THE SCOTSMAN’S arts correspondent Brian Ferguson picks out some early highlights from the biggest ever Fringe programme.
• The Animotion Show, George Heriot’s School: Scotland’s percussionist superstar Dame Evelyn Glennie will join forces with Russian artist Maria Rud top stage a series of spectacular shows in the grounds of the historic school.
• The Titanic Orchestra, Pleasance: John Hannah, the star of Four Weddings and a Funeral, Sliding Doors and The Mummy, makes his first stage appearance in Scotland for almost 25 years as a mysterious illusionist in an adaptation of a little-known Bulgarian play.
• Ricky Tomlinson, Assembly Rooms: A rare chance to hear from one of Britain’s leading screen stars as he relives his long acting career and his claims of being wrongly jailed due to an establishment conspiracy.
• Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour, Traverse Theatre: The potential dream team of author Alan Warner, Billy Elliot’s creator Lee Hall and Vicky Featherstone, former artistic director of the National Theatre of Scotland, take on the cult Scottish novel The Sopranos.
• Sweet Dreams: Songs by Annie Lennox, Assembly George Square: Australian singer brings his Adelaide Fringe hit paying tribute to one of Scotland’s most iconic singers to her home audience.
• Walking the Tightrope, Underbelly: Twelve months on from the cultural boycott of Israeli performers at the Fringe, and the subsequent Charlie Hebdo terror attack, a host of Britain’s leading playwrights tackle issues of freedom of expression and censorship.
• The Money, City Chambers: A show with no actors, or even a script, but an intriguing concept - audience members will spend the entire show debating what to spend a pile of their own cash on.
• Gilded Balloon 30th anniversary Gala, Edinburgh Playhouse: Adam Hills and Fred MacAulay host an array of performers to make their names at the famous venue, including Alan Davies, Johnny Vegas, Sean Hughes, Jason Byrne and Greg McHugh.
• Polyphony, Summerhall: Comedian Daniel Kitson’s fans are already scrambling tickets to see his latest theatre work, premiered in Melbourne earlier this year, which sees 20 audience members given iPods and speakers which they must all turn on simultaneously.
• Set Menu with Hardeep Singh Kohli, VDeep: The Glasgow comic tackles gripes about the lack of Fringe action in Leith with a cookery and conversation show in his new brand new restaurant.
• The Litvinenko Project, Summerhall: The audience will be asked to gather in the main cafe at the venue to relive the day the former Russian spy was poisoned after drinking tea laced with radioactive polonium.
• The Missing Hancocks, Assembly Rooms: Actor Neil Pearson, who discovered scripts of recordings of the classic comedy Hancock’s Half Four, which were missing from the BBC’s archives, joins forces with Pirates of the Caribbean star Kevin McNally to bring them back to life.