A prude's nightmare on Princes St

IF YOU fancy watching a Jewish Hasidic rap band - the Baddest Dudes from Golders Green - singing about "Kosher Love Sausage", Edinburgh is the place to be this weekend.

You may, instead, prefer Corpus Christi, in which a gay Jesus falls in love with Judas. Alternatively, Organ Origami, by the Jim Rose Circus is demonstrating all the strange shapes that can be made from the male appendage.

Maybe a play outing Charlie Chaplin as a paedophile is more your style. Or, for the existentialists, why not try Do You Come Here Often?, a drama about two men stuck in a bathroom for 25 years.

It is all showing at the Edinburgh Fringe, opening tomorrow, where for three weeks a city that normally eschews window boxes as too flamboyant is being taken over by acts outdoing each other for blasphemy, bawdiness, the bizarre and simple bad taste.

The Fringe, which opens in and around Princes Street a week before the more high-brow International Festival for the second year, is fast upstaging its older sister. With more than 15,000 performances scheduled at 167 venues, it is so busy that representatives of next year's Sydney Olympics are in Edinburgh to learn the organisational lessons.

Controversy is most likely to greet the Baron Brothers, masquerading as the rapping Hampstead Village People. As medallion Stars of David hang beside their long ringlets and beards, these home boys go "one schlep beyond", singing "Sabbath Night Fever".

Likewise Terence McNally's Corpus Christi attracted 2,000 Christian protesters when it opened in New York and bomb detectors had to be installed at the theatre. "My mother keeps asking why I don't do a nice play like Mary Poppins," the director, Stephen Henry, said before the opening in Edinburgh. "The basic message here is that Jesus is for everyone, regardless of race or sexual orientation."

For bawdiness, Edinburgh's thespians rely mainly on past scripts. Shakespeare's Bottom features a list of all the Bard's once-censored favourite euphemisms for "vagina" (peculiar river, nest of spicery), "penis" (three-inch fool, little finger) and "testicles" (billiards, dam-sons). "With so much going on at the festival, audiences need 45 minutes of fun and smut, which is also educational," said Adam Thirlwell, the director.

Meanwhile, expect to be searched frequently during performances of the Exhibitionists, a comedy about art gallery attendants, who variously set fire to exhibits and tear off each other's Y-fronts.

Food is almost as big as sex this year, with carrots, broccoli, oranges and cabbage leaves the central props in four comedy acts. Cookin', from Korea, makes Two Fat Ladies seem tame. The show crosses the martial arts maestro Jackie Chan with Fanny Cradock, and is about four crazy chefs drumming, fighting and juggling their way to a glorious wedding feast.

Shakespeare retains a serious foothold. There are several Macbeths, notably a version in which Lady Macbeth is played by Danni Minogue, sister of Kylie, and star of the Australian television soap, Home and Away. Meanwhile, Macbeth - the Director's Cut focuses on the murders of Macduff's children and draws parallels with the serial killers Rose and Fred West.

Among the best dance is expected to be Gumboots, a show based on the stamping rhythms South Africa's miners used for communication during the apartheid era when they were forbidden to talk.

A highly personal production is being strongly promoted. Written Off is directed by Alice Douglas, daughter of the Marquess of Queensberry and a former drama teacher at Wormwood Scrubs. She directs her husband, Simon Melia, a former prisoner in that jail, in a play about the relationship between a social worker and a prisoner, said to reflect their own love affair. Amid Edinburgh's clamour, such quieter reflections may yet steal the limelight.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Digital Marketing Executive

£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A luxury beauty house with a nu...

Recruitment Genius: Housekeepers - Immediate Start

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This company are currently recruiting new exp...

Recruitment Genius: Head Concierge

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award winning Property Man...

Recruitment Genius: Content, SEO and PPC Executive

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral