10 best things to see at the Edinburgh Fringe 2015
Stories about women in prison, cricketer Freddie Flintoff, a man who can’t stop eating, 20 foot tall fibreglass chickens and other shows that have caught our eye…
The epic performance extravaganza that is the Edinburgh Fringe festival is back with another few thousand shows, hailing from dozens of countries, and performed all over Scotland’s bonnie capital during the month of August. Choosing what to go and see can be exhausting, and you don’t want to miss the one everyone is talking about. Here are some of the wacky, popular and experimental shows we're going to see, hopefully you'll be there too…
1. Hair Peace
Victoria Melody, creator of the critically acclaimed one-woman, one-dog hit Major Tom, returns to the fringe with a study of the international business of human hair. Told with Victoria’s trademark charm and humour, this performance delves into the unregulated industry of human hair extensions. On her travels to research the roots of her hair, Victoria meets with hair dealers in rural Russia, a real life baddie and a contestant on India’s version of Celebrity Big Brother.
See it at: Pleasance Courtyard, Pleasance Below, 1pm – 2pm, Aug 8 – 31 August
2. Nina Conti: In Your Face
Stand-up comic and ventriloquist Nina Conti hardly needs an introduction, having won a British Comedy Award, stormed Live at the Apollo, Russell Howard’s Good News, Sunday Night at the Palladium and made a Bafta nominated film – all without even moving her lips. Her Edinburgh show will be utterly improvised each night.
See it at: The Assembly Rooms (Venue 20), 12.45pm, Aug 21
3. Key Change
One for Orange is the New Black fans, this hard hitting play depicts the portrayal of women in prison. Using only a few chairs, a ghetto blaster and four rolls of masking tape, it was devised with women from the now closed Her Majesty’s Prison YOI Low Newton, near Newcastle, and was originally toured to male prisons.
See it at: Northern Stage at Summerhall (Venue 26b), 12.30pm, Aug 8-11, 13-18, 20-25, 27-30.
Energetic Danish theatre troupe Neander brings us four bored office workers who recreate classic blockbuster movies in their workplace in a show packed full of stunts and daring physical feats. Ricky Gervais said it’s “one of the greatest, most exciting and brilliant shows" he's ever seen – and he knows something about Office entertainment.
See it at: Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33), 5.55pm, Aug 5-11, 13-17, 19-23, 25-31
5. Underbelly Circus Hub
This year, circus is centre stage – it’s the first time a major venue will be dedicated to this style of performance and there will be two circus tents on the Meadows. Expect everything from Limbo from Australia (a troupe of contortionists, musical performers and sword eaters) to French acrobatic daredevils La Meute, and UK hit Bromance (using movement and a Cyr wheel to tell the story of close but non-sexual relationship between two men).
See it at: Underbelly’s Circus Hub on the Meadows, Middle Meadow Walk, EH9 9EX
6. Freddie Flintoff: 2nd Innings
To celebrate the 10 year anniversary of a victorious 2005 Ashes team, the English cricketer will share his memories of that long hot summer, and some secrets from his beloved game. Joined on stage by comedy writer and producer Clyde Holcroft, his podcast partner in crime, there will be some Elvis and couple of googlies, plus an honest, unscripted insight into the world of this sporting legend.
See it at: Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33), 4pm, Aug 27-29
7. Adam Riches is Coach Coach
Edinburgh Comedy Award winner Adam Riches is set to take a new direction with his latest show Coach Coach, which features a cast of 11 and tells the story of the ultimate High School Sports Coach. Inspired by classic sports movies, audiences are invited to cheer on their favourite Volfsball team as the Queen Dome Centaurs battle the Courtyard Lizards for the glory of the Yakult Cup. There will be comedy, drama, hamstrings and maybe, just maybe, a last-minute Hail Mary from a member of the audience to win the game and save the show.
See it at: Pleasance Dome (Venue 23), 9.45pm, Aug 5-30
8. The Red Chair
Told in rich and saucy Scots dialect, The Red Chair is the cautionary tale of a man who cannot stop eating, the woman doomed to cook his meals, and their invisible child. During the show, audiences are invited to try tasty nibbles, and even drink a dram of whisky to oil the way...
See it at: Summerhall Demonstration Room, 10am, 24 – 30 Aug
9. The Outsider
Evoking the visual style of silent films by Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton in a contemporary format, The Outsider is a fantasy for grown-ups, written and performed by magician and actor Janne Raudaskoski. The show follows a man, an outsider, as he wanders onto earth and bumps into modern humanity, with stunning '4D' special effects. The performance uses new technology specially created by Raudaskoski, which enables him to perform the roles of forty different characters.
See it at: New Town Theatre, 5.30pm, 6 – 30 Aug
10. Sarah Kendall: A Day In October
Australian comic Sarah Kendall has been winning praise for her new storytelling and observational comedy style which eschews traditional stand-up’s piecemeal anecdotes in favour of an hour-long narrative exploring life, death, and 20 foot tall fibreglass chickens.
See it at: Assembly George Square Studios (Venue 17), 6.45pm, Aug 5-16, 18-31