This little piggy went to Scotland

Heather Neill takes in 'Babe' and the Bard at Edinburgh, and picks out three London shows that bring home the bacon

* Pig in drama

Members of Leicestershire Youth Arts have been coming to Venue 65 in Cowgate at festival time for 23 years. This year they have six shows, including Carrie's War (adapted by Robert Staunton, artistic director of LYA, from Nina Bawden's book which is published by Oxford University Press), The Wizard of Oz and Hair.

Their morning show for the youngest children is a version of Dick King-Smith's popular story, Babe, the Sheep-Pig. It has all the inventiveness and discipline we have come to expect from this company, all of whom are over 16 and eligible for Open College of the Arts accreditation for their efforts. The story of Babe, who repels rustlers and wins sheepdog trials despite being a pig, is told with the help of puppets and a few simple animal-designated caps. The set - movable rustic structures made from orange box planks, is practical and ingenious. Tickets: 0131 557 0469.

Back home in Leicester, the company will perform all six plays at the Phoenix theatre at the end of the month.

* Sonnet spectacular

William Sutton is an unusual kind of obsessive: he has spent years learning all Shakespeare's 154 sonnets by heart. His show, Why Love Shakespeare?, is driven by his passion, which gives it a certain charm, but it remains didactic and looks a little out of place among the excesses of the Fringe. Mixed with some personal history and the odd bit of Shakespeariana (not always quite accurate - the Globe was built in 1599 not 1597), he presents a survey of the subject-matter of the sonnets as he stands surrounded by them.

After that you can challenge him to recite any sonnet or recognise one from a single word. A local school has invited him along. You can find out more at www.ilove shakespeare.com. At the Gateway Theatre. Tickets: 0131 317 3939.

* Sondheim spectacular

Stephen Sondheim's Follies is both a celebration of showbiz and a memento mori. Ageing singers and dancers return to a theatre that is about to be demolished as their younger selves weave in and out among them dressed in the glitter of a previous age. Cracks in marriages, lost opportunities and regret give rise to some classic Sondheim numbers - bitter-sweet love songs and show-stopping belters. A gold-standard cast is directed by Paul Kerryson at the Royal Festival Hall, where the environment is rather clinical for the subject matter. Until August 31. Tickets: 020 7960 4242.

* Much ado about something

Shakespeare's waspish comedy also focuses on middle-aged romance in Gregory Doran's production for the Royal Shakespeare Company set in 1940s Sicily. Harriet Walter (Beatrice) and Nicholas Le Prevost (Benedick) combine high comedy with a tinge of sadness; these two very nearly got left behind, the one taking refuge in cynicism, the other in male camaraderie. Theatre Royal, Haymarket, London, until August 22, 0870 901 3356; and Theatre Royal, Newcastle, September 24 to October 3, 0870 609 1110.

* Colour coded

Anyone suffering from withdrawal as the inspirational MatissePicasso exhibition at Tate Modern closes on Sunday could sample Masters of Colour: Derain to Kandinsky at the Royal Academy. Twentieth-century colourists, including these two, as well as Braque, Leger and Modigliani. To November 17. Information: 020 7300 8000.

Visit www.tes.co.uk for more about the Edinburgh Festival and Fringe

Log in or register for FREE to continue reading.

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you