mon 20/05/2024

Edinburgh Festival

Stefan Jackiw and Friends, Edinburgh International Festival 2023 review - focused playing, with restraint thrown to the winds

And we’re off! This concert marked the beginning not just of the 2023 Edinburgh International Festival but, perhaps more importantly, of Nicola Benedetti’s tenure in charge as the EIF’s Director. She came onstage for a chat before a note of music...

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Edinburgh Fringe 2023 reviews: The Death and Life of All of Us / Anything That We Wanted To Be / Chicken

The Death and Life of All of Us, Summerhall ★★★★Victor Esses was 16 when he first discovered his grandmother had a sister – someone the family had never discussed. It was just a year after his own first illicit visit to a gay sauna.Esses’s...

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Batiashvili, Philadelphia Orchestra, Nézet-Séguin, Edinburgh International Festival 2022 review - classy playing, mismatched programme

For the penultimate concert in the Philadelphia Orchestra’s residency at the Edinburgh Festival, the chosen repertoire was evidently considered so obscure that the box office managers didn’t even try to sell any tickets in the Usher Hall’s cavernous...

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Saul, The English Concert, Butt, Edinburgh International Festival 2022 review - properly exciting music drama

It’s not an opera, of course, but of all Handel’s oratorios, Saul is probably the one that is best suited to being presented as an actual drama. Several productions, most notably Barrie Kosky's at Glyndebourne, have shown how it can work on stage,...

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Pavel Haas Quartet, Edinburgh International Festival 2022 review - a scorching team on top form

This is the Pavel Haas Quartet’s second visit to a Scottish festival this summer. They were among the stars of the East Neuk Festival at the start of July, and they were every bit as scorching in this Edinburgh International Festival concert.The...

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The End of Eddy, Edinburgh International Festival 2022 review - powerful but lacking compassion

Those working-class people really are appalling, aren’t they? Racist, sexist, definitely homophobic, violent too. Thank god our young hero can escape their clutches into the safety of a nice, bourgeois acting academy where he can be his true self....

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Edinburgh Fringe 2022 review: The Stones

In many ways, The Stones is what the Fringe is all about: a new theatre company (London-based Signal House); a single actor; a small black-box space; just a chair, a bit of smoke and some almost imperceptible lighting changes for a staging. And with...

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Stagg, Australian World Orchestra, Mehta, Edinburgh International Festival 2022 review - Antipodeans with a global sound

The Edinburgh International Festival is playing its part in the UK/Australia Season 2021-22 (no, me neither) by hosting this concert from the Australian World Orchestra. It’s comprised of Australian musicians who play in orchestras across Europe and...

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Edinburgh Fringe 2022 reviews: Ode to Joy / Wilf

Ode to Joy (How Gordon Got to Go to the Nasty Pig Party), Summerhall ★★★★★You receive a glossary on your way in to James Ley’s high-voltage, high-camp Ode to Joy in the ancient, steeply raked lecture hall-cum-theatre of Summerhall’s Demonstration...

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Salome, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Gardner, Edinburgh International Festival 2022 review - orchestral majesty triumphs

It is quite some years, if not decades, since the Edinburgh International Festival had any claim to be a festival of staged opera. This year we have had just one – Garsington Opera’s bewitching Rusalka – surrounded by a handful of concert...

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Room, Edinburgh International Festival 2022 review - decadent, extravagant, and somewhat mystifying

"I feel I owe you an explanation." That much James Thierrée concedes partway through his sprawling, freewheeling, dream-like, hallucinatory Room in Edinburgh’s King’s Theatre. By which stage, most of the audience was probably in agreement. It’s a...

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Chineke! Chamber Ensemble / Martineau & Osborne / SCO, Marshall, Edinburgh International Festival 2022 review - great musicians, not always great music

What happens when great musicians play weak music? I couldn’t help but think about that while I listened to the musicians of Chineke! Chamber Ensemble (★★) on Friday morning in Edinburgh’s Queen’s Hall. Chineke! was founded to provide opportunities...

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