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10 Edinburgh Festival shows to book tickets early for

It's always hard to work out what to book for at the Edinburgh Fringe, here's a collection of shows we think you might want to book for before you get up to Auld Reekie

The Pet Shop Boys
© Pelle Crepin

Many think that the Edinburgh festivals are all about rocking up and getting a ticket easily. And while that's true of quite a few of the Fringe shows around and about, there are many reasons to keep an eye out for the ones which will sell out quickly. Here's a selection of things we think you should probably get those tickets for sharpish.

Head to our dedicated Edinburgh festivals page for all the up-to-the minute coverage.

Eddie Izzard

Eddie Izzard - Dickens Expectations of Great Expectations

Billed as theatre, here's comedian Eddie Izzard spanning genres with a work-in-progress reading of Charles Dickens' classic. Izzard's first love was acting, so this will be a chance to catch the consummate performer in action. And though it's a work in progress, it's likely to be very in demand, so we'd advise booking sharpish. In fact, tickets are already almost sold out. George Square Studios, 7 to 11, 14 to 18, and 21 to 25 Aug

Jordan Fox and Sarah Goggin
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage


This new musical is a comic riff on that hit TV show we all know and love. And the excitement surrounding the show has already been frenetic. It's on a bit of a tour, but Edinburgh will be one of the key places to catch it, as it will only have headed to two venues ahead of the festival run. Songs include "(He's her) Lobster!", "Richard's Moustache" and "You're Over Me? When Were You Under Me?", obvs. Music Hall @ Assembly Rooms, 1 to 25 August

I'll Take You To Mrs Cole!

I'll Take You to Mrs Cole!

Brilliant theatre company Complicité has teamed up with Polka this year and will return to Edinburgh with this new family show, complete with video animation and a ska soundtrack. It's based on the book by Nigel Gray and Michael Foreman and is directed by Catherine Alexander and promises to be a treat for anyone aged 7 and over. Pleasance Beyond, 31 July to 26 August

Rich Kids: A History of Shopping Malls in Tehran
© Jack Offord

Rich Kids: A History of Shopping Malls in Tehran

Javaad Alipoor already wowed us with his high-tech, thoughtful and relevant piece The Believers Are But Brothers in 2017. Here he returns with a new show, this time as part of the Traverse Theatre line-up. This piece has been created alongside Kirsty Housley and looks at contemporary politics and the collapse of regimes and how social media makes rich lives visible to poor ones. Alipoor's work is never less than gripping, so this will be a hot ticket. Traverse Theatre, 1 to 25 August

La Reprise
© Hubert Amiel

La Reprise Histoire(s) du Theatre

Controversial Belgian theatre-maker Milo Rau returns to this country with his latest creation, a piece looking at a savage killing in Belgian. The production is an investigation and examination of Ihsane Jarfi's brutal murder and features six professional and six non-professional actors. It should be hard-hitting and hard to stomach but something not to miss. The Lyceum, 3 to 5 August

The Red
© Karla Gowlett

The Red

Here's another comedian and a solo foray into theatre. Marcus Brigstocke makes his stage directing debut with this piece, originally commissioned for BBC Radio 4. It's based on the alcoholic Benedict who, having been 25 years sober, receives a bottle of wine from his father after he dies. Brigstocke is no stranger to theatre, having starred in Spamalot and more recently in Barnum, so it's unlikely that this will be a run-of-the-mill shonky Edinburgh Fringe debut. Which is why it's on this list. Pleasance, King Dome, 31 July to 16 August

© Jan Versweyveld


Our very own Robert Icke directs this version of Sophocles' tragedy for Internationaal Theater Amsterdam - which used to be Toneelgroep. As we in this country well know, anything touched by Icke is absolutely worth watching and the show makes its UK premiere here as part of the Edinburgh International Festival. Expect an updated re-imagining of the Greek classic. King's Theatre, 14 to 17 August

The Pet Shop Boys
© Pelle Crepin


This brand new musical features songs from the Pet Shop Boys and a performance from star Frances Barber. Four brand new songs have been written for Jonathan Harvey's script and so this promises to be one not to miss for pop fans and musical fans alike. The one-woman piece features Billie Trix - a character from their musical Closer to Heaven and was written for Barber. Bijou Venue @ Assembly Rooms, 5 to 24 August

© Paul Barritt


A new show from 1927 is always an event. Here the company is appearing as part of the Edinburgh International Festival with just that, a piece which looks at many little-known folk tales. The 1927 style is to merge live action with animation and old-school cinema with beguiling music and kooky stagecraft. It's often brilliant and so we'd absolutely recommend booking up those tickets sharpish. Church Hill Theatre, 9 to 25 August

Red Dust Road
© Jackie Kay

Red Dust Road

The remarkable memoir by Jackie Kay, in which she searches for 20 years to find her biological mother and father, is adapted into a piece by National Theatre of Scotland and Manchester's HOME. Tanika Gupta has written the piece, which is directed by Dawn Walton and this all means it promises to be something very very special. The Lyceum, 14 to 18 August