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
  • Get to the point
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: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living