UNDERBELLY ANNOUNCES MORE PROGRAMMING FOR 2023 FRINGE LINEUP
The iconic Edinburgh venue sees a new list of shows join its 2023 line-up featuring circus, theatre, cabaret, comedy, music, and musical theatre across Bristo Square, Cowgate, Circus Hub and George Square. Highlights include:
McEwan Hall is where the party is at. Havana Street Party, from the creator of Havana Rumba and Havana after Dark is a spectacular summer dance party that guarantees a night of non-stop dancing, sexy salsa, sizzling rumba, and thrilling street dance from the best dancers on the planet, direct from Cuba. After a huge UK tour, Sara Pascoe brings Success Story for one night only. In a night of warm hilarity and genius writing, Sara tells us how she has auditioned for Barrymore, ruined Hugh Grant's birthday and seen Salman Rushdie dancing. Monét X Change is an entertainment spitfire, known for delivering energetic and show-stopping performances. Her debut Fringe show Life Be Lifein’ is exactly that, brilliantly showcasing her immaculate lip-sync skills, her comedy chops and (mostly) pitch-perfect singing. Internet sensations Foil Arms and Hog return with an exclusive and limited run with the full-length version of their comedy-sketch show Hogwash, an all-star mix of sketch comedy, audience participation and improvisation.
The Revel Puck Circus joins the sparkling Circus Hub line-up with Fringe debut The Wing Scuffle Spectacular. Born and bred in East London, this company is reimagining a circus that speaks to all, bursting into the programme with huge energy and revelry. Circus Hub fans will recognise Aloft, returning after a sell-out 2022 with Brave Space, and bringing a new underground circus cabaret Sanctuary, featuring an incredible circus complimented by a live band brimming with punk rock soul.
Mario The Maker Magician, as seen on Sesame Street, is a romping explosion of contagious energy for everyone. Described by David Blaine as ‘the best kid’s magician in the world, Mario’s debut at Edinburgh Fringe promises to be the family show of the year. Fringe favourite Abandoman returns for three weeks only with Future Fest, an improvised, futuristic music festival, that ingeniously blends technology and improvisation making for an exhilarating night of live improvisation and mind-blowing hits. For five nights only, Drag Race winner Danny Beard & Their Band take to the stage with a big, bad, camp show with their live band, headlining a riotous line-up of cabaret and variety acts.
A ‘tender and boozy puppet party’ (Guardian), Bill’s 44th is a poignant tragicomedy that examines the pitfalls of impatience, the wonder of loneliness and the universal passage of time. ‘This isn’t the birthday that Bill had hoped to have but for the audience, his 44th is a gift’. (NY Times)
Previously announced Untapped Award winners; It's A Motherf**king Pleasure, a brave and scathing satire about identity politics by award-winning and disability-led theatre company FlawBored; Dugsi Dayz from Side eYe is a hilarious and authentic exploration of the friendship between four Somali girls, thrown together in a Breakfast Club style and forced to unite their different views on the world; and finally by No Table, One Way Out sees four friends on the cusp of adulthood, forced to make decisions that may ruin their brotherhood in an exploration of young British Caribbeans’ experiences of the Windrush Crisis.
CIRCUS, CABARET + VARIETY
Underbelly’s Circus Hub celebrates the daring and the different. Alongside Sanctuary and The Wing Scuffle Spectacular is Brave Space, a stunning, all-female piece of physical theatre that paints a picture of the world we want to live in and Reclaim which draws the audience close to examine life and imagine a sustainable future. Set in Circus Hub’s Spiegeltent, The Beauty, it features circus and acrobatics interwoven with two cellists and a live opera singer.
Drag star Karen From Finance is in big trouble, facing a criminal trial and fighting for justice, this favourite accountant is headed for the slammer in Karen From Finance Is Doing Time. And you can get involved with Drag & Draw, the art class with a difference, featuring lip syncs, audience interaction and drag queens.
MUSIC & MUSICALS
Today’s announcement includes exciting music and musical programming, across all four venue hubs. You Can’t Stop The Beat is a party for musical theatre fans, turning McEwan Hall into a sing-along celebration of all your favourite shows; The Magnets, famously the UK’s number one acapella group; catch the sensational five-voice sound machine to relive the magic of the greatest musicians of all time; and one part sermon, one part purge and three parts house party, House Of Life is a travelling musical cult collective with one mission; to get you happy, at any cost. With a host of 5-star reviews in their wake, the acclaimed Sheep Soup company promise to achieve their goal.
Debut show 2020 The Musical is a joyful new musical, celebrating human resilience in every form, depicting the true, uplifting stories of everyday heroes and turning the events of 2020 into a heart-warming party (and unlike Downing Street, everyone’s invited); God Catcher reimagines the story of a woman turned to a spider as punishment from the Ancient Greek Gods, exploring the legacies of truth and bravery through catchy tunes and heartfelt lyrics; tender musical Fabulett 1933, sees a liberal queer society in Berlin protest as the authorities close off every opportunity for freedom and expressionism; We’ll Have Nun Of It is a masterpiece, blending contemporary pop, soul and funk music into a unique new musical that navigates the angst and joy of Ireland in the sixties; and Tink is a nostalgic love-letter to our past selves through the eyes of a very familiar fairy.
Joining Bill’s 44th and the Untapped award winners; The Way Way Deep, blends bold storytelling, spoken word and original music, by sell-out playwright Patrick McPherson, previous writing includes The Man and Colossal; in his Fringe debut, star of stage and screen Declan Bennett brings Boy Out The City, telling a raw survival story of a man in his search for identity, throwing us into a turbulent world of toxic masculinity, homophobia and men’s mental health.
The programme also pioneers wonderfully current topics with shows such as; PLEASE LEAVE (A Message), a devised piece set in a karaoke bar on Yucca Mountain, where a group of scientists are experimenting with time travel, in which ClusterFlux can give a fearful yet joyous address of the impending climate crisis; Temporarily Yours, a journey into sexuality and prostitution, a show made from true stories and earnest questions, pondering our body, soul and relationships; and The Brilliance of Broken Glass, a true story about rising from rock bottom, exploring the aftershock of a medical crisis and championing laughter as the ultimate medicine.
Solo Show, Pleasure Little Treasure, takes us back to the downfall of the Soviet Union; a story about growing up in the first strip club in Estonia during the tumultuous 1990; My Dad Wears A Dress is a hilarious yet sincere one-woman show about growing up with a trans female parent; Life With Oscar is a tragicomic satire set in the underbelly of Hollywood (no pun intended); and Looking For Giants is a perplexing and seductive tale about self-discovery, from emerging theatre company That What’s Wild.
Ringer is Hughie Shepherd-Cross’s fifth Fringe production, a comedy that sees a heartthrob actor’s reputation left in the hands of his feckless double; winner of Dublin Fringe’s Bewley’s Little Gem award, Frigid is a tender coming-of-age comedy about sexuality in early 2000s Dublin, performed alongside a live DJ; extremely silly, and extremely ruthless The Death of Molly Miller is a pitch-black satire on our world of influencers, inequality and addiction; with performers from The Wardrobe Ensemble, International House of Vape: Redefining Theatre Experience goes where no brand has gone before in a new corporate venture; The Four Worst Things I’ve Ever Done is a wild ride of confessions and consequences; and pitch-black comedy BUTCHERED is a dynamic physical theatre piece with a killer soundtrack, this absurd thriller is set in the kitchen where dreams come to die.
Joining Sara Pascoe in the comedy programme; Pear: But Braver sees identical twins Patrick and Hugo McPherson return after the 2022 hit show Pear, a riotous hour of sketch comedy by two brothers heralded as “like Reeves and Mortimer'' (The Recs). Joining them in Cowgate is Adam Riches as he returns to the Cow Café with a site-specific show; Adam Riches Is The Guys Who, a fresh take on the guys who you meet everywhere.
Sounds Like… is a unique improvisational panel show, from Doc Brown and quick-witted wordsmith hosts, based around rhyme and rap with special guests from the world of music and comedy. It’s seriously funny, stupidly clever and addictive. The Retreat is a camp variety number that mimics a corporate event, questioning our toxic workplace methods, brought to you by stars of Parks and Recreation and Glow including UK songstress Kate Nash and featuring a rotation of incredible and iconic comedy names.
The programme features some special limited-run shows throughout August. Mr Thing, favourites at the Fringe, returning for two nights only to celebrate all the best bits from the past five years; Drag Queens vs Zombies, as Haus of Dench’s monstrous hit returns from the dead for two nights only, as drag superstars Kate Butch and Crudi Dench try to save the audience of their cabaret show from a gruesome death in a camp comedy horror; and Werewolf: Live appears for one night only in a charity spectacular. An all-star line-up of comedians backstab, manipulate and fight for survival in this cult gameshow; with previous guests including Rose Matafeo, Nish Kumar, Ed Gamble, and plenty more, you know it’s going to be a wonderful kind of chaos.
Kelly McCaughan’s show exposes the impossible standards of the confines of religion in Catholic Guilt; performed by US comedian Lane Kewderis and directed by Matt Gehrin; Sex Job is an empowering show about the good, bad and often hilarious ups and downs of being a sex worker, following the inside life of a financial dominatrix; Holly Spillar’s Hole is a muff-busting comedy about sex, pain and the brain, showcasing one woman’s determination in the face of a tough diagnosis.
Healing King Herod is a wild, interactive, drag-clown therapy session featuring improvised songs, political parody and cult-like rituals where Herod, famed for massacring innocents, now leads a self-development pyramid scheme, and; Jeromaia Detto: MUSH, nominated for Best Comedy at Sydney Fringe, is a whimsical and absurd clown show, with five stars all round; Max Norman invites you to cross the seven seas with him on a night of nautical nonsense, with piratical puns, 90’s nostalgia and the ultimate audience prize in A Pirate’s Life For Me; and award-winning MANBO is a dead-sexy action-hero mission filled with chaos.
For the theatrical comedy fans out there, Rosalie Minnitt presents Clementine, a debut character comedy-drama involving a hilariously unhinged quest to find love set roughly ‘in the past’; in Dead Dad Show Simon David tackles the ‘dead dad’ cliché, in a show, directed by Fringe First winner Chris Larner, with dangerously high levels of heart; struggling to make sense of a breakup, Sophie hires a life coach in Sophie Santos… Is Codependant and 2022 Best Comedy winner from Hollywood Fringe, A Terrible Show For Terrible People is a raunchy, absurdist physical comedy with 2 spoken words “for perverts, feminists and your mom (not mutually exclusive).”
AAA Stand up and AAA Stand Up Late, return with brand-new line-ups of comedians, including Ross McGrane, Ridwan Hussain, Josh Elton and Sachin Kumarendran, having sold out Edinburgh from 2005-2022, it’s filled with clever wordplay, whimsical observations, and mischievous twists. For those who are intrigued by games of social deduction, Blood on the Clocktower: Live is a night of gothic chaos and carnage, featuring a revolving cast of comedians.
More stand-up includes Charlotte Fox encountering a series of crooked and macabre characters in her dark and manic comedy; Ouroboros The Return. Robo Bingo by Foxdog Studios, an interactive show for people who don’t want to talk to anyone; Alice Cockayne is unhinged and outrageously funny in the clowning drama I Showered Before I Came; Chris Turner shares stories of touring with Cirque Du Soleil and his newborn child in Vegas, Baby!; Sara Schaefer teaches how to unlock potential in this perfect mockery of a seminar, Going Up; Maggie Crane’s darkly funny Side by Side, an autobiographical story about family and disability. Internet sensation Josh Baulf with new show Bulldog; Paddy McDonnell in Paddy McDonnell Live, a show full of tales of everyday life; Dan Rath, discussing the ups and downs of neurodivergence in All Quiet Carriage Along The Inner Western Line; Ed Gaughan brings his first solo show in 18 years, Words and Music, with stories, clowning around and plenty of surprises; and award-winning comedian Leif Oleson-Cormack, who pushes confessional stand-up to its limits in The Disney Delusion.
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