EDINBURGH FESTIVAL: The Very Best of the Festival ; Have We Got Views for You: The Independent's Team of Critics in Edinburgh Choose Their Must-See Events

Article excerpt

Sarah Barrell

The musical theatre hit of this year's Fringe was a hip-hop treatment of Shakespeare, The Bomb-itty of Errors. It works so well that you leave safe in the knowledge that if the bard were alive today he'd be wearing baggy trousers and talking in rhyming couplets so bitchin' they'd make his quill curl. With The Complete Lost Works of Samuel Beckett as Found in an Envelope (Partially Burned) in a Dustbin in Paris Labelled "Never to be Performed. Never. Ever. EVER. Or I'll Sue! I'LL SUE FROM THE GRAVE!!!", you do need some knowledge of Beckett's work to get some of the satirical gags, but this is existentialism at its most accessible. The Drowned World combines the talents of the young Welsh writer Gary Owen with direction from Vicky Featherstone and the venerable Paines Plough theatre company. With staging as beautiful as the writing is bleak, this four-hander presents a futuristic vision of a world under curfew.

`The Bomb-itty of Errors', the Pleasance, 21.30; `The Complete Lost Works...', Assembly Rooms, 13.25; `Drowned World', Traverse Theatre, tonight, 19.45

Fiona Sturges

Jimmy Carr is the king of deadpan - his first solo show, Bare- Faced Ambition, sees him del- ivering snappy one-liners ("If we're all God's children, what was so special about Jesus?") with an air of lofty disdain, and expertly cutting hecklers down to size. He's truly a star in the making. Dara O'Briain may have a more conventional approach to stand- up - football and relationships are his staples - but his observations are pin-sharp and his timing spot on. As well as being likeable, intelligent and, yes, funny, O'Briain has the added bonus of being the best-dressed comic on the Fringe. The Yorkshire-based comic Daniel Kitson, whose show examines the nature of friendship and true love, is the most assured and uniquely accomplished stand-up the festival has seen in years. See him while you can still afford to.

Jimmy Carr, the Gilded Balloon, 20.15; Daniel Kitson, Pleasance, 21.45; Dara O'Briain, Pleasance, 21.20

Raymond Monelle

"I greet thee, O sun," cries Brunnhilde as her nephew, Siegfried, wakens her with a kiss. It sounds like a rum do, but it is one of music's supreme moments, and it promises to be the climax of the entire Festival when Wagner's Siegfried opens on Sunday. This is the third instalment of Tim Albery's internationally acclaimed Ring for Scottish Opera. Albery's style is gently, intelligently modern; his lovers and other mortals look like ordinary people in cardigans and hats. They inhabit vaguely urban landscapes and their marriages are dysfunctional. And they look young, eager; last year's sensation was Elizabeth Byrne as Brunnhilde, called in at the last minute as a replacement; this year she lands opera's greatest love story. Graham Sanders is Siegfried, and Richard Armstrong conducts, no doubt with his usual accurate, dynamic style. It's been sold out for months, of course, but the last 50 seats will go on sale at the Hub at 10am on the day. Be there.

Wagner's `Siegfried', Edinburgh Festival Theatre, 25, 28 & 31 Aug, 16. …