Tribute shows take different forms at the Edinburgh Fringe. Most prominent are the many musical tributes to those stars, legends and icons of stage and screen. There are also tributes to literary greats, film and theatre stars, artists, philosophers and politicians. There’s an onverlaps between tribute shows and biography shows but here we’ll stick to shows and events that bill themselces as tributes.
Here are some of our recommendations…
Let’s start with two for Abba fans. Abba Tribute – Voyage. Described as “One of the most glamorous young ABBA tributes out there, they bring back ABBA as they were in their heyday”. Second on the list is ABBA Gold: The Concert: “If you’re looking for an excuse to party, reminisce or simply be entertained by some of the best music ever written, then ABBA Gold The Concert is the show for you”.
For a tribute to Tom Waits it has to be Doom and Glitter: A Tribute to Tom Waits. “In this laid back cabaret filled with vocal impersonations, live singing and bluesy banter, drag king Mr Brake Down pays tribute to the wit and wonderment of the iconic Tom Waits. Gloriously odd and experimental, the show takes audiences on a musical journey through some of Waits’s seminal works, whilst Brake expounds on just how much a drag king from South Wales might have in common with the California-born performer. Expect to be bemused in a highly enjoyable fashion by a show that must be seen to be believed!”
Sanatra lovers will be booking for Frank Sinatra Tribute: Come Fly With Me. “Pete Sinclair returns with a full-hour show celebrating the hits of Ol’ Blue Eyes himself, Frank Sinatra. Expect all the classic hits as performed by Sinatra at the iconic Sands Hotel”.
Queen and the legendary Freddie Mercury are celebrated in The Freddie and Queen Experience. “With some of the finest musicians in the UK – including Andy Wills, the accomplished professional Brian May tribute – the five-piece band perform a full recreation of Queen’s live shows, based around Queen at their very best.” And if you are in don’t stop me now mode, you might also want to take in Freddie Mercury Tribute. “The image, voice and flamboyancy of the great man himself are faithfully recreated with this superb tribute show featuring songs from all eras of Freddie’s long career.”
George Michael is lovingly celebrated in Kissing a Fool. “a queer clown-cabaret musical tribute”. … “Michael. We speculatively dive into the pop star’s psyche at the lowest point in his life: after the death of his lover and losing a public court battle, he thought he’d never write another note. This experimental musical is a mischievous enquiry into the effect of toxic media cultures, queer mental health and the tragedy of alienation in an interconnected world. By following his creative journey, we witness the transformation of grief into creativity and transcendence through song.”
Marilyn Monroe is not left out of the tribute shows this year and One Night with Marilyn is billed as “a laugh-out-loud, immersive, comedic, heartfelt tribute to Hollywood’s most iconic blonde bombshell. The show will take you on a journey through the life of the silver screen’s brightest star.
With Paul Francis as Elvis Presley promising “No obscure songs – just the greatest hits we all remember – delivered with style and watched in awe” and Rikki Morgan as Elton John taking “you on a rollercoaster ride through four decades of Elton classics”, and David Bowie revered in The Sensational David Bowie Tribute Band, The A Club at the Merchants Hall is a trivute hub again this year. (Oh, and did I mention Simply Rod Stewart at the same venue? And the Tom Jones Tribute ? oh, and not to mention for Police afficionados, The Polis (A Tribute to The Police).
Oh, I almost forgot to fold in Beach Boys Sounds as “Beach Boys tribute act The Beached Boys returns by popular demand to the Edinburgh Fringe. Hear live hits including Surfin’ USA, California Girls, Barbara Ann and many more.”
As an aside, in the free fringe Elvis followes might (Ormight not) want to rock along to A Slice of Elvis as they “ioin comedian Mike McAlpine on his fretful, compulsive and hilarious escapades as Elvis tribute artist Mikelvis! Mike is a well-travelled journeyman on the international tribute circuit with 30 years of ETA experience”
Npw, onto Paul Simon? Sounds of Simon, The Music of Paul Simon offer this: “From his years as the visionary in Simon and Garfunkel through to his many solo hits, journey through one of the greatest back catalogues of all time”.
There haven’t been many Spice Girls tributes at the Fringe so here’s one: (also at the A Club). SpiceWorld – The Tribute. “Enjoy a 45-minute show of all your favourite Spice Girls hits including: Wannabe, Spice Up Your Life, Say You’ll Be There and more! The second half includes other modern girl band hits.”
Killer Instinct – A Tribute to The Killers is the only tribute to this iconic band at this year’s Fringe. “Whether you’re a die-hard fan of The Killers or simply looking for a fun night out, this tribute band is a must-see. With their impressive musicianship, dynamic stage presence, and infectious energy, Killer Instinct is guaranteed to have the crowd singing and dancing along from start to finish.”
Lovers of Jazz won’t want to miss Django at the Fringe: A Tribute to Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli. “A programme of their favourite rarely performed tunes from the repertoire of one of the most innovative and compelling musical partnerships in the history of jazz. Emphasis on fresh and dynamic arrangements.”
Time to mention the Boss. The Rising: The UK’s No 1 Tribute to Springsteen and the E Street Band “dynamic seven-piece band return to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe for the 12th year to play the back catalogue and the latest album! With the precision and energy of the E Street Band, The Rising is a must for fans of the Boss and for fans of live music. From Jungleland to Do I Love You, this is the ultimate Springsteen experience.”
Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons performed by the False Seasons – “All the hits from Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons performed by the UK tribute act The False Seasons. Singing favourites including Sherry, Big Girls Don’t Cry, Walk Like a Man, Grease and many more.”
Tributes to, and theatre shows about Joni Mitchell are often features of Edfringe and Joni Mitchell Reconstructed are doing the job this year, “Ahead of Joni’s 80th birthday this November, Reconstructed explores various phases of her life and music. Jazz vocalists Jess Abrams and Claire Daly share their love of Joni’s music with unique interpretations of songs from iconic albums including Clouds, Blue, Ladies of the Canyon, Mingus, Taming the Tiger and Wild Things Run Fast”.
Another much loved and missed iconic singer is celebrated in Sally McGreevy: A Girl Called Dusty Springfield. “Sally’s a skilled storyteller who sensitively intertwines a life story with its musical accompaniment. In her eighth Fringe year Sally focuses on the life and songs of Dusty and pays tribute along with her trio. The songbook includes classics I Only Want to Be with You, Son of a Preacher Man and The Look of Love plus many more. Four nights only, not to be missed!”
Onto the unforgettable ,music of Beefheart – Tropical Hot Dog Night! “Orange Claw Hammer take the music of Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band and bend it into shape for the 21st century. Founded in 2011, the band’s sax-driven, mostly instrumental reworkings of Don Van Vliet’s back catalogue highlight the blues, jazz and experimental roots of this music.”
There’s always at least one Blues Brothers show at the Fringe. This one is highly acclaimed at a bit unique. The Black Blues Brothers is physical theatre, circus and acrobatics, these artists are “on a mission to entertain! Joining the energy of Africa with a rhythm ‘n’ blues sound, five unleashed acrobats perform their comedy tribute to cult movie The Blues Brothers. In an elegant nightclub reminiscent of the Cotton Club, chairs, the table and surroundings become props for an acrobatic celebration to the rhythm of music. Breathtaking jumps, fire and somersault routines, human pyramids and much more.”
Onto comedy theatre now, and lovers of the politically incorrect, double entendre world of the Carry Ons will be queuing for Can’t Stop Carrying On, “a new play about ageing, the human spirit and changing attitudes, and of course an affectionate tribute to the Carry On films, one of the most successful film franchises in British history.”
Popular Scottish perfomer Elsa McTaggart presents Eva Cassidy Celebrating 60 Years. “Released on Eva’s 60th birthday, the London Philharmonic Orchestra create stunning accompaniment to the title track (I Can Only Be Me) of a fresh compilation. Long after her death, Eva’s music continues to move and inspire, and her story grows”. Also don’t miss her other tribute show Great Women of Folk.
Jazz Guitar fans will enjoy Jazz Guitar Heroes as”three of Scotland’s most creative musicians join forces to pay tribute to jazz guitar legends. Sit back and listen to a chronological set of music taking you through the jazz guitar greats. “
You can take the stairway to fringe heaven in Soundbone Plays Led Zeppelin. “Fronted by trombonist/producer Chris Greive, this extraordinary trio approaches the Led Zep cannon as devoted fans, paying homage to the massive riffs and weight of the originals by bringing a ‘Living Loving…’ prog-jazz approach to every song.”
You’ll find many other famous figures from all the of artistic genres celebrates, examined and explored at the Fringe. We may add a few more so do check back.