News and update about Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2016

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Edinburgh Fringe is heading online

A digital Edinburgh Fringe Festival has been announced for 2020

As part of the scheme, the Fringe Festival Society has revealed plans for a FringeMakers Crowdfunder, whereby venues and artists will be able to register as part of a central Fringe campaign, pay no fees and keeping 100 per cent of funds donated for their own cause. This will launch on 13 July.

A new “Fringe on a Friday” variety show will be streamed online, and see some of the best productions present snippets from shows online. More details are to be announced. There are also plans for a Fringe Pick n Mix – where artists can upload 60-second clips for online audiences to enjoy.

There will also be 30 digital events including panel discussions, workshops and networking sessions for those wanting to hone their skills, as well as a Fringe Marketplace to help promote tour-ready work. This will help companies project themselves onto a global stage and pick up vital commissions and programming slots for next year.

Penguin Random House will release a new audiobook while Comedy Central will release mini episodes featuring up-and-coming comedians.

Shona McCarthy, Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society chief executive, said: “It’s hard to imagine a summer without the Fringe. The explosion of creativity and community that the festival brings every year is unparalleled, and whilst we may not be able to provide a stage in Edinburgh in quite the same way this year, it feels hugely important that the spirit of this brilliant festival is kept alive.

“Little did we know way back in autumn, when we first started talking about this year’s programme artwork, how prescient the superhero theme would be today. We’re happy to be able to shine a spotlight on some of our Fringe heroes now, as we rally round to support the people that make your Fringe. On the other side of this, we’ll need them more than ever.

“The impact of Covid-19 has been devastating for the countless artists, audiences, venues, workers and small businesses that make this festival happen every year. The FringeMakers crowdfunding campaign is designed to support them, while the Fringe on a Friday live show and the Fringe Pick n Mix website aim to bring some much-needed joy to our devoted audiences both here in Scotland and all over the world.”

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Edinburgh Fringe cancelled: How will we cope?

Edinburgh Festival Fringe has been cancelled due to concerns around the Covid-19 pandemic.
This was never a case of if but when.
The world’s biggest arts festival, and the Edinburgh International Festival, will not take place for the first time in 70 years.

In fact, all five of Edinburgh’s August festivals were due to welcome more than 4.4 million people and 25,000 artists.

Shona McCarthy, chief executive of the Fringe society, said the decision was not one that was taken lightly. McCarthy held out hope, though, that they would find ways of “uniting people” under a fringe umbrella.

“It’s too early to say what this will look like, but we are confident that as a collective we can find a way to reach through the walls that currently surround us and inspire, cheer and connect.”

Mark Monahan writes brilliantly in the Telegraph on the inevitability of the 2020 Fringe cancellation: “It was, above all the sheer scale of the Edinburgh Fringe that made it so unlikely to survive lockdown… This means that the amount of forward-planning required is simply colossal, and essentially takes all year. Shows must be written, rehearsed and produced. PRs hired, schedules created, venues assigned (built, even), brochures compiled and printed (in their tens of thousands).”

The effects of coronavirus on the cultural sector has been devastating, with more casualties, closures and job losses to come.

Never before has the theatre landscape shifted so dramatically. Theatres, arts centres and concert halls have all closed their doors indefinitely.

If we are honest, this pause does allow us all to get off the roller coaster and think differently about how the Fringe should and could operate. Sky high accommodation, absurd venue hires, so-called PRs, questionable producers. It was also reaching fever pitch and coming in for regular criticism from audiences and critics alike.

Artists have been saying that the event was becoming increasingly unsustainable and increasingly elitist unless there was a fundamental change to the business model.

Indeed, McCarthy herself said that complacency over the event’s success was the biggest threat to its future.

Kasia Kaminska

Kasia Kaminska

After years of rising costs, hyper-demand and expansion, a new, more cautious fringe landscape could emerge.

Longer term, the big venues won’t be rubbing their hands, tickets will not be sold. Edinburgh Fringe has never been a level playing field and in an era when money for producing and promoting shows is tight, hit shows productions are increasingly programmed by many venues.

Is talk of resilience optimistic?

In this regard, fragile economies like the Fringe and the tireless theatre-makers that prop it up could take years to recover, with anxieties about Covid-19’s legacy and the combined blow of Brexit could prove tricky to rebound before the landscape returns to pre-pandemic health, though.

But as we have learnt in just a few short and cruel weeks, the devastation of this global health crisis on the world, let alone the wider theatre ecology, from Broadway, to the West End have been very difficult to predict and the effects will be no easier to foresee when we eventually do emerge from it.

So where does this leave the Fringe?

The knock-on effects of this will probably last two years, and I believe that this particular period of despair and pent up lockdown demand will prove a healthy trial with a surge of bold, dazzling new work to follow.

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Edinburgh Festivals Diary – Day 4

Edfringe 2019

My last day in Edinburgh, always a combination of joyous celebration for my sleep-deprived carcass and much sorrow. 

To the Pleasance for the big Fringe First Awards Ceremony – there were a couple of performances from this year’s Fringe First winning shows, The Patient Gloria and Bobby & Amy, and a closing performance by SK Shlomo, who had also been nominated for the Mental Health Fringe Award. 

oyce McMillan and Stephen Fry at the Fringe First Awards Ceremony

Joyce McMillan and Stephen Fry at the Fringe First Awards Ceremony

Stephen Fry was on hand to help critic Joyce McMillan present awards to the final week of winners.

Later at Pleasance Courtyard, I became aware of a member of the audience snatching a programme from the hand of a young usher. 

‘But I want to sit THERE.’ She hissed, before taking a seat next to me and then putting her head in her hands.

‘Oh my god… I was so horrible to that young man, wasn’t I?’ She asked. 

‘ You were an asshole.You ought to get a grip and go and apologise — immediately.’ I replied.

She did. 

Civil breakdown is never far at this stage of the festival. But there is no excuse for such bad behaviour; the Pleasance, like many fringe venues, relies largely on volunteers. 

dressed

dressed

Anyway, ThisEgg returned to the fringe with dressed, based on the true story of a woman’s response to being sexually assaulted at gunpoint. This is a delightfully layered four-woman show which weaves it’s strands together with accomplished skill and which — like so many shows on the fringe — takes a beautifully messy approach to telling an important story. 

I cried twice watching dressed; tears of pain and joy. I loved it. I loved the costumes, I loved the singing and I loved the degree of self revelation and personal risk taking; a highlight of my week. 

I bump into Producer Denise Silvey, she has four shows on the fringe this year, one of which is ‘Late Lunch With Christopher Biggins’, at Pleasance Dome. 

Late Lunch With Biggins featuring Ian McKellen

Late Lunch With Biggins featuring Ian McKellen

I learn that Ian McKellen will be the special guest, alongside Loose Woman and journalist Kaye Adams. Biggins shines in the role of cheeky chat-show host and it’s all rather a lot of fun. 

In the late afternoon I head to Bryony Kimmings’ sold out show ‘I’m A Phoenix, Bitch’, co-directed by Kimmings and Kirsty Housley.

This mind-blowingly good piece of theatre is about motherhood, heartbreak and finding inner strength. Combining ethereal music, personal revelation, clever live film and art installation. 

Kimmings invites us into her recent traumas and marriage breakdown in an on-stage memory palace of dazzling live art: The stage becomes the site of the painful memories. 

I'm A Phoenix, B*tch © Rosie Powel

I’m A Phoenix, B*tch © Rosie Powel

There’s no two ways about it, ‘I’m A Phoenix, Bitch’ is an unostentatious, meticulously crafted ninety-minute performance that is profoundly touching, intimate and powerful. She has given us something, once again, much to long cherish.

You cannot to wrong with a bit of rimming.

The fringe is overdue a new hero and my final show of the day is Post Popular by Lucy McCormick. 

I sat on the front row at this X-rated show – which is excellent in about 37 different ways – that constitutes what I reckon has to be 2019’s definitive Superstar-Has-Landed moment. She is flanked by two largely mute boy toys in tiny pants – and they all sing and dance terrifically. 

Basically, Post Popular is a comedy about history’s famous women – the joke is that there are only four of them: Eve, Boudica, Florence Nightingale & Anne Boleyn.

Lucy McCormick: Post Popular - Holly Revell

Lucy McCormick: Post Popular – Holly Revell

What follows is an outrageous mishmash of cabaret vignettes. Indeed, McCormick’s willingness to look kinda silly while she’s doing her thing is what makes her so compelling. As a final statement she drops her pants while singing ‘Search For The Hero Inside Yourself’ before pulling a Cadbury’s Miniature Hero out of her vagina. 

Thank you, Lucy: I’d never seen a vagina in real life. Now I have. *thumbs up emoji*

So, that’s all, folks. 

It may be time for a digital detox and go off-grid: no blogs, no theatre, no tormenting. I’m removing social media apps from my iPhone (including WhatsApp) and taking some time out.

It feels like the right time to step back and take a rain check for a while. 

See you on the other side, guys. 

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Edinburgh Festivals Diary – Day 3

To Assembly Hall for a very special EIF performance. Ian McKellen is celebrating his 80th birthday by performing extracts across his career, from Gandalf to Shakespeare and a brilliant revival of his panto dame Widow Twankey. 

The actor has already performed at 80 venues, raising £2 million for theatre charities by the time the current run ends in Orkney.

All profits from the tour will be used to support regional theatres and local drama provision. In Edinburgh, proceeds will support a bursary for an Edinburgh resident to study performance, as well as contributing to the refurbishment of the Drama Studio at Leith Academy, as part of the International Festival’s residency partnership with the school.

The show is a ebullient love letter to theatre and it is fifty years since McKellen last trod the boards at this somewhat intimate setting. 

If that wasn’t enough, next month he starts an 80-date west end run at the Harold Pinter theatre, raising funds for theatre charities. It was an unforgettable afternoon of recital, high jinks and reflection. 

Sir Ian McKellen shaking his bucket

Sir Ian McKellen shaking his bucket

As well as donating ticket sales, McKellen collects funds in a bucket after every performance  and wherever he goes, donates the takings to a cause specified by the organisation. 

I spot him on the stairs with collection bucket and hand over my loose change.

‘Carl! You get everywhere…’ said the octogenarian. 

‘Like dry rot?’ I suggested, smiling.  

‘Well, yes,’ he laughed, ‘but don’t worry, I still like you. Now give me your bloody money!’ 

Later, I head to Summerhall for Moot Moot.

You sometimes wonder what the second house Friday night at Glasgow Empire would have made of today’s Fringe acts and in Moot Moot’s case the answer is probably ‘torn to shreds’.

Moot Moot 

Moot Moot

It’s not entirely deserved, because their presentation is stylish and their creation of the world’s dullest radio chat show hosts ‘Barry and Barry’ are useful idiots, but their point about the futility of the format for meaningful discussion is made in the first five minutes and doesn’t survive even an Edinburgh hour.

After lunch I head to the Lyceum for Hard To Be Soft. Cast across fifty minutes and four episodes, the piece looks behind the masks of violence and masculinity to the inner lives of Belfast people.  

Hard To Be Soft, Lyceum Theatre

Hard To Be Soft, Lyceum Theatre

Belfast street life and religious ritual collide with liturgical dance and verbatim performance. Choreographer Oona Doherty exudes a powerful authority in this EIF-show that ranges from solo interludes, to electric all-female hip hop crew to solo rooted in pitiless vastness. Quite something. 

Taking time out from a relentless schedule is crucial. As is hydrating. I use the early evening to unwind, before heading back to Summerhall. 

Gavin Jon Wright and Daniel Portman star in Kieran Hurley and Gary McNair's Square Go

Gavin Jon Wright and Daniel Portman star in Kieran Hurley and Gary McNair’s Square Go

Square Go, one of a number of shows this year exploring toxic masculinity, revels in a charged, fun and occasionally demented adolescent energy as the Roundabout becomes a wrestling ring. Gary McNair and Kieran Hurley’s two-hander returns and it really is a highly entertaining and brilliant hour of Scottish banter.

My WhatsApp pings – a message from Park Theatre’s Founder and Artistic Director Jez Bond. 

‘Right so tonight I will be at Abbatoir after my last show – about 11pm. Wanna join?’ 

‘Absolutely. See you later – don’t get too excited.’ I replied. 

So, I walked to the Underbelly’s members bar at George Square – you need a shiny black card to slip in after dark – to be greeted warmly by Jez and his colleague Mark Cameron. The place is a kind of Soho House style for performers and industry folk in Bistro Square

I have a large glass of white wine and stand outside on the terrace – on my best behaviour, of course. My eyeballs usually freeze spending time in these kinds of places. But it was good to meet and chat with the cast and crew of fringe hit Four Woke Baes and see Jez. 

Anyway, I’d rather scratch my eyes out than see a show at 11.55pm. But Richard Gadd’s intense 65-minute Baby Reindeer, also at Summerhall, was a hot ticket. This was one of thing several additional late night performance added due to demand. Jon Britain’s production is angry, revelatory and visceral. 

Baby Reindeer. Photograph: Andrew Perry

Baby Reindeer. Photograph: Andrew Perry

It tells Gadd’s shocking experience of being stalked by a woman he met while working in a bar in London. Gadd delivers blistering insights into the horrifying failures of the police system. 

(The police said they were unable to help.)

A transfer to Bush Theatre was announced in the wee hours of Friday morning – lucky London. 

Ian McKellen On Stage runs from 20 September to 5 January 2020.

Hard to be Soft: A Belfast Prayer is at the Southbank Centre on 11 October. 

Baby Reindeer runs at London’s Bush Theatre, from 9 October to 9 November.

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2019 Total Theatre Award winners announced

Total Theatre Awards 2019

Since 1997, the Total Theatre Awards have been recognising innovative and artist-led performance at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Today the winners of the Total Theatre Awards 2019 were announced. Over the course of this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe 25 peer assessors, comprised of artists, producers, programmers, curators, critics and academics assessed 403 shows across the first 11 days of the festival, from which a shortlist of 27 nominated shows was announced on 15 August 2019.

 Following this, the nominated shows were viewed by a panel of 21 judges who have awarded seven awards across five categories – one Total Theatre & Theatre Deli Award for an Emerging Company / Artist; two Total Theatre, Rose Bruford & Theatre in the Mill Awards for Innovation, Experimentation & Playing with Form; one Total Theatre & Cambridge Junction Award for Physical/Visual Theatre; two Total Theatre & Jacksons Lane Awards for Circus; and one Total Theatre & The Place Award for Dance.  Following shortlisting an additional 57 eligible late opening (post short listing) shows were Assessed and Judged, resulting in a further 3Judges discretionary Awards being awarded; alongside one award for Significant Contribution.

Speaking about the award winners, Co-Directors Jo Crowley and Becki Haines said;

 Today we celebrate 27 shortlisted artists, 7 award winners, 3 judges discretionary awards and a significant contribution. These visionary artists and theatre makers show the ability the sector has to carve essential discourse with society; gently and urgently provocating with immense skill, sensitivity, consideration, craft and care. In so doing, the shortlisted and winning artists collectively offer vital reflections, perspectives and insight into our society and times. They also remind us of the necessity for collective action across a spectrum of challenges and experiences to affect necessary change.

In 2019 Total Theatre Awards process has continued to rigorously re-evaluate what performance is by championing collective conversation between peers that culminates in the recognition of some of the worlds leading artists across this festival.  Taking time for this carefully considered peer discourse, debate and dialogue, we can explore and reflect upon the vital role contemporary live performance, theatre makers and independent artists play.

The details of all the winners below:

The Total Theatre Award Winners 2019 are:

 Total Theatre & Theatre Deli Award for an Emerging Company / Artist

Burgerz by Travis Alabanza

Hackney Showroom (England)

Traverse

Total Theatre & Cambridge Junction Award for Physical / Visual Theatre

Working On My Night Moves

Julia Croft and Nisha Madhan with Zanetti Productions (New Zealand)

Summerhall

Total Theatre & Jacksons Lane Award for Circus

Knot

Nikki & JD (England)

Assembly

Staged

Circumference (England)

Zoo

Total Theatre & The Place Award for Dance

Seeking Unicorns

Chiara Bersani / Associazione Culturale Corpoceleste (Italy)

Dance Base

Total Theatre, Rose Bruford College & Theatre in the Mill Award

for

Innovation, Experimentation & Playing with Form

Frankenstein: How to Make a Monster

Battersea Arts Centre and BAC Beatbox Academy (England)

Traverse

Tricky Second Album

In Bed with My Brother (England)

Pleasance

Judges Discretionary Award

The End

Bertrand Lesca and Nasi Voutsas (England)

Summerhall

Scottee: Fat Blokes

Scottee & Friends Ltd (England)

Assembly

The Forecast

Amy Bell, presented by The Place (England)

Dance Base

Significant Contribution Award

Jessica Brough and Fringe of Colour

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Richard Gadd’s Fringe First Award-winning Edinburgh hit transfers to London

I looked at her, wanting to laugh.  Wanting her to share the joke.  But she didn’t.  She just stared.  I know then, in that moment – that she had taken it literally…’

When Edinburgh Comedy Award Winner Richard Gadd (Monkey See Monkey Do) offers a free cup of tea to a stranger, what appears to be a trivial interaction has ramifications far wider than he could ever have imagined.

Fresh from a sell-out critically acclaimed world premiere at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe where the production was awarded a Fringe First, Baby Reindeer is an unmissable debut play and chilling personal narrative exploring obsession, delusion, and the aftermath of a chance encounter.

Directed by Olivier Award-winner Jon Brittain (Rotterdam), and presented by Francesca Moody Productions in association with Bush Theatre, SEARED Productions and Julie Clare Productions, Baby Reindeer opens at the Bush Theatre on 9 October (Press night 11 October).

***** ‘A haunting, unsettling monologue about the nature of obsession’ – Evening Standard

**** ‘Jon Brittain’s production tightens its grip with terrible inexorability’ –  Guardian

***** ‘A majestic performance – a reckoning, an exorcism’ – The Stage

**** ‘A master narrator full of intelligent insight and sheer descriptive power.’  – Scotsman

***** ‘Utterly compelling’ – WhatsOnStage.com

***** ‘As taut as a classic thriller’  – The National

**** ’Baby Reindeer will follow you all the way home.’  – Financial Times

***** ‘Courageous, compelling and deeply affecting’  – British Theatre Guide 

**** ‘The stuff of nightmares’-  Independent

‘An exquisitely crafted 65 minutes’  – Lyn Gardner, Stage Door

Richard Gadd is a multi-award winning writer, performer, and actor. His show, Monkey See Monkey Do, won the prestigious Edinburgh Comedy Award for Best Show at the 2016 Edinburgh Festival Fringe where it was also nominated for a Total Theatre Award for Innovation. The show subsequently had several sell-out runs at London’s Soho Theatre, toured the UK and Europe, and had a run at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, where it was nominated for the 2017 Barry Award and was broadcast on Comedy Central. He subsequently developed a scripted television project based around Monkey See Monkey Do with Kudos Film and Television and Channel Four.

His previous shows Waiting for Gaddot, Breaking Gadd, and Cheese & Crack Whores were also fringe hits and all went on to three-week runs or more in the Soho Theatre. The former won the Amused Moose Best Show Edinburgh Fringe 2015 and was nominated for a Malcolm Hardee Award for Innovation. In addition, Richard won a Chortle Comedian’s Comedian Award 2017, as well as being nominated for an Off West End theatre award for Best Performer in the same year.

Richard is also a successful actor, who starred opposite Daniel Mays in the BAFTA-nominated BBC2 single drama Against the Law. Other key acting credits include C4’s Humans Series 3 and lead roles in BBC3’s Clique Series 2, and E4’s Tripped Series 1. Recently, Richard played a lead role in Sky Arts’ film One Normal Night. Richard is currently filming alongside Stephen Graham and Daniel Mays, in Sky One’s new six-part comedy series Code 404.

In addition, Richard is also a writer who has written episodes of Netflix smash-hit Sex Education, as well as Ultimate Worrier for Dave and The Last Leg for Channel Four where he is also one of their correspondents.

Richard has other scripted projects in development with Clerkenwell Films, Me & You Productions, Balloon Ltd. Fulwell, and Filmwave. He also recorded his own pilot for BBC Radio 4 with Dabster Productions, The Richard Gadd Show, which aired in July 2018.

Jon Brittain is a playwright, comedy writer and director. His critically acclaimed play Rotterdam earned him a nomination for the Charles Wintour Award for Most Promising Playwright at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards and won the Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre. Other work includes the critically acclaimed Billionaire Boy: The Musical, the cult hit Margaret Thatcher Queen of Soho and its sequel Margaret Thatcher Queen of Game Shows, and the Scotsman Fringe First Award-winning A Super Happy Story (About Feeling Super Sad). He directed John Kearns’s Fosters Award-winning shows Sight Gags for Perverts and Shtick, and the follow-ups Don’t Bother, They’re Here and Double Take and Fade Away, Tom Allen’s Both WorldsIndeed and Absolutely, Mat Ewins’s Actually Can I Have Eight Tickets Please, and Tom Rosenthal’s Manhood. For TV he has been a staff writer on Cartoon Network’s The Amazing World of Gumball and on Netflix’s The Crown.

 

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Edinburgh Festivals Diary – Day 1

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the biggest arts festival in the world and takes place every August for three weeks in Scotland’s capital city: this year 3,841 shows feature in 323 venues.

It is one of the the most important events in the theatre calendar.

I arrived in town and headed for Fringe Central and bumped into West End Producer flyering near Pleasance Dome.

‘Did you miss me, dear?’ I asked.

‘Yes, dear! I’ve been looking for my Willy.’ he laughed.

WEP, as he is known in theatrical circles, is making his Edinburgh Fringe debut with West End Producer (and Guests) – Free Willy! 

‘How has it been?’ I asked.

‘Well, numbers are low and the competition is huge. But, finally, I’m beginning to enjoy myself, dear.’ WEP explained.

I arrive at Fringe Central: a resource developed for Fringe participants. During the festive they offer well over 100 free events designed to help participants and performers  make the most out of their Fringe experience.

Roots by 1927 Theatre Company at the Church Hill theatre, Edinburgh.Photograph: Murdo MacLeod

Roots by 1927 Theatre Company at the Church Hill theatre, Edinburgh.Photograph: Murdo MacLeod

Anyway, having collected my media pass, I dash across the meadows to Church Hill Theatre to see Roots. An International Festival show blending early cinema techniques, animation and live performance by 1927, the theatre company behind Golem.

This is a fresh take on 13 folk tales, or “folk jokes” as the company calls them. This is a charming, challenging and very memorable show, thanks to a combination of offbeat humour, stunning music and emotion.

Kitchen brawls don’t tend to end well for women. Crocodile Fever – presented in association with the Lyric Theatre – at Traverse, wipes the floor with the patriarchy, though.

Dwyer Hogg with Lucianne McEvoy as Alannah.Photograph: Lara Cappelli

Dwyer Hogg with Lucianne McEvoy as Alannah.Photograph: Lara Cappelli

Meghan Tyler’s gruesome play is set during the 1980’s in rural Northern Ireland and focuses on a reunion of two sisters. The snapping, crackling script whizzes by and the whole thing is kind of absurd, but also, truly unmissable.

One of the lovelier things about returning to the festival is catching up with old friends, bumping into former acquaintances and saluting the hardworking people that keep the city firing on all cylinders; bar staff, taxi drivers, cafe owners, and more.

I head for coffee and read newspapers at my favourite hotel.

I spot the manager

‘Welcome back’ he said.

‘It’s good to be back,’ I said, ‘you having fun?’

‘Thanks, Mr Woodward! I’m absolutely loving it!’ he replied. He catches me reading The Daily Mirror.

‘Oh dear…’ he said.

‘Don’t judge, I read them all.’ I replied.

‘Do you know what, I often see many, many people walk in here for breakfast with a Financial Times…. and a Daily Mirror inside!’ He laughed.

Brilliant.

The rest of the day was spent with Stephen Fry. Fry brings the nine-hour epic cut into three stage shows of his Greek legends book Mythos to the EIF as the opening dates of a UK tour – his first since hitting the road with Hugh Laurie forty years ago.

Basically, Men focuses on the Trojan War and Odysseus’s journey home. Heroes explores the legends of Hercules, Theseus and Perseus and, finally, Gods takes us back to the origins of the Greek pantheon.

I’m not saying Mr Fry’s decision to perform three shows about the same topic go on a bit – but good grief. There are 20 minute intervals, thankfully. And light relief in this well  structured lecture-slash-performance-slash-seminar come when things get interactive when the audience play ‘Mythical Pursuits’ and pose questions to his ‘oracle’. Absolutely ideal.

Stephen Fry in Mythos: A Trilogy – Gods. Heroes. Men at Edinburgh International Festival (Photo: David Cooper)

Stephen Fry in Mythos: A Trilogy – Gods. Heroes. Men at Edinburgh International Festival (Photo: David Cooper)

To be fair, the man is a walking encyclopaedia and a national treasure,  (Fun fact: the Milky Way is derived from when Hera woke and realised that she was breastfeeding an infant that wasn’t her own, she shoved him off and the spurting milk became the Milky Way.)

The Fringe and the International Festival both run until 26 August.

 

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Assembly Festival 2019 Theatre Line-Up at Edfringe 2019

Assembly Festival 2019

Assembly Festival 2019 has announced another exciting year of theatre, from local artists to international superstars, to one-woman shows to energetic ensemble pieces.

 Standout solo performances include artist and activist Rose McGowan making her fringe debut with Rose McGowan: Planet 9 from Cloud9 Management, a show featuring memoir, music, storytelling, projections and performance. Eddie Izzard brings his Work in Progress of Eddie Izzard: Expectations of Great Expectations from Mick Perrin Worldwide. Eddie’s career spans both acting and comedy, but few know that it was actually acting that was Eddie’s first love. And the Assembly Roxy Theatre (ART) Award 2019 winner Elfie Picket presents Ane City. Tay attempts to find herself in the City of Dundee, in a theatrical, poetic show, that combines elements of Scots language, storytelling, song and comedy.

 After winning a string of awards in 2018, Raw Material and Traverse Theatre Company in association with Regular Music bring Cora Bissett’s rollercoaster journey What Girls Are Made Of  to Assembly Hall.

Disruptionthe future of new theatre, co-curated by HighTide and Assembly, is exclusively at Assembly Roxy this year featuring:Rust by Kenny Emson; Collapsible by Margaret Perry; Pops by Charlotte Josephine; The Queer House double bill in a co-production with HighTide present Since U Been Gone written and performed by Teddy Lamb and Pink Lemonade written and performed by Mia Johnson; and Suffering From Scottishness written and performed by Kevin P. Gilday.

The ever popular The HandleBards are cycling their way to Edinburgh once again, to present two of their famously raucous takes on Shakespeare with Much Ado About Nothing and The Tempest. There’s more Shakespeare in Romeo & Juliet from Guy Masterson – TTI in association with Maverick Theatre Co. with a fresh, feminist take on Shakespeare’s classic; and Curious Pheasant Theatre present their all male re-imagining of Romeo and Juliet.

For more classic remakes, Lyrical Therapy University + Aztec Economy present a solo-soul journey in (I)sland T(rap): The Epic Remixology of the Odyssey, and Grist to the Mill Productions present Moby Dick. Liz Lochhead’s irreverent cut of Moliere’sTartuffe is presented by Ed Littlewood Productions in Association with Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh. Americana Absurdum Productions present Brian Parks’ The Professor, a curious comedy about Dickens, shipwrecks, and the perils of original thinking, and Phil & Will present a one-man comedy Western in Gun.

From Korea, Assembly presents Spray from Cho-in Theatre Company, a dark comedic satire and Theatre Hooam return withBlack and White Tea Room – Counsellor. 

There are plenty of Musicals and Opera productions in Assembly’s jam-packed programme. With a nostalgic, 90s theme;Friendsical: A Parody Musical about Friends joins Cruel Intentions: The ‘90s Musical and Legally Blonde the MusicalThe humorous Thrones! The Musical Parody returns to Edinburgh, alongside Voldemort the Teenage Hogwarts Musical Parody.

 The National Academy of Chinese Theatre Arts present Peking Opera: Farewell My Concubine, and the Shanghai Conservatory of Music present Tang and Four Dreams. David Colvin’s Thunderstruck is the tragic and comic tale of the greatest bagpiper who ever lived.

Assembly Festival presents the return of many popular shows from 2018. Smokescreen Productions return with their sell-out show Mengele, and their new show, JudasModern Māori Quartet return with their infectious show Two Worlds, while award-winning Dyad Productions (Orlando) bring DallowayA Slightly Isolated Dog (Don Juan) return with Jekyll and Hyde, a bonkers rendition of Stevenson’s classic novella.

 Shows included in the British Council Edinburgh Showcase 2019 include the return of New Perspectives Theatre Company’s The FishermenJavaad Alipoor’s The Believers Are But Brothers; and Status, from Chris Thorpe, Rachel Chavkin, China Plate and Staatstheater Mainz.

 From Guy Masterson – TTI comes Shaving the Dead from Perrier Award nominee Owen O’Neill; The Shark is Broken, in association with Shooting the Breeze; and Guys, Dolls & Pies in association with Maverick Theatre Coand PALS.

 Cahoots Theatre Company present Musik, a stunning performance by Frances Barber as Billie Trix, and My Darling Clemmie,exploring the relationship between Winston and Clementine Churchill.

There are some exciting double-acts in the programme, including mother and daughter duo After You from Hannah Norris, an exploration of female friendship and industrial meat farming in Haste Theatre’s Ex-Batts and Broilers, and Post-Mortem fromEllandar Productions & Jessica Rose McVay Productions.

 In powerful one-woman shows, Brian Foster Productions presents Myra’s Story about a middle-aged, homeless Dublin street drinker, Liv Productions present Tales from the Garden, Ashleigh Laurence presents her part stand-up show Tumours, andGrist to the Mill Productions explore the warrior and legend in The Ballad of Mulan.

Other female-led productions include: Judith Thompson’s Watching Glory Die, a riveting portrayal of three women trapped in a broken prison system and Theatre of NOTE bring FEMPIRE: Cleo, Theo & Wu by Kirsten Vangsness and FEMPIRE: Mess by Kirsten Vangsness. Women in war feature in I’ll Tell You This For Nothing from Kate JasonSmith, and Ivory Wings from Coreth Arts. 

 Masculinity is explored in All The Pigs present In the Shadow of the Black Dog, a raw and moving exploration of identity and masculinity, and Ed Eales-White presents Who is Daniel King, a story of a man who decides to be a dancer.

 Responding to contemporary social and political issues, Fionn Foley is Brendan Galileo for Europe, Osman Baig looks at Fake News, Scottee & Friends LTD present Class, a show about pretending to be posher than you are, Quick Duck Theatre presentYours Sincerely, a queer coming of age comedy about the complications of 21st century communication, and Eve and Sea Productions’ blend of spoken word, music and surrealism in Salmon asks why is it so hard to admit you’re not okay?

Dutch Kills Theater Company present explore the psychosocial experience of solitary confinement in Solitary, A Cry Havoc Theatre Company Production with LAByrinth Theater Company NY present Devil of Choice, a dark, sexy and funny take about the temptations we face when we find ourselves in a room with the devil; and Tim Honnef (Jonas Müller) presents The Things I Never Told You, a show about half-truths and white lies.

For something out of this world, Sleeping Giant, in association with Celebration Theatre, spins a series of intimate, darkly comic vignettes in this modern thriller, while A Brilliant Everything present The De Nova Super.

If you’re looking for something different, Frankie Foxstone’s AKA The Profit: Walking Tour will take you on a whirlwind tour of her property plans for Edinburgh. Innovative technology is on display in The Gray Cat and The Flounder from PNME and Civil Disobedience, Russell T Davies will be speaking at Assembly Hall as part of the Edinburgh TV Festival, and Meeting Jimcelebrates the captivating man behind the founding of the Traverse Theatre.

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Ridiculusmus’ new show Die! Die! Die! Old People Die!

Ridiculusmus brings its latest show to the 2019 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Die! Die! Die! Old People Die! 

a funny and fragile farce about ageing, dying and mourning

TechCube0, Summerhall
Tuesday 13 to Sunday 25 August at 5.40pm
Press performance: Wednesday 14 August at 5.40pm

The UK’s most enduring theatre double act Ridiculusmus bring their latest show Die! Die! Die! Old People Die! to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe from Tuesday 13 to Saturday 25 August. Die! Die! Die! is the final part of a trilogy of works transforming mental health issues into witty and accessible theatre which will be performed in full on 25 August.

In an age where death and grieving are being medicalised out of existence, Die! Die! Die! Old People Die! strives to reclaim humankind’s last taboo from eradication in a paper-fine portrait of a love triangle cursed to eternal life, but without eternal youth.

Libidinous centenarians Violet, Norman and Arthur are doomed to enact a slo-mo ballet of sadness. Amid fumbling, daily rounds of coffee, call centres and cat food, their rants, dribbles, pills and cough bombs litter an ambling blend of symbolist mysticism and synesthesia that has the fear of an ageing world population in its sights. It oozes with the relentless positivity of elderhood and good deaths.

For Die! Die! Die! Old People Die! Haynes and Woods shadowed palliative care workers, liaised with the Festival of Death and Dying in Melbourne, attended death cafés where people talk about death over tea and cake, and trawled their own grief memories for material. Woods began a course as a bereavement counselor – but had to pull out when his own father died.
Die! Die! Die! Old People Die! is the final part of Ridiculusmus’ trilogy of works transforming complex mental health issues into witty and accessible theatre. The full trilogy, Dialogue as the Embodiment of Love, will be presented on Sunday 25 August. Big pharma, psychiatry, psychology and the system all collide in the first two plays – domestic encounters that plunge audiences into disorders of the everyday. The Eradication of Schizophrenia in Western Lapland is informed by a treatment method for psychosis which delivered incredible results whilst Give Me Your Love explores the therapeutic impact of MDMA on post-traumatic stress disorder.

www.ridiculusmus.com
Twitter @_Ridiculusmus_

Listings
Company: Ridiculusmus
Show: Die! Die! Die! Old People Die!
Venue: TechCube 0, Summerhall, 1 Summerhall, Edinburgh EH9 1PL
Dates: Tuesday 13 & Wednesday 14 August (previews); Thursday 15 to Sunday 25 August (no performance on Monday 19 August)
Tickets: 13 & 14 August £8; 15 to 18 August, 20 to 25 August £10 (£8 concessions)
Time: 5.40pm
Box office: 0131 560 1581 / www.summerhall.co.uk
Running time: approx. 60 minutes
Suggested age range: 13+
Show: Dialogue as the Embodiment of Love – the trilogy
Date: Sunday 25 August
Times: 4.05pm: Give Me Your Love; 5.40pm: Die! Die! Die! Old People Die!; 8.55pm: Eradication of Schizophrenia in Western Lapland

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‘Cruise To Hell’: Fringe debut at 79yo exploring tragic true story of daughter battling side effects of everyday prescription drugs

Cruise To Hell

Cruise to Hell is the debut play by Millie Kieve, which tells the tragic true story of a family holiday turned nightmare when Millie’s 20 year-old daughter Karen goes missing on a cruise.

 The aftermath of the cruise sees the family embark on a tumultuous journey, as a deeply caring and joyous young woman, living a full and happy life, has her rationality snatched away by the side effects of everyday prescription drugs – which plunge her into a frightening fantasy world with tragic consequences.

 Also performed by Millie, storytelling theatre show Cruise to Hell was born out of the conviction that theatre is a powerful way to create awareness which in turn may prevent others from suffering.

 This desire to raise awareness is also what motivated Millie to set up the charity APRIL (Adverse Psychiatric Reactions Information Link) in 1998 as a result of her daughter’s experience. Her research has been used in everything from TV documentaries to medical journals to the front page of the Guardian and has instigated important changes in medical education. 

 Millie Kieve’s debut at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe comes at the age of 79. Her last appearance in Edinburgh was in the 1994 production ofFiddler on the Roof, with Chaim Topol.

 “A remarkable evening, everyone was stunned by the power of your story. It grew in intensity as it unfolded”  Audience member review

Venue: theSpace on the Mile, venue 39 – Radisson Hotel Blu, High Street EH1 1TH

Dates: 12th to 17th August, 2019

Time: 17.45pm (50 minutes)
Tickets: £8 (£6)

Venue box office: 0131 510 2382   Fringe box office: 0131 226 0000

Web sites:   www.april.org.uk    www.eastendtheatrecompany.org.uk