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

This year my Edinburgh show is drastically overrunning, sometimes by as much as 60 minutes. One night it ran from 6.40pm until midnight. Let me explain. At the end of every show, I try to get an audience member to go on a date with me and whilst I don't think of the date as a part of the show, the beady eyes spying on me and my "quarry" suggest otherwise.

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Pappy's / Idiots of Ants / The Penny Dreadfuls / The Real MacGuffins, Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh

Sketchy collection fail to deliver a knockout

Speechless, Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh

"Clamped together like limpets" they were, said campaigning journalist Marjorie Wallace, who told the story of "the silent twins", June and Jennifer Gibbons, diagnosed as "elective mutes", in a book and a television documentary.

Alex Zane: Just One More Thing, Pleasance Dome, Edinburgh

In the spirit of a show whose title alludes to Columbo, let me do first what old-school American detective-shows did best, the summation: 31-year-old radio and TV presenter Alex Zane is a nice enough bloke whose comedy shtick doesn't seem to have come on since his early success, aged 18, in the Fringe-based So You Think You're Funny? competition. Case closed.

The Sun Also Rises, Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh

You could probably read the entire novel in the time it takes for New York's Elevator Repair Service to present Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises, the opening theatre show in the Edinburgh International Festival. Some of the episodes from the story – laconically narrated from within the action by the journalist Jake Barnes (Mike Iveson) – could easily have been cut. But in searching out "the play within the story" – as the director John Collins describes the process involved in devising this version – the company has made a brilliantly inventive marriage between words, music and an array of sound effects, and also between sharp characterisation, movement and choreography.

My Edinburgh: Doc Brown, Comedian

This is my third experience of the Fringe (technically it's the fourth but the first time I went I was still in the music business, and I had no idea comedy existed). My brain is such that I can rarely learn more than a lesson a year so, for anyone following in my footsteps, here are three lessons I won't forget.

My Edinburgh: David Nicholls, author

I first visited Edinburgh in 1988, playing a small role in an obscure Jacobean tragedy set, like so many before and since, in an office. Each afternoon I'd perch on top of a filing cabinet and overact to an empty auditorium, after which I was free to head off and watch productions of Huis Clos and The Caucasian Chalk Circle set, more often than not, in offices.

Loretta Maine: I'm Not Drunk, I Just Need to Talk to You, Just the Tonic @ the Caves, Edinburgh

The troubled US singer-songwriter Loretta Maine was the star character of British comedian Pippa Evans's 2008 award-nominated show, and thus the best bet for a solo showcasing. Choosing Maine was not only wise but another sign that, despite its previously much maligned status, musical comedy is very much in the ascendant. You could easily see Maine wailing her woes in an episode of Flight of the Conchords, the show that has done much to bring about this comedic sea change.

Gary Delaney: Purist, Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh

Sustaining a one-liner oriented show for an hour or more is a tricky business. Even the best practitioners, like Jimmy Carr and Steven Wright, have found it a stretch.

My Edinburgh: Tim Key, Comedian

I went to a junk shop today and held out a £20 note and the guy asked me what sort of thing I was after. I handed him the money and said I didn't really mind.

John-Luke Roberts Distracts You from a Murder, Pleasance Dome, Edinburgh

The confident and handsome John-Luke Roberts, another of those clever boys from The Invisible Dot stable along with last year's newcomer winner Jonny Sweet and last year's main award winner Tim Key, is the kind of gentleman who could get away with murder if not basing his show on the slight premise of committing one.

Five Guys Named Moe, Udderbelly's Pasture, Edinburgh

Five Guys is one of the original "have a good time" jukebox shows in the West End, and the pleasure of seeing it again is like that of seeing an old friend: familiar, heart-warming, with faults you don't mind living with for a couple of hours.

El Niño, Usher Hall, Edinburgh

The Edinburgh International Festival, which this year explores the exchange of cultural influences between Europe and the Americas and beyond, opened with John Adams's nativity oratorio, El Niño, a piece that is as striking for its complex orchestral sonorities as for its often luminous vocal and choral writing.

Andi Osho: Afroblighty, The Stand, Edinburgh

I once shadowed a comedy course for a feature in The Independent, which Osho also attended.

My Edinburgh: Chris Addison

Ah, Edinburgh. It's five years since I last did a one-man show there, but this is my eighth one.

Elevator Repair Service deliver the bare bones of the classic

For most of its existence, the experimental theatre company Elevator Repair Service (formed in New York in 1991) has used found texts and improvisation as the basis for its productions. "Anything that wasn't literature" says the group's founder and director John Collins.

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