Edinburgh Fringe 2015

In 2015, our Fringe presence was bigger and better than ever with world premieres, outstanding circus sensations, old favourites and some of the most fantastic and powerful new writing in the programme.

After a sell-out run at the 2015 London International Mime Festival, Theatre Re presents a wordless tale about the power of imagination that blends together physical theatre, mime, sound, illusion and a beautifully lyrical live music score. As an old blind man takes unsteady steps around a room, a story of love, courage, hope and unquenchable vision unfolds. Blind Man’s Song is a tale about one man’s rage against his world of darkness. Inspired by the paintings of Magritte, the dead-end world of Beckett and interviews with blind and visually-impaired people, it witnesses the power of the body to communicate without words. Pleasance Dome (King Dome) from 6th August at 3:30pm.

Frenetic but friendly. Captivating but casual. Audacious but awkward. Multi award-winning UK circus company Barely Methodical Troupe fuse their inner frats with a dazzling tour-de-force of cutting edge circus prowess and physical theatre mayhem. The jaw-dropping magnificent (The Stage) hot ticket of the Edinburgh Fringe 2014 (winner, Total Theatre and Jackson’s Lane Award for Best Circus) returns to Edinburgh fresh from London’s Udderbelly Festival. Join this critically-acclaimed company as they walk the line between the pugnacious and the poignant, in this hilarious, bitter-sweet and mind-blowing celebration of everything blokey – where handshakes become handstands and back slaps become backflips. Underbelly’s Circus Hub from 7th August at 6.25pm.

SHORTLISTED: Holden Street Theatre Award

The creators of award-winning international smash hits The Adventures of Alvin Sputnik and It’s Dark Outside are back with a new lo-fi puppetry spectacular that bends time and melts your heart. Keeping you on the edge of your seat, BRUCE will sweep you away on an epic adventure of love and revenge. He may be just a floating block of yellow foam, but BRUCE is out to prove he’s got a heart of pure gold. These exceptionally skilled puppeteers bring BRUCE to life and we witness the incredible comedic story of his life as a self-proclaimed hero-cop turned novelist-astronaut. BRUCE is a non-stop rollercoaster of action, adventure and nostalgia. Underbelly Cowgate (Belly Button) from 6th August at 3.15pm.

Being 14 is an awful age. You’re not a very nice person at 14. No one knows this better than new girl Poppy who has just started at an all-girls state school. There are rules with no logic, sadistic jokes that aren’t actually funny and the most sinister games played out of boredom. And, you’d better not be fat or clever or you’re fucked. Brute is an exciting piece of new writing based on the true story of a rather twisted, horrible schoolgirl. Set in a girls’ school in a provincial English town far away from cosmopolitan and cultural influences, Brute explores memories of the protagonist’s intensely passionate female friendships as they escalate into violence. Underbelly Cowgate (Iron Belly) from 6th August at 4.10pm.

How close do you want to be? Four extraordinary circus artists. Acrobatic mastery at its most extreme. Circa challenge everything you think about circus as they wrench back the curtain on a phenomenal show exploring adventure, playfulness and warmth. This exciting world premiere is the first work commissioned by Underbelly especially for Underbelly’s iconic Udderbelly purple cow. While some productions use complex sets, the acrobats of Circa use only their bodies to demonstrate the most sublime skills imaginable. Not only are Circa at the top of their craft but Close Up shows the glorious power of the human body. Close Up introduces a unique level of literal closeness, bringing a new kind of intimacy to circus. Nothing’s off-limits in Circa’s most intimate show yet. Nothing’s off-limits in Circa’s most intimate show yet. Close Up? You’ve never been closer. Underbelly George Square from Wednesday 5th August at 8pm.

SHORTLISTED: Edinburgh Fringe Sustainable Practice Award

Three women stand on a cliff-edge overlooking their village; a village which is soon to disappear. Award-winning FellSwoop Theatre present Current Location: an allegorical response to ecological disaster. The piece follows these women’s reactions to the arrival of a sinister blue cloud over their village and the terrifying sense of foreboding which accompanies its arrival. Originally written by Japanese playwright Toshiki Okada in the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Current Location explores how the rumours and fears of ecological change disrupt families, friends and communities. FellSwoop’s adaptation, set in the intimacy of a choir rehearsal room, uses an all-female cast to present an immersive blend of theatre and live music. Summerhall (The Dissection Room) from 17th August at 10.30am.

FINALST: Edinburgh Fringe Sustainable Practice Award

SHORTLISTED: Brighton Fringe Award for Excellence

At Insignia Asset Management, Lucy is in charge of the photocopier, printer, scanner, shredder and binder. She’s starting to wonder how this fits into ‘The Grand Scheme of Things’. One day Lucy rescues the abused office pot plant and her world alters. Inside her flat on the 24th floor, she starts to plant, cultivate and nurture her own personal wilderness. Written and performed by Lucy Grace, Garden tells of one city dweller’s journey into the natural world, exploring an attempt to find a bigger picture than a life packed into small boxes. Pleasance Courtyard (Below) from 5th August at 3.30pm.

Texas, 1969, is bursting with vibes of peace, love and rock ‘n’ roll, but disgraced hell-raising rock singer Jeannie Hogan is dragged back to the oppressive small-town values of a home she thought she’d outgrown. Where does a sweet Southern girl go if she doesn’t want to be a sweet Southern girl? But Jeannie has a confession to make. A tape recorder whirrs as she embarks on a volatile and furious account of lovers, lies and music. Jeannie fights for her right to be recognised by the musicians who accept her body but reject her voice. Examining the dark underside of celebrity culture, this breath-taking new play is written and performed by Victoria Rigby and directed by Whitney Mosery. Pleasance Courtyard (That) from 5th August at 12.45pm.

The IdeasTap Underbelly Award is back at the Edinburgh Fringe, bringing four brilliant shows from IdeasTap members. The Award offers funding and support from IdeasTap, a prime location at Underbelly Cowgate and mentoring from leading theatre practitioners as well as all the Underbelly staff. The 2015 winning shows are Ben Norris’s The Hithchiker’s Guide to the Family, Toby Peach’s The Eulogy of Toby Peach, Giles Roberts’s Much Further Out Than You Thought and Izzy Tennyson’s Brute. The shows all draw on the writers’ personal experiences or issues that are important and resonant to them. Through the Award, these powerful pieces of new writing will have the opportunity to be staged on one of the greatest theatre platforms in the world.

LONGLISTED: Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award

Lance Corporal James Randall left tours of duty in Helmand six years ago. But as he’s about to discover, Helmand is still very far from leaving him. On Remembrance Sunday he delivers a birthday message to his young son from his living room in south London. Surrounded by action figures and boyhood memorabilia, James unfolds a fragmented story in which the worlds of civilian Britain and front-line Afghanistan brutally, and catastrophically, collide. Much Further Out Than You Thought is a new one-man play which shines a different light on the very human cost of war. Lance Corporal James Randall doesn’t exist, but the traumas that live inside him most certainly do. Underbelly Cowgate (Big Belly) from 6thAugust at 3.20pm.

My Beautiful Black Dog by Brigitte Aphrodite is where gig meets theatre. It is a wild and poetic musical exploring the difficult contradictions and complexity of fragile minds. Brigitte Aphrodite comments that, depression is at its heart but it’s not depressing – it’s joyous, funny and hopeful (I hope…). I believe in hope. This electrifying show challenges the urgent stigma around mental health and encourages the audience to take ownership of their own black dogs through infectious dance moves, swagger-boss costumes and banging tunes surrounded by silver streamers, sequins and sparkles. Below the humour and happiness, dark undertones give serious pause for reflection on the harsh reality of depression. Underbelly Cowgate (Belly Button) from 6th August at 2pm.

Nobody is safe: from Farage to the royal foetus, politicians and celebrities alike come under fire in a turbo-charged barrage of bladder-threateningly funny songs and sketches brimming with punchlines. Expect the very best of British satire. The longest-running live comedy show in the world is flawlessly delivered by four outstanding performers at lightning speed. They are expertly accompanied by an on-stage Musical Director; this year Michael Riley returns to reprise his role – a post previously held by Bill Bailey. NewsRevue’s exceptional writing, superlative performances and original takes on current affairs have made it a Guinness World record-breaker, Fringe First winner and Perrier finalist. Pleasance Courtyard (Beyond) from 5th August at 6.30pm.

WINNER – The Stage Awards for Acting Excellence

A dark and uncompromising new play about romance, expectation and mortality, Ross & Rachel tells the mind-bending, heart-breaking story of what happens when a couple that was always meant to be together, gets together. And stays together. In this disquieting duologue for one performer, Olivier-nominated playwright James Fritz takes an unflinching look at the myths of modern love. Ross & Rachelconfronts what happens when two people are forced to handle the end of a relationship in the harshest of ways. It leaves audiences feeling bruised and shaken, thinking long and hard about endings of all kinds. Assembly George Square Theatre (The Box) from 6th August at 12.30pm.

When Mark doesn’t qualify for the London 2012 Olympic Games, he becomes a guide for blind marathon runner Becky. But it’s not easy being someone else’s eyes, or giving up your dreams for theirs. Tether is a powerful story of ambition, trust, friendship and the fight to the finish line from Royal Court Young Writers’ Programme graduate Isley Lynn. This striking new play asks challenging questions: What do you do when your dreams don’t come true? How long should you hold out hope? Can you truly be happy helping others to succeed? And what if giving in doesn’t mean giving up? Underbelly Cowgate (Big Belly) from 6th August at 2pm.

One in three of us will experience cancer first-hand and now Toby Peach brings this universal issue to the stage. The Eulogy of Toby Peach is the story of Toby’s journey with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma that he faced at the age of 19 and again at 21. Toby didn’t know what cancer was, what happens when it’s treated and the effects it can have. A Eulogy is a celebration of life – we will all need one; Toby is just delivering his now. From diagnosis to remission, relapse and treatment, this original piece explores a true story and an important subject in a refreshing, insightful and humorous way. Underbelly Cowgate (Iron Belly) from 6thAugust at 2.50pm.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Family is a one-man show about love, loss and motorways. Join writer-performer and UK poetry slam champion Ben Norris as he battles the country’s most notorious service stations and the perils of lower-league football in search of his father’s story. Hilarious and moving, the show explores the relative merits of Travelodge while asking searching questions about identity. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Family is a pilgrimage based on shared experience and sound-tracked by Gerry Rafferty. Hitch a ride and discover the wealth of characters and personalities Ben met along the way. Underbelly Cowgate (Big Belly) from 6th August at 4.40pm.

After the rip-roaring success of Inheritance Blues, DugOut Theatre return to delight audiences with this hilarious new production. Faced with losing their beloved watering hole, a pub quiz team stage a casino heist. Hailing from the rundown seaside town of Chipworth, this band of ordinary misfits come together in an attempt to pull off something truly extraordinary. Think Hot Fuzz meets Ocean’s Eleven. Using live music, technology and movement, The Sunset Five is funny and dramatic and will sweep you along on this wild adventure. Pleasance Dome (Queen Dome) from 5th August at 5.40pm.

Jack and Gill went to The Hill to have a pint of lager… Jack met Gretel and Gill met Peter, and this tale is the Tumbling After – a seductive story of two couples as they stumble into and tumble out of love. This is a tale about what happy ever after means today: friendship, longing, tangled bodies and tangled relationships. This blood-quickening production combines physicality and vocal play, straddling the gaps between theatre, performance art, and a vivid dream. It aims to generate a conversation about the significance and value of real communication and choice and how we value ourselves in a relationship. SpaceTriplex from 7th August at 6.25pm.

LONGLISTED: Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award

Walking the Tightrope is a selection of explosive, political short plays by stellar writers Caryl Churchill, Ryan Craig, Tim Fountain, Omar El Khairy, Neil LaBute, Gbolahan Obisesan, Mark Ravenhill and Timberlake Wertenbaker. Written in response to issues of censorship and boycott that arose due to the cancellation of cultural events in 2014, these eight five-minute plays explore contrasting views on Freedom of Expression in the arts in the UK. After part 1 of Walking the Tightrope (the showing of all eight plays), there will be a panel discussion. Here, the audience responses are as important as the playwrights’ opinions and the discussions in part 2 are geared towards replacing a fury of warring tweets with facilitated conversation. Underbelly Topside from 5th August at 3.35pm.

This uplifting and beautiful one-woman play tells the story of Lucy Fuller, an 18-year-old girl abducted by the Kray Twins. Where Do Little Birds Go? is a razor-sharp and humorous exploration of sexual exploitation and class. It’s 1966 and Lucy (played by Jessica Butcher)is kidnapped by the Kray Twins and locked in a flat with an escaped murderer. Where Do Little Birds Go? takes us back over 40 years to a very particular time when fashion, music, celebrity and corruption were shaping young women’s coming of age and East London, under the powerful grip of the Kray Twins, was famous for its ‘wall of silence’. Underbelly Cowgate (Big Belly) from 6th August at 8.55pm.

Based on Rebecca Crookshank’s time in the Royal Air Force serving Queen and country, protecting the UK Air Defence Region, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot charts her journey from basic training to the Falkland Islands. From feeling low to flying high (literally, in a Tornado F3), this is a deeply moving, hilarious and heart-warming adventure. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot highlights the challenges women face in being defined by their gender and celebrates the wonderful women who forged a path for others. When Crookshank left the RAF she knew it was time to pursue her dream of doing something creative. Warning: Contains weapons, strong language and penguins. Underbelly Cowgate (White Belly) from 6th August at 4.30pm.