The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the biggest arts festival in the world, with over 3,000 shows. This year, Playbill will be going to Edinburgh in August for the festival and we’re taking you with us. Follow along this summer as we cover every single aspect of the Fringe, aka our real-life Brigadoon!
With a festival as large as Edinburgh Fringe, newcomers and veterans both face the same question every year: "Which shows should I see?" There's thousands to pick from, so how do you pick when there's so many to see? One place to start is with recommendations—and Playbill has you covered. Featuring programming from several of the well-known venue operators at the festival, these lists are a handy guide to what will likely be some of the best at Fringe this August.
This list features 10 shows from theSpaceUK, one of the venue operators at the Fringe which particularly focuses on new talent and hidden gems. Established in 1995, theSpaceUK offers a broad variety of genres at Fringe across theatre, dance, music, comedy, exhibitions, opera, and more. In particular, the venue operator is interested on giving platforms to and developing unknown artists. Its offerings take place across the center of Edinburgh—with hubs including theSpace @ Surgeons Hall, theSpace on the Mile, and theSpace at Niddry St (which offers another seven spaces to see shows in).
The Quality of Mercy: Concerning the Life and Crimes of Dr Harold Frederick Shipman
This drama tells the true story of Dr. Harold Shipman, one of the most prolific serial killers in modern history with an estimate of 250 victims. Set in Shipman's cell as he prepares to commit suicide and reflects on his choices and compulsions, The Quality of Mercy is written and performed by Edwin Flay. He is the grandson of one of Shipman's real-life victims, Renee Lacey. The work also interrogates ideas of death, justice, and compassion in the Grand Theatre at theSpace @ Surgeons Hall.
Solve Along A Murder She Wrote
Hosted by Tim Benzie, cabaret show Solve Along A Murder She Wrote features guest stars and a sing-along for audiences in need of a murder to solve and a laugh. The show is presented as an interactive screening of the Murder, She Wrote episode "Sing a Song of Murder." The cult show, which has previously sold across the U.K. and Australia, will play theSpace @ Symposium Hall's Amphitheatre.
I Killed My Ex
Writer-director Emilie Biason's new dark comedy follows friends Tina and Lola after Tina's ex jilts her at the altar. The new play kicks off with the pair murdering him impulsively before taking audiences on the killers' wild ride to dump his body. Filled with social commentary, the comedy runs at theSpace @ Niddry St's Studio.
The Ballad of Truman Capote
A new drama about Truman Capote has been penned by three-time Booker Prize nominee Andrew O'Hagan (Mayflies). The play imagines Capote recounting his life and exploring the defining moments of his life and career. Set at New York City's The Plaza Hotel in 1966, the work retreats from the Grand Ballroom which has been filled with A-listers arriving for the legendary Black and White Ball to the quiet of Capote's suite where he sips on martinis as he gossips—with himself. Performances will be held in the Upper Theatre at theSpace @ Niddry St.
And Then The Rodeo Burned Down
This is a tale of arson, clowns, and rodeos. Meet, Dale a rodeo clown who absolutely loves the rodeo. But with money tight and another clown trying to put on their own show, does Dale go to the extremes? An absurdist piece of theatre with LGBTQ+ themes, And Then The Rodeo Burned Down plays at theSpace @ Venue 45.
David Rivera and la Båmbula
Need a break and want to enjoy some music? Check out this 13-piece band, arriving from Puerto Rico to bring the sounds of the Caribbean to Scotland. Marketed as the the first Puerto Rican band to perform at Fringe, this group is aiming to get its audiences dancing. To check them out, you'll be in Grand Theatre at theSpace @ Surgeons Hall.
Barry Potter and the Magic of Wizardry
Blending comedy and magic, Tim Motley brings a wizarding comedy that plays off one of the world's most famous stories. Motley has previously brought the Harry Potter-inspired work to other international fringe festivals including those in Perth, Australia and Adelaide, Australia. Suitable for audiences of 8-years-old and up, the character comedian performs at theSpace @Sympsium Hall's Annexe.
A pop parody of the favorite musical Les Misérables, Les Millénniables takes on the plight of the millennial generation. Jean Valjean is a modern hero taking on the unjust enemy of student loan debt, pursued by a debt collector born to the boomer generation only known as Javert. Featuring a score of radio hits and strong language, this musical was penned by the Hollywood-based pair Kelly Lynne D'Angelo (Final Space) and Ayla Glass (This Is Us). Performances will take place at theSpace @ Niddry St in the Upper Theatre.
A modern-day journalist is investigating the life of one of the world's first tabloid celebrities: Emma Hamilton. Though unrelated to the famous American founding father, Dame Emma Hamilton was born Amy Lyon in 1765 Britain. The daughter of a blacksmith, she raised herself from maid to mistress to muse, and eventually, to celebrity. Irrepressible is a musical about how she withstood the demands of her fans and scathing remarks of her critics. Meanwhile, the journalist investigating Lady Hamilton's life faces the same challenges when writing for today's papers. The musical will run at theSpace @ Venue45.
Las Vegas in Edinburgh
This comedy-meets-magic show combines laughs with tricks for audiences 5-years-old and up. Siegfried and Joy are bringing a family-friendly, audience-participation-included show to the Fringe for the first time. The German duo from Berlin were on Season 17 of America's Got Talent last year, and have amassed a strong following on Instagram of over 636,000 followers for their illusions-filled content. Las Vegas in Edinburgh will play Space 3 at theSpace on the Mile.
Want to check out some more recommendations? Check out Playbill Goes Fringe to keep up with our coverage before, during, and after the festival! For more information about theSpaceUK's programming, visit TheSpaceUK.com.