JOYCE MCMILLAN for FRINGE TOP 60 – Scotsman Critique 28.6.08
Assembly @ George Street
2-25 August, previews 31 July-1August
IF EVER YOU needed proof that the much-touted Fringe conflict between comedy and theatre is a phoney war, just look at the booming all-round Fringe creativity of comedy stars like Daniel Kitson, Bill Bailey and Owen O’Neill. O’Neill’s new play is a dark, serious comedy about a man arrested for killing and mutilating Catholic priests; watch out for a fast, disturbing show directed by Rachel O’Riordan, who brought us Richard Dormer’s fantastic performance as Alex Higgins in Hurricane, back in 2003.
1-23 August, preview 31 July
The National Theatre of Scotland has scored some major Edinburgh successes since its launch in 2006, not only with Black Watch, but with cutting-edge shows like Anthony Neilson’s Realism and last year’s glorious Venus As A Boy. Now, the NTS Workshop goes into partnership with brilliant young New York group TEAM, who follow their mind-blowing 2006 show Particularly In The Heartland with this multimedia epic about the construction of nations and selves, featuring a Scarlett O’Hara pageant, anarchist architects and presidential grandchildren.
SAY WHAT YOU LIKE about the Edinburgh Fringe, it always provides a rapid creative response to neglected aspects of the year’s news. Played out in a tiny caravan at the Pleasance Courtyard, Look Left Look Right’s new show examines the plight of people left homeless after last year’s major floods in England. They thought they would be back home in a few weeks; but a year on, thousands are still living in caravans like these.
Badac Theatre Company call their work “extreme political art”, and their latest show is bound to be one of the most controversial of the 2008 Fringe. In a cellar beneath the courtyard, they re-create the experience of entering the Auschwitz gas chambers, in relentless detail. Is there anyone left who still needs such a graphic reminder of the horrific industrialised murder that was the holocaust? Or is it a story – a nightmare, a warning – that can never be retold too often? Find out for yourself, at the Pleasance this August.
3-25 August, preview 2 August
ENTER THE ARCHITECTURAL nightmare that is Edinburgh University’s Appleton Tower, and find yourself at the office bash to end all workplace parties. The Fringe Programme invites you to laugh your head off and dance your pants down at this rare combination of outrageous theatre show and wild party. Cal McCrystal of The Mighty Boosh and Cirque Du Soleil directs, and fabulous burlesque star Ursula Martinez leads the cast, in a show that formally ends after a couple of hours, but continues – for those in the mood – far into the night.
New Traverse director Dominic Hill signals a new era of cross-border co-operation at the Traverse with this world premiere from London new writing superstar Simon Stephens. Co-produced by the Traverse and Birmingham Rep, Pornography captures that moment in British history between the announcement of London’s successful Olympic bid on 6 July 2005, and the 7/7 bombings less than 24 hours later, as the nation crashes from euphoria and promise into a mood of devastation and fear.