Edinburgh Festival: Day planner Thursday 17 August

The Best of the Fest selected by our critics

The Smallest Cinema in the World A mini-cinema in the Pleasance courtyard, with real MGM seats, and showing "microbusters". Like the well tasty Pub Fiction. All day. Pleasance (venue 33), 60 The Pleasance, 0131- 556 6550

The Iceman Likeable loon who carves a variety of objects out of a block of ice while making puns on the letters I, C and E. When the Iceman came first time round, he was on the fringe of the fringe of the fringe. Now he's at the Pleasance. That's the festival for you. Have a n-ice day. 11am. Pleasance (venue 33), 60 The Pleasance, 0131-556 6550

Wolfgang Holzmair The baritone sings songs by Schubert and Duparc, plus Faure's La Bonne Chanson. 11am. Queen's Hall, Clerk Street. EIF Box-office: 0131- 225 5756

Richard Holmes and Claire Tomalin A chance to meet two of Britain's most respected literary biographers. 11am. Book Fest, Charlotte Sq Gdns, 0131- 220 3990

The Big Book for Girls Last year's hilarious cod-1930s gymslip hit is now even darker, naughtier and more astonishing. 2.05pm. Assembly Rooms (venue 3), 54 George St, 0131-226 2428

Peasouper Rejects Revenge follow last year's winningly daffy slice of antique English derring-do. Features a train-roof fight on stage. 4pm. Bedlam (venue 49), 2A Forrest Road, 0131-225 9893

Le Fauve Lovers of lion-taming-style motorbike acts will love this lion- taming-style motorbike act. 5.30pm. Cirque Surreal (venue 109), The Meadows, Melville Drive

Stuck in the Middle Parrot contemplates suicide while God and the Devil (the voices of Jo Brand and Greg Proops) advise. A playlet which pushes comedy to a new level of mournfulness. 6.30pm. Gilded Balloon (venue 38), 233 Cowgate, 0131-226 2151

Scott Capurro's Love and Affection Tour In 1994 he won the Perrier Newcomer: 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 double-act. Frenetic mime artists who bring cartoon-style chaos into the theatre. 7pm. Gilded Balloon (venue 38), 233 Cowgate, 0131-226 2151

Russlan and Ludmila The Kirov Opera, conducted by Valery Gergiev, give a concert performance of Glinka's opera. 7pm. Usher Hall, Lothian Road. EIF Box-office: 0131-225 5756

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

Lanark Glasgow's Tag Theatre, who had a huge hit in 1993 with A Scot's Quair, adapt for the stage Alasdair Gray's rich and strange (too rich and strange for some) modern Scottish classic, Lanark. 7.30pm. Assembly Hall. EIF Box-office: 0131-225 5756

Steven Berkoff The actor-director reads from and reflects on his autobiographical new book, Overview. 7.30pm. Book Fest, Charlotte Sq Gdns, 0131-220 3990

Trainspotting Irvine Welsh's account of Edinburgh's druggy lowlife brought to the stage in Harry Gibson's Citizens Theatre production. 8pm. Assembly Rms (venue 3), 54 George St, 0131-226 2428

The Best of the Fest 1 Isn't it a bit early to start talking about the best of the festival? Anyway, here's a chance to see Jack Dee with Richard Morton and Musselburgh's finest, Rhona Cameron. 8pm, Playhouse (venue 59), Greenside Pl, 0131-557 2590

Klatwa (The Curse) Poland's Wierszalin company ditch the puppets and acquire the hurdy-gurdy for their dark ritualised tale of forbidden love. 8pm. Theatre Workshop (venue 20), 34 Hamilton Place, 0131-226 5425

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

Best of Scottish Comedy Exactly what it says. 9.15pm.Gilded Balloon II (venue 51), Stepping Stones, 112 West Bow, 0131-225 6520

Boothby Graffoe Brilliant visual gags from the man with the exploding pulp kitchen, aka the Heath Robinson of comedy (with a touch of the Norman Bates). 9.25pm. Pleasance (venue 33), 60 The Pleasance, 0131-556 6550

Prozac and Tantrums Business as usual for self-confessed bitch Jenny Eclair. 9.30pm. Pleasance (venue 33), 60 The Pleasance, 0131-556 6550

Diane Ford Sex, marriage and the American woman. Supremely polished, no-prisoners "road" comic from Minnesota. Heckle and die. 10.30pm. Assembly rooms (venue 3), 54 George St, 0131-226 2428

I Was an Alien Sex God John Constable drops acid, becomes a double agent for strange organisations and tries to avoid shagging David Bowie. Mind- blowingly weird. 11.05pm. Hill St Theatre (venue 41), 19 Hill St, 0131- 226 6522

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

Parrot Uncaged Late-night slot for the comedy hardman. 12.15am. Gilded Balloon II (venue 51), Stepping Stones, 112 West Bow, 0131-225 6520

Club Latino Latin sounds. Doors open midnight. 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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