Three brochures sit on top of a colourful rug, they are advertising the Edinburgh Book, International and Fringe festivals

My top 10 picks for the Edinburgh Festivals

Alright, baby – we’re back! This feels like it’s going to be the first proper return to the Edinburgh festivals this year after the pandemic and I can’t wait to pop over to Edinburgh and make the most of what’s on offer!

As is my tradition, I’ve grabbed my Fringe, International and Book festival brochures and scanned through with my colour-coded sticky tabs to pick out what I’d like to see. If you’re curious to know what I’ve chosen, here’s my top 10 picks…

Hamlet with Ian McKellen
Of course, he’s a legend, and how amazing that he’ll be performing all month long during the fringe but what makes it especially interesting is that this is no ordinary Hamlet, it will be performed with a company of ballet dancers. How exactly is that going to work? I have no idea, but I definitely want to find out.

Jinkx Monsoon: She’s Still Got It!
Icon, legend, and, probably about to be the winner of the All Stars/All Winners season – I had to jump at the chance to see Jinkx perform. She is incredibly funny, smart and creative, she could watch paint dry and still make it hilarious. If you’re a Drag Race fan, there’s nothing more that needs to be said.

Ballet Freedom
Freedom Ballet of Ukraine is a world-renowned ballet company, having performed with Cirque de Soleil and Dita Von Teese to name a few. The show they’re taking to the festival is an adaptation of their sexy, cabaret-style show Boudoir. It’s sure to be a fun time and you get to support artists from Ukraine.

A Little Life
I was psyched to see this on the International Festival’s programme. I read and loved A Little Life last year and now that big, sad book has been turned into a big, sad play and I am ready for it. Having just about every content warning, it’s not for the faint of heart but I am ready to immerse myself in that group of friends and let them break my heart all over again. Presumably, tissues are required.

Another one that delighted me in festival announcements was Alok performing at the Traverse. Alok is a writer, performer and public speaker – I first heard them chatting on JVN’s podcast and have followed them on social media since then. I love their values and sense of humour so I’m very excited to have the opportunity to see them speak in person.

Edinburgh International Book Festival
This is a cheat of a pick but it’s hard to recommend one event over another because it really depends on if you’ve read the author’s work that they’re going to talk about. I’d recommend checking out their whole programme and see if anything strikes your fancy – I’m particularly excited to hear from Candice Carty Williams (Queenie/People Person), Douglas Stuart (Shuggie Bain/Young Mungo), and Torrey Peters (Detransition, Baby!).
Even if you don’t see any events that speak to you, I’d recommend going to hang out in the EIBF space which is some lovely calm vibes amongst the craziness and, naturally, they have a great bookshop.

We all know that Ursula is best, baddest, baddie going and this musical about her is a really great time. I saw it in the festival a few years back and it was one of my faves. It’s funny, super well written and the cast is sure to be fantastic. I’m tempted to go back again…

Yet another legend on Edinburgh’s stages – Alan Cumming (who I love) – and another dance theatre production! Can’t tell you how much both of these are a treat for me. Burn is going to explore our lad Robert Burns in more depth, beyond the poetry. I don’t think I need to say much more than that.
(This is also going on a Scottish tour after the festival if you don’t get a chance to see it.)

Rob Madge: My Son’s a Queer (But What Can You Do)
Musical theatre performer, viral sensation and Twitter icon Rob Madge is coming to the Fringe to perform their show in which they recreate their living room Disney Parade and talk about their childhood growing up queer. Doubtless that this will be a fun time and will fill my lil heart.

Little Women
We all love the story of Little Women and I’ve been hoping for a chance to see the musical in person someday. For the Fringe, it’s in the safe hands of RCS (Royal Conservatoire of Scotland) so I’m really excited to see it.

So I better get my hands on some tickets then!

A whole bunch of theatre tickets lying in a pile

And, okay I am biased but, I am so excited for Scottish Ballet’s production of Coppélia – it’s going to be amazing! It’s a new adaptation of the ballet classic featuring AI clones rather than dolls, I think it’ll look so striking, our dancers are incredible and the music is sounding so cool. We’re running at the Festival Theatre from 14-16 August before touring Scotland later in Autumn.

A man in a black tracksuit dances, one leg bent with his foot behind the other knee and his arms stretched out in a sort of L shape. Behind him is 5 cloned women standing like robots with a straight face. They all stand in front of a big green wall.
Scottish Ballet’s Coppélia

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