Thinking of rounding your summer off with a trip to Edinburgh Fringe? We’ve been looking over the different quirky, adult and family-friendly shows on offer this year. And we’ve compiled a list of shows that caught our eye. Here’s what to see while you’re there:
Quirky shows to see
As the smell of baking bread wafts around the audience, Jean-Daniel (JD) Broussé’s first solo show offers a similar tantalising temptation. JD was born to inherit the French bakery passed down through generations of his family. A play on the French word for bread and the English word for suffering, in (le) pain we follow JD who’s forced to choose between continuing the family legacy or pursuing his dreams as a performer. This show is a refreshing mix of circus, dance, storytelling, Béarnaise folklore, video, karaoke and laughter. It’s Upstairs at Assembly Roxy, with daily performances (except on 15th and 22nd) until Sunday 28th August 2022 at 4pm. And it’s suitable for ages 14+.
This ghost story playfully combines music, movement and history in an underdog story of resistance against the oppressor. In 1791, a Vodou Ceremony begins the Haitian Revolution, to end enslavement on the island. In the present, a man is haunted by ghosts in his city. BOGEYMAN is a thrilling, genre-defying tale of hope, rebellion and connection within a broken system by writer and director Emily Aboud and Lagahoo Productions. It aims to empower and uplift, and bring to life forgotten histories. Catch it at Pleasance Dome’s Queen Dome until Monday 29th August 2022 (no shows on 15th and 22nd) at 3.55pm. And it’s suitable for ages 12+.
An electrifying reimagining of the ultimate love triangle – mother, father, son – Oedipus Electronica is the eagerly awaited new show from Pecho Mama. This radical reinvention of Oedipus promises to be an intoxicating whirlwind of ecstasy and devastation. It’s an unapologetic and unflinching journey into the carnal heart of a woman pushed to the edge. The live band drives the action onstage with a soundtrack that hurtles through jazz, techno and Pecho Mama’s trademark throbbing Electronica. You’ll find it on at Forth, Pleasance Courtyard, until Friday 26th August 2022 at 3:30pm. And it’s suitable for ages 14+.
Renowned, multi-award-winning physical theatre company Spies Like Us (Our Man in Havana, Woyzeck, Murder on the Dancefloor) return with Speed Dial. This explosively physical comedy-thriller is about connection, forgiveness and cryptic crosswords. It’s set to the sounds of 70s vinyl and explores isolation and the institution of British universities. Expect Spies Like Us’ trademark playful physicality and inventiveness. Seek it out at Pleasance Dome’s Queen Dome. It’s on until Monday 29th August 2022 with daily shows (except 16th) at 2:20pm. This one’s suitable for ages 8+.
The Man Who Thought He Knew Too Much
It’s Wes Anderson meets Hitchcock meets spaghetti western in this multi award-winning, intercontinental, inter-genre, cinematic caper of accusations, accidents and accents! The endlessly inventive, Lecoq-trained Voloz Collective aim to delight and stun with live original music and virtuosic acrobatics in this fast-paced, Offies-nominated whodunnit. This show’s also the Winner of the Les Enfants Terribles and Greenwich Partnership Award 2020. The Man Who Thought He Knew Too Much is delightfully unbridled to ignite audiences’ imaginations with a whirlwind of images and sounds. Pleasance Dome’s Jack Dome is where you’ll find this show. It’s on until Monday 29th August 2022 (although not on 17th) at 1.10pm and it’s suitable for ages 8+.
Dreams of the Small Gods
And for a show that’s truly unique, there’s Dreams of the Small Gods. This intoxicating one-woman performance from Zinnia Oberski, tells the story of the awakening of Wild Woman. It blends aerial circus, masked ritual and performance art. Naked, unaware and unselfconscious, she explores her surroundings – more animal than human. This winner of the Autopsy Award for Summerhall 2022 is part of the Made in Scotland Showcase. Make your way to the Demonstration Room at Summerhall for this one. It’s on daily until Sunday 28th August 2022 at 7.50pm, with the exception of 15th and 22nd.
Adult only shows to catch at the Fringe
You’re invited to a masterclass with fed-up feminist Adrienne Truscott and all-around good guy Fiedlim Cannon. It’s fun. It’s familiar. There are wigs and stuffy costumes. But there’s something more at play. Using the arts world as a metaphor, MASTERCLASS is a literate and hilarious examination of gender and power that skewers the idea of the ‘great male artist’. Oh, and it’s won a Scotsman Fringe First Award. Watch it at Pleasance Dome’s Jack Dome until 28th August at 5.40pm (no shows on 15th and 22nd). And it’s suitable for ages 16+.
Another Scotsman Fringe First Award winner is Breathless. What happens when the things we covet hide us from ourselves? That’s what writer Laura Horton asks in this funny, honest and stylish exploration of the knife-edge of hoarding; from the joy to the addiction and suffocating shame. It’s based on the real-life experience of clothes hoarding. The work is a dark, magical story about trying to escape a world you’ve spent a lifetime carefully building. Head to Bunker 2 at the Pleasance Courtyard at 3pm on any day until 28th August. As it contains strong language, it’s suitable for ages 12+.
Love Them To Death
Love Them To Death is written by Max Dickins (The Man on the Moor, Kin, The Trunk) and directed by five times Fringe First award-winner Hannah Eidinow. It explores Fabricated and Induced illness (previously known as ‘Munchausen’s syndrome by proxy’), a rare form of behaviour where care-givers exaggerate, feign or induce illness in their children. Exploring who is telling the truth, how we come to that decision, and whether the truth even exists, most of the time, Love Them To Death is a dark and twisty tale set in the borderlands between love and violence. And it’s inspired by real events. If you like theatre on the dark side, visit Underbelly Cowgate’s Big Belly at 3.30pm until Sunday 28th August 2022 (no show on 15th). The show’s suitable for ages 14+.
Please, Feel Free To Share
Please, Feel Free to Share is a dynamic, darkly comic, one-woman show about our personal addictions, the never-ending pursuit of likes, and our growing desire to share all. Finalist for The Popcorn Writing Award 2021, Rachel Causer’s play looks at the blurring between lies and likes. Questioning our desire to present edited versions of ourselves online, this show explores what happens when the obsession with self-editing bleeds into real life. If you can relate, head over to The Attic at Pleasance Courtyard at 12.50pm. It’s on daily until Monday 29th August 2022 (except 15th and 16th) and is suitable for those aged 14+.
Award-winning Popelei celebrate their 10th anniversary by returning to Edinburgh with the world premiere of PUSH. This darkly comic and provocative show is performed by one increasingly knocked up performer. It’s a daring new play, interlaced with punchy choreography and an electrifying original soundtrack. Expect a playful and feminist look at motherhood through the lens of one woman, infused by her Anglo-Latinx heritage and her apparent lack of maternal instinct. Pleasance Courtyard’s Baby Grand is where you’ll find this show. It’s on daily at 2pm until Monday 29th August 2022 (except on 15th) and it’s suitable for ages 14+.
From the multi-award-winning team behind the highly-acclaimed Sexy Lamp and Bicycles and Fish comes Sticky Door. It’s a personal, honest and funny look at sex, stigma and cystitis. Katie Arnstein’s trademark ukulele-spun storytelling show examines sex, shame, struggles, isolation and the sisterhood. And asks why are women facing a series of sticky doors in work, sex and life and how do we overcome the challenges we are continually met with. Head over to Pleasance Dome’s Ace Dome for this one. It’s on at 4pm until Sunday 28th August 2022 (except on 15th). Sticky Door is suitable for ages 14+.
Something in the Water
Video projections, puppetry and physical comedy combine in this absurd exploration of identity, gender and growing up ‘normal’. It’s inspired by performer/creator S.E. Grummett’s experience of coming out as transgender. Something in the Water parodies the masculine and feminine and shows how absurd our rigid gender binaries can be. As a giant squid, Grummett playfully demonstrates what it’s like trying to pass as either male or female or find the freedom to exist as something else entirely. Hop on over to Summerhall’s Cairns Lecture Theatre to see this. It’s on daily until Sunday 28th August 2022 (except on 15th and 22nd) at 8pm. Its suitable for ages 18+.
Supported by the Pleasance’s Generate Fund for UK-based Black, Asian and Global Majority Artists, Rinkoo Barpaga sets out to tell the story of South Asian Deaf people living in Britain. Performed in British Sign Language with a live voiceover, Made in
India Britain is an insight into one man’s life as he tries to work out exactly who he is. Join him at Pleasance Courtyard Two as he delves deep into past experiences to discover his true self and a place he can finally call home. It’s on daily at 1.40pm until Monday 29th August 2022 (except on 16th and 23rd), with a suitability for ages 14+.
Railed is a spectacular acrobatics show featuring racy cowboys and fast moves. Expect a Western-themed circus, combining physical talents, intricate figures, finely-chiselled bodies and comic capers. It’s from the creators of the smash hits Elixir (which we saw and loved) and Circus’Cision. It’s on every evening at 6.35pm (except 15th and 22nd) until 28th August in Assembly George Square Gardens. As you’d expect, it’s suitable for ages 18+.
Family-friendly shows at Edinburgh Fringe
For more family-friendly acrobatics by these guys, catch Prehysterical at Assembly Checkpoint. It’s an hilarious circus show for children and parents of all ages. Follow three foolish Neanderthals as they struggle to survive the savage natural world. Avoiding predators, navigating harsh environments and learning to work together. All are explored with marvellous circus skills and achingly funny slapstick. The show quite literally rocks as it tells the tale of three people navigating life in prehistoric times. It’s suitable for ages 3+ with performances at 11.30am daily, until 28th August (no shows on 15th and 22nd).
Family-friendly and unmissable, Hotel Paradiso heads to Edinburgh Fringe. Circus skills meet physical comedy, clowning and slapstick as we meet the charming staff of the quirkily ineffective Hotel Paradiso. This character-driven, theatrical show is told with Guinness-World-Record-holders Lost in Translation’s trademark humour and circus skills. We saw one of their shows at Edinburgh a few years back and thoroughly enjoyed it. This year it’s on at Underbelly’s Circus Hub in the Meadows until Saturday 27th August 2022. It’s on daily (except 15th) at 3.20pm and is suitable for ages 3+.
Leonardo! A Wonderful Show About A Terrible Monster
Critically-acclaimed multimedia artists Manual Cinema (Ada/Ava, Lula del Ray, Frankenstein) return to Edinburgh with Leonardo! It’s adapted from the beloved children’s books Leonardo, The Terrible Monster & Sam, The Most Scaredy-Cat Kid in the Whole World by celebrated author Mo Willems. Using live actors, 3D and paper puppets, DIY cinema, immersive sound and live music, Leonardo! tells the story of a monster who longs to be scary and the big decisions about identity and empathy that we all must make. We saw Ada/Ava at Edinburgh Fringe previously and found it a magic and engrossing experience, so we have high hopes for this new show. Watch it with family members aged 3+ at Cowbarn, Underbelly Bristo Square. It’s on every day (except 15th) until Monday 29th August 2022 at 1.45pm.
Will Tell and the Big Bad Baron
Fringe favourites Theatre Fideri Fidera are back with a comic reimagining of the tale of Wilhelm Tell. Will Tell and the Big Bad Baron introduces a new legendary figure to British drama: the great Swiss freedom fighter Wilhelm Tell who fought against the rule of the Austrian Hungarian empire. And famously shot an apple off his child’s head with his crossbow. It’s a mad-cap comic adventure that’s joined together with six original songs. Head over to the Gilded Balloon’s Patter Hoose to see this one. It’s on daily until Saturday 20th August 2022 (although not on 17th) at 12pm and is suitable for ages 5+.
Not visiting Edinburgh Fringe this year? Don’t worry, head over here for more suggestions of quirky shows to see elsewhere in the UK.