City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

No Prime Minister: Gordon Brown Out of Favour In the Fringe

By Ian MacKenzie - Posted on 06 June 2008

Edinburgh Fringe Programme 2008 launch

The Edinburgh Fringe rolled out its 2008 programme on Thursday, with cutting edge comedy, the light and dark side of the digital era and world politics - but a notable absence of satire on dour Gordon Brown.

“As usual, politics always features and we’ve got another two shows
about Tony Blair. Interestingly enough, we don’t have any shows about
Gordon Brown yet - maybe that’ll come next year,” Fringe Director Jon
Morgan said after the programme launch at the Glasshouse Hotel.

Almost 19,000 performers - more than 3,000 from abroad - are taking
part in a record 2,088 shows at the Fringe from August 3 to 25 in
parallel with the formal international arts festival, both founded in
1947 in the dark aftermath of World War Two.

The Fringe runs the gamut through theatre, comedy, dance and children’s shows.

“There’s a strand of work about digital media, the web, the internet
and social networking sites, both the positive and funny elements of
those sites, and some of the negative things as well,” Morgan said.

On the light side, Justin Moorhouse’s Ever Decreasing Social Circle
tracks the comedian’s diminishing contacts as he purges his electronic
address books, while Dan Marsh - My Myspace Baby relates his MySpace
love affair and subsequent offspring.

On the dark side, London’s Royal Court Theatre explores the impact of technology on human relationships in Free Outgoing, in which
a mobile phone video clip of a girl having sex in her classroom is
spread across the nation.

Current international events and the impact of dictatorship are
explored in two productions on Zimbabwe’s leader, I Am Robert Mugabe
and Requiem for Robert Mugabe, and The Burma Play - A Comedy of Terror,
a show backed by Amnesty International on the struggle for democracy in
the Southeast Asian nation over the last 20 years.

The sharp edge of comedy also takes a jab with Eco-Friendly Jihad, in
which an environmentalist joins al-Qaeda in a battle to reduced U.S.
carbon emissions, and The Arab the Jew and the Chicken, written and
performed by Arab, Israeli, Jewish and Muslim actors explores conflict,
identity and everyday life in the Middle East.

Morgan was not overly perturbed by controversy over the collaboration
between the four biggest venues at the Fringe, The Assembly Rooms, Pleasance, Gilded Balloon and Underbelly. They are pooling publicity in
a separate brochure from the Fringe.

It was a matter of publicity and image-boosting, he commented. “It all adds to the Fringe in the end.”

The director was also optimistic about attendance at this year’s Fringe.

“The number of artists appearing is our first indication of what the
feeling is in terms of whether people want to come or not, and I’m
pleased to say that the festival is as big as ever….”

The Fringe estimates it brings in around 75 million pounds to the Edinburgh and Scottish economies.

The Fringe programme and bookings will be available online from June 9 at