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Friday, August 14, 1998 Published at 16:21 GMT 17:21 UK

Anyone for Shakespeare?

Over 30 productions of Shakespeare on offer at the Fringe

Watch a selection of Shakespeare productions on offer at the Fringe
The Fringe is famous for its innovation but throughout the 1,300 shows this year, there is one playwright who keeps cropping up.

William Shakespeare's works may be around 400 years old, but they remain as popular as ever.

In the streets - set to African beats, in French and this year Shakespeare is even served for Breakfast.

Coffee and croissants

Over 30 productions are linked in some way to the bard. Some might say that this suggests a lack of innovation on the part of the theatre companies.

[ image: Shakespeare black and caffeine laden]
Shakespeare black and caffeine laden
"Not so" says David Cottis, director of Shakespeare for Breakfast.

His production delivers its performance along with free coffee and croissants at ten in the morning.

He says: " The Fringe is about lots of diversity, there is room for people to do lots of different things, we are just one aspect of that ... I think it would be great if people then went off to see something experimental."

The cast

[ image: OJ Simpson meets Shakespeare]
OJ Simpson meets Shakespeare
The production OJ Othello links Shakespeare's Othello and the case of OJ Simpson, the former US sports star who was last year tried for the double murder of his wife and one of her friends.

Playwright Maarten van Hinte says he has concentrated on the conflict within OJ "the person" rather than focusing on his trial.

In Shakespeare's Women, written by Barbara Lewis, seven of Shakespeare's female characters; Juliet, Desdemonia, Cordelia, Ophelia, Queen Katherine, Richard III's Anne, Lady Macbeth chat about their men and life in general.

The Canadian Clayton Jevne manages to deliver his One-Man Hamlet in 60 minutes and stays true to the text.

Shakespeare on the move

For people who don't just want to be spectators Frantic Red Productions present their version of Macbeth. In this interactive production the audience are taken on a walking tour of Edinburgh's Royal Mile, and are invited to act out the scenes.

[ image: Jessica Kubzansky interacting with Macbeth]
Jessica Kubzansky interacting with Macbeth
Director Jessica Kubzansky is keen to experiment with the way an audience experiences theatre.

"This is a very interactive Macbeth, you are travelling with the company, you are feeling their journey, you are feeling all of that, so I guess the innovation is simply environmental," she said.

For those bewildered by the choice on the Fringe, Shakespeare is at least a familiar name, even if the productions themselves seem somewhat bizarre.

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