(Siobhan Kane’s article appeared in the Irish Times, 8/29.)
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the world’s biggest arts festival, is winding to a close, and an entire city has been complicit in the endeavour. This is compounded by the International Book Festival and the Edinburgh International Festival, which take place at the same time and complement the Fringe’s range and scale.
There is a strong Irish connection with both, thanks to Fringe chief executive Shona McCarthy and the International Festival director Fergus Linehan. Here are 10 of the best things we saw this year.
Brennan Reece: Everglow Pleasance
Brennan Reece’s Fringe debut, in one of the Pleasance bunkers, is a cosy story about his tricky crossing-over from childhood into adulthood, and his hopes for retaining a kind of “everglow”. Weaving relatable observations into a very personal tale, it’s a lovely hour.
Measure for Measure Lyceum
Declan Donnellan’s arresting production, for his Cheek by Jowl company and the Pushkin Theatre of Moscow, is dazzling in its intensity. Donnellan works with a company of 13 Russian actors, and his deft handling of Shakespeare’s exploration of power, corruption and government loses nothing in translation. In fact, the Russian element only adds to this provocative meditation on the abuses of autocracy. This is physical, memorable, fast-paced theatre that packs a hefty punch.