My Edinburgh Fringe picks 2017

I like to think of myself as a bit of a Fringe planning afficionado. Proven by the fact that I have managed to organise my August with 25 shows to review and a further 20 shows just for fun, managing to fit in seeing most of the shows that my friends are in, tackling going to things with two seperate groups of people with different tastes and on overlapping days! Boy, it was difficult but I enjoyed the challenge!

The start of the planning process included reading the Fringe programme from cover to cover and highlighting what may be an interesting watch, this makes my Fringe companions happy as I manage to condense thousands of show options into around 50 for them. In a similar way, I’m hoping to do the same for you by suggesting 10 shows that I’m most looking forward to seeing!

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1. Rhapsodes – THEATRE
The creme de la creme of improv actors (they have a freaking Olivier), this show is one I’ve seen before and would see a million times because it’s always different – the joys of improv. These guys are so clever and quick it is ridiculous, they take audience suggestions and improvise scenes in the structure of authors’ writing styles like Shakespeare, Poe and Pinter to name a few. Who the hell can think on the spot in iambic pentameter?! These guys. SEE THIS SHOW!!

2. Courtney Act: The Girl from Oz – CABARET
Any RuPaul’s Drag Race fan knows that season 6 was one of the strongest seasons ever and I am so excited to have the opportunity to see another one of incredible the top 3 from that year (I saw BDR earlier this year!). Whether or not you were Team Courtney that year, there’s no denying that the gal has talent and for all you drag newbies: you won’t believe that she isn’t a real bona fide woman but she is an adorable, Australian singer who is sure to entertain.

3. Part of the Picture – THEATRE
It has been 29 years since the Piper Alpha oil rig disaster that devastated the North East of Scotland and since I am a part of that community, it feels like something that I need to observe in respect to all those families affected in my home. It has real tear potential to make me cry because it is a topic so close to my heart what with my mum working in the hospital when it happened and the fact that both my dad and brother work offshore.

4. Lear – DANCE
I am a dancer, I love to dance. I am also a theatre fan and when I was in high school I wrote a Shakespeare dissertation on Hamlet, Othello and King Lear. So seeing a dance piece based on King Lear is really just a no brainer for me. I can’t wait to see how they interpret it all and how you condense a Shakespeare epic into a nonverbal hour of movement. Plus I trust anything that is performed in DanceBase to be of a high quality and my research shows some highly praising reviews from such publications as the New Yorker and Arts Journal so it seems legit.

5. Arlene! The Glitz. The Glamour. The Gossip. – THEATRE
Arlene freaking Phillips! Of course I’m gonna jump at the chance to hear her speak after a childhood of watching her on Strictly Come Dancing. Plus she’s a musical theatre legend having choreographed Flashdance, The Sound of Music, Starlight Express, Grease, Saturday Night Fever, Annie and We Will Rock You to name a few. She also worked with legends like Freddie Mercury and Whitney Houston. Who wouldn’t want to hear her stories?

6. How to Win Against History – THEATRE
HTWAH is a biographical musical about the life of Henry Cyril Paget, fifth Marquis of Anglesey, who was a fabulously wealthy, aristocratic Paget with a penchant for jewellery and elaborate costumes, and customising his cars so that their exhaust pipes sprayed perfume. So extra! He also gutted the ancestral chapel to build a theatre and ended up frittering away the family fortune, before expiring in Monte Carlo before the age of 30. Well, doesn’t that sound like fun?

7. Beautiful Little Fool – THEATRE
As Close Up Theatre have described themselves: lauded as the first American flapper, Zelda’s reliance on booze, glamour, sex and her fashionable novelist husband, F Scott Fitzgerald, sent her life into an explosive downwards spiral of depression and creative repression. I am a huge fan of the 20’s era and find its morals and tropes super interesting. Plus, Fitzgerald is one of my favourite writers, so a play that recognises the relationship he shared with his wife is so compelling at explaining how he wrote his female characters. But mostly I’m excited because I want to know more about the woman behind the man.

8. Fagin’s Twist – DANCE
Fagin’s Twist is a contemporary hip hop reimagining of Dickens’s Oliver Twist. Taking the classic as its starting point, it story of Fagin’s youth, corrupted by greed and worn down by poverty. I love when people take a classic and look at it through a different lense, I’m quite excited to see what Fagin’s perspective looks like. Again, this is a piece that combines my love for dance and literature together, which is always gonna get me excited.

9. Sylvia Plath, Your Words Are Just Dust – THEATRE
This is another one of those that I’m excited about because of what I studied in English at school, Plath was a huge part of my Advanced Higher in my final year of school and I loved her work so much that I wrote a dramatic monologue adaptation of her life for my portfolio. I find Plath’s mind and her struggle with art and death really compelling so I’m quite excited to see what they do with this piece.

10. Shit-Faced Showtime: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz – COMEDY
Last year I saw this company’s Shit-Faced Shakespeare performance of Measure for Measure and it was so hilarious that I’m quite excited they’ve decided to add another type of show to their rep – a musical!! The concept of these shows is that systematically, one member of the cast is given the challenge to get super drunk during the show and the other actors have to somehow carry on with the script whilst one of the characters is all over the place. It’s a lot of fun and I think adding singing and dancing into the equation will be very entertaining.

Disclaimer: just because I recommend it, I cannot guaruntee its quality until I see it myself but y’know, that’s the risk you take at the Fringe!

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