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The top 10 events at the Edinburgh International Festival 2015

Written by
Niki Boyle

The 2015 programme of the Edinburgh International Festival launched this morning, with new artistic director Fergus Linehan adding a dash of popular culture to the traditionally high brow line-up. The fest will run in various venues across Edinburgh from Aug 7-31 - here;s our pick of the top 10 programme highlights.

Franz Ferdinand/Sparks (FFS), Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Mon Mar 24

Photo: David Edwards

The art rock supergroup announced a forthcoming album and a mere smattering of UK dates earlier this month, so we're glad to see them booking some time with Edinburgh as well.

Antigone with Juliette Binoche, King's Theatre, Fri Aug 7-Sat Aug 22 (not 10, 17)

Photo: Jan Versweyveld

Sophocles' tragedy was the first EIF horse out of the gate this year, with the starry casting of Juliette Binoche in the lead role backed up by Ivo van Hove's occupation of the director's chair.

Alasdair Gray's Lanark, Royal Lyceum Theatre, Sun Aug 23-Mon Aug 21 (not 26)

Illustration: Alasdair Gray

Playwrights Graham Eatough and David Greig bring Alasdair Gray's seminal Scottish novel to life, traipsing through fantasy, realism, science fiction and post-modernism to explore the parallel worlds of Glasgow and Unthank.

Murmel Murmel, King's Theatre, Fri Aug 28-Sun Aug 30

Photo: Thomas Aurin

This Dadaist play from Swiss artist Dieter Roth was long considered unstageable, part in thanks to its 178-page script that consisted of one repeated word (take a look at the title and see if you can figure it out). Actor/director Herbert Fritsch has taken on the challenge though, producing a surreal, hilarious technicolour experience.

Sufjan Stevens, Edinburgh Playhouse, Sun Aug 30

Photo: Emmanuel Afolabi

Following the FFS announcement, genre-crossing singer-songwriter Stevens is the EIF's next most populist pick, with accolades from Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, The Guardian, Entertainment Weekly and more. He visits Edinburgh with his seventh studio album 'Carrie & Lowell'.

Virgin Money Firework Concert, Princes Street Gardens, Mon Aug 31

Photo: Eoin Carey

An oldie but a goodie. This year's traditional festival closer follows the same format as previous years, with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra playing popular classical hits from the Ross Bandstand in Princes Street Gardens while fireworks shoot overhead. Because if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Paul Bright's Confessions of a Justified Sinner, The Queen's Hall, Wed Aug 19-Sat Aug 22

Photo: Tommy Ga-Ken Wan

A bit of a labyrinthine one this, as theatre group Untitled Projects revive their 2013 exploration of theatremaker Paul Bright's ambitious 1987 adaptation of James Hogg's 1824 novel. It's much funnier than it sounds, tackling theatre culture itself as much as the original, undefinable narrative.

The Last Hotel, Royal Lyceum Theatre, Sat Aug 8-Wed Aug 12 (not 9)

Photo: Hugh O'Conor

Playwright Enda Walsh and composer Donnacha Dennehy deliver a sweary chamber opera tackling obligation, shame and mortality, set in a hotel car park.

Robert LePage and Ex Machina: 887, EICC, Thu Aug 13-Sun Aug 23 (not 17)

Photo: Érick Labbé

Technological theatre pioneer LePage brings his latest visually arresting production to Edinburgh for its European premiere, exploring concepts of memory and collective consciousness inspired by his own childhood experience of the 1970 October Crisis in Quebec.

The Magic Flute, Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Thu Aug 27-Sun Aug 30

Photo: Iko Freese

Komische Oper Berlin, director Barrie Kosky and British theatre group 1927 come together for a radical restaging of Mozart's comic opera, combining elements of expressionist and silent cinema, Weimar cabaret and animation for an entirely new experience.

The Edinburgh International Festival will run in various venues across Edinburgh from Aug 7-31.

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