My picks for Edinburgh

Somehow it’s August already, and my twitter feed is rapidly filling up with of some of my favourite theatre companies and comedians excitedly announcing their imminent departures to Edinburgh. I won’t be heading up myself until later in the month, but my list of what to see is growing. Below are some of the shows I recommend.

1. Those Magnificent Men, New Perspectives Theatre Company. Udderbelly’s Pasture, 13.15 every day except Weds 17th.

This comic two-hander retells the story of Alcock and Brown and the first ever non-stop flight across the Atlantic. Okay, I admit it, I’m biased. I was assistant director on the original tour of this in 2010, and for this remount, and I work for New Perspectives. So don’t just take my word for it – it’s had great reviews from The Times, The British Theatre Guide, and The Stage, and last year New Perspectives had a Fringe Sell-Out with Farm Boy. You can watch a trailer here, and book tickets here.

2. How Steeple Sinderby Wanderers Won the FA Cup, New Perspectives Theatre Company. Gilded Balloon Teviot, 13.15 every day except Tues 16th.

New Perspectives’ second offering for the festival is the story of how a small unknown Fenland football team came to win one of the sport’s biggest trophies. Having watched a preview this weekend I can vouch for the fact this hilarious one man show with over 60 characters is not just for football fans. You can watch a trailer here, and book tickets here.

3. Anything to Declare, The Gramophones. Laughing Horse @ Cafe Renroc, 21.50, Fri 5th- Tues 11th. (FREE)

The Gramophones are an emerging Nottingham based company who already have a huge following on home turf – the venue for their preview show last night was bursting at the seams. Anything to Declare sees the all-female company demonstrate their comic chops as multiple characters brought together by their shared experiences of airports and holidays. More info here.

4. Thirsty, Paper Birds. Pleasance Courtyard, 17.45, every day except Mon 15th.

I’m a huge fan of the Paper Birds, and have been since doing a Devising Theatre workshop with them in 2008. They are committed to devised work that comes from a female perspective, and incorporate beautiful physicality, imagery and haunting live music. I loved their previous show In a Thousand Pieces, and having seen a work in progress version of Thirsty at the Junction in Cambridge, I’ll definitely be booking my ticket in advance for this piece exploring our culture’s relationship with alcohol. Watch a trailer here, and book tickets here.

5. Bones, Fifth Word Theatre Company, Zoo, 16.10, Fri 5th – Sun 28th (not Mon 22nd).

Another local company run by women, Derby-based Fifth Word specialise in working with new writing and creating performances using multimedia technology. The online trailer for Bones offers a chilling glimpse into the extremes a nineteen year old carer will go to “find a place in a world that doesn’t want him”. Book tickets here.

6. Tomboy Blues – The Theory of Disappointment, Mars.tarrab. Zoo Southside, 18.30, Sun 14th – Sun 28th.

I’ve yet to see a show by Mars.tarrab (performer/writer Rachel Mars and visual artist/live artist nat tarrab), but I’m excited to see this one. Exploring gender identity, love and disappointment and promising to be “funny, confessional and a little bit sad at times”, it’s had great reviews from audiences and critics. You can watch a trailer here, and book tickets here.

7. F*ck Off and Die – Tales in Teen Angst Poetry, Sara Bynoe. Royal Oak, 13.00, Mon 22nd – Sat 27th. (FREE)

I came across professional funny woman Sara Bynoe while living in Vancouver, after seeing a listing for an event called Say Wha?! Readings of Deliciously Rotten Writing being held in a bar. I dragged along some recently made friends, and we laughed until our faces hurt at the collection of local performers gathered to read extracts from crimes against literature including a self-published zombie novel called Thin Ice: Zombies in LA – Nowhere to Run or Hide; and a self-help book titlled How to Good-bye Depression: If You Constrict Anus 100 Times Everyday. Malarkey? or Efffective Way? Sadly I never made it to a Teen Angst show, where Sara shares gems from her collection of heartfelt poetry written when she was a teenager, but the selection published in the Teen Angst book had me in stitches. More info here.

Phew! That’s it for now but please let me know your recommendations for when I head up there (15th-22nd) – what are the shows I shouldn’t miss?

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