Edinburgh Fringe 2016
A Tale of Two Cities: Blood for Blood
Dickens’ classic of heroism, espionage and revenge is thrillingly reimagined by multi-award-winning writer-director Jonathan Holloway. The show makes its European premiere direct from an acclaimed Hong Kong season. This powerful ensemble production relocates the story in the present day, shunning cosy Dickensian theatricality in favour of a world of shadows and fakery. Six actors in a sea of empty chairs and discarded shoes recall ‘the disappeared’. Here, there are no wigs, no period frippery and very few of Dickens’ original words. Dickens’ well-thumbed classic is hurled into the arena of duplicitous hotel room fixers and secret assignations that reverberate through a lifetime. The show is created and presented with the UK’s legendary Red Shift Theatre Productions, and Olivier Award winning producers Seabright Productions. Pleasance Courtyard (Beyond) from 3rd August at 14:00.
Ada/Ava by Manual Cinema
WINNER: DarkChat Award for Best Show
WINNER: DarkChat Award for Best Song – All of Me
WINNER: DarkChat Award for Best Music
SHORTLISTED: DarkChat Award for Best Play
SHORTLISTED: Total Theatre Award for Physical/Visual Theatre
SHORTLISTED: DarkChat Award for Special Award
SHORTLISTED: DarkChat Award for Best Moment
In their UK debut, presented with Underbelly Productions, Chicago-based Manual Cinema uses overhead projectors, actors, live music and hundreds of shadow puppets to tell a story of the fantastic and supernatural, exploring mourning, melancholy and self. Bereaved of her twin sister Ava, septuagenarian Ada solitarily marks time in the patterns of a life built for two. A traveling carnival and a trip to a mirror maze plunge her into a journey across the thresholds of life and death. Nearly three hundred handmade shadow puppets are manipulated on old school overhead projectors to create a live animated film. Part ghost story, part suspense thriller, Ada/Ava is a very personal portrait of two characters. Underbelly Potterow (Topside) from 3rd August at 16:00.
Agent of Influence: The Secret Life of Pamela More
Lady Pamela, fashion columnist and socialite, is recruited by MI5 to keep notes on Wallis Simpson and Edward VIII, suspected to be colluding with the German Embassy. But, Pamela suddenly realises that what began as an adventure has led to a deadly struggle for power in a world in the shadow of war. In the depths of a darkened bomb shelter, Lady Pamela tells a tale of adventure, espionage and intrigue, of glamorous cocktail parties, socialites and high fashion. From Jessica Beck, the director who brought Whiskey Tango Foxtrot to the Fringe in 2015, comes a journey of 1930s glamour and fear. Underbelly Cowgate (White Belly) from 4th August at 14:40.
WINNER – The Stage Edinburgh Award
BLUSH, written by Charlotte Josephine and presented by Snuff Box Theatre, the team behind the sell-out, multi-award winning Bitch Boxer, tells five candid stories about revenge porn and all its many victims.BLUSH is a slap in the face and a call to arms. This angry, honest and heartfelt piece seeks to encourage and broaden examination of how the scarcity culture in modern society is fuelling our shame, encouraging the destructive belief systems that we are not enough. BLUSH is a fast-paced two-hander that explores where our desire to shame others comes from, the unwritten laws of gender-related responsibility and how the shame we feel at not measuring up spills out sideways into acts of violence. Underbelly Cowgate (Big Belly) from 4th August at 18:00.
Fresh from the world premiere of Closer in London, internationally acclaimed, multi-award winning circus company Circa (The Return, Barbican) return to Edinburgh’s George Square to dazzle and amaze. Join five astounding performers in Closer as they reveal breath-taking, up-close acrobatics in this elegant and intimate encounter of sophisticated fun. Circa are known for presenting circus without spectacle: Closer looks at the authenticity of the performers as they confound expectations and prompt an emotional connection with the audience. This beautiful show takes us on a magical and delicate journey. As the masterful acrobats gracefully ascend a tower of chairs, our hearts skip a beat and we feel something without knowing what we’re feeling. Underbelly George Square from 3rd August at 18:55.
Electric Eden is a brand new site-specific production from award-winning company Not Too Tame (Early Doors). It sees a group of misfits take over a disused building – think raves, glow sticks and UV war paint rather than hippies, hoodies and placards. But, when taking on ‘the man’, their lives are heading for the mother of all hangovers. Not Too Tame invite you into the immersive world of the unconventional that celebrates what it means to make a stand and find comfort in being a part of a something. Electric Edenlooks at how when people come together they can achieve big things and try to ‘fight’ the system. Pleasance @ Electric Circus from 3rd August at 15:00/17:00.
Staged in an actual working hair salon on Clerk Street (never before used as a Fringe venue), Foiled invites you to immerse yourself in the secret world of styling while Sabrina and her team attempt to perform mission impossible, hair-wise. ‘Bleach for the Stars’ specialises in celebrity dip dyes and off-kilter karaoke but today its doors are closed (again) so that manageress and chief style engineer Sabrina can get busy nominating herself for the prestigious Clipadvisor Salon of the Year award. When bald out-of-work actor Richie arrives for a career-saving hair-do, over-talented and under-employed assistant stylist Tanisha must convince Sabrina that you simply can’t buy success. Except, of course, when you can. Ruby Rouge Hair Salon from 5th August at 19:00.
Happy Dave questions what youth culture today really means and the ethos of Generation Y. David Blessed spent the 90s DJ-ing in fields during the rave era, dropping beats for thousands of young revelers. But now, aged 45, he’s working a dead-end job in an advertising firm selling things he hates. However, old habits die hard and soon Dave leads a group of disenchanted young millennials back into the fray. In 1992, nearly 50,000 people gathered for an illegal rave at Castlemorton that lasted a week. Two years later, the new Criminal Justice Act brought that entire movement to a close. Out of the ashes came the ‘millennials’ – a generation characterised by its uncertainty. Pleasance Courtyard (Beneath) from 3rd August at 16:15.
Katie Brennan’s Quarter Life Crisis
Are you crippled by student debt? Working an unpaid internship? Trying to find Prince Charming on Tinder and spending the majority of your time watching Netflix? Welcome to the life of a modern day twentysomething! Join actress and blogger Katie Brennan for a new show, packed with music, comedy and cabaret all about living that Quarter-Life Crisis. From facebook to flatshares, weddings to woeful bank accounts, career conundrums to chronically crap sex, come and raise a big glass of gin to all those twentysomethings struggling to find their place in the world. Underbelly George Square (The Wee Coo) from 3rd August at 22:50.
Lucy, Lucy and Lucy Barfield
Lucy Grace explores a life less documented in this intimate show about holding onto adventure, falling through the cracks and finding your own way back. C.S. Lewis’s dedication to his goddaughter in The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe is often acknowledged as one of the most poignant ever written yet we know nothing about the little girl it is meant for, the same little girl who gave her name to Narnia’s heroine: Lucy Pevensie. Inspired by a childhood reading fantasy novels, Lucy Grace is waiting to find the way into Narnia. Eventually it clicks; Narnia does not exist. So, Lucy returns to her favourite book to look for tips on how to survive in a world where every door leads exactly where you’d expect. Perhaps C. S. Lewis’s dedication holds the key to another wardrobe. Pleasance Courtyard (Below) from 3rd August at 15:30.
Mr Incredible is a brutal new play about modern love and old-fashioned entitlement from the award-winning writer/director team behind Edinburgh Fringe 2015 sell-out show Where Do Little Birds Go?. Camilla Whitehill’s second play is a stark exploration of control, anger, and the lengths we go to stay in one place. It asks difficult questions that call for us to explore ourselves, talk and take action, not simply to think and then forget – questions that are paramount within the vital discourse around male privilege and sexual consent. Mr Incredible is the study of one man who is forced, through circumstance, to self-reflect. Underbelly Cowgate (Big Belly) from 4th August at 16:40.
Guinness World Record-breaking, Fringe First-winning, Perrier finalist, news-based song and sketch show NewsRevue is back. Although NewsRevue is a Fringe stalwart its content changes all the time, reflecting the very latest world events; the Edinburgh show is a highlight of this year’s news so expect the very best of British satire. From Trump’s Tweets to the EU Tango, politicians and celebrities alike come under fire in a turbo-charged barrage of bladder-threateningly funny songs and sketches brimming with punchlines. The longest-running live comedy show in the world is flawlessly delivered by four outstanding performers and an on-stage Musical Director at lightning speed. NewsRevue’s exceptional writing, superlative performances and original takes on current affairs have made it a Fringe must-see. Pleasance Courtyard (Beyond) from 3rd August at 18:30.
Described by Chris Evans (Radio 2, BBC’s The One Show) as Yorkshire’s Les Mis, No Horizon tells the true, long forgotten story of sacrifice and an impossible dream. Blind Yorkshireman Nicholas Saunderson was an 18th century visionary. But before the invention Braille and with nobody to help him, there was little hope. Yet Saunderson had aspirations. Saunderson rose to mix with Royalty; his brilliance was celebrated across Europe and he occupied the most prestigious mathematical seat in the country – a position until recently held by Stephen Hawking. Saunderson’s bust now stands yellowing in a distant corner of Christ’s College. But, it’s time to remember who he was and No Horizon tells his story. Underbelly Med Quad (Cow Barn) from 3rd August at 17:00.
Poena 5X1, or How I Came To Agree With Right-Wing Thinking
SHORTLISTED: Total Theatre & Jacksons Lane Award for Circus
Sex, politics and the power of love are explored in the world premiere of this brilliant, provocative Scandi noir thriller from Northern Ireland’s multi-award-winning Abbie Spallen. Bryony Adams is an idealistic government scientist working to create a new and humane form of punishment, within a justice system crippled by prison overcrowding. But when a cabinet minister with a reputation tries to exploit her idealism for profit she feels betrayed. Her response is extreme and unexpected and will have devastating consequences for her and those she loves. Poena 5X1 has a fierce political edge and one final terrifying twist. Underbelly Med Quad (Ermintrude) from 3rd August at 15:20.
Silver Lining & Jacksons Lane: Throwback
In this exciting world premiere, the rising stars of British circus harness the power of collective memory. Throwback is a love note to nostalgia and the things you can’t forget. With awe-inspiring aerial and acrobatic work, one of the UK’s most exciting young troupes tell stories that are emotional and absorbing. The sheer spectacle and energy of Silver Lining can’t fail to impress in this fast-paced, feel-good explosion of physical skill and fun. With #ThrowbackThursday now a weekly social media posting trend, memories are part of our zeitgeist. People love to get nostalgic about their childhood, old friends, relationships, pop culture, past trends and happy memories and this is exactly what Silver Lining love too and have harnessed here. Underbelly’s Circus Hub from 4th August at 16:30.
The rain has finally stopped. Four people survive. They are in a swan pedalo. After highly-acclaimed hits Fade, Inheritance Blues and The Sunset Five, Fringe favourites DugOut Theatre return to examine how lies become stories and stories become legend. With DugOut’s usual blend of toe-tapping live music, laugh-out-loud comedy and consummate storytelling, Swansong is guaranteed to be a real adventure. DugOut’s use of sound to create different worlds filled with colourful characters, transports audiences on a captivating journey. Pleasance Courtyard (Above) from 3rd August at 17:00.
The Inevitable Heartbreak of Gavin Plimsole
Winner of Les Enfant Terribles Award 2016, The Inevitable Heartbreak of Gavin Plimsole prompts us to consider how we make the most of our heartbeats. If you knew you had a finite number of heartbeats, how would you make each beat count? Gavin is given a life-changing diagnosis. In the time between the beat before this revelation and the beat after, he assess his entire life; what has he done with those beats? Which has he thrown away? And how many did he lose when she broke his heart? Gavin may need to borrow some of your heartbeats… SharkLegs will measure audience members’ heartbeats during the show and these readings will influence the action and experience of the production every single performance. Pleasance Dome (10 Dome) from 3rd August at 13:40.
After the 5 star sell-out success of The Fantasist Theatre Témoin returns using mask, puppetry and physical theatre to navigate a haunting, mystical world inspired by real-life stories of homelessness. At its heart, The Marked is a story about the link between trauma in childhood and homelessness in adulthood, exploring the vivid internal landscapes that we create and discover through pain and healing. Since 2010, homelessness has increased nationwide by 55%, with an unprecedented 100% increase in rough sleepers in London. With ongoing cuts to services, this trend is expected to continue. Theatre Témoin feel that it is vital that the most vulnerable in our communities have a voice on stage. Pleasance Dome (King Dome) from 3rd August at 13:30.
We’re all told we’re looking for something, that some part of ourselves is missing, that somewhere we fall short – we’re not political enough, not skinny enough, not sexy enough, not brave enough. The search is over. Stop looking. Part gig, part refracted and reflecting stories, Torch explores what it means to be a woman. From Flipping the Bird, in collaboration with Channel 4 Playwright Phoebe Eclair-Powell (Wink) and actor Jess Mabel Jones (Backstage in Biscuitland), comes a show that looks at freedom and celebrates choice in the world today. Torch does not set out to solve feminism but provoke it, laugh at and with it, and detonate it. Underbelly Cowgate (Big Belly) from 4th August at 20:50.
Verge of Strife
Jonny Labey (Eastenders, In the Heights) leads this poetic and spirited ensemble production, based on the life and works of WWI poet, Rupert Brooke. A man who exploited and despaired at his ability to play the parts required of him is put centre stage for the first time in this dynamic production which is told through his poetry. Described as ‘the handsomest man in all of England’ his looks, charm and wit left a trail of bruised egos and broken hearts right to the upper echelons of British society. His life and inspirations are reflective of so many classic and contemporary artists, and reveal an extraordinary man whose star burned incredibly brightly during his short lifetime. Assembly George Square (Studio Two) from 4th August at 14:15.