Preparations begin for Edinburgh Festival 2014

Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2014 guide: The best shows to watch

From Jeremy Paxman talking about beards to 50 Shades! The Musical, we round-up the best shows to see at Edinburgh this year

The show was being performed at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Edinburgh Festival 2014: Israeli show The City pulled after pro-Palestinian protests

An Israeli show at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe has been cancelled following disruptions from pro-Palestinian demonstrators over the situation in Gaza, with another production set to face similar protests when it arrives next week.

She’s been whimsical; she’s been political. Now Josie Long is promising to get personal with Cara Josephine

Edinburgh Festival 2014: Best comedy to see from Stewart Lee to Josie Long

Bridget Christie

She will have to work hard to top A Bic for Her, which won the Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Award last year, but Christie has really hit her stand-up stride now. An Ungrateful Woman, full of more surreal flights of anger about the political and the personal, is a must-see.

2 to 25 August, The Stand (0131 558 7272)

Sofie Grabol, aka Sarah Lund, plays Queen Margaret in the third of these plays about James I, II and III of Scotland

Edinburgh Festival 2014: Best theatre shows to see from Blind Hamlet to The James Plays

The James Plays

Sofie Grabol, aka Sarah Lund, plays Queen Margaret in the third of these plays about James I, II and III of Scotland. Rona Munro’s trilogy can be watched separately or in an all-day binge. The jewel in the festival’s crown, it will transfer to London’s National Theatre in September.

10 to 22 August, Festival Theatre  (0131 473 2000)

Mark Baldwin’s new work combines Zulu traditions with classical ballet and is performed by dancers from the Royal Ballet and the Rambert

Edinburgh Festival 2014: Best dance and music from Camille O’Sullivan to Out of Water

Inala

A dance celebration of 20 years of democracy in South Africa, Mark Baldwin’s new work combines Zulu traditions with classical ballet and is performed by dancers from the Royal Ballet and the Rambert. Ladysmith Black Mambazo provide the music.

10 to 12 August, Playhouse (0131 473 2000)

Miles Allen sold out his run at the Melbourne Comedy Festival and has had more than a million hits on YouTube for his spookily accurate impressions of Walter White, Saul and Skyler

Edinburgh Festival 2014: Weirdest shows to see from One-Man Breaking Bad to 50 Shades! The Musical

Miles Allen sold out his run of One-Man Breaking Bad at the Melbourne Comedy Festival and has had more than a million hits on YouTube

Power struggle: Robert Hayward and Tanja Ariane Baumgartner in Bluebeard’s Castle

Edinburgh Festival 2013 classical review: Dido and Aeneas/Bluebeard's Castle: Lament for broken-hearted heroines

Tormented like Bartok's Mrs Bluebeard, or bereft like Purcell's Dido, it's been a tough week for the women of opera

Tom Rosenthal

My Edinburgh: Tom Rosenthal

The flyerers flyer, the actors act and the comedians comede.

Whatever Gets You Through the Night

Edinburgh 2013: Whatever Gets You Through the Night - Vignettes striving to illustrate Scotland's character

An ambitious multimedia project pulled together by director Cora Bissett and lent direction by the dramaturgy of playwright David Greig, Whatever Gets You Through the Night is an anthology of theatrical and musical vignettes which strives to illustrate the character of Scotland after dark, of the convergence of hope, despond and a sense of being out of oneself that being up and awake while the world sleeps brings.

My Edinburgh: Doc Brown, comedian

I feel something of a sham writing a piece on "My Edinburgh" this year. I am "doing" Edinburgh, a bit like Prince Harry "did" Glastonbury. I spent the first three quarters of the fest doing my fair share of sweating – mainly from the searing heat of the Caribbean, blogging for the Jamaica Tourist Board (those blogs don't write themselves) while my comic peers risked trenchfoot and mouldy lungs in the squalid basements of dampridden Scottish boozers. And now I rock up for the final week, rolling out my new show with the type of positive energy one feels after a vigorous massage.

London comic Chris Coltrane held up a photo of Putin’s naked torso and joked that if the Russian President wanted to stop the promotion of homosexuality 'maybe he should stop posing for photos like this'

Edinburgh Fringe performers stage 'comedy protest' against Russian homosexuality laws outside consulate in Scotland

Semi-naked photos of Vladimir Putin and a blast of Tchaikovsky played on an iPad formed parts of comedy protest against homophobia in Russia, staged outside the Russian Consulate General in Edinburgh today.

Nick Helm - 'One Man Mega Myth'

Edinburgh 2013: Nick Helm and John Kearns tackle failed machismo for laughs

Nick Helm: One Man Mega Myth

John Kearns: Sight Gags for Perverts

Edinburgh 2013: Waist - A well observed combination of the fantastical and prosaic

Nat comes home, drunk, to be sick in the shower; she goes back out again to take pills and have a dance. Her morbid, death-obsessed boyfriend Robert and his friend Simon, who helpfully spent the day cleaning ground-up bones out of a cremulator, stay in, sniffing glue and poppers (“mainly headaches”).

Brett Goldstein

Edinburgh 2013: Brett Goldstein: Contains Scenes of an Adult Nature

Based on his last two solo shows, you might say that the comedy actor Brett Goldstein (known for his part in Ricky Gervais' sitcom 'Derek') is preoccupied with sex. But when he has spent his formative years running his father's strip club in Marbella (the subject of his debut show) and then escaped that by going to a drama school where the company is particularly lascivious, you can hardly blame him.

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