It’s that time of year in which a city of roughly 500,000 inhabitants is completely taken over by more 2 million theatre lovers.
This year the Edinburgh Festival Fringe turns 70 years old, and it’s celebrating this very important birthday on the streets of the Scottish capital from the 4th to the 28th of August.
Read on for more information about the shows we’re looking after that are opening at this year’s Fringe.
Ahead of the Fringe, the Bush Theatre will be previewing the first two plays this week. Londoners, grab those tickets while you can!
Previews at Bush Theatre’s Studio (25 – 29 July) then transfers to Traverse 2, Traverse Theatre (3 – 27 August)
Nassim is a new work by experimental Iranian playwright Nassim Soleimanpour (White Rabbit Red Rabbit). A different cultural figure will take to the stage for each performance; for the London run that includes British-Egyptian actor and activist Khalid Abdalla (The Kite Runner, United 93), actor Vivienne Acheampong (City of Glass, Rainbow Class), playwright and screenwriter Alexi Kaye Campbell (Apologia, Woman in Gold), director Phelim McDermott (Akhnaten, A Christmas Carol), writer and performer Sabrina Mahfouz (With a Little Bit of Luck, Breaking the Code) and actor Hattie Morahan (Anatomy of a Suicide, A Doll’s House).
Previews at Bush Theatre’s Attic (26 – 28 July) then transfers to Underbelly Cowgate’s Big Belly (3-27 August, not 14 August)
The B*easts collides the modern obsession with putting your own child first against our responsibility as a society towards our children as a whole. Written by and starring BAFTA award-winning actress Monica Dolan (W1A, Appropriate Adult, The Witness For The Prosecution), this dark tale explores how far one mum will go to put what her child wants first.
Paines Plough’s ROUNDABOUT @ SUMMERHALL
ROUNDABOUT @ Summerhall, 4-27 August
Roundabout will host 9 shows a day for 24 days at Summerhall featuring three world premieres. The premieres include Fringe First winner, Brad Birch’s tense psychological thriller Black Mountain; award-winning playwright Elinor Cook’s, Out of Love, and Sally McDonald-Hughes’s How To Be A Kid. All three productions will star Hasan Dixon, Katie Elin-Salt and Sally Messham and are directed by Paines Plough Co-Artistic Director James Grieve. Roundabout also welcomes eight visiting companies including Middle Child, Nabokov and The Marlowe, The Royal Court, Dirty Protest and productions by Nilaja Sun, Sam Steiner and Stacey Gregg. Duncan Macmillan’s smash hit Every Brilliant Thing will be back for one week only and Nathan Bryon, the first Paines Plough Playwright Fellowship Winner will present his debut play Mixed Brain. Jonny & the Baptists will be performing their satirical anthems at Roundabout for six performances only.
The Wardrobe Ensemble’s Education, Education, Education
Pleasance Queen Dome, 2-27 August
Award-winning theatre company The Wardrobe Ensemble will bring their new play, Education, Education, Education to Pleasance Queen Dome this August. Directed by Jesse Jones and Helena Middleton, it explores education and responsibility at the dawn of Blair’s Britain in 1997. Co-produced with Royal & Derngate Northampton and Shoreditch Town Hall, the production will then embark on a UK tour from September 2017.
Forced Entertainment- Real Magic
Edinburgh International Festival 22 – 27 August, then UK Tour
International Ibsen Award-winners Forced Entertainment present their acclaimed new production, Real Magic which creates a world of absurd disconnection, struggle and comical repetition. To the sound of looped applause and canned laughter, a group of performers take part in an impossible illusion – part mind-reading feat, part cabaret act, part chaotic game show– in which they endlessly revisit moments of defeat, hope and anticipation. Caught in a world of second-chances and second-guesses, variations and changes, distortions and transformations, Real Magic takes you on a hallucinatory journey, creating a compelling performance about optimism, individual agency and the desire for change.
Les Petits Theatre Company’s The First Hippo on the Moon
Pleasance Beyond, Pleasance Courtyard, 2-20 August
Based on David Walliams’ original children’s book, this explosively funny space adventure sees the enormously rich Hercules Waldorf-Franklin III and ingenious Shelia compete to be the first hippo to make it to the moon. Brought to intergalactic life by Les Enfants Terribles’ (Alice’s Adventures Underground, Dinner at the Twits) sister company Les Petits Theatre Company (Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs), the production will be on at Pleasance Beyond.
Hull UK City of Culture 2017 lands on the Fringe
Following the success of this unprecedented year of transformative cultural activity, Hull UK City of Culture 2017 will present five, highly regarded, exciting theatre companies across Edinburgh. Those will include the four Hull-based companies, Middle Child, Bellow Theatre, Pub Corner Poets and Silent Uproar, and the internationally acclaimed, Norwich-based curious directive with their Hull 2017 commission, Frogman.
Middle Child’s All We Ever Wanted Was Everything is a three-act anthem set across three decades, from 1997’s Cool Britannia to 2007’s Broken Britain and today’s Brexit Britain. A generation promised everything, but what happens when dreams don’t become a reality?
Summerhall: Roundabout, 4 – 27 August
Bellow Theatre’s Bare Skin On Briny Waters tells the story of Annie and Sophie, two young women whose life has led them to the edge. A story about survival and escape, which asks how a generation of young women can forge their own path in the world.
Pleasance Courtyard: Bunker 1, 2 – 28 August
Pub Corner Poets’ Sad Little Man is a multi-media, spoken word spillage fusing performance poetry with physical theatre. An autobiographical piece of new-writing set in the 4 seconds of cognitive dissonance – the time it takes to process the suicide of his girlfriend – this is a stand-up tragedy about a young man in shock.
The Vault, Paradise Green, 23 – 27 August
Silent Uproar’s A Super Happy Story (About Feeling Super Sad) is a fun, silly, cabaret musical about depression w ritten by Olivier Award-Winner Jon Brittain, with music by Matthew Floyd Jones (Frisky & Mannish), and Sound Design by Ed Clarke (Olivier Award Nominee). Silent Uproar is a new writing company renowned for confronting uncomfortable and vital issues affecting people today.
Pleasance Courtyard: Above, 2-28 August
curious directive’s Frogman is a coming-of-age supernatural thriller set on the Great Barrier Reef in the 1990s. It is one of the first Virtual Reality theatre pieces, and is sure to ignite discussions about the exciting future of the cross-over of digital tools and storytelling.
Traverse Theatre (CodeBase), 4 – 27 August