So here we are – on the brink of the 2016 Edinburgh Festival and Fringe. A remarkable year for musical theatre as there are productions both in the EIF (Edinburgh International Festival) and of course, the Festival Fringe, writes Fiona Orr.
* Wonderman, presented by National Theatre Wales in collaboration with Gaggle Babble, promises a tasty glimpse into the creative force of Roald Dahl, born in Cardiff 100 years ago. The piece bills itself as ‘gig theatre’; a driving rock musical score exploring the labyrinth of Dahl’s mind and his stories for adults. No Matilda or Willy Wonka here!
* If you do prefer your music on the rockier side, Colin Hay (from Men At Work) premieres a new piece, Get Rid of the Minstrel, fronting an international group of musicians, continuing Hay’s renaissance as a solo performer.
* Horse McDonald is also appearing in Careful, an autobiographical piece telling her own tale of growing up in Lanark – a gay girl in a straight world. Penned by Lynn Ferguson, this is about as promising as new musical theatre can get. Not to mention one of the most distinctive voices in Scottish musical history.
Award-winners to look out for include: Stephanie Aimes’ new piece written with Teddy Clements, Tomorrow, Maybe, is billed as a song cycle exploring the lives, loves and links between people in a coffee shop. Aimes’ strength is in writing sumptuous harmonies and an eight-strong cast is sure to deliver moments to savour.
John and Gerry Kielty have teamed up once again with RCS to present Confessions of a Justified Songwriter. The Kieltys are known for witty and engaging work – if you haven’t seen their work before, prepare to become a fan along with all of us who have been converted!
Another flavour of Scotland comes from the mesmerising Mairi Campbell in a newly devised work, Pulse. Campbell’s fame nowadays is founded on her rendition of ‘Auld Lang Syne’ in the movie Sex in the City which helps keep her head and shoulders above in a field of highly accomplished musical talent. This work charts her journey through nurturing her talent and overcoming obstacles along the way. A thrilling voice to be savoured.
Crowd-pleasers include Thrones! The Musical Parody, Eurobeat (Moldova) and 9 to 5. Baby Wants Candy’s Thrones! The Musical Parody already sold out for one performance before the Fringe even began – a pity that it isn’t housed in a larger space.
Eurobeat has an all-new line-up including the glorious Rula Lenska – oh, and Lee from Steps! During the ‘Interval Act’, the audience will text vote their winners and raise funds for Waverley Care and Dickens’ Legacy.
Ken Alexander is once again directing the talented students from RCS in the no-holds-barred 9 to 5 which brings the popular movie to the stage – definite lunchtime feelgood daily!
One of the joys of the Fringe is the Free Festival – a welcome relief from the relentless super-powers with a firm grasp on the key venues across the city.
Highly recommended is Tamar Broadbent in Get Ugly – her form is sound with two brilliant previous shows. This is a talent to look out for – an engaging powerhouse in a teeny-weeny package!
WONDERMAN: Underbelly Potterrow – Topside (Venue 358)
3-28 August (except Mondays), 6.05pm
COLIN HAY GET RID OF THE MINSTREL: Gilded Balloon – Debating Hall
15-28 August, 10.30pm
HORSE MCDONALD CAREFUL: Gilded Balloon at the Museum
3-29 August (not 15), 7.30pm
TOMORROW, MAYBE: C Nova
Aug 3-14, 16-29, 3.15pm
CONFESSIONS OF A JUSTIFIED SONGWRITER: Assembly Checkpoint
4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 24, 26, 28 August, 4.05pm
PULSE – MAIRI CAMPBELL: Summerhall
3-29 August (not Mon 15 or Mon 22), 2.20pm
THRONES! THE MUSICAL PARODY: Studio 1, Assembly George Sq
3-29 August, 5pm
EUROBEAT MOLDOVA: Pleasance Grand
6-29 August (not 16/23), 9:45pm
9 to 5: Assembly Mound
4-28 August (not 15 or 22 ), 11.30am
TAMAR BROADBENT: GET UGLY: Espionage
4-28 August (not 17), 5.30pm