In Part Eight of our Guide to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival Series we focus this time on Theatre and Dance, links to parts 1-7 can be found below.
Carly Wijs, De roovers and Teateri: Boy
Venue: Summerhall, Main Hall, 5–28 Aug 2022
Time: 11.30 (12.30)
From the writer and director of critically acclaimed Us/Them (Fringe First winner 2016) comes an extraordinary true story exploring gender, identity and abuse of power. Bruce Reimer was born right before his identical twin Brian on the 22 of August 1965 in Winnipeg, Canada. In 1966, the Reimer twins are taken into hospital by their young parents to be circumcised. The procedure goes wrong, and baby Bruce loses his penis.
Victoria Melody: Head Set
Venue: Pleasance Courtyard, Beside, 5–28 Aug 2022
Time: 16.50 (17.50)
Delving into amateur stand-up culture and trying to make peace with a messy brain, the new documentary-theatre show from Victoria Melody sees her in wearable tech, scanning her brain as she delivers jokes. Fed up with theatre-making after a hard tour, Victoria Melody fell back onto her plan b: she decided to try to crack stand-up comedy. But what sounded like genius in her head came out of her mouth as a garbled mess, so she sought the help of a speech and language therapist which led to her eventual diagnosis as neurodivergent. Always the experimenter, she took her late age diagnosis of ADHD and autism to neuroscientists and started working with them, wearing tech on stage to find out what happens in the brain when you tell jokes. Victoria’s strange journey is a joyful and mischievous celebration of our messy minds.
Rossi, Holopainen, Riikonen in association with From Start to Finnish: Johnny Got His Gun
Venue: Zoo Southside,Studio, 5–28 Aug 2022
Time: 20.40 (21.40)
After a grenade hits him on the battlefield, a soldier wakes up in hospital without his limbs, eyes, ears and mouth. Based on the 1938 anti-war novel by American writer Dalton Trumbo and created by Essi Rossi, this emotionally charged new show examines the life-changing impact fighting in World War I had on the returning soldiers. Once a fierce patriot, the injured soldier has sacrificed everything in the belief that fighting for liberty and democracy was the right things to do. Now he questions everything he’s been taught to dream. What is the true cost of his bravery and the impact of the tragedy–not just on him, but on all the others like him too?
Heather Milsted: Period Dramas
Venue: Pleasance Courtyard, The Cellar, Venue 33, 3–21Aug 2022 (not 10 & 15),
Time: 14.10 (15.10)
After a childhood obsesssion with history, blood and period dramas–of both kinds–Heather Milsted became increasingly frustrated by the lack of discussion of all things menstrual in both the history books and popular culture.Period Dramas is the history show she wishes she’d seen, filled with unsanitary sanitary towels and bloodied bloomers. The show follows Heather in a chaotic and all-embracing celebration of self that teaches audiences the history they never learnt in school,from ancient Egypt right up until today. Bringing together cabaret, comedy, spoken word and a hint of tap,Period Dramas is a surprisingly personal romp through the ages.
Trixa Arnold & Ilja Komaro: Shame On You!
Venue: Summerhall, Demonstration Room, 3–28 Aug 2022
Following a journey through Switzerland, Russia and Pakistan, Shame On You !is an archive of shame that explores seemingly banal everyday situations and painful experiences of violence and discrimination. The Swiss-Russian duo Trixa Arnold & Ilja Komarov have developed an ever-evolving storytelling show, blending live music & personal testimony. Written three years ago but always changing, the confronting show resonates more than ever in today’s changed world. Audiences are invited to share their own personal experience of shame and join in discussions during the performance. Alongside the show there will be an interactive installation, The Shame-Cloud, situated in Summerhall throughout the festival, inviting people to anonymously record their own experiences of shame.
New Perspectives: The Great Almighty Gill
Venue: Assembly George Square, The Blue Room
Time: 13.15 (14.25)
In an autobiographical performance, the audience is invited to join Daniel as family and friends as he eulogises his deceased dad and observes the legendary life of Dave Gill. Through tribute, stand-up and occasional lip-syncing, Daniel remembers his sometimes wonderful, sometimes troubled relationship with his father, a beloved husband, a naturally gifted artist and sometimes misunderstood. The Great Almighty Gill recreates Dave’s funeral for a bigger audience than it had, and gives insight into what living with dementia is like for both the person who has it and their family and friends in a one-man performance full of pathos, bathos and gallows humour. New Perspectives recorded a version of The Great Almighty Gill with Daniel as a limited-edition cassette tape in 2021 as part of The Festival of Small Things, and the show is the first show Angharad Jones has directed for New Perspectives since becoming their Artistic Director at the end of 2021.
Slapstick Picnic: The Importance of Being Earnest
Venue: The Tree House, Assembly George Square Garden
Time: 17.00 (18.40)
This summer, outdoor theatre company Slapstick Picnic will return with a reprise of their mischievous reimagining of The Importance of Being Earnest in a UK tour. Ripping up the recipe book and dishing out a hectic, two-actor production of Oscar Wilde’s classic play, audiences will be invited to tuck into a picnic and join in the silliness at outdoor venues. Prepare to witness the impossible – the entirety of Oscar Wilde’s classic play of manners, affairs and handbags being performed by just two rather dashing entertainers with a little help from their hapless Stage Manager. They’ve no time for the twee tea-time titters – they want you guffawing with your gran and spitting out your sauvignon on your sister.
David Finnigan and the Barbican, London: You’re Safe Till 2024: Deep History
Venue: Pleasance Courtyard, The Green, 3–29 Aug 2022
Time: 19.45 (20.45)
Son of a climate scientist, Australian theatre maker David Finnigan has always made work about climate change–then his country caught fire. At the time, he was writing a deep history narrative telling the story of 75,000 years of humanity’s impact on the environment: now the show tells of 75 hours of the brutal consequences. David talks us through the experience of his nearest and dearest: his best friend making a break for home with his family before the fires cut off the highway; his father, who talked to him about ‘global warming’ when he was a kid, stuck in a hospital as smoke filled the operating rooms. Interwoven with these experiences are conversations with 30 scientists asked two simple questions: What’s the biggest change happening in the world today? What’s going to happen in the future?
Korea National Contemporary Dance Company: BreAking
Venue: Dance Base, Studio 1, 5–14 Aug 2022
Time: 21.30 (22.05)
In a performance that renews contemporary dance, reinvents street dance and sets it to gugak– traditional Korean music– the new show fromLee Kyungeun (Lee K-Dance, Mind Goblin2017) brings together eight dancers to imagine, play and reconstruct the world on stage. BreAking invites audiences to break away from fixed systems and limitations, and to be the owner of their own rhythm and individuality. With five contemporary and three street dancers, the show is set to music by Lee Ilwoo, a member of Korean avant-rock band Jambinai, who combines traditional Korean folk instruments with rock music instrumentation, and performed at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games closing ceremony.
Kati Raatikainenand team in association with From Start to Finnish: Kvartetto
Venue: Summerhall, Old Lab, 17–24 Aug
Time: 14.45 (15.30)
A quartet of performers with their own unique perception of the world join together in a radically tender dance show to celebrate love and affection. Choreographed by the Helsinki-based Kati Raatikainen, Kvartetto (translation: quartet), delivers a softly pitched challenge to how society understands individuals labelled as intellectually disabled. At the work’s heart is an appreciation of the embodied power of dance and the implied joy of coming together in a communal space. Each performer expresses their own emotional mosaic of desires and longings through choreography with an instinctual, naturalistic edge. A digital version of the show was streamed by Summerhall for Edinburgh Fringe 2021.
You can find tickets to all events here and the rest of out festival guides here