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Edinburgh festivals 2015 highlights

Paul Bright's Confessions of A Justified Sinner

When Stewart Laing's Untitled Projects, who were recently turned down by Creative Scotland for Regular Funding, brought this meticulously observed show to the stage in 2013, it ostensibly told the tale of a radical young theatre director who staged a production of James Hogg's novel, Confessions of A Justified Sinner, in the 1980s before vanishing from an increasingly safe artistic scene. In actual fact, its mix of film footage, archive material and a performance by actor George Anton tapped into a hidden history of underground theatre-making in Scotland that reclaimed it in the most playfully inventive of manners. Already acclaimed internationally, Paul Bright has now been picked up by the Edinburgh International Festival for dates in the Queen's Hall, a venue integral to Anton's story.
Edinburgh International Festival, Queens Hall, August 19th-22nd


Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour

When Alan Warner's Saltire Society-winning novel, The Sopranos, appeared in 1998, it was one of the funniest, most potty-mouthed and ultimately tragic stories to come from any of the 1990s wave of writers. Following the adventures of a teenage schoolgirl choir from Oban over one day in Edinburgh, a film adaptation was mooted for several years, but has yet to appear. In light of a certain iconic TV show, this new stage version presented by the National Theatre of Scotland has seen Billy Elliot writer Lee Hall rename Warner's story for a production that marks former NTS artistic director Vicky Featherstone, now in charge of the Royal Court in London, return to the company for a play with music for a look at the lives of six devil-may-care young women on the verge of change.
Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Traverse Theatre, August 18th-30th, then on tour to Glasgow, Aberdeen, Inverness, Kirkcaldy, Musselburgh and Newcastle.


Viv Albertine with Ian Rankin – Words and Music: Memoirs of A Punk Rocker

The first time Viv Albertine came to Edinburgh was when she was the guitarist with The Slits, the all-female punk band who, along with Subway Sect, Buzzcocks and The Jam, supported The Clash at the Edinburgh Playhouse date of the headliners May 1977 White Riot tour which kick-started auld Reekie's own music scene into life. When her book, Clothes, Music, Boys, appeared, it may have charted that period with guileless candour, but it also told how Albertine dropped out of music completely for a life of domestic bliss before returning with equally warts and all album, The Vermilion Border. Albertine talks about all this and more in conversation with crime writing music fan Ian Rankin.
Edinburgh International Book Festival, August 23rd.


Tadeusz Kantor Inbetween Structures

Polish theatre director Tadeusz Kantor and his Cricot 2 company key figures of late twentieth century theatre and art. As was often the way of things in the 1960s and 1970s, Kantor was first brought to Edinburgh's attention by Richard Demarco, as a famous image of Kantor performing at Forest Hill Poorhouse in front of an audience who included a moustachioed Sean Connery makes clear. On the 100th anniversary of Kantor's birth, the Polish Institute and curator Dr Marc Glode look at the intersection between Kantor's performance and visual art work through assorted paintings, drawings, collages, gouaches,and photographs. At the show's centre, however is Attention....Painting!, a rarely seen film that won the prize for experimental film at the 1958 Venice Film Festival, and which here shows a master of what we now call cross-artform or intermedia practices, but which then saw Kantor blaze a trail as a maverick polymath in a show that follows its Edinburgh run with dates in Germany at the Polish Institute for Berlin Art.
Summerhall, August 5th-September 4th.

Bella Caledonia, June 2015

ends

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