Edinburgh

Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland, the seat of the Scottish parliament and government, the largest city by area and the second largest by population in the country. The City of Edinburgh Council governs one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas. The council area includes urban Edinburgh and a 30 square miles (78 km2) rural area. Located in the south-east of Scotland, Edinburgh lies on the east coast of the Central Belt, along the Firth of Forth, near the North Sea. Source: Wikipedia

Arts and Entertainment

Before coming to Edinburgh, I caught up with Simmons's last Fringe show, Fail, in London. Unfortunately, that title and this show are interchangeable. Essentially, Meanwhile is Simmons's home-made Twitter feed with two devices at work. Simmons attempts to answer questions put to him through various mediums while a female voice interjects with an activity going on simultaneously somewhere else in the world. At this point, Simmons jumps around to act out someone in Germany getting annoyed with their flatmate – or some other scenario.

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The Yalta Game/Afterplay, King's Theatre, Edinburgh

Brian Friel, a playwright who has translated Chekhov, here spins his own stories around Chekhov characters. Afterplay and The Yalta Game are short, intimate two-handers. In both cases, the onstage action isn't the whole story.

The Enlightenments, The Dean Gallery, Edinburgh

Devoted sisters see the light

The Last Witch, Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh<br/>Love Letters Straight from Your Heart, Dean's Room, McEwan Hall, Edinburgh<br/>Power Plant, Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh

Rona Munro's true-life drama about a defiant single mother, and some moving experimentation, puts a bit of fire back into the festival

Morecambe, Assembly @ The Mound, Edinburgh

Among all the celebrity solo turns on the fringe this year, Bob Golding's Eric Morecambe seems to have caught on strongest. But I find Tim Whitnalls's play toothless and over-sentimental. Morecambe, who died in 1984 aged 58, is still much loved, but there's far too much loose chat here, and not enough hardcore material.

Hans Teeuwen, Udderbelly Pasture, Edinburgh

The Dutch comedy icon Hans Teeuwen cuts a ridiculous figure. Ludicrous even. Which is no bad thing for a 42-year old absurdist who, perhaps against the cultural odds, is becoming a regular on the UK comedy scene.

Controlled Falling Project, Udderbelly's Pasture, Edinburgh

Circus has come a long way since the days of sawdust and spandex. You don’t even need a big top anymore. Controlled Falling Project takes place inside the belly of an upside down purple cow, the three acrobats performing their extraordinary feats within thrilling touching distance - so close you can hear their breathing and count the beads of sweat.

The Last Witch, Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh

You're an evil stoat of a woman," complains Janet Horne's neighbour, who has accused her of witchcraft, "but you are an entertainment." Rona Munro's new play tells the story of the last Scottish witch-burning in 1727. Its debates on magic and power are rooted in the dynamics of a tiny, vividly drawn community.

Beachy Head, Pleasance Dome, Edinburgh

Analogue is precisely the kind of inventive young theatre company one always hopes to stumble across in Edinburgh. Combining animation and live action filming with traditional theatre, they’ve been developing new ways of telling stories on stage for less than three years - and they’re getting better all the time. Beachy Head, follow-up to their Fringe First-winning Mile End, is inspired by Britain’s most notorious suicide spot, yet out of this unprepossessingly grim material, they’ve crafted something of affecting beauty.

The Penny Dreadfuls: Never Man, Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh

The Penny Dreadfuls burst on to the Fringe in 2006 with their riotous mock Victorian melodrama, Aeneas Faversham. Since then they’ve brought their dandy characters back twice more - to considerable acclaim - and been hard at work building a fanbase with a heavy touring schedule and shows on Radio 4, carving out a reputation as one of the most exciting comedy troupes around. Now they’re back with a new show and their loyal fans are out in force, packing out one of the larger portakabins in the Pleasance Courtyard but Never Man doesn’t live up to its promise.

My Edinburgh: Miles Jupp, comedian

Edinburgh during the festival is not my Edinburgh. I lived here as a student and briefly as a graduate, but Edinburgh during the festival is a totally different beast. So too am I, charging around in the desperate hope that some good will come from it all.

Broken Records, Queen's Hall, Edinburgh

This wasn't an occasion for humility. "We just released our record the other month," says Broken Records' singer Jamie Sutherland hesitantly, perhaps hoping that one or two in the audience might decide to buy it. Instead, his band's hometown crowd cheers and applauds back at him, pleased to hear further evidence of their local heroes' success.

Faust, Lowland Hall, Ingliston, Edinburgh

This certainly has wow factor. One of the flagship shows of the Edinburgh International Festival, the Romanian director Silviu Purcarete's visually extravagant staging of Faust boasts a hundred-strong cast, two vast stages and imagery worthy of Hieronymus Bosch.

Sarah Millican: Typical Woman, Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh

One of the things that I enjoyed most about Sarah Millican's if.comedy newcomer award-winning show last year was its earthy and bawdy tone as well as the canny pacing of proceedings. Following up a winning show is never easy and while this one reinforces the natural ability of Millican for comedy, it is muted by comparison. Many new to Millican will still walk away impressed by her, recognising that she is up there with the big boys, breaking down the stigma that suggests that women just aren't funny.

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