The annual arrival of the world’s biggest cultural extravaganza is upon us: the Edinburgh Fringe, International Festival and International Book Festival are all about to kick off, but when you’ve seen it all come and go, it’s all too easy to slip into complacency. Perhaps you’ll be persuaded by some colleagues to get tickets for some TV comic you’ve seen on a panel show but other than that you’ll probably just roll home, turn on the telly and complain there’s nothing on.
No. No. No. What are you doing? Life is passing you by. Get out there. Shake it up a little. If the Fringe is about one thing it’s about new experiences. Go see something you’d never normally see. Something new. It might not change your life but it will make it a bit more interesting.
Top of our list of new things is Fringe First and Total Theatre Award winners blackSKYwhite’s pseudo-carnival, dark circus spectacle OMEGA. This is physical theatre at its best: circus but not as we know it. blackSKYwhite hail from Moscow and are masters of visually and aurally spectacular set pieces that will “leave audiences gasping and leaping to their feet to cheer”. OMEGA previewed at Glastonbury Festival, where they have been wowing audience for the past eight years. It’s been a long time since they appeared at the Edinburgh Fringe and their return is hotly anticipated. This is hip, glossy, high production theatre that is worth leaving home for. OMEGA, blackSKYwhite, Aug 2 – 25, 14.35hrs, Previews Jul 31 – Aug 1, Music Hall, Assembly Rooms.
The Bloody Great Border Ballad Project may have particular resonance for Borderers. It begins with the fictional premise of a baby found floating in a Moses basket on the river tweed, on the night of the dissolution of the act of union, as the starting point for a ballad written through live performance over the course of a week long run. It’s an adventurous free ranging concept incorporating the Borders Ballad tradition and including the nightly appearance of a cohort of pro and anti-independence writers, performers and special guests from North and South of the border. Who knows where it could run. The Bloody Great Border Ballad Project, Northern Stage, Aug 3 – 9, 22.00hrs, St Stephen’s.
Visual treats await at the Scottish National Gallery, more specifically in the form of the first ever major exhibition of Peter Doig’s work in his home country. Born in Edinburgh in 1959, Doig grew up in Toronto and Canada before going on to become one of today’s most successful and renowned painters. Bucking the conceptual trend Doig’s work continues in the representative tradition of Gaugin, Matisse and French colourist Bonard. Peter Doig, No Forgein Land, 3 August – 3 November, Scottish National Gallery, The Mound.
It is a misconception of adults to suggest that children like their humour soft and squidgy as a sickly sweet blancmange. Quite, quite wrong – which is why last year’s slightly twisted and cruel magi-comedy show I Hate Children won Editor’s Choice Award and sold out. Creator, performer and all round bad boy Paul Nathan is back to taunt children, flirt with Mums and indulge in more refreshingly inappropriate impropriety. Accompanied by his booze swigging grunge guitarist. It’s like spending the afternoon with the relatives your parents never let you see. 8+ but not just for kids. I Hate Children Children’s Show, 31 July — 26 August Pleasance Courtyard » Pleasance Two 11:50am
Finally, if you really must go see some comedy – and why not? laughs are good – at least go see someone new. Not some middle-aged comic whose chubby paycheck is matched only by their chubby waistline, who puts more effort into avoiding tax than making an audience laugh. Expand your comedy horizons. Try Rachel Parris, normally seen performing as part of improv duo Austentious, this is her first solo outing. Expect spoof song-writing in the Bill Bailey style – her X-factor send up is spot on, check out the video above. And get this, it’s FREE. That’s right, it won’t cost you a penny. All part and parcel of the Laughing Horse Free Festival Fringe. Rachel Parris, The Commission, Aug 1-12, 14 -25, 16.00hrs, The Counting House.
So go on. Get out there. It’ll be winter before you know it and you can do all the staying in you want.
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