Best Cabaret shows at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2016

  • The List
  • 19 July 2016

This article is from 2016

Best Cabaret show sat the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2016


15 acts describe their show in 50 words or less

From sex clowns to transvestite cowboys, and singing amputees to dancing magicians, the Fringe has all its cabaret bases well and truly covered. Here, we asked a selection of acts to sell us their show in a mere 50 words …

Briefs is the illegitimate love child of circus and cabaret. The shotgun wedding reception of burlesque and drag. The award-winning mongrel of variety and vaudeville. Briefs is a 60-minute high-intensity glitter bombing of serious skill, feisty fashion, club-kid kook and burlesque with balls.
Assembly Hall, Mound Place, 6–21 Aug (not 8, 15), 10.30pm, £16–£17.50 (£15–£16). Previews 4 & 5 Aug, £12.

Rachael Clerke and the Great White Males: Cuncrete
I’ve been dressing as a bloke for years. I’ve always wanted to be the singer in a punk band. And concrete genuinely turns me on. Are you up for four sweaty women dressed as the worst kind of great white male, making noise and dancing in wet cement?
Summerhall, 5–26 Aug (not 8, 15, 22), 10pm, £10 (£8). Preview 3 Aug, £8.

Sven Ratzke: Starman
Starman is a dazzling musical trip into the world of David Bowie and my own life. From London to Berlin, it’s the story of meeting strange creatures. Hear beautiful music that touches your heart and makes you dance on your chair. This is a unique rock‘n’roll cabaret experience!
Assembly George Square Gardens, George Square, 6–28 Aug (not 15, 22), 8.45pm, £15–£16. Previews 4 & 5 Aug, £10.

A Cup of Tea with Lady C
Edinburgh, are you ready for me? After my early years and marriage, the snakes and vipers in the jungle – I’m not referring to the animal kind – were a dawdle. I’ll be telling all in my one-woman show. I’ll be bringing my tiara, naturally, and a lot of fun and feeling.
Gilded Balloon, Bristo Square, 6–28 Aug (not 16), 3pm, £12 (£10). Preview 5 Aug, £5.

Grumble: Sex Clown Saves the World
Feeling confused, overwhelmed and suffocated by the seemingly unfeeling grinding of a socio-political landscape bereft of humanity and hurtling us towards Orwellian catastrophe? You sound Betty to Grumble! With ceremonial precision and deranged wit, Betty Grumble enslaves her audience with a powerful call to arms.
Underbelly, Cowgate, 6–28 Aug (not 10, 15, 17, 22), 8.45pm, £10.50–£12.50 (£9.50–£11.50). Previews 4 & 5 Aug, £6.

Nils Bergstrand: The One Legged Man Show
The true story of how an amputee came to be. With his beautiful voice, Nils Bergstrand sings heartbreaking and, surprisingly given the subject, humorous songs. Through storytelling, he manages to turn his tragedy around, sharing his honest observations that may change your relationship to disability. You’ll cry, you’ll laugh (possibly).
Spotlites, George Street, 5 28 Aug, 3.15pm, £10 (£9). Preview 4 Aug, £9.

The Raunch
Discover who has the fastest tits in the west, get taken on a horse ride by a transvestite cowboy, go tripping on peyote cactus-juice with the condemned. See whips being cracked, knives being thrown, ghost riders flying on hoverboards, and lasers being fired from places where the sun don’t shine.
Underbelly’s Circus Hub, Middle Meadow Walk, 6–22 Aug (not 15), 7pm, £17.50–£18.50 (£16.50–£17.50). Previews 4 & 5 Aug, £9.

La Clique Encore!
Since 2004, we’ve played over 10,000 performances, winning Olivier Awards and launching countless careers along the way. Our show reinvented a genre and is now the hallmark. We always provide a night to remember, forever surprising, sexy, funny and dangerous! A guaranteed, gold plate Fringe fave!
Famous Spiegeltent, St Andrew Square, 3–29 Aug, 9.30pm, £22 (£20).

Anya Anastasia: Torte e Mort – Songs of Cake and Death
I love crafting clever, meaningful lyrics while exploring ways that make performing a thrill: how many positions can I play piano while singing? How can I sing as a decapitated head in a cabinet? How can I hide the fact I’m naked using only my ukulele … ?
Assembly George Square Theatre, George Square, 6–29 Aug (not 15), 6pm, £10–£12 (£11). Previews 4 & 5 Aug, £6.

Lili La Scala: Another Fucking Variety Show
I have a passion for variety and AFVS gives me the perfect outlet to bring some of my favourite acts together to create a night of glorious vaudeville. I also adore gowns, so there will be plenty of those too. And songs. Enough songs to keep everyone happy. It’ll be cracking.
Pleasance Dome, Bristo Square, 6 27 Aug (not 15, 22), 11pm, £9.50–£10.50 (£8.50–£9.50). Previews 4 & 5 Aug, £6.

The Final, Final Farewell Tour of Dick and Delores DelRubio
This is the DelRubios’ farewell tour and their last days as a married couple. This will be Delores’ eighth divorce after marriages to Elvis Presley and Donald Trump. She considers herself a much older Taylor Swift and believes Edinburgh may get new songs from their divorce. Dick won’t comment.
TheSpace @ Surgeons Hall, Nicolson Street, 15–27 Aug (not 21), 12.05pm, £10 (£8; family ticket £6.50).

Peter and Bambi Heaven: The Magic Inside
We are the Gold Coast’s most deluded dancing magical duo and after our first Australian world tour we’re packing those tucker-bags and coming to the Fringe. However, due to some visa / cash flow problems we’ve had to fire the ensemble cast, but rest assured Edinburgh, magic will still happen.
Assembly George Square Gardens, George Square, 6–28 Aug (not 15), 10.30pm, £12–£13. Previews 4 & 5 Aug, £8.

Cabaret Whore Presents … La Poule Plombée
We return to the Fringe with the most popular of our Cabaret Whore characters, La Poule Plombée. Her thrilling stage presence and extraordinary vocals make for a high impact show. It also features co-writer Michael Roulston as her pianist, sidekick and dogsbody. Their story is tragic and darkly hilarious.
Voodoo Rooms, West Register Street, 5–28 Aug (not 8, 15, 22), 6.30pm, £10–£12.

Michael Griffiths: Cole
Last year it was Annie Lennox, the year before it was Madonna. Now I’m putting Cole Porter under the microscope. Spend an hour with ‘Cole’ at the piano as I sing some of your favourite tunes and regale you with tales from his truly outrageous life.
Assembly George Square Gardens, George Square, 6–29 Aug (not 16), 6pm, £10–£12. Previews 4 & 5 Aug, £6.

The Fabulous Punch and Judy Show
If you’re looking for a comedy that is jam-packed with violence, lashings of sex, obscenity, bare bums, spectacular costumes and make-up, look no further. We reckon The Fabulous Punch and Judy Show is good old-fashioned camp fun and we’re thrilled to be bringing it back to Edinburgh.
Gilded Balloon at the Counting House, West Nicolson Street, 6–29 Aug (not 16, 23), 9.45pm, £8 (£6.50). Previews 3–5 Aug, £5.

Hot Brown Honey
We will make you laugh until you cry, clap until your hands bleed and shake every part of what your mama gave you. Fierce and unapologetic, Hot Brown Honey is a celebration of undeniable proportions. Take a breath, check your privilege at the door and let’s get sticky!
Assembly Roxy, Roxburgh Place, 6–28 Aug (not 15, 22), 8.20pm, £15–£16 (£14–£15). Previews 3–5 Aug, £10.

The Final, Final Farewell Tour of Dick and Delores DelRubio

Palmer Productions The hilarious tribute to the fictitious husband and wife lounge act duo, Dick and Deloris DelRubio. Dick and Delores share their stories of celebrity love, life and entertaining. From competing with Liz Taylor, dating Elvis and performing in burlesque, Dick and Delores will literally charm the pants…

Peter and Bambi Heaven: The Magic Inside

  • 4 stars

Sharon Burgess Productions Magic is about to happen. Asher Treleaven (La Soirée, Edinburgh Best Newcomer nominee) and Gypsy Wood (Comic Strip) are Peter and Bambi Heaven, Australia's most deluded dancing magicians, and they're about to explode into Edinburgh. Imagine if David Copperfield and Claudia Schiffer were from…

The One Legged Man Show

NAB Productions A gunshot on New Year’s Eve on a beach in Thailand changed musical theatre artist Nils Bergstrand’s life forever. Through original cabaret songs, we hear Nils’ inspiring story full of heart and, surprisingly, humour. Taking us from an island in the tropics through 35 surgeries, amputation and tough…

Grumble: Sex Clown Saves the World

  • 3 stars

Don't Be Lonely and Underbelly Productions Grotesque and gorgeous surreal showgirl and world-famous performer Betty Grumble arrives in Edinburgh with the underground show of the festival. Experience the queen of the obscene in an odyssey of deep disco dissent. Witness her rage, her desire and her internal organs in a…

The Raunch

  • 2 stars

Underbelly Productions, Yorkshire Festival and Zero Central Welcome to the The Raunch! A whip-cracking, high-flying, all-twerking, rodeo-rocking night out starring legendary cabaret performer Empress Stah alongside the most wanted of the international cabaret and circus scene, and featuring a toe-tapping, disco hoedown…


  • 3 stars

Rachael Clerke and the Great White Males A drag king punk gig about architecture and idealism! A dysto-utopian noise about The Man! A no-wave musical about how we ended up in this mess! Hosted by washed up architect/proto-god figure Archibald Tactful (2014 IdeasTap Underbelly winner Rachael Clerke) and accompanied by…

Hot Brown Honey

  • 4 stars

Briefs Factory Packing a potent punch of hip hop politics, Hot Brown Honey serves up dance, poetry, comedy, circus, striptease and song. From the team who bought you Fringe hit Briefs. The hive has arrived. Hot Brown Honey are here in an explosion of colour, culture and controversy. Fighting the power never tasted so…


  • 3 stars

Sven Ratzke Sven Ratzke brings his globally renowned show to Edinburgh for the first time. Inspired by David Bowie, and accompanied by his brilliant three-man band led by the longtime collaborator Charly Zastrau, the music grooves from seventies glam rock into sound collages and intimate moments. A starburst of cabaret…

The Fabulous Punch and Judy Show

The Cafe Debris Company Forget puppets! The Fabulous Punch and Judy Show is a hysterical, murderous live action romp, so leave your sensitivities at the door and enjoy this wicked adults-only spectacle. Based on the 1832 puppet show by Collier and Cruikshank, The Fabulous Punch and Judy Show is a viciously dark comedy…

Michael Griffiths: Cole

Michael Griffiths He's inhabited the songs of Annie Lennox and Madonna to great acclaim, now Australian cabaret performer Michael Griffiths explores the colourful life and timeless songs of Cole Porter. Hedonism, grave misfortune, enduring love and a legacy that sparkles with wit and wisdom – sometimes anything goes!

Cabaret Whore Presents… La Poule Plombée

  • 4 stars

Sarah-Louise Young & Michael Roulston Award-winning character comedy and original songs from the team behind Cabaret Whore, Julie Madly Deeply and Songs for Cynics. Back by her own popular demand, knife-wielding, tortured French chanteuse, La Poule Plombée, has terrified and charmed audiences around the world…

A Cup of Tea With Lady C

Castle Goring Ltd 'I'm sorry, but I'm not prepared to jeopardise my life for the entertainment industry… Get me out of here!' And come to Edinburgh! Lady Colin Campbell – royal author, social star, survivor – regales us with tales of her extraordinary life, from the highest of high society to the depths of the jungle.


Briefs Factory After dazzling sell-out runs all over the globe, Briefs returns to Edinburgh. Your glamorous host Shivannah guides you through a jaw-dropping, eye-popping evening of extravagant birdbath boylesque, too close for comfort yo-yo tricks, valiant aerial acrobatics, irreverent interludes and show-stopping drag…

Torte e Mort: Songs of Cake and Death

Anya Anastasia Lose your head over Australian rising cabaret superstar Anya Anastasia! Black-humoured, visually opulent and dripping with satire, this award-winning cabaret show will tempt your sweet tooth and traumatize your funny bone. Follow the life, death and hilarious self-realisations of Marie Antoinette. Featuring…

La Clique Encore!

The Famous Spiegeltent This Edinburgh Festival phenomena, born in 2003, keeps on giving. It's the show that defined a genre, conquered the world and spawned endless lookalikes. Sexy, funny, dangerous and definitely not for the faint-hearted, La Clique features the finest new circus, cabaret, dance, comedy, magic, feats of…

Lili La Scala: Another F**king Variety Night

Cabaret variety show starring Lili La Scala.