The second Edinburgh Fringe announcement for the Pleasance Theatre Trust is a whopper with returning award-winning acts, amazing newcomers, European sensations, shows with fun for all the family and political chatterings. Keep your eyes peeled soon for more announcements about the Charlie Hartill Fund winners and the Edinburgh National Partnership shows demonstrating the Pleasance’s support for amazing new artists.
World premieres and returning Fringe Favourites headline Pleasance’s Theatre programme. Utterly beguiling theatrical joy comes from the creators of festival sensation Fishbowl who now return with The Ice Hole: A Cardboard Comedy; a great actor recounts a journey from the fjords of Iceland to the dust of the Spanish desert using a thousand pieces of cardboard. Conceived by Levi Roots, the man who brought us Reggae Reggae Sauce, comes Sound Clash: Death In The Arena – a dystopian world of dancehall and reggae, played at maximum volume! Beautiful Evil Things is a new, highenergy, one woman show from Ad Infinitum combining physical storytelling with cut-throat wit in a fierce, funny, bloody take on some of the oldest stories known to woman. Liv Ello and Frankie Thompson present an electric, eclectic love story about the meeting of dysmorphia, dysphoria, and dystopia in Body Show, as well as post popular prodigy Lucy McCormick presents her most ambitious medium-concept catastrophic show yet in Lucy & Friends.
Many shows are autobiographical, using real lived experiences as the basis for exciting new work. How To Bury A Dead Mule tells the compelling and evocative story of a Royal Irish Fusilier, following his time on the front line during WW2; written and performed by his grandson, this is a beautifully imaginative journey into the heart of a man trying to regain a foothold in society. Hospitality agency work is never as stunning as we want it to be but sometimes it can be particularly deranged as we see in Chatham House Rules with secret cults, Brexit revenge, dark web, Birkin handbag prices and the trial of David Cameron. In his hilariously honest solo show, Tom Moran is a Big Fat Filthy Disgusting Liar, Tom asks us if I never told another lie and was just myself, would anyone be able to love me? Actress-comedian Lubna Kerr explores her family’s journey sharing the challenges encountered with humour and emotion in Tickbox 2, raising issues about race, perception and identity.
All Aboard! At Termination Station is the Edinburgh Fringe debut from performer, writer, and creative activist Lilly Burton that’s her bracing, booming and brash autobiographical tale about abortion. A meditation on motherhood, feminism and fame, two-time Emmy® award-winner Dorothy Lyman premiers her story, Violet and Me, placing a microscope on the progression of gender equality since the 50s, questioning how far we’ve come. Award-winning poet Luke Wright tries to celebrate his 25 years of service on the literary frontline but ends up taking a deep dive into himself and the England that raised him in Luke Wright’s Silver Jubilee. After playing Chrissie White in Emmerdale for four years, Louise Marwood swanned off into a junkie sunset of her own making and went completely off the rails; Rita Lynn is a universal story told through her personal story.
While not an exploration of their own lives, performers also use their Fringe platforms to bring to life lesser-known historical and true stories. Bulgaria just told Hitler to f*ck off, saved nearly 50,000 Jewish lives… and lost a King; in The Brief Life & Mysterious Death of Boris III, King of Bulgaria meet the men who could’ve done more, the women who did the most, and the reasons the world forgot them. Pleading Stupidity tells a true story about a bank robbery with high-energy, physical comedy, frenetic action and verbatim speech. Filled with hope, humanity and humour, Wiesenthal is the true story of an ordinary man who did extraordinary things, having survived the Holocaust and devoted the rest of his life to bringing Nazi war criminals to justice.
Many of these stories connect with grief and the struggles we all go through. Winner of the 2021 Platform Presents Playwright’s Prize, Nuclear Children is a dark comedy about mental health, a submarine accident and a melon as we follow the central character struggling to cope after the death of her father. I Love You, Now What? is a brilliantly funny, heart-warming and raw debut play by actor and comedian, Sophie Craig, examining grief and love’s place within it. Four Felons and a Funeral tells the story of four (dysfunctional) friends on a road trip to scatter their mate’s ashes in this feel-good show about letting go of the people we’ve lost. Time to sweat out the sadness, Spin Cycles gives a cathartic look into why we search for something deeper when the inconceivable happens to us. From Untapped winner Izzy Tennyson, The Great Ruckus is a farcical tragi-comedy about two sisters navigating their way through their mother’s funeral exploring grief, class and family dynamics.
This summer is the year to bring more music to the Fringe and a number of shows on the programme incorporate music in innovative ways. Chriskirkpatrickmas: A Boy Band Christmas Musical is A Christmas Carol meets It’s A Wonderful Life meets NSYNC in this parody musical featuring 12 original songs and plenty of 90s nostalgia! Weaving together an original folk score and tales from a romance best forgotten, Sing, River invites us into the mystical world of pagan festivals. HoneyBEE is a festival-driven show with a banging soundtrack, a marathon feat of gig theatre with a heady mix of music, stand-up and spoken word.
There’s not only music but also rave vibes that you only normally find on a good night out. Winner of the ‘Pleasance Pick of VAULT Festival’ Award, A Manchester Anthem follows Tommy on his last big night out in Manchester before he goes to study at Oxford; expect humour, heart and a night out to remember. Bampots is an immersive piece of in-yer-face theatre that takes the audience on a tour around Scotland from the Highlands to the Royal Mile with an authentic ceilidh thrown in the mix.
Physical comedy brings us laughs, light and an abundance of fun with a plethora of exciting European companies coming to Edinburgh this summer. Internationally renowned Släpstick presents Schërzo, a performance of classical music as you’ve never experienced it before; gasp in amazement as the ghost of George Gershwin accompanies a symphony orchestra played by only five musicians and led by an inflatable conductor! Back by popular demand is award-winning The Man Who Thought He Knew Too Much from Voloz Collective; Wes Anderson meets Hitchcock meets Spaghetti Western in this multi-award-winning caper of accusations, accidents and accents. From the same company comes an explosive new show, The Life Sporadic of Jess Wildgoose; with virtuosic acrobatics and live music, this unexpected hero’s journey unnerves and astounds in a genre-defying cinematic adventure.
Back by popular demand are some much-loved Fringe favourites. …and this is my friend Mr Laurel is the sell-out one-man show about friendship, memories and a couple of remarkable lives. An award-winning evening of queer chaos brought to you by the team from Diana: The Untold and Untrue Story is How To Live A Jellicle Life: Life Lessons from the 2019 Hit Musical Cats – expect jellicle laughs, jellicle dance and a very jellicle PowerPoint presentation. Trainspotting Live is an acclaimed immersive adaptation of Irvine Welsh’s classic, staged in celebration of the book’s 30th anniversary in a bespoke venue. A classic murder mystery is created on-the-spot from audience suggestions in this ingenious and hilarious show from Fringe favourites, Degrees of Error, in Murder, She Didn’t Write. Watch the entire 144 episodes of cult 90s TV show, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, as told through the eyes of Spike, the one character who knows it inside out; Buffy Revamped is the perfect parody for Buffy aficionados and those who never enrolled at Sunnydale High alike.
We all fall in and out of love and navigate the minefield of relationships. Break Up With Your Boyfriend is an upbeat, queer and honest exploration of consent, self-love and healing with raging reflections, cathartic cooking shows and treadmill therapy. A darkly comic drama about ambition, love and overwhelming failure told by two not-very-super-heroes, SUPER follows a group of actors on Hollywood Boulevard.
The Edinburgh Fringe has always been about pushing limits, blurring boundaries and defying the norm and these genre blending productions do just that. MEAT is an electrifying roar of fury and a rallying cry of protest packed with heroism and heart in a theatrical hybrid of poetry, clowning, cabaret and dance featuring original music. A debate of self-expression, communication, humour, action and reaction through open and honest storytelling, Dirty Words explores the filth, fun and aftertaste of our everyday interactions. Please Love Me is a one-woman spectacle featuring pole dancing and original music from the creators of the sell-out show SKANK. Watch a chilling new adaptation of M.R. James’ classic ghost stories featuring remarkable puppetry and a haunting original soundtrack in Casting the Runes. Join magician and mind reader Tom Brace for a trip down memory lane that you simply won’t forget in A Trick Down Memory Lane.
Bridging the gap between comedy and theatre are more alternative works challenging style and form. Join Dave in MUSIC as he accidentally swallows the Stripefy algorithm and becomes a global mega-star, temporarily. Featuring original songs, Thirst is both a love letter to sobriety and a celebration of all things alcoholic from Callum Hughes.
The Fringe is the perfect place for that first introduction into theatre with magic, education and downright silliness too. Take a chance, believe in the magic (and yourself)! as Magic Gareth returns with LEVEL UP! – a magical family extravaganza for ages 5+ including games, tomfoolery and trickery.
Rubbish Shakespeare Company are back with an anarchic and joyous family-friendly event, featuring clowning, slapstick and clever, mischievous storytelling as they perform Rubbish Romeo and Juliet. With your help, the same hilarious, madcap troupe must also complete William’s new masterpiece in Improvised Rubbish Shakespeare – The Incomplete Works.
Experience opera’s greatest hits, and learn about the characters, in this interactive introduction with Madame Chandelier’s Opera Party for Kids. A deliciously Dahl-esq treat from madcap musical duo Fladam, Green Fingers is about a boy born with hands that turn all he touches to a shocking shade of green!
Blue Badge Bunch: ReRamped is a hilarious, interactive game show hosted by Benny Shakes and a panel of comedians where each game represents a different disability, giving kids and grown-ups the chance to learn about Autism and Cerebral Palsy among others. Join comedian and children’s author Olaf Falafel for an hour of kids’ comedy in Olaf Falafel’s Super Stupid Show (20% More Stupider) with truth-telling cheese, fishing, ducks, bumbags, sausages and maybe some drawing. Shelf: The Kids’ Show is a kids’ comedy show that’s fun for all the family; expect sketches, songs, pranks, and SILLINESS.
Theatre can be a great way to learn and science on stage produces some brilliant moments of fun. Doktor Kaboom and the Wheel of Even More Science! is a fun-filled interactive science extravaganza with giant chemical reactions, homemade hovercrafts, flying ping pong balls and more. Head to the bottom of the sea for a dramatic aquatic adventure; join Professor Flotsam and Dr Wright in their brand new submarine as they look for the strangest creatures in the deep, learn about looking after the oceans and hear some of their favourite sea stories in Science Adventures: Deep Sea.
From the creators of Moon Dragon, Sea Dragon Babies is the most perfect experience for babies under 1. The show also exists as Sea Dragon For Under 5s. At both shows each child attending is given a props bag full of age-appropriate percussion, dressing up, lights, puppets and so much more. Sea Dragon tells the story of a magical coral reef that has lost its colour and how Sea Dragon’s friends help out in the ocean.
As well as theatre shows, the Pleasance also announce Political conversations, galas and comedy shows. Tickets for all shows are available at www.pleasance.co.uk and 0131 556 6550.