Including Betty Grumble, Anya Anastasia, Courtney Act and more
Every year, the Fringe brings a huge array of performers, shows and companies to the city, with stories from all over the world being told through a variety of media. If cabaret is your thing, you'll know that some of those stories appear in a simple song-and-dance format while others come with a whole heap of silliness, sexual innuendo and absurdity. From celebrations of menstruation to Australian pop songs, this year's cabaret offerings are as weird and wonderful as you'd expect. To give you a snapshot of the fine talent on offer, we've rounded up some of the shows we're most looking forward to at the Fringe.
Anya Anastasia: Rogue Romantic
Anya Anastasia is described as a 'cabaret femme fatale' for her always fierce and funny performances. Rogue Romantic follows on from her 2016 show Torte e Mort: Songs of Cake and Death, providing yet more witty and charming storytelling, quirky physical comedy and alluring stage antics. Anya Anastasia: Rogue Romantic, Assembly Checkpoint, Wed 2–Sun 27 Aug (not 14), 7.30pm.
Betty Grumble: Love and Anger (or Sex Clown Saves the World Again!)
Love and Anger sees Betty Grumble return to Edinburgh to deliver more sex-positive cabaret and political commentary, with a hint of ambiguity, striptease and of course, hilarity. It's a unique and eccentric burlesque show from the self-proclaimed sex clown and showgirl. Betty Grumble: Love and Anger (or Sex Clown Saves the World Again!), Heroes @ Monkey Barrel, Thu 3–Sun 17 Aug (not 9, 14, 21), 8pm.
Peter & Bambi Heaven: When Love Becomes Magic
Mixing magic, comedy and cabaret, Peter & Bambi Heaven are Australia's outrageous dancing magician duo, parodying real magic shows and cruise-ship entertainment with their chaotic and bizarre attempts at illusion, hypnosis and more. It's a nostalgic and silly trip into the minds of a pair of deluded entertainers. Peter & Bambi Heaven: When Love Becomes Magic, Assembly George Square Gardens, Thu 3–Sun 27 Aug (not 14), 10.35pm.
Dr Carnesky's Incredible Bleeding Woman
Join Dr Marisa Carnesky for a celebration of the power of menstruation, with stars of the UK's alt-cabaret scene including Fancy Chance, Rhyannon Styles, MisSa Blue, H Plewis, Nao Nagai and Marisa herself. Part performance-lecture, part tongue-in-cheek cabaret, the show covers themes like female body shame, activism and fertility with humour and scrutiny. Dr Carnesky's Incredible Bleeding Woman, Pleasance Courtyard, Wed 2–Mon 28 Aug (not 9, 21), 2pm.
Courtney Act: Girl from Oz
The drag queen extraordinaire and former star of both Australian Idol and RuPaul's Drag Race is coming to Edinburgh for the first time, with her love letter to Australia. Expect the best in Aussie pop music, vegemite, kangaroos and plenty of shade and glamour thrown in for good measure. Courtney Act: Girl from Oz, Sun 13–Sun 26 Aug (not 14, 16, 21), 6pm.
A Tutti Frutti Cabaret
An all-female cabaret featuring comedy, clown, circus and bouffon sketches, Tutti Frutti promises a mish-mash of magnificent talent. Hosted by tragic diva Nina Divina, expect to be entertained by some excellent performers, a live dog and plenty of guest acts from throughout the Fringe. A Tutti Frutti Cabaret, CC Blooms, Fri 4–Thu 24 Aug (not 8, 15, 22), 9.15pm, free.
The utterly fabulous Reuben Kaye presents a show packed with sexual innuendo, tales of woe and song and dance. Backed by a three-piece band, he delivers drama, stage presence and scandalous storytelling in equal measure, which makes it easy to see why he was the Best Cabaret winner at this year's Adelaide Fringe. Reuben Kaye, Assembly Checkpoint, Wed 2–Sun 27 Aug (not 14), 9pm.
credit: Louise Spence Spectacular host Pollyfilla invites you to join in for an evening of debauchery with performance art, drag, DJs and so much more. It's an intimate yet wonderfully chaotic late-night cabaret that's described as being messy, freaky, terrifying and loads of fun. Pollyanna, Paradise Palms, Wed 2–Thu 24 Aug (not 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, 19), 11pm.
Queen of the F*cking World
Political cabaret Queen of the F*cking World delves deep into gender politics, exploring the fight for acceptance and equality by both women and LGBT communities. Marysia Trembecka's show is a humorous and empowering look at sexual politics via Shakespeare, RuPaul, Robert Burns and more, with the ultimate message being to unleash your inner queen. Queen of the F*cking World, The Street, Sun 6–Sat 26 Aug (not 16), 6.30pm.
Smut Slam Cabaret: Where Sex and Storytelling Collide
Award-winning playwright/performer Cameryn Moore presents a celebration of sex in all its forms with music and burlesque, as well as theatre, comedy and spoken word. The Smut Slam Cabaret invites Fringe performers up on stage for five-minutes of storytelling about their sex lives. The results are as gloriously funny and raucous as you'd hope. Smut Slam Cabaret: Where Sex and Storytelling Collide, Sweet Grassmarket, Tue 8–Thu 24 Aug (not 11–14, 18–21), 11pm.
Betty Grumble / Heroes of Fringe
Sex clown, wild woman and surreal showgirl, the award-winning, head-spinning Betty Grumble returns to Edinburgh with her flesh riot of laughing love and ecosex. ‘Grumble’s eye-opening show is a venus flytrap to the male gaze’ ★★★★ (ToDo List). ‘A thoroughly entertaining, completely…
Dead Man Label
Best Cabaret Winner Adelaide Fringe 2017. Obscenely intelligent, beautifully filthy, and rib-crackingly funny, Australia's Cabaret superstar Reuben Kaye is what happens when you tell your children they can be anything. Backed by the best three piece band in the business, 'the evil love child of Liza…
Raw stories based on real experiences, created by touring artist and professional potty-mouth Cameryn Moore. Expect sex-positive storytelling and an open space where audiences can share their own stories.
Feisty, feminist, fierce. Multi award-winning, internationally acclaimed cabaret femme fatale Anya Anastasia has gone rogue! Armed with a biting wit, a lust for revenge and her kick-ass all-female band. A seductive and exhilarating night of hilarious physical comedy and intense audience interaction.
Carnesky Productions Ltd
From a secret institute Dr Carnesky invites you to a marvellously menstrual lecture featuring spectacular witchy magic illusions. A revelationary romp into the ritual power of the last unmentionable taboo. Featuring amazing stars of UK's alt-cabaret scene! Drawing on the hidden power of a…
Pollyanna Cabaret and Pollyfilla
Hold your cocktails tight! Join host Pollyfilla for a showcase of performance art, drag, DJs and glittery carnage and ‘down-and-dirty joy… a bona fide asset to the Fringe’ ★★★★ (Scotsman). ‘Your life is poorer for not having been yet’ ★★★★★ (ScotsGay.co.uk). Escape the monotony, come…
Marysia Trembecka / PBH's Free Fringe
Unleash your inner queen! Via Shakespeare, Chekhov to RuPaul, a kickass theatre-cum-cabaret tour de force exploring sexual politics and identity, revealing how an exotic dancer became Queen of her F*cking World. This new show sees Marysia Trembecka’s wild bass guitar dance across…
Sharon Burgess Productions
'Love is a battlefield' (Pat Benatar). Australia's best high energy dancing magicians, Peter & Bambi Heaven are back, spraying love and magic on everything and everyone they touch. ‘The laughter was deafening’ ★★★★ (Advertiser, Adelaide). ‘Seeing this show is like accelerating at full…