11 Theatre Experiences We Will Always Remember From 2022 Edinburgh Fringe | Playbill

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Playbill Goes Fringe 11 Theatre Experiences We Will Always Remember From 2022 Edinburgh Fringe

Playbill Goes Fringe's reporters saw 35 shows at this years festival. Find out which productions are sticking with us after the curtain.

Reuben Kaye, Maimuna Memon, and Ian McKellen

Our Playbill Goes Fringe correspondents Margaret Hall and Leah Putnam saw 35 different shows in 13 days in their endeavor to experience Edinburgh Festival Fringe in its full glory.

With the 75th Edinburgh Fringe now complete, Hall and Putnam share the shows that will be sticking in their memories and the artists they hope to see cross the Atlantic. Make sure to check out the production roundups from the first and second half of their trip to refresh your memory!

Reuben Kaye: The Butch is Back
"The night that started it all was Assembly's Gala Launch Party. As the evening's emcee, Reuben Kaye delivered a set that kicked off the night's energy, and he kept it going in-between, often improvising on the spot as he vamped during change overs between sets and technical difficulties. His ability to read the theatre and make us roar with laughter convinced us to see his one of his two Fringe shows. We caught The Butch is Back, and I was thoroughly entertained and impressed by his full-throated vocals to Kaye's careful balancing act between autobiographical details and boundary-blasting comedy." - Leah Putnam

READ: "This Is The Utopia": Comedian Reuben Kaye Talks Drag, Dietrich, and Edinburgh Fringe

"In this balletic reimagining of Hamlet, one shift of timing revealed the immense scope of Sir Ian McKellen’s brilliance. Following the “nunnery scene,” a visibly moved McKellen stumbled over the opening line of his next soliloquy; with Shakespeare, every beat counts in his verse, often written in the specific rhythm of iambic pentameter. A pause can throw off an entire sequence. Rather than allowing it to throw him, or restarting the line, McKellen instead paused for exactly the length of a trochee, a meter which inverts the iambic pattern and was often used by Shakespeare to signify emotional upheaval. McKellen inserted a pause before continuing on, speaking the opening moments of the soliloquy in haunting trochaic rhythm—the same used for the Witches’ famous chant 'Double, double toil and trouble, fire burn, and cauldron bubble' in Macbeth. It was a moment of unplanned and unrepeatable artistic excellence, revealing how completely McKellen has internalized the life rhythms behind Shakespeare’s work, and how stumbles can be opportunities for artistic invention. It was utter magic." - Margaret Hall

Ian McKellen and Johan Christensen in Hamlet Devin de Vil

Blood Harmony
"This show makes the list of Fringe productions that made me cry. While that often happens to me, this one really got me. The story explores the relationships between three sisters, reunited at their family home as they process their mother's death, as they struggle to understand each other and to find their own paths. The lighting design with the full but simple set design really let the story and the musical's harmonies take center stage for me." - Leah Putnam

READ: Go Inside the Making of Manic Street Creature with Creator and Star Maimuna Memon

Manic Street Creature
"Blood Harmony made me cry, but Manic Street Creature made me full-on sob. Thankfully, a friend had tissues on hand to help me clean up my face after. Maimuna Memon, Yusuf Memon, and Rachel Barnes unfold this nuanced and powerful story about love, mental health, and the limits of caregiving with music I want to listen to on repeat so I can take in all of the details of the composition and lyrics." - Leah Putnam

Maimuna Memon in Manic Street Creature Eleonora Briscoe

"I'll remember this show as the first time I've seen Alan Cumming live onstage, but I'll also remember it for presenting my favorite staging of a ghost I've ever seen. I spent much of the performance with my jaw dropped and grabbing Margaret's arm every time the performance wowed me. I can't wait to see it again when it arrives in New York in a few weeks." - Leah Putnam

WATCH: The Original Cast of Land Perform 'Soldier's Song' and 'Miss The Snow' at Edinburgh Fringe

LAND: A Scottish Musical
"This one sunk into my bones. I deeply enjoyed the music, a mix of traditional Scottish folk and modern electronica, but the stories themselves, the chemistry between its three actors (Bethany Tennick, Christopher Alexander, and Robin Campbell), and the show's exploration of how we connect with our neighbors, our loved ones, strangers, the land we stand on... it touched my heart and left me with much to ruminate on. Not to mention, it was a joy to see a new work from Bethany Tennick, who starred in Islander, which transferred from Fringe to Off-Broadway where I fell absolutely in love with that show." - Leah Putnam

Robin Campbell, Chris Alexander, and Bethany Tennick in Land Fraser Scott

Coming Out of My Cage (And I’ve Been Doing Just Fine)
"Coming Out of My Cage was the final show of the Fringe for me, and what a way to cap it off! As someone who enjoyed, but wasn't necessarily an ardent fan of The Killer's 2004 alternative rock hit 'Mr. Brightside,' this hilariously investigative show sucked me in. I will remember rushing the stage to dance with my fellow audience members for the rest of my life. Open up my eager eyes!" - Margaret Hall

READ: 'Buzzing, Bursting, Bold': Why Karim Khan's Brown Boys Swim Hits Close to Home

Brown Boys Swim
"My favorite plays are always those that stand on the strength of their language; for me, the writing comes first. Karim Khan's Brown Boys Swim fit that bill, and then some (and I'm not the only one who thinks so—Khan has won multiple awards this season for the piece, including the coveted Fringe First). This two-hander, which is equal parts hilarious and heartbreaking, centers on two friends growing up in Oxford, England, and the prejudice they face as Muslim men. With a classically bare bones Fringe set, the world came to life in the capable hands of Anish Roy and Varun Raj, tender and true. I will be carrying this one with me for a long, long time." - Margaret Hall

Varun Raj and Anish Roy in Brown Boys Swim Geraint Lewis

My Son’s a Queer (But What Can You Do?)
"There is something so incredibly special about recognizing yourself in a show; sometimes that representation is physically manifest, and other times, it is embedded in the writing itself, speaking to some core truth you share with the writer. My Son's a Queer (But What Can You Do?) soothed the emotional child I once was and spoke to the passionate adult I now am. Madge's autobiographical solo show is heading to the West End, where it is sure to continue touching hearts and opening minds." - Margaret Hall

Rob Madge in My Son's a Queer Mark Senior

Showstopper! The Improvised Musical
"Sometimes at the end of the day, something silly is exactly what's needed. Showstopper! takes a title, a setting, and three musical inspirations from the audiences to create a new improv musical every performance. We saw the creation of West Cider Story, which combined the styles of A Little Night Music, Mamma Mia, and Kinky Boots, a rags-to-riches-to-rags story set at a Somerset, England cidery. Featuring three sisters at a family cidery and two brothers with a beverage conglomerate, the show dives into the dramatic world of business of beverages and working with family in a show which made me laugh as the cast brought the odd story to life and impressed me with the skill of the show's stars and band to build it on the spot." - Leah Putnam

Apphia Campbell Peter Dibdin

Honorable Mentions
Black is the Color of My Voice: "I really appreciated how this solo show about Nina Simone used her music sparingly, where it was important to understanding her in a particular moment and often without using the whole song." - Leah Putnam
Ellie MacPherson: Happy Birthday, Mr. President!
: "As a history fan, I loved learning and laughing with Ellie." - Margaret Hall
“First time I’ve listened to an audio play in a completely blacked-out shipping container!” - Leah Putnam
Rajesh and Naresh "This two-hander romantic comedy touched my heart, and my funny bone." - Margaret Hall
“This female-led POTUS-esque political satire caught me off guard with its very real ending.” - Leah Putnam
Tom Brace: Embrace the Impossible: "One of the best parts about Fringe is letting the festival surprise you; Brace blew us away with his magic skills during a chance encounter." - Margaret Hall
In the Weeds:
“I’ve seen pools of water on a stage before, but I’ve never watched a performance really unfold in one.” - Leah Putnam
Lizard Boy:
 "This new musical blends a coming-of-age story and classic comic book heroism to create an irrepressibly charming product." - Margaret Hall
Mrs. Roosevelt Flies to London:
“This British solo show taught me more about one of America’s first ladies than I ever learned in a history class.” - Leah Putnam
Taiwan Season: Light of Life:
"This visual feast of acrobatics, dance, and diabolo juggling filled me with childlike wonder." - Margaret Hall
Twenty-Sided Tavern:
“Though I don’t play Dungeons and Dragons, this fun show invites all kinds of audiences to play within its choose-your-adventure structure.” - Leah Putnam


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