Ava and Jason had an incredible time at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2023, with Ava performing Attendants with Amelie and Lola, and Jason operating the tech desk. Around performing, the whole crew got to see some amazing shows, and these are Ava’s favourite picks from the 20+ shows that she saw.
A Year And A Day
A brilliant one man play from Raising Cain Productions, ‘A Year and A Day’ tells the story of Nathan, a man who suddenly finds himself skipping a year and a day every time he falls asleep, leaving chaos in its wake and causing havoc for Nathan every time he reopens his eyes. The story is incredibly well told, using rhyme and beautifully written dialogue to create a narrative that is both very engaging and particularly moving. Christopher Sainton-Clark’s ability to maintain the pace and energy needed for a story of this magnitude and a play this length is amazing. Not once did I feel my interest and engagement falter as I watched this play and I would highly recommend it to anyone – especially as there are several more performances scheduled around the UK this autumn. Most certainly my highlight of the Fringe.
Kathy and Stella Solve a Murder
Kathy and Stella Solve a Murder tells the story of two friends with a true crime podcast solving a murder. Both the music and the story are brilliantly upbeat and the colourful staging make for a musical that is both fun and ridiculously enjoyable. Bronte Barbe and Rebekah Hinds are amazing as Kathy and Stella and are perfectly supported by the talented ensemble. I’d recommend this brilliant musical to anyone up for a laugh.
Letter To Boddah
Watershed Productions’ Letter To Boddah is based off of Kurt Cobain’s suicide note addressed to his imaginary childhood friend, Boddah. Set in a disabled toilet in Tesco, the play tells the story of two friends preparing to bomb the supermarket as they examine their lives and question whether what they’re doing is right. The story itself is amazingly well written with the dialogue flowing incredibly naturally (which some plays really fail to do). Whether it is this or the powerful acting that draws you in and makes the performance that much more haunting, I’m not sure. Either way, you’ll leave the theatre changed from how you entered, and possibly slightly exhausted from the watch, merely due to how heavy the topics are and how intense some of the scenes are. Despite this though, the play is excellent and definitely deserves a watch if you are able at any point.
Manchester Revue’s Lonely Hearts Sketch Club
This hour long sketch show from Manchester Uni’s inventive sketch club, the Manchester Revue, is both hilariously amusing and incredibly clever in the way it addresses societal issues in a head on manner. I laughed so hard that I began to cry and I thoroughly enjoyed each and every sketch (even if one or two of them are seriously strange). On top of this, the cast themselves were lovely and I had brilliant fun chatting to them after their show. If you ever see one of their future shows advertised, definitely try and make the visit, it’s guaranteed to make you laugh.
Written and performed by Charlotte Anne-Tilley, Almost Adult is both hilarious and particularly poignant. The play follows Hope as she moves to London and discovers ‘adulting’ is not all what it’s made out to be. I laughed ridiculously hard watching the extremely naive lead but also found myself filled with emotion as her upbeat expectations and youthful innocence were altered by her vile boss and the pressures of adulthood. Definitely a must see show for young women and anyone who fancies a meaningful (while blisteringly funny) one-women show.
For any fans of Harry Potter and the Wizarding World, Spontaneous Potter is a must see. The small cast is incredibly witty and are able to feed off of one another effortlessly to create a final show that is both absurd and hysterical. The improv nature of the show means that every performance has its own charm and what there is of the plot remains amusing throughout, with some brilliant one-liners and out of character discussions.
Soul Mate explores the modern experimental process of cheating death by transferring souls from one body to another. noticeably influenced by the likes of Black Mirror, this dark sci-fi play is incredibly interesting and very well acted, using aspects of physical theatre to tell the story. I really enjoyed watching it at the Ed Fringe and found the story conceptually really gripping.
The Silliad: Improvised Myths and Legends
The Silliad is brilliantly witty and makes for a very interesting watch as the improv nature of the show combines with historical myths and legends. The knowledge and speed of the cast was amazing and made the show genuinely entertaining. For the first improv show I’d ever been to, it was definitely a good choice and I’d highly recommend it to anyone interested in myths, improv or just up for a good laugh.
Diana: The Untold and Untrue Story
While perhaps not an advisable watch for true lovers of the royal family, Diana: The Untold and Untrue Story is hilarious for everyone else. The way the story is told, the niche humour threaded throughout and the clever use of screens and sound make the play hilarious. Watching certain unwilling audience members be forced to get involved was definitely part of what made watching it so enjoyable. I’d definitely recommend of you want a laugh.
Sophie’s Surprise 29th
This circus style comedy is both brilliantly funny and full of incredible skill. The acts in Sophie’s Surprise 29th are amazing, if a little frightening, and the wide range of characters give the show as a whole good depth where it could otherwise feel like a disjointed series of acts. The randomness of some of the characters gives it a charm and makes the show that much more entertaining. I really enjoyed this show and would highly recommend to anyone able to see it.