Edinburgh Fringe 2018

For 2018, we’re so excited to be looking after Pleasance – undoubtedly one of the most brilliant venues in the Edinburgh landscape that, this year, will have a larger programme of amazing shows than ever before. You can read about the fantastic Pleasance programme on our news page. As well as our work with Pleasance, we’re looking after 25 fantastic shows across Edinburgh covering a wide range of genres. The 2018 Fringe is not to be missed! Scroll down to plan your Fringe schedule…

3 Years, 1 Week and a Lemon Drizzle examines the relationship between two sisters and how their close bond was affected when one of them was diagnosed with a severe eating disorder as a teenager. Recalling touching memories, laugh-out-loud anecdotes and Mars bars, this searingly frank and painfully funny two-hander examines what it’s like to live with a loved one and their mental illness. 3 Years, 1 Week and a Lemon Drizzle seeks to show the powerful bond that endures throughout mental illness and reinforces the enduring message – you are not alone. Underbelly McEwan Hall (Jersey) from 1st August at 14:25 (not 13th).

In this the centenary year of Spike Milligan’s birth, Chris Larner and Jeremy Stockwell celebrate the life and work of this British comedy legend with laughs, songs, philosophy and utter, utter silliness. Spike Milligan was a man whose tireless comedic invention redefined the landscape of British comedy. His influence is everywhere from Monty Python, Robin Williams and Eddie Izzard to The Mighty Boosh, Vic & Bob and countless others. Stockwell and Larner delve into the heart of Spike’s mayhem, finding the cosmic in the comic, the humour in the human condition and the undeniable idiot in us all. In a show of unbridled fun, they sift through the layers of Milligan madness and only find more of it. Pleasance Dome (Ace Dome) from Wednesday 1st at 20:00 (not 13th or 20th).

WINNER: Fringe First 2018

Multi-award winning playwright Penelope Skinner (The Village Bike, Royal Court Theatre; Linda, Royal Court and Manhattan Theatre Club) returns to Edinburgh for the first time since 2009 with the world premiere of Angry Alan, her darkly comic and provocative new play about masculinity in crisis. In 2016, Penelope Skinner stumbled across the Men’s Right’s Movement and began writing Angry Alan, a story about a man being radicalised online by an extremist movement. Angry Alan explores how any extreme political viewpoint can take root in someone’s consciousness if they are vulnerable to it and how those who propagate such extreme views aren’t necessarily all they are presenting themselves as. Underbelly Cowgate (Big Belly) from 2nd August at 15:20 (not 13th).

Hey Baby! Welcome to a world of knee socks, bunches, lollypops, bubble-gum and models adopting the childlike expressions of six-year-old girls. In this brave and outlandish performance, Katy Dye questions if innocence is truly as sexy as we’re told. Baby Face explores the infantilisation of adult women; it is a daring look into the paradox of living in a society that continues to infantilise women. We live in a world where we are frequently exposed to images of women who are made to look like little girls – paradoxical considering that paedophilia is explicitly condemned, yet the sexualisation of children and women as childlike is so apparent. Summerhall (Demonstration Room) from Wednesday 1st August at 13:30 (not 5th, 13th, 20th).

Diary of an Expat is a relevant and thought-provoking one-woman show, directed by Katharina Reinthaller (Labels, Fringe First Winner 2015), telling the comic story of the encounter between modern migrant Cecilia and London – a contemporary El Dorado craved by generations of young Europeans. Based on real testimonies as well as personal experiences of writer Cecilia Gragnani, Diary of an Expatlooks at lives of Europeans abroad and their urgency to understand and explore what expatriating means for a younger generation. Confronting the legal technicalities of becoming a citizen of another country, Cecilia questions what role this will play on her identity and how we decide where we belong. Underbelly Cowgate (Belly Laugh) from 2nd August at 13.00 (not 13th).

Drenched is a one man comedy-theatre piece from Third Man Theatre inspired by ‘The Mermaid of Zennor’. Daniel Drench, Cornwall’s most prolific and unstable storyteller, presents his own bewildering and moving interpretation of this classic Cornish folk tale. Co-written by performer Dan Frost and director Eddie Elks, Drenched it draws inspiration from the mystery and magic of the Cornish landscape and its folklore, whilst also using ‘The Mermaid of Zennor’ as a vehicle to highlight mental illness. Third Man have a history of creating shows inspired by the South West including Stalag Happy (Spirit of the Fringe Award 2009) and Botallack O’Clock (***** Time Out Critics’ Choice). Pleasance Courtyard (Bunker 2) from Wednesday 1st August at 15.00.

Welcome to the stimulating world of Feed where emotions are the currency and your passions and fantasies will be indulged… for a price. After the sell-out successes of The Marked and The Fantasist, Theatre Témoin return, bringing their vibrant visual style to the world of click-bait culture, fake news and cyber gluttony. Using the incisive and gleeful spirit of bouffon, Theatre Témoin explore the dark absurdity of today’s media landscape and what capitalism has turned it into. Aided by Mentoring Dramturg Chris Thorpe, Feed looks at how algorithms and capitalism are shaping the information we receive and consume online and how this information is, in turn, shaping us. Pleasance Dome (King Dome) from 3rdAugust at 14:00 (not 15th).

A razor-sharp drama from Fringe First award-winner Philip Meeks, Harpy is directed by Hannah Chissick, and stars national treasure Su Pollard in her Edinburgh Fringe debut. For Birdie, saving what others regard as the junk from her own life allows her to make sense of the world around her; her possessions are artefacts of a time past. Shunned by conventional society, she regards it as her duty to salvage these tiny histories that without her would be entirely forgotten. The idea of struggling and fighting for what we believe in comes to the fore in Harpy which seeks to explore mental health issues, questioning what madness really is. Underbelly Cowgate (White Belly) from Thursday 2nd August at 16.00 (not 13th).

Written and performed by Kate Kennedy (BBC One’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, Channel 4’s Catastropheand The Win Bin, The Old Red Lion Theatre), produced by Edinburgh Fringe favourites DugOut Theatre (ReplaySwansongThe Sunset Five and Inheritance Blues) and directed by Old Vic 12’s Sara Joyce (Dust, Edinburgh Fringe and Soho Theatre; The Win Bin, The Old Red Lion Theatre and The Scar Test, Soho Theatre), Hunch is a dark new comedy about a superhero and her power to make gut decisions. After using this power to save the lives of others, she starts calling the shots to save her own life. This funny and heartfelt piece celebrates the individual and restores one’s faith in oneself while teaching us that, more often than not, our own gut feeling is right. Assembly Roxy (Downstairs) from 1st August at 17:05 (not 13th).

Following highly successful runs at Hampstead Downstairs and The Bunker, Terry Johnson’s Ken now comes to its spiritual home in Edinburgh. Marking the ten year anniversary of the death of Ken Campbell, Ken pays tribute to the maverick writer and theatre director. Olivier and Tony Award-winning writer Terry Johnson (Prism, Hampstead Theatre; Cleo, Camping, Emmanuelle and Dick, National Theatre; Dead Funny, Hampstead Theatre and West End) and Jeremy Stockwell (Playtime, Derby Playhouse; Milligan, Madness & Me, Pleasance Theatre; Spitting Image, Channel 4) will be reprising their roles in this joyful production. Ken is the retelling of an extraordinary friendship from beginning to end, replete with wickedly funny anecdotes, magnificent hoaxes, and general chaotic lunacy – all infused with the spirit of the great man… Pleasance Dome (Ace Dome) from 1st August at 15:20 (not 13th or 20th).

LONGLISTED: Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award

SHORTLISTED: Filipa Bragança Award

Inspired by real events, Killymuck tells of a housing estate built on a paupers graveyard in 1970s’ Ireland. From Kat Woods, award-winning writer of Belfast BoyWasted, and Mule comes a powerful exploration of survival – about those who strive to work against the stereotype and break free, about fighting for something better. Through Killymuck, Woods is striving to project the benefit class in a positive light, away from the stereotype perpetuated by the media. Exploring how those from deprived areas or with less access to money often have less opportunity in life, Killymuck shines a light on how social and psychological behaviours impact and shape who we become. Underbelly McEwan Hall (Jersey) from Wednesday 1st August at 18.25 (not 13th).

The darkest, funniest and most debauched variety show this side of the Berlin wall now makes its much-anticipated Edinburgh debut! The multi-award-winning Queen of Weimar punk kabarett Bernie Dieter (star of La CliqueEastEnd Cabaret) and her travelling family of misfits, miscreants and fantastic freaks bring you a feast of feathers, nudity and side-splitting comedy (GlamAdelaide). Bernie Dieter is here to shake up the Circus Hub Spiegeltent with her world class kabarett. Join us for an hour of dangerously funny kabarett, caustic drag, sideshow and circus at its most inappropriate, provocative and hilarious best. Soundtracked by Bernie Dieter and the Vier with their riotous, witty, and hilariously degenerate original songs, this is the Little Death Club where you can be whoever you want to be… Underbelly Circus Hub (The Beauty, Spiegeltent) from 3rd August 2018 at 20:00 (not 13th).

A Fringe institution, NewsRevue returns to Edinburgh with 100% new content and an exciting new cast in an entirely new show offering a round-up of this year’s news. Do you remember all those heinous headlines?! With the political landscape as it is (here and abroad), there’s a lot to fit into an hour. Founded in 1979, NewsRevue is the longest running comedy show in the Guinness Book of Records, regularly packing out houses in London and Edinburgh. The show’s sterling reputation sees the company perform at many prestigious events including Global Women in the News at the BBC, BBC 24 hour hackathon and Comic Relief. Underbelly George Square (Udderbelly) from Thursday 2nd August at 17.45 (not 15th).

Join Paddington Bear on his adventures as he leaves home, meets his new family and enjoys his first concert – not without causing his fair share of mayhem, of course! The charming tales of everyone’s favourite bear now come to life with storytelling, narration and a live orchestra. An onstage narrator will guide audiences through this classic story, offering a wonderful introduction to live classical music with games and challenges that will teach children about instruments and the sounds they make – this enchanting children’s concert will appeal to everyone who loves the curious and cheeky bear. With exciting audience participation from the outset, children in the audience become a true part of this story. Underbelly Bristo Square (Cow Barn) from 1st August at 11:20 (not 13th).

For over 30 years the Pleasance has provided a platform and launch pad for a great many artists at both the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Pleasance London. From carpenters, crew, electricians, photographers, reviewers, bloggers and film-makers Pleasance Futures recognises how important those first opportunities into the creative industries can be. Pleasance Futures’ umbrella is designed to nurture the Pleasance’s core beliefs about creating opportunities, supporting ambition, encouraging excellence and building reputations. Its initiatives across London and Edinburgh include: Kidzone, Young Pleasance, XYP, the Charlie Hartrill Special Reserve Fund, Creative Associates, Associate Company Programme, Litmus Fest, A Pleasance Scratch and the Volunteer Programme.

Commemorating the 100th year anniversary of the end of World War I, Michael Morpurgo’s Private Peaceful, directed by Simon Reade, returns to Edinburgh prior to a West End run and UK Tour. Andy Daniel returns to the role in Scamp Theatre’s award-winning production. In 2006, the British Government finally granted posthumous pardons to those shot at dawn for cowardice or desertion. Private Peaceful seeks to honour these men and their families. Full of vivid detail and dramatic narrative, Private Peaceful is both a compelling love story and a deeply moving account of a soldier’s life in World War I. Underbelly Bristo Square (Cow Barn) from Wednesday 1st August at 14.40 (not 13th).

Theatre has always been a mouthpiece for some of the most pressing international concerns and Revenants, set twenty-five years after the execution of the Romanov family and twenty-five years before the murder of Martin Luther King, looks at oppression, prejudice and revolution. This new play by Olivier Award winner Nichola McAuliffe (Maurice’s JubileeA British SubjectNational Hero) and directed by Patrick Sandford (who was Artistic Director at The Nuffield Theatre, Southampton, for over 25 years) explores the ghosts of our past and asks what has actually changed. The cast includes the legendary Peter Straker (HairPhantom of The Opera), Kevin Moore (Father TedCrocodiles in Cream) and writer Nichola McAuliffe (Great ExpectationsThe Lady in the VanKiss Me KateSurgical Spirit(ITV)).Pleasance Dome (King Dome) from 1st August at 17:00 (not 8th and 15th).

The UK’s hottest circus company, award-winning Barely Methodical Troupe, return to Edinburgh following the success of their international smash-hits Bromance and Kin with this exhilarating new production. Shift combines show-stopping acrobatics with the emotional punch of theatre as four extraordinary performers test their physical limits in an explosive display of power-based acrobatics. Barely Methodical Troupe are an experimental circus company who love to play with and subvert conventional circus tricks and styles. They bring their unique blend of circus, acrobatic skills and contemporary dance to create spectacular and inspiring performances. Underbelly Circus Hub (The Beauty) from Saturday 4th – Saturday 25th August at 16:00 (not 8th, 13th, 20th).

Award-winning songwriter Tamar Broadbent is back and this time she’s asking – how do you know if you’re living your best life? If you’re not, how do you go about changing it? This exciting musical comedy about ambition, anxiety and avocados promises to be her best show yet. Developed by Tamar and Sara Joyce, Best Life brings together mesmerising musical theatre, beautifully written songs and highly relatable observational comedy for which Broadbent’s dedicated Edinburgh audiences love her. Tamar isbest known for her funny, catchy songs about single life in your twenties which she has toured around the UK and internationally. Underbelly Cowgate (Belly Laugh) from 2nd August at 14:20 (not 13th).

The exciting world premiere of The Journey, written and directed by critically acclaimed stand-up comedian Stuart Laws comes to Pleasance this summer. Co-directed by Phoebe Ladenburg and starring Will Brown and Phoebe Sparrow, The Journey is a romantic comedy about a breakup, set on a spaceship. A play about self-obsession and toxic relationships, The Journey is a funny, relatable and surprising comedy following two people on the unstoppable journey of their relationship. Pleasance Dome (Ten) from Wednesday 1st August at 17.40 (not 3rd).

The Political History of Smack and Crack is an angry, funny love-song to a lost generation annihilated by the heroin epidemic of Thatcher’s years, leaping from the 1981 riots to present day survival on the streets of Manchester. This arresting first production from writer Ed Edwards, inspired by his own experience and directed by Cressida Brown, crackles with anger, humour and authenticity about the road to recovery. This urgent two-hander traces a pair of star-crossed lovers from the epicentre of the working class riots in 1981 on Moss Side – an uprising which spread to London, Birmingham, Leeds,Liverpool and many more – to their eventual struggles on the streets of Manchester. Paines Plough’s Roundabout @ Summerhall from Friday 3rd at 17:30 (not 7th, 14th, 21st).

Robert Bathurst (Cold Feet, ITV; Downton Abbey, ITV; Toast of London, Channel 4) and Rebecca Johnson (The Trip, BBC Two; The Flood, Megatopia Films) star in this hilarious and poignant drama of a disastrous attempt to rekindle lost love. Set in a Soho Italian restaurant, Costa Award Winner Christopher Reid’s verse comedy is exquisitely intertwined with glorious animations by Charles Peattie (Alex cartoon, Daily Telegraph) in this bittersweet tragicomedy of love, loss and Chianti. Directed by Jason Morell (Against Prejudice and The Terrors of the Night for the Wanamaker Theatre at Shakespeare’s Globe), The Song of Lunch is a show for anyone who has ever been on a disastrous date! Pleasance Courtyard (Forth) from Wednesday 1st August at 14.20 (not 13th).

Presenting two back-to-back productions, the pairing of director-performers Simon Evans (dir. Killer Joe,Trafalgar Studios; The Best Man, Playhouse Theatre; The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, Donmar Warehouse) and David Aula (Rain God, VAULT Festival; The Cement Garden, VAULT Festival; Personal Enemy, Theater 59E59, New York), will captivate audiences with an innovative marriage of poignant theatre and spellbinding close-up magic. The Vanishing Man follows Hugo Cedar, an infamous Edwardian magician who performed the perfect trick and then was never seen or heard of again. This is so much more than a magic show; this is the story of a magic trick – the greatest one ever performed. Straight after, having sprinted across the courtyard, David and Simon will perform The Extinction Event – an eye-opening examination of magic’s place in tomorrow’s world. The show explores what really happens when science starts thinking for itself. The Vanishing Man will be on at Pleasance Courtyard (Pleasance 2) from Wednesday 1st August at 14.10 (not 6th or 13th). The Extinction Event will be on at Pleasance Courtyard (Above) from Wednesday 1st August at 15.40 (not 6th or 13th).

In a society tearing itself apart through fear, greed and violence, the apocalypse approaches and unlikely friendships blossom. Thor and Loki, the new fierce and fabulous comedy musical by Cameron Mackintosh Resident Composer Harry Blake, reimagines ancient myths through a modern lens. Packed full of wit, charm and unforgettable tunes, this is a coming of age story about The End of the World. Selected for HighTide: Edinburgh, a prestigious mentoring scheme, it tackles profound modern issues including identity and the damaged nature of society with heart and humour. Assembly Roxy (Upstairs) from Wednesday 1st at 19.15 (not 13th).

Incognito Theatre Company, winners of the Les Enfants Terribles’ 2018 Greenwich Partnership Award, return to the Edinburgh Fringe with their explosive physical style to tell the story of five resourceful young men and women attempting to carve out a place for themselves in the murky underworld of 1920s London. In the wake of the Great War, can they find the fame and wealth they crave or will their desperate need to belong lead to disastrous consequences? Tobacco Road is a unique gangster story which is a magnified examination of the real people who had to forge a life for themselves in a world that had ignored them. Pleasance Courtyard (Upstairs) from 1st August at 15:15 (not 14th).

Very Blue Peter gives you the chance to watch an episode of Blue Peter that was never aired! Anyone who is sentimental about the much-loved programmes of their youth, should come and experience kids’ TV for adults. In 1998 Richard Bacon was fired from Blue Peter. What many people don’t realise is that this was a cover up for something much, much bigger. Starring Lauren Douglin, Anthony Fagan, Toby Boutall, Victoria Gibson and Matt Daniels, Very Blue Peter is an absurd, crazy comedy, featuring the music of ‘Swedish Death Candy’ – a modern psychedelic rock band. With alcoholic raffle prizes, special guests from other Edinburgh shows and audience participation, this manic show is fast, furious and all about nostalgia. Gilded Balloon Teviot (Billiards Room) from 1st August at 23:15.