Playbill Pick: A Mountain for Elodie at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe | Playbill

Playbill Goes Fringe Playbill Pick: A Mountain for Elodie at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Benjamin Scheuer returns to the stage with a moving follow-up to his 2014 musical The Lion. Tissues are required.

Benjamin Scheuer

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the biggest arts festival in the world, with nearly 3,500 shows. This year, Playbill is in Edinburgh for the entire month in August for the festival and we’re taking you with us. Follow along as we cover every single aspect of the Fringe, aka our real-life Brigadoon!

As part of our Edinburgh Fringe coverage, Playbill is seeing a whole lotta shows—and we're sharing which ones you absolutely must see if you're only at the Fringe for a short amount of time. Consider these Playbill Picks a friendly, opinionated guide as you try to choose a show at the festival.

When I first looked at the stage for Benjamin Scheuer's A Mountain for Elodie, it immediately looked familiar. Center stage, there is a wooden chair flanked by a set of acoustic guitars. It's the exact set-up as Scheuer’s 2014 musical The Lion. But there are a few additions now: On the left of the stage is a black upright piano. On the right is a little red toy piano. It turns out that the red piano belongs to Scheuer’s daughter, Elodie.

Let’s take a minor detour back to 2015. It was when I first saw that guitar and chair setup, on stage at the Lynn Redgrave Theater in New York. I had missed The Lion’s 2014 run at Manhattan Theatre Club, but I had bought a ticket to see its encore run, after hearing some positive word of mouth. I wasn't expecting much when I first walked in. But by the end, the sleeve of my hoody was wet with tears because I had been sobbing through at least half the show. Note: If you ever see The Lion, remember to bring tissues. The Lion is Scheuer’s autobiographical solo musical about his battle with cancer after being diagnosed at age 28, and his complicated relationship with his father—who died when Scheuer was 13.

A Mountain for Elodie is, in a sense, The Lion: Part 2. It traces Scheuer’s life since the events of The Lion. He met his now wife, Jemima (at the ceremony where he won an award for this charming music video of the title song from The Lion). He also became a father to a girl, Elodie. The musical has its sad and tense moments, because whose life doesn't? But more often, my tears in this one were more from smiling. 

I was going to write here about the delightful song “Good Morning,” which is a conversation between a very enthusiastic child and her not-quite-awake father. But it turns out Playbill’s videographer Ethan Treiman actually filmed that song, so he's saved me the trouble. Watch it below to get a sense of how beautiful A Mountain for Elodie is.

It's been a long wait for a follow-up to the The Lion, but a worthwhile one. Scheuer may look a little different than he did in 2015 (his hair is now purple, and he's grown a beard). But hearing him continue his life story on guitar (which he says is his superpower) and piano is still a wonderful treat. Just make sure to bring tissues when you see A Mountain for Elodie. If you’re anything like me, you will need one from all the tears of joy.

A Mountain for Elodie is running at the Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose, Big Yin space through August 27. For tickets, click here. Learn about more Playbill-recommended shows at this venue, click here. If you’re based in the New York, Scheuer will also be at Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater on September 15 and 16. For tickets to those shows, click here.

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