August’s Festivals bring the capital city to life, a fantastically vibrant time that shows the world Edinburgh at its best. An international spotlight is thrown on Edinburgh as the festivals bring a hugely varied programme from performers, comedians, dancers, acrobats, musicians and artists from across the globe. Our Edinburgh-based teams have put forward some of their favourites shows ahead of the festival season for you to enjoy.
1. Jason Byrne: Unblocked
Jason Byrne has not only had his heart unblocked and been given a new lease on life, but his whole career has been unblocked too! The constipation of Covid has been cleared, live entertainment has been colonically irrigated and readied up for us all. The bans from social media platforms have been lifted and Jason is back dishing up platters of fun to everyone. Join Jason live on stage as he unleashes what he does best. Guaranteed pure and utter Unblocked joy and laughter.
Ireland’s top sketch comedy group. With over 500 million online views the internet sensations return to McEwan Hall to premiere their new show, Hogwash. A mix of sketch comedy, audience participation and improvisation.
With not a zombie in sight, we are taken into a sanctuary of "normality" while the outside world rots... In a secure flat, complete with a TV, a sound system, video games and enough alcohol to host a Scottish wedding, we meet Rob, an ill-mannered, politically incorrect Scottish lad and Paul, a very chirpy, kind-hearted Northerner. The arrival of battle-hardened Penelope disrupts the status quo as she challenges their way of life whilst seeking relative comfort and safety after living out in the wild of a zombie apocalypse.
4. Game Night
One night. One big announcement. One drink too many and more fights than there are positions in the Kama Sutra. With the arrival of their eccentric, trouble-riddled friends and spiteful relatives crashing, it doesn't exactly go to plan. Trapped together, more alcohol being drank and more secrets revealed, will Michael and Jacob make it down the aisle?
Using his innate ability to craft songs on the spot, Rob creates a full discography for a fictional artist created by you, the audience. Using a sample pad necklace to trigger high-production beats, Rob creates the kind of exhilarating live experience that has won him a string of awards, and the highest of international critical acclaim. He continues to sell out his Fringe runs in Edinburgh and Australia each year, wowing audiences wherever he plays.
Fern Brady is returning the the Fringe. She'll be tackling big issues such as death, shagging, marriage and ageing. In her typically honest and authentic way Fern is never scared to speak her mind. This show is the culmination of nearly two years of rumination. The fearless Scot's had a stratospheric rise. Her special Power and Chaos was broadcast on BBC One. She's had her own TV show on the UK's Dave channel and has appeared on numerous others: Live at the Apollo, Frankie Boyle's New World Order, Roast Battle and The Russell Howard Hour.
In her award-winning stand-up show, Esther Manito (Live at the Apollo, The Stand Up Sketch Show) looks back at the era of lad mags, landlines and cock-n-ball graffiti. A time where the media said her Middle Eastern heritage was filled with misogynistic men, whereas the West absolutely had (and still has) sexism sorted. Has lad culture really improved? Does 90s Essex have the answers?
Scotland’s international comedy star is doing a run of shows to work up some new material for his next tour. So come expecting nerves, notes onstage and a lot of laughs… but don’t come expecting a slick, finished comedy show. This is strictly a work in progress. (We should probably also mention that Daniel was the biggest ticket-selling comedian in the world for most of 2021, has sold out six New York solo Off-Broadway seasons, appeared on US TV’s Conan 10 times, broken box office records in Edinburgh and toured in 53 countries).
Following her Netflix special The Twist... ? She's Gorgeous, Edinburgh Comedy Award-winner Catherine Cohen returns to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe to work on a brand-new comedy cabaret show.
The quick-thinking queen of ventriloquism presents her pioneering, dating-infused show. Finding true love can't be promised, but big laughs are guaranteed.
CABARET & CIRCUS
A live circus rock tribute to the original rebel, David Bowie. Stage dive into the mosh pit for a night of live music, glittering glam rock, phenomenal acrobatics, breath-taking aerials and spectacular heart-stopping sideshow. Combining music and circus, bringing to life an incredible body of work that spanned over 50 years, with an aesthetic that inspired generations.
You will never cross the street in the same way again! Don Gnu digs into the tediousness of everyday routines in search of poetry and humour with muscular physicality and edgy stunt tricks. One ordinary day, four ordinary men take an ordinary walk through the city, until one of them suddenly decides to rebel... With trademark Don Gnu everyday stunts and raw physicality, Walk-Man is a performance about the extraordinary experiences of ordinary life. In a world where our everyday rules, norms and routines no longer apply – who are we really?
Jinkx Monsoon, fresh off RuPaul's Drag Race all-winners season, makes her Edinburgh Fringe debut with a brand-new show, all to prove: She's. Still. Got it! It's been nearly a decade since Jinkx hit the global stage and she's excited to show off the talent, wit and humour that's made her the internationally tolerated drag superstar she is today. Prepare for bawdy stories, unique covers and original music from the powerhouse queen and her acclaimed partner pianist Major Scales. It's Jinkx Monsoon like you've never seen her before: upright and conscious!
THE ROYAL EDINBURGH MILITARY TATTOO
Set against the backdrop of Edinburgh’s imposing castle, The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is one of the most iconic events in Edinburgh's calendar. Bringing together audiences from across the globe, the Edinburgh Tattoo celebrates the skills and talents of military bands and display teams from throughout the world.
One of Scotland’s favourite entertainers, Alan Cumming proved his command of the written word was just as strong as his command of the stage in 2014, when he became a New York Times bestselling author. His most recent book, Baggage, takes us through his acting career, from the stages of Aberfeldy to the screens of Hollywood. Join him for a thoroughly entertaining hour.
Meg Mason’s breakout bestselling novel of love, family and mental health, Sorrow and Bliss, was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction and dubbed ‘the book you have to read this summer’ by the Evening Standard. Comparisons have arisen to BBC’s Fleabag, perhaps due to the piquant combination of humour and darkness Mason brings to this event or the refreshing view of contemporary womanhood offered.
The hugely popular Clydebank-born comedian Kevin Bridges is a familiar face, but today he’s here as a debut novelist. His book, The Black Dog, tells the story of Duncan, a wannabe writer whose dreams of a literary career help him escape from his ever-darkening thoughts. He thinks he sees a way out – but can you ever escape your troubles by running away? Join the sharp-witted Bridges for a revealing discussion on dreams, depression and the possibility of redemption.
Logan Roy, brought ferociously to life by Brian Cox in HBO series Succession, is one of the outstanding screen characters of the decade. Cox’s Golden Globe-winning depiction of the leonine media tycoon has won him countless new admirers. His memoir, Putting the Rabbit in the Hat, is refreshingly honest about life on stage and screen. The Dundonian actor joins us for a wide-ranging conversation with Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon.