Edinburgh Fringe Festival is back in full swing this year: after a covid-related hiatus, artists are back in the streets and back on stage
With over 300 shows at Edinburgh Fringe this year, it was hard to fit all the good stuff into just a few days and this list is by no means exhaustive. There was no way one attendee could see everything the festival had on offer. But here are some shows worth shouting about.
Blanket Ban – Chalk Line Theatre Company
Chalk Line are a Luton-based theatre company that tour work both nationally and internationally. Blanket Ban is a powerful piece about Malta’s progressive LGBTQIA rights, their leading transgender laws, and their universal anti-choice views on abortion. Based on three years of interviews with anonymous contributors, it explores Malta’s restrictions on the freedom of women and their right to choose. Actors and activists Divina Hamilton and Marta Vella lead the show with outstanding performances. The show is funny and heartbreaking in equal measure.
Around the World with Nellie Bly – Shedlight Stories
This children’s show, based on the real-life role model Nellie Bly, follows her adventure as she tries to make it around the world in 80 days or less. It was fun and interactive and loved equally by children and adults! Children’s theatre is an important and rewarding genre and this is the perfect story for young people. With an engaging adventure story at the heart of it, it teaches children about resilience, determination, friendship and, most importantly, that a woman can do anything a man can. Written and performed by Katie Overstall, she brings an energetic and electric performance, never once breaking out of character. The kids loved it…and so did the adults!
Sobriety on the Rocks – A Tad Kiwi Productions
A Tad Kiwi is a London-based theatre company that brought this explosive show up to Edinburgh. Renee Buckland is an absolute powerhouse of a performer. Playing four different characters all involved in a drunk driving incident, this piece explores addiction and the implications it has on everyone affected by it. The clever use of physicality and characterisation really helped the audience to understand and empathise with these characters. The set was small, simple and highly effective. This is a really powerful piece of storytelling led by arguably one of the best actors at the Fringe this year!
My Son’s a Queer But What Can You Do? – Rob Madge
You may recognise Rob Madge from his viral TikTok videos or his West End performances as a child. Here he brings us an hour of music, storytelling, comedy and old home movies. Rob reflects back on his own life and how his love for musical theatre developed, and what this passion might have cost him. The whole show is interspersed with real footage of him as a child performing in the living room to anyone who would watch. It turns out there’s a whole community of us who used to put on shows in our living rooms. This show is truly special, we laughed, cried and felt overcome with joy and pride!
The Girl Who Was Very Good at Lying – Omnibus Theatre
The Girl Who Was Very Good at Lying, first performed at the Omnibus Theatre in Clapham, is a fantastic solo show led by the phenomenal Rachel Rooney. Her performance is so engaging and captivating, and she has the best facial expressions! The story follows Catriona who has a history of making stuff up but she’s trying to get better. When she meets an impressive American man, the lies get a little bit out of control. It’s hilarious and heartbreaking, you cannot take your eyes off Rooney and she takes us through the stories we tell to escape.
My Lover Was a Salmon in the Climate Apocalypse – Bradán Theatre
Bradán is an Irish ecological gig-theatre company that brings this weird and wonderful show filled with folk songs, Irish mythology, romance, climate breakdown and a boy who thinks he might be a salmon. It sounds weird, and it is. But it’s also deeply moving and funny and urgent. It interrogates our complex relationship with the natural world, the damage we’re causing to the planet and what we might be able to do about that. The music, singing and storytelling really are beautiful.
Other fantastic shows at Edinburgh Fringe and to keep an eye on include:
- The Hippie Shakes – Sweaty Palms Productions
- PASH – Olivia McLeod
- Concha – City Lighthouse Theatre Company
- Fiji – Clay Party Theatre
- Some Other Mirror and 52 Souls – Chronic Insanity