The Fringe is still on top

2003 programme launched

The programme for the 2003 Edinburgh Fringe has been launched, boasting more venues than ever before.

A man-made waterfall, a public toilet, a stepladder, a bus and a lift have all been pressed into service as impromptu venues for some of the 21,594 performances taking place this August.

Despite the loss of the Gilded Balloon in a devastating fire over the new year, there are 24 more performance spaces this year than last.

Fringe director Paul Gudgin said: "At the end of last year, we were faced with one of the most serious problems in our organisation's recent history, as images and reports of a city consumed by fire were appearing across the world.

"I am extremely grateful to the Edinburgh community for continuing to prove itself as the perfect host, providing a record number of spaces to present our world-famous programme".

Other new venues include The Pod - a 400-seat theatre to be erected on Festival Square, and home to Danny Bhoy and Daniel Kitson among others; The Carlton Highland Hotel and the city's new Jongleurs comedy club.

Comedy highlights of the festival, which runs from August 3 to 25, include Jo Brand, Ed Byrne in Brian McAvera's Kings of the Road; Rob Brydon in Marion and Geoff; Rhona Cameron; Julian Clary; Lee Hurst; an all star-cast for 12 Angry Men, including Jeff Green, Bill Bailey, Stephen Frost, Owen O'Neill and Phil Nichol.

Despite the prominence of comedy at the festival, it only accounts for 23 per cent of the 1,541 shows on offer. Theatre is again the biggest component of the programme, with 37 per cent of the shows, with music events contributing another 20 per cent.

A third of all shows are world premieres, and two-fifths cost £5 or under - thanks in some measure to the two-for-one ticket offer on the first two days of the Fringe,.

One more Fringe fact: It would take you 4 years and 143 days to see every performance back-to-back.

Tickets for Fringe events go on sale on June 16, on-line at www.edfringe.com or on 0131 226 0000.

Published: 5 Jun 2003

Today's comedy-on demand picks

THE SIMPSONS TAUGHT ME EVERYTHING I KNOW

Australian comic Yianni Agisilaou takes a romp through the glory days of the animated comedy. Previously performed at festivals, and now streamed via Zoom, the show asks whether an obsessive knowledge of the world's longest running cartoon embiggen one's understanding or is that unpossible?

Click for more suggestions
... including the latest Mark Thomas show and the next Marcel Lucont's Cabaret Domestique.

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