2004 Edinburgh Fringe Opens This Weekend, 8 AugDate: 6 August 2004
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the world's largest arts festival, gets under way in the Scottish capital this weekend (See News, 10 Jun 2004). The 58th annual event opens this Sunday 8 August 2004 and continues until 30 August, during which time some 25,326 performances (an increase of nearly 4,000 from last year) of 1,695 different shows will be presented in 236 venues, involving 15,629 performers from 735 companies hailing from around the world.
This year's theatrical highlights on the Fringe include the already West End-bound revival of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, starring Hollywood actor Christian Slater; new plays by Jonathan Harvey (Taking Charlie) and Marie Jones (The Blind Fiddler); Fatboy, the latest from director/writer John Clancy, whose Americana Absurdum was recently seen at Londonís Menier Chocolate Factory and whose new play stars comedian Mike McShane; new plays by comedians Owen O'Neill (Finding Mick Jagger), Scott Capurro (Loaded) and Jenny Eclair (The Andy Warhol Syndrome); Shockheaded Peter collaborators The Tiger Lillies in a lurid new operetta, Punch and Judy; a world premiere stage adaptation of a Tom Stoppard screenplay for Galileo, written in 1970 but never filmed; and even a stage adaptation of Jeffrey Archerís Prison Diary.
Thereís also a one-woman show from Nancy Cartwright, the voice behind Bart in The Simpsons, called My Life as a 10-year-old Boy; two one-man offerings from fringe giant Steven Berkoff, Requiem for Ground Zero and Edgar Allen Poeís The Tell Tale Heart; Sex, Drugs and Sausage Rolls; the world premiere of The BBC, Andrew Gilligan and Me by Chris Neill; Kenneth Ė What is the Frequency? by New York-based 74th Street Theatre Lab (creators of last yearís award-winning Boy Steals Train); Bang Bang Youíre Dead from Tectonic Theater (creators of 2002ís Laramie Project); and the last-ever UK performances of XXX, the explicit and highly controversial sex show from Spainís La Fura dels Baus.
As usual, the Fringe also features no end of unusual venues and shows, including this yearís Curry Tales performed in an Indian restaurant, A Mobile Thriller that takes place in a Maserati sportscar, and, at the Cowgate Theatre, Mark Watsonís stand-up which heíll do for 24 hours non-stop, making it the longest show in the festivalís history.
A third of all the shows presented at the 2004 Fringe are world premieres, with another 6% European and 6% UK premieres. Theatre, including musicals, comprises 35% of the entire programme, making it the most popular art form of all.
More than half a million people plan their August holidays each year around a trip to Edinburgh. Though commonly seen as one single festival, the event is in reality several different festivals - the main ones being the original Edinburgh International Festival (running this year from 15 August to 5 September 2004), the Edinburgh Fringe, the Military Tattoo, the Jazz Festival, the Film Festival and the Book Festival - of which the Fringe is, by far, the largest.
- by Terri Paddock