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The Opera Factory, Scottish Opera’s brand new interactive musical experience for Primary 3 pupils exploring how an opera is made, launches next month.

It combines advance classroom resources designed to reinforce key learning outcomes of A Curriculum for Excellence Level 1 with a live performance that features singers, actors and The Orchestra of Scottish Opera. The first performance of The Opera Factory takes place at University of Aberdeen on May 11, with further dates at Inverness Leisure Centre, Scottish Opera Production Studios in Glasgow, The Brunton in Musselburgh and Paisley Town Hall.

To prepare for the hour-long show, teachers use an online resource pack which includes short films and guide vocal tracks presented and sung by mezzo soprano Sarah Shorter, to teach a song adapted from the aria ‘Non piu andrai’ from Mozart’s opera The Marriage of Figaro. Specially arranged by Scottish Opera’s Head of Music Derek Clark, who will also conduct the orchestra, it has new lyrics by Allan Dunn and is entitled ‘If you go to a show that’s an opera’.

Pupils are introduced to the characters Libby Retto and Compo Zerr, who guide them on a visit around Theatre Royal Glasgow. Libby and Compo meet the different people who work there, from costume and set designers to directors and conductors, learning about the different elements that take an opera from the earliest planning stages to rehearsals and opening night.

Jane Davidson, Scottish Opera’s Director of Outreach and Education said: ‘Scottish Opera is delighted to announce a new project for Level 1 primary pupils that has been designed to unlock the doors that lead straight onto the opera stage. In just 60 minutes, we plan to inspire hundreds of curious 7 and 8 years old to explore the many elements involved in making this amazing art form. From costumes to cakes (prop of course!); from baritones to bass drums and from scenery to stage managers, there are so many things to get involved with. Using a combination of advance learning materials and audience participation, this funny and fast-moving experience is the perfect start to life-long engagement with music and the performing arts.’

It was announced on 12 April that Scottish Opera’s Outreach and Education department had been shortlisted in the prestigious Royal Philharmonic Society Music Awards which take place in London on 9 May. BambinO, an opera for babies aged 6 to 18 months and Memory Spinners, a group for people living with dementia, are nominated in the Learning and Participation category.

For more information visit


As the build up to this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe gathers pace, Underbelly has added 96 shows to what will be the most ambitious programme in the company’s 19 year Fringe history. Celebrating the freshest new talent and the biggest acts from the world of theatre, comedy, dance, circus and cabaret, the 2018 programme will see hundreds of the most exciting performers tread the boards across 21 Underbelly venues including McEwan Hall, Cowgate, Circus Hub and of course, the iconic Udderbelly.

Theatre programme

Underbelly’s theatre programme shines a special light on emerging companies with the Untapped Award in partnership with New Diorama Theatre, bestowed onto three thought-provoking shows focusing on female voices: It’s True, It’s True, It’s True by the Fringe First and Total Theatre Award-winning Breach Theatre which revisits the 1612 case of rape of baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi and how it influenced her work; Queens of Sheba from Nouveau Riché delves into the harsh reality of our society, inspired by the true story of 3 young black women turned away from a club for ‘being too black’ and finally dressed. by ThisEgg, the company behind huge Fringe 2016 hit Me & My Bee,  uses an intense combination of direct address, dance, original music and design to tell the true story of a girl who gives all her clothes away and starts making her whole wardrobe from scratch, after being stripped at gunpoint and sexually assaulted while travelling.

In other theatre highlights, star of current UK hit Fleabag, Maddie Rice writes and performs in Pickle Jar, a dark comedy with a lot of piña coladas and some heartbreak and named in the Top Five Talents to watch from VAULT Festival 2018 young Irish playwright Erica Murray presents her take on dark comedy in bittersweet The Cat’s Mother which focuses on sisterhood.

Also exploring a relationship between two sisters is 3 Years, 1 Week and a Lemon Drizzle which pieces together some of Alexandra and Kate Donnachie’s sometimes heart-breaking but often hilarious memories of growing up together in a show sparked from Alexandra’s severe eating disorder. Dangerous Giant Animals offers a unique insight into one family’s life with a girl with a mental disability, with all its challenges and rewards: “you had to be a really f*cking good person growing up with my sister.”

World premiere from 2012 and 2016 Fringe First winners, The Abode is an 80s style adventure following the story of Samuel, a white American male who, feeling oppressed in his own country, joins the alt-right movement of Trolls… will his sister Wendy manage to rescue him from the greedy hands of the Troll King? Mixing dance tunes with rap and spoken word Love Songs is a coming-of-age one woman show exploring wider issues such as hyper-sexualisation of Asian women. From Rhum and Clay, the makers of the acclaimed 64 Squares, comes Mistero Buffo, a take on Dario Fo’s seminal masterpiece: a daring and explosive rallying cry for the disenfranchised.

Family programme

Underbelly theatre programme offers world-class entertainment for families with Julia Donaldson herself performing in The Gruffalo, The Witch and The Warthog, a brand new show featuring Room on the Broom, The Magic Paintbrush, The Ugly Five, Superworm, The Gruffalo and newly-released The Cook and the King. Book your tickets now to avoid disappointment! Shedload Theatre presents a love letter to Richmal Crompton’s classic character William Brown in a fresh and dynamic adaptation entitled Just William’s Luck. Continuing the theme of literature-inspired shows is Paddington Bear’s First Concert which sees the lovable bear attending his first music concert – not without causing a mayhem along the way of course! Brought to the festival by the same team who presented the smash-hit Peter Rabbit in 2017, the show features live orchestra.

Legends of children’s entertainment, Dick and Dom bring their comedy capers to the Fringe for the first time, with Dick and Dom: Dick V Dom which will see audiences split in half for an interactive experience the whole family will never forget! Award-winning Fun Kids Radio presents Fun Kids Radio’s Epic Roadshow Adventure, an interactive family quest to keep the show on air by presenting only the best roadshow ever.

Underbelly’s long-time collaborators and circus masters Circa return to Edinburgh but with a family show for the first time. Wolfgang! comes straight from the score and onto the stage, the man known as Mozart appears amidst a puff of powder, wigged and ready to throw musical madness into a crescendo of dives, swoops and twirls. Featuring mischievous acrobats and a musician, Wolfgang reinvents the composer’s magical music with a circus twist for young and old to enjoy.

Musicals and cabaret

Little Death Club provides audiences with the irrespirable offer of the darkest, funniest and most debauched variety show in town. Join the multi-award-winning Queen of Weimar punk kabarett Bernie Dieter of La Clique and EastEnd Cabaret fame, alongside her travelling family of misfits, miscreants and fantastic freaks for late night fun and frolics.

How do you sustain a relationship whilst pursuing a career of a serial killer? Offering an unusual spin on the rom-com genre and set to a beautiful folk-inspired score, Buried: A New Musical tells a story of Rose and Harry, a young fun-loving couple who discover they have something special in common…

Divorced, beheaded and now live in concert! Following last year’s sell-out, hit pop-concert musical SIX returns to Edinburgh to present a different take on history. Six wives of Henry VIII take to the mic to rewrite her-story and celebrate the sisterly sass-itude! Not to be missed. From the pissheads behind the hit show Shit-faced Shakespeare comes an all new cockney knees-up musical extravaganza, Shit-Faced Showtime: Oliver with a Twist. Dickens’ classic tale of the boy who asked for more with booze, glorious booze… Featuring songs from Oliver!and other Broadway musical hits and a totally new version of the story.


Stronger than ever, Underbelly’s comedy programme presents well-established names as well as the hottest acts on the comedy circuit. Edinburgh Comedy Awards Best Newcomer nominee; star of Top Coppers (BBC), Whose Line is it Anyway? (ABC Australia), Steen Raskopoulos the gifted character comedian and improviser returns with electrifying new show, Stay. Cult Fringe favourite, Ireland’s favourite hip-hop comedian Abandoman (AKA Rob Broderick) continues his Underbelly journey bringing his biggest show ever to the Cow, Pirate Radio.

Deborah Frances-White, host of Global Pillage and the hugely followed The Guilty Feminist podcasts (over 30 million downloads since 2016) presents a specially recorded version of the latter, exploring the challenges and insecurities underlining 21st century feminism.

Laura Davis is unconventional, cathartic and exhilaratingly hilarious and so is her latest show, Ghost Machine. A story about life, performed by a ghost…. Female character and sketch comedy duo Lola and Jo return to Fringe to do comedy research in their Focus Groupies whilst the surreal and energising Aussie Josh Glanc follows the sell-out success of his show at Perth Fringe 2017 with his Karma Karma Karma Karma Karma Chamedian. To match Josh’s flare and Australian success, Tom Walker brings his Honk Honk Honk Honk Honk featuring miming AND clowning!

For all the non-murdering enthusiasts out there, American comic as seen on The Tonight Show, Conan and Netflix Myq Kaplan takes the audiences (and himself, and the universe) on a journey of kindness in his Edinburgh debut, All Killing Aside – a comedy show about truth, love and not murdering. Award-winning Australian stand-up comedian, Rhys Nicholson brings razor sharp wit matched perhaps only by his sharply tailored style with Seminal.

In Ethos, Alice Fraser contemplates an Artificial Intelligence mind learning about the world for the very first time through a comedy show… what could possibly go wrong? A silly and funny show about what it means to be human.

Athena Kugblenu’s Follow The Leader offers an interesting and refreshing view on the world’s biggest catastrophes which pale in comparison with her own bad life choices.

Co-writer of Edinburgh Best Newcomer Award Nominated Show The Story Beast and star of The Beta Males Richard Soames presents Let’s Make a Movie, a 60 minutes journey through the blockbusters.

BBC ‘Next Big Thing’ Act who have sold out theatres in London and New York, won the Mervyn Stutter Spirit of the Fringe Award and received the official Fringe ‘Total Sell-Out Show’ laurel (for their last appearance in 2016), Croft and Pearce return with Double Take.

Absolutely Fabulous and Black Adder epic comic, Helen Lederer spills all the beans in I Might Just As Well Say It. Someone said Big Brother?!

Paul Foot, multi-award winning and critically acclaimed Fringe veteran wizard, presents a brand new show for his tenth year on the Fringe Image Conscious. In his new solo show, Austentatious comic Graham Dickson ponders a dystopian future filled with masculinity and no women. Another Austentatious member, Amy Cooke-Hodgson, presents Bumper Blyton, an improvisation group focused on acclaimed children’s book author Enid Blyton. Each show is a unique spontaneous adventure inspired by hand-drawn audience suggestions and Blyton classics.

Versatile actor and puppeteer, and creator of Comedy Award-nominated The Story Beast John Henry Falle visits Edinburgh with This is Bardcore, an hour of horror comedy in which evil is on the loose and there is only one wizard powerful (and drunk) enough to face it.

Presenting a special, live-recording of a podcast All Killa No Filla Live are comedians Rachel Fairburn and Kiri Pritchard-McLean. They talk about serial killers and it’s bloody fun! Only four shows though, so book now!

Also on a limited run are the Edinburgh born Rory Bremner and Jan Ravens, two of the UK’s top award-winning impressionists who delve into the treacherous world of politics as they aim to establish whether Brexit means Brexit.

With different comedy guest every night Amy Annette discusses the one topic on everyone’s mind: women. With previous guests including Aisling Bea, Lolly Adefope, Sara Pascoe, James Acaster and Nish Kumar, Amy Annette: What Women Want promises to be the hit of the Fringe!

Following an award-winning BBC documentary Parkinson’s: The Funny Side and a triumphant debut at London’s Comedy Store, Paul Mayhew-Archer presents a one-man show about the therapeutic power of comedy entitled Incurable Optimist. Paul co-wrote The Vicar of Dibley with Richard Curtis but took up stand-up comedy only after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease 4 years ago.

Suitable for anyone who has or has seen a sister, character comedy duo and real-life sisters Siblings present new material, Acting Out. Featuring Maddy and Marina Bye (daughters of Ruby Wax), the show offers new characters, more drama, violently synchronised dance and a total abandonment of dignity.

Will you save the village… or tear it apart? Sitting between comedy and theatre, Werewolf: Live has been performed all around the world to a great acclaim. A different late-night experience for Fringe-goers, this interactive gameshow offers a unique opportunity to hurl accusations and unjustly murder their friend.

Another top-notch late-night offer comes from London’s campest musical sketch comedy quartet: Sex Shells is an explosion of original music, surreal sketches, wayward choreography, and twisted rewrites of hits from pop, Disney, and the musicals. Expect sex, drugs, and social satire: Whitney Houston at the self-service checkout and Barbara Cartland on Grindr.

Underbelly’s Big Brain Tumour Benefit

After a total sell-out last year, raising an incredible £18,000 for cancer research, Underbelly’s Big Brain Tumour Benefit returns bigger and better at McEwan Hall, hosting a massive line-up of the biggest names on the Fringe for a raucous evening of comedy to help the fight against brain tumours, for one night only. Brain tumours are the biggest cancer killer for children and adults under 40 and increased funding for research is desperately needed. All box office income will go straight to The Brain Tumour Charity. Exciting line-up details will be released in the coming weeks.

Charlie Wood and Ed Bartlam, directors of Underbelly said,

“Today we unleash 96 magnificent shows on sale as part of our most ambitious programme yet, from comedic hip hop gold, Abandoman, circus super humans Circa, the freshest new theatrical talent from our Untapped Award Winners to late night cabaret from Little Death Club.

“Since we started our Fringe adventure in the Cowgate 19 years ago our aim was to celebrate and showcase the freshest new talent and the biggest names in the business, side by side in a way only possible at the Fringe. Today we are proud to continue to do just that.”


3 Years, 1 Week and a Lemon Drizzle

Underbelly Bristo Square, Jersey, 1st- 27th Aug, (2.25pm), (no show Monday 13th), runtime 60 mins

Preview: 1st – 3rd, £6.50

Weekend: 4th – 7th, 10th – 12th, 17th – 19th, 24th – 26th, £10/ £9

Weekday: 8th – 9th, 14th – 16th, 20th – 23rd, 27th, £9/ £8

The show pieces together Alexandra and Kate Donnachie’s sometimes heartbreaking but often hilarious memories of growing up together and managing their close bond when older sister, Alexandra, developed a severe eating disorder.

When Alexandra (finally) decided to ask Kate what that time was like for her, she began cooking up ideas for this autobiographical show – albeit before Kate agreed to be in it.

This is a performance that recalls on touching memories, shares laugh-out-loud anecdotes and melts Mars bars to bring to stage a story about living with an eating disorder.

AAA Stand-Up at Underbelly

Underbelly Cowgate, Belly Laugh, 2nd – 26th Aug, (6.20pm), runtime 60 mins

Preview: 2nd – 3rd, £6.50

Weekend: 4th – 7th, 10th – 12th, 17th – 19th, 24th – 26th, £11.50/ £9.50

Weekday: 8th – 9th, 13th – 16th, 20th – 23rd, £10/ £8

Total sell-out 2005-2017 returns with a brand new line-up. ‘Comedy the way it should be: laugh-a-minute, leaving the audience wishing the show was a little bit longer’ **** (Fest). Jack Evans: “Evans is clever, creative and funny” (The Scotsman). “Imagination, energy and comic skills to go far, so catch him now” (The List). James Allen: “James Allen is an amazing new act… highly recommended.” ( “Brilliantly whimsical… leaving the audience in awe” ( Stanley Brooks: “Strong comic instincts… deft lines and nice observations” (Chortle). As heard on BBC4 Extra, BBC New Comedy Award. Book early!

Abandoman (AKA Rob Broderick) – Pirate Radio

Underbelly George Square, Udderbelly, 1st – 27th Aug, (9.30pm), (no show Monday 13th and Monday 20th), runtime 60mins

Preview: 1st – 3rd, £10

Weekend: 4th – 7th, 10th – 12th, 17th -19th, 24th – 27th £15.50/ £14.50

Weekday: 8th – 9th, 14th – 16th, 21st – 23rd £14.50/ £13.50

Ireland’s finest hip hop musical comedian, is back in the Cow with his biggest show yet. Using his trademark blend of audience interaction and razor-sharp improvisation, Rob will take you on a magical journey, transforming the audience’s likes, loathes and daydreams into hit songs and captivating tales. ‘Clever, quick-witted and audacious’ **** (Scotsman). ‘Broderick has us in the palm of his hand from the minute he starts until the very last mic drop’ ***** ( ‘Wildly funny and technically incredible’ ***** (

Alice Fraser: Ethos

Underbelly Bristo Square, Friesian, 1st- 27th Aug, (7.55pm), (no show Monday 13th), runtime 60 mins

Preview: 1st – 3rd, £6.50

Weekend: 4th – 7th, 10th – 12th, 17th – 19th, 24th – 26th, £11/ £10

Weekday: 8th – 9th, 14th – 16th, 20th – 23rd, 27th, £10/ £9

Humans have always been fascinated by non-human minds. From the Golem to Frankenstein’s monster, to artificial intelligence – computers who could think, and threaten civilisation. Imagine an AI: a brilliant but naive mind, newly created. Now imagine that mind learning about our world by watching a comedy show. Alice Fraser (The Bugle & BBC R4) explains our society of contradictions to a new robot mind. A silly, funny, smart show that explores what it is to be human. “A life-changer.” (Edinburgh Guide) ***** “Inescapably funny” (Herald Sun) ***** “A sexy cerebral twist to comedy” (OUTinPerth) *****

All Killa No Filla Live

Underbelly George Square, Udderbelly, 5th and 19th Aug (11.30pm), 12th and 26th, (3.30pm), runtime 60 mins

Weekend: 5th, 12th, 19th and 26th, £14/ £13

All Killa No Filla Live. Following sell-out shows around the country, comedians Rachel Fairburn and Kiri Pritchard-McLean are bringing the live version of their hit podcast to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Yes, they’re talking about serial killers, yes they go off on tangents but you know what? It’s bloody fun. And that is a pun. Come and see what all the fuss is about.

Amy Annette: What Women Want

Underbelly Bristo Square, Friesian, 16th- 19th and 23rd- 26th Aug, (2.20pm), runtime 60 mins

Weekend: 16th- 19th, 23rd-26th Aug, £10/ £9

Join Amy and a panel of her far more famous comedian friends in comic conversation. Previous guests (such as Aisling Bea, Lolly Adefope, Sara Pascoe, James Acaster, Nish Kumar and more) have sought to understand the great, unknowable, mystery of our time: women. As heard on Ed Milliband and Geoff Lloyd’s podcast. Amy Annette is a co- editor and contributor to the critically acclaimed book ‘I Call Myself a Feminist’. With different guests each day – why not book for every show!? As featured in the Guardian, i and Time Out.

An Elephant in the Garden by Michael Morpurgo

Underbelly Bristo Square, The Dairy Room, 1st- 27th Aug, (11.40am), (no show Monday 13th), runtime 65 mins

Preview: 1st – 3rd, £7

Weekend: 4th – 7th, 10th – 12th, 17th – 19th, 24th – 26th, £11/ £10

Weekday: 8th – 9th, 14th – 16th, 20th – 23rd, 27th, £10/ £9

Lizzie, her mother and an elephant from the zoo flee the Dresden firebombing in the Second World War. Escaping the Allies from the West – and the Russians from the East – this extraordinary trio of refugees meet: an RAF officer who has bailed out of his aeroplane, a school choir on the run from the Nazis and the American army tanks appearing over the horizon. ‘Beautiful storytelling in action… stunningly performed by Alison Reid’ (Guardian). From the creators of the five-star hit Private Peaceful.

Ashley Blaker: Observant Jew

Underbelly Bristo Square, Daisy, 1st- 26th Aug, (3.00 pm), (no shows on Saturdays) runtime 60 mins

Preview: 1st – 3rd, £6.50

Weekend: 5th – 7th, 10th, 12th, 17th, 19th, 24th, 26th, £11/ £10

Weekday: 8th – 9th, 13th – 16th, 20th – 23rd, £10/ £9

Ashley Blaker isn’t your average Orthodox Jewish man. He’s also an internationally acclaimed comedian and now, for the first time, is performing a show for us gentiles, direct from his off-Broadway run. How did a secular Jewish comedy producer end up becoming ultra-orthodox? How does he live between two very different worlds? As heard on BBC Radio 4. ‘Has audiences on the floor.’ ( ‘Relentlessly funny… Blaker brings something totally unprecedented to stand-up.’ (Jewish Chronicle) ‘A wittier man than I’ll ever be.’ (Matt Lucas, Little Me).

Athena Kugblenu: Follow the Leader

Underbelly Bristo Square, Clover, 1st- 26th Aug, (5.30pm), (no show Monday 13th), runtime 60 mins

Preview: 1st – 3rd, £6.50

Weekend: 4th – 7th, 10th – 12th, 17th – 19th, 24th – 26th, £11/ £10

Weekday: 8th – 9th, 14th – 16th, 20th – 23rd, £10/ £9

The world’s never had more knowledge, yet never more stupidity. Athena can’t help but notice consistencies between the universe and herself. How can she blame people for choosing Trump when she’s choosing the wrong men? Clearly we haven’t realised she constantly makes mistakes so we don’t have to. Join Athena for a tour of the world’s most pressing catastrophes which pale compared to what happened when she fixed her own washing machine. As heard on BBC Radio. ‘A smart, impassioned comedian’ (Scotsman). ‘Good material, sharp presentation… an important voice’ (Sunday Times).


Underbelly Cowgate, Belly Laugh, 2nd- 14th, 18th-19th, 25th-26th Aug, (11.40am), runtime 60 mins

Preview: 2nd – 3rd, £6.50

Weekend: 4th – 7th, 10th – 12th, 18th-19th, 25th-26th, £10/ £9

Weekday: 8th – 9th, 13th – 14th, £9/ £8

Balloonatics is the award-nominated, world-travelled family comedy show for anyone crazy about balloons! Scottish comedian Chris Henry guarantees a chaos-filled, fun-packed hour of inflatable buffoonery, with never a dull moment for parent or child. Join the Balloonatics army, where it doesn’t matter how technically gifted you are, as long as you’re having fun! **** (List). **** (Scotsman). ‘Pitched perfectly’ (Primary Times). Best Children’s Shows at Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2017 (Scotsman).

Be More, Do Better but Don’t Change

Underbelly Bristo Square, Daisy, 1st- 27th Aug, (9.50pm), (no show Tuesday 14th), runtime 60 mins

Preview: 1st – 3rd, £6.50

Weekend: 4th – 7th, 10th – 12th, 17th – 19th, 24th – 26th, £10/ £9

Weekday: 8th – 9th, 13th – 16th, 20th – 23rd, 27th, £9/ £8

A unique blend of achingly honest poetry, side-splitting stand-up and personal story telling about romantic love and why we prioritise it above all else. Roisin is bored of pretending that falling in love is fun. It’s boring and sweaty and embarrassing and tragic and she thinks it’s her civic duty to talk about it to anyone who will listen. It’s just like having a chat in the pub with your best friend, if your best friend drank her wine too quick and told her intimate secrets to a room full of strangers.

Bennett Arron: I’ve Never Told Anyone This

Underbelly Bristo Square, Dexter, 1st- 27th Aug, (12.10pm), (no show Monday 13th), runtime 60 mins

Preview: 1st – 3rd, £6.50

Weekend: 4th – 7th, 10th – 12th, 17th – 19th, 24th – 26th, £10/ £9

Weekday: 8th – 9th, 14th – 16th, 20th – 23rd, 27th, £9/ £8

Bennett Arron is revealing secrets. The problem is they are not all his to tell. In this personal, shocking and hilarious show, Bennett, the star of the Radio 4 sitcom Alone and the series Bennett Arron Worries About…, reveals intimate information about himself, his family, famous comedians and TV executives. See it now before it’s censored. ‘Genuinely original and funny’ (Times). ‘Hilarious… clever wit… razor sharp’ (Standard). ‘A Welsh Seinfeld’ (Guardian).

Bryony Twydle: Flamingo

Underbelly Bristo Square, Daisy, 1st- 27th Aug, (8.30pm), (no show Wednesday 15th), runtime 60 mins

Preview: 1st – 3rd, £6.50

Weekend: 4th – 7th, 10th – 12th, 17th – 19th, 24th – 26th, £10/ £9

Weekday: 8th – 9th, 13th – 16th, 20th – 23rd, 27th, £9/ £8

Character comedian Bryony Twydle (BBC Radio 4’s Sketchorama, E!’s The Royals) presents her debut Edinburgh show. Join Bryony as she presents her chaotic collection of interconnected characters. Like Sylvanian families, but less furry. ‘Great material, sharp comic timing’ ***** ( ‘Impressively dynamic and effortlessly charismatic’ **** ( ‘One to watch for the future’ **** ( Previously Bryony has performed sold out runs at the Brighton Fringe, Leicester Comedy Festival, Camden Fringe and VAULT Festival.

Bumper Blyton

Underbelly Bristo Square, Dexter, 1st- 27th Aug, (4.10pm), runtime 60 mins

Preview: 1st – 3rd, £6.50

Weekend: 4th – 7th, 10th – 12th, 17th – 19th, 24th – 26th, £10/ £9

Weekday: 8th – 9th, 13th – 16th, 20th – 23rd, 27th, £9/ £8

The picnic hamper’s packed full of parody, ready for a riotous improvised spoof in the style of Enid Blyton. Come delight in lashings of ginger beer, grab a cheeky tongue sandwich or wrap your lips round a nice spotted dick! Each show is unique in this spontaneous adventure. A cast of some of the UK’s best-known improvisers spin an entirely new tale for grown-ups using hand-drawn audience suggestions and inspiration from the Blyton classics. Pick of the Fringe **** (Daily Record). ‘Delightfully silly’ **** (ThreeWeeks). ‘They’re phenomenal’ **** (

Buried: A New Musical

Underbelly Bristo Square, Ermintrude, 1st- 27th Aug, (5.10pm), (no show Friday 10th), runtime 75 mins

Preview: 1st – 3rd, £6.50

Weekend: 4th – 7th, 11th – 12th, 17th – 19th, 24th – 26th, £12/ £11

Weekday: 8th – 9th, 13th – 16th, 20th – 23rd, 27th, £11/ £10

The critically acclaimed new musical returns to the Edinburgh Fringe. When Rose and Harry meet on a date, they uncover something extraordinary: they’re both serial killers. Buried is an unconventional love story; a tale of friendship found where you’d least expect, that explores the line between good and evil, normal and monstrous. With hilarious dark comedy and catchy, soulful folk, this musical demonstrates how love is unique to everyone and illuminates the darkness in us all.

Chris Henry: Around the World in 80 Dates

Underbelly Bristo Square, Clover, 1st- 27th Aug, (8.10pm), (no show Wednesday 15th), runtime 60 mins

Preview: 1st – 3rd, £6.50

Weekend: 4th – 7th, 10th – 12th, 17th – 19th, 24th – 26th, £10/ £9

Weekday: 8th – 9th, 13th-14th, 16th, 20th – 23rd, 27th, £9/ £8

Scottish Comedian of the Year finalist Chris Henry is back to take you on a whirlwind global gigglefest as he attempts to find The One. After sold-out, award-nominated performances around the world, this 40- year-old bachelor delivers the ultimate anti rom-com by hilariously dissecting our favourite cliches with razor-sharp stand-up, replacing them with 80 dates he hopes will take him from reformed playboy to the perfect husband. Prepare for a blind date like no other. ***** ( **** (List). ****(

Circa: Wolfgang

Underbelly’s Circus Hub, The Beauty, 4th – 25th Aug, (2.00pm), (no show Wednesday 8th, Monday 13th and Monday 20th)

Weekend: 4th – 7th, 10th – 12th, 17th – 19th, 24th – 25th, £14/ £13

Weekday: 9th, 14th – 16th, 21st – 23rd, £12/ £11

Straight from the score and onto the stage, the man known as Mozart appears amidst a puff of powder, wigged and ready to throw musical madness into a crescendo of dives, swoops and twirls. Featuring mischievous acrobats and a musician, Wolfgang reinvents the composer’s magical music with circus twists. Experience the latest family-friendly production from Circa, featuring a fusion of circus, movement and music. Watch as the notes are physically lifted off the page as performers bring the renowned compositions to life amidst a storm of powder, tumbles and crashes, all under the eccentric swirl of the conductor’s baton.

Clara Cupcakes – The Worst

Underbelly Bristo Square, Clover, 1st- 27th Aug, (6.50pm), (no show Monday 13th), runtime 60 mins

Preview: 1st – 3rd, £6.50

Weekend: 4th – 7th, 10th – 12th, 17th – 19th, 24th – 26th, £11/ £10

Weekday: 8th – 9th, 14th – 16th, 20th – 23rd, 27th, £10/ £9

Nominated for the 2017 Golden Gibbo (Best Independent Production) at Melbourne Comedy Festival. In the summer of 2001, Clara Cupcakes invented the worst video game of all time: the unplayable tale of an octopus looking for love in this crazy world. The levels made no sense and the final boss was unbeatable. Distraught and alone, she hurled it into the garbage to be forgotten. Game over? Nothing stays buried forever. It’s time to play… With three critically acclaimed shows and multiple award nominations, Clara Cupcakes brings her award-nominated tour de force to Edinburgh. Press start.

Croft & Pearce: Double Take

Underbelly Bristo Square, Ermintrude, 6th- 26th Aug, (2.00pm), runtime 60 mins

Weekend: 6th – 7th, 10th – 12th, 17th – 19th, 24th – 26th, £11/ £10

Weekday: 8th – 9th, 13th – 16th, 20th – 23rd, £10/ £9

Stars of BBC Radio 4’s The Croft & Pearce Show and Sketchorama, winners of the Mervyn Stutter Spirit of the Fringe Award, recipients of the official Fringe Total Sell-Out Show Laurel (for their last appearance in 2016) and Whats On London Comedy Award nominees 2017. This BBC Next Big Thing Act have sold out theatres in London, New York and around the UK. Don’t miss their brand new show! **** (Skinny). **** (List). ‘Tomorrow’s TV stars’ **** (Herald). ‘Laugh-out-loud sketch show’ (Daily Express). ‘Masters of pinpoint observation and characterisation’ (Telegraph). ‘Head-flingingly funny!’ (ThreeWeeks).

CSI: Crime Scene Improvisation

Underbelly Bristo Square, Ermintrude, 1st- 26th Aug, (3.35pm), runtime 60 mins

Preview: 1st – 3rd, £7

Weekend: 4th – 7th, 10th – 12th, 17th – 19th, 24th – 26th, £10/ £9

Weekday: 8th – 9th, 13th – 16th, 20th – 23rd, £9/ £8

No one knows who the killer is, not even the cast! The improvised comedy murder mystery is back! Following a sold-out Edinburgh 2017 run, CSI: Crime Scene Improvisation returns to Edinburgh creating a 100% brand-new whodunnit every show to solve an outlandish murder invented by the audience. Someone’s kicked the bucket. But who, what and how? The choice is yours, the problem is theirs. ‘Innovation and top-tier entertainment’ ***** ( ‘A spectacular must see’ ***** (Bunbury Magazine). ‘Spontaneous mastery’ **** (

Dangerous Giant Animals

Underbelly Cowgate, Delhi Belly, 2nd- 26th Aug, (12.00pm), (no show Monday 13th), runtime 55 mins

Preview: 2nd – 3rd, £6.50

Weekend: 4th – 7th, 10th – 12th, 17th – 19th, 24th – 26th, £10/ £9

Weekday: 8th – 9th, 14th – 16th, 20th – 23rd, £9/ £8

A kick. A scream. A tantrum. When it comes to disability, what’s allowed? What’s forbidden? This is a middle-child story of the extraordinary range of experience that comes from growing up too soon alongside a sister who will never grow up. A provocative new solo show, Dangerous Giant Animals, is a darkly comedic game of hide-and-seek with our true nature.

Daniel Cainer: Old Dog, New Shtick!

Underbelly George Square, The Wee Coo, 1st- 27th Aug, (12.00 pm daily), runtime 60 mins

Preview: 1st – 3rd, £6.50

Weekend: 4th – 7th, 10th – 12th, 17th – 19th, 24th – 26th, £12/ £11

Weekday: 8th – 9th, 13th – 16th, 20th – 23rd, 27th, £11/ £10

More stories-in-song from this multi award-winning Jewish songwriter and Fringe favourite. Smart, funny, timely and only slightly irreverent, Cainer’s moving tales are a musical treat for anyone who has ever wrestled with their home, their heritage, and their heart… or is partial to bagels. ‘An extraordinary performer. At times heartbreakingly poignant, at other times laugh-out-loud funny. Utterly charming, thoroughly recommended’ (Edinburgh Festivals Magazine). SoHo Playhouse Best of Edinburgh and New York Fringe 2014/15/16. ‘Heart- rending, delicate and witty’ (Daily Express). Highly Recommended: FringeReview 2015/16/17. ‘Genius’ ***** (ThreeWeeks). Disclaimer: does not feature an actual dog.

Danny O’Brien: Lock-In

Underbelly Cowgate, Belly Laugh, 2nd- 26th Aug, (10.15pm), (no show Monday 13th), runtime 60 mins

Preview: 2nd – 3rd, £6.50

Weekend: 4th – 7th, 10th – 12th, 17th – 19th, 24th – 26th, £10.50/ £9.50

Weekday: 8th – 9th, 14th – 16th, 20th – 23rd, £9.50/ £8.50

Award-winning Irish comedian Danny O’ Brien went to prison. Three times to perform. Once again by accident. He’s performed relentlessly worldwide and taken up a new religion through the medium of a hangry hangover. This is must-see Edinburgh stand-up show. Following in the footsteps of Simon Pegg, Dylan Moran and Dara O’ Briain – Danny was handpicked this year to perform as part of the iconic Best of the Edinburgh Fest show touring Australia, has featured on The Comedy Channel and is a regular on Irish TV and Radio.

David Mills: Focus People!

Underbelly George Square, The Wee Coo, 1st- 26th Aug, (2.40pm), (no show Monday 13th), runtime 60 mins

Preview: 1st – 3rd, £6.50

Weekend: 4th – 7th, 10th – 12th, 17th – 19th, 24th – 26th, £10/ £9

Weekday: 8th – 9th, 14th – 16th, 20th – 23rd, £9/ £8

Smart, sharp, laugh-out-loud comedy for adults sick of being scolded by celebrities and policed by children. Brexit, Trump, Meghan Markle, Hollywood dementia – Mills breaks it all down and gets you through the coming apocalypse feeling dynamite! ‘A comedic anglerfish, he lures his audience in with deceptive warmth before pouncing with incisive wit’ **** (Fest). ‘A superior act. Politics to surrealism… an hour in his company is an indulgent delight’ **** ( ‘The performance, the material and the gravitas – it’s all there. Essential viewing’ ***** (

Dick and Dom: Dick V Dom

Underbelly Bristo Square, McEwan Hall, 1st- 12th Aug, (1.00pm), runtime 60 mins

Preview: 1st – 3rd, £9

Weekend: 4th – 7th, 10th – 12th, £14.50/ £13.50

Weekday: 8th – 9th, £12.50/ £11.50

Are you ready?! The multi BAFTA-winning legends Dick and Dom are coming to Edinburgh for the first time in 2018. They are bringing their fast-selling, insane UK tour to the Fringe for a comedy experience that the whole family will never forget. The audience is split in half and you lot in the crowd will battle it out with interactive games, songs, mess, insanity and (of course) bogies! ‘After 20 years as a duo, it’s clear they have mastered the art of entertainment’ ( As seen on Sky, CBBC, BBC One and BBC Two.

Dreamgun: Film Reads

Underbelly Bristo Square, The Dairy Room, 2nd – 26th Aug, (8.45pm), (no show Tuesday 14th), runtime 60 mins

Preview: 2nd – 3rd, £6.50

Weekend: 4th – 7th, 10th – 12th, 17th – 19th, 24th – 26th, £10/ £9

Weekday: 8th – 9th, 13th, 15th – 16th, 20th – 23rd, £9/ £8

Getting it wrong has never felt so right! Irish comedy weirdos Dreamgun amuse and exasperate cinephiles in equal measure with their skewed, joke-stuffed and wholly unrehearsed takes on established cinematic favourites. Dreamgun brings Film Reads to the Edinburgh Fringe for the first time, performing a different classic movie, reimagined with nonsense, every night! ‘Dreamgun Film Reads represents the best of the Dublin Fringe’ ( ‘The Funniest Show at EdFringe 2015’ (Sun). ‘Light-hearted and hugely entertaining comedy’ (List).


Underbelly Cowgate, Big Belly, 2nd- 26th Aug, (6.00pm), (no show Tuesday 14th), runtime 60 mins

Preview: 2nd – 3rd, £7

Weekend: 4th – 7th, 10th – 12th, 17th – 19th, 24th – 26th, £11/ £10

Weekday: 8th – 9th, 13th – 16th, 20th – 23rd, £10/ £9

Told with a tender intimacy, dressed is a true story told by four women who have been friends since school. After being stripped at gun point, Lydia set out to redress herself with a new healing set of armour. Lydia now only wears clothes she has made. Multi award-winning ThisEgg combine choreography, live sewing, comedy and original music to celebrate the power clothes have to define us, to liberate us, to hide us and to embellish us. For Me and My Bee: **** (Scotsman). **** (Stage). ‘A rarity… ‘ (Lyn Gardner, Guardian). Untapped Award winner 2018.

Eli Matthewson: The Year of Magical F*cking

Underbelly George Square, The Wee Coo, 1st- 27th Aug, (9.20pm), (no show Monday 13th), runtime 60 mins

Preview: 1st – 3rd, £6.50

Weekend: 4th – 7th, 10th – 12th, 17th – 19th, 24th – 26th, £10/ £9

Weekday: 8th – 9th, 14th – 16th, 20th – 23rd, 27th, £9/ £8

The news is out – millennials are having less sex than our parents. Eli Matthewson is not going to take this lying down. The little gay rock star of New Zealand comedy makes his Edinburgh debut with a call to arms for the sexless youth. An honest hour from a sexual amateur trying his best. As seen on 7 Days, Jono and Ben, and Funny Girls. Co-host of The Male Gayz Podcast. Fred Award Nominee (Best Show, NZ International Comedy Festival). ‘Nails every punchline’ (NZ Herald).

Fun Kids Radio’s Epic Roadshow Adventure

Underbelly Bristo Square, The Dairy Room, 1st- 27th Aug, (1.15 pm daily), (no show Monday 13th), runtime 60 mins

Preview: 1st – 3rd, £7

Weekend: 4th – 7th, 10th – 12th, 17th – 19th, 24th – 26th, £11/ £9

Weekday: 8th – 9th, 14th – 16th, 20th – 23rd, 27th, £10/ £8

The Fun Kids Radio presenters need your help to keep the station on-air and to make the best radio roadshow ever. Oh, and they definitely need to not get fired by the big bosses. Will they manage it? That’s up to you! An interactive show for all the family brought to you by the award-winning national radio station, Fun Kids.

Girlfriend from Hell

Underbelly George Square, The Wee Coo, 1st- 27th Aug, (1.20pm), (no show Monday 13th), runtime 60 mins

Preview: 1st – 3rd, £6.50

Weekend: 4th – 7th, 10th – 12th, 17th – 19th, 24th – 26th, £10/ £9

Weekday: 8th – 9th, 14th – 16th, 20th – 23rd, 27th, £9/ £8

Gabby Killick is one of a new wave of female comedians taking Europe by storm! Gabby has recently headlined shows in Austria, Germany and Spain as well as being listed in the Funny Woman top three and winning Birmingham’s Best Newcomer. Girlfriend From Hell gives a unique insight into the minds of today’s Instagram girl with useful advice on everything from what to do when you lose your skirt, to how to walk when you’ve taken too much Ketamine. And underpinning it all is the belief that it’s never too early to start stalking your boyfriend.

Graham Dickson: Timber

Underbelly Cowgate, Iron Belly, 2nd- 26th Aug, (5.30pm), (no show Tuesday 14th), runtime 60 mins

Preview: 2nd – 3rd, £6.50

Weekend: 4th – 7th, 10th – 12th, 17th – 19th, 24th – 26th, £11.50/ £10.50

Weekday: 8th – 9th, 13th – 16th, 20th – 23rd, £10.50/ £9.50

Hollywood has fallen. In a golden land once filled with promise, what happened when the cameras stopped rolling? When the well ran dry? When the women fucked off? Now, one woman is going back, to track down The Bear… In Timber, nonsense, danger and mystery congeal into a dystopian fantasia of character comedy. Graham Dickson (Austentatious) and director Hamish MacDougal (Joseph Morpurgo’s Hammerhead, Soothing Sounds for Baby) present a hilariously dark and silly exploration of men, movies and loneliness. For The Narcissist: ‘Mind-bending theatrical experience’ **** (Scotsman). ‘Rapier sharp’ **** (List). **** ( **** (Skinny).

Helen Lederer: I Might as Well Say It

Underbelly Bristo Square, Jersey, 3rd- 25th Aug, (5.05pm), (no show Monday 13th), runtime 60 mins

Preview: 3rd, £7

Weekend: 4th – 7th, 10th – 12th, 17th – 19th, 24th – 25th, £11.50/ £10.50

Weekday: 8th – 9th, 14th – 16th, 20th – 23rd, £10.50/ £9.50

The Naked Video and Absolutely Fabulous star feels it’s time to spill, before she forgets and gets taken off the patches altogether. What went on in the Big Brother house? Can she be honest about stand-up comedy, being fat, wheezy and other secrets? Probably not. She might lie. ‘A miracle of comic compression and control’ (Times). ‘Divinely witty’ (Guardian). ‘Cleverly insane’ (Observer).

Ian Smith: Craft

Underbelly Bristo Square, Buttercup, 1st- 26th Aug, (5.15pm), (no show Monday 13th), runtime 60 mins

Preview: 1st – 3rd, £6.50

Weekend: 4th – 7th, 10th – 12th, 17th – 19th, 24th – 26th, £12.50/ £10.50

Weekday: 8th – 9th, 14th – 16th, 20th – 23rd, £10/ £8

Multi award-winning comedian Ian Smith (BBC Three’s Sweat the Small Stuff, Dave’s The Magic Sponge podcast) returns. This show will include theatrical techniques such as shouting and moving around. There will also be some origami. At long last. Amused Moose Comedy Award and ThreeWeeks Editors’ Award Winner 2017. ‘Catch him now before his inevitable jump to the big time’ (Telegraph). ‘One of the best you will see at the festival’ (Mirror). ‘A riot of sprightly silliness’ ( ‘Proper star quality’ (Guardian). ***** (ThreeWeeks). ***** (Mirror). **** ( **** (Metro). Book early!

It’s Not Cute Anymore

Underbelly Cowgate, Delhi Belly, 2nd- 26th Aug, (1.20pm), (no show Monday 13th), runtime 60 mins

Preview: 2nd – 3rd, £6.50

Weekend: 4th – 7th, 10th – 12th, 17th – 19th, 24th – 26th, £10/ £9

Weekday: 8th – 9th, 14th – 16th, 20th – 23rd, £9/ £8

Giving up on your dreams isn’t always the worst thing in the world… This fresh and vulgar comedy blurs the line between theatre and TV while exploring the indignities of reaching for the stars, waning potential and misplaced entitlement. Follow two deluded young women who will stop at nothing in their brash pursuit of recognition. Following its sell-out run in London at Theatre503, this absurd comedy was described by LondonTheatre1 as ‘a contemporary reboot of Absolutely Fabulous written by Lena Dunham. Eddie and Patsy: The early years, reimagined.’

It’s True, It’s True, It’s True

Underbelly Cowgate, Iron Belly, 2nd- 26th Aug, (2.50pm), (no show Monday 13th), runtime 60 mins

Preview: 2nd – 3rd, £7

Weekend: 4th – 7th, 10th – 12th, 17th – 19th, 24th – 26th, £12/ £11

Weekday: 8th – 9th, 14th – 16th, 20th – 23rd, £11/ £10

Fringe First and Total Theatre Award-winning Breach (Tank, The Beanfield) restage the 1612 trial of Agostino Tassi for the rape of baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi. Based on surviving court transcripts, this new play dramatises the seven-month trial that gripped Renaissance Rome, and asks how much has changed in the last four centuries. Blending myth, history and contemporary commentary, this is the story of how a woman took revenge through her art to become one of the most successful painters of her generation. ‘Theatrically ambitious and boldly political’ (Guardian). Untapped Award winner 2018.

Joe Sutherland: Toxic

Underbelly Bristo Square, Dexter, 1st- 27th Aug, (8.10pm), (no show Tuesday 14th), runtime 60 mins

Preview: 1st – 3rd, £6.50

Weekend: 4th – 7th, 10th – 12th, 17th – 19th, 24th – 26th, £10/ £9

Weekday: 8th – 9th, 13th – 16th, 20th – 23rd, 27th, £9/ £8

Masculinity – isn’t it, like, over? Or are there new ways to model manliness? Growing up Joe felt less like a boy, more like a Spice Girl. Now he’s sort of grown up, and technically a man. This is a show about embracing girl power to create your own brand of manhood. ‘Richly entertaining’ **** (Scotsgay). ‘An engaging hour of stand-up with an important message and many laughs to be had’ **** (Edinburgh Festival Magazine). ‘So much originality’ **** (Voicemag). ‘Oozing star power from every pore’ (Mirror). ‘Edgy and unpredictable’ ( ‘Definitely one to watch’ (

John Robertson: The Dark Room

Underbelly Cowgate, White Belly, 2nd- 26th Aug, (8.00pm), runtime 60 mins

Preview: 2nd – 3rd, £7

Weekend: 4th – 7th, 10th – 12th, 17th – 19th, 24th – 26th, £11/ £10

Weekday: 8th – 9th, 13th – 16th, 20th – 23rd, £10/ £9

You awake to find yourself in The Dark Room! You (the audience) must choose an option – will you A) Find the light switch? B) Cry for help? C) Go north? Come and play a live-action, text-based adventure game! It’s a choose your own adventure – so choose it! After 4 million YouTube hits, 10 crowd-surfs, four death threats and sell-out shows worldwide, cult hit The Dark Room returns to Edinburgh for its seventh consecutive run! Winner: ThreeWeeks Editors’ Award Best Comedy Award. Nominee: FringeWorld 2017. ***** ( ***** (Skinny). ***** (ThreeWeeks). ***** (

Josh Glanc: Karma Karma Karma Karma Karma Chamedian

Underbelly Bristo Square, Dexter, 1st- 26th Aug, (5.30pm), (no show Tuesday 14th), runtime 60 mins

Preview: 1st – 3rd, £6.50

Weekend: 4th – 7th, 10th – 12th, 17th – 19th, 24th – 26th, £11/ £10

Weekday: 8th – 9th, 13th – 16th, 20th – 23rd, £10/ £9

Winner: Best Comedy, Perth Fringe 2017. Named ‘one of the most exciting emerging [Aussie] talents’ ( and fresh from a total sell-out season at the Melbourne Comedy Festival. Glanc is ‘surreal, frenetic, indisputably energising’ **** (Herald Sun). **** (Fest).

Just William’s Luck

Underbelly Cowgate, Iron Belly, 2nd- 26th Aug, (12.10pm), (no show Monday 13th), runtime 60 mins

Preview: 2nd – 3rd, £6.50

Weekend: 4th – 7th, 10th – 12th, 17th – 19th, 24th – 26th, £10/ £9

Weekday: 8th – 9th, 14th – 16th, 20th – 23rd, £9/ £8

The invincible William Brown considers he is ‘jolly well equal’ to solving most of life’s trickier problems, although devising a plan to get the elder brothers of the Outlaws married off might be a considerable challenge… Shedload Theatre present a love letter to Richmal Crompton’s classic characters in a fresh and dynamic adaptation. Fusing imaginative physical storytelling, screaming and screaming, music, knights of the square table, Foley sound effects, the Outlaws trademark gusto, and all the best intentions. **** (

Laura Davis: Ghost Machine

Underbelly Cowgate, Belly Dancer, 2nd- 26th Aug, (5.40pm), (no show Monday 13th), runtime 60 mins

Preview: 2nd – 3rd, £6.50

Weekend: 4th – 7th, 10th – 12th, 17th – 19th, 24th – 26th, £10.50/ £9.50

Weekday: 8th – 9th, 14th – 16th, 20th – 23rd, £9.50/ £8.50

A show about life. Performed by a ghost. For the love of god. Laura Davis pushes into new ground in her internationally acclaimed, multi award-winning show Ghost Machine. Lauded as one of the strongest and most unique comedic voices around, Laura Davis is unconventional, cathartic and exhilaratingly hilarious. Ghost Machine sees audience members returning multiple times to celebrate this darkly honest, constantly surprising, existential extravaganza. Winner: Best Indie Show at Melbourne International Comedy Festival and Best Comedy at Melbourne Fringe. ‘An original and provocative hour in the company of a unique mind’ **** (List).

Lead Pencil

Underbelly Cowgate, Belly Laugh, 2nd- 26th Aug, (7.40pm), (no show Tuesday 14th), runtime 60 mins

Preview: 2nd – 3rd, £6.50

Weekend: 4th – 7th, 10th – 12th, 17th – 19th, 24th – 26th, £10.50/ £9.50

Weekday: 8th – 9th, 13th – 16th, 20th – 23rd, £9.50/ £8.50

Imagine the love-child of Saved by the Bell and Art Attack! That’s Lead Pencil and they’ve made a sketch show by literally sketching it. ‘A very talented trio whose dedication to looking completely ridiculous was met with roars of laughter from the audience’ ( A comedy show packed with characters, songs and sketches from Lead Pencil – as seen on Channel 4, BBC Radio 4 and Comedy Central. This multimedia show looks back at the 90s heyday of The Art Team and their here’s-one-I-made-earlier story. Sex, drugs and toilet roll. ‘Well-made finely-tuned comedy’ (

Little Death Club

Underbelly’s Circus Hub, The Beauty, 3rd – 25th Aug, (8.00pm), (no show Monday 13th) runtime 60 mins

Preview: 3rd, £10

Weekend: 4th – 7th, 10th – 12th, 17th – 19th, 24th – 25th, £15/ £14

Weekday: 8th – 9th, 14th – 16th, 20th – 23rd, £12.50/ £11.50

Winner: Pick of the Fringe, Adelaide Fringe Weekly Award 2017. The darkest, funniest and most debauched variety show in town! The multi award-winning Queen of Weimar punk kabarett Bernie Dieter (Star of La Clique, EastEnd Cabaret) and her travelling family of misfits, miscreants and fantastic freaks bring you ‘a feast of feathers, nudity and sidesplitting comedy’ ****1/2 ( ‘Magnificent, be amazed, be appalled, and be blown away’ ***** ( ‘A night of debauchery and devilry! Hilarious’ ****1/2 ( ‘Absolutely outrageous! An unmissable experience’ ****1/2 (OUTInPerth). ‘Wickedly funny, the audience were in stitches’ ****1/2 (XPressMag).

Lola and Jo: Focus Groupies

Underbelly Cowgate, Delhi Belly, 2nd- 26th Aug, (4.00pm), (no show Monday 13th), runtime 60 mins

Preview: 2nd – 3rd, £6.50

Weekend: 4th – 7th, 10th – 12th, 17th – 19th, 24th – 26th, £10/ £9

Weekday: 8th – 9th, 14th – 16th, 20th – 23rd, £9/ £8

Character comedians Lola and Jo (**** (List)) are pretty certain they have a revolutionary show on their hands. To double check, they’ve wisely employed Leslie and Jackie from almost award-winning market research company Focus On (runner-up, Keep Talking Award 1997), to gather feedback on their potentially groundbreaking show. Research purposes only; no refreshments, travel reimbursements or life-affirming insights. Laughter not guaranteed. ‘Female duos you need to see’ (Independent). ‘Raising the sketch stakes with insightful and masterful work’ **** (List) ‘Lola and Jo are fantastic… a gallery of neurotic weirdos’ **** (

Love Songs

Underbelly Cowgate, Delhi Belly, 2nd- 26th Aug, (2.40pm), (no show Wednesday 15th), runtime 60 mins

Preview: 2nd – 3rd, £6.50

Weekend: 4th – 7th, 10th – 12th, 17th – 19th, 24th – 26th, £11/ £10

Weekday: 8th – 9th, 13th – 16th, 20th – 23rd, £10/ £9

Mixing get-on-the-dance-floor music, rap and spoken word, Love Songs explores the personal and political puzzles of our love lives through the autobiographical poems of a hopeless romantic. A classic tale of classroom crushes and awkward bedroom encounters, a cautionary guidebook on navigating the millennial dating scene, and a glimpse under the covers at our deepest desires and the all-consuming fear of ending up alone. A one-woman show (about many men) that is surprisingly relatable, but a little bit different. Why? Because ultimately, this is the story about the one.

Lucy Frederick: Even More Naked

Underbelly Bristo Square, Clover, 1st- 26th Aug, (2.50pm), (no show Monday 13th), runtime 60 mins

Preview: 1st – 3rd, £6.50

Weekend: 4th – 7th, 10th – 12th, 17th – 19th, 24th – 26th, £10/ £9

Weekday: 8th – 9th, 14th – 16th, 20th – 23rd, £9/ £8

Some years ago, comedian Lucy Frederick appeared in a reality TV show in which she had to get naked. Like, completely naked. No socks or anything. And while that might sound alarming, she’s since discovered that actually, there’s a far more terrifying way to get your bits and bobs out for other people. And you don’t even have to take your coat off. ‘A genuinely gifted performer. Fabulous!’ **** (Scotsman) ‘Delivered to a packed house… A strong and diverse show’ **** (ThreeWeeks). ‘Like catching up with a best friend’ **** (

Mistero Buffo

Underbelly Cowgate, Big Belly, 2nd- 26th Aug, (7.20pm), (no show Monday 13th), runtime 75 mins

Preview: 2nd – 3rd, £6.50

Weekend: 4th – 7th, 10th – 12th, 17th – 19th, 24th – 26th, £13/ £12

Weekday: 8th – 9th, 14th – 16th, 20th – 23rd, £12/ £11

Award-winning and critically acclaimed company Rhum and Clay bring to the stage Dario Fo’s seminal master piece, Mistero Buffo – a daring and explosive rallying cry for the disenfranchised. A travelling storyteller, another employee of the gig economy, rushes from his last delivery of the day to recount ancient tales of Jesus and his life…however these versions aren’t like any you’ve heard before. Darkly comic, sometimes tragic and always subversive, Mistero Buffo takes aim at those who manipulate truth and belief for power and control. Nominated for the Peter Brook Ensemble Award 2017. **** (Guardian – For 64 Squares).

Myq Kaplan: All Killing Aside

Underbelly Bristo Square, Friesian, 1st- 26th Aug, (9.15pm), (no show Monday 13th), runtime 60 mins

Preview: 1st – 3rd, £7

Weekend: 4th – 7th, 10th – 12th, 17th – 19th, 24th – 26th, £13/ £12

Weekday: 8th – 9th, 15th – 16th, 22th – 23rd, £12/ £11

Early Week: 14th, 20th – 21st, £11/ £10

New York’s cosmic comedian Myq (Mike) Kaplan takes you (and himself, and the universe) on a journey of kindness in his Edinburgh debut. A comedy show about truth, love and not murdering. Perfect for all the not-murdering enthusiasts out there. As seen on Amazon, Comedy Central, Last Comic Standing, The Tonight Show, Conan, Letterman, and more… ‘A one-man screwball comedy in which silly and brainy sides bicker’ (New York Times). ‘Myq Kaplan was the stand-out of the show’ ( ‘A master deconstructionist… the lightning-fast comedian slows down to let his fans catch up’ (

Myra Dubois: We Wish You a Myra Christmas

Underbelly George Square, The Wee Coo, 1st- 26th Aug, (4.00pm), (no show Saturday 18th), runtime 60 mins

Preview: 1st – 3rd, £7

Weekend: 4th – 7th, 10th – 12th, 17th – 19th, 24th – 26th, £11/ £10

Weekday: 8th – 9th, 13th – 16th, 20th – 23rd, £10/ £9

The self-declared siren of south Yorkshire presents a festive spectacular! In August. Join Myra DuBois for an hour of off-season seasonal sing-a-longs and summertime yuletide anecdotes from her Christmases past, all delivered in her trademark acerbic wit! ‘A display of caustic sensibility and razor- sharp wit’ (Scotland on Sunday). ‘Proper stand-up… brilliantly delivered’ **** ( ‘Hilarious… comedic timing that never misses a beat’ **** (Edinburgh Festivals Magazine).

Nick Hall: Spencer

Underbelly Bristo Square, Clover, 1st- 27th Aug, (1.30pm), (no show Monday 13th), runtime 60 mins

Preview: 1st – 3rd, £6.50

Weekend: 4th – 7th, 10th – 12th, 17th – 19th, 24th – 26th, £10/ £9

Weekday: 8th – 9th, 14th – 16th, 20th – 23rd, 27th, £9/ £8

Spencer Percival has one claim to fame. He’s the only British Prime Minister ever to be assassinated. Unfortunately, no one’s ever heard of him. 206 years later, Nick Hall tells his story. In this inventive and hilarious journey through history, Nick brings alive the world of the 19th century, while drawing parallels with the present. In this age of Brexit, Trump, Corbynista and Maybot, could we still learn something from the past? As seen on BBC Two and Three, and heard on BBC Radio 4. ‘Brilliant’ (Times). ‘Crackingly original’ **** (List). ‘One not to miss’ **** (Skinny).

Paddington Bear’s First Concert

Underbelly Bristo Square, Cowbarn, 1st- 26th Aug, (11.20am), (no show Monday 13th), runtime 60 mins

Preview: 1st – 3rd, £7

Weekend: 4th – 7th, 10th – 12th, 17th – 19th, 24th – 26th, £12/ £10

Weekday: 8th – 9th, 14th – 16th, 20th – 23rd, £11/ £9

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 come to life with storytelling, narration and a live orchestra. An enchanting children’s concert that appeals to all who love this curious and cheeky bear – from the same team that brought you Peter Rabbit in 2017: ‘… a show that every child and parent should take time to go and see’ ***** ( ‘Truly charming’ (Primary Times).

Paul Foot Image Conscious

Underbelly Cowgate, Belly Dancer, 2nd- 26th Aug, (7.00pm), (no show Monday 13th), runtime 60 mins

Preview: 2nd – 3rd, £7.50

Weekend: 4th – 7th, 10th – 12th, 17th – 19th, 24th – 26th, £12.50/ £11.50

Weekday: 8th – 9th, 14th – 16th, 20th – 23rd, £10.50/ £9.50

Greetings! It’s my brand-new show, baybayyy! Ever considered the unique predicament of the soft-shell crab? I have. What about the numerous problems of organising a suburban orgy? The catering, for example. It’s an absolute nightmare! The multi award-winning and critically-acclaimed comedian presents his 10th solo Edinburgh show prior to extensive tours of the UK, Australia and New Zealand. ‘Flat-out hilarious throughout, he remains one of the most original laugh-makers at the Fringe, consistently brilliant… this is live comedy at its most original’ ***** (New European). ‘A deranged genius’ **** (Sydney Morning Herald).

Paul Mayhew-Archer: Incurable Optimist

Underbelly Bristo Square, Friesian, 1st- 26th Aug, (5.15pm), (no show Monday 13th), runtime 60 mins

Preview: 1st – 3rd, £6.50

Weekend: 4th – 7th, 10th – 12th, 17th – 19th, 24th – 26th, £10/ £9

Weekday: 8th – 9th, 14th – 16th, 20th – 23rd, £9/ £8

Paul’s co-written or worked on many much-loved comedy shows – The Vicar of Dibley, I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue, Mrs Brown’s Boys, Spitting Image and Roald Dahl’s Esio Trot starring Dustin Hoffman and Judi Dench. Now Paul has Parkinson’s, but he’s still laughing. Following an award-winning BBC documentary Parkinson’s: The Funny Side and a triumphant debut at London’s Comedy Store, here’s a one-man show about the therapeutic power of comedy. Paul is not contagious, but he is worth catching. ‘Very funny – and moving too’ (Richard Curtis). ‘An inspiration’ (Audience member with Parkinson’s).

Paul Williams: Santa Fe

Underbelly Cowgate, Iron Belly, 2nd- 26th Aug, (4.10pm), (no show Tuesday 14th), runtime 60 mins

Preview: 2nd – 3rd, £6.50

Weekend: 4th – 7th, 10th – 12th, 17th – 19th, 24th – 26th, £10/ £9

Weekday: 8th – 9th, 13th – 16th, 20th – 23rd, £9/ £8

Cast your mind to a magical place called Santa Fe. Now snap out of it because that’s the show’s setting and you haven’t bought a ticket yet so stop getting free enjoyment. Last year I lost a major comedy award back home in New Zealand. This year, I’m getting back up on the horse and setting off on the adventure of a lifetime. ‘Responsible for one of the greatest songs ever’ (David O’Doherty). ‘It’s beautiful and endlessly endearing’ ( ‘Paul is my favourite New Zealand artist’ (Lorde). ‘Paul Williams is enviably talented’ (Nish Kumar).

Pickle Jar

Underbelly Cowgate, Big Belly, 2nd- 26th Aug, (4.40pm), (no show Tuesday 14th), runtime 60 mins

Preview: 2nd – 3rd, £7

Weekend: 4th – 7th, 10th – 12th, 17th – 19th, 24th – 26th, £11/ £10

Weekday: 8th – 9th, 13th – 16th, 20th – 23rd, £10/ £9

It’s hard keeping it together when your whole life is falling apart. But the pressures of teaching, Tinder and outrageous Irish best mates are a lot to juggle, especially when you’re stumbling through the maze of trying to be a grown-up.

Stranger-danger, heartbreak and piña coladas are on the syllabus in the hilarious debut play Pickle Jar, written and performed by Maddie Rice, the critically acclaimed star of the smash-hit Fleabag UK and international tour.

“Maddie Rice is captivating” Guardian

“Maddie Rice oozes presence and exquisite comic timing” Fest*****

Queens of Sheba

Underbelly Cowgate, Iron Belly, 2nd- 26th Aug, (6.50pm), (no show Monday 13th), runtime 60 mins

Preview: 2nd – 3rd, £7

Weekend: 4th – 7th, 10th – 12th, 17th – 19th, 24th – 26th, £11/ £10

Weekday: 8th – 9th, 14th – 16th, 20th – 23rd, £10/ £9

Queens of Sheba tells the stories of four black women who have been turned away from a night club for ‘being too black’ (based on the Dstrkt night spot incident of 2015). The drama focuses on the rise of Misogynoir (misogyny directed towards black women where race and gender both play roles in bias). It is the story of strong passionate women who fight to overcome the terrors of oppression in a racist and sexist society.

NEWS: More2Screen to Broadcast Oscar Wilde’s ‘An Ideal Husband’ Live to Cinemas on 5th June

More2Screen has announced the live cinema broadcast of Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband, on Tuesday 5 June 2018, 7.15pm. This is the third play in the Classic Spring Theatre Company’s year-long Oscar Wilde Season at the Vaudeville Theatre and will be broadcast live by satellite to 420 cinemas across the UK and Ireland.

Directed by Jonathan Church, this entertaining and still topical play brings an act of political sin into the heart of the English home. As an ambitious government minister, Sir Robert Chiltern’s smooth ascent to the top seems assured until Mrs Cheveley appears in London with damning proof of his previous financial chicanery. The talented ensemble cast includes real-life father and son Edward (The Audience, West End; The Day of the Jackal, ITV) and Freddie Fox (The Judas Kiss, West End; CucumberBanana, Channel 4; E4), Olivier Award-nominated Frances Barber (Silk, BBC; Antony and Cleopatra, Shakespeare’s Globe), Olivier Award-winner Nathaniel Parker(This House, West End; Wolf Hall, West End & Broadway), Sally Bretton (Not Going Out, BBC; King Lear, Shakespeare’s Globe) and Susan Hampshire (Forsyte Saga, Monarch of the Glen, BBC).

In March the live broadcast of Lady Windermere’s Fan scored a hit at the box office and with cinema audiences around the UK and Ireland, as well as further afield in Gibraltar, Germany and Malta. Each play from the Oscar Wilde Season is reaching a global audience with cinema screenings of the filmed productions in countries around the world, including Australia, Canada, India, Russia and the US, demonstrating the Victorian playwright’s enduring appeal.

More2Screen will also broadcast the final production of Classic Spring’s Oscar Wilde Season from the Vaudeville Theatre to cinemas nationwide: The Importance of Being Earnest on Tuesday 9 October. Cinema tickets for the season are now on sale at

BBFC Cert: AS LIVE 12A | Running time 150 minutes (approx) including one interval.

#WildeSeason #WildeCinema #AIH

NEWS: National Theatre of Scotland touring critically-acclaimed Adam and Eve in 2018

The National Theatre of Scotland’s emotive and powerful shows about two extraordinary trans lives are set to return in 2018. Both shows debuted at the Traverse Theatre during the 2017 Edinburgh Fringe, earning substantial critical acclaim and striking a chord with audiences throughout the Festival.

In 2018, Adam returns to the stage to play at the Beacon Arts Centre from 4 to 5 May and Brighton Festival from 9 to 12 May, before Adam and Eve are presented in a double bill at Dundee Rep from 24 to 26 May 2018. Later in the year Adam will be presented as part of the Phoenix season at Battersea Arts Centre, London from 18 to 29 September 2018.

In May a new book of stories from the Adam World Choir, I Am, which has been created in partnership with the Mental Health Foundation and the National Theatre of Scotland, will launch as part of the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival.


Conceived for the stage and directed by Cora Bissett, written by Frances Poet, with music composed by Jocelyn Pook, set and costume design by Emily James, sound design by Garry Boyle, lighting design by Lizzie Powell, projection design by Jack Henry James and movement direction by Janis Claxton

Performed by Adam Kashmiry and Rehanna MacDonald

Adam is the remarkable, true story of a young trans man and his journey to reconciliation; with himself, those closest to him, and the world as he knows it. From Egypt to Scotland, it charts Adam’s fight across borders and genders to find a place to call home.

Adam was born into a girl’s body in Egypt, but always knew that he was really a boy. Trapped with no way to describe this feeling, in a deeply conservative society where falling in love with the wrong person can get you killed, he knew that he had to escape. With a borrowed laptop he types in a question: ‘Can the soul of a man be trapped in the body of a woman?’ What followed was beyond Adam’s wildest dreams. A catalyst to begin the epic journey for the right to change his body, to the boy he knows himself to be.

Adam is directed by award-winning theatre director Cora Bissett (co-creator of Glasgow Girls, Rites and Roadkill and director of Room) with music composed by Jocelyn Pook (Stage Works British Composer Award winner in 2012 for her soundtrack to DESH) and written by playwright and dramaturg Frances Poet 

‘a powerful story of transcendence’ *****The Herald

Adam is a powerful two hander, featuring a stand–out performance by Adam KashmiryAdam is the real person on whom the drama is based, who made a notable professional stage debut in the production last year. He previously appeared in the Citizen Theatre’s and Scottish Refugee Council’s Here We Stay at the Tron Theatre as part of Scottish Refugee Week in 2013. He was closely involved in the development of the show, focussing as it does on his own personal experiences.

Featuring a score sung by a virtual choir of trans and non-binary individuals from across the world who are projected onto the stage, Adam is both a bold exploration of the experience of a young transgender person and an ambitious experiment with theatrical form, blending storytelling, classical composition and mass digital elements from participants from around the globe.

Adam sees the National Theatre of Scotland return to Brighton Festival, which the Company has previously visited with shows The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart(2012), The Beautiful Cosmos of Ivor Cutler (2015) and Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour (2016). Artist and designer David Shrigley is the festival’s Guest Director for 2018.



Written by Jo Clifford and Chris Goode

Director and set designer Susan Worsfold;  lighting designer Kai Fischer; sound designer Matt Padden; costume designer Aileen Sherry; composer Chris Goode and projection designer Seth Hardwick.

Performed by Jo Clifford

Eveperformed by acclaimed playwright and performer Jo Clifford, offers audiences an authentic and intimate insight into the real life experiences of a trans person. The performance is a profound reflection on one trans woman’s life, from an oppressive 1950s boyhood to the present day. Following her turbulent life journey through a time of huge personal, social and political change, Eve celebrates the victories of survival and self-actualization.

A deeply personal piece that speaks generously to, and for, a much wider community, Eve is a performance in which the smallest details of everyday life can open up cracks through which memories, dreams and reflections flood in. Performed with warmth and humour, passion and anger, Eve invites audiences into the most intimate relationship with the story of an individual’s life.

‘a brave, searing and sorrowful solo turn’**** The Telegraph

Eve is created by ground-breaking writer and performer Jo Clifford (The Gospel According to Jesus Queen of Heaven) and the award-winning theatre-maker Chris Goode (Men in the Cities and Sisters). It was Clifford’s 91st play in a remarkable career that has seen her work performed across the world. She was the first openly transgendered woman playwright to have had a play produced on London’s West End stage and earlier in 2017 was welcomed into the Saltire Society’s “Outstanding Women of Scotland” community. Also in 2017 her translation of Lorca’s The House of Bernarda Alba was presented by Graeae Theatre Company at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester.

Jo Clifford and Chris Goode also recently collaborated on Jo’s play Every One which received its English premiere at Battersea Arts Centre, London in 2016.

Jo Clifford collaborates again with director Susan Worsfold. They originally worked together on The Gospel According to Jesus, Queen of Heaven and most recently on War in America, presented by the Attic Collective at the Former Royal High School, in May 2017.

With trans rights under threat globally, legendary playwright, performer, father and grandmother Jo Clifford tells a story both gentle and passionate, intimate and political, to remind us that the journey towards our real selves is one we all need to make, wherever it leads us.


I Am: Stories from transgender and non-binary people across the world

Created by the Mental Health Foundation and the National Theatre of Scotland

Published May 2018

Developed in partnership between the Mental Health Foundation, the National Theatre of Scotland and the Adam World Choir, I Am is a new book that explores the honest experiences of transgender and non-binary people from across the globe; stories about survival, stories about hope, joy and endurance and finding a place to call home. Two years in the making, I Am is a collection of fascinating, moving tales collected from members of the Adam World Choir, the digital community assembled to be part of the theatre show Adam. The book includes an introduction from leading Scottish playwright Jo Clifford, whose show, Eve was shown alongside Adam in 2017 and also tours again in 2018. I Am launches in May as part of the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival. I Am is edited by Elaine Gallagher, with cover design by Soofiya and an introduction by Jo Clifford


Adam Listings Info

The Beacon Arts Centre, Greenock
DatesFri 04 to Sat 05 May 2018
Tickets:  £12 – £15

Theatre Royal, Brighton (Brighton Festival)
DatesWed 09 to Sat 12 May 2018
Tickets: £10 – £22.50
Box Office:

Dundee Rep Theatre, Dundee
DatesThu 24 to Sat 26 May 2018 (As part of Adam/Eve double bill)
Tickets: £9 – £25

Battersea Arts Centre, London
Dates18 to 29 September 2018
Tickets: £15 – £30
Box Office:

Adam and Eve Listings info

Dundee Rep Theatre, Dundee
Thu 24 to Sat 26 May 2018 (As part of Adam/Eve double bill)
Tickets: £9 – £25

Join the conversation: #NTSAdam and #NTSEve

Image: Sally Jubb



NEWS: Edinburgh International Children’s Festival programme unveiled

The 29th Edinburgh International Children’s Festival (26 May – 3 June 2018), which is produced by Imaginate and funded by Creative Scotland, launched its programme to the public today. From intimate, immersive theatre specifically designed for babies, through to high-energy and thought-provoking shows for teenagers, the Festival presents the gold standard of theatre for young audiences from around the world.

The 2018 programme features 14 shows from 12 countries – a varied programme of theatre, dance, multi-media and puppetry curated by Festival Director Noel Jordan. As well as well-loved Scottish companies such as Catherine Wheels, families will have the opportunity to see productions from as far as New Zealand and Canada, and for the first time, an exciting show from South Africa partly performed in the clicking language Xhosa.

This year, the festival has also extended opportunities for families to attend shows with performances in the evening, at the weekend and on Friday afternoon.

“2018 promises to be another spectacular year for the Festival,” said Edinburgh International Children’s Festival’s director Noel Jordan“Where else can you share the lives of two young refugees from Syria, thrill to the rebellious curiosity of a boy made entirely of clay or delight in watching childhood toys infiltrate and disturb the lives of busy executives. Whilst the stories they create are incredibly unique and offer different perspectives of the world, at their core is a belief that children – no matter what their circumstances may be – deserve the best art possible.”

Small people, big subjects
This year’s festival doesn’t shy away from difficult topics. From the refugee crisis in Europe (We Come from Far, Far Away), to four young girls’ obsession with death (Mbuzeni), from climate change (Loo) to overcoming grief (Eddie & the Slumber Sisters), this carefully curated programme tackles big issues with sensitivity and humour, giving children and their families plenty of food for thought.

Opening weekend
The festival will open with a family weekend at the National Museum of Scotland (thanks to an enduring partnership with National Museums Scotland) with free drop-in events throughout the building including live music, pop-up performances, storytelling, hands-on arts activities and more.  As part of the celebration of the Year of Young People, Imaginate has recruited six passionate and enthusiastic Young Associates aged between 17-24 yrs to help programme and deliver the weekend festivities. They have been given free rein to curate a key strand of the weekend.

Festival on Tour
The festival will also go beyond Edinburgh with a 3 week tour of Scotland of Baba Yaga, Imaginate’s new international co-production with Shona Reppe and Windmill Theatre Co (Australia) funded by the Scottish Government’s Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund.  A new twist on an old Russian folktale created by three unique female artists from across the globe, the show is set in a “retro-futuristic world” where Vaselina must achieve three impossible tasks to escape from the witch Baba Yaga.
A tale set to gives its audience a lot to chew on…

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, said:
“I recognise the importance of young people engaging with the arts and the significant benefits gained by increasing access and opportunities for all our young people particularly this year, as we celebrate the Year of Young People. The 2018 festival will deliver a high-quality programme of work in Edinburgh and beyond including Baba Yaga, which was funded through £100,000 provided by the Scottish Government EXPO fund. Research has provided strong evidence on the value of young people experiencing culture from an early age, and the Children’s Festival ensures their exposure to performances and experiences of world class quality.”

Wee Night Out
The festival will also see the culmination of a special initiative, which gave a group of 10-15-year-old children from Craigmillar the opportunity to work with the festival director. Together, they attended nine productions at the 2017 Edinburgh Festival Fringe and following heated discussions about what they had seen and liked, selected The Road That Wasn’t There to be included in the 2018 Children’s Festival programme. The project was funded by The City of Edinburgh Council.

Megan, one of the young person involved this year said: “I found it good to hear the feedback of different people and what they thought of each show, but it was kind of hard to put across what I thought and explain why I wanted it included in the programme”.

Festival tickets are on sale now. For full programme and booking information, go to Tickets can be booked online or at 0131 228 1404.

This year’s international programme, in order of age suitability, includes:

Toddler Room (for 0-3 yrs)
Dybwikdans (Norway)

A beautiful dance show set inside a white tented dome where gorgeous sculptural objects, sounds and costumes are the stimulus for a magical and sensory experience.  This immersive performance for the very young is full of wonder and special discoveries.

Loo (for 2-5 yrs)
Ponten Pie (Spain)

Loo is a hot wind from Asia that moves the desert sand dunes, dries up wetlands and leaves ships buried in sandy oceans.  Set around the bow of a wooden sunken ship, the show explores the changes this wind can cause using music, a set full of sand and stunning visual effects.

Não Não (for 2-5 yrs)
Le Vent des Forges (France)

Não (No, in Portuguese) is a mischievous little boy made of clay who discovers a world of mud, water and talc. Set in a mini amphitheatre of beautifully crafted wood and metal, this humorous performance made entirely out of mouldable clay, explores the sensory and messy escapades of young children.

Things to Wear (for 2-6 yrs)
Theaterhaus Ensemble (Germany)
As clothes emerge from a giant paper bag, a man and a woman take on different roles, different outfits and test their limits, dancing in and out of jackets, trousers and dresses. The two opera-trained performers accompany their show with beautiful singing of The Fairy Queen.

Ogo (for 2.5-6 yrs)
Théâtre des Petites Âmes (Canada)
Three strangers have received an invitation to travel with Ogo. But Ogo never comes. This magical show about strangers becoming friends thanks to a mysterious puppet is a wonderful tribute to creativity and imagination, accompanied by live music.

Stick by Me (for 3-6 yrs)
Andy Manley & Red Bridge Arts (Scotland)
A quirky new show about friendship and play, and the importance of treasuring little things. Created by Andy Manley and Ian Cameron, co-creators of international hit show White this shows proves that being alone doesn’t mean being lonely.

Gretel and Hansel (for 6-10 yrs)
Le Carrousel (Canada)

The arrival of a little brother has upset the balance of Gretel’s life completely. So when they are abandoned and end up at the witch’s house, she is very tempted to push him into the oven and get rid of him forever… Seen through the eyes of Gretel, this show investigates sibling relationships, and the complexity of love and jealousy.

Expedition Peter Pan (for 7-12 yrs) 
Het Laagland (The Netherlands)
The show explores the joys of play, shaking off the shackles of adulthood, and flying high with the king of make-believe. It invites audiences into a world where marbles appear in briefcases, paper planes in filing cabinets, and long-forgotten music thrills you to dance.

Baba Yaga (for 7-12 yrs)
Shona Reppe, Christine Johnston & Rosemary Myers (Scotland/Australia)
Vaselina lives the quiet life, working as a receptionist in a tall apartment block. But all that changes when she is forced to confront a terrifying resident who plays her music too loudly. An uproarious new take on an old Russian folktale. Commissioned by Imaginate and Windmill Theatre Co.

The Road That Wasn’t There (for 8-13 yrs)
Trick of the Light & Zanetti Productions (New Zealand)
A young woman fascinated by ‘paper roads’, streets and towns that exist only on surveyors’ maps, strays from the beaten track and finds herself in a parallel paper world. Combining puppetry and shadow play, this is a dark fable drawn from the twitchy edges of children’s literature.

Eddie & the Slumber Sisters (for 8-13 yrs)
Catherine Wheels Theatre Company (Scotland)
The Slumber Sisters, an all-singing trio whose job is to monitor dreams, decide to intervene when Eddie’s nightmares become increasingly wild and chaotic, following the death of her grandmother. This interactive show explores grieving with warm-heart, songs and humour.

A Feast of Bones (for 9-15 yrs)
Theatre Lovett (Ireland)
A deliciously dark retelling of Henny Penny, the classic fable of survival, set at the end of the First World War in a French café. While a waitress sits polishing her knives, one cunning customer is about to be served a meal he will never forget. A musical fable about revenge.

We Come from Far Far Away (for 10-15 yrs) 
NIE (Norway / England)
Based on true stories, this show follows the difficult and amazing journey of two boys who travel alone from Aleppo, Syria to seek refuge in Oslo. Performed in a yurt, using puppetry, comedy and live music, this rich and touching production tells a big story in an intimate way.

Mbuzeni (12+ yrs and adults)
Koleka Putuma (South Africa)
Mbuzeni tells the story of four orphan girls and their fixation with burials. From one of South Africa’s most acclaimed young black female voices, this visually evocative journey explores tradition, burial rituals, African folklore, sisterhood and mortality.

The Monster and Mary Shelley, an interview with performer Catherine Gillard, director Peter Clerke and writer Stewart Ennis

In celebration of 200 years since the publication of her most famous novel Frankenstein, The Occasion Theatre has announced the Scottish tour of their new production exploring the life of Mary Shelley.

Director Peter Clerke, writer Stewart Ennis, and performer Catherine Gillard gives us some insight into the production that begins at the Tron Theatre on 20th April.

What drew you to a play about Mary Shelley?

Peter: Firstly, the details of her life; which was remarkable. The more you discover about what she achieved and lived through, the more fascinating she becomes as a person. Then there’s the whole period through which she lived, a time of enormous scientific discovery, of philosophical and cultural change. She was at the forefront of this new, bold world; a world rich with possibilities for dramatisation and of great relevance to the present day.

What can people expect when they come to see The Monster and Mary Shelley?

Catherine: An entertaining production which celebrates the fascinating life of Mary Shelley and asks questions about how and why she went about writing her most famous novel. As a one woman performance the story is told from Mary’s point of view using different incidents from her life, but we look at these from a contemporary view – as if Mary was here today and looking back from now. This isn’t a naturalistic drama – it’s an atmospheric and abstract interpretation of what she might be thinking today looking back.

Peter: It’s been a fascinating show to work on and the contributions from everyone involved – writer, musician, actor, set and lighting designers – have been immense. We think it’ll entertain, introduce a very significant writer and thinker to a new audience and, hopefully, provoke a few questions along the way.

How did you approach writing The Monster and Mary Shelley?

Stewart: I read a couple of biographies of her including an early one by Muriel Spark, who revisited and revised her Mary Shelley biography throughout her life. Then of course, when we discovered that 2018 was the 200th anniversary of the publication of Frankenstein, along came a never-ending stream of books, articles, lectures, radio documentaries etc.  That said, this was never going to be a straightforward historical drama with an actress dressed up in period costume, telling us Mary Shelley’s life from the day she was born until the day she died. It was more a case of forming an impression of Mary Shelley that allowed us to be playful with her but which also felt truthful and respectful, and figuring out how this extraordinary woman’s life and work had relevance for us today.

Rehearsal image: Stewart Ennis

The play explores some of the events in Mary’s life that led to the creation of Frankenstein. How do you weave humour into this at times tragic story?

Stewart: I think that a creative spirit like Mary Shelley must have had a sense of humour; her letters and journals suggest as much. Yes, there was a great deal of tragedy in her life, and a lot of it is explored in this show, but it feels important not to define her by it, or in some way to present her as tragic or as a victim. She lived a life and she dealt with her troubles, and like any human being, humour is one way of dealing with that. The style of the show also helps in that respect.  The language is quite anachronistic but we have also included readings from Frankenstein, songs, and theatrical elements from her time, such as melodrama.

Catherine: We have to remember that Mary Shelley was a teenager when she wrote Frankenstein. She didn’t lead up to writing this book with the idea that it would define her – she was just living and coping with everything that life threw at her. And it wasn’t all wonderful – her mother died shortly after Mary’s birth; her father remarried soon afterwards and Mary didn’t get on particularly well with her new stepmother; she was well educated then bundled off to Scotland around the age of 14; and then she met Percy Bysshe Shelley who was already married. They fell in love and ran away to Europe. She was sixteen! She wanted her own life, she was a teenager – she must have been pretty wild and that on its own gives a humour. A spark of life, not just a tragedy. All this plus the fact that she was hanging out with artistic, radical libertarians – they were all for challenging the norms. There had to be funny stuff going on!

Having delved into the life Mary Shelley, what do you most admire about her? 

Catherine: I found it extraordinary that by the age of 25 Mary had lived through the loss of her mother, 4 children and her husband, not to mention the suicide of both her half-sister, Fanny and her husband’s first wife, Harriet. Her ability to cope with this level of tragedy and continue to live and work in a society where female writers were still not accepted was amazing. Most of all I admire her imagination and intelligence – to write a novel that continues to fascinate and spark ideas to this day is an astonishing achievement.

How relevant is Mary Shelley today?

Peter: Very – perhaps, unfortunately. The issues that she was most concerned with, of equality, freedom of expression and acceptance have progressed in the past 200 years but, in the #Metoo campaign, ‘fake news’ scandals and the continuing persecutions of minority communities these are still very live issues. Mary Shelley was undoubtedly ahead of her time; we, it can perhaps be argued, are somewhat behind.

What are your views on the original Frankenstein novel?

Stewart: I first read it about thirty years ago and to be honest only had a vague recollection of what it was all about.  I had been brought up on the countless Frankenstein films (the Boris Karloff Universal, the Christopher Lee Hammer, the Mel Brooks and the Abbot & Costello) all of which coloured my vision. It was one of the real pleasures of this process to go back to the original novel (or novels, she did a major rewrite many years later) and discover/be reminded that the creature is not some lumbering mute monstrosity with bolts through its neck, but agile in body and in mind and with such a deep longing to be loved.  You could say that he – the creature – is a product of an absolutely terrible, brutal, loveless upbringing and his actions are a reflection of that. It’s a more complex book than I think people imagine, and if our play moves people to read the novel, then I’d be delighted.

Atmospheric, moving and darkly comic with a pulsing, cinematic score, this is a contemporary voyage into the life of Mary Shelley – the Gothic Girl who electrified the world. Presented by The Occasion Theatre.


Fri 20 – Sat 21 Apr

Tron Theatre, Glasgow


Tickets: £11/£8.50 conc.

Box Office: 0141 552 4267


Wed 25 Apr

Platform, Glasgow


Tickets: £8.50/£5 conc./£4 Local Links

Box Office: 0141 276 9696


Thu 26 Apr

Macrobert Arts Centre, Stirling


Tickets: £12.50/£10.50 conc./£5.50 students

Box Office: 01786 466 666


Wed 2 May

Byre Theatre, St. Andrews


Tickets: £12/£10 conc.

Box Office: 01334 475000


Thu 3 May

Beacon Arts Centre, Greenock


Tickets: £12/£10 conc.

Box Office: 01475 723 723


Fri 4 May

Eastgate Theatre & Arts Centre, Peebles


Tickets: £14/£12/£16 U15s


Sat 5 May

The Brunton, Musselburgh


Tickets: £13.50/£11.50/£8.50 U18s


Mon 7 May

Mull Theatre, Tobermory


Tickets: £10/£8


Wed 9 May

Skye Theatre, Isle of Skye


Tickets: £14/£12 Members/£7 Students and Young People/Seasons Free


Fri 11 May

Universal Hall, Findhorn


Tickets: £12/£10 Concs./£8 U16s


Sat 12 May

Lyth Arts Centre, Lyth


Tickets: £14/£12/£6

INTERVIEW: Rebecca Norris, actor and co-deviser of The Wedding Reception coming to Eastwood Park Theatre’s Carmichael Hall in May.

Glasgow Theatre Blog had the chance to talk to Rebecca Norris, co-creator of The Wedding Reception coming to Eastwood Park Theatre this May.

Tell us a little bit about the play.

The Wedding Reception is a unique immersive theatrical dining experience. It invites you to be a guest at a surprise wedding reception for newlyweds William and Kate. You join the family (and a few uninvited guests) through two hours of a muddled attempt at traditional wedding celebration rites where nothing seems to go as planned. They cry, laugh and dance, and hopefully you will too! (maybe not the cry bit).

And your role…

Four actors play nine roles in The Wedding Reception. I play two roles: Lynn (the mother of the bride) and Marge (the groom’s aunt). Lynn is a great role to play She’s a wonderful and warm northern lady. A bit of a mum to everyone and will talk about anything. Nothing is off limits with Lynn. Aunt Marge is much colder. A stuck up ‘wanna-be’ who’s faked most things in her life to get her where she is today.


How has the play been received so far, has it been different in different locations?

The Wedding Reception has been performed all over the UK, including Scotland and Wales – although this is our first time in Glasgow. We have even been lucky enough to do tours across Australia and a show in Singapore. Depending on the location, we change a few references in the show for audiences to relate to but on the whole we’ve found wherever we are the universal truth is that everyone loves a good wedding so everyone always has a great time.

What is life like backstage on tour?

Backstage on tour can be a bit crazy, really. We have a lot of quick costume changes throughout the show so backstage can be manic. Especially when we are out and about on tour and the size of our changing area can vary quite some bit. We’ve all been very close together in some shows.

Touring can be demanding, how do you keep your performance fresh/look after yourself when you’re having to travel as well as perform on stage at night?

Keeping this show fresh isn’t so much of a challenge, as it’s very different to traditional theatre shows. The audience members are not just watching a show, they become an integral part of it so with their input we never perform never same show twice. It certainly keeps us all on our toes. Good planning and keeping it all in good fun is key to staying healthy and fighting fatigue on the road. We spend a lot of time in each other’s company so trying find ways of making long journeys and mundane jobs fun is really important.

Can we go back a bit and talk about what inspired you to become an actor and the path you took to become one?

I didn’t get into acting until quite late – I was 30 before I’d even considered it. Although I remember having a love of theatre when I was younger, I never considered it to be an option. It was only by chance that I did a workshop in Brighton which actually changed everything. Suddenly my sole focus and drive was on acting. I went to drama school and worked full-time while attending to fund myself. Once I graduated I tried to make sure each job I got would lead to another until it became my full-time job and I’ve never looked back.

Any advice for aspiring performers?

It’s never too late! If it’s something you have a passion for then go get involved. Maybe do some courses and see where it takes you.

Finally, why should people come along to see the play? And where else can we see it?

Everyone should come to see this play! – though it’s PG, because of some sexual innuendo and partial nudity. That aside, each show is truly different as audiences react in various ways to being swept up in the raucous action. Whatever happens though, one thing’s for sure – it will be an unforgettable experience.
You are all invited to the most madcap marital celebration of them all and get to eat a 3-course meal as well.

We are playing at Carmichael Hall in Eastwood Park Theatre on Saturday 12 May at 7:30pm.

We’re also visiting:

Birmingham REP (10-11 May)

Greshams in Ipswich (18 May)

Bedford Swan Hotel (also 18 May)

Hadley Park House in Telford (19 May)

AFC Portchester Club House (22 June)

Nottingham Theatre Royal (6 July)

– and Edinburgh Fringe 2-27 August.

NEWS: Interactive Shows at Eastwood Park This Spring

Glasgow audiences are in for a treat this May as they become part of the performance, with two interactive shows coming to Eastwood Park Theatre in Giffnock.

Guests are cordially invited to the wedding of the year, with theatrical dining comedy experience The Wedding Reception on Saturday 12 May, while the audience will take a trip down musical memory lane with Turntable on Saturday 19 May.

Anthony McReavy from East Renfrewshire Culture and Leisure said: “Audiences are sure to love these shows, because they will become part of the performance.

“The Wedding Reception is a two-hour theatrical dining experience, featuring a three course meal, comedy and highly improvised entertainment, while Turntable invites the audience to share memories, stories and music.

“It’s great to be able to offer something different to Eastwood Park Theatre.”

The Wedding Reception sees newlyweds Will and Kate expecting an intimate celebration – but Kate’s mum has other ideas, including a big surprise party that the audience is part of.  The Wedding Reception is brought by Interactive Theatre International, the people behind the globetrotting hit, Faulty Towers – The Dining Experience (Faulty towers was a sell-out show at Eastwood Park last year).

Meanwhile, Glasgow Southside musician and composer Michael John (MJ) McCarthy brings a different beat to the Carmichael Hall on Saturday 19 May with a trip down memory lane for music fans.

Turntable intends to reclaim music as a communal experience whilst also celebrating each participant’s individual relationship with the key songs and albums in their lives. The show started when MJ McCarthy and his Great Aunt Kathleen – 55 years his senior – connected over a stack of vinyl. Since then, the Turntable team have toured her record case around Scotland, inviting listeners of all ages to investigate its contents whilst reflecting on the importance of music in their lives.

The show was commissioned by the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival in 2015 and now seeks to combat loneliness and isolation experienced by the young and old across Scotland and the UK.

Tickets for The Wedding Reception cost £45, including a three course meal and tickets for Turntable are £10, available from:

NEWS: American Idiot back in 2019 and savings on early bird tickets

Following two critically acclaimed West End runs and a sell-out UK Tour, Green Day’s explosive rock musical American Idiot returns to Glasgow to mark the show’s 10th anniversary and the 15th anniversary of the Grammy Award-winning original album.

The show will be at the King’s Theatre, Glasgow from Tue 28 May – Sat 1 June 2019

There are some rockin’ savings to be made 
ATG Theatre Card 
Half price Tue 28 May 2019, book first 3 months, thereafter £10 off*
Premium and band A. Click here to join

Groups 6+ Get a free drink with every ticket sold**
Valid Tue – Thu & Fri early, bands A – C

Groups 10+ £5 off
Groups 20+ £6 off
Groups 40+ £7 off
One free ticket with every 10 sold, valid Tue – Thu & Fri early, bands A – C

Early group booker offer
Save an additional £2 per ticket if book and pay by 1st May***

School & youth groups 10+
£15 per ticket plus free teacher ticket with every 10 sold
Valid Tue – Thu & Fri early, bands B – D

American Idiot is the story of three boyhood friends, each searching for meaning in a post 9/11 world. This thrilling musical has had Green Day fans in rapture and introduced a generation of theatregoers to their powerful and moving musical style.

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