The Hip-Hop Orchestra Experience
Indoor and outdoor entertainment is back and that’s good news for fans of the Edinburgh Festival, writes JULENA DRUMI
It will be different, and smaller, but at least it’s back. The Edinburgh Fringe is preparing to put on a show that will feature performances inside, outside and and online as it adapts to the pandemic easing conditions. From 9 August the country should be basking in relatively free movement and that nicely coincides with most of the traditional month for the Festival.
Tickets for over 170 shows are now on sale, with more programme details set to be announced weekly in the run up to the Fringe (6-30 Aug).
This year and in keeping with reducing contact during in-person interactions, all events will be e-ticketed and shows will be listed online, as there won’t be a printed programme this year. Audiences will be able to attend shows without using paper tickets. More information on ticketing can be found at edfringe.com.
There’s a wide programme of live stand-up at the Corn Exchange this August. Acts include Craig Hill (05-08 Aug); Daniel Sloss (05-08 Aug, 12-14 Aug) and Andrew Maxwell (27 Aug). Tickets for Mark Nelson (05, 12 Aug) and other household comedy names will also be released soon.
The Grand Final of the 33rd So You Think You’re Funny? will take place at Gilded Balloon Teviot (26 Aug). Semi-final shows are available to watch via Zoom throughout the month.
Throughout August, Nothing Ever Happens Here gigs are taking place at Summerhall’s Secret Courtyard, with confirmed acts including Meursault (07 Aug); Stanley Odd (14 Aug); Kapil Seshasayee (15 Aug); Siobhan Wilson (26 Aug) and Withered Hand (27 Aug).
Little Sparta are presenting an instrumental performance of their latest album Lost Boat Party at Dovecot Studios (06 Aug), and Dougie McLean will appear live at The Brunton Theatre (14 Aug). Later in the month, Chrissie Hynde is performing four stripped back shows at Queen’s Hall, featuring a selection of Bob Dylan covers (22-25 Aug).
Some online shows will have a viewing window (where the content will be available to watch for a set amount of time). Detailed information about how each individual online event is viewed is clearly available at the point of booking.
Fringe Player and other online platforms: Audiences can view Fringe shows via the brand-new Fringe Player. Available viaedfringe.com, this bespoke digital platform offers audiences an exciting new way to engage with Fringe content.
The player will be accessible to audiences from 6 Aug, with captioning built in. Both on-demand and scheduled online shows are available on this platform.
Where other platforms (such as Zoom, YouTube and Vimeo) are being used to host online work, information on how to access these is clearly provided at the point of purchase.
Online shows will be available to watch from August but can be pre-booked.
Among those performances unveiled by theSpaceUK will be new shows, some in different formats at its venues in Surgeons Hall, theSpaceTriplex and theSpace @ Symposium Hall.
Audiences are promised the finest new-writing programme alongside several Fringe legendary shows returning for the first time since 2019. There’s a new open-air venue, the Garden Theatre at Symposium Hall, in the Hill Square. With an outdoor bar.
Online@theSpaceUK has won numerous awards for its digital theatre platform and returns for Season 4 meaning that, wherever you are in the world, you can catch the cutting edge fringe shows, from the comfort of your own sofa.
theSpaceUK continues to champion new-writing with the Cambridge University Musical Theatre Society brand new musical, On Your Bike. After the sell-out success of both Six and Rust, this celebrated company turn their attention to the gig economy and zero hours contracts. When food company Eatseroo won’t pay compensation for an at-work accident, the community of riders lock horns with the algorithm in this upbeat, quirky new musical.
Leading the line-up is the former BBC Doctor, Colin Thomas with Trust Me, I Was The BBC Doctor. From auditioning at Cambridge Footlights to Emma Thompson & Stephen Fry, Colin’s tales of a wild life in his 25 years at the BBC will let audiences decide whether he should be a national treasure.
This year, Internationally renowned a cappella sensation Semi-Toned return with a mystery-themed show, featuring their signature mix of a cappella singing and side-splitting comedy in Semi-Toned Presents: A Study in Burgundy.
The Legendary Night Owl Shows are back with their runaway smash-hit shows. The multi-talented company raise the roof with “the ultimate music anthology shows” including The Johnny Cash Story, The Nashville Story, The Dolly Parton Story, The Carole King and James Taylor Story, Laurel Canton Legends. An exhilarating night out that will make audiences wish they were up on stage too (which they may very well be…)
Other highlights include the Fringe’s longest-running improvised comedy group, The Improverts, returning for yet another year of fast-paced short-form comedy. Jane Eyre from Blue Orange Arts is Charlotte Brontë’s tale of a young woman’s courageous fight through injustice and hardship was a revolution in literature.
All Fringe Goers are keen to discover the hidden gems. So where are the diamonds to be found this year? Here’s a few possibilities.
There’s new comedy from Two Ladders Productions with Embassy Stompy where Count Horoch Zadelksi has been appointed free Polish Ambassador to Canada. Will he escape the clutches of Doktor von Falkenheim of the Gestapo?
With Edinburgh Pride Parade cancelled for the second year, there’s plenty of LGBTQ shows to fly the flag. Highlights include Femme Ta Bouche where a gender-bending performance-artist plans to return to her gay conversion camp to cause chaos before chemotherapy starts. Tropicana is a one-of-a-kind time capsule comedy cabaret, all singing, dancing and bound to leave you gagging for more! This brand new show from Aidan Sadler mixes the electrifying sound of synth with joyous queer stand-up.
We’ve had Queen musicals, Madness Musicals, Spice Girls musicals… Now it’s the turn of Barry Manilow with ChasingRainbows’ brand new musical Looks Like We Made It. Barry Manilow’s songs are completely reimagined in this original piece of musical theatre. Mandy, Could It Be Magic, Copacabana and many others performed with a refreshing twist as a couple reflects on 30 years of marriage.
Twelve months ago, when the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2020 was cancelled, theSpaceUK launched Online@theSpaceUK to provide artists and creatives with a platform for their work.
There’s cutting edge online theatre as Flying Solo! Presents returns with three shows from the USA. Bombarded with news during the Shutdown a zealous male voice speaks directly to Agave through her laptop in Agave vs The Lion. A brand new solo musical from Jenny Stafford, Color Inside the Lines is all about matchmaking schemes from the biggest loser in school. Up on the Blocks features original songs inspired by folk, blues and traditional country.
There’s musical mayhem with Destroying Demons: Songs for Cello and Carnatic Violin, a world premiere, the shimmering beauty of South Indian melodies blends with electronic sound effects and virtuosic improvisation. Featured on NPR, ESPN, Wall Street Journal, NowThis, Pitchfork, United Nations and more, Ensemble Mik Nawooj put a classical spin on legendary hip hop performers including Wu Tang Clan with their Hip-Hop Orchestra Experience.
In his new one-man show, with a full cast via video, playwright and performer John Feffer portrays the fall and unlikely rise of a straight man in a comic world. Clowntime is a vision of the future – a cream pie, striking a human face forever.
After spending decades on the stage, Siobhan Bremer’s life is more than just a bit theatrical in A Theatrical Life. Winner of the Most Viewed Show (Elgin Fringe), Spirit of Fringe and Producer’s Award (Front-Row Fringe, Triple Bypass, from Deena Ronayne, features three 10-minute plays each presenting a unique take on life and death.