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14 shows we can't wait to see at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and EIF

We've whittled the world’s biggest arts festivals down to the 14 shows we're looking forward to the most at EIF and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2017

Wild Bore, Traverse Theatre © Zoe Wimberley

Boasting over 50,000 performances in over 300 venues, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe will once again be the talk of the arts world this summer. For three weeks in August (4–28 2017), the Scottish capital becomes home to comedy giants, serious thespians, hilarious first-timers - and a bunch of genuine weirdos - all putting on shows left, right and centre. So where to start? Cut to the chase with our pick of tickets to fight for at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2017, plus the Edinburgh International Festival. 

Top shows at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Cosmic Scallies

The wonderful, anarchic, disabled-led theatre company Graeae returns with 'Cosmic Scallies', a play about 'class, friendship and absence set in the forgotten town of Skemersdale'. 

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Until Saturday August 26 2017

The Divide

Not every new Alan Ayckborn play gets a big production these days, but that's certainly not true of 'The Divide, something like his eighty-second show (that's not a joke btw). It's a two-part dystopian drama set in a plague-wracked England that will form the centrepiece of this year's Edinburgh International Festival, then transfer to London's Old Vic in the autumn. Annabel Bolton directs the mammoth drama.

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Sunday August 20 2017

DollyWould

Magnificently shambolic performance art duo Sh!t Theatre follow up a string of piss-taking but hard-hitting shows – including last year's housing crisis odyssey 'Letters to Windsor House' – with 'DollyWould', a show that celebrates their unabashed love for Dolly Parton. And why not?

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Until Sunday August 27 2017
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From the Ground Up

The Young Company of London's brilliant, daring Almeida Theatre rock up at the Fringe with an intriguing piece of interactive theatre. 'From the Ground Up' is written by Joeri Smet of Belgian provocateurs Ontroerend Goed, and barrages the audience with a fiendish set of dilemmas, both political and personal.

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Until Sunday August 27 2017

Meet Me At Dawn

A riff on the myth of Orpheus, this modern fable by the award-winning playwright Zinnie Harris follows two women who wash up on a mysterious shore following a boating accident and realise they are much further apart than they think. 

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Until Sunday August 27 2017

Jamie Wood: I Am a Tree

Performer Jamie Wood came to wider notice with his wonderful 2015 show 'Beating McEnroe'. This latest has a baffling description, but should be good: 'I Am a Tree' takes its title from Wood's girlfriend's observation that 'he is like a tree that dogs like to piss on' when it comes to randomly sharing their life stories with him. More as we find out.

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Until Sunday August 27 2017
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£¥€$ (LIES)

Belgian's controversial Ontroerend Goed follow up last year's brilliant 'World Without Us' with '£¥€$ (LIES)', a show that lets you experience what it's like to be a member of the one percent. Classic Ontroerend Goed fodder, but this is a company that's become essential again.

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Summerhall , London Fri Aug 11 - Sun Aug 27

Not I

This looks fascinating: Jess Thom – who has Tourettes, and has achieved great acclaim with the anarchic project Touretteshero – tackles Beckett's precise, complicated 'floating mouth' monologue verse in what is being descibed as 'a theatrical experience the explores neurodiversity, asking who is allowed to perform what and who gets the final say'.

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Tuesday August 22 2017 - Saturday August 26 2017

Out of Love

Lifelong best friends Lorna and Grace find their friendship challenged when one lands an university place and the other falls pregnant in this new drama from the hotly-tipped Elinor Cook.

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Until Sunday August 27 2017
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Real Magic

Experimental theatre legends Forced Entertainment bring their latest up to the Edinburgh International Festival. 'Real Magic' is a sort of nonsensical, rigged gameshow – that may or may not serve as an allegory for contemporary politics – in which a group of contestants find themselves trapped in an unending series of futile, impossible tasks.

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Tuesday August 22 2017 - Sunday August 27 2017

The Shape of the Pain

A woman attempts to articulate her experience of intense, inexplicable, physical pain in this new monologue written by the brilliant, mercurial Chris Thorpe, performed by Hannah McPake, and directed Rachel Bagshaw, with a score from sound artist Melanie Wilson. 

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Until Saturday August 26 2017

What If I Told You

This dance/theatre hybrid, directed by the brilliant Chris Goode, is a response to the assumptions heaped upon its performer, Pauline Mayers, a black dancer and choreographer in her mid-forties. Her story is interwoven with that of James Sims, the 'father of modern gynaecology' who operated on black female slaves without anaesthetic believing they didn't suffer as much.

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Until Saturday August 26 2017
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Wild Bore

Leftfield humourists Zoe Coombs Marr, Ursula Martinez and Adrienne Truscott join forces for an already acclaimed show that sees them take lines from reviews they've received and fling them back in their writers' faces. If it sounds indulgent, it is, by all accounts, very funny and hugely inventive.

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Until Sunday August 27 2017

Or just stay put in London

London theatre reviews

Not sure whether to shell out for that show? Find out what our theatre team made of London's new openings.

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By: Andrzej Lukowski

Comments

3 comments
Rachel T

would like to recommend anyone going to the festival goes to see The Revlon Girl at Assembly Roxy. A play that took Wales by storm last year about a group of bereaved mothers after the Aberfan disaster. A story just as relevant today. A story of hope. You will laugh you will cry and you certainly won't be disappointed.

Alex l

Watched Iphigenia at the Bunker, was AWESOME, highly recommended!

Jimmy K

Is it me, or are there only 6 shows in this top 10?