Highlights include Bystanders, Unicorn Party and Before the Revolution
It's difficult enough to know what isn't political anymore: identity, shopping, aesthetic and dramaturgical choices have all been implicated in the contemporary expansion of the conflict between power and oppression. There are, however, certain shows that are almost comforting for their insistence on exploring ideas that fit easily into a more traditional political frame, even as the UK seems intent on recreating foreign policy strategies for a 1970s-era stand-up comedian.
It'll Be Alt-Right on the Night Wound Up Theatre Pleasance Courtyard, 31 Jul–26 Aug (not 12), 2pm A couple of old punks find themselves on opposite sides of the political spectrum. In the post-Trump world, one's a soy-boy social justice warrior, the other's gone alt-right. Set to a jazz-punk score, two men try to work out the right answers, leading to the inevitable ruck in a Lidl car park.
Bystanders Cardboard Citizens Summerhall, 31 Jul–25 Aug (not 12,19), 11.30am Britain's leading homeless theatre company doesn't mess about: not allowing the audience be bystanders, they discuss the excessive number of homeless deaths (800 between October 2017 and March 2019) and use true stories to get at the reality behind the statistics.
The Populars Volcano Theatre Summerhall, 31 Jul–25 Aug (not 1, 12, 19), 9.20pm Volcano like to make theatre for people who aren't typical audiences: forceful, dynamic and visually impressive. After having a crack at Chekhov, they are going for the toughest nut to crack in a dance party about Brexit. In all of the uncertainty, this is a chance to dance away the chaos and imagine another way to be together and leap across the divides that are hemming humans into their imaginative and ideological cages.
Unicorn Party Nick Field ZOO Playground, 11–26 Aug (not 18), 6.50pm Nick Field has noticed that both unicorns and fascism are increasingly popular. Is there a connection between them? Escapism may seem like an innocent response to the hardening of political hearts, but Field worries for a future UK in which two very different things have come together to crush the human spirit.
The Claim By Tim Crowbury, directed by Mark Maughan, produced by James Quaife Roundabout @ Summerhall, 31 Jul–25 Aug (not 6, 13, 20), 12.50pm While political parties claim that it isn't about racism, the treatment of migrants is getting worse. The Claim responds to the Home Office interview, as one man discovers that he has to put on the performance of his life to prove the truth of his request for asylum, as absurdism meets political satire.
How Not To Drown ThickSkin Traverse Theatre, 3–25 Aug (not 5, 12, 19), various times The true story of Dritan, who escaped the Kosovan War at the age of eleven only to be plunged into the challenges of the British care system. With Dritan on stage, this true story brings a cutting element of reality to the pain of dislocation and forced migration.
Before the Revolution
Fulfilment SharkLegs Underbelly Cowgate, 1–25 Aug (not 12), 3.40pm It might have a comic visual theatre look, but Fulfilment dives into the home of modern-day consumerism: the Amazon Fulfilment Centre (a euphemism for warehouse). In order to make sure that everyone gets their next day delivery, Amazon have imagined some sharp practices and harsh rules for their workers: a reminder that exploitation is always going to be part of that consumerist dream.
Murder on the Dancefloor Spies Like Us Pleasance Courtyard, 31 Jul–26 Aug (not 13), 2.15pm Last year, Spies Like Us rocked the Fringe with a physical theatre reinvention of the classic Woyzeck: for 2019, they introduce their first original work. Millennials have it hard when it comes to getting on the housing ladder, and Murder asks how far one woman would go to get into the market, and what happens as a result to those minor concerns, like friendship and trust.
Before the Revolution Temple Independent Theatre Company Summerhall, 13–25 Aug (not 19), 9.50pm From Egypt to Edinburgh, director and writer Ahmed El Attar looks at the moment before Mubarak was overthrown. Expressing a sense of stagnation – but also potential – through a static cast surrounded by an 'audio-visual environment', Before was censored in its home country and examines one of the key moments in contemporary politics.
Solitary Dutch Kills Assembly Rooms, 1–24 Aug (not 12), 9.35pm A silent physical meditation on the impact of solitary confinement, a situation all too common in North American prisons. Mime is a perfect analogy for the silencing of voices, and Duane Cooper and Blake Haberman question solitary confinement's efficacy and ethics.
Wound Up Theatre
Greeny and Stevo grew up punks – squats, dumpster-diving and PVA-glue-spiked hair. But they've changed. No, f*ck that, the world's changed. One's a social justice warrior, one's gone to the far right, and, in a world of trigger warnings and snowflakes, conservatism is the new punk rock. This 'powerful…
Written and directed by Adrian Jackson. ‘I was murdered once’. Shocking stories (and wild speculations) about the lives and deaths of homeless people. A Windrush generation boxer, a Polish migrant marked with a tattoo and a man with a bottle of gin and a television in his shopping trolley. Playfully…
Robox is your personal fulfilment device. The one-click wonder, the ultimate convenience. You dream it, he delivers it. Instant fulfilment. But fulfilment isn't for everyone. Award-winning theatre company SharkLegs uncover the price people really pay for next-day delivery. Disarmingly funny and playful, the…
Spies Like Us in association with the Pleasance
Sabrina digs up dirt, a hysterical boy looks heavenward and there might be a ghost in the garden. In a city that feels less and less like home, five friends are plunged into a ruthless world of greed, grudges and grooves. Lurching from dodgy pubs to dysfunctional dinners…
A fun, young, provocative foursome raises the heat on the dance floor. They are looking to the future and wondering how it will feel when we get there. They have questions for you, things on their minds and a playlist of great songs that tug at the memory and the muscle fibres. Tell them what you think…
Dutch Kills Theater Company
Right now, there are between 60,000 and 80,000 people held in solitary confinement within United States prisons – many of whom have served months or even years in extreme isolation. Nearly 80% of these inmates will be released back into society, where they will be expected to face the…
Temple independent Theatre Company (Egypt)
By mixing fiction and non-fiction, this performance transports the audience to the moment before the inevitable eruption, allowing them to understand and feel the causes that led to the revolution, within a specifically designed visual and soundscape.
Language: Arabic with…
Unicorns, have you noticed they’re everywhere right now? As is the far right. This hilarious, rollicking, razor-sharp show asks what the simultaneous rise of these phenomenons tells us. Hunting the omnipresent one-horned icon across civilisations to explore how ideologies spread and our imaginations become…