Here are five shows hitting the headlines...


TODAY is the last chance to catch award-winning presenter Iain Dale’s show, which has been attracting publicity all last week due to the intriguing revelations from his guests.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon explained how talking to former UK Prime Minister Theresa May was soul-destroying and Unite union’s Len McCluskey said he would have voted for Scottish independence if he had lived in Scotland at the time of the 2014 referendum.

But what really set the cat amongst the pigeons was when Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said a future Labour government would not block a second Scottish independence referendum as “that’s democracy”. The statement flatly contradicted Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard’s stance and sent the party into a tail spin.

In his afternoon show today Dale’s guest is former Labour Home Secretary Alan Johnson and the early evening guests are comedians Matt Forde, Andrew Doyle and Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell’s daughter, Grace Campbell.


IF you think performers are getting younger every year then it’s not simply a case that you’re getting older – you’re actually right.

Last year one-year-old Phineas was in the spotlight as he performed with his dad, Trygve Wakenshaw, and this year it’s the turn of a baby who is just five months old.

Arthur Bye isn’t even crawling yet but he is already charming audiences by performing in their own homes. As he is slightly too small to be seen properly on stage, dad Daniel hit on the idea of taking him with him to people’s houses for individual performances guaranteed to be unique and unpredictable.

His mum, co-creator Sarah Punshon, is on hand making sure Arthur’s needs are woven into his “performance”.

In between all the cooing there is a serious theme going on and that’s the exploration of nature versus nurture.

Arthur performs by invitation until August 25.


ANOTHER show to make the news is the painful yet uplifting true story of a child asylum-seeker arriving in the UK.

Dritan Kastrati, now in his late 20s, tells how he made the perilous journey across the Adriatic at the age of 11.

The unaccompanied youngster was sent by parents desperate for him to find safety away from their home on the dangerous border between Kosova and Albania.

Via a network of smugglers, Kastrati travelled for four days hidden in lorries, trains and boats.

However rather than an enriching new life in Europe, Kastrati found he had to continue his fight for survival in the British care system.

It is a Made in Scotland showcase and is on at the Traverse until August 25.


CRAIG Ferguson’s first stand-up show in the UK in over 25 years is making waves. His wildly successful Hobo Fabulous receives its European Premiere tonight (Sunday) and is almost certain to sell out as there is only one performance.

The 57-year-old is back in Scotland after making his name in the United States as a Grammy-nominated, Emmy and Peabody award-winning star of The Late Late Show and The Craig Ferguson Show.

Of his return to Edinburgh, Ferguson said: “What the world needs now more than ever is an ageing, unhinged vagrant travelling from place to place ranting nonsense into a microphone!”

He added: “I’m a little nervous because it’s the first one I’ve done here in a long time – and I don’t know if it will be different or not. I want it to be good.”

Ferguson is at the Edinburgh Playhouse tonight, August 11.


AMERICAN actress Rose McGowan’s appearance at the Fringe has also caused a stir. Perhaps best known for her role in the Harvey Weinstein scandal and the resultant #MeToo movement, she is an activist, writer and model as well as an actress.

In her Fringe debut, she creates a new world of possibilities. Through memoir, music, storytelling, projections and performance she invites the audience on a healing journey of discovery to this new planet.

From here they are invited to see Earth from a new perspective and learn how to create a liberated, fairer society.

Rose McGowan: Planet 9 is at the Assembly Hall from August 15-18



THIS daring new play uses a blend of verbatim interviews, Methodist hymns and original songs to investigate the lives in and around Miracle Village, a rural American community for sex offenders buried deep in Florida’s sugarcane fields. It comes to Edinburgh direct from a sold-out, award-winning run in New York where it was hailed by critics as “the bravest show in NYC”. Theatre company Life Jacket have been performing the show in the United States since 2018, making for a skilled performance in Edinburgh.

“Powerful performances electrify an already supercharged script,” said Theatre Mania.

Catch it at the Underbelly until August 25.


BREFFNI Holahan is the first winner of this year’s The Stage Edinburgh Awards. She was given the accolade for her performance in Collapsible at Assembly Roxy.

“I’ll tell you what I really want – I want to jump clean out of my brain,” says Holahan’s character Essie.

Essie’s lost her job. Her girlfriend’s left. She says she is all right, except lately she feels more like a chair than a person.

“One of those folding chairs. Solid one minute. And then….”

From award-winning Irish writer Margaret Perry, Collapsible is described as a “funny, furious new monologue about holding on in this collapsing world” and is “for anyone who has ever felt crumbly”.

It holds an Origins Award for outstanding new work. Collapsible is at the Assembly Roxy until August 25.


PULITZER Prize finalist Dael Orlandersmith performs the UK premiere of her poetic and revelatory play.

Based on extensive interviews with Missouri residents after the 2014 shooting of African American teenager Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson, this “unmissable” drama gives voice to a community rallying for justice and a country still yearning for change.

Written and performed by Orlandersmith, it is directed by Neel Keller.

The New York Times has called the show “an urgent moral inquest” while the Chicago Tribune said it is “a moving understanding of the need for healing”.

It is at the Traverse Theatre until August 25


THE Archive is a combination of poetic storytelling, verbatim interviews and a sprawling photo album chronicling the lives of women affected by breast cancer. The show is a library of memories, relics and keepsakes that allow a glimpse into stories of kindness and courage, fragments of absolute joy and incomprehensible heartbreak.

Fringe First winner Casey Jay Andrews’ solo performance blends personal storytelling with philosophical reflections on the need for human kindness.

“An absolute gem of a performance, one that will certainly wring tears amidst gentle smiles and leave those who have ventured in better for having experienced it,” said the five star review in the British Theatre Guide.

It is on at the Pleasance until August 26.


FOLLOWING a critically acclaimed extended run in London and an Offies 2019 win, I’m a Phoenix, Bitch by Bryony Kimmings hits the festival as part of the British Council Edinburgh Showcase 2019.

An “offbeat musical about postnatal depression” sounds daunting but it’s a zany trip via horror movie, pop video, art installation and therapy session.

In the show, Kimmings weaves a powerful, dark and joyful masterpiece about motherhood, heartbreak and finding inner strength, combining music, personal stories and film.

“A choking and exhilarating ride,” said the Guardian giving it five stars. “A subversive feminist musical.”

It is at the Pleasance until August 25.



THIS is starting to sell-out as it is one of the few chances to catch Russell Howard at Edinburgh Fringe this year, as due to throat problems, he has cut his performances.

It’s also a unique comedy charity night with ticket proceeds being split between Barking Tales and SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health).

The focus is very much on mental health and the show is hosted by Harriet Dyer who is joined by a star-studded line-up of comedians, including Tony Law, Laura Lexx and Seymour Mace. They will be adapting their material to relate to mental health in a small bid to try to break the stigma.

It’s on tomorrow night at Monkey Barrel.


THERE’S a True Crime theme at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe and Bible John is pulling in audiences. It is based on the murders of three women in 1969 at the Barrowlands Ballroom in Glasgow by an Old Testament-quoting serial killer, nicknamed Bible John. He’s never been caught.

In this performance, four women bound by their obsession with true crime want to change that. Immersing themselves in the world of Bible John and his victims, they try to solve the case, once and for all.

Winner of the Samuel French New Play Award and created by writer-performer Caitlin McEwan, Bible John is at the Pleasance until August 26.


APPHIA Campbell’s Woke took the Fringe by storm in 2017 and 2018, and her new solo show, inspired by the life of legendary American vocalist Nina Simone, has come to Edinburgh direct from a sold-out run on the West End.

In what has been described as a “stunning solo performance”, Campbell reflects on the journey that took Simone from a young piano playing prodigy, apparently destined for a life in the service of the church, to a renowned jazz vocalist at the forefront of the Civil Rights Movement.

It’s on at the Gilded Balloon Teviot until August 26.


THE Edinburgh Comedy Award 2018 Best Show winner returns for one week only. Rose Matafeo’s musings on horniness is on for only five nights so those who missed the acclaimed run last year should move fast.

In the show, she confesses she has kissed nearly 10 men in her life “aka she’s a total horn dog”.

But what is horniness, she asks? Is it that “intangible essence of excitement and opportunity? A fire that flickers in the beating heart of each and every human being? Or is it simply wanting to get it on with everyone, all the time?”

Matefeo is at the Pleasance Courtyard from August 20-24.


THIS is another likely to sell out as it’s on for three nights only. After a sell-out run in 2018 and a BBC One series of the same name, BAFTA Breakthrough Brit and star of Live at the Apollo, Luisa Omielan returns with her third smash-hit solo show. unedited, uncut and uncensored ... at Gilded Balloon Teviot from August 23-25.