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!
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe officially began August 4, and already buzz is starting to build around different shows. Sure, we at Playbill can go see as many shows as we can and recommend some to you—or you can look at this list we compiled below and see which shows are close to selling out (some are already sold out).
We have done some research to bring you this list, speaking to box office staff around Edinburgh, and speaking to artists. Though some of these shows are sold out, those involved encourage you to contact the venue to see if there are any leftover tickets. And look on the official Fringe app close to the day you want to see the show, or even on the day of—tickets may be released at the last minute.
So, peruse this list. Considering that average ticket price for the Fringe is £13.31, we encourage you to buy tickets for a couple of shows. You don't want to miss out.
The below list is in alphabetical order, with the official show description and a link to buy tickets. This list will be updated as Playbill receives more information.
1 Hour of Insane Magic
Insane Magic is a thrilling new magic show that will leave you on the edge of your seats. Witness some of the most incredible acts of magic from three of the best magicians in the country.
5 Mistakes That Changed History
We all make mistakes, but rarely do they change the course of history. In this historical-storytelling comedy, historian and comedian, Paul Coulter, tells the funny (and tragic) stories of five people and how their mistakes changed the world. Fresh from sold-out runs at Sydney and Adelaide Fringe Festivals, Paul brings history to life in a hilarious way. If you hated history at school, this is the show for you. If you loved history at school, stop looking and just book the show. Class credit not provided.
Adrian Bliss: Inside Everyone
An atom travels to Earth on a quest for greatness, finding himself inside some of the most important people who have ever lived. Join Adrian Bliss on a wild ride through history and give your seven octillion atoms an experience they will never forget.
Hope's leaving her hometown up north for the bright lights of London. It's going to be mind-blowing. Attractive Hinge dates. Mature new friends. A job at a dinosaur-themed bar. Hell. Yes. Okay, her manager's a creep. And her housemate seems to hate her... But we don't need to talk about that. With a hilariously naïve protagonist, Almost Adult combines quick-witted character comedy with touching vulnerability.
A young detective works against the clock as she questions a suspect who looks like the least likely person to be linked to a murder. He's a devoted son, a successful businessman and a respectable member of society. But as the minutes tick away, the detective starts to suspect that all is not what it seems... Inspired by real events, the debut play from Jamie Armitage, the Tony Award-nominated co-director of SIX: The Musical is a gripping interrogation drama about power, deception, and our perspectives on the truth.
Ania Magliano: I Can't Believe You've Done This
To the hairdresser at [redacted] Salon: You can take my money. You can take my dignity. You can take too much off the ends. But you cannot take my right to talk about it every day on stage. This is a show about the worst haircut of Ania Magliano's life. Ania's critically acclaimed 2022 debut run sold out entirely in a week. She's supported Marc Maron, Cat Cohen, and Ed Gamble, and writes for Amelia Dimoldenberg's Chicken Shop Date.
Exadus Theatre Company believes now is the time to pay homage to Orwell's book, once read aloud in Ukrainian to Soviet refugees in West Germany, reminding us that "all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others."
Observational comedy joining three flight attendants from Applesby Airlines as they share with you various colorful characters from their lives. Attendants is the first visit to Edinburgh for Amelie, Ava and Lola, who wrote this show inspired by the works of John Godber.
The return of the multi award-winning play by Sophie Swithinbank, directed by Matthew Iliffe, and produced by HFH Productions, Bacon is an unflinching and unexpectedly humorous look at masculinity, sexuality and power, through the dizzying lens of youth.
It’s club night and the tracks are spinning. Two headliners crossfade between stories of love, sex, and losing their creative spark—set against a backdrop of precarious lives in urban London. Featuring original tracks inspired by early aughts and present-day R&B and garage, Bangers follows the highs and lows of two strangers struggling with their own pasts, while hurtling towards the future. All the while, the DJ continues to play, dropping words of wisdom and banger after banger.
Ben Target: Lorenzo
Ben Target is a critically-acclaimed performance artist and multi-award-winning comedian (yawn), but in 2020 he gave this up to become the live-in carer for an irascible octogenarian prankster. A life-affirming story about death, conveyed through the popular mediums of storytelling, servitude to the audience, and live carpentry, a combination not seen on the world stage since Nazareth (circa 30AD).
A chicken's brain is the size of a walnut. But their hearts are as big as the universe. A play about love, fate, delicious white meat, and adventure. There's a chicken in the Summerhall basement and she's dying to meet you. From the makers of Mustard (Scotsman Fringe First Winner 2019).
David O'Doherty: Tiny Piano Man
The dishevelled prince of £10 eBay keyboards tries to make you feel alive with a new pageant of laughter, song and occasionally getting up from a chair. It's gonna be a big one. Star of 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown (Channel 4), Live at the Apollo (BBC) and Along for the Ride with David O'Doherty (Channel 4).
Dusk: A Bite-Size Love Story
An original Twilight parody musical created by Morgan Kennedy with music by Daniel Ruffing, that recounts the delicate start to Edwin and Bia's immortal teenage romance like audiences have never seen before. Through song, dance, and a lot of camp, Dusk reimagines some of the most iconic moments of the pop-culture phenomenon that dominated the world for nearly a decade (and the internet ever since)! Audiences can expect baseball, brooding, sparkles, and much more! Whether you love, hate, or love to hate Twilight, Dusk has something for you!
Eden Sher: I Was On A Sitcom
A show about finding out who you are when your TV show ends and your "real life" begins. Because when you've played a character on TV for a decade, what exactly does it mean to "be yourself?" Debut Fringe show from the star of ABC's The Middle.
Edgar Allan Poe: The Murders in the Rue Morgue
The original detective story. Two women are found brutally murdered in their Parisian home in the Rue Morgue—one virtually decapitated, the other thrust up a chimney. The police are baffled by the apparent lack of any possible egress by the killers and strange voices heard just after the blood-curling screams of the women. The lack of motive—not for the murders themselves but for the savage nature of the crime—leads them to arrest an innocent man. C August Dupin steps in to investigate the seemingly impossible events.
Frank Skinner: 30 Years of Dirt
A highly anticipated brand-new hour from comic legend Frank Skinner following his sell-out hit Showbiz.
Based on the 2018 Broadway musical, Frozen Jr brings Elsa, Anna, and the magical land of Arendelle to life onstage. The show features all of the memorable songs from the animated film plus new songs written for the Broadway production. A story of true love and acceptance between sisters, Frozen Jr expands upon the emotional relationship and journey between Princesses Anna and Elsa. Faced with danger, the two discover their potential and the powerful bond of sisterhood. With a cast of loveable characters, magic, adventure and humour it will thaw even the most frozen of hearts!
Funeral: "I don't believe in God but I miss him?" (Nothing to Be Frightened Of, Julian Barnes). A collective ritual about the finiteness of things. It will start in the dark. We will greet others and say goodbye. There will be singing and pretending. There will be light and room for darkness. We'll light candles, eat and drink, and celebrate life. And all of that will end. Welcome. A theatrical ceremony, a new ritual that brings people together. Because everything is finite and we are going to have to live with that.
Gyles Brandreth Can't Stop Talking!
He's back—and unstoppable. Gyles Brandreth can't stop talking. The jumper-loving This Morning and Just A Minute star, who pops up on Pointless, QI, Would I Lie To You?, Sunday Brunch, and Celebrity Gogglebox, has been babbling since he was a baby, and in his hilarious new one-man show, the award-winning raconteur tries to work out why. He's won the Audience Award for Most Popular Show on the Fringe, multiple five-star reviews and every time he's in Edinburgh, his shows sell out. Fast. Book now.
Heaven is set in County Offaly, Ireland, during the weekend of a local wedding. Mairead and Mal are struggling to keep their marriage together. Perhaps attending a wedding will help, or it might raise questions that are difficult to answer. This poignant, funny, beautiful, new play is full of humanity. Heaven is presented by the Olivier Award-winning Fishamble, written by Eugene O’Brien (Irish Times Best New Play Award winner 2022), and directed by Jim Culleton (Irish Times Best Director Award winner 2019).
Hello Kitty Must Die
You may think Fiona Yu is just another Hello Kitty stereotype... but you’d be dead wrong. From the Tony-winning producer of SIX comes an outrageously irreverent world premiere musical mash-up of Asian feminism with a killer score. Fiona Yu is a high achieving, but highly disillusioned Chinese-American woman. She is fed up with the stereotypes forced onto her by a white, patriarchal society—namely that she is the human embodiment of a speechless cartoon feline. Based on the cult novel by Angela S. Choi, this musical is a ruthless combination of sex, violence, and stilettos.
High Steaks is a show about labia, labia-shaming, cosmetic surgery, and, fundamentally, body lovin'. Eloina hangs two beef steaks from her labia, butchers them up and sizzles them on a grill. And...her mum is in the show. Seamlessly melding performance art and comedy clowning, High Steaks discusses rising demands in young people for labiaplasty—plastic surgery to make the labia smaller/more symmetrical. Through live conversations with her mum and recorded interviews with labia-owners, High Steaks is a call for increased visibility of varied vulvas and a celebration of our vulvas in all their shapes and sizes.
I Wish My Life Were Like A Musical
The definitive comedic musical revue revealing all about musical theatre, and the people who love it on both sides of the curtain!
Ivo Graham: Organized Fun
After dismantling a barge (Taskmaster), doxxing himself in the Doubletree (Off Menu), and blanking on the 1992 Ipswich Town crest (University Challenge), Ivo Grahm ropes his audience into more chaos against the clock. "Humiliation's your thing, right?" his brother asked him at Christmas, and with the full existential ramifications of that still being processed, he's lining up a show with more risk than ever before.
Jon Culshaw: Imposter Syndrome
The star of BBC Radio 4's Dead Ringers and BBC One's The Impressions Show follows up his 2018 sell-out Fringe residency with a brand-new hour of comedy and music. Join Jon as he conjures up an array of the best-known personalities from the worlds of entertainment, politics, and beyond in his trademark style.
Kathy & Stella Solve A Murder
BFFs Kathy and Stella are Hull’s least successful true crime podcasters. When their favorite author is killed, they are thrust into a thrilling whodunnit of their own! Can they crack the case (and become global podcast superstars) before the killer strikes again? The hilarious musical from the Olivier Award-winners behind Fleabag, Baby Reindeer, and A Super Happy Story returns! Written by Jon Brittain and Matthew Floyd Jones.
After a sell-out run in 2022, the multi award-winning, cabaret spectacular La Clique returns, featuring the best of circus, comedy, and cabaret. Born at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2004 and subsequently gaining international acclaim touring the globe, this is the original and trailblazing Underbelly Spiegeltent cabaret show, bringing you a magnificent new collection of extraordinary new artists and unmissable favourites. The Olivier Award-winning international sensation promises to be a night of laughs, gasps, and can't-believe-your-eyes moments from the best acts around the world.
Las Vegas in Edinburgh
Siegfried and Joy are the new masters of magic. The incredible duo are enjoying a meteoric rise, and you can catch them before they go stratospheric! At this show, a sleight-of-hand spectacle bringing a little Vegas to Edinburgh. Marvel at the two magicians’ mind-bending illusions, brilliant comedy, and incredible stage presence at their Fringe premiere.
Laura Ramoso: Frances
With over 1 million followers and 350 million views across social media, comedian Laura Ramoso makes her highly anticipated Fringe debut! Featuring her most popular characters like Italian Dad, German Mom and the Three Girls Who Just Got Back From Europe, Frances tells a hilarious and painfully relatable story about love and loss through the best in sketch and improv comedy.
Lorna Rose Treen: Skin Pigeon
Character comedian Lorna Rose Treen has been pretending to be other people for fun since she could dress herself. Now she's inviting you inside her mind for an hour of characters, comedy, content, content, content, costumes and content. The greatest thing to come out of Redditch since the fishing tackle. The debut show from Chortle's Best Newcomer 2023 and Funny Women Awards' first-ever double winner (2022).
Mark Watson: Search
Mark Watson's 12-year-old son just got a phone. His 70-year-old dad has been through the most frightening experience of his life. Both a dad and a kid himself, around the midpoint of his life, the Taskmaster star, multiple award-winner and Fringe legend returns to consider the search for meaning that we're all on, with or without Google. There will be a lot of jokes.
Nurse Georgie Carroll: Sista Flo 2.0
Viral Nurse Georgie Carroll's gloves are off for this award-winning power hour. Hospital-grade humour from everyone's favourite nurse-turned-comedian. This is going to hurt, but it will make you better. As seen on Just For Laughs Australia, Have You Been Paying Attention?, Would I Lie to You, and The Project. Winner of Best Comedy Show at the Adelaide Fringe and following on from a 110-date tour around Australia, including a sold-out performance at the Sydney Opera House. Don't miss Nurse Georgie Carroll as she performs her debut season at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2023.
Pear: But Braver
Last year, 6'7" identical twins, Patrick and Hugo McPherson, brought their debut sketch comedy show, Pear, to Edinburgh. An award-winning, sell-out tour across the U.K. and Australia then followed. This year? The same. But braver. So leave cowardice at the door and then enter for a riotous and original hour.
Usually avoid public bathrooms? Here's one you won't want to miss! This award-winning new musical follows four unlikely strangers who find themselves trapped together in a gender-neutral public toilet. With an hour to kill until maintenance arrives, the group navigates unexpected challenges, pungent opinions, and some seriously sticky conversations. Created by queer-led theatre collective Stroud & Notes, Public—The Musical explores stories of identity, connection, and compassion, alongside an electrifying pop/rock score. This will be a trip to the bathroom you'll never forget!
Sea Dragon Under 5s
From the creators of Moon Dragon, Sea Dragon is the most fun for under 5s. This is a great way of introducing young children to the drama of the theatre and each child attending is given a jam-packed props bag full of age-appropriate percussion, items for dressing up, lights, puppets, and pom poms. Sea Dragon tells the story of a magical coral reef that has lost its color. Kipper the Sea Dragon searches the ocean for help, and engages with four magnificent kelpies, a starfish, a crab, and some cool seahorses.
She Kills Monsters
Agnes' life is turned upside down when she stumbles upon her late sister's Dungeons & Dragons notebook. As she embarks on an action-packed quest to save her sister's soul, Agnes comes face-to-face with homicidal fairies, raunchy ogres, and blood-thirsty cheerleaders, and discovers a side of herself she never knew existed. Qui Nguyen's touching comedy combines real life, fantasy, and 90s pop culture in the search for the "badass" in us all.
Strategic Love Play
So they’ve both swiped right. Now they’re meeting for the first time. Facing each other. As if that’s a normal thing to do. But she’s being uncomfortable, and he’s a total bore. The vibe is horrific and the banter is even worse. But something is keeping them in their seats. Something is making them stay. Welcome to your hot date. With acid wit, Miriam Battye’s new play takes a scalpel to modern romance, interrogating what we really talk about when we talk about love.
Welcome to this live episode of the podcast! Well, sort of. Fascinated by romantic comedies, one woman tries to create her own walking-off-into-the-sunset moment. While recording it, of course. Denver's parents might not have ended up like When Harry Met Sally, but she can find her own happily ever after... right? Combining a delicate navigation of heartache with disco dancing and rom-com plots, this one-woman show, written and performed by Georgie Grier, explores our relationship to fantasy and how far this can impact our reality.
Susie McCabe: Femme Fatality
On the back of her TV debuts (Have I Got News for You, Frankie Boyle’s New World Order), Susie also supported Kevin Bridges, Frankie Boyle and Jason Manford on their tours. Susie's last show, Born Believer, received rave reviews and this show is set to be another barnstormer of an evening!
The Academy Trust
Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the school gates? Why do people become teachers and then leave so soon? With schools being asked to become multi-academy trusts, the school working world is becoming very different. Come and see the hilarious, unbelievable and simply sublime situations this group of teachers get themselves into in The Academy Trust—a satirical comedy written and performed by teachers. Featuring hilarious, unbelievable, and simply sublime initiatives that are so outrageous they'll probably be in the next Conservative manifesto!
The Ballad of Truman Capote
From three-time Booker-nominated author Andrew O’Hagan (Mayflies), a cautionary tale of literary life, comes a hilarious and brilliant new play. New York's Plaza Hotel, 1966: the American writer Truman Capote throws the party of the century. As A-list guests arrive, Capote retires to his suite to drink martinis and gossip with himself about celebrity life and the meaning of self-invention. In a bantering oral ballad, he focuses on his Alabama childhood and creating a new kind of art form with In Cold Blood.
The Grand Old Opera House Hotel
When shy Aaron joins the hotel's ramshackle team, he encounters volatile guests, inept management and even rumours of singing ghosts stalking the corridors. But through the madness, one voice rings out clear, capturing both his ears and heart – and Aaron chooses to go into battle with the hotel's magical chaos in order to find the person who owns it. This heart-filling ensemble comedy from Olivier Award-winner Isobel McArthur (Pride and Prejudice* sort of), directed by Gareth Nicholls (Ulster American), explores the power of art and beauty in seemingly hopeless circumstances.
A campy variety show that mimics an overenthusiastic kick-off event for a corporate retreat for the fictional company Men-ses Period Panties. It pokes fun at the boring jargon, toxic positivity, and team building nonsense inherent to the business world. Hosted by comedians Rebekka Johnson (Netflix's GLOW) and Anne Gregory (NBC's Parks and Recreation) and produced by U.K.'s own Kate Nash. Guest acts feature a rotating cast of incredible Fringe performers (sometimes) including the iconic pop-star and actress, Kate Nash. It's a new and fun romp every night!
Roald Dahl’s famous tale of the egregious and revolting Mr. and Mrs. Twit. Follow Bath’s award-winning Zenith Youth Theatre Company as they lead us through pernicious tales of deceit and wickedness. This physical and energetic retelling of the children’s classic will have audiences squirming and roaring with laughter in equal measure as the Twits finally meet a gruesome end at the hand of Mugglewump and his family.