Socialist Worker

Edinburgh offers a festival feast of elevating theatre

by Mark Brown
Issue No. 2615

Silence being performed by the Teatr Biuro Podrozy company

Silence being performed by the Teatr Biuro Podrozy company

At its best, art enhances and elevates, which is why the huge Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the “official” Edinburgh International Festival and the Edinburgh International Book Festival are so exciting.

Underground Railroad Game Traverse Theatre, 2-26 August and transferring to the Soho Theatre, London, 4-29 September

The Traverse Theatre is the place to go for new theatre. The British premiere of this American drama looks like an interesting prospect.

Brought over by New York City theatre company Ars Nova, this “fearless comedy” promises a school history lesson with a difference.

In the play, two teachers go “round after round on the mat of American history, tackling race, sex and power”.

The piece comes with a warning about “nudity, adult themes and strong language”.

Check Up: Our NHS @ 70 Traverse Theatre, 4-26 August

Mark Thomas’S latest theatre show. Thomas is a past master at honing politics into hilarious, uncompromising and emotionally affecting theatre. This piece promises to be no different.


The Square, Pleasance at EICC, Venue 150, 3-26 August

Acclaimed Polish company Teatr Biuro Podrozy (The Travel Agency Theatre) are presenting their latest outdoor spectacular.

Podrozy use pyrotechnics, stilt-walking and powerful, physical performance to focus on the terrible obstacles faced by, and the dreams of, the millions of people forced to migrate from their homelands.

De Profundis

Assembly Rooms, 2-26 August

The brilliant actor Simon Callow performs Oscar Wilde’s powerful prison letter.

Written in anger, hurt and love to his lover Lord Alfred Douglas or “Bosie”, Wilde’s famous letter reflects powerfully on the great writer’s life and the appalling injustice of his imprisonment with hard labour.

Hamlet (An Experience)

Sweet Novotel venue 188, 2-26 August

This one-woman show by the fine actor Emily Carding, promises to be another must-see monodrama.

Carding’s solo treatment of Shakespeare’s Richard III was a highlight of the theatre year so far. It should be fascinating to see how she tackles arguably Shakespeare’s greatest play.

The Time Machine

Scottish Storytelling Centre, venue 30, 2-19 August

The Festival is a great opportunity to show children just how good live theatre can be, if you choose carefully.

The Time Machine, by Scottish group The Scientific Romance Theatre Company, is an acclaimed adaptation—for children aged eight and over—of HG Wells’s famous novella. Involving, its admirers say, wonderful puppetry, an excellent soundscape and high energy performances, this promises to be an enchanting and thought-provoking show, for both children and adults.

Waiting for Godot

Royal Lyceum, 3-12 August

The superb Irish theatre company Druid’s staging of Samuel Beckett’s great play is bound to be excellent.

La Maladie de la Mort (The Malady of Death)

Royal Lyceum, 16-19 August

This is a radical, multimedia exploration of the Marguerite Duras novel of the same name by world-renowned theatremaker Katie Mitchell.

It is presented by leading French company Theatre des Bouffes du Nord.

The Prisoner

Royal Lyceum, 22-26 August

This is also from Theatre des Bouffes du Nord. Written and directed by the influential theatremaker Peter Brook with Marie-Helene Estienne.

It features a multinational cast and seems set to offer a powerful reflection on issues of justice and responsibility.

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