Edinburgh: Bright lights, different city

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

It's certainly a marathon, occasionally an endurance test, and full of heavyweights too. Holly Williams presents an Olympian's guide to the Edinburgh Festival

On your marks, get set … go! No, not the Olympics: the real endurance test this summer is the Edinburgh Festival. The sprawling mass of culture that takes over the city for August – from the highbrow Edinburgh International Festival to the lucky dip of the Fringe – easily rivals the games in range and scope of events. We preview 20 shows that, well, find a certain resonance with Olympic events ….

Race walk

NVA's Speed of Light

Walking fast is an Olympic event. It really is! But Edinburgh sees an even more impressive event: a mass choreographed piece where walkers climb Arthur's Seat while wearing portable light sources, creating trails of illumination up the mountain, to be enjoyed from all over the city after dark.

Arthur's Seat ( speedoflight2012.org.uk), 9 Aug to 1 Sep

Weightlifting

Theatre Uncut

Traverse Theatre get the big beasts in to tackle the weightiest issues of the day. Neil LaBute, David Greig and Anders Lustgarten are joined by Syrian writer Mohammad Al Attar and Lena Kitsopoulou from Greece, to respond to "the current political situation, entirely uncensored". The plays will be given to actors for script-in-hand performances. Let's get topical ... aaaand lift!

Traverse Theatre ( traverse.co.uk); 6, 13, 20 Aug

Shot put

Riot! The Musical

It was almost inevitable ... 2011's most controversial socio-political event meets Fringe formula "Something! The Musical". Company About Turn stage an all-singing, all-dancing – and all-throwing-shit-through-windows, yeah? – rock opera. We're sure London's violent yoofs could give even Olympic shot putters a lesson in lobbing.

theSpace, Surgeon's Hall ( aboutturn.co.uk); 13 to 25 Aug

 

Gymnastics

All that is Wrong

A new show from Belgian provocateurs (and Fringe favourites) Ontroerend Goed, completing their hit teenage trilogy. Performed by Koba Ryckewaert, as annoyingly young but impressively dexterous as the tiny teenaged gymnasts at the games.

Traverse Theatre, ( traverse.co.uk); 2 to 12 Aug

100m sprint

Jimmy Carr: Gagging Order

The king of the one-liner returns (below). His material is short, sharp, and breath-snatchingly, audaciously, inappropriate at times. Just don't mention the tax man ....

Venue 150, EICC ( jimmycarr.com); 16 to 18 and 23 to 25 Aug

Marathon

24H

The title is also its running time: a whopping 24 hours. The script, the a cappella music, and the performance are all delivered by Waclaw Miklaszewski – oh yes, it's also a solo show. You don't have to stay for it all, mind: a £1 ticket gets you in for as long (or short) as you please.

Summerhall ( 24h-theatre.com); 22 and 25 Aug

 

 

Relay

Picasso and Modern British Art

The Tate's show heads north for the Edinburgh Art Festival – so here's another chance to trace how Picasso passed the Modernist baton on to British artists, such as Henry Moore, Francis Bacon, David Hockney and Ben Nicholson.

Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art ( nationalgalleries.org); 4 Aug to 4 Nov

Boxing

Mark Grist – Rogue Teacher

Remember that viral YouTube hit where a school teacher took on his pupil in a rap battle? The man in question, Mark Grist, quit his teaching job and brings his solo show to the festival. He's posed for publicity shots in battle-ready boxing gloves, but does he really pack a lyrical punch?

Underbelly, Cowgate ( markgrist.com); 2 to 26 Aug

Equestrian

Now.Here.

Aimee Corbett and Vanessa Hammick went on a 200-mile, 17-day journey from Wales to London. Their chosen means of transport? The humble hobbyhorse. On route they collected stories from people they met to turn into a show. Giddy up!

Laughing Horse, The Free Sisters ( drawntostars.co.uk); 15 to 26 Aug

Waterpolo

Briefs

A late-night "boy-lesque" cabaret show, featuring buff Australian beef-cakes in tiny little shorts ... sounds a lot like waterpolo, no? Watch the muscles ripple, and have a giggle, during this circus-infused variety show.

Underbelly, Bristo Square ( underbelly.co.uk); 1 to 27 Aug

High jump

Coalition

It's 2014 and the coalition government has fractured. Can the Liberal Democrat leader save his party? Well, he's got a bloody high bar to leap over .... A new play with a top comic cast: Phil Jupitus, Jo Caulfield, Thom Tuck and Simon Evans.

Pleasance Dome ( coalition-play.co.uk); 1 to 26 Aug

Mountain biking

Van Gogh to Kandinksy: Symbolist Landscape in Europe 1880-1910

Take a journey through turn-of-the century symbolist landscapes. It may not always be smooth terrain, but there are works by the likes of Paul Gauguin, Edvard Munch, and Vincent van Gogh along the way.

Scottish National Gallery ( nationalgalleries.org); to 14 Oct

Shooting

Timeline

Artist Susan Phillipsz has taken local inspiration for her multi-site sound installation, from the city's own One O'Clock Gun, fired every day by a master gunner. A little weightier than an Olympic rifle, perhaps, but the Turner prize-winner promises to take a sure artistic aim.

Various locations, ( edinburghartfestival.com); 2 Aug to 2 Sep

Table tennis

Ma Biche et Mon Lapin

There are more interesting things than just balls to bounce across table tops: French puppeteers Collectif Aie Aie Aie stage a silent vaudeville about a deer and a rabbit on, you guessed it, a table.

Institut français d'Ecosse ( ifecosse.org.uk), 3 to 24 Aug

Trampoline

Russell Kane: Posturing Delivery

He won the Fosters comedy award in 2010, and will be hoping to bounce back even bigger and better. Shouldn't be a problem: this most energetic of comedians always seem to have springs beneath his feet. Boing!

The Assembly Rooms, ( russellkane.co.uk); 13 to 24 Aug

Sailing

The Lady from the Sea

An operatic version of Ibsen's watery play. Ellida is the daughter of a lighthouse-keeper, who longs for freedom of the sea … set sail to the sweet sounds of a new opera by Craig Armstrong (best known for scoring Baz Luhrmann movies).

Kings Theatre ( eif.co.uk), 29 Aug and 1 Sep

Pole Vault

2008: Macbeth

It's a play about a man's "vaulting ambition", turned into a "theatrical film" exploring Macbeth's war on terror. As part of the Edinburgh International Festival, 2008: Macbeth is a new translation by Stanislaw Baranczak ... into Polish. Pole vaulting indeed.

Lowland Hall, Royal Highland Centre (eif.co.uk/macbeth) 11 to 18 Aug

Swimming: butterfly

Billy the Mime

This controversial American mime act looks set to make a big, noisy splash. Politically incorrect and taboo busting, his routines include "The Priest & The Altar Boy", "The Abortion", "Life & Death of Princess Diana", "The African American Experience", "The Navy Seal & Osama Bin Laden". You've been warned.

Just the Tonic, The Caves (billythemime.net) 2 to 26 Aug

Diving

One Rogue Reporter

Rich Peppiatt is certainly diving in at the deep end. A red-top journalist, he quit his job, performed a series of stunts on his former bosses – and has now crafted his first attempt at stand-up out of it. He was a big hit at Leveson; expect further ripples.

Pleasance Courtyard (oneroguereporter.com) 1 to 27 Aug

Beach Volleyball

Comic Strip

Combining the best of the Fringe's stand-up with the cream of its burlesque and striptease performers, this was always going to be popular. Pretend as hard as you like that it's all about the "skill" of the performers; we know you're there for the girls stripping off into itsy-bitsy little outfits....

Assembly, George Square (assemblyfestival.com) 2 to 26 Aug

*For more information, please visit www.edinburghfestivals.co.uk

Arts & Entertainment
film

Arts & Entertainment
Don (John Hamm) and Megan (Jessica Paré) Draper are going their separate ways in the final series of ‘Mad Men’
tvReview: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Arts & Entertainment
James Franco and Chris O'Dowd in Of Mice and Men on Broadway
theatre

Review: Of Mice and Men

Arts & Entertainment
art

By opportunistic local hoping to exhibit the work

VIDEO
Arts & Entertainment
Leonardo DiCaprio will star in an adaptation of Michael Punke's thriller 'The Revenant'
film

Fans will be hoping the role finally wins him an Oscar

Arts & Entertainment
Cody and Paul Walker pictured in 2003.
film

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Arts & Entertainment
Down to earth: Fern Britton presents 'The Big Allotment Challenge'
TV

Arts & Entertainment
The London Mozart Players is the longest-running chamber orchestra in the UK
musicThreatened orchestra plays on, managed by its own members
Arts & Entertainment
Seeing red: James Dean with Sal Mineo in 'Rebel without a Cause'
film

Arts & Entertainment
TV
Arts & Entertainment
Heads up: Andy Scott's The Kelpies in Falkirk
art

What do gigantic horse heads tell us about Falkirk?

Arts & Entertainment
artGraffiti legend posts picture of work – but no one knows where it is
Arts & Entertainment
A close-up of Tom of Finland's new Finnish stamp
art

Finnish Postal Service praises the 'self irony and humour' of the drawings

Arts & Entertainment
Pierce Brosnan as James Bond in 2002's Die Another Day
film

The actor has confessed to his own insecurities

Life & Style
Green fingers: a plot in East London
TV

Allotments are the focus of a new reality show

Arts & Entertainment
Myleene Klass attends the Olivier awards 2014

Oliviers 2014Theatre stars arrive at Britain's most prestigious theatre awards
Arts & Entertainment
Stars of The Book of Mormon by Trey Parker and Matt Stone of South Park

Oliviers 2014Blockbuster picked up Best Musical and Best Actor in a Musical
Arts & Entertainment
Lesley Manville with her Olivier for Best Actress for her role in 'Ghosts'

Oliviers 2014Actress thanked director Richard Eyre for a stunning production
Arts & Entertainment
Rory Kinnear in his Olivier-winning role as Iago in Othello

Oliviers 2014Actor beat Jude Law and Tom Hiddleston to take the award
Arts & Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch is best known for this roles in Sherlock and Star Trek
TV

Arts & Entertainment
theatreAll hail the temporary venue that has shaken things up at the National Theatre
Arts & Entertainment
musicShe is candid, comic and coming our way
Arts & Entertainment
booksHer new novel is about people seeking where they belong
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

    Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

    As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
    Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

    Mad Men returns for a final fling

    The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
    Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

    Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

    Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
    Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics

    Is sexual harassment a fact of gay life?

    Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics
    Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith: The man behind a British success story

    Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith

    Acton Smith launched a world of virtual creatures who took the real world by storm
    Kim Jong-un's haircut: The Independent heads to Ealing to try out the dictator's do

    Our journalist tries out Kim Jong-un's haircut

    The North Korean embassy in London complained when M&M Hair Academy used Kim Jong-un's image in the window. Curious, Guy Pewsey heads to the hair salon and surrenders to the clippers
    A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part

    A History of the First World War in 100 moments

    A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part
    Vespa rides on with launch of Primavera: Iconic Italian scooter still revving up millions of sales

    Vespa rides on with launch of the Primavera

    The Vespa has been a style icon since the 1950s and the release this month of its latest model confirms it has lost little of its lustre
    Record Store Day: Independent music shops can offer a tempting alternative to downloads

    Record Store Day celebrates independent music shops

    This Saturday sees a host of events around the country to champion the sellers of well-grooved wax
    Taunton's policy of putting philosophy at heart of its curriculum is one of secrets of its success

    Education: Secret of Taunton's success

    Taunton School, in Somerset, is one of the country's leading independent schools, says Richard Garner
    10 best smartphones

    10 best smartphones

    With a number of new smartphones on the market, we round up the best around, including some more established models
    Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

    Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

    The former Australia coach on why England must keep to Plan A, about his shock at their collapse Down Under, why he sent players home from India and the agonies of losing his job
    Homelessness: Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

    Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

    Zubairi Sentongo swapped poverty in Uganda for homelessness in Britain. But a YMCA scheme connected him with a couple offering warmth and shelter
    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park
    The pain of IVF

    The pain of IVF

    As an Italian woman vows to keep the babies from someone else’s eggs, Julian Baggini ponders how the reality of childbirth is often messier than the natural ideal