The Brunch Club

Pleasance Pop-Up Levels.

Until August 24, 8.15pm.

Fans of 1980s John Hughes coming of age movies could do worse than check out site-specific veterans Grid Iron Theatre’s up close and personal homage to more innocent times when awkward outsiders were still finding their tribe. In a co-production with the Scottish Drama Training Network and Pleasance Theatre Trust, The Brunch Club introduces to the world The Network Ensemble, a group of eight recent graduates from colleges and universities all over Scotland to become an ungainly assortment of rebels, geeks and princesses. Together they hang tough, form unholy alliances and fall in and out of love en route to taking on the world in a rites of passage that will stay with them forever.




Until August 17, 4.05-5.10pm

Imagine living with an illness that couldn’t be seen or heard? That’s the case for this new show from the Herald Angel winning Cumbernauld Theatre, in which two performers simultaneously lipsync the same story. Only one of them, however, is telling their own real-life story in this intensely intimate exploration of life with cystic fibrosis, an invisible illness which limits the everyday life of those suffering from it.

Developed out of Cumbernauld’s Invited Guest programme that focusses on everyday stories from remarkable people in the local community, Ed Robson’s production is a part-spoken, part-sung meditation that gives voice to one woman’s struggle and the simple joys of breathing.

Neil Cooper

Fringe Comedy

Glenn Moore

Pleasance Courtyard

Until August 25.

Last year's Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee is back and his title game remains super-strong. Love Don't Live Here Glenny Moore gets my vote for the best-named comedy show in town. Glenn may look like the sort of nice young man your granny would like you to take round for tea, but beneath that sensible cardigan lurks a comedic craftsman at the top of his game. Be prepared for more jokes than you can throw a 'shtick' at as he serves up a confessional tale about his former career as a silken-voiced TV and radio newsreader. He spills the beans too on his divorce. Is it the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth? You'll be too busy clutching your sides to care. Delightfully daft and wonderfully original, this is high-brow, high-energy stuff. Check out his Twitter account, @TheNewsAtGlenn for some consistently impressive one-liners.

Zoe Coombs Marr

Monkey Barrel

Until August 25. (Not August 12).

Australian comedian, Zoe is stripping things right back this year. Not physically, as she did in 2017 performing in Edinburgh Festival's 'cheeky', critic-baiting play, Wild Bore but this latest move is equally controversial. After a six-year stint, she's finally shedding her sexist, stand-up alter-ego, Dave. Gone are the nasty neckbeard and gross-out gags as she goes back to basics. This, she promises, is to be a joke-only zone. A show without any props or gimmicks. Surprise has always been the Barry award-winner and Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee's weapon of choice however, so that part might well turn out to be a giant fib. Rave-reviewed in Melbourne, the show takes a satirical side-swipe at the tired and cheesy world of traditional, male-dominated stand-up. Expect to be charmed, confused, shocked and thoroughly entertained in equal measure.

Gayle Anderson


Maxim Emelyanychev & Principals of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra

Queen’s Hall, 11am Monday, August 12

AS Edinburgh’s perennial problem with civic planning makes difficulties for the new Dunard Hall home for the SCO in the New Town, the orchestra’s new principal conductor, young Russian pianist Maxim Emelyanychev, leads a sextet in a chamber music showcase of the versatility his talents will bring to the orchestra’s season. For all its limitations, the Queen’s Hall can be a magical place for smaller-scale music-making, and Emelyanychev playing Brahms and Schumann with violinist Benjamin Marquise Gilmore (who led the orchestra for West Side Story last week) and cellist Philip Higham is a mouth-watering prospect.

Amber Wagner & Malcolm Martineau

Queen’s Hall, 11am Wednesday, August 14

The Sixteen, Queen’s Hall, 11am Thursday, August 15

Soprano Amber Wagner (who will sing Gutrune in the closing concert of the Festival, Richard Wagner’s Gotterdammerung) is a late-replacement for Christine Goerke (who is Brunnhilde in that conclusion of the Ring Cycle). A substitution that happened after both the print editions of the EIF programme, that may mean there is a fighting chance of a ticket to hear Wagner perform her composer namesake’s Wesendonck Leider, alongside songs by Strauss, Bellini and Barber. Local hero Malcolm Martineau is still in place at the keyboard.

Two days before the choir takes its place alongside the Scottish Chamber Orchestra to give the world premiere of Sir James MacMillan’s Symphony No.5 “Le grand inconnu” in the Usher Hall – without question one of the major events of his 60th birthday year and this year’s Festival – The Sixteen and conductor Harry Christophers have their own concert in the Queen’s Hall, in what is their own 40th anniversary year. It is a programme of Baroque and Renaissance polyphony from across Europe, and no-one sings that music better.

Keith Bruce

Fringe Circus

This Time

St Stephen’s, until August 25th (not 13th or 20th) 3pm

The ever-inventive Ockham’s Razor return to the Fringe with This Time, a new show that challenges our assumptions about age by fielding four high-flyers who represent different generations. Ranging in age from 13 to 60, the performers will take to the air on trapeze and swinging cradle, the equipment re-imagined and tweaked so as to demonstrate not just individual strengths, but also the interaction between youth and age - who maybe needs a helping hand? who wants to be totally independent and go it alone? who has the courage to understand and accept the truths that their changing bodies are telling them?

In This Time, circus meets autobiographical story-telling, underpins both with music by composer Max Reinhardt while adding in design and lighting flair. The result is aerial theatre that soars while being truly grounded in human experiences that are anchored into the ageing process.


Underbelly’s McEwan Hall, until August 26th (not 12th or 19th) 5pm

Adelaide’s Gravity & Other Myths (GOM) wowed Fringe audiences in 2013, 2015 and 2017 with A Simple Space - now they’re bringing Backbone, their latest adventure in bravura contemporary circus. Already an international success, Backbone promises to be not just a visual extravaganza, but a salute to the kind of acrobatic skills that rely on rigorously trained bodies, not mechanical engineering, to thrill audiences with cunning stunts. A cast of 10 acrobats and 2 musicians come together in a spirit of derring-do that reckons the force of gravity is there to be challenged - hence the impulse to push ideas and performers alike to the absolute limits. It’s raw, yes. And sexy with it. But it’s staged with an eye for striking, often beautiful, lighting designs that reveal the prowess in action. The GOM mindset maintains “you can't do the impossible without heathy amounts of risk, sweat and trust” - Backbone is the dynamic proof of that.

Mary Brennan

Fringe Music

Brian Kellock and Dick Lee

Jazz Walkabout, Valvona & Crolla, Elm Row, Aug 11, 12, 13, 16, 19

Jazz musicians don’t rack up the collective years of experience that pianist Brian Kellock and clarinettist Dick Lee have behind them without gathering a story or ten to tell. Both Kellock and Lee have studied deeply the players who created and directed jazz’s own story and the world class Kellock has accompanied quite a few of them, including the great Blue Note saxophonist Stanley Turrentine, trailblazing singer Sheila Jordan and Charlie Parker’s frontline partner, trumpeter Red Rodney.

Blazin’ Fiddles, Queen’s Hall, Clerk Street, Aug 14, 21.

In their Jazz Walkabout, Kellock and Lee, whose mastery of reeds and woodwinds includes virtuosic jazz recorder playing, guide their audience through jazz’s development from Louis Armstrong to Miles Davis, adding observations and anecdotes along the way. It’s an informal hour but the musicianship is of concert platform quality and there’s the bonus of inhaling the aromas of one of Scotland’s great delicatessens on the way to the music room.

Blazin’ Fiddles formed specially to take the fiddle styles of the Highlands and Islands on tour for a few days. Twenty-one years later, they are as fired-up as ever. Only Bruce MacGregor of the original band remains but he has brought in high-calibre players well capable of delivering the quality and spark for which the Blazers are renowned. They’re joined by Emily Smith, one of Scots song’s sweetest voices, for ballads and reflection as they build towards their infamous big stramash.

Rob Adams