Edinburgh Fringe: 20 local companies to check out

Hannah Collins (Yvonne) and Stacey Mitchell (Liz) in Sunshine on Leith. Pic: Comp
Hannah Collins (Yvonne) and Stacey Mitchell (Liz) in Sunshine on Leith. Pic: Comp
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Entertainment editor Liam Rudden picks 20 local companies you should catch this summer.

WITH somewhere in the region of 3000 productions cramming onto every available inch of stage space in the Capital during August, it’s easy for local companies to be overlooked, as the city is swamped with performers from around the world.

However, over the decades local companies have time and again proved the backbone of the Capital’s annual celebration of the arts.

With that in mind, here are 20 Edinburgh companies, all with proven track records and worth a look.

DRAMA: Trainspotting

To mark the 20th anniversary of Irvine Welsh’s seminal novel, allow In Your face Theatre to take you back to the bad old days of Leith in this hard-hitting promenade production.

Hill Street Theatre, Hill Street, 31 Jul-24 Aug (not 5, 12, 19), £7-£14

COMEDY MAGIC: The Colour Ham

BE possessed by the spirit of 80s television stars, witness objects move around the stage as if carried by a dark force, experience inventions that read your mind and endure a cameo from Whoopi Goldberg, all in a brand new 2014 show.

Just the Tonic at The Caves, Niddrie Street, 31 July-23 August, 7.40pm, £5-£12

CABARET: Russell Grant - Strictly Edinburgh

EDINBURGH Fringe producer Karen Koren brings star-gazer and star of Strictly Come Dancing to the Capital in this new feel-good show. Reach for the stars as the nation’s darling rockets into town with a showbiz extravaganza. Filled with glitz and glam, magic and sparkle, get ready for a barn-storming, foot-tapping hour to lift your spirits.

Gilded Balloon, Teviot, 30 July-24 August (not 12), 6.45pm, £11-£14

KIDS: Les Miserables

FOUR times Evening News Drama Award winners, Forth Children’s Theatre returns with an innovative and haunting production of Les Misérables - a musical that has been running in London’s West End for the past 28 years. Can you hear the people sing?

Inverleith Church Hall, Inverleith Gardens, 1-9 August (not 3), times vary, £12

AMATEUR: Captivate Drama

ONE of the busiest local theatre companies on the Fringe this year is Captivate Drama with no fewer than five productions, including the Festival premiere of

Sunshine on Leith (Broughton High School Theatre, East Fettes Avenue, 2-10 August (not 4, 5), times vary/then The Famous Spiegeltent, St Andrew Square, 16-25 August, 1.15pm, £12-£15).

Other highlights from the company include Oh! What a Lovely War, which juxtaposes jolly music-hall routines with stark projections of life in the trenches and real songs from WW1, cheerfully condemning the bloody slaughter.

(Broughton High School Theatre, East Fettes Avenue, 4-9 August, times vary, £12)

Bugsy Malone, join Bugsy, Fat Sam, Tallulah, Blousey and Dandy Dan at the speakeasy for a fun time full of laughs, songs and lots of splurge. A great show for all the family.

(Broughton High School, East Fettes Avenue, 1-5 August, times vary, £12) Full details: www.captivatetheatre.com

DRAMA: The Lift

EDINBURGH University Theatre Company are back on the Fringe with Lift. It’s cramped, it’s crazed, it’s out of order. When the lift breaks, nine lives unexpectedly converge and endure a static adventure no psychologist can erase.

Bedlam Theatre, Bristo Place, 2-3, 10-17 August, 3pm, £3-£6


FOLLOWING last year’s Evening News Drama Award for You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, Edinburgh University Savoy Opera Group returns with the outrageous comedy blockbuster Avenue Q. With a selection of naughty puppets negotiating matters of sex, racism and coming out of the closet

Paradise in Augustines, George IV Bridge, 2-10 August, 7pm, £12

IMPROV: The Improverts: 25th Anniversary

ALWAYS different, always funny, The Improverts promise yet another year of lightning fast wit, expert tech and high energy performances. Based at Bedlam Theatre since 1989, Edinburgh’s resident and longest-running improvised comedy troupe celebrate 25 years of making people laugh.

Bedlam Theatre, Bristo Place, 2-23 August, 10-17, 00.30am, £7.50

AMATEUR: The Sorcerer’s Tale

OCTOBER, 1460. When the monks of Cambusdonald Abbey are told they must put on a show to impress a possible benefactor, Brother Barnabus digs out an ancient book of spells. But the monks get more than they bargained for when their spells start to go wrong. Mayhem ensues with hilarious results in this production from Edinburgh People’s Theatre.

Mayfield Salisbury Church, 2-23 August (not 3, 10, 17), various times, £10

AMATEUR: Beyond a Joke

IF you enjoy Fawlty Towers and Midsomer Murders, Saughtonhall Amateur Drama Group have just the comedy for you. This country house farce will have you rolling in the aisles. Book early to avoid disappointment as Saughtonhall Drama Group usually sell out.

Saughtonhall United Reformed Church, Saughtonhall Drive, 4-9 August, various times, £7

THEATRE: The Wonderful World of Dissocia

JOIN Edinburgh Graduate Theatre Group for a journey to wonderland. Lisa has lost an hour. This hour is the key to restoring balance to her life but in order to retrieve it she must journey to the Wonderful World of Dissocia. However there are darker forces in Dissocia who will stand in her way and desperately try to keep her from leaving.

The Royal Scots Club, Abercromby Place, 4-9 August, 8.45pm, £10

AMATEUR: Relatively Speaking

THE Edinburgh Makars present a classic Ayckbourn comedy with a dark twist. Relatively Speaking opens in the city flat of young cohabiting couple Ginny and Greg where nothing is as it seems.

Murrayfield Parish Church Centre, Ormidale Terrace, 6-16 August (not 10), 7.30pm, £10.50

THEATRE: Safeword

URBAN Fox Theatre Company return to the Fringe with their second production. Everybody lives a double life. For some it’s a game. For anxious artist Isobel, it’s self-preservation. A dark, daft fairytale of trust, truth, lust and love, Safeword is a true story, only every word is a lie.

Sweet, Grassmarket, 20-24 August, 5.15pm, £8

AMATEUR: Woody Allen’s Writer’s Block

AN evening of sparkling comedy with two one-act plays from acclaimed actor, director and writer Woody Allen, performed by Evening News Drama Award winners Edinburgh Theatre Arts. What more could you ask for? Expect infidelity, one-liners and farce aplenty.

St Ninian’s Hall, Comley Bank, 4-16 August, times vary, £12

THEATRE: A Walk at the Edge of the World

MAGNETIC North theatre company is based in Edinburgh. Formed in 1999 by Nicholas Bone to create and develop new work, A Walk at the Edge of the World looks at how the hidden secrets of the landscape and the constantly shifting border between land and sea remind us that the past is always with us, whether we realise it or not.

Summerhall, The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, 1-24 August (not 7, 11, 18), 5pm, £8-£12

AMATEURS: Paras Over the Barras

WAR means air raids, blackouts, food rationing, barrage balloons, and the pain of parting as husbands and fathers go off to fight. For the McSorleys and their neighbours in the East End tenements it is a case of making the best of what life has to offer. Join Leitheatre as they uncover the humour of war.

St Serf’s Halls, Clark Road, 4-16 August (not 10), various times, £10

DRAMA: The Carousel

THIS poignant play from Stellar Quines tells of one woman’s journey of discovery and stars award-winning actress Maureen Beattie. While driving to her dying mother’s bedside, a woman calls upon the spirit of her dead grandmother. So begins a quest through a labyrinth of memories.

Traverse Theatre, Cambridge Street, 31 July-24 August, various times, £18

DRAMA: Chariot - The Eric Liddell Story

THE tale of Eric Liddell was made famous by the award-winning film Chariots of Fire. Here, local theatre company Searchlight bring their dramatisation to the stage.

Palmerston Place Church, Palmerston Place, 19-23 August, various times, £11

THEATRE: 13 Drunken Years

Award-winning Lung Ha’s theatre company team up with Stellar Quines. Set in a remote Finnish town, this is the story of three generations of women dealing with loss whilst finding strength from each other.

Assembly Rooms, George Street, 11-24 August (not 18), 2.05pm, £13

THEATRE: Something in it for Cordelia / Something in it for Ophelia

THEATRE Alba present a Scots double bill, two short plays set in the Waverley Station during the Edinburgh Festival. In the first, Cordelia races down the Royal Mile pushing her cantankerous father in a wheelchair to catch the last train to the highlands. In Ophelia, the positions are reversed.

Duddingston Kirk Manse Gardens, The Marquee, 5-9, 12-16 August, 4pm, £8