Edinburgh Festival Fringe: Harol Shipman, David Attenborough and George Lucas shows to be staged
The complete works of Terry Pratchett and Oscar Life will be brought to life on stage, along with the action blockbuster Die Hard and the cult TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
TV presenter Gail Porter will be turning her hand to stand-up comedy, while former Emmerdale star Louise Marwood will be launching a new play exploring “the human condition, the affliction of addiction and the real cost of becoming a drug addict at the age of 35”.
More than 1330 shows, which are being staged across 150 venues, have now been confirmed for this year's Fringe programme ahead of its official launch in June.
This compares to less than 800 which were on sale by the beginning of April last year. However registration opened a month later, after the lifting of Covid restrictions in Scotland.
TheSpace will be playing host to The Quality of Mercy, a play written by Edwin, grandson of one of Harold Shipman’s victims, while Mayflies author Andrew O’Hagan will be launching a new one-woman play portraying the American writer Truman Capote on the night of his famous Black and White Ball.
Gilded Balloon’s line-up includes the sci-fi horror musical Dracula in Space, Yippee Ki Yay, which retells the Bruce Willis festive thriller Die Hard, and Attenborough and his Animals, Clownfish Theatre’s clowning and physical theatre show bringing the world’s great creatures to life.
The Pleasance programme includes Richard Clements’ play How to Bury a Dead Mule, which is based on his grandfather’s experiences of the Second World War, while Wiesenthal will recall the life of Simon Wiesenthal, the Jewish-Austrian survivor of the Nazi death camps, who dedicated the rest of his life to bringing documenting the Holocaust and hunting down the perpetrators.
Emmy-winning American actress Dorothy Lyman's Pleasance show Violet and Me will explore the progression of gender equality since the 1950s. Lilly Burton’s comedy-cabaret show All Aboard! At Termination Station is billed as a “bracing, booming and brash autobiographical tale about abortion”.
Comics at the Pleasance include Smack the Pony star Fiona Allen, who will make her Fringe debut in On The Run, Late Night Mash presenter Rachel Parris, Two Doors Down star Kieran Hodgson and Love Actually star Lulu Popplewell.
Assembly’s programme includes Afrique en Cirque, a spectacular show inspired by daily life in Guinea, Australian circus troupe Yuck and a season of Korean work, including Kokoon, which will bring together K-pop and K-comedy.
Also at Assembly, the Handspring Puppet Company, which was behind the shows War Horse and Little Amal, will launch an adaptation of South African writer JM Coetzee’s novel Life & Times of Michael K. The complete works of Oscar Wilde will be explored in Oscar at the Crown, which is billed as “an immersive nightclub musical detailing one of history’s most flamboyant figures”.
Gail Porter will feature in Assembly’s comedy line-up, alongside the likes of Frankie Boyle, Ed Byrne, David O’Doherty, Reginald D. Hunter, Susie McCabe and Rueben Kaye. American comedian Connor Ratliff will be bringing his George Lucas Talk Show, in which he appears as the creator of the Star Wars franchise.
Comedy stars in Underbelly’s programme include Sooz Kempner, who has just been announced as the star of Doctor Who spin-off Doom’s Day, which will feature in comic, audio, novel and video game formats.
Underbelly’s Circus Hub line-up includes a new show from Australian acrobats Circa, Peepshow (Club Remix), which will feature a live DJ, and Sophie’s Surprise 29th, which is billed as “a nostalgic house party you’ll never forget”.
Hit shows returning this year include the true crime murder mystery musical Kathy and Stella Solve a Murder!, which has been snapped up by Underbelly, Scotsman Fringe First winner The Beatles Were A Boyband, which is back at the Gilded Balloon, Trainspotting Live, which is returning to the Pleasance’s venue at the EICC, and Captivate Theatre’s production of Sunshine on Leith, which has relocated to the Assembly Rooms.
The Stand has revealed Stewart Lee, Bridget Christie, Paul Sinha, Robin Ince, Tom Stade, Seymour Mace, Liam Farrelly and Seann Walsh will be in its line-up for this year. The politics strand at The Stand will include appearances from Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar and Manchester mayor Andy Burnham.
Broadcaster Iain Dale’s guests at the EICC will include former SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford, as well as Scottish political pundits Brian Taylor and Sir John Curtice.
Comedy venue Monkey Barrell has pledged that money than 10,000 of its tickets will be available on a pay-what-you-want basis. Its line-up includes Christopher MacArthur-Boyd, Mark Nelson, Alison Spittle, Amy Matthews and Kiri Pritchard-McLean.
More Fringe shows are due to go on sale in early May ahead of the official programme launch on 8 June.
Fringe Society chief excutive Shona McCarthy said: “We’re now well on our way to Fringe 2023, and having so many more shows go live this week is yet another reason to get excited.
"It feels like August is just around the corner, when once again Edinburgh will be filled with artists, creatives and people with amazing stories to tell.
“Artists are the beating heart of this festival and central to everything we do at the Fringe Society. Our team are here to support artists at every step of their Fringe journey, including our participants’ hub, Fringe Central.
"From theatre to comedy, cabaret to music, children’s shows to circus; the shows going on sale today represent the breadth and depth of creativity that will be bursting from every seam of Edinburgh this August.”
Katy Koren and Karen Koren, Gilded Balloon’s artistic directors, said: “We are delighted to be able to add more shows to our programme, with even more still to come. We’re incredibly proud to work with some tremendous international and local shows, artists and companies to present their work at such an important festival for Scotland and the world.
"We are working hard to ensure this year’s Fringe is the best it possibly can be for all involved and we are excited to support all who work with us to flourish this summer.”
Assembly founder William Burdett-Coutts said: “We look forward to welcoming the world to Edinburgh this August for the largest celebration of human creativity and artistic endeavour. Our programme is an intoxicating collection of shows for audiences to enjoy, with over 100 shows from 15 different countries so far, with more to be announced in the coming months.”
Underbelly directors Ed Bartlam and Charlie Wood said: “Underbelly was born at the Fringe 24 years ago and we’re so excited to return home for another year with a line-up of exceptional shows. We’re looking forward to inspiring audiences this summer and once again working collaboratively with leading international companies.”
Louis Cammell, marketing officer at The Stand, said: "There’s no doubting that everyone in our programme this year is at the very top of their game and now with the pandemic firmly in the rear-view mirror, it’s a privilege to help put on some of the best shows Edinburgh has to offer.”