This is Week Zero of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, as several dozen venues start to open up around the city from the Assembly Rooms to Zoo. The cultural feast of comedy, cabaret, theatre, dance and music offers entertainment to all ages and tastes from 7th to 31st August.
The Playhouse Theatre (renowned for fabulous musicals year round), has always been a grand venue for dance companies at the Edinburgh International Festival – this year Ballett am Rhein and Ballett Zurich, as well as a concert with Max Richter and the BBC SSO.
But this year the Fringe comes to the Playhouse with an exciting programme of shows in their two distinctively different venues – the main theatre (venue 59) and The Boards Cabaret Bar (venue 59a).
With a capacity of 3,000, the Playhouse will stage the 8th edition of "Forth on the Fringe". This is described as the largest Comedy showcase including such stars as Stephen K Amos, Jason Byrne, and Jim Davidson. Compered by Boogie and Arlene of Radio Forth, this is always a sell out show, so book your tickets now.
"Wild Zebra" looks like it will be a colourful circus of music and dance performed by 150 school children from China – created by the choreographer of the 2008 Beijing Olympic ceremonies. The Gilded Balloon Fringe venue is celebrating its 30th birthday with a Comedy Gala at the Playhouse with a great line up of celebrity performers, hosted by Fred MacAuley.
The Boards is a glamorous Piano Bar upstairs which has been transformed into an intimate Cabaret space for a selection of light hearted entertainment. Having seen a sneak preview, I can warmly recommend “Desperately Young at Heart” starring Australian opera singer, Robert Hofmann. This tall, cross-dressing Diva switches from German lederhosen to sparkling gowns with a repertoire of popular songs. Mr Hofmann has a wonderful rich, baritone voice and zany comedic talent.
Also at The Boards is a play entitled "May I Have the Bill Please?" – a satirical view of eating out in Restaurants, as a couple or with friends, and the problem of settling the Bill – fairly!
And talking of food and drink, celebrate that sparkling time of day, Gin O’Clock which at the Boards means 5pm. Experience the Cocktail Hour with Edinburgh Gin - an informative and fun show presented by Brand Ambassador Ewan Angus - a vivaciously enthusiastic and knowledgeable young man - who will take you through the fascinating history of Gin from the 17th century, the Gin Craze in Britain, to the refreshing, refined taste of Gin with ice and a slice today. And of course, there will be sample tastings of the Award-winning Edinburgh Gin. Cheers!
The Playhouse at the Fringe - atgtickets.com
tel. 0844 871 3014
Venue 59 and 59A @ 18 – 22 Greenside Place, EH1 3AA