Tag Archives: Edinburgh

REVIEW: Maxim Vengerov with the Würth Philharmonic – Usher Hall, Edinburgh

Arguably, the greatest living string player in the world, and undoubtedly the most in-demand musician in all of classical music, Maxim Vengerov returns to Edinburgh as both soloist and conductor in this finale to the Usher Hall’s season of Sunday Classics.

In the first half, Vengerov performs one of the most popular violin concertos in the classical repertoire, and one of the best works of the Romantic period, Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto No.1 in G Minor, Op. 26, in the second, conducting the newly formed Würth Philharmonic in Shostakovich’s 10th Symphony. In addition we are treated to Strauss’ Die Fledermaus Overture and Saint-Saëns’ Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso.

Under the confident baton of Stamatia Karampini, the Würth Philharmonic begin the afternoon gloriously with the overture of J. Strauss II’s Die Fledermaus, the smiles that appear instantaneously on the faces of the audience, testament to both the popularity of the piece and the virtuosity with which it is played by this stunning orchestra.

When Vengerov takes to the stage, the ex-Kreutzer Stradivari in his hand, there’s no doubt who everyone is here to see, and boy does he deliver. Bruch’s Violin Concerto is already one of the greatest loved works in the repertoire, but in the hands of a maestro it is utterly ravishing. While there’s a theatricality in his playing style, there’s little interaction with the audience, that said, there’s no need, this traditional approach takes nothing away from the musical experience, and Vengerov radiates sincerity and enthusiasm from every pore. His finger work as close to perfection as it’s possible to get. As he leaves the stage at the end of the first act there’s no greater compliment than the reaction of the audience, a rousing ovation and smiles, smiles everywhere you look, proof that music has the power to change your mood, to make you feel alive.

In the second half Vengerov takes the baton, conducting the Würth in Shostakovich’s rousing Symphony No.10. Created in 2017, the 72 piece from mainly European countries, the orchestra aims to unite young musicians across the world form a virtuosic symphony orchestra and on this first hearing they have achieved this. The power of Shostakovich’s rings out throughout the auditorium, stirring the soul.

A concert programme and performance of infinite quality. A fitting end to the Usher Hall’s Sunday Classics International Concert Series, a programme of work that stirs and inspires and leaves you wanting more.

NEWS: Casting call for Nativity! The Musical – children for Edinburgh and Glasgow

Following sold-out performances in London and a triumphant UK tour in 2017, Jamie Wilson, Entertainment One (eOne), Ramin Sabi and Belgrade Theatre Coventry are delighted to announce the return of NATIVITY! THE MUSICAL and are on the look-out for children across the UK to audition for the 2018 UK tour.

Bright, young stars from across the country will have a chance to sparkle and shine as one of the children from Oakmoor School. Auditions for Scotland (Glasgow and Edinburgh) will be held in The Studio, 22 Potterrow Edinburgh on Saturday 23 June from 10am-6pm (children will need to be available to play both VENUES – the King’s Theatre in Glasgow, Wednesday 7 – Sunday 11 November and the Festival Theatre in Edinburgh, Wednesday 28 November – Sunday 2 December).

All children auditioning must be:

  • Children must be age 9-12 years old by 1st September 2018
  • Strictly no taller than 4ft 7inches
  • Children must live within 45 miles commute to the venue and be available to perform the playing dates of the venue they are auditioning for – tour dates listed below
  • Characterful but disciplined children with strong singing, acting and movement skills and with a passion for performing

NATIVITY! THE MUSICAL is written and directed by the creator and director of the blockbuster film series, Debbie Isitt. Debbie said today;

‘We are looking for characterful but disciplined children who can ‘act’ as snobby and superior and yet have a sense of fun and can give over the top performances if required.  We need the children to have good movement ability – marching, basic choreography and have excellent posture.  They should also be able to sing confidently, have basic acting ability and enjoy performing’.

Every child in every school has one Christmas wish, to star in a Nativity, and at St Bernadette’s School they’ve decided to mount a musical version! Join teacher Mr Maddens and his crazy assistant Mr Poppy as they struggle with hilarious children, and a whole lot of sparkle and shine to make everyone’s Christmas wish come true. Featuring all of your favourite sing-a-long songs from the smash-hit films including Sparkle and Shine, Nazareth and One Night One MomentNATIVITY! THE MUSICAL promises to be the perfect feel-good comedy for all the family.

To audition, children must be pre-registered with Keston and Keston the Children’s Regional Casting Directors via the iOS App ‘Keston Casting- downloadable’ which can be downloaded for free via the app store or registration can be via the website www.kestonandkestoncasting.com.

 

All children who fall within the criteria above will be sent an invite with full information and the location for the audition.

 

NATIVITY – THE MUSICAL 2018/19 – SCOTTISH TOUR DATES

WEDNESDAY 7 NOVEMBER – SUNDAY 11 NOVEMBER 2018

GLASGOW KINGS THEATRE www.atgtickets.com/venues/kings-theatre

 

WEDNESDAY 28 NOVEMBER – SUNDAY 2 DECEMBER 2018

FESTIVAL THEATRE EDINBURGH  www.capitaltheatres.com

NEWS: 96 SPECTACULAR SHOWS ON SALE FOR UNDERBELLY’S 2018 EDINBURGH FESTIVAL FRINGE

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.

Comedy

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.”

LISTINGS

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.” (hotwatercomedy.co.uk). “Brilliantly whimsical… leaving the audience in awe” (cupofbeans.co.uk). 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’ ***** (BroadwayBaby.com). ‘Wildly funny and technically incredible’ ***** (TheAge.com.au).

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.’ (JPost.com) ‘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).

Balloonatics

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’ ***** (ViewfromTheGods.co.uk). ‘Impressively dynamic and effortlessly charismatic’ **** (LondonTheatre1.com). ‘One to watch for the future’ **** (TheReviewsHub.com). 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’ **** (RemoteGoat.com).

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. ***** (HuffingtonPost.co.uk). **** (List). ****(BroadwayBaby.com).

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’ ***** (TheWeeReview.com). ‘A spectacular must see’ ***** (Bunbury Magazine). ‘Spontaneous mastery’ **** (FringeBiscuit.co.uk).

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’ **** (Chortle.co.uk). ‘The performance, the material and the gravitas – it’s all there. Essential viewing’ ***** (BroadwayBaby.com).

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’ (StaffsLive.co.uk). 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’ (Meg.ie). ‘The Funniest Show at EdFringe 2015’ (Sun). ‘Light-hearted and hugely entertaining comedy’ (List).

dressed.

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). **** (Chortle.co.uk). **** (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’ (Chortle.co.uk). ‘Proper star quality’ (Guardian). ***** (ThreeWeeks). ***** (Mirror). **** (Chortle.co.uk). **** (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’ (ToDoList.org.uk). ‘Definitely one to watch’ (Chortle.co.uk).

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. ***** (Comedy.co.uk). ***** (Skinny). ***** (ThreeWeeks). ***** (BroadwayBaby.com).

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’ (TheAge.com.au) 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. **** (BroadwayBaby.com).

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’ (FreshAir.org.uk). 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’ (BroadwayBaby.com).

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 (GlamAdelaide.com.au). ‘Magnificent, be amazed, be appalled, and be blown away’ ***** (WeekendNotes.com). ‘A night of debauchery and devilry! Hilarious’ ****1/2 (FourthWallMedia.Wordpress.com). ‘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’ **** (Shortcom.co.uk).

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’ **** (TheWeeReview.com).

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’ (Chortle.co.uk). ‘A master deconstructionist… the lightning-fast comedian slows down to let his fans catch up’ (AVClub.com).

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’ **** (BroadwayBaby.com). ‘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’ ***** (FairyPoweredProductions.com). ‘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’ (TheSpinoff.co.nz). ‘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: 200 musicians and singers bring full power of Mahler’s ‘Resurrection’ symphony to Usher Hall

The full drama of Mahler’s all-embracing second symphony comes to life in performance in a way that very few recordings can hope to capture. With enlarged orchestral forces and a 140-strong choir this work is truly epic, offering up the composer’s apocalyptic vision of life, death and the hereafter.

Bruckner Orchester Linz spans 200 years of tradition and excellence. The Orchestra is joined by the Leeds and Sheffield Philharmonic Choruses, both with illustrious histories of their own.

The task of leading this huge orchestra is that of the world-renowned German conductor Markus Poschner. A German Conductor’s Award winner, he is regularly invited to lead the world’s best orchestras, specialising in the symphonies of Mahler, Brahms and Beethoven.

With 200 musicians and singers on stage together performing Mahler’s momentous work in the wonderful Usher Hall acoustics, get ready for a mind-blowing Sunday Classics experience.

Bruckner Orchester Linz

Usher Hall, Lothian Road, Edinburgh

Door time: 2:00pm

Start time: 3:00pm

Mahler Symphony No.2 ‘Resurrection’

Markus Poschner Conductor
Leeds Philharmonic Chorus
Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus
Brigitte Geller Soprano

Tickets available at: www.usherhall.co.uk/sunday-classics 

NEWS: LES MISÉRABLES TO RETURN TO EDINBURGH IN 2019

After nearly a decade since the last UK tour sold out in only a few days, Cameron Mackintosh is delighted to announce his acclaimed Broadway production of Boublil and Schönberg’s musical “LES MISÉRABLES” will be at the Festival Theatre Edinburgh from 22 January – 16 February 2019.

Cameron Mackintosh said, “Since I first conceived the new production of “Les Misérables” to celebrate the shows 25th anniversary in 2009, this production has taken the world by storm – more than matching the success of the original, which can now only be seen in London.  I am thrilled that modern audiences have embraced this production as Les Mis for the 21st century and it is playing to packed houses all over the world in many languages. It also inspired the hugely successful movie version starring Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway and Eddie Redmayne.

This latest version comes hot from its recent Broadway triumph (now once again on a sell-out tour of North America) and is even more spectacular than the original.  I am very proud that this extraordinary Boublil and Schönberg musical remains as fresh, thrilling and exciting as ever – and people are still storming the barricades for a ticket.”

This brilliant new staging has scenery inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo, and has been seen in North America, South America, Korea, Japan, Canada, Australia, Spain, France, Manila, Singapore, Dubai and Broadway.

Based on Victor Hugo’s classic novel, Boublil and Schönberg’s magnificent score of “LES MISÉRABLES” includes the songs, “I Dreamed a Dream”, “On My Own”, “Stars”, “Bring Him Home”, “Do You Hear the People Sing?”, “One Day More”, “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables”, “Master Of The House” and many more.  Seen by over 120 million people worldwide in 45 countries and in 22 languages, “LES MISÉRABLES” is undisputedly one of the world’s most popular musicals.

TUESDAY 22 JANUARY – SATURDAY 16 FEBRUARY 2019

FESTIVAL THEATRE EDINBURGH

edtheatres.com – 0131 529 6000

ON GENERAL SALE 12 MARCH 2018; ON SALE TO FRIENDS FROM 26 FEB; ON SALE TO GROUPS FROM 5 MARCH

NEWS: Jurassic Park to be screened with live symphony orchestra in Edinburgh’s Usher Hall

One of the standout films of the 1990s, Jurassic Park is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a UK tour stopping at one of the UK top venues Edinburgh’s Usher Hall. The film will be soundtracked live by the stunning Czech National Symphony Orchestra.

The concert takes place on Saturday 15 September and tickets go on sale this Wednesday, 28 February at www.usherhall.co.uk and on 0131 228 1155.

Edinburgh’s iconic Usher Hall is one of the UK’s top concert halls and one of only 2 Scottish venues on the tour. The screening of Jurassic Park follows a series of live orchestral scores set to film and shown in the wonderful acoustics of the Usher Hall, including Beauty and the Beast on 25 March and Sister Act with live choir on 19 May.

The concert will see the Czech National Symphony Orchestra return to the venue following their performance as part of the Usher Hall’s Sunday Classics series on 22 April.

Also celebrating its 25th birthday in 2018, the CNSO has gained a position among both Czech and Europe’s top symphonic ensembles. Renowned for its versatility, the orchestra presents annually a broad program ranging from classical music concerts through contemporary genre, film scores, jazz, or musicals.

Listings information

Jurassic Park 25th Anniversary Tour with Czech National Symphony Orchestra

Sat 15 September 2018, 7.30pm

Usher Hall, Lothian Road, Edinburgh

Conductor: Jessica Cottis

Classified PG

Ticket Prices: £49.50 | £41.80 | £35.20 | £27.50 – Max. 8 tickets per person.

Tickets available from 28 Feb at www.usherhall.co.uk and 0131 228 1155

NEWS: Fringe favourites return as Pleasance announces its first shows for Edinburgh 2018

At the heart of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe since 1985, the Pleasance Theatre Trust announce the first acts on sale in its 2018 Festival programme, including Reginald D Hunter, Colin Cloud and Showstopper! An Improvised Musical.

An entire festival in itself, the Pleasance’s programme will offer some of the biggest names in entertainment, much-loved returning acts and exciting newcomers over three sites. The first released names in this year’s line-up hint at the epic full programme in store for the 2018 Fringe, with tickets available from Thursday 1st February.

Reginald D Hunter celebrates his 20th year on the Fringe with his highly anticipated new show. Reginald’s searingly honest brand of comedy is one of the many highlights of a much-expanded programme at Pleasance at EICC, which promises the very best in comedy, circus and theatre, all under one state-of-the-art roof.

Joining the bill at the EICC is internationally acclaimed, award-winning Scottish stand-up star Daniel Sloss, who returns to the Festival with new show X, and a double dose of Fringe regular Jimeoin, who brings Result! and the late-night Roast Chicken Result!

Elsewhere, the Pleasance Courtyard remains one of the Festival’s best-loved and most familiar sites, and in 2018 there’s even more magic in the air…

Scotland’s very own forensic mind reader Colin Cloud makes a triumphant return to the Pleasance Grand after his sell-out 2017 run, with a brand-new thrill-ride of a show; Psycho(logical). Cloud has won worldwide acclaim for his astounding deductions and outrageous stunts, most recently wowing audiences on America’s Got Talent, Michael McIntyre’s Big Show and the Royal Variety Performance. He promises that for better or worse, audiences will leave altered forever. You have been warned.

Meanwhile, over at Pleasance Beyond, TV regular and Fringe favourite Pete Firman’s new show Marvel combines laugh-out-loud comedy and jaw-dropping magic.

Olivier Award-winning (Best Entertainment and Family Show 2016) West End hit Showstoppers! The Improvised Musical also returns for its 11th consecutive year. A brand-new musical comedy is created from scratch at every performance of this multi award-winning show, with audience suggestions transformed into hilarious all-singing, all-dancing productions. For family audiences, the Showstoppers team will also appear in The Showstoppers’ Kids Show – taking suggestions from kids (and only kids!) to create interactive musical adventures.

At Pleasance One, Just a Minute regular and One Show reporter Gyles Brandreth is back with a riotous celebration of all things theatrical in Break A Leg! Delivering a dazzling hour of wit, wisdom, high drama, low comedy and hilarious name-dropping, the show follows Brandreth’s last three Edinburgh appearances, all of which were five-star sell outs.

Also taking to the Pleasance stage is Hal Cruttenden, who has been (literally) filling our screens recently on Have I Got News for You and Live at the Apollo. His daughters chose the title of his new stand-up show; Chubster.

The Pleasance will continue to add to its award-winning programme, with over 200 shows still to be announced in March, April and May. With comedy, theatre, circus, magic, dance, kid’s shows and much more still to come, alongside support for some of the most innovative newcomers through artist development strand Pleasance Futures, there’s surely no better place to be this August.

Tickets available at:

www.pleasance.co.uk or by phoning 0131 556 6550.

REVIEW: Love Song To Lavender Menace – Platform, Glasgow

It’s easy to forget about Section 28 and it’s ramifications, living life closeted in the shadows, the Gay scene largely, if not entirely underground, the height of the AIDS crisis and the fact that homosexuality was illegal in Scotland until 1980. While things aren’t exactly perfect now, a lot has changed.

James Ley hadn’t even heard of Lavender Menace, the Edinburgh LGBT bookshop founded by Bob Orr and Sigrid Nielson, that existed from 1982 to 1986, when he won a LGBT History Month Cultural Comission to write a new play.

But that is exactly the subject matter of his celebratory play, Love Song to Lavender Menace.

Bookshop workers Lewis (Pierce Reid) and Glen (Matthew McVarish) spend the last night of Lavender Menace packing up the remaining stock while rehearsing their “homage” to Bob and Sigrid. The dreaded ‘W’ word – Waterstones is moving to town, LGBT literature is becoming available in mainstream bookshops, and Bob and Sigrid are moving on. With every book packed away comes a memory, from the early days as a bookstall in the cloakroom of Princes Street nightclub, Fire Island, through life as a Gay man in Edinburgh in the 80s, to the spectre of Section 28, which looms on the horizon. All the while, exploring the significance of some seminal pieces of LGBT writing, and all done with humour and pathos.

This is a tiny slice of life, from a very specific time and place, and because of that, all the more engaging and relatable. While the tone can be almost flippant at times, its serves as a timely reminder of the groundwork that has gone in to raising the profile of the LGBTIQ community in the public eye. Pierce Reid is mercurial as the idealistic Lewis, Matthew McVarish endearing as the more pragmatic Glen. Pierce in particular looks to have a glittering career ahead of him.

Charming, amusing, though-provoking and laugh-out-loud funny. A worthwhile work, written and performed in such a way that it will leave you feeling all warm and fuzzy inside. It also leaves you wanting to see what’s next for playwright Ley and these talented actors.

Images: Aly Wight

NEWS: First look at new Wicked UK Tour cast


WICKED, the West End and Broadway musical phenomenon that tells the incredible untold story of the Witches of Oz, is pleased to release new production photography, by Matt Crockett, of Amy Ross as Elphaba, Helen Woolf as Glinda and Aaron Sidwell as Fiyero, who lead the cast of the spectacular, critically acclaimed and multi record-breaking UK & Ireland Tour when it returns to Edinburgh Playhouse for its only Scottish dates from 8 May to 9 June 2018.

Amy Ross (Elphaba) has most recently been starring as ‘Nicola’ in the hit musical Kinky Boots in the West End. She previously appeared in Sunny Afternoon, playing ‘Joyce’, at both the Hampstead Theatre and in the West End.

Helen Woolf (Glinda) has most recently been appearing in the London production of WICKED and was also part of the original 2013 UK & Ireland Tour company. She has played the role of ‘Glinda’ on many occasions.

Aaron Sidwell (Fiyero) recently finished playing ‘Steven Beale’ in BBC’s EastEnders, a role he originally played in 2007/08. His many acclaimed musical theatre appearances include Grey Gardens (Southwark Playhouse), American Idiot (Arts Theatre, London) and the leading role of ‘Michael Dork’ in Loserville The Musical (West Yorkshire Playhouse and in the West End).

The full cast is Amy Ross (Elphaba), Helen Woolf (Glinda), Aaron Sidwell (Fiyero), Steven Pinder (The Wizard and Doctor Dillamond), Kim Ismay (Madame Morrible), Emily Shaw (Nessarose), Iddon Jones (Boq), Nikki Bentley (Standby for Elphaba), Charli Baptie, Jason Broderick, Samantha Brown, Hannah Cadec, Grace Chapman, James Davies-Williams, Howard Ellis, Amy Goodwin, Daniel James Greenway, Jack Harrison-Cooper, Charlie Karlsen, Nicole Lupino, Stuart MacIver, Stacey McGuire, Sara Morley, Emily Olive Boyd, Georgia Rae Briggs, Paul Saunders, James Titchener, Helen Walsh, Amy Webb, Luke Woollaston and Benjamin Yates.

IMAGES: Matt Crockett

REVIEW: An Audience With…- Festival Theatre Empire Rooms, Edinburgh

A more life-affirming, moving and ultimately inspiring “happening” (in the words of the performers), you are unlikely to experience than An Audience With… Created after choreographer and dance-maker Janice Parker put a call out to dancers from the Variety era who had performed on the stage of the Empire (now Festival) Theatre in Edinburgh. Answering that call from Parker were: Marie Duthie (94), June Don Murray (90) and Doreen Leighton-Ward (85), all seasoned stars of the Variety stage.

June Don Murray, Janice Parker, Marie Duthie, Doreen Leighton-Ward, Daisy Douglas and Katie Miller

Their rich lives and legacy are the core of this promenade performance. And oh, what lives they’ve lived. Their memories of the golden age of Scottish variety are a glimpse into an almost lost world.

June Don Murray still shows the spark that served her so well as a performer. Born into a family of performers and theatre managers (one of her father’s illustrations adorns the walls of the performance space, an illustration that the theatre knew no backstory to, until June herself spotted it), she takes us through our paces in a dance lesson, performs a dying swan ballet sequence and recounts some of the hair-raising feats she performed. Along with being a Moxon Girl, Scotland’s answer to the Tiller Girls, June was Australian illusionist The Great Levante’s assistant and was shot out of a cannon into a basket in the gallery of the theatre on a nightly basis.

June Don Murray

Doreen Leighton-Ward as well as being acclaimed for her dancing skills, organised a strike to obtain a pay rise and better contracts and conditions for Scottish dancers. An act that led one spiteful theatre manager to sack her, however, this quiet, but strong woman, expresses no regrets.

Marie Duthie née Pyper, began her dancing career as a toddler at her father’s amateur concert parties. In 1932, at the age of 9, she performed the dying swan solo and Edinburgh’s Evening Dispatch newspaper said, “memories of Pavlova are brought to mind”. By 1940 she toured the country with The Ganjou Brothers and Juanita and in 1942 became one half of The Raymond Sisters, extensively touring the UK on the renowned Moss Empire Circuit, ending the act in a mini kilt singing and tap dancing to Macphersin’ is Rehearsin’ to Swing.

The Ganjou Brothers and Jaunita with whom Marie Duthie toured.

We are led through the private corridors and side rooms of the theatre, experiencing different aspects of these remarkable women’s careers. They are joined by two more generations of dancers, creator Janice Parker, and two young dancers, Daisy Douglas and Katie Miller, whom the women are teaching to tap dance.

These women have never stopped dancing, and to this day are still passing on their techniques and wisdom to a new generation of dancers. Their legacy too, is getting the recognition it deserves with a book and film due next year.

Celebratory, moving and inspirational in turn, the joy in the room is palpable. The enthusiasm they transmit for dance is measured by the scrum to don tap shoes and take part in a lesson at the end. This life-affirming production proves that love for, and participation in dance, has no age limit, it will leave you with a song in your heart and wings on your heels. Truly joyous.

There are further performances of An Audience With… on 26 and 28 October 2017 at The Empire Rooms in Edinburgh Festival Theatre.

Header image: Niall Walker

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