Photo credit: Elly White
Underbelly are thrilled to announce a host of exciting shows for their Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2023 programme. The stellar line-up includes the best of theatre, comedy, cabaret, circus, musicals, children’s shows and more. Highlights include:
Underbelly Cowgate’s new, late night comedy experience is BATSU! Currently a hot ticket in New York and Chicago, audiences join comedy warriors testing their wits to avoid electric shocks, paintballs, giant chickens and other jaw-dropping punishments. Underbelly Cowgate’s iconic SPANK! finished its incredible 20-year Fringe run last year and now BATSU! will follow in its footsteps, entertaining the late-night Cowgate crowds all festival. Similar to past shows such as Stamptown, and Werewolf Live, BATSU! is unlike anything you’ve seen before. It promises to be the must-not-miss experience of the festival.
The Circus Hub programme is once again full of incredible circus from all over the world. La Clique returns to its spiritual home, the Fringe, after a sell-out 2022 season. Underbelly is proud to present the return of The 7 Fingers to the Fringe, after many years touring the world, with the world premiere of Duel Reality. Last seen in Edinburgh with the phenomenal Passagers, ‘wondrous acrobatics from Cirque de Soleil spinoff’ (The Guardian), this is circus on a whole new level. Merging passion with danger, two teams compete, the stage becomes an arena and the audience must pick a side.
Also taking centre stage in the Lafayette are Fringe favourites CIRCA with a brand new show Peepshow (Club Remix). Promisingan hour of big beats joined by live DJ, playful acts and thrilling acrobatics, Peepshow (Club Remix) is delightfully funny and razor-sharp featuring the best acrobatics on the planet, directed by Circus visionary Yaron Lifschitz.
Direct from Las Vegas, Scottish mentalist Colin Cloud makes his highly anticipated return to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe for five nights only with brand-new show After Dark, promising to astound, delight and move you in equal measure.
Judith Kerr’s Mog the Forgetful Cat arrives in McEwan Hall to lead the line-up of family shows, adapted for the stage by The Wardrobe Ensemble, Old Vic and Royal & Derngate, Northampton. A proclaimed ‘miaow-vellus treat’ by The Guardian.
Fast becoming a Fringe home for musical hits such as Marlow and Moss’ Six, Fat Rascal’s Unfortunate and Rob Madge’s My Son’s A Queer, the upside-down purple cow, Udderbelly, will welcome the returning five-star musical Kathy and Stella Solve a Murder, in an expanded new version. A hilarious murder mystery musical from the Olivier Award-winning team behind Fleabag, Baby Reindeer and A Super Happy Story (About Feeling Super Sad).
Co-Directors of Underbelly, Charlie Wood and Ed Bartlam, said; “Underbelly was born at the Fringe 24 years ago and we’re so excited to return home for another year with a line-up of exceptional shows. We’re looking forward to inspiring audiences this summer and once again working collaboratively with leading international companies. See you in August.”
Underbelly will once again span across four fabulous performance hubs; Bristo Square, Cowgate, George Square and Circus Hub on the Meadows. Underbelly at the Edinburgh Fringe runs from 2nd - 28th August. Festival goers can purchase tickets via the Underbelly website – www.underbellyedinburgh.co.uk.
CIRCUS, CABARET & VARIETY
Joining The 7 Fingers: Duel Reality, La Clique and CIRCA’s Peepshow (Club Remix) at Circus Hub is Sophie’s Surprise 29th making its Fringe debut, with an interactive circus and cabaret night in the Spiegeltent. Featuring world-leading performers, it’s the nostalgic house party you’ll never forget.
For the whole family, Fringe debut Lucky Pigeons defies gravity to conjure a magical, surreal world where a flock of energetic, curious pigeons dwell. Returning after a smash-hit 2022 run, Tulu, from Circus Abyssinia is an unmissable showcase of superhuman strength blending breath-taking contortion, awe-inspiring acrobatics and mesmerising fire-juggling with a rocking, exuberant soundtrack.
Over in the Udderbelly, Throw Catch Collective, who have graced stages from Las Vegas to Circus Oz, arrive with a pioneering new show. Escalate pushes boundaries to challenge all preconceptions of the art of juggling and create an explosive hour of entertainment.
Over in Bristo Square alongside Colin Cloud, is Britain’s Got Talent’s finalist magician Magical Bones: Soulful Magic - Volume 2 with a limited run of the most awe-inspiring and high-energy magic show you’ll see and returning favourites The Thinking Drinkers Pub Quiz: Fancy Another Round? returning after last year’s sell-out run.
Rounding off the programme is Daniel Cainer’s Jewish Chronicles, an Edinburgh favourite telling stories through song.
THEATRE AND MUSICALS
Cowgate sees a thought-provoking and diverse line-up of debut and returning writing including The Society for New Cuisine which depicts an existential crisis confronting social taboos and questions how far we’ll go to find true satisfaction; Tomorrow is Not Promised, the story of a Black British woman who finds herself homeless and alone after an earthquake; Molly, delving into the night-time world of substance abuse; and Declan, a surreal, queer monologue with a hazy grasp on reality. 24, 23, 22 is a gig-theatre show set in the heat of a moment about scuzzy beats, stolen bags and reversing the flow of time.
George Square hosts 5-star Best Man, a dark comedy about relationships, regrets and a speech that goes off the rails. Bristo Square’s Jersey hosts Sad-Vents, an irreverent, tragicomedy using live-streaming and music in which audiences are encouraged to use their phones throughout! Audiences can also head to Bristo Square’s Box Office to embark on two immersive productions around the streets of Edinburgh, hosted by Agent November - Robyn Yew and Major X Ploe-Shun.
Joining Kathy and Stella Solve a Murder is: Without is an intimate, vibrant and authentic new contemporary musical, telling a story of unlikely friendship, the power of music, and what a ‘home’ truly is; singer-songwriter Connor Morel fronting a live three-piece band in an original gig-theatre show A Lovely Day To Be Online. Rounding out the programme is Fall and Flow, which will awe and inspire combining traditional Asian arts with western physical theatre training and Nobody’s Talking About Jamie, endorsed by the one-and-only Michael Palin as guaranteed to “make you feel better”.
Alongside BATSU! Underbelly’s comedy line-up is a wonderfully assorted collection of work worth celebrating, spanning from heart-warming stand-up to riotous improvisation including Joe Sutherland is Cancelled. Joe is returning to the stage to put the world to rights with a new PR strategy.
Who else to put in the iconic Udderbelly than iconic comedians? Edinburgh Comedy Allstars returns with a host of your favourite comedy names. Every Friday and Saturday join us for the biggest line-up of comedians, with previous names including Joanne McNally, John Bishop, Ahir Shah, Nina Conti, Phil Wang and Fern Brady.
More stand-up comedy can be found with Geoff Norcott (Have I Got News For You) and his new show Basic Bloke, in which he gives his thoughts on our wider society, as well as the return of Bilal Zafar with a show about how his housemate tried to get him arrested five times.
Dave’s Edinburgh Comedy Award Best Newcomer Emmanuel Sonubi is back with new show Curriculum Vitae, and 2022 sell-outAnge Lavoipierre is back with Your Mother Chucks Rocks and Shells, an absurd sketch show where it’s always 2am. Returning for limited runs are improv-favourites Austentatious and podcast-hit Drunk Women Solving Crime, and making the jump from online success to the Fringe stage are Tim Murray with a Wicked-ly queer comedy Witches, Joe McTernan: Live Advice that Won’t Change Your Life and Tom Lawrinson’s Hubba Hubba . Alongside this is a host of wonderful female-led comedy, including one-woman shows like Coffee Kid; Eme Essien: FINE PRINT; Sophie Sucks Face, a side-splitting musical comedy; Medico; Charlie Vero-Martin: Picnic; and five-star, sell-out one-woman show Bad Teacher; and a brand new hour from Sooz Kempner for everyone who remembers the year 2000 in Y2K Woman.
Ruby McCollister brings her gothic dark comedy Tragedy, about addiction, fame, obsession, and the ghosts of Shakespearian actors to Cowgate; fresh from Off-Broadway Six Chick Flicks… parodies your favourite movies in one hysterical, fast-paced show; in Bristo Square, Ashley Blaker: Normal Schmormal is a heart-warming stand-up show about the joys of raising children with special needs and award-winning Alice Fraser: Twist, is about the moment you think you’ve got a handle on things and life throws you a twist. Viral TikTok sensations Shoot From The Hip bring their unscripted and downright unforgettable improv comedy and Ireland’s favourite internet comedians make an appearance in An Evening With Michael Fry and Killian Sundermann.
The annual highlight of the Underbelly programme, Underbelly’s Big Brain Tumour Benefit is returning to McEwan Hall; a stupendous evening of comedy in which all Box Office income is doubled and donated to The Brain Tumour Charity.
Don’t miss the improvised murder mystery CSI: Crime Scene Improvisation; award-winning Haus of Dench with Drag Queens vs Vampires and Britain’s Got Talent winner Jon Courtenay with Mental Flavour. Grace Jarvis’ This Is The Last Goldfish That I Am Going To Eat For You; Anesti Danelis’ comedy concert This Show Will Change Your Life; Myq Kaplan’s advice to his past-self in ImPERFECT; award-winning Durham Revue with Death on the Mile; and a hilariously heart-warming show celebrating Guy’s and St Thomas’ Chemotherapy Ward Tom GK: Chemodian.
Also joining the comedy line-up are Mitch Benn: The Point; Alex Franklin: I Must Reach The Summit, Please God I Must Reach the Summit; Finlay and Joe: Past Our Bedtime; Aidan Greene: I Can’t Believe It’s Not Stutter!; Will BF: The Last Gun; Sigmund the Viking: Valhalla Calling; Elliot Steel: Love and Hate Speech; Failed By Design; Troll; Jazz or a Bucket of Blood; Paul Foot: Dissolve with more names to follow.
Following a national tour and a summer at London’s Old Vic, stepping onto the McEwan Hall stage is The Wardrobe Ensemble, Old Vic and Royal & Derngate, Northampton’s adaptation of Judith Kerr’s Mog The Forgetful Cat, a ‘miaow-vellus’ musical treat for all. Mog is a very forgetful cat. She forgets that she has a cat flap, she forgets that she’s already eaten her supper and she forgets that cats don’t have eggs for breakfast every day! But Mog’s forgetfulness might come in handy…
Following their aquatic adventure Splash Test Dummies, the Dummies will be back in town with their original family favourite, Trash Test Dummies. This side-splitting, slap-stick circus-comedy takes the household wheelie bin to new heights and delivers a dump-truck full of hilarity.
Brace yourself for an hour of award-winning, explosive, scientific chaos with The Alphabet of Awesome Science. Join professors Lexi Con and Noel Edge for a thrilling voyage, a tongue-twisting race from A-Z that is equal parts messy, fascinating and gross.
Newcomer to the festival, Who Stole My Hammer?, is sure to be a family favourite with Vikings, villains and mayhem in a journey of Norse mythology and mischievous tales for all ages.
Edinburgh Fringe favourite, Louis Pearl, is back for his fifteenth Fringe year with Amazing Bubble Man. Be amazed by the breathtaking dynamics of bubbles, combining comedy, science and fun to keep you mesmerised.
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