Jacques Brel is Alive and Living in Paris

Jacques Brel is Alive and Living in Paris

Any list of famous Belgians must include the trio Georges Simenon, Audrey Hepburn and Jacques Brel. 

Return of the Soldier

Return of the Soldier

Rebecca West was one of the supreme journalists and travel writers of the 20th century, caustic and sharp-eyed. 

Eye of a Needle

Eye of a Needle

For traditionalists, this is a heartening time for new writing in the theatre. 

The Trial of the Jew Shylock

The Trial of the Jew Shylock

‘The Merchant of Venice’ has always been a problematic play, with its Elizabethan anti-Semitism rubbing shoulders with almost fairy-tale elements (the three caskets) and Shakes… 

In The Heights

In The Heights

The Heights of the title are Washington Heights, a Dominican-American neighbourhood of New York at the top end of New York. 

How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

‘How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying’ is the third of Frank Loesser’s trio of Broadway masterpieces, following ‘Guys and Dolls’ and ‘The Most Happy Fella… 

Blues In The Night

Blues In The Night

“Blues in the Night” is a compilation revue, a tribute to the black performers and music of Harlem in the 1920s and 30s. 

Safe Sex / On Tidy Endings

Safe Sex / On Tidy Endings

Harvey Fierstein, before he branched out into writing books for straight musicals, was a kind of theatrical barometer of gay life. 

Archimedes' Principle

Archimedes' Principle

Archimedes’ Principle is a recent (2012) play from the young(ish) Catalan playwright and director Joseph Maria Miro i Coromina. 

Joe Orton: The Musical

Joe Orton: The Musical

‘Above the Stag’ (ATS) is one of the most distinctive and necessary production houses in London. 

Damn Yankees

Damn Yankees

There are no three words more calculated to make a critic’s heart sink than Amateur Operatic Society. 

Thérèse Raquin

Thérèse Raquin

I was worrying about the cat. 

Doctor Miracle

Doctor Miracle

Bizet’s one-act opera ‘Le Docteur Miracle’ is a fine and fizzy confection cooked up at the age of only eighteen as an entry to a competition for a comic opera organised by … 

It's A Bird! It's A Plane! It's Superman!

It's A Bird! It's A Plane! It's Superman!

Charles Strouse and Lee Adams’ ‘It’s a Bird etc’ is something of an oddity. 

Rachel's Café

Rachel's Café

“Everyone is Welcome – No Exceptions” is the motto of Rachel’s Café in Bloomington, Indiana, a university town with a liberal and artistic ambience and pretensions. 

Drunk

Drunk

Drew McOnie, the inventive deviser and choreographer of ‘Drunk’, straddles worlds. 

Punishment Without Revenge

Punishment Without Revenge

There is a film of the life of Lope de Vega, in English The Outlaw¸ but no film could do justice to his extraordinary life. 

Flight

Flight

The set is made up of suitcases. 

Fuerzabruta

Fuerzabruta

Fuerzabruta (Brute Force) has been touring its acrobatic, surreal spectacular for nearly ten years now, which is proof of its enormous popularity. 

Kiss Me Kate

Kiss Me Kate

Ovation has a distinguished track record for musicals at the Gatehouse. 

The Pride

The Pride

I’ve never bought into the distinction between ‘amateur’ and ‘professional’, at least on the London Fringe. 

The Shape of Things

The Shape of Things

It occurred to me watching Neil LaBute’s 90-minute four-hander, that he is the nearest thing America has to George Bernard Shaw. 

Halbwelt Kultur

Halbwelt Kultur

This cabaret of 1920s and 1930s Berlin songs is billed as an homage, a reclamation, of the female cabaret performers of the Weimar Republic. 

Passing By

Passing By

Martin Sherman’s ‘Passing By’ has an assured niche in gay history, being one of the first plays mounted by the pioneering Gay Sweatshop, and the first that seemed to have no … 

Jekyll and Hyde

Jekyll and Hyde

‘Jekyll and Hyde’ is such an archetypal folk myth by now that it’s hard to believe in an imaginative world without it, or that someone actually sat down and wrote it. 

A Scent of Flowers

A Scent of Flowers

James Saunders is one of the forgotten playwrights of the 60s, sandwiched between, and elbowed aside by Osborne, Pinter, Stoppard etc. 

Fleabag

Fleabag

Reviews of ‘Fleabag’, which won a Fringe First Award at Edinburgh this summer, tended to treat it as a kind of scabrous stand-up routine on the subject of Sex and the Single Gi… 

Little Me

Little Me

‘Little Me’ is the musicalisation of a cod autobiography by Patrick Dennis. 

Titanic

Titanic

On paper, any musicalisation of the story of the Titanic looks like sailing to disaster. 

Skin Tight

Skin Tight

There is a moment in Sheridan’s ‘The Critic’ when Mr Puff and Mr Dangle are watching a play-within-a-play about the Spanish Armada. 

The Comedy of Oedipus

The Comedy of Oedipus

In these times of galloping Islamophobia, the Shubbak (Window) Festival, celebrating Arabic arts, is most welcome. 

Pop-up Opera

Pop-up Opera

Pop-Up Opera are a (very) small-scale touring company taking opera with piano accompaniment to unusual venues in the hope of creating new audiences. 

Four Farces

Four Farces

Probably our best knowledge of Victorian farce comes from WS Gilbert’s topsy-turvy world of the Savoy operas, where an absurd premise leads with impeccable logic to an even more … 

The Bear

The Bear

Bears, in dream interpretation theory, are a symbol of renewal and rebirth. 

Billy

Billy

We live in something of a golden age as far as Fringe productions of music theatre are concerned. 

Avenue Q

Avenue Q

It takes some chutzpah to present the Fringe premiere of a West End musical that played 2000 performances over five years and across three theatres, and only closed less than three… 

Phantom

Phantom

Pity the composer who gets there first: Auber’s opera ‘Manon Lescaut’ eclipsed by both Puccini and Mascagni; Nicolai’s ‘Merry Wives of Windsor’ by Verdi’s ‘Falstaff… 

Michelangelo Drawing Blood

Michelangelo Drawing Blood

Michaelangelo Drawing Blood is a 75-minute dance piece with an arresting score by Charlie Barber. 

The Last Days of Judas Iscariot

The Last Days of Judas Iscariot

The ‘last days’ of the title is used in a Milennarian sense – we are at Judas’s Judgement Day, at a trial which ostensibly will determine whether Judas should be released f… 

L'Elisir d'Amore

L'Elisir d'Amore

PopUp Opera – not Pop Opera, they insist – has a mission to take ‘real’ opera into new places and reach new audiences. 

The Revenge of Sherlock Holmes

The Revenge of Sherlock Holmes

Leslie Bricusse is a distinguished name in the songwriting pantheon, with a string of Oscars and Tony Awards to his name. 

Gibraltar

Gibraltar

On 6th March 1988 a group of SAS men ambushed three IRA members (Mairéad Farrell, Sean Savage, Daniel McCann) on a petrol station forecourt in Gibraltar and killed them. 

Quasimodo

Quasimodo

There was a time when I was a lad when Lionel Bart was everywhere. 

Darling of the Day

Darling of the Day

On paper, it looks like a dream team. 

Mydidae

Mydidae

‘Mydidae’, according to Wikipedia, are a group of large flies with a short lifespan and a large sting. 

Making Dickie Happy

Making Dickie Happy

‘Making Dickie Happy’ is set in March 1922. 

Oedipus

Oedipus

Sophocles’ ‘Oedipus’ is probably the oldest text in the world which still retains the power to shock, excite and move us in a thoroughly modern way. 

One Touch of Venus

One Touch of Venus

‘One Touch of Venus’ is Kurt Weill’s most ‘commercial’ American score, attached to a kind of variation on the Pygmalion theme, in which an ancient statue of Venus, brough… 

Dear World

Dear World

‘Dear World’ is one of those problem musicals, beloved by its creator Jerry Herman but, like his other sickly child ‘Mack and Mabel’, never quite taking off. 

Gay's The Word

Gay's The Word

Ivor Novello was the Andrew Lloyd-Webber of his day. 

A Respectable Wedding

A Respectable Wedding

Berthold Brecht was never averse to biting the hand that fed him, as long as it didn’t harm his career prospects. 

London Wall

London Wall

Gay playwright John van Druten is now almost completely forgotten except for ‘I am a Camera’, his adaptation of Isherwood’s ‘Goodbye to Berlin’, which was also the basis … 

The Act

The Act

To some, history is a search for reinforcement, basically about people like ourselves: theatre as a lifestyle accessory. 

Hancock's Half Hour

Hancock's Half Hour

The BBC has a lot to answer for, not least the wiping out of great swathes of our cultural heritage from the 50s, 60s and 70s. 

Crazy for You

Crazy for You

It is a brave company which puts on the first Fringe production of the Gershwins’ ‘Crazy for You’ so soon after the Regents Park Open Air production, which transferred succes… 

Guys And Dolls

Guys And Dolls

Frank Loesser’s 1950 musical, ‘Guys and Dolls’, dates not a day in this charming production by SEDOS, the thespian arm of the Stock Exchange (I kid you not). 

Boy Meets Boy

Boy Meets Boy

Dear Noel and Cole,Put down that celestial martini and stop fondling those cherubs. 

The Happy Prince

The Happy Prince

Sue Casson’s musical adaptation if Oscar Wilde’s short story, “The Happy Prince” is billed as a family show, but it’s difficult to see children appreciating it. 

Endgame

Endgame

Just sometimes, the best of amateur companies come up with a production which puts in the shade all those numerous Fringe productions with pretentions to ‘professionalism’ put … 

Shelf-Life

Shelf-Life

‘Shelf Life’ is an interactive, site-specific piece which makes use of the labyrinths of the old BBC Radio London studios in Marylebone. 

The Francis Bacon Opera

The Francis Bacon Opera

The 1985 South Bank Show interview with Francis Bacon is a television classic. 

Annie's Room

Annie's Room

Annie’s Room purports to be a biographical show about jazz singer Annie Ross, but there is very little biography in this apart from a bald statement of a few facts which could ha… 

21A - Free

21A - Free

Fans of Garrison Keillor will know the territory covered by this show, the semi-folksy world of Lutheran Minnesota. 

Secret Weapons

Secret Weapons

Dickson Telfer’s solo play, in which he also appears, charts the struggle of a teacher to impose control on a rogue class in so-called Higher Education. 

Yorkshire Comedy Cabaret IV: Jokers, Born and Interbred - Free

Yorkshire Comedy Cabaret IV: Jokers, Born and Interbred - Free

The gimmick for this showcase show is that it’s meant to be ‘Yorkshire’ comedy, whatever that may be. 

Marcel Pursued By the Hounds by Michel Tremblay

Marcel Pursued By the Hounds by Michel Tremblay

Michel Tremblay is a French Canadian playwright who was an Angry Young Man in the 60s and shook the stuffy Anglophone artistic establishment by introducing Quebequois working class… 

Treasure in Clay Jars

Treasure in Clay Jars

Treasure in Clay Jars is listed in the Theatre Section of the Fringe Programme. 

The Property Known As Garland

The Property Known As Garland

When Judy Garland gave her last concerts in Copenhagen in March 1969 she was 48 and a wreck. 

Puppet. Book of Splendor

Puppet. Book of Splendor

neTTheatre are an experimental Polish physical theatre company, who here produce what they describe as ‘the Clinic of Dreams’. 

The Showstoppers' Family Matinees

The Showstoppers' Family Matinees

Showstoppers have been improvising musicals for several years now and an edited version has had a series on BBC Radio 4. 

Always Be Comedy

Always Be Comedy

The Jekyll and Hyde is a lousy venue to play: poor acoustics, bar noise and seating split so the audience is in two sections which can’t see or hear each other. 

Unlucky for Some

Unlucky for Some

Tina Macfarlane has a first in Actuarial Maths from Glasgow University - ‘A real university, not a polytechnic like Strathclyde’ - but there’s a recession on, so it’s not m… 

Kit and McConnel

Kit and McConnel

The split of a long-established duo is like a marital divorce. 

This Time It's Personal

This Time It's Personal

Dave Baucett is a puppyish like-me-pleeease comedian in his early twenties. 

Sir Gawain, the Yellow Knight

Sir Gawain, the Yellow Knight

Port Dover, a Canadian High School, brings a simple and charming cod Arthurian fable to Church Hill. 

You Are Being Lied To 2012

You Are Being Lied To 2012

David Mulholland is a former Wall Street Journal hack and this is a show driven by the passion of a good journalist for getting the story right and a hatred of bad journalism and t… 

Simon Munnery: Fylm-Makker

Simon Munnery: Fylm-Makker

‘Makar’ is a medieval Scots word for poet. 

Booking Dance Festival - Festival Showcase

Booking Dance Festival - Festival Showcase

Thanks to the vagaries of Lothian Buses I missed the first number in this multi-company showcase of short dance items. 

You Have Nothing to Fear...

You Have Nothing to Fear...

Ed O’Meara has some of the scariest flyers on the Fringe, with a teasing tag, ‘Follow Your Nightmares’. 

Our Soldier

Our Soldier

Fools Play is a young physical theatre collective reworking the Macbeth plot with a mixture of movement and script. 

Dorothy Squires: Mrs Roger Moore

Dorothy Squires: Mrs Roger Moore

First, a declaration of interest. 

Morceaux de Choix

Morceaux de Choix

As we walk into a rather austere hall at the French Institute, two girls are giggling and practicing a song. 

The Late Jake Thackray

The Late Jake Thackray

The French have a word for it, and that word is ‘chanson’. 

Grant's True Tales Presents The Liar Show

Grant's True Tales Presents The Liar Show

Fans of Would I Lie To You? will need no prompting to visit this ingenious variation on the theme of Spot the Porker, in which four storytellers by turns deliver 10-15 minute solo … 

No Turn Unstoned

No Turn Unstoned

No Turn Unstoned gives you no idea what to expect from Beth Vyse’s show. 

Working Men's Club

Working Men's Club

The title of Luke Benson and David Hardcastle’s show can easily give rise to the fear that it will be a rather patronising pastiche of working class culture for the benefit of a … 

Andrew Ryan: Ryanopoly

Andrew Ryan: Ryanopoly

You shouldn’t always believe the flyers. 

An Audience With the Duke of Windsor - Bob Kingdom

An Audience With the Duke of Windsor - Bob Kingdom

Bob Kingdom is an Edinburgh institution. 

Winston on the Run

Winston on the Run

Churchill is about the only politician in British history who can be referred to only by his first name. 

The Exonerated

The Exonerated

St Paul’s School Theatre take a series of testimonies from former Death Row prisoners in the States and, through interweaving monologues, create a powerful story of police brutal… 

Scott Agnew: Tales of the Sauna

Scott Agnew: Tales of the Sauna

Tales from the Sauna opens with a voiceover from a 1960s psychiatrist about how all gays are socially and sexually inadequate borderline pyschopaths. 

Theatre Uncut

Theatre Uncut

Theatre Uncut is a shoe-string operation aiming to provide immediate dramatic response to current crises. 

Candide

Candide

American High School Theatre Festival is a regular in Edinburgh, and there are several reasons to check them out. 

And Now for a Nice Evening With Wallan

And Now for a Nice Evening With Wallan

There was a fashionable word in the 1950s for a certain type of female performer, which was ‘kooky’. 

Back to School

Back to School

We file in crocodile formation from the Pleasance, clutching a collective length of rope to keep together. 

A Brief History of Scotland - We Done Loads!

A Brief History of Scotland - We Done Loads!

An aspect of the Fringe that is sometimes passed over is the indigenous shows for the local population, which, heaven knows, puts up with enough to deserve something good of its ow… 

The Complete History of the BBC in 60 Minutes

The Complete History of the BBC in 60 Minutes

The BBC is the Church of England of the media. 

A Tapestry of Many Threads

A Tapestry of Many Threads

A Tapestry of Many Threads is a 19-song cycle commissioned by the Dovecote Studios for its centenary from Alexander McCall Smith (words) and Tom Cunningham (music). 

A Romance of Asian and Western Classical Voice

A Romance of Asian and Western Classical Voice

Florence Foster Jenkins is alive and well and living in Edinburgh.