Edinbourgh Festival '99: Reviews - Pick of the Day

Click to follow
The Independent Culture
l Peter Straker sings Jacques Brel

The Pleasance, Venue 33, (0131-556 6550) 11.15pm, pounds 8

The set is a seedy late-night drinking hole where dynamic Diva Straker pays a stirring tribute to Jacques Brel deftly supported by accomplished musicians Churney, Hutchins and Sedge. Straker's rendition of "Next" sends shivers down your spine and the haunting "If you go away" leaves you wondering where the hour went. Superb.

l Will Self and Andrew O'Hagan on Urban Landscape in Fiction

The Gap Studio Theatre (0131-228 5444) 5.30pm, pounds 7

Writing about the pleasures and pitfalls of urban life is as old as the city itself but the subject has particular currency today in writers such as Iain Sinclair, the flaneur of old London town. Self and O'Hagan, themselves adepts of the urban(e), talk about how the built-up environment is an integral part in their work.

l The Little Match Girl

Over-Seas House, Venue 19, 11.30am, pounds 5

Dreams and magic, romance and camels are woven to create a sensitive and imaginative adaptation of Hans Christian Anderson's classic. Fulfilment and denial are delicately balanced so the conclusion relies on the interpretation of the individual. The set and costumes may be minimal but the language and action alone are enough to engage attention.

l Hoipolloi - Living Like Victor

Pleasance Two, Venue 33, (0131-556 6550) 3.40pm, pounds 7

Hoipolloi gallop through this high-energy madcap whodunnit, on the hunt for a character that was bumped off in a previous show. It has all the frenetic energy and slick prop and costume "business" that you would expect from four graduates of Ecole Jacques Lecoq. Don't spare the horses, and book the family a seat.

l Cooking With Elvis

The Assembly Rooms, Venue 3, (0131-226 2428) 4.30pm

A paralysed Elvis comes together with tortoise-eating and erections in supermarkets for Lee Hall's dark farce which takes you into one dysfunctional family's home, and explores their relationships through The King's songs. It indulges in scenes of eye-defying absurdity with some wonderful one- liners. A disturbing synthesis of tragic issues and Elvis kitsch.