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13 Edinburgh shows you can see before they get to the Fringe

Not going to Edinburgh this year? You can still catch some of the juiciest plays before they go up to the Fringe, whether you're in London, Manchester or Hull

Gutted: Liz Richardson goes through the ins and outs of ulcerative colitis
© Chris Payne


Who? Liz Richardson suffers with ulcerative colitis (an un-sexy inflammatory bowel disease). This piece explores her struggles with the illness and combines it with the real-life love story that developed when she was hospitalised and at her most vulnerable.

Where? HOME Manchester, 19 to 22 July.

The F Word

Who: Theatre503 is introducing 20 new writers as part of its Edinburgh preview season. The F Word follows friends 17-year-old Jacob and Tommy. Tommy is dying, but that doesn't always get him down. This dark comedy celebrates teenage friendship.

'''Where?'' Theatre503, 17 July.

A Day in the Life

Who? Akpore Uzoh brings his new show to Theatre503 after a tour in the Netherlands and the US. His one-man play explores injustice within the justice system through the story of someone who is wrongly convicted.

Where? Theatre503, 19 and 20 July.

The Shape of the Pain, starring Hannah McPake

The Shape of the Pain

Who? The Shape of the Pain is in our critic, Matt Trueman's top ten Fringe shows, but you can catch it before it goes to Edinburgh at two other venues. Directed by Rachel Bagshaw, performed by Hannah McPake and written by Chris Thorpe this story attempts to explain Bagshaw's condition: Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) whereby pain receptors in her brain tell her she is in excruciating pain even though there is no physical damage to her body.

Where? Battersea Arts Centre, 21 and 22 July and the Arts Depot, 27 July.

Monica Dolan is bringing her first solo play, The B*easts to the Fringe

The B*easts

Who? She's played real-life stalker Maria Marchese in U Be Dead and Rose West in Appropriate Adult (which won her a BAFTA) now Monica Dolan is bringing her first solo play, The B*easts to the Fringe. It explores the pornification of our culture and the sexualisation of our children with a story exploring how far one mum will go to put what her child wants first.

Where? Bush Theatre, 26 to 28 July.

Adam Foley's A Super Happy Story (About Feeling Super Sad)
© The Other Richard

A Super Happy Story (About Feeling Super Sad)

Who? Good credentials for this one. It's a cabaret musical about depression written by Oliver Award winner Jon Brittain (Rotterdam) with music by Matthew Floyd Jones (Frisky and Mannish). It's heading to the Fringe for the first time this year but has previously garnered praise at a few other venues.

Where? Hull Truck, 27 July.


Who? Natasha Marshall is an Alfred Fagon Award shortlisted writer who has created this semi-autobiographical comedy about mixed-race girl, Jazmin, who doesn't feel like she fits in.

Where? Soho Theatre, 28 and 29 July.

Sci-Fi by The Sleeping Trees which runs on 7 June

Sleeping Trees: Double Bill

Who? Sleeping Trees are the company behind Christmas panto Scrooge and the Seven Dwarves. Now the award-winning comedy trio bring you a two-night pastiche of film genres. The first night's showing is a double-bill of Mafia? and its a mash-up of all the gangster films the group have ever watched alongside a fast paced and surreal take on Westerns, called Western? Night three is Western? again, paired with Sci-fi? which probably needs no explanation.

Where? Battersea Arts Centre, 21 and 22 July.

London Hughes: Superstar (it's just nobody's realised it)
© Matt Stronge

London Hughes: Superstar (it's just nobody's realised it)

Who? Funny Women Award-winning comedian London Hughes will bring her debut show to the Fringe this year. It's the tale of a young black girl's search for superstardom set to a backdrop of popular ‘90s TV shows.

Where? Hackney Showroom, 17 to 18 July.


Who? Inspired by the true story of cannibal Armin Meiwes, Sweetmeat follows Sigmund, who unexpectedly loses his home and moves in with the enigmatic Christian. It's by a new writer, Ivo de Jager but the plot alone is worth a punt.

Where? Soho Theatre, 26 July.

Milly Thomas's Brutal Cessation focuses on a difficult breakup

Milly Thomas: Dust and Brutal Cessation

Who? Actor and writer Milly Thomas wrote Clickbait, a play about attitudes to sex and porn, which was at Theatre503 last year. She has now written an episode of Clique (the young adult TV thriller billed as a university version of Skins) and is taking two plays to Edinburgh that she's written and stars in. Dust is about a girl who commits suicide and is then forced to watch the consequences of it unfold. Brutal Cessation, in our crtitic Holly Williams' top ten Edinburgh picks, is about exploring violence in relationships, our expectations of gender and what happens when we're no longer in love but refuse to let go.

Where? The Bunker, 24 to 25 July.


Who? Written and performed by Joe Sellman-Leava (winner of the Fringe First Award for Labels), Monster is a new performance about violence and masculinity, that asks what happens to us as the red mist descends?

Where? Pleasance Islington, 18 July .

Daniella Isaacs scrutinises the clean eating trend in Hear Me Raw
© Max Lacome

Hear Me Raw

Who? Daniella Isaacs went to Australia and got caught up in the clean living trend, two years later her bones were disintegrating and her hair was falling out. Hear Me Raw explores how she fell victim to the disease of 'Orthorexia Nervosa' a disorder characterised by an obsession with healthy eating.

Where? Hackney Showroom, 24, 27 and 28 July.