Edinburgh Festival

Julian Sands in a Celebration of Harold Pinter

By Lee Levitt, August 17, 2011

Nearly four decades after studying Pinter's plays for his 'O' levels at Lord Wandsworth College in Hampshire, the Hollywood actor Julian Sands paints a tender and affectionate, if somewhat airbrushed, portrait of the late Nobel laureate who he came to know socially and, in Pinter's twilight years, to befriend. 

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Meryl O'Rourke - Bad Mother...

By Lee Levitt, August 15, 2011

There's long been a debate about whether the Holocaust is a suitable subject for comedy. Meryl O'Rourke crashes through it, with this raw, deeply personal, engaging and ultimately cathartic Edinburgh debut solo show that places her family's trauma in Germany shortly before the Second World War at the heart of her racy act.

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Four For Jericho

By Lee Levitt, August 15, 2011

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has many potential ingredients for a dollop of black comedy, with generations of mutual hatred, prejudice and violence just for starters.

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When Abel Met Cain

By Lee Levitt, August 15, 2011

A nugget of a show, this, inspired by the Israel-Palestinian conflict, which combines biographical, biblical and mythological elements, and sprinkles in a measure of dark fantasy.

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The Investigation

By Lee Levitt, August 15, 2011

The wanton cruelty and depravity that reigned in the Auschwitz concentration camp is detailed with savage realism in Peter Weiss's three-hour script, which the University of Birmingham's 3Bugs Fringe Theatre have pared down to an hour in Rebecca Targett's unflinching documentary drama.

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The Flight into Egypt

By Lee Levitt, August 12, 2011

The plight of a provincial Polish-Jewish family between 1939 and 1946 is portrayed in Julian Caddy's earnest production of Julian Garner's illuminating play.

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Reshape While Damp

By Lee Levitt, August 12, 2011

Naomi Paul, an Oxford University graduate who teaches English as a foreign language, performs "persona-based comedy for a discerning audience". So says her flyer, at any rate. And when I pitched up at a rare moment when it wasn't actually damp in Edinburgh, it was a very discerning audience of four - including me.

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Andy Zaltzman: Armchair Revolutionary

By Lee Levitt, August 11, 2011

He's back, he's Jewish, and he's the only comedian with a sausage-hating Jewish dog, who used to bark whenever Yasser Arafat came on the TV. "His barkmitzvah still brings a tear to the eye," quips Zaltzman, in a six-minute off-stage warm-up before he appears in a lurid scarlet and black shirt and non-matching cords, with an arrow through his head.

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Terezin: Children of the Holocaust

By Lee Levitt, August 11, 2011

The kindest thing that can be said about "Terezin: Children of the Holocaust" is that it might have been better placed in the children's section of the Fringe programme for its didactic value. Or that as an American production, its emotional impact doesn't translate to British audiences.

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Josh Howie: I Am A Dick

By Lee Levitt, August 11, 2011

In his previous two highly successful Edinburgh shows, Josh Howie focused on his time training to be a rabbi in Jerusalem (he was ejected from the programme after being caught with a naked non-Jewish girl), and his four-year sojourn with his grandma in Arnos Grove. This year, he fancied trying something less constrained by a fixed narrative, a bit more freeform.

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