Get a critical sneak peek of returning and touring works that are coming to Edinburgh in August
Whether it's a result of Fringe success, a further development of a work-in-progress or simply the consequence of The List's ability to remain one step ahead, the Edinburgh Fringe has plenty of shows that won't get a review this year because we have already done one. Here are ten shows which impressed audiences last year, or on tour across Scotland, and the responses to them that deserve to be rescued from the nether regions of the internet.
Lovecraft ★★★☆☆ Carys Eleri and Wales Millenium Centre Underbelly, Cowgate, 13–25 Aug (not 19), 10.40pm The frankness and honesty of her stories creates a sense of intimacy and complicity. As Eleri confides her personal history of past relationships, the audience nod, groan, and laugh with recognition and sympathy (there's a lot of shared pain over Tinder in particular).
The Fishermen ★★★★☆ New Perspectives Assembly George Square, 19–24 Aug, 12.15pm Gbolahan Obisesan's adaptation of Chigozie Obioma's novel is a gruelling journey through family conflict that begins with the reunion of two brothers (Michael Ajao and Valentine Olukoga). While their exchanges seem innocent enough, the scenography suggests a prison and the consequences of a prophecy have left one brother free and the other imprisoned. Gradually, they reveal the terrible events that broke them apart, and the legacy of death and destruction that tore through their family.
Status ★★★☆☆ China Plate and Staatstheater Mainz Assembly George Square, 17–24 August, 10.25am The anger and rage are legitimate enough, but Thorpe only ever considers his privilege in terms of his British passport and whiteness. Gender is noticed, especially in his conversation with the ghost of a woman who died attempting to cross into Europe and the waitress at a rooftop bar in Singapore, but his liberal sympathies never translate into an attempt to shift attention away from his own angst. Racing across the USA in a beat-poet style adventure, he has an encounter with a Native American, who provides obligatory wisdom and a reproof to the white man's romanticism, before returning to the UK and apparently embracing the nation in all its confused glory.
Medea Electronica ★★★★☆ Pecho Mama Pleasance Courtyard, 19–26 Aug, 1.45pm How to reinvent Greek tragedy, step one: strip back the story to the absolute basics. A man betrays a woman who takes excessive revenge. Lend Medea some sympathy but do not flinch from her extremity and make a visual reference to Pasolini's wonderful film at the end.
Man on the Moon ★★★☆☆ Keisha Thompson Summerhall, 20–25 August, 7.10pm Many of the most interesting questions proposed by Keisha Thompson's autobiographical exploration of fatherhood within the Black British experience go beyond the performance itself to examine the potential of contemporary theatre as a medium for the discussion of ideas and identity. Using a simple structure – a monologue interspersed with songs – Thompson uses a journey to visit her emotionally, if not geographically, distant father to consider how his eccentricity reflects deeper social issues.
It's True, It's True, It's True ★★★☆☆ Breach Theatre Underbelly, Bristo Square, 16–26 Aug (not 17), 1pm It struggles to reconcile its desire to celebrate the female artist with the wretched violence enacted on her – the attempt at a comic scene mocks the cheapening of harassment but undermines the seriousness of the trial, while the rendition of 'Gloria' abruptly shifts the mood to triumphant defiance without grounding the lyrics (a rather ambiguous story of male sexual triumphalism made uncanny by Smith's version) in the events of the play. This clumsiness aside, however, It's True is a raw and forceful example of intelligent and emotive feminist dramaturgy.
Electrolyte ★★★★☆ Wildcard Pleasance Courtyard, 31 Jul–26 Aug (not 3, 10), 5.20pm Narrated throughout by an extended spoken-word script from the play's protagonist, the audience are given a privileged insight into the thoughts and perspectives of Jess. Other impressive elements include the voice and musical performance of Maimuna Memon as singer-songwriter Allie Touch, and the spot-on breaking of the fourth wall, often to comic effect.
dressed. ★★★★☆ ThisEgg and Made My Wardrobe Pleasance Courtyard, 20–25 Aug, 12.10pm Experimental, provoking and daring, dressed. combines pained singing, expressionistic dancing, awkward comedy and live sewing to add layers of meaning to Lydia's story. Although these disparate elements can at times endanger the piece into veering off course, the powerful thematic undercurrent, fearless questions and charged performers ensure that it never loses sight of the issues.
Square Go ★★★★☆ Francesca Moody and SEARED Roundabout @ Summerhall, 31 Jul–25 Aug (not 1, 6, 13, 20), 9.15pm Max and Stevie are in the school toilets, awaiting Max's first square go with school hardman Danny Guthrie, who is no doubt going to give him a 'guaranteed pumping'. With the scent of Lynx Africa in the air and a strawberry lace in mouth, Square Go dismantles small town toxic masculinity with an uppercut of humour.
Father Francesca Bartellini Greenside @ Infirmary Street, 2–24 August (not 11, 18), 8.50pm Having previewed at the Tron in advance of a run at the Fringe, Francesca Bartellini's intense monologue Father does not lack ambition. Addressing the conflict between humanity and the environment, with the abuse of a daughter becoming a vicious symbol for the male abuse of the planet, this one woman show never flinches from its critique of religion and toxic masculinity; nor the narratives of ecological disaster that are promulgated by the media in an almost ritualistic attempt to appear to be acknowledging the threat, yet without leading to any action for change.
Based on Chigozie Obioma's award-winning novel. Brothers Ben and Obembe secretly fish at a forbidden river near their small Nigerian town, until one day the prophecy of a madman shakes their family to the core.
Pecho Mama return with their smash hit gig theatre production. A heart-stopping story of a family caught in the brutal throes of a marriage unravelling. A powerful and deeply moving retelling of the Greek tragedy, set in 1980s rural England and staged amidst an electrifying live gig. 'A stunning…
This 'loud, liberating, danceable' (Stage) production is performed by six multi instrumentalists who seamlessly integrate live music with expert storytelling. 2018 winner of: The Mental Health Fringe Award, The Stepladder Award, The LET Award, The Voice Mag Pick of the Fringe Award and the Pleasance Best…
A mother reveals her daughter's terrible secret …The father, a well-known meteorologist, wants to save the Earth – he believes Man is the cause of the disaster, therefore Man should be the solution. But he’s lost in his own delusion… Three lives are interconnected by abuse on different levels in this intimate…
Carys Eleri and Wales Millennium Centre
An award-winning, one-woman science comedy-musical about the neuroscience of love and loneliness. Combining heartfelt tales of relationship highs, lows and the downright confusing, Carys Eleri's marvellously personal show is told with plenty of sass, chocolate, hugs and bangin…
Chris Thorpe, Rachel Chavkin, China Plate and Staatstheater Mainz
We all have a nationality. Or almost all of us. Status is a Fringe First-winning show about someone who doesn't want his any more. About running away from the national story you're given. About who's responsible for that story and what might happen to it…
Part of the British Council Edinburgh Showcase 2019 and presented by Contact and STUN. The award-winning Man on the Moon journeys through space and time to explore the impact of mental health on family dynamics. Keisha communicates with her reclusive dad through books, letters and symbols. But when the…
ThisEgg in collaboration with Made My Wardrobe
After being stripped at gun point, Lydia set out to redress herself with a new healing set of armour. Lydia now only wears clothes she has made. Combining choreography, live sewing, comedy and original music, four friends tell her story. Part of the British Council…
Fringe First and Total Theatre Award-winning Breach (Tank, The Beanfield) restage the 1612 trial of Agostino Tassi for the rape of baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi. Based on surviving court transcripts, Breach dramatise the seven-month trial that gripped Renaissance Rome, and asks how much has…