THEATRE: CURTAIN CALLS

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The Independent Culture
The V&A once ruffled feathers by advertising itself as "an ace caff with quite a nice museum attached". Which leads one inexorably to Edinburgh's Traverse Theatre. During the Festival, there's nowhere better to loiter than its terrific bar. Oh, yes, and it produces damn good shows too.

This venue has a higher hit rate than any other, largely because of its reputation as the Festival's hottest drama spot. Nearly every other commandeered building chooses shows on the basis of their ability to pay the rent - so farewell quality control. The Traverse, however, operates all year, and with its reputation to uphold, everything is chosen by its eagle-eyed artistic director Philip Howard.

This year's hot tips are its own production, The Ju-Ju Girl (above), but tempting incoming shows include Riddance directed by Vicky Featherstone, Drummers directed by Max Stafford-Clark, Happy Birthday Mr Deka D from Told By an Idiot and Begin Again, a thriller from the wonderful David Harrower. Book early.

Traverse Theatre, Cambridge St, Edinburgh (0131-228 1404)

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