80 picks in theatre at Edinburgh Fringe 2023, part 2

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.

Check out the first part here.

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Lear Alone by And Tomorrow Theatre Company

“Lear Alone uses just King Lear’s lines from the First Folio of Shakespeare’s tragedy to explore themes of loneliness, ageing and homelessness: a study of one man’s vulnerability as he confronts and negotiates a digital world.”

LouReviews review of online web series (2021)

The Space Triplex – Studio on 4-12, 14-19 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/lear-alone

Life With Oscar by Nicholas Cohen

“Fleeing his dysfunctional life, Nick flies to Sunset Boulevard to stay with a double Oscar winner promising to get him nominated, if Nick just follows his exact instructions… A tragicomic satire on the underbelly of Hollywood, Life with Oscar peeks behind the Oscars curtain, lifting the lid on the luxurious Los Angeles lifestyle.”

Underbelly, Cowgate – Big Belly on 3-13, 15-17 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/life-with-oscar#:~:text=Description,follows%20his%20exact%20instructions…

Locusts by Orange Works

“Locusts is a new play exploring lived experience of gay conversion therapy within an evangelical church.”

LouReviews interview with Ian Tucker-Bell (2023)

The Space @ Surgeons Hall – Theatre 1 on 14-19, 21-26 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/locusts

Looking for Fun? by Pretenders Productions

“Navigating growing up gay in a straight world, Looking for fun? explores overcoming gay shame, queer nightlife and dealing with the agony of online gay dating.”

LouReviews review of production at King’s Head Theatre (2022)

Bedlam Theatre on 2-13 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/looking-for-fun

Marie Lloyd Stole My Life by Blue Fire Theatre Company

“Nelly Power lived a life that was its own Victorian melodrama. She was a trailblazer for women’s rights, darling of the gossip columns and headliner at all the major theatres – until her most famous song was stolen by the young Marie Lloyd. “

LouReviews review of production at Camden Fringe (2021)

Greenside @ Nicolson Square – Fern Studio on various dates from 15 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/marie-lloyd-stole-my-life


Me, Myself and Mary (Queen of Scots) by Marjolein Robertson

“Join citizen historian and proud Shetlander Mary Fraser on a whistle-stop tour of Mary Stuart’s life and times and – amazingly – how they mirror her own!”

Scottish Storytelling Centre – Netherbow Theatre on 2-8, 10-13 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/me-myself-and-mary-queen-of-scots

Meat Cute by Patch Plays

“Lena is on a mission to veganise her tinder dates. What could possibly go wrong? 14 days later: a broken family, a Pomeranian named Mozart and an eviction notice. Is this rebellion or simply a cry for help?”

Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose – Dram on 2-13, 15-27 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/meat-cute#:~:text=Meat%20Cute%20asks%3A%20how%20does,will%20certainly%20make%20you%20think.

Migrant Shakespeare by Seyyar Company

“Migrant actors take on the Bard, reinterpreting his words in alien environments you will never have imagined before. They give his iconic characters a new life, migrating them into the roles assigned to outsiders by society.”

LouReviews review of online version (2022)

C Arts | C Venues | C Aquila – Temple on 2-6 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/migrant-shakespeare

Mirrored Metamorphosis by Mirage Theatre

“Devised and performed by an all-female company in English and Ancient Latin, the play repurposes Ovid’s Heroides to offer a contemporary reflection on the timeless narrative of Antony and Cleopatra. Exploring themes of lust, desire and dignity, the play seeks to amplify the voices of objectified female characters within the tragic arc using original music, song and poetry.”

Greenside @ Infirmary Street – Forest Theatre on 16-19 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/mirrored-metamorphosis

Mrs President by Rec Room Arts and Art Pond Foundation

“Mary Lincoln is grieving. She needs a new image to win the hearts of the American people and silence the envious elite accusing her of treason. Who better for the job than the celebrity photographer who helped her husband win the presidency? But all is not as it appears for the First Lady….”

LouReviews interview with writer John Ransom Phillips (2023)

C Arts | C Venues | C Aquila – Temple on various dates from 2 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/mrs-president

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Nobody’s Talking About Jamie by Jamie Finn

“Celebrating the dizzying romance and heart-breaking tragedy of friendship, Jamie Finn blends storytelling, comedy and original music as he explores the chaotic wilderness of platonic love and searches for someone who will finally talk about Jamie!”

Underbelly, Cowgate – Iron Belly on 3-13, 15-27 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/nobody-s-talking-about-jamie

An Oak Tree by Francesca Moody Productions

“A rare chance to see the play that shaped a theatre landscape. When it opened in 2005 Tim Crouch’s An Oak Tree changed the rules of the game, bringing into the centre of its action an actor who has neither seen nor read the play. In a performance of controlled virtuosity, the playwright guides that actor through a story of loss, suggestion and the power of the mind. No two shows the same.”

Royal Lyceum Theatre – Studio on various dates from 4 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/oak-tree

Old Bridge by Tower Theatre Company

“A young couple meet by chance by Stari Most, the bridge which unifies the multicultural city of Mostar. Just like Romeo and Juliet, they are from very different backgrounds and, although convinced of the strength of their love, they have to battle against the fast-moving events of the encroaching war. Old Bridge is an epic love story exploring the impact of a war that Europe forgot, and the love and loss of those who lived through it.”

Greenside @ Infirmary Street – Forest Theatre on 14-19 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/old-bridge

Peer Gynt: a Jazz Revival by Phonofiddle!

“This energetic, creative, fun, and poignant adaptation distils the “unstageable” epic story about identity, love and regret – which spans an entire lifetime and half the known world – into an hour of challenging, exciting, and jazzy entertainment.”

Greenside @ Nicholson Square – Lime Studio on various dates from 4 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/peer-gynt-a-jazz-revival

The Portable Dorothy Parker by Grove Goddess Productions in association with Fringe Management

“The year is 1943: Dorothy Parker, famed wit, writer, and critic, is on the warpath. Viking Press is about to publish a collection of Dorothy’s poems and short stories, and Dorothy must make the selections. Now. As Dorothy sorts through her works, she reminisces about her life: her famous friends (Lillian Hellman, F Scott Fitzgerald, and, especially, Ernest Hemingway), the wits of the Round Table, the founding of The New Yorker, and her many loves and heartbreaks. Has it all been worth it? Has she made her mark as a writer, or is she merely clever?”

The Space @ Surgeons Hall – Grand Theatre on 4-12, 14-26 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/portable-dorothy-parker


A Portrait of Ludmilla as Nina Simone by Ludmilla Dabo/David Lescot/Cie du Kaïros/Something for the Weekend

“Through the legendary singer’s music and life story, intertwined with personal stories from Dabo’s own life, Dabo charts Simone’s journey from young musical prodigy to her role as a major figure in the civil rights movement.”

French Institute in Scotland – Salle Emilienne Moreau-Evrard on 4-14 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/portrait-of-ludmilla-as-nina-simone

The Quality of Mercy, concerning the Life and Crimes of Dr Harold Frederick Shipman by Nailed Productions

“From his cell in the early hours of the morning, Dr Harold Shipman records a confessional tape as he prepares to end his life. Patiently fashioning a crude noose, he reflects on the choices, compulsions and fascinations that cemented his place as the most prolific serial killer in British history.”

LouReviews review of online version (2022)

The Space @ Surgeons Hall – Grand Theatre on 4-12, 14-16 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/quality-of-mercy-concerning-the-life-and-crimes-of-dr-harold-frederick-shipman

Rhubarb and Custard by Stupid and Brave

“Rhubarb and Custard is a one woman show about grief and jazz piano, with original music. Family is never simple. The play articulates the sweetness, and the sourness, of trying to understand, forgive and grieve those we love.”

Paradise in the Vault – The Annexe on 21-27 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/rhubarb-and-custard

Rise by Diana Varco

“What happens when truth, rage and purpose converge upon a metaphorical moon? A displaced narrator must face her past and find out. Led by a tiny spider, this darkly comedic, existential (at times explosive) solo play – told through 20 characters – uses flashback, magical realism and satire to explore artistic risks and rewards, the roots of addiction and rising to one’s purpose in spite of it all.”

LouReviews interview with Diana Varco (2023)

The Space @ Surgeons Hall – Stephenson Theatre on 22-26 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/rise

Rockbeth by More the Merrier

“It’s the Scottish play as you’ve never seen it before, twisted with a fistful of rock‘n’roll. Including classic rock songs from AC/DC, Black Sabbath, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Santana and The Sex Pistols… it’s a brand-new genre: Tragic Rock. Is this a guitar pick I see before me? Yeah, dude! You won’t wanna miss this foot-tapping, arm-waving, spine-tingling thriller of a show that has Shakespeare rockin’ in his grave! Rock on!”

The Space Triplex on 14-19 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/rockbeth#:~:text=It’s%20the%20Scottish%20play%20as,%2Dnew%20genre%3A%20Tragic%20Rock.

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Runaway by Beyond Borders

“Beyond Borders presents their debut play Runaway, a semi-biographical story wrapped in a generous coat of unapologetic humour, exploring themes of home, belonging and finding your identity as a foreigner in a big city. It’s a play about endless searching for the place that feels right.”

LouReviews interview with writer/performer Zuzana Spacirova (2023)

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

Sad-Vents by Eleanor Hill

“This tech-heavy tragicomedy uses livestreaming, projections and music to explore the hilarious and heartbreaking realities of mental health, heartbreak and trauma in the age of social media.”

Underbelly, Bristo Square – Jersey on 4-13, 15-28 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/sad-vents#:~:text=An%20irreverent%2C%20’brilliantly%20original%20one,the%20age%20of%20social%20media.

Satan vs God by DGP Theatre Productions

“Lucifer, fallen angel, begs God’s forgiveness. Are Satan and God within the eyes and deeds of humankind? Is Satan responsible for all he is accused of? Have we heard him testify?”

LouReviews review of online production at Brighton Fringe (2022)

C Arts | C Venues | C Aurora – Studio on 2-13, 15-27 Aug. Ticket link: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/satan-vs-god-1#:~:text=Is%20Satan%20responsible%20for%20all,of%20the%20Fringe%2C%20Edinburgh%202021.

Sherlock Holmes: The Last Act by Fringe Management

“Written by Conan Doyle expert David Stuart Davies and directed by award-winning Gareth Armstrong. It shows the man behind the myth, exposing the great detective’s fears and weaknesses, the devastating consequences of the dramas of his formative years, and, unexpectedly, his cutting sense of humour.”

The Space @ Surgeons Hall – Grand Theatre on 4-12, 14-26 Aug. Ticket link: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/sherlock-holmes-the-last-act

Sing, River by Love Song Productions

“Join us on the riverbed for a queer solo show by Nathaniel Jones, exploring the act of severing yourself from dark memories in order to survive.”

LouReviews review of production at Hope Theatre (2023)

Pleasance Courtyard – Bunker One on various dates from 2 Aug. Ticket link: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/sing-river


Spin Cycles by Jamie-Lee Money

“Time to sweat out the sadness: Spin Cycles gives a cathartic look into why we search for something deeper when the inconceivable happens to us. After an earth-shattering year, can she spin herself out of a slump? What is it about cult exercise studios that give us a feeling of purpose and the sense that everything that was once upside down can be turned the right way up? She’s not in a cult… yet? Is she?”

Pleasance Courtyard – Bunker Two on 2-28 Aug. Ticket link: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/spin-cycles#:~:text=Description,herself%20out%20of%20a%20slump%3F

Stark Bollock Naked by Larisa Faber

“Is the motherhood question bugging you too? An international smash hit about our reproductive shelflife and what (not) to do with those (ageing) eggs. Featuring stunning video mapping, comedy-infused storytelling and a live score of gynaecological instruments, stark bollock naked is a multimedia show with a real naked body and an honest conversation about reproduction, abortion and the biological clock.”

Assembly Roxy – Downstairs on various dates from 2 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/stark-bollock-naked

Strategic Love Play by Paines Plough, Soho Theatre, Belgrade Theatre and Landmark Theatres

“So they’ve both swiped right. Now they’re meeting for the first time. Facing each other. As if that’s a normal thing to do. But she’s being uncomfortable, and he’s a total bore. The vibe is horrific and the banter is even worse. But something is keeping them in their seats. Something is making them stay.”

Roundabout at Summerhall on various dates from 2 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/strategic-love-play

Sunsets by Georgie Grier

“Welcome to this live episode of the podcast! Well, sort of. Fascinated by romantic comedies, one woman tries to create her own walking-off-into-the-sunset moment. While recording it, of course. Denver’s parents might not have ended up like When Harry Met Sally, but she can find her own happily ever after… right? “

LouReviews interview with Georgie Greer in support of production at Brighton Fringe (2023)

Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose – Snug on 2-13, 15-17 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/sunsets

Tales of a Jane Austen Spinster by Wanderess Mermaid Productions

“When a Jane Austen heroine, unlucky in love, finds herself thrown into the modern world of dating, she must set aside her customs and expectations to brave this new world of courtship. But the unsolicited pictures and lack of chivalry may be all too much for her! Will she persevere for a chance to take charge of her own story and find love or retreat back into the safety of her pages?”

Greenside @ Nicolson Square – Fern Studio on 4-12 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/tales-of-a-jane-austen-spinster

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Thirst by Callum Hughes and Fake Escape

“Everyone has heard of the 27 Club. In July 2018, two months shy of his 28th birthday, Callum Hughes was nearly added to that list. Journey from a small Oxfordshire town to the bright lights of London as Callum attempts to rediscover himself without looking through the bottom of the bottle.”

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

Pleasance Courtyard – Bunker 3 on various dates from 2 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/thirst

Three Sisters and Them by A Drunken Sailor

“Three Sisters and Them takes Chekhov’s play into the fractured world of today. Masha and Irina, now living in England, find Olga crashing back into their lives, challenging the gender of Masha’s child.”

The Space @ Surgeons Hall – Theatre 2 on 14-19, 21-26 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/three-sisters-and-them

Tituba by Africanus World

“The first Salem witch to confess and household slave to the Parris family, Tituba vividly described supernatural apparitions and denounced community members, resulting in many being arrested and ultimately executed. Charged with consorting with the Devil, but not indicted, Tituba disappeared from history.”

C Arts | C Venues | C Aurora – Main House on 2-27 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/tituba

Tones: a Hip-Hop Opera by Wound Up Theatre

“Jerome, aka The Professor, is a man in battle with his identity, on a journey through the depths of Black-British culture, class, and belonging. Tones combines the gritty underground sounds of hip hop, grime, drill and the melodrama of opera, into a piece of gig theatre like no other.”

Pleasance Courtyard – Upstairs on 2-28 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/tones-a-hip-hop-opera#:~:text=Tones%20combines%20the%20gritty%20underground,Alt%2DRight%20on%20the%20Night.

Trainspotting Live by King’s Head and In Your Face presented by James Seabright

“Acclaimed immersive adaptation of Irvine Welsh’s classic, staged in celebration of the book’s 30th anniversary in a unique, bespoke venue. The audience are literally part of the action, including the notorious ‘worst toilet in Scotland’ scene. Back after six sold-out Fringe seasons, this is a ticket to ride you won’t soon forget, so book early!”

LouReviews review of production at Riverside Studios (2022)

Pleasance at EICC – Cromdale Tunnel on various dates from 3 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/trainspotting-live


Twinkle by LAMBCO Productions

“Arriving at his latest theatre, long-standing pantomime dame Harold Thropp finds that he’s been moved to a dilapidated dressing room. As he prepares himself and begins adorning the war paint of a veteran performer, Harold reflects on the changing canvas of his life, revealing some traumatic secrets and preparing for an unexpected act of retribution on one of his co-stars.”

LouReviews review of production at Drayton Arms Theatre (2022)

C Arts | C Venues | C Cubed – Main Space on various dates from 2 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/twinkle

Upstart! Shakespare’s Rebel Daughter Judith by Maddy Mutch Productions

“What if Shakespeare had a daughter who inherited his wit and creativity? A retelling of the life of Judith Shakespeare, Upstart gives voice to a feminist born before her time. Surviving the loss of her twin brother, Hamnet, Judith is left to her grief, but with a firm resolve to shape her own future.”

Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose – Big Yin on 2-14, 16-27 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/upstart-shakespeare-s-rebel-daughter-judith

Wasteman by Joe Leather

“A bin man swaps steel-toed boots for stilettos to chase his dream of becoming a drag queen. This raucous one-person comedy play combines monologue, song and (of course) drag in a love letter to hard-working Northerners and gender euphoria, based on writer Joe Leather’s real-life experiences working as a Refuse Loader through lockdown.”

LouReviews review of production at Camden Fringe (2022)

Assembly George Square Studios on 4-16, 18-28 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/wasteman

When We Died by Alexandra Donnachie

“He’s dead, and it’s her job to prepare and present his body for his family’s final goodbye. She often imagines what each person’s life was like. But today she doesn’t have to imagine who he is. She knows this man. Faced with the body of the man who raped her eleven months ago, When We Died is a striking new play about one woman’s choice to confront her trauma and tell her story, on her terms.”

LouReviews review of production at Vault Festival (2020)

Summerhall – Anatomy Lecture Theatre on various dates from 2 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/when-we-died

Wildcat’s Last Waltz by Joshua Welch

“This bold piece of theatre pierces to the heart of love, life and grief. It is a truly unique theatrical experience. The self-proclaimed ‘Wildcat of Sheffield’ faces the end of her days after the death of her beloved Geoff. With her razor-sharp wit and larger-than-life personality, she looks back on her past, her outrageous youth, falling in love, marriage, motherhood, ageing and loneliness.”

LouReviews interview with Joshua Welch in support for production at Brighton Fringe (2023)

Assembly Rooms – Front Room on 3-11, 13-26 Aug. Ticket link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/wildcat-s-last-waltz#:~:text=This%20bold%20piece%20of%20theatre,death%20of%20her%20beloved%20Geoff.

Fill Yer Boots and enjoy supporting all these amazing artists at Fringe!