Leap into the unknown at the 2018 Edinburgh Festival Fringe
I have never been to the Fringe. Despite every year wanting to go, this year I decided this was to be it! I am going. Stephen Bailey…I am coming to see you at long last!
Over the next few days, Broke Girl in the City will feature some of the shows which will be going to the fringe. Make it a date in your calendar.
This year’s Edinburgh Fringe covers a wide range of themes and includes new venues, well-known names, upcoming talent, international work. It is also the 10th anniversary of the Made in Scotland showcase. With 3,548 shows covering theatre, dance, circus, physical theatre, comedy, music, musicals and opera, cabaret and variety, children’s shows, free shows, exhibitions, events and spoken word, there is something for all tastes and interests.
2018 will also see the relaunch of the Virgin Money Street Events on the High Street and Mound Precinct. 20 years after the Fringe Society first took over responsibility for the area.
Launching the 2018 Fringe Programme, Shona McCarthy, Chief Executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, said: “On behalf of the artists, producers and venues that make the Fringe happen, I am thrilled to reveal the 2018 Edinburgh Festival Fringe Programme. This year’s programme contains an eclectic mix of creative endeavour from across the globe that will move, challenge and, of course, entertain.
“This year we are encouraging everyone who comes to the Fringe to take a leap into the unknown. Whether this is your first or your 50th time visiting the Fringe as a performer or audience member, this is a place where new discoveries wait around every corner. There is no other festival in the world that offers such a broad or diverse range of cultural experiences. The Fringe is a festival that empowers its audiences to create their own adventure.
“Last year we celebrated the 70th anniversary of the Fringe, but we also used it as a time to reflect, question, recalibrate and look to the future. Alongside this year’s programme, the Fringe Society has produced a blueprint of ambitions that will guide our activities in the run up to our 75th anniversary in 2022, to ensure the continued success of this amazing festival for everyone involved.
“The Fringe Blueprint identifies new approaches to ensure anyone can participate, regardless of their background. From driving down the cost of attendance to engaging young people in the arts and reaching out to underrepresented groups in Edinburgh and further afield, we want the Fringe to be the greatest festival on earth at which to perform, run a venue, develop a career, see shows and discover talent.
“We look forward to audiences and artists from around the world joining us to take a leap into the unknown at the 2018 Edinburgh Festival Fringe.”
Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, said: “The Fringe continues to innovate, inspire, challenge and delight audiences, providing Scottish artists the opportunity to showcase their work on a renowned platform to industry professionals from across the globe. It enables the international arts community to experience all that Edinburgh, our world-renowned festival city, has to offer.
“As we celebrate Made in Scotland’s 10th anniversary, we are proud to have provided just under £5.5 million through our Festivals Expo Fund to support Scottish artists and creative companies with their careers. This funding demonstrates the talent and creativity of Scotland at the largest arts festival in the world.
“I look forward to taking a leap into the unknown at the 2018 Fringe and enjoying some of the many fantastic shows in this year’s programme.”
Cllr Donald Wilson, Culture and Communities Convener, City of Edinburgh Council, said: “It is impossible to imagine Edinburgh without its festival offering each year; all the razzmatazz and colour on the Royal Mile and general buzz and excitement that the Fringe and other summer festivals bring to our city every summer.
“Building on the wonderful 70th anniversary celebrations last year, this year’s Fringe programme once again offers something for everyone, regardless of their age, taste or background, and I particularly welcome the Blueprint as a means of boosting participation, particularly amongst young people.
“We know from our People’s Survey that over three-quarters of Edinburgh residents have enjoyed a festival show in the last two years and, if the breadth and depth of this programme is anything to go by, I’m sure local residents will continue to delight in everything the Fringe has to offer.”
A plethora of well-known names from the world of film, TV and comedy appear in this year’s Fringe Programme.
Fringe debuts come from Hi-de-Hi! star Su Pollard, who stars in solo show Harpy (Underbelly), the story of a hoarder’s quest to find something stolen from her a long time ago; the IT Crowd’s Katherine Parkinson brings her debut play Sitting by Katherine Parkinson to Gilded Balloon; and Jason Donovan (Assembly) addresses the triumphs and challenges of his career in a show featuring conversation and the occasional song.
Broadcasting legend Dame Esther Rantzen (Gilded Balloon) takes to the stage with her daughter, journalist Rebecca Wilcox, to discuss highlights of her 50 years in show business, while Maureen Lipman (Assembly) returns to the Fringe for the first time in 50 years to share stories from her illustrious film, theatre and TV career.
TV stars Robert Bathurst (Cold Feet, Downton Abbey) and Rebecca Johnson (The Trip) join forces for The Song of Lunch (Pleasance), a theatrical comedy about a couple’s disastrous attempt to rekindle lost love; actress Julie Hesmondhalgh (Coronation Street, Broadchurch) appears in The Greatest Play in the History of the World… (Traverse); author, actor and former MP Gyles Brandreth (Pleasance) returns to the Fringe with a show celebrating all things theatrical; and Absolutely Fabulous’ Helen Lederer brings not one but two shows with Helen Lederer Asks Why The Fuss? (Laughing Horse @ The Pear Tree) and Helen Lederer: I Might as Well Say It (Underbelly).
Big names returning to the Fringe from the world of comedy include Rory Bremner and Jan Ravens (Underbelly), Jack Docherty (Gilded Balloon), making his first appearance for 25 years, and Lee Ridley, winner of Britain’s Got Talent 2018, who brings Lost Voice Guy: Inspiration Porn to Gilded Balloon. Fringe anniversaries include Reginald D. Hunter (Pleasance) and Craig Hill (Pleasance), who both celebrate their 20th year at the Fringe. Jimeoin (Pleasance) and Vladimir McTavish (The Stand) celebrate a remarkable 25 years at the festival!
Comedy stars crossing the pond this year include American comedian and actress Janeane Garofalo (Gilded Balloon), 30 Rock actor Judah Friedlander (Gilded Balloon), and comedian Myq Kaplan (Underbelly). From India, renowned writer and comedian Anuvab Pal makes his Fringe debut at Pleasance.
Performers taking their first steps into the unknown at the Fringe this year include duo Bread and Geller: Prime Time, who bring their debut hour of character comedy, observational sketch and musical parody to Just the Tonic at The Caves. In Hal Branson: Mbolo (Just the Tonic), Hal shares his story of taking a trip to Uganda to overcome his marijuana habit. Sindhu Vee: Sandhog (Pleasance) is the highly anticipated debut show from the host of BBC Radio 4’s Comedy of the Week podcast, while in Catherine Bohart: Immaculate (Pleasance), the rising comedy star discusses the pros and cons of being the bisexual, OCD daughter of an Irish-Catholic deacon. In The Homesick Submarine Broadcasting Company (The Stand), comedian John Whale and musician Kieran Rafferty ditch dry land in favour of a life under the sea, producing pirate radio.
Gigglemug Theatre present their debut musical Timpson: The Musical (C venues), a theatrical look at the origins of the well-established cobblers; poet and performer Rosy Carrick makes her playwrighting debut with Passionate Machine (Zoo), inspired by her favourite sci-fi movies; while three sisters try to overcome the issues that divide them in Hoard by Bim Adewunmi (Underbelly), the first play from Buzzfeed’s senior culture writer.
There are 697 free shows and 260 pay what you want shows in this year’s programme. In Ahir Shah: Duffer (Laughing Horse @ Cabaret Voltaire), Ahir discusses life, death and Bohemian Rhapsody, while in The Ballad of Sarah Callaghan (Laughing Horse @Finnegan’s Wake), award-winning comedian Sarah offers a mash-up of comedy and poetry about gangs, fitting right in and feeling left out. I absolutely love this woman.
In Dominic Holland – The Glory Year (Voodoo Rooms) the comedian, author and broadcaster asks why we bother with dinner parties, while in Chris Cook: Concealed, Chris brings his close up magic tricks to The Street. Roselit Bone play apocalyptic cowboy music inspired by the desolation and violence of the American West, both the past and present at Laughing Horse @The Phoenix, and guitarist Ty Gill makes his Fringe debut with Ty Gill: FingerStyle (Leith Depot) exploring cultures, genres and styles from around the world through his original compositions. The Bureau of Untold Stories (Museum of Childhood) utilises live sound effects, improvisation and unconventional storytelling to replicate the intrigue of an old radio mystery for children, while The Puppets’ Orchestra and the Children’s Ball (Laughing Horse @ The Counting House) is an interactive show, giving children the opportunity to animate puppets and play musical instruments.