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Jon Teamlaverne Jon Teamlaverne | 11:43 UK time, Thursday, 12 August 2010

So, the Edinburgh Festival... The 'festival' is actually a series of festivals. There's the International Festival which is more highbrow - theatre, opera, dance and classical music from around the world. There's the book festival, the film festival, the TV festival and then there's the Fringe. The Fringe is what most people think of when they think of the festival - it's dominated by comedy these days, but there's also a lot of theatre, dance and music spread out across the city at hundreds of venues throughout the day and night. The Fringe runs until August 30th.


If you're thinking of going, you'll want to get hold of a copy of the Fringe programme - as there's so much going on though it can be pretty daunting reading, so here's a few tips from me...


Musical Comedy...


There's been a big resurgence in musical comedy lately. What was once deemed quite naff has now, in the wake of the success of the Flight of the Conchords, become pretty hip. There's now a Musical Comedy Awards and there's a crop of people on the Fringe this year who are pushing the boundaries in interesting directions.


Already being talked up a lot are two rap related comedians Doc Brown and Abandoman. Doc is a rapper turned stand up who also happens to be Zadie Smith's brother. His show Unfamous is on at the Pleasance at 7pm every night. Abandoman are a duo from Ireland - a guitarist and a rapper who entirely improvise their show every night. Described as 'Flight of the Conchords meets 8 Mile', it's pretty brave but when I saw it, it really worked. They're on at Pleasance at 9.45pm.


Also worthy of a mention are Frisky and Mannish who stormed it last year and could well do again this year (Underbelly 9.00pm), Axis of Awesome - a band of musical comedians from Australia (Gilded Balloon Teviot 7.45pm) and Dead Cat Bounce - an Irish spoof rock band (Gilded Balloon Teviot 9.45pm).


And of course, you can see DJ Danny downstairs at The Tron at 10.20pm on the 11th and 12th August.


Musical comedians don't normally tend to win the main comedy award but this could be the year.




Theatre sometimes gets ignored at the Festival as all the publicity focuses on comedy. Sitting in the middle of the Venn diagram between comedy and theatre is Daniel Kitson, who's performing at the Traverse in his new show It's Always Right Now, Until It's Later, not quite stand up, more storytelling is what the former Perrier winner goes in for these days. It's on from Aug 12th, shockingly, it's at 10am - way before most people on the Fringe get up, indeed only a short time after most of them go to bed.


Very definitely theatrical is the world premiere of a production of Hemmingway's novel The Sun Also Rises, being performed by cool New York theatre ensemble Elevator Repair Service. It's on from 14th-17th August as part of the International Festival (Royal Lyceum Theatre 7.30pm) and also generating a bit of buzz if Beautiful Burnout at the Pleasance - a piece by physical theatre company Frantic Assembly all about boxing. Viseceral is the word apparently (Pleasance 7.30pm)




In honour of it being Science Week on 6Music, I thought I'd pick out some science based shows that caught my eye.


Quite a few of them also fall under the musical comedy banner. There's Baba Brinkman who is doing The Rap Guide to Evolution which was a big hit at the festival last year (Gilded Ballon Teviot 20th - 29th, not 23rd at 12.30pm). Darwin seems to be pretty popular for musical re-workings. Steve Pretty is doing a show called Origin of the Pieces - which is an exploration of the evolution of music from prehistoric flute to Jedward (GRV 2.40pm) and, on an indie tip, indie stalwart and favourite of Lamacq, MJ Hibbert from MJ Hibbert and the Validators is staging a two man rock opera called Dinosaur Planet that sounds good (GRV until 14th 12.00pm).


And finally, it's not science, but parascience - there's been a bit of psychic-based controversy - Assembly, one of the biggest venues are putting on a psychic medium called Joe Power (Assembly Hall 4pm).


Now, comedians are a fairly sceptical bunch and he was actually booed and heckled off stage at the press launch. And, coincidentally, over the over side of town, Tom Binns who created the award nominated Ivan Brackenbury Hospital Radio DJ character has a new character - Ian D Mountford, a medium from Sunderland (Pleasance 2.15pm). Apparently he's learned all the 'tricks' mediums used and is genuinely freaking people out. Interesting head to head - the 'real medium' versus the 'fake' one.


Find out more about the Fringe and about the international festival.



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