Fringe Opens with More Shows & Debuts than EverDate: 3 August 2001
The Edinburgh Fringe, the world's largest arts festival, officially opens this weekend in Scotland. Running from this Sunday 5 August to Monday 27 August, this year's event - bigger and more varied than ever - features 666 companies presenting 1,462 shows from 50 different countries.
An eclectic mix of theatre as well as stand-up comedy, dance, music, opera, children's shows, visual arts and seminars, the Fringe has a strong reputation for discovering and nurturing new stage talent. Organisers claim the theatrical line-up for 2001 is the "most impressive ever".
Certainly, there's no shortage of UK, European and British premieres. World premieres include: Steven Berkoff's never-before performed luvvies' comedy, Dahling You Were Marvellous, written over a decade ago for television and now adapted for the stage; Lynn Ferguson and Stephen Powell's comedy about flatmates and psychiatric nurses, Mental; Abi Splendour Morgan's new miracle play Tiny Dinamite, co-produced by Frantic Assembly and Paines Plough; and comedian Martin Beaumont's one-man show White Van Man about a Sun-reading, road-raging "average Englishman".
Meanwhile, Israeli writer Anat Gov's Best Friends, likened to an Israeli Art about women instead of men, receives its European premiere, as does the off-Broadway hit about convicted murderers in custody, Jesus Hopped the A Train, directed by Hollywood star of Almost Famous and Boogie Nights Philip Seymour Hoffman. And French playwright Xavier Durringer receives his UK debut with his dissection of violent youth, A Desire to Kill on the Tip of the Tongue, translated by whom many view as his British counterpart, Mark Shopping and Fucking Ravenhill.
The Fringe's older and more austere parent, the Edinburgh International Festival gets underway a week later, running from 12 August to 1 September. Renowned for opera, classical music, dance as well as some theatre, it features 161 performances of 112 productions, including four world premieres and 20 British premieres.
Other events that contribute to the general melee - the Edinburgh Film Festival, Book Festival, Jazz & Blues Festival, Visual Arts Festival and Military Tattoo - also get into full swing this month.
- by Terri Paddock