A Definitive Guide To The (Feminist) Fringe 2018

[Featured image: Sirens]

“I think I’ll review some shows at the Fringe this year,” me, a week ago, “Oh my god, how can there be SO MANY SHOWS, how am I ever going to put together a comprehensive and fair preview piece – let alone actually see anything?!” me, as I type this, with less than 24 hours to go until the first show on this list.

It may have been hard, it may have taken ten times longer than I thought it would, but I have read through the entire programme several times and these are THE feminist shows I’ll be trying to see during the first week of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. I’ve decided to break them down by date and time, because this will be the best record for me during the chaos. And I’ve tried to cover as wide a range of feminist themed work as possible: solo stand-up comedians, cabaret, children’s shows, plays, and poetry.

While I have applied for press tickets for some shows, a lot of the ones listed here are free because I am fairly sure most people reading this aren’t rolling in cash. For free shows, as a general rule, it’s a good idea to put about a fiver in the bucket on the way out of the door if you enjoyed the show, and shrapnel if you didn’t. Walking out without paying anything at all is the height of rudeness, considering that these comedians are often hundreds of pounds out of pocket by the end of the festival.

This list is also influenced by scheduling. I’m only in Edinburgh for a few days right at the start of August, so any acts later in the month aren’t included. Some acts clash too, because I’m indecisive.

So, well, here’s my Definitive Guide To The (Feminist) Fringe 2018:

Thursday  2 August

14.45 Bonqrz [FREE]
Laughing Horse @ The Mockingbird, 72-74 Newington Road, EH9 1QN
Narin Oz… wants to be a budgie? Is identifying as a budgie? It’s a little unclear, but sounds like a nice, slightly wacky show.

14.45 Not Yet Suffragette
Underbelly, Bristo Square, Teviot Place, EH8 9AG
This mix of feminist theatre and stand-up comedy looks at how women’s rights have changed since we won the vote.

15.30 Sofie Hagen Tries Something [FREE]
Laughing Horse @ The Counting House, 38 West Nicolson Street, EH8 9DD
Sofie Hagen didn’t get a show ready in time for this year, so she’ll be testing out various ideas instead. If you don’t like surprises head to sofiehagen.com for a rough guide to each day’s activities.

16.15 Juliette Burton: Butterfly Effect
Gilded Balloon Teviot, Teviot Row House, EH8 9AJ
Juliette Burton wants us to be kinder to ourselves, and to each other. Join her as she attempts to start a kindness revolution, and consider using her hashtag #DareToBeKind.

19.00 DIY Event Management and Promotion with Patty Vea of Fistymuffs
Upward Mobility Project, 151 London Road, EH7 6AE
Ever wanted to organise your own Riot Grrrl feminist punk night? This free workshop aims to teach the basics of DIY event management, from the woman who brought us monthly band night Revolution Girl Style now and DAREfest.

22.25 Frieda Loves Ya!
Underbelly, Bristo Square, Teviot Place, EH8 9AG
A cute show about heartbreak, cake, and the power of love.

Friday 3 August

11.30 Orlando
Assembly Roxy, 2 Roxburgh Place, EH8 9SU
Staring Rebecca Vaughan as the immortal poet, this restaging of Virginia Woolf’s iconic tale of the gender-bending Orlando should be as relevant today as it was when first performed.

13.45 Getting Higher [FREE]
Laughing Horse @ The Place, 34-38 York Place, EH1 3HU
Hannah Deasy’s inner child persuaded her to write this show, the results might be mixed.

14:25 Samantha Pressdee: Pulling it Together (WIP) [FREE]
Laughing Horse @ City Café, 19 Blair Street, EH1 1QR
Four years ago Samantha Pressdee’s life fell apart, now she’s trying to pull it all together and navigate a welfare system that seems to be designed to punish the mentally unwell.

14.30 Juliet Meyers: Year of the Dog [FREE]
Laughing Horse @ Harry’s Southside
A funny show about a woman and her dog Homer, who isn’t going to win any prizes for acting. A perfectly pleasant way to spend an hour, if you like dogs.

15.35 Sirens
Pleasance Courtyard, 60 Pleasance, EH8 9TJ
This audio-visual performance from production company Zoo Co follows three demi-goddesses wash up on a beach in the present day. Unfortunately any man who hears their voices dies instantly. Hilarity is sure to ensue.

17.15 Jessica Michelle Singleton: Codependent Arising [FREE]
Laughing Horse @ The Mockingbird, 72-74 Newington Road, EH9 1QN
A light-hearted take on self-enlightenment, Jessica Michelle Singleton is trying to work through her trauma and you’re welcome to eavesdrop on the inner workings of her frantic mind.

17.30: Keara Murphy: Furious! #MeToo Time’s Up! No Bawbaggery Allowed! [FREE]
Laughing Horse @ The Place, 34-38 York Place, EH1 3HU
Keara Murphy is here to tackle the big issues; with an irreverent take on hashtag activism, modern life, and what exactly qualifies as ‘bawbaggery’.  Not for the easily offended.

17.35 Eat Me
C venues – C royale, Royal Society of Edinburgh, 22 George Street, EH2 2PQ
Based on Suzanna Walter’s own experience of disordered eating, this play follows three characters as they wrestle with the voice of anorexia and try to regain control of their lives and bodies.

20.00 Ashley Storrie: Adulting [FREE]
Laughing Horse @ The Counting House, 38 West Nicolson Street, EH8 9DD
Ashley Storrie isn’t sure if she’s really an adult, and she’d like the rest of us to question our assumptions about what ‘adulting’ means. Sure to resonate with anyone who’s ever suffered imposter syndrome or been described as a ‘millennial’ by someone in real life.

20.00 Yana Alana: Between The Cracks
Assembly Checkpoint, 3 Bristo Place, EH1 1EY
Taking on an alternative, and wildly exaggerated new identity can provide an opportunity for insightful commentary on the nature of the self and the line between expression and performance. Watch Sarah Ward use her alter ego of Yona Alana to explore these and similar issues.

22.30 What The… Feminist?
theSpace on the Mile, 80 High Street, EH1 1TH
Exploring what the term ‘feminist’ means, this sketch show runs the risk of alienating large swathes of womankind in an attempt to make ‘feminism’ appealing to men.  The wild-card of this list.

Saturday 4 August

12.00 Some Like It Holt [FREE]
Laughing Horse @ Espionage, 4 India Buildings, Victoria Street, EH1 2EX
Rosie Holt will be entertaining a lunchtime audience with her solo show. Expect musical comedy and inoffensive anecdotes.

12.15 I’ll Have What She’s Having
Assembly George Square Studios, George Square, EH8 9LH
Jess Brodie and Victoria Bianchi star in this character study of two women who are both wondering if they’ve made the right choices in life, and why contemporary womanhood feels so… restrictive.

14.00 Author, Composer, Soldier of a Sort
Pleasance Courtyard, 60 Pleasance, EH8 9TJ
The tragic story of a solider in the First World War and his friendship with Marion Scott, one of the first women music critics.

15.10 Other Voices Spoken Word Cabaret [FREE]
Banshee Labyrinth, 29-35 Niddry Street, EH1 1LG
This spoken word event will only feature poets and performers who are from a marginalised group, such as being trans, POC, or disabled. Intersectional feminism at its finest? We’ll have to see.

16.15 Louise Reay: Eraserhead [FREE]
Laughing Horse @ Cabaret Voltaire, 36–38 Blair Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1QR
Having been sued by her ex-husband for including material about their marriage in her act, Louise Reay’s new show Eraserhead will be on the topic of censorship, free expression, and oppression. And probably about how shitty it is to get sued by an ex-partner.

17.30 I Have Always Been A Storm [FREE]
Tolbooth Market, Gladstone’s Court, EH8 8BN
It’s finally happened, children are being taught about LGBT equality and acceptance through the power of… audience participation and metaphor! Promises to be a cute play about weather patterns learning to be themselves.

19.15 Kemah Bob: Bob and Buds [FREE]
Laughing Horse @ Bar 50, 50 Blackfriars Street, EH1 1NE
Former Texan (now Londoner) Kemah Bob brings a mix of deadpan humour and socio-political comedy to the Fringe. Special guest such as Sameena Zehra expected.

22:15 Nicoletta Wylde Is Afraid of the Dark [FREE]
Laughing Horse @ The Mockingbird, 72-74 Newington Road, EH9 1QN
Blending poetry and prose, this “bloody and surreal” semi-autobiographical tale is about night terrors. Might be a bit scary.

Good luck out there and I hope you have a great (feminist) fringe experience.

Words: Ana Hine


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