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54 George Street | 0844 693 3008 |

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Fringe Box Office The only box office selling every ticket on the Fringe. sVisit 24 hours a day sPhone 0131 226 0000 sVisit The Fringe Box Office at 180 High Street s N f 2012, visit The Fringe Glasgow Box Office, situated in ScotRail’s Queen Street Station (main concourse, underneath the departure boards) Open from 27 July, 08:00–20:00 daily

Ticket Collections

Pick up your Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society tickets from one of our four locations: The Fringe Box Office 180 High Street 09:00–21:00 daily throughout August and all times when the Box Office is open The University of Edinburgh Visitor Centre 2 Charles Street 09:00–17:30 (Monday to Saturday) throughout July and daily 09:30–21:00 from 01–27 August (10:00 on Sundays) Virgin Money Half Price Hut Mound Precinct 08–27 August 10:00–21:00 daily

N f 2012, The Fringe Glasgow Box Office 27 July–27 August 08:00–20:00 daily.

Download the Fringe Mobile Apps Browse shows and buy tickets through the official Edinburgh Festival Fringe iPhone and Android Apps. These free apps offer you the most up-to-date and comprehensive show listings directly uploaded to your phone. Buy tickets through the apps and collect them from any of our four Ticket Collection points. 2 THE LIST | Edinburgh Festival Guide 2012 |

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Front Doppelgängers, dictators and a damn fine pie chart


News in Brief


Camille O’Sullivan

Carnivals, canals and a crazy mindreader How the Irish chanteuse is creating festival history

20 Dr Brown


Comedy’s silent hero waxes lyrical on his craft

ART 24 Susan Philipsz Turner Prize winner sounds off about Edinburgh

27 Picasso How the Spanish icon inspired the British

BOOKS 30 Danny Wallace Bringing Charlotte Street to Charlotte Square

33 Seamus Heaney What some fellow poets think of him

34 Nature writing Getting out and about with literature’s newest stars

FRINGE 42 Comedy Alan Davies, Billy the Mime, Suggs, Cariad Lloyd

69 Dance Discussing tactics with Seoul’s Hi-Kick crew

75 Kids Horrible Histories creator tells it straight

78 Music Are some tortured souls destined for The 27 Club?

82 Theatre A pair of Davids and The Two Worlds of Charlie F

INTERNATIONAL 98 NVA How to look amazing on Arthur’s Seat

104 Sophie Bevan Singing sensation keeps it in the family

106 Ballet Preljocaj Laurent Garnier mixes it up for the apocalypse

JAZZ 110 Cécile McLorin Salvant Miami vocalist pays homage to Duke Ellington

POLITICS 114 Satire Can you be too mean to a politician?



TATTOO 118 The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo Win tickets for the Edinburgh Castle extravaganza

CITY GUIDE 123 Area Guide 126 Getting Around 128 Attractions

Published in July 2012 by The List Ltd Head Office: 14 High Street Edinburgh EH1 1TE Tel: 0131 550 3050 Fax: 0131 557 8500,

©2012 The List Ltd. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior permission in writing of The List Ltd. ISSN: 1744-3903

Extensive efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy of the information in this publication; however the publishers cannot accept responsibility for any errors it may contain.

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Printed by Acorn Web Offset Ltd, W. Yorkshire Maps ©2012 The List Ltd.

128 Eating 152 Drinking 153 Shopping 156 Clubbing 157 LGBT

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EDINBURGH ART FESTIVAL 2 Aug–2 Sep Telephone booking: Please call individual venues. Many events are free but ticketed

EDINBURGH INTERNATIONAL AL BOOK FESTIVAL 11–27 Aug Telephone booking: 0845 373 5888 In person: The Hub, Castlehill, and the box office in Charlotte Square Gardens

EDINBURGH FESTIVAL FRINGE 3–27 Aug Telephone booking: 0131 226 0000 In person: Fringe Box Office, 180 High Street

EDINBURGH INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL 9 Aug–2 Sep Telephone booking: 0131 473 2000 In person: The Hub, Castlehill

WELCOME TO THE FESTIVAL In this year of Olympic endeavour, it would take a gargantuan effort to see even a sliver of the thousands of events and performances at this year’s Edinburgh Festival. It can feel like a daunting prospect when confronted by a swathe of programmes, flyers, brochures and posters telling you about the diverse attractions across the city. Luckily, we’re on hand to steer you through the maze, thanks to this Edinburgh Festival Guide, our four magazines in August and a website ( featuring all the best news, reviews and interviews. If there wasn’t a magazine like The List to cover all that festival action, someone somewhere would just have to invent it. But with 25 years’ experience in covering the biggest arts extravaganza in the world, you really shouldn’t need to look any further. Within these pages, we bring you interviews with Turner Prize victor Susan Philipsz, bestselling author Danny Wallace, controversial silent comedian Billy the Mime, Horrible Histories creator Terry Deary, award-winning jazz vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant, techno legend Laurent Garnier and Norm from Cheers. Our writers have trotted the globe from a Glasgow hotel to Paris woodland, and from a theatre in Seoul to TV studios in London uncovering the best festival stories. We’ve got every possible area covered whether it’s political satire, Korean dance or nature writing, while we explore the best way to go birdspotting in Princes Street Gardens or zipping around Arthur’s Seat in a lightsuit. More than a month of magic and mayhem awaits, so get your tickets (and umbrellas) at the ready for the biggest show on Earth.


EDINBURGH JAZZ & BLUES FESTIVAL 20–29 Jul Telephone booking: 0131 473 2000 In person: The Hub, Castlehill

CONTRIBUTORS Festival Guide Editor Brian Donaldson City Guide Editor Anna Millar Editorial Assistants Niki Boyle, Melissa Steel, Andrew Latimer, Sophie Stephenson Words Kelly Apter, Niki Boyle, Brian Donaldson, Laura Ennor, Miles Fielder, Mark Fisher, Rodge Glass, Julian Hall, Kirstin Innes, Malcolm Jack, Doug Johnstone, Craig McLean, Carol Main, Lauren Mayberry, Nicola Meighan, Kate Molleson, Camilla Pia, David Pollock, Allan Radcliffe, Jay Richardson, Murray Robertson,

Charlotte Runcie, Claire Sawers, Kirstyn Smith, Yasmin Sulaiman PRODUCTION Design & Art Direction Lucy Munro

DIGITAL Andy Carmichael, Bruce Combe, Iain McCusker, Brendan Miles, Andy Bowles, Hamish Brown, Freya Cowan

Production Manager Simon Armin Subeditor Rhona Taylor ADVERTISING & SPONSORSHIP Juliet Tweedie, Jude Moir, Nicky Carter, Debbie Thomson, Chris Knox, Sheri Friers

THE LIST Publisher Robin Hodge Digital Director Simon Dessain Accounts Georgette Renwick

FESTIVAL OF POLITICS 17 & 18, 24 & 25 Aug Telephone booking: 0131 348 5405 In person: Scottish Parliament, Holyrood Road

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



KRISTINE LEVINE Oregon’s newest cult comedy figure may have Doug Stanhope to thank for pushing her forward but Levine’s success is all down to a very personal vision. See page 46. Assembly Rooms, 2–26 Aug.





Those halcyon days of Spitting Image and Yes Minister are not the last word in satire as the likes of Armando Iannucci have proved. Let’s have a heated debate. See page 114. Scottish Parliament, 18 Aug.

If you’ve seen the film, you’ll be well aware of the stomach-churning goings-on in this stage show. With Norm from Cheers, no less. See page 86. Assembly George Square, 1–27 Aug.


THÉÂTRE DU SOLEIL Ariane Mnouchkine once more produces some stark drama with this acclaimed and deeply committed theatre troupe. See page 102. Royal Highland Centre, 23–28 Aug.



CAMILLE O’SULLIVAN The dark angel makes festival history by being the first headline act to perform Fringe and International shows in the same year. See page 16. Assembly Rooms, 4–7 Aug; Lyceum Theatre, 22–26 Aug; The Hub, 25 Aug.


MARK THOMAS Everyone’s favourite political comedian gets personal with Bravo Figaro!, a show about putting on an opera for his dying dad. See page 48. Traverse, 3–26 Aug.



DR BROWN The clown prince is hot off the plane from an award-winning Melbourne run and hellbent on challenging both adults and kids alike in his pair of largely silent shows. See page 20. Underbelly & Assembly George Square, 2–26 Aug.

THE ROYAL EDINBURGH MILITARY TATTOO A spectacular staple of the August calendar, this year’s Tattoo celebrates the Diamond Jubilee and Creative Scotland. See page 118. Edinburgh Castle, 3–25 Aug.

BALLET PRELJOCAJ The French talents of choreographer Angelin Preljocaj and techno hero Laurent Garnier combine for a dance feast. See page 106. Edinburgh Playhouse, 17–22 Aug.

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Of the three Fringe shows marking the notorious band of early rock‘n’pop deaths (Cobain, Winehouse, Joplin and co), Forever 27’s musical stramash looks especially intriguing. See page 78. Assembly George Square, 2–27 Aug.





Bevan sings with her sis at some of her gigs, featuring tunes by Bach, Handel and Purcell. See page 104. Canongate Kirk, 8 & 9 Aug; Usher Hall, 13, 27 Aug.

Dave Gorman’s former partner in non-fiction japery gets all serious with his debut novel about chance. See page 30. Charlotte Square Gardens, 18 Aug.


ALAN DAVIES Back at the Fringe after too long away, the Jonathan Creek actor trawls some dark territory for his new show. See page 42. EICC, 9–14 Aug.


SUSAN PHILIPSZ The Turner Prize winner tackles the iconic One O’Clock Gun for a sound art explosion across the city. See page 24. Various venues, 2 Aug–2 Sep.





Angus Farquhar’s arts crew leads a team of runners across an Edinburgh landmark in an exciting fiesta of light and colour. See page 98. Arthur’s Seat, 9 Aug–1 Sep.

Can a show merge football, dance, acrobatics and martial arts successfully? They can when it’s from South Korea, a country obsessed with all four. See page 69. Assembly Hall, 2–26 Aug.




HORRIBLE HISTORIES You’ll have read the books and seen the TV show, so now experience it up on stage. See page 75. Pleasance Courtyard, 3–26 Aug.




BILLY THE MIME If you thought The Boy with Tape on His Face was the radical side of mime, you’d best catch the profane silence of this US satirist. See page 51. The Caves, 2–23 Aug.

The two Davids, Greig and Harrower, team up for a double bill curiously linked by nuclear politics and sharp comedy. See page 82. Traverse, 5–26 Aug.

The award-winning jazz singer gets intimate with both her audience and the work of Duke Ellington. See page 110. Salon Elegance, 26 Jul; Festival Theatre, 28 Jul. | Edinburgh Festival Guide 2012 | THE LIST 7

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10th–23rd August 2012 (not 14 or 21) 8.20pm (50mins) Tickets: £9/£7 (conc) Box OfÛce: Fringe OfÛce 0131 226 0000 Online booking:

Hora Batsheva Dance Company Choreographer Ohad Naharin Science fiction, martial arts and classical music collide in dance that’s out of this world Thursday 30 August – Saturday 1 September 7.30pm

‘highly intelligent, superbly articulate dancers’ Los Angeles Times

Charity No SC004694. Photo: Gadi Dagon

‘superb’ The Daily Telegraph on Batsheva Dance Company, Festival 2008

Tickets from £10 0131 473 2000

8 THE LIST | Edinburgh Festival Guide 2012 |

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SAY WHAT? We had a trawl through the archives to see what some festival types have had to say about the whole Edinburgh vibe down the years. Here’s a sample . . .


‘Liz Lochhead and I were having a very loud conversation about contraception in an Edinburgh restaurant and the table next to us stopped eating to listen. They seemed so interested that I asked them to join in.’



‘Once you say the place is “cultured”, the last thing you will find is culture. What you will find is hype and the make-do-andmend version of culture.’ RICHARD DEMARCO, 1994

‘The fact remains that it’s the most important festival of its kind in the world, artistically unchallenged in its representation of the vast spectrum of the performing arts. Also, no one calls me a poof.’



Fact actually. Every single one of these snippets about Edinburgh is completely 100% true ■ In 1728, a fishwife named Maggie Dickson was hanged in the Grassmarket only to rise from her coffin. Because she had already technically been pronounced dead, she could not be hanged again.

■ Edinburgh has a tenitem questionnaire for the Postnatal Depression Scale. Not one to let its west coast friends get the upper hand, this was most likely developed as a riposte to the Glasgow Coma Scale.

■ The iconic ‘you’ll have had your tea?’ originated in 1729 with a nobleman, Mackintosh of Borlum, who complained about excessive tea-slurping. When visiting, he lied he’d already had his tea so he could get a beer instead.

■ Edinburgh has the most listed buildings in the UK, was the first city in the whole wide world to have its own fire brigade (the year was 1824) and Teviot Row is the world’s oldest purpose-built student union.

■ The National Monument on Calton Hill, modelled on the Parthenon in Athens, was built as a memorial to those who died in the Napoleonic Wars. Construction closed in 1829 after the city ran out of money.

■ Edinburgh hosted the world’s first international rugby match. A crowd of 4000 gathered to watch Scotland demolish England on 27 March 1871 by a grand total of two tries and one goal to England’s single try.

■ When Charles Dickens misread the inscription on an Edinburgh tombstone in 1869, the character of Scrooge was born. In the twilight he read the surname of Ebenezer Lennox Scroggie Mealman as ‘Meanman’.

■ Encyclopaedia Britannica (the world’s oldest surviving encyclopaedia) was first published in Edinburgh, circa 1768-1771. The first editor was a twentysomething scholar called William Smellie.

‘Having a play on at the festival is a bit like being on Family Fortunes. For every sharp, bright, intelligent contestant who’s making a genius stab at winning double money, there’s five idiot uncles who are “taking part” and consequently make the entire family look like twonks.’ DOUGLAS MAXWELL, 2001

‘The Fringe at its best is like a person pole-vaulting for the first time.’ DAVID CROWE, 2003

‘I remember drunkenly trying to impress a doorman at a comedy club in Los Angeles of the prestige of winning the Perrier. For some reason, it didn’t really register with him.’ TOMMY TIERNAN, 2011


Wonder what some folks did before they hit the big time in their chosen artistic field? Can you match up these activities to an individual from each main festival strand? All of them have done one of these activities. Some One off th them did th three. There are literally no prizes for guessing, just head to Index page 160 for the answers. did ttwo. O














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ADOLF AND ME Standing on stage with a mic telling jokes in front of stony-faced no-laughers might not be the toughest gig on the Fringe. Two actors tell us how they tackle playing an awful tyrant



The first thing I need to do is clear myy head of amy. I am using him the depth of Hitler’s infamy. tinct purpose and I and his image for a distinct ons for playing him. must focus on my reasons cality right so that I have to get the physicality ossible; he cannot he seems as real as possible; nsional devil of myth. merely be the two-dimensional icient charm to have He has to also have sufficient persuaded a nation to follow him. I have to convince the audience that I believe tter how evil it what I am saying no matter ying the part might be. Even after playing for 12 years, I still studyy footage of e gestures his speeches to copy the and stance. And it still takes me nge I feel by surprise at the change ume, wig in myself once the costume, and moustache are on.

I’ve been subjected j to years of exposure to Hitler, via books, news broadcasts and school history lessons. All this seeped into my subconscious so as I began to write my show, the great dictator seemed to burst forth wi with surprising ease, fully formed, man and m monster combined. The mental, spiritual and emotional preparation was comple complete in the written text. The actual act of performing for 80 minutes re requires a good degree of physica physical and vocal preparation beforehand beforehand, so you feel on top of things. This T is a quiet period of concentratio concentration for an hour or so, but never thinkin thinking, ‘oh my goodness, what an awfull awfully wicked man I’m about to portray.’ Tha That just takes care of itself.

Adolf, Assembly Rooms, George Street, 0844 693 3008, 13 & 14 Aug, 2.30pm, 4.50pm, £12 (£10); Hitler Alone, Inlingua Edinburgh, Shandwick Place, 0131 220 5119, 9–23 Aug, 9.30pm, £14 (£8).

OTHER FESTIVALS Across the city and out to sea, there’s a whole bunch of other events going on ED EDINBURGH MELA T This year’s cross-cultural festival welcomes back a vibrant mix of international dance, music and fashion with a kids programme fu full of workshops and games. The opening extravaganza features pyrotechnics from Walk the Plank and the story of Rama and Sita by Edinburgh’s Dance Ihayami. Leith Links, 31 Aug–2 Sep, 0131 661 7100, E EDINBURGH FOODIES FESTIVAL The food and drink festival pops up again, bringing some professional TV chefs to cook up a choice of culinary treats. Masterclasses let you indulge in some tasting and sampling as well as providing the chance for you to try your hand. Inverleith Park, 10–12 Aug, 0844 995 1111, FRINGE BY THE SEA F Escape the Fringe masses and enjoy the tranquillity of North Berwick, where musical artists on the roster this year include Ka Kate Rusby, Sharon Shannon, The Manfreds and Emily Smith. Various venues, 6–12 Aug, 07510 695 996, F FESTIVAL OF SPIRITUALITY AND PEACE Performances and discussions on issues ranging from politics to the environment. The aim here is to engage in diverse cultural workshops and activities through world music and visual arts. Various venues, 3–27 Aug, 0131 229 7565,

CAMILLE CLAUDEL & ROBERT SMITH We pay tribute to The Cure man for remaining loyal to his look. Shame his timeless fashion is always going to make him a doppelganger for legendary Parisian sculptors.

LORETTA MAINE & TIM MINCHIN Have the tortured songsmith and piano-stomping guru ever been seen in the same room? No. Actually, have either of them been seen in the same room as Robert Smith . . . ?

CHILLY GONZALES & WILL SELF Here are two dudes who might actually bump into each other this August. Let’s start a campaign now for Chilly ‘n’ Willy to jam under the Book Festival’s Unbound banner.

CALDER QUARTET & RESERVOIR DOGS The Calders don’t appear as scary as Tarantino’s crew but would you risk getting stuck in the middle? Imagine how long it would take to remove an ear with a rusty cello.

IT’S A BLOODY PIE CHART! As the Edinburgh International Book Festival flings its doors open to a host of authors who deal in the macabre side of fiction, we wonder which nation is best represented in the Charlotte Square Gardens crime-writing stakes. Looks like no one can touch the host country with a blood-soaked bargepole











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1AUSTRALIA 1TRINIDAD | Edinburgh Festival Guide 2012 | THE LIST 10

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COMEDY STORE MANAGEMENT in association with 4DVD proudly present








15-26 AUG Except 20 + 21 Aug

FULL NATIONAL TOUR: | Edinburgh Festival Guide 2012 | THE LIST 11

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NIGHTS AT THE PROMS The entire top floor of the Underbelly (Cowgate arm) will be devoted to London’s site-specific cabaret company, Boom Boom Club. This ‘promenade performance space’ will be the perfect spot to enter a debauched, dangerous and eccentric world of after-hours revelry.


CANAL ROUTE Dip in for some watery goings-on at the Art Festival as Tania Kovats invites you on a canal boat trip on 3 August. The vessel sets sail from behind Cargo on Fountainbridge at 9am, making the return voyage from Jupiter Artland at 3pm. Call 01506 889 900 for details.

The Pleasance Theatre Trust give us a comedy relay on a narrow boat as a crew of stand-ups embark on a journey from London with Edinburgh as the barge’s final destination. Impromptu gigs will be performed along the way with Janey Godley, Reg D Hunter and Jenny Eclair (pictured) among those getting on board.




Is it possible to predict the medals tally of select countries at the London Olympics? Mind-reader Doug Segal certainly thinks so with his prophecies under lock and key at the Gilded Balloon before being unveiled after the closing ceremony. Red faces or hot flushes are guaranteed on the 12th.

The Adam Mickiewicz Institute is helping Polish culture make a mark across the festival as part of the Cultural Olympiad. Among those appearing are the Marcin Wasilewski Trio (Jazz Festival), Robert Kusmirowksi (Art Festival), 2008: Macbeth (International Festival) and Aleksandra Borys (Fringe Dance, pictured).

Last year, the Fringe programme welcomed a whole new category for Cabaret. For 2012, Spoken Word gets its own slot across four busy pages. Among those acts breaking out of their ill-fitting comedy or theatre categorisations are Luke Wright (pictured), Liz Lochhead, Mark Grist and Superbard.

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Akseli Gallen-Kallela Lake Keitele 1905 Lahti Art Museum, Viipuri Foundation National Galleries of Scotland is a charity registered in Scotland (No.SC003728) | Edinburgh Festival Guide 2012 | THE LIST 13

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TURING SHOW This year’s Turing Festival has an element of mystery to it with some exciting names being kept under wraps. But we can tell you that this celebration of digital culture runs from 23–25 August and features events on future medicine, hackathons and Higgs Boson. See for your chance to win tickets to the festival.

CRY FREEDOM LINES JUDGED The fifth Edwin Morgan Poetry Competition prize will be awarded during the Book Festival. Those who entered could create their poems in English or Scots but they had to be 60 lines or less. The entrants need to impress journalist and poet Gillian K Ferguson, and Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, Don Paterson (pictured).

Given the disquiet at some prices on the Fringe, free entertainment is on the increase once again. Among those hot names doing it for nowt are Phil Kay, Kunt and the Gang (pictured), and the filth-tinged storytelling show, Shaggers. Our favourite innovation is that Cowgate venue The Three Sisters has been renamed, you guessed it, The Free Sisters.

RAISING HOPES Featuring a collection of inspirational quotes from famous Scots (Alan Cumming, Lorraine Kelly, Ian Rankin for three) and members of the public about their dreams for a future Scotland, the Hopes of a Nation book project comes to Charlotte Square Gardens. Young people have a chance to get involved by putting their thoughts onto the Wall of Hope in the RBS Children’s Bookshop.

FRENCH EVOLUTION Spreading a little Gallic charm on the Fringe is the city’s Institut Français with a full programme of kids shows, cabaret, musicals, theatre and dance. Among their highlights are an interactive play about the Elephant Man, a puppet show called Lapin Wants Ice-Cream and Rock, a musical about 1970s New York.

JAZZ UP On the afternoon of 22 July, the centre of the capital will be awash with colour and sound for the official opening to the Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival. Among those entertaining the crowds will be French funksters Jazz Combo Box (pictured), New Orleans’ brass band The Stooges, and Liverpool’s reggae-samba drumming group Batala.

REID ALL ABOUT IT Britain’s Got Talent 2011 semi-finalist Edward Reid makes his Fringe debut at the Assembly’s Salon Elegance venue. The Coatbridge drama teacher wowed McIntyre, Holden and The Hoff with his idiosyncratic medley of nursery rhymes. Living the Dream One Song at a Time will head out on a Scottish tour post-August.

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Modern One Belford Road, Edinburgh £10 / £7

Supported by Dunard Fund

Exhibition organised by

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Pablo Picasso, Nude Woman in a Red Armchair, 1932, Tate collection © Succession Picasso/DACS, London 2012. Photo © Tate London 2012 National Galleries of Scotland is a charity registered in Scotland (SCOO3728)

Cat woma

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Camille O’Sullivan is the tireless workhorse and sultry glamourpuss who has Edinburgh in the palm of her hand. Kelly Apter meets the woman who is breaking new ground at this year’s festival

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esus, look at the state of me!’ Camille O’Sullivan is peering over the shoulder of a fan who has just snapped her with their iPhone. ‘Sometimes I look like that,’ she reminds them, and herself, gesturing towards the wall, where a glamorous Camille clad in emerald green strapless dress and full make-up peers down. By rights, the Irish chanteuse should look a state. Since stepping off the Queen’s Hall stage in Edinburgh an hour ago – having completed a performance the following day’s press will call ‘sensational’ and award five stars to – she hasn’t stopped. Autographs, photographs, kisses and hugs are all forthcoming, as she works her way down the long, snaking queue of devotees. Coming from the mouth of a politician, the ‘thank you so much’ with which she replies to each gushing compliment would sound disingenuous. But nothing at the Camille O’Sullivan


post-show meet-and-greet feels remotely fake. Rushing around in her stocking feet, she treats each fan like they were the first. Waiting patiently to interview her, I’m given a drink, a biscuit and eventually Camille’s own chair (along with a dozen or more ‘thank you for waiting’s) as she fusses over me like a young Mrs Doyle. It’s a comparison that begins and ends with kindness and a broad Irish brogue, however, because despite her earlier proclamations, Camille O’Sullivan looks wonderful. Yes, the eye make-up is slightly smudged, the hair strewn and the heels off. But whether she’s just walked on stage freshly coiffured, or bustling about signing CDs and hugging the likes of Tom Farmer and Ian Rankin (both of whom hang around in the bar to meet her) Camille – for we must surely call this captivating creature by her first name – exudes sexuality. | Edinburgh Festival Guide 2012 | THE LIST 17

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FEATURES CAMILLE O’SULLIVAN It’s not the cleavage, the tight dresses, the shapely legs or any of the other on-stage paraphernalia that sets her out as such (maybe others would disagree). It’s the unabashed confidence, the ability to be whoever she wants to be, the capacity to metaphorically pull us to her breast with the slow songs, and set the room on fire with the up-tempo numbers. But who is she, which one of the characters we meet on stage is the real Camille O’Sullivan? Is it the poised performer who opened the show dressed as Little Red Riding Hood for Arcade Fire’s ‘Wake Up’? Could it be the emotionally charged singer who left the room breathless after Nick Cave’s ‘The Ship Song’? Or the wild woman who sat on Tom Farmer’s lap during Kirsty MacColl’s ‘In These Shoes’? Now that I’m finally sitting backstage with her, maybe I’ll find out. Having been warned that Camille can ‘talk for Ireland’, it transpires her tongue has been loosened yet further by the red wine she glugged from the bottle onstage, and sipped delicately from within a glass during the stop-and-chat. ‘Sorry to rattle on,’ she apologises at regular intervals. to our conversation, it becomes clear that Camille A few minutes into le we met onstage – and all of them. ‘Some is none of the people of my best friendss came to the last big show I did,’ she aid to me afterwards, “you know Cam, recalls, ‘and they said bout playing characters, but really it’s you always talk about t’s you; it’s just you multiplied”. I’m you, we all know it’s g, more vulnerable in another, or darker in one song, just more full-on, but they’re all me. In my real life I’m slightly shyer,, and I’m slightly embarrassed hen I go on stage. But all those about what I do when omething about me, and it’s up characters reveal something to the audience to go, “is that her?” Or, “is that song her?”’ The current tour will travel across the UK, then stralia before heading back to move on to Australia Edinburgh for the Fringe. It’s a powerful mix of owdy rock numbers, sexuallyemotive ballads, rowdy ngs and bizarre animal masks charged cabaret songs articular, there’s lots of the and noises. In particular, infamous Camille ‘miaow’, which goes back and forth between her and the audience, like ve-in. a kind of feline love-in. ow older, the more ‘The more I grow I’m showing the madder side of me. I used to think youu have to be more age, which is how sophisticated on stage, I like to start a show. But as the ke to unravel. And show goes on, I like ppin’ clue where I don’t have a flippin’ the animals or the jumping around on stage comes from. That’s tric side.’ probably the eccentric erformance at Since her first performance nge in 2004 the Edinburgh Fringe sque circus as part of burlesque ue, Camille ensemble La Clique, rcely loyal has built up a fiercely following. Each year they return, hoping to find her rock but wearing a new frock ongs. As singing the same songs. an artist, however, Camille orward, has to move forward, and striking a balance ourites between old favourites and new ground isn’t easy. ‘It’s terrifying,’ she says, ‘because you know people love what you did before, but the Fringe is the one place you have to push ove yourself and prove hing you can do something ays different. You always

feel like falling back on the old reliables, and yet if I do them, people will say you’re just traipsing out the same thing. So we’ve kept songs like “Port of Amsterdam” and “The Ship Song”, that are loved by the audience, and then added lots of unknown ones.’ That ‘unknown’ quantity will be there in spades with Camille’s other Edinburgh project this August. A far cry from her usual stage shows, she’ll be making her International Festival debut with The Rape of Lucrece, an adaptation of Shakespeare’s tragic poem set to music and song by Camille and right-hand man, Feargal Murray. As far as anyone is aware, it’s the first time an artist has performed as a headline act in both the International and Fringe festivals in the same year. But it almost didn’t happen. ‘The International Festival doesn’t usually allow you to do the Fringe,’ says Camille, ‘so we had a bit of a standoff. Not in a bad way, they were very kind to me, but I said I really want to do my dates at the Fringe. I have a very emotional relationship with Edinburgh, and it means a lot to me. So they said you can do four, which is a bit of a nightmare because I’d have done 20 feckin’ nights given the chance, I’m a workhorse. But they said ffour, so that’s what’s happening.’ She may end up being glad those ‘20 feckin’ nights’ weren’t available to her, because The Rape of Lucrece is th stage alone (save no small nut to crack. Commanding the 4 minutes, Camille for Murray’s piano) for an hour and 40 poe has to take on all three of the poem’s characters: the narrator, Tarquin (the rapist) and Lucrece herself, a woman who finds living with the memory of rape so unbearable she takes her own life life. Talentspotted by the Royal Sha Shakespeare Company at the 2008 Fringe, Camille and Murray have spent the past few years tran transforming the poem so into a play with music and songs. ‘I love theatre that looks at the darker side and asks the bigger questions about why people d do things; this poem ‘I is all about that,’ she says. ‘I’ve had to put down an show why Tarquin my own views as a woman, and Shak does what he does. Shakespeare’s words are bee amazing to get so incredible, and it’s been wor by singing them.’ close to those words Earlier in the night, while informing the audience of her th upcoming theatrical adventure, wa Camille warned them, ‘don’t come to the International an miaow’. Is that Festival and a genuine concern? ‘I know they’re going go to do it,’ she clea says, clearly resigned to the p fact. ‘I prepared myself for po that possibility when we perform performed it at the Swan Theatre in Stratfordupon-A upon-Avon, and it didn’t happen But I know that happen. Ed in Edinburgh, it feckin’ will.’


Cam Camille O’Sullivan: Cha Changeling, Asse Assembly Rooms, Geo George Street, 0844 693 3008, 4–7 Aug, 10.2 10.25pm, £16; The Rap Rape of Lucrece, Roy Royal Lyceum The Theatre, Grindlay Str Street, 0131 473 20 2000, 22–26 Aug, 9p 9pm, £10–£30; Co Conversations, The Hu Hub, Castlehill, 01 0131 473 2000, 25 Au Aug, noon, £6 (£3).

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Burgers kin

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The silent comedy of Dr Brown is a bewitching and often controversial brew which is loved by kids and adults alike. Jay Richardson encounters a man who is no longer clowning around


ou have to let us see you post-coital,’ orders Dr Brown, gently but firmly. ‘When you’re lying there with your lover, dude, and you’re just staring into her eyes, because you just came, you know? You’ve given her everything. You’re not hiding anything, she sees you at your most beautiful, completely vulnerable, totally open. People will be generous towards you. You’ve taken a risk to let them see you in a very special, intimate moment. And they say, “thank you. That’s why I come to the theatre. To see humanity.”’ It’s easy enough to imagine conversations like this happen all the time in Soho. But it’s still startling to witness a man mime his conception of theatre quite so gynaecologically. And with so much emphasis on conception. Dr Brown is not a qualified medical professional. Increasingly, his shows are characterised by a refusal to talk. And he doesn’t like the term ‘alter ego’. But Brown is ‘the pure essence’ of Phil Burgers, maintains his collaborator, the Australian storyteller Stuart Bowden, as the three of us chat outside a London cafe. The hirsute American is a sexualised clown, or ‘bouffon’, who approaches the stage, and making love, with exactly the same playfulness, freedom and desire for others to get involved. ‘If the audience is laughing, why would I pull my hand away?’ Burgers implores. ‘Why don’t I put the finger in? They’re still laughing. Three fingers? A whole hand? Two fucking hands! My head? Why stop, why hold back? You need to cross the wrong line to know where the line is. You have to be sensitive, because every lover, every audience, is different. You start with a little bit of rubbing but eventually you learn how to get them to open up so you can stick your whole body inside. It’s subtle.’ And often, quite graphic. After four years of competing incomprehension and acclaim at the Fringe, like most highly-sexed Californians, Dr Brown has established a cult. He teaches clown workshops and has completed his Comedy Blaps, a series of short, online films for Channel 4 showcasing his origami skills, full-frontal nudity and ‘the same spirit of silliness and stupidity. But I play characters. And I talk.’ He’s returning to Edinburgh with Befrdfgth, which scooped the prestigious Barry Award at the Melbourne Comedy Festival, and the kids show Dr Brown Brown Brown Brown Brown and His Singing Tiger, which won Director’s Choice there, featuring accompaniment from Bowden as the ukulele-strumming feline. ‘Because what Phil does is so spontaneous, I have to be spontaneous too,’ explains Bowden, whose tiger costume was randomly gifted to him just before his first appearance. ‘Musically, that’s similar to jazz. That’s not my style though. I’m not some jazz cat.’ When Burgers realised he could perform an entire kids show without speaking, by incrementally increasing the stretches of silence, it was an epiphany that had more to do with embracing risk than perfectly-timed eyebrowraises. ‘When a comedian’s not saying anything, he’s saying more. You’re looking at his face, you’re reading into it and seeing all this shit happening. It’s fascinating. And then he opens his mouth and the fascination steals away a little bit. Because he’s hiding behind a word.’


The pair credit performing for kids with boosting their spontaneity and helping them ‘embrace our potential for failure’. Burgers launched his last kids show without any pre-existing material and Bowden only came on board belatedly. But they quickly improvised something entertaining and anticipate ‘totally messing about’ with their recent, award-winning effort. Equally, ‘I felt what I was doing in my adult shows was so stupid it was essentially a kids show anyway,’ Burgers suggests. ‘Even the content is similar, minus the sexual references and aggression. I’ve taken bits from my last two adult shows and bits I’ve done from comedy nights. With the adult show, there’s a bit of a cool game. You’re trying to win them over, but with kids, you’re trying to give it away.’ Burgers found that he needed to build a solid wall around himself on stage to protect himself from rowdier adult audiences. ‘It was much more, “I’m going to fuck you before you fuck me”. Kids play the same game but differently. You still have to be an authority figure. We learned that by repeatedly failing, having kids yelling, coming on stage. We learned to move quicker. Now I’m getting some kind of recognition, I don’t want to fight anymore; it drains my energy and soul. I just want to play, to feed off the spirit of their imagination and lose the cynicism that used to be in my shows.’ Brown’s clown doctrine has its origins in Burgers’ education at Ecole Philippe Gaulier in Paris, where Sacha Baron Cohen and Emma Thompson are alumni. Gaulier defines the ‘bouffon’ as an anti-clown, existing somewhere between grotesqueness and charm, though for his part, Burgers remembers his teacher ‘beating me up psychologically’ for 18 months. ‘He would say I’m nothing, I’m neither a clown nor a bouffon,’ he laughs. ‘Maybe if he saw me now he’d say something different.’ Preferring the gut, emotional laugh to the intellectual, Burgers writes nothing and develops each routine live, learning how far he can push audiences’ boundaries. He still suffers from performance anxiety – ‘scared shitless’ – but he knows that crowds appreciate the vulnerability and respond in kind, permitting him to take the most outrageous liberties with their personal space and erogenous propriety. He likens this to playing musical instruments, pings an imaginary umbilical cord between us and, at one point, begins commentating on my every expression and gesture, instigating a bizarre dialogue that’s nevertheless strangely compelling. ‘I want to break down barriers, and to play without pretension,’ he declares. ‘I’m not trying to find anything incredible. I just want to play like you used to play with your brother. Or your friends. Or your love.’


Dr Brown: Befrdfgth, Underbelly, Cowgate, 0844 545 8252, 4–26 Aug (not 13, 20), 9.05pm, £10.50–£11.50 (£9.50–£10.50). Previews 2 & 3 Aug, £6; Dr Brown Brown Brown Brown Brown and His Singing Tiger, Assembly George Square, 0131 623 3030, 4–26 Aug (not 13, 20), 12.45pm, £8 (£7). Previews 2 & 3 Aug, £6 (£4). | Edinburgh Festival Guide 2012 | THE LIST 21

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2 August – 2 September 2012 Scotland’s largest annual festival of visual art includes new public commissions by international and emerging artists, over 45 major exhibitions at leading galleries and free events every day. See our website for details or follow us @EdArtFest. 22 THE LIST | Edinburgh Festival Guide 2012 |

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LESLIE HUNTER: A LIFE IN COLOUR This major study of the Scottish Colourist’s output features over 70 important works throughout his career, with pieces created in venues from Fife to France. If the life and work of Hunter is your bag, then why not also drop in to The Scottish Colourists: Inspiration and Influence at the City Art Centre, which puts the Rothesay-born painter and his fellow SCs (Peploe, Fergusson and Cadell) into a wider context. ■ City Art Centre, Market Street, 0131 529 3993, 21 Jul–14 Oct, 10am–5pm (Mon–Sat), noon–5pm (Sun), £5 (£3.50).

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A SHOT IN THE DARK Susan Philipsz puts an Edinburgh institution under the microscope for a specially commissioned piece of sound art. David Pollock talks to the Turner Prize winner about senses, songs and Sirens

ot being a native of Edinburgh, it’s perhaps forgivable that Susan Philipsz knew nothing of the One O’Clock Gun. This capital tradition still terrifies visitors when it’s fired from the ramparts of Edinburgh Castle every day. When the Edinburgh Art Festival commissioned Philipsz to create a new work for this year’s event, however, the Glasgow-born winner of the 2010 Turner Prize found herself drawn to the phenomenon and engaged with its history and place in Edinburgh’s cultural landscape. ‘I discovered it when I walked up Calton Hill, because it has a really great view of the city,’ she says. ‘That was where I discovered Nelson’s Monument, which has a big ball that drops from the top every day. It was for the sailors in the Forth so they could set their chronometers, almost like a visual clock, but of course it didn’t work gun. when the weather was foggy. So that’s when they introduced the gun.’ he length of She speaks with fascination about the cable used to span the mile’s distance between the gun and Nelson’s Monument in order to synchronise both signals. Now, both actions continue for the sake of tradition only, but Timeline – Philipsz’ specially commissioned work for the festivall k – will seek to re-establish the link between both locations using a sonicc thread. Sitting on a sofa in the bar of el Glasgow’s upmarket Citizen M hotel in mid-May, she removes a bunch of ate papers from a plastic folder to illustrate ed her thinking on the project. ‘I considered em using sirens, and as I looked into them I discovered they were invented by led a guy from Edinburgh, a man called ion John Robison. But his original intention ents for them was as musical instruments that could be played underwater, as hem components of an organ. He called them res.’ sirens after the mythological creatures.’ h an A Siren was an alluring female with ilors irresistible song who would lure sailors ction and their ships to death and destruction upon rocky shores in Greek mythology. From the packet, Philipsz produces a photocopied classical landscape of Athens, which she actually misidentifies as Edinburgh but which could almost be a view of the far-off Castle in the distance from alongside Edinburgh’s Shame on Calton Hill. Her intention for the project includes eight sirens placed at points along a straight line between Nelson’s Monument and Edinburgh Castle. Locations include Calton Cemetery, the roof of the Waverley Gate building which houses Creative Scotland’s office, North and Waverley Bridges and the roof of the Scottish National Gallery. ‘I’ll be using my own voice, a female voice, as it was with the Sirens,’ says Philipsz. ‘Very short bursts of sound, like a . . . well, I haven’t actually worked it out yet. But short bursts of harmonious voice at one o’clock every day, projected towards the One O’Clock Gun, into the sound of it, almost as if they’re fighting against it. It’ll be a different experience depending on where you’re standing along this path.’



Philipsz studied at Duncan of Jordanstone in Dundee before moving to Belfast where she established Catalyst Arts and finally settled in Berlin 12 years ago. She says she’s thrilled at the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of Martin Creed and Richard Wright in creating a major new commission for the Edinburgh Art Festival. ‘There was no specific brief. They were quite open about what I was able to do. I could have set it in a gallery if I’d chosen to, but what I wanted to do first of all was just climb a hill and look around, because what interests me is architecture, history and acoustics. People respond to my work in different ways, and often that doesn’t even involve thinking. You hear it and become aware of the place you’re in, how the sound interacts with the space. There’s an element of surprise and a sense of self-awareness to the act of listening as well. ’ She tells of an exhibition of hers in Sweden’s Malm Konsthall where the artificial walls of Malmö a war warehouse-sized gallery space were stripped away and filled instead with her own voice, a simp simple construct she wasn’t sure people would buy into. Her Turner Prize-winning piece Low Lowlands had been staged in both a gallery sett setting and under the bridges of the River Cly before its Turner presentation, and Clyde who public iteration was enhanced for the whose list listener, she believes, by the intervention of car passing by on the roads, trains rumbling cars ov overhead and the rush of the nearby river. T such a major commission as Timeline That ha been given to an artist at the forefront of has so sound art is further evidence of the form’s gr growing acceptance within the mainstream c contemporary scene. ‘If you take away th visual aspect of a piece of art, what the y you’re left with is the context; it’s as if y your other senses are heightened. People often describe to me the exact moment of experiencing a work, discussing the weather, even: that there was a slight drizzle or the clouds had parted, that there was a sense of anticipation and then the sound came. I find that really actually almost to the point of laughing. What is interesting actually, it with the weather?’ When I spoke to Philipsz, she had just come from a meeting of the judging panel for the first Scottish Album of the Year Award. Does she relate what she does to the making of music? ‘When I sing, it’s a sculptural experience where I project the sound into a space and define its architecture. I’m interested in how music works too, emotionally and psychologically. Or even just the effect the human voice has on the brain.’ So was she ever in a band herself? ‘I was,’ she laughs. ‘This was pre-Art School, we played the Sub Club and Glasgow Green. I was the lead singer, we were called Peach County and we were influenced by things like The Byrds and Gram Parsons. It was fun, although I was very young.’ We can only imagine how much the bootlegs might go for now. Susan Philipsz: Timeline, various venues, 0131 226 6558, 2 Aug–2 Sep, free. | Edinburgh Festival Guide 2012 | THE LIST 25

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UNDER THE INFLUENCE Allan Radcliffe discusses a major new exhibition which explores the enduring legacy of Picasso and the British artists he inspired. But why did the UK take so long to get with Pablo’s programme? icasso is considered red the he 20th greatest artist of the century, his works not only passing the ‘tea towel test’ of rity but achieving mass popularity ons of also inspiring generations practitioners around the world. ng for The latest public outing cotland the artist’s work in Scotland fluence explores Picasso’s infl uence on painters and sculptorss who worked in the UK. While Picasso and Modern British Art has only one name bition in its title, the exhibition is actually something of a superstar group show. It takes hows seven British artists and shows erent them responding to different phases in the Spaniard’s work n 50 over a period of more than m to years, from early cubism nse David Hockney’s response in the 1960s and 70s. For the tish show’s run at the Scottish ern National Gallery of Modern tra Art, there will be an extra ert room of work by Robert ert Colquhoun and Robert sh MacBryde, two Scottish er artists who fell under ld Picasso’s spell after World War II. ‘It could havee been organised in ann encyclopaedic way,, o taking one or two works by everyone who borrowed from Picasso, but since so many British artists were influenced by him you could have ended up with an incomprehensible smorgasbord,’ says Patrick Elliott, senior curator at the gallery. ‘The approach i and d some structure. t t adopted here gives it a spine I suppose the mark of a great artist is that they can borrow and not copy, taking that borrowing in a different direction. Francis Bacon certainly did that and so did Henry Moore.’ An interesting insight offered up by the exhibition is that despite a long and prolific career stretching from his 1900 move to Paris to his death in 1973, it wasn’t until a celebrated exhibition at the Tate in 1960 (attracting half a million visitors), that Picasso’s work began to capture the popular




imagination here. So why was the British art fraternity so slow to cotton on? ‘British artists and collectors, aand the public in ggeneral, have been qquite traditional and co conservative,’ says E Elliott. ‘It’s partly to do with patronage and th the gallery structure. If nobody wants to bu buy or show or publish rad radically new art, it’s not going to be easy ma making your way. Som Someone like Henry Mo Moore is probably seen toda today as a bit avuncular, a bit old-fashioned, but in his time he was takin taking huge risks. Lots of Br British artists dabbled with modernist trends, but ffew of them really stuck at it. Today, the art w world is completely intern international, and everyo everyone wants a piece of the lat latest trend.’ As Elliott points out, for all the UK’s slowness to cat catch-on to Picasso, his ap appeal and influence is anyth anything but ephemeral. ‘We ha have seven of the best British artists here. In the exhibitio exhibition, they each try to stand up to a single, often brief pha phase in Picasso’s art, and they do it successfully. But Pica Picasso was at that level for more than 70 years, and he was also doing it in sculpture d printmaking, i t and which isn’t to the fore in this show. It’s like a boxing match, but here Picasso is going into the ring with a new, fresh opponent in every round. The best artists have peaks and troughs and many run out of steam. But Picasso was consistently on a peak.’ Picasso and Modern British Art, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Belford Road, 0131 624 6200, 4 Aug–4 Nov, 10am–6pm, £10 (£7). | Edinburgh Festival Guide 2012 | THE LIST 27

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OTHER HIGHLIGHTS CALLUM INNES: THE REGENT BRIDGE Completed in 1819, the Regent Bridge was constructed as a means to get into parts of the capital which previously were only navigable through precarious and narrow pathways. Edinburgh-based Innes takes a step away from his abstract canvases to give this dark tunnel a splash of colour in his debut exploration with light. Calton Road, 0131 226 6558, 2 Aug–2 Sep. CAROLEE SCHNEEMANN: REMAINS TO BE SEEN The Pennsylvanian performance artist was a vocal critic of what she perceived as the art world’s rank misogyny having entered that domain in the late 50s, and she’s continued to set cats among pigeons with her work on sexuality and gender. Almost literally here, as one series of photos has the artist ice skating naked with a cat in her arms. Summerhall, 0131 560 1590, 2 Aug–27 Sep, 11am–9pm.

CHEER UP! IT’S NOT THE END D OF THE WORLD . . . Predictions by the doomsday brigade have so far yet to come true, but 2012 is definitely the year when the world will end. So just about enough time to squeeze in one last exhibition featuring artists who have tackled the apocalypse in their work: Etienne ne Clément, the Chapmans, Damien Hirst, Lori Nix and Andy Warhol are among those represented here. Edinburgh Printmakers, Union Street, et, 0131 557 2479, 2 Aug–8 Sep, 10am– m– 6pm (Tue–Sun). DIETER ROTH: DIARIES Renaissance Man Dieter Roth’s connection to Edinburgh goes back to 1970 when he was part of Richard Demarco’s International Festival project, Strategy: Get Arts. Icelandic Roth was born in Germany and died in Switzerland in 1998, and this exhibition of his very busy diaries (which are jam-packed with appointments and addresses as

well as drawings and poems) is his first since that debut. Fruitmarket Gallery, Market Street, 0131 225 2383, 2–26 Aug, 10am–7pm (Mon–Sun); 27 Aug–14 Oct, 11am–6pm (Mon–Sat), noon– 5pm (Sun). HARRY HILL Not just a top-class semi-surrealist comedian, kids author, presenter of funny TV shows, ex-medic and wearer of big collared-shirts is Harry Hill, then, as he shows us his artistic side with a series of paintings and sculptures depicting the disjointed angle where fame, nature and surrealism meet. And if you enjoy his art you may get a chance to shake him by the hand as he’ll be in town doing some work-in-progress type shows at The Stand. White Stuff, George Street, 4 Aug–2 Sep, 10am–6pm. IAN HAMILTON FINLAY One of Scotland’s most vital 20th century artists is celebrated here with an exhibition of sculpture and audiovisual installation which deftly explores his textured and witty work, including ‘Carrier Strike’ featuring an epic air battle played out on the surface of an ironing board. Ingleby Gallery, Calton Road, 0131 556 4441, 2 Aug–27 Oct, 10am–6pm (Mon–Sat), noon–5pm

(Sun until 26 Aug). RODERICK BUCHANAN: LEGACY Winner of the inaugural Beck’s Futures Prize back in 2000, Roderick Buchanan here explores the Troubles viewed through the eyes of two Scottish flute bands across the divide via film, photographs and installations. Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Queen Street, 0131 624 6200, 14 Jul–16 Sep, 10am–6pm (Mon–Wed, Fri–Sun), 10am–7pm (Thu). VAN GOGH TO KANDINSKY: SYMBOLIST LANDSCAPE IN EUROPE 1880–1910 This wide-ranging look at the point where landscape meets Symbolism brings together Gauguin, van Gogh and Munch, alongside lesser-known European artists including Denmark’s Vilhelm Hammershøi, Finland’s Gallen-Kallela and Belgium’s Fernand Khnopff. Scottish National Gallery, The Mound, 0131 624 6200, 14 Jul–14 Oct, 10am–6pm (Mon–Wed, Fri–Sun), 10am–7pm (Thu), £10 (£7). All events free unless stated. Highlights compiled by Brian Donaldson

Clockwise: Callum Innes’ The Regent Bridge, Dieter Roth’s Notebook, Vincent van Gogh’s The Sower

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NILE RODGERS What else could he have called his memoir? Le Freak not only views the world of pop from a man who had a unique influence on its evolution in the late 70s/early 80s, but features a who’s who of rock, disco and funk: Prince, Madonna, Hendrix, Bowie, Jacko and Dylan for six. If that’s not impressive enough for you, then how about an appearance from Sesame Street’s legendary Big Bird? ■ Charlotte Square Gardens, 0845 373 5888, 19 Aug, 9.30pm, £10 (£8).

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KARMA POLICEMAN The cynicism-free, can-do approach of Danny Wallace has served him well in his non-fiction and TV works. Now he has written a London novel about hope and ambition. Rodge Glass talks to him about bringing Charlotte Street to Charlotte Square

anny Wallace isn’t your typical debut novelist. That is, unless your typical debut novelist has, among other things, already written seven successful non-fiction books, one of which has been turned into a film starring Jim Carrey, and who also presents the morning show on XFM in London to pass the time. Until now, Wallace has perhaps been best known for writing a series of informal, off-hand, not-really guides for the modern bloke such as Yes Man (saying ‘yes’ to everything for a year) and Join Me (accidentally becoming the leader of a cult that believes in random acts of kindness). Some of these one-off projects appear to be undertaken for, frankly, a bit of a laugh, but there are underlying themes that hint at Wallace’s philosophy, many of which resurface in a slightly different form in his first novel. The main theme in both his non-fiction and, now, fiction is all about ‘seizing the moment’, whatever that moment is. It doesn’t have to be big or grand or lead to riches, fame or fortune. In fact, it’s more likely to result in humiliation, confusion or, if you’re really lucky, love. Which is the central conceit of Charlotte Street, cheekily tag-lined, ‘a heart-warming everyday tale of boy stalks girl . . . ’ The stalking is pretty mild. And largely ineffective. But then, that’s not really the point. The idea is simple: Jason Priestley (no, not the one from Beverly Hills 90210, though that is a relevant detail) is


standing on London’s Charlotte Street one day when he finds himself holding a disposable camera belonging to a woman he glimpses for a moment before she gets into a taxi and is gone from his life forever. Or at least she would be if he didn’t sort-of, kind-of, not-really try to track her down. Jason has been recently ditched by Sarah, now happily engaged to Gary, who represents everything Jason hates. He’s living with his dreamer best mate Dev, who runs a retro gaming shop no one ever visits. He’s writing sarcastic reviews for London Now, a rip-off of the free papers you get on the Underground and probably don’t read. It’s all a bit depressing really – unless you have a bit of the romantic in you. Against the odds, and seemingly without any coherent plan, Jason and Dev set about finding this woman from Charlotte Street, starting out by developing her photographs and examining them for evidence. ‘There are things you can do to have more fun in life,’ says the author, sitting in Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall. ‘You just have to do them. Even if often you end up making mistakes while you’re trying.’ Well, Jason and Dev certainly do make a lot of mistakes along the way. In fact, they hardly make a right step for several hundred pages. When I met up with the Dundee-born Danny Wallace, he’s at the back end of a hectic week of promotion (and running late for his taxi to the airport), but he’s full of the | Edinburgh Festival Guide 2012 | THE LIST 31

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Danny Wallace entertains James Corden in his XFM studio and (right) Jim Carrey rocks on in the Yes Man movie

kind of energy that zips through his books. ks. ils, He’s keen to talk about the novel’s details, on and clearly buzzing from the reception it’s already had (the book has sold in 15 countries so far and was only published in mid-May). Essentially, Charlotte Street is a d commercial romance about hope and o ambition, set among characters who o mean well but aren’t really that good to each other. In fact, the cast are constantly letting each other down, failing, not being able to stay sober for very long, and then having to apologise. So what is it that holds them all together? ‘Well, we all let each other down, all the time,’ says hings ings Wallace. ‘The main thing is, Jason does things he thinks are right, and he always has hope.’ He stops to think. ‘This book is packed with hope. I hope. And I say this hopefully! It’ss the ally: same as the message in my other work really: ake life can happen to you, or you can make nd. life happen. Jason does do that. In the end. .’ Which is why I say it’s packed with hope.’ o It’s at this stage I realise that talking to Danny Wallace is almost the same as reading one of his books. As well as being similar to his conversation, the novel’s tone is recognisable from the

‘I PREFER TO WRITE LIKE I SPEAK, BUT POSHER’ non-fiction that preceded it. So, I wondered, was it easy to transfer from one form to the other? ‘There was a lot I took from the previous books, yes,’ he says. ‘I like to get on with the reader, and Jason wants to be liked by the reader too, so there was that in common. Also, I prefer to write like I speak, but posher. You know, the way you might talk to your girlfriend’s mum.’ And how’s that, exactly? ‘With a few bigger words, and a few less swears.’ That’s a fairly accurate description of Wallace’s style, though it’s not always that well-behaved. The story is often cut up with excerpts from Facebook messages, little games Jason plays inside his head, and also his descriptions of other characters in the book based on the report card he might give them if he was still a teacher (Jason used to be a teacher. And then stopped. And then became one again). The most unflattering of these report cards

i saved for Gary, Sarah’s fiancé, is b but most characters get laid into a some stage. As Wallace says of at h protagonist, ‘at the start of the his n novel, Jason’s one of those guys w who mistakes cynicism for wit.’ W Which is something his creator co could never be accused of. There’s no an ounce of cynicism in him. not T There are many other things that ma Danny Wallace out from the mark liteerary crowd. For example, he has literary brou ught to life the fictional band in brought th novel, The Kicks, inviting the real bands to write a version of their (imaginary) h ‘Uh Oh’, with a whole hit s series of them coming to X XFM to perform on his show. W What else? Well, the muchder derided London Now has been mad real too, with Wallace made hand handing out 50,000 copies on the street of the capital, all the pages streets full of clues and in-jokes from the novel. t finish off the week’s tour, And to he was due to conduct a signing in a pub on Charlotte Street itself. On a Friday night. At going-home-fromthe-office time. It’s the kind of can-do approach to publishing that some writers get tired just thinking about, but Wallace is most comfortable including others in his work, opening it out like it was one of his non-fiction adventures. And it’s the most appealing feature of his writing. It also makes sense of how he’s been able to build an international Karma Army over the last decade. Let’s return to Jason and his report cards: if Danny Wallace was a teacher, and Charlotte Street was one of his students, how would he describe his own novel? ‘How’s this?’ says Wallace, carefully considering his options (and perhaps also his publicist). ‘Does its best. Has its flaws. But ultimately has the makings of a very good pupil. See me.’ Then he breaks out into a large grin. That kind-of, sort-of, not-really humility will serve him well in Edinburgh. Danny Wallace, 18 Aug, 8.30pm, £10 (£8); Rodge Glass (with Teddy Jamieson), 20 Aug, 8pm, £10 (£8). Both events at Charlotte Square Gardens, 0845 373 5888.

32 THE LIST | Edinburgh Festival Guide 2012 |

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THE GODFATHER Seamus Heaney looms large over the poetry universe. Charlotte Runcie tracks down a clutch of writers happy to wax lyrical about the Irish Nobel Prize laureate



I’ve carried Heaney’s work with me all over the place, both his poetry and his always illuminating criticism. He gets to the heart every time. When I first met him, the book I shyly asked if he’d sign was Station Island: such innovative, free, dark work. He’s a wonderful example of so many things at once. That absolute delight in words, exploring their depths, trusting them, making them shine new. He’s always renegotiating the balance between form and breaking new ground; between the shared tradition – ‘handing on’ to others – and the knowledge that every poet has to do what they do on their own. RON BUTLIN

Shortly after publishing my first collection of poetry, I was introduced to Seamus Heaney. Having managed to say, ‘hello, Mr Heaney’, I was struck dumb: Heaney was one of my heroes. Moments later he left, giving me a friendly, if rather puzzled, smile. Later on, I saw him coming along the corridor. There was no exit nearby, only a huge potted plant. I edged towards it. Glancing over at me as he passed, Heaney very ostentatiously patted the side pocket of his jacket – my book was sticking out from it! He gave me a smile, and walked on. A great poet who is also a kind and generous man.


I first heard Seamus Heaney reading from his translation of ‘Beowulf’ at the StAnza Festival in St Andrews. For me, as a poet, it was a pilgrimage fulfilled. That evening I had seen and heard the voice of the poet of poets as he transported his audience through his masterful and accessible rendition of the Anglo-Saxon epic, proving just how modern great poetry can be. Though his first collection, Death of a Naturalist, came out in 1966, I started reading his work in earnest only in the early 1980s. I have found his poetry working like a double-edged weapon, rooted in the real world, while it has the ability to transcend it. Just as in ‘Stern’, Heaney stands on a ‘pierhead’ watching Ted Hughes ‘row out’, for me, Heaney stands at the helm of poetry in English. I hope I can always see him as I stand at the pierhead, with the knowledge of that promise of being transported ‘slowly’ by his poetry. ALAN GILLIS

That a poet so striking for his earthy sensual vernacular, thick with the world, was able to conjure such a freeing and fresh sense of the numinous in Seeing Things, without losing the ooze and grain of his linguistic signature, was one of the great artistic achievements of our times. The impalpable and the evanescent are still being summoned or discovered through the textured presence, palpable thingyness and measured surety of the verse. But in his more recent work there’s also a thronging sense of hurt and unease along the borders, a vulnerability mixed with benevolent fortitude, which creates one of the richest and most affecting tones of modern poetry. Forget the hype and read the work. Regarding what he calls the there-you-are-now and where-are-you of poetry itself, Heaney’s the Godfather. JOHN BURNSIDE

One of my favourite Heaney lines crops up at the end of ‘Sandstone Keepsake’ from Station Island, where the speaker describes himself as ‘one of the venerators’. Ever since I first read it in 1984, that phrase has stayed with me, and I think it beautifully expresses the most basic imperative of anyone who dwells on this Earth, which is to treat the mystery of the self and the mystery of the other, not only with equal respect, but with equal and tender reverence. Heaney’s work is full of this reverence, this tenderness, this sense that the world can be recovered and lyrically inhabited, through wonder. Seamus Heaney (with Andrew O’Hagan and Karl Miller), 18 Aug, 6.30pm, £10 (£8); John Burnside, 17 Aug, noon, £10 (£8); Ron Butlin, 18 Aug, 8.30pm, £10 (£8); Bashabi Fraser, 23 Aug, 3.30pm, £7 (£5); Alan Gillis, 23 Aug, 8.30pm, £10 (£8); Ruth Padel, 26 Aug, 10.15am, £10 (£8). All events at Charlotte Square Gardens, 0845 373 5888. | Edinburgh Festival Guide 2012 | THE LIST 33

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OPEN SEASON They used to say it about comedy and then poetry, but one is nature writing the new rock‘n’roll? Doug Johnstone zzers ers puts his wellies on to track down the genres genre’s trailblaz trailblazers

here has been a genuine resurgence of interest in the field of nature writing over the last decade. Allied to an increase in the number off related programmes on television, thee publishing world has really embraced thiss g renaissance, with a wider range of writing ic on nature available to the reading public than ever before. ng This range goes all the way from lifelong ted experts on a particular area to admitted first novices delving into the genre for the fi rst rgh time with brilliant results. The Edinburgh han International Book Festival has more than its fair share of writers from both ends off the spectrum this year. iting Someone who has had a go at nature writing d the for the first time is Jean Sprackland, and and is results are mighty impressive. Sprackland better known as an award-winning poett who er, but lectures on creative writing in Manchester, overies her recent book Strands: A Year of Discoveries on the Beach is a perfect example of the rld and crossover between the more literary world this field of neo-nature writing. ackland As the book’s subtitle suggests, Sprackland amining spent 12 sand-filled months properly examining her own local piece of coastline between y into the Liverpool and Blackpool, delving deeply d biology topography, history, social context and of both the area and the things she was finding washed up on the shore. ‘I’d written a few poems about things I’d found on the beach but I hadn’t yet really spent time with the objects and thought about them and looked at them properly,’ she says. ‘And I wanted to write a more discursive piece of work that was about the objects; do some research, find out where they’d come from and how they’d got there and what they were made of and so on. That tiny idea just grew into this book. I wanted to bring some of that poet’s eye to it, to look at things that perhaps don’t get noticed very often, but I definitely wanted it to be different from my usual writing practice as well.’


RBS Hopes of a Nation RBS is pleased to support the Wall of Hope at the Children’s Bookshop of The Edinburgh International Book Festival

That idea of bringing ‘a poet’s eye’ ey ye’ to nature writing is a thread that runs through much of the work published in the genre over the lastt five untry years. One of the finest nature writers in the country at the moment is Kathleen Jamie, another poet who brings her new book Sightlines to the festival.. But oetry you don’t have to be an actual poet to bring poetry ished to nature writing. Robert Macfarlane has published cently three award-winning nature books, most recently g the The Old Ways, an account of his time walking l ancient footpaths and tracks of Britain. Macfarlane has no formal poetry background but he sees the connections between the two forms. ‘I listen very carefully to the rhythms of my sentences, and work very hard at gem-cutting some of

34 THE LIST | Edinburgh Festival Guide 2012 |

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NATURE WRITING BOOKS Roberts and Paul Farley, and it’s impossible not to have y your view of the world shifted o its axis. The same can be on sa for reading either of Tristan said Go Gooley’s books, The Natural Na Navigator and The Natural Exp Explorer. His frank and direct appr approach to engagement with the outdo outdoors will no doubt make for a fantas event. fantastic Gool is a big, bluff outdoorsman Gooley in the vein of Ray Mears or Bear Grylls, but that doesn’t stop him apprecia appreciating the power of the written to word too. ‘For me, the difference g between good nature writing and great wri nature writing is that the latter enables us to form a connected picture of what’s S around us. Someone can write beautifully about a tree, but at the end of the day that’s o beautiful writing. If someone just a piece of wel about a tree that enables me can write well tree place in the landscape, how to see that tree’s it relates to the soil, the rocks, the air, then excit that’s very exciting. If the reader puts down a nature book and still sees the world the same bef way they did before reading it, then the writer has failed.’ ag Macfarlane agrees whole-heartedly. ‘I’m w fascinated by what might be called the coun undiscovered country of the near-at-hand: the b astonishment and beauty available to us in the citie the skies of our towns, the margins of our cities, copse of our fields, as well as our hedgerows and copses mountain summits and gold-beached islands.’ O h reasons for this rediscovery of our One off the con connection with the land around us is perhaps a reaction to our incr increasingly sedentary, plugged-in 21st century lifestyles. ‘I think that must be part of the context,’ says Sprackland, ‘that there’s a red rediscovery of the natural world amongst the generation of people wh were perhaps brought up with less contact with it than previous who ge generations.’ ‘ ‘More and more of us spend more and more time virtually co connected to the world and to each other,’ Macfarlane says. ‘And o children spend increasing amounts of time indoors. Inevitably, our th practical withdrawal has resulted in a longing and a nostalgia this f nature, and for a felt relationship with landscapes and places.’ for Whatever the reason for the renaissance, it’s producing some extraordinary writing about humanity and our place in the world, creating a real sense of reconnection with nature into the bargain, so long may it continue. Just don’t keep your nose buried in a nature book so much that you forget to look at the world around you once in a while. Green party (clockwise): Kathleen Jamie, Tristan Gooley, Jean Sprackland

my images,’ he says. ‘In that sense I see overlaps of craft with poetry. But I’m also i d iin the h llarger-scale l narratives i d pattern-makings ki h interested and that book-length non-fiction permits.’ A clear benefit in this idea of looking at things afresh is that it can really open the eyes of the reader to new facets of their surroundings. Read Richard Mabey’s Weeds, or Edgelands by Michael Symmons

Kat Kathleen Jamie (with Philip Hughes), 14 Aug, 7pm, £10 (£8); Tristan Gooley, 15 Aug, 8.30pm, £10 (£8); Doug Johnstone (with Jens Lapidus), 17 Aug, 8.30pm, £10 (£8); Jean Sprackland (with Martin Palmer), 23 Aug, 11am, £10 (£8); Robert Macfarlane, 27 Aug, 5pm, £10 (£8). All events at Charlotte Square Gardens, 0845 373 5888. | Edinburgh Festival Guide 2012 | THE LIST 35

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VILLAGE PEOPLE An unhappy experience in the broadcasting industry led to a stirring new novel from Nikita Lalwani. She tells Camilla Pia that tackling tough problems can lead to nourishing art n 1998, Nikita Lalwani visited an open prison of convicted murderers in India, with the view to making a BBC documentary. What she saw there haunted her for years, eventually working its way out as The Village, the superb follow-up to her acclaimed debut Gifted. ‘I was obsessed with the place,’ Lalwani admits. ‘It’s totally hidden and no one has heard of it, even in the prison industry. Hardly anyone ever re-offends or escapes even though there’s no real security. It preyed on my mind in terms of what that says about punishment and rehabilitation. I kept thinking, “why is no one running away? And why is no one re-offending?” Those were the two things that haunted me. What does that say about why we kill people, or crime in general if it it’ss just a one-off thing? thing?’ In her compelling novel, the themes of trust, culture clashes, relationship breakdowns and moral dilemmas with explosive consequences are treated with playful and beautifully tragi-comic storytelling. ‘The reason I write fiction based on real life events is often because you can’t answer the questions, and so you find yourself writing a novel as a way to do it. I feel I’ve got to a place now where I’m more at peace with the questions that prison posed. But do I have any answers? No,’ she laughs, ‘well none that I can articulate.’ The Booker Prizelonglisted Gifted d was not an easy work to follow, and the enormity of telling this next story with its multitude of characters and scenes, and the aforementioned unanswerable questions almost tipped this mild-


mannered writer over the edge. ‘It was like going into the vortex with a hurricane,’ she smiles. ‘I was tying myself up in knots over it for the first year and a half. I wanted to stand up and be equal to the task but ended up making the task bigger and bigger and it was really quite a painful process.’ Now a journalist, teacher and author, Lalwani describes The Village as ‘somewhere between an exposé and a confessional’ of her time working in the television industry. And the cynicism she portrays can, at times, make for pretty disturbing reading. ‘Ray [Bhullar, the book’s protagonist] was a useful way to explore a lot of the things that occurred to me while I was at the BBC. The situations she finds herself in and the kinds of decisions you have to make just become the norm when you’re you re trying to make your name in the industry. It was so dubious a lot of the time; the way in which people were portrayed and dealt with and expected to deliver on camera and the ideas you can plant in their heads from the questions you ask. But it has to be that way because otherwise you have no tension or jeopardy on screen, and art is jeopardy. It was a great disillusionment.’ She seems much more at peace nowadays with her fiction-writing career. ‘You can make whatever you want happen there; with documentaries there are so many ethical issues. It’s just finding the right format to tell a story, and now, writing novels seems to be the easiest way for me to tell the kind of stories that I want to get out.’ Nikita Lalwani (with Anjali Joseph), Charlotte Square Gardens, 0845 373 5888, 16 Aug, 3pm, £7 (£5).

‘IT WAS LIKE GOING INTO THE VORTEX WITH A HURRICANE’ 36 THE LIST | Edinburgh inburgh Fest Festival stttiiv val va a Guide al Guid Gu ide ide de 2 20 201 2012 0112 | llis 0 012 li istt.c is .co .c o..u o.u .uk/f k///ffe k es stiva va al

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Travel to the Edinburgh Festivals by train. Up to 23 services a day from London King’s Cross.

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From top, clockwise: David Walliams, Zadie Smith, John Gordon Sinclair

DAVID WALLIAMS When he’s not playing the good cop on judging panels or performing fantastic feats of swimming endurance, the tall half of Little Britain is busy penning stories for children in the 8–12 age bracket. His latest is Gangsta Granny with an eponymous character whose grandson Ben has no idea about her secret life as an international jewel thief. But he soon will as she needs his help to pull off the most daring heist of her career. 27 Aug, 4.30pm, £4.50. IRVINE WELSH Not exactly a quiet year for the Leither, with two of his books being turned ed into movies (Filth and Ecstasy), various theatre and TV projects on the go o in the US while he e revisits old territoryy with Skagboys, the prequel to Trainspotting. A must if you want to know w how it all went awry ry for Renton and co. o. 18 Aug, 9.30pm, £10 (£8). JAMES KELMAN Like the star striker whose name is first on the team sheet, you can easily imagine that the wishlist drawn up by the Book Festival estival has Kelman at the very top. It’s not jjust the h raw intensity and stark humanity of his novels that appeal; chances are he’ll say something that gets the festival in the papers. Of course, he does have a brand new book out: Mo said she was quirky features 24 hours in the life of an ‘ordinary’ woman. 19 Aug, 8pm, £10 (£8). JULIA DONALDSON The Children’s Laureate is a staple of the Book Festival these days and is in town with two events for the 5–9 age range. Her most recent books are The Highway Rat, accompanied by old illustrative pal Axel Scheffler, and The Singing Mermaid, with picture work from the Smarties Book Prize winner Lydia Monks. 11 Aug, 10am, £4.50; 12 Aug, 10am, £4.50. JOHN GORDON SINCLAIR You may remember him as the gawky, lovelorn schoolkid in Gregory’s Girl. But 30 years on, that boy from

Abronhill High Cumbernauld has Hi h in i C b ld h grown up to be a different kind of man. Sinclair is the latest Scot to try his hand at the whole crime fiction thing with his debut, Seventy Times Seven, a tale of redemption set in Northern Ireland and Alabama. Here’s the tagline: ‘the only man who can help is the one you have to kill’. Hooked yet? Well, of course you are. 26 Aug, 7pm, £10 (£8). KATE SUMMERSCALE The Suspicions of Mr Whicher was such a glorious success that you can imagine Kate Summerscale might have considered moving away from the history-mystery genre and starting from scratch in another area. For fans of Whicher, the rather good news is that Mrs Robinson’s Disgrace takes us right back into the Victorian era with another scandalous tale that stunned the uptight sorts who lived through this period. 23 Aug, 11am, £10 (£8).

SIMON ARMITAGE The poet, presenter, novelist, editor and translator has thrown his hat into the travel-writing ring with Walking Home, a personal journey across the 256-mile route of the Pennine Way. Setting off without a dime to his name, he stopped off at pubs, halls, churches and living rooms to read poetry for his supper and subsequently became overwhelmed at the many kindnesses of strangers. 24 Aug, 7pm, £10 (£8).

ZADIE SMITH A new novel from Smith is a major event on the literary calendar and NW marks fiction number four since her 2000 debut, White Teeth. This one follows a quartet of young Londoners as they attempt to make sense of the world and the city that forges their identities. 25 Aug, 8pm, £10 (£8). All events at Charlotte Square Gardens, 0845 373 5888. Highlights compiled by Brian Donaldson

38 THE LIST | Edinburgh Festival Guide 2012 |

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TIM KEY Reprising his monumental Masterslut from last year, the former Coward delivers what can quite literally be described as a clean show. If you were there in 2011 and know someone who’s going afresh this time, don’t spoil it for them, yeah? And in a twist that evokes his sidekicking past, he hooks up with Alex Horne for some sort-of chat show doings. ■ Masterslut: Pleasance Dome, Bristo Square, 16–21 Aug, 11.30pm, £14 (£12); Pleasance Courtyard, Pleasance, 23–25 Aug, 11.15pm, £14 (£12); Horne and Key and . . . , Pleasance Dome, Bristo Square, 14 Aug, 7.30pm, £12 (£11.90). For all shows, call 0131 556 6550.

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KING OF PAIN Writing about the death of his mother and being in therapy have helped make the boyish Alan Davies a more mature comedian. Jay Richardson hears from a man who has recently survived another media storm

rior to recording, QI’s elves flash interesting facts up on monitors for the audience. What they don’t reveal, as Alan Davies is explaining to me at a café in Highbury Corner, is that budget cuts have meant they’re now shooting two shows a day: ‘a hell of a strain on Stephen to remember everything’. And that when he and Fry performed QI live in Australia last year, tickets cost the equivalent of £135. ‘We didn’t know that when we signed up, it’s just fleecing people,’ he admits sheepishly. ‘If you put it on at Hammersmith Apollo for £135 there’d be uproar!’ Wry, honest and upholding the notion that comedy ‘should have a point of view’, Davies isn’t given to romanticising his career. Ostensibly the show’s resident dunce, the Essexborn comic has entertained doubts about its longevity. But, ‘Stephen is like a deity’ in Australia and the reception they got ‘gave everyone a shot in the arm, so we’re upbeat going into our tenth year’. They’ve even transplanted a few Antipodean guests, with Kiwi comic Cal Wilson joining Jimmy Carr and Jack Whitehall at the recording I saw. A shared love of cricket notwithstanding, Davies and Fry ‘have nothing in common. But there’s a mutual respect and a willingness on both of our parts to make QI work. There have been a couple of times I’ve felt his wrath when I’ve been particularly flippant. But then he apologises and I admit I’m a prat. It’s his perfect role, the schoolmaster. He’s definitely channelling something from childhood.’ Still endearingly boyish at 46, Davies is exploring his own miserable pre-adolescence for the first time on stage. His


new stand-up show, Life is Pain, focuses on married life with two young kids but also touches on his mother’s death when he was six and a difficult relationship with his father. Away from stand-up since 2001, he debuted the show in Australia after staying with Colin Lane, who won the Perrier Award with Frank Woodley in 1994. ‘Lane and his wife dug out the Perrier and put it on the table next to where I slept,’ he chuckles. Alongside Harry Hill and Jeff Green, Davies was nominated that year. ‘The title is very tongue-in-cheek,’ he continues. ‘My mum’s death is not a huge part of the show, but I’ve always been conscious of wanting to talk about the things that matter and the traumas of my childhood are at the forefront of my thinking all the time. I wasn’t able to get into this when I was younger, partly because I didn’t have the wherewithal or life experience but also because I was more worried about what people thought of me then. I’m telling the truth now, maybe for the first time, I’m not hiding all the darkness so much. I’ve matured. I’m in a place now where I’ve got a right to be standing there rather than standing there for my own ego and to make money.’ He won’t subscribe to the idea of stand-up being therapeutic, having entered the real thing for eight years on the recommendation of his friend Jo Brand, a former psychiatric nurse. ‘I recommend it highly,’ he enthuses. ‘And it did coincide with my stand-up career finishing actually. Whether there’s any connection between those two things, it might take me a couple of years of therapy to find out. Without it I’d be in | Edinburgh Festival Guide 2012 | THE LIST 43

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Alan on the telly (from clockwise): QI, The Brief, Jonathan Creek

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total despair. I was unhappy py in my private life on my last tour and being on stage was the tly. only time I felt differently. I told my manager and he ne said, “honestly, that’s one ve of the saddest things I’ve or ever heard”. Maybe. But for ge my last gig I was on stage for well over two hours. I didn’t want to come off.’ Davies began his stand-d up career in 1988 and made the jump to paid performances quickly, gigging hard and becoming obsessed. But he admits to being totally unprepared for the tarring role in Jonathan exposure brought by his starring Creek and doing commercials for Abbey National. ‘It meant I couldn’t go on at the Comedy Store and just dick about, the atmosphere had changed. People would shout out about Caroline Quentin or, “it’s a perm!”, one of the jokes I put in the ads.’ One night in 1999, after just ten minutes at the Store, he told a surprised audience, ‘you know what? I think I’m just going to knock it on the head.’ He finally returned this spring, feeling more focused, ‘no dicking about’. And now he’s back in Edinburgh for the first time since 2005, when he maintained an American accent ‘90% of the time’ in a comedians’ theatrical production of The Odd Couple, starring alongside Bill Bailey, the best man at his wedding. In the past, he’s revealed that he was ‘hopelessly pissed and promiscuous’ in Edinburgh, but looks back now on, ‘not as much shagging as I’d have liked, certainly lots of drinking.’ And after 26 years as a performer and punter, ‘I just love the city. I’m a huge advocate of the festival and hugely excited to be back.’ A Christmas instalment of Jonathan Creek hasn’t assuaged his disappointment that Whites – the BBC Two sitcom in which he starred as a temperamental chef – didn’t win a second series: ‘if that’s not good enough, I don’t know what is.’ He worked with Whites co-creator Oli Lansley on his semi-autobiographical Little Crackers episode for Sky1 and hopes that they’ll collaborate on something in the future to end his luckless run of sitcom

ddevelopment. To date, tthis includes being fired ffrom his first self-penned pproject, and writing a R Reggie Perrin-esque script ju just as the Martin Clunes re remake hit the screen. F Fortunately, the frustration and his stint as a judge on ITV’s comedy talent con contest Show Me the Funny, spu spurred Davies back into live performing. ‘Knocking arou around with those comics, with Jason [Manford, the host] and guests like Jo Brand and R Ross Noble, seeing people going through the process of tr trying out material, got me ba back into thinking like a stand-up. I always used to put new material in while I was gigging. But because I’d stopped, I was going on stage with 20 sheets of half-arsed ideas, asking audiences, “is this funny?” Loads of times they said, “no”. I was telling my wife, “I’ve lost it, I’ve got no confidence, they’re just staring, it’s horrible.”’ Gradually though, he’s built a set worthy of the name. Another factor in his renewed confidence was the Arsenal podcast he’d been hosting with comic Ian Stone among others, until an unwise remark in April about the Hillsborough disaster resulted in him being splashed all over the papers. A tabloid target since dating his former Jonathan Creek co-star Julia Sawalha and, following a boozy wake for that show’s producer, biting the ear of a tramp, there was never any question of Davies cancelling his Liverpool Empire gig in September. ‘I’m hugely sympathetic to the families of the victims, I was never trying to cause offence.’ Blown up by social media, the press ‘wrote a load of stuff that was libellous. Journalists were knocking on the door and I was getting mountains of abuse on Twitter. It was so wildly misrepresented but I couldn’t do anything. It’s like the wasps fly around and one day all land on you. If you can survive that, you can survive anything and put yourself back together again.’


Alan Davies: Life is Pain, EICC, Morrison Street, 0844 847 1639, 9–14 Aug, 7.40pm, £20 (£18).

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EARTHY MOTHER Kristine Levine has had a life that would break the strongest of people. The Portland stand-up tells Brian Donaldson how she channelled death, desolation and divorce into vibrant comedy hey’re not backward in coming forward in Portland, Oregon. Once dubbed among the greenest cities in the world, boasting over 90,000 acres of green space and more than 70 miles of hiking, running and biking trails, its citizens take a fierce pride in those facts. Or as stand-up comic, devoted mom and former porn clerk Kristine Levine puts it, ‘if you don’t recycle here, you are an asshole, it’s the least you can do. When I fuck up my recycling, I get nasty notes left for me; they’re very aggressive about that here.’ With the US branded as one of the major polluters of the world, it’s reassuring to know that there are some pockets of that country which take environmental concerns an and we’re all loggers seriously. ‘I’m a native Oregonian and outdoorsy people, so I guess we’re downto-earth and love trees and rivers,’ reckons Levine. ‘We’ve seen other cities pay no attention to their environment and we think if we’re not good stewardss of it, we’re going to lose it. But wee at don’t want to tell people how great a.’ it is, so darn that show Portlandia.’ Levine made her TV debut on nel this offbeat narrative cable channel sketch show, which included oddd tore, goings-on in a feminist bookstore, brityy the kidnapping of a celebrity bent cat and obsessives hell-bent on making a new episode of nly Battlestar Galactica. It certainly on, earned a speedy reputation, es attracting cameos from the likes m of indie cults Joanna Newsom and Miranda July to crediblee mainstream stars such ass Steve Buscemi, Aimee Mann and Tim Robbins. ‘It shows how weird and quirky Portland is, a real bubble of utopia,’ reckons Levine. ‘When I go outside Portland I get recognised for being in the show; when I’m here, not so much. A lot of people here like to pretend that they’re too cool for school and we like to pretend that we don’t have jobs and don’t have television and we’re into art and literature. But I know everyone watches TV here.’ A possible long career on television speaking other people’s words might appeal to Levine, but it’s clear that her real calling is on stage telling her own real life story. The only problem is deciding just what to leave out of a one-hour Fringe show. Dubbed a ‘biting, brutal cross between Lenny Bruce and Roseanne Barr’, Levine has been married three times, was abandoned in an unwelcoming Egypt by one husband and witnessed another one run off with a woman he met on a Star Trek website. At the end of one of her many tethers, she dropped into a porn store in Portland to enquire about work. ‘No one would choose that job, it kind of chooses you. I had no money or education at all, no marketable skills whatsoever


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but we were hungry so I just walked in. The manager looked at me and obviously thought, “what’s this stay-athome mom going to work here for?” and said, “can you do it for six months?” Thirteen years later I was still there.’ And over the course of those 13 years, Levine had firsthand experience of being threatened on a regular basis, finding one man so high that he had pulled out his own eyebrows and even discovering a customer’s still-warm corpse. Throw in tales of child molestation, alcoholism, abortion, crack addiction and attempted suicide and you wonder how Levine could find humour in anything. Enter one Doug Stanhope. At the age of 29, Levine thought she might like to transfer all this bleak life-st life-stuff into stand-up comedy but was gripped by such stage fright that it made her feel as though, ‘I’m abou to go to the gallows and in a about min I’m going to die’. Still, she minute ma managed to hold it together long eno enough to perform at a comedy sh showcase in LA, after which she he held a party in her hotel room. ‘T ‘This little man in a hat shows u at the door and asks for one up oof my friends,’ Levine recalls. ‘So, he goes over and dryhumps her and I start laughing my ass off and taking pictures and he goes, “hey fatty, do you wan some of this too?” Well, no want I didn’t. But after that we kept in c contact and he came to Portland a and asked me to host a show. A Afterwards, he got all excited and sa “wow, you don’t suck.”’ said, S Stanhope has helped guide her car career and is now co-producing Le Levine’s Edinburgh debut, Fat Whore. Pre Presumably, along the way he has pass on wisdom gleaned from his passed year in stand-up? ‘The two pieces of years advic he gave me were, just have fun advice because if the audience doesn’t think you’re having fun then they’re not going to,’ she says. ‘And the other is, don’t ever worry about what other people do and where they are in their career; none of that matters.’ Her burgeoning comedy and TV career allowed her to finally quit the porn store but this doesn’t mean she is immune to the setbacks of normal life. ‘I had my electricity cut off the other day and I had to go to the welfare office to get some help. Just after I had raised my hand to the question, “who has had their electricity cut off?” this little Mohawk Mexican kid comes up and says, “if you’re on TV, why are you here?” Well, because it’s “deep” cable and doesn’t really pay that well. But my life is just so different now and I guess that’s a happy story.’ Kristine Levine: Fat Whore, Assembly Rooms, George Street, 0844 693 3008, 3–26 Aug (not 13), 10.15pm, £10 (£9). Preview 2 Aug, 9.15pm, £9 (£8).

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THEIR DARK MATERIAL Occasionally they die on stage, other times they kill audiences. What is it with comedians and images of death? Nicola Meighan talks to five performers who are tackling issues of mortality

arlier this year, William Shatner made the headlines by advising that he might die onstage in his new one-man show. His life-threatening sales pitch was a literal one: at 80, the former Star Trek legend admitted that embarking on regular 100-minute performances of Shatner’s World at an age when ‘people are dying’ might be mortally unsound. But it also neatly illustrated the enduring kinship between death and comedic language: die laughing, killing audiences, dying onstage. Comedy and death have long made for great bedfellows, from Hero’s mock expiry of humiliation in Much Ado About Nothing, through the classic slapstick tropes of head-bound falling anvils and pianos, to Alvy Singer’s fascination with mortality in Annie Hall. This year’s Fringe programme furthers this tradition: there are shows about funerals, murders, death, and comics dying on their arses. Does the prevalence of death and dying in gest we take death comedy, and in the comic idiom, suggest h? too seriously? Or not seriously enough? es, is a poignant Sean Hughes’ Life Becomes Noises, her. It’s billed illed as narrative about the death of his father. i would showing ‘the lighter side of dying’, butt perhaps it be fairer to suggest that it casts light on death. ‘I don’t obbviously think we take death too seriously, because obviously i bears it’s a serious subject,’ Hughes says,, though it ic, costum mery and noting that his show features pop music, costumery nd what hap ppens at puppets. ‘My show deals with death and happens bout captur ring the the funeral, but in essence it’s more about capturing ’s actuallyy one of moment that defines a relationship. It’s the most uplifting things I’ve done.’ p As with Hughes’ pragmatic riffs on the dying process, rscores thee absurd The Funeral of Conor O’Toole underscores o address th he banal bureaucracy of death. ‘My show aims to the he wake, literally, l organisation that’s often forgotten in the emootional,’ of someone’s death: the inane instead of the emotional,’ shhow has offers O’Toole. The 21-year-old Irish comic’s show ferent venu ue every him planning his own funeral at a different venue maakes for night. ‘Death is very serious, and that’ss why it makes bout it. good comedy; people tend to be very delicate ab about ippanncy It wouldn’t be as funny to treat death with flippancy idn’t worryy and make petty remarks about it if it didn’t people. And light-hearted treatment of tense subjects can be a great release.’ ows the Mark Thomas’ Bravo Figaro! follows writer and comedian’s attempts to stage an om. ‘It’s opera in his dying father’s living room. eing and about my reaction to my family ageing their approaching demise,’ he says of the tale’s grave subject matter. ‘Death is one of the least light-hearted events in ourr life’s o some social calendar, although I have been to alcolm very funny funerals. The infamous Malcolm ny and Hardee’s funeral was hugely funny remely touching too. And Dave Allen did extremely ath and funny routines and sketches about death dy and funerals.’ Does Thomas think comedy ng with opera are particularly suited to dealing ms have death? ‘Not really, no. All art forms covered this topic, and no one art form by virtue


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of its form has the ability to look orse at the topic in any better or worse ways.’ Joe Lycett believes that death eath ally and comedy make for especially ace, fertile associates. ‘On the surface, nt to the topic of death is no different ting any other when it comes to writing material; I’m looking for whatt is funny within whatever topic I’m ent writing on. But it is different because my fear of death iss a ife, big and profound part of my life, and so the material is likely to knee-jeerk be more sincere than a knee-jerk Kerrry reaction to something like Kerry itt, I Katona. There’s more truth in it, takeen suppose. I think death isn’t taken seriously enough.’ Lycett makes his full Fringe Fring ge ot ot, debut with Some Lycett Ho Hot, dyin ng a show that touches on dying nk and death. Why does he thin think i the comedy dialect is rooted in mortality?


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COMEDY & DEATH FRINGE:COMEDY ‘Mayb it’s because comics are prima‘Maybe donna donnas and they’re prone to hyperbole,’ he offers offers. ‘But there is something of the battle in co comedy, something a bit aggressive about it maybe, so the language emerges from that raw energy state you’re in when perfo performing. The term “dying on your arse” sums up the process of failing on stage quite succinctly, because it is completely hum humiliating and inescapable.’ Ro Ross Sutherland’s interactive murder mys mystery, Comedian Dies in the Middle of Joke, most closely, and literally, exp explores the language and presence of dea death in comedy. ‘The show deals with bot both meanings of dying onstage. On the sur surface it’s a whodunit; everyone knows tha that the comedian’s going to get shot at the end of the show, and everyone’s go going to find out whodunit, but actually, th that’s just the window dressing. What’s m more interesting – and what we try and fo focus on – is the other kind of dying.’ As the hour marches on, the jokes iintentionally become less and less ffunny. ‘As people change roles, the show bas basically becomes this dyingcomedian simulator: it’s the same routine ov over and over again. Dying onstage m myself a few times definitely h helped me when it came to this show. I actually think there’s a sense of liberation about crashing aand burning.’ So dying o onstage can actually offer a comedian a new lease of lif life? ‘Absolutely. And that mo moment of failure is very hum human.’ Pe Perhaps what these shows have in common is not so much death as our day-to-day huma humanity. Sean Hughes agrees. did really want to broach a ‘I didn’t taboo; it’s just that recently I’ve in been involved in death quite a bit, wa a logical step to make the so it was show about ab that.’ Is a comedy about the death therefore a way of celebrating we’ got? ‘Yes, I think it’s a what we’ve call-to-arm in a sense, to just enjoy call-to-arms, your life.’

Death becomes them (clockwise from far left): Mark Thomas, Sean Hughes, Ross Sutherland, Conor O’Toole, Joe Lycett

Sean Hugh Hughes: Life Becomes Ple Noises, Pleasance Courtyard, Pleasance, 0131 556 6550, 4–27 Aug (not 8, 14), 5.30pm, £13–£14 (£11.50–£13 Previews 1–3 Aug, £7; (£11.50–£13). Thoma Bravo Figaro!, Mark Thomas: The Traverse Theatre, Cambridge Street, 140 3–26 Aug, various 0131 228 1404, pric times and prices; Sutherlan Comedian Dies in Ross Sutherland: J the Middle of Joke, Pleasance Dome, B i t Square, S 0 Bristo 0131 556 6550, 4–27 Aug (not 13), 2.30pm, £9.50–£10.50 (£8.50–£9.50). Previews 1–3 Aug, £5; Conor O’Toole: The Funeral of Conor O’Toole, Underbelly, Bristo Square, 0844 545 8252, 4–26 Aug (not 13), 7.30pm, £8–£9 (£7–£8). Previews 1–3 Aug, £5; Joe Lycett: Some Lycett Hot, Pleasance Courtyard, Pleasance, 0131 556 6550, 4–26 Aug (not 13), 8.30pm, £8.50–£9.50 (£7.50–£8). Previews 1–3 Aug, £5. | Edinburgh Festival Guide 2012 | THE LIST 49

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Witty and penetrating new writing starring Nalini Chetty and Samara MacLaren. "When the subject turns to abortion, cosmetic intervention, birth, motherhood, sex, love, misogyny, fear or just how you feel in your own skin, women still won't tell the truth to each other unless they are very very drunk" - Caitlin Moran.

An ironic and grotesque exploration of modern alienation and the impossibility of living in the present. Taking off where Waiting for Godot left us, Italy’s Babygang explore the desperation of life in a world without meaning with black humour and intellectual bravery.



A multi-character, autobiographical performance piece written and performed by actor and New York Times bestselling author, Jillian Lauren. Mother Tongue traces Jillian s circuitous and humorous journey to get pregnant and, when that proves unsuccessful, to adopt her son in Ethiopia.

A non-verbal comedy featuring powerful acrobatics, off the wall clowning and throbbing percussion, Detention is about 3 naughty high school boys chasing around a beautiful female classmate in a detention class - and the ensuing chaos, mischief and uproar.



A brilliantly witty new chamber opera from composer Martin Ward (Royal Opera, ENB) and librettist Phil Porter (Royal Opera, RSC) that tells the story of Dr Quimpugh, the world-renowned expert in rare disorders of the mind.

ART & LANGUAGE EXHIBITION Art & Language was the foremost conceptual art grouping of the 60s and the 70s. This exhibition will display two large works from 1973 as well as other items relating to the group’s famous ‘Index’ installations from this heroic period of linguistic conceptualism.

THE ROYAL DICK Our new bar serving a wide range of wines, spirits and beers, including the new Summerhall Pal Ale, excellent food, coffee and soft drinks. Open from noon till 3am during the festival. The Summerhall Cafe opens at 10.00am every day.

Box Office 0845 874 3001 Summerhall, 1 Summerhall Edinburgh EH9 1PL

Carolee Schneeman is a worldrenowned artist in many disciplines. Schneeman will install 3 major video pieces and a never-beforeexhibited photographic series and during the exhibition's first week she will create a major new work in situ at Summerhall and give a performative lecture.

STATIC STATE Humour is focused upon a gritty social reality in this curated group show displaying the talents of nine of Edinburgh’s most gifted emerging artists. At times satirical, ironic and playful but never dull nor reverential.

VISUAL ARTS / THEATRE / MUSIC / LITERATURE / FILM / EDUCATION / For full programme details visit

50 THE LIST | Edinburgh Festival Guide 2012 |

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QUIET RIOT Silent comedy is pretty gentle, right? Not when Billy the Mime is doing his thing, it’s not. Murray Robertson fails to keep mum on the outrage and horror that will soon be inflicted upon the Fringe

f the many versions of the titular joke featured in 2005 documentary The Aristocrats, one interpretation stands out. In broad daylight on LA’s Venice Beach, actor and comedian Steven Banks mimes the dysfunctional family tale of incest, coprophilia, necrophilia and every other taboo going, as Angelenos walk past, oblivious.


‘One of the guys said, “we’ve got to put a mic pack on you”, because all the other comedians had one,’ laughs Banks. ‘So if you look very carefully, when I get down on all fours there’s a little mic pack strapped to my back. And of course it’s silent!’ The Aristocrats co-director Penn Jillette (one half of illusionist duo Penn and Teller) has

long been firm friends with Banks and had asked him for his unique take on the classic joke. ‘I’d already created this character of Billy the Mime in a few other shows,’ remembers Banks. ‘I’d done a routine called “JFK Jr: We Hardly Knew Ye”. It was right after he died and it was his whole life in two and a half minutes. I was trying to think of what to do | Edinburgh Festival Guide 2012 | THE LIST 51

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FRINGE:COMEDY BILLY THE MIME for The Aristocrats and I thought n Billy the Mime should do it. So then d we went down to Venice Beach and Paul Provenza [The Aristocrats’ otherr d, co-director] was filming it. I said, ds “well, make sure there are no kids g watching”. Then we started shooting ad and they hadn’t seen me do it. We had ul to stop on the first take because Paul era was laughing so much and the camera was shaking.’ The experience convinced Banks to ing work on a full mime routine. Developing sketches with titles such as ‘Dinner with Jeffrey Dahmer’, ‘Roman Polanski and the 13-Year-Old Girl’ and ‘A Bad Day ng to at Virginia Tech’, it’s clear he’s trying avoid the usual clichés of sniffing a flower or trying to escape from a clear box. ‘The mes, I problem with mimes is that, most times, er not just hate them because they’re either hey’re trained and you don’t know what they’re doing or they’re very skilled but their routines are very pretentious. It’s really ersally the only art form that’s kind of universally ecause hated, but for very good reason because most of them are just not that good and it’s so easy to fall into that.’ ht. For Banks’ skills are largely self-taught. ming for a while, he made a living performing w years kids at school. ‘I just did it for a few and then I went to clown college. They did d already have a mime instructor there but I had been doing it. But it certainly didn’tt hurt to get more tips.’ Billy the Mime emerged as a response to Banks’ disdain for his contemporary practitioners. ‘My basic idea was: what if there was a mime who was very skilled and very good technically but had no idea the routines were in such bad taste? It was all about the subject matter.’ His interests are certainly at the dark end of the scale. ‘As John Lennon once said, it’s a good way to end something when you have someone die,’ he reasons. ‘I wasn’t conscious of that at first but then someone else said, “well, it isn’t tine until someone dies”. And I a Billy routine discovered that there was a lot of death in ut that makes it sound very the show, but heavy. It’s comedy slash theatre, in a way, but it’s satirical. It’s not a parody of a mime show because it’s got to ar. The death thing sort of be very clear. n me after I looked and snuck up on as happening. But I guess, saw what was because it’s going to darker places, whether it’s doing World War II nutes or whatever, in five minutes there’s a lot of death.’ Balancing his bleaker work, Banks has forged a diverse career as a comedian and ly in his one-man actor, notably ing show Home award-winning ent Center, which Entertainment transferred from stage to TV 89. The 1990s saw screen in 1989. him take on a number of TV roles and a bit part in Beverly I. More recently, Hills Cop III. he’s carved out a niche as a V writer, earning children’s TV himself an Emmy nomination Bob SquarePants. for SpongeBob

‘I’ve done a lot of different things and it’s not like everything is going to be really sick and funny and twisted. It just all depends on the project. So I’ve done things in both worlds. I’ve written children’s books and young adult books. It works well to go back and forth but it all comes down to the writing and the execution. You have to apply the same basic rules.’ Next up is animated project The Governator, working with Arnold Schwarzenegger and comic book supremo Stan Lee. ‘It was going to be a series for young kids and then things happened in Schwarzenegger’s life and they put it on hold,’ explains Banks, diplomatically. ‘Then the pro producers came back with a new idea to make it in a sort of Austin Powers vein. I just turned in my script and tthey seemed to like it quite a bit so they’re wheeling aand dealing with it. Schwarzenegge as a superhero.’ It’s about Arnold Schwarzenegger For now though, Banks is eager e to introduce Billy the Mime to Edinburgh audiences. ‘Paul Provenza’s been trying to get me to go there for five or six years. I’m really excited to do it, and also to do routines that will work over there.’ Fring audiences see And will Fringe any additions to his repertoire? ‘I can change it depending on what’s going on or if some d celebrity dies. There’s a new one called “Whitney Houston Bath” and so it all really depends on what happens between today Augu and August.’


Proud sponsor of the Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Awards

Billy the Mime, The Caves, C Cowgate, 0131 556 537 5375, 5–23 Aug (not 14, 17–19), 6.15pm, £6–£8. P Previews 2–4 Aug, £4.

52 THE LIST | Edinburgh Festival Guide 2012 | uk/festival

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Halo Theatre Company

The Tale

of Nada First there was Stan and Oli and now, why now there’s Ray and Nick! Halo Theatre Company are proud to present The Tale of Nada, where our pair of mismatched no-hoper’s are on the most important job of their lives. There are no more second chances, they can’t afford another mess like Cuba, but the way it’s going it looks like things may be about to get a lot worse. If you love a good old-fashioned laugh out loud till it hurts comedy, then this is the show for you.

theSpace @ Surgeons Hall 20-25 August 20:05 (50 minutes) | Edinburgh Festival Guide 2012 | THE LIST 53

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TWO’S COMPANY Brian Donaldson chats to one of last year’s breakthrough double acts, Ford & Akram, along the way discussing bullying, barnets and a word called bamp nyone appearing at the Fringe for the first time, be that as audience member or stage act, might be shocked to discover some of the claustrophobic, sweaty hellholes that we like to call performance spaces during August. One of last year’s comedy double act hits, Ford & Akram (Louise & Yasmine), have a top tip for any newcomers willing to listen. ‘I deal very badly with it as evidenced by a photo that was taken after one of the shows last year when I look like a sweaty, lanky tree,’ recalls Ford. ‘Yasmine is very good at make-up so she knows how to avoid sweating around the face.’ ‘My secret to having a non-shiny face on stage, and this might shock a few people, is Milk of Magnesia under the make-up,’ Akram exclusively reveals. ‘The one good thing I always take away from a show is that I’m not sweating. Though when people see Milk of Magnesia on the bedside table, they do tend to think there’s something wrong with your innards.’ Technical issues aside, their 2011 narrative-sketch show Humdinger showed the pair are adept clowns and mimics, largely unburdened by shame given their propensity for making right eejits of themselves but happily blessed with a comic sense of the absurd and timing to die for. This year’s title possibly shows their Booshlike side. What on earth is Bamp! all about, then? Akram starts the explanation: ‘There was a brief moment at the beginning of last year’s show when Louise said “bamp”, a word she’d invented, kind of “it’s happening” or “it’s on.”’ ‘Like voila!’ adds Ford, who is also performing a solo show in the character


guise of Jenny Fawcett. ‘The deal is that my family invented some well-known phrases in modern parlance such as “the wow factor” and “at the end of the day”. We meet my nana Tulip, a Mafia boss played by Yasmine, but it’s about finding the origins of the word and how it gets out there.’ One way to get the word out on a Fringe act is with an arresting image. For last year’s debut, the pair (who met at RADA) opted to largely cover Ford’s face with masses of hair (mainly belonging to Akram); this year she is well and truly exposed to the public. ‘Everyone enjoyed that last year except for me because it’s good to get the face and eyes out there,’ insists Ford. ‘Yasmine wanted another full-face-covered shot of me and just her looking glamorous but I vetoed that. It’s bullying really. She’s doing it right now; she’s bought a packet of fondant fancies but only gave me one just as the phone rang. If that isn’t bullying, I’m not sure what is.’ ‘If anything,’ protests Akram, ‘I’m the sensitive one out of the two of us. Perhaps over-sensitive, some might say. We had talked of doing the posters every year with Louise’s face covered but then we decided maybe someone somewhere might want to see her. It’s not bullying, I’m helping her. Making her stronger.’ Ford & Akram: Bamp!, Pleasance Courtyard, Pleasance, 0131 556 6550, 4–27 Aug (not 13), 3.15pm, £9–£9.50 (£7.50–£8). Previews 1–3 Aug, £5; Jenny Fawcett, Pleasance Courtyard, Pleasance, 0131 556 6550, 4–27 Aug (not 13), 12.50pm, £8–£8.50 (£7–£7.50). Previews 1–3 Aug, £5.


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The biggest and best bars and cafés at the Fringe Festival

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05/07/2012 16:16 15:43 04/07/2012

Visiting Time by Tony Earnshaw Winner of the Sir Michael Caine Award for New Writing

Gilded Balloon Teviot 1-26 August 2.30pm (55 mins) 0131 622 6552

“Now’s the time to bow down at the altar of four-strong a cappella group FORK” METRO



56 THE LIST | Edinburgh Festival Guide 2012 |

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THE BATTLER OF HASTINGS The man from Madness is bringing his music, comedy and chat tour to the Fringe. Miles Fielder gives us 20 fascinating facts about Suggs

His real name is Graham McPherson.

disturbance equivalent to a m magnitude five earthquake.

He was born on 13 January 1961 in Hastings (‘on a ing to stormy night’, according the man himself), thee only erford child of William Rutherford McPherson, who left home shortly after his son was born and was never heard from again. His mum, Edith Gower, was a singerr in don’s pubs and clubs in London’s seedy Soho.

Suggs’ biggest hit as a solo artist was a cover of Simon an Garfunkel’s ‘Cecilia’, which and m made number four in the UK m music charts.

1 2


Arguably, his greater success was recording Chelsea FC’s official song for the 1997 FA Cup Fin which they went on to win. Final,


Suggs has also collaborated with David Lynch’s go-to soun soundtrack composer, Angelo Bada Badalamenti, singing a version of ‘Han Out the Stars in Indiana’ ‘Hang th soundtrack to The Edge of for the Love, in which Suggs appears as Al Bowll the popular crooner of the Bowlly, British dance band era of the 1930s.


He’s married to Anne nne ette Martin aka Bette ger Bright, former lead singer mof 1970s Liverpool glameaf punk-rock band Deaf ted School, once credited by Frankie Goes to ar Hollywood’s Scouse star eHolly Johnson for singlehe handedly reviving the Merseyside music scenee for the post-Beatless generation.


Suggs got his nickname from randomly sticking a pin in his mum’s encyclopaedia of jazz musicians and pricking Pete Suggs, a flautist from 1930s Kentucky best known for recording some ‘hot sides’ with the legendary Ben Webster.

Su Suggs has enjoyed a successful br broadcast radio career. He was the firs rst and foremost DJ on BBC 6 Music. More interestingly, he made impr an impressive comedy double act with the late, great Bob Monkhouse on the Radio 4 musical sitcom I Think I’ve Got Proble a Problem.



Wee Suggs chose this nickname to avoid being slagged off as a member of an ethnic minority (Scottish) by the other kids at his North London comprehensive.


Young McPherson was a fan/roadie for the punk skinhead band Skrewdriver, which was fronted by another Englishman with a Scottish name, Ian Stuart Donaldson.

6 7 8

This was before Skrewdriver became a neoNazi band.

The core members of Madness first came together as The North London Invaders in 1976. A year later, Suggs replaced original vocalist Dikron Tulane after seeing The Invaders play in a mate’s back garden.

Sugg has also done lots of telly. Suggs As well w as the likes of Never Mind the Buzzc Buzzcocks, he hosted the admirable Salvage SSquad, in which a group of engineers restored old machinery such as a steamroller, a plough engine (named Margaret) and a Blackpool Coronation tram. Less admirably, he fronted Channel 5 karaoke quiz show, Night Fever.


He was kicked out for watching his footy team, Chelsea, instead of rehearsing but was allowed to return the following year.


The Invaders changed their name to Morris and the Minors before they became Madness.


Madness share the record (with UB40) for the most weeks spent in the UK singles chart by a band in the 1980s. But Madness did it faster.


Suggs called Madness’ sixth studio album, Mad Not Mad, a ‘polished turd’. The band split a year later in 1985.

And he’s done lots of good work for charity. He’s a patron of Children in Need and for Cancer Research UK’s Busking Cancer campaign, Suggs performed a live duet aboard HMS Belfast with Rod Stewart. That’s how serious he is about his charitable work.


Alongside late playwright Keith Waterhouse, redtop columnist Richard Littlejohn and actor Ken Stott, Suggs is a member of the Useless Information Society (affiliate of the 20 Fascinating Facts Association).



During the 1992 reunion concert Madstock!, the 75,000-strong crowd danced so crazily that Finsbury Park tower blocks had to be evacuated, prompting the British Geological Survey to approximate a

Suggs: My Life Story, Queen’s Hall, Clerk Street, 0131 668 2019, 21–23 Aug, 7pm, 24 Aug, 7pm, 10pm, £22.50.

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CIRCLE OF LIFE If a week is a long time in politics, a month in Edinburgh can turn a comedian’s world upside down. Julian Hall meets Cariad Lloyd, the award-nominated comic who was working with impoverished kids this time last year nly at the Fringe could you be rewarded for previous success by being offered a venue even smaller and sweatier than the one that you started out in. This is exactly the situation that the diminutive and dynamic character comic Cariad Lloyd finds herself in this year. Her move from the Free Fringe to the Pleasance is, however, one of the tangible benefits of being nominated last year as an Edinburgh Comedy Award newcomer. ‘It changed my life,’ says Lloyd of her celebrated show, Lady Cariad’s Characters, and its cavalcade of dysfunctional misfits, ‘but then Edinburgh in general had already done that.’ Lloyd’s gratitude for her festival appearance of 2011 was brought into sharp relief even before she arrived. At the time she was working at a London college just after the Education Maintenance Allowance was withdrawn. ‘I had kids coming in saying, “I can’t afford to eat this week”, so as you can imagine, all my Edinburgh reservations went out of the window. I knew how lucky I was to be able to do this festival for a month.’ Now Lloyd is able to live by performing and writing, and she’s since found herself an agent, appeared in E4’s Cardinal Burns and written for radio shows including Newsjack. Despite these fresh avenues opening up and preparing for her new show (which will feature some characters from last year including Andrew, the seven-year-old stand-up), Lloyd will still find time to appear in a Regency comedy romp, Austentatious, and latenight improvised talk show, Monkey Toast. ‘The best stuff I have done in my life has been impro,’ enthuses Lloyd, who has travelled to America and Canada to perform and also worked with


the late Ken Campbell. Impro and Fringe theatre were the two loves Lloyd pursued after university and her skill with spontaneity is still employed in her character work, ensuring that every show is different. ‘If something happens, you run with it. There was one occasion last year when I tried to make someone my dad for the whole show, but that never happened again because there wasn’t a nice old man on the front row that would go with it.’ Lloyd’s 2011 Fringe campaign complemented humble goals with an ideal sequence of events to give her a dream start and finish. A short preview piece in a national newspaper, a promotional quote from Rob Brydon (The Marion and Geoff star had previously retweeted a short film Lloyd was in) and a clutch of early five and four-star reviews gave the energetic performer offstage momentum. She missed out on a BBC News spot thanks to events in Libya but, save for international mishaps beyond her control, it was a build-up that debut solo shows would kill for. ‘Polished anarchy’ is what Lloyd is looking for this year in terms of feel. Regards exposure, she remains grounded: ‘I have the same expectations as last year, as long as there are a few people in every day and they are enjoying it, then I will consider the job done.’ But Lloyd doesn’t deny that her buzz has set the bar high. ‘By the time of the nomination I had 20 people in the corridor trying to see in around the door.’ The Freewheelin’ Cariad Lloyd, Pleasance Courtyard, Pleasance, 0131 556 6550, 4–27 Aug (not 14), 4.45pm, £9–£10 (£7–£9). Previews 1–3 Aug, £5.

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Star of ITV Mad Mad World & Murray from Flight of the Conchords

WINNER Fred Award Best Show, 2012 NZ Comedy Festival

“He’s just absolutely brilliant. He’s got that Peter Sellers madness inside him”

8PM |


Jim Carrey


Except 8, 14 Previews 1, 2, 3

0131 556 6550 |

@rhysiedarby |

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GREAT SCOTS With the festival’s val’s international emphasis, we som sometimes metimes forget ldson picks about the talent on our doorsteps. Brian Donaldson the comedic comedic tartan army out a few members o off the


With Tales of the Sauna, we can be guaranteed anteed some bawdy altering laughs as material, blistering repartee and belly-altering the former Scottish Comedian of the Year reveals just ay saunas. about everything about the world of gay ■ The Stand III & IV, York Place, 0131 558 7272, 3–26 Aug (not 13), 11.40pm, £8 (£7). Preview 2 Aug,, 8.25pm, £7 (£6).


The bold claim we made years ago o that Calman was a ‘wee lassie with a big future’ hass been well and truly eing off the telly and justified, what with her barely being gh, and with This Lady’s wireless. Live is where it’s at though, migght ht even get all Not for Turning Either, she might political on us. y, Bristo Square, 0844 545 5 ■ Underbelly, 8252, 4–27 Aug ug (not 13), 6pm, £11–£12 £11–£1 12 (£10–£11). Previews eviews 1–3 Aug, £8.


No relation to o George, but a clos close se y cousin to all that is sardonically funny. Are you a panda or a hould it matterr penguin? Should anyway? In his trademarkk ner that reeks off deadpan manner o total cultdom,, Carlin tries to arriers of hate andd break down barriers simplification. tropes of oversimplifi ourtyard, ■ Pleasance Courtyard, Pleasance, 0131 556 6550, 4–27 Aug (not 8, 14), 6pm, £11–£12 (£9.50–£11). –£11). Previews 1–3 Aug, g, £6.


Another full show s from m n ex-Scottishh Comedia ian an Comedian inauguraal off the Year (thee inaugural ne, fact fans s as s) one, fans) he Dumfrie s sthe Dumfriesorn comicc born oes Underr goes he Radar the Radar.. Nelson has been n roadening out ouutt broadening is canvas by by his enning materi ial al penning material or Russeelll for Russell Howard’s telly telly how, but expect expecct show, w a more, shall we ay, frank approach approoacch say, o comedy here. to ■ Underbelly, Cowgate, owgate, 0844 545 54 45 8252, 252, 4–26 Aug (not ot 15), 6.40pm, £10–£11 10–£11 (£9–£10).. Previews reviews 2 & 3 Aug, Aug g, £6. £6 6.


Two shows from Mr Happy this thi year, his lunchtime close-up magic affair and a late-night horse-frightening tirade against, we well, you name b it, he’ll be pummeling it with barbs. Yet the Sadowit is his own feeling still lingers that Sadowitz gi worst enemy, which somehow gives the spiteperspective soaked gags a sense of perspective. ■ Assembly Rooms, George Street, 00844 693

3008, 14–18 Aug, 12.30pm, £15.50; 17 & 18 Aug, 10.25pm, £17.50.


The road to play playing aying a venue like a co conference centre for a full month h should take comedia comedians at least half a career to achie eve. The Fifer Viking has got there in achieve. about half an hour. And he’s ev even stuck on some extraa shows for his drool drooling masses. ■ EICC, Morrison Str Street, 0844 847 1639, 4–26 Aug (not 22), 6.30pm, £13.50–£15.50 £13.50–£15. (£10–£13). Previews 2 & 3 Aug, £8.50– £11.50 (£10); 10 & 11, 17 (£ Only Jocking (from & 18, 24 & 25 Aug, 8pm, top): Daniel Sloss, Stephen Carlin, £15.50 (£13). Jerry Sadowitz


Where have I seen this guy before? If you have kids and simulta simultaneously own a TV licence it’s probably as the licence, jovial host of CBBC, where ex he exchanges banter with pup a puppet dog from Wigan. Which is better than it sounds. h In his full Fringe debut, Happ to be the Clown?, he Happy wond wonders out loud about the ppeculi path his life has taken. peculiar Underbelly, Bristo Square, ■ Unde 0844 0844 4 545 8252, 4–26 Aug, 9.40pm, £8.50–£9.50 (£7–£8). Previews 1–3 £8.5 50–£9 Aug, Aug A g, £6. £6


A couple c of Fringes back, Wh W Whitney hit the headlines by hhav having an altercation with a ppu punter which ended in a sharp fine. The good news is that he c now tell his own side to can that story with Struggling to Evolve, a comedy lesson to all those who want to move on from something or someone. ■ Gilded Balloon Teviot, Bristo Square, 0131 622 6552, 3–27 Aug (not 14), 10.15pm, £10– £11 (£8.50–£9.50). Previews 1 & 2 Aug, £5.

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THE STAND COMEDY CLUB 0131 558 7272 | | Edinburgh Festival Guide 2012 | THE LIST 61

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really be about. Edinburgh Playhouse, Greenside Place, 0844 871 3014, 15, 23 Aug, 8pm, £24.


GEORGE RYEGOLD’S GOD-INA-BAG Having swiftly spotted that it could be rather career-limiting to continually play the character of a gore-obsessed medic on a stand-up stage, Toby Williams has shoved his creation into a comedy-play scenario. This one also features Hattie Hayridge (formerly of Red Dwarf fame) and Milo McCabe (who was previously a Portuguese reality TV star at the Fringe who wrestled wild cats and went by the name of Philberto). Underbelly, Bristo Square, 0844 545 8252, 4–27 Aug (not 13), 1.45pm, £9–£10 (£8–£9). Previews 1–3 Aug, £6.

From top, clockwise: Beta Males, Andrew Doyle, Jim Jefferies

THE HORNE SECTION Upset that Alex Horne isn’t doing a solo show at this year’s Fringe? Try not to be too down as he’ll be floating around doing various other funny things, g , including his now staple music/comedy bonanza that music/com was simply made for his name. doing something He’s also d former protégé Timothy with forme keep your eyes Key, so ke open for that. peeled o Pleasance Courtyard, Pleasanc Pleasance, 0131 556 6550, Pleasanc Aug, 11.15pm, £10– 9–22 Au (£9–£11). £12 (£9

ANDREW DOYLE Last year, Doyle’s show featured some pretty ripe comedy bravado during a Crash Course in Depravity, while for this August he’s doing Whatever it Takes. Bold words from a daring comic. The Caves, Cowgate, 0131 556 5375, 5–26 Aug (not 14), 8pm, £6.50–£7.50 (£6.50). Previews 2–4 Aug, £5. ANDREW MAXWELL One of the most reliably gifted comedians of this generation storms the Assembly George Square stage with That’s the Spirit after laying some brilliant and swiftly-written chatter about the 2011 riots there last year. And he still does a mean Leith accent.

Assembly George Square, 0131 623 3030, 4–27 Aug (not 13), 9.05pm, £15–£16 (£14–£15). Previews 1–3 Aug, £9. THE BETA MALES If a lightning-sharp narrative comedy tale is your preferred bag of laughs, then you won’t find much better than these chaps. Last year’s train-based fun is sequeled by a space race lark. Pleasance Courtyard, Pleasance, 0131 556 6550, 4–27 Aug (not 14), 5.45pm, £10–£11 (£8–£9). Previews 1–3 Aug, £5. CARDINAL BURNS You might have seen this duo on telly with their eponymous E4 show and

such glorious heights of fame mean they can only squeeze us in for less than a week. Get those tickets quick as Seb and Dustin prepare to blow some minds. Pleasance Dome, Bristo Square, 0131 556 6550, 20–25 Aug, 8.20pm, £10–£11 (£8–£9). DYLAN MORAN One of several Perrier winners treading boards at the 2012 Fringe, the Navan-born Edinburgher says Yeah, Yeah to life’s daftness with his trademark surreal wit. Even after all these years (and all those films and TV comedies), he’s still top of the class when it comes to an uncompromising vision about what stand-up should

JAMES ACASTER JAME nitely one to Defin watch this year after watc delightfully off-kilter a de debut in 2011 with deb Amongst Other Am Things. This time Thin around, the rising aro star of the Kettering sta stand-up scene (we st assume there must a be such a thing) will b be quite Prompt. And so should you be with your ticket-purchasing. Pleasance Courtyard, Pl 556 6550, 4–26 Pleasance, 0131 5 Aug, 8.15pm, £10 £10–£12 (£8.50– £10.50). Previews 1–3 Aug, £5. JIM JEFFERIES He’s gone from being punched in the head on a Manchester stage to making a proper splash in Hollywood and with news that he’s just been awarded a sitcom in the States, the sky appears to be the limit for this very few-holds-barred Aussie comic. Still, rumour has it that young Jim has slowed up on the old booze intake which puts some of his earlier routines into a bit of a different light. Assembly Hall, Mound Place, 0131 623 3030, 4–26 Aug (not 13), 9pm, £16–£17.50 (£15–£16). Previews 2 & 3 Aug, £10.

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★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★★ The Times

The Telegraph

The Independent

‘Relentlessly thoughtful and funny. But mainly funny’ Chortle


Dylan Moran yeah, yeah

15 + 23


Telephone 0844 871 3014 Booking charges will apply 0131 226 0000 Dylan Moran - yeah, yeah

Out Now Free UK Delivery available. Terms and Conditions apply. See for details.

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Paul Foot, The Joy of Sketch

THE JOY OF SKETCH Love sketch comedy but not sure quite who to see? That’s pretty lazy thinking, really. But for you layabouts, here is the ideal pair of shows as some of the festival’s prime exponents of said form do some bits and bobs for your sloth-induced pleasures. Pleasance Courtyard, Pleasance, 0131 556 6550, 10, 17 Aug, 10.30pm, £12 (£10). LATE ‘N’ LIVE Still the most notorious late night comedy platform in the western world, the legendary Late ‘n’ Live even had its own TV show this year, celebrating the crazy goings-on down the years. See relative newcomers and established comics alike fill their breeks in front of comedy’s version of the coliseum. Gilded Balloon Teviot, Bristo Square, 0131 622 6552, 4–27 Aug, 1am, £13–£15 (£12–£14). Preview 3 Aug, £10. MAGNUS BETNÉR This Swedish comedy master made his debut here two Fringes ago and it’s a treat to have him back as he discusses more of the difficult subjects which resulted in him receiving death threats from those nasty far right-wing types. Assembly Rooms, George Street, 0844 693 3008, 3–26 Aug (not 13, 16), 8.45pm, £10 (£9). Preview 2 Aug, 9.30pm, £9 (£8). MICK MILLER & JIMMY CRICKET Now this is what we call old school comedy. Two veterans of the British game team up for a single night of light entertainment, with Miller in particular capitalising on newfound fame having played Johnny Vegas’ sly dad in Ideal. And will JC do his left/right shoe thing? Surely there’s more to him than that? Pleasance Dome, Bristo Square, 0131 556 6550, 18 Aug, 8.20pm, £12 (£10). NICK HELM With a couple of very successful Fringes under his belt, the shouty musical comic will look to consolidate on his cultish glory by declaring This Means War! And will he be able to match his 2011 achievement of officially telling the Funniest Joke of the Fringe? If you see him in the street, don’t talk to him: he’ll be trying to rest his voice from all that bellowing. Pleasance Dome, Bristo Square, 0131

556 6550, 4–27 Aug (not 8, 14), 5.30pm, £12.50–£13.50 (£11–£12.50). Previews 1–3 Aug, £7. NINA CONTI For those who think ventriloquism is a clapped-out theatrical form, cop a load of this as Conti masks some dark undertones with a giggly stage persona to stirring effect. Dolly Mixtures features her daughter, a handyman and a stray dog. Sort of. Pleasance Dome, Bristo Square, 0131 556 6550, 4–27 Aug (not 13, 20), 8.30pm, £13–£14 (£11.50– £12.50). Previews 1–3 Aug, £6.

PAPPY’S The pranksterish trio claim that this is their Last Show Ever! Suppose we should take them at their word, but where would the Fringe be without their jovial brand of sketches, songs and downright silliness? In addition, they’ll also be embarking on a Flatshare Slamdown which, you’d have to confess, sounds very Pappy’s. Pleasance Dome, Bristo Square, 0131 556 6550, 4–27 Aug (not 14), 8.20pm, £12.50–£14 (£11–£12.50). Previews 1 & 2 Aug, £6. PAUL FOOT The arch surrealist rambler will drip more liquid comedy onto his fanbaseconnoisseurs with the stirringly entitled Kenny Larch is Dead. Whether we will find out who Mr Larch was and how he came to be deceased is probably unlikely. For those who unreasonably demand it, this will stridently not be a greatest hits show, so there’ll be no chat here about moist homemade cake and bigoted Shire horses. Underbelly, Cowgate, 0844 545 8252, 4–26 Aug (not 15), 7.30pm, £10.50–£12 (£9.50–£11). Previews 2 & 3 Aug, £6.

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REGINALD D HUNTER The dreaded phrase ‘work-inprogress’ is not to be feared here. If you’ve seen Reg D in his pomp, even ven the tightest show features him almost ost questioning his material along the way and continually gauging his audience to veer off into exciting new terrain. We trust he’ll be back to his barnstorming best. Joining him for a bit of a warmup in the venue’s Cabaret Bar is the director of Eddie Izzard’s early, funny DVDs and Reg’s formerr flatmate, John Gordillo. Pleasance Courtyard, Pleasance, 0131 556 6550, 550 1–27 Aug (not 13), 9.20pm, £13. RETURN OF THE LUMBERJACKS A decade and a half ago (or 15 years, in stand-up parlance), three Canadians played a broom cupboard at The Stand. Craig Campbell, Glenn Wool and Stewart Francis were the funny gents involved and they’ve decided to get back together on a slightly roomier stage. They are down to do half an hour each, which makes this one of the most quality-filled bargains of the month. Assembly Rooms, George Street, 0844 693 3008, 3–26 Aug (not 13, 20), 8.10pm, £15 (£12). Preview 2 Aug, £14 (£11). SARAH KENDALL The UK-based Aussie 2004 Perrier nominee has been a little quiet on the Edinburgh front of late, not having performed here since 2007. But then she’s been away on serious business having a baby. With Get Up, Stand Up,

From top, clockwise: Return of the Lumberjacks, Reginald D Hunter, Sarah Kendall

Kendall will aim to get her Fringe mojo backk on track. F i j right i ht b t k Pleasance Courtyard, Pleasance, 0131 556 6550, 4–27 Aug (not 13), 8.30pm, £10–£11 (£9–£10). Previews 1–3 Aug, £5. STEPHEN K AMOS If you like your comedy to be riddled with the feelgood factor, this man will have you smiling all the way home. Even if it is a ‘work-in-progress’, it will still be around 37% happier than most Fringe shows. The Stand III & IV, York Place, 0131 558 7272, 2–25 Aug (not 8, 13 & 14, 20 & 21), 9.15pm, £10. STEWART LEE In recent years, Mr Lee has been doing the whole ‘work-in-progress’ thing at The Stand but this time around he’s well into a proper theatre stride of his Carpet Remnant World, as he wonders aloud what life has left to offer him and, just as pertinently, what he has to offer it. Assembly Rooms, George Street, 0844 693 3008, 3–26 Aug (not 13, 20), 6.05pm, £15 (£12). Preview 2 Aug, £14 (£11).

THROUGH THE LOOKING SCREEN A one-woman operetta about internet stalking might not seem like an obvious comedic form or topic, but this story of our times is given a powerhouse treatment by English National Opera’s Claire Pressland with Anne Chmelewsky on penning duties. She previously worked with the lad Gervais on an opera version of The Office if that’s something that floats your pipe. Underbelly, Cowgate, 0844 545 8252, 4–26 Aug (not 8, 15, 22), 3.35pm, £10–£11 (£8.50–£9.50). Previews 2 & 3 Aug, £6. TREVOR NOAH Arriving with the full backing of one Edward Izzard, this rising South African stand-up star has gone for a mildly contentious title with his

full Fringe debut. With The Racist, (see?), Noah gives us a coming-ofage tale like no other as he ponders growing up in a post-apartheid nation. Pleasance Courtyard, Pleasance, 0131 556 6550, 4–27 Aug (not 13), 7.15pm, £9–£10 (£8–£9). Previews 1–3 Aug, £5. WHERE ONCE WAS WONDER Daniel Kitson hasn’t done a straight Fringe stand-up show for a while now, concentrating on all that intriguing theatre-based stuff, but the sensitive 2002 Perrier winner will no doubt have plenty to say for himself on his return. Just don’t get squiffy and sit in the front row. The Stand, York Place, 0131 558 7272, 5–26 Aug (not 10 & 11, 17 & 18, 24 & 25), 11.59pm, £10 (£9). Highlights compiled by Brian Donaldson

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MATCH OF THE DAY From the people who brought you Chef! and Jump comes the ultimate football acrobatics martial arts dance show. Kirstin Innes heads for South Korea to find out the score ootball is a very big deal in South Korea. It’s difficult to imagine, say, the Scottish Government giving the country a half-day off for World Cup matches (should our national side ever make it back to the biggest football tournament on earth), or hanging giant screens on the Scottish Parliament building for a million people to gather outside and watch. But then, in Seoul, they like to do things on a larger scale than most: bigger crowds, bigger screens, bigger buildings, bigger entertainment. South Korean theatre tends to be slick and spectacle-driven, finelyhoned pieces of technically beautiful showmanship, designed to wring out gasps and cheers from a large, appreciative and involved audience. Why yes, that does sound a little bit like a professional football match, now you mention it. ‘I love football, because it’s one of the few entertainments that can be enjoyed by anyone, anywhere in the world,’ says Yoon Jung Hwan, director of San, one of Seoul’s best-known theatre companies. ‘I watch European leagues as well as Korean games, because it doesn’t need any translation: audiences who watch the game understand the same wordless language as the football players, and everyone is caught up in the emotion, the passion of the game together. It occurred to me that I wanted to fill a theatre with this kind of passion, with the thrill and pleasure people get from watching football together. It was suddenly obvious to me: I should put football on the stage.’


And he has, with Hi-Kick. Any non-athletic types already rolling their eyes and turning the page at yet another sport insinuating itself into an already sweaty summer can stop right there, because Hi-Kick is the sort of big, joyous show (in the PT Barnum sense of the word) that the Fringe does brilliantly. Even avowed football-haters and World Cuponly armchair fans like your humble reporter here will find themselves hankering for a scarf to wave. The loose plot focuses on a rag-tag bunch of poor kids who love football but lack skills, training or expensive equipment, and are sneered at by their local professional side when they attempt to use the pitch. After a tough coach with a heart of gold (natch) takes them on, the two sides build their skills and an eventual friendship together, allowing shenanigans and a sweetly underplayed love story to ensue. It’s a very Korean combination of simple, wordless storytelling, gulp-worthy acrobatics, enjoyably silly slapstick and spectacle that audiences familiar with 2010’s Chef! or 2006’s Jump, both brought to Edinburgh by the same company, will recognise. However, Hi-Kick scores higher (sorry) for sheer inventiveness. Trying to channel the sort of mass excitement and communion found at football matches into the more contained environment of a performance space, Yoon and his choreographer Lee Lanyoung have created an entirely new and jaw-droppingly impressive fusion of dance, martial arts, acrobatics and football skills. It’s all the more extraordinary given | Edinburgh Festival Guide 2012 | THE LIST 69

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HI-KICK FRINGE:DANCE that neither the choreographer nor several of the nine-strong cast had any understanding of football before they started. ‘I hated football,’ laughs Lee, one of Seoul’s most celebrated choreographers for musicals. ‘I just tried to ignore it, and never thought of it as anything that could equal or be in any way like dance. But for this show, I had to really study it hard. I started going to games, watching the players and their movements intensely. And when I watched, I realised that there were some movements the players made that really did look like ballet or contemporary dance. Blending the two was tricky, because sports and dance have very different energies; when I watched football in action, I noticed that there’s no rhythm or softness to it. But if you add rhythm to the movements a football player makes instinctively, it becomes a dance. I really wasn’t expecting to find such great new movement in this mix of sports and dance. We’ve created something much more energetic than you’d find in straight dance, something very alive. We’ve invented soccer-art!’ Watching the performers flick balls between their feet and heads, roll them over their bodies, turn a simple game of keepy-uppy into a spectacle of endurance or even, at times, tap out breakdance spins with the ball between their knees, it would be easy to assume they’re all professional dance-footballers. Unfortunately for the company, that’s not a career path followed by too many performers. ‘Trying to find dancers who also had football skills was not the easiest task we set ourselves,’ Yoon admits. ‘What we decided was more important was to assemble a cast that was prepared to endure with us, to put in a lot of hard work, learn a lot of new skills and stay with the production long-term.’ In fact, while all of them are professional actors, only two of the cast have extensive dance experience. Some, like Kim Min, who not only plays the coach but helped train her cast-mates offstage, had played football to college level. ‘Unfortunately, there’s no professional women’s league in South Korea,’ she says. ‘I was basically made to

abandon football altogether until Hi-Kick came along.’ Others, like romantic leads Yoo Kyungryeol and Supakarnkamjorn Kasidinthorn, had been professionals in related sports like futsal. However, those such as trained martial artist Choi Youngjo (already familiar to Edinburgh audiences from his death-defying flips and kicks in Jump), found themselves beginning from scratch. ‘We had to start out training with the ball, all of us, no matter our level of skill, until it became part of us. Only then could we begin to work what we knew into dance, into comedy, into action. We’ve been working on our skills almost every day for a year and a half with long days and long weeks, but it has brought us together. We’re a family now, a team.’ On the night I watch the show, an audience spanning very young children and teenagers to grandparents begin, gradually, to move and cheer and gasp as one. There are Mexican waves, enthusiastic participation in handball games and a small girl so delighted to win a football that she squeals. ‘I’m very keen that Hi-Kick isn’t perceived as just for men,’ says Yoon. ‘It was very important to me that we cast female performers too. I wanted to focus on one of those mass spectacles that brings harmony between countries, communities, ages and genders. Sure, sometimes when two teams take the pitch, they play against each other as enemies, but playing football together can also be an act of friendship, something that bonds people. At the climax of Hi-Kick, both teams realise that the point isn’t winning or losing, but that they’ve come together, from different economic backgrounds, and overlooked their differences to play. We’re really just using football as something universally understood, something that gets that message across in every language.’ Hi-Kick, Assembly Hall, Mound Place, 0131 623 3030, 4–26 Aug (not 6, 13, 20), 4.05pm, £13–£15 (£11–£13). Previews 2 & 3 Aug, £8.

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From top, clockwise: Flash Mob, What the Folk!, Feet Don’t Fail Me Now, Anybody Waitin’?

ANYBODY WAITIN’? All those who saw Ponydance Theatre Company’s laugh-out-loud funny 2011 Fringe show, Where Did it All Go Right? will be hoping that the Irish troupe hit the spot again this year. Odds on, they will, so don’t miss it. Silk Nightclub, King’s Stables Road, 0131 226 0000, 3–16 Aug (not 6, 13), 8pm, £12 (£10). FLASH MOB Stars of So You Think You Can Dance, Got to Dance, and a myriad of other TV step shows team up to bring us a melange of hip hop, Latin, contemporary, Irish dance and more. Expect accessibility that stays true to the artform. Assembly Hall, Mound Place, 0131 623 3030, 4–27 Aug (not 14), 6pm, £14.50–£17.50 (£12– £15.50). Previews 2 & 3 Aug, £10. RHYTHMIC CIRCUS: FEET DON’T FAIL ME NOW! Given the amount of training this American tap dance group has clearly undergone, failure of any kind seems highly unlikely. Dancing on a range

of surfaces, including sand and folding chairs, they turn their feet into percussive instruments. Assembly George Square, 0131 623 3030, 4–27 Aug (not 13, 20), 3.40pm, £15–£17 (£13–£15). Previews 1–3 Aug, £10. SOLDIER Featuring 25 young dancers from London’s Pineapple Studios, this narrative streetdance show follows one man’s story, from the violence of the ghetto to the discipline of the military. Surgeons Hall, Nicolson Street, 0845 508 8515, 13–18 Aug, 4.20pm, £7 (£5). WHAT THE FOLK! Due to perform this show at last year’s Fringe, the National Folk Theatre of Ireland had to bow out at the last minute, much to everyone’s distress. So three huge cheers that this sitespecific mix of storytelling and shindig is back for 2012. Dance Base, Grassmarket, 0131 225 5525, 3–19 Aug (not 6, 13), 3pm, 6pm, £12 (£10). Highlights compiled by Kelly Apter

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Catch the Heats on 5-7th and 12 -15th August and the Final on 23rd August at the Gilded Balloon | Edinburgh Festival Guide 2012 | THE LIST 73

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74 THE LIST | Edinburgh Festival Guide 2012 |

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S D I K : E G N I R F

PAST CRIMES From page to screen then stage, Horrible Histories has wowed adults and children alike. Craig McLean talks to original creator Terry Deary and theatre director Neal Foster about rewriting history alky Terry Deary is in a brilliantly bolshy mood. For sure, the Horrible Histories creator is excited about the Edinburgh production of Barmy Britain, a new adaptation of some of the true tales from his children’s books. But as for other outposts of his hugely successful, enormously entertaining brand, the author refuses to play all nicey-nice. No wonder kids love him. So, he’s dismissive of criticism of his best-sellers by Americans. ‘They’ve not got a sense of humour: “How dare you say the Americans came in at the end of World War I and World War II and claimed victory? It wasn’t like that at all!” Ah, well, actually it was,’ tuts the Sunderlandborn, County Durham-based author. A 1999 US-animated adaptation of his 20-year-old series that has sold over 25m copies in 30 languages? Also rubbish. ‘They got it very wrong. Not horrible, not funny and historically inaccurate.’ A wonderfully witty writer who put in the research leg-work when penning the likes of Rotten Romans, Terrible Tudors and Vile Victorians, Deary also decries errors in the current, fourth series of the BBC’s award-winning TV iteration of Horrible Histories. When the hilarious show – written by ‘professional sketch writers’ based on Deary’s books but with no direct input from the author – did a skit on


‘our Edinburgh friends’ Burke and Hare, Deary says they branded the bodysnatchers as ‘Vile Victorians . . . No, they thrived in Georgian times. They were long dead before Victoria came to the throne.’ While he lauds the TV show as ‘being absolutely brilliant’, he is also concerned that in appealing to grown-up viewers, it risks leaving his priority – children – behind. ‘The sketches are getting too long and too adult. They’re getting a bit up themselves. But I didn’t say that,’ he smiles. And don’t, finally, get him started on Scholastic, publishers of the books and owners of the Horrible Histories brand. ‘We hardly ever speak these days,’ he grumbles. It’s this irreverently two-fingered attitude that informs Deary’s books, and has made them such a runaway success. It’s also why he’s thrilled at his partnership with Birmingham Stage Company on theatrical adaptations of his baby. He’s collaborated with the group in sell-out productions of Terrible Tudors, Rotten Romans, Awful Egyptians and Vile Victorians. ‘There’s quite a maverick quality about our company which fits in with Terry’s philosophy of life,’ suggests the company founder Neal Foster, who co-writes, directs and stars in the shows. Now troupe and author have joined forces in Barmy Britain, which is in the middle of a record-breaking run in London’s West End, catering, Deary notes, for ‘the tourists’. | Edinburgh Festival Guide 2012 | THE LIST 75

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It is, in effect, British history’s greatest hits, played out by two actors and a big dressing-up box with lightning invention and equally speedy wit. There are songs, dances (based on the death rattle of hanged criminals in Georgian London), snacks (putrid Roman delicacies derived from fish guts), and poo and gore galore (before Florence Nightingale came along, the hygiene in British army field hospitals left something to be desired). It’s fantastically funny and extremely entertaining. As Deary puts it with a twinkle in the eye, ‘we’ve cobbled together . . . no, that sounds a bit amateurish. We assembled, no, finessed the best bits of the Tudors, Romans and Victorians, and filled in other bits with new material.’ Especially for Barmy Britain’s Edinburgh run, there are more new sketches still, ones tailored to the Scottish-cum-international needs of the Fringe. ‘I’ve always been a fan of William Wallace and Burke and Hare,’ says Foster, ‘so I’ve written two new sketches for Edinburgh.’ Wallace, he admits, was a challenge. ‘His story is not very funny. So to try and make it amusing was quite hard. But then I hit upon the idea of the dating show Take Me Out: Edward I wants to take out William Wallace, and Wallace wants to take Edward outside. So that worked out really well.’ Birmingham Stage Company have ‘done’ Edinburgh before. Their 1999 version of Speed-the-Plow was, recalls Foster, awarded ‘five stars’ by The List, while The Dice House, their 2003 adaptation of Luke Rhinehart’s g to transfer to London. cult novel,, did well enough

The Ballad of Pondlife McGurk

‘THEY’RE GETTING A BIT UP THEMSELVES’ ‘But I always thought we should takee Horrible Histories to Edinburgh,’ notes Foster. ‘I just thought that anarchic style would be a perfect fit for the festival environment. It’s very accessible, the way we do our shows. It’s really history for every man, woman and child. If you’ve got an hour to spare in Edinburgh over the festival, I struggle to think of something that will be quite so much fun, but also probably a family would come away with a lot to talk about. That’s what I like about Horrible Histories: it’s kind of like doing a factual version of Monty Python. You can be as stupid and ridiculous and silly as you like. But you actually throw up an awful lot of information about people and society and how we got where we are in a very short space of time. You can cover a lot of history in an hour.’ Deary himself will be paying a visit. He calls the city, ‘my home from home’, and he has ‘Horrible Histories of Edinburgh’ running on the capital’s tourist buses. As an actor too, might he also make a special appearance onstage? ‘Oh no. Neal and his team are very professional. If I popped on for a little cameo they would throw me straight off the stage.’ How about playing a corpse? ‘Yep, well,’ he muses, ‘I suppose they’ll need lots of corpses for the Burke and Hare story.’ So would he agree that this new Barmy Britain is a bespoke, tartanised version? ‘Stop putting words in my mouth!’ he cries good-naturedly. ‘“Deary says this is a tartanised version,”’ he says, imagining the headlines. ‘Then I’ll get the Scottish separatists attacking me.’ Us Scots: savage? Never. Horrible Histories: Barmy Britain, Pleasance Courtyard, Pleasance, 0131 556 6550, 4 Aug, 2pm, 5–26 Aug (not 13, 20), noon, £10.50–£11.50 (£9.50–£10.50). Preview 3 Aug, noon, £8.

AN ANDY & MIKE’S . . . TICK TOCK TIME MACHINE TOC Andy and Mike’s 2011 Fringe show, And Big Box of Bananas, was a genuinely funny affair that entertained both wee funn ones and their adult companions. So we’ll expect great things from the CBeebies presenter’s return. Pleasance Courtyard, Pleasance, 0131 556 6550, 4–19 Aug, 11am, £9–£9.50 (£8–£9). Previews 1–3 Aug, £6. THE BALLAD OF PONDLIFE MCGURK A touching tale of friendship and fitting in, from one of Scotland’s finest children’s theatre companies, Catherine Wheels. Scottish Book Trust, Sandeman House, 0131 228 1404, 4–26 Aug (not 6, 13, 20), 1.30pm; 4 & 5, 11 & 12, 18 & 19, 25 & 26 Aug, 5pm; £10 (£32 family ticket). Preview 3 Aug, 1.30pm, £6. THE ELVES AND THE SHOEMAKER Of all the wonderful puppet shows Theatre of Widdershins has brought to the Fringe in recent years, this is surely the most charming, funny and

beautifully crafted. We’re very happy, therefore, to see it paying a return visit. Scottish Storytelling Centre, High Street, 0131 556 9579, 2–26 Aug (not 15), 1pm, £8.50 (£6.50). Previews 31 Jul & 1 Aug, £6.50 (£4.50). SESAME STREET LIVE: ELMO MAKES MUSIC It’s not often you get to spend an hour with Elmo, Oscar the Grouch, the Cookie Monster, Bert and Ernie, and other Sesame Street heroes, so don’t miss your chance. Meadows Theatre Big Top, Melville Drive, 0131 667 0202, 5–12 Aug, 2pm; 11 & 12 Aug, 11am, £11 (£40 family ticket). THE SNAIL AND THE WHALE It wouldn’t be the Fringe without a Tall Stories show, and if their previous Julia Donaldson adaptations are anything to go by (The Gruffalo, Gruffalo’s Child and Room on the Broom) then this one should be a guaranteed hit. Pleasance Courtyard, Pleasance, 0131 556 6550, 4–26 Aug, 3pm, £8.50–£9.50 (£7.50– £8.50). Previews 1–3 Aug, £5. Highlights compiled by Kelly Apter

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Free Fringe Music Enjoy music from around the world in the spectacular Grand Gallery

In partnership with


Balalaika image © Beth Tribe

4–26 August 12:45 Chambers Street Edinburgh EH1 1JF

“ Just

brilliant” The Guardian


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Morbid fascination: Frisky & Mannish (above) and Jack Lukeman

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I AM THE RESURRECTION A year after the death of Amy Winehouse, no less than three Fringe companies are bringing the hallowed members of The 27 Club back to life. Mark Fisher discusses the significance of this tragic number

ohn Kielty is sitting in an Edinburgh bar, listing the supernatural properties of the number 27. ‘It’s the cube of three; three being the original magic number,’ he says. ‘The moon orbits the earth every 27 days. The sun revolves on its axis every 27 days. There are 27 bones in the human hand. Human outer skin cells are shed and regrown every 27 days. It’s the number of books in the New Testament . . . ’ To that list, he could add the bus from Silverknowes to Hunter’s Tryst, a recent play by Abi Morgan and the international telephone code for South Africa. Spooky or what? Spookier still is the unprecedented number of 27s in this year’s Fringe programme. As well as his own musical, The 27 Club, under the banner of Forever 27 Productions, there is The 27 Club by Irish musician Jack Lukeman, and the definite-article dropping 27 Club by musical-comedy duo Frisky & Mannish. Following the death of Amy Winehouse last July, all of them are tuning into the ghoulishly high number of rock stars whose lives have come to an end at the age of 27. The full list exceeds 40 and includes Robert Johnson, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Brian Jones and Kurt Cobain. Conspiracy theorists will make all kinds of claims, beginning with Johnson’s rumoured deal with the devil and extending to the allegation that Hendrix was deliberately killed. They also see meaning in Jones and Hendrix dying on the same day, 3 July, two years apart. Kielty knows it’s all fantasy, even as he relishes every slice of 27-related trivia. ‘There are a lot of musicians in the world, and a lot of musicians who die,’ he says. But ever since he was 13 and bought the first issue of a blues magazine, complete with a cassette of Robert Johnson’s music, he’s been intrigu intrigued. ‘They’re horrific recordings – he’s got this highpitche pitched freaky voice – but it does sound like there’s three guita guitarists even thou though it’s just him. At first, he was a terrible guitarist, but d he disappeared for about a year and when c he came back he had this amazing ability; p so people alleged he’d sold his soul to the dev devil.’ Y You could suspect Kielty of fixing a pa with Beelzebub when you see his pact wo workload. As well as writing The 27 C Club for director Toby Gough, he has cow written a second musical, Active Virgin, fo the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland for a C venues, while planning a week of at R Royal Mile busking with his old band T Martians. That’s before heading to The Aberdeen to rehearse for a mainstage adaptation of The Cone Gatherers. He has, however, passed the age of 27. ‘I’m safe,’ he laughs. Telli the stories of seven rock stars, both Telling feted and fated, the show is set at the crossroads where Johnson is Dra said to have met the devil. Drawing on the Mississippi Delta blues that


forms a musical link between the stars, Kielty is mixing original hits and new material. ‘We’ve managed to encapsulate the style of each band and to cram a lot of information into each song, while keeping them entertaining,’ he says. ‘We go chronologically because the music grows with time, but it’s held together with this strong blues element that goes back to Robert Johnson. He has four songs in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, despite having died 12 years before the genre was even invented.’ He says the tone will be celebratory rather than morbid, a balance all three ‘27’ shows are trying to strike. Frisky & Mannish, for example, will be reworking some of their favourite musical send-ups for a short Fringe run, while for three nights, they’ll be getting more sombre with 27 Club. ‘We did three years of funny, silly shows – and we’re going to do another one this year – but our background was cabaret,’ says Laura Corcoran, aka Frisky. ‘We were doing the neo-burlesque scene in London before we did the comedy circuit and we wanted to get back to those roots and look at something that had a darker kind of humour.’ Like Kielty, she is sceptical about the conspiracy theories and reckons the only connection is age and drug intake. Matthew Floyd Jones, aka Mannish, agrees: ‘It’s become something people talk about even though it’s just a macabre coincidence. A lot of people die at 27 who aren’t musicians.’ They are, though, interested in the pressures any performer faces at peak times in their career, not least because the two of them turned 27 this year. ‘Coming to this kind of age and having earned your living doing this job for some time, it’s terrifying to relate to those kind of stories,’ says Corcoran. ‘With a few different choices, I could be feeling that way and doing those things.’ The morbid theme is less of an issue for Jack Lukeman, who has a reputation for delving into the darker side of the musical canon. He hit upon the idea for the show after presenting High Fidelity, a 26-part series on RTE tracing the history of recorded song. ‘The recurring theme were all these artists who’d died at 27,’ he says. ‘Robert Johnson is considered the first guy, but you can go back to Alexandre Levy in 1892. Then you got the whole mythology that Johnson seemed happy to create himself about selling his soul to the devil.’ Instead of performing his own work on the Fringe, Lukeman saw an opportunity to present a different kind of show. ‘It seemed like a simple way to perform great songs,’ he says. ‘There’s such a variety you can sing and a mass of people outside of the obvious Joplin, Hendrix, Morrison and Cobain. You’ve got really interesting people like Jesse Belvin who died in 1960 – a wonderful singer who sounded like Nat King Cole – and Chris Bell from the rock band Big Star: they’ve got a couple of beautiful songs. So there’s a lot of curve-ball stuff as well in this canon of amazing tunes.’


Forever 27 Productions: The 27 Club, Assembly George Square, 0131 623 3030, 4–27 Aug (not 20), 6pm, £15. Previews 2 & 3 Aug, £10; Jack Lukeman: The 27 Club, Acoustic Music Centre, Orwell Terrace, 0131 668 2019, 9–13 Aug (not 11), 6.45pm, 14 & 15 Aug, 6.15pm, £13 (£10); Frisky & Mannish: 27 Club, Assembly George Square, 0131 623 3030, 20–22 Aug, 11.45pm, £12. | Edinburgh Festival Guide 2012 | THE LIST 79

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(other times member of Queens of the Stone Age/The Gutter Twins/ Screaming Trees) plays a solo show, very probably playing material off his recent album, Blues Funeral. A career dysfunctional, Lanegan has been no stranger to drink and drug addiction, not to mention brushes with the law. But the man Josh Homme once described as ‘an outsider on purpose’ has never kicked his longest standing addiction: collaborating and making great music. HMV Picture House, Lothian Road, 0843 221 0100, 29 Aug, 7pm, £15.


MIKE OLDFIELD’S TUBULAR BELLS FOR TWO A massive hit at the recent Sydney Festival, this hour-long spectacular of the 1973 album which almost singlehandedly transformed the Virgin music empire has Daniel Holdsworth and Aidan Roberts achieving a near impossible task. How can it be humanly possible for this sprawling, multi-instrument, Celtic folk-rock epic to be rearranged for just two men to perform? Come along and witness with your own astonished senses. Assembly George Square, 0131 623 3030, 4–27 Aug (n (not 13, 20), 9pm, £14–£15 (£13–£1 £14). Previews 2 & 3 Aug, £10.

From top, clockwise: King Creosote, Brazil! Brazil!, National Orchestra of Iraq

BRAZIL! BRAZIL! PRESENTS FAVELA FUNK PARTY The 2010 success of Brazil! Brazil! brought the steamy sounds and sights of samba to the festival and the same people behind that glory deliver an explosion of favela funk and samba reggae. Among the acts appearing during a nightly two-hour spectacular are Magary Lord, Black Semba and Paloma Gomes. Assembly Rooms, George Street, 0844 693 3008, 2–26 Aug, 10.45pm, £16. FACTORY FLOOR Throbbing, dark, deep industrial beats and sleazy-noir synths. And pretty excellent they are too. Earlier this year, Factory Floor’s London-based singer Nik Void collaborated with Throbbing

Gristle’s Chris Carterr and Cosey Fanni Tutti on the album bum Transverse, a nice meeting of pioneering oneering musical creators, and their like-minded, unwitting offspring. Sneaky Pete’s, Cowgate, 0131 225 1757, 25 Aug, 7pm, £10. GRIMES It’s been a truly nuts few months for 24-year-old Canadian Claire Boucher. Since putting out her breakthrough album Visions back in March, she’s been everywhere, with her pink fringe/ blonde roots/green locks gracing several front covers. After playing Glasgow in May, she’s bringing her excellent, danceable goth-pop to the Fringe. Liquid Room, Victoria Street, 0131 225 2564, 28 Aug, 7pm, £10.

KING CREOSOTE Fife’s favourite son and one of the founders of the Fence Collective, Kenny Anderson has spent much of the past year performing with Jon Hopkins, the musical other-half with whom he scooped a Mercury Award nomination for their Diamond Mine. This time, alongside some Fence members, he’ll be playing material from his Domino-released solo EP ‘I Learned from the Gaels’. Queen’s Hall, Clerk Street, 0131 668 2019, 23 Aug, 10pm, £14. MARK LANEGAN The gravelly-voiced, sometime duetting partner of Isobel Campbell

NATIONAL YOUTH ORCHESTRA OF IRAQ I Aided by the A power of Twitter p and an YouTube, this amalgam of young am Iraqi Iraq talents came together in a project toge which whic symbolised the way that culture can t do its bit for peace and reconciliation in re war-torn war-to areas. On the Edinburgh leg of their Edinbu UK tour, tour a total of 46 musicians musician will be joined by Julian Lloyd Webber for a concert conc supported by Edinburgh Youth Orchestra, the British Council and Jewel & Esk College. Greyfriars Kirk, Colle Greyfriars Place, P 0131 226 0000, 26 Aug, 7.30pm, £12 (£8). SANTIGOLD After a break of four years, Philly girl Santi White returned this May with her new album, Master of My MakeBelieve. A genre-bending, bouncing, dubby blend of globetrotting dance beats, we suspect it might well end up soundtracking many people’s summer. HMV Picture House, Lothian Road, 0843 221 0100, 22 Aug, 7pm, £15. Highlights compiled by Claire Sawers

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Hailed as one of the greatest voices on the British stage today. The Award winning PETER STRAKER returns with a brand new show spanning Brel's life and incorporating a host of his songs. Many great artists sing Brel but none match STRAKER whose passionate interpretations are simply outstanding, with songs from new album Peter Straker's Brel.

‘one of those performances that is a real privilege to watch, and one of the must-see shows of the fringe’


Assembly, Rainy Hall Aug 2–26 (excluding Aug 13 & 20) 6.00pm













AUG 16 - 26

Edinburgh Fringe Festival

0131 226 0000

Edinburgh Academy, Venue 70, 42 Henderson Row EH3 5BL, 

16 - 18, 23 - 25 AUG 17.00 (18.15) 19 - 22, 26 AUG 17.45 (19.00)

ON SALE NOW! Mr McFall’s Chamber Fri 3 & Sun 5 August Withered Hand - Sat 4 August Skerryvore - Thu 9 August Barb Jungr - Fri 10 August Loveboat Big Band - Sat 11 August Red Hot Chilli Pipers - Tue 14 August Richard Thompson - Tue 14 August Ƥ."Ƥ(ƤŪƤ#(Ƥ )7.Ƥ #Unravel Live - Wed 15 August Far, Far From Ypres - Thu 16 August Dougie MacLean Trio - Fri 17 August Peatbog Faeries - Fri 17 August ..&5&Ƥ(ƤŲƤ.ƤĹ?ŔƤ/!/-. Suggs - Tue 21-Fri 24 August The Poozies - Tue 21 August King Creosote - Thu 23 August Mary Coughlan - Sat 25 August Treacherous Orchestra - Sat 25 August

TICKETS & INFORMATION WWW.THEQUEENSHALL.NET 0131 668 2019 | Edinburgh Festival Guide 2012 | THE LIST 81

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E R T A E H T : E G N I R F

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WHEN DAVID MET DAVID After two decades setting the pace for playwriting in Scotland, David Greig and David Harrower are sharing a bill for the first time. They tell Mark Fisher about being members of a mutual admiration society

t took centuries of endeavour before the first man ran a four-minute mile. Yet as soon as he did, it happened again just two months later. Since Roger Bannister broke that barrier in 1959, many athletes have done the same. That, says playwright David Greig, is how things are in his profession as well. ‘Until it’s done, you don’t know it can be done,’ he says. ‘And when it’s done, you’ll do it again. It’s a bit like that with plays. Until David Harrower’s Blackbird is written, you don’t know it’s possible to write a play like Blackbird. And once it is written, you think, “well, I want to do something like that.”’ We’re talking about Harrower because, for the first time, he and Greig are presenting their plays in a double bill. The centrepiece of the Traverse Theatre’s festival programme kicks off with Harrower’s Good with People, which was nominated for a CATS award for Blythe Duff’s performance on its debut in Glasgow’s A Play, a Pie and a Pint. Then we move to Greig’s The Letter of Last Resort, starring Belinda Lang, which was the highlight of a ten-play season at London’s Tricycle Theatre that went under the blanket title of The Bomb. The former is a two-hander about a prim Helensburgh landlady, living near the Faslane nuclear base, trying to be pleasant to a guest who, many years before, bullied her son at school. The latter is a discussion


between a prime minister and a civil servant about the crazy logic of nuclear weapons. Despite the sober themes, both are very funny. In over 20 years of friendship and mutual professional admiration, it’s the closest Greig and Harrower have come to a collaboration. Neither their working methods nor their writing styles would normally allow such a thing, but they both happened to have short plays worthy of a second airing and there was a small but interesting overlap with a nuclear theme that is understated in Harrower’s play, foregrounded in Greig’s. Both writers are looking forward to seeing whether the plays will generate new meanings when they rub up alongside each other. ‘His play is set in Helensburgh and has a very Harrowerian backdrop,’ says Greig. ‘It’s like how he uses terrorism in A Slow Air: somehow there’s an incredible darkness that you’re almost not sure is there, but it’s really powerful. He does that with nuclear weapons in Good with People. My play is explicitly about nuclear weapons, and it has a little glimpse of Harrower in a moment that is about Faslane and the community around the military base. But they’re not trying to do the same thing; mine is obviously a political comedy and his is a tangential personal story. I hope audiences enjoy the plays’ reflection off each other, but there is no correct answer and no puzzle to be solved.’ | Edinburgh Festival Guide 2012 | THE LIST 83

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Going nuclear: Blythe Duff (left) and Belinda Lang

For audiences, it’s a rare chance to see two of Scotland’s most formidable playwrights in a single sitting. There’s Harrower, a master of the spare, elliptical and poetical, internationally celebrated for Knives in Hens and Blackbird. Then there’s Greig, a more prolific and gregarious theatremaker, whose biggest hits are Dunsinane, Midsummer and The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart. Since their first meeting at a workshop run by the late Tom McGrath in the early 1990s, they have done more than most at shaping modern Scottish theatre. ‘I had moved back to my mum’s house in Edinburgh to try to become a writer,’ recalls Harrower. ‘I phoned him up from the aridity of my mother’s hallway and heard all this commotion at the other end of

mutual artistic inspiration, each delighted and enthused when the other breaks another four-minute mile. ‘You push each other,’ says Greig. ‘When somebody does really good work, it raises the bar. I think every playwright needs to find their David Harrower.’ ‘For me, there’s never been any rivalry,’ says Harrower. ‘He’s somebody I can bounce ideas off. I can open my mouth wider with him than I can with anyone else. I know he knows what I’m talking about and vice versa. He just spurs me on. He’s also totally different from me. He’s so prolific, so eloquent and he’s got such a surgical brain. I’m not. I’m the hospital porter next to his surgeon – but I’m the hospital porter that people rely on. I save people’s lives as well; I just do it in a different way.’





the line. He was holding auditions for something and it just felt like there was a queue of people wandering through his flat in Glasgow. So my initial thing was, “Christ, this guy has really got it sorted and I’m still standing in my mother’s hallway.”’ Greig, however, was equally impressed by Harrower: ‘He was the first person I met in Scottish theatre that I thought, “you take this as seriously as I do.”’ ‘I think that’s why I phoned,’ agrees Harrower. ‘There was almost a writer crush. There was a solitary couple of years for me before the Traverse took Knives in Hens, so I was thinking, “oh, there’s someone who is almost the same age as me who wants to do the same thing. Possibly he is a kindred spirit.”’ ‘Ever since then, the relationship has been very creative,’ says Greig. ‘We mostly gossip or talk about cycling, but there’s a moment in the conversation when you say, “you know when there’s a scene, how would you push at this?” and you know the language and you respect the craft. I’ve had that for 20-odd years with David and that is invaluable.’ The relationship is not one of competitiveness but of

The double bill will not be the end of Greig’s writerly collaborations this August. Together with Orla O’Loughlin – in her first Fringe as the Traverse’s artistic director – he is challenging 12 playwrights, including Zinnie Harris, Gregory Burke and Douglas Maxwell, to submit Dream Plays (Scenes from a Play I’ll Never Write) that will be given one-off early-morning readings. ‘We’re not asking people to write a play,’ he says. ‘We’re asking them to give us material and, during a day in the rehearsal room, we’ll find the drama in it. The collaboration with the writer is us saying, “you know that thing in your bottom drawer that you never quite know what it is? Give us that.” My experience is it’s those things that turn out to be brilliant.’ Good with People/The Letter of Last Resort, 5–26 Aug (not 6, 13, 20), times vary, £18–£20 (£6–£15); Dream Plays (Scenes from a Play I’ll Never Write), 14–26 Aug (not 20), 9am, £12. All performances and readings at Traverse Theatre, Cambridge Street, 0131 228 1404.

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THE BRAIN DRAIN Re-Animator: The Musical is a twisted take on the carnage-happy cult film. Malcolm Jack keeps his nausea in check as he hears gore-drenched tales of severed heads and splash zones

tuart Gordon holds a grisly place in movie trivia. ‘It’s true, I had the all-time record for most amount of fake blood used in a film,’ the director confirms, referring to the 24 gallons of corn syrup-based thick red gunge poured into his cult 1985 comedy-horror ReAnimator, which he reincarnated as a stage musical. ‘I remember when I was making it,’ he continues, ‘that my feet just kept sticking to the floor.’ It’s a record the Chicagoan would proudly hold until 1993 and Peter Jackson’s splatter classic Braindead, which saw the future Lord of the Rings trilogy director somewhat trump Gordon in the artificial haemoglobin stakes. ‘I got to meet him and asked how many gallons of blood he used in his film. He told me he’d used 2000.’ Still with us? Readers of a squeamish disposition beware that it only gets worse from here (warning: contains chat about the Three Little Pigs getting hacked to bits, and a man doing something despicable with his own severed head). Based on a long-lost story by influential American horror and weird science author HP Lovecraft, Re-Animator – ranked as one of the greatest cult movies of all time – broke Gordon out of theatre and into a lengthy film


career that included screen adaptations of four further Lovecraft stories (including From Beyond and Castle Freak) and writing credits for titles such as the 1989 blockbuster Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. With Re-Animator: The Musical, many of the original crew from the 1985 movie are reunited to tell once more the story of Herbert West (played by Chris L McKenna), a brilliant

‘MY FEET JUST KEPT STICKING TO THE FLOOR’ young medical student obsessed with bringing the dead back to life. Only this time set to music and lyrics by composer Mark Nutter. ‘It’s almost an operetta,’ comments Gordon, ‘it’s quite wonderful.’ When West arrives at Miskatonic University in New England to test a life-giving serum that turns out to be less-than-perfected, things go shockingly awry, with comedy, brutality and song ensuing. Oh, and Norm off of Cheers

gets attacked by a zombie. Or at least the actor who played him, George Wendt, here starring as a university dean. But back to the fake blood. Re-Animator: The Musical uses a modest two gallons per performance, meaning 54 gallons total will be expended over the show’s 27-night Fringe stint. The gore factor was actually upped by popular demand. ‘When we were doing previews the audience kept saying, “more blood!”’ Gordon reports, speaking of the musical’s award-winning sell-out debut run in Los Angeles, where some obsessives turned up on as many as 30 occasions. ‘The last time they asked for more blood I said, “maybe we should fill up the whole theatre with blood and let you swim out!”’ Gordon describes a ‘very participatory production’, particularly around the ‘splash zone’ in the front rows (very popular with those aforementioned Re-Animator freaks, many of whom come dressed in white), where theatre-goers are invited to sit at their own risk. ‘Everyone’s getting so excited about 3D movies, but theatre goes far beyond that,’ says Gordon. ‘In Re-Animator we’re throwing blood all over the audience.’ It necessitated a bespoke fake blood recipe. ‘We needed to develop something that’s washable so it

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doesn’t stain their clothes. It’s based on a baby shampoo in case it got in their eyes too.’ Thi ki b k tto th A i t fil ’ Thinking back the R Re-Animator film’s effects eventually convinced Gordon that it could potentially transfer successfully from screen to stage. ‘People had suggested the idea to me for years and I had laughed because I thought it was pretty crazy,’ he says. ‘But then one day, it struck me: most of the effects we had used had been stage effects. We didn’t have CGI back then.’ Gordon’s stage days go all the way back to the 1970s, when he founded the Organic Theatre Company in Chicago, a groundbreaking organisation focused on actionpacked performances. It was through his work there that Gordon first met ‘one of the funniest people on earth’, as he refers to George Wendt, then a member of legendary improvisational comedy enterprise, The Second City. ‘We decided we would do the Three Little Pigs as staged by Organic,’ Wendt recalls, of his satirical first encounter with Gordon. ‘We invited Stuart to guest-direct that sketch. Of course, it was filled with gratuitous nudity and lots of blood and dismemberment, innards and entrails,’ he laughs. When Wendt heard Gordon and Nutter, another friend, were working on

Re-Anim Re-Animator: The Musical, his fingers were cr crossed they ll ‘A might call. ‘And sure enough they did,’ he says. One of the few actors to appear in all 11 seasons of Cheers, Wendt experienced household fame as Norm Peterson, the wisecracking, beer-loving regular of the sitcom’s titular Boston watering-hole, who stole many of the show’s best lines. He’s starred in a few horror movies since, but his taste for fake blood is far outstripped by his thirst for beer. Wendt’s love for the hops is every bit as real as Norm’s, and he even penned a ‘barstool professional’s’ beer guide a few years ago entitled Drinking with George. Immersing himself in the lessthan-sober spirit of the Fringe – for a second time in two years, following his part in 2010’s Celebrity Autobiography – is an experience he understandably looks forward to: ‘I love the Scottish ales’. Of course, Wendt can rarely set foot in a bar without being reminded of Norm, a character he has never quite managed to leave behind, having played him now in seven different TV series, including voice cameos in The Simpsons and Family Guy. ‘I could be selling insurance right now if something hadn’t

worked out quite as well as Cheers,’ Wendt muses, philosophically. ‘I’ve had plenty of other opportunities since, and I keep having fun. To wit, we’re back to Re-Animator: The Musical.’ Considering Hollywood’s current fashion for remakes, would Gordon ever welcome a big screen re-animation of Re-Animator? Over his dead body. ‘I’m not a fan of these remakes,’ he grumbles. ‘They’re never as good as the originals. I think the original Re-Animator still shocks people and makes them laugh.’ Besides, there’s also the tricky issue of what Gordon calls ‘a sexual element’ in the movie which Hollywood ‘has always been afraid of’. Whatever could he mean by that? ‘The scene that everyone always talks about in ReAnimator is the heroine being strapped down to an autopsy table, then a re-animated corpse that’s carrying its own head putting the head between her legs,’ Gordon explains, describing one of Re-Animator’s most memorable visual puns. ‘The head gives head.’ We weren’t joking about the squeamish thing. Re-Animator: The Musical, Assembly George Square, 0131 623 3030, 4–27 Aug (not 6, 13, 20), 10.40pm, £12–£14 (£10–£12). Previews 1–3 Aug, £5. | Edinburgh Festival Guide 2012 | THE LIST 87

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CONFLICT OF INTEREST Yasmin Sulaiman talks to both the creator and star of The Two Worlds of Charlie F, a powerful play about the physical devastation of modern warfare, featuring wounded soldiers in key roles ix and a half years after abandoning a career in stand-up comedy for the Royal Marines, Lance Corporal Cassidy Little is making his Edinburgh debut. In 2011, Little was injured by an IED in Afghanistan. While recuperating at defence medical rehabilitation unit Headley Court, he was approached to join Bravo 22 Company, a new theatre project run by Masterclass, the in-house charity at London’s Theatre Royal Haymarket. ‘I kind of thought it was going to be 60 people in the audience, just friends and family,’ admits Little of the first live performances he appeared in. ‘I had no idea it was going to explode into what it is. I came on board and thought it would be a great distraction.’ This distraction became The Two Worlds of Charlie F, a play that received universal critical acclaim when it was performed in London earlier this year with Little in the title role. ‘I certainly didn’t expect to get a standing ovation in the Theatre Royal Haymarket,’ he says. ‘And looking out into the audience and seeing not a dry eye: it was an incredible reaction.’ Bravo 22 Company is the brainchild of Alice Driver, creative producer of Masterclass, and was inspired by a visit to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, where injured military personnel are treated. ‘Advances in medicine mean that so many more people are surviving, but often with very serious injuries,’ she explains. ‘I felt that this group of individuals could really benefit from a theatre project.’ Support from the Royal British Legion, Sir Trevor Nunn and actor Ray Winstone helped Driver convince both the Ministry of Defence and


military personnel that the project was worthwhile. The play is scripted by Owen Sheers, who devised The Passion with Michael Sheen last year. But it’s overwhelmingly based on the real life experiences of the military men and women who perform it. ‘What you see is reality,’ Driver says. ‘It’s a story told by characters, but essentially someone on stage is telling you how they lost their legs. There’s no make-up, no lighting, no trickery. It’s very, very powerful.’ As well as the actual loss of body parts which soldiers suffer from, the psychological trauma of warfare is another area of concern. ‘I think this work has brought a lot of people out of their depression,’ Driver adds. ‘Others have just realised that they can go on and do anything, and are a lot more accepting of who they are and their injuries.’ For Little, the best thing has been having a project to direct his energy towards. ‘Like it or lump it, it’s a horrible thing to happen to a human being. There are degrees of injuries here, but no degree of devastation. But it all comes down to the same thing, which is don’t focus on negatives: having to learn to walk again, learn to interact with society again. Instead, focus on something positive. And this was an incredibly positive experience and became a perfect opportunity to distract myself from the really long and really hard road that so many of us have to walk now.’


The Two Worlds of Charlie F, Pleasance Courtyard, Pleasance, 0131 556 6550, 7–11 Aug, 1.45pm, £12.50–£15 (£10–£12.50).

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C theFestival Lonhattan Theatre Group

London Gay Men’s Chorus Ensemble

Backhand Theatre & C theatre

Sackville Theatre Company



Icarus: a Story of Flight

Tokyo Trilogy

12 – 18 Aug 2.00pm C nova

12 – 18 Aug 7.35pm C

1 – 27 Aug 5.30pm C eca

13 – 27 Aug 3.00pm C eca

C presents... & Showdown Productions

Backhand Theatre & C theatre

English Cabaret & C theatre

C presents...

News Smash

Tales from Edgar Allan Poe

The Happy Prince

Cabaret Nova

2 – 27 Aug 10.00pm C nova

1 – 27 Aug 11.00pm C eca

1 – 27 Aug 2.15pm C

2 – 27 Aug 11.55pm C nova

C theatre

The Red Chair Players

Dead Posh Productions

CW Productions & C theatre

This is Soap

Dead Man’s Cell Phone

Still Life (or Brief Encounter)

The Madness of King Lear

1 – 27 Aug 1.15pm C

1 – 11 Aug 3.45pm C

2 – 27 Aug 3.20pm C aquila

1 – 27 Aug 5.30pm C

With more than 210 shows and events across our venues in the heart of Edinburgh, we celebrate our 21st year with a huge programme of theatre, musicals, and international work at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. See it all with C venues. | Edinburgh Festival Guide 2012 | THE LIST 89

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FRINGE:THEATRE HOLLY RUMBLE hese may be tough times for the public sector, but at least the officials at Edinburgh City Council are blessed with the Fringe to liven up their daily litany of licensing requests. Sound artist Holly Rumble provided one such chink of light in a local councillor’s day with a question about her show, One Minute Birdwatching. ‘Jings!’ came the bemused DC Thomson-esque response, ‘you think you’ve heard it all . . . ’ As a creator of interactive sound art and member of Norwich live art collective other/other/ other – whose very name reflects their inability to be pigeonholed – Rumble is unlikely to be fazed by such reactions to her work. Of course, Edinburgh in August is probably one of the few places where many would not bat an eyelid at a group of people in a park shouting ‘bird!’, or a woman


listening to a pin drop on a busy street; these activities are central to her two Fringe projects. One Minute Birdwatching has Rumble inviting participants to join her in observing the avian life of West Princes Street Gardens for 60 seconds, saying the name of any birds they can identify (or simply ‘bird’ for those they can’t), all of which is recorded and placed online as a binaural sound file for all to hear. It’s simple and playful, and that’s the point. ‘I’m interested in rules as a method of creating performance,’ says Rumble. ‘I think it’s quite interesting to set yourself some parameters and then allow chance or a chaotic, random event to shape the content. There is a danger of things like this being one-liners, but mine always stem from a genuine interest, be it generating sounds from chance, such as in birdwatching,

or concerns about acoustics in spaces. They’re driven by something serious but in order to get that across I think it’s helpful to just be playful.’ Rumble is also working on Hear a Pin Drop Here, a piece specially devised for Edinburgh. She’ll spend the first week of the Fringe trying to find places in the city centre where she can do as the title suggests, recording their coordinates and photographing them to make a virtual tour of Edinburgh’s sonic oases. Audience members attending her live presentation at the end of the week will receive their own ‘pin drop kit’ so that they too can contribute to this little map of calm. Supported by funding from the increasingly hit-making development programme Escalator East to Edinburgh, Rumble hopes to use her Fringe events as a kind of residency,

allowing her to develop the work further. For both shows, the size and uniquely open-minded nature of Edinburgh audiences is a boon. With One Minute Birdwatching, ‘the more people the better, because you get a lovely kind of overlap. If a bird is flying from left to right, then the people on the left spot it first and you get a nice ripple spreading. I do get genuinely excited if I see anything other than gulls or pigeons, but at least if it is just a pigeon then that’s a lovely sound: “pigeon, pigeon, pigeon, pigeon”. It’s fun to take words away from their meaning.’ One Minute Birdwatching, West Princes Street Gardens, 0131 226 0000, 4–9 Aug, 9.30am & 1.30pm, free; Hear a Pin Drop Here, Lauriston Hall, Lauriston Street, 0131 226 0000, 10 Aug, 4.30pm, £5 (£4).

ENJOY THE SILENCE Holly Rumble merges the playful with the chaotic through her site-specific work. The Norwich sound artist tells Laura Ennor why she loves the quiet life


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Produced by Stellar Quines

Written by Jennifer Tremblay Translated by Shelley Tepperman Performed by Maureen Beattie Directed by Muriel Romanes

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3 – 25 August 2012 (not 6, 12, 13 & 20) 2pm Summerhall £12/£10 1 Summerhall, Edinburgh, EH9 1PL Box office: 0845 874 3001


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Front top, clockwise: Casablanca: The Gin Joint Cut, Captain Ko and the Planet of Rice, All That is Wrong

BOY IN A DRESS This raucous autobiographical play follows the life and career thus far of La JohnJoseph, a thirdgendered lapsed-Catholic ex-fashion model, charting her journey from a Merseyside council estate to New York strip clubs. The show combines a witty, provocative script with live songs and movement. The Stand III & IV, York Place, 0131 558 7272, 6–26 Aug (not 13), 4.20pm, £10. Previews 2–5 Aug, £5. BYE BYE WORLD Anne Gehring and Vera Ketelaars’ play depicts a woman who decides to disappear and reinvent herself after an unsatisfactory birthday party. The beautifully crafted and moving exploration of the possibilities of starting again won the Dioraphte Best of the Amsterdam Fringe Award in 2011 and arrives with the support of the Dutch Embassy. Underbelly, Cowgate, 0844 545 8252, 15–26 Aug, 11.35am, £8.50–£9.50 (£7.50–£8.50).

THE AGONY AND THE ECSTASY OF STEVE JOBS Mike Daisey’s powerful monologue, which shed uncomfortable light on the appalling working conditions in Chinese factories creating Apple products, attracted acclaim and controversy in the US. You’ll never look at your iPhone in the same way again. Gilded Balloon Teviot, Bristo Square, 0131 622 6552, 4–27 Aug (not 14), 2.15pm, £10–£11 (£8–£9). Previews 1–3 Aug, £5. ALL THAT IS WRONG Fringe favourites Ontroerend Goed return with their latest uncompromising piece, starring company regular Koba Ryckewaert. Now 18, Koba knows things are wrong in her own life but how can she get a grip on things that are beyond

her control? rol? Traverse Theatre, Cambridge dge Street, 0131 228 8 1404, 3–12 Aug g (not 6), various times, us times £17–£19 (£6–£14). Preview 2 Aug, 8pm, £12 (£6). ANTHONY RAPP: WITHOUT YOU Broadway star Rapp writes and stars in this show based on his own bestselling memoir. The piece ties together two significant events in Rapp’s life: the sudden death of Rent composer Jonathan Larson the night before the musical opened offBroadway and the death of Rapp’s mother. The performer is backed by a five-piece band with songs from Larson and REM. Underbelly, Bristo Square, 0844 545 8252, 4–26 Aug

CAPTAIN KO AND THE PLANET OF O RICE Dancing Brick returns with B three stories storie exploring personal and a historical amnesia. The titular tale focuses focus on a pair movie astronauts of B mov stranded on an empty planet, while there are also accounts of a ac woman in the early woma stages of Alzheimer’s the true story of and th cosmonaut Sergei cosm Krikalev, orbiting the Krika earth on Mir space eart station during the stat collapse of the col Soviet Union. So Underbelly, Un Cowgate, 0844 C 545 8252, 5 4–26 Aug (not 4 13), 8pm, £9.50–£10.50 (£8.50–£9.50). Previews 2 & 3 Aug, £6. (not 13), 10.30pm, £15–£16 (£14–£15). (£14 £15) Previews 1–3 1 3 Aug, Aug £8. £8 BELT UP THEATRE’S OUTLAND The prolific and endlessly surprising Belt Up Theatre are back with a magical but typically dark new show inspired by the life and work of Lewis Carroll. The promenade show takes place in the furthest nooks and crannies of the C venues and features a host of weird and wonderful characters who will guide you deep into childhood dreams. C nova, Victoria Street, 0845 260 1234, 2–27 Aug, 9.05pm, £10.50– £12.50 (£8.50–£10.50).

THE CASABLANCA: TH GIN JOINT CUT You must remember this . . . Morag Fullerton’s ingenious distillation of the immortal Humphrey Bogart/ Ingrid Bergman-starring film returns following an acclaimed run at last year’s Fringe. The piece retains all the legendary lines and iconic scenes of the original cinematic classic, but here delivered at a breathless pace and with utterly memorable performances from the likes of Jimmy Chisholm, Gavin Mitchell and Clare Waugh. Gilded Balloon Teviot, Bristo Square, 0131 622 6552, 4–27 Aug (not 13, 20), 5.15pm, £12–£14 (£10–£12). Preview 3 Aug, £8.

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OTHER HIGHLIGHTS CONTINUOUS GROWTH The Group Theatre of Helsinki present this loose sequel to last year’s acclaimed The Overcoat. The piece follows an ordinary family man and engineer who loses his job, starts a business and manages to destroy the entire global economy, exploring our need to find meaning in chaos with a deft comic touch. Pleasance Dome, Bristo Square, 0131 556 6550, 4–27 Aug (not 13), 12.10pm, £10–£11 (£9–£10). Previews 1–3 Aug, £5.

From top, clockwise: Monkey Bars, MacBeth in Scots, Kin

EDUCATING RONNIE This new play by young writer Joe Douglas opens with a text the playwright received from Ronnie, a friend he’d met on his gap year in Uganda: ‘Brother, my sponsor has pulled out on me and I want to stay in school. Can you help?’ The monologue, which Douglas performs himself, explores the murky process involved in bettering oneself in Uganda. Assembly George Square, 0131 623 3030, 4–26 Aug (not 13, 20), 1.15pm, £10–£12 (£8–£10). Previews 2 & 3 Aug, £6. ENDURE: A RUN WOMAN SHOW What could be more apt in an Olympic year than a Fringe show performed while running a 5k circuit around Holyrood Park? Keen athletes can jog alongside performer Melanie Jones, but if donning Lycra and trainers ain’t your bag, you can also follow the show, about the endurance of life’s challenges and overcoming difficulty, at your own pace, while listening to the soundtrack on an MP3 player. Assembly George Square, 0131 623 3030, 9–19 Aug (not 13 & 14), 2pm, £7 (£5). THE INTERVENTION Alcoholism and abuse are the cheerful themes in the latest offering from the Comedians Theatre Company. Dave Florez’s family saga revolves around a man confronted by his nearest and dearest as he is about to hit rock bottom. Arabella Weir, Jan Ravens and Phil Nichol are among the cast. Assembly Rooms, George Street, 0844 693 3008, 3–26 Aug (not 13), 7.05pm, £15 (£12). Previews 1 & 2 Aug, £14 (£11). KIN Inventive piece from performer Donna Rutherford, which explores the sorrow, guilt and frustration experienced by middle-aged children in their relationships with ageing parents. Rutherford’s live commentary is punctuated by close-

MAURICE’S JUBILEE The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee provides the backdrop for this gentle new play from writer/performer Nichola McAuliffe. The piece, about a man who believes Her Madge will visit him for tea on his 90th birthday, is directed by multiple award-winner Hannah Eidinow, previously acclaimed for the hard-hitting An Instinct for Kindness and Lockerbie: Unfinished Business. Pleasance Courtyard, Pleasance, 0131 556 6550, 4–27 Aug (not 14, 21), 4.25pm, £12.50–£15.50 (£11–£14). Previews 1–3 Aug, £8.

up performances to camera from members of Forced Entertainment, Quarantine, Reckless Sleepers and Alison Peebles. Playhouse on the Fringe, Greenside Place, 0844 871 3014, 3–27 Aug (not 14, 21), 2pm, £10 (£8). Previews 1 & 2 Aug, £6. MACBETH IN SCOTS Productions of the ‘Scottish Play’ are two-a-penny at the Fringe, but Robin

Lorimer’s Scots translation of the Shakespeare classic has barely been performed since its publication in 1992. Following a string of previews in May, Edinburgh Theatre Arts’ pacy production of Lorimer’s rich, muscular text arrives on the Fringe for a full run. St Ninian’s Hall, Comely Bank Road, 01620 860 802, 6–18 Aug (not 12), 7.30pm; 11, 18 Aug, 2.30pm, £10 (£8).

MONKEY BARS Verbatim theatre, but not as you know it. This inventive piece from Unicorn Theatre features the words of 30 eight to ten-year-olds who tell us about their lives. Their words are spoken by adult performers in a surprising, funny and touching drama. Traverse Theatre, Cambridge Street, 0131 228 1404, 15–26 Aug (not 20), various times, £17–£19 (£6–£14). Preview 14 Aug, 5.45pm, £12 (£6).

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The lad himself

The Yellow Wallpaper

‘Ross Anderson is a young artist – writer, actor, director – of limitless talent. It’s clear this is what he’s meant to be doing’

Robert Milazzo, Âżlm director and founder of the Modern School of Film (New York)

Starring: Ross Anderson, Daisy Bevan, Polina Barbasova, Alexander Poole

12th-18th August at 2pm

performed by BEDS

A woman is sent to the country as a rest cure for the apparent hysteria she has been diagnosed as suffering from.

A g le e f u l c e le brat io n of Ton y H anco ck By Roy Smiles

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Is it possible the very thing designed to help her is actually driving her mad? theSpace @ Surgeons Hall 13-25 August (not 19) 14:05 Tickets: ÂŁ5 Booking 0845 508 8515

A dark and revealing portrayal of the troubles among today’s youth

C Nova, Venue 145 Tickets: ÂŁ8.50-ÂŁ10.50 Concessions: ÂŁ6.50-8.50

Box OfÂżce: 0845 260 1234 theatre/poison

The Good Person of Szechwan

A South East Asian interpretation of Brecht’s classic modern parable of music, politics and comedy.

‘The profound metaphysical question of why evil is permitted, indeed encouraged, in the world has seldom been asked with such force’ (John Fuegi, The Essential Brecht)

13:30 (1 hr) • £5.00 (£4.00) 20th - 25th August theSpace @ Symposium Hall: RCOS Hill Square, EH8 9DR BO 0845 557 7475 | Edinburgh Festival Guide 2012 | THE LIST 95

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OTHER HIGHLIGHTS MORNING A dark new coming-of-age play by award-winning writer Simon Stephens, exploring the relationship between two friends about to go their separate ways but who are bound together by a moment that changed their lives forever. Traverse Theatre, Cambridge Street, 0131 228 1404, 5–19 Aug (not 6, 13), various times, £18–£20 (£6–£15). Previews 1 Aug, 7pm; 4 Aug, 5pm, £13 (£6).

MY ELEVATOR DAYS Tragi-comic monologue that revolves around one man’s reflections on life, his poetry-loving dog, an abortive visit to a sex club and his lifelong love of Grace Kelly, all told to his elevator. Finnish writer/performer Bengt Ahlfors directed the first production of My Elevator Days in 2006. Pleasance Courtyard, Pleasance, 0131 556 6550, 4–27 Aug (not 13, 20), 12.30pm, £9– £10 (£8–£9). Previews 1–3 Aug, £5.

NATIONAL THEATRE OF SCOTLAND PRESENTS S LOVE LETTERS TO THE PUBLIC BLIC TRANSPORT SYSTEM Molly Taylor’s affecting monologue concenrs one woman’s quest to track down those unsung heroess of modern life: the people who transport us to our places of work and areas of significance. Assembly Rooms, George Street, 0844 693 3008, 3–26 Aug (not 6, 13, 20), 6.15pm, £10 (£9). Preview 2 Aug, 7.20pm, £9 (£8). NOLA Look Left, Look Right, the company that won awards and attention ntion with site-specific show The Caravan avan and the interactive one-on-one theatre experience You Once Said Yes, return with an uncompromising verbatim piece about the impact of the BP oil spill. Underbelly, Cowgate, 0844 545 8252, 4–26 Aug (not 14), 3.30pm, £10–£11 (£9–£10). Previews 2 & 3 Aug, £6. OLIVER REED: WILD THING Gone but not forgotten, the harddrinking star of Castaway, Oliver! and that nude wrestling scene (as well as a truly notorious late-night chat show appearance), is dragged back from the great boozer in the sky to share his incredible life story. This engaging monologue features an acclaimed performance from Rob Crouch as the

Clockwise: Shopping Centre, Morning, Unmythable

iconic hellraiser. Gilded Balloon Teviot, Bristo Square, 0131 622 6552, 4–27 Aug (not 8, 15), 3.30pm, £10–£11. Previews 1–3 Aug, £6. SHOPPING CENTRE Stand-up Matthew Osborn returns to the stage following the success of last year’s Cul-De-Sac. This August, he stars in his own Shopping Centre, telling the story of a loner whose unhappiness is alleviated when he starts frequenting the mall, which one day unexpectedly descends into a riot of sex and violence. Gilded Balloon at Third Door, Lothian Street, 0131 622 6552, 4–26 Aug (not 13, 20), 4.30pm, £9–£10 (£9). Previews 1–3 Aug, £5. THE TRENCH Edinburgh Fringe favourites Les Enfants Terribles deliver an exciting new play inspired by the all-too true story of a miner who became tragically entombed in a tunnel during World War I. The company’s characteristic blend of puppetry, physical storytelling and stirring verse, as well as live music from Alexander Wolfe, is used to create an epic journey of human salvation. Pleasance Courtyard, Pleasance, 0131 556 6550, 4–27 Aug (not 14), 1.10pm, £10–£12 (£9–£11). Previews 1–3 Aug, £6. UNMYTHABLE Temple Theatre draw on Le Coq training to present all the best-known Greek myths in just one incredidble hour. This funny and often silly familyfriendly show uses a vibrant mix of physical comedy and drama as well as songs from Barbershopera’s Rob Castell to create exhilarating, accessible theatre, whether you’re a fan of the Greek myths or not. Chances are though, after you’ve tasted a slice of Unmythable, you’ll quickly become a stout convert. Zoo, Pleasance, 0131 662 6892, 5–27 Aug (not 15), 1.45pm, £10 (£7.50). Previews 3 & 4 Aug, £5. Highlights compiled by Allan Radcliffe

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2008: MACBETH It’s the Scottish play in the country’s capital, but given a distinctly international perspective by TR Warszawa and director Grzegorz Jarzyna. Back at the EIF after a four-year absence (if you saw their 4.48 Psychosis, it’s unlikely you’ll have forgotten it), the company pitch Shakespeare’s macabre classic into a blood-soaked Middle Eastern conflict where morals are loose and murder is rampant. ■ Lowland Hall, Royal Highland Centre, 0131 473, 2000, 11–18 Aug (not 14 & 15), 7.30pm; 15 Aug, 2pm, £30–£35.

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SPEED THRILLS Arthur’s Seat will be a dramatic spectacle of light and colour thanks to NVA. Claire Sawers talks to Angus Farquhar and some of his runners ahead of this ambitious meeting of sport and art

hen Sandy Brindley got involved with the Speed of Light project last year, the organisers asked if she’d be a guinea pig and help develop the prototype lightsuits. It meant running 30 times in the outfit to test its durability and comfort. She went for her 7am jogs and after-work runs around Glasgow’s Southside as usual, only this time she wore a catsuit – jet-black with red, green and blue LED stripes stitched around it – looking not unlike a human Christmas tree. ‘It was so interesting seeing peoples’ reactions to it,’ she remembers. ‘People would actually stop to take photos of me on their phones, and I had cars beeping at me too. That’s only one person and one suit, so you can only imagine what it’ll be like on the night, with 150 folk running about in the dark.’ There’s something very Tron about this summer’s Speed of Light project, an ambitious mass choreography spectacle, which will feature hundreds of runners zigzagging across the iconic Arthur’s Seat. All of them will be wearing the neon suits, creating glowing streaks of light across the hillside that will be visible up to two miles away.


Brindley is one of 30 leaders who’ll be directing groups over the hill in a series of carefully mapped-out patterns, creating human waves and squiggles, which weave and intersect over the sleeping lion’s famous silhouette. ‘We’ve had a few practice runs, with a small number of runners and it just looks stunning.’ The project is described by its organisers NVA as ‘a remarkable fusion of public art and sporting endeavour’. The Glasgow arts charity put out a call for runners and walkers, and received almost 4500 pledges to take part. Volunteers will range in ability, from total newbies who didn’t own a pair of trainers before signing up, right on to hardened marathon junkies. But as with all their events, NVA are keen that this is as non-intimidating and accessible an experience as possible. ‘You don’t have to be a mountain goat to take part,’ jokes Angus Farquhar, NVA’s creative director. ‘You can be totally inactive in fact, and gear up towards the event with some light training. We’re not prescriptive about it.’ Farquhar began NVA in the early 90s, and likes the idea of landscapes eliciting an | Edinburgh Festival Guide 2012 | THE LIST 99

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emotional response from the people taking part in his projects. In The Secret Sign, an audience slipped into waders and hard-hats and walked through the Devil’s Pulpit in Finnich Glen near Loch Lomond. NVA tweaked the glen’s setting with lights and fire, turning the gorge into a massive installation of sound and music. The walk took place at night, featuring a soundtrack inspired by animal calls and waterfalls, with birds of prey having been trained to perform as part of the spectacle. ‘I like the idea of keeping the basic idea fairly simple, but creating something . . . mesmeric,’ shrugs Farquhar. In another installation at The Storr on Skye, night walkers were given headlamps and walking sticks and led along an artfully-lit path. As they negotiated their way over the tough track, live solo singing drifted down the ridges through the mists. ‘We all know that old saying about the weather here,’ says Farquhar. ‘There’s no such thing as bad weather in Scotland, just bad clothing. We tend to think of interplay with the weather as part of the overall experience. Yeah, it might be hammering it down when we’re doing something, but maybe it’s those wilder nights that create a more intense experience. Maybe it makes everything that little bit more remarkable.’ Farquhar’s been a marathon runner himself for 14 years, and likes the physically challenging side to NVA’s projects, but he’s also excited about creating a visual feast that will be as impressive from the summit as it is for spectators at ground level. ‘People have seen fireworks before, or maybe a dramatic searchlight, or litup monument, but this is far more subtle. It’s the first time we’ve worked with these LED suits, and hopefully there will be an almost sci-fi quality to the end result, in a very natural setting.’ To design the routes for Speed of Light, NVA collaborated with Litza Bixler, a choreographer who has worked on TV commercials and music videos. The pathways had to be simple enough for groups of runners to be able to follow en masse, but also dramatic enough to create moving works of art at the same time. Although Sandy Brindley is an experienced hill runner herself, and was asked to take part by Farquhar after meeting him six years ago at a marathon, she likes the idea of the project attracting first-timers. ‘When people think

of hill running, they are probably pretty apprehensive,’ she says. ‘They’re worried it’ll be really challenging, but if it’s done at a nice, easy, steady pace, it should be really satisfying. You’re going to get a real sense of achievement, come away with a bit of confidence; who knows, maybe they’ll end up hooked.’ Hamish Brown, digital editor at The List, is taking part in August, and although he jokes that he signed up just for fun, he hopes to get something a bit more rewarding out of it. ‘I’ve never been a runner, always a walker. I have a six-week training schedule planned, so I’ll be running after work. I’ll be anticipating looking back at the whole episode and laughing, but I’m also quite ready for a transcendental experience of heightened awareness.’ Henry Northmore, The List’s clubs editor, has also been in preparation, running two or three miles a couple of times a week to improve his level of fitness before the event, but is also very honest about what he has in mind as his post-run reward. ‘When I try and describe to my friends what I’ll be doing, I say I’m basically going to be covered in lights, running around Arthur’s Seat at night, which to me sounds pretty awesome. I chose the Saturday especially so that when we get down from the hills we can have a few guilt-free beers and stuff our faces with unhealthy food.’ And will Brindley have room in her lightsuit for a hipflask of something strong in case the going gets tough and she needs a boost en route? ‘No way!’ she laughs. ‘There are no pockets in those suits, but I’m sure I’ll find space to stash some jelly beans for energy. And if I start to flag, the views from the top, and the thought of a hot peppermint tea and a bar of chocolate at the end, will definitely keep me going.’ For the less active, it’s possible to stand along the route and wave lightsticks, or even just try and capture a few streaks of neon blurs on a digital camera. As Brindley says, ‘from the ground, or sweating up the hill, I think it’s one of those things people will look back on in years to come and remember it as a once-in-a-lifetime thing.’


NVA: Speed of Light, Arthur’s Seat, Holyrood Park, 0131 473 2000, 9 Aug–1 Sep (not 13 & 14, 20 & 21, 28). Guided walking groups meet every 15 minutes between 9.15pm–11pm, £24 (£18).

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

magine you’ve come to one of those post-industrial arts spaces like Glasgow’s Tramway or L London’s Tate Modern. Imagine, th though, this one is in the middle of a forest, the Bois de Vincennes on the outskirts of Paris. Then imagine the woman showing you to your seats is not just any old usher, but Ariane Mn Mnouchkine, artistic director of Théâtre du Soleil. Hers is a name whispered in thea theatre circles with the same reverence affor afforded Peter Brook, Peter Stein and Robe Robert Lepage, none of whom, to my know knowledge, make a habit of tearing your ticket tickets. Not only o that, but here in the Cartoucherie, form army munitions warehouse, the a former actors are the same people preparing and serving the interval food. They’re still in ma their make-up as they dish out the aubergine Th make their own props and, before salad. They show you can see them in the wings the show, the warm-up exercises. These are not doing their elusiv gods of the West the elusive stage but people like you End stage, and me, visible, accessible, one off us. It is in this atmosphere of community, collective effort and honest communication that 73-year-old Mnouchkine creates her astonishing productions. On one hand, they are actor-centred, built on the resourcefulness of her large ensemble. On the other hand, they are epic in scope, telling stories of long journeys and great quests. That was true, for example, of Le Dernier Caravansérail, a collage of real-life stories told by refugees from around the world. And it is true of Les Naufragés du Fol Espoir (Aurores), the tale of a group of European exiles voyaging to the southern hemisphere to make a new life for themselves. It is the latter – loosely based on a posthumously published novel by Jules Verne – that will play in the specially adapted three-theatre space in the Royal Highland Centre at Ingliston, running back to back with Grzegorz Jarzyna’s 2008: Macbeth and Christoph Marthaler’s Meine faire Dame: ein Sprachlabor (an oddball music-theatre deconstruction of My Fair Lady). The set for Les Naufragés du Fol Espoir (Aurores) is being reproduced exactly as it is in the Cartoucherie, right down to the walls, and will take 15 containers to transport. Serge Nicolaï is one of the show’s stars, if ‘star’ is not too gauche a word for this egalitarian company. It says a lot about the kind of fully-rounded artists with whom Mnouchkine collaborates that Nicolaï is a whole lot more than just an actor. On this show, translated as The Castaways of the Mad Hope (Sunrises), he is also the designer and part of the scriptwriting team. When I speak to him, he’s in the middle of


directing a production of Sartre’s No Exit in Buenos Aires. Like his fellow performers, he is as much a creator of this four-hour show as director Mnouchkine or writer Hélène Cixous. ‘It’s my job to be an actor and to make the set,’ he says. ‘It’s industry. It’s a factory of theatre. There is no star system. Because it’s a collective creation, it is always talking about groups, the story of people, not three or four people, but many.’ In a company where actors are on the same salary regardless of experience, Mnouchkine focuses the group’s creativity by suggesting a starting point and, over a lengthy rehearsal and improvisation process, shaping the work as it emerges. ‘The genius of Ariane is that sometimes I think she knows everything from the beginning,’ says Nicolaï. ‘We improvised every day for almost one year. She is the eye, receiving everything we’re doing and managing it. She’s like the conductor of an orchestra. At the beginning, she is like a blank sheet of paper, saying, “ok, let’s go to work and see what happens”. She is absolutely open and, at the end, she keeps what is absolutely necessary for the story.’ Set in July 1914, that story follows the journey of the Fol Espoir passengers who want to set up a community in Cape Hope while the rest of the world hurtles towards war. In this production, we watch a film crew attempting to tell this tale of thwarted idealism using restaurant staff as actors. ‘This is the story of a group of people who are trying to do something almost anarchic in the original sense of the word,’ Nicolaï adds. ‘They are all pacifists. This is something they need to do as a way of fighting against the war which is growing in Europe. It’s a big story of politics and the last possibility of freedom in the world, for socialism.’ In Mnouchkine’s theatre, the grand communal themes she explores on stage are consistent with the way she treats the audience. These are plays about society for society. Because of that, the audience must play its part. ‘The public all the time need to be educated,’ says Nicolaï. ‘It’s necessary not to enter the theatre with all the baggage of the day. Even in Paris, we are not in the centre, we are in the wood; you don’t have the Metro, you have to take the bus and then you have to find the theatre. It is a crusade for people. When you get your ticket, there are no numbers; to get the best place, you have to be the first one. The show starts with Ariane at the entrance. We open the theatre one hour before and Ariane almost all the time opens the theatre.’ The four-hour running time of Les Naufragés du Fol Espoir (Aurores) is part of the same philosophy even if, in Mnouchkine’s hands, the hours fly by. ‘In our society, time passes so quickly,’ says Nicolaï. ‘But we can’t make theatre with speed. It’s not graffiti sprayed quickly on a wall. It’s not fast-food art. Four hours is a short show for Théâtre du Soleil. For us it’s very easy. You’re lucky it’s not eight.’


Les Naufragés du Fol Espoir (Aurores), Lowland Hall, Royal Highland Centre, 0131 473 2000, 23–28 Aug (not 26), 6pm, £30–£35. | Edinburgh Festival Guide 2012 | THE LIST 103

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INTERNATIONAL SOPHIE BEVAN un’, ‘wonderful’ and ‘luck’ are words which crop up regularly in conversation with Sophie Bevan. The 28-year-old soprano clearly enjoys her chosen career and the growing number of prestigious opportunities which are coming her way. They may be fun and wonderful, but it’s certainly not all down to luck. Bevan is one of the hottest talents around, a beautifully ss to her expressive lyric soprano with an easy creaminess s. Earlier rich tone that adapts to a huge variety of roles. kthrough this year, she walked away with The Times Breakthrough Award at the 2012 South Bank Sky Arts Awards,, fending off a variety of actors, artists and authors for thee coveted prize. Although Bevan has appeared plenty times on the Fringe – proudly winning an award with Paintingg Music, en – and a group that combines art and music for children his is the has been in the audience for EIF performances, this gramme: first time she’s been invited to be part of their programme: ‘It’s fantastic to be doing the real deal, and I feel very honoured.’ Not that Bevan is giving up on the Fringe.. She is also singing Bach and Handel with Ludus Baroque at Canongate Kirk. To those Fringe pieces in Bevan’s ormances Edinburgh 2012 repertoire are added EIF performances of Purcell’s King Arthur and the incidental music to erformed Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, performed ell as the in its original version with vocal numbers as well famous overture and ‘Wedding March’. eeky and ‘It’s such glorious music,’ she says, ‘really cheeky charming.’ Joining Bevan on stage for three of her four er rising appearances is her younger sister, Mary, another soprano star. There may well be more to come, as the mediate Bevans number seven girls and a boy in the immediate usical. family, with around 60 cousins who are also all musical. ‘We’re all very close in age and close as a family; we’re so used to spending time together. Mary and I love ght go working together and as our younger sisters might into singing, we’ll always have someone to sing with.’ f It’s a busy summerr for the sisters and even more so for arried in July. Sophie, who gets married ‘This past year or so, everything has happened so quickly. It’s like a whirlwind. I feel like I’m getting to sing everywheree both at homee and abroad, withh exciting conductorss and festivals aroundd the world, includingg nd back in Scotland for Lammermuir in ed September. I expected ual it to be a gradual process, but it’s not!’’ ief After a brief honeymoon, much of ent which will be spent


learning scores, Bevan makes her debut at the Royal Opera House in the autumn singing the Woodbird in Siegfried. It’s good preparation for her ROH appearance next May as Pamina in The Magic Flute. ‘I love all the dressing up and acting with opera, but I also love the interaction with the audience and looking them in the eye in concerts and recitals. I just hope I keep being lucky enough to do it all.’ A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 13 Aug, 8pm, £12– £42; King Arthur, 27 Aug, 7.30pm, £12–£42. Both performances at Usher Hall, Lothian Road, 0131 473 2000; Ludus Baroque, Canongate Kirk, Canongate, 0131 668 2019, 8 Aug, 7.30pm & 9 Aug, 7pm, £16 (£12).

SISTER ACT With awards and acclaim piling up at her feet, soprano Sophie Bevan will have a familiar face and voice beside her this August. She tells Carol Main that music is kept firmly in the family 104 THE LIST | Edinburgh Festival Guide 2012 |

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THE ICE QUEEN COMETH As Opera North prepare to bring us a new version of The Makropulos Case, Kate Molleson recalls the history of a tale whose central character is either a nihilistic vixen or feminist icon

milia M Marty is 337 years old and beginning to feel her he age. She’s outlived identity changes and sco scores of lovers, can sing a mean aria and argue three centuries-worth of legal fine print. But li brought happiness? Far from it. Now has long life woun up in 1922 fighting nasty inheritance she’s wound battles in a dingy lawyer’s office in Prague. She’s ap callous, apathetic, tired – and maybe even ready to die. Jan Leoš Janáček wrote The Makropulos Case in 1926, well into his own twilight years. In terms of artistic clout he’d been a late starter, reaching fame in his 60s and producing some of his greatest hi 70s. His later stage heroines – Kátya work in his Kabanová, the Cunning Little Vixen, Emilia w inspired by a woman in her 30s who Marty – were recip never reciprocated his feelings; if there’s an edge unattain of unattainable ice-queen about them, there’s one easy guess as to why. He based his libretto on a play by the Czech modernist sci-fi writer Karel Čapek, who in turn i had taken inspiration from George Bernard Shaw’s co fantasy collection Back to Methuselah. There themat parallels with Oscar Wilde, too, but are thematic Makropulo is an altogether more troubling case. Makropulos Dor Gray chooses a devilish pact in return While Dorian lo for vain longevity and Shaw’s immortality trick is lea simply learning to live forever, Marty’s fate was cruelly inflicted upon her. Back in 1601 when she 16 her father, employed as court magician was just 16, Empero Rudolf II, used her as a guinea pig for to Emperor imm a new immortality potion. She fell into a coma and arre he was arrested for fraud, but later she woke up and escaped w with the potion’s magic formula, obliged f at least 300 years. to live on for o Čapek’s play makes for unlikely Some of m operatic material – Janáček sticks to text with long o legal wrangling – but somehow it all passages of makes for fantastically provocative and poignant A a vocal composer he loved the natural listening. As o speech and would wander the streets rhythms of of Prague eavesdropping on conversations and notating their contours and concerns. His lines sing like social-realist drama. Even his orchestration has an uncanny anthropomorphism to it: the cackling winds, the snide trumpets, the strings that quick-change sarcasm and vulnerability; these instruments converse in human frailty and acerbic humour, like Bulgakov on a stave. The score is sensual and neurotic, its effect unsettling, riveting and deeply moving. Some productions treat Marty as remorseless to the end, an embittered and nihilistic vixen whose many years of life have left generations of male hearts broken and her own impenetrably stony. Other productions take a more feminist tack,



portraying her as teenage victim of a dodgy science experiment and stoic survivor of three centuries of dysfunctional relationships. C e r t a i n l y, Janáček’s score, angular and fragmented in its first acts, allows her genuine tenderness by the finale. No matter how she’s drawn, the success of any Makropulos production depends on the strength of its leading lady. Swedish soprano Ylva Kihlberg is a relatively unfamiliar name in these parts and so tackles Opera North’s new production with a clean slate. Featuring stage direction by Tom Cairns – company regular and moderate risk-taker – and with excellent company director Richard Farnes presiding over the pit, The Makropulos Case is a clear highlight of EIF’s classical line-up. The Makropulos Case, Festival Theatre, Nicolson Street, 0131 473 2000, 11, 13 Aug, 7.15pm, £16–£68. | Edinburgh Festival Guide 2012 | THE LIST 105

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FRENCH CONNECTION Kelly Apter talks to Laurent Garnier, the techno legend who was happily y put in his place by compatriot choreographer, Angelin Preljocaj. All in the name of creating a sublime dance and music experience

aurent Garnier has been making the planet dance for 25 years.’ So states the opening line of the Frenchman’s personal website. While there’s a hint of hyperbole in that statement, it’s fair to say Garnier has filled a few floors in his time. From those heady days at Manchester’s Hacienda in the late 80s/early 90s, through his regular Parisian club nights to an ongoing commitment to breaking new ground on his own webradio station, Garnier clearly earned that place on the shortlist of Mixmag’s 2011 DJ of the Year. Piecing together the right beats and rhythms to make the human body move has been his forte since he was a child, but recently Garnier has been providing music for a very different set of dancers. At this year’s Edinburgh International Festival, one of the world’s most acclaimed contemporary dance choreographers, Angelin Preljocaj, will present an epic work inspired by the Book of Revelation. Garnier is responsible for the atmospheric soundtrack that drives it. First performed in 2010 by Preljocaj’s own company and dancers from the Bolshoi Ballet, And then, one thousand years of peace is a remarkable work full of theatricality and heightened emotion. Despite its biblical inspiration, the piece doesn’t depict the end of the world. Instead, Preljocaj set out to explore society and the world we live in. The word ‘religion’, he points out, once meant ‘to connect’, which is why he wanted Garnier onboard. ‘Laurent’s music is very powerful,’ says Preljocaj. ‘But also, he connects people together. He’ll have huge concerts with three or four thousand people in the audience, and after a while, those people are in the same mood: they are all connected.’ Preljocaj had also heard some of Garnier’s studio albums, in particular The Cloud Making Machine, which Garnier dubbed ‘a soundtrack to an imaginary film’. Keen to move into the worlds of film and theatre, the CD started to open doors for Garnier. ‘I think that album brought me to people like Angelin,’ he says, ‘because the first time I met him, he said he’d heard it and that was the kind of thing he wanted from me. Which is great, because that’s exactly where I wanted to go with my career – to start working with choreographers.’


And not just any choreographers. Preljocaj has spent the past 30 years working with some of the biggest names in the dance world, as well as building up a formidable company of his own. ‘Angelin is my favourite choreographer,’ says Garnier. ‘To me, he’s the best we have in France. I’m a complete fan of his company, and I knew his work very well before we actually met.’ The two men first worked together on a short piece to celebrate the opening of Preljocaj’s impressive headquarters in Aixen-Provence. So when the idea for And then, one thousand years of peace first came about, Preljocaj knew exactly who to call. ‘Angelin gave me the story of the apocalypse and said, “read it, but then do your idea of what the apocalypse is,”’ explains Garnier. ‘He didn’t want to give me a storyline or too much information. So I created lots of basic musical moods, and said to him, “this is what I get from reading it and from talking to people about the apocalypse: are we in the same place on this?” And we definitely were, we really understood each other.’ The resulting soundtrack goes through varying levels of intensity, evoking images of destruction, resolution, chaos and calm. It’s a far cry from the acid house of Garnier’s Hacienda days. ‘I didn’t use the same skills I use when I’m a DJ,’ he says. ‘And I didn’t build the music in the same way I would if I was trying to make people dance, because it’s a completely different story. Music-wise, it’s pretty far away from what people would expect me to do, which is techno. Of course the music is very electronic, and there are a couple of tracks that have a dancefloor beat, but we are very far away from all that.’ Although Preljocaj and Garnier kept in close contact during the creation of the piece, the two men worked in different cities. During rehearsal, Preljocaj used completely different music to Garnier’s, encouraging the dancers to engage with the choreography before being influenced by sound. The way Preljocaj’s dancers receive a score is distinctly different from the clubbers who usually dance to Garnier’s output. ‘Whatever you do, even if your music has absolutely no beats, dancers can still find the timing of it,’ says Garnier. ‘And that absolutely fascinates me about contemporary


dance. I’ve seen quite a lot off it and I always think, “how the hell do they find a way to dance to that me, music?” Because a lot of the time, the music is completely abstract and sed. yet the dancers are so synchronised. usic, But they are following the music, ry y counting it and hearing it in a very different way.’ tss There are many such moments n, of remarkable unison in And then, one thousand years of peace. Butt then, Preljocaj’s dancers are welll used to doing it. The company’ss EIF programme will also featuree two shorter works, Helikopterr h and Eldorado, both of which include soundtracks by the late German electronic composer, Karlheinz Stockhausen. For Helikopter, Preljocaj used an existing piece of music, but Stockhausen composed Eldorado especially for Ballet Preljocaj. It would seem the working relationship between d Preljocaj/Stockhausen and Preljocaj/Garnier was on a slightly different footing, however. ‘One day I sent a track to Angelin, and as always he came back to me and said, “you need to re-work this bit or that bit,”’ recalls Garnier. ‘Sometimes he would say so much about thee d tiniest thing: “maybe you could r, cut that one second of music” or, o “change that tiny noise”. He’s so e, precise, and I said to him once, th “listen, when you worked with ad Stockhausen, did you do his head tty in this much? Because I’m pretty ave sure Stockhausen would have k’”. said, ‘fuck off, it’s my track’”. And Angelin said, “no, but I can nny, do it with you”. It was really funny, p.’ we had a very good relationship.’ Ballet Preljocaj: And then, one ne 7–19 thousand years of peace, 17–19 Aug; Helikopter/Eldorado, 22 Aug. All performances at Edinburgh Playhouse, Greenside Place, 0131 473 2000, 7.30pm, £10–£30.

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of Ariadne auf Naxos, the Floridian soprano thankfully lost none of that powerful voice. In this highlyanticipated show, she belts out tunes by the likes of Amy Beach, Verdi and Richard Strauss, with piano accompaniment coming from New York’s Brian Zeger. Usher Hall, Lothian Road, 12 Aug, 8pm, £12–£34. GULLIVER’S TRAVELS Following their staggering Faust of 2009, Romania’s Radu Stanca National Theatre of Sibiu have quite a daunting task ahead of them to match that. But something tells you that Silviu Purcarete’s company will relish the mission. xpect plenty antes to be upped as they take on Jonathan Swift’s satirical epic and bash around its themes of journey, dreams, exile and solitude. King’s Theatre, Leven Street, 17–20 Aug, 8pm; 19 Aug matinee, 2.30pm, £12 £12–£30. £30.

BATSHEVA DANCE COMPANY They last stirred the festival in 2008 with the blazing Deca Dance, which featured the relatively rare sight of some members of an EIF audience on stage with the performers. Under the guidance of innovative choreographer Ohad Naharin (the man who developed the Gaga technique), Batsheva return with the visceral Hora, in which contemporary movement merges with ideas from the alien worlds of science fiction. Edinburgh Playhouse, Greenside Place, 30 Aug–1 Sep, 7.30pm, £10–£30. DEBORAH COLKER DANCE COMPANY A true clashing of cultures here as Brazil’s major dance company take on Eugene Onegin, Pushkin’s tale of obsession in 19th century Russia, and give it a very steamy Rio twist. As if that wasn’t enough of a festival thrill, music comes from Tchaikovsky,

DEBORAH VOIGT Having famously shed 100 pounds after being dropped from a production

SCOTTISH OPERA To mark their half-century and as part of a long-term exploration into what the genre of opera might mean in the 21st century, Scottish Opera have brought together an extraordinary array of talent for four new works inspired by the likes of Henrik Ibsen and Thomas Hardy. Among those involved in this eclectic project are composers Craig Armstrong and James MacMillan, and writers Louise Welsh, Zoë Strachan and Michael Symmons Roberts. Various venues, dates, times and prices. MONEY VIRGIN MO FIREWORKS FIREWOR CONCERT spectacular finale The specta festival season to the fest anything is never a less than a musical pyrotechnical and pyro extravaganza, and this extravag revolves around year rev inspirations: the twin ins Diamond Jubilee Diamon the World and th Shakespeare Shake Festival. Garry Festiv Walker conducts Walk Scottish the S Chamber Cha Orchestra Orc through a quartet thr of pieces: two works tw by Walton, b excerpts from e Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, and Vaughan Williams’ evocation of folk sstandard ‘Greensleeves’. Princes Street Gardens, 2S Sep, 9pm, £ £12.50– G d £27.50.

From top, clockwise: Batsheva Dance Company, Virgin Money Fireworks Concert, Wonderland

Stravinsky and Terry Riley. Edinburgh Playhouse, Greenside Place, 11–14 Aug, 7.30pm, £10–£30.

various mysteries have to be solved quicksharp. This witty and quirky play features music from Wagner, Ravel and, of course, Bryan Adams. Lowland Hall, Royal Highland Centre, 14 & 15, 19 Aug, 7.30pm; 17 & 18 Aug, 2pm, £25–£30.

MEINE FAIRE DAME: EIN SPRACHLABOR Theater Basel present this (very) loosely-based take on My Fair Lady, in which a Hungarian linguist discovers a somewhat sinister note whose

WONDERLAND Vanishing Point are by no means the first to put their personal stamp on Lewis Carroll’s most famous writing, but this should be an interpretation that will sear itself on your mind long after this festival draws to a close. Tackling the modern concerns of fame, power and the mainstreaming of pornography, Wonderland portrays an uncompromising vision of the dark side to curiosity. Royal Lyceum Theatre, Grindlay Street, 29 Aug–1 Sep, 7.30pm, £10–£30.

For tickets call 0131 473 2000. Highlights compiled by Brian Donaldson

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KYLE EASTWOOD The rugged demeanour, surname and love of jazz surely give the game away as to this guy’s heritage. But if anyone is wrong-headed enough to think Kyle has simply been given a leg-up by his legendary dad, they might want to reflect on an impressive track record of world tours and critically-loved releases, the most recent of which is Songs from the Chateau. Making Kyle’s day even more is the solo appearance of guitarist Martin Taylor. ■ Festival Theatre, Nicolson Street, 0131 473 2000, 26 Jul, 8pm, £15.

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OTHER HIGHLIGHTS DR JOHN & THE LOWER 911 With a fresh spring in his step after the acclaim of new release Lockdown (a collection produced by The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach), Mac Rebennack returns to the festival with support coming from fellow New Orleans player Jon Cleary, whose sixth solo album, Occapella!, has also done some impressive business. Festival Theatre, Nicolson Street, 21 Jul, 8pm, £22.50–£26.50.

MIAMI VOICE A tribute to Duke Ellington is drawing together some exciting jazz names. Miles Fielder talks to Cécile McLorin Salvant whose admiration of the iconic bandleader goes deep ne of the absolute highlights of the 34th Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival is a performance of legendary jazz composer, bandleader and pianist Duke Ellington’s music. A selection from Ellington’s songbook, including his 1943 symphony ‘Black, Brown, Beige’, 1966’s ‘Far East Suite’ and ‘The Queen’s Suite’ (which the Duke originally dedicated to Elizabeth II and which is being played to mark the Diamond Jubilee), will be performed by the World Jazz Orchestra, featuring musicians assembled from 16 different countries and every continent. The Orchestra is to be led by veteran Scottish saxophonist and bandleader Joe Temperley who toured and recorded with the legend himself in 1974. Completing the line-up for this appropriately grand event to join Temperley and the Orchestra on the big stage at the Festival Theatre will be the award-winning young French-American singer Cécile McLorin Salvant, who returns following her festival debut last year. ‘Duke Ellington is my favourite musician and composer of all music genres and of all time,’ says Salvant, speaking down the phone from her hometown of Miami. From there, she will fly to France and perform two concerts ahead of her arrival in Edinburgh. ‘He is also probably my favourite pianist. He’s very underrated as a pianist, actually. A lot of people only think about how creative he was as an arranger, a composer and a bandleader. I admire Ellington’s vision of the music, which is very expansive. He saw it as art and he painted with music. That’s very rare. His music is very accessible and at the same time extremely intellectual; it’s challenging music, but music that can also make you dance. There’s everything in Ellington. When you listen to his early music, when he was just starting out, it’s incredible to see, even then, how avant garde he was, how ahead of his time he was; out of his time, even.’ Salvant was born and raised in Miami, the daughter of a French mother and a Haitian father, and she started making music at a very young age. At four she was studying piano, and by the age of


eight she was in a choir and learning about opera and baroque music at the University of Miami. After Salvant finished high school she went to France to continue her music studies at the Conservatory in Aix-en-Provence and it was there that she switched from classical music to jazz after meeting and subsequently being mentored by the French saxophone player Jean-François Bonnel. ‘I was very into classical music,’ says Salvant. ‘I auditioned for Jean-François just for fun, because I was interested in getting into the classical voice class, and he said I had a voice that was well suited to jazz. So I started taking classes with him. But I never had a vocal teacher. I always had instrumentalists teaching me. Jean-François gave me a bunch of records – Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday – and I learned to sing through them. That reminded me of my childhood when my mom used to play a lot of Sarah Vaughan and Dinah Washington records, and I would imitate them and sing back the songs. I’ve always had music in my life whether it be jazz or classical or Cuban or Haitian music.’ Salvant’s big break came in 2010, when she won the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Vocal Jazz Competition. ‘It opened a lot of doors,’ Salvant admits. ‘It accelerated everything. And I got to meet Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter! It was amazing and surreal.’ Since then Salvant has been making waves with her unique interpretations of jazz standards. After her appearance in Edinburgh, she’ll be returning to her new home in New York to record some of those interpretations. Meantime, Salvant’s eagerly looking forward to interpreting Ellington. ‘I’ve always loved singing Ellington’s songs,’ she says. ‘They’re so well constructed; they’re wonderful. So it’s really very exciting to be part of paying homage to such a master.’ Cécile McLorin Salvant Quartet, Salon Elegance, George Square Gardens, 0131 473 2000, 26 Jul, 8.30pm, £15; World Jazz Orchestra, Festival Theatre, Nicolson Street, 0131 473 2000, 28 Jul, 8pm, £15.

HIDDEN ORCHESTRA/FLOEX This genre-bending pair will open eyes to some who think jazz is a less than broad church. Fresh from dates in Cairo, Malmö and Somerset, Edinburgh’s hypnotic Hidden Orchestra are joined by the equally mesmerising Floex, known to his pals as the multimedia Czech composer Tomáš Dvorák. Queen’s Hall, Clerk Street, 24 Jul, 8pm, £12.50. JEREMY PELT QUINTET Born in the mid-70s but with musical roots heavily indebted to the legends of bebop, Pelt’s stock has been rising ever since his 2002 solo debut, Profile. Those of a Blue Note persuasion have to get along to this. Bosco Theatre, George Square Gardens, 22 Jul, 7pm, £15. LAURA MACDONALD & JOAKIM MILDER GROUP The Berklee College alumnus is joined by the renowned saxophonist, composer, arranger, and professor at Stockholm’s Royal Conservatory for a vibrant night of Scandic-Scottish sounds. Salon Elegance, George Square Gardens, 27 Jul, 6pm, £10. MAGGIE BELL & BLUES ‘N’ TROUBLE A night to cherish for fans of Scottish blues as Caledonian icons of the form collaborate. Once dubbed Britain’s answer to Janis Joplin, Bell has worked with everyone from BA Robertson and Rod Stewart to Taggart and The Who. Festival Theatre, Nicolson Street, 20 Jul, 8pm, £12.50. For tickets call 0131 473 2000 (0131 668 2019 for Queen’s Hall). Highlights compiled by Brian Donaldson | Edinburgh Festival Guide 2012 | THE LIST 111

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POLITICS. CULTURE. CREATIVITY. A FORCE FOR POSITIVE CHANGE The 2012 Festival of Politics seeks to explore some of these issues through debate, discussion, drama and art. Template.indd 112

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SINGIN’ I’M NO A BILLY, HE’S A TIM The difficulties of overcoming ignorance associated with the issue of sectarianism in Scotland were perfectly highlighted last season when one football radio pundit accused Des Dillon’s play of actually promoting division. He had never seen it of course. Come and judge for yourself as a Celtic and Rangers fan are locked up in a cell together on the day of a crucial Glasgow derby. ■ Scottish Parliament, Holyrood Road, 0131 348 5405, 17 Aug, 6.30pm, £10 (£7.50).

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SEND UP THE CLOWNS From the Kalahari Desert to the offices of Punch, satirists have had a field day tearing into pomposity. Malcolm Jack finds out what makes contemporary caricaturists tick here was a moment during an especially bitchy session of Prime Minister’s Questions in April that said much about how satire can influence the centre of British political debate. With David Cameron reeling during an angry exchange on the Budget, Ed Miliband delivered his choreographed coup de grâce by accusing his Tory opposite number – in the wake of the charity tax U-turn and pastygate – of presiding over an ‘omnishambles’. It was an expression lifted from The Thick of It, Armando Iannucci’s multi-award winning comedy series satirising Westminster’s inner workings. More specifically, Miliband quoted the show’s epically foul-mouthed Scots spin-doctor Malcolm Tucker, played by Peter Capaldi, who memorably concludes his merciless, expletiveridden berating of hapless MP Nicola Murray ffee machine, you thusly: ‘You’re like that coffee know? From bean to cup, youu fuck up.’ Make what you like of the first recorded usage of ‘omnishambles’ in the Commons, whose members probably either chuckle at The Thick of It as if it’s a big in-joke,, or watch through knitted-fingerss at this spot-on slice of realityy er TV. A major political leader ch quite without irony using such ch language as a stick with which nt a to beat another has to represent ked triumph for satire. Iannucci joked stic. afterwards on Twitter: ‘Fantastic. nd’s With the royalties from Miliband’s “omnishambles” quote we’ve now secured enough funding for a new series.’ And yet, at the same timee this was also nothing particularlyy new. Inspired by ancient Greek writers such as Aristophanes, political piss-takers have a long and rich history in Britain. From the 18th century etchings of caricaturist and printmaker James Gillray through Punch to Yes, Prime Minister, Spitting Image and The Daily Mash, their impact has been routinely felt. Comedy at the expense of our elected officials is a vital safety valve of any semi-functioning democracy, by serving to keep leaders in a healthy pinch: between the ego-shattering fear of becoming the butt of the joke and the cardinally untrustworthy sin of appearing to have no sense of humour. ‘I think it’s an indication of the psychic health of any society that the cunts in charge allow the people to laugh at them,’ blurts political cartoonist Martin Rowson, with a full-blooded laugh. Fresh from drawing ‘a nice Osborne pasty gag’, the celebrated contributor to The Guardian



and The Independent recalls being challenged by a grumpy Gordon Brown for ‘always drawing him so fat’ and receiving death threats from every conceivable political and religious faction (‘including atheists’). Cartoons are one of the oldest forms of political satire. Britain’s earliest recorded precedents to the scathing doodlings of such 20th century heavyweights as Gerald Scarfe and Ronald Searle, and their modern disciples Rowson and Steve Bell, can be traced back to 1695 and an explosion in print freedom following the repeal of the Licensing Act. And maybe much farther still. ‘If you want the first political cartoon, it was probably scrawled somewhere on the wall of a cave,’ reckons Rowson, illustrating his point with an example from an anthropology book. ‘It describes egalitarian huntergathe gatherers and the major tactics

they used to stop leaders emerging. They used murder, they ostracised people, but one of the most important ones was mockery. There’s a wonderful description of some Kalahari bushmen laughing at some bloke who brings back a springbok, saying, “look what I just brought back, what a great leader I am”, and they all yell, “fuck off! Call that a springbok?”’ Many of political satire’s most popular and iconic moments have occurred on television. The cynical outlook of sitcom Yes Minister and its sequel Yes, Prime Minister were revolutionary in the 80s, while Spitting Image was essential viewing with its pitiless latex caricaturing of Thatcher, Kinnock, Reagan, Major and co. More recently, Iannucci has successfully turned his satirical skills to American politics with his new HBO series Veep, while The Thick of It’s 2009 movie spin-off In the Loop received an Oscar nomination for best adapted screenplay.

Tommy Sheppard, director of The Stand Comedy Club, points to Spitting Image as a formative comedy experience, though he concedes that the show was sometimes guilty of going too far, an error political satirists are not unknown to make. ‘The David Steel puppet was exceptionally cruel,’ he says, recalling the programme’s portrayal of the then-Liberal Party leader as a tiny non-entity constantly in the pocket of SDP colleague, David Owen. ‘It basically flatlined his political career, by making him an object of personal ridicule. I think it’s important that a satirist satirises the ideas and the comments a person is making rather than the person.’ One area of entertainment that Sheppard believes trails others when it comes to political satire is stand-up comedy. The likes of Rory Bremner, Stewart Lee and Andy Zaltzman are three examples he points to as master practitioners of the genre, and he aalways encourages the booking of new satiri satirical acts. But Sheppard admits that it takes a rare breed of seriously gifted and brave comic to skilfully deliver such material that requires rrefreshing nightly and is, by it its very nature, deeply divisive. ‘I ‘I’ve seen a few English comics co come up here and poke fun at Al Alex Salmond. It gets a laugh, but it also gets a few sharp intakes b of breath. Like, “who the fuck are you you?”’ It’s tempting to conclude that news spoof websites such as The Daily Mash and its American precu precursor The Onion, with their ironic, surreal and wantonly unbiase unbiased outlook, represent gamechangers for political satire. But even if their capacity to rapidly spread mass hilarity across social media at politicians’ expense might be altering how we consume political satire, according to Rowson, its essential ‘background heckling’ nature and methodology probably haven’t evolved much since the time of Gillray. ‘I remember Steve Bell and I did an event at Cheltenham years ago,’ he recounts. ‘This extremely red-faced man – his whiskers bristling, looking like an outraged colonel – said, “well I don’t know about anybody else, but I’d prefer to have some proper statesmen running the country than a couple of bloody satirists!” Well, that’s not our job. Our job is just to make it slightly harder for the people who do.’ An Incredibly Brief History of Political Satire, Scottish Parliament, Holyrood Road, 0131 348 5405, 18 Aug, 10.30am, free.

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GENERATION X Does the world of British politics truly cater for this country’s young people? As a day is set aside for the issues that concern them, Charlotte Runcie talks to opinion formers of the future oung voters are valuable. At their first election, many teenagers choose the political party to which they will align for life; it would be wise, surely, for the parties to make sure they get them early. But there is obviously still a failure to engage: politicians appear happier to be seen courting the votes of ‘hardworking families’ and ‘the squeezed middle’ than the neglected youth. The Festival of Politics is doing both young adults and politicians a service in sitting MSPs down and listening to voters who will have long memories and many general elections ahead of them. Politicians may need this extra shove in the right direction to start taking a vast constituency more seriously. The riots that swept major cities last summer, student protests against the ConDem austerity measures and the Occupy movement all revealed a swathe of young people dislodged from mainstream politics, grasping for an alternative. A generation that felt disconnected from democracy tried to construct its own, new system of political participation through protest, but very little appears to have changed. Can mainstream politics find a way of engaging fledgling voters in a way that’s creative, meaningful and productive? ‘You don’t have to be a member of a political party to be political,’ insists David Linden, leader of the SNP Youth. ‘People are constantly making their opinions known and nailing their colours to the mast on Twitter and Facebook. This is one of the most political generations we’ve ever had, and as we move towards voting by text and online, that’s only going to increase.’


David Green, President of Liberal Youth Scotland, is less optimistic about youth engagement, worrying that graduates and school leavers could feel left behind. ‘We need to kick-start our economy, and young people are the future of our economy and our country. New ideas and skills, new energy and ambition are all attributes young people offer.’ Green worries about a ‘lost generation’, recognising that young people feel disengaged from education and politics. But aside from the Festival of Politics’ day for the young, are politicians really doing enough to communicate directly with their newest voters? The SNP tries to include those just entering adulthood in its most central policy by appealing to familiarity. Linden tells me that, ‘when we talk to young people about independence, we liken it to growing up and moving away from your parents, becoming financially and emotionally independent, and we find young people really understand and relate to that.’ Rioting didn’t achieve anything directly, but the increasing demands of a new generation of voters to be heard somehow – whether online or in the streets – has perhaps helped to open the eyes of our major parties: politics needs to be packaged for the young in a way that means they want to buy it. Young People’s Day may be a concession outside the mainstream, but it represents part of a larger move by parties to understand, rather than assume they know, the concerns of younger voters. That’s quite a big step.


Young People’s Day debate, Scottish Parliament, Holyrood Road, 0131 348 5405, 25 Aug, 1.30pm, free.

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OTHER HIGHLIGHTS ART IN FOCUS: GEORGE WYLLIE The recent death of the iconic Scottish sculptor puts this event into sad relief, but celebration of a beloved artist will be the order of this occasion. The scheduled panel includes artist Roddy Buchanan, filmmaker Murray Grigor and RIAS secretary and treasurer Neil Baxter, who will discuss his life and work. In addition, Saturday tours of Wyllie’s sculptures will take place in the Parliament Garden. 17 Aug, 4.30pm, free. Call 0131 348 5200 for tour information. THE FUTURE OF THE MUSIC INDUSTRY It used to be intriguing to follow the development and innovation of music genres but the way we consume music now has become just as crucial as the sounds we put in our ears. This event will look at the response in other countries to the technological revolution that has led to a vicious dip in CD sales. Frightened Rabbit’s Scott Hutchison takes part. 25 Aug, 5pm, £4 (£2.50).

From top, clockwise: William Wallace’s Lübeck Letter of 1297, Jamie Byng, Vicky Featherstone

LITERARY LEGACIES The story of Edinburgh publishers Canongate is a rollercoaster ride as thrilling as much of the often uncompromising novels and memoirs they’ve put on our shelves for almost 40 years. The company’s bosss Jamie Byng is joined by Kirsty Gunn, creative writing professor at the University of Dundee which houses ses the Canongate Archive, to discusss the importance of publishing withoutt fear. 24 Aug, 4.30pm, free. SCOTCH WHISKY: LOCAL HERO OR INTERNATIONAL AMBASSADOR? Once viewed as the drink of choice for the senior individual, the whisky industry has done sterling work in appealing to a younger crowd. A Scotch Whisky Association representative and an MSP panellist will discuss the impact of this iconic Scottish business on our economy and the stiff challenges that lie ahead. 17 Aug, 3.30pm, free.

SCOTLAND’S MISSING WOOD CABINS You may think that it’s not an especially burning issue, but the fact that Scotland has no hut or cabin culture is systematic of the land ownership policies that keep urban Scots away from nature. Journalist Lesley Riddoch and land campaigner Andy Wightman discuss the subject and compare our country with the likes of Norway, Sweden and Canada. 18 Aug, 10am, free. SIR WILLIAM WALLACE, SCOTLAND AND THE WIDER WORLD Following on from a talk earlier in the day at 10am about William Wallace and John Balliol, this debate features experts on medieval European history discussing the momentous events in Scotland around the years 1286– 1306. Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick hosts proceedings. 24 Aug, 11.30am, £4 (£2.50).

THE TALENT OF OUR YOUNG PEOPLE PEO What Wh is it that inspires creativity insp in individuals and i how ho can we help to encourage our young people yo to play a more signifi cant role in si the th cultural life of o Scotland? The T National Theatre of T Scotland chief Vicky Featherstone, radio presenter and Deacon Blue main man Ricky Ross, former BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award winner Siobhan Miller and chief executive of Creative Scotland Andrew Dixon, are among those attending this event which is an element of the important Young People@FoP strand. 17 Aug, 5.15pm, £4 (£2.50). WHO ARE ‘JOCK TAMSON’S BAIRNS’? Are the Scots really as welcoming to immigrants as we sometimes like to believe? How do immigrants themselves view the attitudes of their hosts? Among those debating this sensitive issue are the busy Lesley Riddoch, politics professor Shamit Saggar and Scottish Refugee Council’s chief executive John Wilkes. 24 Aug, 10.30am, free. All events at Scottish Parliament, Holyrood Road, 0131 348 5405. Highlights compiled by Brian Donaldson | Edinburgh Festival Guide 2012 | THE LIST 117

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LIFE’S RICH PAGEANTRY The 2012 Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo will be a riotous celebration of monarchy and creativity. Kirstyn Smith speaks to those behind this year’s energetic and innovative displays he Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, it seems, often finds itself on the receiving end of a reputation that reels (Highland or otherwise) from one misguided opinion to the other. Contrary to stereotype, the massive spectacle is not just for clans of yellowponchoed American tourists. Nor do Tattoo organisers churn out the same twee celebrations of Scottish culture by rote year after year. Indeed, a highlight from 2011’s spectacle, Fanfarekorps Koninklijke Landmacht Bereden Wapens (that’s the Royal Netherlands Army Mounted Regiments to you and me) got on their bikes, quite literally, to perform stirring brass tunes while maintaining a sound knowledge of cycling proficiency. Proof that there’s innovation, energy and life in the old Tattoo yet. ‘If I had lots of people running about with nothing on and issuing expletives in a very artful way, it would not be described as twee,’ reflects producer Brigadier David Allfrey. ‘If it’s good family viewing, then I might be accused of that, and I think that’s the balance to be struck.’ This year, the Tattoo has two major themes. ‘One is a celebration of Her Majesty the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee; the second is celebrating the Year of Creative Scotland,’ says Allfrey. ‘Much of it is open to quite a lot of interpretation and there is scope to be creative. There are one or two quirky little pieces which will provide people with pageantry, colour, music and excitement.’ Those with a similar appetite for deeprooted traditions mixed with tasty new talents will find sustenance in a number of specially-commissioned artistic pieces which bring to light three staples of Scotland’s


creative industries: tweed, whisky and heavy engineering. The man behind the Tattoo’s Highland Dancers, Billy Forsyth, has created an innovative show paying homage to the production and history of the water of life. However, there is another beloved tradition that never fails to keep him and his stalwart ensemble of Highland Dancers on their toes: Scottish weather. ‘When you see it on television it all looks so easy,’ Forsyth notes. ‘But the dancers are out on the Esplanade in the pouring rain and because it’s on a slope, it’s a particularly awkward performance space. We’ve anything from 70 to 100 dancers who find that when they start, they’re in one position, but by the end they’re in a totally different place.’ Despite the propensity for jigs and reels resulting in heads over heels, Forsyth has found that the Tattoo’s reputation as a rollicking night out can show its face in places far from home. ‘Many years ago I was asked to act as Chieftain for one of Australia’s very large Highland Games. When the organiser introduced me, it wasn’t until he said, “he’s also the Highland Dancer from the Edinburgh Military Tattoo”, that the whole audience switched on.’ This fondness and recognition from across the globe manifests itself in the screeds of international military bands and display teams heading Edinburghwards each summer. Among those assembled on the Castle Esplanade are the King’s Guard Drill Team from Norway while pipes and drums from Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and Australia provide a unique international take on Scottish culture. Representing the southern hemisphere for the 24th year are Melbourne’s Rats of Tobruk Memorial Pipes & Drums. Their Drum Major

Kathleen Matthies is looking forward to returning to Scotland (she was born in Fife and raised in Oz), but not without a warning: if you’re ever tempted to accept a dare from some Royal Marines, you’d better be prepared to make good. ‘I got talking to a couple of men in the Sergeants’ Mess who advised they were instructors for the abseiling team. They told me they had a group of Kings Squad Royal Marines that they were taking and that I had to abseil too. I thought they were joking, but they told me that it had all been cleared for me to go the following morning at 7.30am.’ Despite dodgy headgear – ‘an embossed tin hat: such a fashion statement’ – and the worry that this endeavour could result in the Drum Major’s final Tattoo, there are some challenges you just don’t chicken out of: abseiling down Edinburgh Castle is clearly one of them. ‘I ended up going down the wall four times and lived to tell the tale,’ recalls Matthies. ‘Since then I’ve climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge and am not as afraid of heights as I was before going over the edge of the Castle wall.’ If you’re unsure what Health and Safety would have to say about the risks involved at the Tattoo, rest assured all you have to do is turn up and enjoy. And with an enormous cast of musicians, singers, dancers and display units pushing creative boundaries and fully primed to blow your night away, doing so won’t be too hard. Just make sure to steer clear of those pesky marines. The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, Edinburgh Castle, 0131 225 1188, 3–25 Aug, 9pm (Mon–Fri), 7.30pm & 10.30pm (Sat), £23–£59.


Edinburgh will once again host one of the world’s most spectacular entertainment events as The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo draws together a host of creative talent from four continents. The Royal Bank of Scotland is the main sponsor of the 63rd extravaganza to be staged at the Scottish capital's ancient castle. With innovative production, heart-stopping sound, imaginative graphics, state-of-the-art lighting and specially commissioned fireworks, the 90-minute show is set to captivate. The line-up of nearly 1000 performers includes hundreds of musicians, pipers, drummers, singers and dancers, as well as one of the World's most sensational percussion groups: Switzerland's Top Secret Drum Corps. To enter, just log on to and tell us:

Who is the main sponsor of The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo? Competition closes 20 Aug 2012. There is no cash alternative. Usual List rules apply. | Edinburgh Festival Guide 2012 | THE LIST 119

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AL V I T S E F TICS I L O P OF gust u A 7 2 25 –

CASTLE TERRACE It’s no mean feat to collect a Michelin star just over a year after opening. Nor is it Castle Terrace’s only accolade. It’s hard to quibble with any of them. At every level, this relative newcomer excels. Chef Dominic Jack has a dexterity with flavours that is effortless, even when working with humble ingredients. Clearly, he is comfortable with the Thissubtle year’send Glasgow Degree more of fineSchool dining,ofa Art finesse thatShow will featureshim thisfrom masking tape creation Sculpdistance Tom Kitchin’s morefrom exuberant ture and Environmental Art student Pia Manniko, output in Leith’s sister restaurant. Scottish produce, titled ‘Some People A number of students are French technique, it’s Knit’. a marriage consummated offering tours of at their degree show work to fund with real pleasure Castle Terrace. planned London exhibition ■ a33/35 Castle Terrace, 229 1222,in August. To book a tour place call 07503 433198. See Visual Art, page 96, for more information on both the GSA and Edinburgh College of Art degree shows. ■ Glasgow School of Art, Sat 12–Sat 19 Jun.


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05/07/2012 14:35 Italian Specialist Retailer & Wine Merchant - Caffè Bar VinCaffè - Bakery - Continental Produce Importer




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FESTIVAL FIREWORKS FINALE SUNDAY 2 SEPTEMBER 2012 8PM – 12 MIDNIGHT View the most spectacular fireworks display of the year from the Forth Floor, boasting one of the best views over the city. Celebrate the end of the festival with a drink on arrival, gourmet barbeque buffet, live entertainment and the fireworks finale live from the Forth Floor Terrace*. £35 PER PERSON For further details or to make a reservation, please contact Forth Floor Reservations on 0131 524 8350 or visit *Weather permitting

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A R E AS OLD TOWN (unlike the spacious and orderly New Town to the north – see page 124), the Old Town is a cobbled maze of wynds, closes and alleyways that’s easy to get lost in, so it’s a good idea to get your bearings and take note of some significant landmarks. The Palace of Holyroodhouse is the Queen’s favoured residence whenever

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performers immediately outside it. Push through that lot and you’ll eventually get to the Hub (box office for both the Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival and Edinburgh International Festival), and beyond it the Castle Esplanade (the venue for nightly performances by the The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo). Stepping off the Mile onto George IV Bridge puts you within spitting distance of a number of Fringe venues (including St Augustine’s, Bedlam Theatre and the Underbelly, Bristo Square), but make sure you set aside some time to stroll down Victoria Street, home to some of the city’s finest restaurants, food shops and indie fashion boutiques. At the bottom of Victoria Street is the leafy boulevard of the Grassmarket, where you’ll find yet more pubs and restaurants, as well as outdoor stages for Jazz & Blues Festival performances and the GrassMarkets, an open air market populated by local designers and retailers. The west end of the Grassmarket will lead you (funnily enough) to the West End (see page 126), while the eastern exit joins onto the Cowgate. This is Edinburgh’s main street for clubs and assorted small-hours entertainment, and is home to two cavernous venue complexes: the original Underbelly (nestled under George IV Bridge) and Just the Tonic performance spaces, located inside erstwhile nightclub, The Caves. (Niki Boyle)

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Key venues: (1) Assembly (2) The Hub(3) C aquila (4) Dance Base – National Centre for Dance (5) Scottish Storytelling Centre (6) Underbelly, Cowgate (7) Fringe Club (8) C (9) National Museum of Scotland (10) Festival Theatre Spreading outwards from the castle in an organic, haphazard fashion

she’s in town – it’s located at the foot of the Royal Mile, directly opposite the Scottish Parliament building (home to the Festival of Politics). As you move up the Mile, you’ll notice a plethora of bars and restaurants dedicated to Scottish cuisine. Keep heading uphill and you’ll reach the High Street (between the twin spires of the Tron Kirk at St Giles’ Cathedral), where you’ll find the Fringe Box Office – or at least, you might find it if you can fight your way through the massed crowds of revellers, flyerers and street

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NEW TOWN & STOCKBRIDGE Key venues: (1) The Traverse @ St Stephen’s (2) Charlotte Square Gardens (3) Hill St Theatre (4) Scottish National Gallery (5) The Stand (6) Assembly Rooms The New Town was created as a welldesigned antidote to its ramshackle elderly counterpart to the south, so it seems fitting that the festival venues in this area are so evenly distributed. The Stand Comedy Club occupies a basement property on York Place for much of the year, but expands into several surrounding spaces during Fringe time. Five minutes to the west, the rejigged Assembly Rooms and Spiegeltent colonise a good section of George Street (part of which will be pedestrianised throughout August), while the Scottish National Gallery on the Mound plays host to some Edinburgh Art Festival exhibitions. At the west end of George Street, the tented village at Charlotte Square Gardens is imbued with a definitively literary air, inhabited as it is by the Edinburgh International Book Festival and ceilidh club-cumrestaurant Ghillie Dhu is just a few steps farther on from there. It’s not just the festival activities that’ll keep you occupied, though. George Street and Multrees Walk form the swankiest quarter in Edinburgh, with stylish cocktail joints like Tigerlily and Candy Bar populating the former and designer boutiques such as Louis Vuitton and Calvin Klein doing business on the latter. For the more wallet-conscious tippler, Bramble and the elusive Star Bar offer some lovely places to sip a beverage without breaking the bank, while longstanding

vegetarian restaurant and bistro Henderson’s is a cracking place to chow down on a butternut squash risotto. Head north down the hill and you’ll find Stockbridge, a wee community almost entirely devoid of festival venues, less the fabulous and newly-revived St Stephen’s space. From indie jewellery designers and second-hand shops to the burbling Water of Leith and friendly local pubs (The Stockbridge Tap and Hector’s in particular), the neighbourhood retains a calm, village-y air that’s a welcome respite from the festival madness. Basement restaurant Purslane is your best bet for Scottish cuisine, Patisserie Madeleine for French delicacies, and the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art exist just a short jaunt away through the evenmore-picturesque Dean Village. (Niki Boyle)


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SOUTHSIDE Key venues: (1) Bedlam (2) King’s Theatre (3) Meadows Theatre Big Top (4) Summerhall (5) The Queen’s Hall (6) Assembly @ George Square (7) Gilded Balloon Teviot (8) Underbelly Bristo Square (9) Pleasance Dome (10) Assembly Roxy (11) Pleasance Courtyard Roughly categorised as everything south of the Grassmarket, the Southside is dominated by the grassy expanse of the Meadows, where you’ll find the Meadows Theatre Big Top (home to the perennially popular Lady Boys of Bangkok). It’s also where you’ll find half the city’s population flocking on those rare occasions when the sun comes out, so keep an eye out for lowflying frisbees and smoky barbecues (or better yet, bring along your own so you fit in). A small crop of festival venues exist to the west of the park (notably the Church Hill Theatre), with a number of bars and restaurants in the Bruntsfield area worth visiting, such as energetic eatery Montpeliers, German bakery Falko Konditormeister and premier coffee house Artisan Roast. Those who wander even farther south will be rewarded with the genteel cake shops and cafés of Morningside.

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The majority of the Southside action takes place east of the Meadows, though – the long stretch of South Bridge/Nicolson Street/Clerk Street takes in the Edinburgh Festival Theatre and Queen’s Hall, while providing an even centre point to the Pleasance Courtyard. On Chambers Street you’ll find the multi-storey C venues, as well as the recently refurbished and massively popular National Museum of Scotland. This part of town is also littered with bars, shops and restaurants – a pleasant side-effect of its year-round status as Edinburgh’s main district for student accommodation. So, you have bars like the Pear Tree with its sun-trap courtyard, Brass Monkey with its back room cinema and Reverie with its wide picture windows; shops like Armstrong’s vintage clothing, Hog’s Head Music and the Aladdin’s cave of Le Chariot Express; and restaurants including the Malaysian wonder Kampong Ah Lee, Indian vegetarian restaurant Kalpna, and the ever-popular Mosque Kitchen (now relocated indoors, but retaining its famous cheap-as-chips curry dishes).

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Key venues: (1) Universal Arts @ St George’s West (2) HMV Picture House, Royal Lyceum, Traverse Theatre, Usher Hall (3) Ghillie Dhu Edinburgh’s West End manages to cram an incredible amount of culture into a very small space. The Lyceum, Usher Hall and Traverse all exist on one gloriously theatrical corner – the Traverse in particular is a good place to lounge about, both for its buzzing café bar and for the inordinately high number of five-star shows it seems to host. Just across the road, the Filmhouse is the ideal place to retreat from the festival hubbub for a couple of hours and enjoy some arthouse cinema, while the Odeon up the road takes care of more mainstream fare. Raucous basement club Henry’s Cellar Bar is also close at hand, should

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‘THE WEST END FITS A LOT OF CULTURE INTO ITS SPACE’ you have a yen for punk rock gigs or late night skanking. The venues are only one half of the West End action, though – it’s also a grand place to grab yourself a pint and a bite to eat. Red Squirrel at the foot of Lothian Road does a wide range of beers and gourmet burgers, while farther up, Ghandi’s is one of the finest curry houses in the city. For more upmarket dining, One Square is the newly-opened (and rather spiffing) restaurant at the Sheraton Grand. Drinks-wise, the Blue Blazer on Spittal Street is one of the most convivial watering holes in town, with a welcoming selection of ales always on hand. Just be careful when you leave that you don’t stumble into one of Edinburgh’s less salubrious gentlemen’s clubs that are clustered around the top of the street. There’s not a whole lot of shopping to be done around the West End, but if you get the chance (and especially if you have any kids with you), pop into Wonderland toy shop on Lothian Road: it’s an Edinburgh landmark, and has the finest collection of models and RCs on the planet. (Niki Boyle)

Edinburgh’s a reasonably easy place to walk around – most festival venues will be no more than 20 minutes apart, and you can cross the city centre in about an hour. If you’re in a hurry, though, or feel put off by those dirty great tram works, there are a few other options. Buses Edinburgh’s dedicated bus service is run by Lothian Buses, and is fairly comprehensive. Of particular use to festival-goers are the number 22, which runs from the West End through the New Town to Leith, as often as every five minutes at peak times; and the 29, which shuttles travellers between the Southside and Stockbridge. The 35’s another good one for accessing Leith from the city centre, passing near most of the Old Town festival venues, and it’ll get you to the airport cheaper than the dedicated 100 route (although admitedly not as fast). Fares are £1.40 for an adult single and 70p for a child, or £3 for all-night access to the Night Buses (after midnight); if you’re taking several journeys in a day, you may be better picking up a Daysaver for £3.50 (£2 for kids). All these fares need to be paid exactly, as no change is given – if you’d rather cut out all the fussing around with coins, you can pick up a booklet of 20 City Single tickets for £28 (£14) from any Lothian Buses travel shop, or a four week unlimited travel Ridacard for £54 (£29). Travel shops are located on Waverley Bridge, Hanover Street and Shandwick Place. For full information on bus routes, timetables and fares, visit for details. Taxis If you need to get to your destination faster, and have some cash to burn, you could always

opt for one of Edinburgh’s 1000+ taxis. Both private hires and black cabs can be phoned in advance (which cuts down on automatic fees), but only the latter can be hailed in the street, or queued for at one of the four main taxi ranks (see below for details). Note: only ever hail a licensed taxi with a clear numbered licence plate. The driver is required to have a visible ID tag. Festival cars (for eight seater taxis) 0131 552 1777; Radio Cabs 0131 225 9000; Central Radio Taxis 0131 229 2468. City centre taxi ranks situated at Market Street, Lothian Road, High Street and Omni Centre. Bike hire Cycling is a great way to get to know the city better – many of the roads have cycle lanes, and certain cycle paths trace great, traffic-free routes through the city. It’s also great for the environment, keeps you fit, yada yada yada. Here’s a few places we can recommend: BikeTrax: 11–13 Lochrin Place, 0131 228 6633; £16–£25 a day, £70–£120 a week; Edinburgh Cycle Hire: 29 Blackfriars Street, 0131 556 5560; £15–£20 a day, £70–£90 a week; for more. Rickshaws If you fancy getting someone else to do all the legwork while you enjoy the scenery, a journey or two on a rickshaw can be a grand experience. They can get pretty pricey though, so we’d advise you to keep the journeys short.

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LEITH & BROUGHTON STREET Key venues: (1) Playhouse (2) Greenside There’s a strong sense of independence and community spirit hovering around Leith: banners down the main drag of Leith Walk feature famous faces from the borough proclaiming their love of the place, while the eclectic array of souvenir shops declare it the People’s Republic of Leith. This sense of individuality extends to the culture of the area: while very little of the Fringe or other festivals extend this far north, the pulse of Leith’s nightlife beats strong enough on its own, to make it worth a visit. You’re spoilt for choice food-wise – Leith has two Michelin-starred restaurants (The Kitchin and Martin Wishart), plus a number of less money-melting highlights – see Daniel’s Bistro for French cuisine, Fisher’s in the City for seafood and The Ship on the Shore for fine but reasonably priced dining. There’s also a plentiful selection of bars for all tastes: enjoy some cocktails in teacups at the Roseleaf, listen to live music at Nobles, sup a cosy pint or two at The Pond and enjoy a hearty pub atmosphere at The King’s Wark (which also serves a wicked hangover breakfast). And all that’s just around the Shore. As you move farther into town, you’ll notice a ton of quality pubs and bars crowding around Leith

Walk. Brass Monkey Leith shares its cinematic sensibilities with its sister establishment on the Southside; the Tourmalet pays tribute to the Tour de France; and a pseudo-chain of friendly Swedish-owned bars (Sofi’s, Victoria, Boda and Joseph Pearce’s) stretch from the Shore to Elm Row. Don’t spend all your money on booze, though – Leith Walk is also home to some ‘hidden treasure’ indie shops, including record store Vinyl Villains and books’n’music shop Elvis Shakespeare. If Leith Walk resembles a long leg stretching away from Edinburgh’s body, Broughton is the hip joint that connects them. The Playhouse and Omni Centre form one massive entertainment complex at the top of the Walk, while the city’s LGBT community can be found circulating between the bars Cafe Habana, Planet Out and The Street, and clubs GHQ and CC Blooms (while the Blue Moon Café offers a more relaxed gay-friendly alternative a little farther down Broughton Street). Indie fashion boutiques Joey D and Concrete Wardrobe are stuffed with trendy vintage togs, and we highly recommend you partake of a beverage at The Outhouse, the location of many an outdoor BBQ and late night revel. (Niki Boyle) | Edinburgh Festival Guide 2012 | THE LIST 127

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CITY GUIDE EATING: OLD TOWN get crowded with sizzling griddles and showy sushi rolls. Deep fried squid is crunchy and lemony, and octopus dumplings are crisp outside and meltingly soft inside. Vegetable and prawn tempura is hot, light and greaseless. Fish comes every other day from Eddie’s Seafood Market down the road and is spankingly bright and fresh. A plate of assorted sashimi is made up of slivers of salmon, tuna, sweet prawns and some seriously delicious scallops.



INEXPENSIVE B’est FRENCH 716 Drummond Street, EH8 9TX, 0131 556 4448, | Mon–Sun noon–2.45pm, 5–11pm. £7.90 (set lunch) / £13

The open, simple, spacious rooms at B’est are a fitting setting for this relaxed bistro that has become a favourite with students and summer festival goers. A cannily priced three-course set menu for under £15 is a very welcome dinner option during tricky financial times, but the range is good and doesn’t feel like corners have been cut. Creamy fish and seafood gratin, bubbling golden in its scallop shell may be followed by moist roast loin of pork with apple sauce or a fragrant, gooey mushroom, blue cheese and spinach crêpe. The à la carte broadens options further. The seared tuna loin niçoise salad might benefit from slightly more interesting leaves but the execution of the tuna is faultless, the outer edge slightly caramelised and encasing pink, tear-worthy flesh. Both lamb shank and medallions of venison are tender, rich in their own juices and perfectly cooked, though let down by accompanying school canteen vegetables. Desserts of tiramisu and warm chocolate cake are good tummy fillers but lack sophistication.


Cafe Hub CAFÉS Castlehill, Royal Mile, EH1 2NE, 0131 473 2067, | Mon–Sun 9.30am–5pm. £6 (set lunch)

Glowering imposingly from the very top of the High Street, the black Gothic splendour of the Hub was transformed when it became the official home of the Edinburgh International Festival, with a now entirely contemporary interior which glows with colour and light. That, plus a large, sunny terrace, means the venue itself is definitely worth a visit. The bright, spacious café prides itself on its ‘Hubmade’ credentials – practically everything is made on the premises including a toothsome array of cakes. The short menu features a popular ‘soup and sandwich’ lunch deal, and sandwich fillings can also be served over a salad or baked potato. For more substantial mains, the house burger is crumbly and satisfying, served on a fresh roll which makes a pleasing change from the ubiquitous sesame bun. Fish and chips are a good option too – flaky fish, light batter, tangy tartar sauce.

The Baked Potato Shop VEGETARIAN TAKEAWAY 56 Cockburn Street, EH1 1PB, 0131 225 7572 | Mon–Sun 9am–9pm. £6 (lunch) / £6 (dinner)

Our Dynamic Earth Holyrood Road, Edinburgh, 0131 550 7800,

Opened for the millennium, Our Dynamic Earth charts the planet’s evolution from the Big Bang to the modern day though a series of interactive exhibitions, including an earthquake simulator and a tropical rainstorm. There are enough buttons to press to keep young children happy, while older kids will enjoy the quirkier aspects of the exhibition such as touching an iceberg and seeing models of the animals that have died out during the course of the Earth’s evolution.

Edinburgh Castle Castle Hill, Edinburgh, 0131 225 9846,

way to the jagged coastline of the Forth Estuary and beyond. After you’ve had an eyeful, head back down the Radical Road to the bottom of Salisbury Crags.

Royal Yacht Britannia Ocean Drive, Edinburgh, 0131 555 8800,

Jump onboard at Leith Docks and enjoy a whistle-stop tour of the Queen’s bedroom, or the royal honeymoon suite used by Charles and Diana, before going below deck and seeing the crew’s cramped living quarters. The self-guided audio tour lets you determine the length of your visit, but don’t miss the ‘wombat tennis’, and impressive artefact collection in the State Dining Room.

From a medieval fortification to a temporary prison, seat of parliament, royal residence, and now world-renowned symbol of Scotland, the castle is pretty much a must-see whether you know the city or are just visiting. The views are spectacular, even if the viewpoints can be windy and, on a clear day, there’s a 360-degree panorama over the city. There’s also more to the castle than royal memorabilia, with a chance to see the Scottish Crown Jewels, the tiny St Margaret’s Chapel, the Scottish War Memorial and War Museum, as well as a slightly off-the-wall ‘dog cemetery’ for regimental mascots.

Scottish Gallery of Modern Art Sculpture Walk

Edinburgh Zoo

Water of Leith Walkway

near Corstorphine, Edinburgh, 0131 334 9171,

Visitor Centre, 24 Lanark Road, 0131 455 7367,

One word: pandas (pictured). Very much the star of this year’s show, and there’s ample chance for you to see them up close and personal. There’s plenty to while away an afternoon at Edinburgh’s Zoo and a slew of special events running month to month, so check out the website for more.

Holyrood Park At the foot of the High Street and Holyrood Road, Edinburgh.

For one of the best views over the Old Town climb Arthur’s Seat in Holyrood Park. On a clear day you can see all the

Belford Road, 0131 624 6200

The gardens of the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art are well worth a visit even if you don’t venture inside the building. The grounds host displays of modern sculpture including the famous fusion of turf and art that is Charles Jenkes’ ‘Landform’. This gigantic piece takes up most of the area in front of the gallery, while across the road by the Dean Gallery local and international artists compete for your attention. Check out Dan Graham’s crazy interactive ‘Two Way Mirror’.

Forget Trainspotting. Leith has done an amazing job of transforming itself from less than salubrious port to stylish waterfront residential area in a remarkably short time. The Water of Leith Walkway is a perfect example of this and starts 12 miles out of town in Balerno with a wellequipped visitor centre. Visual highlights are Colinton Village, the Dean Village and Stockbridge. The path is generally well signposted but don’t get discouraged if the odd sign appears to be pointing in the wrong direction, it probably is – there’s no jokes like the old jokes.

Café Lucia

Renowned for its huge potatoes and hearty vegetarian fare, this venerable pocketsized shop is something of an anomaly in Edinburgh’s Old Town. Slap-bang in the middle of tourist land, and surrounded by tartan tat shops spewing out electronic bagpipe noise, this counter-culture landmark is more likely to be playing the Chemical Brothers at top volume and employs smiley staff with piercings aplenty. Baked potatoes are the name of the game, and are available in small, medium and large portions, with almost any topping imaginable, from the classic cheese’n’beans or egg mayo to the more esoteric mushroom salad or curried corn. Salads, tray bakes and wholesome snacks complete the set. A small table in the corner offers the potential for sitting down to enjoy your meal, but as only four people can squeeze round it, you’ll more likely have to opt for takeaway.

ARTS VENUE CAFÉ Edinburgh Festival Theatre, 13/29 Nicolson Street, EH8 9FT, 0131 667 2765, festivaltheatre. | Mon–Sat 10.30am–4.30pm. Closed Sun. £10 (lunch)

Bonsai Bar Bistro JAPANESE 46 West Richmond St, EH8 9DZ, 0131 668 3847, | Mon–Thu noon–10pm; Fri/ Sat noon–10.30pm; Sun noon–9.30pm. £4.90 (set lunch) / £14 (dinner)

What Bonsai Bar Bistro lacks in size, it makes up for in atmosphere. Bustling and sociable, you’ll have some friendly banter with your waiter, and wind up in conversation with your neighbouring table. The menu, based on small dishes to share, invites a tapas style of ordering. Everything is served together and tables soon

Situated on the bright, airy ground floor of Edinburgh’s popular Festival Theatre, Café Lucia is a decent pit stop for those seeking some respite from Southside shopping, a break from the office on their lunch hour, or a stop-off for local students on the way to classes. Lighter food options include soup and a sandwich or a coffee and tray bake, while those looking to loiter longer can indulge in larger portions of everything from scampi and chips and fish pie to omelette and chicken escalope. Service is unobtrusive and there’s no suggestion of hurrying folk on, with many choosing to take a seat by the floor to ceiling windows for a spot of people watching. Young families happily co-exist with a more elderly clientele enjoying a cup of tea waiting for a friend or an afternoon matinee. Desserts are largely forgettable, though perfectly adequate with ample to choose from, as well as daily specials.

Café Voltaire BARS & PUBS 36–38 Blair Street, EH1 1QR, 0131 247 4707, | Mon–Sun noon–1am. £8 pizza (lunch) / £8 pizza (dinner)

The purchase and renovation of independent Edinburgh venue Cabaret Voltaire by Glasgow’s G1 empire has divided the city’s clubbing fraternity, but there can be little doubt that

VOEFS OFX NBOBHNFOU For the finest Indian Curry and Sea Food Cuisine BYOB and Fully licensed bar Ideally located for the festival Takeaway also available Open 7 days 12 noon - 11pm 11 South College Street Edinburgh EH8 9AA 0131 667 1597

Delivery Available

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EATING: OLD TOWN CITY GUIDE the new regime have improved the basement venue’s ground-level bar, formerly known as the Speakeasy. Newly uncovered window arches at the front of the long, deep room lend a bright aspect to what still feels atmospherically like an Old Town cellar, with a decoupage wall by the entrance and metal jugs and urns hung with string above the bar offering a quirky shabby chic aura. Yet the place is smart and contemporary at heart, with limited table seating outside and a range of coffees and teas reinventing the place as a daytime café, while dimmed lights during late opening hours contribute to potentially one of the city’s best clubber’s hangouts.

Circus MIDDLE EASTERN 8 St Mary’s Street, EH1 1SU, 0131 556 6963, | Mon–Sun 8am–11pm. £8 (lunch) / £13 (dinner)

The stone-walled courtyard in the back of this Old Town café/ restaurant is a mini sun-trap in the summer, and a good spot for enjoying some calm while the High Street might be getting unpleasantly hectic with crowds. Circus is run by the same folks who run Empires, farther down the street, and the Turkish/ Middle Eastern theme runs through the menu, which covers mezze platters of halloumi, hummus and stuffed vine leaves, as well as their own delicately seasoned lemon chicken, risotto, chickpea and coconut curry, spicy lentil soup, burgers and sandwiches. Home-made cakes and baklava are also available for the sweet-toothed. It’s a bright, relaxed place to hang out, with chunky wooden tables and colourful Turkish lamps, although the service can occasionally suffer at peak times.

City Art Centre Café ARTS VENUE CAFÉ City Art Centre, 1 Market Street, EH1 1DE, 0131 226 4965, | Mon– Fri 8.30am–4.30pm; Sat 10am–4.30pm; Sun noon–4.30pm. £9.50 (lunch)

The café in the City Arts Centre Café has the now familiar imprint of Glenfinlas, operators of the Fruitmarket Gallery Café across the road, as well as the operations in the Storytelling Centre and St Giles’ Cathedral. The set-up is relatively unelaborate, focussing on series of wellorganised servers and counters offering a hot dish, a warm tart with cultured and colourful salads, baked potatoes, cheese and meat platters along with deli-filled rolls. Bakes, cakes and coffee are better than average while the kids’ menu is a sensible reduction of the adults’ menu, served with a side portion of sliced apple (rather than crisps).

Dovecot Café by Stag Espresso ARTS VENUE CAFÉ Dovecot Studios, 10 Infirmary Street, EH1 1LT; | Mon–Fri 8am–5pm; Sat 10am–5pm. Closed Sun. £6 (lunch)

Nestled at the bottom of Infirmary Street, Dovecot Studios has established itself as an innovative drop-in for those fond of tapestry and contemporary crafts – and last year it got better still with the arrival of Richard Conway’s bright, airy daytime café. A former Victorian bathhouse, the Dovecot building is the ideal

spot for Conway’s relaxed approach to eating, with a simple menu of soups, sandwiches and salads, as well as an array of freshly baked cakes, from simple scones to cream-laden gateaux, on offer. The pastrami and highland brie sandwich arrives on deliciously bouncy, crisp-edged bloomer bread, with a spiced tomato and mixed bean soup adding a subtle chilli kick to proceedings. A semi-sweet chocolate tart boasts some perfectly turned-out short crust pastry and is rounded off nicely with a cup of Conway’s finest coffee. Service is top notch and there’s a mixed clientele, from those nipping in for a quick lunchtime snack, to the students nursing a coffee or croissant before class.

Edinburgh Larder CAFÉS 15 Blackfriars Street, EH1 1NB, 0131 556 6922, | Mon–Sat 8am–5pm; Sun 9am–5pm. £5.95 (set lunch)

Tucked just off the Royal Mile, Eleanor Cunningham’s café features a menu that’s a roll call of Scottish food heroes. From Creelers’ smoked salmon to Great Glen venison, Rannoch smoked chicken and Cunningham’s mum’s jam and dad’s chutneys, everything has been handpicked for meticulously high standards and consistent deliciousness. Seasonally-changing fillings in the Au Gourmand artisan bread make for difficult sandwich choices year-round, and the salads, deli plates and daily changing specials will only add to the dilemma. Luckily, everything you can’t fit into lunch is available to buy from the counter, and on Saturdays that includes the much sought-after bread. Of the daily-baked sweets look out for gluten-free brownies or a rich dark chocolate slice studded with ginger,

A BRIEF GUIDE TO THE LISTINGS Within each area of town, venues are grouped into three categories: Inexpensive (mostly under £15 for two courses), Mid-range (approx. £15–25) and High End (£25 or more for two courses) The opening hours shown are standard summer opening hours. Note that many venues operate extended hours during the Festival. Prices shown indicate an average price for two courses for one person from the à la carte menu, excluding drinks. If a set-price lunch is available the cost of this is shown. If only set-price menus are available in the evening, a price is given for the twocourse option. For full reviews and coverage of even more venues, get hold of the List’s annual Eating & Drinking Guide to Edinburgh & Glasgow (£5.95), or go to

apricots and nuts as well as beautiful locally handmade chocolates.

The Fruitmarket Gallery Café ARTS VENUES Fruitmarket Gallery, 45 Market Street, EH1 1DF, 0131 226 1843, | Mon–Sat 11.30am–4pm; Sun noon–4pm. [Coffee & cakes: Mon–Sat 11am–5.30pm; Sun noon–4.30pm]. £11.50 (lunch)

The Fruitmarket Gallery is well respected for its cutting-edge contemporary art exhibitions, its specialist bookshop crammed full of artist publications and a café that is well established on the Edinburgh food scene. Located at the back of Waverley station, the atmosphere is relaxed and friendly with a large window from which to watch the world go by as you tuck into some delicious dishes. The menu changes with each exhibition to include seasonal produce in their salads, platters, sandwiches and specials. Deli-filled rolls are offered on a choice of breads, with generous fillings that include bbq sticky pork, chicken and chorizo or falafels. Stand out dishes include the mouthwatering warm Moroccan lamb and barley salad or, for vegetarians, spiced nut and dill kofta on herb quinoa. Cakes are a must on every visit and there’s an array of temptations including a tangy (gluten-free) lemon and polenta cake, tray bakes, homemade slices, and there’s always much ado about the Fruitmarket’s little rhubarb tarts, served with crème fraiche and stem ginger.

Hemma BARS & PUBS 75 Holyrood Road, EH8 8AE, 0131 629 3372, | £6 (lunch) / £12 (dinner)

Hemma – which means ‘home’ in Swedish – is an uptown move for busy Leith bar operators Mike and Anna Christopherson. As with their other venues such as Boda and Joseph Pearce, what they bring to the long-empty Tun building near the Holyrood Parliament is a laid-back blend of Scandanavian themes and contemporary bar nous. They’ve tried to

match the large acreage of glass and concrete in the Tun with soft furnishings, a splash of art and funky wallpaper, and with rye-bread open sandwiches, warm noodles and less familiar continental beer brands they’re clearly comfortable offering something different from the pub standards.

The Holyrood 9A BARS & PUBS 9a Holyrood Road, EH8 8AE, 0131 556 5044, | Mon–Sun 9am–9pm. £12.50 (lunch) / £12.50 (dinner)

If you can’t remember your last really great burger, head to Holyrood Road to have your faith in the patty renewed. Savouries are split between ‘one’ and ‘two handers’ – the former being edible with a fork while chatting, the latter needing both hands, a stack of napkins and all your concentration. Like the juicy venison burger, with melted brie and cranberry sauce dripping out of it – or any of the other 17 on the list, packed with the likes of smoked applewood cheese, rosemary mushrooms and spicy ‘death sauce’. There’s also a list of gigantic ice-cream sundaes that will give you a sugar rush to last the weekend. The 12 coolest chrome pumps you’ve ever seen pour out regularly changing craft drafts from Scotland and beyond, though the truncated wine list seems more of an afterthought.

Hula Juice Bar and Gallery CAFÉS 103–105 West Bow, EH1 2JP, 0131 220 1121, | Mon–Sun 8am–10pm. £5 (set lunch)

Tucked just around the corner from the Grassmarket’s rugby pubs and walking tours is the refreshing – in more ways than one – Hula Juice Bar. Tropical fruit, frozen yoghurt and organic boosters, such as echinacea, spinach powder and wheatgrass, mingle together in a variety of smoothie concoctions that could beat the heaviest of hangovers. If it’s a stronger pickme-up you seek, Hula have worked tirelessly on their Artisan Roast coffees over the past year

“Apart from the food, the atmosphere, the service and the approachable flexibility of the menu, the other commendable thing about David Bann is that his prices represent good value. ” Wedgwood is more than just a restaurant; it is a hidden gem on Edinburgh’s prestigious Royal Mile. Paul and Lisa have a passion for food and hospitality and offer the complete dining experience in warm, intimate surroundings. Open 7 days a week • Lunch from 12pm and Dinner from 6pm SLTN Restaurant of the Year Award 2010 and 2011 Rémy Martin VSOP Award for Best Newcomer in the UK 2010 Hitlisted by The List Eating and Drinking Guide 2009/10, 2010/11 and 2011/12

Joanna Blythman, The Herald

56-58 St Mary’s Street, Edinburgh (off The Royal Mile and The Cowgate)

0131 556 5888

267 Canongate, Royal Mile, Edinburgh, EH8 8BQ • 0131 55 88 737

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CITY GUIDE EATING: OLD TOWN and have got grinding beans down to an art. Soup and sandwiches share the menu pages with breakfast favourites such as porridge, fruit salads and croissants. An imaginative selection of fillings is on offer and the toasted bagels are an area of particular achievement.

soups – and you can rely on proper bread to accompany them. Cathedral rules mean no hot food can be served before the last Sunday service is over (about 12.15pm), but with such a display of cakes and pastries to keep you going, you’re unlikely to complain about the wait.

Kebab Mahal

The Storytelling Café

INDIAN 7 Nicolson Square, EH8 9BH, 0131 667 5214, | Sun–Thu noon–midnight; Fri 2pm–2am; Sat noon–2am. £10 (lunch) / £10 (dinner)

ARTS VENUES Scottish Storytelling Centre, 43 High Street, EH1 1SR, 0131 556 1229, scottishstorytellingcentre. | Mon–Sat 10am–6pm. Jul–Sep: Sun noon–5pm. Oct–Jun: Closed Sun. £10 (lunch)

Situated in Nicolson Square since the late 1970s, Kebab Mahal is a no-frills Indian café and takeaway offering hearty fare at affordable prices. The menu favours the hungry meateater, with chicken and lamb classics, kebabs and tandoori dishes well represented, though vegetable biryani and familiar sides make their appearance too. With no licence or BYOB, the open soft drinks counter encourages self service, in keeping with the efficient, light-touch service. Curries are generally uncomplicated and well flavoured with noticeable heat. Sag gosht brings soft chunks of lamb in creamy thick spinach gravy alongside kebab-style cubes of chicken tikka karahi, a generous helping of vegetable pilau and soft garlicky naan.

Nestled inside the Scottish Storytelling Centre, halfway along the Royal Mile, the Storytelling Café is a light and spacious, child-friendly venue offering breakfast, lunch, coffee and cake. Their home-style cooking caters for a mixed clientele of workers, tourists visiting the historic John Knox house and families attending live storytelling events and the various festivals that the centre hosts. Although the prices reflect the ‘tourist trail’ location, the menu is packed full of delicious flavour combinations to transform wraps, rolls and open sandwiches. Seasonal produce from local suppliers contributes to a good choice of options for vegetarians such as the succulent herby mushroom melt, or slow-roasted aromatic lamb for meat-eaters.

St Giles’ Cathedral Café

Union of Genius

CAFÉS St Giles’ Cathedral, High Street, EH1 1RE, 0131 225 5147, | Mon–Sat 9am–5pm; Sun 11am–5pm. £9 (lunch)

SOUP CAFÉ 8 Forrest Road, EH1 2QN, 0131 226 4436, | Mon–Fri 9am–4pm. £5.50 (lunch)

If you think St Giles’ Cathedral is just for tourists and a Sunday service, think again. Tucked round the back is a long, narrow, functional-looking canteen serving exemplary cooking from locally sourced, seasonal ingredients – and a dazzling array of cake. Creamy savoury tarts with buttery, flaky pastry sit alongside colourful salads packed with fun things to chase around the plate such as pumpkin seeds, olives and roast peppers. A couple of hot dishes change daily, as do the

TIPList OLD TOWN • Great coffee and tray bakes at the Dovecot Café • Special soup at Union of Genius • Proper breakfast at Hotel du Vin • Outdoor al fresco at Petit Paris • £10 lunch at Wedgwood the Restaurant

Elaine Mason had regulars just two weeks after opening Edinburgh’s first soup café last year. No matter how popular the little shop, she won’t expand the bitesized menu, preferring to do one thing well. Six soups are chalked up, all relying as much as possible on local veg. They might include chorizo caldo verde or Lebanese lentil, lemon and spinach, but probably not: three are seasonal, three dailies. Before 11am, soup is swapped for porridge pots, with your choice of 10 toppings. Don’t forget to bring your Vegware packaging back for composting to get loyalty points.

MID-RANGE Amber Restaurant SCOTTISH The Scotch Whisky Experience, 354 Castlehill, The Royal Mile, EH1 2NE, 0131 477 8477, | Sun–Thu noon–7.30pm; Fri/Sat noon–9pm. £12 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Being practically on Edinburgh Castle’s esplanade and part of a five-star tourist attraction, it’s inevitable that dinner at Amber is geared towards city visitors. Past the £1 million revamped shop, down the stairs from the Scotch Whisky Experience, the restaurant is in stark contrast to its historic building – modern, oak-clad, with a touch of the canteen to it. The Taste of Scotland menu shows characteristic integrity of ingredients. Many of the components also appear on the regular menu as ‘tapas’, starters or mains. Generally structured around tripartite starter and main courses, the latter being fish, vegetarian and meat, it changes

almost daily. Mains could include a well-hung fillet steak and grey mullet with wild garlic sauce courtesy of a local forager, followed by sticky toffee pudding and a dram.

Barioja SPANISH TAPAS 15–19 Jeffrey Street, EH1 1DR, 0131 557 3622, | Mon–Sat 11am–11pm; Sun noon–10pm. £19.95 (6 or more people) (set lunch) / £16 (dinner)

Barioja has been dishing out its albondigas for over a decade, so could be considered a pioneer of the still relatively youthful Edinburgh tapas scene. Sitting alongside its big sister restaurant, Iggs, it’s seen competition come and go over the years and stayed the course, although its reputation hasn’t always been consistent. As such it somehow lacks the well-worn and wellloved feel of such a venerable establishment, and doesn’t always buzz and hum like a tapas bar should. It does do a lot of things well, however; buying delicious wines and cured meats direct from producers in Spain, for example, or frying little squid rings without turning them into battered rubber bands. In fact the food is as good as it sounds: chicken cooked with sherry and paprika is tender and judiciously spiced, while haggis bon-bons have an appealing sticky richness under crisply fried breadcrumbs. Desserts follow suit, with smooth, orange-infused crema catalana and a buttery toffee sponge, laced with dates.

Creelers FISH 3 Hunter Square, EH1 1QW, 0131 220 4447, | Mon & Thu 5–10.30pm; Fri 11.30am–2.30pm, 5.30–10.30pm; Sat 11am–10.30pm; Sun 5.30–10.30pm. Closed Tue/ Wed. £10.50 (set lunch) / £28 (dinner)

Creelers’ proprietor, Tim James, started work as a fisherman a quarter of a century ago and he and his wife Fran are co-founders of the Arran Smokehouse and regularly sell fresh fish and seafood at local farmers’ markets. With such a pedigree you’d expect Creelers’ Edinburgh branch to focus exclusively on les fruits de mer, but their menus are strikingly varied, both in content and price. The Old Town restaurant has the look and feel of a continental bistro, decked out in warm yellows, reds and blues plus a large mural of the Isle of Arran – from which area much of the produce is sourced. Start with a groaning plate of langoustines, simply prepared with garlic, butter and a squeeze of lemon, or a dense, smoky fishcake with garlic mayonnaise on the side. Mains are similarly unfussy in their presentation and include sweet, flaky halibut served with a light beurre blanc and smooth herb mash or a fillet of Loch Duart salmon with crushed potatoes and creamed leeks.

David Bann VEGETARIAN 56–58 St Mary’s Street, EH1 1SX, 0131 556 5888, | Mon–Thu noon–10pm; Fri noon– 10.30pm; Sat 11am–10.30pm; Sun 11am–10pm. £22 (set lunch) / £17 (dinner)

David Bann has been at the forefront of Edinburgh’s vegetarian scene for over a decade, and his restaurant continues to combine modern décor with an innovative menu that

eschews vegetarian clichés. Protein staples tofu and chickpeas may be on offer, but the combinations and flair with which they are presented will make naysayers rethink their prejudices. Menu regulars like the tartlet of Dunsyre blue cheese with slow-dried tomato are revered by those in the know, while the unusual combinations in a Thai fritter of broccoli and smoked tofu make for a lively and fresh starter, set off by an unusual banana chutney and plum dressing. Main courses are no less compelling, drawing influences from around the globe and using exciting spice and seasoning combinations. The rice pancake filled with cauliflower, chickpea and cashew curry and served with raita and chutney is a particular highlight. A lengthy dessert list makes for some tough decisions – it may be best to opt for the sharing platter, which includes vanilla and whisky pannacotta, pear and passion fruit tart and raspberry chocolates.

Hanam’s KURDISH 3 Johnston Terrace, EH1 2PW, 0131 225 1329, | Mon–Sun noon–11pm. £9.95 (set lunch) / £16 (dinner)

Hanam’s is rightly revered for its Kurdish cooking. The restaurant is spread over two floors of a characterful period building, including a terrace that’s – unsurprisingly – in demand on summer days and a separate dining room that’s ideal for private gatherings. In the large space upstairs, coloured lanterns throw light across a room of reds, of silken drapes, friezes, cushions and fabric, setting the scene before you turn to the menu. The mushakal meze to start is a beguiling showcase of Kurdish treats including delightful kulicha – simply fried naan dough – which animated owner Jamal Ahmed explains is enjoyed by every Kurdish family for breakfast. There’s also kubba halab: fried sweet lamb falafel-types encased in crushed rice that recall the best deepfried haggis balls. For mains, lamb tashreeb is a rich and wonderful casserole with a base of soaked naan bread, while gormeh sabzi is a Persian dish of lamb in spinach served with bejewelled rice with pomegranate seeds.

Hotel du Vin BISTROS & BRASSERIES 11 Bristo Place, EH1 1EZ, 0131 247 4900, | Mon–Fri 7–10am, noon–2.30pm, 5.30–10.30pm; Sat 8–11am, noon–2.30pm, 5.30– 10.30pm; Sun 8–11am, 12.30–3pm, 5.30–10.30pm. £12.50 (set lunch) / £21 (dinner)

Fact: eating out is way nicer than eating in. Or at least it is when the people who bring your food and pour your drinks are really, really lovely. This is well understood in Hotel du Vin, where the service is full of personality and pretty much faultless. This helps overcome a slightly cookie-cutter environment (even a boutique hotel chain is a hotel chain) and a few problems with food temperature. The menu is basically French accented comfort food – lots of classics, lots of meat. That’s no bad thing when a chicken and ham pie is this good – creamy, salty, with a thin flaky crust. Ballotine of hake sits on a bed of artichoke aioli, a great combination of earthy garlic flavours against the light, fresh fish. For starters, a kedgeree is

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Shop online at 37 Broughton St, Edinburgh EH1 3JU‡8 Brougham St, Edinburgh EH3 9JH Vegetarian ‡Fairtrade‡Special diet ‡Organic 130 THE LIST | Edinburgh Festival Guide 2012 |

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EATING: OLD TOWN CITY GUIDE properly dry, as it should be, though could do with a little more spice. Surprise of the meal must be yummy petit fours of deep-fried Mars bars.

Howies SCOTTISH 10–14 Victoria Street, EH1 2HG, 0131 225 1721, | Sun–Thu noon–2.30pm, 6–10pm; Fri/Sat 6–10.30pm. £8.95 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Long time favourite on the Edinburgh dining scene, the Howies Restaurants group has waxed and waned over the years. Now operating from two locations, Waterloo Place on Calton Hill and this Victoria Street operation, it’s well placed for tourists and locals alike. There is ample Scottish fare to excite both. Haggis and Cullen skink are among the traditional opening gambits, with hot smoked salmon mixed through rocket in tangy dressing a welcome alternative to the more usual cold smoked variety. An acceptable red pepper/ aubergine pâté comes with commercial oatcakes, brightened by homemade chutney, as do the organic Scottish cheeses served at

ideal room temperature from the other end of the menu. From a well balanced selection of Scotland’s fish, meat and poultry, confit of duck is inspired by the Auld Alliance, with soft tender flesh falling easily from the bone onto its accompanying spicy chorizo and chickpea cassoulet. The Scots/Swiss partnership is less successful.

Michael Neave Kitchen & Whisky Bar SCOTTISH 21 Old Fishmarket Close, EH1 1RW, 0131 226 4747,

Tucked down a Royal Mile Close, this new restaurant showcases the skills of young Scottish chef Michael Neave, who served his apprenticeship under father David at Amber, the restaurant in the Scotch Whisky Experience near the castle. Neave’s menu draws together the established classics of French-influenced fine dining featuring prime Scottish ingredients and international influences: grilled scallops come in a beurre blanc with a hint of Caol Ila whisky, while seared salmon is combined with chilli and ginger noodles.

Mother India’s Café INDIAN 3–5 Infirmary Street, EH1 1LT, 0131 524 9801, | Mon–Thu noon–2pm, 5–10.30pm; Fri/Sat noon–11pm; Sun noon–10pm. £15 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

The Edinburgh outpost of this Glasgow favourite has gained and retained its popularity through its trademark style of eating Indian food in tapas-sized portions. This way, a wider range of dishes can be tried even if not with a large group, and the menu is extensive. There are the familiar onion bhajis and garlic mushroom pakora, as well as the more unusual such as chicken achari, with a sour lime and chilli pickle, or fish cakes – given a kick from plenty of green chillis, ginger and garlic. Lamb karahi comes with a powerfully rich pepper sauce, and for something milder the aloo saag dosa is filled with potato and spinach, a good example of the southern Indian rice and lentil pancake. Sides include various nans such as peshwari, fluffy with its sweet filling. The restaurant recommends four dishes between two people – any more than this and you might need a doggy bag (which, incidentally, is happily provided).

Museum Brasserie BISTROS & BRASSERIES National Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street, EH1 1JF, 0131 247 4084, | Mon–Sun 10am–4.30pm. £13 (set lunch)

They invented a lot of stuff, did the Scots, and many of those inventions are on display at the all-new National Museum of Scotland. The equally all-new Museum Brasserie echoes this pioneering spirit by quietly reinventing the tourist attraction dining experience. Their ambitious take means proper food with proper service – no hot plates, no plastic trays and not a wilted chip in sight. Instead, expect home-made modern bistro classics: great burgers, steak sandwiches and fish-cakes, plus some Eastern Med influences. Sweet potato and chickpea fritters are silky, yielding clouds sitting on a puddle of spicy, perfectly soft

BEST BRUNCH Broughton Delicatessen

Peter’s Yard

7 Barony Street, 558 7111, broughton-deli. Breakfast served: Mon–Sat 8am–3pm; Sun 11am–3pm.

7 Simpson Loan, 228 5876, Breakfast served: Mon–Fri 7am–noon; Sat & Sun 9am–noon.

What does this place not do well? A great deli, healthy lunches and superb, madefrom-scratch breakfasts from morning until 3pm every day. The Broughton Deli breakfast is a stand-out, with homemade potato scones and special recipe baked beans alongside bacon, black pudding and scrambled egg. Or, for an American twist, try maple syrup-doused pancakes with fruit or bacon.

Heller’s Kitchen 15 Salisbury Place, 667 4654, hellerskitchen. Breakfast served: Mon–Fri 9.30am–11:30am; Sat 9am– 3pm; Sun 10am–3pm.

At the opposite end of the spectrum to your standard greasy spoon is Heller’s, a spacious and sophisticated breakfast place offering an imaginative menu. If you can make it past the freshly baked sugar doughnuts in the window (always snapped up fast so get there early) we suggest ordering indulgent American style pancakes with either smoked bacon or fresh fruit.

The King’s Wark 36 The Shore, 554 9260, Breakfast served: Sat noon–3pm; Sun 11am– 12.30pm. Brunch served: Sun 12.30pm–3pm.

They only serve it on Sundays, but the Kings Wark’s brunch is an Edinburgh institution. The full breakfast, smoked salmon and scrambled egg bagels are positively pedestrian in comparison to a plate of smoked haddock, haggis and tattie scones or the fearsome rib eye steak with fried egg and potatoes. A spinach crêpe is also on offer for the veggies.

Peter’s Yard is a paragon of Scandinavian minimalism – a café where both food and décor are simple, elegant and very pleasing indeed. Breakfast consists of freshly-baked breads (pictured) with cheese and preserves. Watch the magic happen through the viewing windows of the bakery or, if you’re in a hurry, grab a highly recommended latte and a traditional Swedish cinnamon bun at the Savour to Go shop round the back.

Spoon 6a Nicolson Street, 557 4567, spooncafe. Breakfast served: All day Mon–Sat 10am–10pm; closed Sun.

There’s a lot to love about this artsy central hangout – up the stairs from Nicolson Street’s buzz, and offering breakfasts ranging from porridge or fruit salad through to a full mixed grill – but it’s their breakfast rolls that we adore in particular. Served on a fulsome and herb-infused crusty roll, they’re a contender for the best in Edinburgh.

Urban Angel 1 Forth Street, 556 6323; 121 Hanover Street, 225 6215 Forth Street breakfast served: Mon–Sun 9am–5pm. Hanover Street breakfast served: Mon–Sat 9am–5pm; Sun 10am–5pm.

These smart, modern bistros do a good line in early morning pick-me-ups, catering as much for the calorie conscious or those who don’t give a damn. You can pick from yoghurt, bircher muesli and pastries, or go the whole hog with some of the best eggs Benedict served anywhere in Edinburgh.

lentils. Crab adds a strong punch of flavour when added to salmon fish-cakes, and Guinea fowl on tabouleh is sprinkled with pretty jewels of pomegranate (although perhaps could do with a tad more spice). It’s all extremely good. In fact, it’s definitely worth a visit in its own right. Keep in mind though that the Brasserie is indelibly linked to the museum, so plan your visit carefully.

Nanyang Malaysian Cuisine MALAYSIAN Unit 1, 3–5 Lister Square, South Pavilion, Quartermile, EH3 9GL, 0131 629 1797, | Mon–Sat noon–2.30pm, 5–11pm; Sun 5–11pm. £18 (dinner)

In the middle of Edinburgh’s Quartermile development is a new addition to the city’s compact Malaysian dining scene. In keeping with the surrounding contemporary new-builds the restaurant is dominated by glass, diners on minimalist white chairs separated from the street only by towering windows. The menus combine Malaysian specialities with plenty of evidence of the multiple influences on Malaysia’s food heritage – roti, chicken satay and Szechuan chicken all appear, and two of the three curry bases are Thai.

The Outsider BISTROS & BRASSERIES 15/16 George IV Bridge, EH1 1EE, 0131 226 3131 | Mon–Sun noon–11pm. £18 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

‘Pink fur potatoes’ is probably a typo, but with a wine list that describes a South African chenin as ‘like falling from a white-water raft whilst passing through a peach grove’, all bets are off. The Outsider buzzes. A suspended mezzanine hovers over a street-level eating area that doesn’t let a few decorous period details stand in the way of some oversize modern art. After dark, candles here, there and up the stair frame romantic views of the floodlit castle. The menu packs a lot of personality. Instead of the now all-too-familiar sourcing tag, it just quietly weaves black kale, beetroot, cavolo nero, salsify (and pink fir potatoes) through the




OThe Times SLTN

Wine List Awards .IGGS 15 Jeffrey St EH1 1DR Tel: 0131 557 8184 Fax: 0131 652 3774 ‘Iggs & Barioja have been sourcing the finest Spanish & Scottish ingredients since 1989. Recently refurbished with the help of channel 5’s Restaurant Inspector, we now offer a more relaxed and modern Spanish experience!’

EDINBURGH’S HOTTEST SPANISH TAPAS BAR Hitlisted in The List Top 10 Tapas Bar The Times BARIOJA . 19 Jeffrey St EH1 1DR Tel: 0131 557 3622 Fax: 0131 652 3774 | Edinburgh Festival Guide 2012 | THE LIST 131

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CITY GUIDE EATING: OLD TOWN dishes, and leaves you to do the math about seasonal and local. Nutmeg, star anise and cassia bark bring welcome and uncommon notes of spice, while skirt steak is a clever cut to include for those who prize flavour in their meat. Salsas spike a warm or fruity edge into sweet and savoury alike. Bring on the chenin, and you could just about be in that peach grove.

Petit Paris FRENCH 38–40 Grassmarket, EH1 2JU, 0131 226 2442, | Mon–Fri noon–3pm, 5.30–10.30pm; Sat/Sun noon–11pm. £11.90 (set lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Cheek by jowl in the middle of the traffic-eased Grassmarket, Petit Paris uses all available spaces to fit check-clothed tables into its lively, friendly venue. More enthusiastically French than many of its competitors, a genuine welcome greets each patron on entry. A simple board presents the set menu choices for the day, but there is plenty to tempt the palate à la carte. Classic escargots grillées, bubbling in ample pools of garlicky, parsley’d Pernod butter present beautifully and with a sense of occasion, which is a bit lacking in the filo encased goat’s cheese with olive tapenade, tasty though it is. The bouillabaisse generously fills its earthern dish, large chunks of firm, flavoursome coley, salmon and mussels swimming happily in their delicately rich fish soup. Individual iron pots of lamb stew, enclose ample chunks of tender, slow cooked meat and bright, firm carrots, a-swish in their glistening, silky brown sauce.

Porto & Fi on the Mound BISTROS & BRASSERIES 9 North Bank Street, EH1 2LP, 0131 225 9494, | Mon–Sat 10am–9.30pm; Sun 10am–5.30pm. £17 (lunch) / £17 (dinner)

Those who cherish Porto and Fi’s café in Newhaven will feel right at home in this grander city centre offshoot. The morning rolls and muffins, gorgeously Bunterish home-made cakes plus dishes adaptable to a light lunch or hearty supper are all here. But while the ‘passionate about food’ signature is the same, the feel is subtly different. Sharp contemporary design and opening hours stretching longer into the evening say sleek city bistro rather than seaside café, while the terrace overlooking the Mound and Princes Street beyond just begs you to linger for a civilised glass of wine. The cooking is bistro/café fare at the top of its game. Comfort food comes in the shape of venison sausages with red cabbage atop parsnip and potato mash, or curvaceous Nutella bread and butter pudding. Love handles on a plate.

Saffrani INDIAN 11 South College Street, EH8 9AA, 0131 667 1597, | Mon–Sun noon–11pm. £5.90 (set lunch) / £16 (dinner)

This small restaurant tucked away off Nicolson Street has retained its all-round quality through a recent change in ownership, with an extensive list of curries from a variety of Indian regions. To start, chicken chat is a substantial dish of spicy marinated chicken pieces with puffed up puri bread to scoop it up, and tandoori lamb

chops are sufficiently charred but still tender. King prawn makhari is one of the milder options, with a creamy tomato base flavoured with fenugreek, while their lamb rogan josh is rich, heavy with chilli and coriander. A previous emphasis on seafood has fallen away a little, though Goan fish curry is particularly notable, with large chunks of salmon and white fish in a coconut sauce. These are all very reasonably priced, with each being plenty to share between two.

Spoon Café Bistro BISTROS & BRASSERIES 6a Nicolson Street, EH8 9DH, 0131 557 4567, | Mon–Sat 10am–10pm. Closed Sun. £12 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Home life getting you down? Move here. Seriously. It’s open from 10am till 10pm, serving everything from morning rolls through to a three-course dinner. There’s free wi-fi. People bring you drinks. The furniture is cool kitsch-retro-chic. If only the sofa folded into a bed, there would be no reason to leave Spoon, ever. There’s certainly plenty to keep your taste buds interested. Mushrooms on toasted brioche are full of deep, woodsy flavour, though could do with a touch more sauce. Delicious grilled mackerel is criss-crossed from the char-grill and served on a limey pillow of sweet potato mash. Brisket of beef is a welcome addition to any menu, particularly when it’s as meltingly tender as this. Desserts are pretty, with a flourless chocolate cake stealing the show (gluten free, as are many of the dishes).

and students, as well as the expected flow of visitors. Created in 2011 from a former bank and bookshop, the Whiski Rooms is divided into three sections. A shop selling hundreds of whiskies and a bar that’s a popular stopping off point for a refreshment and a chance to admire the view account for two-thirds of the space. The other area, the dining room, is decorated in dark colours, with banquettes along each wall. The menu speaks of a chef with skill, using Scottish ingredients in an imaginative way. The list of starters includes haggis spring rolls with a plum sauce alongside more prosaic offerings such as grilled fillet of mackerel. For mains, Borders pork cooked three ways is artfully presented, while confit Barbary duck leg with cassoulet harks back to the entente cordiale.


designer fashion house, is that it’s likely to be a glamorous affair. From the smile on the Missoni-kilted doormen to the toilets worthy of a film star, the experience will leave you feeling treated. The food thankfully lives up to this sense of style and hospitality. Thick slices of deep pink Bresaola are served with plenty of rocket and a tangy goat’s cheese dressing while canolicchi (razor clams) arrive in their shells with tomato sauce and borlotti beans. Pasta is evidently fresh, with the gnocchi melting rather than chewy, coated in a long-simmered ragu of wild boar while main courses include wellexecuted dishes such as slow roast lamb with Jerusalem artichoke puree and crispy parsnips or pan-fried hake with buttery Savoy cabbage. There’s a classic tiramisu on the dessert menu, but the fondente al cioccolato is an exemplary chocolate pudding with liquid centre, adorned with pistachio ice cream and saffron custard.


La Garrigue

ITALIAN Hotel Missoni, 1 George IV Bridge, EH1 1AD, 0131 240 1666, | Mon–Thu 6.30– 10am, 12.30–3pm, 6–10.30pm; Fri 6.30–10am, 12.30–3pm, 6–11pm; Sat 7–11am, 12.30–3pm, 6–11pm; Sun 7–11am, 12.30–3pm, 6–10.30pm. £13.50 (set lunch) / £30 (dinner)

FRENCH 31 Jeffrey Street, EH1 1DH, 0131 557 3032, | Mon–Sun noon–2.30pm, 6.30– 9.30pm. £12.50 (set lunch) / £25 (set dinner)

One thing that can be said for dining in a hotel restaurant owned by a multi-national,

Stac Polly Bistro SCOTTISH 38 St Mary’s Street, EH1 1SX, 0131 557 5754, | Mon–Fri noon–2pm, 6–10pm; Sat/ Sun 6–10pm. £13 (lunch) / £21.95 (set dinner)

More casual than her New Town sister, the Bistro is bright and airy, with 1790s caricatures of Edinburgh worthies as well as some architectural black and white photos of Edinburgh decorating the walls. The rear dining room has a high shelf of elegant metal vases containing calla lilies. While the menu shares some of the New Town dishes, others are presented differently. The breadcrumbed haggis bonbons are more like gobstoppers, but go surprisingly well with plum and coriander chutney. Red pepper and tomato soup is enlivened with just enough ginger. Sprigs of thyme in the jus threaten to dominate the main course lamb, but don’t. The breaded salmon sits atop fluffy potatoes which are scented rather than flavoured with dill and the accompanying curry sauce is mild and creamy. The fine beans served with both dishes are portions of veg rather than a garnish. Cranachan is layered in a glass like a sundae and is generous enough to share. Clootie dumpling is warm with sweet spices, but a bit low on the fruit.

Whiski Rooms SCOTTISH 4, 6 & 7 North Bank Street, EH1 2LP, 0131 225 7224, | Mon–Sun noon–10pm. £9.95 (set lunch) / £22 (dinner)

Despite sitting in the heart of tourist territory, Whiski Rooms attracts a mixture of diners including professionals, locals of all ages

BEST SNACKS Café Marina 61 Cockburn Street, EH1 1BS, 0131 662 7447,

With legendary deli Valvona and Crolla ancestry, the eponymous hostess of this small café knows good Italian food. Daily pasta specials are hearty and flavoursome, and along with a classic meat loaf and frittata they make for more interesting takeaway than standard paninis.

Hula Juice Bar and Gallery 103-105 West Bow, EH1 2JP, 0131 220 1121,

Perfect for a midday vitamin boost, Hula offers a multitude of juices or smoothies. The ‘Pink Lady’ is a particularly refreshing combination of apple, ginger, lemon and lime, and things remain healthy in the savoury department, with filled wraps and bagels (pictured) also available.

The Treehouse 44 Leven Street, EH3 9LJ, 0131 656 0513

Porto & Fi on the mound 9 North Bank St Edinburgh EH1 2LP 0131 225 9494

There are no cheesy photos of the Place du Tertre here. Paris does not even get a look in as old assured hand Jean Michel Gauffre instead delves south to the sun drenched Languedoc for serious regional cooking with an intoxicating

Porto & Fi 47 Newhaven Main St Edinburgh EH6 4NQ t: 0131 551 1900 | e:

When the sun’s out, students and other enlightened types grab a picnic from the Treehouse and head for the Meadows. Just about everything is freshly made on-site, and beyond the well-filled bagels, rolls and paninis, cakes like chocolate and orange sponge are highlights.

Broughton Delicatessen 7 Barony Street, EH3 6PD, 0131 558 7111,

The Broughton Street area’s overflowing with good lunchtime cafés, and this is one

of the best. For sit-in, takeaway or office delivery (for ten or more), they offer an extensive range of crêpes, salads, soups, sandwiches, flat-bread pizzas, homemade pies and cakes.

The Clock Café 35 The Shore, EH6 6QN, 0131 553 1922

A Shore staple, the Clock is a stalwart with locals and businesses in the area (to whom it delivers). Daily-changing soups and hot panini are on the menu alongside a fridge stuffed with flatbreads, vegan and vegetarian salad boxes and sweet traybakes.

Embo 29 Haddington Place, Leith Walk, EH7 4AG, 0131 652 3880,

For Leith Walkers, Embo’s reputation precedes it. As a café it’s snug, but the exciting range of focaccia, baguettes, wraps and salads are just as enjoyable back at your desk. As with the extensive vegetarian options and the homemade juice of the day, freshness comes as standard.

The Manna House 22–24 Easter Road, EH7 5RG, 0131 652 2349

There’s some amazing food on offer at this beloved little bakery/café, with sweet and savoury goodies including various handy lunch options en croute, in pies and on bread – plus, it’s all created without the aid of additives, shelf life improvers or flavour enhancers.

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EATING: OLD TOWN CITY GUIDE Mediterranean swagger. The dishes are as vibrant as the striking modern art – if anything catches your eye you can buy your own slice of the south to take home. Roquefort soufflé is a rich, satisfying first flourish, the veined tanginess offset by a walnut and pear salad. The mains are even more impressive with a fullblooded, meat-stuffed cassoulet that would not be out of place in Carcassonne and a simple but spectacular cheek of beef slow cooked with red wine and tomatoes. Not content with finishing with a standard crème brûlée, the languorous Languedoc returns with a touch of lavender, while the chocolate fondant is worth waiting a lot more than 15 minutes for. These days La Garrigue also has a ‘wee brother’ operation down on Commercial Quay in Leith; set in the former Daniel’s, it has much more of the classic French bistro about it, serving up coq au vin, tartiflette, confit duck leg and simple omelettes, pasta bowls or fish cakes.

langoustines, clams and mussels simply prepared with garlic and herb butter. But there are plenty of versatile options elsewhere on the menu. A starter of brown crab arrives incredibly fresh, complemented by slivers of sweet walnut toast while the squid tempura comes with a Vietnamese sauce that packs a garlic and ginger punch. The main course of Cornish sea bass rests on a stack of boulangere potatoes and a rich shrimp and Beaujolais sauce, while the tender John Dory combines with clams and gnocchi to create a mix of fish and shells that is light and tasty (if ultimately a little too salty). Desserts are worth taking a punt on and include a lovely rustic treacle tart.


Tower Restaurant

The Grain Store

For the best view in the Southside, try the roof terrace of the Tower, looking over to the castle. Inside, the National Museum’s restaurant has dark, glossy tables and a modern take on food. Like the crisp fish finger, which really tastes of crab. Crunchy apple and walnut sets off a smooth delicate rabbit terrine. A cute chicken and mushroom bridie perches atop main course roast chicken and a colourful mix of bite-size root vegetables. As well a good helping of prawns, mussels and clams, the bouillabaisse has chunks of salmon, sea bass and plaice attractively piled in the richly flavoured stock base. Or, for two to share, there’s tranche of halibut or venison Wellington. The sharing theme is continued in a chocolate sharing plate; alternatively, cardamom ice-cream is the perfect complement to an orangey tart.

Opened in 1975 by Filippo and Maria-Celeste Crolla, L’Alba d’Oro is a proper old fashioned local chippy, supplying New Town residents with a stream of fish suppers, pies and puddings, chip butties and other deep fried delights. With plenty of vegetable options, different varieties of fish to choose from (crumbed or battered, single or supper) and swift service, it’s no surprise that they have acquired a loyal following. Next door, Anima is a shinier, more modern creation and is run by son, Gino.

SCOTTISH 30 Victoria Street, EH1 2JW, 0131 225 7635, | Mon–Thu noon–2pm, 6–10pm; Fri noon–2pm, 6–11pm; Sat noon–3pm, 6–11pm; Sun noon–3pm, 6–10pm. £12.50 (set lunch) / £32 (dinner)

If you fancy trying your hand as a restaurant critic, the Grain Store is the place to go. Feedback on dishes – especially those new to the menu – is positively encouraged. So, what to say about pithivier of hare with a saddle of hare salad? It is certainly a plentiful main course and an unusual opportunity to taste the same, rich game source in two different incarnations on the one plate. Other game choices are Perthshire venison served three ways, whole roast partridge or, from starters, roast widgeon (wild duck). In fishy main courses, garlic cream purée swamps the flavour of flakily cooked halibut, with little compensation from its wilted broccoli accompaniment. Seafood in starters is of top-notch quality, whether hand dived scallops from Orkney, home-smoked salmon or Loch Creran oysters. Experimenting in desserts, honey is overpowered by the offbeat choice of fennel as they vie for attention with panacotta and orange.

Monteiths BISTROS & BRASSERIES 57–61 High Street, EH1 1SR, 0131 557 0330, | Mon–Fri 5–11pm; Sat/ Sun noon–10pm. £18 (set lunch) / £32 (dinner)

Monteiths’ discreet menu board at the head of one of the Royal Mile’s darker closes is easily missed. But don’t, because this subterranean bar and restaurant’s low-key Scottish style is a welcome antidote to the energetic tartanry to be found nearby. Buttonback leather armchairs make the bar a cosy retreat for a dram or cocktail, while a cheerful clutter of tables and chairs of varying provenance feature in the book-lined dining room. There’s tartan, but not indigestibly much, while closer inspection of the obligatory stag’s head above the blazing fire reveals a tongue in cheek confection of blackpainted MDF. Impeccable cooking and good ingredients are centre-stage here. Pinkly tender tranches of lamb come with crisp sweetbreads and a rosemary jus, a peppery disc of Stornoway black pudding makes an unctuous foil to austerely lean wood pigeon, while local girolles and a toffee apple jus sit sweetly with confit pig cheek and fork-tender belly pork.

Ondine FISH 2 George IV Bridge, EH1 1AD, 0131 226 1888, | Mon–Sun noon–3pm, 5.30–10pm. £16.95 (set lunch) / £30 (dinner)

Ondine has quickly established itself as a respected fixture on the city-centre dining scene. Located next to the smart Missoni Hotel, the second-floor restaurant offers mesmerising views over George IV Bridge and Victoria Street, while diners can also perch at the horseshoe-shaped Crustacean Bar. The clean, stylish décor and discreetly attentive waiting staff contrast nicely with the relaxed vibe of the restaurant: contemporary jazz plays overhead and there’s a pleasant, unselfconscious buzz about the place. Display cases of shellfish introduce the main theme as you arrive. It’s difficult to see past the roast shellfish platter for two, a comprehensive selection of lobster,

SCOTTISH National Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street, EH1 1JF, 0131 225 3003, | Mon–Sun noon–11pm. £15.95 (set lunch) / £32.50 (dinner)

Wedgwood the Restaurant SCOTTISH 267 Canongate, EH8 8BQ, 0131 558 8737, | Mon–Sat noon–3pm, 6–10pm; Sun 12.30–3pm, 6–10pm. £10 (set lunch) / £30 (dinner)

If you like your dining Scottish, but with international influences, the occasional cheffy twist, and a decent wine list, then Wedgwood will entertain. Paul Wedgwood’s creations are served in a relaxed atmosphere, in the bright street-level room or downstairs in a cosy basement. Scottish seasonal produce is prominent, including foraged greens like scurvy grass and sea purslane. A starter of lobster thermidor crème brûlée is cool and silky, served with an icy Bloody Mary sorbet and parmesan biscuit. Scallops, hand-dived by the Ethical Shellfish Company, are paired with a swirl of vanilla squash purée. Venison is cooked perfectly pink, though the accompanying smoked aubergine purée might prove too aggressive for some. The coral from the scallop starter finds it way onto a plate of hake with wilted kale and a tomato coulis. Desserts range from a substantial ‘very sticky’ toffee pudding with thick butterscotch and Caol Ila Islay whisky sauce, to a more savoury goat’s cheese semifreddo. It’s all a touch of much-needed class on the Royal Mile.

INEXPENSIVE L’Alba D’Oro/Anima TAKEAWAY / ITALIAN 5–11 Henderson Row, EH3 5DH, 0131 557 2580 (L’Alba D’Oro) 0131 558 2918 (Anima), | Both: Mon–Sun 5–11pm; in addition, Anima: Mon–Sat noon–2.30pm. Closed Sun. £6.50 (lunch) / £6.50 (dinner)

Café Royal Circle Bar BARS & PUBS 19 West Register Street, EH2 2AA, 0131 556 1884, | Mon–Sat 11am–10pm; Sun 12.30–10pm. £14 (lunch) / £16 (dinner)

There are a few pubs that claim to be true Edinburgh institutions, but the Café Royal, which has been trading under the same name since 1863, surely deserves a place in the pantheon of the capital’s classics. Diners and drinkers alike are drawn to the pub’s Victorian interior, which boasts elegantly tiled walls and offers a welcome escape from the contemporary commercialism of nearby Princes Street. The bar also has an excellent menu, with seafood very much to the fore. The likes of oysters and mussels – the latter served by the kilo – are both safe and succulent bets,

while the more adventurous might be drawn to the occasional specials, which can include rather more leftfield offerings.

Café Portrait ARTS VENUE CAFÉ Scottish National Portrait Gallery, 1 Queen Street, EH2 1JD, 0131 624 6200, | Fri–Wed 10am–4.30pm; Thu 10am–6.30pm. £9 (lunch)

When Edinburgh’s Portrait Gallery opened with new-found swagger and style, at the end of 2011, art fans had plenty to get their teeth into: a stunning, multi-million pound facelift with glorious works by Scottish greats like Henry Raeburn and contemporary, colourful, glossy portraits of familiar faces like Tom Kitchin, David Tennant and SuBo, suggesting a venture firing on all cylinders. Foodies, too, had ample reason to rejoice, courtesy of the gallery’s fresh, bright and bustling new café area. Where once it felt dark and dingy, now high windows and airy, slick décor make it feel welcoming and inclusive. Staples include Parma ham and mozzarella-laden ciabatta, and delicious homemade soups (the parsnip and rosemary is a must), while daily specials offer interesting twists on classic dishes: a macaroni cheese, given depth and kick by a smoked pancetta and leek infusion. The wide array of cakes doesn’t disappoint, a lemon drizzle cake, offering suitable tang and moisture. It’s licensed, too, should you fancy a bottle of locally brewed beer or glass of crisp chardonnay.

French Press Coffee Company CAFÉS 25a Dundas Street, EH3 6QQ, 0131 556 4336, | Sun–Wed 8am–6pm; Thu–Sat 8am–8pm.

A new phrase is entering Edinburgh’s coffee lexicography: the brew bar. French Press isn’t the first coffee bar in Edinburgh by any means, but in offering a variety of methods by which to create a cup of the black stuff: espresso machine, french press (cafetière), trendy Japanese-sourced V60 ceramic filter, clever US


Restaurant & Bar

The Witchery by the Castle SCOTTISH Castlehill, Royal Mile, EH1 2NF, 0131 225 5613, | Mon–Sun noon–4pm, 5.30–11.30pm. £15.95 (set lunch) / £40 (dinner)

From its grand seat atop the Royal Mile, The Witchery’s lavishly designed suites and busy restaurant have been drawing a mix of locals and visitors for over 30 years. This medieval merchant’s house is graced with bespoke panelled ceiling, sumptuous tapestries and a galaxy of well-chosen antiques, all basking in the glow of a zillion candles. Yes, it’s theatrical but exquisitely realised and undoubtedly romantic. The restaurant itself is divided between two rooms: the Witchery and, downstairs, the Secret Garden. Both offer the same luxurious (and accordingly priced) à la carte, alongside a £30 set menu and famously epic wine list. Scottish ingredients of good pedigree feature in dishes such as a starter of Guy Grieve’s fantastic scallops –fishy nuggets of joy that arrive simply roasted with Iberico ham. A sharing platter of indulgent puddings, including an excellent Trinity cream, redeems and will leave you ready for your (if you’re lucky) four-poster bed.

The Magnum offers you a relaxing gastro bar and restaurant in the heart of Edinburgh’s New Town. Within a stone’s throw of the bustling city centre, The Magnum offers a lunch and dinner menu with a focus on freshly prepared local produce, complimented with wine selected from Magnum’s wine cellar.

Monday to Thursday open 12.00 pm - 12.00 am Friday and Saturday open 12.00 pm - 1.00 am Sunday open 12.30pm - 11.00pm Food served 12.00 pm - 3.00 pm then 5.30 pm - 10pm Voted 10th most popular hidden gems in the UK by Edinburgh Capital Silver Award 2009

1 Albany Street, Edinburgh, EH1 3PY 0131 557 4366 | Edinburgh Festival Guide 2012 | THE LIST 133

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CITY GUIDE EATING: NEW TOWN & STOCKBRIDGE Aeropress or even drip-brew chilled coffee, it’s a place where coffee science is taken seriously. But it’s not just a place for gadget-geeks; the café has tables and chairs inside and out designed by co-owner Gail Thomson, as well as carefully assembled eats including cakes, snacks and a neat selection of sandwiches designed by supportive chef Paul Wedgwood of Wedgwood the Restaurant in the Old Town.

The Gateway Restaurant CAFÉ-RESTAURANT John Hope Gateway Centre, Royal Botanic Garden, Arboretum Place, EH3 5LR, 0131 552 2674, | Mon–Sun 10am–5.15pm. £11.50 (lunch)

Although lacking the panoramic views of its sister venue a few hundred metres up the hill, the Terrace Café, the restaurant in the Botanics’ gleaming new John Hope Gateway enjoys a pleasant outlook over the Biodiversity Garden, especially from the lovely al fresco tables on its sweeping deck. The sit-down menu includes classic Caesar and Nicoise salads, chunky sandwiches served with potato wedges, more substantial seasonal mains and a Sunday carvery. Platters of fish, charcuterie or vegetable antipasti are good to share but it’s the afternoon tea (at a rather reasonable £8.25 per person) that seems to draw the crowds from 2.30pm onwards.

Glass & Thompson CAFÉS 2 Dundas Street, EH3 6HZ, 0131 557 0909 | Mon–Sat 8.30am–5.30pm; Sun 10.30am–4.30pm. £8.75/£10.75 (set lunch)

Ask proprietor Russell Glass nicely and he might show you the copy of Alexander McCall Smith’s novel The Forgotten Affairs of Youth he keeps behind the counter, the one in which he and his café make a cameo appearance on page 173. It’s not an unlikely place in which to find them, so definitively New Town is this long-standing tea shop and café. Glass holds court behind a counter stuffed with sweet and savoury choices, including tarts of ricotta and pine nut or ham, gruyere and tomato, satisfyingly cheesy vegetable pasta and ingredients for Greek salad, a cheese plate or a New York-style deli selection of pastrami, gherkins, mustard and bread.

Henderson’s Vegetarian Restaurant VEGETARIAN 94 Hanover Street, EH2 1DR, 0131 225 2131, | Mon–Wed 8am– 9.30pm; Thu–Sat 8am–10pm; Sun 10am–5pm. £9.25 / £9.95 (set lunch) / £15 (dinner)

This subterranean gathering spot has been the beating heart of Edinburgh’s vegetarian scene for half a decade, and justly celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2012 – no mean feat considering how our appetites and attitudes towards food have changed over those years. With space for around 160 rustic wooden tables, live music of some description every night and a wide range of wholesome food and drink on offer, it’s little wonder the place is always busy. Behind the serving counter a vast blackboard details the day’s specials which range in price and substance from soups, salads and quiches

to hearty main meals along the lines of a crêpe with mushrooms and fennel in a creamy mustard sauce or roast aubergine stuffed with oats and nuts and served with a warming redcurrant sauce and potato dauphinoise. Any of the specials can be augmented by a side salad chosen from the tempting display.

Sprio CAFÉS 37/39 St Stephen Street, EH3 5AH, 0131 226 7533, | Mon–Sat 8.30am–5pm; Sun 10.30am–5pm. £8.50 (lunch)

St Stephen Street on a summer’s day could almost be mistaken for a Milanese back street, and it’s this atmosphere the owners of Sprio succeed in reflecting. This isn’t just an Italian-themed café, it’s one which reflects the sights and smells of the country, from the cool, brightly-designed furniture to the action-packed fumetti adorning the walls and a range of imported Italian sweets, magazines and dry goods. Most of the kitchen ingredients are also Italian imports. Here, the emphasis is on sitting down and savouring.

The Stand ARTS VENUE CAFÉ-BAR 5 York Place, EH1 3EB, 0131 558 7272, thestand. | Thu 7.30–8.30pm; Fri/Sat 7–8.30pm; Sun 12.30–2.30pm. [No food Mon–Wed]. £7 (one course) (lunch) / £7 (one course) (dinner)

Having spent more than 15 years demonstrating that comedians are for life, not just the festival, this subterranean venue stakes a strong claim for entry to the pantheon of ‘Edinburgh Institutions’. Inside, the mish-mash of colours and murals aren’t much to look at, but it is a comfortable, intimate space, the low roof and equally low lighting contributing to the atmosphere, managing to retain a real sense the independent spirit on which it was founded. As well as serving up comedy seven nights a week, they also do food, so if you’re left in stitches at least it’s not on an empty stomach. The menu’s straightforward, sticking to familiar pub grub territory, but the quality is surprisingly good. Beef chilli is made with slow-roasted shoulder meat and has a real kick, while the fist-sized burger is tender and juicy (make sure you order the wedges to accompany it for an additional £1). Considering they’ve got a captive audience, bar prices are reasonable, with a decent selection of bottled beers too.

Turkish Kitchen TURKISH 120–122 Rose Street South Lane, EH2 4BB, 0131 226 2212, | Mon–Thu 11am–2.30pm, 5pm–11.30pm [Takeaway until 1am]; Fri/Sat 11am–11.30pm [Takeaway until 3am]. Closed Sun. £6.50 (set lunch) / £16 (dinner)

Located down an unassuming lane off Rose Street, Turkish Kitchen does a thriving takeaway trade but is well worth seeking out, not just for a post-pub kebab, but for a slap-up banquet of traditional Turkish cooking. Fret-cut sconces, decorative mirrors and storm lanterns provide the expected touch of character, as does the Turkish football on the telly that sometimes catches the attention of ex-Nargile chef Seyhmus Aslanalp as he lines up mezze in the open kitchen. Opt for the ufra sofrasi

Lancers Brasserie Edinburgh’s top rated Indian restaurant in the AA Hotel and Restaurant Guide. Our Officers Club is an intimate space seating up to twenty people for private function.

Henderson’s Vegetarian Restaurant

banquet to really see what the Turkish Kitchen can do, but resist wiping up every bowl of a substantial starter selection with the heavenly hot buttered pitta that opens the feast. Tuck into sucuk sausage, lovely light cacik and orangey salsa, but be warned: this may be enough for smaller appetites.

MID-RANGE A Room in the Town SCOTTISH 18 Howe Street, EH3 6TG, 0131 225 8204, | Mon–Sun noon–2.30pm, 5.30– 10pm. £12.95 (set lunch) / £22 (dinner)

A Room in the Town claims to be the place that ‘started it all’. ‘It’ is using quality Scottish produce to produce excellent eating at reasonable prices. Oh, and in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere too. Nearly 15 years on, this Room is still bang on the money, delivering as advertised. A crostini topped with roast fennel and tomato is gutsy and garlicky. A chicken and chorizo terrine is a good choice, although olives are an unadvertised extra ingredient. A fine piece of lamb rump is perfectly pink with a well-made red wine gravy. Salmon and coley fish-cakes have the requisite high proportion of fish, though lemon mayo is all too frugal. A side order of vegetables is too much choice in too small a dish, when less might certainly be more. All quibbles really. Desserts run the gamut from the home comfort of apple and vanilla compôte crumble to a more ritzy Satsuma fizz jelly with mascarpone. Fans of smaller Scottish brewers are well catered for, alongside a reasonable choice of wine. Raise a glass to the Room, still very accommodating.

Bell’s Diner NORTH AMERICAN 7 St Stephen Street, EH3 5AN, 0131 225 8116 |

Sun–Fri 6–10pm; Sat noon–10.15pm. £14 (lunch) / £14 (dinner)

If your restaurant is really only serving two things, you’d better make sure you do those things well. Bell’s Diner has been doing steak and burgers well for over 40 years and there are no signs of things changing. Behind its anonymous exterior, there’s a relaxed, familiar feel to this Stockbridge institution with almost a coffee shop vibe going on. No one is really coming here for the starters, and given the eating challenge that the main courses present, you’d be best served moving straight to the action. Outstanding burgers come in three sizes with a range of toppings and butters including garlic, mustard and Roquefort while slabs of perfectly cooked steak vie for plate space with a mountain of crisply cooked chips and fresh, undressed salad.

Café Fish FISH 15 North West Circus Place, EH3 6SX, 0131 225 4431, | Mon–Sat noon–9.30pm; Sun noon–8pm. £11 (lunch) / £22 (set dinner)

Having moved premises from Leith in July 2011, Café Fish’s new home in the heart of Stockbridge is double the size of its predecessor at 76 covers, comfortably but sparely decked out with the original art deco features brought to the fore and a kitchen/hatch area that extends out into the body of the restaurant. This elegant simplicity extends to the food. Owner Richard Muir is keen on local produce and the menu changes daily depending on availability. There’s an in-house ban on dustings, swirls and foams (not to mention sides) in favour of unfussy, beautifully cooked and presented fish and seafood dishes. This is in evidence from a starter of sardines, whose distinctive favour is brought out by just a squeeze of lemon juice, and fishcakes with insides beaten to a feathery lightness. A main course fillet of gurnard

- The Cafe Royal is like taking a step back in time with its stained glass, murals, mirrors and wood panelling. - Award-wining seafood bar and restaurant for fantastic food, great service and cask ale quality. - A hub for lovers of oysters and mussels. - A must visit for visitors of the Edinburgh Festival. - Great location for star-spotting during the Fringe!

FESTIVAL OFFER: Pre-theatre or Post-show? Enjoy a complimentary starter or dessert with your main course when presenting your show ticket for that day.

Curry Britishards Aw 0 201

5 Hamilton Place Edinburgh, Midlothian EH3 5BA 0131 332 3444

Café Royal 19 West Register Street, Edinburgh, EH2 2AA Tel: 0131 556 1884 • Email:

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arrives with smooth garlic mash and spinach complemented by a sweet shellfish bisque while pan roast North Atlantic cod is cooked until just translucent and served with a fine tagliolini in a spicy tomato sauce.

Café Marlayne FRENCH 76 Thistle Street, EH2 1EN, 0131 226 2230, | Mon–Sun noon–2.30pm, 6–10pm. £12 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Longevity is not something always associated with Edinburgh’s French restaurants. That Café Marlayne has stuck around for a decade is testament to its ability to consistently please an eclectic range of diners. Now with two locations in town, the more functional is on Antigua Street across from the Playhouse, while the more charming original is tucked away just north of George Street. Here, Francophile Scot Islay Fraser conjures up an array of French bistro classics, with a few twists from her homeland to liven things up. To start, a richly satisfying boudin noir sits happily alongside Arbroath smokie pâté, moules marinières alongside vodka cured salmon. Duck confit or plaice with brown shrimp and a beurre noir signal an even greater emphasis on the continent amongst the mains, with even the Scottish ribeye steak laced with Roquefort.

Calistoga NORTH AMERICAN 70 Rose Street North Lane, EH2 3DX, 0131 225 1233, | Mon–Sat noon–2.30pm, 5–10pm; Sun 12.30pm–2.30pm, 5–10pm. £12 (set lunch) / £22 (dinner)

Tucked away behind Rose Street, Calistoga’s insalubrious location belies a welcoming, chic bistro that aims to bring a little Californian sunshine to Edinburgh. Posters of vineyards on the cream-coloured walls declare the restaurant’s passion for wine; indeed, incorporating its own wine shop and boasting an extensive wine list marked up by only £5 above the retail value, this is great-value destination dining for grape lovers. Informal yet informative wine-tasting dinners are also a boon and the food, too, is appealing. Many American-style restaurants concentrate on burgers and steaks, and Calistoga’s mix-andmatch grill menu caters to this convention, offering sirloin on the bone, chicken breast and tuna with a selection of sauces, including peppercorn and Californian brandy. However, the rest of the menu’s outlook is rather more international, reflecting Californian fusion cuisine. To start, delicate ravioli encloses a robust zinfandel-braised lamb filling, while strongly flavoured bourbon-soused herring is invigorating.

Centotre ITALIAN 103 George Street, EH2 3ES, 0131 225 1550, | Mon–Thu 7.30am–10pm; Fri/Sat 7.30am–11pm; Sun 10am–9pm. £14.95 (set lunch) / £21 (dinner)

Centotre manages to pull off a neat trick. Despite the austere, ex-bank interior, from those lost days when financial edifices were akin to cathedrals, it still manages to maintain a feeling of warmth and intimacy in the evenings or bright and breezy freshness in the afternoons. This latter aesthetic is continued from venue to menu, with an explicit focus on fresh, simple ingredients and cookery that, with minimum fuss, allows these natural flavours to shine. A combination of regular shipments from Italy and a local sourcing policy that puts most others to shame means that, from the amuse bouche of crisp arancini to the last spoonful of dessert, this is something special. Starters include ravioli with pumpkin, sage and a dash of amaretto liqueur which is a far lighter confection than it has any right to be.

The Dogs BISTROS & BRASSERIES 110 Hanover Street, EH2 1DR, 0131 220 1208, | Mon–Sun noon–4pm, 5–10pm. £11 (lunch) / £16 (dinner)

There’s now a fishy version, Seadogs, in the next door venue on street level, but to get to the original locate the dark wooden staircase flanked by statues of the owner’s dogs. On the first floor, two atmospheric Georgian dining rooms, lit by candles, are simply furnished with old-school wooden tables and chairs, and

of course pictures of those dogs. What makes The Dogs stand out is the inclusion of many normally underused ingredients, such as pig’s cheek in a stew and offal in the seasonally changing menu. Barley is used instead of rice to give a butternut squash, spinach and stilton risotto extra bite, and a duck and black pudding pancake is packed with robust meaty flavours. The main courses are all around the £11 mark and for that you get plenty of hearty, rustic food. Smoked hake is made more substantial by being rolled in oats, giving the fish a crunchy outer layer, almost like an adult version of a fish finger. An enticing dessert list includes a honeycomb parfait topped with an impressive rock of cinder toffee.

Dusit THAI 49a Thistle Street, EH2 1DY, 0131 220 6846, | Mon–Sat noon–3pm, 6–11pm; Sun noon–11pm. £12.95 (set lunch) / £20 (dinner)

For the past ten years, Dusit has been a strong contender for the best Thai food in town due to the owners’ aesthetic vision of the appearance and flavour of their dishes. Takeaway, à la carte and the ‘floating market’ menus are available, the last being a set banquet for large parties or special events. With alluring titles such as ‘two brothers’ and ‘a loving couple’, the starters on the à la carte invoke a sense of harmony. ‘Pretty duck’ consists of char-grilled duck slices tossed with mango and cashews nuts in a pleasantly tart pineapple and chilli dressing. Under seafood specialities, the talay sam rod is a selection of butterflied prawns, king scallops and monkfish coins. After the main course, a trio of mango, champagne and lemon sorbets refreshes the palate. Experienced servers who glide between well-appointed tables in the sleek green room underline that Dusit is a place where presentation and flavour are in perfect balance.

Hitlistedist in The Land Eating ing Drink 12 0 Guide 2

Earthy Canonmills CAFÉ-BISTRO 1–6 Canonmills Bridge, EH3 5LF, 0131 556 9696, | Mon–Sat 8am–6pm; Sun 9am–6pm. £15 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

With two popular food markets and a thriving café under their belt already, the Earthy empire has reached Canonmills with a new shop, takeaway and café that neatly shape-shifts into a laid-back bistro-style restaurant by evening. In all guises it champions artisan suppliers alongside ethical, sustainable and organic produce with café and bistro offering daily changing menus showcasing lots of inventive, healthy and colourful dishes.

Fishers in the City FISH 58 Thistle Street, EH2 1EN, 0131 225 5109, | Mon–Sun noon–10.30pm. £13 (set lunch) / £23 (dinner)

The original Fishers down in Leith, which first opened its doors more than two decades ago, has a laid-back vibe and a cosy atmosphere, while this city branch has a smarter, contemporary feel to it. Neither branch is lacking in imaginative food options and the choice of dishes ranges from the deceptively simple, such as a starter of Arbroath smokie kedgeree served with a potato scone, to startling fusions such as Loch Tarbet king scallops with a coconut coriander dhal offset by a smooth apple sauce. This dining dichotomy extends to the mains, which include a fillet of Loch Duart salmon served with Jerusalem artichoke, cous cous, hot smoked salmon, pea shoots and Parmesan and a to-die-for Indonesian curry created from coley and king prawns and flavoured with sweet potato, banana and coconut.

Forth Floor Brasserie BISTROS & BRASSERIES Harvey Nichols, 30–34 St Andrew Square, EH2 2AD, 0131 524 8350, | Mon 10am–5.30pm; Tue–Sat 10am–10pm; Sun 11am–5pm. £14.50 (set lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Refurbished in early 2012 along with its up-market neighbouring restaurant, this place looks smart and modern, with the use of wood and leather softening the metals and glass in the bright, open space. A new seafood bar is an attractive addition, and a screen has been erected between the brasserie and the finedining restaurant. The standout feature remains

Italian Cuisine Real ‘Casa Linga’ Italian Cooking Chef Riccardo Verrecchia serves up authentic Italian specialities with a fiery southern influence. We use the best fresh local ingredients – all our fish and meat is sourced in Stockbridge from Armstrong’s Fishmonger and George Bower respectively. Our dessert, bread and ravioli are all home-made, and our carefully selected wine & coffee are imported directly from Italy. General Manager Paolo Arcari, whose family hail from both Tuscany and Picinisco, talks passionately to the customers about Riccardo’s signature dishes. Opening Times: 12am – 10pm Sun–Thu 12am – 11pm Fri & Sat 24 Deanhaugh Street, Stockbridge, Edinburgh EH4 1LY Tel: 0131 315 2860 Email: | Edinburgh Festival Guide 2012 | THE LIST 135

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CITY GUIDE EATING: NEW TOWN & STOCKBRIDGE the great views across the city offered by the huge windows looking out on to St Andrew’s Square. But it’s not all about the surroundings – the food is also of a high standard, using as it does high-quality ingredients. The menu boasts plenty of Scottish seafood such as salmon from Loch Duart, mussels from Shetland and westcoast oysters.

The Gardener’s Cottage SCOTTISH Royal Terrace Gardens, EH7 5DX, , | Mon & Thu/Fri noon–3pm, 5pm–10.30pm; Sat/Sun 9am–3pm, 5pm–10.30pm; Closed Tue/Wed. £15 (approx) (lunch) / £25 (approx) (set dinner)

Housed in a B-listed building (designed by William Playfair) in Royal Terrace Gardens, the Gardener’s Cottage has the potential to be a stirring new addition to Edinburgh’s dining scene. With a kitchen in the centre of the building, communal dining on either side and al fresco picnics available in the adjoining garden, it’s something a bit different for the centre of Edinburgh. In the evening diners are offered an ever-changing set menu firmly committed to properly local, artisan and seasonal food, and expect plenty of interaction with chefs Ed and Dale – a bit like a professional supper club.

Howies at Waterloo SCOTTISH 29 Waterloo Place, EH1 3BQ, 0131 556 5766, | Sun–Fri noon–2.30pm, 5.30–10pm; Sat noon–3pm, 5.30–10pm. £8.95 (set lunch) / £17.50 (dinner)

While things below the waterline have been a bit frantic since the original owners bought back Edinburgh’s two remaining Howies in late 2011, above the surface everything is typically calm. The Waterloo Place restaurant is a stylishly decorated, well laid-out airy, split-level space, with room for more than 100 diners, while a separate room caters for private groups of up to 26. Service is slick and friendly while the menu features a choice of simple, consistently good quality dishes made

from ingredients that are delivered each day. The strong Scottish accent comes through in starters such as a tower of Stornoway black pudding, white pudding and haggis served in a whisky jus that adds a hint of sweetness to the dish. And a plate of pork comprising loin, belly and crackling, accompanied by bubble and squeak, points to the simple yet confident style practised in the kitchen. Desserts might include a light lemon and rhubarb posset, or you could justify a gooey banoffi pie by claiming the thick banana filling as one of your five a day.

Iglu SCOTTISH 2b Jamaica Street, EH3 6HH, 0131 476 5333, | Tue–Thu 6–10pm; Fri–Sat noon–3pm, 6–10pm; Sun noon–9pm; closed Mon. £12 (set lunch) / £21 (dinner)

For all that it is tucked at the far end of a side-street, Iglu has established an enviable profile, priding itself on serving seasonal, locally-sourced, organic and wild foods in the cosy upstairs restaurant and downstairs bar area. Proving high principles are compatible with interesting food, ham hock terrine is packed with meat, its cucumber dill salad and warm honey walnut bread providing a good contrast of taste and texture. Cubes of roasted pumpkin add colour to a bowl of salad greens. MSC-certified sea bream pan-fried to flaky perfection is served on crushed potatoes and wilted spinach. The daily specials can offer pan-fried mackerel accompanied by chunks of kohlrabi and Jerusalem artichoke. The options for dessert include rhubarb crumble complete with a wee jug of custard heavily flecked with vanilla on the side. Both thick oatcakes and bread are offered with the wide selection of Scottish cheeses.

Iris BISTROS & BRASSERIES 47a Thistle Street, EH2 1DY, 0131 220 2111, | Mon–Sun noon–10.30pm. £12.95 (set lunch) / £19 (dinner)

It’s hard to leave Thistle Street without eating

a great meal somewhere, but Iris easily holds its own in this competitive neighbourhood in which every square foot of restaurant space is put to work. Here, however, soft panelling and carpeting in a muted palette of greens and browns soak up the bustle, and the diner is barely aware of the other tables, at which appear to sit a reassuring number of regulars. Most recipes contain no flour, a happy accident for the wheat-intolerant, but this is no privation. Starters include elegantly presented scallops with black pudding, pancetta and pea puree, or butternut, sage, pecan and ricotta filo parcels in a generous cheese sauce. A zippy mango salad rather hides the flavour of the accompanying smoked duck, but this is the only wobble in a menu of skill, subtlety and balance.

Italian Kitchen ITALIAN 18–24 Deanhaugh Street, EH4 1LY, 0131 315 2860, | Mon–Thu 5–10pm; Fri– Sun noon–11pm. £17.50 (lunch) / £17.50 (dinner)

This small basement restaurant shows promising will to put the mediocre high-street Italian chains in their place by bringing original dishes and quality produce to Stockbridge village. A relationship with the community is evident with their sourcing of meat and fish from locals Bowers and Armstrongs and a fortnightly takeaway stall at Stockbridge’s Sunday market. The atmosphere at the restaurant is buzzy yet not crowded, in a room that has eschewed gingham tablecloths in favour of smart wood and leather furnishings. Starters include a steaming bowl of mussels in a flavourful broth of lemon, parsley and black pepper, but it’s worth trying their daily changing ravioli to see what they can do with fresh pasta. Pizzas are also a cut above, with some unusual toppings such as mussels and wild mushrooms. The perfectly cooked dough of the calzone yields a stuffing of broccoli, Italian sausage and two cheeses, while ribeye steak comes with an interesting fried potato hash with spring onion, Scamorza cheese and egg.

Jamie’s Italian ITALIAN Assembly Rooms, 54 George Street, EH2 2LR, | Mon–Sat noon–11pm, Sun noon–10.30pm. £19 (lunch) / £19 (dinner)

Opening in July 2012, just in time for the festival, Jamie’s Italian will occupy the groundfloor ‘Supper Room’ of the freshly rennovated Assembly Rooms, with seating for around 200 and another 50 able to dine al fresco. Don’t anticipate spotting Jamie at the hotplate (he’s a rather busy man), but do expect all the Oliver ‘brand’ hallmarks – quality ingredients, trendy accessories and funky presentation. Dishes to look out for include antipasti sharing planks laden with cured meats and angel spaghetti with squid ink and scallops. Unlike the Glasgow site, they will be taking bookings from the get-go, but count on a long wait for a table otherwise. [Not yet open at time of going to press]

Lancers Brasserie INDIAN 5 Hamilton Place, EH3 5BA, 0131 332 3444, | Mon–Sun noon–2.30pm, 5.30–11.30pm. £8.50 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Passionate about Seafood 61-65 Rose Street Edinburgh EH2 2NH Reservations 0131 225 5979 157 Hope Street Glasgow G2 2UQ Reservations 0141 572 1405

Lancers Brasserie continues to bring Bengali-inspired North Indian cuisine to its long-established Stockbridge setting. Split across two ground floor rooms and a separate basement area for private dining, the décor is crisp and contemporary with high-backed leather chairs, white linen tables and artwork inspired by the Bengal Lancers. The à la carte menu brings together a sprinkling of classics with biryani, tandoori and the occasional fish dish supplemented by thali offerings and the extravagant 48-hour-notice kurji lamb. Starters are standard fare: samosa and puri mixing with cubes of murgh tikka chicken, lamb kebabs and crispy vegetable sabzi pakora, all asking for more of a kick from polite sauce accompaniments. Mains and sides are a mixed bag – the subtly flavoured spinach and butternut squash misti sag and aubergine laden baingan bhuna lack punch, while the splendid chingree massallam combines juicy prawns with peppers, tomatoes and squash in a deeply flavoured sauce.

The Magnum Restaurant & Bar SCOTTISH 1 Albany Street, EH1 3PY, 0131 557 4366, | Mon–Sat noon– 2.30pm, 5.30–10pm; Sun 12.30–3.30pm, 6–9pm. £12.95 (set lunch) / £24 (dinner)

A genuinely warm welcome and an impressive côte de boeuf are but two memorable highlights of a visit to the Magnum. Or, there’s the light, thin pastry of crab and Lammermuir smoked cheese tart and its unusual accompanying salad of red peppers and smoked mussels. Friendly service and a consistently reliable menu result in regular return visits from the New Town locals, Edinburgh ladies, lawyers, groups of friends and so on who make up the Magnum’s loyal customer base. Haggis spring rolls, Highland venison with black pudding and cranachan cheesecake may be an encouraging nod to tourists too, but are equally representative of the kitchen’s policy to source as locally as possible. Some dishes, Cullen skink, for example, may not be as skilfully executed as others, cheese is served with commercial oatcakes and vegetables are a weak point.

Miro’s Cantina Mexicana MEXICAN 184 Rose Street, EH2 4BA, 0131 225 4376, | Mon–Sun noon–10.30pm. £12 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

The atmosphere at Miro’s is bright and cheery and the welcome from staff is warm. The decor reflects the colours of the Mexican flag and candles twinkle on brightly clad tables. Those looking for the usual suspects will find enchiladas, fajitas and nachos all present and correct but it is well worth looking beyond these. More adventurous options include salads, spiced grilled fish and slow cooked meats. Chicken cooked in a Monterey sauce of cheese, bacon and peppers is richly satisfying and goes well with one of several crisp Mexican lagers available. A special of taco de carne contains tender chunks of seared beef which are still pleasantly pink in the middle.

Mussel Inn FISH 61–65 Rose Street, EH2 2NH, 0131 225 5979, | Mon–Thu noon–3pm, 5.30–10pm; Fri–Sun 12.30pm–10pm. £7.50 (set lunch) / £21 (dinner)

The Mussel Inn, on Edinburgh’s pedestrianheavy Rose Street, is a living rebuttal to the claim that diners are suspicious of seafood restaurants in the city centre. The brightly-lit, bustling space, with its tightly-packed tables, swarm of waiting staff and cheerfully painted walls would resemble a Mediterranean café were it not for the window-filling view of Primark across the road. Once seated, customers are processed quickly and efficiently and there’s a good deal of variety to the menu, from pots of mussels in different sizes to oysters and grilled platters. Of the latter, the simple options are more successful, such as juicy grilled queen scallops in garlic butter with rocket and sun-blushed tomato. The main course hot seafood platter is certainly an abundant dish of beautifully cooked scallops, prawns and mussels topped with a sea bass fillet, though the lightly grilled taste is rather

TIPList NEW TOWN • Dining with the Dogs on Hanover Street • Indonesian fish curry at Fishers in the City • Feel-good brunch at Urban Angel • Slow and sustainable at Café St Honoré • Eat something a little bit crazy at 21212

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STOCKBRIDGE To escape the crowds and discover Edinburgh’s less full-on side, walk ten minutes down the hill from Princes Street to leafy Stockbridge. Clear an afternoon in your diary to relax while perusing the many charity shops and quirky boutiques that line its streets.



5 Raeburn Place, Edinburgh, EH4 1HU, 0131 332 4605, BlissBoutiqueStockbridge

9 Dean Park Street, Edinburgh, EH4 1JN, 0131 332 8912,

Bliss is the perfect place to pick up a great gift for a new baby or good friend. Only supplying products from small companies you are sure to find something of high quality and originality thats not on the high street, there is also a wall dedicated to cards. Popular brands are Jelly Cat, Toby Tiger and Scottish Fine Soap.

Indulge your creative talents with a range of popular workshops including decopatch, mosaics, sewing, dressmaking, ceramics and feltmaking. The studio is also available for parties, group bookings and private craft evenings. Look forward to our brand new cafe, opening soon and selling cakes, ice cream and all manner of yummy goodness!



63 Raeburn Place, Stockbridge, EH4 1JF

18 North West Circus Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6SX, 0131 225 5222,

Sarah Dallas Gallery is a contemporary Scottish art gallery in the heart of Stockbridge, located in the middle of Raeburn Place. We specialise in paintings, limited edition and silkscreen prints, raku ceramics and also carry a range of gift items including Voluspa candles and hand printed tea towels and cotton bags. Pictured: porcelain Dove Mugs by Charlotte Cadzow.

Independent fashion boutique Eden presents an exclusively different selection of ladies’ fashion, including clothing, accessories and jewellery from Spain, Italy and beyond. Labels stocked at Eden include Desigual, Selected Femme, Hoss Intropia, B Young, Indiwoman by Individual and Anna Scott. Shop online at or visit our Stockbridge boutique.



18-24 Deanhaugh Street, EH4 1LY, 0131 315 2860,

46a Raeburn Place , EH4 1HL, 0131 315 2603,

The Italian Kitchen works with local suppliers in order to provide the best of Scottish produce on their contemporary and seasonal menu. If you are after some proper Italian hospitality, this is the place to come. Deft and charming service, combined with the intimate basement location transports diners from the heart of trendy Stockbridge to a country kitchen in rural Italy.

A hidden gem, Galerie Mirages is tucked away down a little path off Raeburn Place. Scotland’s specialists in silver designer jewellery, producing our own designs as well as sourcing the most stunning jewelllery from around the world, scarves, unusual gifts and world interiors. Festival exhibitions in the gallery include The Arts and Crafts of Burma and Jewellery of the World.



7 St Stephen Street, Edinburgh, EH3 5AN 0131 225 8116

5 Hamilton Place, Edinburgh, EH3 5BA, 0131 332 3444,

A real contender for the best burgers in Edinburgh, Bell’s Diner has been doing steak and burgers well for over 40 years and there are no signs of things changing. Behind its anonymous exterior, there’s a relaxed, familiar feel to this Stockbridge institution with almost a coffee shop vibe going on.

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CITY GUIDE EATING: NEW TOWN & STOCKBRIDGE overwhelmed by a rich chive crème fraiche. The specials are worth a look and might include hake, pan-fried and offset by nicely textured lemon herb crushed potatoes.

with clava brie with spinach and red onion marmalade or Loch Arthur cheddar with their own Borders boiled ham. The cake display is enticing and full of freshly baked sweet treats.

attentive you’d think you were in a front room complete the homely, but superbly polished atmosphere.

La P’tite Folie


FRENCH 61 Frederick Street, EH2 1LH, 0131 225 7983, | Mon–Thu noon–3pm, 6–10pm; Fri/Sat noon–3pm, 6–11pm. Closed Sun. £9.95 (set lunch) / £23 (dinner)

FISH 104 Hanover Street, EH2 1DR, 0131 220 5155, | Mon–Sun noon–4pm, 5–10pm. £9 (lunch) / £16 (dinner)

BISTROS & BRASSERIES 121 Hanover Street, EH2 1DJ, 0131 225 6215, | Mon–Sat 9am–5pm; Sun 10am–5pm. £15 (lunch)

For 15 years La P’tite Folie has been part of Edinburgh’s dining scene, initially in the bustle of Frederick Street and joined, six years later, by the West End venue on Randolph Place. Courses are not overly formal or fussy, but give a genuine feeling of bistro. Dinner tends towards the heartier and richer, be it bouillabaisse or roast breast of duck with figs. The wine selection covers a sound range of styles and prices.

The Scottish Café ARTS VENUE CAFÉ-RESTAURANT National Gallery of Scotland, The Mound, EH2 2EL, 0131 226 6524, | Mon– Wed, Fri/Sat 9am–5pm; Thu 9am–7pm; Sun 10am–5pm. £10 (café) / £18

From its contemporary, light-filled space in the underbelly of Scotland’s National Galleries, the Scottish Café & Restaurant looks out serenely over the green and bustle of Princes Street Gardens. Created and run by the team behind Centotre, the focus here is on Scottish produce and cooking with a commitment to sourcing underpinning some appealing and flexible menus. There is a Garden Café within the gallery reception, but the main operation is a large two-tiered space with hungrier restaurant guests seated in the raised restaurant area and the café below serving lighter options. Tuck into soups, sandwiches, salads and elaborate platters for two including fish and chip pails, haggis balls with whisky sauce and home-made pates. Traditional hot Aberdonian butteries (butter pastries) are a speciality, topped

Having relocated from Rose Street, Seadogs is back in the bosum of the Dogs family, replacing Amore Dogs on the street level site next door to the original Dogs and above Underdogs. Back too is the varied, sharply priced menu of fish and veggie options with a few meat options: you can get a very respectable fish and chips or Cullen skink, but look out too for kedgeree, a sardine sandwich, generous fish pie, roast coley or a barley paella.

The Spice Pavilion INDIAN 3a1 Dundas Street, EH3 6QG, 0131 467 5506, | Mon–Sun noon–2pm, 5pm–11pm. £8.95 (set lunch) / £19 (dinner)

What do you get if you cross Italian hospitality and Indian inventiveness in the kitchen? Husband and wife team, Parwaiz and Cristina Khan have done just that and come up with a superb neighbourhood restaurant. With the exception of tandoori dishes, which merit their own dedicated chef, Parwaiz prepares every item on the menu himself and such attention to detail shines through. Roasted lamb chops are easily overdone, but here the meat is melt in the mouth tender and well spiced. The menu has a North Indian focus, but is confident with cuisine from across the subcontinent. Murgh Seylonese, with its large hunks of chicken in a coconut, lemon and ginger sauce is both a decidedly tropical and thoroughly refreshing curry. The ajwani jhinga nisha – sizzling, succulent king prawns in a complex blend of spices, is apparently famous in India for its healing powers and presumably its delicious caraway-like flavour. Cosy décor and service so


Urban Angel

Seasonal, local and organic are the buzz words for these bright, informal, modern bistros. A high proportion of the menu is made up of daily specials making the most of what produce is best that day. A nourishing parsnip soup is enlivened with mustard; flat breads come studded with seeds and throughout the menu spices – and herbs in particular – are used to enhance but never overwhelm the food. The fish pie, for example, is flavoured with dill and grain mustard mixed in to the mash. Good use is made of vegetables, too – a beetroot, pea and blue cheese soufflé is accompanied by a salad of broccoli and purple sprouting – so the food is nutritious as well as delicious. The puddings are mostly big slabs of cake such as frangipane tart or a hefty baked cheesecake.

Valvona & Crolla Vincaffè ITALIAN 11 Multrees Walk, EH1 3DQ, 0131 557 0088, | Sun 11am–3:30pm; Mon/Tue 9am–9pm; Wed–Sat 9am–9:30pm. [Coffee bar: Mon–Sat 8am–9pm; Sun 11am–6pm]. £21 (lunch) / £21 (dinner)

Valvona & Crolla’s Vincaffe is only a short distance but several years away from the densely packed cornucopia of the familyrun business’s original branch on Elm Row. With a bright, contemporary décor, evenly spaced, white dressed tables and a bank of high windows facing out onto the upmarket monotone of Multrees Walk, this is the very definition of a modern Italian. While the venue could be accused of leaning towards the anonymous, the food really is anything but; within this modern exterior, there beats the warm heart of the Mediterranean. Open with the grilled sardines – served with a salsa verde, crisp, chewy bread and a dash of lemon, these are precisely pitched – light and fresh as a summer’s morning, the edges slightly caught and redolent of a balmy night’s barbecue. Mains range from a dark, unctuous lentil and sausage combination enlivened with a lightning fork of sweet, red horseradish jam to a mammoth vegetable frittata that almost, but not quite, dwarfs the rustic wooden board it’s served on.

Wildfire Restaurant and Grill SCOTTISH 192 Rose Street, EH2 4AZ, 0131 225 3636, | Mon 5.15–10pm; Tue–Fri noon–2.30pm, 5.15–10pm; Sat/Sun 12.30–3.30pm, 5.15–10pm. £11.95 (set lunch) / £25 (dinner)

There’s nothing wild about Wildfire. That’s an

excellent thing. This little gem – nine tables in a cosy space – is worth discovering at the Charlotte Square end of Rose Street for its lack of pretension and gimmick. With a core steakand-seafood offering, Wildfire also harvests what’s best through the year with a parallel seasonal menu. West Coast mussels are fresh and satisfying, in a herby wine sauce. Another starter of robust smoked haddock baked with strong Criffel cheese is a great combo. Chargrilled Aberdeen Angus rump steak is full of flavour, with a crispy mountain of shoestring fries, and a none-too-aggressive mustard sauce. The roast confit duck leg melts from the bone. It’s anointed with a fine wine sauce, upon a mound of colcannon, with a thick slice of black pudding completing the substantial picture. Side dishes like garlicky green beans are no after-thought.

HIGH END Café Royal Oyster Bar FISH 19a West Register Street, EH2 2AA, 0131 556 1884, | Mon–Sun noon–2pm, 6–10pm. £25 (lunch) / £25 (dinner)

Restaurants come and go in the capital, but few have thrived under the same banner for 150 years. Dining in the Café Royal Oyster Bar you do feel as though you’re travelling back in time, being surrounded by immaculate murals, low-hanging lamps and venerable stainedglass windows that come to life when the sun hits them. There’s no music in the restaurant to break the spell, just the constant hum from the adjacent Circle Bar and the satisfied murmurings of fellow diners. Inevitably, oysters are a big draw here and are served serveral ways: simply, on crushed ice with lemon; in the famous Rockefeller style, on spinach with a light mornay sauce; or Kilpatrick featuring bacon and balsamic, which rather clashes with the salty taste of the oyster. A generous seafood platter contains lobster, scallops, smoked salmon and calamari, and there’s an appealing selection of hot smoked dishes.

Café St Honoré SCOTTISH 34 North West Thistle Street Lane, EH2 1EA, 0131 226 2211, | Mon–Fri noon–2pm, 5.15–10pm; Sat/Sun noon–2pm, 6–10pm. £15.50 (set lunch) / £27 (dinner)

Romantic Café St Honoré feels ideally placed tucked away in its cobbled New Town lane, but quiet locations can be deceiving. Inside, its charming, old-fashioned mirrored rooms are often bustling with exuberant diners. At nearly twenty years old, it is a bit of a New Town institution, fondly reminisced over by those who remember Edinburgh when good dining was more elusive. In recent years, the classic French menu has seen its Scottish influence grow ever stronger. Some may miss the boeuf

Henderson’s, winners of the List Magazine’s prestigious Judge’s Award 2012, serves cutting edge vegetarian cuisine while remaining true to the founding philosophy of serving delicious, wholesome food, using the best and freshest ingredients, and all at affordable prices. Still as vibrant as ever after 50 years.


The Scottish Café

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EATING: NEW TOWN & STOCKBRIDGE CITY GUIDE bourguignon, identifying little that remains truly French beyond the atmosphere and the wine list, but today’s daily changing menu is driven by local, seasonal Scottish produce. Success varies. Inverawe smoked eel is set off by peppery scurvy grass and horseradish, but the tender beef carpaccio is overwhelmed by the rich celeriac remoulade. Gressingham duck breast, pan-fried, then roasted, is pink and lean but the chunky slices of slightly dry fondant potatoes make overly hard work for your knife.

The Dining Room SCOTTISH The Scotch Malt Whisky Society, 28 Queen Street, EH2 1JX, 0131 220 2044, | Mon noon– 2.30pm; Tue–Sat noon–2.30pm, 5pm–9.30pm. Closed Sun. £18.50 (set lunch) / £32 (dinner)

While a fantastic selection of spirits is the focus in the Scotch Malt Whisky Society Scotland’s famous members’ bar, the food is definitely the star in the Dining Room, its upscale restaurant. A handful of tables in a light Georgian drawing room with fireplace and contemporary furnishings create a setting which is elegant enough, if a little anonymous. Something that can’t be said for James Freeman’s playful and confident cooking, which takes in eclectic influences from Scotland, Europe and farther afield. A rich starter of dark and sticky braised beef tongue with foie gras is pleasingly cut by acid-bright, orange buckthorn berries, showing a fine-dining level of attention to detail paired with robustness and generosity. Something, along with high-octane flavours, that is evident throughout the menu.

Forth Floor Restaurant SCOTTISH Harvey Nichols, 30–34 St Andrew Square, EH2 2AD, 0131 524 8350, | Mon noon–3pm; Tue–Fri noon–3pm, 6–10pm; Sat noon–3.30pm, 6–10pm; Sun noon–3.30pm. £24 (set lunch) / £33 (dinner)

Following its recent makeover, the new softer shades of pinks, browns and muted reds of Harvey Nichols’ Forth Floor Restaurant create a warm glow that sets the scene for exceptionally stylish dining. Priding itself on high quality produce sourced seasonally and sustainably, the kitchen champions some of Scotland’s most prized provisions. Tarbert scallop is of large proportions, with inspired accompaniments of onion seed to sear and butternut/squid ink pasta in contrasting texture. Squab pigeon is cooked sous-vide, in a water bath, ensuring it tastes tender, juicy and retains its earthy flavour, complemented by not too sweet vanilla roast pear. Meats and fish in main courses come from as far south as Cornwall for wild sea bass and, shifting north, Inverurie for lamb. Its shoulder is gently braised, but atopped by caramelised salted olive purée that’s too much for it to bear. From the seafood bar, lobster is deftly prepared, and clean-tasting teamed with lemon crème fraîche.

Hadrian’s Brasserie BISTROS & BRASSERIES The Balmoral, 1 Princes Street, EH2 2EQ, 0131 557 5000, | Mon–Fri 7am–12.30pm, 6.30–10.30pm; Sat 7–11am,

12.30–2.30pm, 6.30–10.30pm; Sun 7.30–11am, 12.30–2.30pm, 6.30–10.30pm. £27 (lunch) / £27 (dinner)

Hadrians may be located within the iconic Balmoral Hotel, but it manages to avoid the usual hotel restaurant curse of deserted dining rooms and sub-par food by enticing in locals with tempting menus which change frequently. Service is faultless, with astonishing attention to detail, befitting a five-star hotel. The knowledge of the menu is accurate and delivered with flair and enthusiasm and is further bolstered by excellent application of the extensive and well thought out wine list. Hadrians is most definitely a brasserie, with a menu focusing on well-cooked classics such as Blairgowrie steak, Gressingham duck and John Dory. It’s a pleasantly familiar menu, with plenty of choice and frequent specials to showcase local game and seasonality.

The Honours BISTROS & BRASSERIES 58a North Castle Street, EH2 3LU, 0131 220 2513, | Tue–Sat noon–2.30pm, 6–10.00pm. Closed Sun/Mon. £17.50 (set lunch) / £26 (dinner)

There was little doubt that a brasserie developed under the keen eye of Martin Wishart, Edinburgh’s advocate of French cuisine, was going to be something special. Taking over the Castle Street site once home to Tony’s Table, Wishart’s team have turned an ordinary New Town shop front into a gold and lacquer jewel of a venue. The menu is thoughtful and balanced, and communicates a strong French identity; the grill showcases Scottish beef, but there’s also rabbit, excellent poultry and a healthy amount of offal. The mains are excellent examples of French classics and show off the spoils of an obsessive hunt for the best local produce and a constant demand for perfection in the kitchen. Desserts are similarly well judged, and thankfully the wine list is a little more reasonable than you might expect from a team used to charging Michelinstar prices. The real stars of the Honours are the knowledgeable, personable staff, and although perhaps a touch too formal, a touch too expensive and a touch too perfect to be a true informal, all-encompassing brasserie, The Honours is clearly to be treasured as a brilliant French restaurant in its own right.

mousse in a wafer cylinder, or a main of dark, sticky oxtail with rich nuggets of foie gras and a blood orange and sherry jelly, presentation and cooking are precise and playful. A towering chocolate orange soufflé arrives light and billowing, alongside a very milky milk ice-cream.

Oloroso SCOTTISH 33 Castle Street, EH2 3DN, 0131 226 7614, | Mon–Fri noon–3pm, 5.45–10pm; Sat noon–3pm, 5.45–10pm; Sun noon–3pm, 6–10pm. £19.50 (set lunch) / £44 (dinner)

Borne by lift from the bright white office block entrance, you climb the last stairs to emerge in one of the best locations for a restaurant in Edinburgh. Stunning as the roof terrace is for a cocktail in summer, even on dark nights the panorama of lights outside is interesting. Inside, red and black décor creates a smart vibe. The menu is unashamedly biased towards meat, with an internationalist take on steaks and game. For starters, crunchy pickled vegetables are matched with meltingly slow-cooked pork belly. Deliciously soft herb croquettes are hidden in smooth celeriac, parsnip and apple velouté. A simply cooked breast of partridge comes with red cabbage and boudin noir, while garlicky quinoa shaped into a vivid green rectangle lifts the baked cod. Though there’s little for the lover of traditional puds, a range of alcoholic sorbets and rich sweet liquid dessert cocktails is offered instead and chocolate icecream is satisfyingly rich.

Stac Polly SCOTTISH 29–33 Dublin Street, EH3 6NL, 0131 556 2231, | Mon–Fri noon–2pm, 6–10pm; Sat/ Sun 6–10pm. £13.95 (set lunch) / £27 (dinner)

The steep slope of Dublin Street allows Stac Polly a double basement with windows to the front on both levels. Inside, there’s a comfy seating area with a private dining room on one side. On the other are stairs to the lower level warren of dining areas decorated and

furnished like a shooting lodge without the antlers. The food continues this comfortable theme. Starters include smoked salmon wrapped round Arbroath smokie pâté in a roulade; the bright green drizzle of mild wasabi adds interest. The sweetness of carrot in a rosti sets off slices of seared partridge. For mains, nicely fishy ling fillets contrast with parma ham and the garnishing diced chillies are sweet rather than hot. The moist and well-flavoured baked pheasant comes with a substantial portion of mixed roasted vegetables as well as a tasty apricot skirlie stuffing.

21212 FRENCH 3 Royal Terrace, EH7 5AB, 0845 22 21212 or 0131 523 1030, | Tue–Sat noon–1.45pm, 6.45–9.30pm. Closed Sun/Mon. £26, £38 for 4, £52 for 5 (set lunch) / £68 five courses (set dinner)

A meal at 21212 is a memorable event, as much theatre as gourmet dining. Depart the Georgian reserve of Royal Terrace and enter rooms of sleek lines and sweeping furniture lit by a modern take on chandeliers that emphasise brain-teasing art. The well-lit kitchen, neatly framed behind a sparkling glass screen, sets the stage for the highperformance kitchen team, producing the five set course adventure (3–5 at lunch). Courses alternately offer two options or one; eager couples sample the range by sharing. Delicately constructed dishes, designed weekly by artist-in-residence (aka chef) Paul Kitching, defy expectations with wit and humour. An elaborate risotto hides under a morning mist of foam, where a chestnut counters chestnut mushrooms awaiting discovery. Perfect slices of gently cooked lamb are dressed in a light curry, made earthier by the artichoke then brightened with saffron onions. The eating experience is stage-managed in ever subtle ways, with even unusual and artistic cutlery reinforcing a leisurely pace to observe, consume, enjoy.

Number One SCOTTISH 1 Princes Street, EH2 2EQ, 0131 557 6727, | Mon–Sun 6.30–9.45pm. £64 (set dinner)

Nestled below the Balmoral Hotel, Number One is a little world of luxury. Blood-red lacquer walls are studded with a vibrant array of artworks, and all is softened by plush, mushroom-coloured furnishings. Bland hotel homogeneity is eschewed in favour of a more individual style that pervades the whole experience of quintessential fine dining pulled off with gusto. There is the requisite napkin-flapping theatre that some love and others loathe but service is part of the pleasure – knowledgeable, warm and far from uptight. The food measures up, whether it’s a crisp and creamy amuse-bouche of goat’s cheese

Dine within the unique and beautiful setting of 28 Queen Street and enjoy exquisite food with personable and unfussy service. Menu du Jour offer: 2 courses for £18.50 3 courses for £21.95 Please see our website for opening hours. 0131 220 2044 | Edinburgh Festival Guide 2012 | THE LIST 139

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SOUTHSIDE INEXPENSIVE Earthy Market Café CAFÉS 33–41 Ratcliffe Terrace, EH9 1SX, 0131 667 2967, | Mon–Fri 9am–6pm; Sat 9am–5pm; Sun 10am–5pm. £12.50 (lunch)

With reclaimed wood panelling and rustic hues, this converted warehouse could easily be the set for a new Channel 4 cookery show (you half-expect to see Jamie or Hugh pottering about). Thankfully though, like the food market upstairs, the style doesn’t feel overly manufactured. The menu changes daily, right down to the sandwich fillings, in an attempt to exploit the freshest, tastiest ingredients available and display counter dishes like rainbow beetroot, walnuts and wild garlic or a cranberry and cauliflower couscous, awash with vibrant, verdant colours, lure you in seductively. The mixed salad plate is a good way to negotiate any resulting indecision, while a beef, pistachio and chilli kofte with ground chermoula and pea yoghurt tastes as good as it sounds. Virtually everything’s organic, local and free-range and there’s a discernible difference in quality accordingly. It’s not the cheapest – perfecting provenance comes at a price – but for many it’s a price worth digging into your pocket for.

The Engine Shed VEGETARIAN CAFÉ 19 St Leonards Lane, EH8 9SD, 0131 662 0040, | Mon–Sat 10am–4pm. Closed Sun. £8 (lunch)

Well off the beaten track in the Pleasance area of the Southside sits this quiet little gem of a café, run by the Garvald Community Enterprise, a charity which helps people with learning disabilities into the workplace. Despite its inconspicuous location the Engine

Shed has a devoted army of customers and is nearly always busy. Pale wooden furniture and windows that flood the room with light create a welcoming space for lunch, where daily hot specials such as red dragon pie – a hearty spicy bean casserole topped with mashed potato – and a crisp and tasty broccoli and mushroom quiche feature on the menu alongside baked potatoes and a range of salads. The wide range of organic bread, biscuits and oatcakes is baked in the on-site bakery, and they also produce several varieties of fresh tofu, all of which can be purchased in the café and at the weekly Castle Terrace farmers’ market.

Falko (Konditormeister) CAFÉS 185 Bruntsfield Place, EH10 4DG, 0131 656 0763, | Wed–Fri 9am–5pm; Sat 9am–5pm; Sun 10am–5pm. Closed Mon/Tue. £9 (lunch)

A firm fixture on Edinburgh’s foodie scene Falko continues to deliver goods be it rye breads, pastries or some of the finest, traditional cakes outside of central Europe. Produced to strict standards, no raising agents are used in the cakes, only beaten egg whites and the Black Forest gateau includes a minimum of 10% Kirsch in its whipped cream. If you can find a table (by no means guaranteed) then there are also options such as ham and cheese platters available from a short but well executed menu.

Freemans CAFÉS 2–6 Spottiswoode Road, EH9 1BQ, 0131 446 0576, | Mon–Sun 9.30am–5pm. £7.50 (lunch)

Bright, airy and shabbily chic, Freeman’s coffee shop is another worthy local café in an area that’s positively breeding them. It’s an impressive venue, with clusters of comfy armchairs and tables surrounded by schoolroom seats spread around the wooden floor, and their stated friendliness to both dogs and children (there’s a chalkboard and a range of boardgames for the latter) makes this a week-round haunt. The quality is high, with rich and fragrant coffee supplied by Monmouth’s and traybakes – including a quite special banana, white chocolate, vanilla and hazelnut flapjack – made on the premises. There are also daily soups and quiches, with a range of fresh baguettes almost challengingly crammed with fillings like sliced chorizo and chilli cream cheese.

Kampong Ah Lee Malaysian Delight

noodle, rice and soup dishes. Worry not, as the helpful staff are only too happy to explain, decipher or recommend. The nasi lemak is particularly good, and comprises chicken curry (on the bone), fried rice, boiled egg, spicy vegetables, anchovies and roasted peanuts. Even the simple dishes are delicious.

The Mosque Kitchen INDIAN 31 – 33 Nicolson Square, EH8 9BX, 0131 667 4035, | Mon–Sun 11.30am–10pm (Fri closed 12.50–1.50pm). £4 (one course) (dinner)

Having moved from the nearby Central Mosque last year, the Mosque Kitchen is now a more conventional offering, but retains the ‘Tasty Curry in a Hurry’ ethos that made it a hit just round the corner. The menu is short, sweet and posted on the wall next to the serving counter where your (disposable) plate is generously filled. Where the menu is somewhat light on detail, servers give a wealth of detail, pointing out dishes like an excellent tandoori chicken thigh or the fresh and fiery chana massala. You are actively encouraged to mix and match two or even three curries on a bed of pilau rice. Side dishes like the veggie samosas are easily over looked under the hot lamps, but well worth a try since they are well filled with spicy potato and pea blend. When a homecooked style meal for two comes in at under £15 it can’t be said that they aren’t putting the savings on the plate.

Peter’s Yard CAFÉS 27 Simpson Loan (Quartermile), EH3 9GG, 0131 228 5876, | Mon 7am–6pm; Tue– Fri 7am–10pm; Sat 9am–10pm; Sun 9am–6pm. £8 (lunch) / £13 (dinner)

The location of this aspirational Swedish establishment couldn’t be better. Tucked alongside Middle Meadow Walk in the expensive glass forest of the Quartermile development, Peter’s Yard is a bright, well-ordered space that exudes a soothing Scandinavian serenity that provides the perfect balm for fuzzy weekend heads. Fine fresh baking – including a superior homemade crispbread – is a particular strength, and a clever selection of cakes including a delicious vegan (so often an oxymoron) pecan pie alongside tasty homemade soups make this a popular and busy lunch destination kept ticking over by genial staff.

Red Box Noodle Bar

MALAYSIAN 28 Clerk Street, EH8 9HX, 0131 662 9050, | Mon–Thu noon–3pm, 5–11pm; Fri–Sun noon–11pm. £10 (lunch) / £10 (dinner)

The feverish popularity of this canteen style Malaysian eatery with Edinburgh’s Asian student population is testament to its affordability and authenticity. The compact interior is an entirely unpretentious mix of basic seating, odd-coloured walls, gaudy ornaments and a selection of colourful tourist posters and maps. An extensive menu leans towards the Chinese side of Malaysia’s cultural melting pot, offering a baffling array of meat, seafood,

CHINESE 51–53 West Nicolson Street, EH8 9DB, 0131 662 0828, | Mon–Sun noon– 10pm. £7.50 (set lunch) / £7.50 (set dinner)

Located in an area with numerous options for feeding the predominantly student population, Red Box Noodle Bar delivers a simple but enjoyable formula from its minimalist premises. Starters are small plates like crispy spring rolls or tasty, if slightly chewy, beef skewers with a tangy satay sauce. Begin by choosing your preferred noodle type, then add a protein from the five listed, which includes surprisingly tender duck and pork. Tofu is also available on request. There’s a long choice of vegetables, of

Our party room is available to book for up to 20 people.

‘‘Classic cooking in contemporary surroundings’’ Proud to be d in hitlisteEating t The Lisrinking D and 012 Guide 2

The List 107 Newington Road, Edinburgh 0131 667 5046

which three are included in the price, and then a list of sauces. For the less confident, this is the time to get some advice from the counter staff, who make fitting suggestions from a selection featuring fiery Szechuan, fruity Thai sweet chilli, and oyster sauce. Add extra garlic, chilli or ginger, and then a few minutes later, be presented with takeaway-style cartons deep enough to fill the healthiest of appetites.

Tanjore INDIAN 6–8 Clerk Street, EH8 9HX, 0131 478 6518, | Mon–Fri noon–2.30pm, 5–10pm; Sat/Sun noon–3.30pm, 5–10pm. £14 (lunch) / £14 (dinner)

Relative newcomer Tanjore brings a wealth of south Indian cuisine to its Newington locale, wrapped up in a friendly and relaxed café setting. Owner and head chef Boon Ganeshram switches between open kitchen and compact dining area, describing tapas lunch options and à la carte offerings, which all come with a discount early evening. The menu covers familiar thali and Hyderabadi biryani mains together with a number of less familiar dishes (often vegetarian) that warrant investigation. Fluffy layered bread parotta supports well spiced and deep flavoured chicken karaikudi curry, while traditional lentil dumpling starters massala vadai blend texture and heat with a mint chutney boost. Available in family-sized four-foot lengths, savoury crêpe mysore massala dosa arrives with a trio of chutneys, lentil broth sambar and a satisfyingly spicy massala potato stuffing. No charge BYOB proves popular.

The Treehouse CAFÉS 44 Leven Street, EH3 9LJ, 0131 656 0513 | Mon– Sat 8am–4.30pm; Sun 9am–4.30pm. £Various soup and sandwich options from £4.95 (set lunch)

Its enviable location on the corner of Bruntsfield Links makes the Treehouse a perfect impromptu picnic provider on a summery day, although eating in is no bad choice either. The interior has a slightly offbeat, kooky charm about it – from the vintage vinyl on the shelves to the quirky artwork – that’s not immediately apparent, but rewards the more observant diner. Healthy, satisfying breakfast options abound, and that attitude spills over into lunch too, with owner Emma Hilder seemingly determined to help you get your five-a-day. A rustic Greek salad is laden with greens while all sandwiches are served with two hefty portions of side salad too. For something naughtier, look for the triple-decker stacks, like the New York club – packed with pastrami, Swiss cheese, gherkin and coleslaw or the tasty (but calorific) milkshakes made with ice cream and chocolate treats like Oreo cookies and Maltesers.

MID-RANGE The Apartment Bistro BISTROS & BRASSERIES 7–13 Barclay Place, EH10 4HW, 0131 228 6456 | Mon–Fri 5–11pm; Sat/Sun noon–11pm. £20 (dinner)

The Apartment has been going strong since 1999, and its 2010 refurb seems to have rebooted things nicely. Here, ‘modern bistro’ means seasonality and an evolving menu, as evidenced by a neat little daily set menu, plus specials. A starter of pork terrine is well put together, the hot garlicky toast, crisp chunks of carrot and soft, yielding pork ticking both taste and texture boxes. Lamb rump is on the button, and the chicken breast is beautifully tender, but a little more kick from the chorizo would better balance the sweet root mash. Interesting veggies are a bit of a theme, with vegetarian choices like wild mushroom and white truffle gnocchi with Jerusalem artichokes showing that bistro food isn’t all about steak-frîtes (although skirt steak with garlic fries is also pretty good). An interesting – if slightly impenetrable – wine list offers many available in 500ml carafes.

Bia Bistrot BISTROS & BRASSERIES 19 Colinton Road, EH10 5DP, 0131 452 8453, | Tue–Sat noon–2.30pm, 5–10pm. Closed Sun/Mon. £9.50 (set lunch) / £20 (dinner)

’I do the food and he does the booze and the

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El Quijote SPANISH 13a Brougham Street, EH3 9JS, 0131 478 2856, | Closed Mon; Tue–Thu 5–10pm; Fri–Sun 12.30–10pm. £14 (lunch) / £14 (dinner)

This modest little Brougham street restaurant is the sort of place you’d be happy to find in the narrow streets of Seville. Just as well, as that’s precisely what Andalusian owners Oscar Mateos and Maria Giminez set out to do. It’s not exactly smart, but it has no pretence to be, and its earthy tones, roughhewn wood and clunky terracotta crockery are a charming enough backdrop for the buzzing, occasionally noisy, atmosphere. The short menu endeavours to bring something a little different to the Scottish tapas repertoire, so does away with tortilla and patatas bravas and brings things of a more Andalusian bent. The thick, chilled soup Salmorejo is full of vibrant flavour and is as refreshing as a peach, while some delicious cuts of Iberico pork show that quality ingredients are taken seriously here.

Hellers Kitchen BISTROS & BRASSERIES 15 Salisbury Place, EH9 1SL, 0131 667 4654, | Mon–Sat 9am–10pm; Sun 10am–8pm. £8.95 (set lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Richard and Michelle Heller have moved on from the popular New Bell in Causewayside, and Hellers Kitchen (previously their second string) is now basking in the full focus of their attention. It’s your typical friendly wee neighbourhood bistro, but reinvented with a fresh modern look. There are comfy bucket chairs, stools to perch on and enough space for the odd larger dining party. Freshly baked breads, patisserie and warm scones with home-made strawberry preserves are the stars for breakfast, brunch and afternoon treats, while set-price weekday lunches, special offers and pre-theatre menus are keen and canny. In the evening, Richard chalks up a roster of specials to add to the à la carte steaks, burgers and pasta. Slow braised shin of beef melts into its madeira jus and confit shallots; juicy tuna with plump olives and aioli make a lovely salad, and squid is crisply fried atop its fresh leaves.

Home Bistro BISTROS & BRASSERIES 41 West Nicolson Street, EH8 9DB, 0131 667 7010, | Mon–Fri noon–2.30pm; Wed–Fri 6–9pm; Sat 6–9.30pm. Closed Sun. £10 (lunch) / £17 (dinner)

Quite why owners Richard Logan and Rowland Thomson chose to homage the seventies with their charming bistro isn’t clear, though the wallpaper, trio of flying ducks and elongated wooden antelopes are endearingly quirky. But the nostalgia ends right where the cooking begins. The light, contemporary menu creates a bistro/café/takeaway hybrid which works well in this lively Southside location. Chef Richard clearly trusts the power of quality produce: a tomato and basil soup delivers knockout flavour from little other than its nameplate ingredients, as do several fresh, vibrant salads. The small, rotating selection of mains won’t always satisfy committed carnivores, but the open-minded are well rewarded. Mushrooms, almonds, rocket and pesto create an earthy, delicious pasta dish. An onion tart looks like quiche but floats like a warm cloud of cumin-scented heaven. Everything is home-made, including the only staple main – chunky fish fingers, with chips that stray nicely into baked-potato territory.


money.’ It obviously works, because Roisin and Matthias Llorente’s unassuming little eatery in a run of shops near Morningside’s Holy Corner has won a Michelin mention and a following of locals who, if they don’t quite eat out of Roisin’s hand, trust her enough that daily specials fly and periodic wine-themed evenings are a sell-out. Roasted bone marrow with toasted sourdough? Yes, please. Lamb’s tongue with blue potatoes and crème fraîche? Bring it on (and how delicately pretty it is). Not that the less adventurous are left out: there are Orkney gold steaks simply cooked, and beautiful fish of the day like silver hake dressed with lemon and herb-infused olive oil. Classical training in kitchens round the world coupled with a love for food rooted in the soil and the seasons are impressive credentials, and the food on the plates speaks eloquently for skill and sourcing.

Itri ITALIAN 169–173 Gilmore Place, EH3 9PW, 0131 228 3115, | Mon 5–10pm; Tue–Thu noon–2.30pm, 5–10pm; Fri noon–2.30pm, 5–11pm; Sat noon–11pm; Sun noon–10pm. £21 (lunch) / £21 (dinner)

Stylish, contemporary Itri is a great find for Edinburgh residents in the Polwarth area and if you’re prepared to venture off the beaten track is not too far for those paying a visit to the Cameo cinema or King’s Theatre. Opened in 2008 by three friends who wanted to bring some authentic Italian food to Edinburgh, its simple menu includes a variety of meat and fish dishes as well as a good selection of pizzas. A generous selection of shellfish in a garlicky olive oil and white wine sauce is a delicious starter for seafood lovers, while bruschetta mista has a selection of aubergine, tomato, courgette and pepper toppings. Thin, stone-baked pizzas are a temptation and a fantastic smelling quattro formaggi of mozzarella, gorgonzola, goats cheese and scamorza is soft, gooey and delightful.

Kalpna INDIAN 2/3 St Patrick’s Square, EH8 9EZ, 0131 667 9890, | Mon–Sat noon–2pm, 5.30–10.30pm; Sun 5.30–10pm. £7 (set lunch) / £13 (dinner)

Despite being an overwhelmingly vegetarian nation, India’s cuisine usually has a carnivorous flavour when it reaches our shores. Ajay Bhartdwaj, owner and head chef of Kalpna spent the last 30 years trying to correct that imbalance. His vegetarian stance is not the only way this quirky restaurant breaks the mould. Well spaced tables, walls covered in plaster decorations and mirrored murals make it a surprisingly intimate space, complemented by understated but attentive service. Starters


Summerhall, Southside, 0845 874 3001 (box office), Ever since the old Vet School was converted into the Summerhall venue last year, The List have been big fans, to the extent that we chose to hold our annual festival party there in 2011, and are doing so again this year. The multi-venue space is home to dance, theatre, spoken word, film and music performances, as well as art exhibitions and workshops. Highlights include queer comedy performance Strange Hungers, multi-arts crossover project Whatever Gets You Through The Night, and an off-site production of Macbeth on Inchcolm Island, taking in the majestic gothic ruin of Inchcolm Abbey. The Polish Programme will explore creativity and expression in Poland through a variety of film and performance events, while

such as Bateta vada are a deliciously spicy take on fried potatoes the accompanying Indian risotto, however, makes the dish a little starch heavy. A range of ‘seasonal specials’ mix fresh, seasonal Scottish & exotic veg to good effect. Kalpna’s signature dish, dam aloo kashmeri is a delicate, creamy dish packed with a wide range of veggies, paneer and nuts. The flavours mingle well, but might be a little too sweet for some.

Leven’s THAI 30–32 Leven Street, EH3 9LJ, 0131 229 8988

the Karama Human Rights Film Festival screens political films with a Jordanian perspective. For night owls, the regular Festival Club offers an anything-goes cabaret atmosphere with a little taste of everything you could want from the Fringe. And as for the aforementioned List Party, sponsored by Aperol Spritz and Deuchars – we’re keeping details of our entertainments under wraps for now, but suffice it to say, we’ll be applying all our knowledge and expertise from over 25 years on the Fringe to provide something truly special, showcasing some of the festival’s top acts and kicking off the festival in style. For your chance to win tickets, see list. (Niki Boyle)

| Mon–Thu noon–2.30pm, 5–10.45pm; Fri/Sat noon–10.45pm; Sun 1–10.45pm. £8.95 (set lunch) / £20 (dinner)

With its shiny surfaces, colour-changing LED lighting and leather chairs, Leven’s could be any type of eatery on first appearances. It’s only on entering that the warm welcome and seductive sweety-spicy smells make it clear that this is a Thai restaurant. Leven’s serves bold fusion cooking, mixing Thai, European and Japanese influences. The menu is compact and hard to choose from and the service is seriously good. A staple starter of Thai fish-cakes uniquely appears as deep fried

The one & only

Mosque kitchen Curry in a hurry

Delicious freshly prepared curries, samosas and BBQ kebabs.We also cater for vegetarians.

33 Nicolson Square, Edinburgh EH8 9BX 0131 - 667 4035 Open 7 days 12pm-11pm (Closed Friday 1pm-2pm for prayer) Hitlisted in The List Eating & Drinking Guide 10/11 | Edinburgh Festival Guide 2012 | THE LIST 141

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rolls of tofu sheet stuffed with minced cod and king prawns. A main of crispy-skinned duck breast is served sliced with caramelized pineapple and baby eggplants on both red and green curry sauces, while a standard pad thai is actually standout. Thai food isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t renowned for its desserts, but here taro root crème brĂťlĂŠe and coconut panacotta served with mango and pandanus ice-cream are worth a look.

Mezbaan South Indian Restaurant




23-25 St. Leonardâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Street, Edinburgh EH8

The restaurant serves a range of Asian fusion style dishes reflecting the taste of South East Asia using a variety of Malaysian spices, sauces and traditional recipes to create the special flavours of Nanyang. Traditional domestic cuisine and beverages will also be available.


INDIAN 14/14a Brougham Street, EH3 9JH, 0131 229 5578, | Monâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;Sun noonâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;3pm, 5â&#x20AC;&#x201C;11pm. ÂŁ8.95 (set lunch) / ÂŁ16 (dinner)

Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s rare in Edinburgh to find Indian restaurants with regional specificity, so Mezbaan is welcome in introducing flavours from the countryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s south, especially since it has one of Britainâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s best South Asian chefs at the helm. Coconut is a prominent ingredient: to start, youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll find it in the spicy batter for king prawns, and in creamy chutney served alongside the medu veda, which are like lentil doughnuts. South Indian staples dosas (crispy pancakes) and fluffy idlis (steamed rice cakes) are textbook, and both come in small or large portions. Tikka masala, korma and vindaloo do grace the menu but far superior are the chefâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s specials such as kumarakam konju, a prawn curry served in a deep â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;kadaiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; pot with a rich sauce, flavoured with ginger and spices.

My Big Fat Greek Kitchen GREEK 6 Brougham Street, EH3 9JH, 0131 228 1030, | Tue 5â&#x20AC;&#x201C;11pm; Wedâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;Sat noonâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;2.30pm, 5â&#x20AC;&#x201C;11pm; Sun 12.30â&#x20AC;&#x201C;8pm. Closed Mon. ÂŁ8.95 (set lunch) / ÂŁ16 (dinner)

The back room of this Tollcross restaurant is decorated with a giant floor to ceiling photo of Santorini â&#x20AC;&#x201C; where whitewashed villas zigzag the hillside down to turquoise seas below. The whole experience of My Big Fat Greek Kitchen aims to magic up memories (or fantasies) of summer holidays in Greece, and tipsy nights spent in a taverna, ending a dayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s sunbathing with a table of meze and ouzo. Yes, the theme from Zorba the Greek does occasionally play through the speakers, and the menu ticks every taramasalata / tzatziki / gyros / spanakopita box to be expected of a traditional Greek restaurant. But everything is prepared with care and the owners strive hard to avoid what the menu calls â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;counterfeit massproducedâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Greek food.

Nonnaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Kitchen ITALIAN 45 Morningside Road, EH10 4AZ, 0131 466 6767, | Tueâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;Sun 10amâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;2.45pm, 5pmâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;10pm. Closed Mon. ÂŁ12.50 (lunch) / ÂŁ22 (dinner)

With a warm welcome from the Stornaiuolo family, this corner venue in Morningside is everything anyone could want in a neighbourhood restaurant. One thing certain is that you could never get bored of the menu â&#x20AC;&#x201C; despite a short Ă la carte selection, the list of daily specials is so long youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll have trouble remembering them as theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re read out. Fish and seafood dominate so expect revived classics such as tender lemon sole goujons

with homemade tartare sauce, or scallops the size of gobstoppers paired with black pudding. Clam linguine is exemplary, and the chef will accommodate to taste by adding fresh chilli. Pizzas from the main menu are enormous, with a doughier Neapolitan rather than crispy Roman-style base. Topping combinations are old favourites, such as Parma ham with rocket and parmesan, or artichoke, ham and egg on their eponymous version. Desserts are a mixture of family-friendly and sophisticated â&#x20AC;&#x201C; the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Coppa Cioccolatoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; is their take on an ice cream sundae, and the pannacotta is perfectly wobbly, with fresh raspberries complementing the creaminess.

Pink Olive BISTROS & BRASSERIES 55â&#x20AC;&#x201C;57 West Nicolson Street, EH8 9DB, 0131 662 4493, | Tueâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;Fri noonâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;2.30pm, 5.30â&#x20AC;&#x201C;10pm; Sat noonâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;3pm, 5.30â&#x20AC;&#x201C;10.30pm; Sun 10.30amâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;4pm. Closed Mon. ÂŁ7.75 (set lunch) / ÂŁ18 (dinner)

Tucked in beside the Fringe hotspot of Bristo Square, Pink Olive is a charming, snug, family-run and eponymous bistro. Olive, the ownerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s gran, supplies the rhubarb from her garden, and granddad-in-law grows the apples for the delightful chutney which accompanies a starter of light parsnip and sage fritters. Lightly pickled red gurnard demonstrates commitment to both sustainable fishing and enjoyable, unusual flavours: set upon fresh, springy salad like a roll-mop herring, it is thicker and far milder, and tastes of virtue without the hairshirt. The feel is fresh and light throughout, and not even the crispy pork belly could provoke a guilty conscience. Owner Kay McBride forages elderberries for the frozen yoghurt, but the winning dessert is a coffee pannacotta with rich chocolate sauce.

Sweet Melindas FISH 11 Roseneath Street, EH9 1JH, 0131 229 7953, | Mon 6â&#x20AC;&#x201C;10pm; Tueâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;Sat noonâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;2pm, 6â&#x20AC;&#x201C;10pm. Closed Sun. ÂŁ12.50 (set lunch) / ÂŁ22.50 (dinner)

Sweet Melindas is the very definition of cosy neighbourhood hangout. The one-room Marchmont restaurantâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s white-painted wooden panelling, found black-and-white photographs and shelves of assorted bric-a-brac lend it a quaint but pleasant ambience, and while it can get very busy at weekends, the muted lighting and mellow jazz soundtrack make it ideal for intimate dining. Fish and seafood are to the fore here, with owner/chef Kevin Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Connor sourcing most of his raw ingredients from Eddieâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Seafood Market a few doors down and the set-price menus changing according to seasonal availability. Classic starters include a plate of sardines, grilled, the flavour enhanced by garlic and rosemary, while the squid salad is enlivened by a fresh-tasting blend of coriander, lime and cucumber. Mains range from roast Icelandic wolffish served with a robust Savoy cabbage and pancetta concoction with sautĂŠed potatoes to dishes betraying a Far Eastern influence, such as a grilled red gurnard with king prawns, ginger, soy and toasted sesame oil or organic salmon and mussels with coconut milk, ginger and coriander.

OPENING HOURS Monday to Saturday: 12noon â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 2.30pm 5.00pm â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 11.00pm Sunday: 5.00pm â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 11.00pm Unit 1, 3â&#x20AC;&#x201C;5 Lister Square, South Pavilion, Quartermile, Edinburgh, EH3 9GL Phone: 0131 629 1797 142 THE LIST | Edinburgh Festival Guide 2012 |

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TOLLCROSS Enjoy a sunny day south west of Edinburgh’s Old Town in bustling Tollcross. Play pitch & put on the Bruntsfield Links, unwind in a local cafe, catch a film at the Filmhouse or Cameo cinemas and top it all off with a night-cap (or kness-up) at a friendly pub.



26 Brougham Street, Edinburgh, EH3 9JH, 0131 221 9997, twitter@cloisters_bar

30-31 Wrights Houses, Bruntsfield, Edinburgh, EH10 4HR, 0131 221 5221,

Fantastic beer range including nine real ales. Cloisters is the home of ‘proper good grub’ where we strive to produce & serve quality fresh homemade food using locally sourced and seasonal produce without hurting your wallet. We also stock some of the best homemade pies in the city, and serve a delicious Sunday roast.

The newly refurbished Golf Tavern is situated right next to the Bruntsfield links in the heart of the community. We hire out golf clubs to play on the worlds oldest short hole golf course, and serve fresh, homemade, locally sourced food. We have a wide range of Scottish ales on tap as well. Open 11.30-1am through the week, 10am-1am at weekends, food served until 9.30pm.



44 Leven Street, Edinburgh, EH3 9LJ, 0131 656 0513

11-13 Tarvit Street, Edinburgh, EH3 9LB, 0131 229 8659,

The Treehouse is a friendly, independent, local café situated on the corner of Bruntsfield Links. It’s a hidden gem in the crown of Tollcross, but the quality of what’s on offer ensures people make the trek across the city to sample the delicious homemade soups, fresh sandwiches and paninis, glossy flat whites, superb breakfasts and cakes baked by the owner herself.

Burlington Bertie is a traditional pub in the heart of a vibrant part of Edinburgh. A great bunch of locals create a friendly and lively atmosphere. If you want live sport we have it and a jukebox that appeals to all - some say the best in town. We stock great local beers and a quality selection of Scotland’s finest malt whisky. Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 11am-3am, Sun 12.30pm-3am



29/31 Leven St, Edinburgh EH3 9L,

37 Home Street 0131 329 6880

Uta’s Joolz Ltd has spent the last nine years collecting exceptional silver. We passionately collect ethnic pieces and modern wearable art from as many cultures as we can fit into our small, traditionally fitted shop. Whether you are looking for a small pair of semiprecious stone studs or a statement piece for that special occasion, we will always do our very best to help you find what you want.

The No 1 Sushi Bar Represents the essence of Japanese cuisine: simplicity, fresh produce, creativity and unique flavours. You will journey through the pleasures of traditional Japanese cuisine presented to you in a fresh and exciting way. Try traditional and modern Japanese dishes from Japanese rice through noodles and our range of sushi and sashimi cooked by our talented chefs. Join us and discover the true Japanese taste.



20 Leven Street, EH3 9LJ, 0131 477 1838,

14 Lochrin Place, EH3 9QY 0131 229 2209,

PekoeTea of Edinburgh stocks over 100 different loose teas and herbal infusions, many of which are sourced and imported directly. When you visit our retail store and tea bar, you can enjoy one of our teas, expertly made, with some cake or a macaron. You can also browse our extensive selection of tea and coffee-ware including Zero Japan Teapots and Bialetti Moka Makers.

Scotland’s largest independent beadshop, stocking gemstones, freshwater pearls, artisan glass, vintage glass, precious metals and many more beading related goodies. Rummage the eclectic range for something fabulous for your own designs, learn beading techniques at a class or visit Copernicus of Edinburgh’s in-house atelier jewellery workshop to have a bespoke beaded creation designed and made. | Edinburgh Festival Guide 2012 | THE LIST 143

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INEXPENSIVE Le Bistrot de l’Institut francais d’Ecosse FRENCH 13 Randolph Crescent, EH3 7TT, 0131 225 5366, | Mon–Fri 10am–4pm. Closed Sat/ Sun. £12.50 (lunch)

Toast BISTROS & BRASSERIES 146 Marchmont Road, EH9 1AQ, 0131 446 9873, | Mon–Sat 10am–10pm; Sun 10am–5pm. £11 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Marchmont’s residents have been withholding information from the rest of the city: they have jealously guarded the fact that Toast, tucked up at the top of Marchmont Road, is such a delight. It’s understandable, given that queues for seats in the small dining room are par for the course during the weekends. The menu is an appealing mix of classics with modern twists – think pork fillet with apple lentils and salmon mousse with pickled cucumber. Desserts are less adventurous, but delightfully comforting, featuring caramelised pineapple garnished with rum ’n’ raisin ice-cream and a raspberry pannacotta. The wine list is short and sweet but offers a good mix of styles and price

points; there’s also a good range of local beers to choose from.

Voujon INDIAN 107 Newington Road, EH9 1QW, 0131 667 5046, | Mon–Sun noon–2pm, 5.30–11.30pm. £8.50 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Despite sitting at the bottom of Newington Road, Voujon has always eschewed the traditional neighbourhood restaurant look and gone for a more polished, city centre feel. The primarily Bengali and North Indian menu has plenty of familiar names, but more adventurous choices are rewarded as often as not. Sardine bhorta is packed with fresh herbs which complement the fish and the accompanying chapatti mops up the tomato-based sauce. The consciously modern crockery, all right-angles and hard edges, threatens to overshadow

simpler dishes like the chicken tikka stir fry, but clean, nuanced flavours shine through. Green herb chicken is a neat balance of fiery and fresh – coriander, fenugreek and spring onions bringing a fragrant touch to the green chilli heat. Classics like lamb rhogun josh are handled with aplomb, a rich, red, peppery sauce bringing just the right amount of heat to the tender lamb. Staying ahead of the game is never easy, but the fact that owners of Voujon are gearing up for a refurbishment of their already stylish interior speaks volumes for their ambition.

HIGH END Rhubarb SCOTTISH Prestonfield House, Priestfield Road, EH16 5UT, 0131 225 1333, | Mon–Thu noon–2pm, 6.30–10pm; Fri/Sat noon–2pm, 6–11pm; Sun 12.30–3pm, 6.30–10pm. £16.95 (set lunch) / £43 (dinner)

A restaurant that transforms any visit into a special occasion, Rhubarb is one of Edinburgh’s most dramatic dining experiences. From a smiling, kilted welcome at the entrance to historic Prestonfield House (now a boutique hotel within which Rhubarb is a star attraction) diners are looked after in a style that’s naturally Scottish but of international contemporary calibre. After an aperitif in the Yellow Room, adorned with fresh yellow roses, dinner is served in an oval dining room resplendent with sparkling glassware and sumptuous pink-based décor. Scotland’s larder is prominent. Chicken is St Bride’s free-range, langoustine come from Mull, and the cheese in a smoked cheddar and beetroot royale – a mousse with slivers of crispy pastry – comes from Kintyre. Beef and mushroom consommé is elegantly served, and an example of the care given to visual appeal. Puddings’ overall appeal is of a slightly lower order, but cheese is a well-balanced selection, whether Scottish, French or both.

TIPList SOUTHSIDE • Long-table lunch at Peter’s Yard • Great snacking on vegan thaali at Kalpna • Bargain bistro lunches at Pink Olive • Escape to the homely hospitality of Sweet Melindas • Country house afternoon tea at Rhubarb

It’s not an obvious lunch spot, but if you look carefully there’s now a menu attached to the French institute’s railings, just off Queensferry Road. Walking down slightly scruffy, instituteyellow stairs to the basement feels like heading to a school canteen, and the student vibe continues inside Le Bistrot – décor is limited to French film posters, reclaimed armchairs and small tables pasted over with pages from La Figaro. Yet it manages to feel entirely French, and, somehow, cool in a hidden secret way. It offers simple, classic dishes in perfectly accented French, including rich fish soup with roille and croutons, or specials like juicy, slow cooked guinea fowl.

Café Milk CAFÉS 232 Morrison Street, EH3 8EA, 0131 629 6022, | Mon–Fri 7.30am–5pm; Sat 8am–4pm; Sun 8am–3pm. £5.60 (lunch)

Sporting bright white tiles, pale pastel colours and reclaimed benches, Café Milk could easily have been plucked straight from the streets of trendy Shoreditch (although thankfully there’s not a hipster in sight). But, while the interior decoration might attract plaudits, it’s the chef who truly deserves them for delivering treats such as spiced shredded pork in flatbread and Sicilian beef stew at commendable prices. An eye for seasonality means some dishes come and go throughout the year; customer favourites tend to remain.

Café Modern One ARTS VENUE CAFÉ Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art One, 75 Belford Road, EH4 3DR, 0131 332 8600, | Mon–Fri noon–2.30pm; Sat noon–3pm; Sun noon–2.30pm. [Coffee & cakes: Mon–Fri 9am–4.30pm; Sat/Sun: 10am–4.30pm] £9 (lunch)

Located on the lower floor of the Gallery of Modern Art One, Café Modern One is canteen style dining that attracts regulars meeting for lunch (with or without taking in the art) and gallery visitors grabbing a quick bite. The menu offers, baked potatoes, sandwich specials (meat and vegetarian), hot specials, salads, gluten free option and sweet treats- all produced in their kitchens. The inventive salads combine fresh and seasonal flavours such as roast aubergine, cherry tomatoes, puy lentils, spinach, roast fennel and radish or broccoli, orzo pasta, spinach and roast courgette.

Café Modern Two ARTS VENUE CAFÉ Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art Two, 73 Belford Road, EH4 3DS, 0131 624 6273, | Mon–Sun noon–2.30pm. [Coffee & cakes served: 10am–4.30pm]. £11 (lunch)

Café Modern Two (formerly Café Newton at the Dean Gallery) would be a fairly understated setting, with dark wood panellling and simple furnishings, if it weren’t for Eduardo Paolozzi’s impressive steel creation ‘Vulcan’ towering over everything in sight. In contrast to its sister operation across the road, this café offers table service and a more limited menu of soup, sandwiches (with meat, vegetarian and glutenfree options) and the odd special. If you are on the hunt for cake and coffee, the surroundings are a tranquil spot to reflect on the artworks on display and to tuck into rich Belgian chocolate brownies, tray bakes and a generous slice of the cake of the day.

Filmhouse Café Bar ARTS VENUE CAFÉ-BAR 88 Lothian Road, EH3 9BZ, 0131 229 5932, | Mon–Sun 10am–10pm. £10 (lunch) / £10 (dinner)

Any self-respecting cinema-goer knows that no trip to the Filmhouse would be complete without a pre-movie bowl of nachos from

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EATING: WEST END CITY GUIDE their bustling café-bar. A haven for lovers of independent and arthouse film, the Filmhouse is awash with cinéastes nursing one of the bar’s 11 draught beers, five real ales or 12 wines by the glass, or tucking into a snack before heading into the latest must-see flick. Vegetarians are in for a treat, with tasty falafels and veggie curries and lasagnes prominent on the menu. Meat-eaters can enjoy chicken curries, beef chilli nachos and daily specials such as a smooth, creamy chorizo and Parmesan risotto, or a slightly forgettable and under-seasoned lamb bhuna. An array of traybakes and gateaux ensure there’s plenty for the more sweet of tooth.

Henderson’s @ St John’s VEGETARIAN St John’s Terrace, 3 Lothian Road, EH1 2EP, 0131 229 0212, php | Mon–Sat 10am–5pm; Sun 11am–4pm. £11 (lunch)

Beneath the dominating edifice that is St John’s Church in the West End lies this well-kept secret. The newest branch of Henderson’s

empire serves the wholesome vegetarian fare that we know and love, but in bright, airy surroundings and with outdoor tables in a quiet corner just perfect for the sun’s rare outings. Soups, quiches, crêpes and wraps sit beside hot specials such as chickpea curry, haggis and clapshot and lentil lasagne on a packed and enticing menu. Cakes and tray bakes are temptingly displayed, requiring an iron will to resist them, and the small selection of wines and beers might also lead you astray.

Illegal Jack’s MEXICAN 113–117 Lothian Road, EH3 9AN, 0131 622 7499, | Sun–Thu noon–10pm; Fri/Sat noon–11pm. £11 (lunch) / £11 (dinner)

Opened in 2009, Illegal Jack’s aims to provide fresh, healthy, speedily delivered tex-mex food on a takeaway or sit-in basis. There are a range of seating options from upholstered booths to bench tables and food is ordered counter-service style. The menu is relatively limited with the owners preferring to build a reputation for delivering simple things well.

25–331 Leith Walk, 0131 554 2430

Pizza lovers brace yourself for what is arguably the finest pizza in Edinburgh (pictured). Twin log-fired ovens produce only the lightest, crispiest of bases beneath a treasure trove of potential toppings, picked from a menu lovingly split into sections, including seafood, vegetarian, carne and gluten free. Add to the mix some frisky young waiters and there’s little room for complaint.

Kebab Mehal 7 Nicolson Square, 0131 667 5214,

Situated in Nicolson Square since the late 1970s, Kebab Mahal is a no-frills Indian café and takeaway offering hearty fare at affordable prices. The menu favours the hungry meat-eater, with chicken and lamb classics, kebabs and tandoori dishes well represented, though vegetable biryani

Kampung Ali Malaysian Delight MALAYSIAN 97–101 Fountainbridge, EH3 9QG, 0131 228 5069, | Mon–Thu noon–3pm, 5pm–11pm; Fri–Sun noon–11pm. £7.50 (set lunch) / £11 (dinner)

Kampung Ali is larger and brighter than the Lee family’s Clerk Street original Kampong Ah Lee. A huge Kuala Lumpur skyline dominates the airy dining room, contrasting rather oddly with a ceiling of Roman frescos remaining from the previous occupant. Kampung and Kampong share the same culinary philosophy – to bring the flavour-packed street foods of South-East Asia to hungry Edinburghers at value for money prices. Roti cenai, a breakfast dish in Malaysia, makes a great starter – fluffy flaky flatbread is torn and dipped into a sumptuous curry sauce. The multitude of curries, soups and stir fries reflect the ethnic diversity of Malaysian cuisine, from the coconut infused beef rendang to the Chinese inspired chao koay teow. This latter dish of broad rice noodles wok-fried with chicken, prawns and crispy bean sprouts is a delicious clash of flavours and textures. Kampung also has a daily specials board and an interesting dessert menu.

mismatched furniture – the cakes are displayed in an open dresser – it’s every inch austerity chic. On any given day they’ll have around ten different items including classic sponges, tarts, brownies, little biscuits and madeleines, along with at least one savoury option such as a courgette loaf.

Pho Vietnam House VIETNAMESE 3 Grove Street, EH3 8AF, 0131 228 3383, | Mon–Fri noon–2pm, 5–10pm; Sat 5–10pm. Closed Sun. £14.50 (lunch) / £14.50 (dinner)

Tucked away on a side street, family run Pho Vietnam House is Edinburgh’s only Vietnamese restaurant. Eating here is a bit like having dinner in your best friend’s living room: it’s small and cosy and owner Jodie Nguyen will offer a warm greeting when you arrive. There are oil paintings on the walls and colourful hand woven mats on the tables, while a cup of lotus tea is available to settle you in. To start, a choice of fried or fresh spring rolls come with a dipping sauce. Follow up with a bowl of steaming pho – rice noodle soup with a choice of beef, chicken, prawn or vegetable. It comes with a plate piled high with bean sprouts, mint and lime, so you can garnish to your own taste. Comfort food in a bowl, it’s light, fragrant and flavourful. Other mains include braised catfish with ginger and mushrooms, stir fried and braised chicken drumsticks with lemongrass and chilli or fried seafood noodles, studded with vegetables.


Red Squirrel

CAFÉS 155 West Port, EH3 9DP, 0131 629 0626,

BARS & PUBS 21 Lothian Road, EH1 2DJ, 0131 229 9933, | Mon–Sun 9am–10pm. £10 (set lunch) / £12.50 (dinner)

**Hours to come**. £6 (tea & cakes) Two ladies at the forefront of Edinburgh’s homebaking movement, Rachel Morgan and Hollie Love Reid of Lovecrumbs, now have a tearoom in which to show off their baking exploits. With scraped paint on the walls, undulating wooden floorboards and simple,


There are tortilla chips and dips, mini haggis quesadillas or chicken wings for starters and the cajun spiced wings prove to be moist, spicy and tender. Fajitas appear on the obligatory sizzling platter, served with a choice of meat and mild, roasted or hot salsa.

Having struck upon a winning formula of great beers and gourmet burgers with Holyrood 9A, it’s unsurprising to see owners Fuller Thomson attempt to replicate that success across town. While Red Squirrel lacks some of its sister venue’s subdued charm, it’s certainly been

and familiar sides make their appearance too. With no licence or BYOB, the open soft drinks counter encourages self service, in keeping with the efficient, light-touch service. Curries are generally uncomplicated and well flavoured with noticeable heat.

Los Cardos

Locally L ll S Sourced dS Seasonall Menu M

281 Leith Walk, 0131 555 6619

Los Cardos is on a mission to persuade us that Mexican-style street food can be fast, healthy and fresh. Offering either sit-in or takeaway meals, the compact menu allows customers to build their own dinner. Start with a choice of styles (burrito, quesadilla or soft taco), add a choice of filling (vegetarian, meat based or even haggis) and then a range of toppings (including several salsas, sour cream or guacamole). The chatty staff are happy to advise if you are struggling to decide on the best combination.

Scotland’s Best Gourmet Burger

Acoustic music sets Beer garden Cocktails, Wines and Real Beers Lebowskis Edinburgh 0131 466 1779 • La p’tite folie 61 Frederick Street Edinburgh Tel: 0131 225 7983

Also visit Le De-Vin Wine Bar at 9 Randolph Place. Tel 0131 538 1815.

La p’tite folie 2 Tudor House 9 Randolph Place Edinburgh Tel: 0131 225 8678

Lebowskis Glasgow 0141 564 7988 •

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CITY GUIDE EATING: WEST END a boon for the continuing rehabilitation of Lothian Road. The chequerboard floor, leather banquettes and Viennese cafe chairs make for amiable surroundings and there’s an admirable selection of Scottish and international craft beers on tap (the line-up changes frequently, so rely on the blackboards rather than the printed menu). A medley of standard pub fare is available, but it’s the chunky burgers in sourdough buns that are the main draw.

Traverse Bar Café ARTS VENUE CAFÉ-BAR 10 Cambridge Street, EH1 2ED, 0131 228 5383, | Mon–Fri 8.30am–8pm; Sat 10.30am–8pm. No food Sun. £10 (lunch) / £10 (dinner)

As one of Edinburgh’s most popular art hubs, the Traverse Theatre has long been a firm favourite – and the attached café-bar plays its part in that enduring appeal. Families are made welcome day and night, thanks to the café being kid-friendly until 9pm, while elsewhere writers, creatives, local office workers and theatre-goers co-habit in the minimalist chilled out dining and bar space. While some simply catch up over a drink or sip coffee and log on to the free wifi, there’s a decent selection to graze from. Nachos topped with chilli, salsa or bean are popular shouts for those rushing into a theatre show, while the recently expanded main menu – including Mediterranean-style chicken casserole, rib-eye steak, haddock and chips and vegetable lasagne – ensure there’s ample for those looking for a hearty feed. Dessert options are narrower but a sticky toffee pudding or apple pie tick the sweet-toothed box.

MID-RANGE Chop Chop CHINESE 248 Morrison Street, EH3 8DT, 0131 221 1155, | Mon–Fri noon–2pm, 5.30–10pm; Sat noon–2pm, 5–10pm; Sun 12.30–2.30pm, 5–10pm. £7.50 (set lunch) / £15 (dinner)

The lively Morrison Street outpost of this popular restaurant continues to draw a crowd who enjoy the hustle and bustle of its sparsely furnished cafeteria-style room. Known primarily for boiled and fried dumplings, the idea is to place your order and then wait for the dishes to arrive seemingly at random. This can take a bit of getting used to, but once you decide not to let the delicious pieces of bite-sized crispy northern beef go cold while thinking about the pork and chive dumplings you planned as a starter, the experience clicks right into place. The cucumber salad is a refreshing counterpoint to rich stir-fried spicy tofu, and the sticky, crunchy dessert of sesamecoated apple scores for both outstanding flavour and sheer fun.

Edinburgh Larder Bistro BISTROS & BRASSERIES 1a Alva Street, EH2 4PH, 0131 225 4599, | Mon–Sat noon–3pm, 5.30–10pm. Closed Sun.

Having carved out a very respectable reputation just off the Royal Mile as a daytime café showcasing local, artisan and organic produce,

the Edinburgh Larder team have taken the concept across to the West End and into the evening. Expect to find seasonal veg, foraged greens, cheap cuts of meat and sustainably sourced fish, all done with a mix of old-school simplicity and on-message freshness.

L’escargot Blanc FRENCH 17 Queensferry Street, EH2 4QW, 0131 226 1890, | Mon–Thu noon–2.30pm, 5.30–10pm; Fri/Sat noon–3pm, 5.30–10pm. Closed Sun. £10.90 (set lunch) / £22.50 (dinner)

Tucked high above Queensferry Street is a cosy retreat that manages to celebrate the Auld Alliance without being either too Scottish or too French. Yes, full size French advertising posters and French pop do lend L’escargot Blanc a distinctly Gallic ambience, but only two thirds of the food and drinks are imported. They do, of course, offer excellent French wine, including a more than passable house red and white, but among the starters it is Scottish mussels that are steamed in the surprisingly delicate Bleu d’Auvergne sauce and Scottish black pudding that perks up the plump coquilles Saint-Jacques. On the main menu a prime Orkney rib-eye, cooked perfectly rare, is given the red wine and shallot treatment. Another serious meaty treat is the côte de boeuf, over 1kg of Scottish rib-eye on the bone. A classic crème brûlée sits alongside sticky toffee pudding in a comforting last flourish of this cross-cultural eatery.

First Coast BISTROS & BRASSERIES 97–101 Dalry Road, EH11 2AB, 0131 313 4404, | Mon–Sat noon–2pm, 5–10.30pm. Closed Sun. £11.95 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Anyone who believes great food can’t be found west of Haymarket is missing out. First Coast’s marine wainscoting, cream walls and natural wood create a serene blend of smart, bright and comforting. So it is with the food. A menu featuring grain salad and ox cheeks may sound earnest, but the delivery is pure pleasure. The former makes a bright, rich starter; the latter, an unforgettably tender and intense beef nihari, is a happy find on the specials board, which, aided by creative theme evenings, feeds First Coast’s enviable reputation. The constantly evolving and admirably broad menu is handled confidently and with enthusiasm on both sides of the kitchen door. Pak choi, wilted but still crunchy, dresses tasty beef dumplings alongside shredded chilli and consommé. Pollack fillet, firm and glow-inthe-dark white, is served between creamy mash and a tumble of meaty mussels and tiny shrimp, with abundant garlic butter sauce.

Ignite INDIAN 272–274 Morrison Street, EH3 8DT, 0131 228 5666, | Mon–Sun noon–2pm, 5.30–11pm. £8.50 (set lunch) / £19 (dinner)

The name of this Haymarket restaurant implies something different than its simple, smartly decorated interior. Perhaps it refers to the food from a menu offering the north Indian and Bengali dishes now so familiar to us in the UK. Here they’re certainly not run-of-the-mill, with

Kasturi INDIAN GOURMET (Restaurant)

A Culinary Experience to Remember Highly Rated on Tripadvisor


Gilded Garden

Pleasance hotdogs

Off Bristo Square

Pleasance Courtyard, Southside, 0131 556 6557 (box office), Edinburgh

You could throw up a sub-par burger van at this place and it’d still do brisk business, such is the heaving popularity of the Gilded Balloon and adjacent Udderbelly Pasture. Thankfully, the organisers EUSA are more scrupulous, offering gourmet burgers, oriental noodles and much, much more.

Tupiniquim Green Police Box, Lauriston Place, Old Town, 07908 886184,

A small taste of Brazil at the top of the Meadows (pictured) – with the emphasis on small, as Tupiniquim operates out of an old police box (which, unlike the Tardis, is not a lot more spacious than it appears). Their smoothies and crepes are delicious – and gluten-free too.

fresh local ingredients and a contemporary twist. Starters include a row of baby aubergine pakora, the batter without any greasiness and yielding silky, smoky fruit. Sheek kebabs of tender minced lamb are served with fresh mint and yoghurt sauce. Of the curries, Punjab methi gust is fragrant and not too heavy, with pieces of lamb in a sauce of herbs such as fresh fenugreek and coriander. A highlight on the tandoori menu is trout, marinated in yoghurt and spices and served whole after being barbecued.

Jasmine Chinese Restaurant CHINESE 32–34 Grindlay Street, EH3 9AP, 0131 229 5757, | Mon–Thu noon–2pm, 5–11.30pm; Fri noon–2pm, 5pm–12.30am; Sat 1pm–12.30am; Sun 1–11.30pm. £8.95 (set lunch) / £19 (dinner)

Located opposite the Lyceum, Jasmine

Like rain, flyers and belichened cavevenues, the hotdogs of the Pleasance Courtyard are a fixture of the Fringe. Combine with a pint of Hoegaarden to create that mystical, purified element, Fringonium.

The French Connection Grassmarket, Old Town

You can argue that the crepes and galettes available at this Grassmarket trailer are not a patch on what you’d get in Paris, but it’s hard to argue the point when you’ve got banana-y, chocolatey goodness smeared all over your face. (Niki Boyle)

entices prospective customers with a selection of fresh fish dishes listed on a blackboard outside, reflecting their more seafood-oriented approach to Chinese cooking. Inside, tables are quite close together, but balanced by the unfussy décor and high ceiling, the overall feeling is a welcoming one. The menu covers a broad range without being disconcertingly long, and vegetarians are well catered for with lots of fresh produce on offer. The chef’s recommendations are worth checking out for some appealing options, though a couple of prices might raise an eyebrow.

Kanpai JAPANESE 8–10 Grindlay Street, EH3 9AS, 0131 228 1602, | Tue–Sun noon–2.30pm, 5–10.30pm; closed Mon. £20 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Near West End of Princes Street Ideal For Shows In City Centre & West End Perfect For Shows At The Assembly Rooms

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EATING: WEST END CITY GUIDE Designed by Edinburgh based interior designers Four-by-Two, newcomer Kanpai is Sushiya’s elegant, clean lined, grey toned, fine dining, grown up sister. It’s all natural wood, shiny black pendant lights and soft music. Delicately presented dishes are prepared at the long bar, which takes centre stage in the space; it’s also possible to eat there and watch the chefs at work. The menu is quite small and divided into sushi, sashimi, tempura and grilled dishes. A selection of fresh, sweet sashimi atop a huge bowl filled with ice, grilled salmon nigiri, seared and gently warm, crunchy soft shell crab tempura and grilled, sticky aubergine with a sweet miso sauce, makes for a beautiful and satisfying feast.

Kasturi INDIAN 35–37 Shandwick Place, EH2 4RG, 0131 228 2441, | Mon–Sun noon–3pm, 5–11.30pm. £7.95 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

When Kasturi opened its doors in 2010, the owners talked of their delight at securing a site that they had wanted for years – you wonder if they feel the same today. The closure of Shandwick Place for over a year due to tramworks will undoubtedly hurt passing trade, but you suspect curry lovers will continue to make their way to this polished and welcoming restaurant. A starter of chicken chat puree is a well balanced combination of spicy, aromatic chicken and rich doughy bread. Firm but tender aubergine pakora comes with a wonderful tamarind sauce which complements the fiery batter well. A neat touch is the pairing of each main dish with a suggested side: while catfish in a Goan fish curry is perhaps a little too delicate for the hot and flavoursome sauce, the bindi bajhi is a excellent partner, providing a firmer texture and aromatic depth.

La P’tite Folie FRENCH Tudor House, 9 Randolph Place, EH3 7TE, 0131 225 8678, | Mon–Thu noon–3pm, 6–10pm; Fri/Sat noon–3pm, 6–11pm. Closed Sun. £9.95 (set lunch) / £23 (dinner)

As you enter the upstairs dining room in Randolph what hits you immediately after the welcoming ‘bonjour’ from your host, is the light, bright, openness of the space. Courses are not overly formal or fussy, but give a genuine feeling of bistro. Salad, pre entrée arrives in a communal bowl. Steak frites hits a satisfying mark, but the changing £9.95 lunch menu is good value, including a well-presented fish of the day, such as coley on a bed of spinach in a butter-enriched sauce. Dinner tends towards the heartier and richer, be it bouillabaisse or roast breast of duck with figs.

sushi munching, No 1 Sushi’s glowing red lamps draw you into a venue with a crazy clash of black patterned wallpapers. A sashimi salad – a pretty mix of fish, leaves, cucumber and seaweed in a tangy dressing – is a light and fresh starter, while for mains, choose from deep bowl of noodles in broth, stir fries and rice sets, or stick to the large selection of good quality sushi.

Sushiya JAPANESE 19 Dalry Road, EH11 2BQ, 0131 313 3222, sushiya. | Tue–Thu & Sun noon–2.30pm, 5–10.30pm; Fri noon–2.30pm, 5–11pm; Sat noon–3pm, 5–11pm. Closed Mon. £16 (lunch) / £16 (dinner)

Enter through a lime green door into a tiny, minimal and stylish sliver of Japan. Everything at Sushiya is neatly and prettily presented, from the chopstick rests and soy sauce pourers to the special sashimi set, a selection of 20 pieces of the day’s freshest fish, garnished with wasabi, cucumber, and flourishes of white radish curls. A painterly palette of whites and pinks, tuna, salmon, mackerel, surf clam, octopus, sweet shrimp and scallop arrive so fresh they’re almost quivering. As well as a wide sushi selection, there are soup based noodle, rice, tempura and grilled dishes and a few appetising specials. The deep fried bean curd is just the right combination of crisp and melt in the mouth. For main dishes, the seafood ramen soup of broth, noodles, spring onions and seaweed, generously topped with breaded seafood, is comfort food in a deep bowl.

Timberyard SCOTTISH 10 Lady Lawson Street, EH3 9DS £12 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

An exciting new opening for August 2012, Timberyard is the ambitious from-scratch new bistro-restaurant from the Radford family, best known from their days steering Atrium and Blue on the floors above the Traverse Theatre. Andrew and Lisa are joined by sons Ben, most recently chef at Café St Honoré,


No 1 Sushi Bar

and Joe, along with daughter Abbie, taking kitchen, front-of-house and behind-thescenes roles respectively. At the core of their philosophy will be simple, fresh, approachable all-day and evening food, but expect the fruits of inspirations from Copenhagen and the progressive edges of the London and New York scene to make themselves evident within the former Lawsons timber merchants with a smokehouse, integral kitchen garden, indooroutdoor courtyard, wood fires and strong recycling/reclaimed ethic. [Not yet open at time of going to press.]

Zucca ITALIAN 15–17 Grindlay Street, EH3 9AX, 0131 221 9323, | Tue–Thu noon–2.30pm, 5–9pm; Fri/Sat noon–2.30pm, 5–10.30pm. Closed Sun & Mon (except if performance at Usher Hall/ Lyceum). [Café open Tue–Sat 11am–late]. £9.95 (set lunch) / £17.50 (dinner)

Adjoining the Royal Lyceum, Zucca is an obvious target for pre or post-theatre diners, with the ground floor café serving sandwiches and deli snacks until late, and the upstairs dining room offering hearty dishes which fuse Italian and Scottish flavours and ingredients. As well as the usual antipasti and bruschetta, starters include a generous portion of pig’s head terrine served with spiced apple chutney and West Coast scallops wrapped in pancetta. Of the substantial selection of risottos and pastas, their signature is a bowl of fresh potato gnocchi with slow cooked duck, pistachios and sweet root vegetables and a flavoursome yet comforting broth. Although there are no vegetarian dishes besides carb-heavy options.

One Square BISTROS & BRASSERIES 1 Festival Square, EH3 9SR, 0131 229 6422, | Sun–Thu 7am–10pm; Fri/Sat 7am–10.30pm. (Snack menu Mon–Sun 7am–11pm). £18 (lunch) / £23 (dinner)

The Sheraton Grand Hotel and Spa may struggle to call itself the loveliest looking hotel

In a handy spot for some pre- or post-cinema

HIGH END Castle Terrace SCOTTISH 33/35 Castle Terrace, EH1 2EL, 0131 229 1222, | Tue–Sat noon–2pm, 6.30–10pm. Closed Sun/Mon. £24 (set lunch) / £40 (dinner)

See page 121.

Kyloe Restaurant & Grill SCOTTISH The Rutland Hotel, 1–3 Rutland Street, EH1 2AE, 0131 229 3402, | Sun–Thu noon–10pm; Fri/Sat noon–11pm. £10 (set lunch) / £35 (dinner)

Kyloe, previously the Restaurant at the Rutland, has been reborn as a place for all things beef. Occupying a grand, first floor space, it’s decked out with cowhide booths and other bovine-themed furnishings. The playful interior, however, belies a self-declared mission to bring customers the best possible steak experience – something it’s striving for thoughtfully and with an up-to-the-minute approach. Provenance and butchery of the star ingredient are taken seriously (staff present the raw cuts of meat and talk through their varying characters) and it shows in the end result. Grass-fed Aberdeen Angus is offered in the usual permutations but alongside a board

You can’t have too much of a good thing.

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JAPANESE 37 Home Street, EH3 9JP, 0131 229 6880, | Sun–Thu noon–2.30pm, 5pm–11pm; Fri/Sat noon–11pm. £17 (lunch) / £17 (dinner)

in Edinburgh, but it does have an outlook to rival its fellow big hitters. You can make the most of it at the rooftop Spa or, now, the revamped bar and brasserie, which lines one side of Festival Square and looks past the venerable Usher Hall to the imposing west crags of Castle Rock. One Square describes a multi-faceted offer, including gin bar, loungecafé, outside terrace, private dining space and main dining space, which itself provides many options, from breakfast at any time of day to light bites, grills, afternoon tea, seasonal specials or a seven-day roster of robust dishes of the day.

Edinburgh's Newest French Restaurant in the West End


TIPList WEST END • Coffee and croissants on the terrace at the Bistrot de l’Institut francais d’Ecosse • Handknitted cakes at Lovecrumbs • Stylish sushi at List Newcomer for 2012 Kanpai • Retreat from the bigscreen Olympics into comforting One Square • Scotland’s big beasts in their element at Kyloe

15% O FF

Your Total Food Bill

Only available when ordering from the A La Carte Menu. Cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer or promotion.

To redeem this offer please see The List’s Offers page in 18 July issue or visit

105-109 Lothian Road Edinburgh EH3 9AN

Reservations: 0131 229 7747

Join us for a unique cultural experience as our gifted culinary team transports you to the sultry heat of Bangladesh and Northern India with a symbiotic fusion of traditional Asian recipes developed with a modern and original ‘twist’.

Get the full flavour from our website @IgniteEdinburgh Ignite Restaurant Ignite 272-274 Morrison Street, Haymarket, Edinburgh EH3 8DT Tel 0131 228 5666

11a-13a William Street, EH3 7NG Reservations: 0131 2256061 | Edinburgh Festival Guide 2012 | THE LIST 147

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CITY GUIDE EATING: WEST END of unusual cuts (bavette, onglet, feather), all of which arrive perfectly medium rare and are a genuine treat. The rest of the menu is good too.

The Mulroy FRENCH 11a–13a William Street, EH3 7NG, 0131 225 6061, | Tue–Sat noon–2.30pm, 5.30pm–10pm. Closed Sun/Mon. £13.50 (set lunch) / £34.50 (set dinner)


Broughton Street, remain as appealing as ever. The Bakehouse is a café-tearoom first and foremost, rather than a bakery, so teas, coffees, lunchtime sandwiches and baked potatoes are the mainstay, joined by various in-house creations including pies, soups, a daily stew, savoury scones and cakes.


Broughton Delicatessen

The Battle of Mulroy between the MacDonalds and the Mackintoshes took place in 1688. The Edinburgh restaurant which takes its name from this Highlands’ clan feud is a much more peaceful affair, thanks in large part to the charmingly impeccable manners of Patron Clemens Hoss-d’Estenfeld MacDonald and the calm, traditional interior which creates a country house ambience in the city centre. Chef Damien Rolain’s finds expression for his classic French-style fine dining, with Port Seton providing baby langoustine for a salad with green apple, while the west’s Loch Creran supplies the oyster tartare to go with it. Truffle oil appears in an amuse-bouche of creamed leek and potato soup, then again with smoked and roasted pigeon breast. A finishing touch of hazelnuts is but one example of Rolain’s attention to detail and stunning presentation. For mains, fish is prominent while neck fillet of Borders lamb is served rare alongside a giant meatball of braised shoulder minced with cabbage.

Assam’s Café

The Pompadour by Galvins

The Bakehouse Co.

FRENCH Caledonian Hilton, Princes Street, EH1 2AB, 0131 222 8777, | Tue– Sat 7–9.45pm. [Afternoon tea: Mon–Sun 2–5pm].

CAFÉS 32c Broughton Street, EH1 3SB, 0131 557 1157, | Mon–Fri 9am–5pm; Sat/Sun 10.30am–5pm. £7.50 (lunch)

After a bit of a spruce (though nothing that fundamentally changes the listed room), The Pompadour is expected to re-open around 13 August. Its new name, The Pompadour by Galvins, gives the game away as to the hands at the tiller – expect finely crafted gastronomy in a similar vein to Galvin at Windows, the brothers’ restaurant at the London Hilton on Park Lane. With one of the city’s hottest Castle views, classic French dishes (fed by Scottish raw materials) and a tasting menu option, this will be a restaurant for Edinburgh’s bignight-out list. [Not yet open at time of going to press.]

INDIAN 1 Albert Street, EH7 5HN, 0131 555 4000, | Mon–Thu noon–10.30pm; Fri/ Sat noon–11pm; Sun 2pm–10.30pm. £14 (lunch) / £14 (dinner)

Opened in March 2012, Assam’s brings to Edinburgh a combination of Indian café and deli that has become a feature in Glasgow. On street level, under a glittering chandelier and surrounded by gold-flecked tiles, a smattering of informal tables sit alongside an open kitchen and chilled deli counter with ready-to-go pakora, curries and desserts and a takeaway menu featuring Indian pizzas. Spicy nibbles and roti wraps populate the café menu, while the menu in the downstairs restaurant brings together chicken and vegetarian starters and mains with a decent sprinkling of fish dishes along with an appealing array of tapas-sized dishes. Paratha flat breads and mushroom rice accompany buttery chicken, chilli prawn poori and a well-rounded lamb and mint curry.

Having changed hands in 2010, then suffered a destructive fire in 2011, it has been a turbulent time for The Bakehouse. In that time, its evocation of the traditional values of tea and cake has started trending around town, and their nostalgic theme with antique cake stands, silver teapots and bare brick walls suddenly seems less of an original selling point. The hiatus at the Bakehouse has allowed for an internal reorganisation, with the servery and kitchen shifted to one side of the tearoom, allowing for slightly more sitting space, though the comfortable window tables, a fine vantage point for the comings and goings of busy

CAFÉS 7 Barony Street, EH3 6PD, 0131 558 7111, | Mon–Fri 8am–7.30pm; Sat 9am–7.30pm; Sun 11am–6pm. £8 (lunch) / £9 (dinner)

It’s rare for a café to try so hard to be all things to all people and not overstretch itself. Broughton Delicatessen doesn’t disappoint, though, with its front shop selling take-out snacks like baguettes, grilled sandwiches and crepes alongside cakes, fresh bread and even olive oil, while the neat, shabby chic back room is a bright spot for a surprisingly highquality informal daytime meal. Breakfasts include a full option featuring homemade potato scones and special recipe baked beans, pancakes and maple syrup with either bacon or fruit and a highly-regarded granola while more typical main courses including a ploughman’s plate or a smoked salmon platter sit alongside a spicy, vegetable-packed Japanese ramen soup.

Drill Hall Arts Café ARTS VENUE CAFÉ 34 Dalmeny Street, EH6 8RG, 0131 555 7100, | Mon–Sat 10am–5pm. Closed Sun. £7 (lunch)

This café caters for a varied clientele of Out of the Blue Drill Hall resident artists, members of the Leith community and attendees of flea markets, vintage fairs, yoga or pilates classes not to mention their Bruncheon! event. The ethos here is very much about supporting the community – this extends to sourcing ingredients from neighbouring businesses and continuing an initiative to train and employ young people looking for opportunities in the hospitality industry. The daily menu is designed to offer affordable soups, sandwiches and specials such as marinated chicken kebabs, smoked fish kedgeree or vegetable curry. Go for sizable toasted bagels (from popular local bakery the Manna House) with fillings such as smoked salmon and cream cheese or pastrami, jarlsberg and mustard mayo. The cakes are home baked and you’re spoilt for choice with a light and fluffy Victoria sponge, a sweet bakewell slice and a range of muffins.

Embo CAFÉS 29 Haddington Place, Leith Walk, EH7 4AG, 0131 652 3880, | Mon–Fri 8am–4pm; Sat 9am–4.30pm. Closed Sun. £8 (lunch)

With more than a decade’s history as a top o’ the Walk fixture, Embo is the kind of place which has established a personal touch for its regulars. Owner and head cook Mike Marshall knows them by name and their orders by heart, and it’s this which lends the place much of its appeal. The food’s not half bad either, though: filled rolls and wraps packed with chicken, cheese, salsa and jalapenos (the ‘Mexican’) or Parma ham, pesto and mozzarella, alongside homemade soups including Thai squash and spicy tomato. Breakfasts include rolls, wraps, muesli and Belhaven smoked trout with scrambled eggs and pesto on toast, while special treats include an amazing feta and spinach scone and chocolate brownies made by ‘the lady at the church’.

Frankfurter Eck GERMAN 62 Elm Row, EH7 4AQ, 0131 629 5784, | Tue–Fri noon–9pm; Sat 10am–10pm; Sun 10am–6pm. Closed Mon. £10 (lunch) / £11 (dinner)

The Manna House

German food can suffer from people’s unfair preconceptions. Seek out Edinburgh’s first German restaurant, Frankfurter Eck to have these prejudices overturned. Behind a blinkand-you’ll miss it frontage on an unlikely block is a basic interior with minimal décor. It’s not a place to see-and-be-seen, but what it lacks in glamour it makes up for in quality home-cooked German food with excellent service to match. Just a curtain separates diners from the kitchen where chef Joseph Kuouh conjures up dishes such as sauerbrauten,

lusciously-marinated beef pot roast, and jӓgerschnitzel or ‘hunter style’ pork. Yes, it’s comfort food, but to call it simply meat and potatoes does it no justice at all. The same applies to sides of satisfying dumplings and spӓtzle – familiar to expats from the Homeland who frequent this gem of a place along with locals discovering German cooking. Desserts include delicately-fried apple with ‘winemousse’ froth, and slices of surprisingly light, nutty apfelstrudel.

The King’s Wark BARS & PUBS 36 The Shore, EH6 6QU, 0131 554 9260, | Mon–Sat noon–10pm; Sun 11am–4pm, 5–10pm. Dining room: Mon–Sun 5–10pm. £13 (lunch) / £13/£16 (dinner)

First and foremost the King’s Wark is a good, solid pub. The dark wood tables and floors have been lovingly restored, Scottish ales are served on tap and the bar is well-stocked with a healthy combination of pub classics and well-selected imports. The staff are helpful and know their stuff, making the place a hit with pleasant locals who help to give the pub a cosy and welcoming atmosphere. It is almost excessive, then, that the food on offer is quite as good as it is. A loyalty to local produce and seasonality dictates the simple but effective menu, with a variety of seafood dishes referencing the bar’s shorefront location. Often ignored meats such as rabbit and pigeon make surprising but worthwhile inclusions and are presented and seasoned to the highest quality.

Los Cardos MEXICAN 281 Leith Walk, EH6 8PD, 0131 555 6619, | Sun–Thu noon–9pm; Fri/Sat noon–10pm. £7.50 (lunch) / £7.50 (dinner)

Los Cardos is on a mission to persuade us that Mexican-style street food can be fast, healthy and fresh. Offering either sit-in or takeaway meals, the compact menu allows customers to build their own dinner. Start with a choice of styles (burrito, quesadilla or soft taco), add a choice of filling (vegetarian, meat based or even haggis) and then a range of toppings (including several salsas, sour cream or guacamole). The chatty staff are happy to advise if you are struggling to decide on the best combination. This pick and mix approach allows diners to indulge individual eating preferences and create food that is packed with layers of contrasting flavours and textures. Los Cardos aims to blend Mexican and Scots influences and the tasty haggis burrito epitomises this culinary fusion. Citrus-chilli chicken quesadilla is also full of flavour, especially when teamed with guacamole and spicy salsa verde.

The Manna House CAFÉS 22–24 Easter Road, EH7 5RG, 0131 652 2349, | Mon–Sat 8am–5.30pm. Closed Sun. £6 (lunch)

In its few short years on earth, the Manna House has become an institution beloved of ladies from Morningside, builders on their way to a job and all walks of life in between. A first-class bakery and patisserie, it’s also branched out of late into full meals, with slices of Serrano ham, spinach and cheddar quiche and kale, red onion and ginger frittata sitting alongside chorizo meatballs in spicy tomato sauce, pizza slices and a counter of rich salads. Yet that cabinet of dazzling and delicately designed, cakes tarts and chocolate creations is still the main selling point, alongside shelves of cheap, home-baked loaves of fresh bread.

The Tailend Restaurant and Fish Bar TAKEAWAY & HOME DELIVERY 14–15 Albert Place, EH7 5HN, 0131 555 3577, | Mon–Sun noon–10pm. £15 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

The original Edinburgh posh chippie, opened by a partner in the original famed Anstruther Fish Bar, the Tailend coined a format that is gathering pace across the country. Don’t expect silver cutlery and napkin-flicking – the takeaway box of haddock, chips and mushy peas remains but there’s also a tabled seating area and much more than the usual deep-fried pizza on the menu. Sustainable sourcing has led to a wider than usual seafood range,

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EATING: LEITH & BROUGHTON STREET CITY GUIDE including a specials board advertising the likes of sole, sea bass and rock turbot. The regular menu similarly takes the strain off cod and haddock with calamari, hake and monkfish available cooked to order in a light, crisp batter, breaded, or simply grilled.

glass of wine with crostini. To satisfy more sizeable appetites, a proper sit-down dinner is available too – generally in the larger back room – where you can tackle attractive plates of antipasti, primi and secondi at your leisure.

La Garrigue Bistro

L’escargot Bleu

Valvona & Crolla Caffè Bar

FRENCH 56 Broughton Street, EH1 3SA, 0131 557 1600, | Sun–Thu noon–2.30pm, 5.30–10pm; Fri/Sat noon–3pm, 5.30–10.30pm. £12.90 (set lunch) / £23 (dinner)

La Garrigue in the Old Town has a ‘wee brother’ operation down on Commercial Quay in Leith; set in the former Daniel’s, it has much more of the classic French bistro about it, serving up coq au vin, tartiflette, confit duck leg and simple omelettes, pasta bowls or fish cakes.

CAFÉS 19 Elm Row, Leith Walk, EH7 4AA, 0131 556 6066, | Mon–Thu 8.30am–5.30pm; Fri/Sat 8am–6pm; Sun 10.30am–3.30pm. £15 (lunch)

No one who cares about good food in Edinburgh is unaware of the Contini family’s excellent Italy-inspired deli and café, the former being an Aladdin’s Cave of cured meats, fine cheeses and fresh-baked breads. The caffè bar itself is a deserving stop for a spot of sophisticated but informal lunch, with an extensive menu of pizza, pastas and antipasti made from ingredients sourced from a range of local suppliers and a weekly delivery from Italy. The meatballs are outstanding, served in a rich fresh tomato and basil sugo, while the Italian spinach and ricotta pancakes are delicate and full of flavour, or for a special treat try the garlic buttered Port Seton langoustines and then see if you can escape without filling a basket in the shop on your way. V&C also run the café and food market at Princes Street’s Jenners department store.

MID-RANGE A Room in Leith SCOTTISH 1c Dock Place, EH6 6LU, 0131 554 7427, aroomin. | Mon–Sun 10.30am–4pm, 5.30–10pm. £12.95 (set lunch) / £21 (dinner)

With its prime waterfront setting, complete with large wooden conservatory, outdoor dining terrace and even a small floating pontoon, the Leith outpost of the ‘A Room In ...’ chain is a busy and buzzing destination. There is more than a little European atmosphere here, especially in the warmer months when the promise of alfresco dining is a possibility. Adjoining the dark and handsome Teuchter’s Landing bar, the restaurant’s main dining space occupies the conservatory and serves up an appealing and unpretentious menu of Scottish bistro dishes. Given the proximity to the sea, a fair amount of emphasis on fish is the order of the day – and sustainable fish at that. A nicely presented starter of soused Orkney herring and potato salad comes with a bright ring of zippy pickle while a generous main of coley in a Black Isle beer batter arrives crisp, light and grease-free.

Al Dente ITALIAN 139 Easter Road, EH7 5QA, 0131 652 1932, | Mon 5.45–10pm; Tue– Thu noon–2pm, 5.45–10pm; Fri/Sat noon–2pm, 5.45–10.30pm. Closed Sun. £20 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

This cosy little neighbourhood restaurant is easily missed as you walk along one of the less salubrious stretches of Easter Road – an uninspiring frontage with frosted windows doesn’t exactly motivate passersby. However, enough people have seen beyond this for word to get out and Al Dente to grow into a very popular local eatery that you’d be best to reserve a table in, even at midweek. Its esteem comes down to its reasonably priced authentic Italian menu, which is packed full of flavour.

Asti ITALIAN 73 Broughton Street, EH1 3RJ, 0131 558 9156, | Mon–Thu 9am–10pm; Fri/ Sat 9am–11pm; Sun 9am–4pm. £9.95 (set lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Owned by the same people who run the neighbouring Rapido, Asti is a refined, relaxed eatery in comparison to its neighbour, specialising in decent Italian dishes rather than fast food. Painted a pleasing shade of mocha, this café-cum-restaurant takes its name from the Piedmontese province famed for its sparkling wine and white truffles, and offers something for everyone throughout the day. That could be bruschetta with goats’ cheese or eggs benedict for breakfast, salads, paninis and pasta for lunch, coffee and cake or an evening

The justly popular L’escargot Bleu generates an air of welcome as you enter the bright, airy rooms one flight up on Broughton Street. The buzz feels embracing rather than exclusive, as much coming from the patrons as the proprietors. Co-owners Betty Jourjon and Frederic Berkmiller have worked consistently since 2009 to produce interesting and creative Gallic fare with high quality Scottish ingredients, and their hard work pays dividends with each course. Tenderly baked organic duck eggs ‘meurette’ peek out of their mellow rich red wine and mushroom sauce, while those who quest far and wide will be joyful in their discovery of the tableside prepared Dexter Beef steak tartar, so seldom seen these days. Rabbit casseroled with sweet prunes and heady Armagnac encourages an over eager mopping of the bowl, and the pink gleam of the lamb steaks, charred slightly on their edges, are even sweeter set off by their earthy Jerusalem artichoke puree.

Fishers Bistro FISH 1 The Shore, EH6 6QW, 0131 554 5666, | Mon–Sat noon–10.30pm; Sun 12.30–10.30pm. £12.95 (set lunch) / £22 (dinner)

Fishers Restaurant Group now comprises two main branches as well as the Shore Bar & Restaurant, which stands adjacent to the original Leith eaterie. While both the Leith and city centre restaurants bear the Fishers moniker, the two venues couldn’t be more different. Fishers in Leith, which first opened its doors more than two decades ago, has a laid-back vibe and a cosy atmosphere that reflects its location in a former watchtower, while the city branch has a smarter, contemporary feel to it. While Fishers in the City offers slightly more choice, including a dedicated vegetarian menu, neither branch is lacking in imaginative food options and the choice of dishes ranges from the deceptively simple, such as a starter of Arbroath smokie kedgeree served with a potato scone, to startling fusions such as Loch Tarbet king scallops with a coconut coriander dhal offset by a smooth apple sauce. This dining dichotomy extends to the mains, which include a fillet of Loch Duart salmon served with Jerusalem artichoke, cous cous, hot smoked salmon, pea shoots and Parmesan and a to-diefor Indonesian curry created from coley and king prawns and flavoured with sweet potato, banana and coconut.

FRENCH 88 Commercial Street, EH6 6LX, 0131 553 5933, | Tue–Fri noon–2.30pm, 5.30–9.30pm; Sat/Sun noon–9.30pm. Closed Mon. £8.50 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Guchhi Indian Seafood and Bar INDIAN 9/10 Commercial Street, EH6 6JA, 0131 555 5604, | Mon–Sun noon–11pm. £8.95 (set lunch) / £21 (dinner)

Head chef and owner Vishant Das blends together his Indian influences and seafood restaurant experience in this restaurant-bar in the heart of Leith. Extensive à la carte and tapas offerings capture vegetarian specials, biryani, tandoori kebab and Indian classics, but it’s the chef’s seafood dishes that shine through. Tasting plates of tongue-tingling chilli butter scallops arrive alongside lightly spiced, fleshy fingers of haddock primed for dipping and Goan mussels in creamy coconut rich massala gravy. A jump across to mains brings generous bream fillets coated in chilli and methi and sautéed in garlicky butter alongside tandoor clay oven baked lobster marinated in tikka sauce and yoghurt. Dishes are simply executed and clean tasting in tune with the cool tones of an interior that offers a suitable backdrop for the occasional bhangra-inspired Bollywood evening.

Khushi’s INDIAN 10 Antigua Street, EH1 3NH, 0131 558 1947, | Mon–Sat noon–11pm; Sun noon–10pm. £17 (lunch) / £17 (dinner)

Sixty-five years since its first appearance and half a dozen venues later, Indian stalwart Khushi’s has popped up on Antigua Street near

the top of Leith Walk. Behind its extensive glazed frontage waiters bustle between a separate raised area reserved for larger parties and the stylish main dining room of powder blue walls, sari inspired graphics and ornate coloured lanterns. Currently eat-in only, the no-charge BYOB supports a good value lunch deal and a familiar evening menu of chicken and lamb classics, tandoori and seafood curries. Cooling mint chutney complements seasoned cubes of pepper monkfish tikka alongside popular lamb rogan josh served on the bone in fennel-infused gravy. Creamy, tomato-rich fish karahi curry has flavour depth, while heavily battered chilli squid and 24-hour cooked Punjabi favourite dal makhani (black lentils) are disappointingly one dimensional. Pakora, samosa and tikka starters are book-ended by home-made sorbet and ice creams, with a good range of smoothies and sweet or salted lassis.

Locanda de Gusti ITALIAN 7–11 East London Street, EH7 4BN, 0131 558 9581, | Tue–Fri noon–2.30pm, 5–10.30pm; Sat noon–11pm. £12.95 (set lunch) / £21 (dinner)

The restaurant formerly known as Bella Mbriana continues to choose the road less travelled by and offer what they describe as a genuine Italian experience as opposed to the more anglicised fare available elsewhere. Tucked around the corner from Broughton Street, it’s ideally placed to capitalise on the area’s foodie reputation and the growing appetite for authentic, locally sourced food. Owners, Maria and Rosario Sartore, avoid what they call the British-Italian cliches of lasagne and garlic bread. Instead, the menu is a tempting mix of the known and the new, offering delicate starters such as shallow fried courgette flowers with a honey and chilli dip, as well as a more substantial Provolone fondue with a chilli honey bruschetta. The focus of the mains is firmly on fish, with even a fusion of paccheri pasta, olive oil, garlic, kale and ricotta receiving a dressing of anchovy oil.



TIPList LEITH & BROUGHTON STREET • A loaf from Manna House surely makes a better picnic • Late-night bar snacks at Guchhi Indian Seafood and Bar • A fino and jamon Iberico at Tapa • The tasting menu at upmarket Indian newcomer Mithas • A pick-me-up-andrattle-me-around coffee from Artisan Roast

The success of Al Dente lies with the concept of a small and selective seasonal menu which uses top quality ingredients, freshly prepared by our native Italian chef. A cosy and intimate environment welcomes our diners who are charmed by our traditional Italian surroundings and our friendly and attentive service. We can cater for your special occasion, be it a wedding, a birthday or silver anniversary (up to 30 people) and we host a monthly theme night which explores the gastronomical delights, culture and geography of Italy’s beautiful regions. Al Dente - a true taste of Italy at your doorstep!

Traditional and Regional Cuisine from Italy

Hitlisted in the Eating and Drinking Guide 2011-2012 139 Easter Road Edinburgh, EH7 5QA • Tel: 0131 652 1932 • | Edinburgh Festival Guide 2012 | THE LIST 149

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Loch Fyne Restaurant FISH 25 Pier Place, Newhaven Harbour, EH6 4LP, 0131 559 3900, | Mon–Fri 10am–10pm; Sat 10am–10.30pm; Sun 10am–10pm. £9.95 (set lunch) / £21 (dinner)

While not quite the original, Edinburgh’s branch of the Loch Fyne Restaurant does enjoy its own prime location at Newhaven Harbour with pleasant views over the Forth. The building may have the depth and height of an air hanger, but the floor-to-ceiling windows and pale wood fixtures and flooring give the place a lovely bright atmosphere, while the open kitchen offers a welcome view of the chefs at work. Many of the raw ingredients here are accredited by the Marine Conservation Society. Inevitably, shellfish options are a particular highlight and these range from simple servings of oysters to deluxe platters of mussels, clams, langoustines, crayfish and squid. A starter of lobster bisque is rich in flavour without being overwhelmingly seasoned while the main course seafood selection is a generous stack of grilled salmon, sea bass and king prawn with seared scallops enlivened by a lemon parsley butter.

Pomegranate MIDDLE EAST 1 Antigua Street, EH1 3NH, 0131 556 8337, | Mon–Sun noon– midnight. £7.50 (set lunch) / £16 (dinner)

With an interior colour scheme as strikingly bright pink as the fruit of its title, this new operation on a prominent street corner across the road from the Playhouse is from the same team as Hanam’s much-respected Kurdish restaurant on Johnston Terrace. The theme here is a wider-ranging Middle Eastern street food, which essentially means a ready supply of warm flat breads with mezze-style humous and baba ganoush dips, falafel and samosas, grilled chicken and lamb, plus olive and pepper salads and veggie dishes. Set-price deals are on offer at most times, and, serving no alcohol, the venue has BYOB at no charge.

Port of Siam THAI 3 Pier Place, EH6 4LP, 0131 467 8628, | Mon–Wed 6–10pm; Thu/ Fri noon–2pm, 6–10pm; Sat noon–10pm; Sun 12.30–10pm. £18 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Given its position on Newhaven Waterfront and the proximity of Edinburgh fish market, it’s no surprise that Port of Siam’s menu has a distinct focus on fresh seafood. What does surprise however is the exciting fusion of Scottish and Thai ingredients. A starter of marinated quail is served with water chestnuts, cashew nuts and a game sauce while seared scallops on black pudding are ‘made Thai’ through the inclusion of chilli oil and crispy sweet basil. Mains are divided into traditional and contemporary, with many of the combinations managing to be both simple and yet imaginative. Pad king sees Scottish beef stir-fried with young ginger, wild mushrooms and confit garlic, while koong phao is giant prawns marinated in red wine, grilled and served with a spicy sauce on the side. The short dessert menu includes home-made pandanus leaf and cinnamon ice-creams, which are fun yet grown-up. With limited seating spread between booths and a central ‘bar’ table (used for Thai tapas nights), this cosy eatery is popular and busy so booking ahead is a must.

Rivage INDIAN 126–130 Easter Road, EH7 5RJ, 0131 661 6888 | Mon–Sat noon–2pm, 6–11pm; Sun 12.30–2pm, 6–11pm. £7.95 (set lunch) / £14.50 (dinner)

Owner and head chef Ryad Meeajane oversees this stylish Easter Road restaurant from behind the open tandoor oven counter while wife and co-owner Catherine runs an efficient and informative front of house. Attention to detail stretches from preparation to presentation across an eclectic mix of good value lunch and à la carte dishes often given an innovative twist. Sweet and sour prawn balchao, its heat evident but not intrusive, arrives in starter bowls alongside aloo tikki – soft patties of well spiced potato and green peas lifted by mint and tamarind sauces and a splash of tomato and coriander chutney. A healthy list of vegetarian dishes including smoked aubergine baingan

bharta vie with slow cooked hyderabadi biryani pots and popular mains of creamy, coconutinfused Goan fish curry and lamb kofta aloo meatballs in tangy tomato massala.

The Ship on the Shore FISH 24–26 The Shore, EH6 6QN, 0131 555 0409, | Mon–Sun 9am–10pm. £13 (set lunch) / £25 (dinner)

A popular fixture on the Leith scene for nearly a quarter of a century, the Ship on the Shore can genuinely be said to offer something for everyone – as long as you’re not averse to fresh, beautifully prepared fish and seafood. Opening its doors with breakfast from 9am and serving food until late, the cosy, woodpanelled restaurant is noted for the generous array of dishes on offer, from reasonably priced set lunch menus through to the fruits de mer ‘royale’, for three people sharing and served with champagne for £115. Popular à la carte options include the Ship’s hearty Cullen skink and a whole roast sea bass that’s nicely complemented by a refreshing sun blushed tomato and hazelnut salsa, though the addition of hefty Stornoway Black Pudding Croquettes is an unnecessary, overly heavy accompaniment. A special of sweet steamed surf clams is prepared simply but effectively with garlic, herbs and serrano ham, and for shellfish fans, the crustacean and mollusc combos range from Oysters with Guinness to moules frites. The extensive wine list is worth taking time to pore over and the Ship’s cheesecake is something of an institution, with flavours ranging from peanut butter to Ferrero Rocher.

The Shore Bar & Restaurant BISTROS & BRASSERIES 3 The Shore, EH6 6QW, 0131 553 5080, | Mon–Sat noon–10.30pm; Sun 12.30–10.30pm. £10 (set lunch) / £21 (dinner)

Down by the water in Leith this dark woodpaneled bar is strong on seafood, served by attentive staff in a pub that has retained is character and friendly informal atmosphere. Loch Fyne oysters taste as fresh as the crest of a wave, sweet and plump and served simply with lemon wedges and Tabasco-flavoured dipping sauce. There’s a fish of the day chalked up on a board, such a sea bass cooked perfectly to allow its flavour to shine through. Black bream is teamed with Asian spices and perched upon a savoury cake of chickpeas. There are plenty of meat dishes too, but vegetarians will struggle here. The puddings are worth leaving room for; apple tarte tatin has light buttery pastry and caramelised fruit but is turned into something special by the accompanying rich mincemeat ice-cream. The black forest chocolate pot gives a satisfying cocoa hit without being too rich or sweet.

Smoke Stack STEAKHOUSE 53–55 Broughton Street, EH1 3RJ, 0131 556 6032, | Mon–Thu noon– 2.30pm, 5–10pm; Fri noon–11pm; Sat 11am–11pm; Sun noon–10pm. £7.95 (set lunch) / £22 (dinner)

A meat-lovers’ mecca since 1996, Smoke Stack reinforces its menu’s focus on beef with its recently refurb, with white-tiled walls and rustic wooden tables providing the butcher’s-shop chic. House specialities are hamburgers and steaks, sourced from the Borders. Choose from attractively char-grilled fillet, sirloin, rib-eye or rump (the latter cut differently depending on how you want it cooked – what they call a ‘Boston cut’), each presented alone on the plate with just a splash of sauce, from the familiar pepper or blue cheese options to rich Drambuie and mushroom.

Steak STEAKHOUSE 12 Picardy Place, EH1 3JT, 0131 557 0952, | Wed–Thu 5–11pm; Fri 5pm–2am; Sat 11–2am; Sun 11am–6pm. Closed Mon/Tue. £25 (lunch) / £25 (dinner)

Steak is one of a new wave of Edinburgh steakhouses influenced by the likes of London’s much-lauded Hawksmoor. It’s aiming for hi-octane glamour that would be more at home in the Meatpacking district in New York City, but Edinburgh could do with a dose of such glamour and ambition. This grand former nightclub has been cleverly divided by rope

structures, which, along with butch banqueting tables, low lighting and a ton of candles, create much aesthetic drama. Pumping beats are turned up to eleven as are the flavours of the food. In fact, with all this style, you could be forgiven for wondering if there would be any substance. However, Jason Wright (previously of Ondine) has created a zeitgeisty menu with roast cockerel, truffled macaroni and punchy butter shrimp Caesar salad. Food as theatre is definitely a theme and certain dishes, like crêpe suzette, are prepared table-side.

Tapa Barra y Restaurante SPANISH 19 Shore Place, EH6 6SW, 0131 476 6776, | Sun–Thu noon–9pm; Fri/ Sat noon–10pm. £10 (set lunch) / £22 (dinner)

Surrounded by the Michelin stars and oldfashioned pubs of Leith, Tapa comes as a bit of a breath of fresh air. This converted dockhouse has a clean, airy interior, high ceilings and whitewashed walls, and feels summery even in the depths of winter. A strong crowd of regulars come for the reliably unfussy tapas and stay for a drinks menu that evokes memories of sunnier climes, even if Sangria on a rainy day in Leith doesn’t quite cut it. There’s a small globetrotting section in the otherwise conservative tapas menu, offering dishes such as fried brie or moroccan lamb chops. The latter, while tender and sweet, lack the promised Moorish touch and fall a bit flat. The old favourites, however, are more reliable: Pisto Manchego, a sort of Spanish ratatouille, is a lovely herby, rich and giving dish, while Calamaris are crisp and fresh and cooked to a T.

Urban Angel BISTROS & BRASSERIES 1 Forth Street, EH1 3JX, 0131 556 6323, | Mon–Thu 9am–9pm; Fri/ Sat 9am–10pm; Sun 9am–5pm. £15 (lunch) / £17 (dinner)

Seasonal, local and organic are the buzz words for these bright, informal, modern bistros. A high proportion of the menu is made up of daily specials making the most of what produce is best that day. A nourishing parsnip soup is enlivened with mustard; flat breads come studded with seeds and throughout the menu spices – and herbs in particular – are used to enhance but never overwhelm the food. The fish pie, for example, is flavoured with dill and grain mustard mixed in to the mash. Good use is made of vegetables, too – a beetroot, pea and blue cheese soufflé is accompanied by a salad of broccoli and purple sprouting – so the food is nutritious as well as delicious. The puddings are mostly big slabs of cake suchh as frangipane tart or a hefty baked cheesecake. For those after something more delicate, cate, afternoon tea is also available, where dainty little lemon meringue pies sit alongside scones and sandwiches.

HIGH END The Kitchin

Mithas INDIAN 7 Dock Place, EH6 6LU, 0131 554 0008, mithas. | Tue–Sun noon–2.30pm, 5.30–10pm. Closed Mon. £From £29.95 (set dinner)

From the people behind the ever-popular Khushi’s comes a more glamorous taste of India that freely announces its ambition to fit right in with the neighbouring Michelin-starred restaurants of The Shore. Carefully arranged low lighting and classy dark wood are offset by splashes of colour in fabrics and candles, and large tables or booths ensure plenty of space and privacy. Various tasting menus showcase what’s available; otherwise the list of options is divided into starters, mains and curries, with sides and daily changing naan bread. A complementary amuse-bouche of ‘Indian-style tomato soup’ gives an indication of the incredible spice blends to come. These fragrant earthy flavors complement venison in kebabs stuffed with tomato chutney, and come out in full force in the home-style lamb curry. Duck, slow roast in the tandoori oven, is almost caramelized with its ginger and cardamom marinade, matched with a pomegranate raita. There are also a number of interesting seafood dishes, notably the sigri grouper, roasted with a peanut sauce.

Restaurant Mark Greenaway at No 12 Picardy Place SCOTTISH 12 Picardy Place, EH1 3JT, 0131 557 0952, | Tue–Sat noon–2.45pm, 5.30–9.45pm. Closed Mon/Sun. £16.50 (set lunch) / £32 (dinner)

Mark Greenaway’s take on dining is unashamedly modern. With deconstructed creations, foams, smokes and multi-ingredient theatrics aplenty, this is a sophisticated, highly confident offering. A starter of Loch Fyne crab cannelloni is a good introduction, served with a sealed glass bowl of cauliflower custard below and a bold puff of applewood smoke above. A mosaic of rabbit terrine is typically picture-perfect – tiny carrot meringues add crunchy dabs of sweetness. A ‘Tasting of Borders Lamb’ is a four-way affair, delivering a caramelised meaty hit in some cuts and rosy tenderness in others. A quartet of plaice mini-rolls rests on squid ink lasagne, with crisped squid and a blanket of saffron foam – a refreshing burst of lemon puree hits a citrusy high note. Desserts play the game of taking old faves apart and re-interpreting them by their parts rather than their sum. A ‘broken’ lemon tart is exploded into an ultra-geometric expression, including frozen shortbread, yuzu parfait and spots of pistachio puree.



SCOTTISH 78 Commercial Quay, EH6 6LX, 0131 555 1755, | Tue– ue– Sat 12.15–2.15pm, 6.45–10.30pm. Closed Sun/Mon. £26.50 (set lunch) / £50 0 (dinner)

A meal at Tom Kitchin’s much-acclaimed restaurant offers a taste of his vivid imagination. Cocooned within a sophisticated, smoky-blue cave, it feels intentionally separated from the outside world. Expectations are high, and generally they’re swiftly met. Setting the tone, a carpaccio of pig’s ear terrine comes with icy-sharp pickled cucumber, a hot, crisp cube of rillette, black pudding nuggets and the crunchiest crackling; it’s a harmony of textures, colours and flavours that adds up to more than the sum of its parts. North Sea squid is stuffed with confit lemon and earthy, emerald-green spinach. The intense flavour is a reminder that ingredients shine here because of their provenance as much as their preparation. At its best the food is beautiful, complex, and playful, detailed to the point of surgical but not in a dry or over-wrought way. If the focus is food though, it’s sharpened by knowledgeable serving staff who inform and enlighten while striking a neat balance between formality and warmth.

Resta Restaurant Martin Wishart Wis FR FRENCH 5 54 The Shore, EH6 6RA, 0131 553 6 3557, | Tue–Fri noon–2pm, 6.45–9.30pm; Sat noon–1.30pm, S 6 6.30–9.30pm. Closed Sun/Mon. £28.50 (set Su lunch lunch) / £65 (set dinner)

With a Cook School, a second M Michelin star restaurant at Cameron House and a recently opened Edinburgh brasserie Martin Wishart could be forgiven for taking his eye off the ball at his signature Leith restaurant. Far from it. If anything Wishart is pushing for two Michelin stars rather than struggling to hold the one first awarded in 2001. An early 2012 makeover has brightened up the dining space and injected it with more of a buzz that has elevated conversations a notch above hushed. At the heart of his success is superb sourcing and inspired cooking, whether it be a ceviche of Gigha halibut, Loch Ryan oysters laced with caviar or the stellar marriage of ox tongue and stone crab. Classic as well as more innovative sauces come elegantly poured at the table, but Wishart does not need extravagant foams and stripped down food science to reveal his myriad flavours. The tasting menu is the highlight, a six-course extravaganza, seven if you opt for a cheeseboard that bravely eschews Isle of Mull Cheddar for an outstanding English alternative.

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BROUGHTON STREET A street full of bars, restaurants, boutiques and delightful eateries nestled underneath old tenement flats. Ideal for stuffing your face full of food and hitting a pub with friends. Get there in the daytime to peruse some cutting edge indie fashion boutiques.



12a Broughton Street Lane, Edinburgh, EH1 3LY, 0131 557 6668,

111 Broughton Street, Edinburgh EH1 3RZ, 0131 558 1757,

Down a cobbled lane just off busy Broughton Street sits the Outhouse, a popular and inviting bar that offers a unique vibe difficult to find elsewhere. Whether you stroll down the lane for the impressive selection of products, the beer garden, the friendly staff, the La Favorita food menu or simply the exceptional music, you’ll be glad you made the effort!

We offer a range of American branded clothing, lingerie and swimwear – all celebrity favourites! Our unique pieces are brought to you from San Francisco (our owners hometown!), Miami, Los Angeles and New York. Our featured brands are Cosabella, Ark & co, Hanky Panky, Only Hearts and Everly. Drop on in for your ontrend festival fashion find!



111a Broughton Street, Edinburgh, EH1 3RZ, 0131 629 4246,

37 Broughton Street, Edinburgh, EH1 3JU, 0131 557 1911,

Specialising in ‘something different for everyone’. From beautiful clothing, babywear, jewellery, cards, homewares and unique art to candles, bath scents, books and much, much more. Gifts are sourced from near and far, from artists and specialist suppliers with the aim of introducing you to a mixture of classic, retro, vintage and chic: inspiring, whimsical, uniquely exquisite gifts for all occasions.

Looking for somewhere to pick up special diet sustenance? Real Foods is Edinburgh’s original health food shop, stocking a wide range of vegetarian, vegan, organic, raw and gluten-free food and drink to enjoy on the go, or for making nourishing, free-from meals in your home from home at festival time. Also at 8 Brougham Street, Tollcross, EH3 9JH.



The Street, 2b Picardy Place, Edinburgh EH1 3JT, 0131 556 4272,

93 Broughton Street, Edinburgh, EH1 3RZ, 0131 556 1866,

Now a landmark on Edinburgh’s social scene, The Street is a popular mixed bar operating over two floors seven nights a week, for eating, drinking & dancing. Outdoor heated smoking areas on both levels add to the appeal & food is served until 9pm daily with snacks available until midnight. Festival shows daily until 9pm followed by tunes from Edinburgh’s finest DJs.

A beautiful shop run by friendly co-owners Laura and Ian. They sell all sorts of design led gifts and homewares, with a particular eye for pattern and print. Inside you’ll find striking and unusual pieces from local, national and international printmakers. Other favourites include Scandinavian design, vintage ceramics and beautiful lasercut jewellery. It’s well worth a visit.



56/56a Broughton Street, Edinburgh, EH1 3SA, 0131 557 1600/556 1680, Fred Berkmiller may be as French as they come, but the patron of this Gallic landmark has a soft spot for good, Scottish produce, earning him entries in countless good food guides. Downstairs the épicerie brings together fresh pâtés and terrines, the best Parisian market treats, perfectly-ripened cheeses and colourful macarons.

53–55 Broughton Street, 0131 556 6032, Satisfying the meat cravings of both locals and tourists since 1996. A recent refurbishment has given the restaurant a NY warehouse vibe with exposed stone and vintage furniture, while it has a much fresher and more relaxed feel than before. Classic steakhouse food with very reasonable pre-theatre, lunch menus plus kids menus, plus smoothies, cocktails, and milkshakes. | Edinburgh Festival Guide 2012 | THE LIST 151

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DRINKING Finding somewhere to enjoy a tipple between shows is half the fun. David Pollock leads the way Even a city centre with as small a footprint as Edinburgh’s divides itself up by area character, and its bars follow suit. As the central hub of the capital’s tourist trade, the Royal Mile from Edinburgh Castle to the Palace of Holyroodhouse is busy with bars, as well as cafés and restaurants, but these are almost exclusively designed to appeal predominantly to visitors. The best places in the vicinity are either nearest the bottom end at Holyroodhouse or on some of the narrow side streets that seep down into the Old Town. Particularly recommended in the former category are the White Horse (266 Canongate, 557 3512) and Kilderkin (67 Canongate, 556 2101): both recently taken over, they combine an unforced local pub atmosphere with food menus and, in the latter’s case, a great selection of rum, whisky and beer. A short walk from the Mile are central pre-club boozers the City Café (19 Blair Street, 220 0125, thecitycafé. and Café Voltaire (36-38 Blair Street, 247 4704, thecabaretvoltaire. com), the former a diner-style bar and café that was famously mentioned in Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting and the latter a stylish street level bar created during the refurbishment of the Cabaret Voltaire club venue below – it also serves pizzas. Nearby you can find Holyrood 9A (9a Holyrood Road, 556 5904,, a sleek, modern affair with good beer and great burgers, the Bow Bar (80 West Bow, 226 7667), one of the most down-to-earth boozers in the city, with a great line in whisky, and the Edinburgh branch of thrustingly contemporary Scots beer and bar chain Brewdog. Those with more expensive tastes, meanwhile, might want to investigate Bar Missoni (1 George IV Bridge, 220 6666,, a public hotel bar with a destination cocktail selection. Head farther up the bridge and you’ll

find the pop-up wonders of Innis and Gunn at 32 Potterrow right in the heart of the action, just off Bristo Square. The area around Broughton Street and Picardy Place is both popular with younger, trendier drinkers and a hotbed of fun pack-‘em-in gay bars. The Street (2 Picardy Place, 556 4272, is one of the area’s better straight-friendly pubs, while the Barony (81 Broughton Street, 558 2874) is a characterful and friendly no-frills pub with a set of regulars of all ages and backgrounds, and the Outhouse revels in a clubbier atmosphere (12a Broughton Street Lane, 557 6668, outhouse-edinburgh. Leith Walk, close-by, is at the centre of a boom in Leith pub culture, with Kilderkin’s sister establishment the Windsor Buffet and the Swedishowned trio of Boda (229 Leith Walk, 553 5900), Victoria (265 Leith Walk, 555 1638) and Joseph Pearce’s (23 Elm Row, 556 4140, all - Pearce’s is particularly good for food at all times and children during the day – leading the charge. Also recommended on a trip down the Walk is the Tourmalet (25 Buchanan Street), an out-of-theway corner pub with knick-knack strewn character and a good range of imported German beers, while the Shore area down by Leith Docks offers a bustling selection of restaurants (some Michelin-starred) and diverse drinking dens. Best are the African-themed Shebeen (3 Dock Place,, the high-quality food and ‘pot-tails’ of the Roseleaf (23-24 Sandport Place, 476 5268, and the fine dining trio of the Shore (3 The Shore, 558 5030,, the Ship on the Shore (24-26 The Shore, 555 0409, and the King’s Wark (36 The Shore, 554 9260,, the latter a particular favourite for

Holyrood 9A

BEST PRE CLUB BARS City Café 19 Blair Street, Old Town, 0131 220 0125,

Located just up the street from the capital’s clubbing district The Cowgate, the City Café has undergone a reinvention recently, and now boasts a 1950s diner vibe. The presence of great food on the menu hasn’t put a stop to their fantastic cocktails, £7 beer pitchers and late opening hours though.

Negociants 45–47 Lothian Street, Old Town, 0131 225 6313

Another one in a convenient location, this one is directly above club/live music venue The Third Door. It’s also directly across the road from the Underbelly pasture, so there need be no break in the chain between show, pub and club. You can grab a bite to eat here too.

Under the Stairs 3A Merchant Street, Old Town, 0131 466 8550,

A bit of a hidden treasure this one, as the name might suggest – Under the

breakfasts. Teuchter’s Landing (1c Dock Place, 554 7427, aroomin., meanwhile, is one of the best bars in the city, combining great service, an excellent drinks selection and very good food – including shellfish plates – with an outdoor jetty seating area that’s perfect on a summer’s day. Back in town, meanwhile, the Southside offers cheaper and more student-friendly thrills, including the stylish Villager (49-50 George IV Bridge, 226 2781,, Irish bar Malone’s (14 Forrest Road, 226 5954,, the Auld Hoose (23-25 St Leonard’s Street, 668 2934, theauldhoose. and the Pear Tree House (34 West Nicolson Street, 667 7533,, which is rough and ready but possessed of perhaps Edinburgh’s best beer garden. Visitors with lodgings in the area might also want to make Reverie (1 Newington Road, 667 8870, their local for the month, because it’s friendly, they serve food and it gets busy at the weekend. Around Tollcross, meanwhile, converted church Cloisters (26 Brougham Street, 221 9997), Tourmalet’s equallyrecommended across-town sister the Ventoux (2 Brougham Street, 229 5066), for real ale and good craic, the nearby The Salisbury Arms (59 Dalkeith Road, 667 4518) and the old-

Stairs is not only below street level, but located on a reasonably quiet street just off Candlemaker Row. It’s just round the corner from the Cowgate though, so ideally placed for pre-club drinks in a relaxed atmosphere.

Secret Arcade Jackson’s Close, Old Town, 0131 220 1297,

While the traditional, tourist-friendly Arcade Bar does a roaring trade on Cockburn Street, its less well-known upstairs relative specialises in over 100 brands of Polish vodka. Just be careful with that 95% proof stuff, you hear?

The Street 2b Picardy Place, Leith & Broughton, 0131 556 4272

A popular one with the city’s LGBT community this one, situated as it is near GHQ, CC Bloom’s and Edinburgh’s other premier gay nightspots. The Street has a DJ of its own to get the party started, and is welcoming to all, whatever their sexual persuasion. (Niki Boyle)

school Burlington Bertie (11-13 Tarvit Street, 229 8659, burlingtonbertie. com) are all popular, so too lively pubcome-live music venue Lebowskis (18 Morrison Street, 466 1779). Finally, while there are many busy big-name and big-budget celebrity hangouts in the heart of George Street and around, all are much the same and guaranteed to be packed throughout August – honourable exceptions include the gorgeous and much-lauded Café Royal Circle Bar (19 West Register Street, 556 1884,, excellent and affordable drinking and dining bar Bon Vivant (55 Thistle Street, 225 3275,, and popular city restaurant the Dogs’ basement boozer Underdogs (104 Hanover Street, 220 5155, amoredogs. Be a bit adventurous instead and seek out the rest of Edinburgh’s best yourself: excellent spit ‘n’ sawdust pub the Blue Blazer (2 Spittal Street, 229 5030); the thesp-filled Traverse Bar Café (10 Cambridge Street, 228 5383,; striking basement cocktail bar Bramble (16a Queen Street, 226 6343, bramblebar. Either that or just resort to one of the festival’s many pop-up venue bars yet again, of which the Pommery Champagne Bar (Signet Library, Parliament Square, 225 0651, promises to be the most spectacular.

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SHOPPING OLD TOWN Analogue BOOKS AND COMICS 39 Candlemaker Row, EH1 2QB, 0131 220 0601,

So much more than just another art bookshop. Analogue is a hip design hub, gallery, and one of the best places to find out about the new movement of local graphic and graffiti artists like Elph and Kirsty Whiten. If there was such a thing as a bible of street culture, you’d be able to find it here.

Armchair Books BOOKS 72–74 West Port, EH1 2LE, 0131 229 5927

Divided over two premises, Armchair Books has been a favourite stop for bibliophiles for more than 15 years. The shop owners say their regulars ‘appreciate the way the shop combines an eclectic stock with a sterling regard for the health and safety of its customers’, which we find rather admirable, really. Number 72 West Port has an impressive stock of alphabetically arranged fiction, science fiction, poetry, myth, philosophy and Scottish interest. Number 74 contains mostly factual books, a strong selection of antiquarian tomes and a dizzying array of energy-efficient light bulbs. The shop mascot is a multilingual collie called Struan.

Armstrong’s VINTAGE CLOTHES 83 Grassmarket, EH1 2HJ,, 0131 220 5557

There is no better place in Edinburgh to take a walk down fashion’s memory lane than WM Armstrong & Son. Established in 1840 and

25 years of Edinburgh’s famous fossil shop Fossils • Minerals • Meteorites • Jewellery

locally known as Armstrong’s, its two branches (the other is at 64 Clerk Street) combine to make a huge emporium of vintage, retro and traditional clothing.

Armstrong’s VINTAGE CLOTHES 64–66 Clerk Street, EH8 9JB,, 0131 667 3056

Whether you’re a fashion student or just a dedicated follower, a visit to the granddaddy of Edinburgh’s vintage stores is essential for anyone with even the slightest interest in clothes. The Grassmarket branch has by far the bigger, more eclectic selection but the smaller outlet on South Clerk Street has an impressive selection of leather coats and formal dresses.

Barnardo’s Vintage VINTAGE CLOTHING 116 West Bow, EH1 2HH, 0131 225 4751

Treasure trove charity shop, with the stock hand-picked from Barnardo’s general intake by a dedicated team who know the area. It’s a skip across the road from Armstrong’s, making this area of the Grassmarket something of a vintage bolthole, and although it’s a wee bit pricier than if you did the raking yourself, there are still some excellent bargains to be had.

Big Ideas CLOTHING 82 West Bow, EH1 2HH, 0131 226 2532,

This bright little boutique showcases fashionforward plus-size womenswear (size 16 and up). Although it’s aimed at an older age range, the clothes are decidely un-frumpy: there’s a wide range of interesting designer lines in store, and some particularly interesting knitwear. • 0131 220 1344 10am-5.30pm



IJ Mellis 6 Bakers Place, New Town & Stockbridge, 0131 225 6566; 30a Victoria Street, Old Town, 0131 226 6215,

Mellis, Mellis (pictured), so good they have two shops named identically. We’re not going to make any cheesy jokes about their odiferous produce – we’d just advise you to follow your nose.

Real Foods 37 Broughton St; 8 Brougham St,

Bringing you the best in natural, healthy ethical shopping, with local seasonal produce, wheat and gluten free products, organic wines, natural baby products and much much more.

Cadenhead’s 172 Canongate, Old Town, 0131 556 5864,

Bottlers of Scotch whisky since 1842, the Cadenhead family take great pride in their heritage and pedigree. As well they should

– it’s their dedication and craft that have earned them the reputation that’s kept them going for so long.



379 High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1PW

Coco Chocolate 174 Bruntsfield Place, Southside, 0131 228 4526,

Not especially Scottish, but with chocolate this good, we’re willing to let it pass. Coco’s organic, high-cocoa recipes come in a variety of flavours, from hot cross bun (with cloves, star anise and nutmeg) to the award-winning rose oil and black pepper. Luxurious.

Earthy Food Market 33–41 Ratcliffe Terrace, Southside, 0131 667 2967; 19 Windsor Place, Portobello, 0131 344 7930; 1–6 Canonmills Bridge, New Town, 0131 556 9699,

Put simply, Earthy is an ethical alternative to supermarkets, providing healthy, locallysourced produce at reasonable prices. As a bonus, they’ve also got a café at their Canonmills Branch. (Niki Boyle)

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The Cigar Box WHISKY AND CIGARS 361 High Street, EH1 1PW, 0131 225 3534,

Oh come on, what do you think it sells? Finest, hand-rolled Havana stogies, plus a plentiful supply of pipes and rum from the same people who run Royal Mile Whiskies, so you know they’ll take their expertise seriously. Perfect for the Papa Hemingway in your life, and I think we’ve all got one of those.

Clarksons Edinburgh JEWELLER 87 West Bow, EH1 2JP, 0131 225 8141,

A good old-fashioned, family-run jewellers, Clarksons has been going for over 50 years. Their current specialisms include Celticinfluenced pieces, and they also create bespoke pieces.

Coda Music MUSIC SHOP 12 Bank Street, On the Mound, EH1 2LN, 0131 622 7246,

Handily situated right in the middle of tourist heaven on the crest of the Mound, this tiny store lays claim to the biggest selection of folk and traditional music in Scotland. Hoots!

for boys and girls from the likes of Jean Paul Gaultier, Vivienne Westwood, Yohji Yamamoto, Katherine Hamnett, and Comme des Garcons.

Cranachan and Crowdie FOOD & DRINK 263 Canongate, EH8 8BQ, 0131 556 7194,

A new Royal Mile food and drink store specialising in Scottish produce, but with a particular focus on artisan products sourced from small Scots producers. There are many shops doing the same thing on this street, but C&C’s passion sets them ahead of the curve.

The Creepy Wee Shop in the Graveyard GIFTS 26B Candlemaker Row, EH1 2QG, 0131 225 9044,

The creepiest wee place in Edinburgh in the graveyard of a former funeral bothy, famous for being haunted. Greyfriars Graveyards hosts this wacky emporium of ghostly souvenirs. Equally formidable to its sister store The Black Mausoleum.

Edinburgh Books BOOKS 145–147 West Port, EH3 9DP, 0131 229 4431,

Pretty cotton print frocks, brief, patterned smocks and edgy T-shirts. Certainly at the top end of the Cockburn Street price range, but still that little bit more affordable than anywhere else in the city centre. If you’re feeling floral, top up your summer wardrobe here.

Bewilderingly labyrinthine selection of antiquarian books over two levels. Formerly West Port Books, and now a leading member of the West Port Books collective, Edinburgh Books’ staff have a similarly dry sense of humour to their fellow collective members, and keep an in-house water buffalo called Clarence handy at all times. See, we told you. They also stock Isle of Man stamps. We don’t know why.



CLOTHING 2 Jeffrey Street, EH1 1DT, 0131 556 3707, corniche.

HATS 13 Cowgatehead, EH1 1JY, 0131 225 9222,

Cookie CLOTHING 29 Cockburn Street, EH1 1BP, 0131 622 7260

Edinburgh’s original designer label boutique offers outrageous creations (at equivalent prices)

Where did you get that hat, old bean? Well, Fabhatrix, actually. Top hats, clôches, trilbies,

Scottish felt hats, vintage style, silk wedding hats, red hats, bowlers, straw hats, quirky tweed deerstalkers and feather fascinators … Fabhatrix sells nothing but top-of-the-range, utterly individual headgear for the dandiest fops.

Fabrick CLOTHING 50 Cockburn Street, EH1 1PB, 0131 226 7020,

Fabrick print T-shirts while you wait. They didn’t say what you should wait for, but with 300 designs and 25 lettering styles you are sure to be kept busy. Custom print a hoodie, bags, a T-shirt or even some underwear (clean of course). Prices range from £3 to £40.

Focus CLOTHING 70 Canongate, EH8 8AA, 0131 629 9196,

Skate and street wear for the boys, with labels like Stussy and Nike, Skullcandy headphones and Nixon watches; also stocks an excellent range of DVDs and is, like, the only place to go to get a new deck for your wheels.

The Frayed Hem CLOTHING AND ACCESSORIES 45 Cockburn Street, EH1 1BS, 0131 225 9831,

A vintage shop with a well-picked range of clothing, shoes, jewellery and collectables.

Fruitmarket Gallery GALLERY SHOP 45 Market Street, EH1 1DF, 0131 225 2383,

Located behind Waverley train station, this world-class gallery showcases work by many of the leading names in contemporary art. An all-glass frontage allows passing pedestrians to observe the lower level of the gallery beyond the bookshop and café, and brings natural light to the top floor. The gallery’s output includes exhibitions, commissions, interpretation, education and publishing in both print and electronic forms.

Godiva VINTAGE CLOTHING 9 West Port, EH1 2JA, 0131 221 9212,

One of the most original independent boutiques in Edinburgh, with a big front room stuffed full of exciting local design talent and a back room of vintage that’s particularly good for boys. Recycled rara skirts, lovely frocks by local designers, and strong connections to the Edinburgh College of Art fashion course, almost everything’s a one-off.

Helios Fountain

TOP 5 SHOPS FOR BOYS Deadhead Comics 27 Candlemaker Row, Old Town, 0131 226 2774,

Having recently entrenched itself farther in local comic book lore by providing the setting for Scottish superhero/comics movie Electric Man, Deadhead is the premier place to go in the capital for graphic pleasures. No, you mucky pup – we mean graphic novels.

Wonderland Models 97–101 Lothian Road, West End, 0131 229 6428,

We don’t care how old you are, Wonderland is a place that reduces every grown man (bar none) to a state of ‘Look at that!’ wonderment. Which is where it gets the name, probably.

Elvis Shakespeare 347 Leith Walk, Leith & Broughton, 0131 561 1363,

You like books? You like music? You like an eclectic collection of both under one roof? Then Elvis Shakespeare is the place

for you. It also hosts regular live music performances and art exhibitions too.

WalkerSlater 20 Victoria Street, Old Town, 0131 220 2636,

GIFTS 7 Grassmarket, EH1 2HY, 0131 229 7884,

Wholesome shop stuffed with beads, handmade toys, candles, crystals and more books than you could shake an incense stick at, including magically-illustrated children’s books and a selection of complementary therapy reads. Just going in there is good for your soul

Herman Brown

There’s a kind of old-school charm that just clings to Tweed suits – it’s speaks of brandy and cigars, roaring wood fires and deep scarlet leather armchairs. WalkerSlater are Edinburgh’s finest purveyors of Tweed menswear – they’ve got a shop for womenfolk just down the road too.

VINTAGE CLOTHING 151 West Port, EH3 9DP, 0131 228 2589,


Mr Wood’s Fossils

5 Grassmarket, Old Town, 0131 659 7708,

JEWELLERY AND GIFTS 5 Cowgatehead, Grassmarket, EH1 1JY, 0131 220 1344,

Highly knowledgeable, totally comprehensive and fiercely independent – Avalanche Records has been a fixture on Edinburgh’s music-buying scene for over two decades. They also host regular in-store gigs – if you’re around the Grassmarket, pop your head in the door to find out more. (Niki Boyle)

Seriously gorgeous selection of top-end vintage accessories and shoes hang alongside a carefully selected, colour-coded range of 1950s-1980s fashions. The very best place to lay hands on retro sunglasses, diamante hat pins and patent stilettos.

Anyone for fossilised shrimp? Grab yourself a tiny bit of history with a fossil or two from Edinburgh’s only purveyor of (you guessed it) fossils, and minerals, established in 1987 by the world-famous fossil hunter Stan Wood. A huge selection of crystals, meteorites, dinosaur teeth, and er, fossil-themed jewellery if you’re looking for a gift for that special Neolithic enthusiast in your life.

Present GIFTS AND ACCESSORIES 18 St Mary’s Street, EH1 1SU, 0131 556 5050,

Quirky homewares, one-off jewellery items, camp and kitsch artwork, and presents for pets.

Ragamuffin CLOTHING 278 Canongate, EH8 8AA, 0131 557 6007,

Gorgeous, tactile knitwear for wool enthusiasts; stock includes several hard-to-find Scottish and European designers, and there’s a quirky in-house label too.

The Record Shak MUSIC 69 Clerk Street, EH8 9JG, 0131 667 7144

Simple, basic and excellent wee record shop with absolutely no attitude, selling a great selection of blues, rock, folk, reggae and jazz, mostly second hand. Will occasionally buy records too.

Red Dog Music MUSIC SHOP 1 Grassmarket, EH1 2HY, 0131 229 8211,

One of the largest general music stores in the city, with over 5,000 square feet of electric guitars, bass guitars, acoustic guitars, keyboards, studio recording gear, computer music, lighting, pa equipment, percussion and loads more. All of the big brands (and loads of the small ones) are present and correct, and they’ve even got private demo rooms with mirrors for practising embarrassing guitar moves, analog synths wired up and ready to squeal, murals on the walls, loads of funky lights and an extremely comfortable sofa if you get bored of all the musical equipment and just want to sit down.

Red Door Gallery GALLERY SHOP 42 Victoria Street, EH1 2JW, 0131 477 3255,

The best place to pick up artisan jewellery, prints, paintings, sculpture and completely individual greetings cards, all by local artists. Regularly changing exhibitions, lovely, friendly staff and a great selection of funky old lomo cameras if you’re feeling a bit lo-tech.

Royal Mile Whiskies FOOD AND DRINK 379 High Street, EH1 1PW, 0131 622 6255,

If you like a wee nip, specialist malt whisky retailers Royal Mile Whiskies should have you spoiled for choice. The diminutive shop, established in 1991 and joined by a London branch in 2002 can lay claim to having over 1000 malt whiskies and bourbons in stock. ‘Sherry monsters’ and ‘peaty beasties’ from distilleries in Scotland and Ireland are supplemented by more than a few surprises from the likes of Japan, while knowledgeable staff can guide customers round the delights of a collection that include rare bottles going for as much as a hefty £900. Don’t despair - a large selection is available at more manageable prices around the £20-£30 mark.

Rusty Zip VINTAGE CLOTHING 14 Teviot Place, EH1 2QZ, 0131 226 4634,

The littlest vessel in the Armstrong’s armada stocks better quality leather coats than its name might suggest. Smoother-than-thou retro pieces mingle with knick-knacks, including wigs, feather boas and novelty scarves. During August, it’s handily situated for the Gilded Balloon, Pleasance Dome and Udderbelly if you run out of costume inspiration.

Swish CLOTHING 22–24 Victoria Street, EH1 2JW, 0131 220 4192,

Street-edge fashion for big and little kids over two floors and two shopfronts. Ladieswear labels include Gsus, Religion and Putsch, and they’re great for retro handbags and manbags, as well as skate-cool trainers and gifts. Cheap it ain’t, but you pay for your street cred.

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Totty Rocks CLOTHING 40 Victoria Street, EH1 2JW, 0131 226 3232,

Totty Rocks is the main outlet of the clothing label of the same name, set up by two lecturers from the Edinburgh College of Art’s fashion course. Young, fresh and seriously gorgeous girlfashion at prices that’ll make you think twice before drinking your wages away.

Underground Solu’shn MUSIC SHOP 9 Cockburn Street, EH1 1BP, 0131 226 2242,

Keeping Cockburn Street’s bass a-thumping, this hip wee store peddles electronica to most of the city’s serious DJs. Also great on off-beat gifts. For DJs. That’s okay. DJs need gifts too.

Whiski Rooms FOOD AND DRINK 4, 6 & 7 North Bank Street, EH1 2LP, 0131 225 7224,

Created in 2011 from a former bank and bookshop, the Whiski Rooms is divided into three sections. A shop selling hundreds of whiskies and a bar that’s a popular stopping off point for a refreshment and a chance to admire the view account for two-thirds of the space.


gifts, prints, bags and jewellery, as well as a picture framing service.

find in the tourist zones. They also come with a splendid all-ethical produce guarantee.

Eero and Riley

Indie Chic Boutique

GIFTS 7 Easter Road, EH7 5PH, 0131 661 0533,

CLOTHING 111 Broughton St, EH1 3RZ, 0131 558 1757,

Friendly, brilliantly-priced (most items well under £20) shop with a tangible sense of humour, stocking homeware, gifts and jewellery. We love the Invisible Bookshelves, the astroturfinspired toothbrush holder, and the fact that these things sit happily alongside silk cushions embroidered with naked ladies.

Elvis Shakespeare MUSIC SHOP 347 Leith Walk, EH6 8SD, 0131 561 1363,

As the name bringing together two of the world’s great icons suggests, this much-loved Leith Walk institution treats music and literature as equals. Something for everyone, from country music to literary criticism, and Irish poetry to metal. Prices range from 50p to some ultra rare editions at £200.

Flux GIFTS 55 St Bernard Street, EH6 6SL, 0131 554 4075,

Cracking little shop in the heart of Leith and although it sells Scottish crafts, don’t think for a second it’s the same sort of tartan tat you’d

The boutique formerly known as ‘Thrift Chic’ has renamed and offers a range of women’s clothing and lingerie from top American brands not to be found in the UK. Plus a small collection of ‘gently-used designer clothing’.

Joey D CLOTHING 54 Broughton Street, EH1 3SA, 0131 557 6672,

Local designer Joey D’s clothes are remade and recycled from old items of clothing. Boiler suits, army tunics and tweed jackets are embellished and tweaked into styles that vary from clubby to downright flamboyant. Make sure you take a wander through their vintage shoe ‘lounge’ for discounts on all manner of exclusive brands.

Seesaw GIFTS AND ACCESSORIES 109 Broughton Street, EH1 3RZ, 0131 556 9672,

A huge range of wooden toys, fair trade baby clothes and accessories, biodegradeable nappies, eco-friendly baby wipes and organic potions to satisfy the greenest of tots in your life. And we’re not talking about jelly babies.

Such and Such GALLERY & JEWELLERS 105 Brunswick Street, EH7 5HR, 07851 283718,

Gallery / studio with jewellery from independent designers. November is also pop-up month when guest artists take over.

Valvona & Crolla Caffè Bar FOOD AND DRINK 19 Elm Row, Leith Walk, EH7 4AA,

No one who cares about good food in Edinburgh is unaware of the Contini family’s excellent Italy-inspired deli and café, the former being an Aladdin’s Cave of cured meats, coffees, fine cheeses and fresh-baked breads. V&C also run the café and food market at Princes Street’s Jenners department store.

Vinyl Villains MUSIC SHOP 5 Elm Row, EH7 4AA, 0131 558 1170,

Continuing the city’s proud tradition of record shops with alliterative names, this dark, brilliant and slightly haphazard collection of second hand vinyl and CDs was recently namechecked in Sunshine on Leith, the Proclaimers musical. Staff are famously unfriendly, but that’s all just part of the experience.

WEST END Arkangel & Felon GIFTS AND ACCESSORIES 4 William Street, EH3 7NH,

An independent women’s fashion boutique based in the West End, Arkangel & Felon was established in 2010 by former freelance stylist and props buyer Sarah Cosgrove. Describing their stock as ‘eclectic yet wearable’, their extensive and stylish clothing range is augmented by bags, jewellery, scarves, interior items and even wallpapers.

Annie Mo’s FURNISHSINGS 170b Great Junction Street, EH6 5LJ, 0131 554 3201,

A proudly offbeat independent furniture boutique specialising in natural fabrics and one-off finds. Based in Aberdeen, the store has expanded and opened a new shop in the depths of Leith.

Bliss Boutique GIFTS 111a Broughton Street, EH1 3RZ, 0131 556 3311,

A boutique that stakes a good claim to having it all, including ranges of clothes, jewellery and gifts, many of which are rare or exclusive to the store. In particular, their selection of babywear is much admired by shoppers from across the city.

Bra Bohag RETRO FURNITURE 150 Easter Road, EH7 5RL, 07808 808033,

Specialists in vintage retro furniture and design, with an enviable collection of Scandinavian sideboards, Ercol chairs, 70s glassware and taxidermied ducks.

Concrete Wardrobe


FURNISHINGS AND GIFTS 50a Broughton Street, EH1 3SA, 0131 558 7130

Concrete Wardrobe has a solid reputation for innovative collections and designs covering the worlds of fashion, textiles and furniture. It’s an eclectic mix, including high-quality knitted clothing, woven scarves, bags and purses from local designers.

Crombies of Edinburgh FOOD 97 Broughton Street, EH1 3RZ, 0131 556 7643

A quick note in case you’re invited to a barbeque in Edinburgh over the summer: turning up with anything other than Crombies’ sausages is akin to social death. Your cheapy pack of discount chipolatas is not really going to cut it alongside such superior offerings as lamb, rosemary and garlic or whisky, wild thyme and boar.

Curiouser & Curiouser GIFTS 93 Broughton Street, EH1 3RZ, 0131 556 1866,

A well-loved Broughton boutique and an online retailer, Curiouser & Curiouser casts its net wide, selling kitchenware from Koloni and Sagaform, ethically-sourced homeware and textiles from Nkuku and Ayla, and a range of

Red Door Gallery 42 Victoria Street, Old Town, 0131 477 3255,

Filled with a range of quirky gifts and homewares (pictured) by design graduates from the Edinburgh College of Art (a few of whom run the shop itself), we defy you to enter the Red Door Gallery and leave without a shopping bag.

Owl & Lion 66 West Port, Old Town, 0131 221 0818,

If you somehow manage to sidle by the Red Door at the top end of the Grassmarket, the Owl & Lion will get you at the bottom. They specialise in art prints and bookbinding, with courses available in the latter should you want to try your hand.

Fruitmarket Gallery 45 Market Street, Old Town, 0131 225 2383,

One of two Edinburgh Art Festival venues tucked away behind Waverley Station

(see below for more info on the other, the City Art Centre), the Fruitmarket has a wonderful selection of art books for sale, and a rather good café area as well.

City Art Centre 2 Market Street, Old Town, 0131 529 3993,

Home last year to David Mach’s stunning Precious Light exhibition, the City Art Centre holds a special place in the Edinburgh Art Festival. Its shop sells a plethora of artsy items, from handmade locally-designed gifts to books, jewellery and creative kits for kids.

Edinburgh Printmakers 23 Union Street, Old Town, 0131 557 2479,

A gallery, studio and store in one, Edinburgh Printmakers has a hand in all stages of artistic development, from classes in a variety of printmaking techniques to the publication of art books and prints for you to take home. (Niki Boyle) | Edinburgh Festival Guide 2012 | THE LIST 155

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Asimi Jewellery

Hog’s Head Music

JEWELLERS 40 George Street, EH2 2LE, 0131 220 5070, asimi.

MUSIC SHOP 62 South Clerk Street, EH8 9PS, 0131 667 5274,

A wide range of contemporary jewellery, including a lot of work by Greek designers. Asimi is something a bit different on labelconscious George Street, and they also offer an outlet for the excellent (and equally Greek) Korres range of natural skincare products.

Boobytrap Boutique BOUTIQUE 15 William Street, EH3 7NG,

Fantastically-named lingerie specialist, stocking cool, hard-to-find scanty labels like Princess Tam Tam. There’s a bit of a Sex and the City vibe about the place, with cupcakes and freshlybrewed coffee in the in-store café to up your indulgency quota.

Eden FASHION 18 North West Circus Place, EH3 6SX, 0131 225 5222,

Based amidst Stockbridge’s upmarket independent stores, Eden is a women’s fashion boutique, which sells a range of goods sourced from across the continent, particularly Spain and Italy. Favoured labels include Desigual, Selected Femme, B.young and Hoss Intropia.

The Extra Inch CLOTHING 12 William Street, EH3 7NH, 0131 226 3303,

The Extra Inch specialises in clothing in sizes 16 to 26. The boutique is situated on two levels with separates and holiday cruise wear on level one and special occasion clothing on level two. The stock is sourced from top European designers and changes each season. Continental luxury is up for grabs if you can pinch the pennies.

Helen Bateman CLOTHING 16 William Street, EH3 7NH, 0131 220 4495,

Helen Bateman is a popular lady among shoe-lovers in Edinburgh. Her independent shoe brand combines a range of useful ‘basics’ – those shoes you’ll want to invest in again and again – with more exclusive limited runs that change each season in a beautiful spectrum of colours, fabrics and textures. The shop on William Street also stocks a constantly changing array of bags, scarves, belts and jewellery.

SOUTHSIDE Coco Chocolate CHOCOLATIER 174 Brunstfield Place, EH10 4ER, 0131 228 4526,

Mmmmm. Gorgeous, hand-tempered chocolates made by qualified chocolatier Rebecca KnightsKerswell in her specialist chocolate kitchen just down the road.

Joolz & Uta’s Joolz Ltd ETHICAL GIFTS 29 & 31 Leven Street, EH3 9LH, 0131 228 8564 & 0131 229 4504,

Two shops sited next door to one another in Tollcross with a unifying ethic. The oldest, Joolz, sells a range of organic, fair trade items including clothes and gifts made from hemp, bamboo and reclaimed tin, while Uta’s Joolz Ltd specialises in fair trade silver and semi-precious stone jewellery.

Hadeel FAIRTRADE GIFTS 58 Shandwick Place, St George’s West Church, EH2 4RT, 0131 225 1922,

Hadeel is something unique amongst fair trade shops: it’s run by Scottish-based charity Palcrafts, and sells everything from silver and mother-of -pearl jewellery, olive oils and soaps, hand-made candles and exquisitelyembroidered clothing, all designed and created by craftsmen in Palestine. All proceeds go to support sustainable development, refugee camps, women’s groups and co-operatives in the West Bank, Gaza, Israel and Lebanon.

Muso paradise indeed. This grungy secondhand store is full of rare CDs and DVDs, collectable box sets and T-shirts. The staff are friendly and knowledgeable, the windows are crammed with rarities, and there’s a great trade-in policy.


NEW TOWN & STOCKBRIDGE Alchemia Studio Gallery JEWELLERS 37 Thistle Street, EH2 1DY, 0131 220 4795

Based in the heart of Edinburgh, this dazzling jewellery emporium sells everything from hand-painted enamel to diamonds and platinum. Alchemia’s unique pieces are designed from pots of precious metal and crafted in workshops on the premises.

Galerie Mirages ART AND GIFTS 46a Raeburn Place, EH4 1HL, 0131 315 2603,

Those of a magpie disposition will love Shiela Dhariwal’s array of silver, chunky, ethnic, beaded and stone-studded jewellery; an Aladdin’s cave of internationally-sourced, sparkly stuff with a pretty broad price range, in a gorgeous hidden location.


Kiss the Fish Studios ARTS AND CRAFTS 9 Dean Park Street, Stockbridge, EH4 1JN, 0131 332 8912,

Kiss the Fish is both a gift shop with all manner of crafty trinkets and treats on offer, and an arts and crafts studio holding regular workshops for children and adults alike. As well as open drop- in sessions every day, the studios run summer workshops in activities such as mosaic-making and pottery, and parties for all ages.

McAlister Matheson Music MUSIC SHOP 1 Grindlay Street, EH3 9AT, 0131 228 3827,

This friendly city centre record shop may have grown into Scotland’s largest independent classical CD specialist, but there’s still a homespun touch to proceedings.

Pekoe Tea FOOD & DRINK 20 Leven Street, EH3 9JL, 0131 477 1838,

An upmarket artisan tea shop whose range includes over 80 loose leaf varieties China black, green, oolong, white and many more, as well as a variety of Artisan Roast coffee beans and ground filter coffees. They appreciate the value of drinking it in style too, with a nice range of tea pots, bowls and glassware cups also in stock.

Those Were The Days VINTAGE BOUTIQUE 26 St Stephen Street, EH3 5AL, 0131 225 4400,

Vintage heaven in Stockbridge, with a collection of 1930s to 1980s fashions, jewellery, bridalwear and accessories sourced on buying trips to London, Paris, New York, LA and Miami. Designers include Chanel, Givenchy, Oscar De La Renta, Pierre Cardin and many more.

VoxBox Music MUSIC SHOP 21 St Stephen Street, EH3 5AN, 0131 629 6775,

Opened in May 2011, this carefully curated record shop aims for a boutique feel, with a selection focused mainly on rock, jazz, blues and indie LPs and singles, almost all pre-owned vinyl, with some CDs and books. Future plans include branching into new records and promoting local bands and record labels.

It may be small but Edinburgh’s club scene has plenty to offer If you’re not ready to hit the sack after the comedy, theatre and music has finished, take advantage of Edinburgh’s night life, which always manages to step it up a notch for the festival. Perhaps the biggest DJ to hit the decks this August is Carl Cox (pictured) making a long over due return to Edinburgh as he guests at Musika (Liquid Room, Fri 24 Aug) for a masterclass in techno and house from one of the world’s most respected DJs (Musika also kick off the festival with a guest set from Seth Troxler, Liquid Room, Sat 4 Aug). If you like your techno a little harder, Ben Sims guests at Jackhammer (Wee Red Bar, Sat 25 Aug), while Unseen (Studio 24, Fri 3 Aug) present a UK club exclusive as they join forces with Berlin’s legendary Tresor joined by the underground club and record label’s residents Pacou and Marcel Heese. Retro sounds are reappropriated colliding with heavy drum & bass and ragga as The Correspondents (Studio 24, Fri 24 Aug) put in a live show; Drop the Lime (Sneaky Pete’s, Sun 5 Aug) returns for another ripped up mix of electro and rockabilly and Club Noir (HMV Picture House, Sat 11 Aug) present their burlesque homage to the Olympics. Left-field tastes should be more than satisfied by Glasgow record label LuckyMe (Liquid Room, Sat 11 Aug), returning to the Fest with

TNIGHT, which is a collaboration between two of electronica’s most startling producers, Hudson Mohawk and Lunice, so expect some truly odd journeys to the outer reaches of bass music. And if you like your beats even harder Xplicit (Liquid Room, Sat 18 Aug) host a bass special headlined by the party up dubstep of Caspa alongside Xilent, Akira Kiteshi and ENO. H ouse isn’t neglected as Miguel Puente adds a Latin twist at Rendezvous (Third Door, Sat 25 Aug); We Own present a double bill of nights, first up Russ Chimes (Sneaky Pete’s, Sat 4 Aug) hits us with some energetic new wave house while Swedish electro production duo Dada Life join Tommy Trash (Cabaret Voltaire, Fri 17 Aug) and Parisian house jock Franck Roger (Real Tone) joins Souloco (Third Door, Sat 18 Aug) and we stay in France as French record and fashion label Kitsune (Cabaret Voltaire, Sat 1 Sep) bring the festival to a close with their wrap party featuring Jerry Bouthier and Punks Jump Up. Finally, time for something completely different. If you want to introduce your kids to the world of clubbing, why not try Baby Loves Disco (Electric Circus, Sat & Sun 4-26 Aug), where kids of six months to seven years can get down to mix of classic disco and funk from DJ Lenny Love (Vegas!). (Henry Northmore)

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The Bongo Club

Lola Lo

Moray House, 37 Holyrood Road, 0131 558 7604,

43b Frederick Street, 0131 226 2224,

This might be your last chance to check out the Bongo as it’s currently under threat of closure but will be open this festival for theatre, comedy and live music through the day then at night the boho venue transforms into a relaxed but very cool night club with a selection of leftfield club nights covering everything from reggae, dub and hip hop to breakbeat and furious drum & bass.

Cabaret Voltaire 36-38 Blair Street, 0131 220 6176,

Now under new hands after receiving a nice wee refurb earlier this year. Expect interesting guest name DJs rubbing shoulders with homegrown talent usually with a house or electro soundtrack for a mix of great music, great cocktails and classy clubbing.

The Caves Niddry Street South, 0131 557 8989,

Head underground and enter a warren of caves and caverns under Edinburgh’s Cowgate. A spectacular venue with great acoustics and plenty of nooks and crannies.

Head down the steps to enter a tiki themed venue that loves cocktails, house, electro and hip hop.

Lulu 125b George Street, 0131 561 2245,

Situated below the Tigerlily lies Opal Lounge’s chic little sister Lulu, replete with dimmed lights and Saturday Night Fever dancefloor. The music is fairly chart orientated but the dancefloor is always busy at this well-to-do club.

Opal Lounge 51 George Street, 0131 226 2275,

Purposefully upmarket The Opal Lounge continues to attract quality local DJs from one or two of Edinburgh’s bigger club nights with a mix of house, funk and mash-up tunes, and is a regular hangout for visiting celebs.

Opium 71 Cowgate, 0131 225 8382,

The Citrus Club

Rock, rock and more rock. OK so they also make time for metal and punk so if you are a fan of the riff Opium is the perfect club for you.

42-43 Grindlay Street, 0131 622 7086, citrusclub.

Sneaky Pete’s

Edinburgh’s unpretentious home of indie clubbing and hangout for Tease Age and Planet Earth playing out the best in indie, 80s, 90s, punk, electro and ska.

City: Edinburgh


73 Cowgate, 0131 225 1757,

The ultimate in intimate clubbing in Edinburgh, only holding about 100 people, Sneaky’s still manages to attract some seriously high quality guest DJs. Expect dubstep, electro, up-andcoming DJ talent and plenty of sweat.


1a Market Street, 0131 226 9560,

Perhaps the biggest club space in town hosting a mix of mainstream R&B, chart and party nights that are always rammed. Plus the odd superstar DJ that just won’t fit into any of Edinburgh’s smaller venues.

Electric Circus 36–39 Market Street, 0131 226 4224,

Alongside the main dancefloor there is a selection of private karaoke rooms for a more intimate private party. A soundtrack from indie to electro mixed with live bands, burlesque and cabaret.

Studio 24 24-26 Calton Road, 0131 558 3758,

Studio 24 offers a down to earth mix of rock, retro, techno and even Balkan music across its many nights. Home to a friendly crowd, some great guests (DJs and live bands) and a commitment to underground music.

The Third Door 45-47 Lothian Street, 0131 225 6313


Recently relaunched the Third Door is nestled below a couple of great bars (Negociants and Assembly) and boasts an eclectic line-up with indie night Evol every Friday alongside a mix of house, Latin and anything goes.

4 India Buildings, Victoria Street, 0131 477 7007,

Voodoo Rooms

Free clubbing every night of the week with chart and party favourites plus a dash of indie across five floors.

Henry’s Cellar Bar 8-16a Morrison Street, 0131 228 9393,

Underground clubbing with a DIY aesthetic specialising in rock, punk, ska and techno sounds. Also home to late and live indie and punk with multi-band bills playing through the night.

The Hive 15–17 Niddry Street, 0131 556 0444,

19a West Register Street, 0131 556 7060,

The Voodoo Rooms is home to a selection of burlesque and cabaret over the festival and also hosts retro swing favourite Vegas! alongside a great bar, good food and live bands.

The Wee Red Bar Edinburgh College of Art, 74 Lauriston Place, 0131 229 1442,

Part of Edinburgh College of Art, the Wee Red attracts a selection of unique and unusual club nights. Northern soul and indie collide at The Egg every Saturday with the best in reggae, dub, disco and more across their other nights.

Mainly focused on the student market, the Hive likes no nonsense indie, electro, dance and rock.

The Jazz Bar 1 Chambers Street, 0131 467 2539,

Can you guess what genre they specialise in here? Live jazz through the day then as night falls most of their nights feature live jazz, funk, DJs and cool grooves in the intimate cellar space.

The Liquid Room 9c Victoria Street, 0131 225 2564,

There are now two entrances to the Liquid Room for the main dancefloor and the smaller Annexe (entrance via the Cowgate), so the venue can split in half and host two distinct nights at the same time. Expect some of the biggest guest DJs in town to grace the decks alongside some great residents.

Ben Sims guests at Jackhammer

Whether you’re looking for a place to chill out between Fringe shows, or a night out in the capital, Lauren Mayberry offers up the best LGBT haunts throughout the city If you are new to the city and struggling for a place to start, Broughton Street is a safe bet, with a handful of solid bars and cafés, including Blue Moon (36 Broughton Street, 556 2788, – the UK’s oldest gay café. Fancy a workshop? The LGBT Centre for Health and Wellbeing (9 Howe Street, 523 1100, caters for a wide variety of crafty tastes, from film screenings to book groups, art classes and discussion/support forums. Gay Men’s Health (10 Union Street, 556 1309, uk) offer advice, drop-ins and meet up sessions, including a Sunday event for older gay or bi fellas. Lovers of the beautiful game can check out Hot Scots FC, Scotland’s first LGBT-friendly football group, with weekly kickabouts at Saughton Sports Complex (Stevenson Drive, 444 0422, for groups of all abilities, as well as the club’s monthly fundraising quiz at premier gay joint, Priscilla’s (17 Albert Place, 554 8962, Gracemount Leisure Centre (22 Gracemount Drive, 658 1940, also run a women’s football session every Wednesday. For an amusing night out, try Wicked Wenches – The Stand’s selection of the finest female comedians on the circuit (5 York Place, 558 7272, The Regent Bar (2 Montrose Terrace, 523 1100) is a fine choice

for a relaxed evening with friends, embracing all the perks of your standard old man pub with a solid gay fanbase. For something a bit more alternative, try Cachín Cachán Cachunga! – a sporadic arty night at Priscilla’s (as above) for queer and trans people, featuring poetry, film, music, dance and any other kind of performance you can think of. And if you’re into clubs, Edinburgh has plenty to offer. CC Blooms (23-24 Greenside Place, 556 9331) is a staple, open to 3am most nights, whilst G1’s GHQ (4 Picardy Place, 0845 166 6024, offers affordable midweek clubbing (including a traffic light party every Tuesday, if you’re into that kind of thing) as well as set nights on each of the seven days. Booty Call is a new night at the Annexe at the Liquid Room (9c Victoria Street, 225 2564, liquidroom. com), whilst BearScots have a long-running night for bears (and their appreciators) at the New Town Bar (26b Dublin Street, 538 7775, Hot Mess (pictured) (Wee Red Bar, Edinburgh College of Art, 229 1442, is great for the more discerning disco kid, with DJ Simonotron spinning a mix of hi-NRG, acid house, italo and electro, preceded by queer-friendly gig night Pussy Whipped (Wee Red Bar, Edinburgh College of Art, 229 1442, in the same venue. | Edinburgh Festival Guide 2012 | THE LIST 157

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INDEX Z–A Zadie Smith



James Acaster


Cheer Up! It’s Not the End of the World 28

Young People’s Day debate


One Minute Birdwatching


Jack Lukeman


Cécile McLorin Salvant Quartet

World Jazz Orchestra


Oliver Reed: Wild Thing


Irvine Welsh


Casablanca: The Gin Joint Cut




NVA: Speed of Light


The Intervention


Carolee Schneemann




Institut Français


Cariad Lloyd


Nina Conti


Will Self Who Are ‘Jock Tamson’s Bairns’?



10 117


Cardinal Burns


Captain Ko and the Planet of Rice


Where Once Was Wonder


Nile Rodgers


An Incredibly Brief History of Political Satire

What the Folk!


Nikita Lalwani


Ian Rankin

Camille O’Sullivan


Wall of Hope


Nick Helm


Ian Hamilton Finlay


Camille Claudel


National Youth Orchestra of Iraq


Iain Stirling


Callum Innes


Horrible Histories


Calder Quartet


The Horne Section


Bye Bye World


Holly Rumble


Brazil! Brazil! Presents Favela Funk Party


Boy in a Dress


Virgin Money Fireworks Concert


Van Gogh to Kandinsky


The Two Worlds of Charlie F


Turing Festival


Tristan Gooley Trevor Noah

114 9

National Theatre of Scotland Presents Love Letters to the Public Transport System



My Elevator Days


Hitler Alone




Hidden Orchestra

The Trench


Monkey Bars




Boom Boom Club


Tim Key


Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells for Two


Hear a Pin Drop Here


Blues ‘n’ Trouble


Through the Looking Screen


A Midsummer Night’s Dream



Billy the Mime


Tania Kovats


Mick Miller & Jimmy Cricket


The Beta Males


The Talent of our Young People


Meine Faire Dame: Ein Sprachlabor


Harry Hill Gulliver’s Travels

10 111




Belt Up Theatre’s Outland



Batsheva Dance Company


Susan Philipsz


Maurice’s Jubilee


Good with People

Susan Calman


Mark Thomas


George Ryegold’s God-in-a-Bag


Bashabi Fraser




Mark Nelson


The Future of the Music Industry


Ballet Preljocaj


Stewart Lee


Mark Lanegan


Frisky & Mannish


The Ballad of Pondlife McGurk

Stephen K Amos


The Makropulos Case


Fringe by the Sea


Art in Focus: George Wyllie

Stephen Carlin


Magnus Betnér

Free shows


Anybody Waitin’?


Spoken Word


Maggie Bell

Forever 27 Productions


Anthony Rapp: Without You


Sophie Bevan


Ford & Akram


Andy & Mike’s . . . Tick Tock Time Machine


MacBeth in Scots



Ludus Baroque

The Snail and the Whale


Loretta Maine Literary Legacies

64 111 94 104 10 117



76 117

Flash Mob


Andrew Maxwell


Festival of Spirituality and Peace


Andrew Doyle


Sir William Wallace, Scotland and the Wider World


The Letter of Last Resort


Factory Floor


Singin’ I’m No a Billy, He’s a Tim


Leslie Hunter


Endure: A Run Woman Show


And then, one thousand years of peace

Simon Armitage


Les Naufragés du Fol Espoir (Aurores) 103

The Elves and the Shoemaker


All That is Wrong


Shopping Centre


Laurent Garnier


Edwin Morgan Poetry Competition


Alan Gillis


Sesame Street Live


Laura Macdonald


Edward Reid


Alan Davies


Sean Hughes


Late ‘n’ Live

Educating Ronnie


Seamus Heaney


Kyle Eastwood


Edinburgh Mela


The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs


Scottish Opera


Kristine Levine


Edinburgh Foodies Festival


Aga Zaryan


King Creosote


Dylan Moran




Dream Plays (Scenes from a Play I’ll Never Write)

Adam Mickiewicz Institute



2008: Macbeth


Scott Agnew Scotland’s Missing Wood Cabins Scotch Whisky: Local Hero or International Ambassador?


King Arthur Kin




104 94 9

Dr John & The Lower 911


Kathleen Jamie


Dr Brown




Kate Summerscale


Doug Segal


Ruth Padell


Julia Donaldson


Doug Johnstone


The Joy of Sketch


Dieter Roth



Ross Sutherland


John Gordon Sinclair


Deborah Voigt

Ron Butlin


John Burnside


Deborah Colker Dance Company

Rodge Glass


Joe Lycett


David Whitney


Roderick Buchanan


Joan McAlpine


David Walliams


Robert Macfarlane


Joakim Milder Group


Rhythmic Circus


Jim Jefferies

Return of the Lumberjacks


Jerry Sadowitz

Reginald D Hunter


Jeremy Pelt Quintet

Re-Animator: The Musical


Jenny Fawcett

The Rape of Lucrece


Jean Sprackland



Paul Foot


108 9, 108

Danny Wallace



Daniel Sloss



Damien Hirst




Sarah Kendall

Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo



Crime fiction pie chart



Continuous Growth



Conor O’Toole


Jazz carnival


Comedy barge


James Kelman


Chilly Gonzales


PAST LIVES (ANSWERS FROM PAGE 9) RANKIN: grape-picker, swineherd and tax collector HIRST: building site labourer and mortuary attendant KAYA: gold-record-selling musician and hermit COLKER: professional volleyball player ZARYAN: teenage tennis champion MCALPINE: Glasgow Savoy bar

160 THE LIST | Edinburgh Festival Guide 2012 |

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Edinburgh Festival Guide 2012  

Guide to Edinburgh's Festivals 2012