Edinburgh Festival; Day 3

Day planner: Wednesday 16 August; The Best of the Fest selected by our critics
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The Independent Culture
The Smallest Cinema in the World A mini-cinema in the Pleasance courtyard, with real MGM seats, and showing "microbusters". All day. Pleasance (venue 33), 60 The Pleasance, 0131-556 6550

Asterix Fun and Games Competitions and puzzles based around the indomitable Gaul. 10am. Book Fest, Charlotte Sq Gdns, 0131-220 3990

Alicia de Larrocha The veteran Spanish pianist plays works by Soler, Granados and Schumann (Carnaval). 11am. Queen's Hall, Clerk St. EIF Box- office: 0131-225 5756

Reader Ariel (Death and the Maiden) Dorfman's new play is the tale of a censor who discovers he is trying to ban his own life story. 12noon. Traverse (venue 15), Cambridge St, 0131-228 1404

Pasta with Chopsticks The children's theatre group Shoestring Players with a "Best of" compilation of their previous work. 12.45pm. Pleasance (venue 33), 60 The Pleasance, 0131-556 6550

Big Time A snappy lament over the commercialisation of British football, Big Time follows a small club on its way to winning the Coca-Cola Cup, the Body Shop Cup and the Mothercare Cup. 2.45pm. Gilded Balloon (venue 38), 233 Cowgate, 0131-226 2151

Women in Uniform Mel and Sue, the stars of last year's sell-out Kittens Go Grrr!!, play at being policewomen. 4pm. Pleasance (venue 33), 60 The Pleasance, 0131-556 6550

Jane Gardam, Barbara Trapido and Alain de Boton The authors discuss love and romance in their novels. 5pm. Book Fest, Charlotte Sq Gdns, 0131- 220 3990

Sir Charles Mackerras The conductor in conversation with Conrad Wilson. 5pm. Royal Lyceum, Grindlay St. EIF Box-office: 0131-225 5756

20/52 Latest work from the Grassmarket Project, which for some years now has used real people to make theatre. 20/52 tells the story of Stephanie Lightfoot Bennet's attempt to investigate her brother's alleged suicide in a police cell. She plays herself. 5.30pm. Traverse (venue 15), Cambridge St, 0131-228 1404

Jeffrey Dahmer is Unwell Men Behaving Badly meets Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer in this cracking three-act sick-com. 6.45pm. Gilded Balloon II (venue 51), Stepping Stones, 112 West Bow, 0131-225 6520

Scott Capurro's Love and Affection Tour Such a nice boy. Last year he won the Perrier best newcomer award with Risk Gay, this year he's searching for love with a more conventional show. 6.50pm. Pleasance (venue 33), 60 The Pleasance, 0131-556 6550

Richard Herring Is All Man Unrepentantly puerile rites-of-passage down Somerset way - laugh at the planet Uranus and you'll laugh at Herring. Wonderful. 7pm. Pleasance (venue 33), 60 The Pleasance, 0131-556 6550

The Umbilical Brothers Delightfully off-the-wall Australian mime artists who bring cartoon-style chaos into the theatre. 7pm. Gilded Balloon (venue 38), 233 Cowgate, 0131-226 2151

Rose Tremain The author of Restoration gives the Post Office lecture. 7.15pm. Book Fest, Charlotte Sq Gdns, 0131-220 3990

The Jacobin Second, and last, performance of Dvorak's lighthearted tale of a family schism, performed by Scottish Opera. 7.15pm. Festival Theatre, Nicolson St. EIF Box-office: 0131-225 5756

Badlands A duet of plays that begins in the Nevada desert with a journalist's attempt to photograph the mushroom cloud, and ends God knows where, with a demented, dangerous, indescribable finale. 7.15pm. Greyfriars Kirkhouse (venue 28), Candlemaker Row, 0131-225 3626

I Was Looking at the Ceiling and Then I Saw the Sky Peter Sellars directs the European premiere production of a new opera about the impact of the Los Angeles earthquake by John (Nixon in China) Adams. 7.30pm. Royal Lyceum, Grindlay St. EIF Box-office: 0131-225 5756

George Balanchine's The Nutcracker Last chance to see Miami City Ballet dancing the choreographer's work. Compare and contrast with Mark Morris's version of Tchaikovsky's ballet, The Hard Nut, on the 29th. 7.30pm. Playhouse, Greenside Place. EIF Box-office: 0131-225 5756

Violent Night One office, two security guards and a claustrophobic confrontation. Tight, brooding and impressive. 7.50pm. C (venue 19), Over-seas House, 10 Princes Street, 0131-225 5105

Mark Morris Five shorts from the incomparable American dance group. 8pm. King's Theatre, Leven St. EIF Box-office: 0131-225 5756

Savlon 2000 How did Jimmy Savile help to invent the life-saving antiseptic cream? The ever more assured Harry Hill explains. 8.05pm. Pleasance (venue 33), 60 The Pleasance, 0131-556 6550

Chekhov Anecdotes Never has Chekhov produced such vodka-swilling hilarity as with Kiev-based Theatre on Podol's loose interpretation of The Bear. 8.35pm. Moray House Union (venue 168), 37 Holyrood Rd, 0131-556 0102

The Neon Bible Terence Davies's Hollywood debut as director, set in the Southern Bible Belt and starring Gena Rowlands, divided audiences at Cannes. 9.30pm. Cameo 1, 38 Home St, 0131-467 7664.

The Mambo Club of Edinburgh African, reggae, Latin, salsa, soca, calypso and souk music. Dance. 10pm to 4am. Mambo Club (venue 75), West Tollcross, 0131-229 0469 (info)

Curtains Lano and Woodley, last year's surprise winners of the Perrier Award, return from Down Under with more high-octane slapstick. Terrific. 10.10pm. Assembly Rms (venue 3), 54 George St, 0131-226 2428

Diane Ford Sex, marriage and the American woman. Supremely polished, no-prisoners "road" comic from Minnesota. Heckle and die. 10.3pm. Assembly rooms (venue 3), 54 George St, 0131-226 2428

Sir Bernard Chumley Is Dead... and Friends Imagine a hardcore porn version of That's Life!. Sir Bernard does. Perverse thesping from the rotund boy maniac. 12 m'nt. Assembly Rms (venue 3), 54 George St, 0131-226 2428

Late 'n' Live The city's number one late-night festival hangout. Over- priced and over-crowded, but somehow unavoidable. 1am. Gilded Balloon (venue 38), 233 Cowgate, 0131-226 2151

Gruntin' 'n' Guzzlin' Fringe favourites the Honkin' Hepcats play some boppy jive and talk about fish and Southern food. A lively way to wind down. 1am. Pleasance (venue 33), 60 The Pleasance, 0131-556 6550

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