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Edinburgh International Book Festival 2014 interview: Zoë Howe on the Slits and the Jesus and Mary Chain

31 Jul 2014

The music journalist and Slits guitarist Viv Albertine are both visiting the EIBF this year

As guitarist and co-songwriter for the the Slits, Viv Albertine blazed a trail for feminist punk. Her riveting memoir Clothes Clothes Clothes Music Music Music Boys Boys Boys, which she discusses at the Edinburgh International Book Festival with…

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014 interview: Nick Helm and Tim Key

31 Jul 2014

The comedians discuss the Fringe, larger room and post-film & TV success

Nick Helm and Tim Key have both had a busy year. Since being nominated for the Edinburgh Comedy Award for the second time in 2013 for One Man Mega Myth, Helm has starred in BBC3 comedy drama Uncle and completed filming on his own BBC3 show Heavy…

Edinburgh International Book Festival 2014 interview: Shaun Usher, Simon Garfield and Ben Harrison

31 Jul 2014

The blogger, the author and the theatre director discuss the value of letter-writing

Roald Dahl was once sent a dream in a bottle by a young reader named Amy. Kurt Vonnegut spent Christmas in 1944 locked in a tiny box car en route to a Dresden work camp. Anaïs Nin believed sex doesn’t thrive on monotony. Katharine Hepburn had…

Edinburgh Festivals 2014: the lasting influence of All Quiet on the Western Front

31 Jul 2014

Tony Bradman, Christina Bellingen and Guy Masterson discuss different approaches to WWI

Banned by the Nazis and immortalised in the 1930 film adaptation, Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front is one of the greatest anti-war books of the 20th century. First published in 1929, excellent translations from the original German…

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014 interview: Eva O’Connor on abortion drama My Name is Saoirse

31 Jul 2014

'Society is catching up with what women want. It’s not even feminism. It’s just equality'

Eva O’Connor’s new play, set in her native Ireland in the late 1980s, deals with an issue that could hardly be more profoundly personal to those whom it affects, nor more politically incendiary. Like countless other teenagers, the protagonist of My Name…

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Edinburgh International Festival 2014 interview: Bruce Gladwin discusses Ganesh Versus the Third Reich

31 Jul 2014

The elephant-headed Hindu god sets out to rescue the swastika from the Nazis

Bertolt Brecht's innovation as a director was to encourage performances to unpick the magical trappings of theatre and remind audiences that what they are watching is neither real nor inevitable. Hoping to detach the spectator from a passive, emotional…

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014 interview: theatremaker Gary McNair

31 Jul 2014

McNair explores the dark side of comedy with Donald Robertson Is Not a Stand-Up Comedian

Gary McNair’s new show for the Traverse, Donald Robertson Is Not a Stand-Up Comedian, blurs theatre and stand-up comedy to hilarious and often moving effect, tackling issues of affirmation, bullying and identities lost and rediscovered. Teenager…

Edinburgh International Book Festival 2014: 5 musicians at the book fest

31 Jul 2014

Featuring Aidan Moffat, Julian Cope, Willy Vlautin, Gruff Rhys and James Yorkston

Aidan Moffat In contrast to the abject despair / binge drinking / furtive groping often covered in his songwriting, the spoken word artist and ex-Arab Strap member presents his latest offering with not even a PG but a U rating. The Lavender Blue Dress…

Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2014: discussion events on modern arts and culture

31 Jul 2014

Featuring input from poet Ron Butlin, theatremaker Rachel Chavkin and artist Alec Finlay

As well as their by now renowned performance and visual arts programme during the festival, multi-arts venue and former veterinary college Summerhall will also be showcasing a number of discussions and workshops about topical subjects in arts and…

Lloyd Griffith: Voice of an Angel, Body of a Trucker

31 Jul 20143 stars

The comedian/choirboy delivers an affable if slightly obvious Edinburgh Festival Fringe set

It's always good to have a gimmick to make you stand out from the rest of the stand-ups; but it's not often the case that a comedian doubles up as a choir singer. Even more incongruously, Lloyd Griffith is big and beardy, yet has a beautiful falsetto…

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Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014 interview: Italian comedian Francesco de Carlo

31 Jul 2014

'I aim to lose my tan, improve my English and inflate my belly with your beer’

By the close of the festival, the ‘expressive, surreal and slightly Mediterranean’ Francesco de Carlo aims to ‘lose my tan, improve my English and inflate my belly with your beer’. As part of a group of comedians who’ve brought stand-up to Comedy…

Carl Donnelly: Now That's What I Carl Donnelly Vol. 6

31 Jul 20144 stars

Consistent Edinburgh Festival Fringe hour with moments of pure hilarity

Carl Donnelly was as surprised as anyone when his solid yet unspectacular stand-up act gained a spot on the Edinburgh Comedy Awards shortlist last Fringe. Little did observers know that the London comic was harbouring much pain with his marriage having…

Lost Voice Guy: Laughter Is The Worst Medicine

31 Jul 20143 stars

A cheeky hour of shattered misconceptions at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014

Last year at the Fringe, Lost Voice Guy was part way through his run when he fell ill. It turned out he had been standing out in the Edinburgh rain a touch too long and duly developed a life-threatening bout of pneumonia. Still, at least it gave him the…

This is Ceilidh and Ready, Steady, Ceilidh! bring a touch of trad to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014

31 Jul 2014

Both shows celebrate the high energy roots of traditional Scottish country song and dance

Why should cabaret acts and comedy clubs supply all the after-hours Fringe fun? This Is Ceilidh is an all-fiddling, all-piping, all-dancing hoolie from the producers of former Fringe crowdpleasers Eurobeat and Jerry Springer: The Opera which is poised…

Outings

31 Jul 20143 stars

Uplifting and unchallenging verbatim piece about LGBTQ experiences, performed at Edinburgh Fringe

Outings is cheerful and at times poignant celebration of how far LGBTQ rights have come in the UK. The selections of stories, far from being anguished tales of parental rejection, are mostly upbeat, as friends and relations disappoint expectations of…

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Simon Feilder: All the Things I'm Not

31 Jul 20143 stars

Deceptively clever hour of self-deprecating comedy at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Simon Feilder is a master of misdirection. Under the guise of listing all the ways he fails to measure up as a man, he turns less into more by showing that the talent he does have is there in spades. Relying heavily on interactions with pre-recorded…

The Collector 

31 Jul 20142 stars

Edinburgh Fringe satire set in the aftermath of the Gulf War suffers from pedestrian direction

Despite three strong central performances, and a twisting plot that explores the moral compromises made by both Iraqis and Americans in the aftermath of the Gulf War, The Collector loses much of its impact due to its pedestrian direction. Following…

Wingman

31 Jul 20143 stars

Richard Marsh's latest Edinburgh Festival Fringe show is a poignant and witty father-son drama

The third in Richard Marsh’s trilogy of poetic plays – previous entries saw him struggling with love and maturity – is a bold meditation of the crisis of masculinity, as Richard finally reunites with his absent father – just as he becomes a father…

The Post Show

31 Jul 20143 stars

A broad slapstick pastiche of high art insecurity at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014

The painful tradition of the post-show discussion is ripe for deconstruction: playing on the vanity of the artists, it invariably becomes a dreary round of predictable questions and self-satisfied responses. Under the guise of the Shallow Scream…

Early Doors

31 Jul 20143 stars

Interactive Edinburgh Festival Fringe show is a well-written love letter to the local boozer

Early Doors starts as an interactive pub takeover. The cast, already in character, knock aside the fourth wall and welcome unsuspecting punters into the family-run Jinglin' Geordie on Fleshmarket Close. The usual suspects – the lothario barman, thuggish…

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Broke

31 Jul 20142 stars

Some sharp writing can't save this incoherent debtor play at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Beginning with snippets of dialogue taken from real interviews with men and women who suffer with debt problems, Broke’s rapid fire delivery is disorientating and alienating. Despite the clear subject matter – the pain of financial failure – the jarring…

Big Fat Fringe Bribe blog 2014: Snoutology for Beginners

31 Jul 2014

Hijinx Theatre win premium exposure for their live-like-a-dog production

Following Struan Logan's thoughtful and considerate, er, rock, we were after something a bit less philosophical. Hijinx Theatre challenged the permanence of geological fragments with the impermanence of flimsy head-based props – their hairband dog-ears…

All Back To Bowie’s set to tackle Scottish referendum debate at 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

30 Jul 2014

Unique take on the Scottish referendum debate through Bowie-themed musical and political salon

February 2014: David Bowie wins a Brit Award and uses the occasion to appeal – via a proxy, who just happens to be Kate Moss – ‘Scotland, stay with us’. Some idiots threaten to bin their Bowie collections but playwright David Greig, who describes his…

Interview: Glen Matlock bring I Was a Teenage Sex Pistol show to 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

30 Jul 2014

Musician thrown out of band for 'liking The Beatles' talks us through his one-man music show

Glen Matlock was allegedly thrown out of The Sex Pistols for the crime of ‘liking The Beatles’. He busts this and other myths in his one-man words-and-music show I Was A Teenage Sex Pistol. What did music mean to a teenage Sex Pistol? It was an exit…

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014 interview: actor/playwright Michael Puzzo on The Dirty Talk

30 Jul 2014

'I don't think you can put a label on it. It is not a light piece, but I think it is funny'

Michael Puzzo was already an established actor with the New York-based Labyrinth company when he finally turned his hand to playwrighting. 'The writers were always encouraging me to write, but I was worried that it would be shit,' he laughs. 'But every…