Edinburgh Festival `99: Pick of the Day

IF YOU GO TO SEE ANYTHING TODAY, THEN CHOOSE FROM ONE OF THESE FIVE MUST-SEE SHOWS
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The Independent Culture
Farces: Fantasia

Assembly Rooms, Venue 2 (0131-226 2428), 4.45pm, pounds 8

This is clowning as art: the show takes the audience to an imaginary park, picking up thematic strands from the characters there and weaving them into a lyrical tapestry. You build up a relationship with each character, laughing with compassion as well as admiration when they perform their cleverly co-ordinated physical feats. Truly fantastic.

Free and Easy

The Stand Comedy Club, Venue 5, free, (0131-558 7272) 1.30pm, free

The ideal way to spend your afternoon. Enter the lower depths of the leopard-clad Stand Comedy Club; the atmosphere is relaxed and friendly, the food is excellent, and the entertainment is free. And it's none the worse for that, either. Variety is the order of the day at The Stand: magic, poetry and comedy all vie for attention.

The Midnight Show

Assembly Rooms Music Hall (0131-226 2428), midnight, pounds 10

One of the 1999 Perrier nominees, Terry Alderton, ventriloquist David Strassman, Irish raconteur Owen O'Neill and Australian talent Greg Fleet are all on one bill tonight. The show is hosted by John Gordon Sinclair, the star of Gregory's Girl Too. So, if you've ever felt cheated by Festival prices, The Midnight Show is the place to redress the balance.

The Cruise

Filmhouse, Lothian Road ( 0131-623 8030), 10.30pm

Bennett Miller's documentary follows the eccentric New York tour guide Timothy Levitch, whose performance at the microphone of a Grey Line bus transcends the tourist cliches, offering an irreverent, literate, frenetic take on life in his city. The film skilfully captures Levitch's genius but also his tormented soul. Challenging, disturbing, but very funny.

Infinite Number of Monkeys

Gilded Balloon II Wee Room (0131-226 2151), 3.45pm, pounds 6

This surly, youthful double-act take various laws of probability and science to the furthest corners of the bizarre. For example: an infinite number of monkeys and an infinite number of typewriters will eventually write the complete works of Shakespeare and would include one of the highlights of this show, Romeo and Julian.

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