We’ve travelled the world Madrid, Havana,

New York, Stockholm, Oslo, Berlin to seek out the hottest new shows before they hit Edinburgh, and we’ve filled the next 21 pages with our sure-fire recommendations. Whether you’re looking for film, comedy, music, theatre, art, something for the kids, something for a bargain or just a damn good time, keep reading . . .

Festival Theatre

There’s no better place than the Fringe for the unexpected. And there’s no better company for the unexpected than Grid Iron.

Steve Cramer

It's not often that as many successful forces coincide in the theatre (or in this case out of it) as occur in Decky Does A Bronco, a new site-specific piece which combines the work of Grid lron Theatre Company and writer Douglas Maxwell, whose recent Our Bad Magnet at the Tron sent him swimming in a sea of warmth from critics and audiences alike.

Grid lron's record as a young theatre company has been unparalleled over recent Fringes. The dynamic combination of producer Judith Doherty and director Ben Harrison, co-artistic directors of the company, earned Fringe First awards in 1997 and 1998. Those who saw 97's adaptation of Angela Carter‘s The Bloody Chamber will remember the overwhelming eeriness of a staging performed in the subterranean confines of Mary King‘s Close, under the Royal Mile.

So too did underground vaults, this time beneath the Central Library, contribute to the success of Gargantua. The 98 production was characterised by a playful spirit and a grotesque sense of satirical distortion reminiscent of the 18th century origins of the tale, exploring all the ideas we associate with appetite, and then some.

After a year's break from the Fringe, Grid Iron emerges, blinking, into the light of a swing park,

where Maxwell’s play is located. Exploring themes of childhood and transition, Maxwell's story speaks of four young children, whose experience of a very particular day in the park, which proves seminal to their lives, is narrated retrospectively from the world of the adult. Maxwell tells me that most of his drama opens humorously and ends tragically. Our Bad Magnet moved its audience from the starkly realistic world of West Coast, small town upbringings to a transcendent landscape of myth, playing with conventions associated with straight narration, but never leaving a perfectly believable world, a difficult trick to pull off, and one he hopes to repeat here.

The styles of writer and company are well suited. The physical act of doing a bronco is itself pretty dangerous. I won't give the game away by explaining what it entails, but the sense of physical performance and the associated risks are what Grid Iron is all about. So too is the joyful rebuttal of the theatrical rule-book which this genre-busting company favours, and which Maxwell's scripts invite I Decky Does A Bronco (Fringe) Grid lron, Scotland Yard Playground, 226 5 738, 7—26 Aug, 7. 30pm, [70 ([8)


Must see theatre and dance

Further Than The Furthest Thing

Zinnie Harris provades an account of the lives of a small group of islanders transplanted to SOthampton, where they struggle to deLlSI to British life. A co- production between Glasgow's Tron and the National Theatre.

I Further Than The Furthes‘t Thing (Fringe) Traverse Theatre, 228 7404, 626 Aug, times vary, £72 (£7.50).


Three companies in one, the Nederlands Dans Theater is bringing a series of performances of blinding ambition to the closing week of the Festival. Most ambitious of all is a triple bill featuring the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras

I NOT 7 & 2 81 3 (Festival) Edinburgh Festival Theatre and Edinburgh Playhouse, 473 2000, 29 Aug— 2 Sep, 7.30pm, £5137.


We’re tipping this one as a dark horse for the Festival. Peter Zadek’s production casts a woman as the Dane, not as an act of gender politics, but simply, he says, because she was best for the part. Anyone who remembers Zadek's Antony And Cleopatra With the Berliner Ensemble Will need no urging to attend.

I Hamlet (Festival) Royal Lyceum Theatre, 473 2000, 30 Aug 2 Sep, 6pm,

f6~£22 50

The King Of Scotland

Glasgow's Theatre Babel presents lain Heggie's adaptation of Gogol's Diary Of A Madman Rab C. Nesbit regular Brian Pettifer leads in a satirical drama. Look out also for the same company's reVival of Liz Lochhead’s superb Medea.

I The King Of Scotland (Fringe) Assembly Rooms, 226 2428, 528 Aug, £9/[70 (f8/f9).


Most likely contender to be this year's cult hit, Yllana’s wordless black comedy set on death row has been packing in a youthful crowd in Madrid. If ludicrously large penises, humiliating audience participation and scatological gag after scatologicial gag is your thing, then this is the show for you I 666 (Fringe) Y/lana, Pleasance, 556 6550, 5-27 Aug, 70.30pm, [9/[70 ([8/f9i

2c 3 sci; 2900 THE usr 19