Delhi gang rape inspires Edinburgh Fringe show

Indian protestors shout anti-government slogans as they protest against the gangrape. Picture: Getty
Indian protestors shout anti-government slogans as they protest against the gangrape. Picture: Getty
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THE gang rape and murder of a student on a bus in Delhi is the basis for one of the most high-profile shows at this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

South African theatre director Yael Farber, creator of the smash-hit play Mies Julie at last year’s Fringe, is behind the new show Nirbhaya, which will have an all-Indian cast.

Assembly, which will be staging the show as the centrepiece of its theatre programme, says Nirbhaya “endeavours to address violence against women in a way that is truthful, compelling and a source of hope”.

The play, which the cast will be rehearsing in India in June, will get its world premiere in Edinburgh in August when it is staged at Assembly’s biggest venue on The Mound.

Mies Julie was widely acclaimed as one of the best theatre shows at last year’s Fringe, winning both a Scotsman Fringe First award and the prestigious Carol Tambor Award, which secured it a transfer to New York.

Assembly’s artistic director, William Burdett-Coutts, said: “The actual incident in Delhi was obviously pretty recent.

“A play about the issues it raised was suggested to Yael Farber and she was originally planning to do the play next year, but because sexual violence against women is so topical at the moment, we thought, ‘Why not try to do it this year?’.

“Mies Julie was a huge success at the Fringe and during its run in London, which is still ongoing, and it’s about to go off on a two-year international tour.”

Meanwhile, Hollywood stars Corey Feldman, best known for starring in the films The Goonies, Stand by Me and The Lost Boys, and Elizabeth McGovern, who is currently appearing in Downton Abbey, will both be in Fringe shows this year.

Feldman has been cast in the play White’s Lies, which is also part of the Assembly programme, and is coming to Edinburgh direct after a previous run on Broadway.

McGovern will be appearing with the folk-country outfit Sadie and the Hotheads in the music programme, which will also feature veteran rocker Rick Wakeman, Irish singer Brian Kennedy, long-serving BBC DJ Andy Kershaw, former Pop Idol winner Michelle McManus and a cult “air band” from France, dubbed Airnadette.

Music acts appearing at The Queen’s Hall include Admiral Fallow, Karine Polwart, King Creosote, Rachel Sermanni, Stanley Odd and Withered Hand.

Meanwhile, Alistair McGowan, Al Murray, Greg Proops, Rob Delaney, Jenny Eclair, Sean Hughes, David Baddiel and Jon Delaney are among the comedians in this year’s Fringe line-up.

Fringe veterans Guy Masterson and Steven Berkoff will both be returning to the Festival stage this year, while Edinburgh will play host to the first stage adaptation of a Lars Von Trier film, when The Boss of it All is premiered at the Pleasance, which is also hosting a hi-tech show set entirely in the dark.

Panto stars Andy Gray and Grant Stott will be playing it straight in a new play at the Gilded Balloon about two men who become friends thanks to their love of Shirley Bassey, while Fascinating Aida star Sarah-Louise Young will present the Fringe debut of her new “love letter” to Dame Julie Andrews, dubbed Julie Madly Deeply.

Fringe theatre highlights

• Nirbhaya, Assembly

Director Yael Farber’s follow-up to last year’s hit Mies Julie – tackling issues raised by the notorious gang rape and murder in Delhi.

• Airnadette, Underbelly

The world’s biggest “air band”, make their Fringe debut after bursting on to the Parisian cabaret scene five years ago.

• Kiss Me. Honey Honey!, Gilded Balloon

Panto stars Andy Gray and Grant Stott form an unlikely friendship over their love of Shirley Bassey.

• Sadie and the Hotheads, New Town Theatre

Hollywood actress Elizabeth McGovern brings her folk and country band to the Fringe.

• The Boss of it All, Assembly

World premiere adaption of Lars Von Trier’s comedy film about an out-of-work actor hired to stand in as the boss of a failing company.

• Riding the Midnight Express, Gilded Balloon

Billy Hayes recounts the story behind the film Midnight Express, about his experiences in and escape from a Turkish prison.