The 2009 Fringe programme includes 2098 shows with 34,265 performances in 265 performing spaces. The Fringe breaks a new world record this year as it continually sprawls out through the city and offers up a plethora of entertainment to please even the biggest humbugs out there. Here's a gander at 5 highlights in each section, including some quirky Fringe venues, and the odd free festival show, guaranteed to entertain until the hidden gems are discovered during the month of madness.
This fringe debut from the opinionated, Emmy nominated actress and comedian
is likely to be a hot ticket. If you don't know who she is re-watch Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion or
The Truth About Cats and Dogs, then
pop along for an hour of refreshingly self-deprecating stand-up.
Gilded Balloon Teviot, 6-15 August
EDWARD ACZEL - EXPLAINS ALL THE WORLD'S PROBLEMS ... AND THEN SOLVES THEM
A sell out last year and winner of the Malcolm Hardee Award for comic
originality, Aczel's performance style is worthy of witnessing, as he shambles
his way through his stint on stage, brilliantly mocking everything, and then
Underbelly, 7-30 August
DAVID O'DOHERTY: DAVID 'DOH-PARTY
The droopy Irishman and winner of 2008's if.comedy award returns with amiably
absurd comedy and his eBay purchased Yamaha keyboard, amongst other toys, to
entertain with song and silliness.
Pleasance Courtyard, 5-31 August
GLENN WOOL: LET YOUR HANDS GO
If you missed Glenn last year, don't make the same mistake again. A Fringe
institution his ability to giggle at the unexpected, mixed with his warm
presence creates a world of his own and 5 minutes in, you'll be convinced you're
Underbelly's Hullabaloo, 7-30 August
KEVIN BRIDGES: AN HOUR TO SING FOR YOUR SOUL
Currently the buzz-comedian after his hilarious stint on Michael McIntyre's
Comedy Roadshow, Bridges finally makes his Fringe debut, now convinced he has a
killer hour of material after postponing previoulsy. A brilliant comic stand-up
who's out to impress with biting social commentary about Scotland's West Coast.
Pleasance Dome, 5-31 August
Paul Charlton premieres a poignant new play exploring modern obsession set around
a lovingly fractured relationship. Previous Fringe First Winner for Love, Sex and Cider in 2003, which
transferred to the Traverse, Charlton's newest work promises to be just as
Underbelly, 6-30 August
THE DOUBTFUL GUEST
Edward Gorey's gothic fantasy is brought to life in a critically acclaimed
UK touring theatrical adaptation by Fringe First-winning company, Hoipolloi.
Promising to be atmospherically sinister and an imaginative storytelling
venture, it will delight young and old.
Traverse, 18-30 August
To mark the 25th anniversary of Eric Morecambe's death, this
biographical one-man show is going to be great if done well. Devised by actor
Bob Golding and writer Tim Whitnall, it's an upbeat portrait of the man we love
who loved to entertain and should be expertly directed by Guy Masterson.
Assembly Hall, 6-31 August
THE WORLD'S WIFE
The gifted Linda Marlowe, renowned for her solo performances (Berkoff's Women) takes on new Poet
Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy's '99 collection of poems imagining famous men from
their wives' perspectives. It promises to slice through the modern world from a
darkly comic angle.
Assembly Rooms, 6 -31 August
With a cast of stellar comedians Jim Muir, Will Andrews, Phil Nichol, Bruce
Morton and directed by Maggie Inchley, this Gregory Burke revival is perfectly
relevant to the current global economic crisis as two Warehousemen kidnap their
economic consultant and deliberate politics.
Stand III, 7-30 August
DANCE & PHYSICAL THEATRE
Eight dancers aged 18-21, hand-picked from dance classes all across the USA,
tap their way through this UK premiere, exploring the dramas of senior year of
high school in an upbeat, energetic dance show that's been hugely successful in
New Town Theatre, 5-30 August
Exploring the notion of temptation in finding a letter that isn't yours and
the urge to read it, Christine Devaney boldly choreographs this piece, driven
by the compelling music of Luke Sutherland (Venus
as a Boy)
Dance Base, 5-16 August
After selling out during the 2005 Fringe, the Las Lizarraga
Dance Company return with an even more spectacular version after wowing
audiences globally. Twelve gorgeous dancers present a feast of sexy flamenco
and salsa accompanied by live music.
Venue 150 @ EICC, 2 - 23 August
THE RED ROOM
Edgar Allan Poe's The Masque of the
Red Death is re-imagined in this adaptation, co -created by David Hughes
and Al Seed. Mixing physical theatre, ballet and break dancing for an atmospheric,
Traverse, 8-16 August
CAPOEIRA KNIGHTS: THE BOYS FROM BRAZIL
After a fringe debut last year, these street dancers became sophisticated experts
of modern dance in a show full of spins, backflips and jumps against a
throbbing samba soundtrack that is infectiously energetic.
The World @ St George's West, 6-31 August
DOCTOR AUSTIN & DOUG SAFETY'S TIME-TASTICAL TIME TALE
CBBC writer Austin Low joins Astrophysics PhD Doug Safety (an adviser to
BAFTA award winning CBeebies Nina and the
Neurons) in a 30 minute fun-fuelled exploration of time-travel, where a
real diamond is burned before your eyes...a great way to make science fun.
Underbelly's Hullaballoo, 7-31 August
RAPUNZEL AND THE TOWER OF DOOM
Innovation is the embodiment of Theatre of Widdershins, whose previous
production (Three Billy Goats Gruff and
Other Furry Tails) sold out last year. This year's vivid offering explores
the classic tale of the trapped Rapunzel with expected twists from this
captivating Bedfordshire based puppet company.
Storytelling Centre, 7-30 Aug
WIND IN THE WILLOWS
After a sell out show last year, Cambridge University ABC returns with an imaginative reworking of the much-loved novel
with all the favourites Moley, Ratty, Badger and Toad. Jam-packed with silliness, wit and
good-natured messing about.
Teviot, 5-31 Aug
The Paper Cinema Company were a word of mouth hit sell-out at least year's
Forest Fringe with The Night Flyer. Equally
beguiling for children and adults, enter the mesmeric world of projected
animated images and shadow puppetry bring to life Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's
ripping yarn in the hunt for dinosaurs.
Storytelling Centre, 12-31 Aug
POTTED POTTER: THE UNAUTHORISED HARRY EXPERIENCE
Created by CBBC's Dan and Jeff this fringe classic starred the
pair in three sell-out seasons. Now it's back with a new cast for the last time
after an acclaimed world tour. A race through all seven books in seven minutes,
this parody is a funny show featuring all the Hogwarts bunch amid song,
numerous costume changes and plenty of props, plus an audience participation
Pleasance Courtyard, 6 - 31 August
MUSICALS & OPERA
Denise Van Outen, the ‘90s ladette TV presenter turned toast of the West End makes her fringe
debut in a musical homage to famous blondes, from Doris Day to Madonna. While
you may wonder how much there is to say about a female's chosen shade of locks,
it offers an opportunity to see the spirited Van Outen belt out some
corking tunes, while Fringe expert comedy writer Jackie Clune should provide
Udderbelly's Pasture, 6-31 August
This new musical, created by Nick Hale,
Matthew James (who have given us great advertising campaigns for Bacardi and
Guinness) & Max Kinnings (Rik Mayall's writing partner) explores how
drugs and the underworld permeate everyday London life. This world premiere of
a stylishly dirty, gritty rock musical has been described as Tarantino meets
Musical Theatre @ George Square, 7-30 Aug
A follow up to the hugely successful Barbershopera!,
the Barbershop's quartet are back with their gaily idiotic Eurovision style. Telling
the tale of a Catalan matador who inherits his father barbershop in Norfolk,
expect great songs that warmly parody the musical genre and fine voices to boot
from three guys and a girl.
Pleasance Dome, 5-31 August
SHOWSTOPPER! THE IMPROVISED MUSICAL
An all-singing, all-dancing cast create a nightly musical based on audience
suggestions which leads to sheer unpredictable, madcap musical slapstick. A
sell-out for 2008 and Time Out Critics choice, this is a show guaranteed to
make you laugh and leave humming a tune or two.
Theatre @ George Square, 7-30 Aug
Puccini's opera La Bohème, updated in Jonathan Larson's
revolutionary rock musical, has won both a Tony Award and the Pulitzer Prize; shocking
considering the true lack of ingenuity this musical has to offer which follows
a group of bohemian artists in the 80s, who fight bourgeoisie with jazz hands.
Yet when performed well plot is forgotten in the electrifying numbers and in
the hands of five-star company, EUSOG (Edinburgh University Savoy Opera Group) should result in a
Spotlites @ The Merchants' Hall, 5-31 August
SHOWS AT PECULIAR VENUES
STILL WAITING FOR GODOT
production was cancelled by the Beckett estate, so this teenage theatre company
has written their own "homage" to the classic, set in the toilets at St.
James Centre, they wait on their own Godot...expect toilet humour.
Public Toilets, 25-31 Aug
AT HOME WITH HOLLY
Holly Burn is not the best known comic on the Fringe, but she is the first comic to have a venue named after her with the ingenious idea to stage a radical comedy show in a real
house. Follow Holly around the Albany Street flat for a world premiere of a
very different comedy show.
Chekov's works are embedded in the canon and after a
gazillion versions and adaptations, how do you keep people interested? Set it
on a barge off Edinburgh Quay. An
intriguing idea by Metra Theatre, who have promised an aquatic adventure of
The Millennium Link, 14-23 Aug
THE WRONG WOMAN
It's only fitting that we hear the story of actress Madeleine Carrol tell us about the
making of Alfred Hitchcock's The 39 Steps,
in a cinema. This event is free and
ticketed on a first come first serve basis, plus the last performance is
followed by a screening of the film.
Cinema, 17-21 Aug
The King's of site-specific theatre Grid Iron (their
production Roam took place in
Edinburgh Airport) offer up a World Premiere adaptation from stories by
Charles Bukowski, exploring the pains and glories of drunkenness, set in none
other than - yep you guessed it - The Barony pub.
The Barony, 7-31 Aug