It’s the highlight of the cultural year for Scots and visitors from all over the world and in 2022 the Edinburgh Festival is shaping up to be even better than ever, as Lorraine Wilson reveals

Whether you’re looking for laughs courtesy of the top talent in today’s stand-up comedy, new music and old classics from internationally renowned artists or engaging theatre, Edinburgh is the only place to be in August. To get a flavour of what’s in store for flocking culture vultures, join us on a whirlwind tour of the very best highlights in a festival season that promises to thrill audiences to the max.


The National:

Larry Dean
Monkey Barrel Comedy 3; August 5 - 28. 8.30pm
Not one for the faint of heart, Larry Dean has the greatest gift any stand-up needs, the ability to tell a story. This show, Fudnut, includes some bizarre and jaw-dropping tales that entertain and shock in equal measure. The bottom line though – he’s funny.

Possibly the Last Chance to See Susan Morrison
The Stand’s New Town Theatre – Studio; August 4 - 15, 17 - 28. 12.05pm
One of the Scottish stand-up circuits great favourites and rightly so. It’s time for this woman of “a certain age” to get some things off her chest. Morrison always bring a humanity to her comedy, so hopefully it’s not the last stand for her stand-up.

David Kay: Garden Office Legend
The Stand’s New Town Theatre - Lower Hall; August 8 - 14, 2.50pm
One of the great Scottish talents who has been under the radar for many years now. He works between quirky and surreal and has a beautifully relaxed and gentle style that suits his observations perfectly. Expect scone commentary.


Greenside @ Infirmary Street - Ivy Studio; August 22 - 27. 8.45pm
Early Doors Productions bring us an illuminating tale that is based off the Angus coastline. Two lighthouse keepers and their trainee are working at Caillte Lighthouse just after the First World War. However, surreal and strange occurrences begin to make them question each other’s loyalty.

The National:

Land – A Scottish Musical
Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose
– Dram; Aug 3 - 14 and 16 - 28. 1pm
This is a new musical from Kick the Door productions, looking at our history and our heritage through two parallel stories: one of a crofter and a wandering soldier in the eighteenth century and one up to date with an elderly man and his carer.  It blends traditional Scottish trad and folk with a modern electronic sound.

In the Weeds by Joseph Wilde
Summerhall - Main Hall; August 3-14, 16-21, 23-28. 1.10pm
We do mythical really well in Scotland, and here An Tobar and Mull Theatre offer us the tale of Kazumi, who is hunting a sea monster on a remote Hebridean island. He meets Coblaith, a local woman who might lie somewhere between human and mythical creature. This gripping drama is produced by An Tobar and Mull Theatre.


The National:

Jesse Rae: Vive Funk
French Institute in Scotland - Salle Emilienne Moreau-Evrard; August 6 – 8. 8.30pm
Still swinging his Claymore on mountainsides, the funk warrior most famous for his 80s hit Over The Sea and writing the hit Inside Out (recorded by Odyssey and others) is back with new live, immersive music filmed in Edinburgh and the USA between 1980-86. There’s also new funk in French – hence the venue!

Scotland’s Piano Music: Another Short Introduction
Stockbridge Church - Church Hall; August 6, 7.30pm
When you think of Scottish music, piano isn’t the first instrument that springs to mind. This concert, a sequel to 2018’s A Really Short Introduction to Scotland’s Piano Music sets that right. Work includes Ronald Center: Sonatine; John McLeod: Another Time, Another Place; Erik Chisholm: Straloch Suite; WB Moonie: Perthshire Echoes; JB McEwen: On Southern Hills; and more.

Countess of Fife
Pleasance at EICC - Lammermuir Theatre; August 26. 7pm
Fay Fife of The Rezillos fronts an alt-country band? Yes, she does, and this show previews songs from the album Star of the Sea. Joining Fay is Allan (So You Think You’re A Cowboy) McDowall with guitars and harmony vocals. The four-piece are looking to create that Venn Diagram intersection between The Cramps and Johnny Cash.



The National:

Fred MacAulay in Conversation
Gilded Balloon at the Museum – Auditorium; August 4 -16. 12.30pm
Not only does Fred have his stand-up show What(Ever) Next? At The Stand, there’s a daily live chat show for the Gilded Balloon. Every day is something new, with performers from the Fringe, sports stars, and characters that might not be as well know but are a crucial part of August in Edinburgh.

Darren McGarvey’s The Social Distance Between Us – Live
The Stand’s New Town Theatre - Grand Hall; August 16 – 21. 3.40pm
Based on his latest book, The Social Distance Between Us, Darren McGarvey lends his uncompromising style to an hour exploring the scandal of inequality and involves the audience in this, with an authentic ask-me-anything approach to shape the hour.

In Conversation with... Bruce Findlay
The Stand’s New Town Theatre - Grand Hall; August 13. 12pm
As part of a series that also includes Chris Brookmyre, David Hayman, Darren McGarvey and others as subjects, this sees the Scottish music business legend recounting tales from his time as Simple Minds manager from 1978 to 1990, the music business from the 1960’s onward, his time with Bruce’s Records, Zoom Records and much more. 



Panmure House - The Lecture Room; August 5-7, 9-14, 16-21, 23-28. 12pm and 4pm.
A fascinating character, this show by Adam Smith’s Panmure House allows us to spend time in Andrew Carnegie’s company and find out how the richest man in the world gave away his fortune by 1919. Also hear more about his desire for world peace and why his efforts, which were in vain of course, ended in his withdrawal from public life.

The Woman He Lived With
Shout – Scottish Music Centre @ 111 Holyrood Road - SHOUT! The Scottish Music Experience; August 5 – 19. 6pm
An unusual take on the Burke and Hare story from Sarah Maria Lafferty and the Felix Culpa Theatre Company. This centres on Burke’s wife, Helen MacDougal, who was unaware of their crimes – until the final murder at a Halloween party, which she tried to prevent. McDougal ended up on trial with the pair and although she walked free from court she was hounded out of Scotland.

The National:
Hill Street Theatre - Alba Theatre; August 5 – 28. 4.50pm
Edinburgh Little Theatre brings us the story of William Wallace, but without the bizarre accent that is Mel Gibson’s legacy to us all. This is Wallace’s life through his own eyes, and his struggles and his battles for Scotland. It’s a show that will be a reminder why he still inspires Scots today . . . without face paint.


Charles Maclean Whisky Masterclass
The A Club at the Merchants Hall - Main Hall; August 20. 3pm
Learn from the man who knows more about whisky than anyone you know! With 10 books on the subject and popular public events where he shares his knowledge and is a perfect guide to tastings, this is a chance to go full Scottish at the Fringe.

Alan Davie: Beginning of a Far-Off World
Dovecot Studios - North Gallery; Runs until September 24
The artist Alan Davie, who died in 2014, is enjoying a beautifully curated retrospective if you’d like to get off the beaten path for a while and contemplate in the quiet. One of the greatest Scottish artists of the 20th century, this exhibition features rarely seen works from each decade of his career.


Scotland’s Magic Sensation
Le Monde - Venue @ Le Monde; August 5-15, 17-22, 24-29. 12.15pm
Magic and ventriloquism for little ones over the age of three. Fast-paced, lovely characters, and a lovely warm old-fashioned variety feel that will enthral the grandparents as much as the children.

Wee Seals and Selkies
Scottish Storytelling Centre - Library at Fringe; August 4-10, 12-16, 20-21, 27-28. 12.15pm
Vist the northern shores as this show of storytelling and music features The Wee Seal, a true story of a seal born in the storyteller’s garden, and also a retelling of one of our most beautiful myths The Selkie Girl, with fiddle music. The show is based on two of Janis Mackay’s much-loved books and is suitable for children aged five and up.

The National:
Beware the Beasts
Scottish Storytelling Centre - Library at Fringe; August 5, 7, 9, 11, 13. 10.45am
We do love our myths and legends and why not? Keeping them alive for the little ones is important. This show by Shona Cowie is great for children aged five-plus and is packed with bog goblins, dragons, naughty fairies, brownies and bony-backed horsemen. There are also monster-evaders such as Granny and wee Jamie!