Edinburgh International Festival: 4 theatre highlights for 2022

Scotsman theatre critic Joyce McMillan picks her must-see shows from this year’s Edinburgh International Festival programme

The Book of Life
The Book of Life

Medea, The Hub, 10-28 August

Former Royal Shakespeare Company artistic director Michael Boyd returns to Scotland to direct the National Theatre of Scotland’s much-anticipated revival of Liz Lochhead’s magnificent version of Medea, first seen in 2000. Actress and playwright Adura Onashile stars as the raging granddaughter of the gods, rejected by the hero Jason – the father of her young sons – in favour of a new marriage to a younger woman.

The Book Of Life, Church Hill Theatre, 13-16 August

Alan Cumming is set to star as Robert Burns in his solo dance theatre debut during the Edinburgh International Festival PIC: Edinburgh International Festival

With Rwanda and its traumatic past once again in the news, Rwandan artist and activist Odile Gakire Katese of the Woman Cultural Centre, Rwanda, works with Volcano Theatre of Canada to create and perform her own spectacular show about genocide and healing. In a show that dwells on life rather than loss, Katese is accompanied by the thrilling Ingoma Nshya, Women Drummers of Rwanda, who have broken with tradition to empower women to take part in this most exhilarating and liberating of musical art-forms.

Burn, King’s Theatre, 4-10 August

Alan Cumming stars in his own brand-new retelling of the life of Scotland’s national poet Robert Burns, a dance theatre piece co-created with choreographer Steven Hoggett, and featuring the music of composer, performer and Scottish Album of the Year winner Anna Meredith. Co-produced by EIF with the National Theatre of Scotland and The Joyce Theater, New York, the show promises to tear up the shortbread-tin image of Burns’s story, and to focus on the epic struggles both practical and psychological that shaped his short and vivid life.

You Know We Belong Together, Lyceum Theatre, 24-27 August

The Lyceum hosts one of the popular smash-hits of recent Australian theatre, as writer and performer Julia Hales, with an eight-strong West Australian cast, tells the story of how she – a Perth-based actress with Downs Syndrome – finally achieved her life’s ambition to join the cast of much-loved Australian soap opera Home and Away. Described as a live documentary, and set in Home and Away’s famous Summer Bay Diner, the show combines universal themes of love, friendship and ambition with a profound insight intro the frustrations of living with Downs Syndrome; and like Counting And Cracking, it appears in Edinburgh as part of the UK/Australia 2022 celebration.

For more information, and to book tickets, visit www.eif.co.uk