10 theatre shows to see at Edinburgh Fringe 2022

Themes include gambling, illness, queerness, race, romance and the life of Les Dawson.


Whilst comedy is the dominating genre at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, there's plenty of theatre to enjoy too and I've looked through this year's programme and picked 10 theatre shows that I think are worth seeing at the Fringe this year...


1. Badass


Disabled writer, actor, comedian and producer Sarah Mills has written Badass, a love note to the NHS about her battle with Bowel Cancer in which she also stars.


At the beginning of 2018, things are looking rosy for Sarah, she has the perfect bachelorette pad, a job she doesn't hate and a clutch of friends who make her feel she's living in a glossy 90s sitcom. All she needs now is a fella. But instead of finding her prince, she finds a surprise in her poo.


The next two years are spent swapping dresses for Hospital gowns and Lambrini for laxatives as Sarah adjusts to life with a disability and the newfound knowledge she can’t even trust her own BUM not to kill her. This is her story, in all its painfully funny detail.


Sarah is also the winner of the BAFTA Rocliffe award for TV Comedy.

 

Pleasance Courtyard, Bunker Three (3-29* August, 2.05pm)

*except 15 August



2. Baxter vs The Bookies


Baxter vs The Bookies is a one-man play starring Count Arthur Strong actor Andy Linden as Baxter, an old-school horse racing tipster.


A true lover of racing, Baxter bases his tips on his contacts, watching races and understanding horses. He's an anachronism in the modern world of computer stats, flashy websites and online gambling. But no one ever beats the Bookies. Do they?

 

Gilded Balloon Teviot, Wee Room (3-28* August, 12.40pm)

*except 16 & 23 August



3. Caste-ing


Described as an entertaining and rhythmic showcase of the realities, structures and pressures of the acting industry, and how black women navigate these situations, Caste-ing explores the experiences of three black actresses using beatboxing, rap, song and spoken word.


We watch them as they attempt to maintain their sense of self, their faith, friendships and of course, careers.


How can they remain true to their values in an industry that seems intent on pitting them against each other? What do they do when the pressures become too much?


It stars Rima Nsubuga, Stephanie Da Silva and Yemi Yohannes.

 

ROUNDABOUT @ Summerhall, ROUNDABOUT (3-28* August, 8.25pm)

*except 4, 9, 16 & 23 August



4. Half-Empty Glasses


Playwright, filmmaker, poet and dramaturg Dipo Baruwa-Etti is bringing his latest play Half-Empty Glasses to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.


It follows Toye who is preparing for his piano exam to enter a prestigious music school. He’s doing it for the contacts, the opportunities, but when he notices the lack of Black British history in his school’s curriculum, he begins to question himself.


Is this really his dream? Or is he letting these institutions write his story? Offering his own lessons on Black cultural icons, Toye discovers that not everyone wants to celebrate Black history.


The 70-minute play promises to be an empowering story about the pressures of being young, gifted and ready to change the world.

 

ROUNDABOUT @ Summerhall, ROUNDABOUT (3-2 8* August, 11.20am/2.20pm)

*except 6, 9, 13, 16, 20, 23 & 27 August



5. Les Dawson: Flying High


Jon Culshaw is one of our finest impersonators and at this year's Edinburgh Festival Fringe he's celebrating and paying homage to much-missed comedy legend, Les Dawson in a new play from writer Tim Whitnall and director Bob Golding, which looks back at his life and career.


Premiering at the Fringe before touring the country, Les Dawson: Flying High promises to channel all the emotions such a rich life would procure, gifting the audience with anecdotes, incidents, and insights into Les’ journey, as he travels on Concorde twice the speed of sound 68,000 feet above the Earth.


With the intent to go beyond and above a basic recount of Dawson’s life, Flying High will explore the themes that paced Les’ life, such as mortality, identity, love, kindness, spiritual beliefs or even ambition.

 

Assembly George Square, Gordon Aikman Theatre (3-28* August, 4.30pm)

*except 16 August



6. Love, Loss and Chianti


Robert Bathurst, star of Cold Feet, Dad's Army: The Lost Episodes and Toast London is returning to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in a 95-minute play alongside star of The Trip Rebecca Johnson.


Love, Loss and Chianti promises to be a heart-breaking and hilarious double-bill of love and loss, written by Christopher Reid and directed by Jason Morell. Reid's lyrical narrative in both A Scattering and The Song of Lunch will be intertwined with glorious animations by Charles Peattie.

 

Assembly Rooms, Music Hall (3-28* August, 12.55pm)

*except 10 and 23 August



7. My Son's a Queer (But What Can You Do)


My Son's a Queer (But What Can You Do) is the joyous, chaotic, autobiographical story of actor, writer and social-media sensation Rob Madge.


When Rob was 12, they attempted a full-blown Disney parade in their house for their grandma. As Rob donned wigs and played Mary Poppins, Ariel, Mickey Mouse and Belle, their dad doubled as stage manager, sound technician and Goofy.


In this play, Rob sets out to recreate that parade and this time, nobody, no, nobody is gonna rain on it.

 

Underbelly, George Square, Udderbelly (4-29* August, 4.15pm)

*except 10, 15 & 22 August



8. Rajesh and Naresh


Set just after India's landmark decriminalisation of homosexuality in 2018, Rajesh and Naresh is a queer love story about Rajesh who encounters Naresh whilst visiting Mumbai. Not exactly the Indian wife his mother hoped for.


Described as Bend it like Beckham meets It's a Sin, the play promises to be a feel-good love story that's funny and charmingly performed. It was written from workshops conducted with members of the queer South Asian community in London and abroad.


Stars Brahmdeo Shannon Ramana and Madhav Vasantha.

 

Summerhall, Old Lab (3-14 August, 2.45pm)



9. Skank


Written by and starring Clementine Bogg-Hargroves, Skank returns to The Pleasance after a sell-out run at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2021.


The one-woman show follows Kate, who could be a successful writer if only she could concentrate. Instead, she needs to recycle this bean can, shag sexy Gary and stop obsessing about her inevitable untimely death.


The description for the play states that skanks just wanna have a clean bill of health, the adoration of the public and some decent recycling facilities.

 

Pleasance Courtyard, Pleasance Two (3-29* August, 4.40pm)

*except 16 August



10. We Should Definitely Have More Dancing


Written by Clara Darcy and Ian Kershaw, We Should Definitely Have More Dancing is about Clara who is described as fit, (almost) carefree, (kind of) happily single and joyously dancing through life.


But little does she know, her world is about to be turned upside down by the arrival of a fist-sized tumour, slap-bang in the middle of her head.


Based on her astonishing real story and performed by the actress herself, this show explores things that define us, that fill us up and make us who we are. It promises to be a cautionary postcard from the edge of life stuffed full of heart, love and dancing.


Starring alongside Clara Darcy as herself will be Shamia Chalabi and Suzanna Hamilton in various roles.

 

Assembly George Square Studios, Studio One (3-18* August, 3.40pm)

*except 8 & 15 August