aspects of my work.” There is a political undercurrent to all three plays; notably, the aftermath of last summer’s Brexit referendum. Harris makes an explicit connection between her feelings after the vote and the grieving process explored in Meet Me at Dawn. “I remember spending days thinking, ‘Surely it cannot be’. I think that’s a natural reaction when the world suddenly shifts. The psyche has difficulty accepting the new universe; it rails against it.” O’Loughlin also attests to sensing a feeling of “collective loss” regarding Brexit, especially in Scotland. Has the political climate shaped her Traverse programme more widely? “Our theme this year is one of representation but also challenging the status quo and a new world order that is frankly very dangerous,” she says. “The world is changing at a rate of


Meet Me at Dawn

knots, and I think there’s a need for us to gather and celebrate what unifies us.” Diversity is at the heart of the programme, which includes two transgender monologues from the National Theatre of Scotland (Adam and Eve). Five of the 16 productions at the Traverse are home-grown, a record for the venue. And as well as its creative output, O’Loughlin also wants to emphasise the venue’s function as an “unofficial green room” of the festival. “One of the things I love about this building is that we don’t have a stage door. There’s a democracy around the bar area, where you’ll find directors, actors and stage managers mingling with audiences. All sorts of conversations are taking place here.” To reflect this she has worked a series of postshow discussions into the programme in order to offer a “safe space” for debate. Locker Room Talk, based on Donald Trump’s infamous defence of his secretly recorded misogynist ‘banter’, is split 50/50 between verbatim theatre and audience discussion. Harris points out that people are struggling with acceptance. She says part of her aim in writing Meet Me at Dawn was to explore “how we accept the new and let go of the past”. The fact it features two women in love (played by Sharon Duncan-Brewster and Neve McIntosh) seems an important aspect of this.

Based on her feelings for the play, O’Loughlin is cautious of getting carried away. “Someone very wise once told me, ‘You’re not going to do your best work on a play you love’. I must be mindful of this and sharpen my more objective view. It feels like looking after your own baby; why would you want to change something so perfect?” I’m curious to know what both are looking forward to seeing at the festivals more widely this year. O’Loughlin admits she’s been so busy preparing the Traverse programme she has barely had time to look. One thing that has made her radar is Blak Whyte Gray, a hip-hop dance piece she glimpsed at the EIF launch. Harris mentions PJ Harvey. Both choices emphasise the breadth of entertainment on offer across Edinburgh in August. But O’Loughlin, who has been with the Traverse since 2012, is keen to point out that it’s perfectly possible to have an enriching festival at her venue alone. “Our programme runs from 9 in the morning until 11 at night. There’s no need to be anywhere else!” SHOW: VENUE: TIME: TICKETS:

Meet Me at Dawn Traverse Theatre times vary, 4–27 Aug, not 7, 14, 21 £15.00–£21.50

festmag.co.uk

Credit: Mihaela Bodlovic

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Focus on:

Milly Thomas

Theatre

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illy Thomas is giving a lot of herself to the Fringe this year. The playwright has two shows, one of which she’s also performing. Tackling mental health and toxic relationships, both draw on her own life. In Dust, she plays a young woman witnessing the aftermath of her own suicide. “It’s a story about depression but also about hypocrisy – I’m just fascinated with the way we eulogise people once they die,” she says. It is, however, also funny: “If it wasn’t – my god, it’s so bleak!” Dust grew out of Thomas’s experience of depression. “It’s a play that’s very much born of my anger. I was angry that I was an imposition to people, [or] that you have to tell the lie that you’re fine. But in exploring that, you also unearth how difficult it is for the people around you to do the right thing.” Her other play, Brutal Cessation, looks at a relationship falling apart – and its starting point was Thomas’s irritation at her inability to communicate with a recent ex. “I got so shocked at how difficult I found it to speak my mind; I wrote a scene out of sheer frustration!” The play looks at the sort of relationship we’ve all been in or witnessed, limping on because “it’s scarier to leave than it is to stay. [But] resentment can build up and tip into this horrible thing, almost pre-violence, a cold war.” Its eye-catching conceit is that the actors—one man, one woman—swap roles throughout, unsettling our gendered assumptions about abuse and victimhood. “When you’re confronted with the physical presence of male and female bodies, it’s not a game anymore,” she says. “It’s really thrown up a lot of my own internalised sexism, just watching.”

Courtesy of: Chloe Wicks

The Clique writer on bringing two very personal plays to the Fringe

Milly Thomas, in Dust

Edinburgh is also the city where Thomas’s recent screenwriting debut—BBC3’s Clique, a slick drama about terrifyingly ambitious students—was set. She got the job after giving a very candid interview. “The team asked me if I had a nice time at university, and I nearly lied.” Her decision to fess up that it was the worst four years of her life prompted a warm, “Welcome aboard!” she says. After having a terrible time at Bristol University, writing Clique proved “almost cathartic” for Thomas. Now Fringe audiences, too, can enjoy a double dose of her candour. / Holly Williams SHOW: VENUE: TIME: TICKETS:

SHOW: VENUE: TIME: TICKETS:

Brutal Cessation Assembly George Square Theatre 4:20pm – 5:20pm, 3–28 Aug, not 14 £7 – £11 Dust Underbelly, Cowgate 4:40pm – 5:40pm, 3–27 Aug, not 15 £6.50 – £11


L ismiss OFFSIDE dUs 3 CENTURIES. 1 GOAL. A GLORIOUS TALE OF STRUGGLE AND SWEAT

oorrdd

For all our sins...

4-26 August @ 6.05pm

by Sabrina Mahfouz and Hollie McNish

‘If you only catch one show at the Festival this year, make sure it’s Offside’ Emma Thompson

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★★★★★ Morning Star ★★★★ Edinburgh Guide

adapted by GLENN CHANDLER the creator of Taggart

from the novel by MICHAEL CAMPBELL

★★★★ The Scotsman

PRODUCTIONS

PM PREMIERE WORLD 3.40 (60min)

2 - 28 August

PRESENTS

Dana Hajaj Matthew Zajac

Eamonn Fleming in association with LittleMighty presents

CONFABULATION! A comedy about memory and making stuff up Written and Performed by

Eamonn Fleming Directed by Nick Lane

Pleasance Courtyard 2 - 28 Aug (not Weds) 13:40 (14:40)

THE SKY IS SAFE

by Matthew Zajac

A love story. A war story. A microcosm of our time.

Main Hall, Summerhall Edinburgh Festival Fringe Fri 4 - Sun 27 August 2017 7.45pm (except 14/21 Aug) Preview Wed 2 Aug. BSL (signed) performance Weds 9 Aug 7.45pm Running Time: 60 minutes. Age suitability: 12+ Amal is a Syrian refugee, Gordon a privileged westerner from northern Europe. They meet on the opulent streets and shadowy alleys of Taksim the commercial heart of Istanbul.

Follow Suit A madcap frenzy of physical comedy with political bite.

2ND —28TH AUGUST 2016 (EXCEPT 9, 14, 15, 21) PLEASANCE COURTYARD UPSTAIRS | 12.45 (13.45) | £11 (£10) PLEASANCE.CO.UK | 0131 556 6550

festmag.co.uk

(not 14 & 21)

0131 556 6550 pleasance.co.uk


Courtesy of: Grant Halverson

“Mastication, good; masturbation, bad” Psychologist Neil Frude’s Fringe show traces the history and future of desire. Polly Checkland Harding asks him for his take on the taboos being tackled this August

what’s the psychology behind this? Why do some people find topics like simulated sex, incontinence or menstruation taboo? Frude puts much of the hesitancy about the eil Frude’s Fringe show is called The Future pioneering sexual technologies explored in his own of Desire – but what exactly this future will show down to perception. “Our image of a robot is of look like is, it appears, ambiguous. The man a rather clunky piece of machinery, which is comwho remembers provoking The Sun headline ‘Boffin pletely asexual – it’s just about the least sexy thing says we will bonk with robots’ in 1984 remains you could think about,” he argues. There is, then, speculative about how exactly sexual technologies a distinction to be made between inanimate sex will develop: “We might think that sex with robots objects—to which, considering the $15 billion global is going to be about humanoids – but maybe not, sex toy industry today, many of us appear to have maybe it’s going to be some sort of ball-shaped become accustomed—and artificially intelligent sexobject,” he muses. Frude is clear, however, about the ual beings. Going intergalactic with C-3PO somehow current reaction to this as an eventuality. “For some seems unappealing. Frude agrees: “We talk about people, it’s definitely a taboo,” he says. “And taboo artificial intelligence a lot, but we completely leave is largely about disgust, or the other bit is that it’s out the concept, usually, of artificial personality.” breaking rules.” As The Future of Desire highlights, our current The Fringe itself doesn’t offer many rules to hangups around sex—also explored in shows like break: in its constitution the Festival Fringe Society Queen Mary Theatre Company’s Givin’ It Some—do states that it will “take no part in vetting the festival’s have historical precedents. “A classic one is the programme”. Within the shows themselves, however, Victorian campaign against masturbation – which audiences may well find subjects that they personal- was like, ‘you’re going to go blind’,” explains Frude. ly consider transgressive; as Frude observes, “there “That’s what they believed.” Victorian health manuare different subcultures with different values”. So als instead championed Fletcherism, the mastication

Theatre

N

50

Sara Juli’s Tense Vagina


“The breaking of taboos in comedy can be very useful - it desensitises” Across the Fringe programme, taboos are coupled with comedy – much to Frude’s approval. “The breaking of taboos in comedy can be very useful, because it desensitises,” he says. “At least now we’re talking about it.” The New Yorker described Sara Juli’s show on motherhood and urinary incontinence, Tense Vagina: an actual diagnosis, as “like a standup routine performed… while doing Kegel exercises”. The documentary footage that interweaves Jane Doe, a reflection on rape culture, is characterised in the show’s blurb as ‘frank and funny’. Áine Ryan, the writer behind Up the Hill Jackie, has chosen a darkly humourous take on abortion. Performers across the programme have, then, decided to present taboos to audiences in accessible ways. “What we desire is not up to us,” Frude observes, sagely. “But what we are in control of, of course, is our behaviour.” SHOW: VENUE: TIME: TICKETS:

The Future of Desire Greenside @ Infirmary Street 10:10pm – 10:55pm, 4–12 Aug, not 6 £3 – £8

festmag.co.uk

movement. “Now don’t get the syllables wrong here,” Frude cautions. “Mastication is good – chewing your food 40 times every mouthful, at least... Mastication, good; masturbation, bad.” There are older taboos, too – as shows like Dr Carnesky’s Incredible Bleeding Woman underline: this ‘marvellously menstrual lecture’ focuses on what Frude classes as an ancient taboo. “Blood coming from a sexual part of the body? Absolutely,” he says. Negative attitudes towards menstruation can be found in the Old Testament, which suggests that a menstruating woman is ‘unclean’. “The deepest taboos are about bodily functions,” says Frude. “There’s a good evolutionary reason for this.” For instance: when outside the body, blood is instinctively associated with a wound or malady. The result, however, is that menstruation continues to be a barrier to equality, and micro-practices like the concealment of tampons persist. Featuring alt-cabaret acts, shows like Dr Carnesky’s Incredible Bleeding Woman are about combating this. As Frude points out: “The way not to be disgusted by stuff is to actually expose yourself to it.”

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52

Theatre


Features

53

Focus on:

Flight “I

t’s such a difficult concept to explain...” Co-director Candice Edmunds barely knows where to start with Flight, the almost confusingly innovative new work from Vox Motus. “This has none of the usual rules of theatre, it’s such a weird experience for us. There’s been no rehearsal process, but we’ve been in here for five months making the piece. Everything about this is different from how a traditional show would come together.”

“This has none of the usual rules of theatre” As she searches for the words, John Williams’s Jurassic Park score swells out from the studio next door. Concentrate hard enough and you’ll hear industrial clatter sputtering from the workshop down the corridor. Sitting in the building’s breakout space with the amiable, slightly bewildered Edmunds is like finding yourself in the eye of a hurricane. “Everything we’ve done has been different from its predecessor,” she says of her celebrated theatre company, “but this piece has taken this approach to another level. We haven’t even got the best vocabulary to describe this show yet, because we’re still discovering our response to the material.” More installation art than anything resembling conventional theatre, Flight promises one of the most intimate experiences on offer this August. A meticulously timed front-of-house nightmare, it will

see individual audience members seated in booths surrounding a dimly lit carousel. Distractions will be kept to a minimum as headphones are donned and dioramas illuminated in specific sequence. The carousel will rotate twice over 45 minutes, effectively creating an immersive comic book. Based on Caroline Brothers’ novel Hinterland, about two young siblings seeking refuge on foot from Afghanistan to the UK, Edmunds insists the novelty of the piece’s presentation won’t in any way lessen its emotional impact. “We found ourselves questioning whether this was a piece we wanted to make at all because the story of refugees was everywhere in the news. And of course it’s overwhelming, very depressing, and hard to engage with, especially when you talk about the numbers and scale of the horror. “Flight was about changing how we related to the material. When it comes together, it will feel very Victorian peep show. The models are beautiful and delicate, and there’s real fun and titillation in watching them unfold, but the subject matter is intense, sometimes harrowing.” Finally, the perplexed auteur settles on a description she’s happy with: “You’re swept in and then you get slapped across the face.” VENUE: TIME:

TICKETS:

Church Hill Theatre & Studio times vary, various dates between 4 Aug and 27 Aug £12 – £15

festmag.co.uk

Lewis Porteous visits the workshop where Vox Motus have created an intricate, immersive comic book of a play


Still Waiting for Inspired by the Brazilian technique of Forum Theatre and the all-too-familiar problem of homelessness, Cardboard Citizens make a good case for the real-world power of theatre to change the world

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an art ever change anything? Cathy Come Home, the Ken Loach film first screened on the BBC in 1966, makes a strong argument that it can. The drama, which depicted one family’s descent into homelessness, was a catalyst for the forming of homelessness charity Crisis the following year, and helped to raise awareness and support for Shelter. But there’s plenty that hasn’t changed. Half a century on, Cardboard Citizens’ new play Cathy reimagines Loach’s narrative for austerity Britain, at a time when the country is in the grip of an ongoing housing crisis. While researching the show, the company found that increasing numbers of tenants were being evicted to make way for luxury developments, and some homeless people were being housed in temporary accommodation for up to 10 years. Inspired by Cathy Come Home, the hope is that Cathy—which has already toured to theatres, hostels and prisons—can also prompt change.  Work with and about people affected by homelessness is at the core of Cardboard Citizens’ work. Artistic director Adrian Jackson explains that the company “use theatre as an engine of change, both to help people get stronger in their own lives, but also to help the wider society get a handle on issues around homelessness”. As well as making shows for the public, they run workshops, offer training and support to homeless people, and tour theatre to prisons and hostels. “At its best everything’s a virtuous circle here,” says Jackson. Often, the company engages with

Credit: Pamela Raith Photography

Cathy

people in hostels and prisons who then become participants in workshops, and over time might even begin to lead workshops and performances themselves. In the process, the company hears countless experiences of homelessness. “The point of a piece of work like Cathy is to share those untold stories with a wider audience,” says the director. When making the show, the company wanted to explore what had and hadn’t changed since Loach’s film. Playwright Ali Taylor was struck by how much of Cathy Come Home remains relevant. “What you really notice is how the difference between being absolutely comfortable and being very vulnerable is wafer thin,” he says. “It hangs by a thread today as it did in the sixties.” Another central feature of Cardboard Citizens’ work is Forum Theatre, a technique pioneered by Brazilian theatremaker Augusto Boal. Audiences of Forum Theatre watch a narrative in which the central character struggles to overcome a series of obstacles, before being given the opportunity to step in and offer their own solutions to the protagonist’s problems. “You offer it to them as a sort of provocation to say, ‘Do things have to be like this?’,” explains Jackson.  “It’s really interesting seeing what people respond to,” says Taylor. Audiences of Cathy, which follows a single mother and her teenage daughter as they get caught in a downward spiral of poverty and homelessness, were particularly engaged with the characters’ struggles. “Everyone got really irate with Cathy’s sister in the play because she’s the person


Credit: Pamela Raith Photography

festmag.co.uk

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who should be helping her,” Taylor tells me. “And then people love having a chance to attempt to make things better with the housing officer.” Taking a show to the Edinburgh Fringe is a new challenge for Cardboard Citizens. “We thought, ‘Well, why not?’,” says Jackson. “It’s another experiment for our 25th birthday.” The tight turnaround at the festival means that Cathy won’t be staged as Forum Theatre, but audiences will get to take part in what Boal calls Legislative Theatre by suggesting laws that could improve the characters’ lives. The aim with all of this, as with Loach’s film, is to spark change. As Jackson admits, it’s rare that theatre makes a tangible difference to social issues. But I speak to Jackson and Taylor just after the General

Election, when anything feels possible. Following a campaign that has engaged many young people in politics for the first time, they hope those same young people will see Cathy in Edinburgh and get fired up by the injustices it exposes. “The one ambition we can have for this play is to increase levels of empathy towards people who have been made homeless,” says Taylor. “I hope that it opens up some doors to issues that people might want to focus their energies on.” / Catherine Love VENUE: TIME: TICKETS:

Pleasance Dome 3:30pm – 5:00pm, 2–26 Aug, not 9, 14, 21 £6.50 – £11


Focus on:

Stand By This new play presents an alternative side to the police in a brand new army-sponsored venue

Theatre

“People see the uniform rather than the human being”

56

“The audience are going to be hearing elements of the story before the other characters,” McNamara says, explaining how people will be drawn into the tension through single-earpiece headphones, channeling updates from the negotiating team and even from other sections’ calls. The staging is similarly revealing: a skeletal structure represents the vehicle, both exposing the experience of the officers inside and, according to director Joe Douglas, reflecting “the police service being cut to the bone”. Stand By is one of six shows being presented in the drill hall of an Army Reserve Centre in Edinburgh’s New Town, a new venue hosted—for the first time at the Fringe—by the army. Complete with historic mess bar and tuckshop it will be staffed by

Credit: Richard Davenport

I

t’s an arresting premise for a play: four police officers are on standby in a riot van, waiting to see if they will have to storm a property. “The call is that they’ve attended a male who has a samurai sword and his baby in the flat, and he’s threatening to do harm to the baby and himself,” explains Adam McNamara, a former cop and the writer behind Stand By. With the negotiating team trying to make contact via phone calls and through the letterbox, this is what McNamara calls a “pressure-cooker-type event” for the officers: “There’s all this stuff going on outside, and they’re sitting in a van, unable to do anything about it.” It’s here that the wordplay in the play’s title resonates; the officers are both on ‘standby’, in a state of readiness for duty and, in a sense, standing by while the action unfolds elsewhere.

serving soldiers, with the programme - a collaboration with Summerhall - an exploration of what the army represents in the 21st century. McNamara’s preoccupations in Stand By present clear parallels. “People see the uniform rather than the human being,” he argues. “The audience will hear an opinion from someone in uniform that they might not be used to hearing.” What remains to be seen is how much Stand By’s gritty realism, drawn from McNamara’s time in the force, will play out in its conclusion; whether the inaction on stage will end with the officers being called off, as McNamara says often happens. In short, until the play opens, we too are on standby. / Polly Checkland Harding VENUE:

TIME: TICKETS:

Army @ The Fringe in Association with Summerhall 6:45pm – 8:00pm, 11–26 Aug, not 14, 21 £14


LIVE

TRAINSPOTTING

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‘A BIG FAT HIT. JUST DON’T SIT NEAR THE TOILET’ NME

‘THE BEST WAY TO EXPERIENCE TRAINSPOTTING’ • Performance contains nudity • Very strong language • Violence & sexual references • Heavy drug/needle use

THE SELL-OUT IMMERSIVE IMMERSIVE HIT RETURNS! RETURNS! HIT The Tunnel at TICKETS £18 Venue 150 £15 CONC 2 - 27 Aug

• Suitable for ages 16+

WWW.TRAINSPOTTINGLIVE.COM

LIMITED SEASON TUE 9 – SAT 13 MAY 5 NETHER STREET, N12 0GA WWW.ARTSDEPOT.CO.UK

festmag.co.uk

WARNING:

Irvine Welsh


Focus on:

Transmission The whole of Edinburgh becomes the stage in this immersive augmented reality extravaganza about humanity’s first contact with aliens

Theatre

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ast your minds all the way back to the summer of 2016, when the nation stumbled through towns and cities, and scoured fields and woodland with their eyes glued to the glowing screens of their smartphones, hunting for pocket monsters of all shapes and sizes. Twelve months later, and a team of artists from the US and Canada have created a multi-layered performance piece that they’re billing as ‘Pokemon Go meets Arrival’ – it’s all the fun of an augmented reality treasure hunt, but this time players will be seeking fragments of a story and snatches of performance of a drama about humankind’s first contact with extra-terrestrials. Creator and co-writer Ian Garrett describes Transmission as a “distributed performance and podcast series” which, taken as a whole, provides “an examination of displacement and connection with others in an unfamiliar world”. The traditional ‘performance’ element of the show takes place each day at the Assembly George Square Studios, but where most Fringe shows end when you spill back out onto the streets, Transmission invites its participants to continue the journey at site-specific locations across Edinburgh. A walking tour this ain’t, but rather an opportunity to see the city through new eyes. As Garrett explains, some of these 25-plus elements are “short

Transmission

live scenes, and some are immersive recordings. Each scene is set in a specific place, so the experience of viewing the scene blends with the audience’s sensory experience of that place”. Think of them as side quests; as sub-plots. “Our AR [augmented reality] sequences allow audiences to follow the story in real time”, promises Garrett, “to, almost ghost-like, become invisible witness to the reasons behind the choices the characters make.” Precise details of the plot are being kept a secret, but we know it tells the story of sisters Leila and Zada Karam, both genius scientists, who are forced to make a wrenching decision when the first manned interstellar mission is launched. With concepts of intergalactic eavesdropping and humanity’s place in a changing galaxy, there is plenty of tantalising promise in Transmission. It’s an epic task for Garrett and his team to realise, and it’s asking a lot of its audiences in the quick-fire, packed-schedule world of Edinburgh. Only time will tell if this interstellar message proves worth tuning in to. / Stewart Pringle VENUE: TIME: TICKETS:

Assembly George Square Studios 2:55pm, 5-26 Aug, not 9, 14, 21 £8.00 - £10.00


festmag.co.uk

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





“determinedly confrontational and challenging” The Scotsman

“ Your imagination tingles: this is bold, breath-taking stuff.” The Herald

“a high-octane celebration of youthful optimism and desire” The List

TUTUMUCKY

PROCESS DAY

ZOO Southside Venue 82

by Sharon Eyal and Gai Behar

VELVET PETAL: BEDROOM

ZOO Southside Venue 82 Tue 22 - Sat 26 August, 7:00pm £12/£10 concessions

Summerhall Venue 26

Thu 17- Sun 27 August (not 21, 22) 1:15pm, £10/£8 concessions

Book: 0131 662 6892 | zoofestival.co.uk

Book: 0131 560 1581 | summerhall.co.uk

by Botis Seva

Wed 16 - Sun 20 August, 7:00pm £12/£10 concessions

Book: 0131 662 6892 | zoofestival.co.uk

by Fleur Darkin

Part of British Council Edinburgh Showcase 2017

ZOO southside

ZOO southside

scottishdancetheatre.com


#EDINTFEST

th e Di vIDe �

The Old Vic, Edinburgh International Festival and Karl Sydow production

Theatre

Funded by

8–20 AUG BOOK NOW EIF.CO.UK 0131 473 2000 60

WORLD PREMIERE THE OLD VIC DIRECTED BY ANNABEL BOLTON

Sir Ewan and Lady Brown through the Edinburgh International Festival Commissioning Fund The Pirie Rankin Charitable Trust

Photo Manuel Harlan | Charity No SC004694

BY ALAN AYCKBOURN


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Border Crossings

E

ach August, Edinburgh’s bounds are swelled by an influx of migrants. They’re crammed into overpriced accommodation, and attract complaints from locals for their noisy, messy presence in an already-crowded city. Okay, so it feels deeply irreverent to compare the miniature migration of culture fans that accompanies the Edinburgh Festivals with the huge, ongoing shift as people escape conflict in Syria, Sudan or Iraq. But as the largest forcible displacement of people since World War Two rolls on, the media’s attention has rolled elsewhere and with it, the appetite to tell the stories behind this growing diaspora. A new breed of theatre shows at the Edinburgh Fringe are fighting this apathy, and finding new ways to make audiences confront the reality of refugee experience. Daniel Bye’s Instructions for Border Crossing is a case in point. Over the phone, Bye explains that his performance is “all about the kind of impotence people feel they have in the face of huge global events that are way beyond their individual control”. Bye’s shows have been described as TED talks on stage, but that doesn’t capture how much freedom he gives the audience to get up, and get involved: in his 2013 show How to Occupy an Oil Rig, he coached an audience into rebellion with a step-by-step masterclass in protest. This time round, he’ll mix three narratives that explore how borders shape our lives: “Very few people really think about borders, other than that they’re a natural state of affairs – it’s like they grew with the flowers. But actually, they’re

Tessa Bide, A Strange New Space

a relatively modern invention: they arrived with the capitalist nation state.” There’s some complex thinking at play here, about how we’re all complicit in a system that decides which migrants ‘deserve’ to live in the relative safety of the UK, and which don’t. But he’s not planning to take his audience on a massive guilt trip: “Sometimes shows seem to berate people for having turned up at all. I mean, get off your fucking high horse.” As we chat, his daughter gurgles in the background. She’s too young to pick up on the swearing. And definitely too young to go and see her dad’s show. But she’s not too young to be a refugee. There’s a paradox that while adults try to protect children from the reality of the migration crisis, over half of refugees are kids. Tessa Bide’s show A Strange New Space is a migration story that’s aimed at a young audience. “Children are often protected or kept out of the way of what’s happening in the world because parents think it won’t affect them, but many of them will have kids from other countries joining their schools,” she says. She aimed from the off to create a wordless show, using puppetry and visual storytelling that can move kids whatever language they speak. It builds on a fortnight-long research trip, but Bide emphasises that “we’re not saying that because we went to Greece for two weeks we know everything about continues

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Alice Saville speaks to three theatremakers who are bringing the refugee experience home


› being a refugee. We decided it wasn’t our story to tell, so we’ve approached it through a metaphor: a girl is going on a space adventure that mirrors her real-life journey as a refugee.” After the Fringe, she’s planning to take the show to refugee camps. I wonder how kids who’d escaped wars, crossed real seas and lost family would react to seeing their story on stage. “It will be quite tricky,” she admits. “Some of the kids are quite wild. But you can’t be precious as a performer for young people because they are the harshest critics. They will walk out, or get up on stage and try and do it better than you.” It’s a telling phrase. Something that can get forgotten in narratives around migration is that these are people who can tell their own stories – and they are doing just that, whether it’s on Twitter, in books or, in the case of several companies at this year’s Fringe, in plays.

Theatre

“We’re not saying that because we went to Greece for two weeks we know everything about being a refugee”

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Collective Encounter is one such company. They’re made up of exiled Syrian actors and directors who’ve gathered from across Europe. Across a crackling line, I speak to their director Rafat Alzakout, who poignantly mentions that he’d been longing to come to the Edinburgh Fringe for decades, ever since he heard about it in training at Damascus Theatre Institute: “It’s like a dream for all of us.” They’ll be staging Your Love is Fire, named after an old Middle Eastern pop song. He explained that it’s the story of a writer’s struggle to readjust. It’s not there to impart “information or news: it’s talking about the human details which are hidden under the war”. How does it feel, working on a piece whose story was so very close to home? “I don’t know if I can say it’s an extraordinary experience or a difficult experience,” says Alzakout, hesitatingly. “It’s in between. There’s a silence about what’s happening to Syrian people. But do you want to talk about yourself?” Daniel Bye’s show talks about impotence from a Western perspective. But this same sense affects

Daniel Bye, Instructions for Border Crossing

Alzakout, too. “It’s so difficult watching from a distance: it’s a real war, a real revolution. As an artist who makes art, not politics, what do I do?” One answer is to bring nuance, wit and emotional depth to a situation that most people understand in terms of cold hard facts – or of uncomplicated pity. He explains that “a lot of stereotypes of Syrians are very black and white. Either we’re religious, or we’re not. Either we’re terrorists, or we’re not. As human beings we try to make everything simple, but we need to think more, to have patience.” And that’s exactly what theatre is so good at: holding conflicting ideas in suspension, and giving us the time and space to grapple with them. Daniel Bye, Tessa Bide and Rafat Alzakout are all creating theatre that takes the audience on layered journeys that mingle intimate emotional shifts with vast physical ones. Their stories make no claims to be universal. But each is ready to hit home for a flood of theatregoers, gathered from all over the world. SHOW: VENUE: TIME: TICKETS:

SHOW: VENUE: TIME: TICKETS:

SHOW: VENUE: TIME: TICKETS:

A Strange New Space Summerhall 10:45am – 11:30am, 2–27 Aug, not 7, 14, 21 £5 – £8 Your Love is Fire Summerhall 11:30am – 12:40pm, 2–27 Aug, not 7, 14, 21 £8 – £12 Instructions for Border Crossing Northern Stage at Summerhall 4:40pm – 5:55pm, 5–26 Aug, not 9, 16, 23 £10 – £12


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All Genius All Idiot Evan Beswick travels to Berlin and enters the weird and ungainly universe of the Svalbard circus troupe

Dance, Physical Theatre & Circus

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erlin, die Festspiele, late spring. There’s something distinctly un-German, and most definitely un-springlike going on inside. An Englishman wearing antlers, high heels, and a very small quantity of lace, soars powerfully into his falsetto range. A Swede in what appears to be the lion’s share of a sheep’s fleece leaps off and on to his colleagues. A Spaniard mounts a Chinese pole and produces confetti from his crotch. There’s a German, too. He’s in a backwards suit with an odd mask, his movements creepy, uncanny. It could easily be the setup to a bizarre joke. It could easily be a mess, if it weren’t so, well, so rockstar. Fast forward to the next morning, and we’re basking in the Berlin sunshine. The quad who make up Svalbard Company (Ben Smith, England; Santiago Ruiz, Spain; Tom Brand, Germany; John Simon Wiborn, Sweden) look and sound remarkably fresh for such an energetic performance, followed by an after-party at which the feasibility of them surviving a 23-night run in Edinburgh came up several times. I pick up differing opinions on this particular issue. “It is quite an intense show but, I think, now we know what to expect. I’m prepared for the worst,” says Wiborn sagely. “I was destroyed after the show,” says Smith, less sagely.

One senses these are, however, differences the lads can handle. They go back a while, having met in Stockholm while studying at the University of Dance and Circus. They lived together on a ship (the boat was called Svalbard) where they forged a strong and creative friendship: “After classes, we would go to the studios and play around. He [Smith] would play piano; he [Brand] would do acrobatics, improvise stuff, like hippies!” recalls Ruiz. “And on Friday nights we would go to clubs and dance crazy!” adds Brand. “Oh my God!” Quite a gang. But for all the acrobatic and musical fireworks, I wonder if it’s fair to say there’s even a theme of love running through the performance? All four nod. Wiborn explains: “That’s why we created the company, because we were best friends in school and this was created between the love of us. It’s our baby!” And what a strange baby it is. In the light of day, All Genius All Idiot begins to make sense. The gang talk of it as a “universe”, and that fits. It’s an odd, surreal universe with its own laws of physics. It just needs to hold off collapsing under its own gravity for 23 nights. VENUE: TIME: TICKETS:

Assembly Roxy 7:30pm – 8:30pm, 2–27 Aug, not 9, 14, 21 £9 – £15


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Outside

Tom Wicker speaks to the creators of No Show and Kin about using contemporary circus to explore dedication, gender and relationships

Credit: Tristram Kenton

the Ring Kin

Dance, Physical Theatre & Circus

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f you hear “circus”, what do you imagine? Acts of seemingly impossible skill performed with perfect poise? A troupe of confident, muscular men, who could be models, holding aloft an unfeasibly glamorous woman? Well, if any of that’s the case, two new shows at this year’s Fringe might just challenge those assumptions, using circus skills in exciting, creative ways to tell stories. Ellie Dubois is a performance-maker and director of contemporary circus. No Show—which will play at the Old Lab at Summerhall—is a deconstruction of circus tropes. It opens with a typically superhuman-seeming, showgirl-inspired circus routine by its all-female ensemble – then unpacks this glossy fantasy, revealing the truth about the pain, vulnerability and dedication behind the stereotypes. The piece was born of Dubois’s love of experimental theatre, “that feeling you get in your heart when you watch someone do something incredible”, and her frustration at the sidelining of female circus performers. While Dubois was training at the National Centre for Circus Arts (then known as Circus Space), she became fascinated by the fact that an audience sees only “the one per cent of tricks that we can do brilliantly”. No Show is partly her exploration of the journey behind that. “I was interested in how I could put performers’ failure on stage and contextualise it, so it didn’t just look like they’re crap,” Dubois explains. “This is about trying to be the best, about striving for this kind of unreachable perfection.” She thinks this will

resonate generally. And as the audience gets to know the performers as individuals, No Show also challenges what Dubois calls “the pretty fucking boring” roles women get stuck with in many circus pieces – from having to do the splits in revealing costumes to “dainty aerial routines”. The “most badass women” often end up as token presences supporting men, says Dubois. She wants to celebrate the strength and the capability of “female circus bodies being allowed to do what they are trained to do”. It’s women “using their physicality to 100 per cent”.

“I was interested in how I could put performers’ failure on stage and contextualise it, so it didn’t just look like they’re crap” Dubois has loved rehearsing No Show with its five female performers. In a world where women are usually outnumbered by men in circus companies, presenting work with an all-female ensemble “really feels like we’re sharing something”, she says. “We’ve really got a huge variety of experiences over different lengths of careers.”


by how bringing in another friend has subtly altered Kin. And that’s because real-life friendships are key to the group’s work. “You can fake tricks, but we wanted a real buddy on stage,” he says. “It’s changed the flow of the story.” As for Dubois with No Show, it’s been important to Wheeller that BMT individualise their ‘characters’ in Kin. “You watch circus people online, say, and you don’t think about their life,” says Wheeller. “You go, ‘Of course they can do this crazy thing’. It’s nice to humanise it.” For Wheeller, circus is one of the best vehicles for conveying people’s complexities and contradictions. “The audience can see vulnerability as well as strength,” he says. “That’s a rarity in certain art forms.” SHOW: VENUE: TIME: TICKETS:

SHOW: VENUE: TIME: TICKETS:

Kin Underbelly’s Circus Hub on the Meadows 5:00pm – 6:00pm, 5–26 Aug, not 14, 21 £10 – £15.50 No Show Summerhall 4:15pm – 5:15pm, 2–27 Aug, not 10, 21 £6 – £12 Vanessa cook Dance

C R E AT U R E dAnC E

i n

nEw

di m Ensi o ns

‘breathtaking... poetic... gripping’ berner Zeitung

FROM OFFIE-NOMINATED DIRECTOR JACK SILVER

THE SWEET SCIENCE BOXING, BULLYING SEXISM, TECH STARTUPS

C TOO (VENUE 4) • 5.50pm (1hr) 3-28 AUG (NOT 14) • £7.50-£11.50

THE UNACCOMPANIED MINOR Written by Elan Zafir Directed by Dody DiSanto

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Meanwhile, Kin, Barely Methodical Troupe’s new show at the Circus Hub, with its troupe of men and one female circus performer, could sound like a cliché. But the show pokes fun at the macho stuff rather than promoting it. From hilariously awkward Greek statue poses, to answers stuttered into a dangling microphone, there’s some deftly comic play with fragile masculinity. Where BMT’s last show, Fringe hit Bromance, used circus to explore male friendship, Kin uses it to convey how it feels to jostle for attention and affection. There’s no grandstanding without a payoff here. Reflecting on the competitive posturing underpinning much of Kin’s narrative, BMT co-founder Charlie Wheeller says with a laugh: “I’m sure it came from Ben [Duke, the director] watching us rehearse and going, ‘Ah, okay, there’s something in this. Let’s bring that out.’” Kin developed, says Wheeller, like devised theatre, while drawing inspiration from dance. The various circus tricks and impressive set pieces all serve the overall story, rather than just being there for the sake of it. Following the injury of fellow BMT founding member Louis Gift, Wheeller has been fascinated

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Credit: Jan Hromadko

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Batacchio Czech-based Cirk La Putyka are travelling back in time to 19th-century extravaganzas in new show Batacchio

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f you were hanging around Zoo Southside back in 2010 you may have found yourself lured into an anarchic circus of drunken stunts and acrobatic carousing, made even merrier by the free beer given out to the audience. Cirk La Putyka (Czech for “pub”) most definitely made a boozy splash with their first Fringe outing, (also named La Putyka), picking up a slew of four-star reviews and a Total Theatre Award nomination. Returning for their third Edinburgh adventure, the troupe are now looking back in time for circus inspiration with new piece Batacchio, Italian for “slapstick”. The show takes its influences from 19th-century comedies and extravaganzas, and promises to strip back circus paraphernalia and gadgetry to techniques and disciplines honed in the golden age of the big top. “A lot of what is done in the show is resorting to stage magic of the 19th century,” says director Maksim Komaro. “All the tricks viewers will see are created only by the abilities of the performers. We don’t use any projection or other technical support to create the magic and illusion. The performers use their own abilities. Sometimes it’s surprising, sometimes mysterious but mostly funny.” Batacchio marks Finnish director Komaro’s third

collaboration with Cirk La Putyka, a relationship which began in 2012 with Slapstick Sonata, another piece marrying elegance and farce. A veteran of the circus world, Komaro delved into his personal archives of circus ephemera to research Batacchio. But he isn’t afraid to admit that a good deal of it, in the spirit of conjuring, is made up. “For a long time I have collected and studied the literature of circus, cabaret and theatre of bygone times. But without film material or personal experiences, what one can have at best is a personal fantasy of how everything was.” Victoriana has proved a rich mine for modern circuses in recent years but one senses that in the hands of La Putyka, there will be something different to twirling moustaches and fringed corsets. The company’s artistic director Rostislav Novák Jr., while enigmatic on the details, says Batacchio is not only about mimicking the past. “We look with our 21st-century eyes to the times of old cabarets full of circus artists and illusion. It is a celebration of happiness and the contemporary genre.” / Lucy Ribchester VENUE: TIME: TICKETS:

Zoo Southside 6:30pm - 7.30pm, 4-12 Aug £9 - £14


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The List - Top 25 Shows

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‘SPECTACULAR AND JAW-DROPPING!’

‘HIGHLY ENTERTAINING!’ Shanghai Daily


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Peter and Bambi Heaven How do you act the gooey-eyed couple when off stage your romance is dead? Peter and Bambi think they’ve cracked it

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lot has happened since Peter (Asher Treleaven) and Bambi (Gypsy Wood) thrilled audiences last year with their Edinburgh debut. Australia’s self-proclaimed “most delusional dancing love wizards” have overcome divorce, moving abroad and a stint on France’s Got Talent to return to the Fringe with their new show, When Love Becomes Magic. They boast of the new spectacular: “If you don’t come out of this show high on life you’re dead inside.” Peter and Bambi’s shows are a love affair, conducted between sequined disco moves and risqué magic tricks, that extends to include the audience in the pair’s own particular brand of farcical circus. They have big plans for the new show, promising “huge new tricks, mind boggling escapes, white tigers, cement block smashing and more loved-up idiocy than you can poke a stick at”. But how do the raucous, big-haired, big-hearted twosome keep up the on-stage honeymoon when the love is now just another performance? They spend a lot of time in each other’s company, they tell me, with “affirmations, trust exercises, non-stop massages and one hour a day staring into each other’s eyes”: all essential elements of their strange glittery world.

They wouldn’t recommend touring with your ex and a selection of fine eighties wigs as an alternative to the post-divorce clichés of gin and cutting up their clothes, however – not everyone can make a success of such a scenario. For those of a mind to try their approach, Treleaven and Wood offer a piece of sage advice: “Living a parallel life on stage as a loved up eighties power couple is an excellent way to disassociate from the mess backstage.” “Nothing can stop the Peter and Bambi love train,” proclaim the rhinestoned duo. “It is actually unstoppable and if you get in the way of it, you get flattened.” Peter and Bambi’s high energy and enthusiasm for utter ridiculousness is a wonderful specimen of absurdity on the Fringe. Theirs is a special relationship, and the coupling of “just us two, a couple of bottles of hairspray and the greatest dance magic show on the planet” is an alliance built on a foundation stronger than the mere sanctity of marriage. / Francesca Peschier VENUE: TIME: TICKETS:

Assembly George Square Gardens 10:35pm – 11:35pm, 3–27 Aug, not 14 £8 – £13


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Panti Bliss’s Top LGBT+

Fringe Picks Drag queen and activist Panti Bliss shares her top LGBT+ picks at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe, across theatre, comedy and cabaret Pollyanna

Wild Bore Bliss’s reason for this pick is simple: “Anything with Ursula Martinez...” Martinez is one of three female performers in Wild Bore, a show that talks back to critics who have savaged works of art. “Artists’ revenge against mean critics,” says Bliss, gleefully. “It’s bound to be hot.”

Appropriate Adult Bliss saw a preview of Appropriate Adult by Chortle Award-nominated comedian Kiri Pritchard-McLean, and confesses herself a fan. “She may not be specifically queer herself, per se, but she has a queer sensibility about what it’s like to be a woman in the standup comedy world,” she explains. This new show is an ‘immoral comedian’s morality tale’ about mentoring vulnerable children.

DollyWould DollyWould is multi-awarding winning company Sh!t Theatre’s tribute to the Dolly Lama, Dolly Parton. “It’s clear that they’re huge fans,” says Bliss. “Every queer should be worshipping Dolly Parton, so that’s definitely on my list.”

Hot Brown Honey “Not specifically queer, but quite queer,” says Bliss, describing Hot Brown Honey as “defiantly feminist and female”. Winner of the 2016 Total Theatre Award for Innovation, the show is “sort of an Australian, feminist Black Lives Matter... about women’s rights and race in Australia, but in a sexy, fun, poetry-slipping-in kind of way”.

Eve “Transgender issues are more prominent than they ever have been,” says Bliss, explaining why Jo Clifford’s Eve, the story of a child raised as a boy when they know that this is wrong, is among her top picks. “Jo Clifford: transgender performer, been around a long time, always interesting, always important,” she says.

Lear Legendary dancer and actor Valda Setterfield plays the title role in a gender reversed King Lear at the Fringe. “It’s a dance show,” explains Bliss. “I sometimes think the dance shows get overlooked a little bit.” This interpretation of Shakespeare’s masterpiece features only four performers, with Goneril, Regan and Cordelia played by male dancers. “I always find these shows interesting because they raise so many questions about what it means to be a man, what it means to be a woman,” observes Bliss, adding that, “I don’t think that the show specifically has any sort of queer agenda, but it has one whether it wants to or not, you know?”

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“If you’re a queer and going to Edinburgh, you can’t not go,” says Bliss of cabaret showcase Pollyanna at dive bar, veggie restaurant and purveyor of “local tropical”, Paradise Palms. “It’s hosted by a queen called Pollyfilla, who is wildly nuts and fun and brilliant. Every night it’s a different lineup of people doing bits from their Edinburgh shows. It is one of the most fun things, and one of the most queer things, at the festival.”


How Cabaret Got Serious

show that’s really intended for Wembley Arena, but in a Fringe theatre,” deadpans Glamrou. “It’s almost delusional self-belief.” The happy, silly accessibility of pop music might not sound political, but it can be used to “really smuggle in some hard truths”, insists. And music’s stealthy ability to tackle hard-to-talk-about topics is This year, cabaret acts are makkey to Jon Brittain’s new show, too. A Super Happy Story (About Feeling Super Sad) is a cabaret musical ing a song and dance out of big about a woman called Sally who has depression, issues, from identity politics to and is written with Matthew Floyd Jones, of musical mental health, finds Holly Williams comedy act Frisky & Mannish. “If you’re talking about mental illness or disort’s the politics of positivity: the more you dered thinking, I want to be let into the character’s hate on us, the more glitter we’ll put out head,” says Brittain. “Songs can express an emotion there.” For drag queen Glamrou (aka Amrou and let you have a cathartic moment; what in diaAl-Kadhi), resistance can be fabulous. logue it would feel gratuitous can work in song. And As part of cabaret group Denim, she thinks it’s the cabaret aspect establishes right at the top that their job, in the current climate of fear and prejudice, the character is going to be talking [directly] to you – to make queer identities visible and joyous. “As so later on, when she talks about what’s going on in a Muslim drag queen, I would be on the DUP’s her head, it’s not jarring. It’s a really nice way of just most-wanted list, so my tactic is to take up as much being let inside those thought processes, to feel what space as possible to show that despite all that is Sally’s feeling.” going on, we’re here – and we’re queens. We’re powerful.” Denim are just one act at the Fringe making a song and dance about a serious issue this year. Cabaret—which after all was originally a subversive, taboo-busting art form—is providing a forum for talking about politics, mental health, feminism and racism. All delivered with a sly grin, a shimmy and a wink, naturally. “Positivity and joy are actually really political,” says Glamrou. “A lot of people might expect someone like me—a queer Iraqi Muslim—to put on Brittain is well aware of the way humour can quite a tragic show, but our main thing is always help when discussing big themes. The cabaret form to fight hate with love. Of course we do talk about is used to “give people a really good night out, while being ‘other’, and some of those difficult obstacles talking about something that’s really pervasive”, says in our show, but it’s always with a smile. We hope Brittain, who’s suffered depression himself and has that by the end, even your straight white man will seen a lot of friends go through it. “Yeah, it’s an imbe standing up singing along to a song about fisting, portant issue – but it doesn’t feel like an issue play.” and everyone just feels really happy and a bit more Consciousness-raising is the name of the game accepting.” in returning hit show Hot Brown Honey – although Does she think modern drag has become disenit’s more loud and proud than subtle and stealthy. gaged from its political roots? “Oh, totally. Drag has Performed by six women of colour from New Zeabecome too linked with the fashion world, the club. land, each has their own stereotype-smashing act. That’s got a place, but for us drag is theatrical. It’s not “We explore Western tropes for women of colour that interesting to just say ‘yay, we look like women!’. and explode them in a dazzling style,” says Busty It’s about consciously reflecting on different kinds of Beatz, aka Kim Bowers, the musical director. “We femininity.” play on preconceptions of genres such as hip-hop, A ‘supergroup’ of five drag queens, their new burlesque and cabaret to lure [audiences] in with show, Denim: World Tour, is a pop music extravahumour and satire. We then wow with skill and ganza with oversized ambitions. “You can expect a execution, and finally slap with a hard stick soaked

“I

Cabaret & Variety

“Yeah, I said it. The maid. I am not the fucking maid. I’m Busty fucking Beatz. Who we are is so much more”

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Cabaret seemed the perfect medium for not only putting their experiences front and centre, but also for sending up and critiquing those stereotypes and assumptions – using their outsider status to smash the status quo. Finally, Busty Beatz quotes the radical feminist poet Audre Lords: “‘The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house’. In the case of Hot Brown Honey, we have stolen the keys, turned up the beats and started a riot.” SHOW: VENUE: TIME: TICKETS:

SHOW: VENUE: TIME: TICKETS:

SHOW: VENUE: TIME: TICKETS:

Denim: World Tour Underbelly, Cowgate 9:00pm – 10:00pm, 3–27 Aug, not 14 £6.50 – £11 Hot Brown Honey Assembly Roxy 9:00pm – 10:15pm, 2–27 Aug, not 9, 14, 21 £10 – £16 A Super Happy Story (About Feeling Super Sad) Pleasance Courtyard 2:20pm – 3:20pm, 2–28 Aug, not 9, 16, 23 £7 – £12

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with reality – our reality. By placing ourselves centre stage we shine a light on micro-aggressions, privilege, complicit behaviour, social justice, equality, our truths and our lives.” It’s cabaret’s ability to push the envelope and really confront an audience, while still giving them a damn good night out, that gets her “pumped”. And it seems audiences have been hugely receptive. “We know that audiences want to see more of their communities reflected on stage,” says Busty Beatz – and that goes for the UK as much as New Zealand. “We are highlighting the lack of diversity on our stages, pages and screens by making a show like this, but we’re also celebrating the fact we are creating this space for ourselves and for people like us – game-changers, risk-takers, diaspora, sisters, feminists, queers, punks, poets, provocateurs, thinkers, those of us from the edges.” Hot Brown Honey was born out of a frustration at the lack of representation of women of colour onstage – and at the clichéd limitations of the parts that did exist. “The roles for black and brown women were such bullshit–tropes and stereotypes – like the maid. Yeah, I said it. The maid. I am not the fucking maid. I’m Busty fucking Beatz. Who we are is so much more.”

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PICK OF THE FRINGE! “Full-throttle, big on laughs. Go, go, go!”

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est known as a founding member of alternative metal giants Faith No More, Roddy Bottum is a journeyman musician whose extracurricular projects betray a dizzying eclecticism only hinted at by the band’s work. He recently gave up his West Coast base in order to pursue musical theatre in New York City, and the first fruits of his relocation are set to premiere at Summerhall this Fringe, one of the programme’s most intriguing entries.

“I’m in no way interested in creating an easily digestible theatre experience. I’m aiming to disgust and enthral audiences” “I moved to New York because it’s the greatest city in the world,” Bottum explains. “The intensity of the theatre and art scene was an impetus for me to create a big story like Sasquatch: The Opera. It was in the back of my mind for a long time but New York inspired me to pursue it.” While details of the show’s content are vague at this point, it’s suggested that the misunder-

stood mythological creature of the title will reflect Bottum’s experiences as one of the first openly gay men in the macho world of rock and roll. “Sasquatch is big and hairy and sexy with a core of sensitivity and an openness to indulge. That’s all any gay man wants,” he says of the monster’s appeal. Bottum’s professional experience makes him as much of an outsider in the theatre world as he was in rock and roll, but he notes that this need not be viewed as a negative. “There’s something really special about working in a foreign format for the first time. I’ve never done theatre and there’s a freedom to be able to work and create in a naïve method. I’m only answering to myself and my creative needs. In doing so I tend to provoke and aim for outside of the realm of comfortability. I’m in no way interested in creating an easily digestible theatre experience. I’m aiming to disgust and enthral audiences. I want them to cringe and cry and be moved.” Inclined though he is to transgression and experimentation, the artist is nonetheless confident a market exists for his bold new work. “My tale is one of American trash, of depraved life forms, of hopelessness and destruction. It’s a tragic American tale and I know the UK gets off on shit like that.” VENUE: TIME: TICKETS:

Summerhall 9:15pm – 10:15pm, 2–27 Aug, not 3, 14 £12 – £15

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From Faith No More to musicals, Roddy Bottum talks to Lewis Porteous about working in a foreign format

Credit: Jonathan Grassi

Sasquatch the Opera


Credit: Max Lacome

How to Win Against

Edinburgh Áine Flanagan, the producer behind last year’s cult musical hit How to Win Against History, tells Stewart Pringle about making the type of work she wants to see Prom Kween

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his time last year, an intrepid producer and a cast of Edinburgh Fringe regulars did something extraordinary. In a small red box on Assembly George Square, which they quickly dubbed “the microwave”, Áine Flanagan Productions presented Seiriol Davies’s batshit musical biopic of Henry Cyril Paget, 5th Marquess of Anglesey. The rest, as they say, is history. This year Flanagan is bringing the multiple award-winning How to Win Against History back to the Fringe, on the crest of a glitter-crested wave that most producers can only dream of. Soon to tour the UK, its run at London’s Young Vic theatre has already been extended due to whopping advance sales. It’s a triumph for thoughtful, empathetic theatre that wears its politics lightly but firmly, and its ornate headgear fabulously. It’s hardly surprising then that Flanagan’s first Fringe hit was Jon Brittain and Matt Tedford’s brilliant Margaret Thatcher Queen of Soho. Born as a rapid response sketch at new writing incubator Theatre 503, it blossomed into a full show, spawned a sequel, and as Flanagan explains, still visibly astounded by the journey it’s had, “now we’re onto our fourth year of Maggie, and about to start a club night”. Maggie’s first rave will be taking place sporadically during the festival, while main show Margaret

Thatcher Queen of Game Shows plays at Assembly George Square Gardens. Its first incarnation last year saw its writing process rocked by Brexit, Flanagan recalls, leaving Brittain and Tedford “still writing up until the first preview, the second preview...we were a week in and they were still writing bits. “We thought at least we can just do it again this year, but then the general election happened, Trump happened, so it’s a show that’s constantly evolving.” It means that 2016 stalwarts can safely spin the wheel with Maggie again, assured of a whole new show.

“I have always believed that theatre should be for the masses, make people feel included and comfortable” Maggie has also toured the world, including to Australia and Ireland. “We went to Dublin with it, which I was really happy about,” Irish-born Flanagan enthuses, pleased to have brought Tedford’s liberated incarnation of the milk snatcher to her hometown.


Credit: Max Lacome

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Not content with dashing between her two proven hits, Flanagan’s also bringing two new shows up this year, presenting what all adds up to be a pretty diverse portfolio of work. “I have the luxury of getting to work with shows and people who create the type of work I want to go see,” says Flanagan, with considerable enthusiasm. “I have always believed that theatre should be for the masses, make people feel included and comfortable.” The first newbie, Rebecca Humphries’ Prom Kween, is a “parody comedy of those classic high school musicals” that tells the true story of a non-binary student who successfully ran for prom queen after the Orlando nightclub shooting. After a smash-hit run at The Vaults in London, where it was snatched up by Underbelly after just a single preview, it’s one of the most eagerly awaited new musicals at this year’s festival. Like How to Win Against History, it celebrates an individual willing to stand up for their own identity and view of the world. And deploys a fuck-tonne of glitter in the process.  To top it all off, Áine Flanagan Productions is premiering Daniella Isaacs’ new solo show, Hear Me Raw, an exploration of orthorexia nervosa, a condition whose sufferers become obsessed with their own wellness, whose need to be ‘well’ becomes something that’s unhealthy. “I know more people who suffer anxiety than who don’t,” says Flanagan. “It’s just everywhere, and I know so many of them who turn to ‘healthy’ things to deal with them, and now with things like wellness on social media and Instagram, it’s like the way fad diets were in the ‘80s and ‘90s.” Hear Me Raw has been developed by the team behind the award-winning

Mush and Me, and its message of the dangers of too much clean living might just take a soupçon of the guilt out of that deep fried haggis. Not that Flanagan, with her punishing schedule of shows, isn’t keenly aware of the dangers of an unhealthy Fringe lifestyle. Her advice to young producers: “Get yourself a good pair of shoes, and eat your vegetables. Maggie came home from Edinburgh one year and got scurvy. Only pirates get scurvy!”  Well, pirates and performers—and producers— who neglect their greens while stomping the cobbles to bring a clutch of fierce, funny and deeply smart work to the Edinburgh Fringe. SHOW: VENUE: TIME: TICKETS:

SHOW: VENUE: TIME: TICKETS:

SHOW: VENUE: TIME: TICKETS:

SHOW: VENUE: TIME: TICKETS:

Margaret Thatcher Queen of Game Shows Assembly George Square Gardens 9:00pm – 10:10pm, 3–27 Aug, not 14 £10 – £14 Prom Kween Underbelly, Cowgate 8:35pm – 9:35pm, 3–27 Aug, not 14 £6.50 – £11 How to Win against History Assembly George Square Gardens 7:25pm – 8:35pm, 3–27 Aug, not 14 £10 – £14 Hear Me Raw Underbelly, George Square 2:40pm – 3:40pm, 2–27 Aug, not 14 £6.50 – £10

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Prom Kween


The Ones to Watch: Kids Funz And Gamez:

Flogging a Dead Horze

Credit: Ed Moore

Where do you start in a kids programme that just keeps growing? Well, try one of these on for size

[U, 2 AND OLDER] Just the Tonic at The Community Project, 1:30pm, 4–27 Aug, not 14

Kidocracy [U, 6 AND OLDER]

We’ve had Phil Ellis's terrible troupe on our front cover be-

The Stand Comedy Club 3 & 4,

fore. Honestly, we still don’t

12:00pm, 3–20 Aug

know what to make of it, other than it’s utterly anarchic and weirdly compelling.

A proper kids’ show at a proper comedy venue. Irish comedian Keith Farnan says his show “encourages participation in a

Credit: James Glossop

democracy and aims to introduce some simple political ideas about governing and leadership”. Genuinely, Farnan is not to be dismissed as an earnest naif. We think he can pull this off.

BambinO [U, 0-2] The Edinburgh Academy, times vary, 8–20 Aug, not 14 This co-production between Scottish Opera, Improbable theatre and the Manchester International Festival—a world premiere—might just be the best ‘baby sensory’ event you’ll ever attend. Babies between

Kids

six and 18 months are free to explore the crawl-friendly set during the show, and parents will enjoy the music too.

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Dr Zeiffal, Dr Zeigal and the Hippo That Can Never Be Caught [U, 1-12]

Assembly Roxy, 10:15am, 3–28 Aug, not 15, 22 It’s the first time in Edinburgh for Mouths of Lions , but they’ve been touring this show and making a bit of a name for themselves. Things to like: there’s a hippo. There’s also a female scientist, which feels like a more exciting choice than it should be.


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Arr We There Yet? [U, 3 AND OLDER] Underbelly’s Circus Hub on the Meadows, 2:00pm, 5–26 Aug, not 14, 21 Slapstick silliness and piratical playtime—including getting young audience members sabre rattling with balloon swords—from energetic Australian circus troupe Head First Acrobats.

At a Stretch [PG, 6 AND OLDER] Scottish Storytelling Centre, 1:00pm,

Two girls meet, get stuck together with elastic and fall in love in this wordless show exploring LGBT relationships with the lightest of touches. Expect creative choreography and beautiful physical theatre.

Calvinball [U, 0-5] Royal Botanic Garden, times vary, 5-27 Aug, not 8, 15, 22 You don’t need to be a fan of the Calvin and Hobbs comic stip to appreciate the beauty of Calvinball, a game in which you make up the rules as you go along. Ipdip Theatre return to the Royal Botanic Garden following success with 2016’s Head in the Clouds to present this interactive outdoor show inspired by the anarchy and fun of the cartoon duo.

Nick Cope’s Family Song Book [U, 0-7] Gilded Balloon Teviot, 11:15am, 2–20 Aug Cope is one of those rare things: a performer who happens to have a superb rapport with children, rather than a children’s performer. There’s no dumbing down or hamming up here. Think children can’t handle surrealness, or songs about gravity? Think again.

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3–15 Aug


Child-wrangling at the Festival: a Helpful How To Babies:

Got kids? Well, fortunately, you’re not the first. Fest gets some top tips from performers who have been there, done that, and wiped ice cream off the wee one’s T-shirt

3-7s: Sarah Thom Beak Speaks, Underbelly, Cowgate, 4:00pm – 5:00pm, 3–27 Aug, not 14, 21, £6.50 – £10.50

The Fringe as a parent is a whole new ball game. Last year was my first in this new guise and I discovered a whole world that happens in Edinburgh before the sun is over the yardarm. We’ll be up again this year with five-year-old Albie and his younger brother, Stanley.

Ellie Dubois No Show, Summerhall, 4:15pm – 5:15pm, 2–27 Aug, not 10, 21, £6 – £12

What to do? Go and see shows! There are so many super brilliant shows to go and see with babies that are specially designed to be a delightful experience for babies and their adults. It is so excellent that they can experience high quality work by wonderful artists right from being born.

Last time we saw a show nearly every morning – all as eclectic as the main Fringe. The highlights for the boys were a brilliant Korean company who sang about a pooing elephant, and The Amazing Bubble Man who delighted Albie by putting him inside a child-sized bubble. We spent hours wandering, stumbling across all sorts: an impromptu show on a bus, street theatre on the Royal Mile and the Mound. The Pleasance have a fantastic kids area at the Courtyard where we spent many a crafty hour. And if you need to escape there’s also a brilliant playground on the Meadows that I had never noticed before, and Portobello beach is just a bus ride away.

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That said, there’s loads to see! This year we are excited about BambinO which is an opera for babies made by Scottish Opera and Phelim McDermott. The Polar Bears Go Up, made by Eilidh Macaskill, is likely to be super amazing. My son is too old for this now but Snigel and Friends by Caroline Bowditch at Dance Base looks really wonderful for 0-1s.

Credit: Simon Annand

Kids

What about places to go? If the weather is good the Meadows are always good for hanging out. In terms of tips, I try to ignore any show that has a large age range like 0-5 or even 0-10. I think it’s really unlikely that the work is really suited or made for children, particularly at the younger age range.


7-12s:

Teenagers: Cally Beaton

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Super Cally Fragile Lipstick, Just the Tonic at The Community Project, 1:25pm – 2:25pm, 5–20 Aug, not 14, £5; and Just the Tonic at The Caves, 10:40am – 11:40am, 22–25 Aug, £5

Borders, Gilded Balloon Teviot, 4:30pm – 5:30pm, 2–28 Aug, not 16, £7 – £12.50

What do you do with a bunch of narcissists who burst into tears every time they don’t get their own way? Take them to see a bunch of narcissists who burst into tears every time they don’t get their own way. Performers are all seven-yearolds at heart. First stop for my gang would always be Martin ‘Bigpig’ Mor’s Funny Stuff for Happy People. He’s one of the country’s leading standups, and one of those rare beasts whom both adults and kids find funny. Similarly the Pub Quiz for Kids With Patrick Monahan is a bonkers idea and well worth a visit. Monski Mouse’s Baby Disco Dance Hall is always a hit. I like to go there and appal small children by doing ‘embarrassing dad dancing’ to ‘80s classics. You’ll probably end up cutting shapes to ‘99 Red Balloons’, and finding your kids wanting to divorce you. Great value. You can’t go wrong with the Trash Test Dummies either. Baby Loves Disco, too, is a Sunday morning must for the kids. If you want to do stuff outside the festival, the Camera Obscura and World of Illusions is excellent family fodder. Also, go on the bouncey trampoliney-thing that’s in the giant golf ball by Waverley Station – but only towards the end of your trip. It’s chuffing expensive, and the kids’ll want to go on it every day. And really, you want them to be supporting the 3,400 groups of fellow narcissists. Top tip: make sure you’re armed with the number of a reliable taxi firm. The littlies’ legs aren’t built for rushing from venue to venue up steep hills.

Get them out stickering & flyering. Every time my 16-year-old daughter and her friend flyered for me last year, the show sold out. At the end of the run I said I thought it was mainly because she was my daughter. She just looked at me and said, “Your daughter? I never told them THAT”. What not to do with them? Well, never take them to your own show and expect to come out of the experience alive. In fact, never take them to your own show. Never trust them to actually get up and go flyering at all if you’ve left the house before them. Never pay them for flyering in advance. And definitely never introduce them to the after-hours Edinburgh scene and the inhabitants thereof... There are shows that they should see, though. Austentatious and Whose Line is It Anyway – Live at the Fringe are high on their list. They’ve also already got tickets for: Sara Pascoe, James Acaster, Desiree Burch. And the brilliant Geoff Norcott – to give these millenials in a Guardian-reading household a counterpoint to Corbyn fever.

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Henry Naylor

I’m the single parent of Jake, 19, and Ella, 17, god help me! You know what it’s like. Teens really like to try things they’ve never done before. Like going to, er... Nando’s, Top Shop, Pret. Things with a more local flavour: Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh Castle, hanging out at Assembly and Udderbelly at George Square (and the pop up macaroni cheese stall that was there last year). Any off-licence that serves them without ID while I’m out gigging.


Focus on:

The Listies One of our young critics, 10-yearold Lauren Hunter, grills Australian duo The Listies, and finds them on fine, silly form

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he Listies are Matt Kelly and Richard Higgins, an Australian comedy double-act who have been bringing children’s shows to Edinburgh since 2008. Their style is silly humour – like putting fart noises over classical music. But their big comedy influences are legends who can make kids and grownups laugh, like Monty Python. This year their show has face texting—which is making emojis with your face—and some disgusting underpants. Talking over Skype, Matt and Richard are in an underground red room with what looks like the abstract paintings I learned about during an art project at school. The two bounce off each other: Matt is more philosophical and Rich more lighthearted. But as I found out, it is the opposite when they write their shows. As Matt says: “Richard always wants the show to be really educational, and I always want the show to be really silly. So lots of our shows come out of that argument.” The pair met in 2002 when performing in a play called Just Disgusting. They always wanted to be children’s entertainers. This sometimes means they upset people who don’t like laughing. People who find classical music very elegant can’t bear to listen to their trumpy track: “We got interviewed on ABC, which is like the Australian BBC,” says Matt, “and they asked if they could play one of our songs. So we said ‘Yes, play this one.’ They played half of it and then switched it off.” To stop people getting upset, they make sure people know what they are getting themselves into from the moment they see The Listies’ poster. As Matt explains: “If our picture was of us wearing big black turtlenecks, performing Shakespeare, talking about feelings, then people would give negative comments.” I checked their Fringe programme photo

and no-one should be confused – they are definitely mucking about. Richard adds: “Our shows are always rated S for silly.” The two agree that children’s entertainers are taken less seriously than other artists sometimes. Fortunately, both their parents love what they do. “We’ve been all over Australia, we travel, we’ve played Sydney Opera House,” says Richard. And Matt’s mum beams with pride: “She collects all the newspaper clippings, laminates them and hangs them on the wall.” They are always on the road, often amusing themselves by looking for Australian animals. I ask if they like koalas and Richard said he couldn’t eat a whole one. Matt makes sure I know this is a joke: “Just to be clear, we do not eat koala bears.” When in Edinburgh they also live together – their favourite place to stay is near the Meadows, where they would have to make do with squirrels. With them spending so much time in each other’s pockets, they are bound to have arguments. So I ask them if they had ever had one. Matt is very honest and says, “Yes, we have.” Luckily their arguments are never too devastating. “It’s been 10 years since we’ve been doing The Listies,” says Richard. “If we had an argument so bad we were going to split up, it would have already happened.”  Matt agrees: “Plus, arguing isn’t always bad. Agreeing and disagreeing is how you create.” Richard finishes: “And we always hug and say sorry.” VENUE: TIME: TICKETS:

Pleasance Courtyard 12:30pm – 1:30pm, 2–20 Aug £6.50 – £9.50


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Focus on:

Jo Caird talks to comic Jo Neary about bringing a kids show to the Fringe for the first time and adapting her characters for young audiences

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n 2004, character comedian Jo Neary was nominated for the Perrier Best Newcomer Award. That same year she qualified as a teacher and started work as an art teacher in a secondary school. “I’d get calls saying, ‘Can you go and audition for Matt Lucas’s new thing?’ and I’d say, ‘I can’t actually; I’ve got an inset day’.” She stuck with the teaching for a year, but ultimately gave it up for a busy schedule of solo shows interspersed with acting and comedy gigs for TV and radio, plus collaborations with the visual and performance artist Mel Brimfield. This year though, Neary is drawing on that experience working with young people to create a new set of characters alongside the clown Jody Kamali for The Topsy-Turvy Hotel, a version of Kamali’s Hotel Yes Please for younger audiences (both shows are playing at Sweet Grassmarket). While she’s worked in youth theatre before, and acted in children’s TV and theatre, this is the first time the comic is adapting her characters for kids. “I’m really enjoying doing a children’s show because it’s quite different. When they’re up for it and they go with you, it’s just fantastic. But you have to get them and that’s quite a fun challenge. Having a fiveyear-old is really useful because I can research on him.

I know what gets his attention and what works.” Neary’s own Celia Johnson character—an uncanny and very funny take on the protagonist of the 1945 film Brief Encounter—is being repurposed as Peggy Pillow the new chambermaid, while her Peg Bird character appears as Brenda Bagshot, an inspector trying to shut down the hotel. Most intriguing of all is Jackie Potato the waitress: “So far that’s just a massive potato costume. I haven’t yet worked out the voice of a potato. “I’ve used my characters as a starting block and I’ve made them a little more absurd or sweet or whatever it is,” she explains. “When you’ve got a character already it’s much easier to build on that.” The show is being devised for a broad range of ages, so that parents and carers can bring the whole family and know they’ll all get something out of it. “It’s a really lovely show,” says Neary. “It’s not too CBeebies. They’re not stereotypical characters; they’re really quite elegantly drawn. I only say that because I keep suggesting things that aren’t very subtle and Jody’s eyes fill with disdain.” VENUE: TIME: TICKETS:

Sweet Grassmarket 12:25pm – 1:20pm, 3–20 Aug, not 9 £7

festmag.co.uk

The TopsyTurvy Hotel


As the Fringe celebrates its 70th birthday, Tom Wicker takes a look at the history of work for children at the world’s largest arts festival

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he Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the biggest arts festival in the world. From its rookie origins in 1947 as an unofficial side-act to the Edinburgh Festival, it’s grown from work staged by eight companies to, last year, performances of 3,269 shows from 48 different countries. But of all the visitors who now pour into Edinburgh’s streets each August, what about the kids? For the past four years, family shows have accounted for five per cent of the total staged. So, has the Fringe’s offering for children changed over the years? Guardian journalist and critic Lyn Gardner has reviewed at the Fringe since the early 1980s. She says that the festival as a good place for work for younger audiences is a fairly recent phenomenon. “The way festivals were marketed changed and people went, ’Oh, we’ll bring the family for a few days’,” she recalls.  Reflecting on changing attitudes to bringing kids’ work to the Fringe, Gardner uses New Zealand-based Trick of the Light Theatre as an “example of a company making very good work anyway, who have realised that there is a market [for children’s shows]”. Following 2015’s The Bookbinder, Trick of the Light is back at the Fringe with its latest show, The Road That Wasn’t There. The Fringe’s growth into more of a family affair is, in part, symptomatic of a wider re-branding of festivals to embrace what is a sizeable chunk of the population. Glastonbury Festival, for example, now offers advice on its website to parents on the best type of buggy to bring. There’s a growing recognition of the lucrative nature of the family market. One distinctive recent feature of kids’ programming at the Fringe are tentpole adaptations of popular children’s books like The Tiger Who Came to Tea,

Credit: Anita Pitu and Trick of the Light

Kidding Around

The Road that Wasn’t There

which played at the Pleasance in 2015. Les Petits Theatre Company are bringing their stage adaptation of David Walliams’ The First Hippo on the Moon to this year’s Fringe. Such productions, when made well, draw big family audiences.  One of the biggest successes in this regard is Tall Stories’ adaptation of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s smash hit The Gruffalo, which debuted at the Fringe in 2001 and has since played the West End and toured around the world. Now, as they celebrate their 20th year, the company are returning to Edinburgh with their acclaimed production of The Gruffalo’s Child.  According to joint artistic director Toby Mitchell, the Fringe’s kids’ offering has “totally changed” since Tall Stories first took adaptations of Lewis Carroll and Oscar Wilde to Edinburgh in 1997. “The kids’ section of the Fringe [guide] was tiny, a few pages,” he recalls. “We’ve gone from being part of a very small pool doing work for families, to being part of this almost mini-festival.” As well as a greater emphasis on children’s programming among the bigger venues, Mitchell points to the recent establishment of child-specific facilities like the Pleasance’s Kidzone—with its interactive play area, baby change and café— as important. “It’s somewhere families can base themselves,” he says. And a crop of newer venues and performance spaces has also opened up the terrain to a diverse range of work for younger audiences at the Fringe. For example, Summerhall—now entering its seventh year at the festival—has made a name for itself by staging formally experimental and thought-provoking productions. “Our policy is to put on work which has something to say about the world,” says Verity Leigh,


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Royal Mile in 2006. With a 99-seat capacity, “it’s an intimate space,” says programme and events manager, Daniel Abercrombie. “It’s lovely for children’s shows – they don’t feel isolated or overwhelmed.” The Centre curates work from both new and established companies. For Czajka, bringing The Wonderful World of Lapin to the Fringe (particularly in the Scottish Storytelling Centre’s central location) is a major step up. “I’m putting more energy and effort into this show than any before,” she says. “I’m really hoping that promoters will come and see it, and that it will interest international promoters as well.” The Fringe’s global reach offers companies a rich opportunity to showcase their work. Gill Roberston, however, while freely acknowledging the “great engine” the festival can be, believes that more still Summerhall’s programme manager. “We try to do needs to be done in terms of quality control. And, that as much with our children’s shows as with she adds, “a lot of work just tries to get people’s shows programmed with an older audience in mind.” attention by being an adaptation of a well-known In 2016, this included Belgian children’s theatre book, or linked to CBBC.” company BRONKS’s Us/Them, about the Beslan And taking a show to the Fringe is a financially siege. high-risk venture, often involving a tough fight for In 2015, Edinburgh-based Catherine Wheels The- visibility. Robertson is a big fan of the renowned atre Company staged The Voice Thief, a site-specific Edinburgh International Children’s Festival, which show for children aged nine and up, in Summerhall’s takes place in May and June each year. She’d like basement. The company also premiered White at to see a similarly curated kids’ space at the Fringe, the Fringe in 2010. Lyn Gardner fondly recalls this because many people “probably just aren’t aware of white-box piece as a “demonstration of how absothe really amazing work out there”. lutely fantastic Edinburgh can be as a showcase for When it comes to children’s shows at the Fringe, children’s work”.  there’s clearly still room for improvement. Venues White won three awards at the Fringe and has like Underbelly’s twin big top Circus Hub attract since toured around the UK and abroad. It was one younger audiences of all ages but, it remains the of the first shows created as part of the Made in case, for example, that there’s less work at the Scotland programme, a collaborative effort involving festival for teenagers. If you’re prepared to do your entities like public-funding body Creative Scotland. research, however, you’ll undoubtedly find some Its aim is to raise the international profile of Scottish gems this year. work at the Fringe.  “The Arts Council tried for a long time to make SHOW: The Road that Wasn’t There different things happen, that would mean Scottish VENUE: Assembly Roxy work would have a profile on the Fringe,” says Gill TIME: 2:35pm – 3:35pm, 3–27 Aug, not 14, 21 Robertson, Catherine Wheels’ artistic director. “But it TICKETS: £8 – £11 didn’t really work until Made in Scotland.”  Both Made in Scotland and Creative Scotland SHOW: David Williams’ The First Hippo on the Moon have helped to establish a platform for famiVENUE: Pleasance Courtyard ly-friendly Scottish shows. This year, for example, TIME: 12:00pm – 1:00pm, 2–20 Aug, not 15 TICKETS: £7 – £12 Tania Czajka’s Edinburgh-based company Le Petit Monde is making its Fringe debut at the Scottish SHOW: The Wonderful World of Lapin Storytelling Centre with The Wonderful World of VENUE: Scottish Storytelling Centre Lapin. This bilingual puppet show has been made TIME: 10:30am – 11:20am, various dates between 3 with Creative Scotland’s support.  Aug and 27 Aug The Scottish Storytelling Centre, the world’s first TICKETS: £6 – £8 venue dedicated to live storytelling, opened on the

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Credit: Brian Roberts

Focus on:

How To Be a Kid

A new commission from the fantastic Paines Plough, this is a play for kids tackling a tricky topic. Theo Bosanquet talks to playwright Sarah McDonald-Hughes

H

ow To Be a Kid centres on a 12-year-old girl fresh out of care, struggling to adjust to a difficult home life. It’s hardly a picture book premise. “I’ve found that the characters in shows and on TV are mostly white middle class kids doing really jolly things,” says writer Sarah McDonald-Hughes. “But that’s not the experience of most kids.” 

Kids

“It’s such a cliché saying that kids keep you in the moment, but they do”

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As the title implies, it centres on a kid, Molly, who’s faced with the challenge of being a child with responsibilities beyond her years. It’s a dilemma many young people will be familiar with. Aimed at 7 to 11-year-olds, the play was commissioned by new writing specialists Paines Plough, and it comes to Edinburgh as part of the company’s Roundabout residency at Summerhall. The popup venue is hosting nine shows a day for 24 days, and will tour extensively after the festival. 

Katie Elin-Salt and Sally Messham in How To Be a Kid

“It’s a great space to write for,” says McDonaldHughes. “It’s small, so there’s no set or props. But this means you can do things like jump around in time very easily. The audience are sat so close that they kind of just come with you.” Having written on a range of themes, primarily with her company Monkeywood Theatre, the Mancunian is developing a reputation as a writer with a sharp eye for topical issues. She names Dennis Kelly and Victoria Wood as heroes, though inspirations also lie closer to home. “Having young children has made me more productive,” she reveals. “I used to have to wait until it felt right to approach something but now if I have an hour to write something I’ll do it, because I have to. It’s such a cliché saying that kids keep you in the moment, but they do.” Besides keeping tabs on her own play, McDonaldHughes is looking forward to visiting Edinburgh to binge on other writers’ work. “I’m inspired by everything so I try and see as much as I can,” she says. “Though I could happily just watch everything in the Roundabout.” VENUE: TIME: TICKETS:

Roundabout @ Summerhall 10:45am – 11:35am, 4–20 Aug, not 8, 15 £5 – £10


FROM OLIVIER AWARD WINNERS THE

HOWSTOPPERS

int

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ica Mus tur e en adv r kids fo

Scottish Storytelling Centre 3 –15 August 2017, 1pm for all ages 6+

AT A STRET CH

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BY JORDAN & SKINNER

‘Terrific… an absolute delight’ HHHHH One4Review

2-20 AUGUST, 11.40AM www.pleasance.co.uk 0131 556 6550

FINDING NANA

The Stage

Pleasance ABOVE 10.20am DAILY

by Jane Upton

George Devine Award Winner 2016

Pleasance BESIDE 3.30pm DAILY

2-28 August Pleasance Courtyard www.pleasance.co.uk 0131 556 6550

rrrr Broadway Baby

rrrr London City Nights

THE SCOTSMAN

FRINGE FIRST AWARD WINNERS 2014

“sharp, witty and vivid”  The Scotsman (Sanitise)

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‘Mad, magic and marvellous… Sold out - and for good reason.’ HHHH Arts Award Voice


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BEST OF THE FEST assemblyfestival.com 0131 623 3030

SUPPER CLUB Assembly CHeCkpoint

4 – 27 Aug, 23:00 ANTONIO FORCIONE & SARAH JANE MORRIS

PERFORMERS

Assembly Rooms

Assembly Rooms

21 – 27 Aug, 21:30

3 – 27 Aug, 16:45

Daily line-ups

@AssemblyBOTF

THE MAGNETS: THE

BEST OF THE FEST Assembly HAll

4 – 27 Aug, MIDNIGHT

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MONSKI MOUSE’S

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3 – 16 Aug, 18:35

4 – 27 Aug, 11:00

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2012

The Guardian

Baxter Theatre Season

MIES JULIE Assembly Rooms

3 – 27 Aug, 14:30

A NEW SHOW FROM THE CREATORS OF THE 2016 FRINGE HIT ATTRAPE MOI

TRANSIT by FLIP FABRIQUE Assembly HAll

3 – 28 Aug, 18:00


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Sam Dunham Curse of the Mummy, Just the Tonic at The Caves, 7:30pm, 3-26 August, not 14

Naïve audiences will roam the Royal Mile dodging passionate performers lying strewn across the street, arms outstretched with flyers in their hands. Weary and exhausted performers will stumble out of The Three Sisters at 4 am unable to comprehend why the kebab shop isn’t open, and then promise to meet up in four hours’ time to climb Arthur’s Seat.

The Auld Hoose

Blue Blazer

23-25 St Leonard’s St | @TheAuldHoose

2 Spittal St | @blueblazeredin

A cross-breed of ‘old man pub’ and ‘rock bar’, this Newington pub two minutes from the Pleasance Courtyard covers both bases in style. Slick decor contrasted with a ‘90s metal soundtrack makes for a good start, and the good drinks choice and ridiculous bowls of nachos keep everything ticking over.

The Blue Blazer is a ‘proper’ Edinburgh pub, in the best possible sense. Boasting one of the finest selections of real ales, whiskies and rums in the capital, the Blue Blazer’s walls have seen it all.

Baba Budan 1 Cranston St @bababudancoffee

Part of the New Waverley Arches development across from Waverley, Baba Budan is perfect for a straightoff-the-train sugar boost. Doughnuts are the main draw, coming in a host of exciting flavours and combinations; grab one with a coffee, and get fuelled up for a day of show-hopping.

Fringe 2087

The Argyle Bar and Cellar Monkey 15 Argyle Pl

Marchmont residents need not venture far to find a decent pub, thanks to the sterling work of the Argyle Bar. This cosy corner pub, with its charming interior and good drinks selection, is joined by the Cellar Monkey basement, which plays host to free shows throughout the Fringe.

Artisan Roast

Bannermans 212 Cowgate | @BannermansBar

The back room of Bannermans is one the favourite haunts of the city’s rockers, but the main bar is a much more laid-back environment. It’s cheap, there’s plenty of space, and it’s literally right in the centre of town.

92

Bramble 16a Queen St @BrambleBar

Arguably the city’s finest cocktail bar, and certainly one of the venues that elevated Auld Reekie into the global cocktail conversation, Bramble is a delightful drinking den. It’s dark, the hip-hop bumps loud from the speakers, and the drinks are beautiful. If you like nice drinks (and who doesn’t), this is a must.

Brass Monkey 14 Drummond St

Bannermans

Bar 50 50 Blackfriars St | @Bar50Edin

57 Broughton St, 138 Bruntsfield Pl | @artisanroast

Artisan Roast are very serious about their coffee, something that you will be very grateful for as you sip one of the best flat whites the whole of the UK has to offer. If you’re not serious about your coffee, AR will convert you to the winning team.

Blue Blazer

Connected to the Smart City Hostel at the east end of the Cowgate, Bar 50 is a good pitstop for revellers on their way to Old Town clubs. The constantly changing clientele makes for an interesting evening, and the decent drinks prices and reliable food menu help everyone get along like old friends.

Tucked in between the Pleasance and the Bridges, Brass Monkey matches a great location with a relaxed atmosphere. Much of that comes from the mini-cinema in the back room, packed with squishy mattresses and enormous cushions.

Brass Monkey


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Bread Meats Bread

Checkpoint

Cult Espresso

92 Lothian Rd @BreadMeats_EDI

3 Bristo Pl @checkpointedi

104 Buccleuch St @cultcoffeeedin

In recent years, Lothian Road has been overrun by a spate of new restaurants and casual dining spots, the pick of which is Glasgow transplant Bread Meats Bread. Incredible burgers, outrageous sides—try the poutine—and a great location; ideal Fringe fuel.

Brilliant brunch until the early evening? A great drinks selection for the late night? A shipping container, inside the bar? Checkpoint has it all, and all within spitting distance of the big venues.

A welcome sanctuary from the Fringe, this split-level coffee shop just down from Summerhall pairs a stripped-back aesthetic with expertly crafted coffees and a small but perfectly formed food menu.

Dishoom 3a St Andrew Sq @Dishoom

Great coffee, outrageous sandwiches and soups, and cakes and teas from some of Edinburgh’s best producers all find a home at Brew Lab, with a strong wine and beer game the latest feather added to an already impressive cap.

The City Cafe

The City Cafe 19 Blair St @thecitycafe

If you’ve ever dreamt of going to an American diner in the 1950s, well... you can’t. Sorry. Luckily, The City Cafe is a pretty good alternative, with its chessboard-style floor and leather and chrome booths.

Civerinos

The best of a new crop of spots to pop up around St Andrew Square in the past year, Dishoom’s take on the Irani cafes of Bombay offers delicious, casual dining in the heart of the Fringe action. Get the black daal.

Fringe 2087

festmag.co.uk

6-8 South College St | @BrewLabCoffee

Credit: Idil Sukan

Brew Lab

5 Hunter Sq, 49 Forrest Rd @civerinos_slice Brew Lab

BrewDog 143 Cowgate | @BrewDogEdin

The Ellon brewery dominates the taps alongside an ever-changing cast of guest beers, a great food menu, and, as the name suggests, they are dog-friendly.

Bryant and Mack

Their locations are great: just off the Royal Mile, and on the edge of the Meadows. The vibe is great: all fly-postered walls and marble statues. Above all else, the pizza at Civerinos is great: sourdough base, brilliant toppings, and big enough to fuel even the most ill-advised of schedules.

Cloisters 26 Brougham St @Cloisters_Bar

87 Rose St North Ln @BryantAndMack

A top-notch one-room bar, Bryant and Mack is all dark colours, mood lighting, comfy seats and delicious drinks. The speakeasy vibe is complimented by the space itself – everyone gets their own little conspiratorial cubby in which to plot.

On the corner of the Meadows and Tollcross and set into the side of a church, this pub is packed with period features, like snazzy ceramic bar taps. A huge selection of beers and ales, and an always lively atmosphere make Cloisters a great spot for a pre or post-show pint.

Adam Riches

The Inane Chicanery of a Certain Adam GC Riches, Pleasance Dome, 9:45pm, 2-27 August

In 2087, the Edinburgh Fringe, or ‘BBC-3000’ as it will then be known, will be a fully immersive festival that runs all year round and classifies every living person residing in the city as a show. The running time of each show/ person/'sherson’ will be the lifespan of each individual performing, complete with a slight lull around the 40-year mark. Ratings will take the form of children or animals thrown at the performer (five good, one bad).


IT’S WONDERFUL THE SONGS OF PAOLO CONTE ESPRESSO MANIFESTO Scottish Arts Club 24 Rutland Square

A very playful, poised, vivacious, sexy and suave performance. qqqqq – Broadway Baby

04 - 28 August 2017 | Tickets available at edfringe.com

70 YEARS OF DEFYING THE NORM

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image: photojing.it

August 14 – 19 / 21 – 26


95

Dough

Forest Cafe

The Hive

172 Rose St & 47 South Clerk St

141 Lauriston Pl

15-15 Niddry St @clubhive

Having been booted from their former home on Forest Road a few years back, the Forest’s crew of volunteers have taken up residence in Tollcross and turned this former corner shop into a vibrant arts space and vegetarian eatery.

The wild and cavernous Cowgate haunt is a notorious student joint for good reason. If you only know The Hive for its Fringe programming, you haven’t lived; head down for a late-night drink and you’ll find an all-action party spot that isn’t for the faint-hearted.

@Dough_pizzeria

The Holyrood 9A 9a Holyrood Rd @holyrood9a

El Cartel Mexicana 64 Thistle St @elcartelmexican

The best Mexican food in Edinburgh can be found in the cosy confines of El Cartel. That’s cosy as in small; be prepared for Kitson-level queuing to get yourself a spot, but be assured that the tacos are more than worth the effort.

El Cartel Mexicana

Eteaket 41 Frederick St @eteaket

If you like tea, then prepare to spend a lot of time in Eteaket. The Frederick Street cafe is all about tea and cakes, with dozens of loose leaf blends on offer, all blended specifically for Eteaket and packed with mad and exotic ingredients.

Filament Coffee

Fortitude Coffee

Fortitude Coffee 3c York Pl @FortitudeCoffee

In Fringe terms, Fortitude is a perfect fit – brilliant coffee, delicious sandwiches and scrumptious cakes from Lovecrumbs, all on the literal doorstep of The Stand. Seriously, it’s right next door.

Fringe 2087

Gilded Balloon Teviot Pl @Gildedballoon

This Hogwarts-style building is actually the oldest purpose-built students’ union in the world. Bought and paid for by the students in 1889—clearly they had a bit more cash back then—it’s a warren of big and small performance spaces, bars and cafes.

The Hanging Bat 133 Lothian Rd @TheHangingBat

38 Clerk St @filamentcoffee

Filament’s a brilliant modern coffee bar pretty much halfway between Summerhall and the Pleasance Courtyard. We know the Fringe gets tough; a flat white from these guys will help make it all better.

Gourmet burgers and good beer are the order of the day at the 9a, just down from the Pleasance. Given that their burgers are delicious and they’re right next to one of the Fringe’s biggest venues, they can get busy – just know that the wait is worth it.

A huge and ever-changing range of some of the best beers from all over the world, a mini-brewery at the back and super knowledgeable bar staff make this the place to go to get your ‘serious beer’ on during the Fringe.

Mike Bubbins

Retrosexual Male, Assembly George Square Studios, 6:30pm, 2-27 Aug

For a start I’ll be in my mid-120s. And I’d imagine that if things keep going the way they are, the number of shows will outnumber the UK’s total population. Every cafe table will have to be reinforced to cope with the millions of flyers that land on it within seconds of the last lot being put in the bin by the waiter-bots. People won’t walk to venues in 2087, but teleport straight to their seat.

festmag.co.uk

You’re on the way from one show to another, you’re a bit hungover and you haven’t eaten in a day and a half. What you need is a slice of pizza, and Dough have an extensive array of by-the-slice pies, all delicious sea water crusts and fresh ingredients. Go to them; they’ll see you right.


La Belle Angele

Machina Espresso

11 Hastie's Close @la_belle_angele

2 Brougham Pl, 80 Nicholson St @MachinaEspresso

Hula

Hula 103-105 West Bow @hulajuicebar

Bright and breezy, Hula does a great line in fresh fruit juices with exotic and outrageous blends that you never would have considered, as well as great coffee and food.

Since reopening three years ago following a decade-long hiatus, La Belle has returned to the forefront of Edinburgh's music scene. Find local and touring acts as well as top-drawer club nights inside the surprisingly-vast interior.

One of a batch of Edinburgh coffee shops roasting their own beans, Machina’s own blend is a smooth, fruity espresso. Grab it in a flat white, pair it with a pastry or enormous sandwich, and consider yourself ready for a day of shows.

Maki & Ramen 13 W Richmond St @MakiRamen

Joseph Pearce’s 23 Elm Row @JosephPearces

Fringe 2087

Tom Lucy Needs to Stop Showing Off in Front of His Friends, Pleasance Courtyard, 6:00pm, 2-27 August, not 14

It wouldn’t surprise me if some acts have already put down deposits on accommodation. In terms of how the festival will be different, I can’t see much changing. Looking at current trends, I’d anticipate at least 70 per cent of white middle-class men in the UK having a one-hour standup show there. But hey, at least the trams will be up and running.

96

The Liquid Room

The Liquid Room

Mary’s Milk Bar

9C Victoria St @LIQUIDROOMS

18 Grassmarket @MarysMilkBar

With impressive live music and clubbing credentials, The Liquid Room plays host to touring bands and DJs as well as an array of weekly rock and dance nights.

A cute little gelateria inspired by the milk bars of the 1960s but with the flavours brought right up-todate, Mary’s has quickly become an Edinburgh institution. If the sun is out (it will be at least once, promise), get yourself down here for a hit of delicious, creamy gelato. You’ve earned it.

Lovecrumbs 155 West Port @hellolovecrumbs

An inventive sweet and savoury menu, tables made from old pianos, and a literal window seat give Lovecrumbs an anarchic air that turns the act of going for coffee into an adventure.

Lowdown Coffee

Mary's Milk Bar

A bohemian bar with a cool crowd powered by aquavit-based cocktails and Swedish cider. Entertainment comes from the regular art exhibitions, live music, DJ sets and a weekly jogging club. Healthy.

A lovingly decorated and charming hole in the wall off Nicholson St, the menu is, as suggested, half sushi and half noodle. Expect quality in presentation, ingredients and execution. Try the Master Chef ‘Burnt Soyu’ ramen; you will not be disappointed.

The Mosque Kitchen 31 Nicolson Sq

40 George St @coffeelowdown

A small but perfectly formed Scandi-style basement beneath George Street, Lowdown is a calming environment from which to escape the madness of the street above.

A Fringe institution and all-round winner, the Mosque Kitchen serves up delicious curry all day long with huge plates of spicy goodness starting at just a few quid. If you haven’t been yet, go now.


97

Mother India’s Cafe

Fringe 2087

3-5 Infirmary St @Official_MIndia

The Nile Valley Cafe

Tom Taylor A Charlie Montague Mystery: The Game's a Foot, Try the Fish, theSpace @ Surgeons Hall, 3:05pm, 4-26 August, not 6

Paradise Palms

The Pleasance Dome 1 Bristo Square @ThePleasance

6 Chapel St

The falafel; oh lordy, the falafel. This unpretentious Sudanese cafe is our number one choice for an ad-hoc Fringe lunch – pick up their Africa wrap (falafel, feta cheese, broad beans, hummus and spicy peanut sauce) and all your timetable worries and comedy hang-ups will disappear in a cloud of chickpea-based positivity.

Panda and Sons 79 Queen St @pandaandsons

Just down the street from the Book Festival at Charlotte Square, you’ll find a barber shop purportedly run by a large bear. Spoiler alert – this is a front for one of the city’s most interesting cocktail bars. If you need somewhere to hide out mid-Fringe, this is a good place to start.

Paradise Palms

Year round, this is one of Edinburgh University Student Union’s venues. Come August time it’s not only a major festival venue, but also the site of some serious hanging out, coffee drinking, snack munching, morning, midday and evening boozing, and star-spotting.

Salt Horse 57-61 Blackfriars Street @salthorsebar

Salt Horse features what may be one of the most comprehensive beer selections in the capital. A brilliantly eclectic and impressively dense range that will literally take you the whole month to work through. They also have one of the city’s most charming beer gardens, but we’ll leave it at that, as it’s the kind of thing you want to keep to yourself.

Sneaky Pete’s 73 Cowgate @sneakypetesclub

41 Lothian St @edinburghpalms

Get past the super-distressed façade and you’ll find a genuine all-day venue. Open for breakfast, makers of an impressive lunch, wielders of a superb array of drinks, and home to a host of DJs and musicians, Paradise Palms has a little bit of everything.

It’ll make your Fringe flat seem like a palace, but what Sneaky’s lacks in size it makes up for with energy. A huge range of weekly and monthly club nights, a beautifully clear sound system, and an ever-present crowd of the city’s most discerning and nicest clubbers make Sneaky’s a great shout every night of the week.

A Charlie Montague Mystery: The Man with the Twisted Hip, theSpace @ Surgeons Hall, 5:05pm, 4-26 August, not 6, 13

At the Pleasance Nuclear Bunker audiences of humans, androids and pigs sit and watch as swarms of nanobots rise from the stage and, like tiny snowflakes made of science and falling upwards, take on the shape of Michael McIntyre. ‘Man drawer’ gets nothing – there have not been drawers since the 2040s. Someone throws a burrito at McIntyre but it passes straight through the hologram, through an open window and hits Arthur Smith in the face.

Pierre Novellie Pierre Novellie, Pleasance Courtyard, 9:45pm, 2-27 August

Since climate change flooded Earth, Scotland’s higher ground has been transformed into an isolated series of islands and peninsulas. The collapse of society as we know it has simplified tastes: the entire festival is a violent, lewd display of gladiatorial combat, sexual prowess and, of course, improv. Most standup comedians are forbidden as their nostalgic observations bring back painful memories of The Time Before the Flood. However, some filthy peasants maintain the traditions: observing, riffing and heckling in secret.

festmag.co.uk

At Mother India, the tapas-style menu means that the breadth and variety of your dinner is limited only by your ability to share with friends. And they’re your friends, so if you ‘accidentally’ elbow them out of the way for the prawns they’ll understand.


Summerhall

Summerhall 1 Summerhall @summerhallery

With a venue the size of a former veterinary school, it takes a lot to fill it. Thankfully Summerhall has the right idea, packing the place with lots of little goings-on. In addition to a vast Fringe programme of theatre, comedy and live music, there are exhibition spaces, two cafes, an onsite micro-brewery AND gin distillery, and they even have room for the Fest offices. Hiya!

Fringe 2087

Tessa Coates

Primates, Pleasance Courtyard, 3:30pm, 2-26 August

A young dance troupe win rave reviews for their performance of Y?, a contemporary physical piece that attempts to explore the world before the overthrow of all government and the creation of the utopia we know and love today. The piece attempts to explain such archaic concepts as 'war', 'borders' and 'ham', and looks at The Dark Past before we understood the answer to everything was excessively funding the arts.

98

Ting Thai Caravan

Vittoria

8 Teviot Pl

113 Brunswick St, 19 George IV Bridge @VittoriaEd

Totally affordable, incredibly tasty and more than a little exciting, Ting Thai Caravan is in many ways the perfect lunch spot. Get down early for a seat at the canteen-style benches, and pore over a Thai menu with more variety and quality than you can shake a chopstick at. Oh, and it’s right across the road from Bristo Square.

Vittoria is a genuine institution. The seating areas outside feels a bit optimistic, but punters on Leith Walk and George IV Bridge won’t let that stop them. Great Italian food, decent prices and waiters who can liven up even the most stilted of evenings make this the place to take friends who “won’t eat anything too weird”.

Wee Red Bar 74 Lauriston Pl

Traverse

Traverse 10 Cambridge St @TraverseTheatre

Widely considered to be the top theatre in the UK for new writing, ‘The Trav’ is the place to go for exciting new productions by the country’s best theatrical talent. That applies equally in August. Just as importantly, it’s got a cafe and bar downstairs with absolutely no phone signal, but plenty of delicious light bites and meals. One dish comes with 'banana ketchup'.

Under the Stairs 3A Merchant St @UTSedinburgh

Hidden away in the heart of town, Under the Stairs is exactly that – a comfy little bar/cafe tucked under the stairs on Merchant Street. With wooden floors, exposed brickwork, ever-changing exhibitions and mix-matched comfy armchairs and sofas, it manages to exude both shabby hipster chic and homely cosiness all at once.

The Wee Red Bar may be located on Edinburgh College of Art territory, but this isn’t your average student disco. A near-constant stream of grassroots gigs take up the evenings, and the wide range of club nights keep things interesting until the early hours.

Whistlebinkies 4-6 South Bridge

If you like some music with your drinks then this is a good choice. There’s always something going on, be it a punk covers band or some old Scottish folkies wailing with acoustic guitars. As a bonus Whistlebinkies is open until 3am, so if you don’t want to head home but don’t fancy the clubs you know where to go.

Wildmanwood 27-29 Marshall St @wildmanwoodpiz

The latest venture from the crew behind Ting Thai Caravan, this brand-new spot serves up delicious Neapolitan-style pizza topped with a host of enterprising and authentic ingredients. Strike while you can, before the queue stretches around the block.


FRINGE2017 COMEDY | THEATRE | CABARET | MUSIC | SPOKEN WORD | KIDS SHOWS

THE STAND COMEDY CLUB

2nd AUGUST - 28th AUGUST

TICKETS ON SALE NOW

PHILL JUPITUS TONY LAW MARK WATSON BARRY CRIMMINS STEPHEN K AMOS ALUN COCHRANE JO CAULFIELD SIMON MUNNERY PAUL SINHA ROBIN INCE ANDY ZALTZMAN FRED MACAULAY MICHELLE MCMANUS FERN BRADY ANDREW DOYLE SEYMOUR MACE IAIN CONNELL GAVIN WEBSTER KEITH FARNAN CARL HUTCHINSON SUSIE MCCABE JOHN ROBERTSON VLADIMIR MCTAVISH

MICHAEL LEGGE NICK REVELL JOHN PENDAL TOPICAL STORM NEIL HILBORN FUNNY FOR A GRRRL MITCH BENN VIV GROSKOP POLITICAL ANIMAL BRUCE FUMMEY STAND LATE CLUB BEST OF IRISH COMEDY BEST OF SCOTTISH COMEDY CAROL ANN DUFFY & JOHN SAMPSON LIZ LOCHHEAD & STEVE KETTLEY PIFF THE MAGIC DRAGON LIMMY RICHARD HERRING’S FRINGE PODCAST JOE LYCETT FIVE THIRTY CABARET MAKING A MURDERER

NARCOS THE BUGLE LIVE PODCAST THE CAUSE OF THUNDER DAVID HAYMAN STIMELA 'THE GUMBOOT' CHRISTINE BOVILL SAGE FRANCIS & B DOLAN IN CONVERSATION WITH… CABARET OF DANGEROUS IDEAS AFRICA ENTSHA THE ELEPHANT, YOUR MAJESTY! MACBETH: FRINGE CANTONESE OPERA CABARET OF DANGEROUS IDEAS BY CANDLELIGHT OUT OF THE BAD PLACES SEX OFFENCE HELL TO PLAY BLURRED JUSTICE DICKLESS

AND MANY MORE . . .

Tickets: 0131 558 9005 | www.thestand.co.uk | www.outstandingtickets.com

Fest Preview 2017  

Edinburgh Festival Preview Issue