The Alternative Fringe & Festivals

For years the Scotsman and Guardian have listed the supposed best shows on the Edinburgh Fringe. However, we here at the Gazette think they miss out too many of the shows on offer and have decided to list a few of the more outré performances on offer this August.

Dam, dam, dam! The Brunswick Beavers Co-operative gives a rare insight into the high drama that goes on in a beaver community building a dam in the North American wilderness. Life, love, jealousy and a race against the elements as winter draws close. Short on human interest but big on aquatic mammal interest.

Waaauukk! The Antarctic Amateur Dramatic Society presents an innovative new re-interpretation of the sketches of the Monty Python team, performed entirely by penguins, except for Sam the Seal who will play the parts of Terry Jones. The Ministry of Silly Walks is fantastic. Subtitles are available for those who don’t speak penguin.

Half-baked. Told entirely without dialogue, this one-person play follows the sad tale of a scone which wasn’t baked correctly and was rejected by the baker as imperfect. Alone and unwanted the scone wanders the cold streets of the city searching for someone to accept him (preferably some nice butter). A scorching examination of the rejection and concealment of disability and otherness in a modern society obsessed with perfection in its bakery products.

Other highlights from the many festivals on offer include Norman Mailer juggling 17 hardback novels in the children’s tent at the Book Festival; the Book Festival explaining why SF does not exist as a genre and why all ‘good’ books couldn’t possibly belong to this genre, which, of course, does not exist; Dame Muriel Spark and Alasdair Gray, the greatest living Scottish writers, will give a display of advance arm-wrestling.

In the visual arts the great Scottish-Italian sculptor Eduardo Paolozzi will create a sculpture in front of an audience at the Dean Gallery using only the discarded chewing gum thrown away by Italian tourists and recovered by street sweepers. The newly refurbished Royal Scottish Academy will exhibit a collection of paintings by the Impressionist Monet. The exhibition covers a neglected period in Monet’s life, when he was retained by the French Horological Society to paint their finest clocks and pocket watches. The exhibition is entitled Time is Monet.