Having recently returned from Edinburgh, Scotland, Playbill Goes Fringe correspondents Margaret Hall and Leah Putnam share another round-up of shows they saw at the world's largest arts festival, Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
Though our writers are now back in NYC, Playbill’s coverage of Edinburgh Fringe continues through the end of the festival, which officially opened August 5 and continues through August 29. Taking place every August, the festival features more than 3,000 shows at more than 300 venues. Be sure to check out the shows they saw in the first half of their trip here, and read below to check out what else they caught before flying back across the pond.
Earwig – New play
Earwig is a three-hander about a partially deaf woman named Marigold. Set in the roaring ‘20s, Marigold yearns to be an entomologist. Her opportunity arrives in the form of a scarab that stowed away in her friends’ luggage, joining their return from Egypt. Marigold is swept away in a current of discovery when a distant relative, an inheritance, and an untrustworthy suitor threaten to veer her dream coming true off course.
In the Weeds – Dramatic thriller
This two-handed Scottish thriller follows Kazumi, a Japanese scientist visiting a loch in Scotland where he meets unusual local woman, Coblaith. Featuring a pool on stage, the two mingle and tussle as the story’s turns raise questions about who is trustworthy and who is a threat in this noir-style play.
Manic Street Creature – New dramatic musical
Manic Street Creature, a music-based narrative following a young woman as she moves to London, falls in love, and wrestles with the trauma burdening both her and her partner. Touching on themes of mental health, the show was created by multi-hyphenate musician and performer Maimuna Memon. She is accompanied by two other musicians who together unfold the story in the round.
Lizard Boy – New comedic musical
Meet Trevor, a man whose peculiar childhood interaction with a dragon turned his skin into green lizard scales. Ostracized by society, the show follows him on the one day of the year he can venture out without gaining attention as he goes on a date, encounters someone from his past, and prepares to level up for the next challenges he, and the world, will face.
Mrs. Roosevelt Flies to London – Solo show based on real events
Using words pulled from American First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt’s private diary and daily columns, this solo show explores the woman and her strong spirit through a retrospective framing. It considers her humanitarian and political work as well as the queer relationships and marital trials that filled her personal life. The show and its star Alison Skilbeck return to Fringe following a sold-out run in 2016.
Burn – Dance-based solo show
Produced by the National Theatre of Scotland, Burn explores the life of national poet Robert Burns through an assembly of his own words, compiled from his personal correspondence and poetry. Blending dance theatre and poetic recitation, the solo show features music by Anna Meredith, illusions by Kevin Quantum, and choreography by Steven Hoggett, who co-created the piece with Alan Cumming. Burn transfers to New York City’s The Joyce this September.
Watson: The Final Problem – Solo show drama
This solo show follows one half of the classic British detective duo Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. Star Tim Marriott plays the veteran army doctor as he reflects on how he met Holmes, and the struggles he has endured due to Holmes face off with criminal mastermind Professor Moriarty.
Assassins – Student revival
A PACARTS student production of Stephen Sondheim’s Assassins, a musical about all the people who have attempted or succeeded at assassinating American presidents, this production features the group’s youth ensemble from Los Angeles.
Blood Harmony – New musical
Blood Harmony is a new musical about three sisters who must navigate finding themselves and each other in the wake of their mother’s death. As they search for connection and understanding, they come to terms with where they are and what lies ahead in the future. Though it pulls soaring harmonies from the band The Staves, the story is original.
Godspell – Student revival
Royal Conservatoire of Scotland presents a production of Godspell starring students from its MA Musical Theatre program. The high-energy revival features an unusually full set for Fringe.
Sad Girls Club – New play
Set in a haphazardly organized “sad girls support group,” Sad Girls Club urges audiences to sit in emotion, even if someone else in the world may have it worse. The new play, aimed particularly towards female-identifying audiences and women’s collective experiences, makes the point that “your sadness is yours, and only you can feel it.”
Van Gogh Find Yourself – Solo show
Van Gogh Find Yourself is a one man show blending a peaceful hour of creation with Vincent Van Gogh’s life. Taking inspiration from the painter’s dream of opening an artists studio with his friends, audiences are invited to draw along with the performer who shares Van Gogh’s story. As a part of the Free Fringe, a collection of about 1,900 shows with no-cost tickets; the performer’s straw hat serves as a tip jar.
The Unicorn – Solo show
Offie nominee Sam Potter's new solo show follows a woman as she processes her sexual trauma through hypersexuality. As her distraction evolves into desperation, she must finally face the memories and emotions which have sent her on this journey into world of adult parties. Georgina Fairbanks, who has a particular knack for timing, stars in the show.
Reuben Kaye: The Butch is Back – Late-night cabaret
Just one of the shows starring Australian performer Reuben Kaye, this cabaret comedy performance toes the line between autobiographical standup and full-throated vocals. The Butch is Back, which is equal parts introspective and explosive, is best suited for mature audiences.
Taiwan Season: Light of Life – Dance and acrobatic show
Taiwan Season: Light of Life features dancers, acrobats, and drummers from Diabolo Dance Theatre who perform impressive feats. The choreography’s success depends upon the performers’ precision, synchronicity, coordination, and cooperation. The 45-minute show loosely portrays a narrative about Taiwan's oceanic culture and myths, to the delight of audiences of all ages.
Eulogy – Immersive audio experience
Eulogy is the third of Darkfield’s immersive audio experiences presented in custom, retrofitted shipping containers. Lasting thirty minutes, the binaural experience takes audiences through an unfamiliar hotel with a less-than-forthcoming companion. Audiences experience the show via headphones as the drama plays out in a complete blackout. Darkfield also has two additional shows Séance and Flight, both of which are currently playing simultaneously at both the Fringe and in Brooklyn.
The Twenty-Sided Tavern – Interactive theatre
This interactive performance brings together a Dungeons-and-Dragons inspired roleplaying quest with audience input, making each performance a unique experience. The show, which often sells out, uses a QR code to direct audience members to a website that allows them to vote, participate in challenges, and affect the show’s storyline.
Coming Out of My Cage (And I’ve Been Doing Just Fine) – Presentational theatre
Coming Out of My Cage (And I’ve Been Doing Just Fine) examines almost every angle of “Mr. Brightside,” the hit song by The Killers which hasn’t left the U.K. charts in 18 years. The two-hander comedy encourages audiences to form a community around even the most mundane of connections.