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Best theatre to see at Pleasance

Best of the Southside: Theatre to see at Pleasance

No Kids

Expect coming-of-age tales and gender-bending musical cabaret from Pleasance's theatre programme

Pleasance's theatre offerings at this year's Fringe brims with a colourful panoply of voices and stories, cementing Edinburgh's Southside as a hub for some of the most exciting new writing out there. From inventive reworkings of classic Greek mythology to searing explorations of conflict both at home and abroad, don't miss out on some of the most thought-provoking shows coming to the festival this year.

No Kids (Ad Infinitum)
No Kids explores the personal journey that real-life couple Nir and George embarked upon when they asked the question: as a gay couple, should we go out of our way to have children? Gender-bending musical cabaret and verbatim theatre marry to conceive a distinctly queer piece that asks: should we be making more babies in an increasingly overpopulated world? And is our society truly open to the idea of two dads?
No Kids, Pleasance Courtyard, Sat 4–Mon 27 Aug (not 8, 13, 21), 3.40pm, £10.50–£13.50 (£9–£12.50). Previews Wed 1–Fri 3 Aug, £6.50.

Freeman (Strictly Arts Theatre and The Pleasance)
Inspired by the first man in America to plead insanity as his defence, award-winning writer Camilla Whitehill and Strictly Arts examine the unspoken link between mental health and systemic racism. Throughout time and across waters, from William Freeman to Sarah Reed, six true stories are threaded together and told through physical theatre, spoken word, gospel singing, shadow puppetry and more.
Freeman, Pleasance Courtyard, Sat 4–Mon 27 Aug (not 10), 5pm, £8–£11 (£7–£10). Previews Wed 1–Fri 3 Aug, £6.

Propeller (The Network and Pleasance Theatre Trust)
So you want to change the world? Really? You? You Instagram-checking, avo-smashing, coconut-flat-white-sipping loser? Yeah, the world sucks sometimes – OK, a lot. But you can't do anything about it. Can you? This show says yes, yes you can. Maybe. If you ever feel frustrated about the way things are but don't know what to do about it, this is the show for you. A devised piece about power and the possibility of change, directed by double Fringe First winner Caitlin Skinner and co-created by The Network Ensemble.
Propeller, Pleasance Courtyard, Sat 4–Mon 27 Aug (not 13, 21), 1pm, £7–£9 (£6–£8.50). Previews Wed 1–Fri 3 Aug, £6.

Best of the Southside: Theatre to see at Pleasance

Signals
Lights Over Tesco Car Park (Poltergeist Theatre)
A docu-comedy for the post-truth age. Robert reported lights over the Tesco car park, then said an alien was coming to stay in his spare room. With the help of some historical abduction stories, a latex alien mask and a bucket of flying saucers, we're working out whether to believe him. Maybe this is a good place to believe him? Samuel French New Play Award winner 2018.
Lights Over Tesco Car Park, Pleasance Dome, Sat 4–Mon 27 Aug (not 15, 22), 10.50am, £8.50–£11 (£7.50–£9). Previews Wed 1–Fri 3 Aug, £6.

Alabama God Damn (Hippana Theatre)
An electric performance influenced by S-Town, True Detective and Seasick Steve. Frank returns to his hometown and has a riot with the casual criminals, the enlightened rednecks and a snake-wielding pastor. Overwhelmed with humour and dark beauty, Frank rediscovers the Deep South in all its profanity, its charm and its humanity. Live music and untamed characters animate this fast-paced bittersweet comedy.
Alabama God Damn, Pleasance Dome, Sat 4–Sun 26 Aug (not 13, 21), 11am, £8.50–£10.50 (£7.50–£9.50). Previews Wed 1–Fri 3 Aug, £6.

Finding Fassbender (Lydia Larson)
Eve's leaving Wolverhampton to work in the big smoke because it's something you should do. But the capital's charm quickly wears off and Eve decides to pack her bags and head home to her boyfriend Rich and cat, Steve Bull. Until she receives a letter addressed to a famous film actor. Finding Fassbender follows one woman's misadventure as she tries to carve out a life on her own terms, and Michael's too.
Finding Fassbender, Pleasance Courtyard, Sat 4–Mon 27 Aug (not 13), 11.45am, £8–£10.50 (£7–£9.50). Previews Wed 1–Fri 3 Aug, £6.

Best of the Southside: Theatre to see at Pleasance

Revenants / credit: Alex Brenner
No One is Coming to Save You (This Noise)
An insomniac is watching TV in a language he doesn't understand; a woman is standing in a garden stretching her arms to the sky. The whole world is asleep and something extraordinary is about to happen. No One Is Coming to Save You is the hypnotic story of two young lives lived in social, political and economic fear.
No One is Coming to Save You, Pleasance Courtyard, Sat 4–Mon 27 Aug, 12.30pm, £8–£10.50 (£7–£9.50). Previews Wed 1–Fri 3 Aug, £6.

In Loyal Company (Lab Rats)
The incredible true story of missing WWII soldier Arthur Robinson by David William Bryan and Sascha Moore. Declared missing after his ship is sunk during the Battle of Singapore in 1942, this epic untold tale of survival is a one-man powerhouse performance presented by the team behind Trashed in 2017.
In Loyal Company, Pleasance Courtyard, Sat 4–Mon 27 Aug, 1pm, £9–£11.50 (£8.50–£11). Previews Wed 1–Fri 3 Aug, £6.

Signals (Footprint Theatre)
Alone on the night shift, two data analysts monitor for signs of alien contact. Every shift is the same. But tonight is different. Tonight is the night they've been waiting for. The award-winning Footprint Theatre presents Signals, a show about human connection, space exploration and Jaffa Cakes. A new dark comedy that asks how it feels to be lost in the cosmic ocean with only each other for company. Shortlisted for the Untapped Award 2018.
Signals, Pleasance Courtyard, Sat 4–Mon 27 Aug (not 13), 1.10pm, £8–£10.50 (£7–£9.50). Previews Wed 1–Fri 3 Aug, £6.

Best of the Southside: Theatre to see at Pleasance

Sirens
Weird (Some Riot Theatre)
Pleasance Courtyard, Sat 4–Mon 27 Aug (not 14), 1.45pm, £10–£12 (£9–£10). Previews Wed 1–Fri 3 Aug, £6.
Critically acclaimed company Some Riot Theatre return to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Based on the writer's experiences, WEIRD explores the highs and lows of what it is like for a sufferer, and a sufferer's family, to live in the shadows of obsessive compulsive disorder. A moving one-woman play about the effects of one person's mental health on a whole family. Sell-out Arcola show, winner of Slam-Soaps 2018.
Weird, Pleasance Courtyard, Sat 4–Mon 27 Aug (not 14), 1.45pm, £10–£12 (£9–£10). Previews Wed 1–Fri 3 Aug, £6.

VELVET (work.Theatre)
Pleasance Courtyard, Sat 4–Mon 27 Aug (not 14), 2pm, £11–£12.50 (£9–£10.50). Previews Wed 1–Fri 3 Aug, £8.
Set against the backdrop of the 2017 #MeToo movement, VELVET explores the complex realities of harassment within the industry and how far a person is willing to go to achieve their dreams. However, when most creatives are riding the wave of change, will Tom's opportunity slip through his fingers? VELVET is written and performed by Tom Ratcliffe.
Velvet, Pleasance Courtyard, Sat 4–Mon 27 Aug (not 14), 2pm, £11–£12.50 (£9–£10.50). Previews Wed 1–Fri 3 Aug, £8.

Unconditional (ThisEgg, Stefanie Mueller and Hoipolloi in association with The Pleasance)
What Josie wants for her mother and Steffi wants for her daughter is the same – a better world. Unconditional is about fighting the fight that needs to be fought. It's about slaying the monsters and standing your ground. Both touching and laugh-out-loud hilarious, this show is a joyous celebration of equality and liberation between a mother and her grown-up daughter.
Unconditional, Pleasance Courtyard, Sat 4–Sun 26 Aug (not 14), 2.15pm, £8.50–£11 (£7.50–£10). Previews Wed 1–Fri 3 Aug, £6.50.

Best of the Southside: Theatre to see at Pleasance

Stardust / credit: Alex Brenner
Revenants (The Pleasance in association with Bill Kenwright)
Pleasance Dome, Sat 4–Mon 27 Aug (not 8, 15), 5pm, £11–£12.50 (£9.50–£11). Previews Wed 1–Fri 3 Aug, £8.
A new play by Olivier Award-winner Nichola McAuliffe. Twenty-five years after the murder of the Romanovs and 25 years before the murder of Martin Luther King, a group meet in an English birch wood. Actor Ernest Thesiger, Queen Mary and her chauffeur Walcott commemorate the death of the Russian royal family. Into their midst comes Waverley Monk, a young black GI whose experience of segregation has him ready to wreak revenge on a whites-only barracks. As the group battle with notions of persecution and bravery, it's clear that violent revolutions must have unforeseen consequences.
Revenants, Pleasance Dome, Sat 4–Mon 27 Aug (not 8, 15), 5pm, £11–£12.50 (£9.50–£11). Previews Wed 1–Fri 3 Aug, £8.

Sirens (Zoo Co)
Three Greek sirens find themselves washed up on Hastings beach. It's 2018, and sitting around naked on rocks is no longer en vogue. But the sirens are still cursed: any man who hears their voice dies instantly. It's a bit of a drag. Award-winning Zoo Co returns to stick two fingers up at gender expectations with their trademark visual storytelling, stunning projections and electro-folk soundtrack. Sirens is creatively captioned and BSL inclusive.
Sirens, Pleasance Courtyard, Sat 4–Mon 27 Aug (not 13, 20), 3.35pm, £8.50–£11 (£7.50–£10). Previews Wed 1–Fri 3 Aug, £6.

Stardust (Blackboard Theatre)
Stardust shines an unflinching light on Colombia's heart of darkness. Mixing new writing by Immersive Ensemble founder Daniel Dingsdale, with physical theatre and hand-drawn animation, Colombian artist Miguel Hernando Torres Umba and Blackboard Theatre bring you an irreverent, entertaining and impassioned investigation into the human cost cocaine production and consumption has in Latin America and further afield. Winner of VAULT Festival People's Choice Award 2018.
Stardust, Pleasance Dome, Sat 4–Mon 27 Aug (not 20), 4.20pm, £9–£11.50 (£8–£10.50). Previews Wed 1–Fri 3 Aug, £6.50.

Best of the Southside: Theatre to see at Pleasance

Ken / credit: Robert Day
Medea Electronica (Pecho Mama)
Pleasance Courtyard, Tue 14–Sun 19 Aug, 6.30pm, £9–£11.50 (£8–£10.50).
Pecho Mama exploded onto the theatre scene this year with their bold, imaginative and genre-defying debut: a heart-stopping story of a family caught in the brutal throes of a marriage unravelling. This is a powerful and deeply moving retelling of the Greek tragedy set in 1980s rural England and staged amid an electrifying live gig.
Medea Electronica, Pleasance Courtyard, Tue 14–Sun 19 Aug, 6.30pm, £9–£11.50 (£8–£10.50).

Unspoken (Bravo 22 Company)
Pleasance Courtyard, Wed 22–Mon 27 Aug, 3.15pm, £9.50–£12.50 (£8.50–£11.50). Preview Tue 21 Aug, £7.
From the team who brought you the winner of the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award for the groundbreaking The Two Worlds of Charlie F, Bravo 22 Company's new drama, Unspoken, brings to light the lives interrupted and forever changed by war, on a heart-wrenching and hilarious journey of love, loss, loneliness and hope, performed by ex-service personnel.
Unspoken, Pleasance Courtyard, Wed 22–Mon 27 Aug, 3.15pm, £9.50–£12.50 (£8.50–£11.50). Preview Tue 21 Aug, £7.

Ken (Pleasance and The Showstoppers present a Hampstead Theatre Production)
Terry Johnson returns to the boards with his interrupted monologue KEN: a freewheeling reminiscence of his turbulent and inspiring relationship with the truly original and unclassifiable theatre maverick Ken Campbell. Aided and abetted by Jeremy Stockwell, Terry pays tribute to the legendary seeker, fearsome goader and unique comedic thinker. For 90 intriguing, amusing, occasionally alarming minutes, audiences are invited to share Ken's idiosyncratic perspective on life, and to muse on how one might live it.
Ken, Pleasance Dome, Sat 4–Mon 27 Aug (not 13, 20), 3.20pm, £11–£14.50 (£10–£13.50). Previews Wed 1–Fri 3 Aug, £7.

A Pleasance Dome
1 Bristo Square, Edinburgh, EH8 9AL
B Pleasance Courtyard
60 Pleasance, Edinburgh, EH8 9TJ

Freeman

  • 4 stars

Strictly Arts presents a dramatic tale inspired by the story of William Freeman, a man in 19th century New York who becomes the first person to raise 'insanity' as a defence in an American trial.

Propeller

The Network and Pleasance Theatre Trust So you want to change the world? Really? You? You Instagram checking, avo-smashing, coconut-flat-white sipping loser? Yeah, the world sucks sometimes – OK, a lot. But you can't do anything about it. Can you? This show says yes, yes you can. Maybe. If you ever feel frustrated…

Sirens

  • 3 stars

Zoo Co You're an immortal demi-goddess whose only job is to sing and look beautiful. No, this isn't a show about Beyoncé. Three Greek sirens find themselves washed up on Hastings beach. It's 2018, and sitting around naked on rocks is no longer en vogue. But the sirens are still cursed: any man who hears their voice…

Alabama God Damn

  • 3 stars

Hippana Theatre An electric performance influenced by S-Town, True Detective and Seasick Steve. Frank returns to his hometown and has a riot with the casual criminals, the enlightened rednecks and a snake-wielding pastor. Overwhelmed with humour and dark beauty, Frank rediscovers the Deep South in all its profanity…

No Kids

  • 3 stars

A personal exploration of gay relationships and parenthood.

WEIRD

  • 3 stars

Some Riot Theatre Critically acclaimed company return to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Yasmin feels different, she feels weird. She longs to be normal like everyone else but that’s proving difficult… Based on the writer’s experiences, WEIRD explores the highs and lows of what it is like for a sufferer, and a…

Signals

Footprint Theatre Alone on the night shift, two data analysts monitor for signs of alien contact. Every shift is the same. But tonight is different. Tonight is the night they’ve been waiting for. The award-winning Footprint Theatre presents Signals, a show about human connection, space exploration and Jaffa Cakes. A…

Lights Over Tesco Car Park

A docu-comedy about aliens for the post-truth age.

No One Is Coming to Save You

This Noise Climate change, nuclear war, radicalism: we live in a culture of suspense. Humanity is moving so unstoppably towards the edge, that you might imagine we were enjoying the violence of our slow decline. This is a play about that impulse. No One is Coming to Save You takes place in the minds of two young people…

In Loyal Company

The true story of missing WWII soldier Arthur Robinson is brought to the stage by David William Bryan and Sascha Moore.

Finding Fassbender

  • 3 stars

Lydia Larson Eve's leaving Wolverhampton to work in the big smoke because it's something you should do. But the capital's charm quickly wears off and Eve decides to pack her bags and head home to her boyfriend Rich and cat, Steve Bull. Until she receives a letter addressed to a famous film actor… One woman's…

Ken

  • 3 stars

Terry Johnson's successful play returns to Edinburgh to pay tribute to Ken Campbell ten years after his death.

UnSpoken

  • 2 stars

Softsod Productions As funeral bells chime, a mysterious woman whispers a terrible secret to a grieving wife. Years later, now in therapy, the woman pieces together the jigsaw of her life, the damning relationship with her father and the disturbing truth behind that secret whisper. UnSpoken, is a dark…

UNCONDITIONAL

ThisEgg, Stefanie Mueller and Hoipolloi in association with The Pleasance What Josie wants for her mother and Steffi wants for her daughter is the same – a better world. UNCONDITIONAL is about fighting the fight that needs to be fought. It's about slaying the monsters and standing your ground. Both touching and…

Revenants

  • 3 stars

The Pleasance in association with Bill Kenwright 25 years after the murder of the Romanovs and 25 years before the murder of Martin Luther King, a group meet in an English birch wood. Actor Ernest Thesiger, Queen Mary and her chauffeur Walcott commemorate the death of the Russian royal family. Into their midst comes…

VELVET

  • 4 stars

work.Theatre 'I think you're really talented… I got hard as I watched you.' Tom has always dreamt of being a successful actor, and now after years of disappointment he is finally presented with his golden opportunity… and an impossible decision to make. Set against the backdrop of the 2017 #MeToo movement, VELVET…

Stardust

  • 4 stars

Blackboard Theatre Winner of VAULT Festival People's Choice Award 2018. 'Gloriously fascinating' ★★★★★ (LondonTheatre1.com). 'Crushing and funny. More than highly recommended' ★★★★ (Everything-Theatre.co.uk). 'A dazzling show' (AYoungerTheatre.org). 'Theatre can change the world. This is one of those shows…

Medea Electronica

  • 4 stars

Pecho Mama Pecho Mama exploded onto the theatre scene this year with their bold, imaginative and genre-defying debut: a heart-stopping story of a family caught in the brutal throes of a marriage unravelling. This is a powerful and deeply moving retelling of the Greek tragedy set in 1980s rural England and staged amidst…

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