Back for their 35th season at the Fringe with more than 270 shows, the Pleasance launches this year’s impressive programme in grand style. The Pleasance offers some of the biggest names in entertainment, much-loved returning acts and exciting newcomers. This year also marks a number of big anniversaries with the dedicated children’s programme at the Kidzone celebrating its 10th anniversary and the 15th anniversary of the highly renowned Comedy Reserve, part of the Pleasance’s Charlie Hartill Special Reserve. At this morning’s opening gala, nine fantastic acts come together to combine technical skill with infinite artistry and offer a taste of the talent and excellence available at the Pleasance this August.
In Fishbowl the energy of silent film is perfectly captured with meticulously precise slapstick and a set filled with filled with ingenious magical devices, tricks and surprises that shock and delight. With a sneak peek into their perfectly choreographed pandemonium, this physical comedy extravaganza kicks off the Gala with huge style, at an epic scale.
Rising star Suzi Ruffell is our MC and charms the audience with her infectious energy as she guides us through each act. Feeling the joy, she returns to the Pleasance after her sell-out run last year with her new show Dance Like Everyone’s Watching which answers the age-old question: are all stand-ups at their best when they are miserable? We’re hoping not!
Tipped as One to Watch in 2019 by Chortle, Nigel Ng’s Culture Shocked is a joyous romp through the absurdities of his life in the UK as a Malaysian immigrant. He returns to the Pleasance for his first appearance at the launch following his huge success as part of the Comedy Reserve in 2017.
In their inimitable humour and physicality, Rhum and Clay present a section of The War of the Worlds which is inspired by the Orson Welles’ classic radio play that reportedly caused widespread panic in its listeners who believed the Martians had landed. This legendary totem of science fiction is reimagined for our current climate of disinformation, fake news, and alternative facts.
Bringing her talent across the Atlantic, American sensation Catherine Cohen comes back across the Pond after selling-out her first ever UK show last year. Through original songs and stand-up, Catherine, with Henry Koperski on keys, explores life as an immortal millennial who is bravely addicted to attention in The Twist…? She’s Gorgeous.
In need of some adrenaline fuelled adventure to start your day? This display of BMX by ISH Dance Collective, will have your heart pounding! Their extraordinary show Elements of Freestyle combines breakdance, inline skating, skateboarding, freestyle basketball, BMX and freerunning.
Following her huge success in London, highly renowned Bryony Kimmings presents a snippet from her widely critically acclaimed I’m a Phoenix, Bitch which comes to the Pleasance as part of the British Council Showcase. A combination of the most personal stories with epic film, soundscapes and ethereal music, this is a powerful, dark and joyful work about the creation of a new legend, an invincible and fearless woman.
With her irresistible turn of phrase, Sara Barron’s storytelling stand-up hits punchline after punchline. Her new show Enemies Closer is about revenge served warm, hating those you’re supposed to love and, loving those you’re supposed to hate.
Les Enfants Terribles Award winners Perhaps Contraption bring their nine-piece multi-award-winning brass band to loudly close the Gala with a bang. Their theatrical debut Nearly Human is gig theatre on a new level and uses daring, intricate music, dynamic choreography, spectacular light shows and beautiful choral harmonies to illustrate the journey of one lonely atom.
Anthony Alderson, Director of Pleasance, who arrived on stage on a Just Eat cycle, reinforcing Pleasance’s commitment to helping to sustainability, commented: “Pleasance’s programme this year is all about storytelling. The telling of stories has always given us purpose and even today literature, theatre, comedy and art remain a fundamental aspect of our evolution. Art offers us opportunities to explore and challenge the norm. This programme is full to the brim of such experiences, rich in issues and challenges. This festival is always at the forefront of so many conversations. Let’s put the arts back on the pedestal of knowledge it deserves to be on and to allow it to truly breed creativity.”