The third Edinburgh Fringe announcement for the Pleasance Theatre Trust features further huge theatrical and comedic names, noteworthy newcomers, international inspirational talent and insightful talks. Theatrical highlights include Dark Noon, the story of North America as told by seven South African actors as a stunning and explosive theatrical experience by award-winning Danish director Tue Biering and South African co-director Nhlanhla Mahlangu about the race for land, gold, wealth and the American dream; alongside Fringe First and Spirit of the Fringe award winner Apphia Campbell’s stunning solo show Black Is The Color Of My Voice, inspired by the life of Nina Simone, which celebrates its tenth birthday at the Fringe. The amazing Young Pleasance also return with their trademark high production values to present their modern take on the glitz, glamour and glare of wartime Paris with Showgirls & Spies, the thrilling true story of Florence Waren, an intrepid resistance fighter and dazzling showgirl who led a perilous double-life. These productions feature alongside comedy big-hitters, up-and-coming new faces and killer line ups with an opportunity to see your favourites all under one roof.
Pleasance’s comedy programme is known for its big-hitters, and this year is no exception. New York sensation and Edinburgh Comedy Award winner Catherine Cohen returns to the Fringe with Come For Me, an openly glamorous, decidedly horny musical exploration of what it means to enter your thirties as a woman online, in love, and freezing your eggs. Join Rosie Jones as she ponders whether she is a national treasure, a little prick, or somewhere in between in Triple Threat! Taskmaster’s ‘sneaky pasta snake’ Mawaan Rizwan tries out brand spanking new songs and a couple of classics for good measure in Songs About Birds. ShapChat! is a fast-paced, celebratory hour from this muchloved Fringe institution, Shaparak Khorsandi, the author of forthcoming memoir Scatterbrain.
For one night only, double Emmy award-nominee Nick Mohammed (Ted Lasso) brings The Very Best & Worst of Mr. Swallow back to the Edinburgh Fringe – expect noise, maths, magic and the whole of Les Mis! Rhys James is right back in Edinburgh for a limited time only, fresh from a sell-out nationwide tour with Spilt Milk. One of Variety’s 10 Comics to Watch, Patti Harrison returns to Edinburgh following 2022’s sell-out run. Kiell Smith-Bynoe (Taskmaster, Channel 4; Ghosts, BBC) and Ed MacArthur (Bad Education, BBC; Dreamland, Sky) are bringing their two rival children’s entertainers up to Fringe this year, as Soho Theatre’s smash-hit musical comedy String V SPITTA makes its Edinburgh debut. Smith-Bynoe also hosts late-night improv show Kiell Smith-Bynoe & Friends: Kool Story Bro, featuring the best improvisers at the Fringe. Jordan Brookes work in progress Snakes For Cats To Watch is a chance to watch things that aren’t yet what they could be! Global sensation Jazz Emu is back with his virtuoso musical spectacular You Shouldn’t Have, and Comedy Award nominee Glenn Moore also brings his hit 2022 show, Will You Still Need Me, Will You Still Feed Me, Glenn I’m Sixty Moore back for just 14 nights.
Following her acclaimed, sell-out debut hour, Celya AB returns: expect tales of romance, a hologram, and a near-death experience in Thorpe Park in Second Rodeo. Following a sell-out national tour, star of global hit Live Innit and Taskmaster, Paul Chowdhry returns to Edinburgh for the first time in almost ten years with Family-Friendly Comedian! Join Nick Helm as he launches Down ‘n’ Dirty Weekend and celebrates 10 years of Hot ‘n’ Heavy, from beginning to damn end, one sweet night at a time. Hot off the back of huge sold out shows across the UK, stellar comedians Rachel Fairburn and Kiri Pritchard-McLean once again present their smash-hit true crime podcast,
All Killa No Filla. EGG: Absolutely Fine is the fresh new show from Anna Leong Brophy (Shadow & Bone, This Is Going to Hurt) and Emily Lloyd-Saini (Code 404, Catastrophe). Hal Cruttenden returns with last year’s critically-acclaimed show, It’s Best You Hear It From Me, back for a limited run. Strap in for a brand new hour from Greek Comedian, George Zacharopoulos as he explores his journey through a turbulent relationship in an hour of head-spinning and hilarious stand up in Wonderland. Late night and loose, Hive Mind is a gameshow in which contestants have to crowdsource their way to victory with Tarot.
Up-and-coming talent will delight comedy fans this August. Delightfully cringey, desperate and slightly disgusting, this intimate and juicy show, Exquisite Lies, from Greta Titelman is like spending a late night gossiping with your best friend. Directed by the Edinburgh Comedy Award-winning Natalie Palamides (Nate, Laid), this hilarious debut from Bill O’Neill follows two daredevil brothers attempting the impossible — slipping on 1000 banana peels in The Amazing Banana Brothers. As seen on Just For Laughs, Hulu and Apple TV, Cara Connors is an LA-based comedian, actor, writer and multifaceted homosexual with her unique brand of high energy, fearlessly chaotic comedy in Straight for Pay. Emmy-nominee Drew Michael makes his Edinburgh debut with Drew’s Adventures, a show about actualising childhood wishes in spite of the obstacles seeking to thwart them,
centering on Drew’s lifelong experience with hearing loss. With over 1 million followers and 300 million views across social media, comedian Laura Ramoso makes her highly anticipated Fringe debut with FRANCES! Catch India’s stand-up star Sapan Verma for the first time at the Edinburgh Fringe with killer observations and hilarious storytelling. The horrifying debut from Lachlan Werner, the award-winning poof prince of puppets is Voices Of Evil – be careful, anyone could get puppeteered by evil. Kirsty Mann (Funny Women Awards finalist) reveals her ridiculous true story of subterfuge in Skeletons.
Comedians come together to create some killer line ups with an opportunity to see your favourites all under one roof. Hosted by Coco Sarel, and starring Henry Rowley plus more special guests, Knock, Knock will see the biggest comedy stars of TikTok unleash their hilarious, multi-million hit material onto the stage – for the very first time! Expect standup, clowning, sketch-comedy, drag, dance and more in these 3 exclusive nights with Maddy & Marina Bye and their Fringe friends – Siblings & Family Friends? The Pleasance All American Newcomer Comedy Gala will feature the very best comedians from across the pond as they make their Pleasance debuts this summer. Eight top guest comedians compete to see who is the champion beermat flipper 2023 with trick shots, live betting odds and trash talk in Comedians Beer Mat Flipping Super Bowl.
A number of exceptional artists join the Pleasance programme from international shores this summer. The Box Show is a critically-acclaimed solo show from Dominique Salerno where one woman performs 30 characters from inside a small box – a fast-paced rollercoaster ride through vastly different worlds. Combining movement, storytelling and poetry, The Return is a profoundly personal story based on the writer and performer’s experience of living in Croatia during the breakup of former Yugoslavia. île, by multi-award-winning South African writer/actor/comedian Sophie Joans, is a coming-of-age story that takes you on a fast and funny excavation of her ancestral roots on Mauritius. Made in collaboration with a multinational team, featuring drag, animation, and the voice of Pedar (if you know, you know), D U A L دوگانه is about one woman with two passports and two names. A thought-provoking show about men dealing with toxic masculinity and women dealing with men, THEM uses personal interviews with male-identifying individuals, performed by four women from Iceland and Finland. Award-winning French writer David Lescot comes to the Fringe for the first time with Dough, a caustic tale that looks at what money allows us to build. While Hello Kitty Must Die is a new musical manifesto of Asian feminism – think Joy Luck Club meets Dexter – about being anything other than the stereotype people expect.
The EICC programme is full of spectacle this summer with artists pushing the limits of the Fringe.
The finest dancers from the top Irish dance companies come together in Irish Celtic’s Spirit of Ireland, showing their infectious love for dance and their incredible talent in thrilling and spectacular high energy dance routines. A comic troupe of five eccentric – and exceptional – opera singers perform a celebration of our favourite operas, combined in a clever and original way with rock and pop classics in A Comedy of Operas. With toe-tapping melodies, spectacular harmonies and soulful ballads, Burns the Musical introduces Robert Burns to the pop generation. And, with solos, duets and ensemble numbers from Wicked, West Side Story, Les Mis and many more, The Night of the Musicals promises an electrifying night out as you sing and dance throughout.
The Fringe is the home of boundary pushing and experiential work. Darkfield return to Edinburgh with their first shipping container experience, SÉANCE, which transforms the interior of a 24ft container into a Victorian séance room. They also present EULOGY; a surreal, otherworldly journey that is performed in complete darkness using binaural sound and speech recognition technology to deceive the senses. Part letter project, part sound project, and part city-wide planting project, 1000 Miniature Meadows will begin with you collecting a letter before you step into nature and listen to what it has to say! A compelling dreamscape of live painting, live music and theatre, Revelations of Rab McVie is about the pursuit of light in darkness driven by darkly atmospheric alt-rock music from The Filthy Tongues.
Theatre and comedy are close relatives and many of the theatre shows have strongly comedic undertones, or even overtones. Join Gary Strange in Clown Sex as he encounters stories of bad sex, sad sex and clown sex, from garlic flavoured nipples to cat cunnilingus. Yoga with Jillian – A New Comedy is all about how Gwyneth Paltrow, guru culture, green juice and your best downwardfacing-dog can save us all! Fishing 4 Chips are back with Burning Down The Horse, a brand-new immersive comedy set onboard the most iconic wooden animal in history – the Trojan Horse. And, Ivo Graham dips a greedy toe into the theatre/therapy section, poring over the usuals (relationships, responsibilities, regrets) without any promise of logic or laughter in Graham in the Green.
Didn’t catch them in previous years, you have another chance! Critically acclaimed darkly hilarious and heart-wrenching 2022 hit play Jesus, Jane, Mother & Me returns following sell-out London and Adelaide seasons. Highly acclaimed Godot is a Woman is back asking why non-men across the world still can’t fill the boots of Didi and Gogo. Back for their 15th year with brand new, delicious, rotating ‘menus’ of 10-15-minute comedies, eccentricities and mini-dramas, The Big Bite-Size Breakfast Show starts your day with theatre and complimentary fresh coffee/tea, croissants and strawberries. Join gorgeous clown Trash Salad after a sell-out 2022 run, on her quest for connection: a genre-bending burlesque adventure, using lip sync, strip tease and song on a mission to understand intimacy. 2021 Edinburgh Fringe sell-out show, The Importance of Being… Earnest? asks if you will step into the spotlight, tread the boards and save the show after the actors start dropping like flies.
Some companies just can’t keep away! Graeae present Self-Raising, a true, laugh-out-loud, story about growing up Deaf in a family that has a secret. After the success of Bismillah! An Isis Tragicomedy¸ Wound Up return with Tones – a hip-hop opera that fuses a subcultural soundscape with gig theatre and autobiographical references that explore Black-British identity, class and belonging. Lash is the new play from award-winning creators of Heroin(e) For Breakfast that takes us on a booze-fuelled adrenalin rush, through bustling streets and bouncing clubs, where big tunes and mad characters collide. Temper return to Edinburgh with their signature mix of fluid muscular movement, soul-shaking soundscapes and fragmented imagery in HOME, a voyage of fantastical self-discovery.
It’s not just past Edinburgh hits gracing the Pleasance programme; there are also some stellar picks from the Pleasance London stages. Blueprints follows a couple on a quest to overcome ancestral inheritances that could alter the lives of their descendant and their existing relationship forever. Blowhole is a screengrab of the pitfalls of swipe-right culture, an amazing queer comedy depicting life and love in your twenties. A colourful vision of life in London’s hedonistic fast lane – centring community, power and healing for LGBTQIA+ people, Rapture is poignant and provocative with bold movement and an original synth-pop score. And, join Kit in 30 & Out, a hilarious, sexy and painful portrayal, with interviews, projection and powerful storytelling, about discovering identity and losing yourself along the way.
More amazing LGBTQIA+ work comes with 52 Monologues for Young Transsexuals, an hour of verbatim and cabaret theatre to get the sleep-over honest truth about bodies, sex and love. Romcoms and pop songs collide in a musical rollercoaster charting the highs and lows of identity politics, romantic clichés and open mic nights in Actually, Love – returning after winning Musical Theatre Review’s Special Award in 2022. In Cowboys and Lesbians, a misunderstood teen girl is falling for a mysterious farmhand with a dark past but they’re absolutely never going to admit that they fancy each other.
Mixed bills can be a great way to sample a host of different acts. In Late Night Magic, expect the unexpected as award-winning magicians blow your minds in this late night magic extravaganza every weekend across the Fringe.
And there’s more! Award-winning Groomed comes to Edinburgh looking at three true stories of survival and how a secret can be final spoken. Teacher’s Pet is a silly, upbeat, raunchy set of original songs about a girl who fell in love with her teacher. Based on real life stories, Truly, Madly, Baldy is a comedy that focuses on two individuals who suffer from Alopecia and how they battle against modern day beauty standards around hair. A rollicking course of intravenous antibiotics set to 80s bangers, WONDER DRUG: A Comedy about Cystic Fibrosis comes to Edinburgh after a sell-out VAULT 2023 run! Hot as Hell follows a misfit girl whose best friend is a demon from an ouija board and when they go to a party together chaos and murder ensue! Delve into the childhood of siblings Rose and Tennessee Williams and the rooted guilt of one of America’s greatest playwrights in
Tennessee, Rose. Chasing Butterflies follows Detective Richards’ lone hunt for the infamous serial killer, the ‘Butterfly Butcher’ in London in 1985. Or Meet Mr & Mrs Love, royalty on the cabaret circuit for the last 12 years in Mr & Mrs and find out what is brewing under the sequins and piano licks.
The Fringe has always been about sparking conversation – through theatre but also through talks. Award-winning LBC presenter Iain Dale’s astounding guest line-up this summer will offer a series of in-depth interviews for All Talk featuring his acclaimed, incisive insight on current affairs and audience questions. More guests announced are: First Minister of Scotland and SNP leader Humza Yousaf MSP; conservative broadcaster Peter Hitchens along with Guardian columnist and former BBC social affairs editor Polly Toynbee; Harriet Harman, Labour MP for Camberwell and Peckham, and Mother of the House of Commons; and former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn MP and renowned trade unionist Len McCluskey. Iain will also be recording five unique live versions of smash-hit political podcast For The Many with partner in crime, former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith. Guests include: Kate Forbes MSP, who was one of the candidates for SNP leader this year; and Mark Drakeford MS, the First Minister of Wales and Leader of Welsh Labour. Other talks come from sex columnist Emma Louise Boynton who brings her international sell-out event series Sex Talks to the Fringe exploring all things taboo from sex to pleasure to the future of intimacy. Acclaimed actorwriter and co-founder of Tamasha Theatre Company Sudha Bhuchar invites her multicultural millennial sons to ‘crack open a cold one’ and share their views on life in Evening Conversations.
With its full programme now announced, full of comedy, theatre, circus, magic, dance, kids’ shows and much more alongside support for some of the most innovative newcomers through the Pleasance’s artist development strands, there’s nowhere quite like the Pleasance at Fringe!