Trending: Five must-see shows at the Edinburgh International Festival - including The Fifth Step

Tickets for the festival go on sale to the general public this Thursday.
Scottish actor Jack Lowden will star in a play at this year's Edinburgh International Festival.Scottish actor Jack Lowden will star in a play at this year's Edinburgh International Festival.
Scottish actor Jack Lowden will star in a play at this year's Edinburgh International Festival.

First held in 1947 as the 'International Festival of Music and Drama', The Edinburgh International Festival takes place annually over the last three weeks in August and features a packed programme of music and performing arts.

This year will be the second presided over by Scottish violinist Nicola Benedetti and includes the usual disparate spread of cultural events, from American indie pop to Brazilian dance.

Here are five shows that caught our attention.

The Fifth Step

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A new David Ireland play is always something to get excited about - the playwright had a huge hit at the 2018 Edinburgh Festival Fringe with Ulster American, while Cyprus Avenue recently played to packed houses at Glasgow's Pavilion. His latest, The Fifth Step, stars Slow Horses star Jack Lowden as a recent Alcoholics Anonymous recruit. Described as 'grimly comic' it's is on at the Lyceum from August 21-25.

Oedipus Rex

This intriguing production takes Igor Stravinsky’s opera, based on the Greek tragedy about the king prophesised to kill his father and marry his mother, and turns it into a promenade performance weaving around the National Museum of Scotland. Featuring a 100-strong community chorus, it should be spectacular. It's on from August 12-19.

Grupo Corpo

Back at the festival for the first time in 14 years, legendary Brazilian dance company Grupo Corpo will bringing a little bit of Rio to the Playhouse for three performances from August 5-7. They'll be perfoming two pieces each night - Gil Refazendo pays homage to Brazilian musician Gilberto Gil, while Gira draws inspiration from Afro-Brazilian religious rituals.

The Magnetic Fields

Much-loved American indie band The Magnetic Fields will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of album '69 Songs' with two very special concerts at the Queen's Hall on August 24 and 25. They'll be playing the epic work in full, but given the 69 songs span around three hours, it'll be take two nights to get to the end.

Mahler's Fifth Symphony

This classical crowd-pleaser will be performed by the Manchester-based Hallé Orchestra at the Usher Hall on August 17. The intense work will have added poignancy as it marks conductor Sir Mark Elder’s swansong after a 24 year tenure as music director. Also featured is Lili Boulanger's Psalm 130 - a work by a composer who died at the age of just 24.



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