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Take Ten ... Edinburgh Fringe Twists on Shakespeare

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You don't head to the Edinburgh Fringe and expect to queue up for the Royal Shakespeare Company. However, no drama festival would be complete without a large dose of the bard. At the 2011 Fringe, the man from Stratford is - as per usual - on offer in a variety of guises, be they adaptations of his classics, explorations of his themes, opportunities to pun and/or simply cheap gags. If you're hankering to brush up your Shakespeare, you could start with some of the following.

1) Tis I, Shakespeare the Brit

In tis clever comedy, a modern Elizabethan scholar is greeted by Shakespeare himself. Mysteries and misconceptions about the playwright are addressed in a show full of sarcasm, satirical wit and notable quotations. C eca, 3-29 August, 12:50.

2) 3D Hamlet: A Lost Generation

This multimedia production boasts a cast including Hollywood star Alec Baldwin - well, virtually, at least. The play aims to use Shakespeare's Hamlet to reflect "a younger generation that's lost in Europe and the US right now, over-educated but lost in translation a little bit, looking for a job amidst all this corruption". Whether it's to be or not to be a hit is another question. TheSpaces on the Mile, 5-27 August, 20:40.

3) A Mid-semester Night’s Dream (For Puck’s Sake)

For Puck's sake ... we like that! But that's about the limit of the Elizabethan lingo you're likely to have to deal with in this romp about a group of drama students live together in halls and are forced to deal with raging hormones, spiked drinks, love, jealousy, revenge, mischief and utter confusion. TheSpaces on the Mile, 5-13 August, 17:05.

4) Another Macbeth

Everyone's got blood on their hands as Flatpacktheatre go to the cold, dark heart of Shakespeare’s tragedy. Here, the Weyward Sisters direct the cast of their travelling show production of Macbeth while they themselves depict the spirits, witches and peripheral characters that drive the drama forward. A disturbing story within a more disturbing story. Quaker Meeting House, 15-20 August, 14:15.

5) Antony and Cleopatra

Shakespeare's tragedy about a company in love and at war is adapted and performed in a contemporary style by The Grads. When Antony's wife dies, he's free to make his relationship with Cleopatra official. But for political reasons, he marries elsewhere. Quaker Meeting House, 15-20 August, 20:15.

6) Love’s Labour Lost and Found

Another play whose bard association starts and ends with the title. Ever lost an argument you felt you could have won? Ever found you've let the one you love just slip through your fingers? Come along to regain, regroup and laugh it all off. C eca, 17-29 August, 22:55.

7) Suddenly Shakespeare

Sixteen actors present four Shakespearian classics in just 60 minutes; The Tempest, Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth and Twelfth Night. Prepare for your perception of Elizabethen drama to forever altered. Church Hill Theatre, 19-22 August, 18:15.

8) Much Ado About Nothing: The Dogberry Diaries

And you thought the bickering Benedick and Beatrice were the stars of the show. Think again. Shakespeare's original comedy is retold from the perspective of the the hapless nightwatchman Dogberry in this new folk adaptation performed with lots of humour and a Norfolk dialect. Henderson's Vegetarian Restaurant and Arts Venue, 11-13 August, 10:30.

9) Ophelia

In this adaptation of Hamlet, the prince's tragic one-time lover Ophelia takes centre stage. With a fresh female interpretation, and a shake-up in chronology, this play aims to show the story how it has never been seen before. TheSpaces on the Mile, 15-27 August, 17:05.

10) Othello?

The clue is in the question mark. Was the jealousy-fuelled triangle of Othello, Desdemona and Iago really a tragedy? Not according to Deus Ex Machina Productions, who here make the case for the play as the quintessential black comedy instead. Gryphon Venues at the Point Hotel, 5-20 August, 16:30.


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