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Final Round of Shows On Sale For the Pleasance's Festival Programme

Final Round of Shows On Sale For the Pleasance's Festival Programme

The Pleasance is a place for experiences and, this year, marks Pleasance's boldest programme yet. From the funny to the sorrowful, the political to the magical, the Pleasance has always been a place for incredible stories and 2018 takes this tradition to a new level.


Theatre has always been a mouthpiece for some of the most pressing international concerns and Revenants by Nichola McAuliffe, set twenty-five years after the murder of the Romanovs and twenty-five years before the murder of Martin Luther King, looks at oppression, prejudice and revolution. Marking the ten year anniversary of the death of Ken Campbell, Terry Johnson's Ken comes to its spiritual home in Edinburgh celebrating the life of the maverick writer and theatre director. It's 50 years since Peter Straker appeared on the London stage in the original production Hair - now one of the greatest ever interpreters of Brel's music is at Pleasance in Peter Straker Sings Brel. And, in this the centenary year of Spike Milligan's birth, Chris Larner and Jeremy Stockwell celebrate the life and work of this British comedy legend with laughs, songs, philosophy and utter, utter silliness in A Sockful of Custard.

Some companies just love coming back to Pleasance. Tricky Second Album sees the return of In Bed with My Brother (We Are Ian) for a one night spectacular, though they'll be back a week later 'by popular demand'! Award-winning ZooCo returns to stick two fingers up at gender expectations with their trademark visual story-telling, stunning projections and electro-folk soundtrack in Sirens - the show is creatively captioned and BSL inclusive. Frank Skinner is well-known as a comedian but now he turns his hand to theatre and presents his debut play Nina's Got News. Back for its third year is The Cat in the Hat - based on the much-loved book by Dr Seuss, this lively and engaging first theatre experience is for children aged 3+. Award-winning Fever Dream Theatre return to the Fringe with their new show Impact - hear from the perpetrators and the victims and see who you want to listen to.

Politics are always ripe for discussion in Edinburgh and this year has been no exception with many topics up for grabs. Brexit is a new political satire by Robert Khan and Tom Salinsky (writers of previous Edinburgh sell-out hits Coalition and Making News), starring Mike McShane and Jo Caulfield, looking at what may be happening in the final stages of the Brexit negotiations in 2020! Stardust shines an unflinching light on Colombia's heart of darkness - an irreverent, entertaining and impassioned investigation into the human cost cocaine production and consumption has in Latin America and further afield.

Having launched in 2017, the Pleasance at EICC programme is even bigger and more amazing this year. 23 years after multi-award-winning Carmen Funebre, the acclaimed Company now present Silence, a stunning outdoor production complete with large-scale pyrotechnics focussing on the story of refugees caught in a spiral of violence, with dreams of escape. The Company are also reviving the spectacular and haunting Carmen Funebre for only four performances. In a specially created 1940s style venue at EICC, come and celebrate the 50th birthday of Croft and Perry's quintessentially British sitcom, Dad's Army and enjoy two classic episodes whilst indulging in a delicious hot lunch, afternoon tea or two-course dinner. Part of the Made in Scotland showcase this year is Anno: Vivaldi/Anna Meredith/Eleanor Meredith which combines Vivaldi's Four Seasons with electronics and visual art, an exciting collaboration performed by the UK's leading string orchestra and one of today's most inventive composer/producers.

The Power Plays are a site-specific showcase staged in an actual house. Written by female writers from Soho Writers Lab and Royal Court Young Writers programme, there is only capacity for 15 people per performance. This programme runs alongside a Fringe survey and data activism campaign which aims to analyse and expose gender inequality in fringe and grassroots theatre. Female led solo shows such as these have become known as a powerful and passionate style of performance. Exploring identity, White blends live vocal looping and spoken word as Koko Brown carefully considers the concept of mixed-race privilege, tries to connect clashing cultures and explores what it means to grow up mixed race in contemporary Britain. Using spoken word, poetry, projection and an original soundscape, Pricks is an urgent new show telling a moving story about Type 1 Diabetics and how we can learn to better care for one another. How To Be Amazingly Happy! (With A Strong Sense Of Purpose, Identity & Belonging) is a big hearted, big thinking show asking how to find happiness in life, no matter what the circumstances.

Magic always fascinates audiences who cannot work out how it's done. Presenting two back-to-back productions, the pairing of director-performers Simon Evans and David Aula will captivate audiences with an innovative marriage of poignant theatre and spellbinding close-up magic in The Vanishing Man, a look at the greatest magic trick ever performed, and The Extinction Event - an eye-opening examination of magic's place in tomorrow's world. The Extinction Event is part of Pleasance's fantastic new partnership with HighTide.

If you didn't make it to Dublin last year to sample its amazing theatre scene, Pleasance are bringing Ireland to Edinburgh. Following its award-winning run at the Dublin International Gay Theatre Festival in 2017, Fronting follows a young man, recently diagnosed with HIV, whose anger and rage seem destined to consume him. The Fetch Wilson is a wild and darkly comic journey down the streets and back alleys of modern Dublin, from award-winning writer Stewart Roche and a ground-breaking young Irish theatre collective.

A relationship with a parent can be one of the most special bonds we hold. Twice Fringe First winners Blind Summit consider the difference between acting and puppetry in Henry with master puppeteer Mark Down as he comes to terms with the recent death of his father, celebrated actor Henry Chessel. In Arthur Smith: Syd, the legendary singer/comedian Arthur Smith tells the story of his own father in this brand-new show. The Search For a Black-Browed Albatross follows Charlie as she finds her father's birdwatching book and sets out to search for the one bird that had eluded him to complete his checklist.

Original music mixed live on stage can help to create fascinating and beguiling soundscapes. Many shows now explore this cross-genre influence and both Flies and Polaris use music to create a whole new world. Flies is presented by Olivier Award nominated Les Enfants Terribles and Pins & Needles - an absurdist tale that will leave your skin crawling with fear and mind buzzing with excitement. Polaris is a fantastical adventure through time and space exploring the normalisation of hatred, toxic masculinity, and the violence of language through imagined worlds.

And just when you think there can't be anymore, there are still loads of fantastic shows to choose from! Crafted from true stories of families facing breast cancer The Archive of Educated Hearts is a production with kindness and courage at its heart staged in a pop-up shed in Pleasance Courtyard, with space for only four people per performance. Let's Inherit the Earth is the world premiere of a punk musical Nordic comedy about global warming, environmental destruction and mass extinction! Our priorities are challenged in The Duke by Fringe First-Awarded performer/writer Shôn Dale-Jones, known for his Fringe favourite alter-ego Hugh Hughes, who returns with the goal of raising even more funds for Save the Children. Alabama God-Damn takes audiences on a Southern Gothic road trip of beauty and disgust, bringing everyone down to earth, even the angels. In 1962 Beat poet Elise Cowen committed suicide and her family incinerated all but 83 of her poems - here, Elise uncovers the story of this extraordinary poet.

Podcasts are all the rage and in today's busy world they're a great way to hear content while on the move. Following a string of sell-out live dates and festival appearances, Ed Miliband and Geoff Lloyd bring their hit podcast Reasons to be Cheerful to Edinburgh for two days only - a show for the politically disheartened, about ideas to make the world a better place, hosted by now off-the-leash former Labour leader and the award-winning radio presenter. Taking podcasts to the next level is 1968.Digital, the first interactive mobile documentary series to tell a story about the worldwide cultural revolution and fight for human rights on the screens of our mobile phones. It launches at the Fringe with an exciting talk by Mikhail Zygar - Russia's wayward son and outspoken critic of Putin's government - and Karen Shainyan in discussion with Mark Fisher.

Children's Theatre:

One of theatres purposes is to transport audiences to magical places. Opera Mouse follows Tilly Mouse whose dream is to perform on stage - with determination, imagination, and help from her friends, Tilly proves that even a mouse can be a star! A Dragon in the Family uses storytelling, puppets and live harp music to bring to life an exciting adventure of abandoned caves, games and dragon eggs. With wolves, witches and goblins, Grimm's Fairer Tales reimagines the classic tales of The Brothers Grimm for a contemporary audience.

Better Together follows three delightful clowns on their journey to become best friends - through loneliness and laughter, they learn to cast aside the everyday distractions that stand in the way of what matters most. Beetlemania: Kafka For Kids! is Kafkaesque kraziness kreated by Pappy's Tom Parry and director Russell Bolam - for kids and big kids alike. With performances at the start of the festival, Tom Brace: Brace yourself! (It's magic time) is a jam-packed mind-boggling variety show with magic that you simply won't believe!

The importance of the father/son relationship is also explored in the children's programme - Nutty Noah: You Might Die is inspired by Oscar (Noah's son) who has had numerous operations for a brain tumour; his bravery in the face of uncertainty and his sense of humour made his father think about poking your tongue out at death.

Pleasance Kidszone will transform into BIG Kidszone after bedtime, designed especially for grown-ups! With Fringe Lucky Dip, step into the Igloo and see what you get - it could be theatre or storytelling, or maybe kids shows and comedy!


Pleasance is renowned for its extraordinarily entertaining comedy programme. 2018 sees some big names returning to the Fringe; John Kearns, the only winner of both the Best Show and Best Newcomer Edinburgh Comedy Awards, returns for an encore of his 2017 critical hit. Fresh from his Dave TV show, join Matt Forde, Britain's leading political comedian, for his last show as an EU citizen in Brexit Through the Gift Shop. Seann Walsh doesn't really believe in writing 100 word blurbs to sell his show but we know he's going to be a corker. Through character comedy and satirical songs, Elsa explores cultural stereotypes and what lies underneath - four shows only! Kings of sketch BEASTS also return to Edinburgh for four nights only, to kill their enemies and reclaim their crown. Ciarán Dowd, member of critically acclaimed sketch group Beasts, returns with his debut solo show and amazing character comedy Don Rodolfo. Back for one night only, award-winning comedian Adam Kay shares entries from his diaries as a junior doctor in this electrifying hour of stand-up and music. Edinburgh Comedy Award Best Newcomer nominee 2016 Jayde Adams (who can also be seen in Amusical) is going full diva with glorious gowns, acerbic charm and show-stopping music by Olivier Award-winner Richard Thomas. Fresh from Britain's Got Talent 2018, Robert White brings you his unique form of musical stand-up in a laugh packed hour with some jokes, some songs, a keyboard and maybe a tank top or two. Now in its 11th extraordinary year at Pleasance, the timeless comedy legends Flanders and Swann return with an amazing selection of new songs and wonderful wit.

Also returning are the marvellous Stiff and Kitsch (Winner, Musical Comedy Awards 2018, Vault Comedy Award 2017) with Adele Is Younger Than Us, a journey through the trials and tribulations of love, with all the heartbreak but none of the Grammys. Avocado! Smashed is the sequel to Avocado! from Dave and Max, exploring the darker side of what it means to be a twenty-something-nothing in this brunch-crazed world. Yianni Agisilaou gives us an hour of analogue, human-written jokes on how humans and technology are changing each other in Teaching a Robot to Love. BBC Radio 5 Live recommended podcaster, comedian and junior doctor Ed Patrick is back with a limited run of his unique chat show, Comedians' Surgery. Mikey the Aartist comes back to the Pleasance in AART TV Live!, his all new show starring special guest Jim Parkyn of AARDMAN Animations discussing his finest creations including Shaun the Sheep!

Lots of your Fringe favourites are back this year with late night guest shows. The voice of ITV's smash hit Love Island, Iain Stirling returns to his home town to host three special shows featuring some of the best comedians at the Fringe. Award-winning musical comedian and star of BBC's The Mash Report, Rachel Parris, presents a late-night jamboree of tunes intended to tickle, including some of her own comic anthems. Alongside his daily appearance at the Pleasance Grand, TapeFace is set to host a series of late night performances with the best acts of the Edinburgh Fringe and a social media twist - he's broadcasting it live on Facebook! Join critically acclaimed sketch group and self-proclaimed legends Birthday Girls as they host a chaotic evening of comedy guests, drinking and kissing. Colin Hoult's masterclass in character comedy, Anna Mann brings her late-night extravaganza to Edinburgh for five nights only where she will be joined by amazing special guests. The late-night mayhem of Mr. Thing and his studio house band will offer a world of special guests, live music, interviews, sketches, games and jingles. And, John-Luke Roberts returns with an all-star cast of the Fringe's best comedians and worst idiots to present three adaptations of unadaptable texts.

This year sees several one-off shows so make sure these are in your diaries early as you only have one chance! The Pleasance is committed to providing the most accessible venues on the Fringe and The Accessibility Gala celebrates this commitment with a night of top comedy. Hundreds entered the Chortle Student Comedy Award and only a handful survive - now one will be crowned Britain's funniest student at this final, hosted by the brilliant Mark Watson, where future stars start. The 38th Edinburgh Comedy Awards Gala Show was the UK's first and premier awards celebrating live comedy and this amazing gala features the 2018 winner and nominees! Pleasance Newcomer Comedy Gala is a one-off comedy extravaganza that's completely free of charge giving you the opportunity to check out some of the new kids on the block as they make their Pleasance debut at this late night comedy party! One newcomer not to miss is American comic Jacqueline Novak who weaves personal stories with completely original stand up to parse what does and does not deserve our embarrassment.

The best place to discover new comedy on the Fringe has got to be HUB Fresh - a line-up of comedians, all making their Pleasance debuts this year. And, what's more, it's free! You can also catch HUB every month at Pleasance London.

At the heart of comedy is amazing improvisation. There Will Be Cake is an all-star improv show with actual cake from award-winning improvisers Marcus Brigstocke, Rachel Parris, Pippa Evans and Paul Foxcroft. Fringe sensations Racing Minds are back after five sell-out years with Aaaand Now For Something Completely Improvised - a show where anything could happen but excitement is guaranteed! In Criminal, an anarchic improv night, four comedians have an hour to solve a grisly murder armed only with the power of improvisation. London's 'Critical Hit' comedy Dungeons and Dragons show, Questing Time, is rolling into Edinburgh to make the funniest people on the Fringe play Dungeons and Dragons in this amazing hour of joyful high-stakes and mostly stupid adventure. And, if you're into Dungeons and Dragons, take a look at BADD (Bothered About Dungeons and Dragons) where it's 1980s America and the most diabolical threat of all is Dungeons and Dragons: innocent role-playing game, or gateway to corruption, violence and satan?

There are even more podcasts in the Comedy programme. Audible Presents is two weeks of completely free live comedy shows, showcasing the finest acts the festival has to offer, all being recorded for this amazing audio series. With different star names and guests each day, check the Pleasance website and box office for daily line-ups.

The whole Pleasance programme is now on sale and it's going to keep you busy, entertained and enthralled! The Pleasance programme should certainly be the pick of your Fringe this August.

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