Edinburgh Festival Fringe: Keir Starmer, Jeremy Corbyn, Arlene Foster, Nadine Dorries, Angela Rayner and Douglas Ross to appear
Political heavyweights Sir Keir Starmer, Jeremy Corbyn, Arlene Foster, Douglas Ross, Anas Sarwar, Nadine Dorries and Angela Rayner are to appear at this year's Edinburgh Festival Fringe – joining shows inspired by rock icon Bob Dylan, author Franz Kafka and cult TV show Buffy The Vampire Slayer in the line-up.
Broadcaster and commentator Iain Dale will be joining forces with the Pleasance to host two talk shows at the Fringe.
The “in-conversation” events will also feature the likes of Owen Jones, Ruth Davidson, Diane Abbott, Dame Mary Beard, David Starkey, Rory Bremner and Rory Stewart as guests.
The latest Pleasance line-up also includes a show expected to lampoon Prime Minister Boris Johnson, which is billed as “one illicit party you won’t want to miss”.
Harry Kershaw will appear in Boris III, which is described as a “possible origin story for one of the most colourful and divisive figures in modern British politics”.
Elsewhere in the Fringe, former prime minister Gordon Brown will be appearing in conversation at the McEwan Hall with writer and broadcaster Matt Forde as part of Underbelly’s programme.
Dale, who is best-known for his appearances on LBC Radio, will be staging his All Talk show and live editions of For The Many, the podcast he hosts with former home secretary Jacqui Smith, at the Pleasance’s EICC venue in August.
Dale, who interviewed Nicola Sturgeon when his All Talk show was staged at the Fringe in 2019, is in talks with the First Minister about another appearance this year. It is hoped that another “very senior Conservative politician” will also be in the final line-up.
Dale said: “I’m not going to say that politics is the new rock-and-roll, but live events are attracting really good audiences and selling out all across the UK now.
“I think there’s a real appetite at the moment for good, honest political debate and conversation.
“The fact that I’ve been able to attract all of these reasonably big names shows you that they see events as something they really want to do. They’re not really getting very much out of it apart from exposure, but they all want to come.
“The proof of the pudding will be in the eating, but I’d have thought a good number of this year's events will sell out.
“I decided to make the line-up a bit more political and less entertainment-oriented this year, as there’s probably enough people doing that.
“I was very much dipping my toe in the water the last time I was at the Fringe in 2019 – I was thinking it would all go terribly wrong and no-one would turn up. But I knew from the first show that it would work.
“I was really happy that Nicola Sturgeon did the show the last time, as I hadn’t met her before and wondered whether her advisers would think it was a good idea.
"But from my point of view it really worked out and she showed a really human side to herself, so hopefully we can get her on again.”
The Pleasance programme has revealed its programme will also feature former Eastenders star Tony Coventry lifting the lid on life in the soap, while Arthur Bostrom, who was known to millions from his starring role in 'Allo 'Allo, will appear in the murder mystery Are You Being Murdered?.
Other comedy stars in the Pleasance line-up include Ted Lasso star Nick Mohammed, Radio 4 favourite Tim Vine, Fringe favourite and Crazy Delicious host Jayde Adams, New Yorker Emily Wilson and Japanese-American podcast star Atsuko Okatsuka.
Theatre highlights in the Pleasance programme include Kafka and Son, which is based on a 50-page letter the writer wrote to his overbearing father, and his absurdist masterpiece The Trial.
Toxic masculinity will be explored by the London theatre company award-winning Les Enfants Terribles in Everythinglessness. Pip Utton will also give a backstage portrait of Bob Dylan as he looks back on his career, and all 144 episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer will be recalled in Buffy: Revamped.
The music strand at the Fringe includes Scottish folk favourites The Sorries and Adam Holmes, while stage show Second Summer of Love is billed as a “nostalgic trip through the early 1990s UK rave scene”.
Fringe cabaret sensation Camille O’Sullivan will be back at the Fringe as part of Underbelly’s programme with a brand new show Dreaming, which will feature covers of songs by David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, Pulp, Radiohead and Rufus Wainwright, while circus show Rebel will be set to the soundtrack of Bowie’s best-known hits.
Highlights of Underbelly’s dance programme include Havana Street Party, a celebration of Cuba’s street dance culture. Cirque Alfonse will tell a series of surreal farm fables in Animal, while Underbelly’s Circus Hub on the Meadows will also play host to the Fringe debut of rising Australian sensations Blunderland.
Comedy stars gracing Underbelly’s stages include West End sensations and Frineg favourites Austentatious, The Mash Report star Rachel Parris and Sudanese-Australian comedian Emo Majok.
Dreamgun: Film Reads will see a script from a classic movie performed every night, including those from the Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and Star Wars franchises.
The Stand Comedy Club's line-up will feature a new live show by rapper, broadcaster, author and social commentator Darren McGarvey, which the Orwell Prize winner will be launching in the wake of the publication of his forthcoming book The Social Distance Between Us.
Other acts appearing at the year-round New Town venue include Mark Thomas, Joanna Neary, Rachel Jackson, Simon Munnery and Pip Utton.