Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Edinburgh Fringe 2009 - First picks

Since the Edinburgh Fringe Programme was published last Wednesday we've been working our way through it trying to make an initial selection of shows. While there's still plenty of time before it starts officially on Friday 7th August, tickets went on sale on Monday and we always try to get some of the more expensive shows booked up as part of the 2 for 1 offer many shows operate on the first Sunday/Monday. So here are the shows that have caught our attention so far, and a round up of some of the ones we've already seen that are being revived at this years Fringe...

Usually the first place we start when planning our opening weekend is the Traverse, partly because it can usually be relied upon for quality and also because its shows can be at the more expensive end of the scale. But this year we've been rather underwhelmed with their offerings and as things currently stand we won't be booking up for any of the Fringe shows at the Traverse this year. That may change as more info comes out and we get a better feel for the shows - at the moment details are sparse in the Fringe Programme and their website has no info at all. Perhaps this lack of a 'must see' show is a knock-on effect of the Traverse' involvement in the Edinburgh International Festival where they are staging "The Last Witch" at the Lyceum (which we will be seeing). There is one exception to our lack of enthusiasm for the Traverse Fringe Programme - "Midsummer (A Play with Songs)" which is being brought back after huge success towards the end of last year. Like just about everyone who saw it we adored it and anyone who wants to see a feelgood show has to fit this one in.

We're also having to come to terms with the loss of what has been one of the highlights of recent years at the Fringe. Due to work being undertaken at Rosslyn Chapel, Nonsense Room are unable to stage their show there this year and have decanted to the Scottish Mining Museum just outside Dalkeith with two shows. We'll be making an early visit to "Ae Fond Kiss" and may try to see "Treasure Island" later in the month. Even without the added attraction of a visit to the Chapel, Nonsense Room have proved to us over the years that their shows are always worth seeing.

But making up for those elements missing from this year's Fringe is the return of site specific specialists Grid Iron. We've not seen their work at previous Fringes but their shows "Roam" and "Yarn" both provided us with some fantastic theatrical memories. We've already booked up for "Barflies" at the Barony Bar and given the reputation this company has tickets will go quickly.

We like to dip our toes in the Comedy section of the programme and having enjoyed his campaigning TV shows we've booked up for Mark Thomas who is putting together a manifesto based on suggestions from his audiences. Sadly there's no new Rebus McTaggart show but there is a short run of the original show that we enjoyed so much.

Over the last two years with "Mehndi Night" and "Stolen Secrets" Fin Kennedy and Mulberry School have proved that a 45 minute show can pack in just as much as a three hour epic, and we're expecting something equally as delightful with this year's "The Unravelling". And another school group who we'll be seeing is Feltonfleet's "An Ofsted Inspector Calls".

The highlight of our theatrical year so far has been "Sub Rosa" and the driving force behind it, David Leddy, has two shows in Edinburgh this year. He has transferred his audio based show "Susurrus" and located it in Royal Botanic Garden, as well as premiering his new Japanese themed show "White Tea".

At last year's Fringe we enjoyed You Need Me's "How It Ended" despite it being located in the Dance and Physical Theatre section of the Programme. This year they return with "Certain Dark Things" which sounds similar in tone and style.

A week or so ago I read a review of "Kursk" down in london and thought it sounded fantastic so I was delighted to discover it as I flicked through the Programme. Unfortunately there seems to be a problem with booking tickets for the show at edfringe.com. Hopefully this is just a temporary glitch and not a sign of a more serious problem with the plans for the show.

It's a book I've always had a lot of time for, so we've booked up to see EattheBaby's take on "A Clockwork Orange"
over the first weekend. But some other shows inevitably have to wait until later in the month due to scheduling issues, one of which will be Gregory Burke's "Gagarin Way" by the Comedians Theatre Company.

I think that's covered all the shows that we're immediately booking up for, but as well as our weekend trips through together, I'll be doing a few midweek visits on my own - flexitime permitting. Here's a quick run through of some of the other shows I'm hoping to fit in:
EGTG's version of "Antigone", Michael Frayn's "Audience" and a political take on Arthurian legend in "King Arthur".

Other shows appearing at this year's Fringe that we saw in the last year include - "The Year of the Horse", "Djupid (The Deep)" and "My Grandfather's Great War"

But there's still plenty of gaps to fill and we'll continue to follow up on some of the website links provided in the Programme and see what else grabs our interest. And of course we're always open to suggestions...

5 Heckles

Anonymous said...

Hello and thank you for those initial picks!
Have you had a look at "almost like a virgin" which is on at the pleasance ace dome?
Premiere Madonna impersonator sharing her journey and stories about mimicking Madge-wiht original music, comedy and Madonna classics...

mic said...

See also

Anonymous said...

Great picks...I'll definitely be seeing Michael Fryan's Audience too - I was a big fan of Noises Off so I'm expecting good things!

Statler said...

Thanks for the comments. Not really a Madonna fan I'm afraid but I enjoyed the ManoLibera clip so might try to see that one if it fits in with other plans.

Anonymous said...

I saw the London preview of Don Juan in Soho by Patrick Marber which they are performing at the Fringe this year. I really recomment it. It was really amazing. visit www.donjuaninsoho.com and take a look!