Best Edinburgh International Festival shows to see in person and online
This article is sponsored by Edinburgh International Festival.
- Brian donaldson
- August 24, 2021
From local heroes to global superstars, there is much to see last week of the Edinburgh International Festival
This year’s Edinburgh Festival season has been a challenge for everyone, but the Edinburgh International Festival can look back on what it accomplished in 2021 with pride and pleasure. And it’s not finished yet. With another packed week of fun to come and digital programming that will captivate audiences during the fall and winter months, here we take a look at some of the delicacies to come.
In the flesh, high-quality shows and concerts are coming this week. The highlights of the musical program are the leader of Blur and Gorillaz Damon albarn (Tuesday August 24) who continues to prove his versatility, American soprano legend Renee fleming teamed up with german pianist Hartmut Höll (Wednesday 25 August) to perform songs by Handel, Fauré and Strauss, while The comet is coming (Wednesday August 25) unleash a maelstrom of psych rock, electro and jazz.
London afrobeat-jazz octet Kokoroko (Thursday August 26) can claim Nile Rodgers as a fan, Members of the Edinburgh Festival Choir (Sunday, August 29) make a welcome return to the EIF (albeit in a slightly scaled-down form) directed by director Aidan Oliver in a concert featuring Britten, Holst and Tallis, and Laura mvula (Sunday August 29) is ready to charm the public with tunes from her new album, Pink noise, a candidate for this year’s Mercury Prize.
And how about that for a diverse trio throughout the last weekend? Malian singer-songwriter Fatoumata Diawara (Friday, August 27) will combine the traditional and the contemporary as we hear it on his latest album, FENFO, while a local hero returns Alan Cumming doesn’t play his age (Saturday August 28 & Sunday August 29) for which the boy from Aberfeldy treats us with wit and song. And Canadian composer and recording artist Caribou (Saturday August 28) offers a show featuring its extremely eclectic range with garage, disco, rock and alt-folk.
In the field of theater and oral creation, there is a lot to do for the public. Ninja niqabi (until Saturday, August 28) is a heart-wrenching but vital work that fuses street art, audio performance and a city tour written by Sara Shaarawi in response to assaults on women in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. Bringing issues of race and intolerance closer to us, Hannah Lavery Lamentation for Sheku Bayoh (Wednesday 25-Saturday 28 August) recalls the death in 2015 in police custody of a 31-year-old man in Fife.
Beloved Irish actor Domhnall Gleeson (of this acting family) cements his reputation as a world star and outstanding performer in Medication (until Sunday, August 29), Enda Walsh’s play on mental health and the deconstruction of the theater itself. In the oral creation event under the aegis of A toast to the people, former UK Poetry Slam winner, based in Glasgow Hollie mcnish joins forces with Nigerian poet-performer Wana udobang (Wednesday 25 August), while graphic designer, playwright and poet Inua Ellams team up with Saul williams (Tuesday August 24), a verse heavyweight who has collaborated with Nine Inch Nails and Allen Ginsberg.
Both of these events are part of the At Home program which aims to keep the flame of the Edinburgh International Festival burning throughout the rest of 2021 and even into next year. Also to see At Home it’s a whole lot of concerts like Fatma Said & Malcolm Martineau (Thursday 4 November – Monday 2 May) with the Egyptian soprano who made her international debut here with songs by Mozart, Lorca and Ravel, while the astonishing Chineke! Orchestra is conducted by William Eddins (until Sunday 20 February) in a program starring Scottish mezzo-soprano Andrea Baker. Richard strauss Ariane Auf Naxos (Sunday August 29-Sunday February 27) is an opera within an opera plus a slapstick comedy in one effervescent package, while the violin maestro Nicola Benedetti leads the way in a version of Stravinsky The soldier’s tale (Friday August 27 to Friday February 25) with Siobhan Redmond in the role of the devil, nothing less. The Royal Scottish National Orchestra join forces with the Hong Kong electric conductor Elim Chan (Thursday, November 25 to Monday, May 23) for a film that introduces viewers to the fascinating Argentine cellist Sol Gabetta.
For fans of movement, Dancing in the streets (until Saturday, September 18) offers a quartet of films from cities around the world in which dancers and choreographers meet the last 18 months. The quartet is Alice Ripoll from Rio, Omar Rajeh from Beirut, Gregory Maqoma from Soweto and Janice Parker from Edinburgh.
The Edinburgh International Festival continues through Sunday August 29; the full At Home program is available at eif.co.uk/at-home