Art Works? The Fringe Poster Post-Mortem

A rad or bad poster can make or break your Fringe show. Si Hawkins asked a cross-section of this year’s acts to talk him through their visual feasts

feature (edinburgh) | Read in About 4 minutes
Published 03 Aug 2015
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R.I.O.T. demonstrate their Fringe superpowers

Space, the Final Frontiernan

Tiernan Douieb
The World’s Full of Idiots, Let’s Live in Space

What’s the show about?

It’s mainly me being angry. Space is my ideal idea of escapism right now, because I think the world is full of fucking awful people.

Explain the poster?

I’m really sick of posters with faces on. Tom Humberstone is the artist. He had the idea of the astronaut looking away from earth and looking at Twitter instead.

Are you worried that people will steal them?

I don’t mind, I’ve ordered quite a few!


The crinkled face of the final curtain

Gary McNair: A Gambler’s Guide to Dying

What’s the show about?

This is the story of one boy’s granddad who won a fortune betting on the 1966 World Cup and then, when diagnosed with cancer, bets the whole lot on living to see the year 2000.

Explain the poster?

We wanted to present an image of an older gentlemen in a very positive light. We did want to have a pensioner riding a horse over the mouth of the volcano but we couldn't get any volunteers. 

Did that chap know what the show is called?

It’s actually my wife's grandfather. I was a bit worried about telling him the show's name but he loved it. I think he feels it gives him a cool, dark edge.


Poetry in Crayola-colour motion

John Osborne: Most People Aren’t That Happy, Anyway

What’s the show about?

It's an hour where I do my best poems.

Explain the poster?

Even if people don't come to the show I wanted to have something that will look good as a piece of art: a cool thing to put on the pinboard in your temporary Edinburgh kitchen.

Who made it?

It's an artist called Katie Pope who lives in Glasgow. She's like Lowry. I can't believe anyone can draw as well as her.


Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a shiny dancer 

Clara Giraud (producer): R.I.O.T.

What’s the show about?

R.I.O.T. is a comic book come to life on stage.

Explain the poster?

We wanted to convey the image of a geeky guy trying hard to be a superhero. 

Who made it?

It’s made in collaboration with photographer Manuel Vason and graphic designer David Hardcastle. Manuel suggested the white socks and the trainers, to contrast with the 'manly' pose. 


Head shots needn’t be dead shots

Lindsay Benner: Book of Love

What’s the show about?

Book of Love is my first silent comedy. It’s become my favourite medium of live theatre.

Explain the poster?

I wanted it to look reminiscent of the Tivoli poster I had in my room when I was growing up. There was this little girl looking up in the air with excitement and anticipation for the amusement park.

Who designed it?

R. Black has been the resident artist at the Shotgun Players in Berkeley for many years. I was very excited when he agreed to design my Fringe poster.


Massive feline? Retro font? Cat-loving hipsters will lap it up

Nazli Tabatabai-Khatambakhsh (artistic director): CINEMA

What’s the show about?

CINEMA tells the story of the lives cut short in the Rex Cinema fire of 1978, through the eyes of cinema cat Shahrzad.

Explain the poster?

The moment we realised Shahrzad was our storyteller, we knew we needed her at the centre. We love how her face almost fades into the distance like a magic mirror, again and again… meow.

Can a good poster make a big difference?

Yes! We hope…


Four Grimm tales, four beautifully grim posters

Hannah Bixby (Fourth Monkey administrator): Fourth Monkey’s Grimm Tales

Tell us about the shows

We’re delivering a season of Grimm Tales, adapted from the originals, with contemporary and very adult themes.

What was the plan for the four posters?

To capture the darker themes of the stories. Hopefully the artwork reflects that in an exciting way.

How important is a good Fringe poster?

I think it’s incredibly important. Last year, our sell-out production of Alice, the artwork played a very significant part.