A lot of solo theatre shows grace the Fringe listings.
Pip Utton once told us he had chosen a life of solo performing because ‘the profit share was better’. A solo show can be an intense and intimate experience for an audience, when the performer is on top of their material.
And we are happy to recommend his award-winning show, Playing Maggie – The Iron Lady
Here are our recommendations for this year’s Fringe.
A lot of stand-up comedy is solo performance. Here, we focus on solo theatre work.
Please note, we are not covering solo stand-up comedy in this section. These recommendations are for solo theatre shows only.
Our recommendations are a moving feast so check back to see new ones as reviews come in.
Our resident solo theatre reviewer, Kate Saffin (who has brought her own solo work to the Fringe in the past) offers the following as a few of her own recommendations…
Kate Saffin’s Solo Picks
“The travelling poet swaggers to Edinburgh with a case full of ancient stories from his journeys across the world. We know he’s on his way. We’re not sure where he’s coming from. He’s bringing a famous story about you, and me, and all of us. Who is the spokesman for our generation? Your enigmatic host delves into the mythologies of Odysseus, the original rock’n’roll absent father, through the eyes of his brooding son Telemachus. How can he compete with the legacy of his father when the world’s so different now? What does it mean to become a man?”
“Some people call him the space cowboy. Some people call him the gangster of love. Some people call him Oliver Izod: Musical Comedy Awards finalist, star of cult classic BattleActs and musician for Chortle award-winning Austentatious. He’s a bitch, he’s a lover, he’s a child, he’s a mother, he’s ‘delightful’ (Evening Standard) and ‘very funny’ (Bruce Dessau, BeyondTheJoke.co.uk). With help from a celebrity network including Enya, Gary Rhodes and the brown haired one from ABBA, Fingolfin embarks on a surreal, musical adventure to find The Stranger within. A weird Fight Club with songs. And Talcum Powder.”
“The Mariner has wandered the earth for 300 years. Now he draws you to a theatre at the Fringe to share his ghostly tale. This award-winning solo performance, using state of the art multimedia technology, takes off from Coleridge’s masterpiece The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, telling the real story behind the poem – complete with sea battles, storms, ice-bound ships and a mystical seabird that reveals the interconnectedness of all living things. Thrilling, hilarious, terrifying and profound, Albatross speaks urgently about contemporary themes of human indifference and our responsibility to our planet.”
“From Kerala to Camden, an epic, mystical tale of love, loss and soul-food. A cobbler and a cook concoct a delicious transcontinental enchantment as tragedy and chance entwine. As Katie dreams of curries and chapattis; Ajna, of holy souls and reincarnation… A delightful, poetic, magical story that conjoins the spirit of India with the heart of London. ‘Clair Whitefield is wonderfully watchable! A solid example of a modern day fairy tale. Audiences will be highly rewarded!’ (ThreeWeeks). Directed by Olivier award winner (for Morecambe) Guy Masterson.” We are also happy to recommend Guy’s own solo show, Shylock.
“1944: Fastidious diarist Denton Welch writes with astonishing honesty about his obsession for reckless land-boy Eric. 2011: A young writer is given the diaries by a family friend and discovers echoes of his own life within. This multi-layered, stunningly designed show weaves together writer/performer Sam Rowe’s autobiography with the writing of Denton Welch (1915-1948), a fascinating figure in queer and literary history, and favourite of Alan Bennett, William S. Burroughs and John Waters. A powerful, moving and humorous production, in collaboration with Scotland’s most exciting theatrical talent.”
“During a stormy night on the cliff top at Beachyhead, Fiona Nash is facing her own mortality. Her sister has some news, and Fiona’s asked to write a eulogy – she didn’t even know her mother was ill. Now she’s just trying to figure out things in that head of hers. She should probably go home, but sometimes it’s best just to have a cup of tea and sit down for a minute. Storytelling, puppetry, ukulele and grief all collide in this show about family, being the youngest, and losing the ones we love.”
I want to see a solo show at the Edinburgh Fringe
Click on a show title and get booking…
I want to see…
… a fusion of physical comedy, clown and spontaneity that will make you feel all funny inside. Then see The Weaning of Life (free show)
… character comedy set in a coffee shop. Then see Adventures of a Redheaded Coffeeshop Girl
… some witty comedy about life and being human. Then see Aidan Goatley: Mr Blue Sky
… some Shakespeare. Then see Shylock
… a socialist magician. Then see Revolution in the Magic Square
… a show about Charles Hawtrey. Then see Oh Hello!
… something autobiographical. Then see Rodney Bewes: Whatever Happened to the Likely Lad, Part Two
… a solo theatre piece about Margaret Thatcher we gave an award to in 2015. Then see Playing Maggie… The Iron Lady
… a play with no rehearsals, no director, a different actor each night, and a sealed script. Then see award-winning White Rabbit Red Rabbit
… a show about spending six months volunteering in Europe’s refugee camps. Then see You, Me and the Distance Between Us
… a comic look at Scotland In Sixty Minutes. Then see Vladimir McTavish: Scotland In Sixty Minutes
… some Berkoff and other stories. Then see Stunning the Punters (& Other Stories)
We’ll be adding more from now and throughout the Fringe