Edinburgh Fringe 2017

2017 was such an exciting Edinburgh Fringe for CNC; our 26 shows covered a range of genres that made many want to extend their stay in Edinburgh.

After over 30 years of working in, under and around the British Fringe Theatre Circuit, Gillian Beak finally bares all and shares a lifetime of theatrical insights and anecdotes. Beak Speaks is a character comedy based on the life and times of Gillian Beak. Accompany the doyenne of the Fringe as she takes you through her masterclass, reminiscing about the infamous techniques that shaped her young protégée, how it all went wrong with one frightfully well connected man as well as one young upstart who she claims she taught everything he knows. Beak Speaks is staged by kind permission of Sarah Thom, heard frequently as Joan on Radio 4’s Clare in the Community. Finally, Beak speaks… Underbelly Cowgate (White Belly) from 3rd August at 16:00 (not 14th, 21st).

In 2015, a floating block of yellow foam took the Edinburgh Fringe by storm, and now BRUCE is back! The creators of award-winning international smash hits The Adventures of Alvin Sputnik and It’s Dark Outside return to the Fringe with their 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, as he sets out to prove he has a heart of pure gold. Brought to life by jaw-droppingly talented puppeteers, BRUCE takes the audience on an action packed, hilarious adventure, narrating his story as a self-proclaimed hero-cop turned novelist-astronaut. Fusing mime and puppetry, BRUCE is a non-stop rollercoaster of action, adventure and nostalgia. Underbelly Cowgate (Belly Button) from 3rd August at 18:40 (not 14th).

Brutal Cessation is a savage new play by Milly Thomas (Clique BBC3, A First World Problem and Clickbait, Theatre503) exploring violence in relationships, our expectations of gender and what happens when we’re no longer in love but refuse to let go. Following the story of a rotting relationship and the purgatory that follows, the show asks: Is having no reason to stay a reason to leave? Laced with dark humour, Brutal Cessation is a unique exploration of traditional power play as the actors swap roles throughout the sixty minute show, offering a refreshing perspective into both men and women’s experience of victimhood as their reality becomes emotionally and physically unsafe. Assembly George Square (The Box) from 3rd August at 16:20 (not 14th).


After taking Sydney Festival by storm earlier this year, the world-renowned Circa (BeyondWunderkammerCloser) return to the Edinburgh Fringe with a striking new show – a stirring journey of what it means to be human, and how our bodies, connections and aspirations all form part of who we are. Here, ten acrobats question how much we can take as humans, exploring the physical limits of their bodies as they are pushed to the extreme. How much weight can we carry? Who can we trust to support our load? They lead us to reflect on our lives, our loved ones, the burdens we carry and the physical and emotional strength it takes to overcome them. Underbelly Circus Hub (Lafayette) from 4th August at 19:00 (not 9th, 14th, 21st).

From the creators of smash hits, Dracula: Sex, Sucking and Stardom and Frankenstein: UnBolted, comes a tale from the darkest depths of Ancient Egypt. Unwitting hero, Montana Jones, is on a quest for archaeological eminence; however a love-cursed Mummy and a Nazi spy threaten to destroy everything he hopes for! This ancient legend is unwrapped, revitalised and whipped up with mischievous musical mash-ups and outrageous humour in a frenetic hour of riotous theatre comedy. Using both shockingly catchy pop songs and obscure 80s ballads combined with an intriguing interpretation of world history, Last Chance Saloon takes us on a whirlwind adventure. Just the Tonic (Big Cave) from 3rd August at 19:30 (not 14th).

Dust by Milly Thomas (Clique, BBC3; Clickbait and First World Problem, Theatre503) is a refreshing, caustic and comedic treatment of one woman’s depression, suicide and everything that happens afterwards. Alice thinks that life isn’t worth living. So she kills herself. Sort of. She is stuck, a fly on the wall. Forced to watch the aftermath of her suicide and its ripple effect on her family and friends, Alice quickly learns that death changes people. And that death is not the change she hoped for. In an unflinching examination of a suicide, this stripped-back monologue for one woman explodes the myth that death is a quiet affair, as it inspects the unavoidable practicalities, alongside the heart-wrenching decisions and pain – and the laughter. Underbelly Cowgate (Big Belly) from 3rd August at 16:40 (not 15th).

WINNER: Fringe First 2017

Heartfelt, funny and direct from multi award-wining seasons at Perth, Melbourne and Adelaide Fringes (2015 Fringe World Melbourne Tour Ready Award and Best Performance at Melbourne Fringe 2015), FAG/STAG asks what it means to have your best mate when you’re stuck being your worst self. Written and performed by two of Australia’s sharpest young writers, Jeffrey Jay Fowler and Chris Isaacs command the stage as unreliable narrators telling the same story from different points of view. FAG/STAG is a truthful and comic insight into the mind of the modern man. Underbelly Cowgate (Belly Button) from 3rd August at 16:00 (not 14th).

Internationally acclaimed, Fringe First winning Worklight Theatre, present a brand new ensemble show that examines the causes and effects of various addictions in society – from substance abuse to behavioural addiction. Based on research and interviews with addicts, and the people who love or work with them, Worklight use their trademark juxtaposition of the personal with the political, the head with the heart, the micro with the macro. With an ensemble of three actor-musicians, Fix tells a story of three very different people battling three very different vices. Underbelly Cowgate (Belly Dancer) from 3rdAugust at 17:40 (not 16th).

Following a highly successful London run and acclaimed UK tour, From Ibiza to the Norfolk Broads comes to Edinburgh – a celebration of David Bowie, one of the greatest musical figures of all time. Martin, a young man who lives in a small Northamptonshire village, struggles with mental health issues. When he receives an unexpected gift on his 18th birthday, he goes to London following his obsession with Bowie where he is propelled on a surreal and thrilling journey. He performs on the stage where Ziggy Stardust was born, finds himself in Bowie’s bedroom and is led on a treasure trail to discover the truth about himself and his family. What follows will change his life forever… With a blistering soundtrack, and nods to Bowie’s heroes and influences, From Ibiza to the Norfolk Broads is a theatrical road movie, thrillingly evoking Bowie’s London. Pleasance Courtyard (Forth) from 2nd August at 13:55.

Lucy Roslyn’s new play, Goody, winner of Les Enfants Terribles ‘Greenwich Partnership Award’ 2017, is a striking and darkly funny exploration of the extraordinary, heart-breaking world of performing apes and the humans who live with them, love them and break them. 1934, Dustbowl America. Backstage at the travelling circus, the complex relationship between one man and his performing chimpanzee is revealed. Marooned in a world she does not comprehend, Goody finds comfort with her only companion – her trainer Frances. How do they communicate? How do they cohabit? Who is in control? Goody is a play about communication – how you can struggle to communicate, how your body language may betray you, and how you may choose to interpret a moment. Pleasance Courtyard (Beside) from 2nd August at 14:15 (not 15th).

Liz Richardson has an embarrassing problem and these yogurts aren’t helping! Here, she shares her real life experiences of living as a twenty-something with a chronic bowel condition called ulcerative colitis, similar to Crohn’s Disease. A shameless tale of love, laughter and lavatories, Gutted is a pastiche of the many people Liz has met on her journey, from hospital staff to complete strangers, patients to friends. With a contemporary aesthetic, visceral moments and a love story bubbling underneath, Gutted, co-created with theatre maker Tara Robinson, is an engaging investigation into how we think about illness and the boundaries that cause us to feel shame. Sitting on top of a subtle celebration of the healthcare system, it explores how we treat each other and form relationships, the nature of hidden disabilities and femininity in the face of an embarrassing physical condition. Pleasance Dome (Jack Dome) from 2ndAugust at 14:40.

The boys from the smash hit Bromance are back with KIN, an innovative and exhilarating five-star show about camaraderie. KIN sees the original Barely Methodical Troupe joined by an astounding trio of circus performers. Together they form part of a new wave of modern British Circus, featuring an exciting mix of physical stunts, contemporary dance and theatrics. KIN explores group dynamics and examines how they shift, evolve and provoke conflict as the group competes for attention and approval. Performed using Barely Methodical Troupe’s unique style, these ideas are explored through high octane circus skills, incredible feats of strength, hand-to-hand balancing, acrobatics and Cyr wheel routines. The performers’ physical prowess is deftly deployed, as tumbling, flying and catching become challenges and opportunities for individual bids of recognition. Underbelly Circus Hub (Lafayette) from 5th August at 17:00 (not 14th, 21st).

After wowing all of Edinburgh with Ada/Ava in 2016, Manual Cinema return to the Fringe with another exciting UK premiere – Lula del Ray. In their customary magical style, Lula del Ray is performed with overhead projectors, shadow puppets, actors in silhouette, and live music. Told almost entirely without dialogue, Lula del Ray is the story of a lonely adolescent girl who lives with her mother on the outskirts of a vast satellite field in the middle of the desert. After a chance encounter over the radio, Lula becomes obsessed with a soulful country music duo, the Baden Brothers. Inspired by their music, she runs away from home and into a world of danger, deception, and disappointment. Underbelly Med Quad (Cow Barn) from 2nd August at 16:30 (not 14th).

NewsRevue may be back every year but it’s always an entirely new show! This Guinness World Record-breaking, Fringe First-winning, Perrier finalist, news-based song and sketch show is where you should come if you’re in need of a cathartic dose of comic exasperation – all in the spirit of free expression. 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 with the demise of democracy, Brexit and, of course, the unavoidable Trump! The excellent writing, superlative performances and original takes on current affairs make this a must-see at the Fringe every year. Pleasance Courtyard (Beyond) from 2nd August at 18:30 (not 15th).

The Letter Room bring a live and loud musical tale of a dance marathon with a Northern Soul. No Miracles Here is a story about what happens when we don’t dare to stop, about living and breathing and not always feeling like you can. This is a story of dancing and how the band will keep playing the music even when you want to give up. No Miracles Here is an anthem to feeling alive, keeping the faith and trusting that you are not alone. Acclaimed company The Letter Room invite audiences to get ready to dance like they’re Northern in this sweat-soaked marathon of resilience and strength. The Letter Room were inspired to make a musical about depression using the influences of 1930s Dance Marathons. This is theatre tackling an issue in an entirely new way – No Miracles Here is raw and celebratory, honest and vibrant, full of pulsating live music. Northern Stage at Summerhall from 5th August at 11:00 (not 9th, 16th, 23rd).

WINNER: Herald Angel Award 2017

SHORTLISTED: Total Theatre Award 2017

What do you expect when you go to the circus? The greatest show on earth? The glitzy smiles, the glitter of sequins, the drum rolls as performers who seem superhuman effortlessly perform death-defying acts? Creator Ellie Dubois returns to the Edinburgh Fringe after her highly acclaimed Ringside in 2015. No Show joyously and heartbreakingly reveals what lies hidden beneath the showmanship. Instead of showing only perfect tricks, No Show starts to unveil attempts and failures, revealing frustrations and how artists are pitted against each other. Behind the flawless smiles and perfect execution of traditional circus performance, see the wobbles, the pain and the real cost of aiming for perfection. This is a show for anyone who has tried, failed and failed better. Summerhall (The Old Lab) from 2nd August at 16:15 (not 10th, 21st).

Fun-loving Oskar has to run down a mountain to find a friendly animal to play with. But where are the animals? And why does he have to wait till spring to play his favourite game again? The UK premiere of this heart-warming, humorous play uses a rich mix of storytelling, physical theatre, puppetry and song to tell the tale of a puppy’s search for friendship. Many plays for young audiences are adaptations of well-known children’s books, but Oskar’s Amazing Adventure is different; the original picture book and play have been created side by side in one creative process. Author, Colin Granger will be signing books after each performance – this is also an opportunity for children to meet Oskar the playful puppy and his newfound friend, Marmot. Gilded Balloon (Dining Room) from 2nd August at 11:50 (not 9th, 16th, 23rd).

When a fiercely independent, workaholic police officer finds herself on the street where her brother once lived, she is propelled back to her vibrant childhood and forced to confront his tragic suicide. Flooded with memories of the times they spent together, she remembers the wonderment with which she used to see the world. Replay is an intimate, moving and ultimately uplifting new monologue, written by Nicola Wren (501 Things I Do In My Bedroom) and brought to you by Edinburgh Fringe favourites DugOut Theatre (SwansongThe Sunset FiveFadeInheritance Blues). Heart, honesty and humour are at the core of this moving play in which Wren explores what it is to grow up, accept loss, be vulnerable and celebrate the past, however painful. Pleasance Courtyard (Bunker One) from 2nd August at 14:15 (not 15th).

Dumbstruck, a world premiere by multi-award-winning performer Sam Goodburn, tells the story of an endearing young man taking his first steps into adulthood. This exciting lo-fi circus show features offbeat comedy, world class unicycling, juggling, knife throwing and impeccable feats with sliced bread. Directed by renowned clown Fraser Hooper, Dumbstruck showcases the amazing skills of Underbelly’s Circus Maximus Winner. Dumbstruck takes place ‘the morning after’ as Sam creeps around a girl’s apartment, collecting his discarded clothes from the night before; as he wonders what on earth he’s doing, he learns that his introverted nerdiness can actually be joyous, empowering and just a little bit charming. Underbelly Cowgate (Belly Button) from 3rd August at 14:40 (not 14th).

Sara Juli’s Tense Vagina: an actual diagnosis is about motherhood – its beauty, challenges, isolation, comedy and influence on the human experience. Using humour, movement, sounds, songs, text and the audience, this show seeks to reveal ‘all that is awesome and all that sucks’ when it comes to being a mother. Tense Vagina focuses on the seldom-discussed and taboo aspects of motherhood, such as loss of bladder control, libido, tears, monotony, loneliness and dildos. This is a poignant and hilarious feminist work, empowering women to think about their lady parts while highlighting the underbelly of motherhood. This show is perfect for anyone who has a mother. Arrive prepared to pee in your pants from laughter. Underbelly Cowgate (Iron Belly) from 3rd August at 16:10 (not 9th, 14th, 21st).

Did you know that when you go through a break-up you become 25% uglier? Newly single and living in a trendy part of town, Tamar is nervous about leaving the house. How do you become a strong, independent women when your confidence deserts you and you’re too busy dodging hipsters, envying gym girls and just trying to keep your body hair under control? Fresh from a five-star sell-out run in 2016 and a Best Comedy Award-nominated tour in Australia earlier this year, Tamar returns with Get Ugly, a musical comedy about re-discovering your awesome-ness and embracing life without a filter. Best known for her hilarious, catchy songs about single life in your twenties, Tamar’s take on female self-confidence has to be seen. Underbelly Med Quad (Clover), from 2nd August at 17:30 (not 14th).

WINNER: The Stage Edinburgh Award 2017

LONGLISTED: Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award

Setting the modern obsession with putting your own child first against our responsibility as a society towards our children as a whole, this dark tale, written by and starring BAFTA award-winning actress Monica Dolan (W1A, Appropriate Adult, The Witness For The Prosecution), explores how far one mum will go to put what her child wants first. Dolan’s first solo play, a searing ‘What If?’ production, explores the pornification of our culture and the sexualisation of our children. In a society where sexuality and gender are such a huge part of who we are, how we identify, and how we are defined, The B*easts looks at how soon is too soon to strive for perceived sexual ideals. Can the journey to reach that supposed perfection start before we are even consciously aware of the journey we have begun? Underbelly Cowgate (Big Belly) from 3rd August at 18:00 (not 14th).

WINNER: ThreeWeeks Editors’ Award

Following a sell-out run at the 2017 London International Mime Festival, Theatre Re’s The Nature of Forgetting is a powerful, explosive and joyous piece about what is left when memory and recollection are gone. It is part of British Council Edinburgh Showcase 2017. This ambitious project with actors, mimes and musicians has been created in collaboration with UCL Neuroscience Professor Kate Jeffery and inspired by interviews and workshops with organisations such as the Alzheimer’s Society. While the medium of performance may be an unusual resource for the transmission of science, it shines a light on issues around memory that offers a new perspective. Pleasance Courtyard (Forth) from 3rd August at 12:00 (not 14th).

This August, children will be enthralled by The Tales of Peter Rabbit and Jemima Puddle-Duck, performed by award-winning soprano and actress Michelle Todd and the Children’s Classic Concerts Festival Ensemble. Escape to Beatrix Potter’s wonderful world and enjoy her timeless tales of our favourite characters, Peter Rabbit and Jemima Puddle-Duck. Stephen McNeff’s musical settings of The Tales of Beatrix Potter have enchanted children and adult audiences in the UK, America and Canada. With brand new orchestrations, Jimmy Jewell and Children’s Classic Concerts bring this enduring classic to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Underbelly Circus Hub (Beauty) from 5th August at 12:00 (not 14th).

Nineteen years working the bins and Goody’s about to crack. Trashed is a grimy, booze-fuelled sucker punch of a play, bound to make you laugh until you cry. Expect love, loss, loneliness and lots of cider! LAB RATS make their Edinburgh debut with the world premiere of a hilariously touching one-man show written by Sascha Moore and performed by David William Bryan. Trashed transforms Belly Dancer into a rancid Yorkshire fly-tipping site for a whirlwind account from Keith ‘Goody’ Goodman – a mid-thirties bin man struggling to deal with the death of his daughter whilst battling his uncontrollable thirst for booze. Unapologetically working class, funny and dark, Trashed is a highly physical, powerhouse of a play that will leave you breathless. Underbelly Cowgate (Belly Dancer) from 3rd August at 13:40.

Tumble Tuck, written by Sarah Milton and presented by BackHere! Theatre, tells the story of a young woman struggling to accept herself and realise her strength. It explores what it means to be successful in a world where medals matter. Daisy’s relationship with water is complex; it’s the only place where she feels safe so why must she be judged for how well she performs in it? This funny, brutal and heartfelt piece seeks to examine the pressure we put on young people, when sometimes just taking part is truly an achievement. A bronze medal to one person, is someone else’s gold; a C grade is someone else’s A. Tumble Tuck questions the system that tells us that if we’ve not got the best result we’ve failed. Underbelly Cowgate (Iron Belly) from 3rd August at 13:30 (not 14th).