Today, Thursday 11 May, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society is delighted to announce that more shows for the 2023 Edinburgh Festival Fringe will be available to book at edfringe.com. This year’s Fringe takes place from 04 – 28 August 2023 and will feature an exciting range of shows, with theatre, comedy, music, dance, circus, musicals, variety, cabaret, children’s shows, events and more all represented in the programme. Ahead of the full programme launch in June, more shows than ever before are being released, with 1,596 shows on edfringe.com from 12:00 BST today. The official launch of the festival, including the reveal of the iconic printed programme, will take place on Thursday 08 June.
Commenting on today’s announcement, Shona McCarthy, Chief Executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, said: ‘Today’s announcement reflects the wealth and variety of performance awaiting audiences this August, yet it also highlights the need to support artists and venues more than ever. Thousands of artists are coming to Edinburgh this summer to reach new audiences, and benefit from the many industry opportunities available to them, which is testament to the platform that the Festival Fringe offers them.
It continues to be a very challenging time for those working across the cultural sector, and I urge you to browse shows, book tickets, and champion these passionate and resilient performers. As we move at pace towards this year’s festival, it has never been more important than now to support those at the very heart of the Fringe – the artists.’
Below is a small representative sample of shows available to book from today. The full list of shows released today can be found at edfringe.com.
Disability-led theatre company FlawBored present It’s a Motherf**king Pleasure at Underbelly, ‘a scathing satire on the monetisation of identity politics that spares no one’. Expecting by c21 Theatre Company is at Deaf Action, and ‘explores experiences unique to d/Deaf and hearing couples’.
At Army @ The Fringe, Everything Under the Sun ‘explores complex questions about how lasting peace is achieved, the role of foreign intervention in Mali, and how a state can rebuild after a generation of conflict’ via the story of Ibrihim, ‘a young Malian interpreter attached to the UN.’ Move at Bedlam Theatre follows Mili, who moves ‘from Beijing to NYC to become an artist’ and ‘seeks out people that are the polar opposite of those she grew up with’. Writer and performer Obehi Janice is in the Casanova-inspired Nova at Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh, following ‘a Nigerian-American comedian navigating desire, pussy and power’. Flickering Seasons at St John’s Church presents ‘a woman’s journey as she navigates life through adversity and challenges such as homelessness, addiction, domestic abuse and racism’. And 4/4/4: 4 Real Asians, 4 White Men, 4 Fake Asians is ‘both an autopsy of racial capitalist manifestations in the real world and a wild, virtuosic experiment which completely rips apart Whiteness’ – it’s at theSpaceUK.
An(dre)a Spisto: El Dizzy Beast is an Assembly show about ‘a queer, autistic, latinx caterpillar on the edge’. At the BlundaGardens, Plague Stone Party: Farewell, Tor offers ‘the queerest folktales that Wales and Ireland have to offer, with clowning, puppetry, and 90s trance anthems’. Gate Number 5 at C venues is ‘a half-live, half-virtual interracial lesbian love story between a white European and a black former refugee’. Asexuality! is ‘an autobiographical musical comedy about Rebecca McGlynn‘s pre-transition life’ – it’s at Gilded Balloon. At Greenside, Burnt Lavender takes place within ‘a clandestine cabaret pulsing with physical theatre, lip-synced routines and gut-wrenching confessions’; it aims to amplify ‘LGBTQ+ history through laughter, tears, and a stage full of queers’. And ‘the origin story of the world’s most glamorous Pride parade comes to life’ in ’78 Things I Don’t Want to Tell You About the Love of My Life at Outhouse.
At Palmerston Place Church, Chariot: The Eric Liddell Story tells the story of the famed athlete and his struggle to stay true to his principles at the Olympic Games of 1924. ‘David Hume and Adam Smith, titans of The Scottish Enlightenment and the dearest of friends, grieve – for old age and disease separate them, perhaps for eternity’ in Enquiry Concerning Hereafter at Panmure House. Set during the French Revolution, The Madwoman at Paradise Green follows Théroigne de Méricourt, who ‘spends her final days crafting her life’s great work, an opera about the revolution she never left behind’. Ludmilla Dabo and David Lescot star in A Portrait of Ludmilla as Nina Simone at the French Institute in Scotland.
Searchlight Theatre Company presents two shows at Charlotte Chapel: The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis is an adaptation by Nigel Forde, while Titanic: The Last Hero and The Last Coward follows the journeys of ‘a church minister and an executive of the White Star Line’ on the ill-fated ship. At the Ian McKellen Theatre, Saint Stephens Stockbridge, Full Show Lane Studiopresent their take on the famous Ming Dynasty novel Journey to the West, combining physical theatre with original music in ‘a rarely seen blend of ancient and modern’. The Brunton with David Ross and Tommie Travers present an amateur production of The Steamie at Loretto School Theatre, as four women in a 1950s Glasgow laundry ‘blether about the past, the future, and being pals’. At Musselburgh Racecourse, Quantum Theatre present an outdoor adaptation of Kenneth Grahame’s classic, Wind in the Willows, while Richard Holloway and friends present Murder in the Cathedral, ‘Eliot’s famous play on the life and murder of Thomas Becket in Canterbury Cathedral,’ in Old Saint Paul’s Church.
The Edinburgh People’s Theatre are staging Whisky Galore! at Mayfield Salisbury Church, in which a community of Scottish islanders ‘rescue’ a shipload of whisky during WW2. Meanwhile, ‘three alcoholics who meet in the night’ discuss fate, destiny and booze in Drink Whole Night at Frankenstein Pub.
House of Oz invites you to meet ‘Maureen: a razor-tongued self-described “working-class glamour queen” with outrageous stories to tell’. Thorns at Laughing Horse is a ‘reimagining’ of Sleeping Beauty, focusing on the voices of the heroine, ‘her daughter and the queen who sought her destruction’. At Hill Street Theatre and online, Auto-Engrain: A One-Woman Show ‘relays experiences from speed-dating to how a toxic relationship can be engrained’. We Must Do This More at The Royal Scots Club is ‘a one-woman show with original songs and poetry, exploring the life of a burnt-out millennial, struggling to prioritise her best friend’.
Lemon Jelly’s Fred Deakin ‘hosts an immersive joyride through his Clubland adventures’ in Club Life at Summerhall. The 1990-set Better Days at Just the Tonic follows 19-year-old Danny, who ‘stands at the crossroads of football violence and house music’. Bits ‘N’ Pieces at Leith Arches‘explores the dangers of drug stigma and misinformation in modern society’. And at ROUNDABOUT @ Summerhall, Bullring Techno Makeout Jamz follows Nathaniel ‘on his journey of self-discovery as he explores Black masculinity through Beyonce lyrics, techno raves and the deeply intimate relationship a man has with his barber’.
At Le Monde, Paul Zenon in Monkey Businessexplores ‘the amazing, strange-but-true story behind the weird stuff advertised in vintage American comics’. Writer, actor and magician David Alnwick presents The Mystery of Dracula at PBH’s Free Fringe, in which ‘Van Helsing’s great, great grandson performs a séance to conjure Count Dracula’s ghost’.
Horizon Showcase: FORGE at Lyceum Roseburnis ‘a durational installation featuring welding and soundscape,’ inspired by the theft of the ‘welcome’ gate from Dachau concentration camp in 2014. Dark Noon at Pleasance is a ‘brutal reimagining of the history of America… told by seven South African actors,’ presented by Danish director Tue Biering and co-director Nhlanhla Mahlangu.
The site-specific Angry Snatch: A Reclamation Job in 15 Rounds is ‘provocative and captivating piece of physical theatre’ at Port O’Leith Boxing Club. At Central Hall, Family Matters is ‘a powerful look at the myriad meanings of the word “family” and the importance of finding where you fit in’.
MADE IN AMERICA is ‘a funny yet shockingly raw autobiography by Japanese-born artist Teruko Nakajima’ (featuring her dog Titi) at Gilded Balloon. The Abu Dhabi Dramatic Societypresents ‘an original bunch of jokes and sketches based on real-life scenarios’ in On The Tiles at C venues. In her debut show, The Mandela Effect, Thenjiwe, ‘the Queen of deadpan, discusses how the world has collectively misremembered facts and events that have led to Africa being in the state that it’s in’ at Just the Tonic. Yoshi Obayashi’s Adult Content at Greenside is ‘a show that presents various life stories in and out of the world of sex work – funny, sad, shocking’. Noam Shuster Eliassi presents Coexistence My A** at Laughing Horse, in which she discusses ‘her Palestinian best friends, Iranian family, and viral marriage proposal to the Saudi Prince’. In his first UK gig, Saudi stand-up, actor and musician Ibrahem Al Hajjaj presents From Riyadh to Edinburgh at theSpaceUK. And, ‘like a 1970s cabaret show but with more colour and less racism,’ The 5th Alternative Black Comedy Showcase is at PBH’s Free Fringe.
In Overweight and OVER IT! at Ian McKellen Theatre, Saint Stephens Stockbridge, RuPaul’s Drag Race UK winner Lawrence Chaney ‘will talk everything from dating and exercise to having to buy two seats on a plane but only getting one meal’. Keroseno and Finito: Cock O’Clock is ‘a transgressive tragicomedy based on true events that follows two LGBT+ siblings Keroseno and Finito, in the prevention and visibility of suicide’ following their mother’s death – it’s on at both Laughing Horse and Leith Depot. ‘Comedian. Trans woman. Voice of a generation. Anna Piper Scott makes her UK debut’ in Such an Inspirationat House of Oz. At Hill Street Theatre, Seattle comedian Andrew Frank delivers Ecstatic Blasphemy, ‘a hilarious set about growing up as a pastor’s kid, finding queer joy beyond fundamentalist Christianity, and performing subversive stand-up throughout the Bible Belt’.
‘She’s been famous, she’s been homeless, she’s been sectioned with two guys who both claimed to be Jesus.’ Now Gail Porter prepares to be Hung, Drawn and Portered at Assembly. Troy Kinne‘shares too much information about all of the things wrong with him’ in Made Wrong at 4042. And at Paradise Green, Bipolar Badass ‘is a one-woman show by Mari (like calamari) Crawford about the humour behind struggling with the illness’.
‘Poppyscotland are proud to host a refreshing, uplifting showcase of laugh-out-loud comedy created by Armed Forces veterans’ in The Recovery Through Comedy Show at Lady Haig’s Poppy Factory. ‘Essex-born Gavin Lilley, through his masterful use of sign language, has brought laughter to many deaf and hearing people with his unique perspective on our world today’ – you can catch him as part of Deaf Action Presents: The Gavin Lilley Show.
John Hegley’s The Early Word at Summerhall‘includes the anxiety of a slug and the four simple rules of Mister Galimore for marking your neighbour’s French vocabulary test’. Jeremy Segway: A Life Out of Balance is a show ‘dedicated to Mr Segway, the man who invented the Segway, all performed entirely on Segways’ – it’s at Bedlam Theatre.
Su Mi: Banana Beard at BlundaGardens ‘invites you on a surreal misadventure of absurdist sketch, untamed thrash metal guitar solos and imaginary costumed personas’. At Central Hall, The Yassification of Jesse James by the Coward Samantha Clementine combines ‘cowboys, karate, a Time Lord, ridiculous slang, and biting social commentary’. And ‘our once hot-bodied men in kilts, now warm-bodied Men in Quilts, navigate the challenges of getting older, not necessarily wiser’ at Boteco do Brasil.
Barry Fern presents his Arthur’s Seat Comedy Extravaganza on the summit of Edinburgh’s favourite dormant volcano this August. The Biscuit Factory hosts a line-up of comedians at Leith Comedy Festival Presents…. And Scottish accordionist Sandy Brechin ‘brings his successful weekly Facebook music and comedy lockdown show, Sandy on Sunday, to the live stage for the first time, with impressions, costume changes, stand-up and some loony tunes’. It’s called Sandy Not Just on Sunday! and it’s at The Saltire Society Headquarters.
There are also plenty of famous and familiar funny faces returning to Fringe 2023. The Duncan and Judy Murray Show is at The Stand’s New Town Theatre, promising ‘another unique show featuring special guests, Q&As and a desperate attempt from Duncan to win his mum’s approval’. Lara Ricote, Rose Matafeo, Sofie Hagen, Dane Baptiste, Ed Gamble and Tiff Stevenson are at Monkey Barrel Comedy; Catherine Cohen, Jordan Brookes, Nick Helm, Rosie Jones, Shaparak Khorsandi and All Killa No Filla are at Pleasance; Glenn Wool is at the Scottish Comedy Festival; Mark Watson has two shows at St Peter’s Church; Jerry Sadowitz proudly presents… Last Year’s Show! at The Queen’s Hall; Foil Arms and Hog, Sara Pascoe and Abandoman are at Underbelly; Mark Thomasand Simon Munnery are at The Stand Comedy Club; and First Thing (Work in Progress by Daniel Kitson) is at ROUNDABOUT @ Summerhall. Bobby Davro, ‘one of the biggest television comedy names of the 1980s and 1990s, makes his Fringe debut’ in My Name Is Bobby Davro at Frankenstein Pub.
‘Led by charismatic Senegalese singer Samba Sene, Diwan is a diverse international collection of musicians, who share a global outlook and love of West African beats’ – catch them at The Jazz Bar.MTO Zendeh Delan‘s Journey of Love at Stockbridge Church is ‘a captivating presentation of the Sufi allegory of Leyla and Majnun depicted through modern Sufi music and the motions of Sama’. Sako Wana at Acoustic Music Centre @ UCC offers a ‘colourful groove for a festive trip to West Africa mixing pulsating rhythms from traditional Mandinka instruments’. Alafia Ensemble, comprising six musicians from diverse backgrounds, play two shows this Fringe: Amalgamando at Argyle Cellar Bar and Bridges Between Worlds at artSpace@StMarks. At theSpaceUK, David Rivera and La Båmbula ‘will make you dance with their Caribbean sounds from Puerto Rico and Cuba’. Sixty musicians, conducted by composer He Zhanhao, ‘perform one of the most popular works in the modern Chinese classical canon’ in The Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto and Other Works at Ashton Hall, Saint Stephens Stockbridge.
Fringe audiences can ‘experience the passionate and mesmerising Flamenco Guitar Odyssey by Philip Adie’ at Alba Flamenca. Flamencodanza at C venues is an ‘inspired, powerful and elegant show of Flamenco dance and guitar presented by Aylin Bayaz, Raul Mannola’. And the ‘award-winning Daniel Martinez Flamenco Companypresents their long-awaited second album and production’ Andalucia at YOTEL Edinburgh.
The Edinburgh Fringe Fling at the Old Dr Bells Baths ‘will feature some of the finest acts in Scottish traditional music in: Gleadhraich, Whisky Kiss and The Laurettes’, while guitarist Tony Randle takes you ‘on a journey through different shades and flavours of the acoustic guitar, with a mix of original pieces and classics’ in his Acoustic Guitar Showcase at the Arthur Conan Doyle Centre.
Dynamic Earth celebrates ‘the 50th anniversary of Pink Floyd’s 1973 album’ in the immersive Planetarium Lates: Dark Side of the Moon. La Haut (Up There) at the French Institute in Scotland ‘is an audiovisual show that immerses the audience in a unique world through the eyes of bird-like aeroplanes, taking you on a journey exploring emotions of longing and home’.
Tom Robinson is Up Close and Personal at The Stand’s New Town Theatre, offering ‘an hour of classic songs and scurrilous stories spanning five decades of adventures in the music industry’. The Rezillos’ Fay Fife brings ‘an unholy alchemy of country and punk’ to Gilded Balloon with her ‘insurgent alt-country outfit’ The Countess of Fife. At Bannerman’s, Breakout! is ‘the highly anticipated show from the most beloved up-and-coming indie, pop and rock acts from Edinburgh’. Duane Forrest takes you on ‘a journey through the history of reggae’ in Bob Marley – How Reggae Changed the World at The A Club at the Merchants Hall. And Nothing Ever Happens Here returns to Summerhall with a programme of music gigs throughout August, including Pictish Trail, Kathryn Joseph, Auntie Flo and the London Astrobeat Orchestra performing Talking Heads.
‘Founded in 1947 at the Rose Street Telephone Exchange,’ the Edinburgh Telephone Choirperform Around the World in 80 Minutes at The Salvation Army Edinburgh City Corps, ‘with styles including pop, traditional and show tunes’. The Absolutely Fab Choir present free, uplifting pop songs at Brewhemia and Le Monde this August. And you can expect ‘timeless classics you know and love, inspirational anthems, and exhilarating gospel arrangements guaranteed to revitalise your soul’ in Get Up and Gospel! atCanongate Kirk and Greyfriars Kirk.
Two different shows are encouraging audience members to sing along this Fringe: Pub Choir – This Worked At Home is ‘the low-effort, high-return show of your dreams’ at The Liquid Room, while Choir!Choir!Choir! at Underbelly is ‘a show where the crowd is the star’.
The South London Jazz Orchestra ‘dazzles you with big-band favourites from the whole history of jazz – as well as some more surprising choices – in an afternoon of funk, Latin, swing and much more’. They’re playing at both Broughton St Mary’s Parish Church and St Andrew’s and St George’s West, George St. ‘Award-winning international blues star Giles Robson, one of the greatest living blues harmonica virtuosos, showmen and singers,’ is joined by Edinburgh blues guitar player Sandy Tweeddale in Up Close with the Blues at Ryrie’s Bar. And ‘two-time Grammy nominee’ Beth Nielsen Chapman has released 14 solo albums, with ‘songs recorded by the likes of Bonnie Raitt, Willie Nelson and Elton John’ – catch her at The Queen’s Hall.
As part of the Made in Scotland showcase, the Tinderbox Orchestra take to Edinburgh Central Library this August, ‘bringing together rappers and singers with soaring strings, heavy brass, woodwind and a thundering backline’; Tales of Transatlantic Freedom at Greenside is ‘a glorious exploration of our global musical heritage,’ bringing together ‘the richness of spirituals, jazz, blues, gospel, opera, and the songs of Robert Burns’; and ‘Modern Studies frontwoman Emily Scottperforms new melancholy folk-tinged record Leave No Shadow with lush string orchestra and band in a soaring chapel acoustic’ titled Chrysanths, at St Vincent’s, with support on various dates from C Duncan, Faith Elliot and LT Leif.
Mark Spalding performs two Philip Glass recitals at St Andrew’s and St George’s West, George Stthis August: Piano Etudes, ‘a selection from The Twenty Etudes For Piano composed between 1991 and 2013’ and ‘the piano solo version of the award-winning soundtrack for the 2002 film The Hours’. Meanwhile, Northesk Parish Church plays hosts to three separate programmes of Soloists of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra: André Cebrian and Irene Alfageme, Maximiliano Martin and Scott Mitchell, and Su-a Lee and Hamish Napier. London-based cellist Anne-Isabel Meyer plays the Bach Cello Suites and Bach’s Prelude and Gigueat St Cuthbert’s Church; St Giles’ Cathedralhosts performances by the National Youth Choir of Scotland and NYCOS National Girls Choir; and John Bryden delivers ‘two piano recitals on the Cathedral Steinway’ as part of Cathedral Coffee Concerts at St Mary’s Cathedral.
Attila the Stockbroker has ‘taught himself to play crumhorn, cornamuse, rauschpfeife, recorders and written an album about the Levellers, Diggers and Ranters and the English Revolution of 1649’. Find out more at his Early Music Show at St Cecilia’s Hall.
In Rules Schmules – How To Be Jew-ish at Hill Street Theatre, Suzie Depreli delivers ‘one woman’s passive aggressive mission to educate the world about what it means to have an orthodox family that ate sausages, an Asian Catholic husband that uses more Yiddish words than her Nana, and celebrate Passover without believing in God’. Meanwhile, Endless Sunset Oblivion at Just the Tonic ‘tells the story of Reuben – a young songwriter attempting to combat the accelerated problems the world is facing’.
‘Singing in both French and English, Christine Bovill honours Edith Piaf, Jacques Brel, Serge Gainsbourg, Francoise Hardy and more’ in Paris: From Piaf to Pop at Loretto School Theatre. In Poesie Geht Ohne Schuh (Poetry Walks Without Shoes), ‘poems of Rilke, Eichendorff and more are set to music and performed by Christoph Hilgerand Janet de Vigne’ at Old Saint Paul’s Church.
The Octavoce ensemble present ‘a whirlwind a cappella trip through our favourite Disney tunes’ in 100 Years of Disney at Leith Arches. Searchlight Theatre Company presents two shows at Palmerston Place Church: A Spoonful of Songsfeatures ‘some of the most iconic songs from films like Mary Poppins, Aladdin, Toy Story and The Prince of Egypt’, while Her Majesty’s Musicalscelebrate ‘the rule and reign of the late Queen Elizabeth II, featuring songs from musicals that have played Her Majesty’s Theatre in London’s West End – including Fiddler on the Roof, Phantom and West Side Story’. AXIOM – ‘11 incredible singers ready to take your breath away’ – present Fundamentals of A Cappella at Paradise Green.
At PBH’s Free Fringe, Marcus Megastar: Live and Controversial is a ‘free LGBTQIA concert circuit-style party after hours, where everybody’s welcome’. At The Three Sisters, AYEbiza Live: The UV Neon Party Sessions is ‘an exciting new visual club experience taking you back to the 00s and 90s with singers, dancers, saxophonists, percussion, glow paint and good vibes’. And you can witness ‘mind-blowing sound, energy and vocal dexterity performed by international touring beatboxers and world champions, The Beatbox Collective,’ in What’s Your Sound? at Assembly.
Cabaret and variety
In Nails It! at Gilded Balloon, Jesus L’Orealdelivers ‘a sacre-licious energetic hour of song, dance and Jehovah’s Fitness’. ‘Taking to the trial stand, fighting for justice and liberty,’ Karen From Finance Is Doing Time at Underbelly. At BlundaGardens, Joanne Tremarco and Maral: Mother Earth (The Oldest Stripper) is an ‘interdisciplinary BSL-integrated show, blending clown, burlesque, puppetry, live film’. Mr & Mrs Love are at Pleasance, offering ‘a battle of hearts, minds and music… as the two sing for their survival, with a surprising array of musical instruments, outrageous dancing and acidic wit’. And Shakesqueer at Bedlam Theatre is a ‘drag-show parody rewrite of five of Shakespeare’s most famous works’.
Cabaret in the Dark at C venues ‘plunges the audience into darkness, allowing them to step into the shoes of their hosts, VICS, a collective of visually impaired artists from a variety of performing disciplines’. Paradise Palms Late-Night Cabaret is an ‘intoxicated blend of raucous antics, cocktails and rowdiness’ featuring the likes of ‘Fruit Salad, Kweer Kabaret, Shitake Nights’ and more. Meanwhile, audiences can ‘discover the untold stories behind the galaxy’s background characters’ in The Extras Strike Back: A Musical Tribute to the Forgotten Heroes of Star Wars at Greenside.
Australian entertainer, singer and pianist Antony (DrH) Hubmayer presents An Unwasted Evening – The Genius of Tom Lehrer at artSpace@StMarks. Kissing a Fool is ‘a queer clown-cabaret musical tribute to George Michael’ – catch it at Frankenstein Pub. Wela Kapela Productionspresent two biographical shows at theSpaceUK: A Star Is Born – The Rise and Fall of Judy Garlandcharts the life of ‘Hollywood’s brightest star’, while Vincent – His Quest to Love and Be Loved is a multimedia cabaret depicting Van Gogh as ‘a complex man with a ruthless drive to create’.
At Assembly, Rutene Spooner’s Thoroughly Modern Maui is a ‘cabaret extravaganza… fusing myth and legend with rhinestones and glitter’. In Child of Sunday at Laughing Horse, ‘Elisa Riddington recounts fables of her childhood as a preacher’s kid, through stories and songs’. And Anna Vanosi’s ‘soulful voice transports you from Billie Holiday to Björk’ in Late Bloomers’ Tales at The Jazz Bar.
Familiar Fringe faces The Lady Boys of Bangkokbring their Party Queens Tour 2023 to the Theatre Big Top. At House of Oz, Leather Lungs: Higher Love ‘reveals all with their heart-stopping four-octave vocal range in a brand new sensual celebration of all things liberation, exploration and vocal sensation’. In GURLBAND: The Show at Brewhemia, ‘Blaze, Angel Beads, Tianah Tuckerand Miss Peaches… come together and serve up the most pop-tastic production drag show you’ll see this Fringe’. You can also ‘join two of Scotland’s most fabulous Queens for the ultimate ABBA Drag experience’ in Dancing Queens: The ABBA Drag Party! at The Three Sisters. And Edinburgh-based cabaret group the Little West End Theatre brings ‘a night of sass and show tunes’ to Outhouse as part of The Sassy Belle Cabaret.
Performer Vanity von Glow and wine expert Beth Brickenden are your hosts for Drag Queen Wine Tasting at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Edinburgh City Centre, while The Mother Superior hosts Whisky & Witches Presents Mythical Beasts: An Immersive, Mystical, Musical Whisky Tasting, ‘where folklore, five exceptional whiskies and hauntingly beautiful music meet in perfect harmony’.
‘From classic close-up to parlour prestidigitation, Tim Licata brings his brand of delightful deception to the Scottish Arts Club’ in Close-Up and Personal. Meanwhile, at PBH’s Free Fringe, magician and comedian Chris Cook Asked a Robot to Write Him a Five-Star Show and This Is What It Said.
Dance, physical theatre and circus
Kyiv City Ballet, who ‘remain in exile due to the ongoing war’, perform A Tribute to Peace at Assembly. The Unknown Soldier at Army @ The Fringe is a ‘compellingly captivating ode to Black British war veterans, telling hidden stories of men and women of Black British heritage who fought in WWI and WWII, using dance, text, live music and visuals to capture their contribution’.
‘Based on Japanese folktales, Noh, and butoh that reveal the human unconscious,’ Sun and Crystal at C venues is ‘a poetic dramatic telling of a universal contemporary myth that transcends time and borders’. Oriental Youth Culture and Art Week at Ashton Hall, Saint Stephens Stockbridge is a ‘children’s art show with the theme of Impressions of the East,’ featuring ‘song and dance, instrumental music, drama, and creative expression of picture books and paintings’. You can also ‘immerse yourself in the richness of Chinese culture with a showcase of exceptional young dancers from China, featuring traditional and contemporary Chinese dance’ at the Chinese Art Show (Venue150 at EICC). ‘Inspired by classical and contemporary paintings, and supported by a variety of pre-recorded and live music,’ Still Life: A Gallery in Motion at Greenside ‘is an exploration and interpretation of the human condition’.
House of Oz and Na Djinang Circus present Common Dissonance, a show acknowledging that Australia’s ‘understanding of the world came from Dreamtime stories, song lines and oral histories’ and asking how we ‘navigate the complex dialogues of contemporary culture’. At LifeCare Centre, TaalTales present ‘a contemporary feminist reimagining’ and use Indian classic dance and music to ‘explore characters from the Mahabharata’ in What Draupadi Said to Penelope. At theSpaceUK, Tandava ‘sees the coalescence of Scottish guitarist Simon Thacker’s startlingly passionate sound-worlds with the infinitely expressive physicality of three gifted dancers from India’s Piah Dance Company’ as part of the Made in Scotland showcase.
From Chicago, ‘a revolving line-up of internationally renowned circus artists combine to showcase their most personal and prized acts, complimented by stunning live music’ in Aloft Presents Sanctuary at Underbelly’s Circus Hub on the Meadows.
‘Told through Sacramento Contemporary Dance Theatre‘s powerful emotion and movement, the audience will witness an opulent interpretation of Marie Antoinette’s fate’ in Marie at Bedlam Theatre. Meanwhile, Laura Murphy, Contra and Carré Magique present A Spectacle of Herself at Summerhall, ‘a cinematic, (in)appropriately acrobatic ride through mental health, queerness, rage and 21st century space race’. Meanwhile, Spirit of Ireland is at Pleasance, offering an ‘incredible night of music, comedy, dancing set in greatest pub in Ireland’.
Available to watch online, A Snake in the House Means the Family Will Never Want is ‘an immersive performance of live electronica, dance and sculptural costuming, on intergenerational healing and transformational futures’. Also online, Eat Meis ‘a story of two women who use the dark web to find one another and together commit an act of “consensual” cannibalism’.
‘With the rare combination of world champion skills, unprecedented showmanship and a truly original style,’ Cartoooon!! at Assembly ‘fuses circus with Manga cartoons to deliver a masterclass in the universal language of laughter’. Nik Coppin brings Comics vs Kids: The Super Showdown to Laughing Horse, ‘full of jokes, silliness, his own drawn cartoons, competitions based around Disney and superheroes, mayhem and special guests’. The Listies Make Some Noise at House of Oz in ‘an insane mixtape of silly songs, stupid sketches and crazy clowning’.
Delving into Edinburgh’s gruesome history, Plague, Poo n’ Punishment at The Lost Close features ‘live music and horrible stories from centuries gone by’. In Taiwan Season: World in a Word at Summerhall, ‘language is the springboard for fun and games in an interactive, family-friendly production’. Bumble’s Big Adventure at C venuesis ‘a one-act educational play following Bumble, a honeybee, on an adventure to find a bee balm flower’. Smithy’s Scavenger Hunt at Panmure House promises you’ll ‘have a blast while learning about the Scottish Enlightenment and its leading figures’. And 24 Solar Terms at theSpaceUK is ‘an immersive theatre production’ from QFunTheater Children’s Experimental Troupe, ‘condensing the time of each season into a performance.’
Gilded Balloon and Little Angel Theatre present The Slightly Annoying Elephant, a production ‘based on David Walliams’s hilarious book’, while James and the Giant Peach at Greenside is ‘a fabulous retelling of Roald Dahl’s classic peachy tale’.
‘A little girl is sent to retrieve a needle and thread from the ferocious Baba Yaga’ in A Girl Called Grace at The Royal Scots Club. At Central Hall, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane ‘is a wonderful story about love, loss, change and finally, finding your way home’. And the Helena Academy of Drama and Expression presents two productions at Paradise Green: Children of Eden Jr, ‘Stephen Schwartz’s epic and heartfelt musical’, and Journey to the West: In Search of the Way, an interactive show filled with ‘martial art, music and mischief’.
‘Funalicious master magician Alex’ presents Abracadabra With An Apple Magic Show at PBH’s Free Fringe, ‘a children’s magic show filled with excitement, fun, laughs and stories that entangle together in one awe-inspiring performance’. Mario the Maker Magician leads audiences ‘through a romping explosion of contagious energy and belly laughs’ at Underbelly. And ‘one of Scotland’s favourite magicians, Tim Licata astounds audiences with delightful deception’ at Saturday Morning Magic (Scottish Arts Club).
Musicals and opera
‘From the Tony Award-winning producer of Six’ comes Hello Kitty Must Die at the Pleasance, ‘an outrageously irreverent exploration of Asian feminism with a killer score’. Part of the Made in Scotland showcase, SCOTS at Ghillie Dhu is ‘the true(ish) story of Scotland, told by a figure who’s seen it all – The Toilet’. Are You Worthy? at BlundaGardens is a new musical following Glory, who ‘dreams of singing at the world’s most prestigious festival, the only thing standing her way is a mysterious pyramid’. At Bedlam Theatre, ‘Death (personified) takes us through the artistry in ensuring that each and every one of us meets our maker’ in Death Suits You. ‘From the stages of London to the shelves of Lidl,’ 2020 The Musical(at Underbelly) ‘celebrates human resilience and everyday heroes’. And Come Die with Me: The Murder Mystery Musical Parody at Just the Tonicis ‘sure to have you giggling, gasping and gagging, and that’s before the choose your own ending’.
The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland present two shows at Assembly: Big Fish is ‘based on Daniel Wallace’s novel and Tim Burton’s movie’, while Edges is ‘a contemporary song-cycle which explores universal issues in a charming, honest way, asking – who am I and what will I become?’ Over at George Watson’s College there are two musical adaptations: 1920s gangster comedy Bugsy Malone and classic horror spoof Young Frankenstein.
Warriors (Army @ The Fringe) is ‘a new musical, written by serving Scottish soldiers and veterans, about their own experiences as young soldiers waiting to deploy to Helmand Province, Afghanistan for the first time’. Online and at C venues, Dreams of Peace and Freedom: The Streams of Natural Law is a ‘powerful performance exploring the birth of modern human rights, through the eyes of David Maxwell Fyfe, Nuremberg prosecutor and ECHR champion, with musical settings of the poets who inspired him’.
Pai’ea at Central Hall is ‘a glam-rock opera that covers the early life, tests, and battles of Kamehameha I, the chief who united the Hawaiian Islands’. Blossoming (You Undo Me) at Gilded Balloon is ‘a musical about a young Chinese man growing into his queerness’. The Legends of Mountains and Seas (Paradise Green) is ‘adapted from the famous play by Nobel Prize-winning author Gao Xingjian. With Western rock music, it shows the characters and stories from Eastern mythology.’ And Legend of the White Snake(theSpaceUK) is ‘a classic love story portrayed by one of China’s leading companies in traditional Kunqu opera, rarely performed in the West’.
At the French Institute in Scotland, Cyborg Experiment #1 is ‘an audacious performative proposal, an opera of the future where temporalities mix and anachronism plays with history’. At Greenside, the California Musical Theatre Ensemble present Bright Blue Sky: The 9/11 Musical – in ‘a series of heartfelt scenes, each character relives their past, revealing hope inside tragedy’.
Edinburgh Music Theatre bring two shows to St Andrew’s and St George’s West, George St this Fringe. EMT Does Pop promises ‘anthemic songs that you love, performed with EMT’s signature quality and style’, while Anthems – New Generation Musical Hits has ‘a stunning collection of anthemic songs from newer musicals from recent decades, performed with a live band’.
PBH’s Free Fringe welcomes the return of A Young Man Dressed as a Gorilla Dressed as an Old Man Sits Rocking in a Rocking Chair for 56 Minutes and Then Leaves… 14, for one performance only.
In Bards at the Barracks (Army @ The Fringe), ‘Scottish poets will be reading work exploring our collective history and common creative future, including a special evening spotlighting Hamish Henderson’. Sebastian Michael, ‘author of The Sonneteer and Sonnetcast podcaster,’ presents Some Sonnets and a Bit of Bach at Greenside, exploring similarities between Shakespeare and Bach. And audiences can ‘join guests from the worlds of comedy, literature, music and faith for a series of live recordings’ of the All-Terrain Podcast Live at The Salvation Army Edinburgh City Corps.
‘Spoken word and performance artist Subira Joyexplores their experiences being targeted by the police as a Black, queer and trans person’ in Kill the Cop Inside Your Head at Summerhall. Seventy-Eight Thank Yous at the Arthur Conan Doyle Centre ‘joins new conversations arising about suicide and has been appreciated all over the UK’, approaching its chosen subject matter ‘with both depth and lightness’. Performance poet Robert Garnham is at Just the Tonic with his new show, Bouncer, offering ‘an hour of storytelling, poetry and comedy about fame, hope, and dreaming’. And Conspiracy Theory: A Lizard’s Tale(PBH’s Free Fringe) is ‘a darkly comic tale of one man’s journey through the conspiracy underworld’.
‘Bizarre and hilarious (hidden Neurodiverse/Autistic) Eccentrics demonstrate how to enjoy good mental health, be yourself and free everyone’ in Eccentrics Unite! The Guerilla Autistics and Neurodiverse Show – Year Nine at Laughing Horse, while Drs Munro and Kernick are Getting to Grips with Migraine at The Royal Scots Club, exploring ‘exciting new treatments, problems in children, hormones and why it’s not just headaches’.
‘Veteran street artist’ Dave Southern brings his Pavementology tour back this August, telling ‘the story of street performing at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe’. At The Lost Close, Natalie Nardone’s Witch? Women on Trial explores ‘the brutal truth of the witch hunts in Scotland, told with humour and empathy’. The Cathedral Song School Tours at St Mary’s Cathedral give visitors a chance to see the Cathedral’s murals by Phoebe Traquair, painted between 1888 and 1892. And at Panmure House, The Butcher, the Brewer, the Baker and Merryn Somerset Webb is a series of discussions and debates with ‘a well-known group of economics, politics and finance gurus’.
LBC presenter Iain Dale hosts a series of discussion events at Pleasance, with guests including Peter Tatchell, Alex Salmond, Harriet Harman MP, Humza Yousaf MSP, Peter Hitchens, Polly Toynbee and Jeremy Corbyn. Corbyn’s also part of the line-up at Fair Pley’s In Conversation… series at The Stand’s New Town Theatre, alongside Ken Loach, Andy Burnham, Mhairi Black, Jack Monroe and more. Broadcaster and journalist Kaye Adams is at Gilded Balloon, explaining How to be 60 Live!‘with the help of her filter-free friend Karen, some well-known guests and most importantly, you’.
This year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe takes place from Friday 4th until Monday 28th August 2023. To find out more about the festival, visit here…
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