The 2001 Edinburgh Festival has, so far, reinforced the event's international popularity and standing. Ticket receipts have been higher than ever, and despite a bewildering number and range of shows available, there have been few tales of half-empty houses or struggles to attract audiences.
Although no single theme dominating this year's Festival, controversial issues have been raised, in particular by The Age of Consent, which deals with a teenage child-murderer, and at the other end of the age spectrum, the unfortunately named but Fringe First award-winning Wiping My Mother's Arse, which deals with another difficult subject: the indignities and vulnerability of old age.
On a lighter note Bette Bourne's performance as Quentin Crisp (performed, appropriately enough, in a Ballroom) caught the fancy of comedienne Jenny Eclair, who was one of a number of celebrities who have headed north to Edinburgh and reported back, to newspaper readers, on their impressions of Europe's largest arts festival. (She had failed to realize, however that Bette Bourne was a man, not a woman: something of a double-edged compliment.)
Someone who is definitely all woman is comedienne and plastic-surgery expert Joan Rivers, whose appearance at the Pleasance at the Festival Theatre attracted widespread publicity this week. Miss Rivers is the highest profile performer at this year's Festival and much newsprint has been spent debating how she will fare against rival attractions and younger female comics. This is already a rhetorical question as Ms. Rivers' three appearances are already sold out.
— by Paul Webb Theatrenow