EDINBURGH PREVIEWS

It's Jackie

Assembly Rooms

"Cos I was only/ 24 hours from Tulse Hill/ Only... one day away from your aunt." Well, that's what I thought Gene Pitney was singing all those years ago. Happily, fab and groovy Jackie Clune is back doing for the Sixties what she did for Karen Carpenter (and that hairstyle) and the Seventies. Not content with the wonders of Gene Pitney, Dionne, Cilla and Dusty will all be making guest appearances in Jackie's show, which is a kind of "Bacharach to the future". Expect a very special night.

(0131-226 2428) 10.25pm

Mr Puntila and his Man Matti

The Traverse

Out of the bathroom at last, The Right Size are back. The solid- gold comedy sensation of last year's festival, inspired lunatics Sean Foley and Hamish McColl were promptly overlooked by the Perrier committee for being too theatrical. After storming the West End, they're now fulfilling a long-held dream by working with Kathryn Hunter of Theatre de Complicite and a crack ensemble, including the superb Hayley Carmichael in the rare Brecht satire.

(0131-228 1404) Every night except Mon. Times vary

Crave

The Traverse

If you thought you knew everything Sarah "Blasted" Kane had to offer, think again. Her startlingly elegant new play is one in the eye for all those given to bewildered moans that "she can't write dialogue". Gone is the arresting visual imagery of violence and pain and in comes a superbly constructed aural feast as two men and two women talk of love, deceit and desire. Dark wit flashes through the text and Vicky Featherstone's production has a stunning clarity.

(0131-228 1404) Every night except Mon. Times vary

The Robbers

King's Theatre

The theme of the international festival is Verdi (above) and Schiller. You can rush to see the Royal Opera in four Italian operas based on the German playwright's work, from the early Giovanni d'Arco, the all-too- rarely performed Luisa Miller and the utterly grand Don Carlos to I Masnadieri. The last of these is based on The Robbers, which you can see from Monday in Philip Prowse's new production by one of Britain's most influenial theatre companies, The Glasgow Citizens'. Robert David Macdonald's translation encompasses sex and jealousy, liberty and fraternity - and murderous ambition.

(0131-473 2000) 7.30pm

Lakeboat

Assembly Rooms

The most shocking thing about this David Mamet play is that we haven't seen it in Britain before. Eight men are flung together aboard a cargo ship on the Great Lakes and Mamet (above) tunes into the status games they play. There's humour in all kinds of unexpected places and Aaron Mullen's production exhibits many strengths. The all-important set is tremendously atmospheric and, although the perfomances are slightly uneven, Jim Dunk is simply tremendous, burrowing away beneath the surface and discovering wells of compassion.

(0131-226 2428) 1pm; from Mon, 12 noon

Emma by Jane Austen

Calder's Gilded Balloon

Hands up who remembers the fabulous Collately Sisters on The Day Today? Or the wonderful Princess Diana in the stage version of The Queen and I? The woman behind these and plenty more besides was Doon McKichan, and here she appears as the eponymous heroine of whom Jane Austen (above) wrote "no one but myself will like". The Misses Paltrow and Beckinsale have played Emma on screen lately, but the role is clearly not enough for McKichan who takes on a whole lot more Austen anarchy in this collaboration with cult Scottish novelist Martin Millar.

(0131-226 2151) 5pm

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