The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the biggest arts festival in the world, with over 3,000 shows. This year, Playbill will be going to Edinburgh in August for the festival and we’re taking you with us. Follow along this summer as we cover every single aspect of the Fringe, aka our real-life Brigadoon!
"What should I see?" is the question on the minds of Fringe-goers everywhere. There are thousands of shows to pick from—so how do you choose when there are so many to see? One place to start is with recommendations—and Playbill has you covered. Taking a look at what's on offer, Playbill is presenting lists of shows you won't want to miss at each of Edinburgh Fringe's big venues. Some of the locations are run by the same venue operator, so be sure to follow along to find out what's being presented across the city this August with these handy guides.
Assembly is practically synonymous with the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Its Artistic Director and CEO William Burdett-Coutts pioneered the multi-space venue hubs at Fringe when he established Assembly and the Assembly Rooms as a Fringe venue in 1981. The curated multi-space hub quickly became a defining blueprint for Edinburgh Fringe. Assembly operates throughout the year at its Roxy space, operates several hubs during the festival, and tours some of its productions as well. It is well known for presenting a vast number of international shows and artists, and presented the official debuts of Broadway's The Shark Is Broken and STOMP. Check out nine of this year's highly-recommended shows playing Assembly's George Square location below.
Lena tells the story of Lena Zavaroni, a 10-year-old who rose to stardom in 1974 as a singing sensation on ITV's talent show Opportunity Knocks. BAFTA and Olivier winner Tim Whitnall explores what happened to her over the next 25 years in this work starring Erin Armstrong as Lena and Jon Culshaw as Hughie Green in a cast of five with a live band. Performances will be held in the Gordon Aikman Theatre at Assembly George Square.
Beats On Pointe
Seen in London's West End, Australian dance production Beats on Pointe comes to Edinburgh with a high-energy performance. Featuring a range of dance styles such as ballet, contemporary, breaking, and other styles, the work is suitable for audiences of all ages. Check it out at Assembly George Square's Gordon Aikman Theatre.
All-female circus troupe YUCK returns to Edinburgh. Their sell-out show blends acrobatics, confessions, dancing, and comedy. With multiple wins across a number of Australia's own fringe festivals, YUCK is another act crossing oceans to perform at Edinburgh this summer. Performances will fly high at the Spiegeltent Palais Du Variete at Assembly George Square Gardens.
Gail Porter: Hung, Drawn, and Portered
BAFTA winner and Edinburgh native Gail Porter is laughing at her life and sharing stories about how love and kindness can help us all thrive. From being famous to homeless, and from losing her hair to enjoying the travel upgrades she gets because people assume she's dying, Porter has lots to share. Fringe-goers can check out her show at Studio Two at Assembly George Square Studios.
La Petite Gerda
Presented in English, this fairytale story follows Gerda, a girl on a quest to save her best friend Kay from the evil Snow Queen. Using masks, puppetry, and music, Footsbarn Theatre puts its spin on the Hans Christian Anderson story as Gerda discovers just how brave she can be. The show plays Studio Three at Assembly George Square Studios.
Chris Grace: As Scarlett Johansson
You may recognize Chris Grace from American sitcom Superstore in which he stars as Jerry. But in August, Grace comes to Fringe with a show where he "portrays the greatest living Asian actor Scarlett Johansson through comedy, theatre, stand-up, and the music of Tom Waits." Check it out at Studio Five in Assembly George Square Studios.
OSCAR at The Crown
Set in a dystopian future where fascism reigns, OSCAR at The Crown is an immersive queer musical-meets-nightclub experience inspired by Oscar Wilde. It takes place in a secret bunker where the majority of what's survived are sequins, reality television, and the complete works of the famous author and wit. OSCAR at The Crown makes its previously announced U.K. premiere in Assembly George Square Gardens' Spiegeltent Palais Du Variete following its original 2019 Brooklyn run.
Nurse Georgie Carroll: Sista Flo 2.0
Making her Fringe debut, viral Australian nurse-turned-comedian Georgie Carroll is bringing hospital humor to Scotland. Carroll won Best Comedy Show at Australia's Adelaide Fringe festival, and has been seen on Just For Laughs Australia, Have You Been Paying Attention?, Would I Lie to You, and The Project. She plays Studio Five at Assembly George Square Studios.
Following a preview run in New York City at Off-Broadway's 59E59 Theaters, multiple Fringe First-winning playwright Brian Parks presents a work about Higgins and Houghton, two novelists who continuously end up on the shortlist for literature's ultimate prize. Though neither has yet to win, this year will be different as the two prepare to go toe-to-toe in a final showdown for the title. Fringe First winner Margarett Perry directs Matthew Boston and Daniel Llewelyn-Williams in the work in Assembly George Square's The Crate.
Want to check out some more recommendations? Check out Playbill Goes Fringe to keep up with our coverage before, during, and after the festival! For more information about Assembly's programming, visit AssemblyFestival.com.