Image: Splash test Dummies
Today Underbelly announces 86 new shows joining its Fringe programme. Exploring everything from mental health, millennials’ issues, sibling competition, addiction and current state of politics to dinosaurs, 19th century palaeontology, ancient Troy, novels of Jane Austin, Mary Shelley and Brothers Grimm and, of course, the ultimate quest to find the love of your life, Underbelly’s new additions to Edinburgh Festival Fringe programme have everyone covered!
Presenting the wicked, the horrible and the hilarious, from the creators of the sell-out 2018 hit Turn of the Screw comes Great Grimm Tales, a remarkable adaptation of some of the world’s best-loved Brothers Grimm stories. In a similar thrilling fashion, Manual Cinema’s Frankenstein stitches together Mary Shelley’s biography with her most famous creation, Victor Frankenstein. Combining handmade shadow puppetry, cinematic techniques and innovative sound to create a unique, immersive experience, the show is truly one of its kind.
From Scandal and Gallows, a young company staging classic stories, comes She Sells Sea Shells, a modern take on the little-known story of Mary Anning, 19th century English palaeontologist whose discoveries transformed our understanding of the universe. Fast forward 200 years: award-winning New York company Snowy Owl present IvankaPlay, a dazzling meditation on heroism starring an alternate version of America’s first daughter. Will she have the balls to shape the future? Also steeped in the current affairs is Bismallah! An ISIS Tragicomedy. Depicting an hour in an Iraqi cell shared by a London-born army man and a Leeds-born ISIS fighter, this black comedy discusses everything from islamophobia to Wetherspoons as it circles around the awful truth: they both just want to go home.
Ticker explores the themes of male identity, toxic aggression and how not talking about things can eventually lead to self-destruction as it follows the story of Spencer, a Geordie millennial whose life is torn apart by the untimely death of his love interest… and he is the prime suspect.
A wonderfully honest and extremely funny autobiographical rites-of-passage comedy written and performed by Nicola Wren, Superstar tells a story of a young girl determined to get out of the shadow of her four older siblings – one of them being a mega-famous singer – to find her own place in the world.
Untapped Award 2018 winner and one of last year’s Fringe highlights Breach Theatre makes a welcome come back to Underbelly’s theatre programme with the critically-acclaimed It’s True, It’s True, It’s True, a powerful staging of the 1612 trial of Agostino Tassi for the rape of baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi.
Watch closely… are you playing attention? Part performance, part tutorial The Unfair Advantage is an unprecedented, site-specific theatrical event, telling the story of Harry, a sleight of hand specialist embroiled in the dark side of world’s biggest casinos.
Musicals, music, cabaret and variety highlights
Cameron Mackintosh Award 2018 winners and writers of the hit musical Buried, present You and I: A New Musical, a touching musical comedy exploring love, loss and what it means to be human. What do you do when the world’s first super intelligent robot turns up at your door asking about the origins of the universe, karaoke and the meaning of porn? Fran is about to find out. Following successful collaborations with Ed Sheeran, Bjork and Damon Albarn, record-breaking beatboxer SK Shlomo returns to Fringe with Surrender, devastatingly honest part-gig, part-theatre journey of overcoming grief, addiction and suicidal depression. The hottest name in street magic, breakdancing Magical Bones marks his highly-anticipated Fringe debut with Black Magic, the most awe-inspiring show this festival, combining the most intricate sleight of hand with jaw-dropping dance moves.
Children’s programme highlights
Following a residency at the Smithsonian Institution and Sydney Opera House, the world-wide phenomenon Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo takes over Edinburgh’s iconic McEwan Hall this Fringe. Getting close and personal with an amazing array of prehistorical creatures, this unique children’s show introduces the young curious minds to the fascinating world of dinosaurs, using puppets of all sizes – from adorable baby dinos to elephant-size adults – and includes all the roars and rumbles. This entertaining and educational show promises to be the children’s show this festival.
From the creators of the multi award-winning Trash Test Dummies and Splash Test Dummies comes Dummies Corp’s all-female circus sensation Don’t Mess with the Dummies. Join the lions, tigers and Dummies as they stampede into the jungle for an outlandish circus-filled extravaganza of comedy that will leave everyone’s heart on their sleeve and jaw on the floor. Showbiz legend, national treasure, fox: The UK’s most beloved puppet Basil Brush makes his much-anticipated Fringe debut with Family Fun Show. Filled with laughs, top-notch storytelling and songs, this show specially written for the stage is fun for all the family. Come in and join the mayhem! World record-breaking beatboxer SK Shlomo presents Beatbox Adventure for Kids, a journey of a sonic superhero with one little audience member becoming his sidekick for the ride.
Marking the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing with Rocket Girl, award-winning Ditto Theatre Company tells the story of an eight-year-old Maisie Robinson who, inspired by Armstrong’s one small step, decides to become an astronaut, despite the people around her having different plans for her future. After all, girls don’t do science, do they?…
Marking its third anniversary this year, Underbelly’s Big Brain Tumour Benefit returns for another raucous evening of comedy to help fight against brain tumours. With last year’s line-up including Nish Kumar, Joel Dommett and MC-d by the national treasure aka Susan Calman, this is the comedy event of the festival! Line-up announcements coming soon!
Following a West End residency, Fringe favourite and sell-out success Austentatious returns for its seventh year with a limited run. Every single day an all-star cast a brand-new Jane Austen novel based entirely on a single suggestion from the audience! A Guinness World Record breaker, Fringe First winner and a Perrier finalist, NewsRevue is back in its 40th anniversary year with more exceptional writing, superlative performances and ever-original takes on current affairs.
In the competitive and heart-wrenching world of solo stand-up, Australian phenomenon and force of nature Rhys Nicholson is still a nice man who is doing his best. So he is coming back to the festival to tell its audiences about Nice People Nice Things Nice Situations. One of the most talked-about comedy shows on last year’s Fringe Garry Starr is back with his new show, Garry Starr Conquers Troy. Starr delves deep into his Greek ancestry to enlighten his audiences with the ancient art of Pretendism, thus saving the performing arts from the evil clutches of Method Acting. One-third of Massive Dad and half of a smash-hit podcast Nobody Panic, Stevie Martin returns to the festival with new sketches, some talking and absolute bangers (jokes) in Hot Content.
Rachel Fairburn has been described by some losers as obnoxious, rude and contrary. However, she thinks she’s absolutely adorable and she’s discussing why in her new show, The People’s Princess. In Dead Funny, Myra Dubois decides to bring forward her funeral to make sure people get it right. Myra is dead, long live Myra! BBC New Comedy Award finalist and wheelchair enthusiast Aaron Simmonds presents Disabled Coconut, a story of being trolled online for not being disabled enough and staring at people’s belly buttons. As seen on Live at the Apollo and Comedy Central’s Comedy Store Live, Marlon Davis returns to Edinburgh with a hilarious brand-new show, telling his audiences how it is to be an Emotional Black Male whilst Geoff Norcott also marks a comeback with his sharp take on modern politics presenting Work in Progress. In Son of Gary, American comedian Dan Soder addresses the many questions 30-something often consider: should he (if given the chance) have kids? Is wanting to be liked a bad thing? Are police dogs on your side?
Emmy Blotnick discusses anxiety, neurosis and depression in Party Nights, a new hour of comedy inspired by Nicki Minaj’s 2015 appearance at a New York bar mitzvah and flanked by the unlikely spirit guides of Beyoncé and Andre 3000. In the Weeds, Liza Treyger’s new show tells the unique (or not) story of one’s turning into a cliché love-hunting Bridget Jones after her 31st birthday whilst Sasha Ellen presents a friendly romcom Pickle featuring an engagement, a missing person and a near catastrophe in a show that explores love, loss and sexy helicopter pilots.
Daniel Nils Roberts of Austentatious fame challenged himself to cram the entirety of recorded time into just one show, aptly entitled The History of the World in 1 Hour. Paul McCaffrey makes a victory lap and presents Lemon, a new stand-up hour of comedy following a UK tour with his comedy heroes, Sean Lock and Kevin Bridges. Social media wizard Tony Cantwell, Dublin-based comedian who has generated over 4M views online thanks to his alter egos, Your Ma’s Mate and The Dublin Frenchman, visits Edinburgh with Live Feed, a heart-pounding night of incognito browsing.
Double-act Harry and Chris are on top of the game having invented the field of comedy-rap-jazz and their This One’s for the Aliens is exactly that: award-winning wordplay, awe-inspiring musicality, eyebrow-raising bromance and unashamed joy. Also in the two-hander category, sketch group Double Denim aka Michelle Brasier and Laura Frew bring their Adventure Show – Jumanji meets Absolutely Fabulous. No map, no shame. Bring spare knickers!
From the team behind the 2018 sold-out success Camels, Patrick McPherson plays the role of The Man, exploring masculinity, sexuality and mental health and dissecting the way in which men communicate and perform in modern society. Drunk Women Solving Crime, one of the most talked-about comedy podcasts, is a true crime podcast with a twist…of lime. Each episode sees a boozed-up panel of non-experts put their drunk detective skills to a test and solve true crime cases. You’re welcome.
A new show from Gaulier-trained clown Viggo Venn, Viggo the Viking, is a touching story of the dumbest viking in the world who came all the way from the deep forests and tall mountains of Norway to share it with his poor audiences. Children’s favourite fox Basil Brush presents a show for adults, Unleashed, in which he gives his take on everything from Love Island to Westminster in his trademark anarchic style. Different guests every day!
From the members of The Hoosiers comes Felix and The Scootermen: Self-Help Yourself Famous, a one in a lifetime opportunity to learn from the A-list pop star celebs Felix Scoot and Lee Delamere on how to become as famous as they are. Irish comedy weirdos Dreamgun amuse and exasperate cinephiles in equal measure with their skewed, joke-stuffed and wholly unrehearsed takes on established cinematic favourites. A different classic movie reimagined with nonsense every night!
London’s campest musical sketch comedy threesome is back to flame on everyone’s parade with Sex Shells, an explosion of original music, sketches, wayward choreography and twisted rewrites of pop hits, Disney and musicals. As sexy and subversive as they can get!
Tickets are on sale now on www.underbellyedinburgh.co.uk.
Charlie Wood and Ed Bartlam, directors of Underbelly said: “This year at Underbelly we have everything! From dinosaurs to millennials covering politics and mental health along the way, it’s a diverse and exciting programme with big names and new names, the familiar and the unfamiliar and the simply not-to-be-missed.
“And for the third year, and in support of The Brain Tumour Charity, a charity very close to our hearts, Underbelly’s Big Brain Tumour Benefit will present the best comedy on the Fringe, with all proceeds going to the charity. To date it’s raised over £45,000 and we’re hoping to smash through the £60,000 mark for 2019. Watch this space for line-up announcements.”