25 shows to see at Edinburgh Festivals 2018

This article is from 2018

25 shows to see at Edinburgh Festival 2018

A guide to the best shows at this year's Festival

Another year and another Edinburgh Festival with far too much to see and just over a month to catch it all. Here, you'll find a chainsaw-wielding 'Elvis', a dance legend saying goodbye, a notorious anti-opera, and an exposé of niche fetishes as we point you in the direction of some unmissable events.

Wayne McGregor

With algorithms determining the content of his show on each night, McGregor's Autobiography is set to be a unique and invigorating dance experience. (International Festival)
Autobiography, Festival Theatre, 11–13 Aug (7.30pm).

Amythyst Kiah

Armed with her self-styled 'Southern Gothic alt-country blues', this Tennessee guitar legend in the making is reaping the benefits of having worked very hard all the way to the top. (Jazz Festival)
Amythyst Kiah, George Square Gardens, 18 (7pm) & 19 Jul (6pm).

Dick and Dom

One of the purveyors of gunge-tastic kids TV, Messrs McCourt and Wood face off in an hour stamped by mischief. While not claiming to have matured, the duo insist they have a show with broad appeal. (Festival Fringe)
Dick and Dom: Dick v Dom, Underbelly, 1–12 Aug (1pm).

Waiting for Godot

Still as vital and relevant as ever, Samuel Beckett's absurdist tale packed with tragedy and comedy is given a much-heralded treatment by Galway's Druid.(International Festival)
Waiting for Godot, Royal Lyceum Theatre, 3–12 Aug (7.30pm, 2.30pm matinee 5 & 11 Aug).

Cirque Alfonse

After their monster hit Barbu from 2015, the Quebec company get all ecclesiastical on us with a wild romp featuring the rudest word in the French-Canadian lexicon. (Festival Fringe)
Tabarnak, Underbelly's Circus Hub, 4–25 Aug (7pm).

Top 25 Shows at the Edinburgh Festival 2018

Tabarnak / credit: Guillaume Morin

Rip it Up

Affable Scottish disc-spinner Vic Galloway is in town with an event to mark his publication about the history of Scottish pop, featuring everyone from Gerry Rafferty to The Jesus and Mary Chain, and Blue Nile to Biffy Clyro. (Book Festival)
Rip it Up, Spark Theatre, 16 Aug (8.45pm).

Dylan Moran

With Dr Cosmos, the Edinburgh-based Irish stand-up master is set to get down and dirty with this modern world, albeit from a side-on and surrealistically skewed vantage point. (Fringe Festival)
Dylan Moran: Dr Cosmos, Various venues, 14–26 Aug (7.30pm).

Mica Paris

This British soul-pop icon of the 20th century has done a fine job at reinventing herself of late and is here with her interpretation of the Ella Fitzgerald songbook. (Fringe by the Sea)
Mica Paris Sings Ella Fitzgerald, North Berwick Harbour, 5 Aug (9.30pm).

The Beggar's Opera

John Gay's 17th century satirical opera had a poke at the Italian productions which were all the rage then (and now) and punctured the egos of some celebs from that period. (International Festival)
The Beggar's Opera, King's Theatre, 16–19 Aug (7.30pm, 2.30pm matinee 18 Aug).

Gruff Rhys

The Super Furry Animal launches his Fringe debut with Resist Phony Encores!, a story and song-laden affair which should reward those who know his Babelsberg inside out. (Festival Fringe)
Gruff Rhys: Resist Phony Encores!, Pleasance Courtyard, 17–25 Aug (11pm).

Light on the Shore

Another top-class contemporary music bill is laid on by the EIF featuring Mogwai, Honeyblood, Karine Polwart, Lau, Sacred Paws, King Creosote and, yep, many, many more. (International Festival)
Light on the Shore, Leith Theatre, 9–25 Aug (times vary).


The third children's book by David Baddiel is given a musical theatre makeover around its heart-warming tale of a boy who is less than keen on animals being taken to a farm as part of his school trip. (Festival Fringe)
David Baddiel's AniMalcolm, Gilded Balloon, 1–19 Aug (11.30am).

Top 25 Shows at the Edinburgh Festival 2018

The Beggar's Opera / credit: Patrick Berger

New Wave of Scottish Jazz

A fresh generation of players and singers are making a steady mark on the Scottish jazz scene, and this two-hour gig showcases a number of them including the Fergus McCreadie Trio and Luca Manning. (Jazz Festival)
The New Wave of Scottish Jazz, Teviot Row, 14 Jul (8.30pm).

Baby Face

A disturbing but vital piece of work from Katy Dye in which niche fetishes are exposed and society's ongoing obsession with infantilising women is explored to devastating effect. (Festival Fringe)
Baby Face, Summerhall, 1–26 Aug (1.30pm).

Spark 100

The centenary of Muriel Spark has certainly not slipped us by, but it's truly cranked up during August with events featuring the likes of Ali Smith, Alan Taylor, Janice Galloway and Rosemary Goring. (Book Festival)
Various events, Charlotte Square Gardens and Spark Theatre, various dates (times vary).

Natalie Palamides

Having ran off with the Best Newcomer prize last Fringe, this comic-clown-improviser could have rested on a bunch of laurels. Not a chance though, as she returns as Nate, a bigoted bloke who needs to see the light. (Festival Fringe)
Natalie Palamides: Nate, Pleasance Courtyard, 1–26 Aug (6pm).

Tacita Dean

She may come from a distinguished film background, but the former Turner Prize nominee insists that cinema is not her thing. So why is she making art with a crew of acclaimed actors? (Art Festival)
Tacita Dean, Fruitmarket Gallery, 7 Jul–30 Sep (10am 3--27 Aug, 11am 1 & 2 Aug, 28--31 Aug).

Pussy Riot

The Russian collective have landed themselves in a lot of trouble with Putin and the church these past few years. But if you think they care a jot, think again and check out their Riot Days music / theatre mash-up. (Festival Fringe)
Pussy Riot: Riot Days, Summerhall, 10–19 Aug. (7.30pm)


In his final ever performances in a full-length show, the great Akram Khan confronts the tragedy of war and the torment of the 'stranger' in a piece which provides the potential for redemption and hope. (International Festival)
Xenos, Festival Theatre, 16–18 Aug. (8pm)

Top 25 Shows at the Edinburgh Festival 2018

Rob Kemp: The Elvis Dead

Lost Voice Guy

This year's Britain's Got Talent's champion is here to trash a few misconceptions about disability and the disabled with his Inspiration Porn. (Festival Fringe)
Lost Voice Guy: Inspiration Porn, Gilded Balloon, 1–26 Aug (4pm).

Edinburgh Food Festival

Featuring hop-forward beverages, a Spanish tapas trailer, Southeast Asian delicacies and falafel wizardry, this year's Food Fest is already bringing us out into serious tummy-rumble mode.
Edinburgh Food Festival, Assembly George Square Gardens, 25–29 Jul (times vary).


Claudio Simonetti's Italian rock band provide the live soundtrack to two classic horror movies from the 1970s, Romero's Dawn of the Dead and Argento's soon-to-be-remade Suspiria. (Festival Fringe)
Goblin Perform Dawn of the Dead and Suspiria, Summerhall, 5 (8.20pm & 5.30pm, respectively) & 6 Aug. (5.30pm & 8.50pm, respectively)


The Dutch Master is put under a specifically British microscope as we explore the works that led him to becoming ever more popular over here across the past four centuries. (Art Festival)
Rembrandt: Britain's Discovery of the Master, Scottish National Gallery, 7 Jul–14 Oct (open 10am).

The Elvis Dead

After securing cult status last year by revamping Presley numbers to fit with The Evil Dead 2, Rob Kemp allows us a second chance to witness these gory yet glorious goings-on. (Festival Fringe)
Rob Kemp: The Elvis Dead, Pleasance Courtyard, 1–25 Aug (10.20pm).

Chelsea Clinton

The former First Daughter brings her new picture book She Persisted Around the World to the Book Festival, which aims to introduce young readers to inspiring women who have changed the course of history. (Book Festival)
Inspiring Women with Chelsea Clinton and Chelsea Clinton with Sally Magnusson, Charlotte Square Gardens, 19 (1.30pm) & 20 Aug (10am).