Standing up to be counted: David Baddiel has a new Edinburgh show

Edinburgh 2013 review: David Baddiel - Fame: Not the Musical, Assembly George Square

Given that David Baddiel's first stand up show for 16 years apparently arose out of an educational talk, the George Square Theatre (a lecture hall for the rest of the year), is a venue match made in heaven. It's also a far cry from the comedian's Wembley Arena days of rock n' roll comedy.

Phoebe Waller-Bridge in Fleabag

Edinburgh 2013 review: Fleabag, Underbelly, Cowgate

The last time Phoebe Waller-Bridge appeared on stage, in Jack Thorne’s Mydidae, she was naked in a bathroom and going through her ablutions. In her hot new solo show for Edinburgh, she’s no less startling or revealing but she does keep her clothes on.

Edinburgh 2013 review: Andrew Lawrence: There Is No Escape, Pleasance Courtyard

"Who wishes they were dead?" As stand up's leading exponent of misanthropy and misery, Andrew Lawrence tends to go beyond the stock 'What's your name and where are you from?' audience interrogation. But fear not, if you cannot muster the requisite amount of depression and disappointment, the ginger ninja nihilist will supply it for you.

Ian Grieve as The Leader in the Confessions of Gordon Brown.

Edinburgh 2013 review: The Confessions of Gordon Brown, Pleasance Courtyard

“One year mair, one year less,” rumbles Gordon Brown, thinking back to the homespun sayings of his hometown of Kirkcaldy - this one a somewhat cynical birthday greeting.

Wardens by Darren Richman: Starring Paul Putner, Colin Hoult, Vikki Stone, Nish Kumar, Steve McNeil and Thom Tuck.

My Edinburgh: Wardens playwright Darren Richman on why dying is easy, but comedy is hard

The last words of the actor Edmund Kean are alleged to have been “dying is easy, comedy is hard.” He passed away (with relative ease) in 1833, more than a century before the outbreak of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. One can only envy his good fortune and wonder what he’d make of the mayhem that unfolds every August in Scotland’s capital.

Howling woof: Terence Blacker

My Village and Other Aliens: Terence Blacker's confessions of a Fringe virgin

Independent columnist Terence Blacker makes his Edinburgh Festival debut this week with a show of storytelling and songs. He reveals the pain and pleasure of creating a work for the stage rather than the page

Dragon’s den: John van der Put and Mr Piffles are a deadpan double act

Edinburgh Festival: Piff the Magic Dragon and the lunatic Fringe

Unlikely magician Piff the Magic Dragon is set to fire up this year's Edinburgh Festival. Brian Logan meets him and his lovely chihuahua assistant

Edinburgh Festival preview: Theatre - The Events, Soloman and Marion and Making News

The Events is set to cause a stir at the Traverse (traverse.co.uk, Wed to 25 Aug): David Greig's new play contemplates a politically motivated attack and the limits of forgiveness.

Edinburgh Festival preview: Dance - Rite of Spring, Édouard Lock and LA Dance Project

Dance Odyssey is a new scheme whereby you can see a clutch of performances, films or talks on one ticket. Worth a look is Christopher Hampson's Rite of Spring (Festival Theatre, eif.co.uk, 18 Aug), and Scottish Ballet's world premiere of a work by king of speed, Édouard Lock (16 Aug).

Edinburgh Art Festival preview: Visual Arts - Franz West, Peter Doig and Nam June Paik

"It doesn't matter what art looks like," said the Austrian Franz West (Platonic Moon, 2003). His work with other artists is the subject of Mostly West at Inverleith House (rbge.org .uk, to 22 Sept).

Edinburgh Festival preview: Classical - Ludus Baroque, Marc Minkowski, Les Musiciens du Louvre Grenoble and Oper Frankfurth

Ludus Baroque performs Bach's B Minor Mass in Canongate Kirk (canongatekirk.org.uk, 8 Aug), while Marc Minkowski and Les Musiciens du Louvre Grenoble survey Schubert's symphonies at the Usher Hall (usherhall.co.uk, 14 and 15 Aug).

20. Felicity Ward, Udderbelly Pasture: 'I really wanted kids when I was in my early 20s but I could just never... lure them into my car. No, I'm kidding... I don’t have a licence.'

Edinburgh Festival preview: Comedy - Felicity Ward, David Baddiel and Knightmare Live

Last year, this critic was bowled over by the Australian comic Felicity Ward and her confessional tour-de-force The Hedgehog Dilemma. This time around, in Irregardless (Underbelly Bristo Square, underbelly.co.uk, Wed to 26 Aug, she's applying her spiky wit to topics including autotune and junkies.

Sarah Millican will perform at the Edinburgh Festival

Edinburgh Festival 2013: More than just fringe benefits

As Edinburgh gears up for its annual melting pot of dazzling arts events, Alice Jones picks her highlights of the month ahead

From Macbeth to the Wizard of Oz: New exhibition explores the erotic side of witchcraft

Images of witches have always had a sexual aspect, as a new show in Edinburgh vividly demonstrates

Wonderland, Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh

Presented as part of the Edinburgh International Festival, this new theatrical work from Scots company Vanishing Point makes a tremendous impression, although not necessarily in a good way. It’s difficult to escape the feeling that was the point, however. A meditation on pornography, exploitation and sexual aggression and shame dressed in the skin of a dream-like allusion to Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, it could only have been taken seriously were it at times deeply uncomfortable to watch.

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