Edinburgh Preview No3:Theatre…

In this week’s Edinburgh Fringe preview I’m going to look at what’s on in terms of theatre. As with the comedy on offer the choice is so wide and varied that it is impossible to give more than personal choices and interests here.

The first of these is The Tailor of Inverness which is on at the Udderbelly’s Pasture. It’s a one man show with Matthew Zajac (left) telling the story of his Polish father and examining the thorny problem of identity and belonging. Zajac’s performance has won awards and plaudits round the world and I’m really looking forward to this one.

Next up is an old favourite. At the Assembly Rooms on George Street is a production of Sunset Song. I’m sure most people are aware of Lewis Grassic Gibbon’s classic novel of life in the Mearns and it will be interesting to see how Aberdeen Performing Arts interpret it for the stage. If it works it could be one of the best things at the Fringe, and as it’s directed by Kenny Ireland the chances are it will be. It starts on the 5th August and runs until the 30th.
Another Scottish themed play is Abbotsford Revisited which looks at the life and times of Scotland’s most famous novelist (no, not JK) Sir Walter Scott. This is a bit of a risk as it could be rather dry, but since I started reading his novels about 10 years ago I’ve wanted to learn as much about this fascinating man as possible, and I think it’s a story that should be told more widely. It’s been said before but Scotland today, and its image around the world, would not be the place it is, for better and for worse, if not for Walter Scott. It is on from the 9th to the 14th of Aug at Diverse Attractions in Riddles Court.

Talking of Scotland’s history, at the Sweet Grassmarket there is the return of the self-aggrandising DBS production A Brief History – We Done Loads (left). If you want to feel good about being Scottish and have a good laugh then it’s worth checking out. Like Lord John Reith’s (a good Scot) famous dictat for the BBC, this play informs, educates and entertains. What more can you ask for? It runs from the 5th to the 29th.
A complete change in tone is Lockerbie: Unfinished Business. This is another one man show with David Benson giving the tragic and powerful story of Jim Swaine who is the father of Flora, victim of the Lockerbie bombing, and who has campaigned for the case not to be closed as he tries to discover what is true and what is politically expedient fiction. This promises to be one of the most important plays at this year’s Fringe, and current political events bear this out. Benson is a superb performer as anyone who saw his portrayal of Kenneth Williams in the play Think No Evil of Us – My Life With Kenneth Williams would confirm. This play is a Pick of the Fringe, and it is on at the Gilded Balloon Teviot from the 4th Aug until the 30th.
Finally, I’ve heard very good things about Fourth Monkey Theatre Company’s production of Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange. I’m a big fan of Burgess’s novels, and also Kubrick’s film version of A Clockwork Orange, so am fascinated to see how they manage the language and particularly the violence on stage. Here’s the rather glossy trailer to whet appetites:
So that’s just a small selection of what is on this year. If theatre is your thing then I can also suggest that you look at what Belt Up Theatre company are up to. They have multiple productions at C Soco on Chambers St and Cowgate including Antigone, Odyssey, Lorca is Dead and Quasimodo. Next week I’ll try and round up all the ‘other’ treats that the Fringe has to offer.

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