Edinburgh Festival Fringe- Our Top Picks

We’ve been through all the shows coming to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe performed by LGBTI people or with LGBTI content and made a list of our top picks.

August has to be one of the most exciting times in Edinburgh, with Edinburgh Festival Fringe shows all over the city.  They are in theatres, buses, parks, bars – everywhere and anywhere, from dawn til dusk and for a variety of prices. If you’re quick you should be able to get some shows during the previews which are cheaper and on the first Monday and Tuesday of the Fringe (the 8th and 9th August) there are 2-for-1 tickets for most shows.  

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe  is the largest arts festival in the world; it’s one of just seven cultural festivals taking place in the city each year in August. In 2015 there were 50,459 performances of 3,314 shows in 313 venues with theatre, comedy, dance, physical theatre, circus, cabaret, children's shows, musicals, opera, music, spoken word, exhibitions and events, and there are even more shows this year so there is a lot to choose from.

While there are a number of shows with LGBTI content or feature LGBTI performers our team have selected a few that we think you may be interested in. Full show listings can be found at edfringe.com.

Here are our Top-Picks from the Fringe...

Smother – Zoo Southside, 15.20 – 16.15, 5th-27th August, suitable for 12+
Challenging the taboo that persists in urban dance around presenting stories of homosexuality, choreographer Andrea Walker directs a cast of seven in a fast-paced, intimate performance about the relationship between two young men.Can you stay true to yourself, when everything suggests you change? 201’s raw, contemporary hip-hop movement comes to the UK in Smother: a story of two people's broken encounter touching on themes of addiction, obsession, and the true meaning of commitment. The show uses fast-paced, hard-hitting choreography and follows a number of relationships to raise questions about companionship and identity. Having repeatedly found that hip-hop lacks powerful gay voices, 201 present a bold, provocative show that brings a new voice to the urban dance scene.

Zoe Lyons – Gilded Balloon Teviot, 19.00 – 20.00, 3rd-28th (not 25th) August, suitable for 14+ This past year has seen Zoe appear on Live at the Apollo (BBC2), The John Bishop Show (BBC1) and win the Chortle Best Comic Award. Not bad for a girl who has never really felt part of the gang. She was the awkward gay kid at school with a different accent and quite a severe bout of alopecia. Never easy for a girl to fit in if she is sporting a massive comb over while harbouring secret desires for Charlie’s Angels (the blond one mostly, but with a comb over, who can afford to be fussy?).Thankfully Zoe has reached that point in her life when the thought of actually fitting in would be utterly terrifying. She doesn’t want to be in anybody’s gang, she is now far happier being a Little Misfit.

Larry Dean – Pleasance Courtyard, 19.15 – 20.15, 3rd-28th (not 15th) August Suitable for 14+ Fosters Comedy Award 2015 nominee and gallus Glaswegian Larry Dean returns to the Fringe with a show about emotional detachments and an absent love life. Sell-out show 2015. As seen on Live from the BBC (BBC 2), Live at the Comedy Store (Comedy Central) and Elevenish (ITV2). Winner of Scottish Comedian of the Year 2013. 'The audience lap up his cheeky-chappie shtick... here's to a generation of new Billy Connollys' (Guardian). 'Definitely one to watch' (Time Out).

Horse McDonald in Careful – Gilded Balloon at the Museum, 19.30 – 20.30, 3rd-29th (not 15th) August, suitable for 16+ There are times in life when you need to be careful; growing up gay in Lanark in the 70s, when the reward is half a pack of fruit pastilles, when the lady on the train tells you about the doctor you should meet. These would be some of those times, but you’ll always be saved if you use your voice. Horse McDonald takes us on a journey from kelpie in the Brownies to one of Scotland’s most celebrated singers, through those times when she had to be... Careful. Written by Lynn Ferguson. Directed by Maggie Kinloch.

Rent – Greenside @ Infirmary Street, 21.20 – 00.00, 5th- 27th (not 14th, 21st) August, suitable for 14+
 The new Post it Theatre bring you the well-loved RENT! The Musical. This rock opera tells the story of one year in the life of a group of Bohemians struggling in modern day East Village, New York. The story centres around Mark and Roger, two roommates. While a former tragedy has made Roger numb to life, Mark tries to capture it through his attempts to make a film. In the year that follows, the group deal with love, loss, and AIDS. A modern day life in one truly powerful story.

Pussyfooting – Paradise in the Vault, 15.45 – 16.35, 5th- 28th (not 14th, 21st) August, suitable for 14+
 Built from interviews and workshops with women and trans folk from across the country, we bring you a collaged exploration of how it is to live in a gendered body. What is womanhood, and what happens when you don’t fit? We are the Oxford University Drama Society’s 2016 national tour. Shortlisted for the Charlie Hartill Special Reserve at the Pleasance and described by the board as ‘a company with a huge amount of promise’, Knotworks brings you a reworking of their sell-out show, the culmination of a year-long project.

A Boy Named Sue – C Nova, 18.25 – 19.20, 3rd – 29th (not 15th,) August, suitable for 12+ Ian’s date is going badly. Louie pimps himself online. Sid is struggling to become Sue. The gay community has vanished, but what happens when people are thrown out of their comfort zones and forced to find solace in one another. A Boy Named Sue examines the need for a sense of community in an oppressively hetero-normative world. It looks at how humans can form friendships in the most unlikely of places. It’s a story about loneliness and becoming who you were meant to be.

Care Takers – C Nova, 18.35 – 19.40, 3rd – 29th (not 15th,) August, suitable for 14+ ‘Those who care, aren’t the ones who stay.’ Ms Lawson, a new teacher at Newall South High, believes Jamie Harrow is being bullied because he’s gay. She wants to help but a bigger bully in the form of Deputy Head, Mrs Rutter, stands in her way. A gripping and powerful drama from award-winning playwright Billy Cowan. ‘Tight and powerful … hits home with a punch’ ***** (WhatsOnStage.com). ‘A great piece of writing … fiery and quick.

Bethany Black
Bethany Black – The Stand 2, 18.00 – 19.00, 4th-28th (not 15th) August, restricted to 16+ 
Bethany Black is an idiot. She had two years where her life exploded; she got dumped by her fiancée and then things really went downhill; death, illness and a fractured leg followed. Broken and on the verge of giving up, something extraordinary happened. She got cast in a starring role in Russell T Davies' TV series Cucumber Banana Tofu, becoming the first trans person to star as a transgender character in the UK, and first on US broadcast television. Suddenly she’s making history, entirely by accident. But what happens when this happens and you’re an idiot?

Briefs – Assembly Hall, 22.30 – 23.35, 4th – 21st (not 8th, 15th,) August, restricted to 18+   Big-top bravado meets boyish burlesque, comedic campery meets contemporary circus, sensational spectacle meets shameless splendour. The six Aussies and one New Yorker are a heart-stopping blend of cabaret burlesque, Australian machismo and punkish swagger are powered by a fierce energy as they mix up a potent blend of drag, glamour and athleticism, infused with dancing, tumbling, juggling, acro-balancing, trapeze, hula hooping, lip syncing, sequins, feathers and frocks. The Briefs Factory also has the intersectional feminist burlesque show Hot Brown Honey at Assembly Roxy at 8:20 – 9:20, 3rd – 28th August.

Want to have our top picks on the go? Download this PDF Guide to the shows mentioned above- LGBTYS Fringe Top Picks Download