• Underbelly announces further 96 shows to join its dream line-up at this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
• Rhum and Clay present their take on Dario Fo’s acclaimed Mistero Buffo and Fringe First winners Breach Theatre revisit a 17th century court case in It’s True, It’s True, It’s True which is part of Underbelly’s Untapped Season
• Julia Donaldson herself performs in The Gruffalo, The Witch and The Warthog, Fringe favourites Circa return to Edinburgh with a family show Wolfgang and multi-BAFTA winning comic duo Dick and Dom make their Fringe debut!
• Sell-out musical SIX offers its unique take on the her-story of the wives of Henry VIII, with Sex Shells rewriting Disney and Broadway classics for adults and Little Death Club providing a darkly debauched variety show like no other
• Fringe veteran Paul Foot, Black Adder and Absolutely Fabulous star Helen Lederer, Ireland’s finest hip hop musical comedian Abandoman and The Guilty Feminist podcast guru Deborah Frances-White lead Underbelly’s comedy offering
• Tickets on sale now at www.underbellyedinburgh.co.uk

As the build up to this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe gathers pace, today Underbelly added an eye-watering 96 dazzling shows to what will be the most ambitious programme in the company’s 19 year Fringe history. Celebrating the freshest new talent and the biggest acts from the world of theatre, comedy, dance, circus and cabaret, the 2018 programme will see hundreds of the most exciting performers tread the boards across 21 Underbelly venues including McEwan Hall, Cowgate, Circus Hub and of course, the iconic Udderbelly.

Theatre programme

Underbelly’s theatre programme shines a special light on emerging companies with the Untapped Award in partnership with New Diorama Theatre, bestowed onto three thought-provoking shows focusing on female voices: It’s True, It’s True, It’s True by the Fringe First and Total Theatre Award-winning Breach Theatre which revisits the 1612 case of rape of baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi and how it influenced her work; Queens of Sheba from Nouveau Riché delves into the harsh reality of our society, inspired by the true story of 3 young black women turned away from a club for ‘being too black’ and finally dressed. by ThisEgg, the company behind huge Fringe 2016 hit Me & My Bee,  uses an intense combination of direct address, dance, original music and design to tell the true story of a girl who gives all her clothes away and starts making her whole wardrobe from scratch, after being stripped at gunpoint and sexually assaulted while travelling.

In other theatre highlights, star of current UK hit Fleabag, Maddie Rice writes and performs in Pickle Jar, a dark comedy with a lot of piña coladas and some heartbreak and named in the Top Five Talents to watch from VAULT Festival 2018 young Irish playwright Erica Murray presents her take on dark comedy in bittersweet The Cat’s Mother which focuses on sisterhood.

Also exploring a relationship between two sisters is 3 Years, 1 Week and a Lemon Drizzle which pieces together some of Alexandra and Kate Donnachie’s sometimes heart-breaking but often hilarious memories of growing up together in a show sparked from Alexandra’s severe eating disorder. Dangerous Giant Animals offers a unique insight into one family’s life with a girl with a mental disability, with all its challenges and rewards: “you had to be a really f*cking good person growing up with my sister.”

World premiere from 2012 and 2016 Fringe First winners, The Abode is an 80s style adventure following the story of Samuel, a white American male who, feeling oppressed in his own country, joins the alt-right movement of Trolls… will his sister Wendy manage to rescue him from the greedy hands of the Troll King? Mixing dance tunes with rap and spoken word Love Songs is a coming-of-age one woman show exploring wider issues such as hyper-sexualisation of Asian women. From Rhum and Clay, the makers of the acclaimed 64 Squares, comes Mistero Buffo, a take on Dario Fo’s seminal masterpiece: a daring and explosive rallying cry for the disenfranchised.

Family programme

Underbelly theatre programme offers world-class entertainment for families with Julia Donaldson herself performing in The Gruffalo, The Witch and The Warthog, a brand new show featuring Room on the Broom, The Magic Paintbrush, The Ugly Five, Superworm, The Gruffalo and newly-released The Cook and the King. Book your tickets now to avoid disappointment! Shedload Theatre presents a love letter to Richmal Crompton’s classic character William Brown in a fresh and dynamic adaptation entitled Just William’s Luck. Continuing the theme of literature-inspired shows is Paddington Bear’s First Concert which sees the lovable bear attending his first music concert – not without causing a mayhem along the way of course! Brought to the festival by the same team who presented the smash-hit Peter Rabbit in 2017, the show features live orchestra.

Legends of children’s entertainment, Dick and Dom bring their comedy capers to the Fringe for the first time, with Dick and Dom: Dick V Dom which will see audiences split in half for an interactive experience the whole family will never forget! Award-winning Fun Kids Radio presents Fun Kids Radio’s Epic Roadshow Adventure, an interactive family quest to keep the show on air by presenting only the best roadshow ever.

Underbelly’s long-time collaborators and circus masters Circa return to Edinburgh but with a family show for the first time. Wolfgang! comes straight from the score and onto the stage, the man known as Mozart appears amidst a puff of powder, wigged and ready to throw musical madness into a crescendo of dives, swoops and twirls. Featuring mischievous acrobats and a musician, Wolfgang reinvents the composer’s magical music with a circus twist for young and old to enjoy.

Musicals and cabaret

Little Death Club provides audiences with the irrespirable offer of the darkest, funniest and most debauched variety show in town. Join the multi-award-winning Queen of Weimar punk kabarett Bernie Dieter of La Clique and EastEnd Cabaret fame, alongside her travelling family of misfits, miscreants and fantastic freaks for late night fun and frolics.

How do you sustain a relationship whilst pursuing a career of a serial killer? Offering an unusual spin on the rom-com genre and set to a beautiful folk-inspired score, Buried: A New Musical tells a story of Rose and Harry, a young fun-loving couple who discover they have something special in common…

Divorced, beheaded and now live in concert! Following last year’s sell-out, hit pop-concert musical SIX returns to Edinburgh to present a different take on history. Six wives of Henry VIII take to the mic to rewrite her-story and celebrate the sisterly sass-itude! Not to be missed. From the pissheads behind the hit show Sh*t-faced Shakespeare comes an all new cockney knees-up musical extravaganza, Sh*t-Faced Showtime: Oliver with a Twist. Dickens’ classic tale of the boy who asked for more with booze, glorious booze… Featuring songs from Oliver! and other Broadway musical hits and a totally new version of the story.


Stronger than ever, Underbelly’s comedy programme presents well-established names as well as the hottest acts on the comedy circuit. Edinburgh Comedy Awards Best Newcomer nominee; star of Top Coppers (BBC), Whose Line is it Anyway? (ABC Australia), Steen Raskopoulos the gifted character comedian and improviser returns with electrifying new show, Stay. Cult Fringe favourite, Ireland’s favourite hip-hop comedian Abandoman (AKA Rob Broderick) continues his Underbelly journey bringing his biggest show ever to the Cow, Pirate Radio.

Deborah Frances-White, host of Global Pillage and the hugely followed The Guilty Feminist podcasts (over 30 million downloads since 2016) presents a specially recorded version of the latter, exploring the challenges and insecurities underlining 21st century feminism.

Laura Davis is unconventional, cathartic and exhilaratingly hilarious and so is her latest show, Ghost Machine. A story about life, performed by a ghost…. Female character and sketch comedy duo Lola and Jo return to Fringe to do comedy research in their Focus Groupies whilst the surreal and energising Aussie Josh Glanc follows the sell-out success of his show at Perth Fringe 2017 with his Karma Karma Karma Karma Karma Chamedian. To match Josh’s flare and Australian success, Tom Walker brings his Honk Honk Honk Honk Honk featuring miming AND clowning!

For all the non-murdering enthusiasts out there, American comic as seen on The Tonight Show, Conan and Netflix Myq Kaplan takes the audiences (and himself, and the universe) on a journey of kindness in his Edinburgh debut, All Killing Aside – a comedy show about truth, love and not murdering. Award-winning Australian stand-up comedian, Rhys Nicholson brings razor sharp wit matched perhaps only by his sharply tailored style with Seminal.

In Ethos, Alice Fraser contemplates an Artificial Intelligence mind learning about the world for the very first time through a comedy show… what could possibly go wrong? A silly and funny show about what it means to be human.

Athena Kugblenu’s Follow The Leader offers an interesting and refreshing view on the world’s biggest catastrophes which pale in comparison with her own bad life choices.

Co-writer of Edinburgh Best Newcomer Award Nominated Show The Story Beast and star of The Beta Males Richard Soames presents Let’s Make a Movie, a 60 minutes journey through the blockbusters.

BBC ‘Next Big Thing’ Act who have sold out theatres in London and New York, won the Mervyn Stutter Spirit of the Fringe Award and received the official Fringe ‘Total Sell-Out Show’ laurel (for their last appearance in 2016), Croft and Pearce return with Double Take.

Absolutely Fabulous and Black Adder epic comic, Helen Lederer spills all the beans in I Might Just As Well Say It. Someone said Big Brother?!

Paul Foot, multi-award winning and critically acclaimed Fringe veteran wizard, presents a brand new show for his tenth year on the Fringe Image Conscious. In his new solo show, Austentatious comic Graham Dickson ponders a dystopian future filled with masculinity and no women. Another Austentatious member, Amy Cooke-Hodgson, presents Bumper Blyton, an improvisation group focused on acclaimed children’s book author Enid Blyton. Each show is a unique spontaneous adventure inspired by hand-drawn audience suggestions and Blyton classics.

Versatile actor and puppeteer, and creator of Comedy Award-nominated The Story Beast John Henry Falle visits Edinburgh with This is Bardcore, an hour of horror comedy in which evil is on the loose and there is only one wizard powerful (and drunk) enough to face it.

Presenting a special, live-recording of a podcast All Killa No Filla Live are comedians Rachel Fairburn and Kiri Pritchard-McLean. They talk about serial killers and it’s bloody fun! Only four shows though, so book now!

Also on a limited run are the Edinburgh born Rory Bremner and Jan Ravens, two of the UK’s top award-winning impressionists who delve into the treacherous world of politics as they aim to establish whether Brexit means Brexit.

With different comedy guest every night Amy Annette discusses the one topic on everyone’s mind: women. With previous guests including Aisling Bea, Lolly Adefope, Sara Pascoe, James Acaster and Nish Kumar, Amy Annette: What Women Want promises to be the hit of the Fringe!

Following an award-winning BBC documentary Parkinson’s: The Funny Side and a triumphant debut at London’s Comedy Store, Paul Mayhew-Archer presents a one-man show about the therapeutic power of comedy entitled Incurable Optimist. Paul co-wrote The Vicar of Dibley with Richard Curtis but took up stand-up comedy only after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease 4 years ago.

Suitable for anyone who has or has seen a sister, character comedy duo and real-life sisters Siblings present new material, Acting Out. Featuring Maddy and Marina Bye (daughters of Ruby Wax), the show offers new characters, more drama, violently synchronised dance and a total abandonment of dignity.

Will you save the village… or tear it apart? Sitting between comedy and theatre, Werewolf: Live has been performed all around the world to a great acclaim. A different late-night experience for Fringe-goers, this interactive gameshow offers a unique opportunity to hurl accusations and unjustly murder their friend.

Another top-notch late-night offer comes from London’s campest musical sketch comedy quartet: Sex Shells is an explosion of original music, surreal sketches, wayward choreography, and twisted rewrites of hits from pop, Disney, and the musicals. Expect sex, drugs, and social satire: Whitney Houston at the self-service checkout and Barbara Cartland on Grindr.

Underbelly’s Big Brain Tumour Benefit

After a total sell-out last year, raising an incredible £18,000 for cancer research, Underbelly’s Big Brain Tumour Benefit returns bigger and better at McEwan Hall, hosting a massive line-up of the biggest names on the Fringe for a raucous evening of comedy to help the fight against brain tumours, for one night only. Brain tumours are the biggest cancer killer for children and adults under 40 and increased funding for research is desperately needed. All box office income will go straight to The Brain Tumour Charity. Exciting line-up details will be released in the coming weeks. 

Charlie Wood and Ed Bartlam, directors of Underbelly said,

“Today we unleash 96 magnificent shows on sale as part of our most ambitious programme yet, from comedic hip hop gold, Abandoman, circus super humans Circa, the freshest new theatrical talent from our Untapped Award Winners to late night cabaret from Little Death Club.

“Since we started our Fringe adventure in the Cowgate 19 years ago our aim was to celebrate and showcase the freshest new talent and the biggest names in the business, side by side in a way only possible at the Fringe. Today we are proud to continue to do just that.”