Pick of the Edinburgh Fringe 2016

If there’s one thing the Edinburgh Fringe has, it’s a LOT of shows. Over 3,000 in fact.

Running from 5th – 29th August, you’d need to sit down for at least 125 shows every single day to see them all. Or, to put it in perspective, queue your way through a total of 5.2 shows every hour (for 24 hours) every single day until its close (and I thought my Netflix binges were bad). 

Don’t fancy crippling exhaustion and utter disappointment at the sheer impossibility of it all? I’ve hunted the online world for some of the gems I’m most looking forward to. Got anything to add? Let me know on Twitter!

Ascension Part 1 & Two: Fourth Monkey

Venue: theSpace on Niddry St (Venue 9)

Time: 23:55

Dates: 5 – 27 August

A few years ago, when I was heavily involved in the theatre world, I became fairly close to Fourth Monkey Theatre Company. As someone who had rejected acting because I wasn’t a fan of the conventional model (i.e. I was too scared of standing in front of faceless panels to audition), their fresh take on delivering innovative (and affordable) training was something I was particularly passionate about (see an interview I conducted with them here).

I’ve reviewed several of their shows a few years ago and fell in love with the passion of both the company owners and the students themselves. It’s hardly any wonder then, that I’m particularly excited about their selection of shows this year. With four on offer, Ascension Part 1 & 2 is the one that’s most keeping me up at night with excitement (quite literally – it starts at 23:55 nightly) with its billing as a “midnight exploration of the apocalypse”.

Closer: Circa

Venue: Underbelly George Square (venue 300)

Time: 18:55

Dates: Aug 11-15, 17-22, 24-29

There’s something hypnotising about contemporary circus. Combining skilful acrobatics and elegant movement, Circa is a Fringe favourite with multiple awards and titles (including being called rockstars of the circus world) behind their work. This year’s offering Closer has been specially commissioned for Edinburgh’s favourite upside down coo (because in Scotland, we’ve got so many) and promises to make the heart skip a beat (and my body realise what an awful state it’s in compared to the talented performers).

Acrobatic artists perform during the world premiere of "Closer" performed and presented by Australian circus company Circa at the Udderbelly Festival on the South Bank, London, UK April 13, 2016. The show is on until June 12. Photograph : © Luke MacGregor +44 (0) 79 79 74 50 30

Photograph : © Luke MacGregor

A Poke in the eye: Georgie Morrell

Venue: Just the Tonic at the Caves (Venue 88)

Time: 13:00

Dates: Aug 10-11, 13-14, 16-28

I got told about this show on Twitter with the (exact) words “partially sighted comedian about going blind. Absolutely hilarious”. I was interested to say the least. A little bit of research later and I was even more so. An autobiographical tale, A Poke in the Eye tells the story of performer Georgie Morrell and a period in her life where she went completely blind.

The thing I love the most the show is how it first came to be – according to the production’s kickstarter campiagn, it all began after she recounted the story to a friend and they thought she should turn it into a show. There’s hope for all my anecdotes yet…

Foiled: Duckspeak

Venue: Ruby Rouge Hair Salon, 2 Clerk Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9HX


Dates: 5 – 29th August (not 11th, 18th or 25th)

I’m a sucker for a quirky venue and it’s precisely that love that originally sold Foiled to me. Set in a real-life, working salon (never before used as a Fringe venue), Foiled concentrates on the ‘secret world of styling’; combining sing-a-long tunes and satirical humour in a one-hour spectacle that’s bound to beat any tint or cut (and as a free show, it’s just a wee bit cheaper too!).

(c) Alex Brenner

Photograph:  © Alex Brenner

The Marked: Theatre Témoin

Venue: Pleasance Dome (King Dome)

Time: 13:30

Dates: 3rd August – 29th August (not 17th)

I first encountered Theatre Témoin a good few years back when I reviewed The Fantasist – and their unique fusion of puppetry and visually stunning stagecraft has never quite left my mind since. Exploring the issue of homelessness, The Marked tells the story of Jack – a boy once obsessed with invisible guardians, now a man living on the streets – as he battles a ghost of the past.

Edinburgh Fringe: The Marked, Image: Idil Sukan

Image :© Idil Sukan

Ada/Ava: Manual Cinema

Venue: Underbelly Potterrow 

Time: 4pm

Dates: 3rd – 29th August

You know how when you were a child you could find endless amusement in creating (really bad) shapes of animals on your bedroom wall? Well, I never really grew out of that phase (or any better at making the shapes, come to think of it) which is why I’m so excited by Manual Cinema’s Ada/Ava playing at Underbelly for the full entirety of the Fringe.

Telling the story of Ada – a twin recently bereaved of her beloved sister Ava – Chicago-based Manual Cinema balance a careful combination of shadow puppets, overhead projectors and live music alongside their troop of actors to create a supernatural story of a fantastical nature. And if my words don’t sell it, the video above probably would!

Seen a show at the Fringe you want to recommend or involved with a production you want me to feature? Let me know on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter

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