The second official on-sale for Pleasance at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe brings theatre, comedy, children’s shows and music from bold, inventive creatives around the world. With a brilliant mix of highly anticipated debut shows, returning award winners showcasing new work and innovative artists trying something that little bit different, this unmissable programme has something for everyone.
True stories are often at the heart of new writing in theatre and this year is no exception: a story of grit, love and danger, Tiger Lady introduces us to Mabel Stark – the queen of the Circus and the only woman to step into the ring with seven tigers! Today I Killed My Very First Bird is a pacey, powerful and heartbreakingly authentic exploration of hope and despair. Lived experience is combined with immersive sound and bold storytelling, compellingly presented by Theatre Royal Plymouth. In Deaf Ears, a poignant and captivating solo show, therapist and Child of Deaf Adults (CODA) Joe Friedman explores what it is like growing up when your parents cannot hear.
Politics and societal expectations provide fascinating material for exciting writers. Rob Ward (Gypsy Queen, Away From Home) returns to the Fringe with The MP, Aunty Mandy & Me, a bittersweet tale of political campaigns, sexual consent and steam trains. Gut-wrenching, exhilarating new writing from Fringe First and Stage Award winner Luke Wright, The Remains of Logan Dankworth sees Logan faced with the looming EU referendum. An unmissable new play from Offie-Award nominee Sam Potter, Unicorn, follows a young woman trying to find a balance between her sexuality and what society expects of her.
Comedic elements bring us theatre filled with belly laughs. A dreamlike comedy Who Here’s Lost? is about what we value as we go along and how we present it to others, from Herald Angel Award winner Ben Moor (The Queen’s Gambit, IT Crowd). Mischief Theatre presents Charlie Russell Aims To Please, a hilarious and heart-warming show that hits as many solo Fringe show tropes and styles as possible within an hour.
Much theatrical inspiration comes from the world of cinema; back after five sold-out Fringe seasons, Trainspotting Live is the acclaimed immersive adaptation of Irvine Welsh’s classic, staged in a bespoke venue unique to the show. The world premiere stage adaptation, inspired by the sequel to the cult classic Trainspotting, Irvine Welsh’s PORNO is set to be disturbing, shocking and extremely funny. Wes Anderson meets Hitchcock meets Spaghetti Western in this fast-paced, raucously funny and endlessly inventive OFFIE-nominated whodunnit in The Man Who Thought He Knew Too Much, with live, original music and virtuosic acrobatics from LET/Greenwich Award winners 2020.
The programme offers up phenomenal diversity of styles this year: fresh from wowing crowds opening for The Libertines and John Cooper Clarke, Luke Wright serves up banger after banger at the hottest late-night show in town – rock ‘n’ roll poetry at its visceral best in Luke Wright’s Late Night Dance Floor Fillers (poems). A worldwide sensation from Montreal to Beijing, the two exceptional drummers Fills Monkey are back with an exhilarating new show We Will Drum You, fusing musical styles from Rock and Heavy Metal to Latin and Jazz. Also programmed is the Edinburgh-based Scottish/African choir Shona the Musical Choir. These supremely talented artists are inspired by historical events around the Shona tribe in Africa and socio-political turmoil of Robert Mugabe’s rule of Zimbabwe; their incredible vocals were first seen at the Edinburgh International Festival in 2021.
There’s also family fun at the Pleasance this summer. From award-winning Covid researcher Professor Tom Solomon CBE who brought you Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Medicine, COVID for Kids follows the adventures of Corry the Coronavirus who causes chaos and misery until controlled by the Science Superheroes. Magic Gareth returns to the Courtyard with Magic Gareth’s Magic Eye – expect some kick-ass, eye-bending magic and a whole load of nonsense (and balloons) in this brand-new show for ages 4+. World record-breaking beatboxer SK Shlomo makes mad music with his mouth in SK Shlomo’s Beatbox Adventure for Kids. He returns on his mission to empower the next generation of superstar beatboxers to find their true voice, no matter who they are!
With lots of shows already announced from the comedy programme, there are still many incredible comedians to pack into the programme. If comedy equals tragedy plus time, then boy, Sarah Keyworth’s Lost Boy is going to be good! You’ve seen her recently on Live At The Apollo, 8 Out Of 10 Cats, Dark Horse (Comedy Special) on Amazon Prime Video, and many more. A show about the hair we want, the friends we have, and living the vast difference between virus and viral, expect frank and funny stand-up from Edinburgh Comedy Award Best Newcomer nominee Sindhu Vee. Sophie Duker, the sexy baby from Taskmaster and Best Newcomer Nominee 2019 is all grown up, and she’s back in her sparkling new stand-up show.
The Pleasance programme is excitingly packed full of brilliant comedians making their debut hours this summer: Join Sikisa for an epic house party and highly anticipated show – as seen and heard on Jonathan Ross’ Comedy Club (ITV), Stand Up Sketch Show (ITV2) and The Off-Menu podcast. In this UK premiere, South Africa’s top ventriloquist Conrad Koch chats racism, apartheid and colonialism with his double international EMMY award nominated puppet friend, and South African TV star, Chester Missing. Hair is about one bizarrely life-changing haircut from musical comedy double act Shelf (who can boast over 1 million views on BBC Three). Meanwhile, rising star Rajiv Karia (Lazy Susan, BBC Three) wants to be your friend – and you really should support your friends – especially when they are doing their debut hour in Edinburgh.
Join up-and-coming Jamie D’Souza as he performs his first stand-up show, about the terrible teen emo band he was in and his first school crush. Soho Theatre’s Young Company alumnus, comedy talent and naive suburbanite Jake Farrell ponders, how far would you go for the people you love?, in his show about family, the future and Stevenage. Leicester Comedy Festival Best New Show Winner 2022 Ania Magliano tackles the stuff that matters, looking at LUSH, horse girls and buying a cat off Gumtree. No Scrubs is the highly anticipated show from BBC New Comedy Award finalist and junior doctor, Michael Akadiri, where he traverses the challenges of life within and outside the NHS. Lord Christian Brighty is the country’s most notorious rake, so prepare to swoon over TikTok’s answer to Mr Darcy (@brightybuoy). Aurie Styla (Jonathan Ross’ Comedy Club (ITV)) has been looking at his own hilarious way of dealing with change and finally going GREEN (his real last name) … but what does being green actually mean?
Mind Mangler: Member of the Tragic Circles is the hilarious new comedy that will leave you gasping for breath from Mischief, the team behind Magic Goes Wrong and The Play That Goes Wrong. Mischief also step back to their roots with Mischief Movie Night, the improvised movie live on stage, where every show is different, as the audience suggest a genre, location and title.
Comedy’s miserable cheeky scamp and Edinburgh Comedy Award winner Will Duggan is returning with the weight of the world across his shoulders and some burning questions in his soul. International microstar Sean McLoughlin returns to the Fringe with his best stand-up show reminding us that the world may be a strange and scary place but life is still worth living! 2019’s Best Newcomer nominee and your favourite self-aware stand-up Helen Bauer is back with an hour about self-confidence, self-esteem and self-care. Visceral, real and achingly brave, Colin Hoult (After Life, Netflix) presents a hilarious meditation on life, death and literally everything in between in The Death of Anna Mann. After 21 years and 224 days Hal Cruttenden is back being single, but it’s all going to be fine and, instead of getting the therapy he clearly needs, he’s made a cracking show about it.
Character-comedians and IRL sisters Maddy and Marina Bye, who perform as the double-act Siblings, present a raucous hour of absurdist sketch comedy in Siblage. Watch multi-award winning impressionist Jess Robinson save the world in under an hour as she stars in Spitting Image, a brand new, musical multimedia, one-woman show.
Award-winning performer and viral YouTube sensation with 40 million+ views, Chris Turner presents his most ambitious show yet: a one-man comedy and hip-hop spectacular. Legendary magician Joz Norris has perfected the hardest magic trick of all time – making an entire audience think and blink in unison. Nothing can possibly go wrong! Cursed to return to the Fringe, multi award-winning stand-up Alasdair Beckett-King unravels life’s shallowest mysteries. Shropshire’s worst writer, Christopher Bliss (8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown) has decided to pull on his socks and sandals, comb his curtains, and leave Shropshire to bring his fifth show to the Pleasance. All aboard The Cambridge Footlights International Tour Show 2022, where we join five of the Footlights’ best comedians to swap stories and trade tales.
Get Off Comedy Fundraiser aims to work to eradicate sexual harassment in the industry we love. The line up will be announced in due course, but past phenomenal acts include Russell Howard, Nish Kumar, Sara Pascoe, Daliso Chaponda, Stephen Bailey, Rachel Fairburn and Sikisa. The Pleasance Comedy Reserve is back for its 16th year at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe with another four brilliant new acts (Abi Clarke, Dee Allum, Katie Green and Tadiwa Mahlunge), hand-picked by the Pleasance and supported by the Charlie Hartill Special Reserve Fund. This is your chance to discover the most exciting comedy newcomers before they become household names. The show has launch the careers of Jack Whitehall, Roisin Conaty, Joe Lycett, Jamali Maddix, Darren Harriott, Sophie Duker, Nigel Ng and 57 others!
To book tickets visit https://www.pleasance.co.uk