Liam Rudden’s top Fringe shows 2012 predictions

David Hasselhoff in Edinburgh
David Hasselhoff in Edinburgh
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The Edinburgh Festival Fringe – it’s the largest arts fair in the world and it just got bigger.

This August, a record-breaking 42,096 performances of 2697 productions will bring 22,457 performers to 279 venues across the city.

Sheila Reid in Benidorm

Sheila Reid in Benidorm

Forty-seven countries will be represented at the 2012 Fringe, at which 814 of the shows are free to attend, while 1319 are world premieres.

While the comedy, theatre and music strands of the programme are down on previous years, other threads have rallied.

Comedy makes up 36 per cent of the programme, down one per cent on last year and theatre is two per cent down at 28 per cent, however, musicals and opera, dance and physical theatre, events and cabaret have all increased their share.

Celebrities

An Evening with David Hasselhoff Live

Pleasance Courtyard

An intimate, hilarious evening of song, dance and audience interaction. Knight Rider to Baywatch to the Berlin Wall. Come party, Hoff-style!

Suggs: My Life Story In Words & Music

The Queen’s Hall

“I’ve just turned 50, the kids have left home, and my cat just died.” The Madness frontman presents a hilarious, moving, tour de force.

Tony Benn: Will And Testament

The Assembly Rooms

“I got a death threat last week. I haven’t had one in ages, so I was chuffed.” Tony Benn, 86, previews his forthcoming documentary.

THEATRE

Maurice’s Jubilee

Pleasance Courtyard

Sheila Reid, best known as Benidorm’s acerbic granny Madge Harvey, is joined by Olivier Award winners Julian Glover and Nichola McAuliffe (High Spirits) in this new play about a royal encounter, an enduring love and a bungalow in Penge.

Jigsy

The Assembly Rooms

Jigsy is a jobbing comic. For more than 30 years, he’s worked with them all – and he’ll tell you the stories to prove it. Starring Les Dennis.

Educating Rita

George Square

Matthew Kelly and Claire Sweeney star in Willy Russell’s classic comedy. Rita, a brash, unschooled hairdresser, enrols with the Open University, where her ideas challenge those of her lecturer, Frank.

Krapp’s Last Tape

The Assembly Rooms

Tom Owen (Last of the Summer Wine) plays the tragically funny and hilariously sad Krapp, 69, reviewing recordings made every year on his birthday.

Dickens’ Women

Pleasance Courtyard

Harry Potter star Miriam Margolyes brings more than 23 of Dickens’ best-loved characters to life, celebrating the bicentenary of his birth.

Just A Gigilo

George Square One

Scottish favourite Maurice Roëves, left, stars in this new comedy telling the story of the real Lady Chatterley’s lover and DH Lawrence’s forbidden paintings.

Casablanca: The Gin Joint Cut

Gilded Balloon

A lovingly disrespectful homage to one of the all-time classic films starring Still Game’s Gavin Mitchell and High Road’s Jimmy Chisholm.

The Agony And Ecstasy Of Steve Jobs

Gilded Balloon

Mike Daisey’s monologue will make you question what you thought you knew about one of the world’s greatest brands, Apple. One of the most talked about pieces of theatre from the United States.

Back To School

Braidwood Community Centre

This site-specific, interactive comedy treats the audience like students attending Saint Dumbiedykes – enjoy an insect dissection, sex education lesson, school assembly, school dinners and end of term disco.

COMEDY

Phil Jupitus: You’re Probably Wondering Why I Asked You Here

The Stand

U-boat Captain, Welsh porn star, Dutch roadie or noted broadcaster and comedian? Like Camberwick Green, you’re never sure who’s coming out of the box. Triumphant return following his sell-out comeback in 2011.

The Big Comedy Gala

EICC

The 2012 Big Comedy Gala in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support is headlined by Cheers star George Wendt and Roy Walker, right.

The Blanks’ Big Break

Gilded Balloon

The Blanks, aka Ted’s Band from the hit TV show Scrubs, mix a cappella and sketches.

Mark Little: The Bulls*** Artist

George Square

Former Neighbours star Mark Little tap dances his way through the chaos of modernity.

Simon Munnery: Fylm Maker

The Stand

Experimenting with a tiny camera and big screen, the master of the absurd presents a new collection of monologues, sketches and fylms.

Brendon Burns: Home Stretch Baby

Pleasance King Dome

The IF. Comedy Award winner returns after a break of two years.

Lucy Porter: People Person

The Stand

The diminutive comedienne celebrates her tenth year on the Fringe by asking whether humans are intrinsically good or evil.

IN BRIEFS

FOR full details of performance times and ticket prices pick up a copy of the 2012 Fringe programme from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Office at 180 High Street or visit www.edfringe.com. To buy tickets call 0131-226 0000

FRINGE 2012 HOT TICKET

Tubular Bells For Two George Square One

MIKE Oldfield’s seminal album turns 40 next year. Celebrate early at the Fringe in the company of musicians Daniel Holdsworth and Aidan Roberts who between them will create the entire album live on stage.

Tubular Bells For Two recreates the original album as faithfully as possible whilst taking on the challenge of such a large piece of music with just four hands and four feet.

Tubular Bells may have sold 25 million copies but I guarantee you have never heard (or seen) it performed like this.