Edinburgh Fringe 2019
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A Womb of One’s Own
Funny, clever and politically challenging, A Womb of One’s Own follows a young woman on her journey of self and sexual discovery, exploring the emotional rollercoaster of an unwanted pregnancy, an abortion and the surrounding taboos. Supported by The Pleasance’s Charlie Hartill Theatre Reserve 2019, this darkly comic coming-of-age story tackles a big painful subject with warmth, heart and humour. A semi-autobiographical piece, A Womb of One’s Own uses humour and sensitivity to explore controversial issues such as abortion, sexuality and religion. Pleasance Dome (10 Dome) from 31st July (not 13th, 22nd) at 14:50.
The tragi-comic Algorithms introduces the bisexual Bridget Jones for the online generation. Developed on the Soho Theatre Writers’ Lab and longlisted for the Tony Craze Award 2018, Algorithms is a hilarious and touching new one woman play, written and performed by Sadie Clark (longlisted 4Stories, Channel 4 new-talent initiative) and directed by Madelaine Moore (Ladykiller, Coconut). It follows an algorithm writer for an online dating site as she searches for love, happiness and satisfaction in a world defined more and more by online interactions. Pleasance Courtyard (Baby Grand) from 31st July (not 13th) at 12:45.
Recipient of Pleasance’s Charlie Hartill Theatre Reserve 2019, Bible John uses a real, unsolved series of murders that occurred in Glasgow at the Barrowlands Ballroom in the late 60s to interrogate the current cult of true crime and notions of victimhood. Poor Michelle (Samuel French New Play Award 2017) present a riotous, furious, joyful exploration of violence and gender, looking at one of Scotland’s darkest mysteries. Exploring the roots of our fascination with true crime, Bible John asks why we are obsessed with someone who has acted in such an inhuman way. Pleasance Courtyard (Above) from 31st July (not 13th) at 15:50.
A poignant visual piece of theatre with incredible live music, BIRTH comes to Pleasance following a sell-out run at London International Mime Festival 2019. In the UK, it is estimated that 1 in 4 pregnancies end in loss during pregnancy or birth. BIRTH explores the bond between three women, their shared loss, their unconditional love and the strength they discover in each other. BIRTH is the story three generations of women from the same family who are part of an invisible web, weaved across the years. Pleasance Courtyard (Beyond) from 1st August 2019 (not 12th) at 12:00.
Bobby & Amy
From Fringe First award-winner Emily Jenkins comes Bobby & Amy, a dark comedy about friendship, heartache and the repercussions of foot-and-mouth disease. Starring Will Howard (The Archers, BBC Radio 4) and Kimberley Jarvis, this powerful new play asks what happens when our way of life is threatened by those who don’t understand it. As well as looking at this catastrophe, Bobby & Amy is also a celebration of British agriculture, small rural communities and the huge amount they contribute to the wider world. Pleasance Courtyard (Upstairs) from 31st July (not 12th) at 12:45.
The UK’s hottest circus company, award-winning Barely Methodical Troupe, are bringing their debut show Bromance back to where it all began. An international sensation, Bromance explores the friendship between three of the UK’s most exciting acrobats – big man Louis Gift, Cyr wheeling star Charlie Wheeller and flying trickster Beren d’Amico. Highly entertaining, Bromance is a show about trust, intimacy and male friendships explored through eye-watering feats of strength, astonishing circus skills, hand-to-hand balancing, acrobatics and Cyr wheel routines. Assembly Rooms (Music Hall) from 1stAugust (not 7th, 12th, 19th) at 15:00.
Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs: The Magic Cutlass
Following a highly successful run at Edinburgh Fringe in 2016 and an extensive UK tour, Captain Flinn is back and is, once again, ready for a rollicking adventure! Based on the award-winning book by Giles Andreae and Russell Ayto, it’s all aboard for a non-stop action-packed theatrical experience with catchy live music, spectacular puppetry and dastardly dinosaurs! This daring sequel has been adapted by Oliver Lansley, the Artistic Director of Les Petits Theatre and Les Enfants Terribles Theatre Company and writer of 2019 smash-hit TV series Flack. Pleasance Courtyard (One) from 31st July (not 13th) at 10:45.
Disruption: Co-curated by HighTide and Assembly
After the success of their 2018 HighTide: Edinburgh programme, HighTide have now partnered with Assembly to present Disruption. From HighTide’s home county, East Anglian writer Kenny Emson’s Rust, about pushing the boundaries of trust, love and lust to the limit, is the centrepiece of HighTide’s programme. Also headlining will be Collapsible by Irish writer Margaret Perry – a funny, furious new monologue about holding on in this collapsing world; Pops, which follows a father and daughter caught in a cycle of addiction sees Charlotte Josephine return to Edinburgh with her first piece solely as a writer; and a double bill of shows presented with The Queer House from writers Teddy Lamb and Mia Johnson. Lamb’s moving autobiographical account of growing up queer in the East Midlands, finding yourself, and losing a friend is brought to life in Since U Been Gone while Johnson’s Pink Lemonade is a multi-disciplinary solo show, exploring masculinity and lesbianism in Black womxn. Assembly Roxy from 31stJuly.
Do Our Best
Do Our Best is a devastating comedy from the exciting new voice of Welsh writer Remy Beasley (Stella, Sky One), directed by Fringe First award-winning director, Hannah Banister. In the wake of her mother’s death, Sephie, a self-obsessed 30-year-old, finds herself back in the sanctuary of the Girl Guides. Do Our Best follows our anti-heroine as she tries to navigate her numbness in search of her own tribe of women. Remy Beasley is one to watch as her heartfelt and hilarious observations avoid trite clichés and instead expose the dark underbelly of emotional isolation. Underbelly Cowgate (Iron Belly) from 1st August (not 12th) at 14:50.
The perfect world premiere for true crime fans, Drowning is Jessica Ross’ blistering new play about the Lainz Angels of Death. In 1991, four Austrian nurses were charged with murdering 49 elderly patients in their beds, although estimates now put the death toll nearer to 200. Drowning is directed by Steven Roy and executive produced by Carrie-Anne Moss. This fantastic piece of new writing forces us to confront what we understand by ‘evil’ and the terrifying space between ‘mercy’ and ‘murder’. Pleasance Courtyard (Above) from 31st July (not 13th) at 14:30.
Winner of France’s Molière Award for Best Comedy Play 2017, Fishbowl now makes its UK premiere, bringing its farcical antics and physical comedy extravaganza to Pleasance Grand. In perfectly choreographed pandemonium, it follows the hilarious misadventures of three eccentric and lovable anti-heroes as they spectacularly fail at life in their wacky rooftop bedsits. Perfectly capturing the energy of the silent film with meticulously precise slapstick, this hilarious and engaging show quickly became the most celebrated comedy production in France. Pleasance Courtyard (Grand) from 31st July (not 14th) at 13:00.
Four Woke Baes
Hollywood comes to Edinburgh as Danny Pudi and Gayle Rankin take to the stage in Four Woke Baes by one of America’s most acclaimed playwrights, Jonathan Caren (Gypsy, Netflix; Rise, NBC, A Million Little Things, ABC). Multi-award winning Teddy Bergman directs this UK premiere which considers just how liberal ‘woke’ boys really are when they’re alone together, out in nature, beers in hand. As four friends head off on a camping trip for a stag party, things get turned upside down by the arrival of a mysterious young woman at their campsite. Underbelly Cowgate (Belly Button) from 1st August (not 12th) at 17:05.
Inspired by true events, Katie Guicciardi’s Fox is a sharply observed drama that explores our complex relationship with ‘help’ – our desire to give it and the need to seek it for ourselves – in an increasingly isolating society. This world premiere is directed by Offie Award nominee, Lisa Cagnacci. Juxtaposing postpartum depression and the silent issues of motherhood with the plight of the homeless, Fox addresses privilege and isolation in a contemporary, urban environment. Pleasance Courtyard (Baby Grand) from 31st July (not 13th) at 11:30.
What really goes on in Amazon Fulfilment Centres? Award-winning company SharkLegs return to the Fringe with their new show Fulfilment, interrogating the true price of next-day delivery. Disarmingly funny and playful, the show is created live every night aided by the desires of the audience. This shocking piece of theatre explores what it takes to fulfil our ever-increasing consumer demands. Fulfilment shares verbatim testimonials from real Fulfilment Centre workers along with the experiences of a member of the show’s creative team. Underbelly Cowgate (Belly Laugh) from 1st August (not 12th) at 15:40.
Based on true events, a group of conscripted young women put their lives on the line three times a day, every day, for Adolf Hitler. A dark comedy that explores the way girls navigated sexuality, friendship and patriotism during the Third Reich, it also considers how power can corrupt, leaving children in the firing line. An anachronistic retelling of a historical footnote, Hitler’s Tasters is about what girls chat about, even as they wait to see if they will survive another meal. Greenside (Infirmary Street) from 2nd August (not 11th or 18th) at 18:35.
Physically exhilarating and touchingly poignant, Knot is the internationally acclaimed circus theatre work by Nikki & JD. These talented performers use breathtaking hand-to-hand and dance skills to tell the tale of an impossible choice: how can we be honest with ourselves without hurting those we love? Part of the British Council Edinburgh Showcase 2019, Knot is a finely crafted journey through the struggles of commitment, exploring the absurdity, mundanity and joy of a very modern affair. Assembly Roxy (Upstairs) from 31st July (not 6th, 13th, 20th) at 14:45.
Like Animals is a funny and poignant investigation into love and communication in human (and not so human) relationships, directed by Herald Angel Award winner Ellie Dubois (No Show). Inspired by true stories of scientists working to communicate with animals, it blends surreal comedy with moments of tenderness and vulnerability to explore the impossibility of ever truly knowing someone else. Their story allows the audience to see the joyful and painful moments we all experience and offers counterpoint and comparison to the human-animal stories. Summerhall (Old Lab) from 31st July (not 1st, 12th, 19th) at 14:15.
LOVE (Watching Madness)
Critically acclaimed SpeakUp Theatre present a searingly honest one-woman show investigating mums, daughters and the complexities of loving someone with mental illness – specifically bipolar disorder. LOVE (Watching Madness) is a funny, moving and relatable insight into how it feels to care for someone who can’t always show that they care for you. This production provides a very personal insight into the effects of bipolar disorder on the sufferer’s family, exploring the emotions that can surface and the associated feelings of guilt. Pleasance Courtyard (Bunker Three) from 31st July (not 18th) at 11:35.
It’s January and Rosa Hesmondhalgh is writing her resolutions. This will be her year. She will stop going out with plonkers, start doing yoga and write some ‘Really Good Art’. But before she’s had a chance to delete her dating apps and get into downward dog, she’s diagnosed with ovarian cancer. And its spread. Now faced with hospitals, chemotherapy and her own mortality, Rosa’s new goal for the year ahead is to survive it. Madame Ovary explores the usual struggle a 20-something has with trying to stay relevant alongside the less typical struggle of trying to stay alive. Pleasance Dome (Jack Dome) from 31st July (not 13th) at 12:10.
Manual Cinema’s Frankenstein
Returning to the Fringe with an exciting UK premiere, Manual Cinema (Ada/Ada, Lula del Ray) find a special affinity with Mary Shelley’s gothic story about the reanimation of obsolete materials. Creating their own Frankenstein, against the backdrop of Shelley’s own fascinating and little-told biography, Manual Cinema create a silent movie in front of our eyes. In their extraordinary trademark style, Manual Cinema use overhead projectors, over 500 shadow puppets, actors in silhouette, and live music to bring this enthralling production to life as a piece of live cinema. Underbelly Bristo Square (McEwan Hall) from 31st July (not 12th) at 14:45.
Celebrating its 40th anniversary, NewsRevue is back with a flawlessly delivered comedy round-up of this year’s news. From a royal car crash to a political car crash, it’s been quite a year and it isn’t only Brexit dominating our headlines! We’ve witnessed unlikely duets from Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga to President Trump and Kim Jong-un, the birth of another Royal Baby and the end of the world (or is it?) in the Avengers. There’s a lot to fit into an hour. Underbelly George Square (Udderbelly) from 1st August (not 13th) at 18:10.
Ogg ‘n’ Ugg ‘n’ Dogg
2018 winner of Primary Times Children’s Choice Award, Theatre Fideri Fidera present their new comic play for all ages which takes on the amazing evolutionary process that transformed wolf into man’s best friend. Using their characteristic rich mix of theatrical forms including physical comedy, clowning, puppetry, music and song, Ogg ‘n’ Ugg ‘n’ Dogg is the show for families and dog lovers, old and young. Gilded Balloon Teviot (Dining Room) from 31st July (not 7th, 14th, 21st) at 12:30.
A musical comedy set in a care home, Paradise Lodge is based on writer Steve Cooper’s experience of caring for his mother-in-law in her final years as she lived with dementia. One in three people will develop dementia and Paradise Lodge encourages people to think about the person behind the condition. A hilarious, heart-wrenching production, it will have audiences laughing, crying and singing their hearts out. Underbelly Bristo Square (Dairy Room) from 31st July (not 12th) at 13:15.
After years of pretending to be other people, self-censoring and changing her name for fear of anyone finding out who her brother is, Nicola Wren (Replay, 501 Things I Do In My Bedroom) realised that to find her place in the world, she would need to stop hiding who she is. Superstar is Nicola’s extremely funny, autobiographical rite of passage story about family, identity and authenticity while concealing that you’re Coldplay’s Chris Martin’s little sister. A wonderfully honest play, Superstar explores what happens when you stop performing for everyone and simply let them see you. Underbelly Cowgate (Iron Belly) 1stAugust (not 12th) at 17:30.
Following back-to-back sell out shows, Incognito return, in their award-winning physical style, with a formidable tale of corruption, persecution and roaring rage. The Burning explores the derogatory depictions of women who do not conform, who live on the fringes of society and who challenge established patriarchal structures. It boldly takes on the anarchic nature of witches and unearths the complexities behind the definition of a ‘witch’. Pleasance Courtyard (Upstairs) from 31st July (not 13th) at 15:15.
After a hit London run in 2018, The Claim comes to Edinburgh Festival Fringe, now staged in the round, as part of the British Council Showcase 2019. Written by Tim Cowbury (Made In China) and directed by Mark Maughan (Michael Grandage Company), The Claim explores one of the most pressing global issues facing society: migration. Both satirising and humanising everyone around the Home Office interview table, this production simultaneously abstracts and faithfully charts the journey of a single asylum claim. Paines Plough’s ROUNDABOUT @ Summerhall from 31st July (not 6th, 13th, 20th) at 12:50.
This Time by Ockham’s Razor
After the success of Tipping Point, Total Theatre award-winning Ockham’s Razor return with This Time – a show about time, age and the stories we tell ourselves. With a cast ranging in age from 13 to 60 the show looks at perceptions of strength and age: how we are strong in different ways at different times in our lives. Featuring aerial acrobatics, the four performers lift, push and cradle each other over thresholds and ledges in this ground-breaking work. This year producers Turtle Key Arts have arranged for Ockham’s Razor to perform at Saint Stephens Theatre independently from any of the recognised promoters. Saint Stephens from 1st August (not 6th, 13th, 20th) at 15:00.
Told against a backdrop of an extraordinary and dynamic soundscape, Wireless Operator reveals the emotional trauma of one single night in a Lancaster Bomber, during World War II, as a young crew hurtle through a terrifying frenzy of violence. Wireless Operator is the alarming new production which reveals the impact on the airmen who survived, and the lifelong legacy felt by their families. Exposing the personal cost of victory, Wireless Operator acknowledges the burden passed down from generation to generation. Pleasance Courtyard (Downstairs) from 31st July (not 12th) at 12:40.