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Fritz Welch – Crystalline Chrysalis Crisis

Summerhall, Edinburgh until July 13th Four stars
Down in the basement, Glasgow-based American percussionist and international noise scene doyen has created a DIY bunker that turns the left-behind detritus of a former machine shop into the ultimate pop-cultural dungeon to hang out in. As with all temporary tenants, Welch has customised existing fixtures and fittings with his own stuff, so the result looks like a gonzo-styled Frankenstein’s monster interior pieced precariously together like a junkyard anti-IKEA.
A things-to-make-and-do vibe bursts through a riot of old sofas, big TVs perched on flight cases showing footage of Welch beating out his rhythms on the streets of Hebron in Palestine as kids follow him a la Pied Piper. On another screen, more footage, of a woman dancing on the edge of a canyon, is off-set by a blob of Blue-Tack stuck to the screen.
Spray-can graffiti smears walls with horror comic style cartoons pinned on. A4 Xeroxes are framed in an ornate glass table-top. Displa…
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David Ireland and Gareth Nicholls – Ulster American

It’s weird being Northern Irish in America. Just ask David Ireland, whose new play, Ulster American, forms one of the Traverse Theatre’s flagship in-house productions for the new writing theatre’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe season. Belfast-born Ireland’s hit play, Cyprus Avenue, originally see at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin and the Royal Court, London, has just opened in New York, and the Glasgow-trained actor turned playwright is currently the talk of the town.
Whether any of Ireland’s experiences in the big apple being feted for Cyprus Avenue’s brutally funny yarn about an ageing loyalist fanatic who believes his five-week-old grand-daughter to be Gerry Adams have trickled down into his new play isn’t clear. Ireland’s fleeting meeting with Keanu Reeves in 2009 when the Matrix star turned up at a production of Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard Ireland was appearing in definitely hasn’t, he says. As Ulster American’s trio of an ambitious London theatre director, an Oscar-winning Hollywood st…

Maria Alyokhina – Pussy Riot: Riot Days

Maria Alyokhina was detained by Russian police the day she was supposed to talk to the Herald. As one of the three members of Pussy Riot who were imprisoned for hooliganism in 2012 after performing an anti-government action in Moscow’s Orthodox Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, Alyokhina is used to such adverse attention.
Alyokhina was supposed to be talking about Riot Days, the punk theatre performance piece drawn from her book of the same name. Part memoir of A Punk Prayer, the 40-second Moscow performance that resulted in a trial and incarceration, part part call-to-arms, Riot Days is currently touring the world. With Alyokhina at the show’s centre, three other performers, including members of underground Russian band, Asian Women on the Telephone, help thrash out a sense-assaulting mash-up of sound and vision.
Next month, Alyokhina, Pussy Riot and Riot Days arrive in Edinburgh for a ten-night run prior to a short UK tour. This comes following a thrilling show at Glasgow School of Ar…