Daniel Kitson brings Polyphony to the Fringe

Daniel Kitson brings Polyphony to the Fringe

Comedian's new play to be performed at Roundabout theatre in Summerhall

One of comedy's most elusive creatures, Daniel Kitson, is bringing his play Polyphony to Summerhall as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this year.

Debuted at Melbourne International Comedy Festival, although rewritten for Edinburgh, Polyphony is, in typical Kitson style, subversive and intriguing.

In his own words (according to his newsletter, that is – Kitson never speaks to journalists): 'It has a pretty epic scope, a relatively grand vision and somewhere in the region of 20 characters. It is, basically, a real humdinger.'

To achieve his lofty ambitions without having to deal with actors who might upstage him, audience members are employed instead, 20 of them given iPods which they all must turn on simultaneously and let the pre-recorded action unfold, with Kitson the 21st cast member sharing the spotlight with no-one.

An allocation of tickets is available from the Fringe website from Thu 21 May, with the remainder on sale from Summerhall’s website on Thu 4 June.

A peer of Alun Cochrane, John Oliver and Andy Zaltzman, Kitson has kept a lower profile than his contemporaries. Shunning press since just after winning the Perrier in 2002, he lurks in the comedic shadows, turning down TV, West End offers and arenas. His lo-fi approach works, garnering an almost word-of-mouth element to his show announcements (normally done via a rambling email to those smart enough to sign up to his mailing list) and gathering a cultish audience who ensure that wherever he goes he sells out.

To try to understand the magic, we've had a look at some of his career highlights:

1993 – Kitson begins performing stand-up comedy

1995 – He moves to London to study drama at Roehampton Institute and continues his stand-up career

2001 – His show Love, Innocence and the World Cock is nominated for a Perrier Award

2002 – Wins the Perrier with Something

2003 – Performs his first 'story show' A Made Up Story, blending storytelling, comedy and often music.

2005Stories for the Wobbly-Hearted debuts at Melbourne International Comedy Festival and wins a Scotsman Fringe First award at the Fringe that year.

2006 – Story show C-90 opens at the Traverse for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and wins a Fringe First and The Stage Acting Award for Best Solo Show

2007It's the Fireworks Talking wins a Barry award at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival

2010 – Tours two new shows We Are Gathered Here and The Interminable Suicide of Gregory Church across the UK. Takes It's Always Right Now, Until It's Later to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

2012 – Tours new stand-up show around the UK and Australia, before taking it to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

2013After the Beginning, Before the End, a new stand-up show tours the UK and Europe

2014 – Performs story shows and a stand-up show with Alun Cochrane and Andy Zaltzman at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Polyphony runs 7–29 Aug at 12.15pm at Roundabout Summerhall, no show on Tuesdays, tickets £12.


  • 5 stars

A new play from Daniel Kitson, in which the audience are given iPods to contribute to the performance and Kitson himself reacts to the action that takes place.