Brian Ferguson: Dark underbelly to 2013 Fringe

Bradley Manning, who grabbed headlines for his involvement in the Wikileaks scandal. Picture: AFP
Bradley Manning, who grabbed headlines for his involvement in the Wikileaks scandal. Picture: AFP
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FROM death, disaster, gang rape and domestic abuse to Anders Breivik, Jimmy Savile and Bradley Manning - there is a dark underbelly underpinning much of this year’s Fringe, which also promises to be one of the most politically-charged of recent years.

Edinburgh Fringe 2013 programme announced

The London riots, the downfall of Gordon Brown, the banking crisis and benefits cuts are all tackled in shows, while George Galloway, Tony Benn and Tom Watson are among the political figures appearing.

Scottish playwright David Greig’s new play for the Traverse - which explores how far forgiveness will stretch in the face of atrocity - has grabbed many pre-launch headlines, after he revealed it had been partly inspired by Breivik’s actions in Norway, where some of his research was carried out.

Underbelly play Chalk Farm, fellow Scot Kieran Hurley’s follow-up to his acclaimed 2012 1990s rave culture play Beats, will look at the impact of the London riots on a mother and her young teenage son.

As with Greig’s play, which makes no mention of Breivik, Making the News at the Pleasance avoids naming Savile in its exploration of a swift-moving crisis at the BBC, but he is the obvious inspiration.

An all-Indian cast will tackle issues raised by the gang rape and murder of a woman on a bus in Delhi less than a year ago. The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning, also at Pleasance, will look at how a teenager growing up in Wales became the US soldier at the centre of the Wikileaks affair.

Internationally-renowned German artist Gregor Schneider will be creating a hard-hitting new installation tackling racism and slavery issues for Summerhall. In the same programme, Our Glass House is a piece about domestic abuse to be staged in a secret residential house in the city.