80 picks in theatre at Edinburgh Fringe 2023, part 1

This year’s Edinburgh Fringe has more than 3,000 shows available across several categories. In this post I’ll be looking at shows which are listed in the Fringe guide under the ‘Theatre’ section. There are old favourites, new titles, and quirky originals.

Some shows here I have seen and reviewed in live or digital format, or published an interview about them. In those cases, you’ll find a link to read more if you’d like to. If you are in Scotland in August, please consider supporting some of these shows (or any Fringe show!) by buying a ticket or spreading the word.

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1 – 5

2nd Picture of Dorian Gray by Square Pegs and Macready Theatre Young Actors’ Company

“Nine teenagers and one baritone saxophone invite you to a surreal cabaret of a play. Struggling to make sense of their lives and their place in an unfathomable universe, they find themselves in an hilariously pointless search for a theme for their own creative expression – only to discover that one of them may in fact be the actual great-grandchild of eponymous narcissist Dorian Gray.”

C Arts | C Venues | C Aquila – Temple on 3-12 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/2nd-picture-of-dorian-gray

24, 23, 22 by Chronic Insanity

“Meet Fran. Today is the worst day of her life. Meet Brendan. Today is his last day alive. 24, 23, 22 is a gig-theatre show about the heat of the moment, and how our impulses create ripples which become waves.”

LouReviews review of digital version (2021)

Underbelly, Cowgate – Iron Belly on 3-13, 15-27 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/24-23-22

30 and Out by Prentice Productions with Kit Sinclair

“Kit just left her boyfriend and the closet. While her friends marry and get mortgages, she is starting again in a whirlwind of drugs, clubs and heartbreak. Is it too late to be a lesbian? Join Kit in this hilarious, sexy and painful portrayal of drawing your own blueprint.”

Pleasance Courtyard – Baby Grand on 2-3, 5, 7-28 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/30-and-out

Alan Bennett’s Cocktail Sticks by BCP

“Alan Bennett reminisces about his life. He talks to his dead father as his mother yearns for a different life. BCP return to the Fringe after sell-out successes in three previous years when they performed short plays by Ayckbourn and Bennett.”

Greenside @ Riddles Court – Thistle Theatre on 14-19 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/alan-bennett-s-cocktail-sticks

Alfie and George by Edinburgh Little Theatre

“Alfie and George are two well-loved but aging panto stars, but will this duo last as we reveal the tension between the pair – what will become of them? And will their friendship survive? Set in their dressing room, we see the real drama that is going on between the pair and their fractured relationship.”

Hill Street Theatre – Dunedin Theatre on 4-11 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/alfie-and-george


And Then The Rodeo Burned Down by Chloe and Natasha

“The rodeo is the best place in the world. Why would anybody burn it down? Anyone would be lucky to work there, especially Dale, who’s totally perfectly content with being a rodeo clown. He wouldn’t do a thing like that. Unfortunately, rodeos don’t burn down on their own. More unfortunately, everything is expensive: becoming a cowboy, finding the culprit, and even keeping the lights on.”

LouReviews review of production at the King’s Head (2023) | LouReviews interview with Chloe and Natasha (2023)

The Space on 18-26 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/and-then-the-rodeo-burned-down

And This Is My Friend Mr Laurel by Jeffrey Holland

“Set in the bedroom of a sick Oliver Hardy, the show takes place during Laurel’s visit to the dying man. Recounting their previous success as the comedy act Laurel and Hardy, this is a humorous and touching look at one of the great cinematic partnerships of the last century.”

LouReviews interview with writer Gail Louw (2023)

Pleasance Courtyard – Upstairs on 2-15, 17-28 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/and-this-is-my-friend-mr-laurel

Ay Up, Hitler! by Gamma Ray Theatre

“The untold “true” story of what happened at the end of WWII. After losing to the Allied Forces, Hitler and his cronies manage to escape Germany and go into hiding in the last place anyone would think to look… Yorkshire!”

LouReviews review of production at the Museum of Comedy (2022)

The Space @ Surgeons Hall – Fleming Theatre on 4-12, 14-26 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/ay-up-hitler

Bad Teacher by The Queens of Cups

Bad Teacher is back after selling out Edinburgh Fringe 2022 and VAULT Festival 2023! The Queens of Cups draw upon their years teaching in this outrageous riotously funny comedy about a 20-something teacher.”

Underbelly, Bristo Square – Freisan on 2-13 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/bad-teacher

Banana by Michael Galligan

Banana employs stand-up, physical comedy, karaoke, magic and more to explore what it means to be the world’s most popular fruit.”

LouReviews interview with Michael Galligan and others (2023)

ZOO Southside- Studio on 4-13, 15-20, 22-27 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/banana#:~:text=Is%20he%20man%3F,the%20world’s%20most%20popular%20fruit.

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The Beatles Were a Boyband by F-Bomb Theatre

“The cosy, safe world of three flatmates is rocked by a woman’s murder. Now Violet’s scared walking home from her late shift. Daisy’s become an accidental activist drawing unwanted attention from the manosphere. And Heather just wants to get on with her life. After all, who really needs to change to make women safer?”

LouReviews interview with writer Rachel O’Regan (2023)

Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose – Downstairs on 18-27 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/beatles-were-a-boyband

The Birds, a New Musical Comedy by Westmont High School

“Aristophanes’ wild fantasy, The Birds, has been reimagined as a contemporary musical comedy complete with cuckoo characters and a happy ending that soars above the footlights!”

Central Hall – Auditorium on 5, 7-9 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/birds-a-new-musical-comedy

Black is the Color of My Voice by Apphia Campbell

Apphia Campbell’s stunning solo show, inspired by the life of Nina Simone. Back at the Fringe to celebrate its 10th birthday!

LouReviews review of production at Watermans (2019) and online at Wilton’s Music Hall (2021)

Pleasance at EICC – Pentland Theatre on 14-15, 17-19 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/black-is-the-color-of-my-voice

The Brief Life & Mysterious Death of Boris III, King of Bulgaria by Out of the Forest Theatre

“A camel. A fox. A difficult choice. Meet the men who could’ve done more, the women who did the most, and the reasons the world forgot them. Five-star award-winning ensemble blending history and live folk tunes.”

LouReviews interview supporting production at Vault Festival (2020)

Pleasance Dome – QueenDome on 2-13, 15-28 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/brief-life-mysterious-death-of-boris-iii-king-of-bulgaria

Buff by Sibearita Productions

“After a bad break-up from a six-year relationship, a plus-sized, gay, primary school teacher decides to sublet his flat to a buff Instagram model. Funny yet poignant, this solo-performed play tackles body image pressures, social media jealousy, and one man’s journey to self-acceptance whilst navigating the toxic world of online dating.”

LouReviews interview in support of production at Vault Festival (2023)

Pleasance Courtyard – Pleasance Below on 2-8, 10-14, 16-21, 23-28 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/buff


Call Me Elizabeth by KB Productions

“Fresh off her 1961 Academy Awards triumph and a recent brush with death, Elizabeth Taylor is struggling with her hardest role yet: herself. An intimate look at the movie star’s early life, career, and loves as she grapples with the culture of celebrity and her place as Hollywood’s brightest star.”

LouReviews review of online production (2021)

The Space @ Surgeons Hall – Haldane Theatre on 22-26 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/call-me-elizabeth

Call Mr Robeson, a Life With Songs by Tayo Aluko and Friends

“This rollercoaster journey through Robeson’s remarkable life highlights how his pioneering and heroic activism led many to see him as the forerunner of the civil rights movement.”

LouReviews review of online production (2022)

C Arts | C Venue | C Aurora – Studio on 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, 19 Aug and online on-demand from 4 Aug. Tickets here – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/call-mr-robeson-a-life-with-songs-1

Chariot: the Eric Liddell Story by Searchlight Theatre Company

“When given the chance to become the fastest man in the world, will his convictions buckle? Should he stay true to his beliefs? And can he bring back a medal for King and country? “

Palmerston Place Church on 23-26 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/chariot-the-eric-liddell-story

Chopped Liver and Unions by Out of the Fire

“In 1928, Sara Wesker led a 12-week strike with the workers literally singing for their suppers on the picket line. In 1936 she fought at the battle of Cable Street. But did this formidable woman’s passion for the cause destroy the passion for the love of her life?”

LouReviews interview supporting production at Brighton Fringe (2023)

The Space on the Mile – Space 2 on 4-5, 7-12, 14-19, 21-26 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/chopped-liver-and-unions

Clown Sex by Natasha Sutton Williams and PlayWell Productions

“Join Gary Strange in the London sewers as he encounters stories of bad sex, sad sex and clown sex. From garlic-flavoured nipples to cat cunnilingus, it’s funny, grotesque and surprisingly relatable.”

Pleasance Courtyard – Bunker Two on 2-15, 17-20, 22-27 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/clown-sex#:~:text=Description,%2C%20cry%2C%20and%20even%20gag.

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Colonel Anne: Jacobite Heroine by Duns Players

“A true story of passion, raw courage and female independence in a turbulent Scotland.”

The Space on 11-12, 14-19 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/colonel-anne-jacobite-heroine

Crash and Burn by Visceral Theatre

“Joseph Johnson’s Scottish oil empire was created through decades of sweat and blood – lots of blood. Onboard a gas-guzzling jet bound for Glasgow’s COP26 climate conference, the tycoon faces an ultimatum: confess or crash.”

The Space @ Niddry Street – Studio on 13-22 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/crash-and-burn

Ctrl Room :_ by Black Hound Productions

“Immerse yourself in the battlefield of the future and make real-time decisions in the heat of war. Save lives or take them, all from the apparent safety of the control room. Join the fight. In a world where technology rules, you are vital.”

Army @ The Fringe on 4-6, 8-13, 15-20, 22-27 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/ctrl-room

The Death & Life of All of Us by Victor Esses

“A funny and poignant exploration of family secrets, shame, and embracing our imperfections.”

LouReviews interview with Victor Esses (2023)

Summerhall – Demonstration Room on 2-6, 8-12, 15-20, 22-27 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/death-life-of-all-of-us

Diana: the Untold and Untrue Story by Linus Karp and Awkward Productions

“Do you know the story of Diana? Probably. But do you know our story of Diana? We very much doubt it.”

My review for NorthWestEnd of the livestream version (2023)

Plesance Dome – King Dome on 2-14, 17-20, 22-28 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/diana-the-untold-and-untrue-story#:~:text=But%20do%20you%20know%20our,hilarious%20as%20it%20is%20tasteless.


Elvis Died of Burgers by BLINK Dance Theatre

“Uses semi-improvised dance, theatre and spoken word to create an exciting, edge-of-your-seat experience for audience and cast alike.”

Summerhall – Red Lecture Theatre on 2-6, 9-13 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/elvis-died-of-burgers

Expecting by c21 Theatre Company

“Shauna and Robbie are expecting… different things. Shauna expects motherhood won’t be easy. Robbie can’t wait to be a dad. Then she arrives.”

Deaf Action – Blackwood Bar on 17-20 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/expecting-by-c21-theatre-company

Fool’s Gold by Saskia Solomons

“Lecoq-trained physical performer and Fool, Saskia Solomons, morphs into a myriad of inner personalities as they wrestle with the ickiest of sticky icks in this semi-improvised solo show.”

ZOO Playground 1 on various dates from 4 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/fool-s-gold

Frigid by Bump and Grind Theatre Company

“Set in Dublin in 2007, it’s a coming-of-age comedy about frenemies, first times and figuring it out.”

Underbelly Cowgate – Ironbelly on various dates from 3 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/frigid

Godot is a Woman by Silent Faces

Godot is a Woman is a love/hate letter to British theatre, exploring permission, patriarchy and pop music.”

Pleasance Courtyard – Fourth on 16-20, 22-27 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/godot-is-a-woman

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The Grandmothers Grimm by Some Kind of Theatre

“The Grandmothers Grimm explores women’s role in the creation of the Brothers Grimm’s famous fairy-tale anthology.”

Paradise in the Vault on 14-19 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/grandmothers-grimm

Growing Up Ringside by Mina Liccione

“Combining comedy, 360-degree projections and rhythm she’ll make you laugh then cry through a raw and heavy-hitting mixed-cultural lens.”

LouReviews review of online production (2022)

Online on-demand from 4 Aug at C-Arts | C-Venues. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/growing-up-ringside

Heaven by Fishamble

“Fresh from a stint off-Broadway, this poignant, funny, beautiful, new play is full of humanity.”

Traverse Theatre 2 on various dates from 3 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/heaven-by-eugene-o-brien

High Steaks by Eloina

High Steaks is a show about labia, labia-shaming, cosmetic surgery and fundamentally, body lovin’.”

LouReviews review of production at Vault Festival (2023)

Summerhall, Anatomy Lecture Theatre on 2-6, 9-13 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/high-steaks

I Killed My Ex by Dear Dark

I Killed My Ex is a hilarious dark comedy following two dear friends, Tina and Lola, who impulsively kill Tina’s ex after he leaves her at the altar.”

The Space @ Niddry Street, Studio on 4-12, 14-19 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/i-killed-my-ex


iCON by Sian Clarke

“Contextualises the millennial experience as the first generation to become adults in the rapidly digitised post-financial crash era”

LouReviews interview with Sian Clarke (2023)

Summerhall, Red Lecture Theatre on 2-27 Aug (not 14 or 21). Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/icon

The Importance of Being… Earnest? by Say It Again, Sorry?

“You might think you know this chaotic story of love, mistaken identity and double lives, but you have never seen it like this before.”

LouReviews review of production at Omnibus Theatre (2020)

Pleasance Courtyard, Beyond on 2-27 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/importance-of-being-earnest-1

It’s a Motherf**king Pleasure by FlawBored

“Usually disabled people want to do the right thing. But what if they don’t? What if they were out to make as much money as possible from the guilt of non-disabled, anxious people (like you)?”

Underbelly, Bristo Square – Freisan on 2-13, 15-20, 22-27 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/it-s-a-motherf-king-pleasure

Kerouac: And All That Jazz by Theatre on the Edge

“Hip words, cool jazz, hot bebop. Celebrate the centenary of Angelheaded Hipster Jack Kerouac’s birth, with a sideways glance at his life and world.”

Greenside @ Riddles Court, Thistle Theatre on 6-12 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/kerouac-and-all-that-jazz

Kitchen Underwear by Hey Thanks! Theatre Collective

“Told through diary entries of two (endearingly strange?) flatmates, Kitchen Underwear follows their search for what queer love means and how to show it.”

Greenside @ Infirmary Street, Sprouts Studio on 14-19, 21-16 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/kitchen-underwear

Look out for part two later today!