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News / Arts & Entertainment

57 amazing things to do in Edinburgh this February

simon amstell press 2014

Fifty-seven. Can you believe that? And February's such a short month as well. Nevertheless, Edinburgh's cultural calendar has bounced back in a big way following the traditional January hangover, offering 57 cultural delights throughout the month. Obviously, you'll be struggling to fit them all in, so choose wisely. Remember, we'll also be offering you our weekly top 10 recommendations if you need help whittling it down.


Theatre and Dance

Bill Murray Night, The Village, Mon Feb 2
The Village Pub Theatre group present a night of plays (and a quiz) inspired by the unparalleled ouvre of Bill Murray. Head along on Monday night, then again on Monday night, and on Monday night as well, and Monday the night after, and...

Dead Simple, King's Theatre, Mon Feb 2-Sat Feb 7
Telly stars Tina Hobley ('Holby') and Jamie Lomas ('Hollyoaks' / 'Eastenders') tread the boards in this adaptation of Peter James' bestselling crime novel, in which a stag party prank turns deadly.

Birmingham Royal Ballet: Coppelia, Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Wed Feb 4-Sat Feb 7
An eccentric toymaker creates a mechanical woman in Peter Wright’s magical production of this classic comic ballet, as set to Léo Delibes's enchanting score.

The Faith Healer, Royal Lyceum Theatre, until Sat Feb 7
Join faith healer Francis Hardy as he tours the British Isles, performing for the faithful while questioning himself.

To Kill a Mockingbird, King's Theatre, Mon Feb 9-Sat Feb 14
London’s award winning Regent’s Park Theatre bring to Edinburgh their award-winning revival of the play based on Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about racial injustice in the Great Depression-era Deep South.

Russian State Ballet, Edinburgh Playhouse, Mon Feb 10-Sat Feb 14
The star dancers from Russian State Ballet take up residence at The Playhouse for five consecutive nights, performing three different all-time classics: ‘Coppelia’ (Feb 10), ‘The Nutcracker’ (Feb 11) and ‘Swan Lake’ (Feb 12-14).

One Man, Two Guvnors, Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Tue Feb 17-Sat Feb 21
Francis Henshall, an easily-confused lackey in 1960s Brighton, attempts to keep separate the two rival crime bosses he works for in this modern classic of British slapstick, penned by Richard Bean.

Twelve Angry Men, King's Theatre, Mon Feb 23-Sat Feb 28
An iconic three-time Academy Award winner as a movie and a West End record-breaker as a stage show, this classic American courtroom drama never fails to delight. Tom Conti leads the cast in this revival.

Northern Ballet: Romeo and Juliet, Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Thu Feb 26-Sat Feb 28
In its 45th year, Leeds-based company Northern Ballet opens its spring 2015 season with the UK premiere of Jean-Christophe Maillot and Les Ballets de Monte Carlo’s sweeping, heartbreaking production of ‘Romeo and Juliet’. Kleenex at the ready.

The Typist, Traverse Theatre, Fri Feb 27-Sat Feb 28
Alexei Sayle narrates this flamenco-infused dance theatre piece about 'Los Ninos de la Guerra' - the 4000-or-so children who came to the UK during the Spanish Civil War.


Things to Do

Museum Lates, National Museum of Scotland, Fri Feb 13
The rather excellent Game Masters exhibition levels up this month with a late-opening party for adults only.  2015’s first Museum Lates event promises music from indie-electronicists The Wild Curve and cosmic disco duo Happy Meals, plus crafting activities, a Silent Disco, cocktails and nibbles – not to mention the 100 or so playable videogames that are part of the standard exhibition.

Valentine’s Day, various venues across Edinburgh, Sat Feb 14
Valentine's Day isn't just for lovers any more - for every restaurant advertising a candle-lit dinner for two, there's also an anti-Valentine's party (often with the word 'massacre' in the title) for the more cynical among us. We've got both camps covered in our handy-dandy Valentine's guide

Six Nations Championship, Murrayfield Stadium, 15 & 28 Feb, 21 Mar
Scotland doesn’t have an amazing track record when it comes to the Six Nations – in fact, aside from Italy, we’re the only team not to have won it since it traded up from Five Nations – but that doesn’t stop us getting enthusiastic about it. Head along to Murrayfield to catch our boys in blue battling against Wales (Feb 15), Italy (Feb 28) and Ireland (Mar 21).

Andrew O’Hagan, Looking Glass Books, Wed Feb 18
With two Booker Prize nominations under his belt, it’s safe to say Andrew O'Hagan has a way with words. Hear him use some of them out loud at this launch event for his fifth novel, ‘The Illuminations’.

Rally & Broad: Oh Bondage Up Yours, The Bongo Club, Fri Feb 20
It's a bit after the fact, but R&B's monthly performance cabaret is so reliably excellent we'll forgive them their anti-Valentine's sentiments. Special guests this time round include Salena Godden, The Kirsty Law Band, Kevin Williamson, Graeme Hawley and Liz Cronin.

Neu Reekie: Frozen Lovers, Pilrig St Paul's Church, Fri Feb 27
Michael Pedersen and Kevin Williamson return with another edition of their rambunctious performance night, this time boasting music from Hector Bizerk and Eyes of Others (ex-The Machine Room), poetry from Helen Mort, an audio-visual mélange from Paul Hullah & Martin Metcalfe and a selection of short animations.



Stan Douglas, Fruitmarket, until Sun Feb 15
This noir-tinged exhibition of the Canadian artist's film and video work wraps up this month, so grab a dame, don your fedora and see what's the skinny.

BP Portrait Award, Scottish National Portrait Gallery, until Wed Apr 15
Prestigious international portraiture exhibition, showcasing selected entries in addition Thomas Ganter’s winning painting of a homeless German man.

Ponte City, Scottish National Portrait Gallery, until Sun Apr 26
Mikhael Subotzky and Patrick Waterhouse's starling photography exhibition documents the history and current state of Ponte City: a skyscraper in Johannesburg that was originally marketed as a luxury living space for white South Africans but, post-apartheid, has now become a residence for refugees from neighbouring nations.



Oppressed Creatures, Traverse Theatre, Tue Feb 3
The Manipulate festival is primarily a theatrical affair, but always comes bundled with a number of fab animation nights. At this one, Estonian animator Ülo Pikkov presents and introduces four of his finest works, alongside some of his favourite pieces of 20th-century Polish animation.

Edinburgh Mountain Film Festival, George Square Lecture Theatre, Fri Feb 6-Sun Feb 8
A full weekend of films and lectures dedicated to all who love extreme sports, exploring and general mountain-related shenanigans. Guest speakers include Paralympian athlete Karen Darke, National Geographic photographer Cory Richards and ‘WideBoyz’ climber Tom Randall.

Jupiter Ascending, general release from Fri Feb 6
The Wachowski's much-delayed epic space opera finally lands in our screens this month, finally letting audiences see if it was worth all the fuss. We're cautiously optimistic about the flick, which features Mila Kunis as the unwitting heir to Earth and Channing Tatum as the alien warrior who must protect her against her scheming distant relations.

Selma, general release from Fri Feb 6
Our reviewer awarded five stars to this historic drama that charts the civil rights struggle in 1960s America, declaring it 'pitch-perfect in its details yet totally lived-in: a universe of rolled-up shirt sleeves, sweaty brows and screams that sound horribly real'. Given the events in Ferguson last year, its release also looks as sadly timely as ever.

Shaun the Sheepgeneral release from Fri Feb 6
The scene-stealing Wallace & Gromit side-character gets his own big screen adventure, and it looks to be as much a hoot as we'd hoped. Take the family along if you must, but we reckon they'd only get in the way of your own childlike glee.

Coherence, selected release from Fri Feb 13
With a trailer campaign that is admirably short on spoilers, we're in a state of extreme anticipation of this cerebral sci-fi thriller that looks set to turn the home invasion genre on its head.

The Duke of Burgundy, selected release from Fri Feb 20
Neatly falling into the same month as 'Fifty Shades of Grey', Peter Strickland's follow-up to 'Berberian Sound Studio' handles the subject of eroticism and sadomasochism in a much more substantial fashion.

Catch Me Daddy, selected release from Fri Feb 27
A 'pitiless story that feels fresh and immediate', this gripping British thriller focuses on British-Asian Laila (Sameena Jabeen Ahmed) and white Scottish Aaron (Conor McCarron), two young people hiding from threatening figures who pursue them relentlessly.



Simon Amstell, The Queen's Hall, Fri Feb 6
The curly-haired former ‘Popworld’ and ‘Never Mind the Buzzcocks’ host with a unique talent for winding people up the wrong way comes to Edinburgh on his latest international stand-up tour.

Sean Hughes, The Stand, Wed Feb 11
You may also remember Hughes from 'Never Mind the Buzzcocks', where he was team captain for a spell; if you're even longer in the tooth, you may remember him winning the Perrier Award back in 1990. Now you can catch him in his new show, 'Mumbo Jumbo', about the struggle to maintain sanity through middle age.


Music & Nightlife

Honeyblood, Sneaky Pete's, Sun Feb 1
The Glasgow scuzz-pop duo round off Independent Venue Week with a bash at Sneaky Pete's.

Mariachi El Bronx, Electric Circus, Tue Feb 3
If you're only familiar with these guys under their punk-rock guise as The Bronx, prepare to be stunned. Heck, even if you're not familiar with either name, you should prep for stunnage anyway - you never knew lovelorn Mexican brass ballads could be so danceable.

Kaiser Chiefs, Usher Hall, Tue Feb 3
Resurgent following frontman Ricky Wilson becoming a familiar face off the tele as a judge on ‘The Voice’, Leeds indie-rock mob Kaiser Chiefs play their biggest headline show in Scotland in a long while in support of their latest album ‘Education, Education, Education & War’. 

Laura Marling, The Caves, Wed Feb 4
Critically feted, multi award-nominated English alt-folk singer-songwriter Marling dips her toe back into live performance with a string of low-key shows previewing her next album ‘Short Movie’, which is due for release in March this year. Tickets for this intimate show will be released via lottery - sign up at Marling's website.

Balkanarama, Studio 24, Fri Feb 6
A 'Hot Balkan Instrumental Orgy' of a club night featuring live music, visuals, Balkan beats, DJs, klezmer/gypsy tunes and more. To be honest, they had us at 'Hot Balkan Instrumental Orgy'.

Nightvision: Xplicit, La Belle Angele, Fri Feb 6
Noisia, Eno, G-Mac, Dominic Petrie and MC BZ are on the bill for Edinburgh bass night Xplicit's tenth birthday celebrations, hosted by the peerless Nightvision crew.

Beardyman, Liquid Room, Fri Feb 6
London beatboxer, musician, live looping maestro and comedian Beardyman – AKA Darren Foreman – takes to the road in support of his latest album ‘Distractions’.

Prides, Liquid Rooms, Sat Feb 7
Think of a fast-rising Glasgow synth-pop posse. These are the other guys. Still awesome though.

The Staves, The Queen's Hall, Sat Feb 7
Sibling folk trio from Watford, who have toured with The Civil Wars and Bon Iver, and whose debut album ‘Dead & Born & Grown’ was produced by both Glyn and Ethan Johns. Touring ahead of the release of their new album ‘If I Was’ later this year. 

Gaz Coombes, The Pleasance, Tue Feb 10
The ex-Supergrass singer-songwriter takes to the road under his solo guise to promote new album 'Matador', which you'll be somewhat familiar with if you listen to BBC Radio 6 Music.

Body, Henry’s Cellar Bar, Fri Feb 13
If you like your house, techno and minimal tuneage underground, you can't get much more underground than Henry's Cellar Bar. Rising star Oceaán headlines.

The Twilight Sad, Voxbox Music, Sat Feb 14
Glasgow's finest purveyors of gloom-rock are currently on a stripped down, acoustic tour of independent UK record stores. They'll reach Edinburgh's Voxbox on Valentine's Day, where they'll also be flogging an exclusive, limited edition picture disc single with a new song on the B-side.

Slow Club, The Pleasance, Sat Feb 14
With last year's 'Complete Surrender', Sheffieldian indie pop duo Charles Watson and Rebecca Taylor showed an in-depth knowledge of pop history, with influences ranging from Motown to Bowie. Hear them play it live, possibly with a full band backing (they haven't told us, personally).

King Creosote, Catriona McKay and Chris Stout, The Queen's Hall, Sat Feb 14
Three of Scotland's contemporary folk folk team up for a specially-commissioned collaborative gig, plus the odd bit of solo material from each. Given that it's Valentine's Day, we imagine there'll be a fair flavour of KC's 'From Scotland with Love'.

Django Django, Liquid Room, Sun Feb 15
One of the best new Scottish bands of recent years will sneak-preview new material from their forthcoming, as-yet-untitled second album with a special hometown show. If you count home town as the place they went to uni.

TV on the Radio, The Queen's Hall, Mon Feb 16
The hugely inventive Brooklyn, New York indie/art-rock band play live in Scotland for the first time in four years (their first show here since the passing of bassist Gerard Smith in 2011).

Gruff Rhys, The Caves, Wed Feb 18
The Super Furry man comes to Glasgow off the back of his 'American Interior' project – a sprawling concept album, book, film, app and Power Point-based live performance experience.

The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Corn Exchange, Thu Feb 19
East Kilbride’s finest purveyors of noise and confusion JAMC continue to tour their all-time classic debut album 'Psychocandy' around the country, 30 years on from its release.

Maximo Park, Liquid Room, Fri Feb 20
Paul Smith's group of indie-rockers play tracks from their five-album back catalogue, including 2014's 'Too Much Information'.

Pulse x Substance, Bongo Club, Fri Feb 20
Edinburgh techno heavyweights Pulse and Substance partner up to bring Rødhåd, Berlin-based purveyor of deep, powerful and melancholic electronic sounds, to Edinburgh for a night of dancefloor hedonism.

A Certain Ratio, The Voodoo Rooms, Fri Feb 20
The cult post-punk-funk band, made famous - or at least given exposure - in '24 Hour Party People', return to Scotland for the first time in a long time.

Young Marco at Wasabi Disco, Sneaky Pete's, Sat Feb 21
Amsterdam DJ, producer and Rush Hour staffer Young Marco unpacks his eclectic record bag at Sneaky's resident 'mutant disco' night.

Kate Tempest, Bongo Club, Tue Feb 24
She's a poet, a playwright, a Mercury Award nominated recording artist and much more besides. It's the third one on that list she's showing off at this gig, accompanied by a full band.

Ryan Adams, Usher Hall, Tue Feb 24
With his most recent, self-titled, release leaning far into the rockier end of the musical spectrum, the Usher Hall seems an odd fit for this tour from the American songwriter. Still, we're just happy to see him at all.

Eastern Standard Time Tour, Liquid Room, Tue Feb 24
Cult Boston hip hop artists Edo G, Akrobatik, Termanology and Reks team up to hit the UK in this showcase tour.

Jungle, Liquid Room, Wed Feb 25
Following a meteoric rise since their inception in 2013, the modern soul collective have been busy earnin'. Catch them live if you can - we've heard whispers that this one's sold out.

Placebo, Corn Exchange, Sat Feb 28
Brian Molko and his glam-grunge-pop troupe are still churning out the tunes seven albums and 20 years in. 20 years - can you believe that?

The War on Drugs, Usher Hall, Sat Feb 28
Their latest album ‘Lost In The Dream’ was the runaway best record of 2014 judging by most end-of-year lists – bask in its trippy heartland rock glow as Philadelphians The War on Drugs pack out the Usher Hall.