Since the beginning of the month, Playbill writers Margaret Hall and Leah Putnam have been reporting live from Edinburgh, Scotland, on the world's largest arts festival, Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
Taking place every August, the festival features more than 3,000
shows at more than 300 venues. The 2022 Fringe officially opens August 5
and wraps up August 29. Putnam and Hall are interviewing artists and sharing where to grab a pint as well as seeing dozens of shows. Check out everything they've seen so far, only halfway through their trip, below.
Bloody Difficult Women – Political new writing
Tim Walker’s Bloody Difficult Women, our first show of Fringe, centers on the legal case against the invocation of Article 50, which pitted Gina Miller against then Prime Minister Theresa May. Set against the backdrop of BREXIT and the battles of public opinion, the drama explores these “two bloody difficult women” and the men who were challenged by them.
Séance – Immersive installation
Immersive theatre company Darkfield specializes in binaural audio experiences, often presented in retrofitted shipping containers. At 20 minutes in length, it is a psychologically twisting snippet sure to get your heart racing. It is being staged along with Flight, the second of Darkfield’s three shows at Fringe, simultaneously at Edinburgh Fringe and Arts District Brooklyn.
Dýra – Immersive installation
Staged inside the Former Womens’ Locker Room at Summerhall, SHHE’s soundscape installation takes audiences on a sonic journey through the Westfjords of Iceland, with only four people allowed at a time. We were required to remove our shoes prior to entering the room, which is completely covered in white material.
Tony Law: A Now Begin in Again – Absurdist stand-up comedy
A Fringe veteran of over a decade, Tony Law took audiences through a stream-of-consciousness routine that featured the race wins of Secretariat, and a re-creation of the race around the venue, buried in the depths of Edinburgh’s underground at the Monkey Barrel.
Brown Boys Swim – New writing
Karim Khan’s two-hander comedy about two friends as they learn to swim explores the pressures young Muslim men face. Following Fringe, it will transfer to London’s Soho Theatre for a run in the fall after a return engagement at Oxford.
Black Is the Color of My Voice – Solo show with music
Written and performed by Fringe First winner Apphia Campbell, the 70-minute solo shows takes audiences inside an intimate exploration of the artist Nina Simone and her life, with songs from Simone’s catalog woven into the story. Playing at Pleasance, the show previously sold out in London and on an extensive U.K. tour.
Tom Brace: Embrace the Impossible! – Family-friendly magic show
Magician Tom Brace was handing out flyers for his show and performed some tricks for us that enticed us to see his show. He performs at the Fringe for a fourth time this year with a family-friendly magic show about the best parts of his childhood, filled with tricks that leave attendees of all ages wondering how Brace can make such things happen.
Rajesh and Naresh – Queer romantic comedy
In the British and South Asian queer romantic comedy two-hander titled Rajesh and Naresh, Rajesh visits India from London, and meets Naresh, who he connects with at a Mumbai club. The two gay men fall for each other, despite issues with vulnerability and confidence, a mother who expects a future wife, and long distance.
Hamlet – Ballet theatre
In this take on the Shakespeare classic, the legendary actor Ian McKellen shares the title role with ballet dancer Johan Christensen under the direction of choreographer Peter Schaufuss. As Christensen performs the role through the physical language of dance, McKellen punctuates the show with select sections of Hamlet's lines throughout the 75-minute version. They are joined by a company of ballet dancers in the cast and members of the Edinburgh Festival Ballet Company in this high-drama example of dance theatre performed in the round.
Ellie MacPherson: Happy Birthday, Mr. President! – Cabaret solo show
American Ellie MacPherson presents her solo show Happy Birthday, Mr. President! at Fringe this year. Filled with pop music covers and the weirdest of presidential fun facts, the show plays in the abandoned vaults below Edinburgh Central Library at Underbelly Cowgate.
A traveling audio show, the immersive experience is organized by Walk This Play. Audiences walk a predetermined route throughout the city and listen through headphones to a series of vignettes which play out. The show will continue to be available in Edinburgh after the end of Fringe and is available via the App Store!
LAND: A Scottish Musical – New folk musical
Blending traditional Scottish folk and modern electronic, the new musical LAND: A Scottish Musical features Islander star Bethany Tennick. Presented by Kick the Door, it asks audiences to question and reconsider how we relate to the earth and each other through two parallel stories. Also starring in the show are Christopher Alexander and Robin Campbell. LAND features concept and direction by Fraser Scott, a book by Iona Ramsay, and music and lyrics by Tennick.
My Son’s a Queer (But What Can You Do?) - Queer solo show
Rob Madge’s My Son’s A Queer (But What Can You Do?) is a mixture of autobiographical recollection, earnest original songs, and snippets of home videos from Madge’s childhood as a theatrically inclined child. Staged in the famous “purple cow” Udderbelly venue within the Underbelly, the solo show previously enjoyed a successful run Off-West End.
Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World - Musical
Based on Kate Pankhurst’s celebrated picture book, the new musical centers on Jade, a preteen girl struggling to make sense of her life. On a school trip to the Gallery of Greatness, she is inspired by Frida Kahlo, Sacajawea, Rosa Parks, Emmeline Pankhurst, Marie Curie, and more as she starts down her own path. With a book by Chris Bush and music by pop songwriter Miranda Cooper, the show is produced by a member of the SIX team, and has already had successful runs Off-West End and on the road throughout the United Kingdom.
Exodus – Political satire
National Theatre of Scotland presents Exodus at Traverse Theatre, a political satire about ambitious home secretary Asiya Rao and her scheming advisor whose plans to launch Rao as a candidate for prime minister and anti-immigration agenda are threatened by a series of absurd events. The two women cross every boundary to achieve their political goals in this play with a four-person female cast, and the comedy flips by the end as a reminder that the political issues at the heart of the show are no laughing matter.
Candy – Queer solo show
Written by Tim Fraser, Candy follows a man after he falls in love with his best friends drag persona, the titular Candy. Performed by Michael Waller, the solo piece explores his struggles to make sense of his newfound feelings, expanding the boundaries of gender and sexuality, and the real meaning of love at first sight.
Showstopper! The Improvised Musical – Improv musical
The Olivier-winning Fringe favorite features a team of talented improvisers who create a musical based on shouted suggestions from the audience. The audience provides the location, three existing musicals as stylistic reference, and the title.