The Edinburgh Fringe has long been a hotbed for excellent musicals – it’s where Six got its big break after all. So with that in mind, here are a whole coterie of shows that will be great for any musical lover up in Edinburgh this August.
2020 the Musical
Most remember 2020 for the dystopian, surreal hellscape that it ended up being. But it was also a golden age for satire, which this musical taps into in spades. Underbelly Bristo Square, 14 to 27 August.
A Mountain for Elodie
Benjamin Scheuer, writer of the five-star hit The Lion, returns with a new solo musical directed by none other than Polly Findlay (who recently helmed the five-star production of Assassins in Chichester). An unmissable one for musical fans, we’re sure. Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose, 4 to 27 August.
The first of two musicals on this list riffing on Richard Curtis’ cultural contributions, here’s a queer musical for the modern day. Pleasance Courtyard, 2 to 27 August.
After the Act
Award-winning company Breach Theatre’s hit musical heads to Edinburgh following a stellar New Diorama run, charting the fall-out from the infamous lowpoint in British LGBTQ+ history, Section 28. It now prepares for a Fringe stint. Traverse Theatre, 3 to 28 August.
Bed: The Musical
Twenty years of a couple’s history is condensed into a single musical, set on one bed. We can think of less comfy places to perform a show! Gilded Balloon Teviot, 2 to 28 August.
Blossoming (You Undo Me)
A solo musical about a young Chinese man growing into his queerness, this sounds like the perfect show for a deep dive into one person’s experiences. Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose, 2 to 13 August.
Burns the Musical
Apparently in the works for 30 years, the famous Robert Burns is brought to the stage in this new musical, which was previously seen in Edinburgh earlier this year. Pleasance at EICC, 2 to 27 August.
Chriskirkpatrickmas: A Boy Band Christmas Musical
A 90’s parody musical, the show is described as “A Christmas Carol meets It’s A Wonderful Life meets… *NSYNC”. What more do you need to know? Pleasance Courtyard, 2 to 28 August.
Michael Trauffer’s cabaret club-set show has already had some very lovely write-ups, so it’s great to see it get a further life at the Fringe. Underbelly Bristo Square, 2 to 27 August.
Four Felons and a Funeral
Another riff on Richard Curtis, right! Featuring a run-away Fiat-driver with an urn for company, this show is billed as “a queer rom-com road-trip” – which sounds perfectly marvellous. Pleasance Courtyard, 2 to 27 August.
The Greek myth of Arachne (you know, the spider one) is given a new spin in this musical – one for those who like their classics refreshed! Underbelly Bristo Square, 2 to 28 August.
Gone to the Dogs
A VAULT Festival favourite, we’re getting a whiff of subversive, state-of-the-nation-y fun from this one, which follows a faded Britannia whistfully reflected on her life. Gilded Balloon Teviot, 2 to 28 August.
Hello Kitty Must Die
We’re going to ask you guys to remember the title of this one, because it looks primed to make a stir on both sides of the Atlantic, given some of the creatives involved. With Edinburgh a first run of what will surely be many more, the show is based on the cult novel by Angela S Choi and has a Six producer attached. Count us in. Pleasance Courtyard, 2 to 27 August.
I Wish My Life Were Like a Musical
Would it be the fringe without the return of this fun meta-musical? We really don’t think so. What’s more, it’s now been updated with new tunes! Gilded Balloon at the Museum, 3 to 27 August.
We love the sound of this one – an ad writer wakes up in a world where he can only speak in jingles – like Kafka’s Metamorphosis with fewer beetles and more Beatles rip-offs. Definitely one to catch. Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose, 2 to 27 August.
Kathy and Stella Solve a Murder
This show was one of the hottest tickets at last year’s Fringe, opening to glowing reviews and audience raves. So now it’s back in a bigger form – we expect it’ll take Edinburgh (and the rest of the nation on tour) by storm. Underbelly George Square, 2 to 27 August.
The Night of the Musicals
Not a musical but more of a revue, all of your favourite numbers from shows will be tackled by a crack team of performers in an hour of stagey goodness. Pleasance at EICC, 15 to 19 August.
No Love Songs
The Traverse Theatre is always a solid bit for new writing at the Fringe, but this year it is also hosting a new gig-theatre show featuring songs by Kyle Falconer of The View, tackling themes of post-natal depression. Traverse Theatre, 3 to 27 August.
Oscar at the Crown
A fave on the other side of the Atlantic, this late-night extravaganza is an immersive nightclub musical conceived by Neon Coven. With the complete works of Oscar Wilde thrown in for good measure. It sounds as though post-Fringe plans are already starting to form, so here’s a chance to get in early… Assembly George Square, 2 to 27 August.
On Your Bike
The gig economy gets the musical treatment its always needed in this award-winning show that involves a love triangle and an all-powerful algorithm. Gilded Balloon, 2 to 27 August.
Potty the Plant
Imagine Little Shop of Horrors but with fewer masochistic dentists and more… tap dancing? We’re not sure what the writing team were on when they wrote a mystery thriller set in a hospital and featuring a dance-loving plant pot as its protagonist, but we want it too. Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose, 2 to 27 August.
Public the Musical
From potty to the public loos! Here’s a musical with a lot of very exciting buzz behind it – set in a public bathroom. Expect to hear a lot about this one. Pleasance Courtyard, 2 to 28 August.
Sound Clash: Death in the Arena
The title sounds a whole lot like a Mad Max spin-off, but this musical boasts a score by musician and entrepeneur Levi Roots. It is “set in a dystopian world of dancehall, where MCs, not MPs, rule the nation”, so get those raving feet ready. Pleasance Courtyard, 2 to 28 August.
The Threepenny Opera
Okay not technically a musical but this staging of Bertolt Brecht, Elisabeth Hauptmann and Kurt Weill’s 1928 show, adapted to critical acclaim by the Berliner Ensemble, is set to be a hot ticket and then some. Lyceum Theatre, 18 to 20 August.
Created with the producing powerhouse of Tobacco Factory Theatres, TINK is all about the ways in which fairies start to shrink as they grow older. Pertinent and punchy, expect an excellent musical monologue. Underbelly Bristo Square, 2 to 20 August.
TONY! [The Tony Blair Rock Opera]
This satirical show, penned by Harry Hill and Steve Brown, has gained many fans over the course of a tour and London run, and it now settles in for a Fringe presentation. Pleasance at EICC, 2 to 27 August.
Serving Scottish soldiers and veterans have come together to pen this new musical, based on their experiences as youngsters about to head to Afghanistan – featuring contemporary music, drama, video/DVD and pictures. Drill Hall, 4 to 13 August.
We’ll Have Nun of It
Surely there isn’t room for ANOTHER musical set in a convent? Think again – this Charlie Hartill Award finalist sounds delightfully fresh, full of pop, soul and folk tunes. Underbelly Cowgate, 3 to 27 August.
A busker and a runaway soul find each other in a folk musical that sounds like it has bags of charm. Underbelly Cowgate, 15 to 27 August.